Do we need to exchange vows? Neither of us is comfortable with public speaking.
No. I detest confrontation. Hospitality is part of my core being, and I seek to make everyone in attendance feel connected and uplifted by my words. Marriage is a tradition far older than the church, and every person connects to their relationship in their own way. My approach to ceremonies is intended to touch upon those feelings we all experience in relationships, the universal journey that is marriage, with beautiful prose that perfectly encapsulates all the well wishes they have for you, and feels so personal to you as a couple that they simply don't notice I haven't included a prayer or a psalm. Some of the sweetest compliments I have ever received have been from highly religious guests.
I also respect the closeted nature of atheism today. Especially in the South. My facebook page looks pretty dark because I don't share client information on my page. I don't go out of my way to gather likes because I realize social media is a scary place to step out as an atheist. This question doesn't surprise me because I understand that "The Atheist Officiant" is a pretty bold statement, but I wanted people looking for my services to know exactly what they were getting. No clever language, no soft sells, but also no question that I would provide a ceremony truly free of religious influence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you serve the LGBTQ+ community?
I remember the vows I made to my wife on our wedding day, and they were cute, and sweet, and spoke to the people we were then, but looking at the person she is now, looking at what our marriage means to us now, I wouldn't repeat a word. How could I have known then the possibilities, the true depth of the relationship we have today? Those words feel childish now. I realized that there are no vows I could possibly make that would sustain the lifetime of our marriage. Our marriage would go through revolutions, and so the only vow I could make is that my commitment would revolutionize too. That I would forever stop to appreciate the person before me now, not the person I remember before.
So long story short, no. You don't need to wax poetic to be married. Standing there hand in hand, you're already there.
Do you bring up atheism in the ceremony, or introduce yourself as the Atheist Officiant? Many of my guests are people of faith, or do not know our beliefs.