Wedding Blessing /
Humanist Wedding Ceremony

Having a wedding blessing is a lovely way to make your wedding ceremony highly personalised and unique.

Although a blessing is not a legally recognised marriage ceremony, it is a perfect solution if you are unable to meet the residency and legal requirements in the country where you would like to celebrate your wedding.

Wedding Blessing


Having chosen to have a wedding blessing for our wedding ceremony in France, I believe it offers many additional benefits over a standard civil wedding ceremony.

It allows you to:

  • Have your wedding ceremony in any country of your choice
  • Have your ceremony take place in any location of your choice
  • Choose the words for your ceremony
  • Set the framework for your ceremony
  • Decide who performs your ceremony
  • Have your ceremony conducted in your native language

The meaning of your Wedding Ceremony

Your wedding ceremony is one of the most important parts of your wedding day and it should be the one element of your day that is all about the two of you.

The type of ceremony you choose to have, be it religious or non-religious should reflect your outlook on marriage and the meaning you associate with it.

Although a wedding ceremony is all about the commitment you are making to each other, many types of ceremonies follow a set structure and do not always allow for individual expression.

A wedding blessing overcomes this, you do not have to follow a set structure and you can choose the words that go into your ceremony.

Different types of Civil Ceremonies

In countries such as Australia and the United States, a civil ceremony is legally binding if performed by a Civil Celebrant and is very much like a wedding blessing. In this type of ceremony you may incorporate your own choice of words and hold your ceremony in a location of your choice.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in many parts of Europe, where a civil ceremony may only take place in officially deemed premises and although you may include your own readings, the standard framework of the ceremony in many instances may not be altered.

Legalities of a Wedding Blessing

A wedding blessing is not a legally recognised marriage ceremony.

If you do choose to have a wedding blessing you will need to also have an official civil wedding ceremony to ensure that the legal formalities are adhered to and to obtain a legally binding marriage certificate.

Many couples choose to get legally married in their country of residence prior to going abroad.

Couples who choose to have a wedding blessing, generally regard this as what makes them husband and wife and not the official legal ceremony.

Celebrants

With a wedding blessing you can literally choose anyone to perform your ceremony, however I would recommend having a fully trained professional from the Humanist Association officiate your ceremony.

The Humanist Association celebrants are highly experienced, professional and friendly people who can offer advice on the structure of your ceremony and help with preparing the words of your ceremony, as well as readings and any music you may wish to include. They will work with you to ensure that your special occasion is a success.

You may find a member of the Humanist Association in the country that you choose to marry or alternatively you may wish to have a member of the British or Irish Humanist Association perform the ceremony for you. In this instance, you will be required to pay for their travel and accommodation however you may find the cost out-weighs any "language barriers".

I also highly recommend independent wedding celebrant, Tina Bowden from Mulberry Days who can travel to your wedding destination anywhere in the world and perform your wedding ceremony.

Personalised Ceremony

A Humanist wedding blessing / affirmation may take place in any location of your choice and may be personalised with words and music that have real meaning to you. It may be as traditional or casual and romantic or creative as you choose.

This type of ceremony is also a great alternative if you have children and wish for them to be part of the ceremony.

Concerns

Many couples have concerns that if they officially get married prior to their wedding day that it will detract from the meaning of their day.

From personal experience I can tell you that this definitely isn't the case. My husband and I opted to have a "secret" civil ceremony in the United Kingdom prior to our wedding day and then had a highly personalised wedding blessing / humanist wedding ceremony on the day of our wedding.

Aside from our witnesses we didn't tell anyone that we had been officially married and we did not consider ourselves husband and wife until we had our Humanist wedding ceremony in France.

All our guests commented on what an incredibly unique and touching ceremony it was and really appreciated being part of a personal and meaningful event.

Charlotte and Christian who got married in Provence, had a civil ceremony in France the day before their wedding and then chose to have a wedding blessing at Charlotte's family's villa on their wedding day.

They chose to have a wedding blessing so the ceremony could be conducted at the location of their choice, so their ceremony could be conducted in English and so they could personalise the ceremony to give it a very personal feel. Charlotte & Christian wrote their own vows and had a beautiful reading.

Costs

If you use a member of the Humanist Association to perform your ceremony, a fee is charged for this, and will vary from one organisation to the next. The amount is usually in line with the fee that you will pay for a religious or civil ceremony.

Contacts

The British Humanist Association
1 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HD
Tel: 020 7079 3580
Fax: 020 7079 3588
http://www.humanism.org.uk/site/cms/

The Humanist Organisation of Scotland
http://www.humanism-scotland.org.uk

The Humanist Association of Ireland
The Secretary
Rose Cottage
Coach Road, Balrothery
Balbriggan
Co. Dublin
Ireland
Tel: (01) 841-3116
Tel: (01) 286-9870
Mobile (cell) phone: 086-086-2003
Ceremony information:
Mobile (cell) phone: 086-609-5799
http://www.irish-humanists.org/

Sample Wedding Blessing / Humanist Wedding Ceremony

Barry and Denise held their ceremony in the beautiful gardens of the villa where they chose to marry. They decided to follow a traditional structure similar to a religious/civil ceremony, however they had the freedom to personalise their ceremony with their own wedding vows allowing them to reflect their view on marriage.



Introduction:

Celebrant

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all here today on behalf of Barry and Denise. They have chosen their own words to express their love and commitment to each other. They have chosen their own way to express their vision of their future together. They do this here in a place of their own choice, among family and friends.

Barry and Denise, as you know, only you can make your marriage lasting and meaningful. By a mutual commitment to creating an atmosphere of care, consideration and respect, by a willingness to face the tensions and anxieties that underline human life, you can make your wedded life a source of great strength and joy. Your love for one and another and your willingness to accept each other's strong points and weaknesses with understanding and respect will provide a foundation for continued growth and intimacy.

Respect and celebrate with each other, not only all that you have in common but also your individual perspectives on life, and the different traditions you bring with you. Cherish every opportunity that allows you to share your beliefs and grow closer to each other.

Today there is a vast unknown future stretching out before you. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes, but it is a great tribute to your faith in each other that you are willing to face it together.

May the love with which you join heart and hand today never fail, but grow deeper and surer with every year you spend together.

May you dare to dream dreams not yet dreamt.

May you find constant reward and challenge as you pursue the ongoing adventure of learning who you are and where you want to go.

May you always have a special sense of your mission in life together, and may you never tire of the endless possibilities of exploring your shared existence.

Reading

I promise to give you the best of myself,
and to ask of you no more than you can give

I promise to accept you the way you are.
I fell in love with you for the qualities, abilities,
and outlook on life that you have,
and I won't try to reshape you in a different image.

I promise to respect you as a person
with your own interests, desires and needs,
and to realise that these are sometimes different,
but no less important, than my own.

I promise to share with you my time,
my close attention,
and to bring joy and strength and imagination
to our relationship.

I promise to keep myself open to you,
to let you see through the window of my personal world,
into my innermost fears and feelings, secrets and dreams.

I promise to grow along with you,
to be willing to face change, as we both change,
in order to keep our relationship alive and exciting.

The Asking

Celebrant to the groom

Will you Barry take Denise to be your wedded wife, to share your life with her; And do you pledge that you will love respect and care for her, And stand by her through whatever may come, So you can genuinely share your life together?

Barry: I will

Celebrant to the bride

Will you Denise take Barry to be your wedded husband, to share your life with him; And do you pledge that you will love respect and care for him, And stand by him through whatever may come, So you can genuinely share your life together?

Denise: I will

Wedding Vows

The celebrant asks Barry and Denise to repeat their vows after him:

Groom
Denise, I invite you to share my life, I promise to love you as your husband and friend, and respect you as an individual, with all I have to give, and all that I feel inside, in the only way I know how, completely and forever.

Bride
Barry, I promise to love you as your wife and friend, and respect you as an individual, with all I have to give, and all that I feel inside, in the only way I know how, completely and forever.


Ring Ceremony

Groom
Denise, This ring I give you, It is my personal gift, My personal promise of love and trust, And pride that you have chosen to share your life with me.

Bride
Denise, This ring I give you, It is my personal gift, My personal promise of love and trust, And pride that you have chosen to share your life with me.

Reading

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out,
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped up heart
And for passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can't help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.
I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple,
Out of the works
Of my everyday
Not a reproach
But a song...

Declaration Of Marriage

Celebrant

In the presence of their family and friends, Barry and Denise have pledged together in this ceremony, to share their lives in love and understanding. We have witnessed their special promises to each other, symbolised by taking vows and by exchanging rings.

I declare them, before us all, to be husband and wife.

(The bride and groom kiss)

The Signing

The Bride and Groom and the two witnesses sign the marriage certificate.

During the signing of the marriage certificate, music to be played

Conclusion

Celebrant

On behalf of Barry and Denise, I would like to thank you all again for sharing with them this special occasion.



Did you have a wedding blessing abroad? If so I would love to hear why you chose to have a wedding blessing and if you were happy with your decision to do so. I'm sure your experiences would be beneficial to other couples.

If you would like further information on having a wedding blessing please contact me.






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