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I am Not a Member of a Church. Do I Have to Have a Church Wedding?

Not being a member of a church is not the same as not being a person who actively practices any given faith. If you are not a member of a church you do not have to have a church wedding. Getting married by the Justice of the Peace, can be another option. You can also talk with a priest or minister of a church that interests you in order to have him officiate at your wedding ceremony.

Many people feel that in order to have their marriage blessed they must be married in a church, but you can get married anywhere you choose, such as:

  • In a garden
  • Your parents’ home or backyard,
  • On a beach or on a cruise

It is still possible to have a priest or ordained minister perform the ceremony for the two of you, however, not all churches and all faiths have the same set of guidelines for having a church wedding.

Most religions such as Roman Catholic and many of the Protestant religions make it necessary for those wishing to marry in the church to have premarital counseling or premarital education before taking the plunge into marriage.

  • Pre-marriage preparation can range from a few group sessions with other couples to some individual sessions with a religious advisor.
  • Many churches started doing marriage prep classes in order to decrease the high number of divorces that take place in society.
  • Studies have shown that pre-marriage counseling classes can reduce this risk by 30 percent.

Most priests are willing to marry a couple where one person is not Catholic, but if a person has not been baptized and has no religious faith or beliefs all this might present a problem. While the person who is not Catholic is not required to convert to Catholicism unless he or she chooses to, in order to marry in the Catholic church the couple must be in agreement to raise any children that they have in the Catholic faith.

In the Protestant religion, using the United church as an example, no minister is obliged to officiate at any wedding, whether the couple are members of the church or not. In a most general sense

  • You do not have to be a member of the United church to marry in one but many ministers will not feel comfortable with the idea of marrying two people who are not practicing members of the Protestant religion.
  • To find out more information it is advisable to communicate with the minister of a congregation and speak with him about your wishes.

Whether you choose to have a church wedding, or whether you have any religious affiliation, there are still important issues for couples to discuss before the wedding day. You should decide on

  • How you plan on raising your children
  • What religion you choose to have in your home
  • What to teach to your children as well as how you will celebrate religious holidays.

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