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I am a former SDA who is getting married to an atheist in a few weeks. My parents, who are still very Adventist, will be there. My fiancé and I live together and, yes, we have sex. My wedding dress has a low back and will show my numerous tattoos. In addition, there will be both alcohol and dancing at our wedding. I feel very strongly that the wedding should be ours, not anyone else’s, even or especially family’s. Not only will everyone in his family expect alcohol and dancing, but those details are important parts of celebrating such a momentous occasion for both of us.
My parents are wonderful, loving people whom I value greatly and want to keep in my life. Normally, when they come to visit, they stay with us, but, for the wedding, we want to have several of my bridesmaids stay at our house. Ostensibly this is because they are from out-of-state, but really it's because we want the house to be a relaxing and enjoyable place for our friends for the weekend, and that includes alcohol.
My friends and I are responsible drinkers and very concerned about safety, but that doesn’t matter to my Adventist parents. There would be concern, sadness, and disappointment with them in the house. As has been discussed on the podcast, alcohol is a huge taboo for SDAs. Many assume that if you take even one drink you will become an alcoholic. Ellen White spoke specifically against drinking, saying it clouded the mind and made you unable to hear the voice of god. My parents know I drink but are not very comfortable with the idea. My mother has two alcoholic siblings, which compounds the Adventist taboo further. Even if I tried to explain my point of view, they wouldn’t even begin to understand that alcohol can be consumed responsibly and be a positive part of celebrating.
I already felt guilty about all of this when my dad asked if they would be at our house at all during the wedding weekend. How can I even begin to respond to that? I want them to be part of the whole wedding weekend, and they want to be part of it, but this one thing stands in our way.
As Abbie mentioned on a recent podcast it makes me angry, not at them but the institution that has handicapped them. I went to an Adventist wedding a few years ago, and it struck me how incredibly boring it was. It felt like a pseudo-celebration--people aping the idea of a party but not really knowing what it should look like.
I am so glad that I’m not in that situation anymore. I am an all-around better person because of it.
Postscript: The wedding is now past and things went incredibly well. Everyone, including my parents, had a great time. The weekend was everything I wanted it to be and we have some great pictures to remember it by. My parents said nothing about alcohol at all. While I am glad there were no issues, I still feel sad that I can’t share this part of my life with them. It feels like a piece of our relationship that will always be missing.