Inspirational Ceremonies

Ceremonies and celebrations mark important times in our lives. Inspirational Ceremonies will work with you to create a ceremony that recognises and celebrates your special day in the way that you wish.
More information about humanist ceremonies from Humanists UK

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Humanist Ceremony?

Humanist ceremonies are non-religious and therefore have no worship or fixed rituals. They are based on what we all have in common – our humanity and human values. What all humanist ceremonies have in common is that they are always created for the people involved, so each one is unique and personal.

2. Do I have to be a Humanist to have a Humanist Ceremony?

No – they are appropriate for anyone who would like a non-religious ceremony. The only guideline is that humanist ceremonies do not contain any religious content such as prayers or hymns. Humanism aims to reach out to everyone and religious people often comment on how inspired they have been by a humanist ceremony, and how closely they could relate to all that took place.

3. What do Inspirational Ceremonies contain?

There is no set format so you can personally choose the words, readings and music, including any vows or commitments. You have the opportunity to choose the words from sample scripts, or can have parts or all of your ceremony individually written. There is also a huge selection of poems and readings to choose from or you can include something of your own, such as a piece you have written yourself.

Ceremonies can be personalised by incorporating a particular interest or theme or include some form of symbolism such as lighting candles or signing a certificate or commemorative book.

4. Can we include religion in the Ceremony?

Generally, humanist ceremonies do not contain any religious content and they cannot include prayers or hymns. However, in certain situations some religious traditions may be incorporated which may be appropriate to the families involved e.g. Jewish tradition of breaking a glass or marrying under a canopy.

5. How is a Ceremony created?

After speaking to you on the telephone I will arrange an initial meeting with you to design your ceremony. I will discuss with you possible options and what you would like your ceremony to contain. I will then write a draft ceremony and after close liaison by email and/or telephone produce a finished copy.

6. Who will conduct the Ceremony?

My name is Debra Jessett and I am the celebrant for Inspirational Ceremonies. I have been conducting humanist ceremonies for the last six years and am accredited with the British Humanist Association. The main service that I provide involves preparing and writing a ceremony and then finally presenting the ceremony on the day. However, if you would like someone else to deliver your ceremony then I can offer a script only service.

7. Can we involve family and friends in our Ceremony?

Yes – most often family and friends get involved by reading or giving tributes, playing music or singing, acting as witnesses or making promises or commitments. For example in a Naming Ceremony as well as parents making promises to the child supporting adults and grandparents can make promises as well. And in all ceremonies the whole audience can be asked to make a commitment to the couple, family or child/children.

8. How long do Ceremonies last?

Ceremonies generally last from 20 to 30 minutes depending on what is included i.e. the number of readings, whether music is played, a certificate is signed or any other symbolic gesture is incorporated such as lighting candles.

9. When can Ceremonies be held?

Ceremonies can be held any day of the week and at any time (within reason!) including evenings.

10. Where can we hold our Ceremony?

Ceremonies can be held in the location of your choice, provided you have the necessary permission. They can be held at either an outdoor or indoor venue – in a special garden, at a hotel or historical building, on the beach, in a marquee or at a beauty spot. However, if you are planning to have an outdoor ceremony it is advisable to have some kind of contingency plan in case of bad weather.

For those who would really like something different, I have had wide experience of working in the outdoors and am a qualified Summer Mountain Leader. So if you would like to have a ceremony on one of the Lake District ‘s hills or mountains or by one of its lakes or tarns – just ask!

11. Can we hold our Ceremony at home?

Yes – I would just need to discuss with you what you have planned for your ceremony and how this would best be accommodated in your house or garden.

12. Is there a Certificate or a Souvenir Record of the event?

Yes – a souvenir certificate can be signed as part of the proceeding at any of our ceremonies. This is most commonly performed after vows or commitments are made or at the end of a ceremony. A copy of the final script is also presented.

13. Do Ceremonies include a rehearsal?

All Wedding and Civil Partnerships Ceremonies include a rehearsal which is usually held a day or two beforehand at the same time and location as the actual ceremony. It is helpful if all the key members of the wedding party are present; i.e. bride and groom, bridesmaids, best man or woman, bride and groom’s parents and any readers or musicians.

For Naming and Vow Renewal Ceremonies we talk things through prior to the day of the ceremony. On the day itself we run through significant parts of the ceremony well in advance of it starting.

14. Do the Ceremonies have legal status?

None of the ceremonies hold legal status. Vow Renewal Ceremonies do not need any legal requirements. In regards to Naming Ceremonies you still have to legally register your child’s birth at the Register Office to obtain a birth certificate. The same also applies for Funeral Ceremonies in that you have to legally register the person’s death at the Register Office.

For Wedding and Civil Partnership Ceremonies couples still need to attend a Register Office to deal with legal formalities and obtain a civil marriage or civil partnership certificate. Couples usually do this a day or two before their humanist ceremony.

15. Can we organise a Ceremony at short notice?

Yes – usually I write and conduct Funeral Ceremonies within a week. For all other ceremonies this depends on availability and at least a month’s notice is required to arrange a meeting with you to then design, write and prepare your ceremony.

16. What area does Inspirational Ceremonies cover?

I cover South Cumbria and North Lancashire including Windermere, Ambleside, Lancaster, Sedbergh and Ulverston. I am also willing to consider travelling to areas in North Cumbria and North Yorkshire such as Keswick, Penrith and Skipton. Please enquire if you are outside these areas as I am also prepared to consider requests on an individual basis.

17. I would like to hold a Ceremony, what should I do?

If you are interested in holding a ceremony then either call: 01539 740365/ 07879 050778 or send an email to:

Alternatively complete the contact form on this website. Your query will be answered as soon as possible.