This is a copy of the Interfaith wedding article I wrote that was recently published on www.surviveweddingseason.com – Enjoy!
Attending an Interfaith wedding can be a major source of anxiety for many wedding guests, these days. Many of us have attended weddings in our own house of worship. But when your family friend or relative tells you they are marrying a partner of a different faith that you don’t know anything about, that can cause a major case of wedding-guest jitters! What to do when you don’t know what to expect?
First and foremost – the fact that you are there, supporting your friend or family member is all that is really important to them. Today’s Interfaith couple knows that everyone is going to feel somewhat uncomfortable as a result of the unknown, but rest assured – the people feeling the most pressure are probably the bride and groom themselves. They worked hard to incorporate rituals and traditions of both of their faiths, and most likely, their main goal was to please each of their families, and not offend anyone.
Interfaith can mean a lot of things, and quite often, Interfaith also means Inter-racial, and Multi-cultural. Many religions such as the Jewish faith, Persian, Hispanic, Hindu, Muslim, and even Wiccan have rituals tied to the ceremony that provide strong symbolism in the lives of the married couple. Today’s Interfaith couples are more likely to cross cultural and religious boundaries, which brings many opportunities for very interesting wedding ceremonies!
An Interfaith wedding ceremony will most likely include language you have never heard, or rituals you don’t understand. You might be asked to sit and stand several times, or to read responsively. Most Interfaith couples will take their audience into consideration and refrain from making the ceremony “interactive”, so you can relax, and observe, and hopefully, even learn a few things from the experience.
Today’s Interfaith couples wish to incorporate the rituals of their faiths as symbols for their lives, rather than strong religious connotations. A good Officiant will often take the time to explain the symbolism that the couple has chosen to include, and to relate that ritual or symbol to the couple’s lives. A blending of traditions can be a beautiful experience, especially if one is relaxed and open minded. After all, the wedding ceremony is about the bride and groom, their love, and bringing both backgrounds together.
Today, there is so much material on the Internet about various religious and cultural wedding traditions, so it might be helpful if you are very uneasy to do a bit of research and watch some Interfaith wedding videos before attending the Interfaith wedding ceremony, so you can understand and even recognize the cultural symbols when you see them. Every bride and groom wants their guests to feel comfortable, so relax! Just being there for your friend or family member is the most important thing you could possibly do. Enjoy!
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.
PS: And don’t forget to stop by our sample ceremonies page to see what your ceremony might look like!