"This ceremony confirms for everyone else what we already know to be true"WOW! Is that perfect for us or what? I mean we've been together for 10 years now! We keep getting the advice, "It's a bit different, living together married vs. not married." We get that advice from people who were together for only a few years before they got married. We've got 10 years behind us. Nice try, but it's not quite the same!
Anyway... the lady marrying us is non-denominational minister. I prefer to refer to her as our "officiant" however because the term "minister" is quite misunderstood. It's often associated with Christianity but it certainly doesn't refer to only Christian leaders or even to just religious leaders (i.e. "Prime Minister"). But Christians think they own everything (including marriage and a 2-block radius around ground zero) so I try to be careful with the term. Especially after Andrew's mom's reaction to the word, "Did you say 'minister'? I thought you guys aren't religious? Why are you using a minister?" I quickly set her straight. I really don't know why people jump to conclusions so quickly. Andrew's mom knows us pretty well. She has a pile of evidence as big as her house that tells her Andrew and I are not religious. But she flinched at that 1 word and that made her question us and ignore everything she already knows to be true. I don't know what it's like to have such little self-assurance and I don't want to know. Plenty of people do the same thing, not just Andrew's mom (I don't want to pick on her all the time).
I am really happy with who we chose as our officiant. She respects and supports all faiths and doesn't believe one to be more or less true than another. When she says the word "god" she's talking about an idea, not a person, being, or thing (which is why I personally choose not to capitalize it). She has similar feelings to ours about organized religion, although I think Andrew and I lean a little further in one direction. She told us about a very interesting couple she married recently. They were young, only 23 years old. The guy went to West Point. He has strong negative feelings about the military. I think he went to West Point to learn more about the military so he can challenge it and perhaps promote change one day. He's also a devout atheist. Just before he got married he was given some lifetime achievement honor (at only 23). His achievement? He has read each and every book about war that has ever been written. In his reading, he found religion at the heart of every single war. Not surprising. But nice to have it confirmed by a competent source. I really liked that our minister found this guy interesting and respectable. I'm sure she told us that story to deliver the message, "I keep all kinds of company and respect all belief systems, especially the well-informed ones." Message received. We made the right choice!