Unconventional / Alternative weddings

Civil ceremony in a church?

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New bride

Is this possible? 

I saw a previous thread asking this exact question and allot of people were angry and offended (rightly so) by this question, but please hear me out.

I am not religious and I cannot pretend just to get married at this church (church of England btw) as that is insulting and immoral in my eyes. I am agnostic not atheist and to be completely honest for ages I was completely against getting married there for all these reasons and more. But... I am not getting married there because it is a 'pretty building' to be honest its really not, it looks like a barn. This building means so much to me though.

I met my partner there as a baby because my mum took me to church group there, we went to the same primary school which went to this church, the first time I ever had a crush on him was when I was 7yrs old and it was at a barn dance in that church. His nan's funeral was there, my sister who died before she was born is buried there. And to get married in that building would mean allot.

I don't mean to offend anyone and I'm sorry if I have, I'm sorry I shared allot but you had to understand that this wasn't just about the pretty venue or tradition or dream wedding, I have thought very seriously about this. So anyone who can give any insight would be much appreciated, even with my reasons if you, as a religious person, would still be offended please let me know as that is important, the last thing I want to do is cause offence by marrying in this church. Thank you. 

Bridezilla

I very much doubt it I'm afraid.

Getting married in a church is to signify the commitment of your relationship with God. The whole service is based upon religion so a civil ceremony just wouldn't be possible.

 Could you perhaps have photos taken in the churchyard on the day of the wedding if your sister is buried there? or put your bouquet on her grave?

A blessing would be another option but again that's a religious service which you've said you don't want. 

Bridezilla

U would need 2 speak 2 the vicar to know for sure, but I'd be surprised if it's allowed.

And personal I think it would b wrong.  The point of marrying in church is 2 Wed in the eyes of God and ur congregation.  If ur not willing or able 2 embrace the religious aspect of it then imho yes it is offensive and u need 2 find a different venue. (Sorry)

Bridezilla

I am afraid you aren't allowed. By law you have to keep any aspect of religion out of a civil ceremony so having our in a church is a no go. 

We had a civil then as church blessing the next day as our actually wedding day and reception. The other thing my friend did was have a civil then after the registrar left had her vicor do a blessing but this was at a wedding venue but a church. 

It's obvious the places means a lot to you. It sounds like you might prefer a blessing as your not religious but the place means a lot. 

I would talk to the vicor and see what they say

New bride

It’s likely you will only be permitted to have a blessing but absolutely speak to the vicar. I would hope they offer kindness and compassion, and can see you only have good intentions. As long as you are respectable in your approach then I think most wouldn’t be offended. I’m sure they will help as much as possible.

Although do give any religious aspect of your wedding thought. We specifically wanted a humanist celebrant so we can write the ceremony ourselves and celebrate love through embracing all beliefs. It won’t mean anything to ourselves (or lose the true values our vows) if drawing on any religion we are non-believers off (or undecided such as yourself). Just something to think about! 

Good luck! 

New bride

I love the idea of putting the bouquet there, I didn't know about blessings and I'm going to look into that more. I went to a Catholic secondary school and if you weren't baptised you would receive a blessing even if you weren't religious at all, I'm not sure if this is similar.

This church is very good, they are always so open to everyone, religious, not religious, following a different religion, so welcoming. But I think you're all right and they'll probably say no, if I was an atheist then I would definitely not consider this. If I am openly not religious would I still be allowed a blessing?

Barbie3, I really don't want this to become a religious debate or to offend you, but I always thought that if there was a God he wouldn't mind. If I was doing this to purposely offend people then yes it would be a problem in God's eyes, but my opinion probably doesn't mean anything on this as someone who's not religious, Its just how I'd always thought of him to be like that's all. But if it's offending people then I won't, I'll ask the priest but if they say no it's probably for the best anyway.

I did not realise it was illegal to have a civil ceremony in a church thank you for letting me know Lauren147. 

New bride

Casey101, in the wedding vows (for CofE) it has stuff like 'in the name of God', 'by God' s holy laws', 'in presence of God' etc, and as someone who's not religious it would be hypocritical to myself to get married using vows like that I think. I just don't think it'd be personally morally right to say 'I do' to vows I don't 100% believe in. So I appreciate your advice, and I'm glad your vows were suited to you, I just don't think it's suited to us, thank you though! 

Wedding addict

You can’t have a civil ceremony but could have a blessing. It again is a religious ceremony. 

Why don’t you call and speak to the vicar and discuss and maybe he or she can suggest something? 

New bride

Tasha16 wrote (see post):

Casey101, in the wedding vows (for CofE) it has stuff like 'in the name of God', 'by God' s holy laws', 'in presence of God' etc, and as someone who's not religious it would be hypocritical to myself to get married using vows like that I think. I just don't think it'd be personally morally right to say 'I do' to vows I don't 100% believe in. So I appreciate your advice, and I'm glad your vows were suited to you, I just don't think it's suited to us, thank you though! 

Yeah that was my point :) we specifically opted for a humanist celebrant as it would be hypocritical to say vows we didn’t believe in. It was just a thinking point for any involvement with a church as it will have to directly incorporate religion, whether a blessing or legal service. 

Wedding addict

Me and my OH are getting married in a church, he's not religious at all and I'm mostly not either but the Reverend is fully understanding of this and is still welcoming us into his church. I say I'm not religious in the most part because I too had a baby born sleeping; it helps me to imagine that 'god' or someone is looking after my child where I can't be. I couldn't accept that he was just gone and I won't ever accept that. Think what you will but please don't judge. Anyway, I wanted to get married in the church that I and my little brother was christened in, where we've had many family marriages and also the funeral of my son for the reason of connections too but my OH wasn't keen on the location (I'm from a dive of a town - it's in Britain's worst top 10 this year 😂) so he compromised - being nonreligious and all that - to get married in the parish church where he grew up. So although it's not the church I wanted to get married in, there still is a link to the other church through the religious community at large. I too will be placing my bouquet on my son's grave. People get married in a church for many reasons whether it be because they appreciate the architecture of the church to connections that they may have to the church to being practicing religious people and neither of those reasons are wrong. I understand people's feelings of hypocrisy but isn't the point of god, is who you want them to be? That's how I view it anyway. 

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