What Is A Humanist Wedding: Is It For You?

The answer to what is a humanist wedding is at the name itself. Simply put, it’s a wedding ceremony centered on the couple rather than a traditional wedding that is usually based on religion and the specific customs that must be included in the ceremony. 

You may also like to read about what is a spiritual wedding ceremony as it’s another unorthodox type of wedding. The difference is that while it’s not centered on a specific religion, it still acknowledges the couple’s spirituality, meaning interfaith relationships usually have this ceremony. 

what is a humanist wedding


What Does A Humanist Wedding Mean?

A humanist wedding pertains to a type of ceremony that is non-religious. The couple designs it, so the customs within the wedding ceremony are unique and do not follow the traditional customs as in religious weddings. 

Because of this freedom and full control over the wedding ceremony, a humanist wedding can be held in any location rather than being limited to a certain place. However, it’s also possible for some couples to have two weddings, where a humanist wedding is the second one, especially when the first one feels more limited. 

For example, you can have a civil wedding for a quick and legal binding with your significant other. Afterward, you can have a humanist wedding to invite more friends and family. 


What is a humanist wedding celebrant?

Because a humanist wedding is not a religious or civil wedding ceremony, the usual officiants like a priest or judge won’t lead the humanist wedding ceremony. Instead, you will have a celebrant or specifically a humanist celebrant. 

This type of officiant is not tied to any religion or government so that the couple can plan their tailored humanist wedding with them more comfortably and freely. A humanist celebrant usually prepares to become one, and you can read more about what is a wedding celebrant to know more about this type of officiant. 


What Happens At A Humanist Wedding?

If you’re wondering how long is a humanist wedding, the answer depends on the format chosen by the couple. They may include or deduct certain traditions that can extend or shorten the duration of the humanist wedding. 

That being said, a humanist wedding can still follow a standard wedding ceremony format. Just keep in mind that it will need careful planning with your celebrant because you’re customizing the ceremony.  

You can also consult your humanist celebrant to help you with the scripts and even vows. Feel free to express yourself in different parts and scripts during the humanist wedding ceremony, as it’s meant to embrace the couple without limitations. 

Here is a sample humanist wedding ceremony flow:

  1. The arrival of the couple
  2. Welcoming of the guests and words about love and commitment 
  3. Reading and story of the couple (a poem can substitute the reading, and the story can include not just how the bride and groom met, but also their shared values, what they wish for in the future, and what marriage means to them)
  4. Reading, song, or poem
  5. Wedding vows tailored by the couple
  6. A symbolic act of binding (e.g., handfasting or ring exchange)
  7. Pronouncement of the marriage and best wishes
  8. Closing of the ceremony 
  9. The departure of the couple


Is A Humanist Wedding Legally Binding?

A humanist wedding is not legally recognized. Therefore, the couples who’ll have one typically have another lawfully binding wedding ceremony. 

You can have a religious or civil wedding beforehand to achieve all the legalities of your marriage. Then, you’ll be more confident that your union will be recognized and avoid issues with the law in the future. 

That being said, why would you still have a humanist wedding? There are different relationship dynamics in every couple and their families. 

You may want a less restrictive ceremony or a type of wedding where your love is celebrated and recognized. First, check the laws regarding getting married in your state, then have a humanist wedding to celebrate with your friends and family more freely. 


What Is The Difference Between A Humanist Wedding And A Civil Ceremony?

A celebrant performs a humanist wedding, while a civil wedding is led by a judge, clerk, justice of the peace, or any other legal authority in your state. Furthermore, you’ll have your civil wedding in a public office, whereas a humanist wedding can be done anywhere, even outdoors. 

While you’re freer with how the ceremony will turn out in a humanist wedding, keep in mind that it won’t be legally recognized as a civil wedding ceremony. What makes a wedding legal in the US includes:

  • Obtain a marriage license before getting married
  • Have a recognized officiant file your certificate in the appropriate office
  •  Finally, receive a certified marriage certificate copy 



And that’s it! We just learned what is a humanist wedding, which is a ceremony that celebrates any couple regardless of beliefs or sex that are usually limiting in some ceremonies. 

You have the freedom to tailor the ceremony according to your liking, and a celebrant will officiate the wedding. However, a humanist wedding is not legally recognized, so make sure you know what makes a wedding legal in the US to do the requirements beforehand. 

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