Civil ceremony or church wedding?

Hello image

Me and h2b are getting married Dec this year in a beautiful hotel. As neither of us are religious, and it will be december, therefore rubbish weather, we have opted for a civil ceremony in the venue.

More recently, however, I have been wanting a traditional church wedding more and more. However, I would feel guilty getting married in a church just for the photos and the longer aisle and pretending to believe in something we don't. Both of our mums desperately want us to get married in a church (The church we would get married in is a few doors down from my parents so would be walking distance which would be lovely) and h2b's mum is an active Christian and I know she would be over the moon if we changed our mind.

Am I thinking too much into this? Do lots of people get married in churches when they don't believe? I have never been to civil ceremony, but as far as I'm aware, the church weddings I have been to, they haven't been active christians.....

I have 4 bridemaids, 3 flowergirls and 2 page boys so could really really do with the extra length of the aisle (the aisle in the hotel is L shaped and the longest length is about 7 metres max)

As I said before, it will be Dec and weather will prob be rubbish. There is about a 20 min drive frm the church to the venue, am thinking it would probably be easier to have it all in one place, everyones hair stays in tact and its just simpler image Also, we're hoping to get a couple of rooms in the hotel the night before and have a sort of 'rehearsal dinner' with our best friends and parents the night before, then wake up in the hotel and get ready there (eliminating the need for cars too - save money!)

Sorry for the long winded post, any help and opinions greatly appreciated!

Thanks image 


  • The BrideThe Bride Posts: 60
    We aren't religious either so are having a civil ceremony. I think you are making the right choice for you personally. I went to a church wedding last year knowing that neither of the couple had any kind of faith and it felt a bit hypocritical and strange.
  • The BrideThe Bride Posts: 60
    I don't mean to offend anyone with that post - I know there are lots of reasons for choosing a church too.
  • nats2013nats2013 Posts: 6,253

    i do find it odd why youd want to word your vows to a god you dont believe in thats why we're having a civil ceremony. if theres strong ties like a parent or a grandparent is burried there then theres reasons but nice photos isnt quite what that part of the day is all about when you bring religion into it

  • Word of advice: If you're easily offended (or are marrying in a religious venue for the wrong reasons) SKIP THIS POST

    I'm not religious but shouldn't getting married in church be a major deal? It isn't something to be taken lightly for some nice photos or a sense of a "proper" wedding. It's a religious service. You have to make promises to and before an entity that's quite hard to believe in. If you have faith it is a celebration of that faith. If you don't have faith you will have to lie your way through what should be an honest and meaningful declaration of truth and openness to each other. Why would anyone do that? If one party is religious the marriage can be blessed - by then both will have made the promises to each other believing what they are saying.

    It's only my opinion but religion is not a game or a fashion accessory; to some people it's actually important. It's a way of life not a one day event. It's unlikely a true (let's say Christian) would want a non-believer to lie to their god just so they could look good to the rest of the congregation. AND fear not forgiveness and understanding is apparently very high on their list of characteristics so they'll not hold it against you for standing up for your principles.

    Here endeth the sermon
  • nats2013nats2013 Posts: 6,253

    'like' mrs D2B

  • PinkafroPinkafro Posts: 1,211
    Another vote for civil ceremony unless you practice and believe in the religion!

    I've been adamant I wouldn't marry in a church since I was about 12, so my parents have always known and had a long time to accept it. OHs Dad surprisingly was most disappointed, I don't think he's religious both sons were raised with no religion. Just likes the tradition, but we didn't even consider it OH was relieved I didn't want church, there's no way I could have made those vows and promises to a religion I didn't believe in. Also many churches make you attend for 6 months prior, and you might be too late for December this year.

    Plus, as you say there's benefits to all in one place! Less boring for guests, warm, less logistics and better hair image
  • Didn't offend everyone then nats2013 - phew!
  • Well, as someone who isn't very religious but is getting married in Church, perhaps I should add my point of view.

    Neither Mr F nor I are particularly religious, but we have chosen to get married in the Church that my wonderful father-in-law is buried in. My FIL was going to be Mr F's best man, but tragically we lost him to cancer in June, and this has left a enormous hole in our lives. The Reverend of the Church has done so much to help and support our family in some very dark hours, and to help my FIL come to terms with things just before he passed, has dropped everything to help us when we needed it most, and genuinely cares about Mr F and I. He knows that we are not particularly religious people, but he has said that he is very excited about marrying us regardless of this. Because of all this, we cannot imagine having anyone else marry us. Plus, my FIL would also have loved us to marry in Church.

    I do not feel like a hypocrite, more than anything I would have loved to have FIL there with us on our wedding day, and although this isn't possible, at least he will be close by and we are fulfilling one of his last wishes.
    I don't agree with Mrs D2B that you will have to lie your way through if you aren't religious, as Nats said I think there are many other very valid reasons to marry in Church.

    Personally I wouldn't marry in Church just for nice photos or because it was pretty though, and Mr F and I have been honest with our Reverend about the reasons we want to marry in Church.

    Again though, hope I didn't offend anyone! xxx

  • Thank you everyone for your responses. I completely agree with everyone with regard to the making a vow to a God I don't believe in etc, I just wasn't sure if I was looking too far into it, as like I say, I have been to plenty of weddings where I knew the couple weren't religious. The church was where my parents got married 23 years ago to the day of our wedding which was another reason I would like the church.

    I assume you are 'just as married' in a civil as in a church? no legal differences etc?!


  • Mrs d2b - just re-read your post (currently doing finger painting with two kids so only skimmed first time round!!)

    This definitely makes me think civil is the right way to go, and if my mil2b pushes us again for a church wedding, I think I will quote your post image

    Thank you again everyone image


    Now to work out the issues of more people walking down the aisle than space available.......!

  • nats2013nats2013 Posts: 6,253

    one of my aunts has apparently said ours is not a proper wedding because we're not getting married in a catholic church (we're the first in my family to have a civil ceremony) and if she said it in my presence i would completely go in to one!


    i am baptised, holy comunion, confirmed, the lot but i do not bieve in a god now or probably ever really but by the by. the man is from a protestant background in n ireland so could you imagine how awkward having catholic wedding would be?! we're getting married for us in the way we want for us. we make promises to each other in front of people we care about (and bitch aunt face) becuse thats what we choose. do it for you for the right reasons for you

  • Whats a humanist ceremony? My Grandma had a humanist funeral but I didn't really understand then. I live in Wales so not sure about legalities there?

    nats- I'm sure we will have a couple of those 'aunts' too image

  • Don't mean to offend anyone fox-in-the-flowers.

    You don't have to attend a place of religion to believe and have faith in a religion; but if you are a non-believer (which is different and to which many, including myself, confess) there's not an option not to agree to be taking on all sorts of responsibilities "within the love of God" which is what is required in a religious ceremony. My point is if you are not a believer much of what is being committed to is done so through a lie.

    Not everyone who marries in a church despite not attending regularly is doing it for the wrong reasons. So long as one of the reasons is belief and faith in the religion the other reasons are secondary.
  • NediNedi Posts: 8

    We are having a civil ceremony but having a church blessing

    I just couldn't get married in a church not believing in god. again I dont mean to offend people, but I guess I think it is disrespectful to people who do believe it is getting married before god. I say this as someone who is getting married to a (partly lapsed) but still believing catholic. and as much as he wanted to get married in a church in front of god it was the one thing I wouldn't move on.

    We are having a ChurchinWales blessing though (Catholics dont do them) as H2b realised it was gettting the marriage recognise in the eyes of god more than in the eyes of the catholic church (even though he would still like that) and I am fine with that as it is just a blessing. 

    It was the easiest way to both sort of have want we would want in an ideal world. 

  • TadpoleTadpole Posts: 2,134 New bride
    We are hoping to have a Humanist wedding too - also in Scotland. Our friends had a humanist wedding at the end of last year and it was so beautiful and personal that I cannot wait to see what we'll bring to it!

    As an aside we had originally intended to go for a civil ceremony - other half is catholic and I'm christened but we're not particularly religious as a couple - but the room we are getting married in is not registered for civil ceremonies! So after witnessing the humanist ceremony we are just going for it! Excited to meet the humanist who will be carrying out the ceremony! Xx
  • I think it's completely up to you, it's your day. I can understand both sides of the argument but whatever you feel you want to do is what you should do.

    I personally am not religious. I believe there's something higher than us but not sure what this is, guess you would call me agnostic rather than athiest. My FI is the same. Until recently I thought it would be hypocritical of me to marry in a church however I then read the church of England's website, where they clearly say no matter what your beliefs you are welcome to marry in one of their churches. Coupled with the fact you can now choose a church you have a link to we have decided to get married in the same church my parents did 35 years ago. Although I can't decide if I believe in god or not, I do like the idea of having a prayer said over my marriage. If I'm honest though, the biggest reason for us to get married there would be sentimental rather than religious, but if the Church of England supports this reasoning why should anyone else have an issue?!? Besides, I know lots of people who've married in a church who aren't religious. Like I said, do what you want and no one else!!!! X
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