an article title like "Ceremonies Without God" written by a Reverend
you must be thinking I will rant and rave about the condition of our society
today when people do not invite the heavenly father to the wedding. If that is
what you are looking for then I am afraid you will be a bit disappointed.
More and more couples come to me
requesting that there be no mention of God in their ceremony.
They want to have the pomp and
circumstance associated with a wedding but do not believe (rightly or wrongly),
a justice of the Peace will provide what they desire. This no longer surprises
me. The majority of my wedding ministry assists couples who do not have a church
home. There are many reasons why people do not believe in God and, therefore,
find no need to attend church services.
So, what are the options for
couples who do not believe in God when it comes to their wedding ceremony? As
best I can tell, there are indeed three options for these couples:
"regular" minister who will perform the
ceremony of your choice or making
Humanist Society of Friends
Locate a local
Unitarian Universalist minister
The first option is to find a
minister who is open to either adjusting his/her standard ceremony to reflect
your beliefs. I would suggest, however, that you request to see the ceremony
in advance of the service so as not to be surprised by any uncomfortable
wording or verbiage.
A better option might be to
write your own ceremony and then find a minister who is willing to deliver
your creation. I think writing your own ceremony can be extremely rewarding
for couples. It does take time and effort to create a wedding ceremony. You
will be assured by doing so that your beliefs or non-beliefs are readily
apparent for all in attendance. I am sure most ministers you find will be
willing to work with you in this capacity.
A second option is to contact
the Humanist Society of Friends. The Humanist Society of Friends ordains
ministers who specialize in weddings, memorials, baby naming ceremonies (an
alternative to baptism), and other rites of passage for individuals and
couples who do not believe in God. These ceremonies are reverent, well thought
out, and most likely will not be offensive to people attending your wedding.
A third option for a Godless
ceremony is to contact a local Unitarian Universalist minister. These men and
women come from a religious tradition that is liberal and inviting for all. In
fact, in a UU fellowship you are just as likely to be sitting next to a
Buddhist, an earth centered spiritualist, or an agnostic as well as Christian.
With all of this congregational diversity, UU ministers have become adept at
providing the right ceremony for the needs of their members.
You can easily look up a UU
minister on the web or under the "Churches" section of the yellow
pages. The last time I checked in the DFW (Dallas Fort-Worth) Metroplex, UU
ministers charged a higher fee than most other local ministers. If my
understanding is correct, their fee is set by the denomination and not by the
Now you have at least three
options for a wonderful wedding ceremony for couples who do not believe in
God. You will probably have more work to do in finding the right person for
your ceremony. Make sure your officiant is in sympathy with your philosophy at
the very least. You will not want his or here personal beliefs or feelings
coming through and compromising your special day.
Rev. Dr. Russell K. Elleven is
the founder of Reverant Rituals: A Professional Wedding Service as well as a
member of the Association of Bridal Consultants. You can reach him thru his