When writing a Humanist ceremony it is never a case of slotting names into the appropriate spaces in a standard run of the mill wedding ceremony script, it is the complete opposite, your ceremony will be as individual as you, as a couple are.
Your ceremony can be relaxed or formal, long or short, funny or more serious, it will be designed to celebrate this most special of occasions, your wedding day! The ceremony will be unique and everything you want it to be!
Although a humanist ceremony is non-religious it can still contain familiar traditions like saying your vows and exchanging wedding rings if you wish. You may also find the inclusion of a few symbolic gestures like hand fasting, drinking from the quaich or warming the wedding bands something you'd like to consider for inclusion in your ceremony.
A humanist wedding can take place anywhere indoors or outside, up a mountain or by a loch side, at a hotel or in your own home the possibilities are endless as long as it is 'safe and dignified' so perhaps the toilets in the local pub are out!
The time your ceremony is conducted also has no limits on it, if you really want a midnight ceremony then we can make that happen!
Whatever time or place you choose to have your ceremony it will be legal and has exactly the same status as a wedding or civil partnership carried out by a registrar or religious minister etc.
So what happens at a wedding ceremony?
Every ceremony is written individually for each couple , there is no template! but as a guide in your ceremony you may wish to have poems or readings, these can be read by me or by someone chosen by you, often the bride or grooms mum will read, a few times the bride and groom have read.
The couples story will be told by me, how have they reached the point where they are to marry? first impressions, first date and the proposal etc, only as much as you want to share will be told!
Symbolic gestures are a very popular element couples like to include, the most popular are hand fasting, wedding ring warming, drinking from the quaich, there are lots of others though, and even if you were to pick a hand fasting it would be worded and carried out to fit with the couple so once again it is tailored to the couple.
There is no legal requirement to say vows or exchange wedding rings but of course we all love to hear and see these traditional and recognisable elements in a wedding ceremony. You can write your own vows or I can write them for you, they can be funny, traditional, modern or emotional, often vows are a wee mixture of all those styles.
Couples worry about saying their vows but this isn't necessary as you can just reply with an 'I DO' or go for the repeat after me approach which always works very well, we'll find which way suits you both, so no need to panic!
There are in the ceremony legal declarations which must be said by the couple and by myself again if your happy the repeat after me approach works very well.
Signing the Marriage schedule will happen so you'll need two witnesses, if you plan an elopement you can grab two willing passer by's as long as they are over 16 years of age, capable of understanding the marriage ceremony and sober (very important!)
I will guide you through the legal aspect of your ceremony.
It definitely takes more time and thought to arrange a humanist ceremony than a standard church or civil wedding, but it is well worth the effort. You will end up with a ceremony that reflects the two of you, what you value and your hopes and dreams for the future and an occasion that is truly unique and personal. To be honest couples often say how much fun they have had going over the tales of their first date etc. When you choose a humanist wedding ceremony you have so much freedom to make it bespoke and 100% you.
The ceremony can last as long as you wish from 20 minutes to 45 minutes, it all depends on you the 30 minutes is a good length, not too long for any children or the elderly!
You will have to fill out the M10 form which you can download from www.nrscotland.gov.uk or get from the Registrars office. This form must then be handed back into the Registrars office in the district where the marriage is to happen, it is your responsibility to contact the registrar.
The best idea is to get your M10 form filled in and handed into the reg. office as soon as possible, at present you can submit your M10, 12 weeks before the date of the wedding and not less than 29 days from the date of the wedding.
Your marriage schedule will be issued during the week before you wedding date and can only be picked up by one of the named couple who are marrying, so you can't ask your aunty or neighbour!
On the day of your wedding your marriage schedule must be present as it must be signed so it is a very very important document, no schedule no legal wedding!!!
After your ceremony your signed Marriage Schedule must be handed into the registrars office with in 3 days..... not 3 working days very important to remember.