(Closed) Atheist/Agnostic Bees with Religious Families

posted 6 years ago in Secular
  • poll: Did anyone have issues with your secular wedding?
    Yes, and my family is NOT religious : (4 votes)
    6 %
    Yes, and my family is religious : (28 votes)
    42 %
    No, and my family is NOT religious : (14 votes)
    21 %
    No, and my family is religious : (20 votes)
    30 %
  • Post # 3
    9916 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    My uncle, who is an Episcopal minister, is officiating our wedding…which will be completely secular.  I asked him if he would be willing to marry us, and I explained that neither of us feels comfortable with the religious aspects of marriage, and he was totally okay with it.  I think it depends on the family member’s personal view of religion.  My uncle sees everyone as individuals, leading individual lives, who come to God (or do not come to God) in different ways.  If you have family members who think there is only one way to worship God, I can see how a secular service would be problematic for them.

    Post # 4
    12 posts
    • Wedding: December 2012

    We had a very short, secular ceremony. My husband’s family, especially his grandmother, are southern baptists. My parents know I’m an atheist and are religious but not practicing. My husband is Christian but non-practicing. We allowed his family to pray for everyone before dinner but that’s the only thing I gave into. It really helped that we had his friend marry us and his family had no say in the ceremony. His family doesn’t know where I stand but I’m sure at this point they known I’m not very religous.

    Post # 5
    334 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: February 2013

    My background is very similar to yours and my parents initially struggled to get excited about our wedding when I told them I would not be having it at the church where they met and married. Though it may be surprising for some of the extended family members who are not unaware that we aren’t religious when there is no mention of God in our ceremony, it feels very important to us that the ceremony is reflective of us as a couple and the family we are creating together. However, I am working really hard to make my ceremony incredibly moving, meaningful, and focused on love and family. I’m hoping that even without the religious aspects of the ceremony that it will be positively received.

    Post # 6
    9118 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2012

    I don’t exactly fit into the poll. I had a religious reading at my JoP wedding but my husband and I are not religious. I am a “devout” atheist and he is a “devout” agnostic.

    My mother, however, is a spiritual but non-practicing Catholic. My father is Agnostic.

    HIS mother is very, very spiritual Christian that attends church on particular holidays. HIS father is not “religious” so to speak but very spiritual.

    We are not having any sort of religious reading at our “formal wedding” in June, but we didn’t feel like going crazy atheist on the JoP and it was actually very tastefully done. It was mostly readings about the significance of rings & how we are bonded together.

    Our parents are not having issues with our lack of religion at our formal wedding, and both sets of families are kind of religious.

    Post # 7
    9 posts

    I’m having the same conflict. I’m agnostic– leaning athiest– with some deep seeded anger towards the catholic church. He is agnostic, but willing to go through the motions in order to avoid conflict.

    My parents are catholic, but only go to church on holidays. My problem lies with his parents. He is quite a bit older than me (20 years)– so obviously so are his parents. They are definitely very old school catholic (& both in their 70s, so a little less exposed to the whole athesit/agnostic thing…) & go to church EVERY morning.

    I already have secular readings picked out & have a friend who officaites secular ceremonies beautifully. I want the day to be about us & our love — not a religion that neither of us ascribes to & at times that I find to be offensive.

    Anytime this comes up in conversation– we usually end up dropping it to avoid agrument & figure we’ll work something out further down the line…

    Sorry — I know this really isn’t anything of an answer to your original post– but definitely know that there are other people out there going through the same thing with you!



    Post # 8
    8576 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2014

    Both fi & I are agnostic.

    We aren’t having any readings [My mother got SO angry at this. She even tried telling me that nobody would marry us if we didn’t have any readings, and that our family wouldn’t come because it’s expected – I called her bluff and did some googling, turns out we can use a town treasurer, win! And most of the time, people roll their eyes through readings anyway].

    She still isn’t very happy with our decision.

    Fi’s parents are religious, but they understand that we aren’t. And they understand that NOT having a religious ceremony won’t make us any less married.

    That being said, we’re still doing the exchanging of rings, & sand ceremony. But really that’s about it.

    I’m hoping our ceremony is no longer than 30 minutes, including processionals.

    Post # 9
    1075 posts
    Bumble bee

    I didn’t answer the poll since I’m still waiting,but my sister has already dropped a “I don’t know how you can have a real marriage without God” comment. It was in relation to another atheist relative, but it does not bode well for my own wedding! I just wanted to sympathize with you ladies that had to deal with that sort of attitude during your wedding.

    Post # 10
    1880 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    We are having a completely secular ceremony. My parents are not religious but some of my extended family are – however mostly Methodist so they are more wishy-washy religion than anything. My fiance is not religious but his whole family is Mormon. So uh. We expect some stuff to happen there. They keep asking why we aren’t just using a minister to marry us. Uh, how about because you mentally abused your son for the two decades of his life that he lived with you and now he is virulently opposed to any form of organized religion? EVER THOUGHT OF THAT???? But they seem to think that since he is getting married, he will be giving up his heathen ways and coming back into the fold. Not friggin likely, unless he wants to end up divorced.

    Post # 11
    32 posts

    I’m an atheist, but my beau as a “casual catholic”. However, our families (especially my FIL’s) are SUPER religious. SUPER.

    Because of this, we will be having a catholic wedding (I’m catholic on paper). To me, it’s no biggy. Yes, it’s supposed to be “our day” and our wedding should be how we want it, but at the end of the day… It’s just one day of an awesome life that we will share. If it pleases our parents and makes them happy, then so be it. Then again–I’m a push over!

    But, this way… I won’t have to hear “well, you two heathens weren’t married in the church,” for the remainder of their lives 😛 So, a catholic wedding it is!

    Good luck! Try not to obsess/fight/debate over it. Just be happy you’re in love. 🙂

    Post # 12
    732 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    I am Agnostic and my Fiance is Atheist. When I moved in with my Fiance before we were engaged, his father came by to convince us not to do it because we will be living in Sin. When we wouldn’t listen, he sent a book about the sins of living together before marrage. He always sends us books and vidoes about how we should trust the bible and invites us to church all the time even though we told him it was not what we want. We haven’t discussed with him that we aren’t getting married in a church and will have a completely non-religious ceremony. This is because I don’t think I owe him an explination. If he actually listened when we told him that we are not religious and that is just who we are, then he won’t be surprised by it. 

    Post # 13
    15 posts
    • Wedding: May 2013

    I voted yes even though my wedding isn’t until May…Both of our families are conservative evangelical, and I’m bracing myself for the backlash when we settle on a venue- one of our frontrunners is a fellowship hall that a unitarian friend suggested. Neither of our families are okay with the ‘all inclusive’ kind of thing.  

    We also get the passive-aggressiveness from his mom sometimes, asking about where we plan on going to church and if her pastor is going to do the ceremony…

    Post # 14
    11233 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013

    This is why we aren’t telling anyone about our ceremony. Fiance and I are both Agnostic, but come from religious families. Future Father-In-Law tried to talk Fiance into getting married in a church for his grandparents, my grandma suggested we get married in her church (I might have considered it had her old pastor been there, but ultimately would have said no anyway), and Future Mother-In-Law tried to talk us into using the pastor who married his brother (who’s an Atheist? so I found that odd, but whatever). All anyone knows is that we’re getting married in a local park. They’ll find out that it’s a secular ceremony with no prayer, no readings, Celtic influences, and a handfasting, and I don’t want to hear any negativity or “I wish you’d had [insert religious thing here].” Being that we’re not believers, it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to start our marriage with any religion, you know?

    We do have one guest who knows what we’re doing, but only because he offered to officiate (he’s officiating a wedding this summer). We’re using a local couple who officiates and has wonderful reviews from lots of non-traditional/non-religious brides.

    Post # 16
    435 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    @bowsergirl:  I was just telling a story about my fiancé to my mom and I casually mentioned that we wouldn’t be having any mention of god during our ceremony (the story had NOTHING to do with my wedding or god or ANYTHING — I just happened to mention that) and she cut me off and said, “WHATEVER”. I was like “ummm, okay, rude, Mom!” Anyway, I am atheist and my fiance is a catholic/agnostic, my parents are religious and his parents are RELIGIOUS. Apart from my mom that one time, no one has really argued yet but I know that my Future mother-in-law is sad as are probably all of my parents.

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