Humanists celebrate 50,000th person married in Scotland

The Humanist Society Scotland has marked a significant milestone '“ celebrating the 50,000th person to be married in one of its ceremonies.

Saturday, 10th June 2017, 1:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:35 am
Alasdair and Louise Jack with Melanie Leckie, celebrant of Humanist Society Scotland, at their wedding at Cromlix House, Dunblane. Picture: Contributed

Alasdair and Louise Jack tied the knot with a humanist ceremony at Cromlix House in Dunblane, owned by tennis ace Andy Murray, to see the society reach its anniverary.

The newly-weds were presented with a lifetime membership to the HSS by celebrant Melanie Leckie, who married them at the venue.

The couple told how they opted for a humanist ceremony, saying “it meant we could have a more personal wedding which allowed us to tailor the ceremony to exactly how we wanted it”. They added: “We are delighted to be the 49,999th and 50,000th people to be married by the Humanist Society Scotland.”

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Demand for Humanist weddings in Scotland has grown significantly since the charity secured the right for Humanist weddings to be legally recognised in 2005. In 2010, the number of humanist weddings exceeded the number of Roman Catholic ceremonies in Scotland, and in 2015, they exceeded those by the Kirk.

On Valentine’s Day this year the society was granted legal parity with the Churches, when it became the only non-religious organisation to be prescribed by the Scottish Parliament to solemnise marriage. Scotland is the only part of the UK where such marriages have legal recognition.

HSS’s head of ceremonies and chaplaincy, Lynsey Kidd, said: “Back in 2005 when we were granted permission to provide legal wedding ceremonies, we could never have predicted how popular they would be.

“However, with Scotland now a majority non-religious nation and as more and more people attend a Humanist celebration as a guest, more people are choosing the warmth and joy an ethical, secular ceremony for themselves.

“Every HSS wedding is unique, personal and individual to the couple being married. We are delighted that all our couples are able to celebrate their special day in a way that reflects their beliefs and values and is meaningful to them.”

The society has more than 14,000 members in Scotland and now carries out 3,000 Humanist funerals and 3,200 weddings every year – in 2005 it carried out just 82 weddings in the first year it was permitted to. It now has more than 300 celebrants across Scotland.

Ms Kydd added: “The growth has been amazing and it’s fabulous to see couples being able to celebrate their love in a way that is just right for them.”