Despite not being religious, I am getting married in a church.
It’s kind of just the way it goes here. Civil ceremonies are becoming a bit more common, but a huge percentage of weddings take place in churches because that’s what you do.
In England, you can get married at either a) the bride’s parents’ local parish, b) the couple’s local parish, or c) a church the couple has attended for at least six months.
The church we chose was our local parish, and it’s gorgeous. But just because we didn’t have to go to church for six months didn’t mean we didn’t want to. We wanted to get to know them, and I thought it would be nice to go to the place we’d be getting married every Sunday. Especially as it’s literally a five-minute walk away from our house.
Jack had a Christian upbringing (his Italian father is Catholic and his English mother is Church of England (shock! horror!), and he went to church every Sunday, along with attending Sunday school, a Christian middle school, and lots of other things. Since then, he is no longer a Christian but is very “spiritual.” He is interested in many faiths but doesn’t practice.
I, on the other hand, have had no religious upbringing whatsoever. I was christened as a child, but more out of tradition than anything. My sister wasn’t christened and we never went to church. The first time I ever went to church was last year—and I really enjoyed it!
I would consider myself an agnostic. I don’t believe in a god, but I do think there is something out there, whether it could be scientifically proven or not. But even though I cannot believe (no matter how much I would love to), going to church has still had a big impact on me.
In a couple of weeks I’m volunteering for a coffee morning. And a few weeks after that I’m baking cakes and puddings for an evening they are doing to help the homeless. This week, when I signed up for these things, I realised that despite my not believing, this church has made me a better person. A more generous person. And I really like that.
I suspect a lot of people believe you shouldn’t get married in a church if you don’t believe—but I think the Church of England has done a wonderful thing by allowing non-believers to give it a chance. Obviously the best thing that could happen would be if I were to suddenly find God, but as that hasn’t happened I still think that volunteering and becoming more involved in the community has been a hugely positive thing.
I’m glad I’m getting married in a church.
Does this kind of thing happen in the States? Who else is getting married in a church when they don’t consider themselves religious?