Personally, I’m not one for involving the government in my personal life, so I’ve managed to avoid the whole marriage thing.
That being said, it kind of hit me off-guard the other day when one of my readers asked me, “How do atheists get married?”
Atheists get married by obtaining a legal marriage license. Atheists can go to their local municipal court and obtain a marriage license as long as they meet the minimum legal requirements.
If you look back at history or watch too many period films, then it’s easy to get the idea that marriage is impossible without some type of church or religious approval.
However, that simply isn’t the case. In fact, more and more people (even religious couples) are opting for simple, non-religious weddings.
Below, I’ll explain some of the most common ways to get married as an atheist.
How To Get Married As An Atheist
So, let’s just say that you took my Atheist Quiz and figured out that you’re a true atheist. The only problem is that you’re engaged… Now, how are you supposed to get married?
If you grew up going to a church, temple, synagogue, or mosque, then you may have grown up with the idea that marriage outside of the religious institution wasn’t a “real marriage.”
I remember one of my ex-Catholic friends telling me how his parents said his marriage wouldn’t be blessed by God because the priest didn’t approve of it. What a terrible thing to tell your kid before they get married, right?
Anyways, regardless of the religious lies that you may have been fed in the past, it’s 100% possible to get married outside of the church or without religious approval. In fact, it’s actually a lot easier to get married outside of religious boundaries. There are no awkward interviews with the priest or lengthy marriage classes mandated by the church.
That being said, here are the most popular ways to get married as an atheist!
Civil Union or Court Marriage
Whether you’re religious, atheist (or agnostic), the simplest and easiest way to get married is by obtaining a marriage license through your local city government. As long as both parties are of age and neither party has an existing marriage, a couple can go down to their courthouse and request a license.
Then, you’ll need to hire a licensed marriage officiant. This person will read you your vows and approve your wedding license with their stamp. Then, they’ll give one copy to you and mail the other copy to your local municipality. Simple as that, you’re married!
If a couple has lived together under the same roof for 5 to 10 years (varies from one state to another), then they are technically considered to be “married” by common law. This stems from olden times when couples would live together and the town didn’t have a priest or religious leader to officiate the marriage.
Secular or Non-Religious Ceremony
Okay, but what if you do want a traditional ceremony? Well, the good news is that you can have an awesome atheist marriage ceremony without involving God (because atheists don’t answer to God).
All you need to do is find an event venue to rent, hire an officiant to read your vows, organize the party, and invite all of your friends! You can write your own vows, slice a cake, wear a beautiful dress, and have the whole classic wedding experience without any religious obligations or involvement whatsoever.
What’s The Difference Between A Christian And Atheist Marriage?
The main difference between an atheist and Christian weddings is the focus on God. Christian marriage will usually be officiated by an ordained minister or priest. They will not only read you your legal vows but also bless the marriage and bind the two of your spiritually.
What Type Of Wedding Vows Do Atheists Make?
Now you may think that an atheist wedding would be full of atheist quotes and anti-religious ideology, but this simply isn’t the case. For the most part, atheist weddings are very normal and are just as beautiful and tear-jerking as a traditional religious wedding.
One of the key differences between an atheist and religious wedding is the vows. Most religious vows involve God somehow, while atheist vows tend to be centered around the couple that’s getting married. In this sense, atheist weddings can actually be more personal and honest than religious ceremonies.
Whether you’re engaged to an atheist or agnostic (or you just don’t want a bunch of religion in your marriage), then having an atheist or non-religious wedding ceremony is a great way to go.
The only restriction is that you won’t be able to get married in a church or temple; you’ll have to get married in a non-religious event venue.
That being said, a non-religious wedding can be just as beautiful as a traditional ceremony!