Religious Weddings: Inviting an Atheist to Your Ceremony
A difference in religious beliefs should never get in the way of a friendship
When planning a wedding, it’s hard to be sensitive to the sensitivities of all involved — but it behooves the bride to try her best!
Dear Wedding Guru: “I’m having a religious (but not over-the-top) wedding. I’ll be married by a member of the clergy, who will mention God in the ceremony. I’d like to include one of my dearest friends in my bridal party, but she is a strict atheist. I don’t want her to be uncomfortable, but I can’t leave her out either. Should I ask her? (If so, what’s the best way to do it?)”
(Our answer on next page)
The Wedding Guru says: Absolutely ask her to be a bridesmaid! As your dear friend, she knows you and your religious beliefs, so she’ll understand the type of wedding ceremony that you’ll have (and nothing really needs to be said when you ask her to participate). If you’re still concerned, simply explain that, because she’s such a close friend, you don’t want her to be uncomfortable and you won’t be offended if she declines. She won’t have to participate in any element of the religious ceremony if she’s not comfortable with it. Regardless of how she responds, you should feel happy that you at least asked.
I commend you for caring about how your loved ones feel! Remember, whether someone attends your wedding as part of the bridal party or not, your ceremony is about you and your spouse’s religious connections; those who attend may celebrate, but need not share your relationship with God (or whatever it is you worship). The fact that you’re aware of your guests’ religious sensitivities will make your special day one that’s fondly remembered by everyone involved.