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This post with my advice for planning the interfaith wedding of your dreams first appeared on Offbeat Bride

You’re ready to marry the love of your life. They make you laugh. They challenge you to be your best self. They know exactly how you like your coffee when you’re too hungover to get out of bed. And it just so happens that you’re Christian and they’re Muslim. Or they’re Jewish and you’re Hindu. Or one of you is a steadfast atheist. Whatever. The internet abounds with horror stories about the drama that can surround interfaith weddings. Families insisting on this or that, wedding officiants refusing to work with you… but the truth is that you can have the wedding of your dreams — a beautiful melding of your cultures — with minimal drama.
1. Involve your families in the planning, but don’t let them steamroll you or make the decisions.
Early on in the planning process, spend time with both of your families, and let them know that you want to talk to them about the wedding ceremony. Explain to them that you want to have a wedding that celebrates both of you and the different faiths you come from, and that you are interested in hearing what is important to them for your wedding. Listen gratefully and let them know you hear them and appreciate their suggestions. Then the two of you can decide together what is most important for YOUR wedding. If that fits everything your families want, great! But if not, you will still have an understanding of what they wanted and be able to incorporate pieces of it in ways that feel true to both of you.

2. Find a wedding officiant (or two!) who is thrilled to conduct your interfaith ceremony.

I can’t tell you how many couples have told me that rabbi after rabbi have turned them down because they were having an interfaith marriage, or didn’t want to commit to raising their kids Jewish, or wanted a wedding to be co-officiated from someone of another faith. The list goes on and on… What I say to all that: ignore and proceed! You know that you are marrying the love of your life, and that it is absolutely the right decision. And you should never be made to feel second best because of who you fell in love with. There are plenty of people who are thrilled to officiate interfaith marriages, and you should choose someone who affirms your choice and will work with you to create the wedding ceremony of your dreams.

3. Be creative!

Your wedding is the opportunity to create the perfect ceremony that celebrates YOUR love and the blending of your cultures. Ask your wedding officiant for ideas and explore them together with your partner. Get ready to be seriously wowed by this three-part San Diego-meets-Niger interfaith wedding. It was horribly sidelined by a tragedy in the family, but they... Read more Include poems that you like. Pick and choose from the religious traditions that are meaningful to you. Decide if you’d like to use any traditional ritual objects and find artists who can adapt them to reflect your aesthetics and your wedding. Or you can choose to DIY and create your own ritual objects or decorations that reflect your style and your love.

4. Have *all* the important conversations before your wedding.

  • How would you want to raise kids, if you want to have them?
  • Which holidays do you want to celebrate and how?
  • How will you navigate difficult decisions and ensure that both of you feel heard and understood?
  • Who will you both turn to for advice and support when things get tough?
  • Do you have friends who have an interfaith relationship that you admire, who can give you any guidance?
After all, the wedding ceremony is just the beginning. What’s most important is that you navigate your lifetime of marriage with the sense that each of you respect the other's faith and tradition. A wedding ceremony that perfectly celebrates the blending of your faiths is a great foundation, but don’t forget to have the hard conversations before you tie the knot. Hope these tips help you minimize the drama and maximize the fun and the love as you are planning your wedding. And hey, if your grandma is still kvetching about whether her unborn grandkids will be raised Jewish… you’ll still love her, and you’ll survive.

Like what you read and hungry for more?  Check out my interview with interfaith wedding Rabbi Dan Gruber here and sign up for our email list below!  

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