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Is religion still a part of modern weddings: should secular couples choose Humanism?

By admin on August 2nd, 2007 1 comment

humanist_wedding_203_203x152.jpg While weddings were originally a religious ceremony designed to show commitment to your spouse and to your god or chosen religion, it has grown into something much more egotistical and centres around the couple moreso than ever. So, if the religion has gone out of your life is it truly ethical to allow it a place in your wedding and your marriage?

Having attended many Christian weddings I have often internally remarked upon the hypocrisy of many couples choosing to ‘marry before God’ only to live a secular life after that union. This is the reason many modern and ethically conscious couples are opting for a Humanist union.

Humanist weddings retain all the commitment and public celebration of love that is associated with weddings, perhaps now more prominently for many than the religious aspects, but without an affiliation to any religion. The British Humanist Association describes its ceremonies as ‘dignified, caring and totally personal’. It publishes a practical guide, Sharing the Future, to help you organise your own wedding, or you can work with a trained official.

A Humanist wedding can take place anywhere ‘safe and dignified’ — from your front room to a mountain top, and, unlike civil ceremonies conducted by a registrar, do not require couples to get a special license. However, you can get a wedding license to legally recognise the union if a registrar is present. All in all it seems the perfect option for those wishing to have a non-religious service but who don’t wish to visit the town hall, rather a beautiful and personal setting of their choice.

What do you think? Is religion leaving marriage or is it alive and well in some hearts? And will you opt for a Humanist service over a civil ceremony?

  • Hi Orla

    thanks for a thought-provoking article. As a celebrant of the Humanist Society of Scotland I absolutely agree that humanist ceremonies have all the emotional power of traditional weddings (I would say that, wouldn’t I!) but what makes them particularly special and personal is that they give the couple the opportunity to say what marriage means to THEM – not just to repeat what somebody else tells them they should think.

    In Scotland where I live, Humanist weddings have been legal since June 1995 and – as you can see from this story on the BBC – they’ve become very popular, with people travelling here from all over the world to marry in one of our ceremonies.

    To find out more, visit or check out to see some and read about of the weddings I’ve celebrated for happy couples over the last couple of months.

    Best wishes


    Juliet Wilson
    Media Officer
    Humanist Society of Scotland
    4 Scotland Street Lane West
    EH3 6PT

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