Non-religious weddings

Now I know there are many on here skeptical of weddings/ marriage but having said yes - very happily, now comes the planning… obviously there will be no mention of the G word in it - which is where I’m asking for assistance: Does anyone know of anyone who has a marriage license who is preferable non-religious or specialises in those kind of ceremonies? Anyone on here had a non-religious wedding? any links, ideas for reading etc…

Getting hitched hey? Congrats! I think some sea captains are allowed to perform the ceremony on their vessels, so it might be an idea to look into that option. Some more here:

A somewhat amusing requirement is that the wedding venue should have it’s doors open during the ceremony! This is presumably to allow for an eleventh hour escape. So, a ship may be just what the doctor ordered if there exist any suspicion that groom is at risk of developing cold feet.

ETA: It is called a “cruise wedding” apparently …


We did the home affairs thingy, no gods mentioned and when you go book you have the option to ask for extras. Not the most romantic option, but it gets the legalities out of the way and you can then organise a more traditional garden wedding or whatever floats your boat and ask someone special to officiate the “joining” as such, it doesnt need to be a certified magistrate or dominee, but simply someone you (both?) admire that joins your union?

Either way, Congratulations! :smiley:

Ship captains don’t have the right to act as marriage officers unless they are also ordained ministers, or are otherwise registered marriage officers ashore. I sailed with one captain who subsequently swallowed the anchor and became an Anglican priest, but never the other way around.

Both my cousin and myself went the route that Faerie suggests. Dealt with the legal aspect with home affairs (in my case we had dinner afterwards with the close family). The only conventionally religious person there (who was a bit unhappy with the situation) was my gran, but she was ok really.

We then arranged a party with all our friends and had a friend do a ceremony (we told him to leave god out of it as he is religious but that wasn’t why he was chosen, he’s a good speaker and a very close friend).

It was nice and most people preferred it to a religious “wedding” because we kept the ceremony part short and the drinking part long. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the help and the congrats… I want a ceremony out in the open close to nature somewhere just the legalities etc… so maybe do the paperwork bit at homeaffairs out the way on the sly and then do the romance bit! :slight_smile:

We only told the family some 5 months down the line… caused a lot of general offense and upset with the religious lot. For the S/O and myself, that was romantic in itself, we got to be married without any do-da’s and revelled in our “secret”. heh!

Congratulations, beLIEf! Much happiness to both of you. IIRC, the topic of non-religious weddings has come up on the forum before with other/different suggestions, so you may want to search for it.

Not to derail the thread, but yes, it’s funny how people often decide that they must follow a “higher calling”. Much more rare is the individual who chucks the “higher calling” in favour of doing something that’s actually useful. I suspect that once they’re in it and despite the claimed focus on matters of the hereafter, the temporal fringe benefits accruing to those of the cloth have more to do with it than they’re likely to admit.


A note to the wise: Don’t get a preetcher to do the wedding, no matter how much he promises to keep the gawd stuff toned down.

A friend of mine stepped in this trap, made the officiating cloth-wearer promise oh so dearly to keep the religious stuff at bay… and the preeetcher came out swinging for the big G man! It was embarrassingly bad.

Afterwards I went up to my bud and casually poked: “So I thought this was a NON-religious wedding”
He replied: “Yeah, so did I, WTF!”

My Friends found a marriage officer on gum tree. And they will do the ceremony around what ever you want. There was nice.

If you are going to ask someone to officiate for you anyway, why not just ask that someone to become a marriage officer? All that really needs to be done is getting the right forms from Home Affairs, passing some silly test and voila, oh the tricky bit is you need that person to be some kind of community leader, I don’t know who you know, but can you ask this of your local political party leader or something?

I’m not sure of the exact requirements, but if it’s really down to getting a bunch of signatures, then why not just ask people on this forum for a couple (how many would be needed and how needed if there’s no “head of an organization” I’m quite ignorant of)

Anyway, this should get your mind going a bit, I think, but whichever way you look at it, it makes for interesting discussions.

P.S. The guy on gumtree, does he charge a fee for doing it? Isn’t that totally illegal to charge for the officiating service?

Home affairs was for free. I do recall having to pay the dominee with my first wedding, I gave him a cheque which bounced… accidently, but I never did redeem the fee if memory serves me right, I was bloody poor.

I think it was around R600 maybe. Nope even Pastors and the like get a donation.

Ha! ;D

That is hilarious! I don’t have religious people to worry about - other than the in-laws and they are by now totally used to me! But I have the added thing of being only daughter and only child so it’s more the whole ceremony thing I think my mother would be upset!

I’m the youngest and only daughter too… upset does not describe the tantrums and general disgust thrown at me when they found out. My MIL was particularly offended, my S/O is the youngest son and she’s been wanting him married off for years, she hinted a couple years ago how cute his niece would look in a little flowergirl’s dress blah-blah-blah. We just sat back and enjoyed the drama.

Congratulations, beLIEf. I hope your wedding will be great and you guys will be happy.

And that marriage did not last, right? I wonder what will happen if your cheque to the undertaker bounces.

You’ll soon enough be known as a rotten debtor. Or maybe as an overdue rotter.


I paid dearly for that marriage though… :confused:

I married twice in the District Commissioner’s office in Botswana. It was a completely civil affair and my MIL spent the rest of the day asking if we were really married! It was at 07:30 in the morning to miss the heat! Most of the proceedings consisted of the DC informing us of the prescribed sentence would be if either of us broke various laws linked to marriage in Botswana. Nearly 40 years later we still have not done the blessing thing MIL wanted!
There are many options that exclude the mention of any claimed celestial being!