My husband and I had some of the same issues, but we resolved it by actually getting married in a court house before our actual wedding ceremony. My uncle was able to lead the ceremony because we were already legal. We didn't get married beforehand for that particular reason, but it did work out in that respect. Also, we pretty much wrote how the ceremony would go by googling ideas and talking to people. We did not have it in church, but outside beside a peaceful pond at a BEAUTIFUL state park. The ceremony was PERFECT. And truthfully, it took SO much stress off to get legally married beforehand. I know many people oppose that but it worked wonderfully for us. Our family were all still able to come to the wedding and help us celebrate our union. It remained special and we even get to celebrate 2 "anniversaries" if we so choose! Or, whichever one is most convenient for us to celebrate!! Good luck with everything! There is no reason your day should be any less special because you are an Athiest!
It looks as if this discussion has aged several months, but just for the record: I am a North Central Florida Notary Public. Our commission permits us to officiate weddings. An important part of the ceremony is the recording of the wedding certificate with the State. The official recognition by the State is an important factor for many legal reasons, not the least of which is identifying the progeny of that union. The other important factor is to provide the best experience possible for a couple who wishes to commit to a lasting, productive relationship before their loved ones and the community, and to dedicate themselves to each other in a special way.
FYI: In other parts of the globe, some parts insist that a civil ceremony be performed prior to a church wedding, or in others, the civil ceremony must be completed whether a church ceremony is engaged or not.
My general attitude is pretty much that of the Brevard County Minister of a Unitarian Fellowship, though I do not know her. We are separated by many miles, completely out of each other's territory.
Good luck on locating the person who fits your needs for this purpose, whatever your faith or non-faith may be. I'm a 59-yr. veteran of marriage.
December 9, 2010
A celebrant is what you are looking for. And there are plenty of really good ones out there. Many I have seen can make a really personalized ceremony. Not sure but there are probably some resourse guides out there if you look.