As a couple you may not be religious but still respect the beliefs of important members of your family. So how can you be true to the light and fun wedding vibe that you want and honour religion at a non-religious wedding?
Destination wedding location, location, location
As a destination wedding celebrant, the vast majority of my couples are in Spain because they don’t want a religious wedding ceremony.
Couples don’t want a church or place of worship, they prefer a sunshine-filled ceremony in a luxury hotel, a villa, a castle or a beach wedding.
That said, I know of at least three beautiful decommissioned churches where we can hold your ceremony in the Spanish sunshine if the appearance of a chapel wedding is important to you but the religion is not.
Wedding minister, registrar, officiant or celebrant
Personally speaking, I am not religious myself. I am more of a spiritualist and inclined to believe that we all have an energy that never dies.
I am fascinated by cultural rituals so I’m more than happy to officiate blended faith ceremonies and am open to all beliefs.
Hands up though, I am actually an ordained minister of a non-denominational church! This was a title bought online and a total ploy on the behest of one couple who wanted to honestly say to their family that they had a ” wedding minister” officiating their wedding.
For many years I was a deputy superintendent registrar of births, deaths and marriages, so by all means use the title, “registrar” to appease your family into accepting the officialdom of me as your wedding celebrant.
Whatever you want to call me, Debbie Skyrme, minister, registrar, wedding officiant or independent celebrant, it’s all true!
Honour the wedding traditions – with a twist
By honouring some of the wedding traditions you can make your secular wedding look and feel like a formal ceremony whilst weaving in personal elements to reflect your own personalities and values.
We’re not talking about a religious cross or font, but a ceremony space with a table decorated to your taste.
- Ring exchange
The giving and exchanging of wedding rings is not a legal element of contracting a marriage, it is purely a visual sign to the world that you have made a commitment to another person.
- Personal vows
Forget the religious wording requiring that you honour and obey your partner, again this is not a legal contractual element of a marriage. Instead write your own vows using words that have real meaning to your soulmate, your partner in life.
- Certificate signing
Asking others to sign a commemorative certificate to witness that you said your vows to each other is a wonderful, visual way to include important people into your non-religious wedding ceremony.
It may not be signing an official register, but it certainly looks and feels just as important and is a lasting memento of your special day.
Non-religious wedding music
Your guests will look forward to seeing you in your wedding finery for the first time, so why not make the most of your moment in the spotlight and have a processional entrance and exit ….but to your favourite song.
By all means choose a traditional wedding march, but only if that resonates with you. Otherwise, enter and exit to your own tune!
You can enter
- together as a couple
- at the same time, from different directions
- individually, escorted by one special person
- individually, escorted by your wedding attendants
- on your own.
Religious readings that don’t sound religious
Readings at a wedding are a great way to personalise your special ceremony.
There are some really fun texts, lyrics, poems and quotations out there that will reflect you as a couple, but let’s say you’ve asked your favourite uncle to do a reading and he wants to include a religious piece. What should you do to avoid non-religious guests or guests of different religions, from feeling uncomfortable?
- Most religious teachings include short stories to illustrate a message.
Ask your reader to choose one that doesn’t reference a religious figure or god.
- Many quotations from religious scripts have made it into common parlance and are non cliché .
This means guests listening to the reading can take it either way.
The non-religious traditional wedding ceremony
Ultimately you can have the best of all worlds – a humanist-style wedding ceremony based on traditional elements but without any religious references.
You really can have a wedding that blends the wording you are accustomed to hearing at a traditional marriage, but is totally personalised to reflect your personalities and the vibe you want to achieve for your guests to enjoy.
Contact me soon to find out more!
I am Debbie Skyrme. Award winning celebrant, officiating bilingual weddings, elopements and vow renewal ceremonies in the Spanish sunshine.
Featured photo Pedro Bellido