Post # 1
Any other brides out there going secular regardless of the extended family’s religious beliefs? It’s really important to my fiance and me, both strongly atheist, that we have no mention of anything even remotely religious, but my extended family is Catholic. We haven’t mentioned the completely secular nature of our ceremony, and they’re not nosy enough to ask, but I was wondering if there were any other brides doing the same. Are you avoiding mentioning it so you don’t have to deal with it becoming a topic of discussion or are you shouting it loud and proud and fielding the questions and comments as they come?
I honestly don’t expect anyone in my extended family to notice the lack of god in the ceremony and even if they did they probably wouldn’t comment at the wedding, southern ettiquette being what it is.
Post # 3
My husband and I are both atheists. His family is more strongly religious than mine is, though mine is more judgmentally-faithful (i.e., faith only comes up when they think someone else is doing something wrong).
There was some discomfort when we announced our plans, but this is what we did:
We were married on the dance floor of our venue by my brother, who became an officiant through the Universal Life Church. In my state, it was legal for him to do that and didn’t cost a dime; he also didn’t have to submit any paperwork (just had to fill out the marriage license with the information he used to sign up with the ULC).
When it came up, we just said, “We wanted someone we know to marry us.”
“It’s cheaper and more convenient for everyone just to get married in the same place.”
I know our families knew the big, major reason…but our other reasons were so compelling that they could only agree.
My feeling is this: most people won’t say anything if they find out right before the wedding, but you also risk that some of the very opinionated bigmouths will get their piece in right away.
I’m glad that we mentioned what we were doing from the start, gave our reasons confidently, and plunked down all the money before anyone could really object.
Post # 4
@Trilly: both my & Dh’s family is extremely conservative southern evangelical christians, so we had the same issue. I would have been willing to compromise to an extent- such as hiring a UCC minister, but we are not atheist either so UCC fits with our beliefs for the most part. We ended up having a 100% secular ceremony- we got married legally in Mexico and unlike the US they have extremely strict secular wording for their legal ceremonies and they must be performed by a JP only- a minister or priest cannot legally marry couples. Most couples in mexico have a JP ceremony, followed by their “real” ceremony in the catholic church with a priest before god. Personally I LOVED that mexico had that policy- it’s much more separation of church & state in my mind and i wonder why the US doesn’t switch to that as well….
We had to field alot of issues from DH’s mom- she was dead set against anyone but a pastor/minister, thought our marriage would fail because we don’t have the church community to support us, and many more… We just dealt with them as they came, as calmy as possible, trying to acknowledge her feelings without compromising what we wanted. My family was super easy to deal with because I’ve been “out of the closet” so to speak about my religious beleifs/lack of for upwards of 10 years now, so they know nothing they say will change my mind so they just don’t bother now. But DH just doesn’t want to break his poor mom’s heart by telling her he is not christian and it raises a few issues here & there for us but nothing we can’t deal with along with some patience!
Post # 5
My dad’s whole family is Catholic and we had a secular wedding, as my DH and I are not religious, despite being raised that way. I’ve never had a discussion with my family about my decision to leave the church, and frankly, don’t want to. A few of my aunts gave me advice on getting married again a year later in a church, and I just smiled and nodded.
The only thing that was an issue for our wedding was the “grace before meals”. My uncle was MC for our wedding, and he brought up having a grace, and I didn’t want to get into why we weren’t having one, so I said okay I’ll find someone to do it. I found a non-religious “we are thankful” reading, and asked one of my bridesmaids to read it. It got weird though because I didn’t put “amen” at the end, so when she was done reading it, it was kind of awkward at the end, and my aunts and uncles ended up all say “AMEN” loudly.
Post # 6
I was raised Jewish and my FI was raised Catholic, and while our parents consider themselves religious, we absolutely do not consider ourselves religious at all. For that reason, we chose to have a completely non-religious ceremony. We met with our officiant and let her know that we wanted no mention of religion, God, “blessings,” etc., and she said that’s becoming more and more common and that she’s happy to do it.
My parents were a bit disappointed but got over it pretty quickly. They are well aware that religion is not a part of my life. Only every now and then does my mom ask if we’re planning on having a Chuppah or if my FI will break the glass (she’s asked maybe 2-3 times now, even though she already knows the answer).
However, because we’re having a non-religious ceremony, my parents think that the ceremony will be about 5 minutes long and not be as serious. So maybe when you have to tell your parents you can make sure that they understand it will be just as serious (not in tone per se, just not a joke ceremony) and beautiful and meaningful as any religious ceremony could be.
Besides my parents, no one ever asks me if the ceremony will be religious/non-religious. People seem far more interested in the food/cake/theme/music situation than the actual ceremony!
Post # 7
My in-laws are super christian, and my own family has both a rabbi and a bunch of people who post pictures of Jesus on facebook all the time.
We had no mention of anything even remotely religious. The closest we had to a prayer/blessing was a moment of silence to acknowledge both gender inequality and people who couldn’t get married because of their sexual orientation. If people were upset, no one said anything.
Post # 8
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@Trilly: My husband is an atheist and I’m agnostic. Our families range from lip service Christians to bible school teachers. We wrote our own vows specifically to exclude any religious words, phrases, or quotes. I think my husband even added a line about us being bound to one another not by God but in respect and loving partnership for each other. I’m sure we offended at least a few family members but it’s no secret that we’re secular so we didn’t care, the wedding was about us and our marriage.
Post # 9
My mother and her side are very religious, some of my father’s side also, my fiance’s mother’s side are also strongly religous. I’m strongly athiest and my fiance is agnostic-athiest. I plan on there being no mention of god during our wedding, but also no mention of my plans to omit this. It’s just not going to be there. Luckily the grand majority of our familys know why this would be the case, and most are too old school to make a scene. The only thing even remotely religious that I would possibly consider would be the 1st Corinthians reading “Love is patient, Love is kind….”
Post # 10
We are going secular because we don’t have a choice! Weddings in Turkey are all civil and thankfully very, very brief. It’s a good thing because FI is Muslim, and I was raised Unitarian but don’t really have strong feelings one way or another, but I know my family would have wanted to include something spiritual in nature. I think it just saved us a lot of family drama knowing that our ceremony will be completely void of religion.
Post # 11
We had a secular wedding regardless of my crazy religious family.
My mother tried to outright shame me for it. It started when we ended up discussing the timeline of the reception, and I didn’t mention anyone saying grace over dinner. She snapped at me and said I was horrible for taking that opportunity away from her, but I stood by my decision.
And of course our ceremony was also secular, but this did not get discussed. Luckily whenever my mother asked anything about it, I could always answer “I don’t know – the ceremony isn’t written yet.” It worked well enough, but she was definitely suspicious and concerned. I knew it would only upset her though, so I didn’t talk about it. In the end, she LOVED our ceremony. We did incorporate private prayer via a ring warming (passing rings among the guests, allowing each to say a silent prayer/wish for the couple), and she says that was so incredibly moving.
As far as other relatives go – they thankfully had enough tact to not say anything directly about it. I could tell that at least two of my snootiest relatives definitely recognized that there was no prayer/scripture/gods/etc in the ceremony, based on some of the subtle things they said. But they were not outright rude by any means.
So in the end it was all fine. We had the best wedding, and our ceremony was everything we dreamed.
Post # 12
My fiance and I are both athiest/non-religious. I grew up with 2 former hippy parents, where as he grew up in a massive Catholic family going to private Catholic schools until college. He has 15 Aunts/Uncles total, and I think 10 out of 15 are religious/conservative. So, the feedback from his family should be interesting. I actually have a tinge of secret pleasure at the thought of making them uncomfortable. My entire family loves to drink and have a good time, and his family are mostly reserved… Should be a fun day!