Hi! I'm Helen, a Humanist Celebrant in Yorkshire
I wasn't always a Humanist or a Celebrant (though I have always been from Yorkshire!) so read on to find out a bit more about me and how this came about...
Our wedding story
My husband, Joe, and I were married back in 2010 and, at the time, we were ignorant to the fact that we could have had a Humanist ceremony.
We had a perfectly practical wedding ceremony with a registrar, we chose our music and had a couple of readings. We exchanged rings and agreed to take each other in marriage.
You might think there was nothing wrong with this and in many ways there wasn’t.
We viewed this as the transactional bit before the fun really started, something we had to do rather than the most meaningful and significant part of the day
I can’t remember what words we said to each other, there were no personal promises, they were not our words
There were no words about who we are, how we had come to be together or why we wanted to be married (thankfully we had some pretty awesome speeches that picked up this slack)
The registrar had to ask us in the moment before the ceremony started if he was using middle names or not, we hadn’t had chance to discuss this previously as he was essentially a stranger we were only meeting on our wedding day.
I didn’t realise it at the time but my journey as a celebrant had already begun.
"If you don’t want to look back on your wedding day with any of these feelings then an alternative ceremony type could well be right for you."
What is Humanism and what is a Humanist ceremony?
My first introduction to Humanism and Humanist ceremonies was actually through the funeral ceremony of my Husband’s step Grandad several years ago.
I had heard of Humanist ceremonies before but never experienced one personally and I remember being struck by how beautifully personal it was. It felt like it really was all about him and his life and I recall learning things about him and his life that even we as his family had never known.
I don’t remember much about what the Celebrant leading the proceedings looked or sounded like but I do recall how at ease she made the family feel and how her tone, body language and words were pitched so perfectly. It made me think how true these words from Maya Angelou are:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This is something I now take forward into my own practice. I am all about the feels. I am quite happy to blend into the background- I will always do my best to coordinate with any colour scheme and I will always stand to the side in your ceremony so I photo bomb as few shots as possible.
In short, you won’t choose me if you want a strikingly bold or flamboyant Celebrant and that’s ok. I do know plenty of Celebrants who absolutely rock this look and do a fab job at it and, if this is more your style, I would always be happy to point you towards someone who may be better suited.
What I promise you will get from me is a memorable ceremony where all eyes are on you and your celebration.
After this first encounter with Humanism and Humanist ceremonies, I started to look more into what Humanism was all about and I had a bit of an ‘ah ha’ moment when I realised I had most likely been a Humanist all along! You can find a fun quiz to see how Humanist you are here and find out more about what Humanism is by clicking this link.
My Values &
What is important to me!
My key values of connection and compassion, drive me to foster a sense of belonging for all, ensuring everyone feels welcome and included. This is something you will see in my ceremonies as well as in my own life from the way I raise my two young children to the role I take in my local community to the self-development work I do on myself.
I am also a firm believer that this is the only life we have and so we should enjoy it and live our best lives in the here and now.
For me, there is no better way to do this than by celebrating all the key milestones in life. And doing it in style is where I come in! For a Humanist believing that this is our one and only life also means that we do what is right for best for others and our planet without hope or expectation of a reward in another life.
“Think for yourself, act for everyone.”
Humanism is a belief system, not a religion. That said even though Humanism is non-religious, it is not anti-religious and whether you come from a traditionally religious family or you will have guests at your ceremony with strong religious beliefs, I promise that I will ensure that they feel as equally included, involved and invested in your ceremony.
Everyone is welcome at a Humanist ceremony and a Humanist ceremony celebrates the uniqueness of every love and every family. You don’t have to ask here.
How did I become a Celebrant?
I always thought from that first ceremony experience, that being a Celebrant would be something I would love to do myself one day and I am now delighted to be living my best life doing just that! I am trained by Humanists Ceremonies who have a fantastic training programme with incredibly high quality standards. This also means that I am part of a network of Celebrants with regular opportunities for continuous professional development including peer observations as well as support should the worst happen and I am not able to lead your ceremony on the day, more on that in my FAQs here.
I pride myself on building up a connection with my couples and families such that I become an extended part of your life, your go to life celebrant for any occasion. This means that whenever you have a life milestone to mark you will have someone you know and trust by your side, not a stranger. Essentially you get me for life (if you will have me!)
A Celebrant is for life not just for one day!
If you want to find out more about Humanism and how it links to living your best life, check out this video below: