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.
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.)
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.
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.