Tuesday, 25 February 2014

What's So Special About A Humanist Wedding?

That's the question Juliet Wilson and I set out to answer in the first ever Humanist Wedding Showcase.



I was really pleased when Elizabeth Bell, the wedding co-ordinator at Edinburgh's prestigious Balmoral Hotel invited the HSS to be a part of the recent Luxury Wedding Show. The Balmoral is a city landmark, and it can cater for weddings of all sizes from the most intimate to the seriously massive - I think there were more than150 guests in the ballroom for the wedding of John and Nimi that I conducted there just before Christmas - but we chose to stage our show in one of the medium-sized suites on the second floor.


Every celebrant spends several hours a week meeting couples face to face to have a chat about what they want their wedding to be like, but we'd never had the chance to explain it to a group. Obviously we had to make it informative, but we wanted to make it fun and engaging too, so over a couple of months Juliet and I worked with our training officer and friend, Brian Hawkins to come up with a 20 minute show that conveyed just some of the many ways in which couples can really make their humanist ceremony uniquely their own.



We kicked off with a slide show, and then Juliet and I ran through some of the different aspects of the ceremony, with some slides inspired by song titles.


As you probably know, the whole point of a humanist wedding is that it gives you the chance to say in your own words why you're getting married, so humanist celebrants don't tell you what to think: instead we ask you to think for yourselves, and the results are always amazing.


All the illustrations you see here are taken from our new weddings leaflet, beautifully drawn by Kate McLelland and designed by long-time HSS collaborator, Derek Green.


The most enjoyable part of the show was getting members of the audience to come up on stage.


It really helped the couple to imagine what it would be like to be standing there in front of their friends and family on the day, and of course it was a great help to the audience, many of whom had never been to a humanist wedding before.


We had lots of great feedback on the day, and since then I've met several couples who came along out of curiosity and decided that a humanist wedding is what they want. The grand finale is something I can't show here - a four minute film that really does let you see what's special about a humanist wedding. We're keeping that specially for live shows for now, but here's a trailer you can see and enjoy. Thanks also to my friend and colleague Stewart Struthers for helping out on the day and taking these snaps on his iPad!

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