I have always thought that relationships are a spiritual bond and marriages are a legal bond. To me, the marriage license is a signed contract to be adhered to in accordance with the laws of your state and an excellent way to get benefits from a dynamite health insurance policy. For others the wedding is a deeply religious statement, the marriage being a contract recognized by God. Leaving religion completely out of the wedding ceremony is fine for some but not all and for every person on one side of the argument, there is an equally compelling stand for the other side. There is no reason to leave your beliefs at the altar. Instead, try bringing them together, celebrating each of your individual beliefs and their cultural significance!
For couples from different cultures and different religious faiths, a wedding ceremony can pose some sticky problems for their respective families and prove to be an argument-starter at every family function. When you fall in love with someone you don’t think about the resentment your future in-laws might feel if you celebrate holidays they do not recognize. In most cases, these things can be ironed out but, remember that someday there might be children involved and addressing the problem sooner rather than later is better than sweeping it under the carpet. Instead of choosing one belief system over the other, decide on what is important to you (as a couple) and make your own rules.
Long gone are the days when there is a stigma attached to marrying outside the faith, where someone had to give up their beliefs in order to take their vows. now, interfaith ceremonies are abundant and the message is clear: compromise and patience are the key to a successful merge of two different cultures.
#1) Write your own vows. This will give you a chance to express yourself in terms of how you feel about the other person and the commitment you are making. You can use as much religion and culture as you want.
#2) Have two officiants. If you both agree, having two officiants will ease a lot of stress from your families. You will merge the two faiths to form your own unique ceremony.
#3) Eliminate the religious portion completely.If you do not want to have a relgious ceremony and a civil ceremony suits you, then do not be afraid to elminate religion altogether. This doesn’t mean it has to be dull!
#4) Incorporate both religions and cultures equally. This is a celebration and you shoud find an officiant or clergy who will embrace both of your cultures! Your families will be pleased that you have put so much effort into incorporating BOTH cultures! As for the reception, do some research into how each of your cultures celebrate marriage and you as much or as little as you would like.
This is your wedding, your life and your future. The last thing you want to do is argue over a few words spoken during a ceremony. Compromise is the key as long as your cultural customs do not offend anyone, you are safe. Make this your day and everyone will rejoice in the union you have created for one another.
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago