How to have a great Humanist Wedding

Posted on March 24, 2017 by Ditte under Behind the scenes, Wedding Photography
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I’ve always loved photographing humanist weddings; each and every one is unique, tailored perfectly to the couple and telling their story.
I asked one of my favourite humanist celebrants, Tim Maguire, to write a little about what makes humanist celebrations so special. Here’s what he has to say:

Tim Maguire conducting a humanist wedding ceremony

What’s the first thing we do when we decide to get married?
Book a venue.
Then book a band – we’ve got to get a great band!
What else do we need?
A dress – tick!
Shoes – tick!
Hair & makeup for four – tick!
Kilts, Catering, Cars, Flowers, Invitations…
Oh yes, and a Photographer… the list goes on and on. And on.
Then, six weeks later, it’s, “Hang on – we need someone to marry us! And that’s when it’s time to play the ‘find a celebrant’ game…
If you’ve been to a humanist wedding, you probably know that they’re a bit different. They only became legal in Scotland in 2005.
By 2015, they’d become the 2nd most popular form of marriage in the country: Register Office weddings are still by far the most popular.
But more and more people are choosing the humanist route: why do you think that is?
What everyone says to me is “They’re personal, they’re moving, and they’re fun!”
They are all about you, and your story: why you love each other, why you believe this is the person you want to share the rest of your life with, and what marriage means to you.
Let’s be honest: wedding ceremonies used to be the boring bit you sat through before the party started. Not any longer.
If you ask any of the couples I’ve married, you’ll see that the ceremony was actually the best part of their day. It sets the mood for all that follows, and it leaves your guests wanting an encore, not needing a drink.
There are lots of humanist celebrants in Scotland now, working through various different organisations, so take your time to find someone who’s right for you. Not all of us work the same way. Some celebrants will write your ceremony for you: I don’t, and here’s why:
Humanists campaigned for decades to win the right for you to have the freedom to make your vows in your own words, not somebody else’s.
In Scotland, we’re lucky because we can now do that. You can’t in England or Wales, or Northern Ireland.
So I don’t want to put words into your mouths. I want to help you tell your friends and family why it is that you’re making the biggest decision of your lives. It’s a huge privilege, and one I enjoy immensely.

I’ve been a celebrant now for 12 years. Last year, I conducted my 1,000th weddingand every single couple I’ve married has created a unique, personal, and absolutely memorable ceremony.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out my blog and ask around.

Humanist wedding, Royal College of Surgeons. Photographed by First Light Photography

Humanist weddings only became legal in Scotland in 2005, now they are the 2nd most popular form of wedding in the country.

Humanist wedding, Dundas Castle. Photographed by First Light Photography

Humanist ceremonies give you the freedom to make your vows in your own words. (And to choose an owl ring-bearer if you wish!)

 Humanist wedding, Broxmouth Park. Photographed by First Light Photography   Humanist wedding, Solsgirth House. Photographed by First Light Photography Humanist wedding, Edinburgh Castle. Photographed by First Light Photography

One of the good things about coming last in the wedding checklist is that by the time you get to me, you’ve usually spoken to a few wedding planners and photographers, and they are the people who see more weddings than anyone, so my advice is to ask them who they recommend.
With luck, I might be one of those names.

The only sad thing about it is that it doesn’t often work the other way, so I hardly ever get to recommend a photographer. But when I do, guess who it is?
That’s right, it’s Ditte. She’s the person Susie and I asked to photograph our wedding in 2014 at the wonderful Monachyle MhorShe does beautiful work, she’s a joy to work with, she’s totally professional, but also really relaxed.
I’d love to work with her again, so if you do get in touch (tim@cha.scot), I hope you’ve booked her first! 

Slainte!
Tim

The wedding of Tim Maguire and Susan Mathieson, Monachyle Mhor. Photographed by First Light Photography

Thank you Tim- here’s hoping we will be working together again soon!

Ditte

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