Post # 1
My FI and I both grew up Catholic. My family is not religious at all and I was actually given a choice by the time Confirmation came around and I said I did not want to join the church. My FI’s family (Mom, Dad, Extended Family) are all deeply religious.
Both of our mothers have passed away and we did, at the beginning of wedding planning, had thought about getting married in the church for the memory of our moms (if his mom was alive, she probably would refuse to attend our wedding if it wasn’t in the church and my mother would have liked the idea of a church wedding). However, we both feel it wouldn’t be us and it would be hypocritical to have a Catholic wedding when we don’t attend church and (for me, a lot but for my FI a little less) we do not believe in most of the tenants in the Catholic religion.
Last night we had my FI’s Dad and Stepmother over for dinner. They wanted to know about wedding plans and we updated them about the venue we found and the date. Then my FIL asked what church we were getting married in…I was shocked to be honest because although he is deeply religious he has never mentioned to us that he’d like us to attend church nor does he ever force his views on the Catholic religion on us (Stepmother is a different story but she was relatively agreeable with our decision -insert SHOCKED face ).
So my FI took the lead on this (SOOO proud of him for it) and said that we were just going to have our ceremony at the venue and we’d forego a church wedding. My FIL was very disappointed – not angry or judgemental – just disappointed. My FIL is one of favorite people and my first thought was “Well, we’ll be getting married in the church then…” But I truly do not want to get married in the church. I hate being/feeling like a hypocrit and I really don’t want to have my marriage starting out on that foot.
We are the type of bride and groom to be accommodating and flexible about most things. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make anyone uncomfortable but there is a point where we need to say “This is our wedding and our marriage so we are going to do what we feel is right for us”.
Kind of a venting post but also have any of you had this experience and what did you do?
Post # 3
I’m sure there were people in our families that were surprised/disappointed by our secular service but honestly it didn’t bother me in the least. You are absolutely right in feeling like it is up to you and your FI to decide what kind of ceremony to have.
I think it’s great that you are worried about your guests’ comfort, but if they aren’t comfortable just because they you aren’t having the kind of ceremony they would have, then it’s their own problem, not yours.
Post # 4
My parents are fine with the idea of a secular ceremony, my mother agrees with me that it would be inappropriate for me to have a Catholic wedding because of how I feel about religion.
When my mom took my grandmother out to lunch a few weeks ago, the first thing she asked about the wedding is what kind of religious ceremony it would be. When my mom told her it wouldn’t be a religious ceremony my grandmother told her that wasn’t a good idea and I should reconsider. I haven’t seen my grandmother in person since the engagement, and now I am worried about what will happen next time I see her.
Post # 5
@BrewCityBRIDE2014: So far with my wedding planning I’ve had to be steadfast with my decisions and keep telling myself “this is my wedding, I am going to do what I want to do” and something along the lines of “I can’t please everyone, and if I try to please everyone, I won’t please myself.”
Example: I chose not to have my 21 year old FSIL in my bridal party. We have had a lot of problems over the years and she just had her first baby and is going through a lot right now in her life, so I made my decision and I have had to stick to it. My FI at first was very disappointed, but now seems ok with it since I explained my (many) reasons. My FMIL is upset with my choice and really seems to dislike me for it. But, I made my decision and I wasn’t going to change it.
I’m not sure this example completely fits here, its a very different situation. My general point is just that I had to make a decision, and I did. I hope that was helpful (not sure it was!) but my recommendation is to go with what feels right to you. If you do ultimately decide to get married in a church instead, will you be walking down the aisle of that church thinking to yourself “this isn’t what I really wanted”? You don’t want to regret any part of your wedding day that you have control over.
Post # 6
i understand how you feel, though my situation is slightly different. i’m not religious, my fiance is catholic, and we are getting married in france since he is french. my dream was to have an outdoor ceremony, and everyone was happy with this (but having a religious ceremony – that was our compromise). but in france, they have a rule that to have a religious wedding ceremony it HAS to be done inside a church. i was absolutely crushed, as i really felt i couldn’t feel happy or right about getting married in a church that has no meaning to me.
but luckily we have a very understanding and liberal priest marrying us, and we came up with the best plan we could. we’re having a very short, “bare bones” ceremony inside a small chapel just with the bridal party and family, and then having a full ceremony outdoors with all the other guests, that will include all the readings, our own vows, etc.
i don’t know if this would work for you, and i can understand if you don’t want what would essentially be two ceremonies. for us though, we are already having to get legally married in the UK first before the wedding, so adding another ceremony wasn’t a big deal to us, especially since it was the only way to get around the rules (and also something that makes my fiance’s father happy, who like you, i really adore). i hope this might give you some ideas!
Post # 7
A lot of Bees have felt the same way. I have a thread along similar lines: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/atheistagnostic-bees-with-religious-families#axzz2Lmw2Oy70
Honestly, the ceremony should be the most personal part of the whole wedding. I wouldn’t compromise and do something that isn’t you. You’ll end up regretting making religious vows that mean nothing to you.
But I agree it really stinks when people we’re close to frown upon it. I hate disappointing others too.
Post # 8
Well, my mom has a nice little sh1t fit when I told her my FI and I were planning a secular wedding. She flipped out saying how she raised a Jewish girl and there must be a rabbi YADDA YADDA YADDA.. ugh. FI and I took a step back from wedding planning until we figure out how to work this. She already knows I’m athiest, so I’m not sure what the point is. FI is not even close to Jewish lol MEH but he said he’s willing to have a Jewish ceremony if it’s what I want to please my parents. MEHHHHH
Post # 9
Thank you for the responses.
@Natalieh86: You are totally right about it being their choice not to come. My only issue with that is that my FI and I would be totally devastated if his Dad cose not to attend (we actually know that about 1/2 my FI’s aunts and uncles won’t attend b/c it’s not in a church) But I know that he’d never do that so it won’t be a worry for us.
@pixiecat: I’m sorry for the stress about your grandmother. I think that we are the unfortunate generation that gets to go against their families religious views and become secular. I’m sure your grandmother will come around. Just let her say her peace and then explan why you don’t feel that her path is the path you’ll be choosing.
Well right after I posted, my FI woke up and we decided that it is just too against our views to get married in the church even though we know FIL is disappointed about it. We’re choosing us on this one I guess 🙂
Post # 10
My FMIL was pretty set on wanting us to have a church wedding. I don’t know why, considering none of us are religious and she’s never been to church that I know of. My mom is also religious and wanted to know if we were having a church wedding, but wasn’t set on it or anything.
The way I explained it was, I want a ceremony that is meaningful to us. I’m not going to have it in a place dedicated to a religion I have no part in. Church architecture is pretty, yes, but it isn’t us. And more than that, I feel like it would be disrespectful to get married in a religious building when I have nothing to do with that religion. I would be going through motions that are entirely empty and meaningless to us, and I would probably feel like some sort of hypocrite for doing it.
So if anyone’s disappointed by that, well sorry, but they can do what they want for their wedding and we can do what we want for our wedding. And we’re also the ones footing the entire bill, so unless they want to drop a few grand, we’ll make our own decisions.
Post # 11
@firefliesinthesky: Same here. FMIL attends church on Easter only, never prays, or does anything religious at all, and yet she was shocked when we didn’t want to use the pastor who married her other son. I was SO confused, and she kept pushing it.
We just aren’t telling anyone that it’s a secular ceremony. They’ll find out when they get there, and they can suck it up or leave. I know FFIL tried to convince FI to have it in a church for his grandparents, but backed off pretty quickly when FI said no. No one knows that we’re doing a secular-with-pagan/Celtic-influences ceremony, since everyone expects a religious one to please the religious people in the family. They’ll get over it, because this is OUR wedding and OUR choice. It would be pretty stupid to start our marriage off with a religious ceremony when we aren’t religious, you know?
Post # 12
I’m glad you remember that it is your wedding and your marriage! It should reflect you and your fiance. Not anyone else. Don’t feel guilty. I think it would be disingenuous to incorporate elements you don’t believe in and that is a bad start to your marriage! You are committing vows/starting your life together, and for me, I could not start it off by faking it. We haven’t told my fiances parents that our ceremony will be secular or that we are agnostic atheists. Living in the South, sometimes these things are better left unsaid. If they don’t bring it up, I’m not going to either! If they are surprised when they get there? Oh well, life is full of surprises!
Post # 13
@vorpalette: Yeah, we aren’t advertising ours as secular either. We aren’t going to explicitly reference that it’s secular during the ceremony, the religious aspect will just be absent. If someone chooses to get offended about it because another person has different beliefs (or non-beliefs), they can either deal with it or go home. If it were still a religious ceremony, just a different belief system, no one would bat an eye; I hope the same courtesy can be extended to mine.
Post # 14
I’ve had a bit of this from my extended family, but in that snide way, like “I feel it’s not a proper wedding if it’s not in a church but SOME people do different things” etc. FI’s family are so uninvolved I’m not even sure they know where it is.
FI is baptised Irish Catholic but is an atheist, and I was never raised in the church and a capital-A atheist, so there was never any question that our ceremony would be secular. People might be disappointed, but ultimately it is your wedding and I think people often end up disappointed if they cave in to the wishes of others to keep the peace when it’s not what they want.
Post # 15
I have had to listen for the past couple months “you need a minister”, “why don’t you want to get married in a church?”, blah blah blah blah… Needless to say, I’m not interested in a religious ceremony, and neither is my fiance.
To stop the questions, we hired a minister to do a civil ceremony for us. Everyone knows it’s a minister, and they are assuming it’s going to be religious. It’ll be quite the surprise when they realize there is no religion in the ceremony. I know it was a total cop-out, but so far it’s worked for us.
Post # 16
This is definitely a battle I picked. The ceremony is so important – we didn’t want to compromise on it. We did however, ask FIL to read a blessing to give a nod to our parents. It was something we picked that focused on our relationship as husband and wife and wasn’t very religious.