What goes into a Mixed-Faith Ceremony?

What goes into a Mixed-Faith Ceremony?

A mixed-faith ceremony isn’t always straightforward. How many religious elements is your service to contain? Will your two religions be represented equally? How do you judge that? And what do you leave out?

Does your family have issues about you “marrying out”? If they don’t approve, do you want to try to win them over?

You might be able to gain their support by discussing (calmly!) what they would actually like included, always allowing for the circumstances. You can suggest including a prayer or ritual that is important to them, or offer them a chance 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 may seem particularly difficult to reach a compromise when your relatives are footing (much of) the bill. However, the bottom line is that it is actually you who are getting married, and the final decisions should be yours.

Agree what you feel is best – and you can always have a chat with your celebrant, if you’re in need of an impartial opinion.

Sooner or later, the question of the role religion will play in your future lives will come up. Face it early. And if children may eventually be part of the equation, how are you going to bring them up?

Reasons to proceed

If you understand better your partner’s religious customs and traditions, you will be able to create a more meaningful wedding ceremony. And, importantly, this empathy may guide you in your future spiritual life together.

Once you’ve decided what you want to include (and exclude!), you can discuss this with your celebrant. That way, you can incorporate customs and traditional rituals that meet with your beliefs and desires.

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.

Overcoming Obstacles

In addition to the suggestions already offered, one useful thought comes to mind for those who have – or intend to have – children. If your parents are being difficult, point out that you undertake to teach their grandchildren about their religious background. You must keep this promise, even if nobody is forcing you to follow the religion actively yourselves.

You may be able to arrange visits at special religious holidays and let your parents know that they will be able to play a part in their grandchildren’s lives.

Obviously, there is only so far you can go, but it’s important to hold out the olive branch. Not only will you feel better, if you’ve done all you can, but think of the rewards if you are successful! Your mixed-faith wedding may actually bring your families together and pave the way to harmony!

I’d say that’s worth a bit of effort!

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

photo: Philippa Gedge

 

Mixed-faith Ceremonies

Mixed-faith Ceremonies

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.