I'm getting married next summer, and we would like to ask a good friend of my family's to perform the wedding. He is a pastor and has been for something like 40 years and has known me for the majority of my life. The two main reasons we want him to do the wedding are that he and my dad, who passed away about 2.5 years ago, were good friends for a very long time, and also because neither my fiance nor I are church-goers or religious and we like the idea of having someone who means something to us marry us.
Here's the issue... from what I understand, he is/has been pretty high up in the national administration of his church, and we aren't sure if he would be able to perform our wedding (my mom thinks they're pretty strict). Aside from what his church may or may not allow, the other issue is the fact that we don't want a very religious ceremony (I was raised Catholic but am not practicing, my fiance did not have any religious upbringing and we don't think he was baptized). Not so much a civil ceremony, but more nondenominational - I'm fine with God coming to my wedding but I don't want a lot of bible passages. Our families are completely fine with this, so that isn't an issue, thankfully.
So, here's the question: how do I ask if he would be willing to officiate without offending him? I've started the email at least 5 times. I feel like I need to explain up front that we don't want a very religious ceremony and I just don't know how to ask that without being rude to his beliefs. I also tend to be an over-explainer, so that is likely playing a role in all of this