Oh Miss Root… reading your post was like reading a transcript of my current situation. My Fiance and I were discussing exactly the same issue last night, and I feel the same way that you do.
My Fiance is Jewish and I am not religious, but I was raised Catholic. We are having an interfaith ceremony with a rabbi and a priest (my mom’s ONLY request for the whole wedding). We are having all of the traditional Jewish stuff (chuppah, kippahs, ketubah, breaking glass, rabbi running most of ceremony, no pork), and I have not put up a fight about any of it even though I don’t like any of it. I, like you, feel like this is mostly a Jewish wedding. To be honest, I’m a bit resentful about it because my parents are paying for 95% of the wedding, and I feel like the wedding is more Jewish and related to my Fiance than to me.
Regarding finding a more equal balance… We are doing a unity candle (you can also do a sand ceremony instead), which is actually not really Catholic but is done more in Catholic ceremonies. We are also doing a “rose ceremony” where the priest or rabbi will say something nice to honor our parents and then Fiance and I will give each parent a white rose. This is similar to the Catholic version of giving flowers to the blessed mother, and it is not Jewish at all. I would love to figure out some more ways to bring more “me” or balance to the ceremony, but I couldn’t think of anything else besides the procession.
Kippahs… we are having them because my Fiance really wants them. They will be in a basket, but I was thinking of putting a polite sign in front of the basket saying something like… “Compliments of the bride and groom… reserved for our Jewish Gentlemen Guests”, but that’s still up in the air. Just wanted to let you know, but obviously do what’s right for you.
The walk down the aisle issue… The most recent request by his parents is to have them both walk him down the aisle, and this is very important to them. Unfortunately, I feel the exact same way you do and that I want a traditional Catholic procession where the only person being “given away” is the bride. I feel bad that this is important to them, but I think that I should have the procession be the way I want it since I have been more than accommodating with everything else. I don’t agree with letting him walk with his parents and you walk with only your father and having that satisfy everyone. It can be done, but it does not satisfy the Catholic tradition, and even if you just walk with your dad, the whole procession will still be seen as Jewish if your Fiance walks with his parents. I don’t fear the clutching mom that you do, but I feel that a man should not be “given away” which is essentially the purpose of his parents walking with him. That’s just the way I think, and I mean no disrespect to anyone that thinks otherwise though.
A compromise that I offered my Fiance was that he could meet his parents at the top of the aisle after they walked down alone and give them a kiss and greet them or something. I also reminded my Fiance that we are honoring his parents with roses in that part of the ceremony, so they will be honored in the ceremony without the “giving him away” part. Maybe you could do something similar to honor them in a different way than the walk down the aisle?
What it really comes down to is that you and your FI’s parents have two preferences that conflict with each other, and there is no even compromise to be had. Someone is going to have to be disappointed in the end, and it certainly should not be the bride.
Sorry for the lengthy post! I’m pretty heated