A wedding is a time to celebrate love and new beginnings, but when it’s the start of an interfaith marriage, there may be a few extra necessary considerations when planning the big day.
How will you blend meaningful elements of two religions into your celebration? How do you set relatives who may still be getting used to your new blended faith decisions at ease? Most importantly, what special details are important to you and your future spouse to help start your interfaith marriage off in a way that is personalized and absolutely perfect?
Here’s everything you need to know about crafting your special day in an interfaith-appropriate way, from the pre-wedding details to a memorable ceremony and celebration.
Tip 1: Communicate Early, Before the Planning Even Begins
According to Brides, “the preparation process for an interfaith wedding sets the tone for everything that comes after, so it’s the perfect time to have conversations and establish expectations about how you’ll incorporate your respective faiths into the rest of your marriage.” You certainly don’t need to have every single detail figured out on day one, but being on the same page about big topics such as worship, holidays and children is important.
Tip 2: Craft a Thoughtful Interfaith Marriage Wedding Invitation
A wedding invitation sets the stage for the celebration. Beyond communicating essential logistical details, it’s an opportunity to create a feel for how casual or formal the affair will be, wedding theme, style, and colors.
When planning an interfaith marriage, make sure your invitation reflects the personalities of you and your spouse and gives guests a general feel for the event they are about to witness. You can add a line like “join us under the chuppah” or a favorite Bible verse, quote, or poem. You may also ensure that subtle details reflect more of a hybrid type of event. Martha Stewart suggests, “instead of inviting guests to a union of ‘Holy Matrimony,’ inviting them to a celebration of your ‘marriage’ will inform them that they won’t be attending a traditional Christian celebration.”
Helpful hint: You may wish to give certain family guests – especially if they are very religious – a heads up on your interfaith marriage decisions in advance. If your family expects a traditional church wedding but your ceremony is at a local park, art museum, or synagogue, you may not want the invitation being the way that they find that out.
READ MORE: 4 Ideas For A Simple Wedding
Tip 3: Set the Scene with a Lovely Interfaith Marriage Celebration Location
Have you always dreamed of getting married in a large, traditional church, or the synagogue you were raised attending as a child? Maybe you’re an outdoors-in-the-sunshine garden or beach wedding kind of girl. Regardless, your wedding will hold a special place in your memory for a lifetime, so decide what’s important to each of you in a location.
When planning an interfaith marriage, nature-filled outdoor locations like gardens, national parks, or beaches make a beautiful backdrop. Locations like country clubs, art museums, and historic landmarks are popular as well. With these secular locations, whether guests are from one faith or the other, everyone will feel equally at home and comfortable, unlike a formal place of worship where an entire side of the guest list may feel somewhat out of place.
Tip 4: Find an Officiant That Both Partners Can Agree On
Selecting an officiant for your ceremony is an important interfaith marriage decision. You can have a representative from each faith preside over the day, have one person compromise and choose an officiant focused on one faith, or find someone skilled in performing an interfaith marriage, like an interfaith minister, justice of the peace, or a friend, according to Glamour.
You’ll want to spend some time interviewing candidates together and brainstorming ceremony ideas. Ask lots of questions about interfaith marriages they have performed, and for examples of how they plan to meet your specific needs for a ceremony. They may also bring ideas to the table you hadn’t considered. This person will be a critical element of your interfaith marriage ceremony, so selecting an officiant is a big decision. Don’t rush it, and most definitely, ensure that both partners are completely comfortable.
Tip 5: Incorporate Special Traditions From Both Faiths
Once you’ve selected your interfaith marriage officiant, work with him or her to craft the perfect ceremony, unique to your relationship. You can add personalized touches, traditions from both faiths, or even invite family members and friends to take special roles and participate. Here are a few examples:
- Unity candle: According to The Knot, “the unity candle is lit by the bride and groom from two separate family candles, representing the union of your families and the fact that you and your fiance are creating a family of your own. Often your mothers light the family candles, and then you two each hold your family’s candle to light the unity candle together.” While this is typically a more Christian tradition, the symbolism of joining the two families makes a beautiful interfaith marriage ceremony additional as well.
- Readings: “The Old Testament is filled with beautiful pieces of scripture that talk about love and are popular wedding readings,” mentions The Spruce. Because the Old Testament is used in many different denominations, it makes a great starting point and you can fill in from there with non-denominational poems or songs.
- Ketubah: As stated by Brides, “The ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract that is validated before a wedding. The couple, a rabbi or cantor, and witnesses all participate in the signing of the ketubah.” While this is a Jewish tradition, interfaith marriage ketubahs are available, too. Find an example and customize the wording if needed, or completely create your own from scratch!
Tip 6: Don’t Forget to Add Interfaith Marriage Elements to the After-Party
Once the wedding is over, that’s when the real party begins – the reception! There’s often a high-energy intro, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, or perhaps a Macarena, chicken dance, or electric slide – but people are expecting those. What would make the day even more special is adding in a song written or performed by a relative, traditional music, or even dances from both faiths. (Hora, anyone?)
As for the big meal, if there are certain foods prohibited by one partner’s religion, definitely veer away from those out of respect for your or your partner’s family. You’ll have your whole interfaith marriage to indulge in cheeseburger slider appetizers or the shrimp tray!
Any wedding is a beautiful thing – but an interfaith marriage, with its blending of two religions and cultures, can be that much more personalized and special. Be thoughtful in your planning and communicate with your partner. There may be some compromises involved, but the end result will be completely reflective of your new blended relationship. Best wishes for a beautiful wedding day!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Once your beautiful interfaith marriage ceremony and honeymoon have passed, learn How Talking About Marriage Helps You Stay Married.
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