You mean, we’ve got to write this ourselves?

There are celebrants who will write your wedding ceremony for you, but here’s why I don’t.

Humanism is a pretty simple philosophy. All it asks of you is to try to be kind and to think for yourself. And there is no time when thinking for yourself is more important than when you’re planning to get married, because getting married is a gamble.

At time of writing (March 2022), the divorce rate in the UK is 42%. That means that more than one marriage in three fails.

Yes – this is serious xxxx that you’re doing!

Humanists realised a long time ago that the main reason that people weren’t getting married was because they weren’t prepared to go along with the whole ‘love, honour and obey’ thing. 

We reasoned that if people took the time to really think about what it was they wanted from marriage and then made promises in their own words, there was a much better chance that those marriages would not just survive but thrive.

The evidence bears that out.

In 2019, when humanist marriage had been legal for 14 years, the Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4 ran a story based on figures from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service which showed that humanist marriages are almost four times less likely to end in divorce than civil marriages.

Why do you think that is?

I think it’s because taking the time to think about your reasons for getting married and then saying them in your own words makes your promises more powerful. And that makes your marriage more likely to last.

But what do you think?

I don’t write your wedding ceremony for lots of reasons, but these are the most important ones.

Because only you know why you are doing this. 

Because it’s the way you think and speak that will make your ceremony unique – your guests will recognise your voices, whoever is speaking your words.

And because only you know who’s coming; what you might want to say at an elopement would probably be very different from what you might want to say at a wedding with 120 guests.

Of course I will help you, but – philosophically – I hope you can see why it’s much better if you write your wedding ceremony together yourselves. 

Don’t take my word for it. Claire & Fraser aren’t the only couple who cursed my name during the process, but as they said in their story, they totally understood that writing your own ceremony is the best way to make your wedding really personal.

And there are so many different ways in which you can do that as you can see if you take the time to read through my blog. I’ve been writing it since 2008, so it’s an absolute treasure trove of ideas. Dive in, enjoy and let me know what you find!

PS that photo features a rack of pens made from porcupine quills; not very practical but extremely beautiful!

  1. Ian & Bridget's Humanist Wedding at The Union - Tim Maguire left a comment on June 11, 2023 at 9:49 am

    […] I don’t write wedding ceremonies for my couples – I help them to do that themselves. You can read a longer explanation of my reasoning here, but in a nutshell, it’s because Humanism is a philosophy that asks you to think for […]

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