Wedding Planner Reveals Human Face of Humanist WeddingsPost on June 8, 2017 Comment (No Comments)
With this article, Seven Ivory Brides, fusion wedding planners in the Washington, Virginia, Maryland area, and experts in event organization, answers a sometimes-confusing question.
What is a humanist wedding, and why would a couple choose this form of celebration?
Humanism represents a democratic and ethical life stance which affirms that people have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. This belief promotes the building of a humane society based on natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through everyone’s capability.
Often couples who don’t have an active faith commitment prefer to opt out of church weddings. Yet they still want an extremely meaningful (but not religious) ceremony. In this instance, they might choose a humanist celebration. Also, if a couple would like to marry at a location which isn’t licensed for civil ceremonies, then a humanist celebration is an alternative.
Ultimately, this decision affords them the flexibility to create a personalized ceremony outside the realm of religion and civic venues. Modern cultural shifts have led to more humanist weddings in recent years.
Is a humanist wedding right for you?
If you do not follow an organized religion and have no belief in the supernatural, but appreciate deeply the world and people around you, a humanist wedding might be a positive choice. These secular celebrations are very personal and inclusive to all.
Like any wedding ceremony, a humanist celebration reflects the commitment of two people to share their lives. They do not, however, seek the blessing of a supernatural power.
If you share this non-religious philosophy, a humanist wedding could be your preference; if not, other forms of celebration will work better for you.
Humanist ceremonies can also include remarriage after divorce and renewal of vows.
What about the legality of humanist weddings?
As of June 2017, humanist weddings are not recognized everywhere as legal ceremonies. Indeed, laws which assign the right to perform wedding services can differ in states and provinces within the same country. For example, U.S. laws vary across the nation but, generally, humanist celebrants are afforded the same rights and responsibilities as ordained clergy.
According to a June 2016 examination of secular marriage by Dr. Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson, Athabasca University, Humanist Canada administers an officiant program in the province of Ontario which trains and licenses celebrants and enables them to have all the required rights under the Marriage Act of that province. Yet humanist officiants cannot perform legally-recognized wedding ceremonies elsewhere in Canada.
Since 2005, Scotland has considered a humanist wedding to be a legal union. A decision by the Registrar General of Scotland allowed the change on the basis of Article 9: European Convention on Human Rights which stipulates “freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”
Originally, Scotland permitted 12 humanist celebrants to marry couples; now the country has 100 officiants who can design, write, and deliver this type of ceremony.
Within England and Wales, non-religious weddings must be conducted by a registrar at a registry office or approved building such as a hotel or stately home.
The Republic of Ireland recognizes the humanist wedding as a legally-binding ceremony. Northern Ireland has yet to offer legal recognition of humanist marriages. The law is been challenged but a decision has not been reached as of June 7, 2017.
Pay It Forward
As with other weddings, a humanist celebration brings together a couple and their family and friends in the spirit of love. Also, like all other weddings, the newlyweds can choose to give back love to society through a Pay It Forward initiative.
Take a look at this unique fundraiser for the British Heart Foundation. Maxine Beech, a humanist celebrant, led 34 “brides” on a hike to the top of Snowdon – the highest mountain in Wales. The “brides” (including three men, also in wedding dresses) were from ceremonies she had officiated at or planned to in the near future. This event in memory of Beech’s father raised in the range of £5,000.
How Humanist Weddings Influence Bridal Fashion
Several 2018 bridal collections feature daring design with low necklines and backs, thigh-high slits, and form-fitting silhouettes. Other designers present a more subtle (but still sexy) look.
The Polish label Anna Kara and UK’s Amanda Wakeley predict that their styles will be a hit especially in places like modern-day Ireland known for its fashion-conscious brides. It is believed that the rise in civil and humanist weddings has contributed to a new interest in varied designs.
Bonus Tip from Seven Ivory Brides ~ Fusion Wedding Planner in DC/Virginia/Maryland ~ Cultural Weddings/Day of Coordinator/Event Planning Team
A humanist wedding allows a couple to focus on their shared values while still expressing individual personalities. The officiants help couples to find the right ceremony and celebration for them.
Having a humanist wedding does not mean that newlyweds cannot have a glamorous event and beautiful wedding décor. These celebrations can have as much glorious detail – or as little – as the couple wants for their event.
Whether your style is formal or casual, the humanist celebration can be as romantic and spectacular as any traditional wedding.
Seven Ivory Brides would love to know…
Would You Have a Humanist Wedding?
Wedding Couple and Guests ~ Courtesy of Humanists UK
Newlyweds ~ Via BBC
Two Brides ~ Courtesy of Humanists Canada
Hikers ~ Photo By Andy Wilkinson from Inspire Wedding Photography ~ Via Shropshire Star
Bridal Gown ~ Via Independent. ie
Wedding Tents ~ By John Barwood Photography
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