You probably have hundreds of questions and we can talk about them when we meet. For now, I’ve tried to answer a few of the more obvious ones here. You’ll notice that most are wedding-related so if you have questions that aren’t covered below, please feel free to contact me either by email at fi.humphries@icloud.com or call me on 07788 925179.

Is a humanist wedding legally recognised?

Not yet in England and Wales. But Humanist UK is doing a lot of work to challenge the law on this issue, so things may change sooner than you think. Just like the law changed in Scotland in 2005 where humanist marriages were legally recognised. Similarly in Northern Ireland in 2018 and more recently in Jersey in 2019. So it’s only a matter of time for England and Wales. To find out more, keep an eye on the Humanists UK website.

So how do we make our marriage legal?

You’ll need to both go to your local Register Office at least 3 months (and up to a year) before your humanist wedding ceremony, where you’ll “Give Notice to be Married”. By doing so you’re doing something similar to those who get married in church, where they have their banns read. Then closer to your ceremony, you make another appointment with the registrar to complete the legal part, where you register your marriage and have it witnessed. Then you’re all set for your big day.

Do we have two weddings then?

Not at all. If you choose a humanist ceremony, that is your wedding. Absolutely no question. It’s the day that you celebrate your love for each other with all your friends and family, where you’ll say your vows and exchange your rings if you want to do that. Look at the visit to the Register Office as the legal bit. I know couples who have turned up in shorts and t-shirts, said the bits they need to legally say, signed the papers and then skipped off to prepare for their big day. Another tip I like to give couples is to ask the registrar for the shorter ceremony which should be available. It doesn’t cost as much as the more involved one but still ticks all the “legally married” boxes.

Can we have our ceremony in an unlicensed venue?

Yes. In fact, you can have your ceremony anywhere you like. In a ruined castle, a country mansion, by a pond, in a pond, field, barn, garden, house, hotel rooftop, mountain, desert, by the sea … anywhere you like. It’s even better if the venue is special to you.

How long is a humanist ceremony?

Again, it’s your call, whether you are celebrating a wedding, civil partnership, vow renewal, naming, adoption or otherwise. Some ceremonies last 20 minutes and others longer.

What about rings & vows?

You can have both. I actively encourage you to write your own vows and some couples decide not to disclose what they’re going to say to each other until their big day, making it a lovely surprise for each other. And if you want to include a ring exchange, I will blend one into your ceremony.

Symbolic gestures

Yep. Whatever your ceremony celebration, I can advise you on the symbolic gestures. For example, for weddings and partnerships you could have a Celtic hand-fasting or a memory box. For namings or adoptions, you could do a sand-blending or even a picture that all your guests add to. It’s your call.

Can we choose our own readings and music?

Of course. There’s no restriction on the readings or music that you might want during your ceremony. So if you want that wonderful, if unusual song lyric by a favourite artist or that head-banger of a rock song that you all sing to in the car, you most certainly can. Alternatively, I come equipped with armfuls of suggestions for readings and music or I can even write something just for you.

I’m terrified of speaking in public. Can you help?

Don’t worry. I can coach you so that you feel confident to speak in public. Same for the friends or family who are doing readings. With my background in performing and public speaking, I can help you all to calm your nerves so that you may even enjoy the experience.

Is my data safe?

All the information you give me is treated confidentially and in compliance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations (2016). I will never disclose or sell your details to a third party and if you ask me to delete your information after your ceremony or celebration, that’s what I’ll do.

How much do you charge?

For both naming and wedding ceremonies, I like to base my fee on the amount of content in the ceremony and how complex it might be. As a guide, for a wedding, civil partnership or vow renewal ceremony, my fee starts from £700 and for naming or adoption ceremonies, it starts at £350, although if it is for more than one child, then the cost would be slightly higher. If you are local to me, I wouldn’t charge you travel expenses but if you were further away, there would be an additional cost.

Are you available?

I hope so. Why not send me the date, time and venue for your ceremony celebration and I’ll check my diary? You can contact me either by email at fi.humphries@icloud.com or give me a call on 07788 925179.