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Ceremony and Vow Ideas

How to Appease Catholic Parents with a Non-Religious Wedding Ceremony

While my parents acknowledge that my fiance and I are not religious, my father would very much like for me to incorporate "tradition" into my wedding. I grew up in the Catholic Church, but no longer attend and consider myself Agnostic. My fiance grew up attending Christian private school, but considers himself Atheist. We fully acknowledge that marriage is historically based in religion and are struggling on finding a way to please both ourselves and my parents (as well as other older, religious family members). I would appreciate any advice on incorporating some "tradition" into my wedding without the mention of God. 

Re: How to Appease Catholic Parents with a Non-Religious Wedding Ceremony

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    While my parents acknowledge that my fiance and I are not religious, my father would very much like for me to incorporate "tradition" into my wedding. I grew up in the Catholic Church, but no longer attend and consider myself Agnostic. My fiance grew up attending Christian private school, but considers himself Atheist. We fully acknowledge that marriage is historically based in religion and are struggling on finding a way to please both ourselves and my parents (as well as other older, religious family members). I would appreciate any advice on incorporating some "tradition" into my wedding without the mention of God. 
    The ceremony is the one part of the day that you and FI get 100% say in how it goes.  If neither of you believe in the meanings behind the religion, you shouldn't be looking to add any aspect of the religion into your ceremony.  It would be a mockery of what you believe and insulting to those Catholics who may be in attendance that know you don't believe any longer.  You are an adult now, tell your dad that you do not want any religious influences in your ceremony since you no longer believe.  Hire a JOP and just have a secular ceremony.
    [Deleted User]
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Honestly, the only thing that appeases Catholic parents who really take it seriously is to have a wedding in a Catholic church with the mass and promise to raise your children Catholic.  Nothing else will do the job.

    And since you don't believe in the teachings of the Church anymore, it really doesn't make sense to have that kind of wedding because it would mock the Church's teachings and those who do take it seriously.

    I'd try to find non-religious traditions that you can incorporate into your wedding instead.
    [Deleted User]
  • While my parents acknowledge that my fiance and I are not religious, my father would very much like for me to incorporate "tradition" into my wedding. I grew up in the Catholic Church, but no longer attend and consider myself Agnostic. My fiance grew up attending Christian private school, but considers himself Atheist. We fully acknowledge that marriage is historically based in religion and are struggling on finding a way to please both ourselves and my parents (as well as other older, religious family members). I would appreciate any advice on incorporating some "tradition" into my wedding without the mention of God. 
    This isn't going to work for a few reasons:

    1.   You can't have a "kinda" Catholic wedding.  The ceremony is either Catholic (in a Catholic church, with the standard text of the marriage rite, etc.) or it isn't.  

    2.  There are no Catholic traditions that don't have anything to do with God.  You could maybe find a reading that doesn't mention God heavily, but everything in the Bible does relate to God even if it isn't explicitly mentioned.

    3.  The ceremony is the one part of your wedding day that is totally about you and FI.  It should reflect you both and not betray your beliefs.

    That said, there are a lot of wedding traditions that your or his family may think are "Catholic", but they really aren't.  The unity candle is a good example.  If there are traditions you have seen at family weddings, research them and figure out what their origins are.  You may be able to think of one that is non-religious that you could incorporate.  You would be able to use a tradition that your family has practiced without being disingenuous about your beliefs.  
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    [Deleted User]
  • I have said this until I'm sick of it, but.... If you are old enough to get married, you are old enough to have the courage of your (lack of) convictions and tell your parents, "Mom and Dad, I know that a religious/Catholic ceremony is important to you, but it doesn't represent who FI and I are as a couple, so we will not be having a Catholic, religious ceremony."

    And ditto PPs. There is no way at all to have a "kind of, sort of, maybe, a little bit," Catholic Mass. Either it is and you're getting married Catholic or it's not and you're not. But there's no middle ground.

    You could do the unity candle, which is neither Catholic nor Christian in origin but most people think it is. You could read from 1 Corinthians 13, about "love is" -- yes, it's the Bible, but few people getting married disagree with the premise of the passage. 

    Best of luck.
    Anniversary

    image
    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    thejucheidea
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited August 2013
    NYCBruin said:
    While my parents acknowledge that my fiance and I are not religious, my father would very much like for me to incorporate "tradition" into my wedding. I grew up in the Catholic Church, but no longer attend and consider myself Agnostic. My fiance grew up attending Christian private school, but considers himself Atheist. We fully acknowledge that marriage is historically based in religion and are struggling on finding a way to please both ourselves and my parents (as well as other older, religious family members). I would appreciate any advice on incorporating some "tradition" into my wedding without the mention of God. 
    This isn't going to work for a few reasons:

    1.   You can't have a "kinda" Catholic wedding.  The ceremony is either Catholic (in a Catholic church, with the standard text of the marriage rite, etc.) or it isn't.  

    2.  There are no Catholic traditions that don't have anything to do with God.  You could maybe find a reading that doesn't mention God heavily, but everything in the Bible does relate to God even if it isn't explicitly mentioned.

    3.  The ceremony is the one part of your wedding day that is totally about you and FI.  It should reflect you both and not betray your beliefs.

    That said, there are a lot of wedding traditions that your or his family may think are "Catholic", but they really aren't.  The unity candle is a good example.  If there are traditions you have seen at family weddings, research them and figure out what their origins are.  You may be able to think of one that is non-religious that you could incorporate.  You would be able to use a tradition that your family has practiced without being disingenuous about your beliefs.  
    Actually, there is nothing "Catholic" about the unity candle, and in fact, many Catholic parishes prohibit them.  To incorporate a unity candle in a Catholic wedding often requires special permission from the priest.  

    ETA:  NYC, I want to acknowledge that I understand you realize the unity candle is not a Catholic tradition.  This is a personal pet peeve of mine that I see arise time and time again, and I just wanted to clarify for other readers.

    I agree with the comments made by PP's.  Perhaps you could incorporate a blessing at the reception dinner, where it would be appropriate and meaningful to many of the guests, without compromising your personal beliefs.
  • mobkaz said:
    NYCBruin said:
    While my parents acknowledge that my fiance and I are not religious, my father would very much like for me to incorporate "tradition" into my wedding. I grew up in the Catholic Church, but no longer attend and consider myself Agnostic. My fiance grew up attending Christian private school, but considers himself Atheist. We fully acknowledge that marriage is historically based in religion and are struggling on finding a way to please both ourselves and my parents (as well as other older, religious family members). I would appreciate any advice on incorporating some "tradition" into my wedding without the mention of God. 
    This isn't going to work for a few reasons:

    1.   You can't have a "kinda" Catholic wedding.  The ceremony is either Catholic (in a Catholic church, with the standard text of the marriage rite, etc.) or it isn't.  

    2.  There are no Catholic traditions that don't have anything to do with God.  You could maybe find a reading that doesn't mention God heavily, but everything in the Bible does relate to God even if it isn't explicitly mentioned.

    3.  The ceremony is the one part of your wedding day that is totally about you and FI.  It should reflect you both and not betray your beliefs.

    That said, there are a lot of wedding traditions that your or his family may think are "Catholic", but they really aren't.  The unity candle is a good example.  If there are traditions you have seen at family weddings, research them and figure out what their origins are.  You may be able to think of one that is non-religious that you could incorporate.  You would be able to use a tradition that your family has practiced without being disingenuous about your beliefs.  
    Actually, there is nothing "Catholic" about the unity candle, and in fact, many Catholic parishes prohibit them.  To incorporate a unity candle in a Catholic wedding often requires special permission from the priest.  

    ETA:  NYC, I want to acknowledge that I understand you realize the unity candle is not a Catholic tradition.  This is a personal pet peeve of mine that I see arise time and time again, and I just wanted to clarify for other readers.

    I agree with the comments made by PP's.  Perhaps you could incorporate a blessing at the reception dinner, where it would be appropriate and meaningful to many of the guests, without compromising your personal beliefs.
    Yeah, it was the most obvious example that came to mind of something done within some Catholic wedding ceremonies that's not actually Catholic.  I'm sure there are a few other ones that happen in various parishes, but that's the one I see most often.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
  • I'd have to say, ask your parents what traditions they would possibly like to see incorporated. It could be simple things like dad still walking you down the isle and stating that he is the one that gives this women to marry this man, some form of a unity candle (you could do sand or something else), and maybe instead blessing the marriage you can do a moment of silence where people can send positive thoughts & wishes to the bride & groom in their new lives together?

    Talk to them, see what they would like to see and then talk to FI and see how you might be able to take some of the those and do them in non-religious way. Then they still get to see something of what they dreamed of but it will still respect your & FI beliefs & practices.

     

    tally7
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    While my parents acknowledge that my fiance and I are not religious, my father would very much like for me to incorporate "tradition" into my wedding. I grew up in the Catholic Church, but no longer attend and consider myself Agnostic. My fiance grew up attending Christian private school, but considers himself Atheist. We fully acknowledge that marriage is historically based in religion and are struggling on finding a way to please both ourselves and my parents (as well as other older, religious family members). I would appreciate any advice on incorporating some "tradition" into my wedding without the mention of God. 
    Actually no.



    southernbelle0915
  • Viczaesar said:



    While my parents acknowledge that my fiance and I are not religious, my father would very much like for me to incorporate "tradition" into my wedding. I grew up in the Catholic Church, but no longer attend and consider myself Agnostic. My fiance grew up attending Christian private school, but considers himself Atheist. We fully acknowledge that marriage is historically based in religion and are struggling on finding a way to please both ourselves and my parents (as well as other older, religious family members). I would appreciate any advice on incorporating some "tradition" into my wedding without the mention of God. 

    Actually no.


    This.

    Monogamy was actually about land ownership, dowry, and all that kind of stuff.
    image
  • This is your day and the ceremony is about you and your soon to be husband. But, if you want to appease your father slightly, I would suggest reciting a traditional Catholic vow (in sickness and in health, until death do us part, you know the drill). You could also recite your own vows and end with the catholic version at the end, so you both have a matching ending. Or you could do a Unity Candle. While not strictly Catholic, it is Christian while mainly focusing on two families uniting.  
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree about asking your parents what traditional means to them, as what they want may not be "Catholic".

    The reception is for hosting your guests, but the ceremony is supposed to be 100% representing you and you FH- make it about you two.

    I will add though- FH and I are having a non-religious ceremony. Our officiant is a Reverend, but often officiates non-religious ceremonies. When we met with him to discuss our ceremony he did provide us with some ways we could incorporate religion, if we so wanted, such as reciting very traditional vows, having him bless our rings before the exchange, having him recite a prayer and blessing at the end of the ceremony. These could be things that you incorporate (without them being purely Catholic) IF they are something that would have meaning to you. 
  • I actually just went through a very similar situation. My father is catholic and despite years of me saying I didn't want to be married in the church it finally set in when I got engaged and told him our plans for an outside non-religious ceremony.

    I love and respect him and I felt terrible that it hurt him. But after a few discussions with him about my and my FI's beliefs and what we wanted he completely respected our decision. He wasn't "happy" about it but is IS happy for us and understands that it is our wedding and we cannot have a wedding revolving around something neither of us believe.

    I'm sure you want to find some medium ground but like others had said there isn't really a "kind of catholic" wedding. You have to do what is best for you and your future husband. Think of how strange it would be standing up talking about your love and god's love if you don't believe it! That would take away from what you truly do believe about your ceremony.
    southernbelle0915OliveOilsMom
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