Become a humanist celebrant

Humanists UK’s Humanist Ceremonies network consists of qualified and accredited celebrants in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Channel Islands. Our priority is to develop a diverse network of celebrants that represents the wider society that we serve, so that we can meet the increasing need of all those who would like to have a humanist ceremony.

Course fees and dates
Learn about our bursary scheme

Who are we looking for?

Celebrant Audrey Simmons by Tee Reskah

Celebrant Audrey Simmons by Tee Reskah

Humanists UK is committed to equality and diversity. We seek diverse representation around race so that everyone who accesses our services feels welcome and included. We also warmly welcome applications from Welsh speaking candidates. We consider applications from both experienced celebrants looking to join our network, and from people for whom the idea of becoming a celebrant is new.

Our celebrants are people from all backgrounds. Some 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.

Humanist funeral celebrant David Atkinson

Humanist funeral celebrant David Atkinson

What makes a good Humanists 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 humanism, and you may have attended Humanists UK events or have experience of ceremonies conducted by Humanist Ceremonies celebrants. If you are not already a member of Humanists UK, you’ll need to join.
  • 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 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.
Naming celebrant Dawn Rees by ETT Photography
Naming celebrant Dawn Rees by ETT Photography
Wedding celebrant Ian Willox by Sally Elvin Photography
Wedding celebrant Ian Willox by Sally Elvin Photography

What does the training and accreditation involve?

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.

What are the benefits of being a Humanists UK celebrant?

These include:

  • membership of Humanists UK
  • Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance cover to £5 million
  • appearing on the Find a Celebrant map
  • an SEO rich website
  • regional and local groups
  • branded stationery, including business cards and script presentation folders
  • representation with national industry bodies, such as SAIF, NAFD and UK Hospitality
  • marketing support
  • CPD and other top-up training sessions
  • subsidised annual celebrant conference
  • Membership card and pin badge

What does annual accreditation involve?

To be a part of the Humanist Ceremonies network, celebrants must meet the criteria for annual accreditation, which includes CPD and a regular peer review.  Additionally there is an annual accreditation fee, paid monthly at £20 per month. Wedding celebrants in Northern Ireland, conducting legal marriages, pay £25 per month.

How to apply to become a celebrant

Once you have read the training information guidelines please complete and return the relevant application form – see the list below. You will then be invited to a video interview with our Ceremonies Training and Development Manager.

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 installments. 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.

Once you are accepted for training and have signed up for your course you will be expected to attend either three sessions (for Funerals and Weddings) or two sessions (for Namings), with each session spread roughly a month apart. For our Namings trainees, Stages 2 and 3 are combined. For our Weddings and our Funerals trainees, each course comprises:

  • Stage 1: Induction – one day.
  • Stage 2: General Skills – two days and one overnight residential.
  • Stage 3: Technical Training – two days and one overnight residential.

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.

What’s in it for you?

  • An occupation which is challenging, rewarding, inspiring and fulfils your values. The ceremonies you conduct will make a real, memorable difference to your clients.
  • An income. As soon as you receive your probationary accreditation from Humanists UK you can charge a reasonable fee based on location and type of ceremony, plus your expenses, for each ceremony you conduct.
  • A sense of belonging and participation. To remain an accredited celebrant within Humanists UK’s Humanist Ceremonies network you will be expected to pay a monthly accreditation fee. You will also be expected to maintain a high standard in the ceremonies you provide.

Your monthly accreditation fee covers 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.

And, as a Humanists UK member, you will be participating in Humanists UK’s important work to promote Humanism and to help redress the inequality and injustice caused by religious partiality in our legal, social, and political frameworks.

Financial assistance

Ceremonies training bursaries

Humanists UK may be able to offer individuals from under-represented groups, who may otherwise not be able to train with us, a bursary as a contribution towards their training costs. Please see the bursary information page for details.

Assistance for career development through bank loans or trust grants and bursaries

For some applicants it might be helpful and appropriate to apply for a loan from a bank or other provider for the purposes of career development, or to apply for financial aid through a trust or foundation who might be able to provide individuals with a grant or bursary to study. We cannot give financial or legal advice, but for those who are considering a career development bank loan you may wish to contact Citizens’ advice, the UK Government’s Education and Learning web pages. or the Welsh Government’s Careers Wales service. For those who are considering applying for a grant or bursary we might suggest the Turn2Us website, or this guidance on career development loans, provided by Save the Student.

Further information about training

If you have any further enquiries please email

Our trainers come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and are all experienced celebrants. Meet our training team.

If you would like to train as a humanist celebrant in Scotland, please contact the Humanist Society Scotland.

Wedding celebrant Jean Barrett-Quinn by Simon Hutchinson

Wedding celebrant Jean Barrett-Quinn by Simon Hutchinson