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Thoughts on nondenominational ceremony

Trying to think how to reconcile religious differences at our ceremony.  FI and his family are nominally Catholic but do not attend church-- however, he's Italian and identifies Catholicism very strongly as his heritage.  I believe in a higher power but am very opposed to organized religion.  Church and religion make me deeply uncomfortable.

FI has always known this about me, so he doesn't really expect to have a church wedding-- nor do I expect to have a 100% religion free wedding.  But compromise seems hard to find.  He says he wants the Catholic sacrament, but as far as I know I would have to convert for a Catholic wedding and I'm not comfortable with that.  I am open to having a religious figure officiate, but I'm not sure what denomination would even be comfortable for both of us.  Our thoughts right now are pretty loosey-goosey, mostly in the realm of "We'll have a nondenominational ceremony and put in some religious elements, but not too much."  We are sorely lacking in ideas and details for how to do this.

Does anyone else have experience with working some Catholic beliefs into an otherwise secular ceremony?  Our ceremony will be outside, at the same place we're having the reception.  We are about a year and a half out, so just in the beginning planning stages.
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Re: Thoughts on nondenominational ceremony

  • First, you do not have to convert in order to have a Catholic wedding. 

    Second, if he wants "the Catholic Sacrament" that means you must get married in a Catholic Church, by a Catholic priest, or receive dispensation from a Bishop in order to have your (non Catholic) ceremony recognized by the Church. That kind of dispensation is not granted very often.  I recommend you and your FI speak honestly with a priest about each of your beliefs and come to a conclusion about what role the Catholic faith should have in his life and in your marriage.

    If your FI decides that it is not important to him to have his marriage recognized by the Church, but still wants your ceremony to include Christian elements, I would suggest looking at the Old and New Testament readings often used in Catholic ceremonies. 

    As far as an officiant-many JOPs will include religious elements in a ceremony, like Bible passages, prayers, etc, or you could try a minster like a Unitarian, who welcome all religious beliefs in their ceremonies. 
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Thanks-- I just mentioned last night to him about talking with a priest.  I think at this point a lot of it is on him to think about what he really wants.  It's funny you mentioned Unitarian as an option.  My dad and grandma attended Unitarian church for a while and that's definitely worth trying to look into.
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  • Agreed that many JOPs will include religious elements in a ceremony if you would like them.

    Our officiant is the minister of a United church, but he officiates many weddings from a non-religious stand point. When we met with him to discuss our wedding, he gave us a package of wording options that we can pick for each section of the ceremony and told us we could include religious aspects if we like- as many, or none at all. 
  • Yep - to have the sacrament of marriage one of the couple must be Catholic and the other must be a baptized Christian, you must follow the per-marital counseling required by the church, and you must be married by a Catholic priest within a Church.

    To add some religious elements, I suggest some bible readings and a religious blessing.
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