Humanist weddings have become increasingly popular in Scotland since they became a legal form of marriage in 2005. In 2006, there were 434 humanist weddings in Scotland. In 2011 there were a total of 2,486, a 400% increase in just five years.
In order to have a humanist wedding in Scotland you need an authorised marriage officer (also known as a celebrant) and a marriage notice to be legally married.
Humanists aim to draw positive moral values from life that are based on human experience, rather than God‐given. Humanist weddings are highly personal and individual and allow a couple to express their love and commitment by telling their story in front of their loved ones, in their own words rather than those of a Church or State.
Here are the answers to 7 of the most common questions couples ask us about humanist weddings.
1. Who Conducts A Humanist Wedding?
Marriage Officers (Celebrants) must be authorised and have a license to conduct legal marriages in Scotland by by the Registrar General of Scotland.
Did you know Scotland is one of only seven countries in the world (including Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Canada, Ireland and the USA) where Humanist marriage ceremonies have full legal status.
2. Is It Legal?
Yes. Humanist weddings in Scotland, conducted by a licensed celebrant (authorised marriage officer) are fully legal.
3. Do We Still Need To Have A Registrar At The Wedding Ceremony?
No. The wedding is fully legal in Scotland. Any couple in the UK can choose to have a Humanist ceremony, but outside Scotland, marriage must also involve a legally recognised service.
4. Do We Need A Special Wedding Venue Licence?
No. A Humanist Celebrant’s Wedding License covers all of Scotland, so you can be married anywhere you wish, provided it is safe and dignified, without the need for any special license. This is a fact that many wedding venues are unaware of so please get in touch if you have any questions regards this.
5. Are There Symbolic Wedding Gestures?
Symbolic gestures are designed to show your commitment to each other and can have a link to our Scottish heritage or humanist philosophy, such as hand fasting or candle lighting. They can involve others as well as yourselves.
6. What Constraints On The Ceremony Are There?
Apart from the Legal Vows which are required in all marriages, you are bound only by your imagination and the time.
7. What is the structure of the wedding ceremony?
The marriage ceremony typically lasts 30 minutes and includes your legal vows and well as a welcome to all your guests, music, readings, personal vows, exchange of rings, signing of the marriage register, any symbolic gestures you may wish to include and closing words. For more information on the ceremony structure you can download the Fuze Ceremonies humanist wedding ceremony planner here.