Ideas and Inspiration for your humanist wedding ceremony

I’ve got lots of ideas to make your humanist wedding unique! I started writing this blog more than a dozen years ago, and the ideas have just got bigger and better ever since.

Kinkell Byre Wedding Shoot by Marc Millar Photography

Do you want to tie the knot? Hand fasting is an old idea. Lots of people claim it’s unique to Scotland, but like the bagpipes (which occur in many other cultures around the world) it’s pretty universal. In the old days, when people like us couldn’t afford jewellery, the hands of a couple were bound together when they became betrothed and yes, that is where the phrase ‘tying the knot’ comes from. Lots of people like the symbolism and of course there are lots of ways of to do it. If you support different teams, why not use football scarves, like Luke and Alana?

Or rope, if you’re climbers, like Jo and Rob?

What about sharing your first drink from a quaich, like Sara & Ali? A quaich is not a typo for a quiche, btw – it comes from the Gaelic word for you guessed it… a cup. All I’d say is that if you’re going to be drinking champagne and then wine directly afterwards, whisky is probably the wrong choice. If you think you might need a stiff drink at that point, Cognac would be better and it’s also historically more appropriate as, thanks to the Auld Alliance with La Belle France, the Scots used to greatly prefer French wines and brandies back in the day. But you should choose whatever you like best – although if you decide that you’d like a cup of tea, like Harriet and Stuart, remember to choose a wooden quaich – or drink quickly because the pewter in most quaichs is a very efficient conductor of heat!

Wedding photography by Angus Forbes

If you have time, why not pass it around the wedding party too?

A ring warming is a lovely idea and once COVID is a distant memory, we might be able to do it again. During the ceremony, the rings you’re going to exchange are passed from the hands of one guest to another so that they can read any inscriptions your jeweller has incised on the inside of the band, pray over them if that’s what they like to do or just simply think about them. By the time we’ve reached the vows, they should have reached the front of the audience, so it’s a good idea to pass the groom’s ring down one side of the hall and the bride’s down the other so that they can be exchanged when the moment arrives.

And here’s a way to put your own twist on ‘the exchange of rings’ – the clue is in the title. If you give the ring that you are going to give to your future husband to your Maid of Honour, then she can stick it on her thumb so it’s easy to hand to you when the time comes, as Elise is demonstrating at Victoria and David’s wedding.

If you’re fans of Harry Potter and let’s face it, who isn’t? then why not send the rings by ‘Owl Post’ like Shauna and Will? Or have them delivered by your family pet, like Sam & Gemma?


I aim to ensure that every couple I marry has ‘the best wedding ever’ and that’s why I wrote my book, WE DO! It’s bursting with ideas and inspiration from the hundreds of couples I’ve married and you can read about it here

I could go on, but you can find lots of ideas on every part of the ceremony by clicking on the relevant TAG on the right hand side of the blog. Enjoy the site, and if you want to pick my brains, please drop me a line. You’ll find all my contact details here and I look forward to hearing from you!

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