Scotland is one of only eight countries in the world where Humanist marriage ceremonies are legally conducted. The others are Australia, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and certain states of the USA. I am officially registered to perform (‘solemnise’) legal weddings in Scotland by the Registrar General.
Humanist weddings have the same legal status as civil and religious weddings as long as they are conducted by an HSS Celebrant who has been authorised by the Registrar General of Scotland. They can take place anywhere ‘safe and dignified’, and are recognised as legal throughout the world.
When the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Bill is passed by the Scottish Parliament, HSS celebrants will be allowed to conduct legally binding same-sex marriages.
Until then, many couples planning to have a civil partnership choose to celebrate their love in a separate Humanist Commitment Ceremony because it gives them the freedom to speak of their love in words of their choice. The ceremonies are not legally binding, but they recognise that the true meaning of marriage is a moral promise between two people. Commitment Ceremonies are also popular with couples who have already contracted a legal marriage in other parts of the world, or who wish to restate their commitment in a Renewal of Vows.
Couples are effectively free to marry wherever they choose and HSS wedding ceremonies have taken place on beaches and mountains, in keeps and castles, grand hotels, social clubs and the gardens of people’s own homes. Celebrants have their own view of ‘safe and dignified’. It is highly individual and a couple who have a specific and potentially unusual setting in mind should raise this with their celebrant early in their discussions.
Each Humanist wedding ceremony is unique, dignified and deeply personal. Humanists look on marriage as an equal partnership and a serious commitment that involves mutual love, support and respect and a humanist ceremony is a time when couples can declare all that they feel for each other in a way that feels right for them.
The couple are free to make all the important choices about location, readings, music and the wording of their promises to each other.