Q. Once I’ve chosen my Celebrant what do I do next?
A. It’s best if you contact your chosen celebrant directly using the contact information on their own websites. You can find the link to their website on our Celebrants page. If you need help with this then please contact us through our online contact form.
Q. We’ve been told that we are not allowed to mention any reference to God in our ceremony – or include prayers or any sacred words or religious music. Is that true?
A. Our ceremonies are Agnostic, not Atheist. We endorse no single belief or religion. In addition to offering entirely secular ceremonies for those who prefer non-religious content, we also work with many families who wish to include some aspect of spirituality, faith-based content or sacred wording (even if they do not personally identify as being religious). Many mixed-faith families who wish to combine their beliefs into one ceremony also choose an agnostic ceremony. Some families, even though they have opted for a secular ceremony, may want to include a hymn or sacred reading – perhaps because they are familiar with it from their upbringing, or because they feel that it is important for their attending family and friends. We are flexible and can work with you to create a ceremony that reflects your wishes, beliefs and values.
Q. We’d love to have our ceremony on a mountain top or beach on the West Coast. Is this a suitable location as it’s pretty remote?
A. We love to travel and some of our celebrants love to hike and climb! If you are keen to book us for a remote ceremony, we recommend getting in touch as far in advance as possible to ensure we can meet your requirements.
Q. Our families is not at all religious. Can we still book an Agnostic Scotland ceremony?
A. Absolutely! We are often asked to conduct entirely non-religious ceremonies for families who consider themselves to be secular or atheist in their beliefs. We are respectful of all beliefs, provided they adhere to our moral and ethical values and do no harm.
Q. Some Celebrants have told us we would need to write our own ceremony. Is that true?
A. We love preparing ceremonies! Every couple and family are different. Some like us to write the whole ceremony based on their thoughts and ideas. Others like to work with us to co-write their ceremony. Some like to write the entire ceremony themselves. We are happy to work with you as per your wishes.
Q. How long before our ceremony should we book?
A. We encourage you to book your celebrant as soon as you know the date of your event. We tend to get bookings about a year ahead for weddings and civil partnerships, and we are currently taking bookings for the next three years. For Naming Ceremonies we often have a lead in time of several months. For Life Celebrations and Memorials please contact us as soon as you can as that gives us more time to help you plan a meaningful ceremony for your person.
Q. We’d like to book you to conduct our ceremony. Do we have to join your organisation first?
A. Absolutely not. Our Supporters are anyone who shares an interest in the philosophy and values of Agnostic Scotland and wishes to support our Community Fund. This includes some of the couples and families who have booked ceremonies with us, as well as individuals who have attended our events, and those who just like what we do. We put no pressure on anyone to support Agnostic Scotland.
Q. What do we get if we become Supporters of Agnostic Scotland and how much does it cost?
A. We offer a £2 per month Supporter subscription and in return you will receive our quarterly e-newsletter and be the first to hear about our events and news. And you will always have our thanks for helping to support our Community Fund and our goal to provide greater choice for families when it comes to marking the milestones in their lives in a way that works for them.
Marriage, Civil Partnerships, Renewal of Vows and Life Partnership Ceremonies
Q. Does a Marriage or Civil Partnership ceremony conducted by an Agnostic Scotland Celebrant have the same legal status as a Registrar, Humanist or Church wedding?
A. Yes. Our Celebrants are able to apply for a Wedding Licence to conduct legal weddings anywhere in Scotland.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. Agnostic Scotland Celebrants are all self employed and, therefore, you are advised to confirm fees with them directly. The Wedding or Civil Partnership Celebrant fee is from £500 (plus travel costs over 50 miles and accommodation where applicable). Vow Renewal Ceremonies are charged from £400 (plus travel costs over 50 miles and accommodation where applicable).
Q. Do we still need to complete forms with the local registrar?
A. You do need to complete forms with the local registrar, but we will help you with this. It is a straightforward process once you know what to do. You can find out more from the National Records Scotland here
Q. I would like to include a prayer in our ceremony. My partner is atheist but I am religious. We have been told that Humanist ceremonies do not allow any mention of God. Will this be possible?
A. Absolutely, our ceremonies are Agnostic, not Atheist, like many Humanist ceremonies. In addition to offering entirely secular ceremonies for those who prefer no mention of faith-based content, we also work with many families who wish to include some aspect of spirituality, faith-based content or sacred wording, even if they do not personally identify as being religious. Many mixed-faith families who wish to combine their beliefs into one ceremony also choose to book their ceremonies with us.
Q. Will our Celebrant stay with us for the whole of our wedding or civil partnership day?
A. We make a promise to all the couples and families we work with that we will only book one ceremony per day. As such, we can ensure we give you our full attention on the day of your ceremony. Your fee generally covers the celebrant arriving in good time for your ceremony and staying for a short while afterwards. However, some Celebrants are very happy to arrive earlier and stay longer if you wish them to.
Q. Do your Celebrants help with wedding planning like sorting the venue or the food?
A. No. We are Marriage/Civil Partnership Celebrants and as such, are there to ensure that your ceremony is exactly as you wish it to be but we do not take part in any other planning or preparation for your wedding day. Our fee includes several meetings with you to plan your ceremony, in-person or over the phone/video conferencing if you are further afield, conducting a rehearsal ceremony for you if you have requested this (rehearsals cost an additional £100), arriving early on the day, conducting your ceremony and staying for a short while after your ceremony to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Q. We are a gay couple and we’d like to be married. Is this fully legally recognised?
A. Yes, in December 2014, Scotland introduced equal marriage legislation. Same sex couples can now be legally married, although a civil partnership is also an option. At Agnostic Scotland, we are delighted to conduct legal wedding ceremonies for gay couples. If you live overseas and same sex weddings are not recognised in your home country, sadly that would mean that your marriage would not be recognised. We very much hope that all countries will soon follow the example of those like Scotland, where we have successfully campaigned for marriage equality.
Q. How long before our wedding should we book?
A. We encourage you to book your celebrant as soon as you know the date of your wedding. We often get bookings at least a year ahead, and we are currently taking bookings for the next three years.
Q. My partner and I are not religious but consider ourselves to be a bit spiritual. We would like to include some Sufi dancing in our ceremony and some sacred words as part of our handfasting. Is this ok?
A. How lovely! Yes, absolutely. We are lead by you in terms of the content you wish to include in your ceremony. If the Sufi dancers are happy to be involved in an Agnostic ceremony then we would be delighted to be involved and lead the ceremony for you both.
Q. If we are not from Scotland, would we need to register our wedding again in our own country?
A. Agnostic Scotland ceremonies carried out in Scotland are fully legal and recognised world-wide. You would not need to have any other form of service or registration. However, if you are a same-sex couple and same-sex weddings are not recognised in your home country, sadly that would mean that your marriage would not be recognised. We very much hope that all countries will soon follow the example of those like Scotland, where we have successfully campaigned for marriage equality.
Q. Do you conduct non legal weddings too? My partner and I are already legally married but we would like to have an elopement ceremony in Scotland.
A. Absolutely! All our Celebrants are happy to conduct non-legal weddings. We are always thrilled to co-create any ceremony that is important to you and your family.
Celebration of Life, Memorial and Funeral Ceremonies
Q. How much does it cost?
A. Agnostic Scotland Celebrants are all memorialists and self employed, therefore, you are advised to discuss all options and confirm fees with them directly. We encourage families to explore all the choices available to them therefore an Agnostic Scotland Celebration of Life/ Memorial Ceremony fee varies depending on how you wish to celebrate your precious person or how your precious person wishes to be celebrated. The cost of our ceremonies are therefore reflective of the type of ceremony you wish to hold. The suggested fees range from £200 to £400 (plus travel costs over 50 miles and accommodation where applicable).
Funeral/Memorial Ceremonies for children under the age of 16 are always free of charge.
Q. My wife has just passed away and she didn’t want to have a church funeral. She was a scientist but she was also quite spiritual. She always used to say she was a closet Buddhist, even though she didn’t believe in reincarnation. Is it possible to have a ceremony that reflects these beliefs?
A. Yes, absolutely! We always put the beliefs, values and wishes of the family and the individuals involved at the heart of their ceremonies. Many people we work with tell us they don’t identify with any one belief system or religion and instead they say they feel they relate to certain aspects of a number of different belief systems or thoughts. We enjoy creating ceremonies that are uniquely tailored to the individual(s) being celebrated.
Naming, Welcome and Family Ceremonies
Q. I want to have a Naming and Family Celebration Ceremony for our children. Will we have to pay more for your services as we have three children?
A. Absolutely not! The cost of our ceremonies are reflective of the type of ceremony you wish to undertake and the location and not the number of people involved.
Q. My husband is Atheist but I am a devout Catholic. Would we be able to book a Blessing for our baby daughter with you leading the ceremony and our family priest doing the Catholic Blessing?
A. From our side, absolutely! We are collaborative in our approach and always open to working with members of other secular and faith-based organisations. It will depend, of course, on whether your family priest is happy to work in this way but we would welcome the opportunity to be involved.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. Agnostic Scotland Celebrants are all self employed and, therefore, you are advised to confirm fees with them directly. The suggested Naming Ceremony Celebrant fee is £300 (plus travel costs over 50 miles and accommodation where applicable).
Q. We are worried our children will get bored during their Naming Ceremony. Is it better to wait until they are older?
A. We have many years experience working with families with children from babies to teenagers. Our Celebrants are wonderful at helping to make sure your ceremony will cater to the interests of all the people involved.