Planning their Jewish-Interfaith Wedding..
Kathy emailed me a year ago, as she and her fiance, Drew, and their Moms were coming to Fort Lauderdale, and were looking for someone to co-officiate their Jewish-Interfaith wedding in a church. As of yet, they didn’t have a venue, but both Kathy and Drew, an Interfaith couple, each had very different “must-have’s” in their wedding, and finding the perfect location, and people to make it happen seemed like a monumental task.
For Kathy – and her Mom, a Church wedding was their #1 must have. For Drew, and his Mom, the rich, beautiful Jewish traditions that kept them connected to their Jewish heritage were theirs. We needed a church, a chuppah, a unity candle, a kiddush cup, a ketubah, and many more aspects of each of our Jewish and Christian faiths to incorporate into their wedding ceremony.
The Solution? The Church by the Sea in Fort Lauderdale!
So many of Kathy’s plans kept falling through, between scheduling of the Air and Sea Show, and Churches and Pastors not being available, that Kathy and Drew even contemplated making the whole thing a destination wedding! But – Kathy persevered, because she really wanted the wedding of her dreams – and I think they got just that!
The first time I met Kathy and Drew, and their Moms, Merideth and Susan, we had a love fest, a session filled with “absolutely’s” and “of course’s”! In the next meeting, at the church, with Kathy and Drew, Susan, Dr. DeBie, and myself, things got a tiny bit tense, as we worked diligently to find just the right mix and blend of each of our “must haves”. Several months later, we drew up the final ceremony program, and it seemed, we had ourselves the perfect Interfaith wedding.
Last night, Kathy and Drew were married at the Church By the Sea, with Dr. Linden DeBie, and myself co-officiating. First, to walk into that church, and see the beautiful chuppah standing there waiting for us, was so profound. It meant so much to me, to know that we worked so hard to create a service that was full of faith, and that even though we both thought very differently about our faiths, we were able to put our differences aside, for the beauty of what unites us.
As the processional began, Susan and Merideth arrived at the altar, lit the side candles of the Unity Candle, and were seated. As Kathy arrived at the altar with her Dad, I welcomed everyone, and Dr. DeBie offered the Declaration of Intent, and asked the Giving of the Bride. Kathy and Drew then stepped together under the chuppah, and Dr. DeBie performed their vows, and then I performed the traditional Jewish ring exchange. Kathy and Drew lit their center Unity Candle, as their guitarist played “Here Comes the Sun”. (beautiful)
The rest of the ceremony was – believe it or not – predominantly Jewish-style. We signed their ketubah, shared the wine from their 6th generation kiddush cup from Drew’s family, and I sang the Birkat Kohanim (Julie Silver’s version).
Afterwards, Dr. DeBie pronounced Kathy and Drew husband and wife, and I concluded the ceremony with the breaking of the glass.
Looking back, and hearing everyone’s comments, I know fully why I do what I do. I may not be able to change the world, or the face of faith, but I can certainly change some family’s lives, by giving them hope to see that love transcends individual beliefs. That together, when we can sit a table and focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us, that all things are possible.
Today, I look back on Kathy and Drew’s wedding last night, with love, fond memories, and even stronger hope for the future, of a world that looks peaceful, and stands in unity.
PS: Want to create your own “dream come true wedding”? Contact Cantor Debbi today to see how you can co-create the event of your dreams.