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Ceremony and Vow Ideas

Atheist wedding ideas

We're working on putting together our own ceremony, and I'm wondering if there are any Atheists/Agnostics/non-religious folk here who have ideas for readings or on the ceremony in general?  We're having a friend officiate, so we are completely building this whole thing from scratch.  What I've been finding has mostly been super long, too sappy, or just not right.

No references to god, religion, and we'd like to keep them short, sweet, and more on the fun side than weepy.  We found one by Bob Marley that we like (the "He's not perfect" one).  Any other ideas? 
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Re: Atheist wedding ideas

  • We had the same parameters as you. What we did was look up our favorite authors on Good Reads, and looked at the quotes section until we found something we liked. I chose a passage from Pride and Prejudice, H ended up choosing a quote from John Lennon.
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  • We're both rock music nerds - we're using songs by Vitamin String Quartet (rock songs converted into string quartet music) and another piano group that does the same thing, rather than traditional music.  We've been looking at lyrics for readings, but all of the wedding appropriate ones seem somewhat heavy-handed or overly somber.  We really want it to be a fun, upbeat, mildly goofy ceremony as that is who we are, and that's where we're having issues. 

  • edited March 2013
    n Response to Re: Atheist wedding ideas:
    In Response to Re: Atheist wedding ideas : I think you might insult some of your guests with a "mildly goofy ceremony".  Most people regard marriage as something very solemn and special.  If you indicate that you think it's not a serious occasion, you will upset some of your guests. Courthouse ceremonies are non-religious.  They have been performed for many years.  You might look at the wording for that.  It is short and sweet.
    Posted by CMGr
    Nah.  We want a big deal and for those we love to be involved.  Our wedding is about us - anybody that knows us will expect nothing religious, and lots of laughs.  We feel a wedding should be tailored to the couple.  It's a ceremony of joy for us.  

    Also, I'm a paralegal . . and legal language is dull, dry, and lifeless.  I know, I work with it daily.  Nothing kills a mood like "according to subsection 152.6C of the Iowa Code, you are now joined together legally, blah blah blah." 
  • Fi and I are atheist, and we're not having any readings at all. The officiant is saying a few words about marriage and that's it. Readings aren't required.

    If we did have some we would probably do something from a movie, since we're movie nerds. You can definitely find some lyrics that will work!
    Photobucket photo 899306-2148.jpg
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  • We had a completely non religious ceremony. I can send you the script our officiant used we all wrote it together tomorrow.

    image

    Musikalbunni
  • If Bob Marley mentions jah he's talking about God
    ktjanesmom
  • In Response to Atheist wedding ideas:
    We're working on putting together our own ceremony, and I'm wondering if there are any Atheists/Agnostics/non-religious folk here who have ideas for readings or on the ceremony in general?  We're having a friend officiate, so we are completely building this whole thing from scratch.  What I've been finding has mostly been super long, too sappy, or just not right. No references to god, religion, and we'd like to keep them short, sweet, and more on the fun side than weepy.  We found one by Bob Marley that we like (the "He's not perfect" one).  Any other ideas? 
    Posted by kandacelant
    Someone asked about non religious readings yesterday. Here's the link, It might be able to help you.

    http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_stuck-need-a-beautifully-written-non-religious-reading

  • That would be very much appreciated! !
  • In Response to Re:Atheist wedding ideas:
    In Response to Re:Atheist wedding ideas: She wasnt suggesting going to the courthouse, she was suggesting looking up the wording. Which by the way sounds just like the wording used in secular ceremonies in gardens and museums everywhere. There is no "legalese".
    Posted by StageManager14
    Sorry . . I was feeling a little attacked on another post and allowed it to bleed into this one.
  • In Response to Re:Atheist wedding ideas:
    We had a completely non religious ceremony. I can send you the script our officiant used we all wrote it together tomorrow.
    Posted by cmgilpin
    I would appreciate it, thanks!
  • My fiance is Athiest (I'm Jewish), so we're just doing a courthouse wedding (for other reasons than that).. very simple, with close family and one or two close friends.  No fuss, no frills.  We may do a party later, but our wedding day is about us.  (He doesn't even want to exchange vows, but I told him it's a must. LOL)
  • This past fall, the reading for a wedding I went to was an excerpt from "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss. It was very nice.

    This summer, a wedding i went to was probably about 8-10 minutes long. They didn't want all the fluff of a traditional ceremony and wanted to party ASAP lol. No readings, so songs, none of that.

    Do you want any unity ceremonies? There are ones involving: a candle, sand, wine, letters, paint, dirt, cocktails, and plenty more.
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    Musikalbunni
  • Here's the reading we used for our wedding. Maybe it is too sappy for you but I think it fits well if you like the Marley song...very much about how love and marriage isn't perfect.

    "Love is friendship caught fire; it is quiet, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, hopes for the future, and does not brood over the past. It is the day-in and day-out chronicles of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories, and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you do not have it, no matter what else there is, it is not enough."

     

    by Laura Hendricks Back

     

    June 16, 2012
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    ashrags14
  • In Response to Re:Atheist wedding ideas:
    We had a completely non religious ceremony. I can send you the script our officiant used we all wrote it together tomorrow.
    Posted by cmgilpin
    Would you be willing to share your scipt with me as well? We are just starting to create our ceremony and seeing what others did would be so helpful!  katrinalaflin(at)gmail(dot)com
  • In Response to Re: Atheist wedding ideas:
    In Response to Re: Atheist wedding ideas : I think you might insult some of your guests with a "mildly goofy ceremony".  Most people regard marriage as something very solemn and special.  If you indicate that you think it's not a serious occasion, you will upset some of your guests. Courthouse ceremonies are non-religious.  They have been performed for many years.  You might look at the wording for that.  It is short and sweet.
    Posted by CMGr
    To be honest, our ceremony wound up "mildly goofy" with a lot of laughs and giggles... We told the officiant to be light hearted so that we could both relax. I giggled through a good portion of the ceremony because H was staring intently at my forehead trying not to look me in the eyes so he didn't lose it. None of our guests were offended and we still took our marriage vows seriously. We had a lot of compliments on the officiant and the ceremony because it was light hearted just as we are as a couple.
  • Beautiful, Personal Non-Religious Ceremonies

    Celebrants are people who are trained in the art of ceremonies and who are experts at creating beautiful and personal secular (non-religious) ceremonies.  You can go to www.celebrantinstitute.org to locate celebrants in your area.  And if you browse wedding books in your local bookstore, you can find lots of readings which are not religious!
    Peggy M. Lewis  www.floridaceremonies.com
  • QueerFemmeQueerFemme
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    edited March 2013

    Here is our script.   A few notes:

    I'm including the youtube video of the ceremony.  Our friend did the videography for us as a gift. So, it's not super fancy, but it's perfect for us.  I really have a pretty big online footprint, so I'm not super worried about internet privacy. ;)  My stuff is out there already.  

    Our ceremony was about 10-15 minutes long.  It was short and sweet.  We didn't have any readings or songs. We thought about it, but decided to have our "reading" in our program instead.  (The video of our ceremony is edited to eliminate some pauses, etc., so it's only about 8-9 minutes, but it was about 10-15 total. If you want to stretch yours, you could add in a reader or a singer or a sand ceremony or something)

    We wrote our own vows to each other.  We didn't see each other's vows before the ceremony. So, those aren't included in this script.  But you can see our vows in the video.  There were a lot of tears.  Luckily, you can't see the part where my fake eyelash fell off and landed on my boob.

    The only "blessing" we gave was to the Ohlone tribe.  My partner is Mexican/Native American and we live in Oakland, CA, which is the original land of the Ohlone people.   No god, or nothing else religious or blessing-like.

    We didn't want to be "told to kiss" or "given permission" to kiss.  We both strongly felt that we didn't need to be given permission to do what we wanted with our own bodies.  So, at the end, after we were "announced", we just kissed. 

    PS - I am really not as uptight as the beginning of the video looks like.  I didn't care if my dress got dirty... but, the wedding coordinator (who is also a family friend) saw geese on the paved area RIGHT before the ceremony, and there was fresh goose poo.  So, she picked up my dress until we got to the grass/runner. And then I said "fluff me" after I got up to the "altar" area because my dress was all curled around my feet.  then, after my vows, my SIL forgot her "cue" to hand me G's ring... so, I said "gimme my ring".  Please ignore those moments of bossy bitchiness.

    These are certainly things that can be altered/changed in your own ceremony. Just wanted to give you a head's up so you would know what was "missing". 

    SCRIPT:

    Good afternoon, I would like to welcome everyone and thank you for coming.

    I would like to start with a blessing and to offer thanks to the Ohlone people, who are the original people of this land and to all our ancestors who have given us life and brought us to this time here today. I offer the good blessing of this ceremony from father sky and mother earth, creator and nurturer of all life, we give heartfelt thanks for the moments which have brought together all of us to witness G and Christina uniting in marriage.

    In writing this ceremony I have thought deeply about the meaning of marriage and arrived at the uniting of 2 people together and in community. It is the acceptance of virtue and vice. Marriage is about having the capacity to forgive and forget and rejoice and nurture one another. To be united as well as independent. Marriage is not about marrying the right partner but about being the right partner and supporting one another through all the crazy endeavors we may embark on in this world.
     
    Today is not a beginning, it is only what is. This day marks a journey of sweet love, shared dreams and tender fear. 
      
    Will everyone who is able, please rise [pause for people to rise from their seats] 

    I ask that we all join in and take a moment to reflect and surround this couple in love and support, offering them a deep commitment from each one of us here today, in offering strength, resilience and wisdom in times of conflict and hardship and nourishment, celebration and love throughout their lives. A union needs the support of community, friends and family.

    Will you, G and Christinas dear friends and family, make a commitment to respect the bond created here today and support and encourage their love and promise to one another. If so, please affirm by saying "We Do"  (We do)
     
    Christina and G, today we celebrate you, and the worth and beauty of love.
     
    G vows/ring
    Christina vows/ring

    Christina and G, today we celebrate you, and the worth and beauty of love.

    The promises and vows you have made today will guide you in your common future, you have declared before all of us your love and promise to one another, with abiding confidence and affection, we send you forth on your journey and hope it will be filled with wonder, hope, wisdom and love.

    Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, it is with great pleasure that I introduce G & Christina Gomez  !!!

    [and we kiss]


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2VXy2zXySI

    image

  • QueerFemmeQueerFemme
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    edited March 2013
    oh.. PS -    We are queer... so, it was a same sex ceremony.    And, both people on G's side were female, one of which (G's sister) was 6 months pregnant and wore a tuxedo !  BEFORE 6pm!!  Blasphemy, I tell ya.

    Oh, and one more thing. Our officiant (who is a friend) forgot to tell people to sit down after the "community acknowledgement" portion of the ceremony.  So, that's why you see everyone still standing towards the end of the ceremony.

    image

  • Here's a link to some sweet ideas that we are thinking about using. 


    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2010/06/29/atheist-wedding-vows/
  • ^^^ these are some great ideas. my fiance & i are also looking for a non-religious ceremony, so all these ideas are really helpful :)
  • In Response to Re:Atheist wedding ideas:
    We had a completely non religious ceremony. I can send you the script our officiant used we all wrote it together tomorrow.
    Posted by cmgilpin
    I would very much like to read through this as well. FH and I have been scowering high and low for atheistic ceremony ideas and most of what we find seems so over done. Thank you in advance! 
  • In Response to Re:Atheist wedding ideas:
    In Response to Re:Atheist wedding ideas : I would very much like to read through this as well. FH and I have been scowering high and low for atheistic ceremony ideas and most of what we find seems so over done. Thank you in advance! 
    Posted by chemmon1
    it is posted above.  As well as link to our video.

    image

  • edited March 2013
    My fiance and I are both not religious and having a secular ceremony.  We haven't decided on readings yet, but I've come across a few that I like. You could check out  A Marriage by Mark Twain and Union by Robert Fulghum. 

  • I have similar needs for my wedding, and I found amazing articles on this subject on offbeatbride.com, both for writing your own (secular) ceremony and non-traditional or secular readings. I recommend the following links:
  • I found a ceremony online that I tailored for us. I would classify it as agnostic. I can't find the link, but I do have the text saved on my google drive. Email me at brianna.mahan@gmail.com if you are still looking for ceremony text!
  • In Response to Re: Atheist wedding ideas:
    I found a ceremony online that I tailored for us. I would classify it as agnostic. I can't find the link, but I do have the text saved on my google drive. Email me at brianna.mahan@gmail.com if you are still looking for ceremony text!
    Posted by briannamahan

    FOUND IT!
  • In Response to Re: Atheist wedding ideas:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Atheist wedding ideas : I think you might insult some of your guests with a "mildly goofy ceremony".  Most people regard marriage as something very solemn and special.


    Um, who cares? Last I checked it's the bride and groom's ceremony, not the guests. Additionally, why take it so seriously? Marriage is supposed to be a celebration of love and sometimes love can be goofy. Just because something is a bit silly doesn't mean it isn't special.
  • I can relate to so many of you. I was raised Jewish (now I say I'm Jew-ish) H was raised Christian..neither of us practices anything now. My BIL got ordained online and performed our ceremony. He wrote a little intro that neither of us had previously heard/seen, but we wrote the rest. 
    In some places it's called a prayer, but makes no reference to a diety..so you may want to check it out. 

    WP walked down the aisle to the Brother Iz version of Over the Rainbow, and I walked to Our Love is Here to Stay by Harry Connick Jr. 
    Recession was to Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen 

    Our ceremony was short & sweet with a few funny moments. It wasn't a stand up comedy routine--but it was us. It's highly possible we offended some of our guests. But I'm guessing the mere fact that there was no mention of Jesus, and was lacking in Jewish tradition was probably more offensive than a few lighthearted moments. So of all the things I would change about the day--our ceremony is not one. 
    We did do the stepping on the glass because H really wanted to after seeing it done at a friend's wedding. It was introduced by saying that it symbolized the fragility of life..and that our marriage should last as long as it would take to put it back together. 

    Good luck and happy planning to you all! 
  • I carry your heart- EE Cummings

    I'm also signing my marriage license instead of doing a sand ceremony because I think it's cool to be legally married at that moment.
  • I am still currently working on the ceremony reading but this is probably pretty close to the final version. My fiance and I are bringing together a blended family so we want to include them in the vows. Best wishes!

    Rich and Amber, your marriage is a partnership. You are agreeing to share your strength, responsibilities, and love for one another.You are adding to your life not only the affection for each other, but also the companionship and virtue of a deep trust as well. Your relationship is also a source of nourishment for who you both are individually. Continue to expand and learn to honor the full stature of one another and to support unending growth of your experience together.You are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in the entire world whom you love best. You are agreeing to share yourselves for the greater good of both you and your children. But remember love consists of not only gazing at one another, but of looking forward together and building a shared experience of life. Will you, Rich, Dave, Lizzy, and Sam make a commitment to work together as a family and support and encourage each other? We do.Will you, Amber, Taryn, and Tatum make a commitment to work together as a family, support and encourage each other?We do.These rings are a symbol of the unbroken circle of love freely given, it has no beginning and no end, no giver and no receiver for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings always remind you of the vows you have taken.Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I introduce Rich and Amber Evans!(Kiss)
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