Tuesday, 23 February 2010

walking down a sort of aisle

(Thanks to Anna, for inspiring me to write this post. I've been mulling it over for days.)

I'd always known I didn't want a church wedding. Like many a modern gal, I'm a happy atheist/agnostic (though I wish the words didn't sound so harsh). I love a visit to old English church as much as the next person, and I'm not anti-religion, but it's just not for me.

What I hadn't realised, before getting engaged, was that if you're not religious, your options are basically a boxy room in a stale council office, finding a hotel or other venue with a roof that is willing to register to marry people, or eloping.

One of my friends is getting married in New York, in Central Park. Imagine getting married on the top of Richmond Hill in London, or even in your local neighbourhood park or pub garden in this country. Lovely. But outdoor is out of the question, if you want to get hitched legally.

Register office type weddings can be a bit 'bish bash bosh' - in and out and over in minutes. While I don't want religion, it's a shame that the other trappings of a beautiful service are denied to those wishing to marry in a civil ceremony. When I've been to family weddings (every single one in a church, every single one with a non-religious bride and groom), the services have always been incredibly moving, religion or no.

I don't want to make a vow before a God, but I would like lovely music, readings, vows that are more than perfunctory. And it turns out that my Dad, bless him, is very excited at the thought of walking me down the aisle. So there needs to be an aisle.

But it turns out there is one option for those of us in this limbo: Humanist weddings. The humanists are a lovely bunch of people that will do nice, non-religious ceremonies for the likes of me and bf. They also do naming ceremonies and other things.

Ok, they're not legally binding in England (though they are in Scotland), so we'll need to do a register office jobby first.

But we can get married outside - in fact, we are going to have this service on the edge of a forest, where the aisle is through the trees and under a willow arch, up to an alter consising of a giant rock, with beautiful music (see post below) and with readings and vows that mean something more than legally defined proximity. The picture above is of the spot.

So hurray for the Humanists. But roll on the day when British (and indeed worldwide) wedding laws leap into the 21st century and let anyone marry anyone wherever they like.


  1. Hurrah for humanists. It is just soooo frustrating one cannot be married legally by one, when less than 60 miles up the road it would be legal. Gah!

    P.S. You wrote about this far more eloquently than I did and now I am super jealous!

  2. No no no - not at all! Mine is lacking much in background and is very much 'an homage' to your wonderfully crafted words. Also, mine is lacking essential background facts. But thank you for your lovely compliment :)