Tasha Gray, Accredited Wedding Celebrant
Meaningful ceremonies create emotive moments and make everlasting memories.
You don’t have to be a humanist to have a humanist wedding ceremony. Couples choose to have humanist weddings, as an alternative to a religious wedding, for a wide variety of reasons.
Humanist weddings have the freedom of being held anywhere you want and in any way you want. They are able to authentically represent your individual beliefs, your shared moral values, tell your story and what you love about each other, in a way which will resonate with your wedding guests. Humanist weddings don’t have to follow a particular format, or be rushed, or be a service to anyone but you. (Any service in a religious institution is centred on being a service to the religious deity/ies of that place of worship.)
In a humanist wedding, it’s possible to reflect different cultural backgrounds, and be considerate to various religious members of your families and friends.
Weddings have been celebrated across different cultures and countries in different ways since ancient times. There is evidence of humans marking the milestones in their lives in our whole history. It is simply human nature to want to mark these rites of passage with friends and family; to create a deeply meaningful, memorable, and inclusive ceremony to celebrate the love and happiness of your commitment to each other.
As humanism is a life stance or perspective, and not a religion, I like to hang my hat on humanism. It helps me to explain my non-religious beliefs in a positive way. In a similar way, I’ve noticed that some people prefer to call themselves ‘spiritual’ rather than agnostic or atheist. And sometimes, people confuse humanitarians or humorists with humanists. It’s true that we can be funny, and generally, we care about other people and the environment. Personally, I like the way that, in one word, humanism summarises a shared belief in the equal rights of people, the value of scientific fact and the importance of respecting a person’s individuality and right to hold their own beliefs.
A little bit about me
Like many people, I hold a strong affinity with humanist principles of kindness and equality.
A love of meeting people and a passion for language, story-telling and writing, as well as an interest in humanism and its history of free thinking and connection with creative artists, led me to become a humanist wedding celebrant.
I enjoy listening to couple’s ideas and stories, and love the creative process of writing and conducting meaningful, personalised and utterly unique ceremonies. I feel fortunate to get to know so many lovely people.
An accredited humanist wedding celebrant
As a wedding celebrant accredited by the oldest non-religious celebrant organisation in the UK, Humanists UK (formerly the British Humanist Association and, prior to that, the Union of Ethical Societies), I must actively maintain my accreditation through Continued Professional Development, peer reviews, assessments and membership fees.
Humanist marriage has legal recognition in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey, and (soon) Guernsey and its islands, Herm and Sark. As an accredited humanist celebrant, this means we can do both ‘the legal part’ and the personalised wedding ceremony. As an organisation, we are continually campaigning for the legal recognition of humanist marriage in England and Wales, so our couples have equal rights to religious couples.
As this is a service, you’re safe in the knowledge that I’m committed to a strict code of conduct and high standards of practice. This is important because it means that there is a support network of accredited celebrants in the event of anything unforeseen, and a reputable organisation which requests direct feedback from couples. As an organisation, we have 97% 5* reviews, and I’m pleased to see that I’ve been given 100% 5* reviews so far. You can read some of the comments from my couples on my testimonials’ page too.
I trained and was accredited by the British Humanist Association (now known as Humanists UK) in 2014, just in time to write and conduct my brother’s wedding. My friends and family like to joke that I ‘married my brother’! I have since had the honour and privilege of being chosen by many couples to create, write and conduct their dream humanist wedding ceremonies.
I’ve also done vow renewal ceremonies, which are a chance for couples to have a celebration of their continued commitment to each other and share their story with friends and family, as well as baby naming ceremonies, which are a non-religious alternative to a christening. There are other ways we might want to mark a rite of passage, e.g. coming of age ceremonies, or change of life ceremonies.
Creative consultations and collaborations
From the creative consultations, I try to find out ways in which we can make your ceremony reflect who you are, so it resonates with your friends and family.
With a deep interest in different cultural traditions, history and rituals, as well as words, I really enjoy doing extensive research to find relevant ideas for you. Inspiration might come from your stories, ideas, or something you say.
We can also consider the ways in which we can make your ceremony inclusive. You may want suggestions for songs, rituals or readings, which I can research for you. You may want advice with the venue, or location, or the ‘legal bit’. You may simply want a chance to have your story told and a personalised wedding ceremony, which will set the scene for the rest of your day. I’ve tried to answer some of the most common questions here on my Frequently Asked Questions’ page.