Post # 1
Here is the background on me and my fiance and our family: My family is originally from the united states, and they are mostly Unitarian. My parents especially, they do a lot for their congregation. My fiance and his family are originally from Serbia but have been here for about 17 years. They are Serbian Orthodox (christian orthodox). This has never been a problem for me and my fiance in our 6 years together, and it still isnt. I am really open minded and love his church, love the people there, and none of them have tried to force any religious beliefs on me. I am perfectly happy with formally converting to their religion and raising my children in that community. The symbol is not the thing to me, pple can label me whatever they want as long as im not associated with any kind of hate or discrimination and i like the orthodox atmosphere and there are so many pple our age there to socialize with:)
This is me venting:) maybe you guys have similar experiences and can offer advice?
Now the problem: Coordinating a wedding that will satisfy both of our families! If it was just him and i to consider it would be easy breezy:). But we are running into problems like where to hold the ceremony. My dad would like me to get married in the unitarian church because it is free and my sister did that and it looks nice there and he’s the one paying for everything. Everyone on my fiance’s side would boycott the wedding if we had it there. They would prefer it in their church. Compromise? How about outside:) we are still needing to check with the priest on that becuase there is a slight chance he might have a problem with us getting married outside of the “house of God”. Sigh.
Its so easy to offend various family members when planning an intercultural, interfaith wedding! (well i will be the same faith by then but my family wont). They would like to make sure i dont lose the culture i was raised with and forget where i came from. I see it as i am keeping that and gaining even more! My life is so much fuller and more exciting now and i have twice as many holidays and all these cool traditions.
And how am I going to serve half serbian food and half normal catering food at the reception?? I havent come across a serbian caterer, or one that lets you provide half of the food yourself.
And i hope everyone’s going to be ok with half serbian music and half american! I guess we will have to find a family member to be the DJ then.
And my fiance’s mom says she could find a serbian band through the church…but what if I cant find a free american one? Guess no bands for us!
And my dad wants us to use his minister in addition to our priest? I am nervous that wont work! and then i will offend him 🙁 I went to a greek/serbian wedding that used two priests, one from each church…but they were both orthodox…
Funny how I never noticed our cultural/religious difference in all those 6 years…until now when i am wedding planning and apparently the wedding is more about everyone else than the two of us. grr.
Post # 3
@Cmt83:My fiance is from Serbia and even though he isn’t part of any Serbian church in our area I can understand what you’re saying completely. We’re planning on playing some serbian music at our reception but we’re going to have our wedding be things WE like. Because its OUR wedding, we won’t be serving any serbian food, we’re serving food that we like to eat because even though we’re hosting 100+ people, its still our day. I also run into his mother and cousin being very old school and I get looked at like I’m insane because I’ll be wearing red shoes and I paid more than $99 for my wedding gown. It’s a no win situation but as long as the two of you are the happy ones in the end then it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks or wants you to do. My mom and dad are paying for most of our wedding but they’ve also pointed out its OUR wedding and they’ve already had their own.
Post # 4
Do you think the Serbian church will let you marry outside? I’m Catholic and the Catholic Church generally doesn’t, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you couldn’t have an Orthodox wedding outside.
Is your family not excited about the idea because the Unitarian church is free/easy, or is it deeper than that? If its just logistics, then you probably can convince them of how important it is to you to have it at the Orthodox church, but if its deeper than that, you might need to start planting those seeds earlier.
Post # 5
Well…you have to understand that for an Orthodox person, the faith and the lifestyle are one and the same. Devout Orthodox people cannot compromise on the church end of things, because for us there is only one place that our faith will honor a wedding ceremony – in an Orthodox church with an Orthodox priest. If an Orthodox man married a non-Orthodox woman in a non-Orthodox church, none of the family members or parishioners of the Orthodox church would consider that marriage ‘valid’ until the couple came to the Orthodox church for a marriage blessing after the fact.
I’m not saying this to to offend you but rather to explain that this is how interfaith marriage is perceived from the Orthodox perspective. Until you are married in our church you are considered to be living in sin. That’s why it’s so important to his family to have an Orthodox service.
I suggest you watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Although it’s meant to be funny, it does sum up your fiancé’s side of things and the family pressures you and he were feeling during your wedding planning, from the Greek Orthodox perspective (which is parallel to the Serbian, Russian, Ukrainian, Antiochian, etc. perspectives).
My boyfriend and I have been together 10 years and while I am Russian Orthodox he is agnostic…and he is only just starting to understand how deep the religious and cultural traditions go with my family. All I can say is, his family can plan the reception to death, but they will have little to no say about the religious side of things because there is no budging for our people.