Atheist Secular Ceremony + Deeply Religious Family

posted 6 years ago in Secular
Post # 3
Member
578 posts
Busy bee

i have a feeling i may be in the minority with my opinion… I am so sorry you have to make this hard decision. It most definitely is your day, and ultimately up to you. If I was you, though, I would try to keep the peace. They are your family, they raised you, they love you, they care about you. I would put in some traditional Christian aspects that they want. I know it sucks, cuz it’s not even what you believe, but I believe it would be best for everyone.

just a couple little things here and there, to keep your family sane.

that’s just my two cents, though

Post # 4
Member
1925 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

My Fiance and I are both atheist too.  I come from a moderately religious family, he comes from a combination non-religious (his parents/siblings) and moderately religious family (his extended family).  I told my parents about 6 months ago that we are both atheist.  They were very upset, but definitely not heartbroken over it, like I suspect your family may be.  I know for me having religious elements in the wedding just to keep the peace would make me incredibly uncomfortable and upset because (and this may offend some, sorry) religion is against my core values of science and evidence-based thinking.  Anyway, I personally would not do it.

Of course, only you know what you can do.  Do you think that if you tell your family that you and your Fi are atheist if they would disown you or not attend your wedding?

Post # 5
Member
583 posts
Busy bee

Do you think they will make a scene at the cocktail hour or the reception if the ceremony happens and it’s not religious enough for them?

I kind of have the opposite experience.  I used to be an atheist and now believe in God but am not religious by any means.  My Fiance is Christian but doesn’t go to church unless we’re visiting his parents.  My family is half Jewish, 1/4 Christian, and 1/4 Atheist and FI’s family is fairly Christian.  We’re having a religious ceremony (very religious as far as my feelings but in actuality probably run-of-the-mill religious) and I”m worried what all my atheist family will think!!

Post # 8
Member
129 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I think I would try to keep the peace with them, in order to avoid not only probable wedding day issues but also further related issues in the future. I would try to incorporate the traditions that make me less uncomfortable.

Post # 9
Member
998 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Sent you a PM πŸ™‚

Post # 10
Member
184 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@wildflowerbee: So she should be totally unhappy and have a ceremony that doesn’t reflect her beliefs just to appease her parents?  Quick question…if your parents converted to satanism, and demanded that you sacrifice a goat at your wedding…would you do it to, ya know, keep the peace??

 

@redstarburst:  You need to sit down and have an honest conversation with your family.  Lay it all on the line, and tell them exactly what is going on and how you feel about it.  I have been very honest with both my own family and FI’s family about this topic.  We have made it clear that we will not be disrespecting their beliefs as long as our beliefs are not disrespected.  We have let them know that a breach in that respect will be handled very seriously.  At the end of the day, our families would rather have a relationship with us as atheists than not have a relationship with us at all.  It’s all about respect.  Life is so beautiful and complex because we all have differences.  If they can’t understand that much…I would honestly re-think whether or not their influence is a positive one in your life.

Post # 11
Member
205 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

I would never do something on my wedding day that was not true to who Fiance and I are. My Fiance is atheist and I am agnostic and his entire family are Mormon (they are very cool though and wouldnt try to push their beliefs on our day.) We are not having ANYTHING religious in our ceremony and if someone tried to pressure us to then I would find that highly disrespectful. You and your Fiance are grown-ups, I say get some backbone πŸ™‚

Post # 12
Member
578 posts
Busy bee

@LR2012:  to keep with your example… if my family was all satanic, and loved me and raised me that way, etc.. i would try to do what i could to appease them on a day that is truly uniting two families.

on a more realistic note, one of my best friends recently married a man who was raised hindu. his whole family is hindu, and obviously expected him to have a traditional hindu ceremony. She whole-heartidly cooperated with a special ceremony where she dressed in the traditional clothes, wore a bindi (forehead jewel)- the whole nine yards, for her wedding. Because even though thats not what either the bride or groom believed, it is what his family expected, and they are good people and only want the best for the couple.

not saying the OP has to go to that length to appease her family, just saying i think it would be the most gracious thing to do, to show some attempt at keeping her family comfortable, and not making it a day they regret. it doesnt have to be a day the OP regrets, either. there can be some middle ground

ETA: she also had a traditional Christian wedding the same weekend. I loved how it all went together… It really connected the entire, new, huge, strange family πŸ˜‰ 

Post # 13
Member
184 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@wildflowerbee:  But *because* my family is loving and awesome, they have given us the freedom to have a wedding that makes us happy…one that reflects us and not them.  They realize that while a religious ceremony was right for them…they cannot dictate what others (including their own children) believe.  We all respect eachother’s differences.

While it is nice to think of the comfort of others when it’s possible…I simply don’t feel that compromising your beliefs at your own wedding is one of those times.  Part of being a gracious guest is respecting the wishes of the bride and groom.  For example…I think that dollar dances and cash bars are pretty tacky – but I certainly wouldn’t rub that in a couple’s face, or discourage them from doing those things if they felt that they reflected their vision for their wedding.

Post # 15
Member
1686 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We’re also atheists, so I understand why you don’t want a religious ceremony. That said…

Have you considered asking your dad, or one of your relatives that’s a pastor, to lead a prayer at the ceremony? Obviously this isn’t important to you, but it is important to your family, and I don’t see anything hypocritical in letting your family ask their supernatural deity to make your union healthy and your loins bountiful or whatever you pray for at weddings, if that’s something that is really important to your families.

Of course, I’m a second generation atheist and don’t have any kind of personal relationship with a religion. I even genuinely thank religious people that pray for me. (Doesn’t matter to who. πŸ™‚ It’s a nice sentiment that they’re wishing good things for you, even if it doesn’t actually do anything. I know some atheists, often those with strongly religious upbringings, can have a really negative relationship with religion, and if that’s the case for you or your Fiance, obviously you should disregard my suggestion.

Also, to PPs: I don’t think the families deserve upbraiding for trying to dictate the wedding ceremony–the OP says that they haven’t told the family they’re atheists, which is part of the problem.

Post # 16
Member
10367 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Weddings are about establishing you and your SO as a new family unit. That means that the ceremony should represent your beliefs – not someone else’s! Consider this a first test in boundary setting. Nobody gets to decide your faith but YOU!

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