Post # 1
I noticed there aren’t many new threads for atheist/agnostic/humanist brides.
Our weddings tend to present themselves with an extra set of challenges including but not limited to:
Family anger about a non-religious ceremony.
Anyone currently experiencing this? Is your family religious or non-religious? How have you made religious guests comfortable without sacrificing your beliefs (or lack there of)?
Would love input as I plan my secular wedding!
Post # 2
My family has pretty much come to terms with our non-religious lifestyle. My fiance’s family is a little more touchy about it – his parents are strict Catholics. I think it helps that we are older (I’m 32 and he’s 38 and has been married before), so they’re kind of used to us now.
Our officiant suggested starting off with a kind of non-religious “blessing” or having the audience recite the Lord’s Prayer – to appease the religious group who might otherwise be a pain. We are still working out the details of our ceremony, but I think we are leaning towards doing that.
Post # 3
Overall our families do not seem to have a problem with our secular wedding, but FH’s brother is extremely, extremely religious and we are bracing ourselves for any disappointment they may voice. We’re still a year out, though, so not much knowledge has been shared.
We’re trying to treat it as we would any other difference in opinion with this weddingy stuff – we’re paying for it, we’re hosting it, we’re getting married. Come and celebrate, or don’t and we’ll catch you later.
Post # 4
This was me. DH’s family is Cathoilc, mine a mix of Protestant/Catholic. Darling Husband still considers himself Catholic, but doesn’t go to church. I’m agnostic. I found some random minister online to do our ceremony… and omg he was awful, lol. I had him to do the Our Father just to throw the religious family members a bone, but it was so our of place in my 5 minute ceremony.
Post # 5
teacherwedding: I’m atheist. Fiance is agnostic. We had a non religious short and sweet ceremony performed by a marriage commissioner. We eloped, if you look up our Alaska Glacier Elopement you’ll find it. FI’s grandmothers were the only ones upset about the non-religious elopement, everyone else was supportive, even my aunt who is a minister. We had a vow renewal and dinner cruise with family when we got home and my aunt actually officiated and used the same vows we said at our elopement whole keeping it non religious (which we were so glad she was sensitive to our beliefs.)
People may have initial shock and not be sure what to think at firat, but at the end of the day you’re getting married and everyone will be happy! 🙂
Post # 6
Most of my family are very religious christians. My husband and are atheists. Most of my family knows this. There was no wringing of hands or nashing of teeth about my ceremony. What we wanted for our wedding simply wasn’t up for discussion. If never occured to us that we had to tell anyone ahead of time that their deity of choice would not be mentioned at our wedding. For my family, even the religious ones, open vs. cash bar is what would cause a debate. I think they’d let satan himself officiate than go to a cash bar wedding.
We picked a fantastic officiant who has performed many religious and secular ceremonies. We were very clear with her that we did not want any mention of deities or spirituality. So she ended up writing a ceremony that told our love story. She walked around the room as she told it and it was deeply personal. To this day my grandmother tells me how much she loved our ceremony, how the words and feelings touched her. We didn’t do anything to make religious family feel comfortable. How could they be uncomfortable? They are at the wedding of people they love. It’s not like they will burst into flames if they don’t hear about some sort of mysticisim for the few minutes your ceremony will be.
My advice to you is have the ceremony you want. It’s the most important part and is truly about you and your partner. Do not compromise, as you may regret it.
Post # 7
teacherwedding: We’re having a fairly religious ceremony (not as religious as Future Mother-In-Law would like), because Fiance is a Christian and I’m an atheist, and he wanted some praying involved. It’s not easy to figure out how to strike a balance, but as long as it doesn’t get TOO religious, I’m kind of meh about it myself. Don’t know if that helps you or not. I’ve never actually openly discussed my lack of religiousness with his parents, should be interesting, since Future Father-In-Law is the officiant and insists on premarital counseling. Whee!
Post # 8
teacherwedding: Oh boy am I with you here. Fiance and I are atheists, which is difficult as he comes from a large Irish Catholic family and I come from a large Baptist family. We are the ONLY secular people in our extended family, so that’s been tough. Cousins have been trying to be kind by offering to let me borrow their jewelry as my “something borrowed” but they’re all pushing me to wear a cross necklace of some kind, despite knowing my beliefs (or lack thereof). My grandparents desperately want me to have some sort of blessing by God in the ceremony (which is NOT occurring in a church, duh), and they’re pretty pushy about it. We’ve told them that this is our ceremony, designed around our beliefs, and if they would like to pray for our marriage privately (without us) they are more than welcome to do so.
My ceremony is more than two years away. I shudder at the thought of what will come up over the next two years with all of this. Fiance and I can’t even sleep on the same level of the house when we visit his aunt and uncle or my paternal grandparents.
I think ultimately as long as you remember that it’s about you and your fiance, they’ll just have to get over it. We found a fun color-coded family-inclusive handfasting ceremony to do, so that’s been exciting to think about!
Thanks for this thread! It’ll be neat to hear what everyone else is doing and how they’re dealing with the struggles!
Post # 9
We aren’t religious. Our family is fine with this (I was raised Carholic even). It’s not an issue. We are including two readings at our wedding, neither is from the Bible (one from the Velveteen Rabbit and the othwr from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin).
Post # 10
I consider myself Deist while Fiance is Agnostic. My family is all Christain while FI’s is a mixture of Agnostic/Atheist and Catholic/Christain. So big pressure from my parents. I’m doing a spritual non-denominational ceremony, having the officiant read from The Alchemist, and my officiant is a Philosophy teacher instead of the standard preacher/whatever. No one in my family knows this, but after the wedding I’ll be off to the honeymoon then moving àcross country so who cares?
Post # 11
We are atheist and told our officiant we wanted a secular ceremony, but he snuck in the “Love is patient, love is kind” shit despite our request to keep it non-religious. I kept my cool during the ceremony, but I complained to the venue afterwards. He was the only one who didn’t respect our wishes. Our family didn’t care, our friends didn’t care, no one else at the venue cared… just this one guy who never met us previously decided it was his place to insert his beliefs into our moment. Totally disrespectful and I am still pissed about it to this day because it’s on our wedding video.
Post # 12
Atheist bee! It’s caused some tension in my Italian Catholic family, but no skin of my bones for being true to me. My S.O. was raised/brainwashed by his mother into being very ‘Christian’, but once he went off to college his eyes opened to the real world and he hasn’t looked back. His mother is still extremely religious and pressures us about tons of related subjects to the point we’ve had to cut her off for a time until she could behave herself. She’s going to blow a gasket when she finds out I will not be having a church wedding, nor will we have religion mentioned in our ceremony. If she can’t get overself and stop ruining her relationship with her son, she knows where the door is!
Post # 13
I’m atheist Fiance is agnostic. We never discuss religion with family. I was raised Catholic and am divorced. I think some of my family is not going to come because of it but I’m honestly not bothered if they don’t. They never talk down and are very kind and loving to me but I just don’t think they will come and I’m ok with that. Fiance family though….they don’t know I’m atheist because I don’t run around talking about anything religion related. They be in for a shock when our vows are read and see the officiant is FI’s commanding officer lol. It’ll be interesting but whatever happens I don’t care what they think.
I’m not doing anything special for the religious people that attend. It’s our wedding, our event, I’ll be happy to have a list of local churches for the Sunday following for out of town guests but I’m not incorporating it into my day.
Post # 14
teacherwedding: I was one! None of our family had a problem with it, which was nice. We got married on the beach in Hawaii. Our Hawaiian officiant, whom we really liked, was Christian but we requested he remove the Biblical parts, which he did. We personalized the ceremony in a few other ways and wrote our own vows, and it was great!
Post # 15
We are non-religious, but so are our entire family. Some (very few) of our friends are religious, but they love us for who we are and will support our non-religious wedding as much as we supported their full-out catholic wedding (with mass and everything).
*hugs* I can’t really imagine what you’ve got to deal with, but I bet it sucks.