The beauty of creating your own interfaith wedding ceremony
by Daniel Sroka
Interfaith weddings can be the most beautiful of wedding ceremonies. Of course, being in an interfaith marriage myself, I may be biased! But when interfaith weddings combine the traditions and practices of both the bride and groom, I find that they become something special, transcending rote ceremony and becoming a uniquely personal celebration.
The way an interfaith ceremony gets created is the key to its beauty. Couples who are from the same religion can pretty much take their ceremony for granted. They can visit their priest or rabbi, get the template, make a few tweets, and know they'll have a 100% legit ceremony. Interfaith couples, on the other hand, don't have this luxury. They have to creatively blend together the different parts of their traditions to craft a working ceremony.
The challenge of creating a ceremony often makes interfaith couples nervous and full of questions. How do you do it? How do you make it feel "real" enough? Will any of the relatives feel left out? But even though these questions can be nerve-wracking, they are the foundation of what makes an interfaith ceremony so special. Because interfaith couples can't just take an off-the-shelf ceremony and call it a day, they need to think through every aspect of their wedding, considering every detail. This, I believe, results in a very meaningful and powerful ceremony.
In order to combine two different wedding ceremonies, interfaith couples have to review all of the practices within their religions' ceremonies, and decide what to keep, what to change, and what to leave out. To do this, they first need to help each other learn, teaching each other about their religion's traditions, symbols, and ideas about marriage. As my wife and I planned our own ceremony, we didn't just learn about each other's religion - we rediscovered our own, often surprising ourselves with what really mattered to us and what didn't. We then went through each wedding tradition, discussed it, and decided if we wanted to include it in our ceremony, and how. Each part of our wedding was therefore a conscious choice. Each part of our wedding was born out of a deep discussion, and reflected a shared value.
The creation of the ceremony helped teach us how to discuss our differences, and find our similarities. Explaining the ceremony to our families helped us better understand our decisions and values. Even the experience of being a part of this blended, shared ceremony helped bring our families closer together. So while creating an interfaith wedding ceremony can take a lot of thought and planning, I believe it is worth it, because your wedding becomes a celebration that truly represents who you are.