Upcoming Wedding + Minister Father = Complicated Situations

Hello everyone,

I will be getting married this June (Hurray!) and asked my father to officiate the wedding. He is a Pentecostal Minister and therein lies the rub. He stated, "I know that I want to sensitive to both of your wishes but I don't want to be involved with a Godless, happy meal wedding either. Perhaps we can find common ground so that none of us has to play the hypocrite."

This makes life complicated for me. I honestly don't want trite supplications to be a part of the wedding (If someone reads 1 Cor 13, I may boycott my own wedding). The ceremony will not have communion or a unity candle. It was going to be a ceremony celebrating the start of our lifelong commitment.

I find myself in a bit of a bind. I asked him to marry us because he is my father, not because of his position as a "Minister of God". I may end up asking one of my friends to do the ceremony, but that could permanently ruin an already rocky relationship. I am now seeking some advice. Do I work with my father to find an almost impossible happy medium, or do I find someone else to officiate and let my father know that we want him to attend, but that he will not be officiating? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!


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It is your wedding, if your father refuses to remove the religious diatribes from his role, then talk to him before you ask a friend to replace him. Let him know that those are your ground rules for him. Either he is willing to give in to your requirements, or he can take a different role in the wedding instead and you ask a friend to officiate instead. Don't remove him entirely, though, or it will end up rockier.
I agree with what Jennifer said. But after all it is YOUR wedding and not only as a parent but as a "servant of god" he has to understand what your wishes are. If the talk doesn't help them get a friend or a judge to officiate the wedding.

Hopefully everything will be alright and congratulations in advanced!!
Hi Ben,

Seems to me that the problem is that your father actually thinks that his wishes matter, too bad for him that it doesn't. It's the wedding of you and your partner and your wishes as a couple are the only ones that matter.

Congratulations on your wedding!
Why get married in a church?
We aren't. We are getting married at a President's birthplace. Beautiful location, wonderful reception hall. Can't complain at all!
Sorry, I assumed that if you asked a minister to marry you that the ceremony would take place in a church.

I'm going to play the devil's advocate here (hehe) and say that it sounds like you may have put your father in an impossible position. He probably can't respect your wishes without violating his own beliefs.
That seems to be where things are at. I didn't even consider that aspect when I asked him. It's something my fiance doesn't understand in the slightest (she is offended by his comments), but she hasn't been around fundamentalism enough to know that there is NO compromising with certain things.
"Do I work with my father to find an almost impossible happy medium?" ... No. "Impossible" is the key word. Getting married is sort of like breaking away from your old life. Start fresh. Your father should understand and respect you. "Your" wedding.
No one has asked about your fiance's position yet, so I'm going to.
If you are both atheists, and that is also her wish, then it would seem you have some additional ammunition. You could mention to your father that the arrangement you requested was out of respect for him as your father, to involve him, but that the wedding is FOR you and your wife-to-be, so the vows are something tailored to your joint desires. Also, point out that it is not in any way hypocritical for him to officiate in a civil ceremony, because (I assume) there is no mention of god OR atheism, whereas the reverse is not true. He would make a hypocrite of you by forcing god into the picture.
I'm still kicking myself for not punching that stupid preacher. I was in the wedding party with the bride and groom, within arm's reach of the bastard. But I was actually a bit more concerned that the bride might punch him first. I still don't know how she restrained herself; she was seething. Something to do with her parents being in the audience and not wanting to embarrass them by going to jail on her wedding day, I think. I'm pretty sure everybody there would have sworn under oath that he accidentally ran into a door. I never saw a preacher scram like that guy did after the ceremony.
Weddings come from a time when only the church or ruler had the authority to permit 2 people to couple. I have to wonder why freethinkers don't rebel against weddings more, or why they allow tradition to dictate their behavior.

I have not had a wedding ceremony with my partner of 11 years but I still refer to her as my wife in public. A common-law marriage is a legal union in some jurisdictions but you should certainly get a civil union if you are not in one of those jurisdictions. As for the party, you wouldn't invite a priest to your birthday so why invite one to your wedding party?
I'm not anti-marriage or anything.

I do think that people who get married without first having sex are more likely than not to become divorced earlier than on average, though I have no evidence to support that opinion. Getting married because you feel amorous or because your family is pressuring you to is never the right reason in my opinion.

On the other hand, I also think that the legal system makes it inordinately difficult to become divorced. No justification should be required and the desire of one party should be sufficient to dissolve a union, unless there's something I haven't considered.

There isn't a single thing about marriage (though I was talking only about wedding ceremonies) that suggests to me that sexual fidelity will ensue. Promises of fidelity, within a legal union or without, are no insurance against each person's human nature.


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