Owing to the fact that we are a small (but mighty) minority, I am sure most of us who are married have faced the dilemma of religious vs non-religious wedding ceremony. So I have set up a poll (scroll down) to determine what percentage of us has actually had a religious ceremony, and why.
I will share my story first. When I got married I was determined not to have a religious wedding. My wife-to-be, luckily for me and my pending nuptials, was not a very strong believer and so acquiesced to my wish. There were only three ways that we could have a non-religious ceremony: 1) Go to city hall; 2) Have city hall come to us (obtain the services of a justice-of-the-peace); 3) Rent a man-of-the-cloth (Reverend).
Number 1 was out of the question, as I had already imposed upon my wife and she wanted to have an ‘old-fashioned’ wedding. Number 2 was out of the question as we did not personally know a JOP. So it was down to number 3 and funny enough you can find these folks in the Yellow Pages, which is what we did. At our first meeting to talk about the wedding, the good Reverend was duty-bound to offer us 3 different ceremonies, with High, Medium, and Low religious content. At the time I didn’t realize it was low content – I thought it was no content. Right before the wedding I was perusing the ceremony one last time and, as I got to the end, there it was – “May God bless…”. Needless to say, the jerk that I am, I went running to the Reverend to have him remove that last (and only) reference to an imaginary being. To his credit, the Reverend was a good sport and didn’t give me any grief and we had a wedding ceremony depleted of god. Funny enough, to this day religious members of my family (the majority, on both sides) think that we had a ‘normal’ ceremony likely due to the fact that the Reverend was wearing his collar. A lot of them even commented on how wonderful the ceremony was, not realizing, I am sure, that there was no mention of god whatsoever. As an aside, there is one thing I (we) regretted. We did not catch the “Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Foxhole Atheist…” thing when we were introduced as husband and wife. Neither I nor my wife ever thought about her changing her last name to mine, so we really would have preferred to be introduced as merely husband and wife (though secretly I wanted us to be introduced as Mr. Foxhole Atheist and his subservient sexpot!).
So now I would like to poll you, my married atheist friend, about your wedding ceremony. The poll is composed of the following three questions:
Please feel free to provide additional anecdotes about your ceremony in the Comments section.