I have conducted several hundred funerals, wedding and naming ceremonies on behalf of the British Humanist Association.
A humanist wedding is an alternative to a church or Register Office as away of celebrating your special day. You’ll probably not want to feel rushed. You might want to express your vows to each other in your own words. You might want to be formal, or thoroughly informal. You might want the special part of the ceremony to be shared by more friends and family than a Register Office can accommodate. You’d probably prefer not to be limited to a licensed venue, but to hold your ceremony in a place which is special to you – on a boat, in a garden, on a beach, in your favourite restaurant, in your own home. You might want people close to you to have particular roles. You’ll probably want to choose readings and music which mean something to you, as a couple. Having a humanist ceremony, celebrating your commitment to each other exactly where, when, with whom and how you want it to be enables you to do all these.
In England and Wales, most couples who choose to have a humanist wedding or partnership ceremony complete the legal formalities and obtain a civil marriage certificate at a Register Office first. But they regard their humanist wedding or partnership ceremony as the one which truly marks their life-long commitment to each other.