Your Guide to An Interfaith Wedding

Every year a large number of interfaith couples get married. Because of different religious backgrounds, couples either agree on getting a religious official from one faith or from both. Some people do not practice religion or discover that their religious official is not open to carry out interfaith marriage. There are also certain couples who think that civil service is not sufficient to their taste but do not want to go through a religious ceremony anymore. However, with the correct preparation, all of these couples can achieve the perfect wedding they’ve dreamt of for a lifetime.

Step 1: Know your options.

The various terms or names for interfaith wedding presiders use depending on their background and religious training. Examples are interfaith minister and civil celebrant. The idea of civil celebrant started about 30 years ago in Australia as an answer to couples’ need to have a non-religious ceremony that would still show their particular traditions and personal stories. This idea then spread recently to the United States when the Celebrant Foundation and Institute was founded 8 years ago.

For those who have a connection with a local place of worship, seek advice from somebody. Despite the clergy’s unwillingness to carry out an interfaith marriage, you ought to be able to find a referral.

Step 2: Discuss options and consult with your fiancé.

Be sincere and truthful when discussing about your options and make sure that everything is clear between the two of you. Decide whether you want to make your own vows or go with the words provided by your officiant. Do you have any specific prayers or rituals out of your respective faith which you desire to include into the service? Bear in mind that certain compromise might be essential.

“Accept or respect each other’s religions equally and not as an afterthought”, advises Rev. Linda Tarry-Chard, associate minister, membership-care-parish life at The Riverside Church in New York City. She encourages couples to bring in something from their respective religion or culture to their ceremony. Talk to others who have been through an interfaith marriage and take something away from their experience. And don’t get stuck on one area such as religion. Take into consideration other possible issues such as economic, ethnicity, age and cultural, that can possibly bring conflict to a marriage. Also address any possible disapproval from any relative.

Step 3: Do initial telephone interviews.

Call and get in touch with several officiants. Aside from checking on their available schedule, talk to them about your requirements and try to really feel whether or not the person is proper for your wedding. Attempt to narrow your options by means of these phone calls.

Talk about charges. Even though they differ broadly by the kind of officiant and regional orientation, the usual fee ranges from $250 to $1200. In large metropolitan locations, expect the fees to be higher.

Step 4: Meet with the officiant.

Arrange a meeting with the officiant for a minimum of two hours. Aside from the simple information regarding you and your fiancé and your respective backgrounds, the officiant must get a grasp of your vision for the ceremony.

Be open about your preferences. For instance some couples require the officiant to incorporate a personal message on love and marriage, whilst others choose a “short and sweet” approach, having a basic exchange of vows and rings. The meeting will also allow you to examine the officiant’s manner of speaking. Try if you can imagine the officiant conducting the ceremony in front of your family and friends. If not, you might have to look for other possible officiant.

As soon as you make your decision, be ready to sign a contract and make an initial payment. Some officiants require half of the fee ahead of time.

Step 5: Plan the ceremony.

The officiant ought to assist you plan a ceremony that is tailor-made for you and weave in components from both faiths and traditions. This consists of furnishing sample prayers, readings and poems for your assessment. Or you could desire to select a personal favorite that means something special to you and your fiancé. Consider asking a close friend or family member to participate in the ceremony by giving a reading or reciting a prayer.

Either may have children from a past relationship and may want to let them take part in the ceremony. The younger ones can present the rings, whilst the older kids can do a brief reading. If either or both parents of the bride and groom have already passed away, they may still be given honor by mentioning their name throughout the ceremony and asking siblings or relatives to represent them in lighting a unity candle.

The officiant ought to send you a draft of the ceremony at least a few weeks prior to the wedding. Feel free to make changes. Normally, you can exchange via phone and e-mail to finalize the draft.

Step 6: Plan a rehearsal.

As with most events, doing rehearsals helps guarantee that the ceremony will run smoothly. It will also reduce the chances for last-minute glitches. After a comfortable rehearsal, you’ll be able to hear the words instead of just the blood rushing through your head during the ceremony. Verify any additional fees. Some officiants charge an additional $100 to $200 to attend a rehearsal. Bear in mind to invite the officiant and his or her partner to the rehearsal dinner. It is a good gesture that shows your appreciation.

Step 7: Loosen up and enjoy your special day.

Now you have completed all the important work to create the wedding that genuinely reflects you and your partner. Give yourself a break and enjoy every word that is spoken. This is your day – the start of a lovely life with your partner. Celebrate your love.