I've been thinking about writing a guide entitled 'Atheist Wedding' for a while now. I myself have organized such a wedding for my now husband and I in the past and would like to share with the world my experience throughout the whole process.
During my wedding preparations it was not easy to find what I was seeking to incorporate into my wedding theme. It took several months to simply find the right poem and determine an alternative to certain traditional wedding rituals.
My husband is half Persian, and I, Indian, so I wanted to include some ideas from these cultures into our wedding, especially since our family members would be participating or attending as guests. I also really liked the underlying meaning of some of the cultural rituals but wanted to eliminate the reference to religion or God since I was planning to have an Atheist wedding. However, this part proved to be difficult since I did not easily have access to all of the rituals involved in these traditional weddings nor did I easily find any facilitative ideas to alter these original traditional ideas.
So I had to do a lot of research, particularly online, about different traditional weddings, not solely Indian and Persian, and determine what ideas I wanted to use and how I could combine them with my secular ideas.
In the end the wedding was beautiful and that what mattered most was our union and commitment to one another completely unbound by any religion.
I would have liked to have more time (perhaps 3 or 4 months rather than 2) to really focus on all the details. Had I used some sort of guide for preparing an atheist or non-religious wedding, I think that I would have prepared something even more brilliant.
It's not so easy when there is no one else around that understands atheism such as family members, friends, or the wedding coordinator when preparing for such an elaborate event. My husband and I were completely on our own to plan our wedding. It was even tough for us to manage everyone during the wedding rehearsal since it was also new for them.
In addition, during the preparations, the florist could not understand why I did not want a bouquet for myself. The wedding coordinator could not fully understand the idea behind some of my props. Nevertheless, they too were on board with my ideas and helped me to create a truly wonderful event. I think that if I had some sort of guide to follow I would have had deeper ideas about what flowers to use and their arrangements, how to organize the trellis for the ceremony, what music I wanted to play during the reception and how to decorate the reception ballroom.
I'm very glad to say that my family and friends really enjoyed our wedding ceremony because it was so different and loved how my husband and I shared our memories and love for one another with everyone. I wish I could do it all over again. Perhaps I will try to convince my sister to have a secular wedding so I can once again create something truly unique and powerful. Hopefully by then I will have my guide to follow.
Soooo to begin I have written a detailed introduction to this guide and am now in the process of collecting all of my notes, ideas, images, ceremony and design plans together in order to devise a section on creating a customized ceremony. This part will be quite difficult as I plan to include traditional marriage ideas from different religions like Islam, Hinduism, Chinese, Christianity, Catholicism and Judaism. The difference is that for certain ideas which I think are significant I will remove any reference to religion but still maintain the historical context. This will be a challenge but I think it will make my guide quite desirable to atheists, secular humanists, agnostics, moderates, naturalists and spiritualists who want to have a non-traditional wedding.