Recently I tackled our wedsite's FAQ page. I pulled up this post and started filling out whatever I know (or can reasonably guess) right this minute, and then added a section to cover what is arguably the most important bit of information regarding our wedding day.
This page will be how 80% of my (very Catholic) family will have the “Surprise! I've converted to a different religion!” news broken to them, so it's important. I think I've covered all the serious points and details clearly, addressed concerns respectfully, and peppered in enough humor, so it's not a total srs bns snore-fest that has a completely different tone from the rest of the FAQs. Plus, I'm hoping I really nailed “polite but firm.”
Overall, it turned out a ton better than I anticipated, so I figured I'd share the wording we used, in case someone was in a similar situation and wanted some wording ideas…
The invitation said it's going to be a “mixed-faith” wedding. What does that mean? What can I expect from the ceremony?
We will be combining elements from Catholic and Ásatrú traditions to create a ceremony that is both unique and representative of us and our families. It will be co-officiated by [InternetMinister GamingBuddy] and Father [FamilyFriend MarriedMyParents]. During the ceremony, there will be prayers, short readings, and music led by a cantor. Vows, rings, and symbolic gifts will be exchanged, and a toast will be raised to those who have gone before us. At the close of the ceremony, we will ask everyone to extend their blessings and well-wishes over us, while we swear an oath of fidelity to one another. We will try very hard not to cry, but will have copious tissues available, just in case.
Wait, Ásatrú? What's that? Why is it being included in your wedding?
Both Dave and Sarah were raised as Catholics but came to disagree with the church's stance on certain social issues. Sarah converted to Ásatrú about three years ago, while Dave remains agnostic. Ásatrú is the religion that was prominent in northern Europe and Scandinavia before the spread of Christianity, and it has grown again in popularity in the last 50 years. Ásatrú's focus is on the family and community, leading by example, and being true to oneself. In many ways, it is similar to Christianity, but its stance on social issues is more aligned with our own. While the word “Ásatrú” might be unfamiliar to you, you've no doubt heard of the Gods that are honored — Odin, Thor, Freya, Loki, and the like. If you are interested in more information, we've put together [this click-to-download packet] for you. It's not required reading and there will not be a test.
I see. If you've converted from Catholicism, why are you including it in your wedding?
The church plays an important role in the lives of our family members, and was a part of our formative years. We do not want to alienate anyone, or have those closest to us consider our marriage to be “illegitimate” because our beliefs now differ slightly from theirs. We know that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding “new age” and pagan religions, so we hope that the information packet we've compiled will alleviate any doubts or fears you may have. There won't be any blood sacrifices, violent or lewd imagery, or anything too “out there”. We hope that our wedding will seem only slightly unusual, and that you will find it as moving and spiritual as we will.
So, what does this mean for life after the wedding?
Life will go on as normal, and we will be legally married. We will still attend and celebrate Catholic holidays like Christmas and Easter with you, but we will not take communion at any masses. If any of you are interested in celebrating some of the Asatru holidays with us, you are more than welcome to. There is a brief overview of the main holidays in the information packet.
I am appalled and disgusted by this news. How dare you!
It is with our sincerest regrets that we will not see you at our wedding.
But enough of this — let's get back to the wedding!
[And then the rest of the FAQs will pick up again.]
Anyone else facing the issue of explaining your religious choices to your family and friends? How are YOU breaking the news?