Nonreligious Wedding Ceremony at The Hollins House at Pasatiempo

Nonreligious Wedding Ceremony At The Hollins House At Pasatiempo

Nicole and Scot had all the details done and dialed for their wedding at the Hollins House at Pasatiempo. Everything that is, except for their wedding officiant. But it’s not because they hadn’t tried… 

At first Scot asked his older sister to perform their wedding ceremony. She said yes. But then she said no. Upon further refection she knew that because of her beliefs she couldn’t give them the kind of wedding ceremony that they wanted and deserved.

Scot’s family are southern baptists and evangelical christians. Nicole’s family is pretty christian conservative too. But Scot and Nicole are not. Rather they are motivated by things like personal growth, mindfulness, and nature connection.

So off they went on their wedding officiant search. They tried and tried but just couldn’t find someone who could adequately represent their wishes and beliefs, and were just about to give up when they found me.

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They told me that I was the answer to their prayers, breathed a big sigh of relief, and hired me to write and perform their nonreligious wedding ceremony at the Hollins House at Pasatiempo.

(Right around this formative time - when couples are supposed to be individuating from their family and/or religion of origin, and creating rules and rituals of their own - is usually when the religious or familial grip gets even stronger. Weddings, and wedding ceremonies in particular, often get highjacked by overbearing parents, proselytizing priests and mindless wedding trends and traditions.)

Naomi was incredible. She worked with us in great detail to ensure that she was a good fit for us (and vice versa). We had a lot of anxiety in the process of picking someone, including a few negative experiences. Once we found Naomi, all of that disappeared. She was incredibly professional and easy to work with. She pushed us to better understand our own personal commitments which resulted in a ceremony that many of our guests agreed was the best they’d ever witnessed. She was an instrumental part in what was a perfect day for us. I would highly recommend her services to anyone looking for a meaningful and personal ceremony.
— Scot, The Hollins House at Pasatiempo

The three of us sat together for a long time and talked about what was meaningful and important to them. I set about writing a ceremony that would make them feel good about their wedding and life choices, while being careful not to offend their very conservative relatives and friends. They needed ongoing reassurance from me because by the time they’d found me, they were on the verge of handing their ceremony over to any priest to recite the traditional liturgy and placate everyone but themselves.

(Their impulse to hand it over like that makes sense because given their upbringing, a priest reciting the compulsory wedding readings and rituals is all they knew of spiritual direction and ceremonial leadership.)

As a courtesy to their families, and to add some legitimacy to the whole thing, the couple asked me to wear my ministers stoll.

Ultimately the only God present within their ceremony was the God of Love. Meaning that love was the common ground. The inherent holiness of love was what united them to each other, and to everyone else present.

“Let it be Love that presides and pronounces and proclaims here.”

Their ceremony also incorporated simple nonreligious elements like a moment of mindful silence, and a beautiful (slightly adapted) Hafiz poem called It Happens All The Time.

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One of the best compliments came from the groom's sister, who acknowledged how perfect the ceremony was for Scot and Nicole, and how happy she was that I could give them what they’d wanted, especially since she knew that she could not.

Naomi was and is absolutely the best officiant my now husband and I could have asked for! She helped me (the nervous bride) feel grounded and helped create so much love and positive energy that radiated throughout our day. We were looking for someone who would create a beautiful, sacred, and loving space for our ceremony and Naomi did an excellent job at that. She created a space that was filled with presence, and one that respected and included every guest at the wedding. My husband and I are not religious, but are spiritual. It was important for us to find someone who would honor this and take into account what we did and did not want on the most important day of our lives. People still talk about how beautiful the ceremony was and what an excellent job Naomi did. I keep reliving the ceremony over in my head, it was so wonderful! I HIGHLY recommend Naomi to any couple looking for an officiant on their special day. She is truly a gift!
— Nicole, The Hollins House at Pasatiempo

Do you have a story about striking that delicate balance between assuaging your families, and taking a stand for your wants and wishes? If so, please share it in the comments below!