Did you have a small wedding last year under Covid restrictions? Are you looking to hold a larger celebration of your marriage in the near future, but you’re not sure how to make a ceremony ‘fit’ or what vows to say this time around? Then read on!


We're planning to hold a second wedding, but what should we call it? We’re already married, so calling it a wedding doesn’t sound quite right for us, and we're not religious so we don't want to call it a blessing either.


While of course you could call your larger celebration a wedding, you could also call it a:

· Wedding Celebration

· Re-Wedding

· Vow Renewal Ceremony


We already exchanged vows at our legal wedding. What could we even say this time around?


The things you’d like to promise each other might not have changed all that much since your first wedding ceremony, but there are ways to adapt your vows to reflect what you have already accomplished in your marriage and your hopes for the future.


Think of words like: still, keep, reaffirm, once more:


“I, Rachel, keep you, Louise, as my wife.”

“I still promise to make you smile every day and to seize the moment, wherever it takes us.”

“I reaffirm the vows I made to you one year ago.”


If you're lost for words, then I can help you craft your own personal vows.


We exchanged rings last year and we don’t want to do it again for our second ceremony. What can we give each other or do instead?


Some alternatives to exchanging rings during your ceremony can include:


· Exchanging a present linked to your anniversary. If you’re celebrating your first anniversary, why not give each other a copy of your favourite book to symbolise a paper anniversary, or put a present in a keepsake wooden box for your fifth anniversary?


· Exchanging plants or a single rose stem: “Ali, I give you this rose as a symbol of our marriage. The rose’s bud represents the beauty of our relationship, and may its thorns remind you I’ll always be there for you throughout life’s challenges. I promise to work together with you to tend to our marriage and allow our family to blossom and thrive.”


· A symbolic action, such as handfasting, lighting a unity candle or a sand blending ceremony. More information on handfasting is available on the Humanists UK website here .


A handfasting ceremony, with multicoloured ribbons.


Whether you got married last year under Covid restrictions or you’d like to bring the family together for a vow renewal after a long time apart - do get in touch to arrange your personal and meaningful humanist wedding celebration, re-wedding or vow renewal ceremony!

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Whether you’ve got a young baby together or you share grown-up children between you, there are lots of ways to make children of all ages feel included in your humanist wedding ceremony.


Here are some ideas below:


1. The Ceremony Wording

There are plenty of opportunities to give a special shout-out to all your important people, including your children - you can reflect on their importance in your life as a couple too.


“When Jane and Chris first got together, Jane said that she came as a package with her two boys, Ollie and Sam. Although Chris found it daunting at first to try and win over two teenage boys, he says it’s been a privilege to watch them grow up into kind young men (and have someone to play on the Xbox with!)”.


You could also include a commitment to your children/stepchildren in your vows to each other:


“I promise to be an equal parent to Ottilie and work with you as a team to raise her”.


2. Readings


If your children are a little older, you could ask them to give a reading for you (if you have more than one child, they could do this together – for example, by alternating lines or verses).


They could read a poem, or you could ask them to say a few words about you both.

Similarly, if your child is a talented singer or is learning to play an instrument, you could also ask them to perform a musical item as part of the ceremony.


3. Certificate Signing


As humanist wedding ceremonies are not legally binding in England & Wales, there is no age restriction for any witnesses you might choose. So, if your child is old enough to sign their name, why not ask them to be your witness and sign your certificate with you?

You could then frame the certificate as a reminder of your day and of the commitments you have made to each other and as a family.


4. Sand Blending Ceremony


Why not have a sand blending ceremony to seal your vows and demonstrate your commitment as a newly formed family?


Each parent and child would have their own colour sand in a smaller container (something like a shot glass or a miniature milk bottle would work well), and would then take it in turns to pour their sand into a larger container (such as a jar, vase or even a decanter).


All the different layers of sand combined together symbolise the individuals of the family joining together as one new unit. You’ll then be able to keep your sand container as a permanent decoration for your home together.




5. A Naming Ceremony


If you hadn’t had the chance to hold a naming ceremony for your child after they were first born, why not hold a naming ceremony for them as part of your wedding to welcome them into the family? There’s no upper age limit for naming ceremonies, with older children welcome too.


If you have any more questions about including your children in your humanist wedding, then please get in touch!

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Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Let’s face it, it’s been a really hard few months and it’s tricky to plan ahead for the weekend, never mind for a few weeks into the future! If you’re considering holding a naming ceremony to welcome your little one in the near future but you’re not sure of the best way to go about it right now…this post is for you.


Below are the three main choices if you’re thinking about holding a naming ceremony for your child in the near future:


1. Intimate In-Person Ceremonies (guidance correct as of 27/09/2020; England only)


As with weddings, funerals and other ‘major life’ events, it is still possible to hold in-person ceremonies with the following guidelines in mind:


My understanding is that you can have up to six guests at the moment (unfortunately babies and children are also included in the 'Rule of Six'). I'm conscious that this is a very small number and that it would be difficult for families to hold a ceremony of this size.


One option is for you to hold a ceremony at home (perhaps just as parents, the child and any siblings) and to stream it onto a platform such as Facebook Live for your friends and family to join in the celebrations with you.


Your celebrant would not count as one of your six guests.


This is my current understanding in terms of the numbers allowed and I will endeavour to update this blog as and when any further changes are introduced.


2. Virtual Ceremonies


You might have seen a few virtual weddings that have taken place since the start of lockdown, which have all been so heart-warming to witness. It’s also possible to hold virtual naming ceremonies on platforms such as Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts and are just as special.


Here are a few tips below to make your virtual ceremony a success:


· Do you have a tech savvy sister, uncle or friend? Nominate a Chair to look after the technical side of the ceremony (e.g. to check that everyone has logged on, keep an eye on any messages or take charge of any potential technical glitches) – this will give you one fewer thing to worry about and to concentrate on enjoying the ceremony!

· Allow 10 minutes before start of ceremony for your friends and family to join early and for your nominated Chair to explain how the tech will work and what’s expected of your guests.

· Why not send your guests some props in advance to use in the ceremony – for example, some bubbles and a mini bottle of prosecco for the all-important toast.

· I’d be very willing to hold a rehearsal ceremony for you so you’re comfortable with how the ceremony would run.


You can record your ceremony to be shared with those who couldn’t attend at a later date.


3. …Holding off until you feel the time is right


If you’re just not comfortable with holding a ceremony in the current climate and want to hold it in future as something positive for you and your family to look forward to, I completely understand.


You could tie it in with a special occasion, such as your child’s birthday – don’t worry about whether you think your baby would be ‘too old’ to have a ceremony by then, there’s no upper age limit. It’s never too early to think about what your ideal ceremony might include and I’m certainly taking enquiries for 2021.

Whichever option is right for you and your family – do get in touch, I’d love to hear about your plans!

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