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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Interfaith Ceremonies

When a couple blends traditions, cultures and religions when planning a ceremony, that can be a harrowing obstacle when planning a wedding, or it can be the perfect opportunity to share your spiritual beliefs and begin to blend your two worlds.

Below are five instructions on how to plan an Interfaith wedding between the bride and groom:
  1. Sit down with your fiance and discuss one another's values. Identify what is most meaningful to each of you about your wedding ceremony and your religions, then start to find ways to compromise.
  2. Do your research. Talk to other couples, look to the many resources available in your community, set up a meeting with religious authorities.
  3. Mull over the possibility of asking both your respective clergy members to officiate at the wedding. Or, as an alternative, you might even consider having two separate ceremonies.
  4. Choose a neutral setting in which to hold the ceremony and reception, such as a hotel ballroom or country club.
  5. Keep a good perspective. Remember, each couple's wedding day is unique to them - this is a way to further personalize your ceremony.

What I find is helpful when planning an Interfaith wedding, is that the couple incorporate both faiths in the ceremony and reception. This will make the families happy and give the other family and/or friends the opportunity to learn and participate in unfamiliar traditions. It is important to find an officiant (or two) who believes in your union and who you feel comfortable with. Another suggestion is to perhaps have two ceremonies. Recently, I watched an episode of one of the wedding shows (I watch so many) and the couple had two ceremonies. The bride was Christian and the groom was Indian. The first ceremony was a traditional Indian ceremony (the location of the first ceremony was a destination wedding on an island) and the second ceremony was a small gathering of friends and family where the couple lived in a Christian church. This pleased both parents and was acceptable.

In a recent article that I read in The Knot Chicago (spring/summer issue, p. 111), there's an Interfaith couple who married recently. The bride is Jewish and the groom is Indian. There were two ceremonies. The first ceremony was an Indian ceremony and then the couple had a Western ceremony. In honor of the bride's Jewish faith, the groom stepped on the glass. Mazel Tov!

Other things to consider when planning an Interfaith wedding is the reception. It's time to think about celebrating your different cultures with your friends and families. Some ideas are:

Ethnic Food: At the reception, you can do a buffet, including different food stations that reflect your background (for example, a sushi station and a Jamaican grill) or if you prefer sit down, you can split the courses between two types of cuisine.

Music: You can incorporate songs that compliment your religion or culture and if one of you is Jewish, you've just got to do the horah!

Decor: Get inspired to decorate to play up your cultural theme...this is the part I so love.

There are many ideas when having an interfaith wedding without all the worries because there are ways to compromise. These are just a few ideas that I have found in my research that I wanted to share, but for now...

Happy Planning!

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Sources: The Knot (spring/summer 2009 issue),,
Photo Credit: The Knot (Geoff White Photography, Redwood City, CA)

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