Planning An Interfaith Wedding

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Catering to different faiths in a wedding ceremony can be an immense challenge. Cara Jackson explains how to ensure all parties feel included

Australia is a melting pot of cultures and religions, thus interfaith marriages are the norm. However, for those involved in planning an interfaith wedding, the challenge of combining and carefully balancing aspects of both faiths can be very stressful. CW has done the research for you and put together a list of tips and tricks to help you stay calm and plan a wedding that everyone will be happy with.


It’s important for both you and your groom-to-be to have open communication about your faith and how that will impact your wedding. Discuss which religious traditions will be incorporated into the wedding and their significance. Be open to receiving ideas from your partner and try to remember how important his faith is to each of you.


Parents can be the biggest hurdle in an interfaith wedding. Involving both your and your partner’s parents in the planning process by asking them what traditions they want to be part of the service can be a great way to encourage them to be more accepting to the idea. Just remember that it’s your wedding; while consulting them is a good idea, don’t feel the need to take on all their advice.


Consult with clergy from both churches. Certain religious wedding traditions can match each other perfectly, creating a ceremony that celebrates both of your faiths and your union. Make sure you are aware of what each tradition symbolises and means so you end up with a service that’s cohesive and meaningful rather than an odd assortment of seemingly random traditions. Don’t feel disheartened if a clergy member refuses to help you. Some church leaders are opposed to interfaith marriage. However, there are plenty of clergies who will be willing to help you. Try asking friends or family who have had an interfaith wedding or look online. Alternatively, consider having your ceremony in a more neutral setting, such as a garden.


Choosing a venue for the ceremony is diffi cult, especially if both people in the relationship are determined to have their wedding in their place of worship. Consider having your wedding in a neutral location such as a garden or reception venue. When compromise cannot be reached, many couples have two weddings: one in each place of worship. This can be a good way of preventing arguments but can destroy the sense of union usually created by a wedding.


An interfaith wedding can be confusing for guests, as they may not understand the traditions that are occurring before them. Creating a wedding program that has small explanations of each of the wedding traditions that will be occurring in the ceremony can be a great way to ensure everyone knows what’s happening during the ceremony and will encourage them to have an open mind.


Deciding on who will conduct the ceremony can be difficult. There are celebrants that specialise in interfaith marriages who will conduct both religious traditions with respect and sensitivity. Nitza Lowenstein is a civil marriage celebrant who has conducted hundreds of interfaith weddings. Nitza acknowledges that making decisions on ceremonial features can be diffi cult. “I have recognised the importance of the ceremony to the bride, groom and their families and took upon myself the challenge of creating the ‘real thing’ within the civil ceremony. I created it by incorporating ancient customs, values, symbols and traditions – a civil ceremony that refl ects the bride and groom’s ethnic backgrounds, religions and traditions,” she said. Civil celebrants are a good choice for couples who are reasonably flexible. Some couples choose to have a civil celebrant and a member of their clergy present.


A wedding is the joining of two families. Encourage both families to get involved with traditions at the ceremony. Talk about ways to get your guests mixing with each other. This will help them to forget their differences and to focus on what really matters: the union between you and your partner. Encourage guests to mingle at the reception by serving cocktail and canapés so guests can stand and socialise prior to a sit down meal.

Provide conversation for guests who don’t know each other with activities and dances or get creative with personalised table adornments (such as photographs of family and friends or handmade cards with funny stories or photographs from the bride and groom’s childhood as well as their dating period).

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