Post # 1
I was brought up without religion. My fiance’s family attends church regularly but he has not attended for years. We are having a self-uniting ceremony, for which I wrote the majority of the text, and the ceremony will be officiated by Future Mother-In-Law and my mom. There is a section in the ceremony where they can give their own remarks, and Future Mother-In-Law asked if it would be ok if she read the Lord’s prayer as part of hers. I decided this was fine because I didn’t want to have her words to us be dictated by my beliefs, and because she respected me enough to ask.
So now the question of whether we want a blessing before dinner has come up and I would prefer not to have one. Fiance thinks this is trivial and that I should just accept it as "something that is done" and I can ignore it if I don’t like it. I have already sat through so many meals feeling extremely uncomfortable during a blessing (my bridal shower, any meal with his family, etc) and I feel like if there is one occasion at which I should not have to feel uncomfortable, it would be my wedding. And what about my family or friends with beliefs similar to mine?
Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Should I just go along with it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
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
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
"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
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
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
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
I like Mrs. Spring’s idea. If you write it, it would be rude for them not to use it, right?
Post # 10
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.