Before we got engaged, before we even had “the talk“, we talked one evening about how we didn’t want a priest to marry us. Mr. Bear Cub and I are not religious, and this tends to confuse a lot of people (especially my family). Luckily, those that don’t agree with our beliefs at least respect our right to live our lives the way we want to, and believe what we want. Mr. Bear Cub and I are both humanist.
I say that we have differing “beliefs” than those who follow religious sects because normally those who are religious believe that atheists don’t believe in anything.
“Atheist” is a word with negative connotations – “humanist” as a label is growing wildly in popularity among the god-less. Humanists “affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appealing to universal human qualities, particularly rationality, without resorting to the supernatural or alleged divine authority from religious text” (from wiki). There are also humanist “churches” (more like group philosophical sessions, science talks, young family outings, etc.) sprouting across the nation. When Mr. Cubbie and I move back to the states to Portland, Oregon, we can’t wait to join our own local Humanist Association!
Months before we got engaged, we researched ways to get married the “humanist” way. A priest doesn’t marry you, a celebrant does.
Quick fact: Did you know that a marriage is not considered legally recognized if performed by a celebrant? Unless you get married in a courthouse (by a judge), or pay a nondescript justice of the peace (or a notary clerk also, right?) to sign your marriage document, you must be married by a religious official. Otherwise, it’s not legal! That’s like telling a Catholic couple they must marry in a church, or it won’t be recognized by the church. At least they can have someone who follows their faith marry them.
It is, however, legal to be married by an officiant in Scotland, and also now, Poland.
This post isn’t meant to convert anyone or to shock anyone or to talk down about anyone else’s religious beliefs and ideals. Mr. Bear Cub and I are for gay marriage, and we are for marriage equality in all senses of the word. If you’re interested in learning about a humanist ceremony, or you yourself are planning one, I’d love to bounce ideas back and forth! There’s not a lot of talk about humanist wedding ceremonies in the states, especially on most wedding sites, but I think the idea of a “secular” wedding is growing. And if you’re not yet praying for my salvation (because please don’t!), take a look at this post on humanist weddings on the Friendly Atheist.
There are more and more certified officiants in the states, one of whose blogs I read – Weddingbee PRO’s own Eclectic Unions. She’s an active celebrant on the East Coast, and recently posted this video about Humanist weddings and what a Celebrant is:
While Mr. Cubbie and I plan to make our wedding ceremony based on humanist ideals, we have decided to not have a celebrant officiate. Why, you ask? Especially after all that jazz up there?? Well, simply put, we want our officiant to be someone with whom we have an active relationship. This is just a personal choice, though. Plus, we want to have 100% control of what’s said during our ceremony.
Meet Margarine, Mr. Bear Cub’s grandma. Her nickname for Mr. Cubbie is “rye bread”, because… we Bear Cubs love us some hearty bread! 😉 Would you like some Margarine on your Rye Bread? 😉 Margarine was a professor of theatre at Cornell and She. Is. Awesome. I can’t even begin to describe how awesome she is. Well, let’s try, but in her own words – her email to us after we gave her all the info on being our officiant…
Mr. Bear Cub and I sent her:
As our bodacious wedding is quickly approaching, Its probably time for you to discover your holier side and become a minister!
The easiest path to enlightenment is through the Universal life church at http://www.themonastery.org/ ……..”
To which she replied:
“To The Redoubtable Rye Breads (aka future Mr. & Mrs. Bear Cub),
My main questions are: Why was I born? What is the meaning of life? And has Miss Bear Cub taught any of the natives to say “Lift the lid a little, it”ll open” in Spanish?”
(Side note – our friend Sean taught us his favorite tongue-twister: “jiggle it a little it’ll open”. Upon hearing it, Margarine couldn’t stop saying it! It’s such a wonderful conglomeration of syllables! 🙂 Go on! Try it! 🙂 )
Basically, she’s incredibly random and butt-loads of fun! We know that Margarine will fill the role of officiant perfectly, because while we’re not religious, Margarine is the person who best fits the role of “minister” – a person to look to for guidance and wisdom.
How did you choose your officiant?