Post # 1
This is my first post, so I apologize in advance if a similar question has been asked!
My Fiance and I are both Jewish but not very observant. I was raised a reform Jew, though my mother is Roman-Catholic (Italian heritage). We plan on having a Jewish wedding, but we are not sure if we would like it in a synagogue or at a reception hall. I have never actually been to a Jewish wedding before so I’m not entirely sure how it works. Would it be possible to have the ceremony at a synagogue and the reception at a different location?
I only ask because my Future Mother-In-Law is very opinionated and STRONGLY believes that we should have the ceremony and reception at a synagogue. Part of the reason behind this is that my FI’s grandparents and one of his uncle’s family are Orthodox Jews, and I was told that they wouldn’t really consider it a valid marriage/”wouldn’t come” if the both ceremony and reception are not at a temple and the food is not kosher. (Keep in mind that my immediate and extended family members do not keep kosher and the majority of them are not even Jewish).
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Or could anyone that was in a similar situation share their story and wedding-day timeline? i would love to start planning but I can’t even figure out where to start. I want to make everyone happy, but I am afraid of getting trampled over with everyone else’s requests and preferences!
Post # 3
- Wedding: June 2010 - New York Botanical Garden
It is definitely possible to have the wedding at a synagogue and then the reception somewhere else afterwards. You can always order kosher meals just for that part of the family, most caterers have access to that option nowadays. Mr. HC and I are Conservative, and we had a kosher wedding performed by a Conservative Rabbi with all the Jewish tradtions entirely not a synagogue – in most sects of Judaism, it is not the location that determines a valid Jewish wedding.
Post # 4
i just want to point out that unless you formally convert, most rabbis will not marry you, ESPECIALLY conservative/orthodox ones. i doubt you’d be able to get married in a synagogue. i point this out to be helpful, not to ridicule, as i, like you, have a catholic mother, but am a practicing jew. my apologies if you already know this!
Post # 5
@hermitcrab: Thanks for the guidance!
@Mrs. Meowerson: This is interesting.. thanks for the heads up. Do you think that most rabbis would not consider me to be “Jewish” even though I made my Bat Mitzvah and even Confirmation when I finished Hebrew School ? (Jewish Confirmation… sometimes I have to clarify. I went to Hebrew School for 10 years and made my Confirmation when I was in 10th grade). I always knew that it might be an issue since my mom wasn’t Jewish, but I didn’t realize that it actually might interfere with my future wedding!!
Post # 6
- Wedding: June 2010 - New York Botanical Garden
@efgrand: A reform rabbi will likely perform the ceremony for you, but that probably won’t be observant enough for the orthodox family regardless, so being in a synagogue wouldn’t make a difference necessarily
Post # 7
@efgrand: There are still PLENTY of rabbis that will marry you, although they may not be conservative. If you’re in the NYC metro area, I can definitely recommend our rabbi–he was amazing and very flexible. We had a very VERY reform Jewish wedding at our reception location (took place on a Friday night, my Darling Husband didn’t wear a yarmulke, etc), and I still consider it Jewish.
Honestly, I would be furious if a family member tried to emotionally blackmail me or guilt me into doing what they want to do by threatening not to come to the wedding. My response would be, “Then let them not come”. I would also try talking to them about it to get their opinion, vs relying on info from Future Mother-In-Law.
Post # 8
Jewish weddings, even orthodox weddings, don’t need to be in synagogues–i’ve been to several orthodox wedding ceremonies in hotels and other event spaces. your fmil seems just straight up wrong about that (though I mostly know modern orthodox families–lubavitch or hasidic is totally off my radar, so if that’s what they are, i have no idea…). if i were you i’d focus on finding a rabbi that you and your fi click with first, and then maybe figuring out the venue details from there. i grew up in a conservative synagogue with a rabbi that i think would 100000% consider you Jewish since you have been raised to consider yourself Jewish, and a reform rabbi def would. hubby and i were married by a reform rabbi in a synagogue and had our reception elsewhere, but the rabbi would have married us anywhere we wanted.
Post # 9
it depends on the rabbi, and how reform they are. i’ve had a lot of difficulty with this myself, but i imagine it would definitely help that you went to hebrew school for so long.
Post # 10
If they’re *that* Orthodox, they will consider what you’re doing an intermarriage anyway, and your children to be non-Jews, because Orthodox Jews only recognize matrilinial descent. That said, Reform and some Conservative Jews will welcome you and your children with open arms.
You have to have the wedding that works for *you*. *YOU* are not an Orthodox Jew, nor is your Fiance, nor are either set of parents, and determining the location of you wedding to suit a soon to be semi-distant relative is not going to make you happy in the long term. Also, unless you’re planning to have EVERY family event Kosher, it might be time that these family members start to make compromises.
My experience: FI’s younger sister became an Extremely Right Wing Orthodox Jew in grad school (his family is loosely reform, his father is Christian) and is currently refusing to attend our wedding ceremony.
Post # 11
Just something to remember- Check with the Rabbi before you chose a wedding date. There are specific days throughout the year where Jews cannot marry. I have known brides who have booked wedding venues only to realize that no Rabbi will officiate due to the date.
My sister and her husband made sure that they had a Rabbi who was conservative because anything less religious than that, and the marriage would not be recognized in Israel. This was something important to them and the religious people attending the wedding. It is not written anywhere that a jewish wedding has to be at a synagogue. As long as you have a Chuppah and do all the traditional things, you can have the wedding in a synagogue or a wedding venue. The same holds true for the reception. As far as the food, just make sure that the orthodox family has something to eat…i don’t think you need to go completely out of your way. So have several private meals provided by a kosher catering company and just have your company reheat them. Also, remember that cake is not kosher, so have fruit available for dessert for them.