Irreconcilable Differences?

scarlett2001March 1, 2006

Did I even spell it right?

Okay: Second wedding for both parties. Both are mid forty-ish, with grown children. Bride wants a small but elegant evening church wedding with candlelight, live music such as a harp, organ or violin. She in a formal dress, no veil, he in black tie. She envisions a receiving line, dinner reception with a DJ, but music appropriate to their age - no Hip Hop, Rap, etc. Simple but classy. Romantic on a small scale.

Groom wants a totally private wedding, got to be daytime, maybe Las Vegas or destination. The local park is fine with him. No dressy clothes, no dinner (maybe a barbeque), no dancing. He's thinking very budget and nothing that puts him up in front of people because he will be uncomfortable.

To add to the complications: they are both divorced, so no Catholic wedding. He wants a civil ceremony, she wants a religious one, in any type of denomination. Both are Catholic, but to "lesser degrees". (Please, Catholics out there, don't flame me for that one, I'm just trying to describe what they are telling me.)

No wonder they have been engaged for 9 years! Does anybody have any ideas?

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I'd say go with a religious ceremony with only their 2 closest friends in attendance. Somehow in my mind, the desire for a religious ceremony and the desire to not be up in front of people balance each other. They seem to both be gut instinct which probably cannot be well articulated.

Afterwards they could host an afternoon garden party for their friends and family - which would basically be the barbeque with a violinist for musical entertainment. They could dress up a bit, but in stuff they could wear to other events.

Though not asked, they might be well served by pre-marital counseling. They have a nine year engagement. They are unable to come up with compromises for this issue. They both have marriages which didn't work in the past. I suspect they have some relationship issues which could be benefited by a bit of work. I know that is a tricky issue and many folks would be hurt or offended by the suggestion, but if you could convince them of it, they might be forever grateful.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 7:11PM
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They need to work on a compromise, each one giving up a little. I guess after 9 years they know they want to be married, but this situation is of great concern as they are at such opposite ends.

I think Duckie in the previous post has some good suggestions.

When my friend remarried, they had a ceremony at home with just the very closest of family. After the ceremony, guests were invited to the home to celebrate at the reception.

Destination weddings exclude many people,which is probably why the groom would like this. I think Las Vegas is such an impersonal place to get married. When we attended a Las Vegas wedding, they were just running the people through the chapel, one group after another. When I entered the chapel and sat down, the seat was still warm.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 8:09PM
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I think the previous posts are wise.

I'm only posting to ask for clarification on the bride's desire for a religious ceremony, in "any type of denomination." I don't understand. If it isn't her religion, why would she want it? I mean, I am sure that there are officiants who would do a sort of non-denominational, vaguely deistic or Christian ceremony -- I imagine they do it all the time for couples who have different religions or none.

But is this bride saying she wants the specific rite of a religion to which she does not subscribe? That I don't understand. From time to time, I see or hear of weddings in which the couple incorporate customs and even rituals from religions to which they do not belong, because it's "cool" or "spiritual" or "incorporates nature" or "makes our wedding 'different.'" Personally, I find that very offensive, at least when it's not just someone else's custom (in which case I think it's just sort of silly; because the whole point of a folk or ethnic custom is that it's an old family or community tradition), but an actual religious ritual. Members of the religion from which these couples are borrowing take these rituals seriously; to them, they are binding, legal (religious law) acts, not some quaint and colorful novelty. In my opinion, that's like wearing a rosary as a necklace because you think it's pretty.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 6:22PM
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As a wedding coordinator, perhaps I can shed some light on the situation. I have brides or grooms who were raised in traditional religious denominations and for one reason or another cannot be married in that particular church, similar to the situation mentioned by Scarlett2001. Others may no longer agree with all of the teachings of the religion in which they were raised, yet they still believe in God and it is important to them to be married in a church.

Many non-denominational churches are willing to perform weddings for such couples. Most non-denominational churches have no history of tradition and rituals that must be observed. They have chosen to be non-denominational because they choose not to observe man-made rituals or traditions. Most of the time the couple can have some in-put into the ceremony, both in the wording used and in the choice of music, readings, etc., as long as the church approves of their choices.

This is also an excellent opportunity for the person who is searching for meaning in their spiritual life to find a church where they feel accepted and where they can establish or re-establish a connection with God. If they have felt judged or rejected by their previous church, they may carry emotional baggage that a neutral, non-judgemental minister can help them work through.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 11:25AM
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Sweet Pea, that makes perfect sense. A non-denominational service is exactly what this bride wants, as far as I can tell.

What puzzled me was the image of someone who wanted not a NON-denominational service, but the specific rite of some religion to which they do not belong and don't even want to belong -- e.g., a couple asking for a Greek Orthodox or Hindu wedding just because they think it's pretty. To me, that shows terrific disrespect for others' religions, as if their serious rites were nothing more than meaningless but poetic suggested readings for an interesting show. This was my concern in the string about that freelance officiant's web site ("Need Opinions").

    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 10:44AM
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Okay, just to clear that up, the bride feels that since God brought them together, she wants some reference to the Deity in their wedding ceremony, non denominational is fine.

As of Sunday, we now have various family members putting in their 2 cents - and as we all know, "you get what you pay for".

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 6:14PM
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