So you have fallen in love with the idea of a celebrant led wedding. You have started doing your research, checking out their socials and have come across both humanists and celebrants. But what is the difference between a humanist and a celebrant?

A huge welcome to Ruth from Ceremonies by Ruth to explain it to us.

Firstly please tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello everyone, I am very grateful to be invited to help shed a little bit of light on this blog subject as you will read not all celebrants are the same!

Firstly, here’s a little bit about who I am and what makes me tick. I have been happily married for 37 years so I know the hard work and commitment it takes to keep a marriage fresh. We enjoy similar hobbies such as a walk along a stunning coastal path. If the walk happens to finish in a pub with a crisp G&T, then it was all worthwhile.

However, I think it is so important to keep your own hobbies. I love to practice Iyengar yoga it brings a calmness and balance to my body and mind. My husband on the other hand adores watching 15 grown men knock each other to the ground and wrestle over an odd shaped ball. Then when the ref blows the final whistle, they all shake hands and go for a pint. You guessed it rugby. I think our marriage proves the theory that opposites attract.

I am the super proud Mum of two grown children. My son is married and living in Sydney Australia. We are just waiting for the day when the borders open to tourists again. Thank goodness for What’sApp video calls. My daughter lives closer to home, and I adore spending time with her. My little family and my extended family make me who I am, a complete person surrounded with a lot of love.

I love to celebrate love however it presents itself in your world. So what better way to do this than by becoming an independent celebrant.

What got you into Weddings?

A happy family occasion was one of the main reasons I chose to become an Independent Celebrant. My son had a celebrant led ceremony in Australia. I was completely wowed by the freedom they had to create the most personal, heartfelt wedding ceremony I had seen in years. Ok, I probably am just a tad biased as it was my son’s wedding, but it was the first celebrant led wedding ceremony I had ever seen. I was blown away.

In Australia a celebrant who has been “authorised” by the Australian Government can also perform the legal aspect of the marriage.

I just love the excited buzz that surrounds a wedding ceremony. All the preparations, all the thoughts that go into making that moment of commitment so extraordinarily special.

It is a beautiful new beginning for two people. I cherish all the hope and love captured in the moment when they exchange their vows. Oh, how I would love to bottle up that moment and present it to the happy couple so they could take a sip from time to time. Just to rekindle those unique memories.

Photo by D&A Photography

So what is the difference between a Humanist and a Celebrant?

I do understand why people clump independent and humanist celebrants into one group as the differences between us can be hard to spot. Until you look a little closer. To be fair both types of celebrants want only the very best for their couples.

They will write and deliver a highly personalised heartfelt ceremony at a location chosen by the couple. That does not have to be licensed by the local council. Just saying I do love a beach!!

I often have couples say to me “oh yes you are one of those non-religious people” Well no that isn’t quite correct. A certain belief structure is an important element in understanding the difference between independent and humanist celebrants.


Let me explain, humanists are non-religious people who believe that this life is the only life we have. They shape their own lives in the here and now. They make sense of the world and human existence through logic, reason and scientific evidence.

This is the secular belief structure which interestingly, since 2005, has seen them recognised as a “belief body” by the Scottish Government. Thereby allowing humanist celebrants to conduct legal marriages there. Northern Ireland Jersey and Guernsey have since followed suit.

A humanist celebrant is trained and accredited only by Humanist UK. The ceremonies they perform are broadly non-religious. However, you may be lucky and come across a humanist celebrant who is prepared to allow some religious content. For example, the Lord’s Prayer at a funeral service as long as someone else and not the celebrant is reading it. However, their ceremonies are generally non inclusive of spiritual and religious beliefs or rituals.


Compare this to ceremonies offered by an independent celebrant. I have the freedom to offer my couples whatever they want, wherever they want, (remember the beach). Whenever they want, everything is possible, there are simply no rules to follow. Well maybe my skydiving days are over, but do you see the freedom of choice you have.

You may have religious beliefs or be completely non-religious. You may come from two different cultural or religious backgrounds and want to merge rituals. To create your own brand-new traditions. I am independent and can therefore include any spiritual, religious, or cultural content that you want. To make your wedding celebration reflect just who you both are. Making it one of the most memorable days of your life.

All I really need to get the party started are two people who are in love and who have made the decision to commit themselves to each other. The rest is then easy because love is love and if that is not a good excuse for a celebration, then I don’t know what is. 

It’s your choice

Whether you feel that an independent or a humanist celebrant best fit, how you want to celebrate one of the most important milestones in your life. You will not be disappointed because Celebrants Rock!!

Remember I said that celebrants in Australia and humanist celebrants in certain parts of the UK are authorised to perform the legal aspect of marriage? Well this is something that independent and humanist celebrants across the UK are campaigning for at the moment. If you would like to know more then please take a look at https://gccmovement.org/. All celebrants would love your support.

Thank you Ruth, you can find Ruth and her services at www.ceremoniesbyruth.co.uk

Thanks for reading

x Jodie x

Check out my blog on what is a wedding celebrant?

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