According to the latest official statistics, weddings in the UK as a whole are in long term decline, down by 10%, year on year. Which is odd, because the demand for humanist weddings in Scotland is growing all the time.
In 2005 – when they became legal – there were 434. By 2007, there were 675 and this year, that figure should rise to over 800. So why are we bucking the trend?
Maybe it’s because humanist weddings have meaning.
If you’re a guest at a humanist wedding, the first thing you’ll notice is that the ceremony is very personal. It focusses entirely on the hopes and dreams of the two people at the front of the room.
Actually, that’s probably the second thing you’ll notice. The first thing is that the couple don’t have their backs to you: instead they’re facing you, which improves the view no end.
Another big difference is that the ceremony is written by the couple themselves, with – of course – as much or as little help from the celebrant as they want. So what you’re hearing is not what the celebrant thinks about love and marriage, but what your friends or family members think. It means something, and that makes it a lot more interesting.
Suddenly you’re not just sitting there wondering when they’re going to break out the champagne: you’re listening to people you care about telling you what they care about. It’s always moving and sometimes genuinely inspiring.
And when the champagne finally does arrives, it feels more like a bonus than a fee.