AIBU to change my wedding to a religious ceremony to please my family?

I’m Filipino and I’m marrying my long-term same-sex partner here in the UK soon. The Philippines is seriously Catholic, so me being gay is a major reason why I no longer live there (amazing country though - wonderful people!)

The wedding will be a completely non-religious affair, but I’m being guilted by literally every family member from the Philippines as to why it’s not a religious ceremony. They understand why it can’t be strictly Catholic, but to them, the idea that my husband and I will only promise to stay together to each other (and I guess technically the state) but not to God is something that they just don’t get, or abide.

It’s causing me some serious concern, and I’m thinking of including a small reference to God somewhere in the vows to placate my family members. My partner is a wonderful man but has also had some difficulties with religion and his sexual orientation in the past, and I know it’s making him uncomfortable.

I know we all say “it’s your wedding, do it your way!” but you seriously have no idea the grip that Filipino families have on their members and it’s much easier said than done!

What do you think I should do? Am I being unreasonable?

2 Likes

Maybe the better question is, “Can I live with upsetting my family if I choose to leave out any religious references?”

What will it do to the ceremony? The reception? Your honeymoon? Family relationships one, three, five (etcetera) months down the road?

If you think the consequences will be too dire and can’t bear the possible fallout, then no, you’re not being unreasonable.

But you have to be sure to run this potential change by your partner, or you will end up falling into the trap of unreasonability after all.

9 Likes

You’re marrying your partner, not your family. A vague platitude may not bother him – or it might be a deal breaker. You need to talk to him about this, and make sure that it would not cause him trauma. It’s his wedding, too. Unless you want your family members dictating your entire lives, you need to set boundaries now.

11 Likes

I did a lot of things in my wedding to please family members. And now whenever I think about that day, I think about all the things I’d do differently if I had it to do again. I kept telling myself that all I cared about was that I’d be married to my partner at the end of the day, and that was all that really mattered. But ultimately, I have a lot of regrets. And other than my mother, who planned and paid for the whole thing, I think most people would’ve just gotten over it and enjoyed our joy, had I decided to do it “my way”. (And my partner’s way; he was pretty passive on all the decision-making, too.)

I guess what I’m saying is, what can you live with? Will it bother you forever that you didn’t do a little thing to appease your family? Will it bother you forever that you did something you didn’t want to at your own wedding?

To answer your specific question, I don’t think you’re being unreasonable either way.

5 Likes

No. It is your wedding, do it your way.

The way I see it is… if your family cannot accept you for who you are, and what you - and your partner want - then that is their problem, not yours.

3 Likes

You’re not being unreasonable! What a difficult situation. Here are some things you could think about with your partner:

  • What are the options same-sex Catholics have? What does the church allow regarding same sex couples? Would a priest even do a religious ceremony for you?

  • What expectations does your family have about how religious your lives will be? Is this the first time they’re hearing of your non-religious life? Do you see this as a first conversation of many where you “come out” as not religious or is this a symbolic moment in a long history of trying to get them to understand you?

  • Do all your relatives see it that way and whose opinions really matter? Are your parents amenable but they are being pressured by extended family also?

  • What are your partner’s exact feelings about religion and what would they be comfortable with? Could you mention God once in your vows and not in theirs and they’d be OK with it? Could the officiant mention religion but neither of you do?

  • Is there another way you can incorporate your family, their culture and religion in the ceremony or experience without making the wedding religious? Could you all attend a church event separately before or after, or incorporate more Filipino food/symbols elsewhere?

2 Likes

The main function of a wedding that I understand is for the bride to look and feel fabulous. Oh, and loved, but mainly fabulous. I think this translates in your case to being an almost perfect day for both of you (actually perfect never happens, something’s always wrong, expect that), and it does seem that inviting God will spoil it for your husband.

On the other hand, as far as God and your family are concerned, you’re still Catholic and always will be. Your gay wedding is 99 percent not that, but maybe slipping in 1% that isn’t will help them to accept.

Now to do it without upsetting your husband… If he is British then probably you and your family speak at least one language that he doesn’t. It’s how we come. Or, say something in Latin, and pretend it’s from Harry Potter. (You can get Latin from Google Translate. It’s good enough, though to check, you should also translate it from Latin again.)

Or say something else which your Catholic family will recognise but he won’t, about grace or indulgence or being well made or what a fast worker he is.

Or just say “I do. May God forgive me.” It’s what they’re thinking. However, that may actually really cause the ceremony to be stopped, before you get any cake, or, importantly, sign the thing that you sign. Official marriages in the United Kingdom are either religious or very firmly not, and they don’t let you cheat at that. So… check the rules.

1 Like

Your partner absolutely gets a veto on any plan. Also, think about your family. Who would be satisfied with something like asking for God to bless your marriage (either during the ceremony or afterwards)? Who would not be happy unless you had a wedding Mass and a female partner (and probably not then, either)? If your partner says nope to anything public, then maybe talk to the reasonable ones and privately ask each of them for them to pray for a happy marriage for your husband and yourself in a confident “of course you wish us well” kind of way.

2 Likes

The ONLY people that matter in a wedding are you and your partner. Anyone else can go pound sand. If your partner doesn’t want a religious ceremony then don’t be a jerk and try to force them into one.

4 Likes

Thanks so much guys, I wasn’t expecting so many viewpoints - or helpful pieces of advice. My partner and I actually sat down and went through them all now and we were both surprised at how helpful they all were. You guys have done half the hard talking for us! :stuck_out_tongue:

We’ve agreed on a religion-free wedding, and we’ve sent out a carefully worded email to everyone explaining why we want it so. If individual guests want to give us a religious blessing or “pray for us” that is entirely their prerogative and we’ll respect their need to do so - as long as it’s done privately and isn’t part of the ceremony or day in any way.

Now on to the hard part. Deciding on the cake flavour! Any tips? Haha

9 Likes

I’m not in a relationship (wish I was despite seeing how hard it is for my sister).

But some ways to decide on flavours of cake: Are either of you allgeric to anything? What do you guys like to have for desserts at home or elsewhere while you go out?

1 Like

If i were going for a wedding cake, personally i’d go with a theme cake. For example, a beach theme, and choose flavours and decorations that match that theme. (Beach would probably be vanilla sponge, i think)

1 Like

I like the theme idea.

I would add that maybe try and go for a theme of shared interest, or perhaps that alludes to how you met or other significant event in your lives.

1 Like

I’m so glad it worked out for you! Just be ready the two of you to have more conversations as the wedding gets closer, you may need to reiterate your boundaries or be clear about the logistics to people who can’t adjust their expectations.

Cake flavor is so tough! I think mine is a Nutella cake so just goes to show how many flavors you can do nowadays. I have a mix of cultures at my wedding so we are trying to reflect that in the catering—it would be cool if you could do that too, some UK and Filipino options, everyone gets to try your favorites but also fill up on familiar food. This is a great opportunity to make people feel included, I’m not sure if your relatives will complain there’s not enough of ‘their’ food like mine :sweat_smile: but it’s a good way to divert attention from religion and placate them!

I know if I get married it will probably be a buffet of food: Korean/Chinese food, pasta, and Western food. my cake will probably be made by my Mom

My cousin had cupcakes frosted to look like a big cake. That was really cool.

My aunt actually baked all of the cupcakes for the wedding as her gift. She’s allergic to corn and the groom was allergic to peanuts, and finding a baker that could accommodate both just wasn’t happening. The groom had an allergic reaction at their first tasting, and after that they didn’t want to try again!

1 Like