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by Abigail Van Buren

Wedding Couple Hopes to Steer Clear of Prayers at Their Reception

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I are getting married this summer. We are both atheists here in the Bible Belt and come from religious families who will be invited to our small backyard wedding. Our families don't know that we are atheist. We won't be having any prayers or religious readings in our ceremony.

We are concerned about the reception. There is sure to be someone who expects a prayer over the meal and, if there isn't one, will speak up and do it.

I would like to address this issue ahead of time so our wishes are respected. I thought of perhaps including a little note in the invitations asking that any prayers be offered silently. Would that be rude? Do you have another suggestion to help us figure out the best way to handle this before our big day? -- RELIGIONLESS GATHERING

DEAR RELIGIONLESS: Would it be rude? Yes. Technically, the only enclosure with your invitation should be the RSVP card. Feeling as strongly as your relatives do about religion, your families could feel confused or offended. Because you know someone is likely to want to bless the food, be polite, grin and bear it, and while it's being offered, focus your thoughts on your honeymoon.

Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations | Family & Parenting