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News and musings about my life as a civil celebrant
Mixed-faith Ceremonies
Mixed-faith Ceremonies

13 July 2020

Mixed-faith ceremonies had seemed to be getting more popular – until Coronavirus struck. Since March, I’ve had far fewer enquiries (and pre-booked ceremonies have almost all been postponed).

However, eventually people are going to want to marry once more, even if the ceremony and/or reception may be affected by restrictions.

That’s one issue – the other can be the cross-cultural question.

Challenges

If you opt for a mixed-faith ceremony, there is much to consider. You and your partner have to decide what proportion of religious elements you will be including in your ceremony. And whether the share will be equally distributed. And what will you choose?

What about your families? Do they approve? If not, can you get them on side?

They may appreciate it, if you include a prayer or ritual that means a lot to them. Or if you invite them to participate in the service. The father can still walk the bride down the aisle (even if the aisle isn’t actually in a religious building).

It can be difficult, if your relatives’ views don’t correspond to yours (especially if they are footing much of the bill!). The bottom line is that it is your wedding, and you should not be bullied into complying with other people’s wishes. (But it’s still better to seek compromise!)

Your celebrant will be able to advise you, but start thinking about these issues before talking to him.

Indeed, you will also need to discuss with your partner the role religion will play in your later lives. More importantly, if children are a possibility, how will you bring them up?

Advantages

Learning about your partner’s customs and traditions will help you create a meaningful wedding ceremony – and guide you in your future spiritual life together.

You will be able to work with your celebrant to agree on a service that is in accordance with your beliefs and desires. You can then include customs and traditional rituals from either religion, as you choose.

As a couple, you can also select readings relevant to you and which underline your mutual love and willingness to make a commitment to each other. These personalised readings can lift the occasion far above the mundane. The sincerity and joy of a personalised ceremony will shine through and contribute to your guests’ delight, as well as to your own.

Compromise

A middle path can possibly be reached in this way: suggest to your parents that grandchildren will be taught about their religious background (even if you may not actively practise). Offer visits at certain religious holidays, and let your parents know that they will be able – and welcome – to play a part in their grandchildren’s lives.

You can only do so much, but – whatever the outcome – you’ll be glad you did all you could. Just imagine how a beautiful mixed-faith wedding may actually bring the families together and pave the way to harmony!

Isn’t that worth a little discomfort?

Michael has conducted many mixed-faith ceremonies, and will be glad to chat to you about how he can help you.

Author:

Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe. Telephone me now on +44 (0)7931 538487 or contact me directly by e-mail.

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