Humanist wedding

I have just had a call from some friends of mine, who have asked me to preside over there wedding for them. This has been one of the most touching things anyone has asked me to do.
My only problem is that I am kak at public speaking, and I know that I will just stuff it up. So I told them I will have a look around and see if there are any Humanist orientated weddings available in South Africa. So far I have come up with nothing.

Does anybody on this forum have any ideas or tips for me?
Have you or do you know of anyone that has done something familiar?

If anybody can help, it would be gratefully appreciated.

By “humanist wedding” do you mean one that doesn’t involve a religious ceremony? If not, how are we to read this term?

Dr 'Luthon64 and I attended a wedding sans any religious/spiritual/woo-woo overtones that was held in a large, densely wooded garden. The couple actually got married legally earlier in the day before a magistrate. The ceremony afterwards entailed readings, mostly from Kahlil Gibran, but also from an assortment of romantic poets and touching song lyrics. The bride and groom both recited short poems they had penned to one another, and the formalities were conducted while everyone strolled slowly around the wooded garden with the MC leading the couple, followed by the guests. Afterwards, a meal was enjoyed under a marquee erected in the garden and the do turned into a festive party in fairly short order.

Admittedly, it was a small affair with fewer than 30 people. Perhaps you can use some of the above suggestions.


Yup. Humanist as in atheist wedding.

Sounds like a nice wedding and some great ideas. :slight_smile:

Seems like my friends will have to do a similar arrangement. It’s just that I dread having to MC/officiate the wedding and was hoping that there was a atheist version of a priest out there. Well it seems like I am going to have to face up to my fears and just do it.

Thanks for the help

I’m sure it will mean a lot to your friends for you to do it. After all they, they did ask :wink:
I share your dread for public speaking, maybe you can shift most of the ceremonial speaking on to other friends/family members? The last wedding I was at was also done legally before the ceremony, and the parents and the wedding couple each had their part in the ceremony. Even though it still had religious elements, it was a much more personal experience for all involved.

This probably sounds more than a bit odd in the halls of this particular forum, but a Wiccan or druidic or ancient Celtic fertility ritual might suggest some other elements or symbolisms that could be included in the ceremony without requiring that anyone actually subscribe to them as anything other than a piece of cultural heritage. You could also use elements from foreign cultures that signify good wishes, for example Chinese dragons. The idea, I think, is to make the occasion memorable by being unusual. Just consult the New Age section at your nearest Exclusive Books for any number of such ideas. ;D That way, they may actually find some use.


Dr 'Luthon64 suggests a tree- or flower-planting ritual in which all of the guests take part. The bride and groom place the plant into a hole dug earlier for that purpose and then the guests take turns in adding a small hand shovel’s worth of soil to the hole until it is filled. The newlyweds then give the plant some water.

Very easy and richly symbolic, if you ask me. :slight_smile:


Thanks Guys ;D Some really great ideas. I will see what my friends think of the ideas.