I'm an Atheist and I am in a great relationship with my Pagan Fiance. We are both completely comfortable with each others beliefs and have decided to take the big next step. We want to have a non-religious wedding ceremony, but we want to invite our Christian friends and family. The problem is that most of my Christian family will either feel awkward or make me feel awkward.
If anyone has had a non religious ceremony before and have some advise or ideas, it would be appreciated.
I'm just curious how exactly it will all happen. I've only ever been to Christian weddings and I'm not sure how to go about having a non-religious one.
Well it could be a nice simple little ceremony where it helps define what a marriage truly is. A mutual joining of two independent lives into a life together...a simple devotion to one another to support and encourage each other for the benefit of each other and humanity. Like two 1's make an 11 they are one but still two working as one.
As you don't want a religious wedding that might nix some pagan rituals(possibly)...or you could go the whole Simpsons hosting a hindu wedding route and get an elephant and fire pit.
right, I wouldn't mind pagan rituals whatsoever because they don't really effect me, so, the reason to have a non religious one is for pretty much everyone else. There are going to be a few pagan traditions involved such has having the ceremony during a sabbot and having it outdoors, but we don't want a whole handfasting ceremony.
As a Notary, I've only presided at atheist weddings. I've never had a problem with christians. During the marriage ceremony, I ask the bride and groom to express their feelings towards each other. This usually delights the people in attendance, as both bride and groom are usually nervous. This little expression, seems to make people comfortable and not ask questions. If I was asked to say something, I could always tell a story or read a poem that was not religious.
What we did, was rent a hall for the night that was big enough to have the ceremony and reception in the same place. We didn't want a preacher, so we actually looked for officiants online and interviews some. Found a great guy who would do a non-Christian and pretty secular wedding. Although he was a Christian, he was 100% cool with our differing beliefs and actually seemed to be fascinated by us. To him, the ceremony was about us and what we wanted... not his beliefs or our families. This was a HUGE piece of the puzzle. If you're looking to spend less though, there are places on-line where one can get just about anyone ordained to do weddings (Universal Light Church, First Church of Atheism, etc...) or a deputy from the courthouse is always an option.
In our wedding, we had no mention of God and the readings were all secular or a nod to my wife's beliefs. One reading was Mark Twain in fact, and another was a more pagan reading. In a medieval tradition we actually exchanged rigs at the beginning. Also, our rings are actually a Celtic knot-work pattern. We did include hand-fasting in our ceremony as well.
All-in-all, it was very nice and everyone liked it. My mother-in-law was pretty much to ever complain about there being no preacher/church/etc... But that was before, and afterward she did admit it was very nice. Many of my aunts (as well as both of or families) are pretty Catholic. My aunts do not know of my Atheism, but had no questions as to the non-religious wedding and actually really enjoyed it all as well. I feel that in most cases you can simply omit God and no one will likely take notice. As long as you don't bring up that fact that it's a Godless wedding, you should be fine. Your love for each other is the reason for that day, and that should take center stage above all else.
My hubby and I are both atheists but come from Unitarian and Catholic families, respectively. We found a Justice of the Peace to marry us near my hometown in New Orleans. She administered the most beautiful, wonderful secular ceremony about kindness, commitment and love. I was astounded when all of our religious family asked for copies of the vows/ceremony.
I'd say shop around for a JoP and ask for their standard ceremonial script. Also ask if you can add to/edit it to your beliefs.