Marriage is the intertwining of two lives in many ways, including religious beliefs. With different religions come different wedding customs, which can leave couples of different faiths wondering how to best combine the two into a single celebration. Good news: There’s more than one way to pull off an interfaith wedding, and they all result in a celebration that perfectly encapsulates what is special about your unique partnership in the first place.
What Is an Interfaith Wedding?
An interfaith wedding occurs when two people of different religious backgrounds blend their religious customs and traditions into one wedding.
“When you bring together your values and beliefs, you make a powerful statement about your solidarity, your bond to each other, and your commitment,” says Rabbi Judy Greenfeld. What’s more, 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.
Meet the Expert
Rabbi and Cantor Judy Greenfeld is the founder and spiritual leader of Nachshon Minyan, an alternative Jewish congregation and religious school serving Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.
Ready to start the journey of planning your interfaith wedding? Read on for tips on crafting the perfect ceremony.
How to Create an Interfaith Wedding Ceremony
Give your engagement more time.
In many circumstances, your officiant doesn’t just preside over your wedding ceremony—they’re also available to offer spiritual guidance and counseling as you prepare for life as a married couple. This can be especially helpful for interfaith weddings, which may involve strong cultures and traditions on both sides. Allow yourselves the space to have the necessary discussions, which your officiant can help guide you through. “How will you raise your children? Which holidays are important? Give yourselves time to negotiate and to think about what you’re going to create for your family and future,” advises Greenfeld.
Make sure officiants connect ahead of time.
If you’ll have more than one officiant performing your service, it’s ideal that they work together directly to build the ceremony. In Greenfeld’s experience, the best combined services are ones in which the officiants are able to alternate speaking. That takes prep work, but it’s worth it: a back and forth repartee will feel fully integrated, which is exactly how a marriage should be.
Ask your officiant to explain as you go.
The joining together of two faiths in one marriage is a momentous occasion. Instead of being swept under the rug, it should be explicitly celebrated! The right officiant for your service will know to acknowledge the interfaith nature of your union at the top of the ceremony and will explain the symbolism behind and reasons for certain traditions, prayers, and blessings while they perform the rituals. Not only will that help everyone in attendance understand what’s going on, but it also gives the two families the opportunity to better recognize and appreciate any overlap between the two