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Fiancee wants a church wedding but none of us are religious! Help!

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diamondheart

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
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65
So we are finally starting the planning for our wedding. My fiancee wants a wedding in a church. None of us are really religious and don''t mind being married anywhere. However she wants it in a church. I have heard that you don''t need to be religious to be married in some type of churches.

Anyone with suggestions?
 

CrownJewel

Brilliant_Rock
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Sep 26, 2006
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1,895
ooh this is interesting. I have never heard of being married in a church if you're atheist/agnostic. Do you mean that neither of you regularly attend church but would like to be married by a priest?

I always thought you had to be a member of the church (baptized there or regularly attending that church) in order to be married in that church. A friend of mine wanted to be married in a specific church in New York City and she and her fiance both had to "join" that church before being allowed to have their ceremony there.

I'm curious to know why your fiancee wants to be married in a religious setting if she is not religious?
 

TravelingGal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
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17,193
Date: 1/2/2007 7:43:46 PM
Author: CrownJewel
ooh this is interesting. I have never heard of being married in a church if you''re atheist/agnostic. Do you mean that neither of you regularly attend church but would like to be married by a priest?

I always thought you had to be a member of the church (baptized there or regularly attending that church) in order to be married in that church. A friend of mine wanted to be married in a specific church in New York City and she and her fiance both had to ''join'' that church before being allowed to have their ceremony there.

I''m curious to know why your fiancee wants to be married in a religious setting if she is not religious?
My guess: Some people think church weddings are pretty. Long walk down the aisle and all that....
 

CrownJewel

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 26, 2006
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If you can''t find a church near you that allows secular ceremonies, maybe you can suggest to your fiancee re-creating a similar setting? Perhaps a historic building with stained glass windows. You can set up chairs and still have the long walk down the aisle. That may give you more options.
 

dtnyc

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
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1,099
how about a non-denomintational chapel?
The chapel on the campus of my university comes to mind- many of them are gorgeous.
Did either of you go to a school nearby that has a chapel? Could this be an option for you?
 

Blenheim

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
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3,136
Does she want the atmosphere of a church, or do you two also want a religious ceremony, i.e. a reverend saying things like "O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life; Send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy Name..."?

If it''s the former, a chapel can provide the atmosphere without the religion. I second the thought of a campus chapel. Also, at one point I was looking at this chapel in Virginia -- if you look around online you may be able to find a similar place wherever you live.

It may be the particular denomination that I am, but I think it could be hard to get married in the church without being religious. We''re practicing and regularly attend a church, albeit in a different area than where we''re getting married (where my parents and future in-laws live), and we were having problems finding a reverend to perform the ceremony. We''re going to end up using my future in-laws pastor, in a different denomination. (But he''s awesome and will let us use whichever ceremony we want.) If you''re not picky though, you may be able to find someone who will work with you -- it just may take a lot of leg work. Or, you could start attending church.
 

Hopes

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 7, 2006
Messages
97
University chapels are usually only open to those affiliated with the university. For example the university I attended (the prices seem reasonable to you guys?): http://www.northwestern.edu/chaplain/weddings.html requires affiliation, but not religious affiliation. My fiance is staff there, so I''ve thought about it. Church weddings are beautiful, but honestly as an atheist/agnostic myself, I think it''s more like putting on a show, a pretention rather than a genuine thing.
 

sumbride

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
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3,867
Date: 1/3/2007 10:07:58 AM
Author: Hopes
Church weddings are beautiful, but honestly as an atheist/agnostic myself, I think it''s more like putting on a show, a pretention rather than a genuine thing.

I feel the same way. My mother was pressing us to use the church I went to as a kid, and it is beautiful, but both FI and I are atheist/agnostic and we felt it would be dishonorable to use a church when we weren''t sure we believed in anything. We thought it might be insulting to those who truly believe. My mom doesn''t really get that, though she''s happy we chose a beautiful outdoor setting. We''re still having trouble finding an officiant though.
 

CrownJewel

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 26, 2006
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1,895
Yes there is a lot of symbolic, religious meaning to being wed in a chapel or church but if that''s the setting you want...then do it. Many religious traditions have become just traditions, without any of the religious meaning attached (for example, I know many many many atheists and agnostics, myself included, who celebrate Christmas without celebrating the birth of Christ).

I personally wouldn''t want to get married in a church for the same reasons that sumbride stated. It is a house of worship, and it wouldn''t feel right to me to bring in a secular ceremony.

All that said, if you are in NYC, St. Paul''s Chapel on the Columbia University campus is a beautiful chapel that hosts many types of events, including secular events. I remember many weddings taking place there, and I also remember some of the student groups that I was in used the chapel for meeting space and concerts. I''m an agnostic and I''ve spent lots of time in the chapel.
I just looked it up and they state that you do not have to be affiliated with the University or the chapel to use the space.
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
3,689
we are marrying in princeton university chapel, but having a priest officiate. it''s more like a catherdral than a chapel! And the fees are over 2K..now THATs expensive. i see other univ''s don''t charge as much...yikes
i still like to think of our ceremony as religious event if it''s in an interfaith venue.
i think ultimately it''s up to you, these days things are much more liberal (at least on east coast) and it''s not so uncommon for non religious couples to marry in church.
 

Hopes

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 7, 2006
Messages
97
I'd say there's much more of a romantic old world feel to it if you marry in a castle than a church. Pretty friendly for the non-religious couple, too! :razz: The problem is that there just aren't any real castles in the U.S. I found this site: http://www.dupontcastle.com/castles/ Most of these are just old buildings though.
 

cara

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
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2,202
So I can relate because the church at my school is so beautiful that I kind of wanted to get married there even thought FI and I are both totally non-religious. Its a beautiful space, we wouldnt have people roasting in the sun during our ceremony, aand a lot of this wedding stuff is just tradition, but in the end we are doing something more appropriate to our aethiest nature - a garden.

So I would recommend either UU churches (Unitarian Universalist) or school chapel/churches, though often you need an affiliation to get married at a school church. But also talk with your FI again about *why* she wants the church - maybe its just for the grand cathedral look that you could get in some non-religous spaces as well. Or maybe she had a touch of religion hidden in there and feels it wouldn''t be right to NOT get married in a church - nothing like a wedding or kids to bring that out.
 

kcoursolle

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
10,589
I''m an atheist and I will be having the ceremony in fi''s church. It was important for fi and his family, so I agreed to do it for them. Luckily, the pastor is very understanding/non-judgemental towards other faiths and is fine with marrying us despite my beliefs.
 
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