(Closed) Less religious ceremony?

posted 6 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
5547 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

Frankly, if you want a mostly secular cermony, I wouldn’t have a pastor do it. By default clergy of any relgion is religious. He might work with you but he is still a pastor, and thus religous. 

Post # 5
49 posts
  • Wedding: October 2012

We’re similarly working on our ceremony right now too!  We’re meeting with the minister this coming weekend, and I’m trying to work out what to say – Fiance and I aren’t really religious.  Fiance grew up going to this church, and his family still goes there, and they all tell me that the minister is really progressive…but the sample ceremony layouts he sent us were full of the same things you mentioned haha…so I think we have some work to do in terms of personalizing it 🙂

Is the pastor someone that either of you knew prior to this meeting?  I really think the best thing you can do is be honest with him – as long as you’re nice about it, I don’t think he would be offended…after all, he did tell you that you could change whatever you wanted.

If it helps, we made a list of notes of things that we do and don’t like from the sample ceremonies our minister sent us that we’re taking with us to our meeting this weekend…and we’ve found some things that we would like to substitute in in place of some of the parts of the sample ceremony.  I mean, we’re not going so far as to say ‘no mention of God, or Jesus, etc,’ but there’s definitely a line that we drew in terms of what makes us comfortable vs. what is not what we really want at our ceremony.

Hope this helps!

Post # 6
273 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I’m wondering the same thing about my similar situation… it’s a touchy subject! Neither Fiance or I is super religious. He is a little bit more than I am (aka not really at all), but neither of us attends church regularly (er, at all). I’m open to eventually exploring religion but at this point it just kind of makes me uncomfortable.

Anyways, we’re planning on asking FI’s grandfather, a pastor, to officiate. He is a lovely man, very well-spoken, and has TONS of valuable and wise perspective on marriage. He actually just wrote/published a book about successful 2nd marriages. However, his perspective is always REALLY heavily seeped in religion. I think it’s great that God is such a big part of his marriage and his beliefs, but I’m a little worried that our ceremony will be a little bit too religious for my comfort. I would never consider NOT having him officiate because of it – Fiance and I both adore him and I can’t think of anyone we’d rather have do it – but I kind of want it to be a little bit toned down religion-wise. Not sure how to delicately approach him about it. I guess once we discuss the details of our ceremony with him (assuming he agrees to officiate!) we’ll be able to have an honest and open conversation about it.

Just to further explain (as if I haven’t rambled enough already), of course I understand that a pastor is going to encorporate religion into a marriage ceremony. Of course! I just worry about it going a little overboard for us. I mean, in his (very sweet) Christmas card to us last year, he drew a diagram (!) of how God fits into our relationship/future marriage. Very, very sweet intentions, but perhaps a little much.

Post # 7
10573 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

Darling Husband is an athiest and we got married in a church.  We were given a large list of options we could choose for our ceremony, or we could have gone with something entirely our own if we wished to.  We requested a few references to God be taken out of the set options.

Maybe find an example of at least part of a ceremony you 2 would be comfortable with, and see if your Pastor would be ok with that.  If so, I think that gives you a good starting point for tweaking everything so it suits the two of you.

If not, you may need to find someone else.  Our minister commonly performs interfaith weddings, which you may need to look for.


I wish my little option book was electronic, so I could share it, but it was a paper copy.

Post # 8
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I would ask him if you can write your own ceremony or if he was comfortable with you editing the ones he provided. If he’s not willing to do that, then I would also agree you should find a different officient. My BIL performed our ceremony. In my state you do not need to have an ordained officient, but he was already ordained via internet for another friend’s wedding, so it was nice having that control over the ceremony AND having somebody that loves us uniting us.

Post # 10
879 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We are having a Celebrant do our ceremony, and it will not be religious at all.  However it will be very spiritual and will include a handfasting.  Our Celebrant is being really hands on with us, allowing us to change as much as we legally can to ensure we have the ceremony we want.

Post # 11
315 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 1997

I do a lot of religious and secular ceremonies. The way I think you should handle it is by removing all the text that is uncomfortable for you and sending it back to your Pastor with a little note. Something like, “Thank you for the ceremonies they were lovely. This is what we would like for you to do.” Then thank him again.

Never be nervous to talk to your Pastor or Officiant about the wedding ceremony wording. It is your wedding you need to be comfortable with the wording. I am sure he will be very understanding. It was probably an oversight on his side that he sent you those ceremony scripts.

Best wishes.

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