Online Humanist Ceremonies

In the second episode of the podcast Losing My Religion, I consider the benefits of Online Humanist Ceremonies.

I suggest that Online Humanist Ceremonies is a great way to avoid many of the pitfalls of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Benefits of Online Humanist Ceremonies

  • Removes the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus.
  • Affordable – far less expensive than gathering in one location.
  • Environmentally friendly – no flights, no diesel.
  • Relaxed – far less stress
  • Focus on what is most important: why you want to celebrate
  • Guests from all over the world can attend online safely
  • Intimate
  • Emotional
  • Inclusive
  • Solemn, where required
  • Humour and chilled, as appropriate

What ceremonies can be conducted online?

  • Symbolic Humanist weddings (non-legal)
  • Baby naming ceremonies
  • Renewal of vows ceremonies
  • Coming of age / civil confirmation ceremonies
  • Commemoration & memorial ceremonies

The second episode of the podcast also looks at the detrimental effects of children being taught to believe in non-existent deities and other untruths in their childhood. I see that as mental, intellectual and emotional abuse of children.

I have spent much of my life trying to unlearn the silly religious ideas I was taught in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.

This episode also has an amusing tale of my first time driving towing a caravan. Let’s just say gate post, hill and river. Listen to the podcast to hear more!

The time is right for Online Ceremonies

Online ceremonies seem to me to make great sense at this time.

Zoom – and similar software options – have proved highly effective for all sorts of gatherings. By using zoom or Teams etc your family and friends are gathered at the same time. They share the moment with you. They wish you well. They can see you and hear you.

They follow the emotional flow of the ceremony. They can contribute to the ceremony, such as by reading prose or poetry about love, relationships, friendships, commitment. They can witness your exchange of rings. They can hear your vows.

Clearly, such a marriage wouldn’t be legally binding. But you could conduct the legalities with the Registrar. Only the couple, two witnesses and the registrar are needed for that.

The cost of the ceremony would be substantially less than a ceremony conducted in person. Even the celebrant could avoid travel expenses and the time taken to get to and drive from a wedding venue.

What you want from a great ceremony:

  • Rapport with the celebrant
  • Living the moment
  • Feeling relaxed
  • Meaning shared
  • Personal
  • A structure
  • An emotional flow
  • A sense of a milestone celebrated
  • A sense of the profound
  • A sense of humanity
  • Stepping out of ordinary time
  • Humour
  • Relaxation
  • Setting the tone
  • Joy
  • Happiness

In fact, an online ceremony could be better than many ceremonies where everyone is at the same location. Often, there are just too many other things going on, too many distractions. And the meaning of the occasion can all too easily be missed.

A ceremony is about inner meaning, and shared meaning. People are with you in that moment, whether they are in Dublin or Dubrovnik, Kerry or Cairo, Aran or Milan.

Covid had nudged us to rethink so much already. I say: I rethink your big day…whether our wedding, baby naming or memorial.

A ceremony well led will bring people to meaningful places within, without the need for travel, a big spend or risking catching covid19. From the safety and comfort of their homes, family and friends can be with you in whatever moment or moments you want to celebrate.

Be creative. Think about it.