Planning your mixed-faith ceremony doesn’t have to be a challenge. However, there is potential for disagreements, so it is as well to be as ready for them as possible. Certainly, clarity of vision, patience, tolerance and compromise are good skills to be able to employ!
Fairly obviously, you will need to put some thought into the planning of your ceremony. If you and your partner wish to include religious elements, various questions spring to mind.
Why are you actually including those religious elements? Is it your choice or somebody else’s? How much religion do you actually want? Would you prefer the contributions from each religion to be more or less equal? How should you balance them out?
How much do you and your partner agree on the answers to these questions?
Once you have clarity in what you are both seeking, the crucial point is reaching a consensus.
It can be complicated, if you’re being pressurised into including certain elements. You shouldn’t have to accept being bulldozed because, say, your parents are bankrolling the event. Or they may be putting on the ‘martyr act’ (“You must do what you want, dear – we’ll just put up with it”). Ultimately, it is your day, and that fact should be respected.
Having said that, if there’s room for compromise, then go for it. Maybe your father would like to bless you – that could be a big deal for him, and relatively acceptable for you.
What you mustn’t do is to let a disagreement fester or remain unresolved. You can’t afford to put off an issue that will need to be sorted for sure later.
You may be able to work with your celebrant and easily come to an understanding. It will be your decision, finally, how much – or how little – religion or ritual you will want. What will you put in – and what leave out?
A conversation with your officiant will help a lot, but you will need to give thought to what needs to go into the service. Who will participate? Is there something you specifically want to include? How traditional do you want the ceremony to be?
It’s up to you (with the celebrant’s guidance) what you put into the ceremony. You can have it “top-heavy” towards one religion, if you want. You can even make it pretty traditional, if you choose. Or the ceremony can contain a passing nod to religion, but be mostly spiritual.
I have helped a lot of couples through issues such as these, so please feel free to chat to me.
photo: Philippa Gedge