I'm not religious but my fiance's family wants a Christian wedding ceremony, help?

Hi,
I'm 28 and my fiance is 29. We've been together almost 2.5 years and my boyfriend (now fiance) proposed last month. We're looking into venues, and we're having issues with his mom and grandma already. I'm from the north, he's from the south. My family is not religious at all, his really is (his grandma is a pastor). He grew up going to church but stopped as soon as they let him and while he has no issues with religion, he's never gone to church, mentioned god or jesus non-ironically, or even prayed since i've known him.

Anyway, I do NOT want a religious ceremony. It would feel fake and disingenuous to who I am to pretend for a day. Especially since pledging myself to my fiance would then be tainted by my having to fake the ceremony. He would sort of like to let his family have their way, but doesn't care about the religious stuff himself. I just wouldn't feel like myself, and he thinks that is more important, so he will support me on this. I'm not sure what to do about his mom/grandma. Do we just try to keep them out of the loop on venue selection so that they don't know it's not a church? Do we be straight with them and deal with their condescending resentment? I'm lost.

And yes, I know they would be passive aggressive about it. They suspect i'm not religious, but it's never been confirmed. I will sit silently when they pray before meals, but other than passively being present, have never indicated that I do not share their beliefs. They say things like "well not everyone is a christian!" when people do rude things. (like not sharing their religion is the only thing that could possibly explain other people's rudeness- like cutting someone off in traffic). it makes me uncomfortable and I'm dreading dealing with this. How should I proceed?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • You're in a world of mess. Welcome to married life. His family will not go away after you walk down the aisle. You owe it to yourself to do everything in your power to be polite to them.

    That doesn't mean that you let them walk all over you, however. Now, it's very tricky to start making demands as the bride if you are having his family foot a chunk of the bill. My advice from here will assume you and your fiance are financing the wedding on your own.

    You have to sit down with them, with your fiance and say something to the effect of "We appreciate your faith, but we are not religious as a new family. Our wedding ceremony is going to be a secular one to match our beliefs. We do not want a religious ceremony. We want your participation and blessing, but we do not need it. We need you to be supportive of our decisions as responsible adults who have made this decision after a lot of careful thought. This is not intended to be a slam on your beliefs."

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    • we have a good relationship and they like me a lot, they always include me in their pre-meal prayers etc., but I just don't share their faith. My family and my fiance and I will be paying for the wedding, his family is paying for the rehearsal dinner. we've already talked budgets. I'm nervous about even bringing it up since they make offhanded comments sometimes about how non-Christians are somehow not good people.

    • You just have to come clean with them. Hiding and being dishonest with them only makes it worse.

    • well they know I don't pray, they know I don't go to church, they know my family isn't religious. so they know, but i've never outright said "I don't believe in what you believe in" or anything like that. I havent' been hiding, i just haven't been antagonistic or difficult because up until now there's been no reason to be. I don't think that's dishonest.

What Guys Said 1

  • Think carefully. Marriage means dealing with these issues every step in life; imagine what will happen when kids arrive!

    If you can't put his family straight on your wishes right now, I.'d reconsider getting married.

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What Girls Said 1

  • As long as your boyfriend is okay with forgoing the religious aspects, then that's what matters. It's your wedding and if it would feel wrong to have a religious ceremony then you shouldn't be forced into it. His family will just have to come to terms with your decision.

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