(Closed) How to keep our wedding secular without offending his religious family members?

posted 11 years ago in Secular
Post # 3
14181 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

What if it’s less of a religious blessing and more of an announcement and well wishes for your wedding? Remind everyone why they’re there, etc? Have it spun more like a toast for you and your Fiance, less like a thanksgiving dinner blessing. I hear ya, I just wanna eat sometimes! And you shouldn’t be uncomfortable, but you should also realize that you might have to get used to it since you’ve married into such a religious family. You aren’t having a religious ceremony persay, so I think this might be your "compromise" with this family.

Post # 4
2007 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

What about instead of a traditional blessing or prayer saying a non-specific thank you?  My family isn’t religious but we still take a moment before special meals to express our thanks for having everyone there with us, etc.  Is that something you and your guests would be comfortable with?  And would that be enough of a compromise for your fiance’s family?

Post # 5
666 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

"God bless the whole damn family, let’s eat!";-)

Okay, maybe not, even though it’s a favorite at our house.  I’m not sure what to tell you.  If it were me, it would depend on how likely the religious folks were to get upset and how long a blessing would take.  Who is doing the blessing?  Is it someone other than a person who would normally give a toast anyway?  Can you say that "well, so-and-so will give a toast, so a blessing would just be redundant?"  Can you politely decline a blessing by saying that you don’t want to offend secular attendees?

Post # 6
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

If you’re marrying into a family that has a blessing before every meal, I think it would be rude to force an exception at your wedding. Considering the religious significance of weddings, this might be one time it really does matter to them.

However, it’s important to respect the traditions and beliefs of you and your family too. So like others have said, I would ask whomever’s giving it to keep the focus on thanksgiving and family because everyone might not be comfortable with something overly religious. I think there’s lots of middle ground here. Good luck!

Post # 7
960 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

If there are guests at your wedding who simply cannot begin their meal without praying first, then they can say a silent prayer in their head. I grew up saying a blessing before meals when I went to my dad’s house (my parent’s aren’t married). My FI’s parents say a blessing before they eat, but it’s more out of habit than anything else. I mumble along with it to be polite.

I would definitley prefer not having one at my wedding. Hopefully you and your Fiance can compromise and have some one say a few nice words (not really a toast) before the meal. Maybe an insightful member of your Bridal Party or one that is particularly eloquent and comfortable with public speaking. Is one side of the family paying for the majority of the wedding? If so, maybe the parents could say a few nice, non-religous words. If you’re paying for the majority, I see nothing wrong with you or your Fiance standing up to welcome your guests, thank them, and encourage them to enjoy the meal prepared for them. Good luck!

Post # 8
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

Since you wrote most of the text of your ceremony, could you also write the blessing?  Then you would have control over how religious or non-religious the words are.  Plus, I think you could tie it in nicely to the ceremony, maybe by repeating a certain phrase that you spoke during the vows, or something.  Good luck!

Post # 9
213 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I like Mrs. Spring’s idea.  If you write it, it would be rude for them not to use it, right?

Post # 10
792 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I think EAQ219 has a good point in that religious folks will pray before the meal anyway. Like others have said as well, if you need to, can you write your own secular blessing? It can just be a quick few words thanking everyone for being there.

Post # 11
32 posts

I would say no, because I agree with EAQ219. Those who want to say a blessing can do so privately, and those who don’t won’t have to hear them.  You can always pray silently, but you can’t not listen when someone is saying an unwanted prayer to the entire party.  I am in the same situation as you – I was brought up without religion, and my fiance’s family is very religious.  I always feel awkward during prayers – i’m looking around, trying to bow my head but it doesn’t feel right to pretend.  

Post # 12
54 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I vote for the silent prayer.  I would feel uncomfortable having a spoken blessing at my wedding reception.  My officiant did ask to add a moment of silence before our vows in our secular ceremony.  His reason was to allow for the seriousness of this part to resonate, but also I think to give people a chance to pray if they wish.  So perhaps a communal moment of silence could be a compromise, but I wouldn’t want it at my reception since I want it to be fun and lively and not quiet and solemn.  

Post # 13
3331 posts
Sugar bee

I like either Mrs. Spring’s idea of writing something yourself or using a silent prayer/moment of silence so folks who want to pray can, and those who don’t won’t have to.

We had a relatively secular wedding, but my husband really wanted his brother (who has very different religious views from us) to give the blessing at dinner.  He went on for a LONG time (maybe 15 minutes) and said many things that I really disagreed with/felt uncomfortable about.  In fact, he went on and on about how marriage was "for a man and a woman"…yeah, our married lesbian friend was our officiant and, of course, they were sitting right there.  It was as awkward and uncomfortable as I expected and one of the first things my husband told me when we got back to the hotel was "I’m so sorry…you were right about my brother!"

So long story short, try if you can to keep this from happening.  It was super uncomforable to sit in a room full of people, smiling, while this was going on.

Post # 14
15 posts
  • Wedding: August 2010

We are also having a secular wedding and don’t want a prayer or blessing to start the meal either.  Instead we’re planning on having my father give the first toast and thank and welcome everyone for coming.  It is very tricky for us too especially since my step-father is a minister and much of our family is fairly religous even though we are not.

Post # 15
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

i think you would have to think of the POINT of the blessing. 

it is to pray for a BLESSING over not only the meal, but also over you and your husband. it is out of a deep love, concern (not in a bad way), and joy that this is done.

it is not at all malicious or mean-spirited. if you want to make sure that it’s not too long, then instruct whoever is doing the blessing.  food’s gettin cold!!

also, if it doesn’t mean all that much to you- then just take it as part of a wedding tradition- just like a ringbearer, a flowergirl, tossing a garter, etc. 

Post # 16
222 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I realize that this may no longer be of use to you, however I thought it may be a good idea to revitalize this thread or maybe this boqard.

If you want to find a compromise, go for what Mrs. Spring said. 

How does your Fiance feel about it?  Is it important to him, or is he just as ambivalent?

I feel like you do.  I compromise with them whenever I am in their home.  It makes me uncomfortable, but I was taught that it is respectful to follow others’ traditions when you are in their home. 

I’m assuming the wedding will not be in their home.  And at some point they need to accept and respect your and your future husbands traditions.  Will they come into your future (or current) home and insist on praying before meals?  Will this bother you?  Just a few thoughts to think about when making this decision.

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