Post # 1
Fiance and I are having a non-religious wedding. We are atheists and his family is religious– we respect their beliefs and they say they respect ours, but they always have to bring up the fact that we are not religious. Our ceremony will be officiated by our best friend and will not include any prayers or mention of God.
Yesterday my future fil asked if we would be okay with his cousin, who is a pastor I have never met, giving an invocation at the start of our reception because “everyone else at the wedding believes in God” (which I feel is a pretty bold assumption). It’s not like I would be offended if someone decided they wanted to say their own silent prayer for us, but I really don’t feel comfortable integrating it as such a prominent part of the reception.
After asking more about it, I realized my in-laws are embarrassed of the fact that we aren’t religious and seem to be more concerned what other family members think rather than respect our wishes for a religion-free day.
What would you do? Would you include something you honestly aren’t comfortable with on your wedding day to make family members happy? I have a genuinely great relationship with my inlaws and don’t want to upset them, but I don’t know if we should compromise on something we feel so strongly about.
Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any advice.
Post # 2
Um, absolutely not. Stick to your guns. And this is coming from a devout Christian (who would not permit a non-Christian or un-Christian invocation at any event I was hosting or was in my honor).
Post # 3
as someone who is non-religious and plans on having a ceremony similar to yours I don’t think I’d budge on something like this. I want to represent myself and my SO during our ceremony. I don’t want to pretend to be something I’m not just to please my parents or ILs.
Post # 4
If everyone else at the wedding believes in God, they can go to church on their own time. A secular wedding is absolutely something I was not willing to compromise on.
Post # 5
SunshineSmiles: Yea as a christian I still feel that respect is due to everyone no matter if you agree with their choice of the way they want to live their life. My grandmother is very upset that I’m not having a typical church ceremony. However it is still religious ceremony Fiance and I stuck to our guns. As long as you and your Fiance are in agreement then do what you want and are comfotable with.
Post # 6
Your wedding is your own, you base it on YOUR & FI’s beliefs, thoughts, and wants. Politely decline FIL’s request saying thanks for the thought but no thanks, it’s not your “cup of tea”.
Post # 7
SunshineSmiles: We had the same issue and after many fights, misunderstandings, etc we just decided to stand our ground. I’ll spare you the details but it was the one BIG thing neither of us felt comfortable compromising on, for anyone. Luckily, my family is used to dealing with this issue with me so they knew not to ask or impose or else all hell would be cut loose. However Darling Husband is not as open with his mom so she made quite a few colorful comments including trying to reschedule our entire wedding in another state, with a pastor, complete with a excel budget for us… She’s a wonderful woman, but we are both very passionate when it comes to our (very different) beliefs.
Post # 8
- Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas
Heck no! How bizarre would it be to have that at the very beginning of your ceremony – it would totally set the tone, and then the non-religious stuff wouldn’t make sense. Don’t pacify your Mother-In-Law in this.
Post # 9
As a Christian who had a secular wedding, I did this – had a friend of the family say a prayer before the meal – because I knew my Mother-In-Law would appreciate it (though, in my case, she never once asked for it or objected to our plans for a non-religious wedding – I have awesome in-laws).
I regretted it in the end because it mentioned (mildly) marriage between a man and a woman…something I disagree with and one of the reasons I wanted a secular wedding.
My point is – don’t do it if you don’t want to. They’ll be fine and no one else will even notice if you don’t have one.
Post # 10
- Wedding: July 2013 - The front lawn of our church
SunshineSmiles: I’m an extremely devout Christian and I think that you should politely decline to have the prayer. Honestly, as a Christian, it’s more offensive to me for someone who is not a Christian to “put on a show” for a special event than for God to be left out of it entirely. I’m not saying you would be putting on a show, but because of your beliefs, I’m assuming it would be insincere for you to have a prayer at your wedding.
Post # 12
SunshineSmiles: Fiance and I are also atheists and having a secular ceremony with no mention of any religion at all. I have very religious relatives in my family and we won’t compromise on this. If the tables were turned, they wouldn’t leave religion out of their ceremony or important milestone to make you feel comfortable. When they go to business meetings, secular events, etc., many times there is no invocation before a meal or any mention of a deity at all. Yet they survived. They will also survive your secular wedding and reception.
If it’s something you feel strongly about, you shouldn’t have to compromise it for in-laws who are worried about what other people think.
Post # 13
Overjoyed: +1. I am a Christian, but I would not compromise my values to suit others. For example, if we want to bless the food at our ceremony, I would not skip doing that to suit non religious. By the same token, you should not violate your beliefs to appease others.
Post # 14
Ps I am terrible with bible citations. I grew up Catholib. But I’m certain there’s a verse that deals with praying in front of people for show’s sake. If your inlaws think the food or ceremony should be blessed, it’s between them and God and a silent prayer will work.
Post # 15
Nope. Don’t do it.
My daughter is Lutheran, her fiance Baptist, but their officiant is Methodist, so that the service can be more neutral. We’re debating about a prayer at the beginning of the meal, since we have a lot of diversity – and at least 1 atheist and 1 Buddhist.
If they can’t swallow 1 bite of food without saying a prayer over it, they can do it in silence.