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Why consider a humanist ceremony at Smallfield Place

A wedding is a completely personal event, and there are a number of options open to today’s couples for how to achieve a ceremony that is tailored to them as individuals. At Smallfield Place, we are seeing that humanist and celebrant led ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular.

But what exactly is a humanist wedding, and how does it differ from a celebrant led wedding or a civil ceremony? Simply put, a humanist is someone who chooses to live a good life, without any religious or superstitious beliefs. Humanist ceremonies tend not to include any religious words or readings. However, humanists welcome all people to their ceremonies, whether they are religious or not.

A celebrant led wedding is a good option for a couple of any faith, or none, and a celebrant will happily include any religious content or rituals the couple want.

With humanist and celebrant led weddings, there aren’t any rules per se, so couples can tailor their wedding ceremony to reflect themselves as individuals and as a couple. These ceremonies give you the opportunity to marry where you want, when you want and how you want. There’s no set script: it’s too personal an occasion for that. You can set the tone that’s right for you and choose your own words and music. This means your ceremony can be held anywhere you choose including outside in the gardens of Smallfield Place, unlike a civil ceremony which is legally binding and therefore is required to be carried out in a specially licensed room.

You can also design your own vows, making the ceremony more personal and unique to you as a couple. If desired, you can select aspects you like from the civil ceremony vows and leave out the bits that you don’t.

At Smallfield Place this summer, we were privileged to host Sarah and Lauren’s humanist ceremony in our gardens. This is what guided their decision:

“For us our decision to go Humanist was primarily a logistical one with Lauren being American and us living in the US it was a financial (£2000) inconvenience to pay for flights before the wedding to apply for our visa (£1500) to have our legal wedding in the UK.

That said, the positive aspects we found were the intimacy of knowing our celebrant (Mick is my godfather) and the logistical positives (there was no travelling between venues/churches).

It also allowed us a flexibility, having the ceremony where we wanted within Smallfield. And gave us freedom to decide what we said, what others said (although we had no editorial rights on our celebrant – talk about trust!) and the general running order (length, time etc). “

A humanist or celebrant led wedding is undoubtedly a more personal ceremony than a civil one, given that it’s specifically made for you. However, if you’re considering it, you should bear in mind that as Sarah and Lauren mention above currently in England and Wales they are not legally binding. This means you will have to go to a local registrar office and formally register your marriage. Furthermore, another thing to consider is that, depending on the type of ceremony and time commitment of the celebrant, a humanist wedding can be more expensive than a civil ceremony.

For many, however, the advantages outweigh the drawbacks, and the decision ultimately is down to you as a couple. If you would like to discuss holding your wedding at Smallfield Place, email Lisa or Holly at or call us on 0845 680 0169