Humanist Fellowship of Scotland – Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between the Humanist Fellowship of Scotland and other humanist organisations?

We are one of a number of humanist organisations with humanism the common ethos which can be promoted in different ways.
Respect for one another is at the heart of our approach and we embrace people of all beliefs and lifestyles; though we ourselves are non-religious. We promote humanism through the work of our members which includes conducting legal wedding and funeral ceremonies and we choose to financially support humanitarian charities.
Although we engage in debate about humanism, we are not a campaigning group.
Our celebrants are our only members so we don’t require anyone engaging us to conduct a ceremony to become a member.

Is the Humanist Fellowship of Scotland allowed to conduct legal marriages in Scotland?

The Humanist Fellowship of Scotland has been authorised by the Registrar General of Scotland to conduct legal marriages throughout Scotland.

Do we still need to have a Registrar involved in the ceremony?

No but you will need to register your wedding with the Registrar but don’t worry we will help you through the process and explain who is responsible for what. You will also find all this information in our terms and conditions on the second page of our booking form.

Can I get married outdoors, on a beach or hilltop?

It is the Humanist Celebrant who is approved to conduct the marriage, not the venue. So as long as the Registrar is informed of the venue, and it is deemed safe and dignified, then you can be married outdoors.

Can I choose which Celebrant will conduct our wedding?

Yes. Contact details for all our celebrants are listed on our web site page Contacts and Info – Celebrant. They will be delighted to discuss your wedding.

What would happen if my Celebrant was unable to take my wedding on the day?

If in the extremely unlikely event of the Celebrant being unable to conduct the ceremony for some reason; such as illness etc. the Celebrant will ensure another authorised Celebrant will be available to conduct the ceremony.

Can you conduct funerals at the graveside?

We will conduct the ceremony whether you choose cremation or interment. Sometimes a full ceremony at the graveside is inadvisable. In such circumstances we could have a short ceremony for the interment followed by the main celebration of life ceremony at a suitable venue or vice versa. We also conduct Memorial and Interment of Ashes Ceremonies.

What is “In Life Funeral Ceremony Preparation”?

We offer an opportunity for the living to work with a Celebrant to talk about their wishes for their ceremony. We meet with the Client and perhaps also family and friends to agree wordings, music, poetry and prose to help create the funeral ceremony they would like.

Is there a Humanist equivalent of a Christening?

Yes. We offer a Baby Naming Ceremony, sometimes described as a Welcoming Ceremony or a Family Celebration Day if there is more than one child. These ceremonies can be held for newly born babies or toddlers; sometimes also if a child has been adopted. Children can also be named as a part of a Wedding Ceremony.

Do you do Renewal of Vow Ceremonies?

We do. Many couples who have been married for some time, or who have experienced changes in their life, look to have a Renewal of Vow Ceremony to reconnect with each other or to reaffirm their love for one another. These may also include a Baby Naming Ceremony.

Do you offer Gay/Lesbian weddings?

Same sex partners in Scotland can enter into a Civil Partnership which by law needs to be registered with the Registrar to legalise it. We will gladly create a wonderfully personal ceremony for same sex partners but you would still have to sign your Registration Schedule with witnesses in the presence of the Registrar. An amendment to current law, to allow humanists to solemnise Civil Partnerships is currently out for consultation by the Scottish government alongside a proposal to legalise same sex marriage..

Do we have to become members of the HFof S to be married by one of your Celebrants?

That isn’t necessary, the only Members we have are those who carry out the work of the Fellowship. We do accept donations which help to support the work of the Fellowship.

My late partner wasn’t religious but some of his family are – how do you deal with that?

A Humanist Funeral Ceremony pays tribute to and celebrates the life of an individual. We respect and welcome everyone, of all beliefs. Humanist Funeral Ceremonies include a short period of reflection where all present can do this in their own way such as silent prayer.

If you would like us to answer a question that isn’t listed here, get in touch with the Humanist Fellowship of Scotland.