Local man calls for legalisation of Humanist Weddings - The Coventry Observer

15th Aug, 2022

Local man calls for legalisation of Humanist Weddings

IT MIGHT be something you’ve never heard of before, but Humanist Weddings are growing in popularity and one Leamington man is hoping they can be legalised in the not too distant future.

Blake Hutchings married his wife Althea Hutchings in truly unique style on June 2 earlier this year, and the pair’s ceremony has been part of a surge in specialist non-religious wedding services.

Dressed in period material, the couple got married in front of family and friends while taking to the ropes to perform a special dance routine.

Currently, humanist services are not legally recognised in England and Wales – though couples can get married by law in Scotland.

To officially tie the knot, Blake and Althea had to take part in a small service prior to their big humanist ceremony so they could officially be declared husband and wife.

Should they become legally recognised, humanist weddings would offer the same legal rights as normal marriage.

And it’s not only weddings that have witnessed a sharp spike in humanist services – funerals, namings and other services have also been held under humanist conditions.

Speaking to The Observer, Blake – who conducts humanist services as a career – said: “Humanist weddings are so variable and people can customise them to make their special day how they want.

“Most ceremony’s have a traditional structure but contain unique elements, ultimately there are no limits as to what you want to do at a Humanist wedding ceremony.

“Mine and my wife’s ceremony was quite unusual, but we went through the traditional process of finding a venue, deciding what will happen and asking someone to conduct the service.

“There is no religious content in a humanist service, this isn’t to shun religion – but to allow people without religious beliefs to still get married.”

The rise in popularity comes amid figures which revealed more than one in eight people in Britain declared they would like a humanist funeral when they die.

Blake, who has been conducting these specialist services for two years, said the figures come as no surprise to him.

Even actor Stephen Fry has jumped on the bandwagon by releasing a video earlier this month explaining more about what a humanist ceremony is like.

Other celebrities to have had humanist weddings include Steve Backshall, Helen Glover, Karen Hauer and Kevin Clifton.

Already this year, Blake has worked on one service conducted in a forest while he’s working on another wedding where the happy couple will tie the knot in their garden.

“In Scotland the process is entirely legal and there’s only one service, however at the moment in England and Wales the couple getting married must have an official wedding first where all the papers are signed,” Blake explained.

“However the ceremony which months and months of planning goes into is the humanist one.

“It’s not illegal – but right now humanist weddings are not recognised by the law.

“The importance of religion has generally declined and humanist services are getting more popular.

“I think the appeal of having a service on your big day which can be anything you want it to be appeals to people and as more humanist weddings take place more people are becoming familiar with them.

“Should it be made legal, there may be a couple of restrictions put on what people can do at a service – but for now there is pretty much no limit.”

Email blakehutchings@googlemail.com to find out more information about humanist ceremonies.

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