Humanists UK wedding numbers continue to grow, show new figures

16 May, 2019

Simple Tapestry Wedding Photography. Humanist Wedding Photographers Northern Ireland.

Weddings conducted by Humanists UK celebrants in England and Wales grew in 2016 from the previous year, with Humanists UK now conducting more weddings than the Baptists for the first time in history – therefore becoming the fifth biggest provider of faith or belief weddings.

According to the latest official figures, the number of weddings by Humanists UK has grown to more than 1,050 a year – up by 266% since 2004 (see below). This growth bucks the trend of increasing decline amongst many religious weddings – such as Church of England, Roman Catholic, and Methodist – which have all seen massive drop offs in recent years of the number of weddings they perform.  

It also shows that Humanists UK does more weddings per year (1,050) than there are Jewish (626) or Baptist (1,009) marriages, but while those marriages come with legal recognition, humanist marriages are still yet to be given legal recognition in England and Wales.

The data analysing the number of marriages performed by each different religious denomination in England and Wales, was obtained by Humanists UK following a request to the Office of National Statistics, and supplemented by Humanists UK’s own figures for humanist marriages.

Humanist marriages have legal recognition in Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and most recently in Jersey, but not yet in England and Wales. Humanists UK is urgently working to bring about legal recognition of humanist marriages in England, Wales, and Guernsey.

Statistics released in 2019 by Humanists UK also found that humanist marriages were the least likely to end in divorce.

Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson commented: ‘It is positive to see such sustained growth in the number of weddings performed by Humanists UK celebrants and this reflects how much they are able to match up to precisely what so many people want from their weddings today. Humanist ceremonies are fully customised to perfectly reflect people’s own unique beliefs and desires – a hand-crafted occasion just for the couple getting married.

‘This strong and growing demand should surely provide more impetus for the UK Government to act to bring about legal recognition of humanist marriages in England and Wales and afford people who have a humanist ceremony the right to have it recognised by law.’


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393 344293.

A humanist wedding is a non-religious ceremony that is deeply personal and conducted by a humanist celebrant. It differs from a civil wedding in that it is entirely hand-crafted and reflective of the beliefs and values of the couple, and conducted by a celebrant who shares their beliefs and values.

Find out more about previous humanist wedding figures here:

Read more about Humanists UK’s campaigns around marriage laws:

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.