If you and your partner are of different religious faiths, planning a wedding can be difficult. This is especially true if one or both sets of parents are opposed to the marriage. No matter how stressed this might make you and your partner feel, your problem is not an uncommon one.
"When two people first fall in love, different religions fade into the background," Beth Singer, an associate rabbi, told BRIDES magazine. "But at some point those differences come to the forefront, and it's critical that the couple explore what their faiths mean to them and to their families so they can find a way to reach true harmony."
Telling Your Parents
If your parents are religious, announcing to them that you're marrying someone of a different faith might not be easy. But it needs to be done. Breaking the news to your parents when there is ample time for discussion will make the announcement easier.
Your parents may feel you are marrying someone of a different faith to rebel against them. Explain to your parents that you value the faith you were raised in and the values your parents instilled in you. Be clear your choice of partner has nothing to do with them.
Be prepared to let your parents share with you what is on their minds, good or bad. Let them know that you respect their opinion even if you disagree with it.
Even after your discussion, your parents may still not accept your choice and it's okay if they don't. Try to keep any talk of disapproval to a minimum by politely changing the conversation.
If your parents do disapprove or get angry, don't stop speaking to them out of spite. Conversely, if your parents are giving you the silent treatment still invited them to the wedding and attempt to contact them. Chances are eventually they will come around. After all, most parents want to see their children happy.
Planning Your Ceremony
For couples having an interfaith wedding, there are several options. One is a civil ceremony with the option of having a blessing afterward. A second option includes a religious ceremony in one faith only. Other options include a ceremony conducted in both faiths, a ceremony in one faith which incorporates some aspects of the other faith and having two different ceremonies, each one in one faith. Additionally, a nondenominational wedding can be held in a Unitarian Universalist chapel.
Planning a interfaith ceremony is a lot trickier than a single faith one. Plan on a long engagement. Take at least a year or more to learn about each other's faiths. Use this time to learn about religious customs, spend time with each other's families and learn what expectations your families have. You'll also need to take time to find an officiant or officiants who are willing to assist you with the planning process.
Take the time to thoroughly think about and personalize your ceremony.
Finally, there are other concerns that go beyond your wedding. If you're planning to have children, you and your partner should take time during your engagement to decide how your children will be raised. Will they be raised in one or both faiths or none at all? How will holidays be spent? Making these decisions now will help avoid marital conflict after you say "I do".