Monday, March 24, 2008

Actually, the issue is not so much that we're godless but more that we're churchless

We are not actually godless, but we are churchless. Which isn't a big deal - unless you're trying to figure out who will marry you.

I don't know how many people are in the position of not having any connection whatsoever - either current or from childhood - to a religious organization. But neither of us do.

We're not about to join a church in order to have someone to marry us. And I'd feel like a big fraud with a church wedding anyway, since I am not actually in favor of organized religion. And I'd wonder if the priest were actually a sketchy character behind the scenes.

There are myriad reasons why church just doesn't work for us.

We're going to have the ceremony at the same place we're having the reception. We want it to be personal, spiritual, and meaningful. And brief. Not like five minutes brief. But definitely not a whole hour of Bible and pageantry and genuflection and whatever. More like, I do, I do, and now, with all these people we love around us, let's celebrate.

Not that we don't take getting married seriously. But I don't think the seriousness of the ceremony is any indicator of how serious of purpose you are.

Aside from religious figures, we know that judges can marry you. Nick has plenty of contact with judges, but not enough of a personal connection with one here to ask him or her.

So we have the general idea of what we want. Most of all, we want to like the person, feel confident that this will be a ceremony that represents us and makes us happy, and feel good about them conducting it.

But we are having trouble figuring out who this person might be.


  1. This might be a little hippy dippy, but if you have a friend you would like to be married by (and they would do a good job doing it) there are ways for them to be ordained. Depending on the rules of the area you're being married in. A friend of mine did it for his stepsons wedding, and it went great.

  2. Becoming an Ordained Minister isn't hard... There are all sorts of groups that will ordain someone with little effort.

    Really though, do you need to have someone ordained to conduct your Wedding? Your wedding itself can be a personal and spiritual even without having to be a legal one... and then you can go to the county court house and get married again to satisfy any legalities. My sister and brother-in-law got married in India... and then again in Ithaca, NY. Redoing it was easier and faster than going through the legal headache of making their Indian wedding 'official.'

  3. that was going to be my suggestion VVK.

    I think that is an excellent idea.

  4. Mary - I don't think that's hippy dippy at all. Would have to think about who to ask to do that...

    VVK - You are always an excellent source of information! It's extraordinary! As for your suggestion to make it legal another time, I like that, and it's a really good option. Thank you!

    Slightly Disorganized - Thanks for seconding that!

  5. when we got married in Australia, we used a marriage celebrant -- I guess their equivalent of a justice of the peace. We met with her beforehand so that she could get to know us and figure out what kind of service she wanted, and it was great. We wrote our own vows, but she did a lovely job and it was spiritual and beautiful without being religious in the slightest. So if you don't go the ordained friend route -- which I think is really cool -- you could just find a JP that you like...

  6. Delurking to comment- Contact the Ethical Society. They basically believe in the good of humanity and everyone trying to be the best person they can be, whether they believe in god or not. Our officiant from there did an amazing job and the ceremony was beautiful.

  7. Just got back from a wedding this past weekend where a friend of the bride and groom performed as the officiant. I believe his certificate was from the Universal Life Church... obtained online. Everything worked out just fine. Best part of the vows was "by the power invested in me by the internet...".

    Making it official at a later date is another great option. My wife and I got married in Poland, with all friends and family attending. Instead of going through the hassle of making it official though, we opted to take care of it later. Two weeks after the "real wedding" we made it official at the Church of Love in Las Vegas. $99 got us a ride to and from the hotel and church, a CD with some pictures and a great memory.

  8. Ah, I love weddings. This post and all the comments just makes me smile. Sorry I offer no recommendation other than not to stress over any detail. It will all work out perfectly!

  9. Try out these folks... I used to go there back before I moved away from DC, and Pastor Fuller is just the most awesome, open guy. I believe he just returned from India, too. They'll do the ceremony wherever you want to have it.

    DC makes it really, really hard for you to have a friend do the ceremony - see

  10. No singing gypsies then.

  11. My husband and I didn't have any religious affiliations and we ended up having a justice of the peace perform the ceremony at same place as the reception, too. It was nice for everyone since we could get married and then everyone could immediately start boozing it up while we took pictures.

    I cannot emphasize enough what a hit that was.

  12. There are people who have a job (or side job) being an officiant.

    When my daughter was going to get married they had to do the legal part before they could plan a real wedding. Her husband is from another country and they were going to study abroad & had to get the paperwork processed ASAP. So I was ordained online with the Univ. Life Church and signed the legal paperwork.

    For their actual wedding we lined up an officiant from the yellow pages. It turned out he was going to be late so the manicurist mother (who was also Univ. Life Church ordained) came and married them and it was absolutely lovely.

    But the laws do vary from state to state.

    plain jane

  13. My mom's ordained by the Church of Life. She married my cousin and later my brother - although that particular use of the word "married" does kind of fill the head with thoughts of incest so let's pretend I said "performed the wedding cermony of" instead.

    My cousin was very sweet. My mom had been there as a midwife to deliver him, so he asked her to be there to send him off as an adult. And my brother, like you guys, just plain didn't know any other ministers. Heathens.

  14. The Friday before my friends got married, at around 4:45pm, it dawned on them that they weren't sure that the minister who was performing the ceremony was officially ordained by the state. So they called around and managed to find a lawyer locally who was a) legally able to marry them, and b) going to be open for another half-hour. What followed was a hilariously awkward experience with said lawyer, but they got it done.

    If you're looking in VA, let me know and I'll get the name. So you can at least avoid that guy.

  15. Wendy - That's what we want - spiritual and beautiful and not at all religious! A justice of the peace could be perfect. And would be nice to have ceremony and legality all together, just for simplicity's sake.

    Kylie - Thank you for your input! I've walked by the Ethical Society in Philly and wondered what it was about! I just checked out their page and like this idea!

    Norf - Wow - getting married in Poland must've been amazing! I've been to Warsaw and Krakow and loved both.

    HKW - Hugs hugs hugs to you!

    Andie - Thanks for the DC courts link. You are right. I gave a quick look to CPCC and will show that to Nick. Thank you for the warm recommendation!

    Wyldth1ng - Ha! We haven't even begun to think about the singing gypsies!

    Suniverse - Thanks for mentioning that. It's true - we can send people upstairs for cocktails immediately following the ceremony and they can be having fun while we get pictures done.

    Plain Jane - Wow - that's really interesting! I feel so much better knowing that there are so many variations on getting married. And so many stories that work out perfectly, even if it wasn't exactly as planned!

    Alex - Wow, that's so lovely - birth to marriage. Amazing. As for your brother, well, we heathens just can't help it.

    WiB - I would seriously be losing my shit that late in the day. We are getting married in DC, so at least no fear of the same guy.

  16. We used a Unitarian Universalist minister (we had no affiliation with the church). Can't remember his name, but he lived in MD and traveled to VA for our wedding no problem. He was very flexible in terms of what he would say, what he would wear, etc.; we managed to craft a ceremony that suited us and did not offend either the Jewish family or the Catholic family in attendance. You may want to do a search for someone like this.

  17. My hubby & I just went to a Unitarian Church for the first time this weekend and I would check that out. They are a religious organization, but believe in the teaching of all religions. Instead of saying one is right, all others are wrong. In other words, they'd probably be down w/ performing a ceremony for two heathens such as yourselves. :) Good luck and have fun being engaged!

  18. You can get married by a robot! I'm serious - see here: and scroll down :)

    Seriously - a robot!


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