Here is some background: I grew up in a Catholic family. I have been an atheist since I was about thirteen, but have only recently come out to my parents.  No one else in my family knows of my atheism (as far as I know).  My fiancee (who is also an atheist) and I are getting married soon, and it will NOT be in a church, nor will we have any religious aspects to the wedding at all.  Now on to my question: I know that some people (definitely from my family, and maybe some people from his) will be criticizing our choice of a nonreligious ceremony, so how should I deal with that?  I don't want to go in to all the reasons why I think they are wrong, mostly because that isn't the time or place in my opinion.  How do I defuse the situation?  


EDIT: Thanks to everyone for your congratulations and advice.  My parents are being super supportive about the no religion thing, and we have decided that if people don't like the fact that we are doing it that way, then oh well.  So I guess that the whole point of my question is, because I don't like big blow up confrontations, what is the easiest way to calm the nay-sayers down without belittling them or backing down on my principles?

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Your wedding, your way....

^ This. So this.

Thank you, for both the advice and the congratulations :)

I f they question her choice than they don't care about her and shouldn't be at the wedding. No one questioned my secular wedding. We had all had a great time.

I would say if any one has the nerve to bring it up just pointedly tell them this is my day and we are not discussing that if that fails go Bridezilla its your wedding not there's and on that day they need to respect you. Another thought is to have a supportive family member if you have one reach out to those most likely to be a problem and ask them to respect your situation ahead of time and keep there mouth's shut.

i think it would help you to hear how my wedding went.  i took the stance of "its my wedding and there is no way it is happening in a church" to my parents who are... i wouldn't say comfortable.. but accepting of my atheism.  my baptist "pastor" uncle married my mom and dad a million years ago, he took offense that we went and found a "reverend" to officiate.  he mentioned it once (to my knowledge) to my grandmother. I didn't hear anything else about it after I laughed when hearing the news (he and I have never really gotten along anyways).

The rev was awesome.  She was an alternative wedding rev, and during our first meeting we told her no god, no prayer, no mention of anything of the sort.  No one said anything to us about the ceremony lacking prayer or scripture.  In fact, a few relatives (who are much more religious than I remember them being in my childhood) came up and told us they "didn't know what it was, but there was something unique and beautiful about the ceremony"  It was like they couldn't put their finger on the fact that it was beautiful because it was simple, lacking of worship of anything but romance and our relationship with each other.

it is YOUR day, you and your fiance.  your beliefs (of the non-supernatural variety) need to be woven into the ceremony. As many church marriages have shown, no magic words said over the couple at that time will stop bad things from happening.  but i doubt, if they criticize at all, they will bring it to you.  if they do just smile and say your ceremony was about what was important to you and your husband.

That's true, what you said about how they probably won't come to me about it.  I just remembered a story about my aunt.  She and her husband are hardcore Catholic; I mean they go to a church that does masses in Latin and she hangs around abortion clinics in Detroit to make sure no woman goes in there.  Well, they were at a viewing at a funeral home with my mom (that is what it's called, right?  A viewing?)  and I guess the person that had died, or the family of the person, weren't religious, so instead of the traditional prayer, there was someone who sang a song they had written about the deceased.  My aunt was fuming about the lack of prayer, and called my uncle and my mom into a kind of prayer circle to "properly mourn".  Should I do anything if she pulls that kind of thing at the wedding?

Tell her that she is lucky to have been invited at all

Add something like "thank you for keeping this event religion- and prayer free.

I would try talking to your aunt ahead of time and telling her that you know she is very devout in her faith, and that you respect that.  Give her a heads up about what your wedding will be like, and see if she has any questions or concerns about it, but let her know firmly and lovingly that it's your wedding and you want it done in a specific way.  I think being proactive about it will not only let your aunt know that you care about her feelings, but also that you wont let her bully or guilt you into a wedding you don't want.

An easy way to appease your family without selling yourself out is to honor your cultural backgrounds within a secular ceremony. When I got married, it was a completely secular ceremony. The person who officated was non-demoninational as was all the wording which we created. However we incorporated judiasm (the choopa), and american indian, irish, quaker, and zulu traditions into the ceremony. It was totally non-religious. Make it your own! You will regret doing it any other way.

Wow, that is a lot of culture.  Sounds like it was a pretty cool wedding.


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