Navigating Planning An Interfaith Wedding

event and wedding planningYou’re engaged — congratulations! In many cultures, a person’s faith is heavily entwined in the choices they make about their marriage ceremony. But what if you and your future spouse come from families following different faiths? There’s pressure from family to do things a certain way, pressure from your religious leaders, and maybe even pressure from your own internalized ideas. Don’t worry, interfaith couples have made it work. If you simply can’t choose one faith’s traditions to adhere to nor ignore your family’s faiths altogether, here are some tips to help you toe the line when planning a wedding.

Set your priorities.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do when first getting into the whole event and wedding planning conundrum is to talk about the priorities. First and foremost, figure out what are the most important wants for you and your spouse to each feature in the wedding. If you find it necessary, considering the wants of your close loved ones are secondary. Yes, your Awa may want you to wear a traditional Indian wedding dress, but ultimately it is your decision. If you have a set of priorities in place for representing your faiths and talk about what things you can let slide, the other decisions become much easier.

Choose neutral, but meaningful, spaces for a wedding and reception.

There are so many more places to get married than a church, right? Many couples today are choosing destination weddings, home weddings, beach weddings, or other meaningful locations that aren’t centered in a religious building. You can choose a place that has meaning to both partners, or simply a space that is beautiful, or especially accessible for guests. Luckily, when it comes to modern event and wedding planning, it’s typical for most receptions to be held at a faith-neutral location like a hotel or banquet space. Incorporating color and imagery from both faiths in the decorations is subtle and celebratory.

Have the officiant be a family member or friend.

If you can’t decide on one leader of your respective faiths to officiate, then how about neither? It’s both meaningful and intimate to have a family member or close friend be an officiant in place of a professional or religious leader. In fact, about 43% of modern American weddings take this route nowadays. Alternatively, you could create a unique and beautiful ceremony by inviting a leader of each of your faiths to help intertwine the typical, traditional vows into ones unique to your marriage.

Pick a favorite tradition to use from each side.

Even if you keep the rest of your wedding day flat-out faith neutral, choosing one special tradition from your faith and one from your partner’s can add a family-pleasing nod to your routes. Choosing just one gives you an attainable goal and forces you to focus on what aspect of your faith you really want to bring into your new marriage.

You’re joining a long line of proud, interfaith marriages. If you and your partner respect each other and your roots, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish! Try not to stress over the hours that go into event and wedding planning, and enjoy your big day!

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