Saturday 11 April 2020 was meant to be the wedding day of Hannah Broadbridge and Matt Saleh, who had been planning for two years to have their humanist wedding at the beautiful Ufton Court in Reading. Humanist wedding celebrant Lauren Stone was meant to be marrying them, however, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, they had to postpone their wedding until 2021.
They decided to mark the date with a surprise pre-wedding celebration ceremony. Lauren tells us the story…
‘I met Hannah and Matt one and a half years ago and have been getting to know them ever since, as we worked on their bespoke, quirky wedding ceremony – the script for which was all ready to go for the big day.
Postponing the wedding was really difficult for them and their parents, to whom they are both extremely close.
Hannah and Matt wanted to do something positive and fun for their families. So, I had the idea of hosting a virtual ‘pre-wedding celebration ceremony’ to mark what would have been their big day, and deliver this as a surprise to their families and wedding party via a group video call – and it worked brilliantly!
Hannah wore a white dress and her veil, Matt wore a suit and tie, finished off by some Easter bunny ears (as it was Easter weekend). They had balloons on the walls and a row of their favourite toy ducks as extra wedding guests!
The virtual ceremony itself was short and sweet. I shared a few words about the couple and why we were celebrating them in this very humanist way.
Hannah and Matt exchanged some light-hearted promises to each other as pre-vows, and they exchanged Haribo sweetie rings as a fun symbol of their commitment to each other until their real wedding day next year.
They also cut and ate a chocolate cake and of course we all had a toast together to mark this special occasion.
It was a brilliant moment for everyone involved: uplifting and fun. The couple were buzzing that the surprise worked so well and their families were so delighted.’
Here’s what the happy couple had to say about their special pre-wedding celebration:
‘We are so glad we met Lauren. We didn’t realise that she was the missing piece to our wedding celebration to make it more special and unique.
‘Lauren has been great to work with and a pleasure to get to know. She understands us as a couple and has helped to make our original wedding day positive and memorable, despite the circumstances.
‘We can’t wait to have our special day next year. It will be bigger and better than before. Roll on The Saleh Wedding attempt 2!’
Humanist celebrants conduct bespoke, non-religious, humanist weddings. At Humanist Ceremonies, there is a network of celebrants who are all trained to the same high standards to deliver personal, meaningful non-religious wedding ceremonies.
Lauren Stone is a member of the Humanist Ceremonies Celebrant Network. She is based in Walthamstow, East London.
Humanists are non-religious people who believe that this life is the only life we have, that the universe is a natural phenomenon with no supernatural side, and that we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. They trust scientific methods, evidence, and reason to discover truths about the universe, and place human welfare and happiness at the centre of their ethical decision-making. Stephen Fry explains it beautifully.
If you’d like a non-religious wedding that is unique, meaningful, and personal, a humanist wedding may be ideal for you!
Not sure if you’re a humanist? Take our quiz and find out.
Interested in planning a humanist wedding? Talk to your local celebrant.
Your ceremony will focus on your love story. It can include unique vows, readings, poems, and any symbolic acts you choose.
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There are exciting times ahead as you choose your humanist celebrant and plan a personalised wedding that's unique to you.