Humanist Weddings

As of this year, we are pleased to mention we’ll be opening the formal gardens, woodland trail and wider parkland to host humanist ceremonies. With an array of garden styles, sizes, colours and ambiances, including structured, romantic and relaxed outdoor spaces, the grounds at Penshurst Place are the ideal location if you’re looking for an alfresco celebration!

So, what is a humanist ceremony? A humanist ceremony is a non-legal declaration of your love that can take the same format as legal ceremony, and it is growing in popularity among couples seeking more flexibility in their big days. As UK law stands today, legal ceremonies can only take place in licensed interior and outdoors spaces. If you wanted to legally marry outdoors, you must do so under a licensed fixed structure, such as a lake house or at Penshurst Place, under the gorgeous Kings Tower in the Inner Courtyard.

So why have a humanist ceremony if it’s not legal? There’s a lot more flexibility in regard to curating your ceremony with a humanist ceremony. There are no set vows or statements which means your ceremony needn’t follow the normal itinerary if you didn’t want it too. You have complete freedom to create your own readings, write your own vows and include things in your ceremony that you may not have been able to in a legal ceremony.

If you’re hosting a humanist ceremony but still wish to have a legal union, you could host your legal ceremony ahead of your humanist ceremony in any of our licensed rooms with, for instance, just your legal witnesses. Alternatively, you could legally marry a few days before or after in any other licensed space of your choice, such as your local registry office.

We know that many couples got married in 2020 under heavy restrictions and may not have had the wedding day they had wanted – a humanist ceremony can go some way into providing that for you. With your legal declarations already passed, celebrating with a humanist ceremony once restrictions are lifted is a fantastic way means to bring all your loved ones together, with a much more flexible choice of locations, readings and the chance to write your own vows.

So whether you opt for the ornate, renaissance-inspired Italian Garden, the romantic and sweetly-scented Rose Garden, the Nut Garden surrounded by its colourful carpet of spring flowers, rambling roses and wild flowers, the orchard covered in softly swaying grasses and ancient apple trees, or the ancient woodland and the beautiful backdrop of the lake, your humanist ceremony at Penshurst Place will be surrounded by fresh air and the sounds of the Kent countryside, which in our opinion, is the best backdrop for your humanist celebration.