Have you ever thought about becoming a humanist celebrant and being highly trained and authorised (accredited) to conduct non-religious weddings, funerals, and namings?
The Humanist Ceremonies network is the oldest network of qualified and accredited celebrants in the UK, and operates across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Channel Islands.
Our humanist motivation is simple: we want to give everyone the option of a non-religious ceremony that reflects their values, beliefs, and their heart’s desires. We go about that by placing the greatest possible emphasis on quality, storytelling, and authenticity, and it’s what makes our celebrants the best you’ll find anywhere.
On this page you’ll find information about what skills and aptitudes we’re looking for, how our training works, and how to join one of our upcoming training courses.
What makes a good Humanist Ceremonies celebrant?
- A commitment to humanism. You will need to identify as humanist, and be able to describe how you demonstrate your humanist identity, values, and activities in your everyday life. You need to have a clear understanding of, and a strong commitment to, the underlying principles of a humanist approach to life. If you are not already a member of Humanists UK, you’ll need to join as part of the process.
- Finely tuned, highly developed interpersonal skills. You need to be open-minded and able to work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, with an ability to inspire confidence and a sense of ease. If you apply for funeral ceremonies training, you’ll need to be prepared to work compassionately with recently bereaved families experiencing shock and grief. You’ll also need to liaise well with other people and professionals connected with the ceremony you are conducting – other family members, funeral directors, crematoria staff, hoteliers, etc.
- Good interviewing and writing skills. You need to be an excellent questioner and listener, drawing out from people salient facts which you can then turn into an accurate, memorable, even inspirational ceremony script. Your use of English needs to be immaculate. It helps to have a love of poetry, prose and music.
- Good organisational skills. You need to be punctual, well-organised, and able to manage your time and diary well. You must be able to work to tight deadlines. You must be IT literate to the extent that you can produce ceremony scripts and manage script version control.
- Excellent presentation skills. You must be prepared to look smart and to assume the presence and authority to take charge of proceedings. You’ll need to be able to deal calmly with the unexpected and to put people who are nervous or anxious at ease. You need to be an assured and confident public speaker.
- High standards. Each ceremony you conduct will be unique. Each ceremony will be one of the most important events in the lives of the people concerned. You will often be dealing with people who are feeling very raw and emotional. You will be expected to deliver something exceptional. So, it follows that you will need to be an exceptional person, always determined to give your best.
Outside of these requirements, a humanist celebrant can be anyone, from any walk of life. We’re particularly keen to improve the diversity of our celebrants to make sure they are more representative of the community we strive to serve. We especially want to encourage more applications from Black and Minority Ethnic, disabled, and Welsh-speaking candidates.
A flexible role within a supportive, collegiate community
Is being a celebrant right for you? The answer could well be yes. Becoming a celebrant can open you up to a flexible, rewarding, and stimulating career path. And even after training, you’ll never be alone: in person and digitally, Humanists UK celebrants provide a supportive, experienced community who are there for each other with advice, support, mentorship, and guidance when someone needs it.
Being a celebrant works differently for different people. Some choose to conduct our full range of ceremonies – funerals, memorials, weddings, partnerships, and namings. Others choose to conduct just one kind of ceremony. Some manage to combine being a humanist celebrant with full-time work. Many are people who find themselves busier than ever in ‘semi-retirement’. Others combine their work as celebrants with their work as parents or carers, or as part of their freelancing ‘portfolio’. All of them find being a celebrant deeply rewarding.
Our accreditation fees cover your insurance, branded business cards, and personal stationery, and are reinvested to help fund the organisation, promotion, and growth of Humanist Ceremonies. You can benefit from the support and experience of other celebrants via local groups, the celebrants’ discussion forum on this website or via newsletters, training sessions and events such as the Humanist Ceremonies annual conference.
High standard, high quality.
Every. Single. Time.
Humanist Ceremonies makes no apology for setting the highest standards for our accredited celebrants. Bereaved people are vulnerable; the expectations of couples making their commitment public are high; the significance of a new arrival in a family is great.
There is no ‘second chance’ with a ceremony and we are committed to providing people with an exceptional service.
Our training courses
Be prepared to accept the offer of course dates that are not your first choice. We cannot always allocate trainees to their first choice, as we may need to prioritise applicants from under-represented areas. We strive to offer a training place to all successful applicants as soon as possible.
You will need to pay the course fee. There is a non-refundable deposit of £500 required four weeks prior to Induction. The remaining balance is made in one lump sum or three equal instalments. These will be required before the start of each stage of training. Humanists UK also runs a training bursary scheme. For details see the bursary information page.
Experienced independent celebrants or registrars will be invited to take part in a video call interview as part of their application to become accredited members of the Humanist Ceremonies network. If successful, they will be asked to complete a bespoke package of training according to need. Following training, they will need to agree to abide by the Terms of Accreditation, and to only conduct non-religious ceremonies for which they are accredited, exclusively in the name of the Humanist Ceremonies network of Humanists UK.
Further information about training
If you have any further enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to train as a humanist celebrant in Scotland please contact our sister charity, Humanist Society Scotland.
Interested in learning more about the celebrant experience?
Meet our celebrant team