Post # 1
My fiance recently wanted to return to church after years of being an atheist. He had an absolute turn of faith which kind of rocked me. But I am supportive and do believe in certain religious aspects, so I went with him to various churches until we found one that suited my liberal view points and his Catholic roots: Episcopalian.
Our church is wonderful. Very liberal and free spirited! It suits us both well. We love it so much that we asked our Rector and Assistant Rector if they would marry us instead of our original plan to have an ordained friend do it (he’s totally cool with the change of plans). They tentatively agreed, but we haven’t heard from them since.
We are marrying outside of the church, and I had a lot of specific things I wanted do. Mainly, a hand fasting and certain music played. I am now wondering if these things will have to go because we are having our Rectors marry us. It would honestly break my heart to not do the handfasting or to not have a certain song be played. My fiance seems fine with the idea that we may not be able to do this stuff anymore.
Does any Bee out there have any insights on Episcopalian weddings outside of the church? What restrictions, if any, will I have to work around?
(Also, I should note that I have been in an Anglican wedding before. It was very traditional with a full mass. This is what I dont want at all. I do not think our church performs these kinds of weddings. Please correct me if I’m wrong because I am very unfamiliar with the church’s history.)
Post # 3
@ohmybears48: I’m not sure as I’m Evangelist, but I know my pastor would be hesitant to do a hand fasting because of its pagan origins. I think the music would probably be ok providing it’s not inappropriate lyrics etc. Could you do the handfasting before your 1st dance and get your ordained friend to do it? That way you’re combining both methods in your day but steering clear of any problems.
Post # 4
I am not religious or Episcopalian, but we had a good family friend who is an episcopalian reverend marry us.
She had no problem doing our ceremony on site of our location (IE not a church) and us changing around the ceremony. I actually took out some of the religions items in the traditional ceremony and she was OK with that as long as I left some stuff in.
We had non-religious readings and music played.
It may be up to the people themselves, but our experience was that these items were not a problem.
Remember they perform lots of ceremonies and if they already reserved your date, there may not be much to discuss (in their eyes) so it would be best to talk to them in person and make an appt regarding your questions.
Even with our family friend performing the service we only discussed the ceremony a couple months before the day when I asked for a written version of her normal ceremony. They do it so often they dont put nearly as much thought into it as the bride and groom do so its not uncommon to not have much communication.
Post # 5
@ThreeMeers: They want to sit down and talk to us about it next month when we hit the four month mark. In the email, they said, “We’ll discuss the foundations of the ceremony.” I more of just wanted to know what to expect and if I should put my ideas away in advance.
But your post gives me some hope that at least the music should be good.
And just to give you an idea of our Rectors: both are ladies, one whom is in a civil union with her partner. Our church is that awesome.
Post # 6
@ohmybears48: Yeah, mine was a woman too and her church is very LGBT rights. It is great!
If I lived near her I would actually consider attending.
We did a candle lighting ceremony in ours and she said lots of people add little things like that to the ceremonies. You shouldnt have a problem I would think
Post # 7
Can you just ask one of your rectors after church on Sunday if there is wiggle room in the ceremony for the things you want? I’m getting married in an Episcopal church, so I don’t know how it works when you get married somewhere else, but my rector does a handfasting thing with her stole during the ceremony, so I would think that it wouldn’t be a big stretch to do what you have planned.
Post # 8
I’m not 100% sure (Catholic bee here), but I imagine it will totally depend on the individual celebrant and on the specific content of the music and the rite you want to use.
Some celebrants, if they are asked to perform a wedding as a representative of their faith tradition, won’t include anything secular (i.e. non-religious). That’s why you sometimes see threads about things like the unity candle, sand ceremonies, etc., not being allowed. Other celebrants will allow you to incorporate something secular, but may draw the line at something pagan if they see it as being in conflict with the religious nature of their role. Others will be open to incorporating some of those elements and putting a Christian spin on them (which, after all, is a longstanding Church tradition – that’s where we get some of our Christmas and Easter traditions, etc.)
The best thing to do is just to go in to the meeting with an open mind and ask what your officiant thinks about the elements you would like to incorporate.
Post # 9
@Ashleigh6113: YESSSSS. I would totally alter it if need be to something like that. Thank you for the hope.
Post # 10
- Wedding: September 2014 - Garden outside our church
Not sure if you’ve met with your rector yet, but I just wanted to add that Dearest and I are Episcopalian (met at church) and are not getting married in the church (instead on a cliff in a park special to us–God’s handiwork, can’t argue with that!). Like it was said above, many of our Christian traditions are based on non-Judaic cultures, and the Episcopal church seems to acknowledge that more than some. Best wishes, and good choice with the Episcopal Church (FWIW, I think most of our congregation are Roman-Baptist couples who needed a compromise &/or folks who don’t want to check their brains/education at the church door)
Post # 11
@KCKnd2: LOL! You got there before me and wrote the post I was going to write!
Post # 12
@ohmybears48: Just saw this thread. You might have your answer already. We had an Episcopal wedding outside of a church. But had to follow the service as listed in the Book of Common Prayer. Yes, you can choose certain prayers and readings from that, but it’s unlikely to be able to do any secular ceremony. Our priest (also a woman 🙂 mentioned doing the hand wrapping with her stole, but then didn’t do it (she also picked a shorter prayer at the end, when I asked for a longer one, so make sure you’re very very clear on what you’d like). We were able to pick a musical interlude rather than a Psalm, and there was no limitation on that. We had a vioin duet of Vivaldi 🙂 Of course, your experience may vary 🙂 Good luck!