Post # 1
Has anyone found a non-offensive way to alert a minister that they are not religious and would like a ceremony that keeps to a minimum (or eliminates) references to God, blessings and so on? We were going to use a friend with an online ordination, but they are not recognized by the state of North Carolina, and it’s hard to find a magistrate who wants to work on a Saturday….
Post # 3
I’d probably just be straightforward about it. "FH and I aren’t religious and would prefer to not have religious references in our ceremony. Would this be possible?" I guess the minister’s willingness might depend on what denomination he/she is and how strict they are.
Or, there are people called celebrants that are usually non-denominational people that are licensed to perform weddings. They’re usually very liberal and willing to do all sorts of ceremonies and will usually work Saturdays.
Post # 4
I would continue your search for a magistrate.
I say this bc my own father is a minister and I know that if he were confronted with a statement implying that a couple did not want any or as few references about God in their ceremony, it would not go over well and he would decline to perform your ceremony. (Based on the belief that marriage is a holy union ordained by God thus God would have to be included)
Not to say all ministers are that way…..just the ones I am familiar with…..I’m not sure about NC but in SC where I live, anyone who is notarized can also marry you, so perhaps you can check into Notaries?
Have you posted on Craigslist? Considering there are a lot of people not having religious ceremonies, there’s got to be people out there performing them! 😉
Post # 5
Forgot to mention: not sure how it works where you are, but we had our legal ceremony performed by the sheriff. Deputies can also perform wedding here, apparently.
We also wanted a friend to marry us, but didn’t want to have to worry about the legalities (or paying someone just to read our own vows back to us!) so we just got legally married a week before and had our friend perform our ceremony at the wedding. So that’s also an option.
Post # 6
Who can perform marriage ceremonies:
<font color=”#3366cc”>North Carolina</font>
Any ordained or licensed clergymen, and justices of the peace.
bluegreenjean, I’d just find a justice to do it and avoid offending a minister. I’m non-religious too, but I’m in NY and any public official can do it. (i.e. judges, county clerk, mayor, justice, etc.)
If anyone else has questions of who can legally marry you check this website: Its listed in alphabetical order by state.
Post # 7
What about a Unitarian officiant? A lot of them are open to more civil ceremonies. We’re stuck in the same boat – not sure about the legality of a friend doing it, not religious in the least, not sure who we can ask to do it…
Post # 8
Not sure if NC has something similar, but in Massachusetts you can apply for a 1-day designation as an officiant for a marriage. That’s what we did. $25 and a letter to the Governor and we get to have a close family friend perform the wedding we wanted. Worth looking into.
Post # 9
I agree with GetMarried4Less….if you want a church minister to marry you, you will probably have to incorporate religion.
Post # 10
A friend of mine is a Methodist minister and I asked her to do a ceremony that was non-religious and she declined. I was sad but knew it was a good possibility that she would say no.
Post # 11
Yeah, most ministers are religious officiants because they hold those beliefs deeply, and to do a ceremony that disregards those beliefs for whatever reason is something most of them will really have a problem with. But a Unitarian officiant might be ok with doing a lot of talk about love and the universe, so look into it.
Post # 12
I agree with PP’s who said that ministers would be hard-pressed to avoid religion in their wedding ceremonies. My Future Sister-In-Law asked her uncle (a minister) to keep her ceremony pretty secular, but she got one that was pretty religious, despite her wishes.
I’d continue to search for a magistrate. I called my local County Clerks office and they provided me with a list of JoPs that do weddings.
Post # 14
Thank you for asking this question… I’m about to go talk to our minister that was reccommended by my Mother-In-Law and would also like a ceremony with minimal religion.
I just called him, and he didn’t take my request so well.
My dad knows a minister who is willing to do this. I’m about to call my Mother-In-Law to explain to her why we will not be using her minister *cringe*. This is going to be painful. I read many of the other bees comments, and they are correct. It is hard to find a minister to marry you in a secular ceremony. I would much rather have a justice of the peace or friend…. but Mother-In-Law insists on a minister.
Post # 15
I’m in your boat, Maureen. My mom’s Catholic. It’s bad enough for her that I won’t be married in a church. She’d probably be crushed if I had a civil ceremony on top of it… Glad it’s my mom and not my mother in law. At least my mom is used to me disappointing her. Good luck!
Post # 16
I don’t think you can get a minister to do a purely secular service. If you’re absolutely against any reference to God or faith, you need a civil type of official. In our area there are several federal judges who will do marriage ceremonies; you just have to ask.
We have a retired Protestant minister doing our service, and he has been really good about customizing it. While there is certainly a religeous flavor to the ceremony, there is very little talk about God; I just told him that I was more comfortable talking about faith. We did want the general verse about "Whom God has joined together…" but we did away with all other bible verses, substituting readings of our own choice that were acceptable to him as well. (In fact, he really likes some of our readings, and has asked if he can use them againg.) Where we felt very strongly, we just told him – for instance, I won’t have the standard Ephesians verse about "Love bears all things…" Because I just don’t believe it, and I told him so. There are certainly circumstances (abuse, adultery) under which I firmly believe that divorce is appropriate. And he actually agreed with me, and said that he had never thought about that verse in quite that way, and would have to think about it some more.
So my point is, I think that you can get a minister to do a service that is much more secular than religeous, if you work with him. If you come in the door saying that you want a service that doesn’t mention God, I think they are all going to turn you down right away. Our service is primarily about love, and partnership, and communication, and commitment, and about faith in those things – and as I look at the text, I see the word "God" twice (in about 20 minutes of service). If you want to talk more about what we used, and the text that our pastor actually started out with, send me PM and I can email you some stuff.