6 Mistakes Couples Make When Planning a Non-Religious Ceremony

January 21, 2016 by Linda DiProperzio
shefinds | Weddings

Some couples choose to leave the religious element out of their wedding ceremony. If you decide to do so, make sure you don’t make these six mistakes when planning your non-religious, non-denominational or agnostic ceremony.

1. Assuming a pastor won’t marry you. Many religious institutions are getting more liberal-minded with their marriage requirements and don’t need you to go through all of the religious rituals during a wedding ceremony, note the pros at LA Banquets.

2. Skipping marriage prep. Often, when couples forgo the traditional, religious route for their ceremony, they forget an important aspect of the religious planning process–the “marriage prep” counseling classes or meetings with a pastor or rabbi, says Malini Bhatia, founder and CEO of During those courses or sessions, couples will discuss and answer questions about how to handle money and careers, discuss views on having children and more. “Couples who plan a secular wedding often overlook this important step of discussing issues with a non-biased third party. It can be a mistake if this part of planning is overlooked.”

3. Letting anyone officiate. Thanks to the Internet, anyone can be ordained and marry you–but that doesn’t mean you should let just anyone do it. There is an art to officiating a wedding ceremony. You need someone who isn’t afraid to speak in front of a crowd and keeps everyone engaged, who knows the both of you well and who is able to convey the love and commitment you want to share with your guests that day.

4. Creating a ceremony that’s too simple. Couples can go too far in their efforts to remove/decline any religious elements from their wedding ceremony and turn it into a sterile, by-the-book civil process, says Rev. Clint Hufft. No matter what you decide as far as including or not including religion, a ceremony should cover three things: 1. The commitments between the couple to get married.

2. Who they are as individuals.

3. What they think their marriage will be moving forward.

5. Not explaining everything to your guests. If the couple is hosting the ceremony at a non-denominational church, the bride and groom would be wise to make that clear on the invitation, says Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions. “In the eyes of many individuals, non-denomination does not imply a person isn’t a Christian. Couples should be clear about understanding what ‘non-denomination’ means to them, and understand what that means to others. The goal will be to make everyone comfortable at the wedding.”

6. Offending religious guests. Some of your guests might be religious, so your ceremony isn’t the time to explain your issues with organized religions, God and more. You can choose to keep your wedding non-religious without insulting others’ beliefs.

Be sure to check out what to wear to your engagement party and how to plan a commitment ceremony.





Linda DiProperzio is a weddings expert and freelance writer based in New York.

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