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Wedding ceremony dillema...I need some help!!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
My fiance and I are not religious. That's not to say that we have a problem with religion, but it's just not for us. His grandparents on the other hand are VERY religious.
The problem is with deciding on a wedding ceremony officiant. I was thinking of having my mother's pastor do the ceremony (he is a very close friend of the family...he was named after my grandfather's older brother), but he won't marry anyone who hasn't been baptised. I was baptised when I was a baby, but my fiance is pretty sure he wasn't, because his grandparents' church did adult baptism. My fiance could get baptised, but we both feel that since we don't believe in that religion that it would be very disrespectful for him to do that. We can't use Mom's pastor, which was a disappointment to me because he is so close to the family, but oh well.
So now I am thinking about having a judge do the ceremony. My step-mom is a lawyer and knows a few judges, so it wouldn't be a problem to find one. Now, I am afraid that my fiance's grandparents would be really, really upset we have a totally civil ceremony officiated by a judge. He is very close to his grandparents...they are like a second set of parents to him, so he doesn't want to upset them in any way.
The dillema is this....
Do we shop around and find a minister/pastor/preacher who would do a religious ceremony, even though we aren't religious, so that his grandparents will be happy, or do we just get a judge? (The rest of the family on both sides would not be the least bit phased by a civil ceremony.)
post #2 of 16
That is a sticky situation... but unfourtunatley not all that uncommon
My fiance and myself have a similiar problem but it is with his parents (them being very religious...ie: no other religion counts, no drinking, no dancing) that kind of thing. My soon to be DH and I decided early on to keep things very neutral and were lucky enough to find a non denominational officiant who will be performing the ceremony in a neutal place (outdoors), I had also considered having a friend take the course to preform the ceremony or get a judge. The most important thing you have to remember is that although you need to be sensitive to others feelings....it is still YOUR day and you deserve to be happy.
post #3 of 16
I had a very similar problem. I ended up getting married in a church(of my family's choosing and it was to die for beautiful) Thanks goodness I am sorta religious(husband not), but I don't think it is appropriate to get married in a church or have religious vows if you aren't religious because it would be a lie if you said them. You need to take consideration of family but make sure you and your finance are happy with the decision. Goodluck!
post #4 of 16
I aplaud the pastor for following his heart in this matter...and also you and your fiance. I think it would be totally wrong to be baptized just to satisfy another person.

I have a co-worker who is not at all religious. Her parents are devout Catholics. They had a "defrocked" priest perform the baptism ceremony on their son in their home. It was enough to satisfy the grandparents, and the "priest" was agreeable, but it did not cross their beliefs. Their son has also learned various prayers and religious ceremonies from American Indian beliefs, etc.

So that is one option, to choose a sort of religious person who will be more in line with your true beliefs, but won't offend the grandparents. Hopefully, like my friends parents, they will have the good sense not to ask any probing questions. There are people out there who are ordained pastors, who's religious beliefs are very different from mainstream Christian beliefs. My sis-in-law got married in a church...and it looked from the ceremony like her husband was marrying her because he was an illegal alien. (He had NO one at the ceremony...she had about 10 family members, including me, dh, and our 4 kids, and one friend!) (I am not comparing this to your wedding {shudder}, just saying you can get pastors who will marry you without asking questions.)
post #5 of 16
My fiance and I chose a very close and wise friend to do the ceremony for us. We're not sure if we have to get him "ordained" or not, but as he's not religious at all and I'm not affiliated this works for us.

This gentleman has also been married for over 40 years, and we are very happy to have someone in such a successful marriage usher us into ours!
post #6 of 16
I also "vote" for a non-denominational officiant. Check local universities, where there are typically non-denominational chapels and officiants (unless the university is a religious one, of course). Sometimes their chapels are gorgeous and the ceremony would be neutral but respectful. Or, go with an outdoor ceremony and non-denominational officiant.

We had our ceremony outside and were married by the mayor of the town. Nobody asked any questions, at least to us. If you do something neutral like this, perhaps his grandparents would understand if you explain you're accomodating/joining different religious views in the family and don't say anything more.

Personally I wouldn't want to be baptised just to be able to be married in a church. Our ceremony was tailored to us and felt just right every step of the way. Unless, of course, you count the mishap of the mayor forgetting to let us say our personalized vows. How were we to know he liked to drink at 10 in the morning?
post #7 of 16
Its YOUR wedding and you should do what's right for you. I've had both civil and religious ceremonies and my Pentecostal parents didn't mind, just as long as I WAS married.
post #8 of 16
My hubby was also not baptised and had no wish to be baptised. We did get married in the Catholic church, but did not have the full 1 hour ceremony. Also we had to get a "special dispensation to marry an alien to the faith" from the bishop. Can you get something like that from your religious officient of choice? If not, then my suggestion is to have your civil ceremony and ask the minister to maybe just come and give a blessing over the 2 of you..

Good luck!
post #9 of 16
I can understand your dilemma very much: my bf and I are both baptised and - on paper- Catholic, but neither of us wants to have a religious ceremony when we get married cause we simply can't identify with all that stuff.
His mum, on the other hand, is super conservative and as Catholic as can be For her only the other people's opinion counts and what the Pope declares (when I have a malicious moment, I like to think that if the Pope said, jump out of your window, she'd do that as well!), so she would insist on a traditional Catholic ceremony (ok, she's against me marrying her little boy in the first place, but that's a different matter).
By the time we will eventually get married I think we will get what is called over here a "free theologist", that is, a person who has studied theology, but who doesn't want to or who cannot be a regular priest (e.g. women, married men...you get the idea). They can perform a ceremony the way *you* want it and I hope for soon-to-be MIL it will be less of a problem if her son is married by a theologist than just in a civil ceremony
post #10 of 16
I vote for a non-denominational officiant as well. My fiance and I are of different religions and this is the route we are taking. I don't feel comfortable with a judge (in this state though if you are not getting married by a minister, then the only other option is to go to the court and get married, there are no justice of the peace, notary, etc, none are allowed outside the courtroom). I also wanted someone with the proper schooling and endowment. However, they are willing to do teh ceremony any way you wish, as religious or non-religious as you wish. Actually we are designing the whole ceremony based on the 50 pages of material she gave us. Every word of it we will either craft or approve. Its very personalized this way .
post #11 of 16
Would it be enough of a compromise if you found a judge who happened to be a Christian? I don't know the laws in your state, but in Florida a notary can marry you (in case its another option for you).
post #12 of 16
You know something? Your problem sounds like mine only I did the whole marriage thing here because Brad is the eldest son and I thought it'd be respectful to his family, and my mom is religious also(so are his grandparents on both sides). We were originally going to go and get married in Cancun (because neither of us is religious), then come back and have a small family reception. But like I said that fell through out of respect and we decided on no churches, just a Justice of the Peace, in a friends Beautiful backyard. It satisfied all of the above.
It's YOUR wedding, but if your worried about respecting your fiancee's family, then maybe try asking him about that way. It might satisfy all of the things you need.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I will read up on the marriage laws and stuff in my state and see what we can come up with.
I think we may end up with a judge, anyway. For us to have a Christian ceremony, non-denominational or not, would be like a Christian couple having a Jewish wedding.
I think at this point my fiance's grandparents are just glad we're getting married and won't be "living in sin" anymore.
post #14 of 16
We technically eloped and were married by the county clerk. She actually prayed for us. Maybe that would work? It doesn't hurt to get prayed for, but would seem silly for you to have your marriage blessed by a pastor. I do have friends in seminary who will marry anyone for some extra cash. That could be an option. Just hire a clerk or justice of the peace and hopefully you're family will be ok with it.
post #15 of 16
Originally Posted by Zoe'n'MissKitty
Thanks for the advice. I will read up on the marriage laws and stuff in my state and see what we can come up with.
I think we may end up with a judge, anyway. For us to have a Christian ceremony, non-denominational or not, would be like a Christian couple having a Jewish wedding.
I think at this point my fiance's grandparents are just glad we're getting married and won't be "living in sin" anymore.
Sounds like you came to the decision that works best for you! Just to clarify non-denomination ministers aren't necessarily christian. I know the one we are using has done jewish ceremonies, christian, non-religious, midieval, etc etc. If you craft your own ceremony then if can be whatever you want. Of course I'm speaking from the frame of mine of a North Carolinian...where judges won't marry outside the courtroom. That would be the last thing I would want! But I think that is unusual as most states at least have Justice Of The Peace. A good friend of mine (almost like a father to me) is a Justice Of The Peace in NH but he won't be allowed to marry us here .
post #16 of 16
ou know what? It's YOUR day, not your parents, or his parents. They have had their turn - now it's yours. You have the day you want!
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