A Reason Not To Get Married in a Church October 29, 2010

A Reason Not To Get Married in a Church

This is why I need to have a wedding: Blog fodder for weeks.

The bride added:

“I felt like telling her she could keep her $50 and her guilt trip, too, but decided I would have my revenge by having a long, happy, secular marriage instead.”


I am sooooo gonna invite 329423 religious people to my eventual wedding. I just need a *really* heathentastic place to hold it.

(via PassiveAggressiveNotes — thanks to Alice for the link!)

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  • See if Heff will let you rent out the Grotto at his mansion for your wedding.

  • Wow. Again, it is always astonishing how pissy theists get when they don’t receive constant reinforcement of their beliefs.

  • Adviser Moppet

    Have it in Vegas. But yeah just had my wedding this year and my mother wanted me to add some mentions of god in it too. I said no and since we were paying for it it was our decision anyway.

  • Tom

    I will be married on the Great Lawn at Millenium Park in Chicago, or not at all.

  • TychaBrahe

    You know, most museums will rent space for events. We hosted many events at the Aerospace Hall when I worked for the California Museum of Science and Industry. (My favorite was the Air Force’s salute to Brig. Gen. Jimmy Stewart. I got to meet the great man himself.)

    I think a wedding held at the Field Museum of Natural History would be particularly appropriate. You could get married on the main level under the watchful eye-sockets of Sue.

    I used to be on the Speakers Bureau at Rockwell International in Downey, California. We held lectures and family nights in the Design, Engineering, and Implementation room. In the room where we stored our things during the events there were large valves in the wall that had fed air to astronauts testing space suits during the Apollo program.

    The main feature of the room was a full scale mock-up of a space shuttle. It was missing the port wing and the upper part of the tail, but it was there in all its glory. My dream was to get married sitting in the pilot’s chair, with my groom in the commander’s chair.

    Unfortunately, Boeing bought Rockwell’s aerospace divisions, and the Downey plant was closed. The space shuttle was disassembled, and the DEI room is now a movie studio. It was used as the lake in A Series of Unfortunate Events, one reason why I couldn’t go see that movie.

    I don’t expect to get married, but if I do, I’ll have to come up with something similarly appropriate. A wedding on the Vomit Comet?

  • Angel

    Does that resort Hedonism still exist? That’d be one hell of a place for a heart-stopping wedding.

  • Rex


  • Delphine

    I held my wedding in a garden on SUNDAY MORNING at 9AM.

    🙂 Those who religiously (pun intended) attend church every Sunday morning can opt out of coming to my secular wedding without prayers.

  • Alan E.

    @Rex I was going to suggest Stonehenge, too. You need to make sure it’s on a solstice or some significant date and play that part up. Also, include a brief history of religious marriage rituals (plus a secular one) with your invite and tell people that you are picking one for your wedding. Better yet, you could always include a poll and have people suggest a choice for a ritual for your wedding.

  • rbray18

    i say have it at the adult entertainment expo that happens in Vegas.

  • Jada

    My father is an Xtian minister.He’s performed the ceremonies for my 3 brothers so it was sort of a case of I either had him perform my wedding ceremony, or piss off the entire family. I TOLD him repeatedly, I’m athiest (they think it’s like a 30 year phase or something) so NO religious business in my wedding.

    2 prayers, 3 scripture quotations (that he claimed I REQUESTED) and a religious theme later, we were officially married.

    I now realize that marriage may be for you and your partner, but weddings are simply overblown productions for families.

  • Heather Leah

    You could do a theme wedding! I’ve heard of weddings where people skydive after saying “I do”, or have the wedding on a submarine. Or something from popular culture, like a Star Trek theme (geek that I am, I’ve always loved the wedding between Worf and Jadzia!) I’m sure there are lots of different themes out there that would give the religious nuts palpitations. 🙂

  • Alt+3

    Hold it in a museum. Trust me, my family is huge and I attend a LOT of weddings and I always leave thinking “Not enough interactive and educational displays”

    Besides, if you wanted something really cool you could use the hominid statues instead of bridesmaids and grooms men for an ascent of man joke.

  • Liz

    how shitty of them.

    I was recently talking to a girl I graduated with, because we both had babies on the same day. I got married shortly after I turned 18 and she got married after she found out she was pregnant (we’re both 20 now). We were talking about how crazy it is that we both married/had babies young and she asked me how my marriage was.

    Having been married for two years (not too long, but it’s been a trip!) we’ve been through A LOT and i wanted to give her head’s up/reassurance since she had only been married for a month or so and just moved in with him. I told her how there were about 3 months where we fought constantly and i was never happy, but we eventually worked through it.

    This is where she gave me her outlook on marriage…saying, “I know it’s tough, but you just have to put God first and everything will work out”

    I paused…I had no clue what to say.

    And THEN she says, “But I don’t have to tell you that, you guys are doing fine”

    I honestly thought it was funny that she assumed my marriage was fine because of God, but when I told my husband and he was more offended than me. He asked if I said anything back and I felt bad because I hadn’t.

    Ugh, I wish I had said something like, “No, our marriage is going good because we talk through things and keep EACH OTHER first….not a god”

    but alas, the moment has passed and now I would feel mean bringing it up again, despite the fact that she was the one making assumptions about my marriage in the first place.

    Anyway…dont know why i just typed all that, dont expect anyone to read it haha

  • STM

    Wherever you get married, have the reception at a preschool… all-you-can-eat buffet!

  • Stephen P

    Vegas is of course the one that springs to mind, but I think you have more taste than that. If it were possible (and I don’t suppose it is) I should think the ultimate stunning place to get married would be Teotihuacan.

  • Jonas

    We had the Wedding and Reception at a Function Hall, we rented. We had one person in a wheelchair, one blind person, & one deaf person attending.

    On top of everything else — The reception immediately followed the wedding, and no one had to move part way through.

  • HurrDeeDurr

    I can’t fucking stand idiots who underline the words inside greeting cards. As if doing so somehow makes the stupid platitudes have more meaning. My stepmother does this all the time and it drives me crazy. It’s like when pathological fundies type RANDOM incorrect WORDS IN ALL caps for EMPHASIS.

  • Erp

    Stonehenge is a bit too touristy and overcrowded. England also has some odd rules when it comes to weddings and is a bit far away for most family and friends (unless he marries an Englishwoman).

    Given Hemant is a math teacher something math related seems appropriate and one should also consider the future bride and her family.

  • @Liz,

    I read your post. Great thought about putting each other first. That is the way marriages work.

    Hemant, I like the idea about renting out some kind of museum or something. Just pick some place that has some special meaning for you and your fiance.

  • Potco

    I vote museum, or just someplace outdoors that is amazing. Like Yosemite.

  • Kahomono

    We got married in a small party room at a local hotel that was decorated in accord with its name, “The Library.”

    Sadly, it’s gone now, victim of the latest remodeling.

    So, I second “Stonehenge!”

  • Robert Thille

    Burning Man. That’s the place to have it.

  • Alex

    I think it’s funny how many of our traditions are taken as such when they’re actually rather historically new and not widespread. I received more flack from my relatives for not having my father walk me down the aisle (didn’t walk down the aisle, period) than not getting married in a church. My husband’s family is Norweigan and apparently don’t do that during their ceremonies. They said it was a slap in the face to the man who raised me though he didn’t much care himself.

    Also, I remember a great Yahoo Answers question from back in the day about a cheating spouse asking if their attraction to another parishoner was Satan trying to destroy their marriage. See, we’re not making ourselves targets, staying out of the church.

  • flatlander100

    Oh good Flying Spaghette Monster. There are, Flying Spaghetti Monster knows, enough pushy intrusions by theists to call for loud comment, and sometimes angry comment [e.g. the Arkansas school board member whose Christian principles led him to applaud gay suicides], but this does not seem to me to be one of them. They sent a gift and expressed their heartfelt and best wishes, while [needlessly] adding their disappointment that the marriage was not in “the church.” That suggests to me they may have been family members?

    In any case, I don’t see much reason to be angry about it. A little sad, maybe, but that’s all. A gracious thank-you note ignoring their rudeness would be the way to go here, I think. Save the outrage, anger and protest for theist effusions worth the angst and confrontation. This one wasn’t.

    Gotta tell ya, one of the hallmarks of American Christianity these days is Christians hunting for ways and opportunities to take offense when none is intended [e.g. when someone says “Season’s greetings!” or “Happy Holidays!”]. I detect among some of my fellow Pastafarians the beginnings of a tendency to do the same. Not a good thing.

    Pick your fights, particularly with family.

  • El Che Pal

    You should have it in a museum next to the evolution display showing the apes evolveing into humans. Hahahaha love it. Wish I would have thought of that for my wedding.

  • JohnJay

    The museum theme seems good… especially in the dinosaur skeleton hall. Or, better yet, a Planetarium — which ideally would be advertising a program like… “The Big Bang to Today”. (with lots of Saganesque “billions and billions”)

  • Icaarus

    @TychaBrahe I can’t top that, no way no how. But how about a wedding in the Rocket Hangar at Kennedy. For my family it would be a double whammy. Kennedy was both my father’s favourite vacation from long before having a family, and the place where I decided on my major. As for keeping it Heathenistic, do you think the president of the Church of the FSM does weddings?

    P.S. marriage is for the couple, the wedding is for everyone else.

  • Allison

    I have a friend who is Baptist (but I don’t hold that against her). She once gave a Christmas card to a friend from her church that was not a Jesus-y card, it was a snowman card. That friend lambasted her about the whole thing. She said things like “how dare you send a Christmas card that is NOT Christian”! This woman was red in the face and so angry that she decided to not even be friends with my friend anymore. It was friggin crazy! The sad thing is that her reaction, as well as the sender of the above cards’, is atypical of Christian zealots. It is really unfortunate that people let their belief(s)destroy their humanity.

  • Jon Peterson

    Nude beach.

    It’s romantic because it’s a beach; it’s heathen because everyone’s naked. (Remember, what happens in Eden stays in Eden.)

    Also, you will remember it FOREVER. Admittedly, this may not necessarily be A Good Thing.

  • Vivian

    Hah! I’m getting married in May with nooooooooooo religious symbolism anywhere. My atheist brother is marrying us. My fiance is Jewish, but even all his relatives have gone out of their faith to find their partner. So happy to be the first of my cousins not forced to be married in church.

  • How many of those godly church weddings end in divorce? I guess god and his fancy digs don’t do much to aid the unions.

  • Pickle

    In our wedding,we used Plato’s story about love and how there were 3 types of humans; one was man and woman (before being separated) one was man and man and the other was woman and woman.We also had our best friend (who is also a lesbian) preform the wedding. It didn’t sit well with some of the family, but they were at least decent enough to keep MOST of their opinions to themselves. =)

  • Apostate Granny

    A cousin of mine planned a beautiful wedding on a beach. The Mormon relatives refused to attend because it wasn’t held in a church.

  • altar ego

    I am getting married next summer in a park on Sunday morning at 10ish. We’re doing a Sunday-brunch style reception, with no religious nonsense allowed. Like someone above said, those that really want to go to church can totally skip my wedding.

  • BlueRidgeLady

    What a rude and tacky card. Get over yourself. IT’S NOT YOUR DAY. It’s the couple’s day! Take the $50 and go buy some class.

  • My wife and I were married in a courthouse. One of her brothers did not show up. We later learned that he was kind of pissed that we were not getting married in a church. (He is Catholic).

  • Michelle

    A museum, a zoo, a garden or pretty much anywhere outdoors would be great. Vegas has a huge variety of options from religious to secular very fancy or a drive through. We were married in Vegas because we lived there at the time and it was o.k. but the guy said forevvver about 100 times.

  • Linda Reavley

    There is a totally nice Stonehenge in Maryhill, Washington adjacent to the Maryhill Museum. Either would be great venue for a wedding and there is a nice winery just down the road a bit. Any of those three places would be fabulous for a wedding. If they don’t have weddings there they should.

  • hurrah, I want years of “wedding bliss” Thanks, God.

  • godfree

    I attended a beautiful wedding at an Atheist summer solstice picnic some years ago. There were about 65 – 70 of us in attendance.

  • Steve

    I was married on a cruise ship during an Alaskan vacation. My family is pretty religious but no one said a word about the venue. I would highly recommend that route.

  • Sarah

    A national park?

  • StarScream

    I was best man at a very secular wedding with a very religious set of attendees.

    I understand.

  • Ayesha

    I REALLY wanted to get married at the Science Museum, or the Natural History Museum in London, but both were a bit too small. So I’m opting for a register office instead.

    (Then a deconsecrated cathedral for the reception… I know, but it is beautiful!)

  • Bryan Elliott

    I don’t know about heathenistic, but the Lady and I got married at the Reading Planetarium. It was awesome.

  • Komadori

    If you like sealife, an aquarium would be a nice setting, if a bit dark. Some of my friends thought marrying on a ship with the jolly roger raised high would be great, and make the groom and bride walk the plank (make sure the dress and suit aren’t too expensive, though)! Talk about taking the plunge.

    It’d be a bit creepy, but you could marry at a cemetery.

  • muggle

    Be the bigger person and let this pass. Living well is the best revenge so enjoy your long and happy marriage.

    Take the $50 and do something sinful with it that you know the sanctimonious would heartily disapprove of. As I said, living well is the best revenge.

  • Serenity

    hmm….. regardless of my future partners religion i would want a secular wedding for the actual government documents and if my partner wanted to have some sort of religious wedding that would be fine.. but honestly i would only agree to the religious one if we were both the same religion. So a secular one it is at the moment as my boyfriend (though I am NOT going to think that far ahead) is an atheist ^_^
    i don’t think religious people need to be signing the govt documents anyways… i think if we separated that bit this whole “argument” over same-sex marriages would be over, because then bigots wouldn’t be “forced” to marry someone. 🙂

    however, after the secular wedding I do want there to be an after party after the reception for adults with a big bonfire outside and lots and LOTS of Meade :3 (nomnomnom Meade <3)

    thats all the "religious" ceremony I need thank you!

  • JrzyGirl

    Long, long ago, in more tolerant times (1981!) – hub & i married and held reception in the bar area of a rustic inn in Colorado. Justice of the Peace officiated – very, very secular. My mom walked me down the “aisle” (dad long deceased). Folk trio for non-religious music. Not one word of opprobrium – even from very Catholic stepfather or in-laws. Almost 30 years later, one of the guests still says it was the most fun wedding he had ever attended – even his daughters’! and still married, BTW…

  • When I and my (now ex-) wife got married in a registry office, one of her Irish Catholic relatives wondered if it counted as a ‘real’ wedding or not! Ah well. 🙂

  • Missbizzylizzy (Steph)

    You could get married in at The Mount (birthplace and home of Darwin) in Shrewsbury here in England. I don’t know if they do weddings or events but I think it would be a great place for an atheist wedding! 🙂

  • RJ

    My wife and I got married in a park under a gazebo along the Ft. Lauderdale waterfront. Our friend, a notary public, did a non religious ceremony and then we all got on a yacht for the reception and cruised up and down the Ft. Lauderdale river and intracoastal waterway. No church, no shepherds, just fun. The cost was about the same as if we had rented out a hall or had it at one of the local club houses, maybe cheaper. I’d highly recommend it.

  • We are going to a wedding next year at the new wing of the Art Institute in Chicago. We are excited about it as they are so excited about it. I think that how a couple chooses to say I do is really not anyone’s business but their own.

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