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?

A humanist ceremony is non-religious and therefore has no worship or fixed rituals. They are based on what we all have in common – our humanity and human values. Each ceremony is created for the people involved, so is personal and unique.

2. Do I have to be a humanist to have a humanist ceremony?

No, a humanist ceremony is appropriate for anyone who would like a non-religious ceremony. The only guideline is that they 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 they have been inspired by a humanist ceremony.

3. What does a humanist ceremony contain?

There is no set format, so you can personally choose the words, readings and music. You have the opportunity to choose the words from sample scripts, or can have parts or all of your ceremony individually written.  There is a huge selection of poems and readings you can choose from but you are also free to incorporate words you have found or written yourself.

You can personalise your ceremony by incorporating a particular interest or theme.  Alternatively, you can include a symbolic act such as lighting candles or signing a certificate or commemorative book.

4. Can we include religion in our ceremony?

Generally, humanist ceremonies do not contain any religious content, such as prayers or hymns. However, in certain situations, some religious traditions may be incorporated.  For example, the 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 my ceremony?

My name is Debra Jessett and I am the celebrant for Inspirational Ceremonies. I have been conducting humanist ceremonies for the last 11 years and am accredited with Humanists UK. 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 commonly family and friends get involved by doing a reading or tribute.  They can also play an instrument or sing a song, act as witnesses or make promises or commitments. For example, in a Naming Ceremony as well as parents making promises to the child, guide parents and grandparents can do this as well.  You can also get the whole audience to make a joint promise if you wish.

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 a ceremony be held?

I conduct ceremonies any day of the week and at any time (within reason!) including evenings.

10. Where can we hold our ceremony?

You can hold a ceremony in the location of your choice, provided you have the necessary permission. This can be 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 I always advise you have some kind of contingency plan in case of bad weather.

If you are an outdoor lover and would like to hold your ceremony surrounded by beautiful countryside then look no further.  As well as being a qualified humanist celebrant, I am a keen walker and hold a Summer Mountain Leadership Award.  I have conducted ceremonies in a wide variety of outdoor settings, including the fell tops.

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 or commemorative book can be signed as part of the proceeding at any ceremony.  This is most commonly performed after vows or commitments are made or at the end of a ceremony.  I also will give you a final copy of your script in a presentation folder.

13. Do ceremonies include a rehearsal?

I include a rehearsal for most wedding ceremonies.  This usually works best a day or two beforehand at the location of your ceremony. It is helpful if all the key members of the wedding party are present; i.e. the bride and groom, bridesmaids, best man or woman, bride and groom’s parents and any readers or musicians.

For naming and vow renewal ceremonies, I talk things through prior to the day of the ceremony. On the day itself, I run through significant parts of the ceremony well in advance of it starting.

14. Do humanist ceremonies have legal status?

Vow renewal ceremonies do not need any legal requirements. In regard 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 a wedding, you still need to attend a register office to deal with legal formalities and obtain a civil marriage certificate. Most couples usually do this a day or two before their humanist ceremony.

15. Can we organise a ceremony at short notice?

Yes, I usually write and conduct funeral ceremonies within a week. For all other ceremonies, I require at least a month’s notice to arrange a meeting with you and then write and prepare your ceremony.

16. What area does Inspirational Ceremonies cover?

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

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

If you are interested in holding a ceremony I would love to hear from you!

Please call: 07879050778 or 01539 740365

Or send an email to:

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