Marrying a person of a different faith can bring up many issues in wedding planning – not to mention the issues that can surface in your relationship. However, there are a few things you can do to help make the planning process a little easier for yourself and soon-to-be-spouse. If neither you nor your fiancé are planning to convert to the other’s religion, here are a few ways to help plan a wedding ceremony that integrates both belief systems into one beautiful event.
Find the Right Officiant - It can be tricky finding someone to perform a blended religious ceremony. Some couples opt to have two officiants – one to represent each faith. Just be sure that both officiants are ok with sharing the limelight. You’ll have to play a major role in how the ceremony will be conducted since it will likely be much different than either officiant is used to.
Include Traditions From Both Faiths - While this is seemingly obvious, many couples struggle with this. Make sure you both feel that your traditions are represented equally. Some couples decide to host two separate weddings-that way both people feel that their customs have been honored fully. Either way, the key is to make sure you both feel comfortable.
Include Both Families - Interfaith weddings can be the cause of much familial tension. To help ease things a bit, be sure include both families in the process. Keep them informed and let them know how you are planning to include rituals from their respective religion into the ceremony. Listen to their concerns with an objective ear and then decide as a couple which ideas you’ll incorporate into your wedding.
Include Personal Touches - Since you’re already straying from convention, add a few personal readings or rituals to the ceremony that symbolize the coming together of two faiths. Instead of keeping things completely separate use this as an opportunity to find similarities in your beliefs.
Educate Yourself - Read, research and ask your partner (and his/her family) about their religion. Find out as much as you can about their beliefs and encourage your fiancé to do the same. This will give you both a better understanding of your respective backgrounds. Make it a point to share as much as possible with each other and show a genuine interest in your partner’s beliefs.
Get Premarital Counseling - While many couples who share the same spiritual beliefs seek premarital counseling from clergy, it may be a smarter idea for you and your partner to seek counseling from a non-biased counselor. This way, you’ll both feel equally supported in the sessions. Many non-denominational premarital counselors exist – do a bit of research to find one that specializes in intercultural marriages.
Be Compassionate - Above all, be kind – not only to your partner and family members, but also to yourself. Wedding planning can be hectic and when you throw a touchy subject like religion into the mix things can get a little hairy. So just remind yourself that you’re all doing the best you can and the main goal is to celebrate your love and commitment to your partner.
Take Your Time - When planning a wedding there is never a need for rushing things. If you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with this person, you’ve got all the time in the world. Allow yourself enough time to work through anything that comes up and to really plan a ceremony that represents the joining of two cultures, backgrounds, and faiths.