Humanist Funerals

Humanists accept death as part of the natural order but we also know that loss can be a sad and difficult time.  All HSS Registered Celebrants work to standards and are trained, mentored and regularly reviewed to ensure that they can provide a personal, fitting and meaningful ceremony for your loved one.

A humanist funeral ceremony places the life of the deceased at the centre and your celebrant will spend time with you learning about your loved one’s life and personality and about the memories you would like to share.  Your celebrant will then weave these together to tell the story in just the right way, as a celebration of your loved one’s life.

As with all our ceremonies because our funerals are all personal and unique they are flexible and usually include readings, poems and music; your celebrant will help you with these decisions and will have lots of experience and suggestions.

We recognise that amongst those attending humanist funerals there may be people of faith and although we don’t include acts of worship such as singing hymns and prayers there is usually a period of quiet reflection where those in attendance can chose to remember your loved one in a way that is right for them and their beliefs.

Normally when you engage a Funeral Director they will contact a celebrant on your behalf but you are free to contact us or one of our celebrants directly.  You may know the celebrant you would like and can advise your Funeral Director of this.  Should your Funeral Director be arranging your celebrant please specify that you wish to have one from the Humanist Society Scotland; the longest standing and largest provider of humanist ceremonies in Scotland and also our national charity for humanists.

You may find our leaflet, Celebrating Lives and Legacies helpful. If you would like hard copies for you or your organisation please contact us at You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

Our fees

HSS Registered Celebrants are all self employed and therefore you are advised to confirm fees with them directly.

The fee you are charged will include the time to arrange your ceremony, a meeting to discuss it, and its preparation which includes all correspondence and communication, and of course its delivery on the day.  We are a Registered Charity and Celebrants contribute part of their fee to the HSS to allow us to continue to invest in the development of humanist ceremonies and develop our campaigns and charitable work.

As a guide you can expect to pay around £180 for a funeral ceremony or £220 if you require an extended ceremony.  There may also be additional expenses such as travel costs; your celebrant will be able to advise you.

HSS Registered Celebrants make no charge for a funeral for a child or young person under the age of 16 years.


The HSS ceremony promise

Your humanist ceremony will be to mark one of life’s most important events. That is why we take your booking seriously. As the longest standing provider of humanist ceremonies in Scotland we support and co-ordinate our nation’s largest and best known group of Humanist Celebrants. Every year our celebrants conduct thousands of ceremonies and we’re committed to ensuring that every one is unique and of a consistently high quality. To demonstrate our commitment to you and your ceremony we are the only provider to offer the HSS Ceremony Promise; all HSS Registered Celebrants are covered by our Promise as are all their ceremonies.

1. Be Assured, We’re Insured
We are delighted to have a reputation for providing high quality ceremonies and service. Although it is only occasionally (only about 0.5% and we conduct around 7000 ceremonies each year!) that problems arise with our ceremonies you can be assured if you book an HSS Registered Celebrant they are covered by our Public Liability Insurance.

2. We’ve Got it Covered
It is very rare that the celebrant you have booked is unable to conduct your ceremony; and this would only be in extreme circumstances such as serious illness. However, as the largest provider of humanist ceremonies in Scotland we have the network to find you a replacement, even at very short notice. We have office staff available to ensure we can respond quickly to any emergency with minimal stress to you. Although unlikely to happen, always ask your chosen organisation how they provide cover in emergencies.

3. Developing Skills to Give You the Best
All HSS Registered Celebrants must complete intensive training and mentoring programmes before they are registered to conduct any type of ceremony. Our celebrants are regularly reviewed and also participate in ongoing practice development opportunities.

4. Setting the Standard
All our celebrants work to a set of standards to ensure that your experience is the best it can be. Our celebrants are also subject to a complaints and grievance process. If, in the unlikely event you have any concerns about your ceremony please raise these with your celebrant directly in the first instance. If this proves difficult please email and we will do all we can to resolve the matter.

5. Best of All, We’re a Charity!
The Humanist Society Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity and you can read about us here; our accounts are published annually. As a charity we campaign for a fairer Society; provide humanist ceremonies, including funerals for those under 16 at no charge. We’re also really proud to be the Humanist organisation that worked hard for legal humanist marriage in Scotland.