Loading...
Home 2018-09-11T10:14:55+00:00

About me

I create and conduct beautiful, bespoke, humanist weddings for anyone who wants a non-religious ceremony.

I live in Liphook in Hampshire, and whether you’re planning to get married down the road from me or on the other side of the world I’ll do everything I can to help you create the wedding that’s perfect for you.

If you’ve already got some ideas of your own then I can build your wedding around them – and if not then I can help you with ideas for everything from venue to music choices, vows to readings and everything else you might want.

I spent twenty-five years working in marketing and advertising agencies so I relish the opportunity to think creatively!

All About Humanist Weddings

The simplest definition of a humanist wedding is that it’s a non-religious wedding ceremony. A humanist wedding is centred on the love and commitment between two people and nothing else matters; from the colour of your skin to your gender, or from your cultural heritage to your sexual orientation. A humanist wedding lets you marry where you want, and how you want. And you don’t have to be a humanist to have a humanist wedding (you might not even know what a humanist is, in which case this video is well worth a look)!

In some ways a humanist wedding ceremony is like any other kind of wedding: two people make declarations of love and commitment in front of their families and friends, there might be some readings, or some music, and there’s generally a celebration afterwards. But that’s where the similarities end.

The great thing about a humanist wedding is that every single element of it can be chosen by you; from the timing to the location, and from the words that are spoken to the music that’s played (if you’re going to play any music). Whatever you want for your ceremony, you can have – and the result is a joyful, deeply meaningful ceremony that will perfectly reflect everything about you, your relationship and your view of the world.

Humanist ceremonies are the most popular type of wedding in Scotland, where they’ve been legally recognised since 2005 – but we’re still waiting for the law in England and Wales to be brought into line, so for now if you want to be married in the eyes of the law you’ll also need to plan for a civil ceremony at a register office. Most couples get this out of the way a day or two before their their humanist wedding, and very much see the humanist ceremony as their ‘proper wedding’.

How the Process Works

Every wedding is different, and every wedding is unique – but this is what the process of creating a wedding typically looks like.

Wedding Inspiration

As you’re probably aware by now, there’s rather a lot to think about when you’re planning a wedding… Here are a few thoughts, suggestions and ideas to make your big day even better.

MAKE IT PERSONAL

Choose a venue that reflects you and the things you love: up a mountain, in a field surrounded by llamas, on stage in a theatre, on a boat, in your back garden, at the zoo… The possibilities are endless! A bit of DIY is a great way to make things personal: make your own wedding cake, design your own place settings, make the confetti by hand, sew your own dress… And it’s your day, so tell your story: your families, how you met, what you love, what you want from life (and this is where I can help of course).

HAVE A KIND WEDDING

Instead of gifts, choose a charity you care about and ask your guests to make donations instead. Donate your flowers to a local hospital, hospice or care home after your wedding: you’ll make someone’s day a lot brighter. Organise a Stag or Hen Do with a difference: volunteer to help at a local charity (it’s more dignified than being chained naked to a lamp-post and having your eyebrows shaved off). Give your wedding dress to a charity shop (it’s only going to sit at the back of the wardrobe otherwise)!

INCLUDE YOUR GUESTS

Ask your Mum to walk you down the aisle – with or without your Dad. Got guests with talents? Put them to use! Have musicians play or sing during the ceremony, get bakers to bake something delicious for the reception, get the artists busy decorating your venue. Important people who can’t be there on the day? Skype the ceremony for them: let them follow it all live. And remember to have photographs taken of just you with your siblings (or dig out old family pictures and blow them up for the day).

SYMBOLIC WEDDING ACTIONS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE…

There are all sorts of ‘symbolic actions’ you might choose for your wedding. Hand-fasting is the origin of the phrase ‘tying the knot’. Couples have ribbons or cords draped over their clasped hands, forming a beautiful knot when they pull apart. It’s a great way to involve your guests in your ceremony. Sand-blending is an example of a ‘unity ceremony’, symbolising the coming together of two families to form a new one: couples (and their guests) pour different coloured sand into a decorative bottle or jar, forming a beautiful layered ornament. Candle-lighting is another form of unity ceremony: the couple’s families each light a candle and the couple use the candle to light a third. Great for indoors weddings (not so good if you’re outside). Planting a tree – or anything else – is a lovely way to symbolise the start of something new. Only for the green-fingered though… And there are loads more: I’d be happy to talk you through the options.

Questions?

It’s not every day you go about the process of choosing a humanist celebrant for your wedding. You’ve probably got some questions…

I’d be very happy to have a chat on the phone or to meet up with you if it helps you decide whether or not to work with me: there’s no obligation on your part if we do this of course.

My fees for a wedding start from £695 and I ask for a deposit of 50% on appointment.

Fees include a planning meeting and as much of my time as is necessary to get to a finished ceremony script that you’re delighted with. Also included is my attendance at a rehearsal at the venue, and of course my conducting your ceremony on the day.

As a Humanists UK accredited wedding celebrant I come with full public liability and professional indemnity insurance, and I’m part of a network of wedding celebrants so if anything should happen to me to stop me delivering your ceremony, a highly-trained and experienced colleague will step in and deliver your script at no extra cost to you.

Travel up to thirty miles from my home in Liphook, Hampshire, is also included in the fee. Additional travel will be charged either at the RAC-recommended rate of 45p per mile if I’m driving, or I’ll pass on travel expenses at cost plus 10% if I’m using other forms of transport.

Outstanding balances must be settled within a calendar month of your wedding day (or sooner if short notice).

If you have any unusual requirements which mean I’ll need to assign more of my time to your wedding – like if you’re planning to get married abroad, for example – let me know your plans and I’ll give you a bespoke fee proposal.

Yes! I’ll happily travel anywhere in the world you want me to go.

If your venue means I need to be away for more than a day, I’ll provide you with a bespoke fee proposal before we do anything else. All travel and accommodation/subsistence expenses are passed to you at cost.

Let me know what you’ve got in mind and we can discuss the options. I’m a very cost-effective traveller: I’m very happy at the back of the plane as long as I’ve got my book…

The typical humanist wedding ceremony lasts between twenty and thirty minutes: the former for a simple affair and the latter for something more complicated, with readings, music and maybe symbolic gestures of some kind.

Try not to go over thirty minutes as your guests will start to get fidgety! I’ll work closely with you to achieve what you want, and of course your ceremony will be timed to perfection on the day.

Of course. I’ve collected together a wide range of poems and prose readings over the years and will be happy to share it all with you during the planning process.

I can also help you decide which of your family and friends should deliver the readings, and at what stage in the ceremony. As part of my service I’ll create clear and easy to use prompt cards for readers on the day, and provide practical advice for readers at the wedding rehearsal or before the ceremony itself.

And of course if you’d rather not ask family and friends to read, I’ll be delighted to read your selections myself during the ceremony.

Well the simple answer is that you don’t have to if you don’t want to – I’ll do it all for you. I’ll talk you through all the options when it comes to vows: when to say them, what to say and how to deliver them.

You can speak vows, or aspirations, or commitments, before, during or after the exchange of rings (if you’re exchanging rings). You can write your own vows, or you can tell me what you want to say and I’ll write them for you.

Some couples read their vows from a card (which I’ll prepare for you), some repeat them after me, line by line, while others (the brave ones) memorise their vows and deliver them off the cuff. Some couples even write their own vows and keep them from each other until the ceremony itself!

Whatever you choose, I’ll work with you to make sure you get the ceremony you want.

Only if you want your marriage to be recognised in the eyes of the law.

You may have your own reasons for not having a legally-recognised civil ceremony: you might for example still be married to a previous partner and therefore unable to re-marry legally.

My view is that it’s your business, not mine. As long as you don’t expect me to do anything I’m not legally qualified to do, I’m happy to conduct your ceremony.

Absolutely!

The legal words that marry a couple during a church or register office wedding are called the ‘Contracting Words’, and they’re said by the couple getting married: there are no legally binding words spoken by the vicar or registrar.

As such, I’m free to pronounce you husband and wife, wife and wife, Mr and Mr, or the Queen of Sheba and King Kong – whatever you want. It’s your ceremony, and it’s up to you how you end it!

Yes, I conduct vow renewals as well as humanist weddings. Let me know what you’ve got in mind and I’ll give you a bespoke fee proposal.

Yes – as long as you’re not asking me to carry out an act of worship. If you want a particular hymn because you just like the song, that’s absolutely fine.

The same principle applies if you want to hold your wedding in a religious building: as long as you’re not there because you want to carry out an act of worship, I’m happy. In fact, I’m very happy indeed: period religious buildings often have really great acoustics… Don’t forget you’ll need to obtain permission to hold a humanist wedding in a religious building which is still in use as such.

If anything happens to me and I can’t conduct your ceremony, I’ll arrange for a highly-trained, experienced and accredited humanist wedding celebrant colleague to take my place. He or she will deliver your original script and you won’t incur any extra costs.

But it’s never happened yet…

CONTACT AND BOOKING

I’d welcome the chance to have a chat about your plans, so why not call me on 07753 679050, email me at ed@edhardyweddings.com or fill in the form below and hit ‘Send’.
I look forward to hearing from you.