How to have an Atheist wedding

It’s been more than 2 years since Luke proposed to me and, after what may be the longest engagement in all of history, we finally have a wedding date scheduled and venue picked out. It seems that this getting married thing is actually going to happen! The details, though, of exactly how it’s going to happen are a bit more nebulous, for a few reasons. The first and most obvious is that neither of us has any religious affiliation (and are actually both strongly Atheist); the idea of a “traditional” church wedding is not only inappropriate, but on many levels, downright offensive to our sensibilities. More than that, though, is that we come from vastly different backgrounds: I, an immigrant from mainland China, and him, a Jew by ethnicity. Add in the fact that our parents have set out very few expectations, and “simple” questions like “What will the ceremony be like?” or “Who will officiate the marriage?” or even “What will our vows sound like?” suddenly seem not so simple anymore.

I like to joke that all I really want in a wedding is to get dressed up and look pretty, eat good food, and get presents. That’s probably not too far from the mark. Call me cynical, but the idea of listening to hours of cheesy readings (be they religious or not) and making unrealistic declarations of eternal love and commitment doesn’t appeal to me in the least, and I would probably be happy to minimize the ceremony in favor of the reception.

As I mentioned before, so far, we’ve managed to book and venue and set a date. We had actually strongly considered the possibility of getting married at the Science Museum (and I must admit that the idea of doing this appealed to me quite a bit, as an analogy to the church in a Christian wedding), but ultimately settled on a small nature reserve with a beautiful garden and just enough room. It will be small wedding, largely because I don’t have a great deal of family here in the States (and, having immigrated when I was 7, would probably not recognize most of the extended family that I have in China).

3 thoughts on “How to have an Atheist wedding

  1. Congrats Yui! I’m sure everything will be just fine.

    I didn’t know you could be married inside a museum… then again, I suppose if you pay the right price everything is possible. I can certainly picture something like that happening here. In my city, if the wedding’s during summer/spring there’s a really cute pavilion in the park, where civil wedding are officiated every weekend. It’s really funny, if you sit on a bench nearby for 10 minutes, you’d get to hear a whole suite of “will you X take Y as your lawfully wedded wife… etc etc”.

    Still I find it’s a cute idea, since the backdrop’s really nice during those seasons. :)

  2. Congratulations!

    As a Buddhist (which by some definitions makes me a fellow Atheist), I think my family wants my wedding to be at a nice place, and wants a judge to preside over it; Buddhists have no religious figures to preside over weddings, like Christians have ministers and priests. Given that the purpose of a wedding is to tell everyone that you’re married, anything with food and partying and a nice dress goes, right?

    Also, you can get married at a science museum? I would love to get married next to a space shuttle. :D

    • You’d be surprised… seems like almost every open-to-the-public location is available for rent if the price is right. In Boston, it’s even possible to get married inside the science museum’s Faraday cage while being zapped by electricity. Unfortunately, having a wedding like that is a little outside our price range…

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