They're happy, they're humanist... and they're a British legal landmark

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The Independent Online

Britain's first humanist wedding to be legally recognised has taken place at a zoo in Edinburgh. Karen Watts, 29, and Martin Reijns, 27, (pictured) celebrated the start of their new life together after marrying yesterday in the landmark ceremony.

Until now, couples who chose a humanist ceremony had to undergo a second, civil ceremony to make their union legal. But under laws introduced in Scotland this year humanist ceremonies, which are non-religious, can take place without a minister or civil registrar.

The couple, who posed briefly for photographers following the wedding at the Royal Zoological Gardens, have been together for six years. Ms Watts and Mr Reijns sealed their love by exchanging vows they had written themselves. The couple did not want to marry in a civil ceremony because they felt them to be too impersonal.

The wedding did not reject tradition entirely - the bride wore a white dress while the groom wore a morning suit.

The ceremony was conducted by Ivan Middleton of the Humanist Society of Scotland, who is among 12 of its members granted the right to conduct marriages legally by the country's registrar general from 1 June this year.

Humanists believe people get just one life and should try to make it as worthwhile and happy as possible without "supernatural" help. Humanist weddings were legalised by the Registrar General for Scotland, who re-interpreted Scots marriage laws as seen by the European Convention on Human Rights.