I recently went to a wedding of one of my boyfriends old friends. It was quite religious with an opening prayer, lots of references to what the bible says about marriage, songs that were religious, more prayers and all that nonsense. 

My boyfriend, who is an atheist, mentioned that he would want that for his wedding because "it's tradition and there would be hell to pay from my family if there wasn't". I personally don't want all that garbage poisoning my wedding, and as for the family, it would be our wedding and not theirs. Why should we do things we don't want to placate them?

My question to you is, what would be right for an atheist? What is your opinion on how an atheist wedding should be? What is your opinion on having a religious wedding to satisfy family members?

Tags: atheist, prayers, religion, wedding

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I would prefer a wedding where all I do is go to the court house, sign the paper and then head off to the honey moon. I have no interest in these traditional wedding ceremonies or reception parties

I wouldn't want a traditional wedding ceremony, but I wouldn't want to just go to the courthouse either. I would like something small that my partner and myself have organised, with our families, and a lunch or dinner. Traditional weddings are long winded and predictable, making them quite boring in my opinion.

I had some of the same questions, here is the thread from a few weeks ago. I went to an amazing wedding once many years ago in New York City to a couple that cherished the beauty of the moment and had no religious affiliation. They didn't have much money at the time, but they were imaginative and were friends with artists that made the day particularly special. They combined the wedding with the reception and They Might Be Giants was the band.

I think that marriages are a place where the bride and groom should honor their values. This is the most public of events in a personal sense. If you arrange it to be embracing values that the bride and groom don't share, you are taking a little bit of honesty out of the proceedings. IMHO as they say. . 

Combining the wedding with the reception might be the ticket for you as well. As I remember it, the wedding ended with the band beginning, which is not a traditional thing, but dispenses with much of the hassle associated with weddings and makes everyone happy.

Cheers to you and your mate.

I found a review of the wedding I described in the New York Times from 1995. "They cited chapter 114 of "Moby Dick," in which descriptions of weather at sea reminded the couple of marriage."

Here is the review. The wedding was epic.The groom eventually won two Tony awards for best book and score for the play Urinetown. The bride writes children's books. 

Thanks Melvin

The Moby Dick chapter is interesting. I suppose what ever is important and meaningful to the couple should become what is part of the wedding. Not something that means nothing to the both of them.

I, myself, have not yet married, but would never get married in a church. My family is SUPER religious so I'm sure that it would really be upsetting to many of them lol, but I need to be happy first on the biggest day of my life. If I chose to have a wedding in a church it would simply make me so unhappy that I wouldn't even want to be at my own wedding. The family will have to accept my ways and who I am or just not come to the wedding at all if it bothers them that much. 

With that being said, I say just do whatever makes YOU happy first :)

Thanks Louis, I completely agree.

Weddings bring out the worst and the best in people, a bit similar in that sense to funerals. The main problem with weddings is that most men seem to have concluded that the whole ceremony is not for them anyway and that it's one of those things that you'll have to do in the way that is traditional, because it is traditional and you're supposed to do it that way. (Circular reasoning?)

I've been to quite a few weddings, and I've been the best man at the wedding of a (religious) friend of mine that was one of the worst and most horrible weddings ever. One of the main reasons why the wedding was so terrible was because everybody got involved into organizing things, and nobody seemed to care about the couple getting married, the whole ceremony, traditions and so on were deemed (or so it seemed) more important than the couple itself. 

This mean that my friend married in a way that he would not have chosen himself, it meant that on what was supposed to be a romantic day about the two of them turned into a party organized by his mother in law praising her traditions and religion. 

Just to give you a few quotes from the mother in law, either said to her own daughter or to the groom.

"Women dream about weddings their entire life, so it's only logical that the ceremony is done her way and not yours."

"Well, of course it's your ceremony, it's just that your father and I would really appreciate if you could honor the family tradition of a church wedding."

"Well, I know that you absolutely despise family member X, but you do have to realize that it will be very difficult for family members Y and Z to come if X is not invited"

"Well, traditionally the seating should be done like this, but if you think that that's not good enough for you, go ahead!"

"I have a lot of experience with these things, but if you do not trust me with it, then I know my place and I won't come to the wedding."

"All this alcohol is not necessary, I'm sure your friends can have fun without so much alcohol and this gives a bad idea to your family, do you want them to think that I raised an alcoholic?"

To prevent that kind of crap, do it your way. Make no concessions that you are uncomfortable with, do not participate into emotional blackmail etc. It's YOUR party and you should do it your way, if you lean too much on others, they will make the party for you and they will make it more "their" party than yours which is probably not what you want. 

The worst things are done with the best intentions, and that is especially true in families. Seriously, I think that about half of the weddings that I've been to have either been properly ruined by a religious matriarch, or at the very least a good effort was made to that effect. The emotional blackmail that I've seen especially towards the groom is just sickening. I've seen grooms cry on their "happiest day of their life" because they felt that they had to play a role (be someone else) on their own fucking wedding. If that is not sad, then I don't know what is.

Wow, that's shocking. If I was forced into doing something like that I would say, "You're no longer welcome at MY wedding, get out".

I think this is how my boyfriend feels, like he needs to satisfy his family to prevent something like this from happening. I for one won't allow my wedding to be compromised like that. For me that is something that is non-negotiable.

Well, kudos to you! It's better to not make compromises, so that at the end of the day you can look yourself in the mirror and be proud of yourself. 

I never realized how much of a drag weddings can be for the groom. If I marry a man, I'll make sure we both get the ceremony we want.

If they know you are atheist, then it's definitely NO garbage.

If you are still HIDING, then I guess you may not really have a choice.

If both of you are atheist, then to me, I don't see any reason to include the religious nonsense in there at all. I totally agree with you not do anything unwanted to appease family. Screw that.

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