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  • Pat Clarke-Browne

Humanist or Civil - what's the difference?

I get a lot of people calling a Humanist wedding a civil ceremony and it can get a bit confusing as to which is which!

A legal Civil ceremony is one performed by a HSE registrar and can only be held on Monday to Friday as they don't work weekends. It is also secular and does not allow any religious content. There may me some more requirements for your venue if a Registrar is performing your ceremony regarding Public liability insurance and accessibility, the venue must be on their list of allowed venues.

A legal Humanist ceremony is one performed by a Humanist Association of Ireland Celebrant.

It is also a secular ceremony but we work any day of the week and do not require the same additional requirements for a venue. The venue must meet the minimum requirements if being open to the public and having a permanent address.

All other legal Wedding ceremonies fall under the Religious category regardless if the actual ceremony content delivered on the day. So a "non religious ceremony" delivered by for example an interfaith minister or Spiritualist is still a religious ceremony and is registered with the HSE as such. It may not be a big deal to some people but when a couple goes to the trouble of planning a secular ceremony only to find out will actually registered as religious can be very upsetting.

I hope this short guide will answer most peoples questions but feel free to email me with any other queries.


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