The Pink Triangle Trust

Affirmation Ceremonies

Photograph of group affirmation ceremony

A Humanist Ceremony of Love and Commitment

Do you want a ceremony to celebrate your relationship, conducted perhaps in the presence of friends and family? Something like a wedding, but without a religious aspect? Traditional in a way, but fresh, personal and tailored to your needs and personalities as a couple?

If so, a Humanist affirmation ceremony could be what you are looking for. This can be arranged by the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT), the charity set up by the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA). Ceremonies of love and commitment for same-sex couples have been offered for many years and they have received publicity on television and in the Which? Guide to Getting Married.

We call our Humanist ceremony an “affirmation” not a “blessing” because it is non-religious. It is nevertheless a serious and dignified way of celebrating a relationship and for a couple to make their promises to each other.

Photograph of male couple

What is Humanism?

Simply, a view of life that is non-religious and free of superstition, and which recognises the equality of everyone and the good within us all.

We believe that we should care for one another, and that we should all be free to find our own happiness as long as no-one else is harmed in the process. A useful guiding principle is “Do as you would be done by.”

Even if you have religious friends and relations, you will still be able to design a ceremony that everyone will respect and enjoy. Most people find that they can share the Humanist way of thinking. Particularly lesbians and gays, who feel included in a moral outlook which values diversity.

What are our ceremonies like?

No two are the same, as couples are encouraged to be creatively involved in the planning stage and to use their own ideas.

There is always a statement of the couple’s love and commitment to each other, frequently accompanied by an exchange of rings. But apart from that there may be music, poetry and contributions from friends and family.

The important thing is that the ceremony should be personal, sincere and meaningful.

Photograph of female couple

Who conducts the ceremonies?

Mainly, they are conducted on our behalf by celebrants trained and accredited by the British Humanist Association. The PTT makes sure that they are particularly sensitive to lesbian and gay needs before recommending enquirers to them. Some of them are lesbian or gay themselves and members of GALHA. Some are recruited directly by us.

Where do the ceremonies take place?

Many couples choose to have their ceremony at home, perhaps in the garden if the season and weather permit; others opt for a pub, club or hotel. Sometimes a significant place will be chosen – even, in one case, a mountain top!

The cost?

The PTT charges a small arrangement fee to help cover expenses. Fees charged by the celebrants are modest and vary according to the travelling and work involved, which will always include a planning meeting with the couple well in advance of the great day, and there may even be a rehearsal. Normally, the PTT will establish what the fee is likely to be and inform couples before recommending them to celebrants.

John and Gareth describe their ceremony ...

Our ceremony was at home – on our hearth-rug – and conducted by a Humanist friend. It was perfectly simple. There were hospitality drinks for the few friends and family present, followed by the serious bit – some words about us, our relationship and the meaning of love and commitment.

Then we exchanged rings and made our undertakings to each other. A highlight was when the celebrant, a Welshman, read a love poem in Welsh, which was intelligible to one of us at least! After that, the toast to the happy couple and a general move to the buffet.

Did it make any difference? Well, yes. We had shared the meaning of our relationship with the people dearest to us. We had acknowledged their importance to us and they had been able to show us their love and support.

Photograph of affirmation ceremony


If you wish to have an affirmation ceremony arranged or require further information, please telephone George Broadhead on 01926 858 450 or e-mail

For some further examples of ceremonies that have taken place over recent years, have a look at the series of articles on affirmation ceremonies published in the Gay and Lesbian Humanist magazine. Please note that information about individual ceremonies is not published without the consent of the participants.


URI of this page :
Created : Sunday, 1998-01-18 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
Brett Humphreys :