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Wedding Woes

Free to be (religiously) me without destroying my relationships.

Dear Prudence,

I grew up in an Episcopalian family. My grandfather was a priest, my gran was an organist, my dad is a deacon, and the rest of the family sang in the choir. When I was 14, I became interested in exploring religion and theology. My dad was OK with that until I brought home a book on Wicca. He threatened to burn it if I didn’t return it immediately. I’m 33 now and pagan. I’ve been in the broom closet with my dad for years. It doesn’t bother me—except that I’m getting married next year in a pagan ceremony and I want him there. We are not asking him to be financially responsible or to participate in any way. We just want him to be there and support us as we say our vows. How do I tell my super-unsupportive dad that I’m pagan without alienating him or destroying our relationship?

—Pagan Wedding

Re: Free to be (religiously) me without destroying my relationships.

  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    It's been nearly 2 decades.  Dad may not have changed his mind but you can be an adult about this. 

    "Dad, I want to let you know that I'm going to be getting married in a Pagan ceremony and I'd love for you to be there.   I know this is not your faith so please let me know if you have any questions that you think I can help answer." 
    mrsconn23MissKittyDangercharlotte989875
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    I feel for LW. I grew up Catholic and was received into the Episcopal Church in my 30s, but I no longer identify as Christian. DW was also received into the Episcopal Church but only attends occasionally. She’s thought about converting to Reform Judaism (MIL is Jewish). My family is still mostly Catholic, and I’m hesitant to say anything about religion to them. Some might think of it as being immature; I think of it as avoiding drama.
    charlotte989875MyNameIsNot
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    banana468 said:
    It's been nearly 2 decades.  Dad may not have changed his mind but you can be an adult about this. 

    "Dad, I want to let you know that I'm going to be getting married in a Pagan ceremony and I'd love for you to be there.   I know this is not your faith so please let me know if you have any questions that you think I can help answer." 
    I like the wording but resent the “be an adult.” Christians in Western society are privileged, so coming out as anything but Christian (and maybe Jewish) is a big deal.
    charlotte989875
  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    banana468 said:
    It's been nearly 2 decades.  Dad may not have changed his mind but you can be an adult about this. 

    "Dad, I want to let you know that I'm going to be getting married in a Pagan ceremony and I'd love for you to be there.   I know this is not your faith so please let me know if you have any questions that you think I can help answer." 
    I like the wording but resent the “be an adult.” Christians in Western society are privileged, so coming out as anything but Christian (and maybe Jewish) is a big deal.
    You're right - when I said be an adult I mean that this is a person who is a grown up.     It may not be easy but they can now phrase their faith in a way that they are also a grown up and there's no longer an independence on their father vs. being told to throw the book away as a 14 yo.  
    MesmrEweCasadena
  • Most people don't know what or much about paganism.  I include myself in that statement and, even as I write this, I hope I used the proper term!

    When the LW tells dad that they are pagan, I think the next move would be to ask Dad to have an open mind while they tell him what pagan means.  The beliefs it entails and what they mean to the LW.  Dispel myths.  I'm sure Dad still won't entirely approve.  But at least if he understands better, he'll hopefully be more accepting.

    Knowledge is power!  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    OurWildKingdomMissKittyDanger
  • I'm thinking the years ago thought of how Pagans were - worshiping the devil, etc - might be where LW's dad is coming from.

    I like @banana468 ; idea of offering knowledge. He may not still agree with it, but at least he has more knowledge.
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    I was kinda sorta in this situation.  I am pagan - my Dad knows and accepts it but it’s nothing we talk about.  When my SIL asked me to be godmother I said “she knows I’m pagan right?” To my brother who shrugged and said “I think so?”

    anyway my point is my MIL is a devout devout catholic.  Like, church daily for her.  My husband is agnostic and agreed to a hand fasting nonetheless.   We chose an (amazing) high priestess and told her we wanted the hand fasting but because both sets of parents Weren’t really “into” it, we made it a subtle - celtic like cover up.  It worked out.  Best man said afterwards to my H “did your mom know you were married by a witch?” Lol.

    mrsconn23OurWildKingdom
  • I was kinda sorta in this situation.  I am pagan - my Dad knows and accepts it but it’s nothing we talk about.  When my SIL asked me to be godmother I said “she knows I’m pagan right?” To my brother who shrugged and said “I think so?”

    anyway my point is my MIL is a devout devout catholic.  Like, church daily for her.  My husband is agnostic and agreed to a hand fasting nonetheless.   We chose an (amazing) high priestess and told her we wanted the hand fasting but because both sets of parents Weren’t really “into” it, we made it a subtle - celtic like cover up.  It worked out.  Best man said afterwards to my H “did your mom know you were married by a witch?” Lol.
    What is handfasting?
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