NonReligious WeddingsNonReligious Weddings

Deciding on a nonreligious wedding...

What you choose to include in your wedding ceremony should always come from your heart and not from habit, obligation, or fear of what someone else might think or pass judgment on you about. It's always best to live in the truth...your own truth.

As a secular Humanist minister and officiant, nothing I do is Bible or religion-based. I make no reference to God, Christ or any religious deities or supernaturalism in the ceremonies I perform. But that does not mean that my ceremonies aren't spirited and heartfelt.

Couples come to me either because they don't have religious beliefs, or because they have decided for other reasons that a ceremony without religious overtones works best for them. As of this writing, more than 35% of couples marrying in the U.S. either specifically seek or are open to considering a nonreligious wedding.* Traditional clergy may shy away from marrying "mixed faith" couples, and though some agree to perform secular ceremonies without religious references, they do so only reluctantly, which is less than ideal for you.

If there are certain rituals that are more cultural than religious which you would like to include in your ceremony, or scriptural passages that are particularly meaningful to you, I can work with them. I like to include all cultural views and traditions, but I draw the line at religious dogma, especially if it is judgmental, non-egalitarian and condemnational, or if it comes from anywhere other than an attitude of love and acceptance.

I am a secular Humanist minister, certified by the Humanist Society (HS) of the American Humanist Association. Humanist ministers, chaplains and celebrants are legally recognized in all states and many countries and accorded the same rights and privileges granted by law to priests, ministers, and rabbis of traditional theistic religions. I am not an "angry atheist" or "against religion." It is never my intention to offend anyone of any creed or faith who is truly trying to live a righteous life without harming others or forcing their beliefs on others -- including members of their own family.

I should mention I've had great experiences "tag teaming" ceremonies with more open- minded ministers or rabbis. These have been clergy of the bride or groom's family growing up and good long-time friends who were top tier on their guest list. It's agreed in advance that I will solemnize the union and sign the marriage license. I've even married the sons and daughters or grandchildren of active or retired religious ministers. We've all ended up socializing and swapping our best (and worst) wedding stories at the reception.

* America's Changing Religious Landscape: Pew Research Center, May 2015;
''Nones' on the Rise - Pew Research Center: The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, October 2012.

Deciding on a nonreligious wedding
Transportation and timing
Weather and physical comfort
Taking care of business
Logistics and planning
Staging your ceremony
Some sound advice
Get the picture?
Let go, and delegate
Enjoying your wedding day

E-Mail: • (949) 793-1900
Certified Humanist Officiant, H.S., American Humanist Association