Sunday, March 23, 2014

Planning Our Interfaith Ceremony

When Pete and I began our relationhip one ofis the f Roman Catholic (with communion and confirmation pics to prove it) and Pete is Jewish (converted, bar mitzvah'd and all). Throughout the years of our relationship we have worked together to keep balance between relationship and religion. We always try to be respectful of both faiths.  We spend most Jewish holidays with his family and Catholic ones with my family. So far it's worked out well for us.

When we got engaged we realized quickly that planning a ceremony would be a little different than what I had always imagined or expected.  Growing up I always thought I would be married in church by a priest. I never thought I would marry someone who was from a different religion and so I had to come to terms with the fact that we could not get married in church by a priest.  It bothered me a little bit at first but I got over it and now I am glad that we can do our ceremony at the same place as the reception. It makes it much easier for our guests who won't have to travel in between ceremony and reception.  It will be a nice easy transition from ceremony to cocktail hour and then reception. 

Finding a suitable wedding officiant proved to be a little tricky. This is a wedding so the most important aspect of it is the marriage ceremony. We wanted to find an officiant who would know how to blend both our faiths into one ceremony that reflected how we feel about eachother and reflects our religions without feeling too Catholic or too Jewish. We wanted a balance of the religions. The issue we found was finding an officiant who understood that.

Since I am pretty much the first in my group of friends to get married (same goes for Pete) we had no recommendations for an officiant so I had to scout one myself. I read reviews for officiants near me. I found a few officiants and scheduled appointments to meet with each of them in person. The issue I found with many of these interfaith officiants is that 1. They either knew more about one religion and not enough about the other OR 2. Everything was too general/generic sounding meaning they didn't really touch on any religion's aspect at all. 

Some tips for finding your officiant

1. Start early...the sooner the better. This allows for plenty of time to find the best fit and more likely the officiant still has that day open. This is a very personal and special moment. Make sure you find someone who takes the time to get to know you. Ask friends and family for recommendations if they have already gone down this route.

2. Meeting in person is a must. We met with 3 different officiants before choosing one. Make sure you feel comfortable and that they understand exactly what you want. If you don't feel a connection keep looking until you find someone who "gets you." Someone can look great on paper and on their website but then seem very different in person. Meet them, discuss your vision and make sure they know how to deliver.

3. Come prepared and know what you want (or at least an idea). The first officiant we met asked us what we wanted in our ceremony and we drew a total blank. We wanted an interfaith ceremony but had no idea how much or how little of each we wanted to include, did we want a unity ceremony?, did we want everyone to wear a yarmulke? , did we want to include hebrew prayers?, etc. So needless to say we came a little ill prepared for our first officiant meeting. Before you meet with anyone make sure you are first meeting with eachother and discussing these details.

4. Shop around for the right fit. This kind of goes hand in hand with meeting in person. Do not feel pressured to make a decision and book the first officiant you meet unless you feel absolutely sure this is the perfect officiant for you. We waited til we found someone who we felt comfortable with and who understood our vision.

When we met with the third officiant we were very happy that we found someone who understood what we were looking for and could easily piece together an outline of our ceremony that we thought worked well.  This is what we came up with: 

Rough Outline of The Ceremony 

1. Groom walks down with both parents (Jewish tradition)
2. Bridal party walks down 
3. Bride walks down with father only (Catholic tradition)
4. Opening remarks
5. Blessing of wine and hebrew prayers (Jewish)
6. Bible verse new testament (Catholic)
7. Unity ceremony (either sand or candle lighting)
8. Vows
9. Presentation of married couple
10. Break the glass (Jewish)

*We will also be marrying under a chuppah 

I am really happy with what we came up with and it is a pretty well balanced ceremony without it being "too Catholic" or "too Jewish" for lack of better terms. Hopefully if you are reading this and planning your own interfaith wedding you can take use this as a starting point! :) But remember at the end of the day this is YOUR wedding ceremony...make sure it feels right and reflects your love. 

Til my next post,


p.s. only 150 days left!!!