nontraditional weddings

Discussion in 'Community' started by jelloshotsrule, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    so i'm looking for input on what types of weddings people have had, been to, heard of, etc, that are out of the usual mainstream style.

    why? well some background.

    while i'm not planning on getting married in the immediate future, i am looking forward to marrying my current girlfriend at some point, and one of the things we've thought of and discussed is our different approaches to weddings...

    i am a somewhat religious catholic from a very religious family. i don't feel the "need" to have a catholic wedding per se, but i very much want to show that i feel god has a hand in our relationship, etc. i also am realistic in my acceptance of how important god/the church is to my mom in particular, and how that will affect a wedding of mine.

    my girlfriend is not religious at all, had bad experiences as a kid and such with her lutheran church. she doesn't feel the need to have a church wedding, though she is not opposed to it as she realizes it's important to me. she's cool like that.

    however, she wants to have at least part of it as a more non-religious thing... so i was wondering if people had ever experienced some sort of hybrid religious/civil wedding at all? and the details of it...

    on the one hand, it makes sense to be married in a catholic church because that's the religion i follow most closely, but on the other hand there's a lot of traditional elements that don't matter to me, but that i'm not sure one can just cut out of a church ceremony.

    anyways, just putting out a call for ideas and see what people have experienced to draw upon in future discussions of the matter with her.
  2. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Even though it would be YOUR day, your parents' dreams to see a church wedding isn't to be discounted, even if you don't want the full-blown Catholic ceremony. Sometimes explaining to family why you want what you want is all that's necessary, letting them know you have thought about their point of view as well as yours. Then you can get married while wearing Darth and Padmé costumes in a hot air balloon on a live MTV broadcast.

    Some people choose to have more than one wedding gathering even if only one is official in the eyes of their state. That way, they can have the wedding they dreamed of AND the one their parents wanted.
  3. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Well first off, it's YOUR wedding, not your parents. Do what YOU (the collective you) want, not them. Both my wife's family and mine had to come to terms with attending a quasi-pagan ceremony. They were actually mostly shocked at how enjoyable it was. But the point is, we had to have a talk with them about how the wedding was going to happen. We had to put our feet down a couple times and veto some things, but overall it went well and when it was all over everyone told us how nice of a time they'd had.

    We kept the ceremony part short and sweet and spent the majority of our time with the reception.

    Really it's just a big formal party. You'll be too stressed to enjoy it, but our goal for us was to make sure the attendees did enjoy themselves. Mission Accomplished.
  4. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    One thing we almost did was have our wedding in Italy. We were going to rent a villa (its not that much when you consider the expense of a traditional wedding) that had a chapel. Invite friends and family and anyone who made it there, great. But that way you can have something unique and cool and there's less pressure from the whole church thing in the States. Also, I know someone who got married in Italy and the logistics and legalities are straightforward.

    I'm still a little disappointed we didn't do it, but planning a wedding overseas in December of 2001 (a few months after 9/11) just wouldn't work. :(

    Good luck,

  5. jelloshotsrule thread starter macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    doc- i agree with you that my parents aren't totally to be ignored, and yet also that it's our day... thanks for the insights

    mac- can you tell me more about your wedding? how was it quasi-pagan? more details please :)

    mr. a- ahh that would've been cool. given the age of some of our close relatives it would be tricky if we ever did consider it.

    now i'm off to get fitted for my darth suit.....
  6. zelmo macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2004
    Mac since 7.5
    Jlo (may I call you jlo?), sounds like you have a pretty wonderful girl there.

    When my wife and I married back in '91, we wanted a ceremony that was not too over the top. She'd had a bad Catholic upbringing, and I was (still am) not even a little interested in organized religion. This was also my wife's second marriage, so she'd already done the big wedding thing for her parents, and we were going to have to pay for whatever we did ourselves. We ended up finding a nice non-denominational reverend in the yellow pages :eek:, who we met with a few times. We wrote our own vows, which included her 2 year old daughter joining in the creation of our family. We had the ceremony in our living room with immediate family only, and threw a big honkin' party in our community pool house for a few hundred friends.

    It was a blast. Still is.
  7. 3rdpath macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2002
    2nd star on the right and straight till morning
    me and the mrs actually had 2 weddings.

    one was a secret wedding that only she and i knew about...i had business in vegas so she flew out and we did the vegas wedding thing. it was great, nothing like going to the clark county courthouse at 2 am to see an interesting assortment of people getting licenses. we got married at the chapel of flowers...pretty cheesy. had a very private 3 day honeymoon relatives, no pressures, no checklists and schedules.

    a few months later we had a medium sized ceremony on the back lawn of our home....with a bit of a 1940's theme to it. we had a minister to please the mrs' very catholic family. we really wanted a ceremony that involved our friends so many of them helped with the decorating/catering and such. and nothing like a beautiful southern california evening to set the proper mood. after the ceremony, some wonderful food and such, we sped off in a beautiful 1940's packard that the mrs had hired.

    ahhh, forgive my sentimental timetravel via the peabody and sherman waback machine...

    my advice is to do it the way YOU and the future MRS want to. prepare yourselves for the inevitable family meddling, power grabs and comes with the territory. if its not fun, what's the point?
  8. jelloshotsrule thread starter macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    you can call me jlo... nice of you to ask though! hah.

    3rd- was hoping to hear from you in here.. thanks.

    thanks both for your input.

    basically it's hard to tell how my parents (mostly my mom) would take to it. she's very religious, and has done the whole catholic guilt thing with us our entire lives. i'm one of 4 boys, and the only one to be married got married in holland (to a dutch girl) so my parents were pretty detached. they had a catholic/protestant combo wedding in a church, and then i believe they had to have a civil ceremony at the town hall or whatever (they did have one, but i'm not sure if it was legally required or just something they wanted to do).

    my point being just that i don't know how much my parents would expect to be involved. my girlfriend's super independent, and her parents are awesome, supportive, and respect her ideals entirely. i think ultimately that my parents would be the same, just that there'd be some initial shock or whatever.

    ultimately the thing is that i DO want to have a spiritual aspect to the ceremony... i'm trying to find out some creative ways to mix a light bit of spiritual while also having a "different" and unique thing for us.

    3rd- was the minister catholic? i am not really clear on whether a catholic wedding has to take place within a catholic church (ie, not outside, etc), but i tend to think it does.... hmm
  9. ~Shard~ macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    I’m getting married in September actually to my girlfriend of almost 4 years – really looking forward to it. :)

    We are planning on having a simple, what I would consider to be small wedding here in town. Her Dad is a member of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, our federal law enforcement) so we managed to book the RCMP Chapel on base here in Regina (Regina is one of the 2 main headquarters in Canada) which is a gorgeous location – the oldest church in Regina, over 100 years old (yes, that’s old here... ;))

    We are only having about 55 people at our wedding, family and friends included. Although our parents probably would have liked to invite more people, we explained to them that this was OUR wedding and as a result, we would invite who WE wanted to. So, we are having only our closest friends and family present – the people who mean the most to us – the way it should be, in my opinion. I just wouldn’t enjoy having a wedding with hundreds of people – old friends you aren’t really friends with anymore, co-workers who you aren’t really that close with, family members you’ve never met or only met when you were 4 years old, etc. – and then some people who, since you aren’t that close with them, are more concerned with showing up for the free meal or drinks more than anything, which is so wrong. My friend had a wedding like that and didn’t even know half the people who were there – that’s pretty sad if you ask me. Many people were just busy getting drunk on cheap liquor and didn’t even approach the bride or groom to congratulate them which is so selfish and poor in taste.

    We had entertained the idea of doing a “destination wedding” and getting married on a beach, but scrapped that idea after using a friend’s wedding in Mexico this past April as a “guinea pig” of sorts. Although it was intimate, unique, a beautiful locale, and an excellent vacation with friends on its own, it just didn’t do it for us. The resort we went to was charging an arm and a leg for everything, and the entire thing was very expensive. Not that a wedding is supposed to be about the money, but for what they got, they spent far too much. And I don’t believe you need to spend a lot of money to have a special day.

    Plus, we feel like we’re already committed to each other, and have been for a long time – our wedding will be a celebration of this commitment, so in some respects, we don’t feel like we need to “go all out” or anything, as not much will change between us after all is said and done – it will be a memorable day regardless. :)
  10. emw macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    It's always difficult to draw the line between what you want and what you think your parents would like. Sure, it's your wedding and all, but your parents did help you get to where you are, and I'm assuming by your posts that you have a respect and love for them.

    While this doesn't mean you should do everything with this wedding to please them, it is important to take into account their feelings. I faced a similar dilemma when I got married. Neither my wife nor I are very religious, but both of our parents are, and we wanted to respect that as much as possible without being too uncomfortable or hypocritical.

    We ended up being married in a chapel of a larger Catholic church. The church itself was somewhat non-conventional by my parent's standards (no kneelers), and the chapel perhaps more so, since there were just regular chairs that people sat in. My wife and I liked the fact that the environment was only marginally religious, and my parents liked that it was at least at a church environment.

    It also helped us that our wedding was small (about 50 people, I think) and that the priest was extremely, well, efficient. We got through a Catholic wedding, complete with Communion, in about 40 minutes. It seemed like about 10 minutes to me, but my watch told me otherwise.

    The reception was similarly non-conventional, in that we held it in the rather simple environment of a large room in one of our favorite restaurants. We had the whole "head table" thing (which I wouldn't do if I had it to do over again), but just had a pianist instead of a band, and there was no dancing, aside from a dance with Kris and I (and I think maybe with her and her dad and me and my mom).

    In the end, it was fairly inexpensive (good, since we paid for it ourselves), non-stressful (both for us, and I hope our guests), and as memorable as those things can be when your not really focused on the details.

    Edit: Congratulations, by the way! (And to you, too, ~Shard~!)
  11. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Well let's see... My wife was raised Protestant, I was raised Catholic. We had a Wiccan woman perform the ceremony, which drew heavily from Celtic (both of us are largely Irish) traditions. My brother-in-law lead the procession carrying my sword as a symbol of protection, which we later stepped across in a twist on 'jumping the broom'. We had a handfasting as part of the ceremony, and while there was mention of a God and Goddess, it wasn't overbearing and we didn't ask anyone to speak or to repeat anything. We kind of figured they might feel like they were breaking a commandment or something, so we kept the talking between ourselves, my sisters and her brother, and the priestess. There were a lot of earthy themes and symbols. We were married in a redwood grove in a park near some of our favorite parts of the Santa Cruz area. Originally we were going to hold the ceremony on the cliffs in Los Osos down near where we live currently, but we didn't want to make everyone else come to us, so we held it up where they are.

    My parents were married outdoors on a hillside themselves, even though they used a Catholic priest, so they understood our desire to have the ceremony outdoors.

    BTW, make sure you do a whole bunch of cake tasting. Aside from creating your gift registry, it's the most fun part of the process. ;)

    And whatever you do, remember: A wedding shouldn't make your life hell. Stressful yes, but not hellish. We planned ours while I was a second year architecture student and she was getting her teaching credential. There was much stress, we had to work very hard to not let it interfere with our lives and our love.
  12. jelloshotsrule thread starter macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    more great insights. keep em coming!

    yeah, both my girlfriend and i are pretty much against a lot of the traditional stuff when it comes to ceremony and such. e.g. we have no plans for a diamond ring of any sort. we've discussed all sorts of rings/bands.. from tattoos (which will probably not happen) to what i had once seen on a teacher of mine that looked awesome.. his wedding band looked like it was almost.. cloth. not sure what it was. wish i'd have asked! hah

    and our families are both pretty laid back about things to the point where (aside from possibly the religious aspect) there wouldn't be too much meddling in terms of who to invite, what sort of cake/reception/etc to have, blah blah. so that should help.

    we went to the wedding of a friend of hers a few months ago. it was in a small chapel in the countryside of VA. the girl (and guy) was very nontraditional but her father was a pastor so she felt like there had to be some religious aspects (they negotiated on to what degree)... but everything was very nontraditional otherwise. and my girlfriend and i agreed that it was just.... TOO simple. there was practically no focus on the couple really. it was as though it was just a get together of friends for a religious ceremony. and this coming from my girlfriend who absolutely hates having any attention focused on her.

    emw- that sounds pretty dang cool. honestly i have no idea how big a wedding we'd both want (i know we both want close friends/family, but i have no idea how the numbers would add up if we were to actually count...).

    still plenty of time for us to decide but as i've said, i like getting information on what others have done to help me formulate my own ideas.

    mactastic- speaking of gift registry... my girlfriend is almost 30 and thus, by the time we do get married we'll have accrued almost anything we'd need for a household... so we've discussed doing something where we register for basic goods and then donate them to a poor household or something. we'll have to look further into that sort of stuff...

    as for reception, we've even discussed having a simple meal that everyone likes like pizza.. we're both vegetarians and while we accept that people there should enjoy the food and we wouldn't feed them tofu or whatever, we don't see the need to have steak and fish and pork chops etc etc... just more background on what we've discussed/our views.
  13. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    A nontraditional wedding I think could be very appropriate. The wedding could be set up as a theme. It still allows for a priest to perform the ceremony, so that you parents would be happy. Don't think its a requirement to be in a church, that also might make your fiance feel more comfortable. You could you the place that you first met, proposed, or something that you had in common. Have seen them on the news, under water, DisneyLand/World, Hot air balloon, Apple Store, Golf Course. Essentially the theme of choice would be a strictly personal thing between the two of you.
  14. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    If you don't want gifts I'd say suggest to people that they make a donation in your name to your favorite charities. Personally I like Habitat for Humanity and People's Self Help Housing, but that's just me.

    Donating your wedding gifts would be an amazing thing.

    Oh, and we did the vegetarian thing too. It was the easiest way to accomodate everyone without having to make special stuff. We recruited a bunch of friends and gave them recipes. Different people made the same stuff and it was really cool to see the different interpretations of the same dish. That was those people's present to us.

    We also grew wildflowers rather than using cut flowers, and then put those on the tables. At the end of the day we gave the potted flowers to the people who helped us out so much.

    Also, and this is a really cool idea we got from a friend: We put a couple disposable cameras on every table and let people take photos themselves. Some of the best pics from our wedding came from those cameras. :)
  15. iSaint macrumors 603


    May 26, 2004
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    The priest in your Catholic Church will (should) tell you there are two parts to a Catholic, or any religious, wedding. The civil part, which is the legal marriage according to the state you live in, and the Church part. It also depends on how cool your Priest is as to whether he'll adapt any part of the service differently, let alone do it outside of the church building.

    Check out an Episcopal'll still have to go through counseling with him or her, but there's a good chance you might get them to do something outside the church. Plus the Eucharist (if you do one) will be open to everyone in attendance.

    We got married by a Justice of the Peace under a big tree in my family's yard. About 30 people, 20 minutes, and all the crawfish and beer you can consume. We later had our marriage blessed in the Episcopal Church.

    Just giving you some options... ;)
  16. ~Shard~ macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    Thanks man! :cool:

    My girlfriend and I bought unique rings for ourselves. We didn't like what we found in the stores, as they all have the same basic design, and you know they are mass produced and there are thousands of them out there - we wanted something special, unique, something that would stand out - to better represent us, and our relationship.

    She doesn't like "pooky" diamonds (i.e. solitaires) so she has about 12 smaller diamonds all inset in her ring. And she just has one ring, acting as both an engagement ring and wedding band - it's all the same thing. The ring is basically comprised of 3 puzzle-like pieces, with the outer band being yellow gold, the inner being white gold (where the diamonds are scattered about) and the other outer band being rose gold. Mine is the same, actually, except mine is white gold-yellow gold-white gold, and no diamonds.

    So, my ring is as actually pretty much as nice as hers, just without the diamonds! This was another choice we made. I feel that so many guys seem to just get relatively cheap, plain old wedding bands. I wanted something that means something, and I wanted a NICE ring that could also function as, well, a really nice man's ring on its own. After all, why should the girl get the better end of the deal? ;) As a result, we're both very proud of our matching rings. My girlfriend gets compliments and a ton of looks at her ring every day, and I think a lot of other women are jealous of it, heh heh... ;) :cool:
  17. jsalzer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2004
    Gotta use monk robes

    Whelp - unfortunately, my ex fiance (who was 20 years older than me) went all mid-life-crisisy and psychotic on me before we got to a wedding, but I had/have in my head exactly what I want(ed).

    Small ceremony, everyone in brown monk robes. A nice, secluded clearing in the middle of the woods. A stone altar as the only out-of-place thing there.

    And, despite having a good ritual experience, having a complete informality about it. After all, as a wise man once said (don't remember who) - at the end of the day, if you and your spouse end up married, that's all that matters. I've DJ'd several weddings, and the couples are always way too stressed and worried about when to do what and keeping the guests happy (and keeping the drunk guests from killing each other).

    It's about expressing your love for each other and your promise to take care of each other. Who cares if you cut the cake first or have the dance first? ;)

    And, by the way, my ex was a fool for leaving me. The jerk. (Yes, I still love him.) :p
  18. jelloshotsrule thread starter macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    yeah, i've heard (and considered) the donating of money to a favorite charity etc... but i could almost see people (not most of the people, but some) kinda skimping more on that than if we asked for gifts... and while we're not looking for people to buy us nice stuff (hence the donation theory), i do like to help other people to donate too. i've wondered if we did it without announcing it first how it would go down... probably would make some people pissed. hah. we'll see...

    the potluck thing sounds interesting. i'm imagining some nice cheese pizza (i have one in the oven!) for everyone to feast on... mmmm. anyways.

    i know about the counseling thing with priests (specifically catholic) and it's something that concerns me, but only slightly. i mean, i just am unsure how it would go down if my girlfriend is openly non religious... i mean, i'm not sure how they'd take to that. surely it depends on the priest, and that's another thing... i'd like to have a priest who i respect and know beforehand, but i only have about two of those, and neither are anywhere near where we live right now. just a slight hurdle that can probably be overcome though... would rather be married by a priest i have some history with than some random dude... which would probably also affect how traditional he would require it to be.... hmm. sorry for the rambling!

    cool about the wedding rings. we definitely are looking to have something unique but feel no need to spend much money on it... and we have some moral opposition to diamonds. hah. but i like hearing about what people have done outside the norm as i've said, the more ideas the better.


    oh, and sorry to hear about that jsalzer.. maybe he's not good enough for you then!?

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