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Planning a Secular Wedding Ceremony

Buzzle Staff
If you have religious relatives, planning a secular wedding ceremony can be difficult without hurting any feelings. However, it can be done if you plan ahead.
If you and your fiancé do not want a religious wedding ceremony, you shouldn’t feel forced to have one. However, that can be easier said than done when you have grandparents or other members of the family who want you to have a religious ceremony.
The most important thing to remember in all of this is that it is your wedding, and you should have what you want, but you also do not want to offend anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings. When you are planning your wedding ceremony, there are a few things to keep in mind that will keep everyone happy, religious or not.

A Wedding is a Wedding

Even if you are planning a secular ceremony, most wedding ceremonies look a lot alike. Even if you are to be married by a judge in a courthouse, you still have some say over your ceremony, and it will be very similar to other ceremonies that take place in a church.
The bride will walk down an aisle, and stand in front of whoever is ordained to perform the ceremony; rings will be exchanged; you will be pronounced husband and wife. If you are in a place to have a ceremony outside courthouse, but you still want a secular ceremony, the official proceedings will look very similar to a church ceremony.
Sometimes, making your ceremony sort of traditional can allow you to take the religious aspect out of it. Having a friend or relative perform the ceremony is a great way to have the secular ceremony you want. Even the most religious people will probably agree that having a friend or family member perform the ceremony is a really great, personal touch.

Religious Traditions that can Also be Secular

Since most ceremonies are similar, there are some religious traditions that you might see in a religious wedding ceremony that can also be added to a secular ceremony. For example, lighting a unity candle is something that is done at many Christian weddings, but can also be done at a secular ceremony.
You can also present flowers to loved ones, and whoever is performing the ceremony typically will give a speech, just as a pastor would give a sermon. It is also possible to ask a loved one who practices religion to say a prayer or bless you as a couple. This can add the best of both worlds to the ceremony.

How to Approach your Relatives

The best thing to do when dealing with relatives who are curious about your wedding is to not offer information about it unless they ask. If they are paying for the wedding, this can get a bit tricky and you might have to tell them what your plans are, since they are footing the bill.
However, if you are in control of the wedding plans, you are in charge. Therefore, it’s best not to tell them unless they ask. If they do ask, gently let them know what you have decided to do and explain to them the reasons why you decided to go that route. When they see the logic behind it, they may understand more than you expect.

What to do if Someone is Upset

If someone becomes very upset about the fact that you have planned a secular ceremony and they would like you to have a religious one, all you can do is calmly explain your decision and not get upset yourself. Unfortunately, it is possible that someone may be upset by your choice, but the bottom line is that it is your wedding, and you should be married in a way that reflects your beliefs.