Post # 1
I’m wondering if anyone might have a good, creative idea for how we might integrate some aspects of Jewish culture/tradition into an otherwise secular wedding in a way that’s meaningful for us (and especially for our families) without being disrespectful for our more religious relatives.
A little background:
– We are having an informal “ceremony” outside as part of a celebration/reception at a nearby restaurant—nothing organized, and are officially getting married at county courthouse earlier in the week. No officiant or formal anything.
– I was raised Jewish (Reform) in an interfaith household, but neither of my parents are practicing anything at this point, and they don’t really care if/how we incorporate religion into the wedding.
– Fiance was raised Jewish (Reform bordering on Conservative—grandparents, etc. were much more religious) and his parents still practice, but are laid back about it (e.g., the major holidays, but no regular shul).
– Both of us went through the bar/bat mitzvah stage but haven’t had any formal involvement in organized religion since that point, and neither of us is at all religious at this point in our lives. I still have some involvement in cultural aspects of Judaism; he doesn’t.
I’m hoping to find some subtle ways to weave some of our heritage/past into the wedding in a way that doesn’t feel forced or inappropriate (fiance’s concern since he doesn’t really “buy into” religion)—basically traditions than can stand alone in a secular/spiritual way without feeling too out-of-place. So far the primary thing I’ve come up with is a ketubah of some variety (some Secular Humanist wordings I’ve seen seem like they’d work), but wondering about other ideas…??
Post # 3
We had a Jewish/Catholic wedding so we did a lot of incorporating of both sets of traditions.
I’m a bit confused by your informal ceremony, do you have an officient for it or are you exchanging vows or something without an officient?
Have you considered using a Chuppah? Lots of people use wedding canopies of some sort even if they aren’t Jewish so this might fit into your more secular setting. We made one ourselves for under $200 using PVC piping, curtains from Ikea and a little bit of sewing. PM me if you’d like more details.
What about a kiddush? Maybe you could recite the hebrew and offer the wine to each other, or you could come up with your own version of what to say.
Post # 4
Thanks—nope, no officiant at all; we’ll do the legal aspect of it beforehand. Will probably do some DIY exchanging of vows and rings but not exactly sure on the how/what aspect of that yet. (This isn’t till next summer so we have some time to figure it out!)
Post # 5
We had a Christian ceremony but I was raised conservative/reform and many of my relatives are conservative and we wanted to honor my heritage and not offend anyone, we got married under a chuppah, and we broke a glass at the end… Also my brothers and dad sang a song from Fiddler on the Roof, but that’s prob not an option for you 🙂 Be sure to play hava nagilah at the reception!
Post # 6
You may want to have a kabbalat panim. I attended an interfaith wedding last year where they incorporated a few Jewish traditions including the kabbalat panim. Basically, the women are in one area (we sat around with the bride under parasols drinking lemonade) and the men are in another (in this case, actoss the property under a tent). The father of the bride leaves the men and visits the women’s room (wherever this would be). He and the bride’s mother, walk the bride across to the groom and the female guests follow behind. The men are waiting with the groom and when the bride, parents and female guests arrive, the bride leaves her parents and joins the groom. I’m sorry if this is difficult to understand, and please let me know if I can clarify. It really was one of the most beautiful parts of any wedding I’ve attended. It was outdoors (in the mountains) and everyone was extremely moved by this tradition.
Another option is to circle each other. Traditionally, the bride will circle the groom seven times – this symbolizes many things. But now many brides will circle the groom three times, the groom will circle the bride three times and then they will walk together in a circle one time.
I agree with mrsmike – don’t forget to do the hora, but get chairs with arms! Trust me 🙂
Keep us posted on what you decide to do.
Post # 7
You could do some variation of the seven blessings if you’d want to include them. I’ve read about couples who just created 7 blessings that were important to them, not necessarily reflective of the traditional blessings.
The glass is a great one, and the chuppah was very important to me (and I’m the Catholic one in our interfaith relationship).
Post # 8
- Wedding: June 2010 - Tannery Pond at the Darrow School
I think the breaking of the glass, the chuppah and the ketubah can all be interpreted secularly and still hold meaning…I think the marriage contract is a great idea~
Post # 9
You might want to look at our ceremony text. We are doing versions of the Seven Blessings that avoid mention of God, and stress universal rather than strictly Jewish meanings behind them.
Post # 10
Check out “The New Jewish Wedding” by Anita Diamant. She discusses the traditions surrounding weddings and does so in a way that makes it accessible to both practicing and less-practicing Jews. It was really helpful in figuring out what we wanted for the ceremony while also balancing our feelings about equality in the relationship and other issues.
Post # 11
We’re doing the same thing, just incorporating some Jewish tradition into our wedding. I’m not wearing any jewelry that day and the ring for the ceremony will have no diamonds in it. The band I will wear every day is more detailed w/ diamonds. We’re breaking the glass as well. I think that’s all we’re incorporating but it’s more important to me than him and he’s the Jewish one. LOL
Post # 11
I found this blog post on [content removed for self promotion] very useful. It provides quite a few ideas on how to incorporate ‘Jewish’ into a non-Jewish, secular, or interfaith wedding. Hope it helps you too!