Faith And Your Big Day

By Chelle Cordero

July 7, 2014 4 min read

All of the plans are coming together, and you are so excited about your wedding. It's the day you will join with the love of your life, the day you've been dreaming about ever since you were little. Nothing can ruin your very special day, except...

Your folks aren't exactly onboard with your plans. They like your future spouse well enough, but they aren't real happy with your choice of religious involvement, or non-involvement, in your wedding ceremony. How can you keep the peace without betraying the belief system that means so much to you and your future spouse?

Although your parents may have raised you with a strict religious doctrine, as you've grown older you may have found that your beliefs are not as traditional. You may even have found comfort in a different religion or none at all. Perhaps you plan on marrying someone who is a different faith and you don't want one religion overshadowing the other at the ceremony. Rather than choosing a traditional clergy to officiate, you might want a special friend who has been ordained online to perform the ceremony.

This is your wedding and ideally you want to find a way to honor everyone without compromising yourselves. Angry disagreements and hurt feelings can easily result in regrets for years to come. If you surrender your values to keep the parents happy, you may feel cheated. If you stick to your principles and ignore parental demands, the guilt that sets in will haunt you. There has got to be a way to compromise.

You and your spouse should plan your wedding day with your wedding officiate. If your chosen celebrant conducts ceremonies professionally, he or she probably has experience in modifying religious and secular weddings and making compromises. Discuss what is important to you as you marry the love of your life. How do you honestly feel about the faith in which you were raised, and have you discussed this with your betrothed? Do you want your ceremony to include any religious references or gently deny the existence of a god? What name do you feel comfortable calling a divine being and can a conventional wedding script be personalized to your liking? Are traditional garments important?

If it doesn't offend you, try to incorporate some traditional symbolism into your event; that will go a long way in appeasing some elders. Jewish parents will "kvell" (loosely translated, burst with pride) when the groom crushes the wineglass with his foot. Christian parents will enjoy the premise of a unity candle, even if it is substituted with different colored sand being poured into a glass pillar. Whether your culture dictates a wedding mandap (Hindu) or a chuppa (Jewish), almost any canopy or archway can be seen as the "required covering" for a wedding. There are many beautiful writings in psalms and other scriptures that are nearly secular. Asking an older relative to read one you've chosen for the occasion will also help to bring religious significance to those who desire it.

Interfaith ceremonies provide a couple with the opportunity to incorporate customs from both religions in the ceremony. Many faiths share common teachings; if you can seek these out and include them in your service, then neither family needs to feel ignored or left out. It's a good idea to include a paragraph in your wedding program explaining any of the customs you include in a non-possessive manner. Also, thank your parents who raised you with the understanding of love.

The most important belief in all faiths, and even non-faiths, is that a marriage is about love and family. If you work with that as a base, your ceremony will be beautiful, memorable and all you.

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