How to please religious people at a non-religious wedding

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
2178 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012 - Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

If you tell them “We did found our officiant. He’s fantastic. His name is John Smith” do you think they would then demand to know his church, background, etc.?


I do understand…there is one very religous member of my family who probably doesn’t consider me married because we weren’t physically inside a church when we said our vows. Our officiant was a paster, just not from the same denomination as the family member. So silly, isn’t it?

Post # 4
7997 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

I’d get married and not invite them. Elope. These people may be your grandparents, but they also sound like assholes. Not the being religious part, but the making you feel totally uncomfortable part.

Post # 6
2465 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2014 - Italian Villa

@AlmostMrsJPS:  We are also getting married without a speck of religion. (His aunt is officiating for us.) Our families aren’t quite so strict about it as yours, but I can imagine that a few people (aunts, mostly) will be a little surprised there is no mention of God. 

I think I would discuss it with your grandparents beforehand, so they aren’t surprised on the day of and make a scene. Something like, “Grandma, Grandpa, you have asked a few times about finding a minister for our wedding. FI and I decided that it would be most special for us to be married by our best friend. I know this may shock or upset you, but I want you to know how important it is to both of us to have you there to support us in this life-changing time.”

I imagine there will be some fallout for a little while, but I hope that ultimately they decide they cannot miss their granddaughter’s wedding. They have about 9 months to come to terms with it, so I would talk to them and then be a model grandchild from that point forward (call on their birthdays, send holiday cards, etc) so they don’t feel that it is appropriate to punish you.

Best of luck!

Post # 7
967 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I would tell them now so they can whine and wail without disrupting your wedding, as they presumably won’t be there. It’s their loss. 

Post # 8
2179 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2024

I would just tell them you found an officiant. If they decide not to come to your wedding then they are the ones that look bad. I know it would be hard on you, however you can’t hide who you and your FI are and what YOU TWO want for your wedding. You can’t please everyone.

Post # 9
4402 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@AlmostMrsJPS:  I would just tell them now, as painful as it will be. The next time they ask you about it, tell them that you have asked your best friend to officiate, and that you are so happy because it will be very meaningful to you.

By letting them know now, there is a tiny chance that they will get over it by the wedding (though it sounds unlikely). If they find out at the wedding, though, they’ll be shocked and may make a scene, which would be upsetting to you and unnecessarily dramatic.

At any rate, I’m sorry they’re being like this. As a “religious” person myself, I feel that while I’m sure they’re well-meaning, they’re really missing the point here. I hope they realize that their relationship with you is way more important than who your wedding officiant is.

Post # 10
1259 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I don’t think there is any way around it. You’ll just have to tell it like it is. Explain that you do not want to have a religious ceremony.

Post # 11
8480 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I would just tell them.  At least tell them now so they have a chance to get over it by the wedding.

DH has a mother and set of grandparents who are very religious.  He pretty much told his mother that “our wedding will not be religious and there will be plenty of drinking and if you don’t like it then you don’t have to come, but I will not be discussing it anymore with you.”  No one said anything about it after that.  Granted, they were not throwing a fit or saying they wouldn’t come, but he didn’t want to hear anything about it from the start.

Post # 13
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

Ugh, what a miserable situation!

I’d get it over with and tell them now. Maybe they’ll get over it by the wedding! (I hope!)

Post # 14
309 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@AlmostMrsJPS:  Absolutely tell them now.  Who wants to open themselves up to any drama on their wedding day?  I’m guessing it might be quite hurtful to you if and when your grandparents do not support your marraige so I would get it over with now so the dust is settled by the time the wedding comes.

If anyone told me I’m not a good person for not going to church or that anything about my life is shameful because I do not subscribe to their whacky religious practices I would be extemely excited to tell them about my religion free wedding.  In fact I COULDN’T WAIT to tell them.  Grandparents or not.  You are an adult now of your own free will and do not need to put up with insults like that.

Post # 16
871 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

@AlmostMrsJPS:  As someone who is religious I would never expect religion at someone elses wedding – it doesn’t sound like it fits you guys as a couple at all! So I would say do NOT compromise at all for your grandparents sake because it is not their wedding. As for telling them, I would wait as long as humanly possible. In fact, if you are comfortable with it, I would say something like “We have a few people in mind and I am getting really excited! OMG DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE FLOWERS GRANDMA?!” Once it gets close enough that just won’t work anymore you can say something like “Well our friend John Doe was discussing with us how we has always wanted to offiate a wedding and you know grandma like the bible says any place can be a house a worship and we feel God has brought all of our friends and family together to unite us in love and holy matrimony so we thought we should let John Doe do it! Isn’t that great?” (Side note: It really does say that in the Bible and I even though I am religious have used this line to get my more religious relatives to understand us not having a church wedding) 

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