THE Humanist Society Scotland has overtaken the Church of Scotland to become the biggest provider of marriage ceremonies amongst all beliefs or religious groups in the latest population statistics from the National Records of Scotland.

In 2017 the society helped 3283 couples tie the knot – a rise of 8% on the year before – which saw it leapfrog the Kirk who carried out 3166 ceremonies, a drop of 14% on 2016.

Humanist marriage ceremonies were first given legal status in 2005, which means that in the space of 12 years, Humanist-led marriages have grown in popularity from a small community to the largest type of marriage outside of civil registrations.

Lynsey Kidd, director of services at Humanist Society Scotland, said: “These latest statistics are a major vote of confidence in the national Humanist charity’s meaningful and personal ceremonies.

“We know from couples that it is very important to them to have a ceremony which reflects and is delivered by someone who shares their beliefs and values.

“Humanist Society Scotland are now the number one provider of marriage ceremonies, more than any religious group or other belief body.

“These numbers also reflect a wider trend of a decline in religious identity within the Scottish population.”

Kidd added: “While it is important to recognise that faith plays an important part in a significant number of people’s lives, Scotland has become a nation where it is now the norm, not the exception, to have a non-religious Humanist approach to life.”