Post # 1
My FI and I are secular humanist atheists formally raised in the Catholic faith. We want a secular ceremony that reflects our values and beliefs (importance of family, human connection, nature conservation, love, etc). We, however, have many family members who belive in God and practice Christianity. Any ideas for incorperating spiritual elements in a secular ceremony without sacraficing our beliefs? Any other brides with faith systems vastly different from their families?
Post # 3
How about asking your officiant for ideas? Maybe they’ve had to deal with similiar considerations in previous weddings he/she’s done.
If there are any sections of the bible or readings that you’re still fond of for secular reasons, maybe you can that read aloud during the ceremony? Some of David’s songs sound more secular than religious…
Post # 4
- Wedding: September 2009 - Barr Mansion
This was my situation exactly! We found readings to use on Indie Bride. There’s a great (super long) thread there with tons of non-religious ceremony reading inspirations.
Post # 5
Someone posted a wonderful statement they used in their ceremony, but now I can’t remember it! It was an explanation of why they chose a secular ceremony, and it was beautiful.
I second asking your officiant. I’d also scour the internet for passages on the meaning of marriage, family, etc, and find ones that fit you as a couple.
Post # 6
I have been to a couple of weddings like this, and they can become really wonderful personalized events. What I have liked at many is when they take common religious events and then turn them into their own. For example in the traditional Indian hindu ceremony, there are seven steps that you take to vows said in Sanskrit (i.e. no one knows what anyone is talking about). My cousin took the meaning behind all of these, and wrote vows that encapsulated his relationship with his now wife along the same lines of the vows normally said. For you, perhaps instead of focusing on finding a strength in your marriage from God and the church, you can talk about finding strength from your family and heros. It’s a great way to pay tribute to those people most important and influential to you on your day.
Post # 7
My fiance is a hard-core atheist (I call him a card-carrying atheist), so I knew when we were meeting with our wedding officiant that I wanted to find a happy ground between absolutely NO mention of spirituality and faith and still having a very meaningful ceremony. And it’s fairly easy to do – as many have reccomended, definetly talk to your officiant about it (if you have one yet), they should have some great ideas to help you.
As a wedding celebrant myself, I’ve done many, many weddings for couples who were atheists but wanted a more traditional ceremony without the mention of God or a higher power to appease their family. The real key is to concentrate on your relationship, and your commitment to each other, instead of concentrating on making God or a higher power specifically part of your relationship and commitment. Many rituals and ceremonies within a wedding (sand ceremony, wine box or wine ceremony, unity candle, handfasting, circle of love, etc) can be easily re-imagined to not include any mention of spirituality or God. One of my suggestions is to follow a traditional outline for the wedding ceremony, which enables your family members to easily “follow along” with what is going on, and not get too confused or disoriented.
In the end, I think a wedding should be much more about the couple being married and much less about any over-arching spiritual dogma or beliefs. If you have any other questions about personalizing or creating your ceremony, feel free to check out my blog posts on Weddingbee PRO, some that deal with atheist weddings, my website, or send me a private message! I love to chat about weddings!
Post # 8
see Mrs Cherry pie for a good inclusive part regarding equal rights.
RUNNING to indie bride now b/c i have to finish our ceremony TODAY! 19 days left, sheeesh.
Post # 9
We had a completely secular ceremony, but the format was pretty traditional. I’m sure people noticed that there was nothing religious in it, but I don’t think they thought of it as “atheist.” We didn’t have any readings, so I can’t help with that, but I think that if you loosely follow a traditional wedding ceremony but modify the wording to be something you’re comfortable with, it should go over pretty well with your guests.
Post # 10
Oh oh oh! So many good ideas! Thank you all! We have an officiant who is a spiritual humanist and often does secular and humanistic ceramonies, but I am always looking for different ideas 🙂 I love the idea of doing a circle of love, perhapes with stones of cut wildflowers for us…thank you all!
Post # 11
@ Rosiebear- I was born and raised in Somerville, MA! Lived there for 21 years before leaving for law school. Right by Conway Park off of Central St. So nice to see another Somerville Bee!
Post # 12
Mine was completely secular, as well. I used Robert Fulughms “Union” to open, and we wrote our own promises (went back and forth with an “I Promise…”) then I took the traditional vows and changed them some. Just cut and mix and mash your own together!!
Post # 13
Thanks to whoever posted about Indie Bride! My FI and I are writing our ceremony now (and we really don’t have much time left) – and the hardest part about it is that I’m Episcopal and he’s a “card-carrying aetheist” too. So I will definitely check out the site!
Post # 14
We had a very basic ceremony. We didn’t really want anything religious in it. My ceremony is posted at : http://snowflakeswedding.blogspot.com/2009/11/our-wedding-ceremony.html
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Post # 16
My fiance and I are both atheists, but we’re in a very small majority among our families and friends. We’re including a moment in our ceremony where our officiant will offer people a quiet time to say prayers from their own faith, or simply wish us well, or daydream or whatever. We think it will be a nice way for our guests to include their own beliefs in a our wedding. Everyone we’ve spoken to about it seems very appreciative!