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Ceremony and Vow Ideas

A Non-Religious Religious Ceremony

My groom and I (who aren't actually engaged yet but have started planning) see a pastor for couple's counseling.  He's someone my mom who is a pastor knows. I went to school to be a minister and was a minister at one time.  Religion, however, is not a significant part of my life anymore.  We want to have the pastor who is giving us counseling marry us. He's been so supportive and even dealt with my rants when my man stresses me out and encouraged my man in ways he needs encouragement and also kept me in check from time to time when I become too mothering.

Anyway, we want to also get married in a chapel. 

However, as I said, religion is no longer a big part of my life.  And my groom is agnostic.  If he leans towards any religion, it's Buddhism.  How can we tell the pastor to marry us but to (we wouldn't use these words) "Keep the religion to a minimum." 


Re: A Non-Religious Religious Ceremony

  • I am not saying that the faith doesn't matter to me at all anymore or we don't want parts of religion in it.  I am getting married in the chapel because it was the chapel at the camp where I grew up.  Religion was important in shaping me into who I am.  My mother is a minister. I followed in her footsteps for awhile. However,  I am no longer a minister and don't want a completely religious focus in large part because my SO is agnostic Buddhist. 
  • dvdplayer said:

    My groom and I (who aren't actually engaged yet but have started planning) see a pastor for couple's counseling.  He's someone my mom who is a pastor knows. I went to school to be a minister and was a minister at one time.  Religion, however, is not a significant part of my life anymore.  We want to have the pastor who is giving us counseling marry us. He's been so supportive and even dealt with my rants when my man stresses me out and encouraged my man in ways he needs encouragement and also kept me in check from time to time when I become too mothering.

    Anyway, we want to also get married in a chapel. 

    However, as I said, religion is no longer a big part of my life.  And my groom is agnostic.  If he leans towards any religion, it's Buddhism.  How can we tell the pastor to marry us but to (we wouldn't use these words) "Keep the religion to a minimum." 


    ************
    In most states, a member of the clergy is empowered to marry couples within his faith, and also to conduct a civil ceremony.

    Not knowing his faith or yours, it seems to me that it is wrong to ask this pastor to conduct a religious ceremony and take the religion out, or make a religion light version.

    But if he is willing to conduct a basic civil ceremony plus any reading or words of inspiration from him, and any statements or vows you write, that sounds fine.

    As to marriage in a chapel, there are many non-denominational chapels used by many people who may have strong faith or religious or philosophical beliefs, but who do not believe in all of the tenets of any one organized religion. Often interfaith ceremonies are held in such places.

    Not far from us, both a Unitarian and a Congregational church make available their sanctuaries and 1 additional chapel to couples who state that they believe in the Creator, but consider their relationship with this God a personal one, not needing the structure of an organized religion, or a priest or other clergy as an intermediary.

    With the permission of their congregations who own the church, they function the way that many University and Military chapels do. At minimum, a civil ceremony. In addition, personal statements, which may be religious or may simply address the matter of marriage unions. University and military clergy regularly perform marriages often designated as non-denominational.

    This sounds okay to me, if it is what you have in mind.
    But churches like Roman Catholic and many Anabaptist faiths would not welcome anyone not of their faith, and using their chapel would not be allowed.

    rcher912
  • dvdplayer said:
    I am not saying that the faith doesn't matter to me at all anymore or we don't want parts of religion in it.  I am getting married in the chapel because it was the chapel at the camp where I grew up.  Religion was important in shaping me into who I am.  My mother is a minister. I followed in her footsteps for awhile. However,  I am no longer a minister and don't want a completely religious focus in large part because my SO is agnostic Buddhist. 

    Then you two need to sit down and discuss what kind of ceremony you want to have, and how to balance your two faiths. How does your fiance feel about being married in a (Christian?) chapel?

    And I can't really tell if you consider faith to be an active part of your life or not, but I will reiterate PP's point that using a church for sentimental or any other reason besides faith is incredibly insulting to many people, myself included.

    You will be ridiculously rude if you waltz into a clergymember's office and tell him to keep the religion to a minimum. You're telling that person to minimize what they've dedicated their life to doing. It'd be like me walking into a meeting with my kid's teacher and telling them I wanted them to keep the teaching to a minimum during school days. It makes no sense at best, and is insulting and demeaning at worst.  

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    PrettyGirlLostslothiegalapromise22Ambibery
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I have to agree with PPs that it's rude and insulting to ask a clergy person to officiate at your ceremony but not discuss religion, especially in his own house of worship. And if you're not a believer or practitioner of that religion, it is rude and insulting to its members to use its premises for your wedding.

    If you really want him to officiate, you could ask him to perform a civil ceremony at another location, but expecting him to perform a ceremony outside his faith in his house of worship is not appropriate.

    PS - you haven't said whether you are on the same page as your FI regarding what type of ceremony you want, where you'd like it to be, and who you want to officiate. Those are decisions you need to make together-before you book either a ceremony venue or officiant.
    MGP
  • Congratulations, you are engaged! Planning a wedding = engaged.

    It is really inappropriate and potentially quite offensive to have a ceremony in a chapel if you and your groom are not religious. Surely there are other locations at this camp where you can have a ceremony. You say your groom is agnostic and that you used to be a minister but you don't mention whether you still believe or what his feelings are on a religious ceremony. And really, you cannot have a secular ceremony in a house of worship. That's not how it works.
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • Congratulations, you are engaged! Planning a wedding = engaged.

    It is really inappropriate and potentially quite offensive to have a ceremony in a chapel if you and your groom are not religious. Surely there are other locations at this camp where you can have a ceremony. You say your groom is agnostic and that you used to be a minister but you don't mention whether you still believe or what his feelings are on a religious ceremony. And really, you cannot have a secular ceremony in a house of worship. That's not how it works.
    I think it depends on the location. I had my wedding at a chapel. I did want the Christian aspects to be present, as that is my religion, but anyone with money to pay could have rented this chapel for a wedding. This chapel I used is not part of a particular church, but it does have crosses decorating it. 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Congrats on your engagement.  Sorry but planning a wedding means you are engaged.   One does not pick a date, venue and WP if they are planning on getting married.  So, face it, you are engaged.

    Now to the question.  I find it odd and almost offensive to ask a person of the cloth to do a non-religious ceremony inside a chapel.  But  hey, this counselor might be okay with it? You will not know if you don't ask.   

    So the answer to your question is simply be honest and ASK.  But don't get all upset if he denies your request.   






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • dvdplayer said:
    My groom and I (who aren't actually engaged yet but have started planning) see a pastor for couple's counseling.  He's someone my mom who is a pastor knows. I went to school to be a minister and was a minister at one time.  Religion, however, is not a significant part of my life anymore.  We want to have the pastor who is giving us counseling marry us. He's been so supportive and even dealt with my rants when my man stresses me out and encouraged my man in ways he needs encouragement and also kept me in check from time to time when I become too mothering.

    Anyway, we want to also get married in a chapel. 

    However, as I said, religion is no longer a big part of my life.  And my groom is agnostic.  If he leans towards any religion, it's Buddhism.  How can we tell the pastor to marry us but to (we wouldn't use these words) "Keep the religion to a minimum." 


    You cannot tell the pastor how to conduct a marriage ceremony.  You can ASK him if he will; do it.  It is completely up to him.  Be prepared to find another officiant if he turns you down.

    As a committed Christian, I find it offensive that you want to use a religious building for a civil wedding ceremony.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    KatWAG
  • I think your pastor knows you right? So you say something like- we'd love for you to marry us, but since fiancé isn't Christian we were hoping for a ceremony that could reflect our interfaith relationship and be approachable for our non-Christian guests. Some pastors I know would be like- awesome, won't mention a lot of Jesus, let's focus on a message of love and work through this. Some would just say- here's what I do, you decide if it works for you.
    rcher912
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Planning a wedding means you're engaged.

    So, you're getting married in a chapel with no heat and you'd like the pastor to remove anything religious from the ceremony. And none of this sounds ridiculous to you??

    I'm the farthest thing from religious. But this is really disrespectful. If you don't want a religious ceremony, do not get married in a church.

    speakeasy14
  • Agree with most previous posters but... 

    My understanding is that not all chapels are tied to religion. The chapel at my college, for example, was non denominational and where we had many completely non religious events. Many people get married there (secular, or religious), there are different religious services that take place there, and there are just.... plain old college events/ meetings/ lectures/ totally random stuff there. It had pretty stain glass windows that depicted famous literary figures. 

    CMGragain said:
    dvdplayer said:
    My groom and I (who aren't actually engaged yet but have started planning) see a pastor for couple's counseling.  He's someone my mom who is a pastor knows. I went to school to be a minister and was a minister at one time.  Religion, however, is not a significant part of my life anymore.  We want to have the pastor who is giving us counseling marry us. He's been so supportive and even dealt with my rants when my man stresses me out and encouraged my man in ways he needs encouragement and also kept me in check from time to time when I become too mothering.

    Anyway, we want to also get married in a chapel. 

    However, as I said, religion is no longer a big part of my life.  And my groom is agnostic.  If he leans towards any religion, it's Buddhism.  How can we tell the pastor to marry us but to (we wouldn't use these words) "Keep the religion to a minimum." 


    You cannot tell the pastor how to conduct a marriage ceremony.  You can ASK him if he will; do it.  It is completely up to him.  Be prepared to find another officiant if he turns you down.

    As a committed Christian, I find it offensive that you want to use a religious building for a civil wedding ceremony.

    MollyandD
  • lilacck28 said:
    Agree with most previous posters but... 

    My understanding is that not all chapels are tied to religion. The chapel at my college, for example, was non denominational and where we had many completely non religious events. Many people get married there (secular, or religious), there are different religious services that take place there, and there are just.... plain old college events/ meetings/ lectures/ totally random stuff there. It had pretty stain glass windows that depicted famous literary figures. 

    CMGragain said:
    dvdplayer said:
    My groom and I (who aren't actually engaged yet but have started planning) see a pastor for couple's counseling.  He's someone my mom who is a pastor knows. I went to school to be a minister and was a minister at one time.  Religion, however, is not a significant part of my life anymore.  We want to have the pastor who is giving us counseling marry us. He's been so supportive and even dealt with my rants when my man stresses me out and encouraged my man in ways he needs encouragement and also kept me in check from time to time when I become too mothering.

    Anyway, we want to also get married in a chapel. 

    However, as I said, religion is no longer a big part of my life.  And my groom is agnostic.  If he leans towards any religion, it's Buddhism.  How can we tell the pastor to marry us but to (we wouldn't use these words) "Keep the religion to a minimum." 


    You cannot tell the pastor how to conduct a marriage ceremony.  You can ASK him if he will; do it.  It is completely up to him.  Be prepared to find another officiant if he turns you down.

    As a committed Christian, I find it offensive that you want to use a religious building for a civil wedding ceremony.

    I said something along those lines. I got married in a chapel with religious symbols, but it was open to anyone who wanted to use it. A friend got married in a chapel that was nondenominational and had no religious symbols. 
  • There is no need to argue semantics about the space itself when OP explicitly said she wanted a pastor. You cannot have a nonreligious wedding in a chapel with a pastor officiating.
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  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited February 2015
    There is no need to argue semantics about the space itself when OP explicitly said she wanted a pastor. You cannot have a nonreligious wedding in a chapel with a pastor officiating.
    Actually, you CAN, but good luck finding a pastor who will agree to it.  Unitarians might.  I still think it is offensive to use a religious building for a civil ceremony.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    rcher912
  • CMGragain said:
    There is no need to argue semantics about the space itself when OP explicitly said she wanted a pastor. You cannot have a nonreligious wedding in a chapel with a pastor officiating.
    Actually, you CAN, but good luck finding a pastor who will agree to it.  Unitarians might.  I still think it is offensive to use a religious building for a civil ceremony.
    I agree with what you're saying. I just didn't think all chapels were religious. Her pastor clearly is, so I get why that's a big deal. I don't know that much about this, so I'll do some googling later. 
  • As someone who's non-religious myself, I would have no desire to marry in a religious institution besides a Unitarian Universalist fellowship. So I have to wonder what your FI thinks about all of this. Have you spoken to him about this? What are his thoughts and preferences? I would be irritated if my FH just decided without me that we are getting married in a house of worship he grew up in when neither of us are religious.


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  • lilacck28 said:

    Agree with most previous posters but... 


    My understanding is that not all chapels are tied to religion. The chapel at my college, for example, was non denominational and where we had many completely non religious events. Many people get married there (secular, or religious), there are different religious services that take place there, and there are just.... plain old college events/ meetings/ lectures/ totally random stuff there. It had pretty stain glass windows that depicted famous literary figures. 



    ---------------------------------------
    From what OP said about this place having sentimental value to her because it was where she went to camp, it quite likely is not a consecrated chapel for one religion. Like many colleges, whoever is using it today, the building itself is not dedicated to any one faith. Most camps use their chapels as secular meeting places, too. Meetings with parents of prospective campers, slide shows. Because this building with rows of seats and a lectern up front is to them a small auditorium when not used for any religious purpose.

    There are a whole lot of unconsecrated churches and chapels in N New England left from days when there were more people on farms. These places, and camps or colleges not in session , are for rent for many purposes.
    Just like above poster's college chapel.

    If a place can host a Jewish service one day, a Catholic one followed by a protestant one the next,
    and be a quiet place any student or camper can think, meditate or pray any time they drop by -- why would using it for an interfaith wedding be wrong or offensive, to a Christian or anyone else?
  • esstee33esstee33 Pittsburgh member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited July 2015
    Agree with most previous posters but... 

    My understanding is that not all chapels are tied to religion. The chapel at my college, for example, was non denominational and where we had many completely non religious events. Many people get married there (secular, or religious), there are different religious services that take place there, and there are just.... plain old college events/ meetings/ lectures/ totally random stuff there. It had pretty stain glass windows that depicted famous literary figures. 

    --------------------------------------- From what OP said about this place having sentimental value to her because it was where she went to camp, it quite likely is not a consecrated chapel for one religion. Like many colleges, whoever is using it today, the building itself is not dedicated to any one faith. Most camps use their chapels as secular meeting places, too. Meetings with parents of prospective campers, slide shows. Because this building with rows of seats and a lectern up front is to them a small auditorium when not used for any religious purpose. There are a whole lot of unconsecrated churches and chapels in N New England left from days when there were more people on farms. These places, and camps or colleges not in session , are for rent for many purposes. Just like above poster's college chapel. If a place can host a Jewish service one day, a Catholic one followed by a protestant one the next, and be a quiet place any student or camper can think, meditate or pray any time they drop by -- why would using it for an interfaith wedding be wrong or offensive, to a Christian or anyone else?
    No, not all chapels are tied to religion, but there's at least an outside possibility that this could be a chapel at a church camp, given that her mother is a minister and she said religion was a big part of her life growing up. 

    Pretty sure the OP is never coming back though, so no answers for us. Boo. 


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