Couples who wish to be married in their church, synagogue or mosque have already made their decision about the degree of religion they want in the wedding ceremony. For those who have not made that decision, the question remains—and sometimes it evokes a very difficult decision.
Generations often differ on religion; how much religion they want in their ceremony; how to achieve their goals and still respect or placate their parents and grandparents without offending them or creating a family feud. Destination weddings may be religious, but if they are not celebrated in church, will the religious authorities later sanction their union? If the divine liturgy is not followed, will the church recognize the marriage even when the state does and the officiant is ordained? How much religion in a wedding ceremony is “enough?” Having counseled several couples on such questions, the issue of religion in their wedding ceremony wears very heavy on many couples. This is why we can officiate as ordained ministers or as FL Notaries Public. The choice should be yours who marries you.
When a young couple’s beliefs don’t even come close to their parents’ and grandparents’, religious tension probably already exists between the generations; the marriage just brings it to a higher level and immediacy. If the officiant insists on preaching in the ceremony and completely surprises the couple, the result can be disastrous. When interviewing couples before they choose their officiant, many begin by telling a horror story about a wedding they attended where the officiant was over-the-top religiously and made religion, not the couple or their marriage, the primary focus. Couples who begin this way want assurances that we will not be preaching but emphasizing the couple, their love for each other and bonding their lives together in marriage.
If you desire a certain level or religion in your ceremony, or no religion at all, be prepared to make yourself clear and ask the officiant to agree before you engage him or her. Discussing the officiant’s values will lead to trust him or her, or to warn you to look elsewhere. A marriage made in heaven is one where partners become more richly yourselves together, than the chances are that either of you could have managed to become alone. This is the real joy of married life. Make sure your officiant writes your ceremony and says the words that will make your wedding ceremony memorable the way you want to remember it…with no surprises.