A Chat with a Humanist Celebrant

In a late evening chat with Joe Armstrong he answered some of my questions about humanist weddings.

Is a humanist wedding legal in Ireland?

If the celebrant is accredited by the Humanist Association of Ireland and so long as the wedding takes place at a venue that is freely open to the public then yes a Humanist marriage ceremony is legal in Ireland. There is a list of accredited Humanist celebrants on www.Humanism.ie. If you would like to see what a Humanist ceremony might look and feel like, have a look at some of the videos on of sample weddings on www.JoeArmstrong.ie

Whether you want to get married in church, or have a civil ceremony or a Humanist ceremony, everybody has to go the HSE/registrar office to notify them of their intention to marry by, at the latest, three months before the ceremony. You have to take documentation to that meeting proving that you are who you say you are and that you are free to marry. The registrar checks the documentation and, so long as everything is in order, issues you with the Marriage Registration Form. This is signed by the parties to the marriage, their witnesses and the solemniser and you return the signed MRF back to the HSE / registrar within a month of the marriage for the registration of your marriage and to get your marriage certificate.

What happens in a humanist wedding ceremony?

Humanist weddings tend to be very personal to you. They are all about you. And they are inclusive. At their best, they combine fun and solemnity. Reading feedback from hundreds of weddings can give you a fair idea of what the ceremonies are like. Have a look at www.HumanistWeddings.ie or www.JoeArmstrong.ie

How long does a humanist wedding ceremony last?

That depends on you and your celebrant. You decide how many readings and how much music and how many rituals you would like and which ones you want to use. Mine tend to be about 40 minutes, but the time flies by. Sometimes they’re shorter, sometimes longer. Often enough people enjoy them so much that they don’t want to leave the ceremony room. But that is down to your choice of celebrant and also to the feel and emotional flow of the ceremony.

When can I have a humanist wedding?

You can have a Humanist wedding at any time, morning, noon or night, seven days a week, yes, including Sundays. You discuss that with the celebrant. Other things to consider might be natural light if you’d like photographs take outdoors after the ceremony. Most weddings tend to start at about 3pm. but I’ve done morning weddings and late evening weddings. I’ve done large weddings and weddings with just the bride, groom and two witnesses and myself.

The attached picture from Joes pinterestpage is Sophie and Richards wedding photo courtesy of Sarah Fyffe.  Photography at sarahfyffe.com.

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