(Closed) Jewish/Catholic wedding, anyone?

posted 10 years ago in Interfaith
Post # 3
563 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Could you please clarify a bit about your mother booking the date of your wedding.  Did that occur because you gave her a general permission to book any Saturday night  before you became aware of the officiant issue, or did your mother take it upon herself to book your wedding date without getting your permission first?  If it is the latter, that is really inappropriate and controlling behavior.  

My Fi and I are from the same religous backgrounds as you, and we decided to get married at our reception venue with either a priest and rabbi co-officiating or with one secular officiant.  Finding a priest/rabbi to co-officiate on a Saturday night is not particularly difficult in NYC, but I don’t know how challenging this will be in Vancouver.  Are there many reform rabbis in Vancouver?  They are usually much more flexible about officiating on a Saturday night. Rabbbis and priests affiiated with universities are also more likely to co-officiate interfaith ceremonies.

 We would not be willing to get married in either a church or a synagogue since it would make one side of the family quite unhappy.  I’m sorry that your mother is not happy about the fact that you will not be gettting married in a church, but it is your wedding and the ceremony needs to reflect your beliefs and values as a couple.  And it is quite understandable that your FI’s family would not be happy to see their son get married in a church, just as your family would not be happy to see you get married in a synagogue.  

Your mother may not be able to understand that she is making an unreasonable request by asking you to marry in a church.  All you need to say to her is, "  I know that this is difficult for you, but just as you wouldn’t want our wedding to take place in a synagouge, my FI’s family would prefer for it to not take place in a  church.  So we have decided to get married in a ceremony that incorporates both traditions at our reception site."   

The other issue is that (at least here) it is not terribly convenient to marry in a Catholic church, since they tend to schedule weddings early to accomondate Saturday evening mass.  Here, Catholic weddings are usually scheduled at 3:30 in tthe afternoon, and receptions usually start at 6:30 or 7 in a different location.  So either guests choose to not attend the wedding ceromony, or they have a significant amount of downtime between the events.  




Post # 4
77 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

First off Congrats. I too will be entering into an interfaith marriage (Methodist/Jewish). Now it is my understanding you can get married on a Saturday in the Jewish culture as long as it is after sunset — which can push your ceremony time really late. I really think you need to sit down with all parties involved and have them write out from top to bottom in order of priority what they want in your ceremony. Than take their list and compare it to your and your Fiance list because after all this is your wedding ceremony. I say do this because In My Humble Opinion the day really is about the ceremony which will bond you "until death do you part". The ceremony was the one thing of the day I was not going to let someone else besides my Fiance, myself, our minister and rabbi help dictate what will happen. Unfortunately some feelings will be hurt but at the end of the day let them have their way with something else less meaningful (say the band, food choice, table decorations, etc.) At the start of our wedding planning (in June 07) we too were going to have two ceremonies but we were able to convince all parties involved that our country club ceremony with a rabbi and a minister is all we wanted and it will be more meaningful than the two individual ceremonies because everyone we love and who loves us will be all together in support of our interfaith life.

Post # 5
197 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

This obviously is a very sensitive situation. It’s important to have your Fiance be involved in all discussions w/ his parents especially. My Fiance is also from a very reformed Jewish family and I was raised Catholic, but would now identify as agnostic.  We decided it was important to have our ceremony in a neutral location (i.e. not a church or a synagogue). Since you are getting married in the summer, you could always have the ceremony outside. Since we are getting married in the winter in Chicago, outside was obviously out of the question, so when looking for a venue, the fact that it had a space for the ceremony was essential. Now we are getting married in this beautiful lobby of the library where we are having our reception.


 We are intending on having an interfaith officiant, neither rabbi nor priest. There are tons of these spiritual officiants out there. I’m thinking about using this ceremony as our base in constructing ours: http://www.interfaithofficiants.com/DesignYourOwnCeremonyPages/DesignYourOwnCeremonySampleInterfaithJewishCeremonies.html


As a final note, do you care if your wedding is validated by your Archbishop? I think the ceremony should be about your Fiance and you.  


Good luck!


Post # 6
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

My man and I are the exact opposite of you two, as I am the one from the Jewish background. His father is Catholic, and his mother is actually Lutheran. Neither he nor I are very religious outside of family traditions for holiday celebrations. I think it is important for you two to determine which traditions you would like to include in your ceremony, and then the rest can fall into place. I would have to say that even though I am not very religious, I would not feel comfortable being married in a church, as I still do have some Jewish ties. Likewise, I would never expect my bf to feel comfortable being married in a Jewish temple. If you could find a rabbi and a Catholic priest who are willing to co-officiate your ceremony, I would recommend that instead of two separate ceremonies. Otherwise, an interfaith officiant of some kind would probably be best. Perhaps an outdoor location would be the most neutral (or an indoor location that is not associated with religion). I would definitley involve all important parties in the decision-making process, as you want to hear everyone AND you want them all to hear you. I also wanted to agree with a previous note that many rabbis will host a ceremony on a Saturday as long as it is after sunset.

Post # 8
563 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Wow- your mother was really out of line to book the venue on a date you did not want.  Your fiance is very kind, but you need to work on setting limits to your mother’s behavior.  You should start practicing setting limits now, since it is going to be even harder when you have children and your mother decides to "help"

Post # 9
116 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2007

I think it’s really important for you to understand that "secular" in the way you are describing it is not the same concept when it comes to Judaism. Because Judaism is BOTH a culture and a religion, a "secular Jew" really is no less Jewish than a "religious Jew," because a secular Jew can still full well be very culturally Jewish (for example, Israeli Jews are largely secular, but they’re most certainly Jewish in every sense of the word!). Holding a ceremony in the way you are are proposing excludes both Catholic religious elements AND Jewish cultural elements. This is as "insulting" to a cultural Jew as it is to a religious Catholic, and as sad as this sounds, is therefore truly a compromise. Also, if your mother is into tallying compromises, placing the ceremony on a Saturday is already a major compromise on your IL’s part. But that is getting petty and beside the point.

That being said, the way you are handling this is to be commended, and I think a secular ceremony incorporating the more universal aspects from both Judaism and Catholicism is definitely the way to go. You want the ceremony to be a reflection of you two, of your relationship, and the fact that you are interreligious is very much a part of that.

Post # 11
2680 posts
Sugar bee

I am Jewish and my fiancee is Catholic.  He and his family are much more practicing with their religion that my family and I are.  We decided early on that we wanted to get married in an outdoor venue overlooking the water, it was more what we wanted and had less to do with the religious aspect.  However, he did know that I would not feel comfortable getting married in a chuch.  I dont practice my religion alot but it still makes me uncomfortable to be in a church.  I have gone with him for holidays but I do it for him.  We have decided that when we have kids, they will be raised Catholic but still know they are Jewish and celebrate the holidays and learn about the religion.  Simply because he is more practicing than I am, I feel like I cant demand for our kids to be my religion when I dont practice as much as it is. 

Anyway, both our parents were fine with the outdoor ceremony, though his mom did want us to get married by a priest.  I didnt want that and neither did my parents.  If anything, we would have done a priest and a rabbi (but Catholic priests dont marry couples outside of the church).  We decided to have one of his older brothers be the officiant.  His mom wanted to use a priest from Australia that her friends son was using that were being married outside of the church, but we explained to her this is what we wanted and she understoond.  We will have a non-denominational wedding, though we will be breaking the glass and doing the Hora.  We are trying to think of things to do to incorporate his religion as well.  I think we will do a couple readings but they will not mention Jesus.

 After we decided on all this, my fiancee asked me if I would be ok getting married in the Catholic church sometime after our wedding so our kids could be raised Catholic.  Because it is not like we are doing 2 ceremonies in 1 day, I am ok with it.  I spoke to my parents and my dad told me even though he does not agree with it, of course he (and the rest of my family) would be there for the 2nd ceremony because it was important to his family and my fiancee.

I agree with FutureMrsR, that a rabbi will hold a ceremony on a Saturday as long as it is after sunset.  This may be a very late ceremony if you are getting married in the summer, but if you getting married another month I think it would work out very nicely.  Good luck with everything and let us know how it turns out!

Post # 13
190 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010 - The Pearl S. Buck House

Hi Lotus!


I hope the last few months have been less stressy for you and you have made some concrete plans. But if it helps, I can tell you that my home parish is also in a pretty conservative Archdiocese (Philadelphia), and I was able to get dispensations for “marrying outside of the cult” and having a rabbi recieve the vows. By applying to have the rabbi recieve the vows and be the one to marry us, that covers permission to marry outside of a church, so we will have a co-officiated wedding with a priest and a rabbi at our reception site- an historical property/museum that reflects our beliefs as a couple (the Pearl S Buck house and center for Pearl S Buck International).

I spent MONTHS agonizing over how difficult this was going to be, and I am finding that I’m getting much less push back than I thought I would. I had one priest say he wouldn’t do it, but his main reason was that he hasn’t done many weddings and doesn’t know what he would need to do to co-officiate. The answer is get those dispensations (your priest will apply for them on your behalf), and then have a Priest there to bless the marriage or ideally represent your side equally in the ceremony. You’ll still have to do pre-cana and all that good stuff, but it’s not bad 🙂 All the worrying has been for nothing (so far at least).

I hope this has been helpful- I understand your concerns and stress. I had to switch my date too- I had no idea Rabbi’s were difficult to book on a saturday 2 years out! So we chose sunday of Columbus day weekend.

Post # 14
9 posts
  • Wedding: June 2010

I am catholic and my Fiance is Jewish.  If i left it up to my Fiance parents they would be delighted for me to get married in a tample… i told them its not happening…. What we are doing is combining both religions. I have a rabbi and and am trying to find a preist or a clergy to marry us…. most likly a clergy because preist wont marry you unless your in a church.

We are trying to mix the culture together w/ the unity candles, jewish faith and a some catholic mixed in.  You should all sit down as a family and talk it over. Its your wedding and you need to do what YOU want to do.  Just try to compromise. 

Post # 15
2 posts
  • Wedding: December 1969

I am also from a Catholic family and my fiance is Jewish but neither of us are practicing.  We’re having a secular ceremony; however, I was wondering what Catholic traditions you might try to include. 

Post # 16
908 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

We are getting married in a few weeks and we are having an interfaith outdoor ceremony.  I wasn’t able to get the dispensations that naangel55 got and I was very dissapointed.  I eventually found an Independent Catholic Church and the priest there will co-officiate our wedding with a Jewish Cantor. 

We are including the questions of intent, Catholic vows and a catholic blessing.  We will recite hebrew when we exhange rings, sign a ketubah, share the wine and break the glass.

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