Your interfaith wedding

Call on Catherine with your wedding questions:

So your bridesmaids are not on speaking terms, your mother-in-law to-be is insisting that the ceremony be conducted in Polish and you and your guests don’t understand a word of it. To top it all, your groom is determined to walk down the aisle to a Julio Iglesias song and all you’ve ever dreamed of is “Chapel of Love”?

He’s of one faith and you’re another, how to blend the two into one meaningful ceremony?

Don’t call the whole thing off!

Call on Catherine to help you creatively resolve your challenges and concerns, to make your big day unfold smoothly and beautifully.

“Hi Catherine, I am Jewish and will soon be getting married to Jim, who is Anglican. All was going beautifully till we got down to discussing the actual ceremony. marriage ceremonySuddenly, my parents, who are paying for the wedding, announced that all the rituals had to be Jewish, and there should not be any Anglican aspects—other than the groom! Naturally, when Jim’s parents heard this, he and they were very upset, as they feel this is disrespecting them. Jim and I want to incorporate elements from both traditions, to show honour to both our backgrounds. I am afraid there may be a showdown by our parents at the ceremony if we don’t figure out a solution. Any ideas? “ Sandra.

From Catherine: Hi Sandra, don’t panic!

This is an issue that crops up regularly in interfaith weddings. The first thing I would suggest is to sit down with Jim and discuss exactly what kind of ceremony the two of you would like. What would make you both feel that it was your perfect ceremony? Brainstorm, and then focus on the details that are important to each of you.

You could have some Jewish elements, such as standing beneath the chuppah or wedding canopy, to symbolize the home you will make together and the community that will surround you, and breaking the glass at the end to signify the fragility and irrevocability of marriage. You could include Seven Wedding Blessings. There are the traditional religious ones, and several modern interpretations – blessings that any couple would want to have wished on them at their wedding.

To honour Jim’s Anglican faith, you could have the officiant, or a friend or relative, recite a blessing, reading, or prayer from the Anglican tradition, or do a handfasting before you make your vows. It is up to the two of you to find a solution that makes you both happy. Once you have agreed on that, it’s time to sit your parents down, perhaps yours and then his, at different times, to tell them what you have decided. Emphasize that, while you respect their concerns, you feel very strongly that you want a ceremony that is meaningful to the two of you. Most parents will understand, and be happy that their traditions are being recognized and respected. It is also a good idea to have the officiant explain (briefly) the significance of each ritual so that all the guests will understand why it has been included in the ceremony.