It’s official: Humanist weddings are now more popular than religious ceremonies

While Church of England weddings have declined by 28%

Updated on 12 June 2019 • Written By Eamonn Crowe

It’s official: Humanist weddings are now more popular than religious ceremonies

New research has revealed that humanist weddings are now more popular than religious ceremonies in the UK.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of couples opting for humanist weddings in favour of a religious ceremony has increased in popularity by a massive 266% during the period between 2004 and 2016.

A humanist wedding refers to any wedding which isn’t conducted by a religious figure or in a church, and it seems that this type of ceremony is becoming increasingly popular. In contrast, religious weddings appear to be falling out of fashion, with the research revealing that Catholic and Baptist ceremonies fell by 34% and 42% in the period respectively, while Church of England weddings saw a decline of 28%.

A humanist ceremony is conducted by a celebrant or officiant and comes with a lot less rules than religious ceremonies: humanist weddings can be held wherever couples choose and celebrated in any way they want. Some couples choose not to register their marriage, which means they are tied together by a humanist ceremony, although not in the eyes of the law.

Currently, humanist weddings are not legally recognised in England and Wales, although campaigners are fighting for this to be changed. In Scotland, humanist weddings have been recognised as a legal union since 2005, while in Northern Ireland, humanist ceremonies have had legal significance since 2018.

What are the benefits of a humanist wedding ceremony?

  • They can be tailored to your individual tastes
  • They are flexible and versatile
  • They can be cost-effective

What are the disadvantages of a humanist wedding ceremony?

  • Currently, your union will not be legally recognised in England or Wales
  • Your union will also not be recognised within your own faith, if you have one
  • You cannot have your wedding in any religious venue

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