Choosing your celebrant for your big day

Congratulations, you’re engaged to be married! One of the most important decisions you will now be faced with is the type of ceremony you both want – non-religious/humanist, non-religious/civil (registrar), interfaith or reflecting your religious beliefs

If you’re thinking about a Humanist ceremony to celebrate your love and life together, you are able to choose who you want to conduct your ceremony. That choice can be daunting though, with so many celebrants to choose from.

This article contains paid-for content created in collaboration with Humanist Society Scotland

Photo credit - Silver Photography Celebrant - Ross Wright
Photo credit – Silver Photography
Celebrant – Ross Wright

For most couples, it’s important that they find a celebrant they can trust and that gives them confidence that they will have the ceremony they want. Celebrants will all have different styles and personalities – some will bring humour, others will be more serious – so it’s worth establishing whether they are the right ‘fit’ for you as a couple.

First impressions can count but consider your head as well as your heart because your decision can be a practical one as well as emotional. Celebrants should appreciate how big a decision it can be for you, so it’s okay to meet with a few before committing.

Photo credit - Ashley Coombes Weddings Celebrant - Kendal Delaney
Photo credit – Ashley Coombes Weddings
Celebrant – Kendal Delaney


What did you do before you became a Humanist celebrant? Why did you become a Humanist celebrant?

What training have you had? And what experience do you have?

 Are you authorised to legally solemnise a marriage? What would happen if your registration was delayed or not renewed in time for our ceremony date? Or are you permanently authorised?

What would happen if you are not available on the day of the ceremony, e.g. in an emergency or due to illness? Would you be able to provide a replacement celebrant to cover? Are you insured?

 How would you describe your style of delivery? Are we able to see you in action? and/or Do you have any reviews?


Photo credit - SimonsStudio Celebrant - Carol Knight
Photo credit – SimonsStudio
Celebrant – Carol Knight

Have you conducted any ceremonies at our venue before?

What can be included in our ceremony? Is there a typical structure or length?

How could you help us to create a ceremony that is unique and personal to us? In what ways could we involve other people in our ceremony? Do we have to write our own vows?

Can we include music in our ceremony? Or even singing? What are symbolic gestures? Should we include any?

What is the total cost? E.g. base fee, travel & any other expenses, any membership fees?

If we book you, what are the next steps?

What would happen if we had to postpone our ceremony? If you are available on the new date, would there be any additional costs in doing so? If you are not available on the new date, would it be covered by someone else and/or would we lose any money already paid?

Photo credit - SimonsStudio Celebrant - Suzanne Teed
Photo credit – SimonsStudio
Celebrant – Suzanne Teed


Humanist Society Scotland’s celebrants have been conducting legal weddings in Scotland since 2005. With this history, it is not surprising that they are the most trusted provider of Humanist ceremonies, with a well-deserved reputation for delivering amazingly heartfelt and personal ceremonies.

Only Humanist Society Scotland registered celebrants are permanently authorised to conduct legal Humanist marriages in Scotland, having been awarded ‘prescribed status’ by the Scottish Parliament, so you and your ceremony couldn’t be in safer hands.

Humanist Society Scotland has a network of over 130 registered celebrants who are able to fulfil their unique ‘Promise’. Only they can guarantee you a celebrant with legal authorisation if an emergency or illness befalls your chosen celebrant. You are also covered by public liability insurance for added peace of mind.

If you have to postpone your ceremony (as has happened throughout the coronavirus pandemic), and your chosen celebrant is not available on your new date, it is particularly reassuring to know that your booking would simply transfer to another, equally qualified, Humanist Society Scotland celebrant.

Photo credit - P Miller Photography Celebrant - Katie MacDonald
Photo credit – Photo credit – P Miller Photography
Celebrant – Katie MacDonald

All Humanist Society Scotland celebrants undertake a rigorous programme of training and continuous professional development throughout their professional career with the Society and are regularly reviewed to ensure their ceremonies are delivered to their very high standards.

Their guide fee for a wedding or civil partnership ceremony is £450*, plus any expenses such as travel, which the celebrant may charge, depending on their proximity to your venue.

*This includes the fee to the celebrant and two-year membership of Humanist Society Scotland – a registered charity – and is comparable with most other providers of humanist weddings or civil partnerships in Scotland. However, with Humanist Society Scotland, it also includes what could be regarded as the priceless added benefits of their ‘Promise’ AND helping them to make a positive impact on society – a WIN, WIN.

Photo credit - Steve Richter Photographer Celebrant - Lara Celini
Photo credit – Steve Richter Photographer
Celebrant – Lara Celini

Once you’ve decided on your date, it’s now easier than ever to book a Humanist Society Scotland celebrant for your wedding or civil partnership. Secure Your Date is their unique way of taking some of the stress out of planning your special day. As long as your ceremony is at least six months away, you’re guaranteed a Humanist Society Scotland celebrant. You can ‘secure your date’ in one of three ways.

  • You can choose your own celebrant from those available

Have the best of both worlds – secure your date AND take your time to choose from those available. We’d recommend starting your celebrant search as quickly as possible though, since the closer your date gets, the more limited your choice will be. They’ll get in touch as your date gets closer to see how your search is progressing, and you can contact them for help at any point.

  • You can ask Humanist Society Scotland’s Ceremonies Team to choose for you

This is akin to booking a registrar, but you can trust them to allocate a registered celebrant to you. Rest assured, all their celebrants are trained to the same high standards and will deliver the perfect ceremony for you. They’ll get in touch with you within five working days to let you know the name of your celebrant so you can start planning your ceremony with them.

  • You can book the Humanist Society Scotland celebrant you’ve already chosen

If you’ve already been in contact with your preferred celebrant, and have agreed on a booking with them, you can secure your date with them here too.