A humanist celebrant conducting a wedding ceremony for a couple, Andrew and Callum. The photo is taken mid-vows in front of flower wreaths and a large window looking out to fields. The celebrant wears a blue dress and raises a hand. The couple stand either side of her in magenta velvet suits.

Far more humanist weddings than Christian ceremonies in 2022: National Records of Scotland

July 20, 2023

The Humanist Society has welcomed new figures showing that far more humanist weddings were conducted than Christian ceremonies in 2022. The National Records of Scotland (NRS) released the figures as part of a larger set of data, showing a huge rise in wedding ceremonies during 2022, comparable to the post-war booms of 1919 and 1945.

NRS statistics show that more humanist weddings were conducted in 2022 (9,140) than faith and other belief-based marriages of all kinds combined (8,072). The contrast between humanist and Christian ceremonies was still more remarkable, with over four times as many humanist weddings as Church of Scotland weddings (1,954), and over three times as many humanist ceremonies as Church of Scotland and Catholic ceremonies combined (2,894). Overall, Humanist Society Scotland trained celebrants conducted more marriages in 2022 than in any other year in the organisation’s history.

We commissioned research last year from YouGov which found that around a million fewer Scots identified with Christian groups than in 2011. (In 2011 53% of people in Scotland identified as Christian – by 2022 that had dropped to 33%.)

Our CEO Fraser Sutherland said:

“With the last lockdown restrictions easing early in 2022, lots of couples who had to delay their planning were finally able to get things back on track and tie the knot. But we also need to bear in mind the impact of longer-term shifts toward non-religious worldviews across Scotland’s population. It’s no surprise to see both these factors reflected in the amazing figures just published by the National Records of Scotland.”

Image: Humanist celebrant Maureen Kettle conducts Andrew and Callum’s wedding at Enterkine Country House. C. Archibald Photography.

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