Sharp Rise in Humanist Weddings in England & Wales

Sharp Rise in Humanist Weddings in England & Wales June 2, 2019

There has been a growing trend of humanist weddings in the UK that has been spearheaded by Scotland, since they are legally binding ceremonies there. For all the progressive murmurings of David Cameron, one thing he refused to do was to sanction the legality of humanist weddings in England and Wales. That said, the growth in popularity of them is significant: 266% in the last decade.

The Guardian reports:

According to newly obtained figures, humanist weddings have increased by a massive 266% over the last decade and a half, while most faith-based English and Welsh marriage ceremonies fell sharply.

The latest ONS data tracks different types of weddings – religious and secular – from 2004 to 2016. It revealed that Church of England weddings fell by 28%, Catholic weddings by 34% andBaptist by 42%.

In 2004 there were 287 humanist weddings recorded, in 2016 this increased to 1,051….

Humanist UK’s chief executive, Andrew Copson, said they had been startled by the increase in humanist weddings. “We knew from the huge popularity of our funerals that there was enormous public appetite for humanist ceremonies but the scale of the demand for weddings, especially in the last 15 years, has blown us away.

“In a way it is a demonstration of what we know about today’s society – many people are humanist in their approach to life without knowing the word. They’re not religious but they want a ceremony at one of the most important moments in their lives that reflects the positive beliefs and values they hold.”

The veteran broadcaster and atheist campaigner Joan Bakewell backed Humanist UK’s demand for the Department of Justice to allow couples’ own wedding ceremonies to be legalised.

“It is high time such marriages were given full recognition by the state … so that couples are not obliged to go through a civil registrar marriage as well, which are not only devoid of meaning for them, but take up unnecessary time and money,” she said.


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