Celebrating Love With a Humanist Wedding Ceremony with Jean Barrett Quinn

Mar 03 2020

Dawn-Elyse & Josh's Larchfield Estate Walled Garden Ceremony with Jean Barrett Quinn

My name is Jean Barrett Quinn and I am a Humanist Wedding Celebrant who creates bespoke, non-religious, meaningful and inclusive wedding ceremonies in Northern Ireland. I work with amazing couples who want to celebrate their love and their decision to choose each other for the rest of their lives.

What is a Humanist Wedding Ceremony?

Humanist weddings put the couple at the heart of the ceremony and celebrate the joy and commitment they are sharing. A Humanist wedding ceremony is inclusive, joyful and utterly hand-crafted which deeply reflects the couples personal beliefs and values.

Is the ceremony legally binding on the day?

YES! Choosing a licenced venue such as Larchfield Estate will enable couples to have a legally binding Humanist wedding ceremony. The tough decision will be which of the unique ceremony locations will you choose?! I am an accredited celebrant through the charity Humanists UK, which means I am authorised to perform legal ceremonies.

Why choose to have a Humanist Wedding Ceremony?

– Dawn-Elyse and Josh – Larchfield Estate July 2019
“Josh & I had an amazing experience working with Jean. We chose to have a humanist wedding because we wanted a unique and meaningful ceremony that was personal to us, rather than a scripted service. We hoped our wedding would be authentic to us and the lives we live, especially because the ceremony is the most intimate part of the day. Jean got to know us as a couple and understood our vision for the ceremony we wanted. She was able to guide us through the format of the ceremony, highlighting the most significant parts of our relationship, while also including some humour to make our guests feel at ease. It felt so meaningful to say our vows after Jean had shared our personal journey together up until our wedding day. It was lovely to reflect on those moments and it heightened how special it was to be marrying one another.’’

Dawn-Elyse & Josh's wedding day at Larchfield Estate by The Twins Weddings

Who can have a Humanist Wedding Ceremony?

Couples who want to celebrate their love in an authentic, non-religious way. If you value kindness, fairness, equality, tolerance and love then you already share fundamental Humanist Values! Humanist wedding ceremonies gained legal status in Northern Ireland in 2018, and have already become one of the most popular ways for couples here to tie the knot. In January 2020, a land mark law change saw same-sex marriage legalised in Northern Ireland.

What happens during the ceremony?

Ceremonies can follow a traditional structure including readings, poems, music, vows and a ring exchange. Humanist ceremonies can also feature unique symbolic exchanges such as Hand Fasting, Sand Blending and Candle Lighting to name a few. The ceremony can be as long or short as you choose but are usually around 30-40 minutes. Ultimately, your ceremony shouldn’t be something you endure; it should be a celebration and set the tone for your day. By the end of the ceremony, your guests should feel like they know you both better and of course, you are legally married!

Eimear & Ryan's Larchfield Estate ceremony by LIT Photography NI

Éimear and Ryan – Larchfield Estate - October 2019
“It was important to us for our wedding ceremony to represent our values, we wanted all our guests to feel welcome and as though they were a part of the ceremony. Having a Humanist ceremony really allowed this to happen. We really enjoyed preparing for our big day with Jean, she helped us tailor the ceremony to exactly what we wanted which was personal, inclusive and mostly fun (it was a laugh a minute!). On the day itself the ceremony perfectly set the tone for our day, it was relaxed and somehow intimate despite the number of people! Jean not only made us feel at ease but also our guests! It was our favourite part of the day and we would do it all over again in a heartbeat!”

Do we have to get married at a particular time or day?

Choosing a Humanist wedding ceremony gives you the freedom to choose to get married at any time of the day or night on any day of the week! Fancy a romantic ceremony by candle light or exchanging vows as the sun rises? All of these options are available, however most ceremonies take place in the afternoon. It is always a good idea to speak with your wedding planner first.

We live overseas but will be returning to the Northern Ireland for our wedding. Can we work together from a distance?

Most definitely! Many couples I work with live abroad so it is not usually possible to meet face to face until the day before the wedding or in fact, the day of! This is never a problem as we build a relationship and collaborate via video calling, emails and messages in the months before the wedding.

When should I book?

As soon as feels right for you however I would recommend enquiring soon after you book your venue. To give couples my full attention, I only book one ceremony a day and have enquiries 2-3 years in advance.

“Every couple has a love story to tell regardless of age, race, sexuality or background and it is my privilege to tell it” - JBQ

Find out more about Jean:

Additional Credits: 
Dawn-Elyse & Josh's flowers by Rosehip and Berry Floral Studio
Eimear & Ryan's flowers by Flowers by Mee