Post # 1
Hi interfaith brides! Guess I’ll get this board started…
My family is Jewish and my fiance’s family is Catholic/Presbyterian. The ceremony is in a museum. We’re getting married by a rabbi and having a pretty "jewish" ceremony, for all intents and purposes (his family is okay with this), but we’re doing a few things differently, like not seating the grandmothers.
I have a few logistical questions about the ceremony though:
- In Jewish ceremonies, the bride’s family sits on the right, where in Christian ceremonies, the groom’s family sits on the right. I would do "unassigned" seating, but there are a few family members for whom we need to reserve seats. Who should sit on which side? And are people going to feel awkward if they realize they’re sitting on the "wrong side"?
- Would it be weird to have the groom’s mom and dad not walk down with him but my parents to walk down with me? Would it be weird not to "seat" the groom’s mother (we don’t have anyone to seat her, as our ushers are women)? Or can anyone "seat" her (like a close family friend)?
- In Jewish ceremonies, people don’t stand when the bride walks down the aisle (but they do in Christian ceremonies). Do I even need to address this issue? I don’t want 1 side to stand and then the other side to realize that 1 side is standing and then stand up (seems a little awkward to me…).
- Our rabbi wants to do the pronouncement and benediction ("I now pronounce you husband and wife…") before breaking the glass. Is the non-Jewish side going to know not to cheer until we break the glass? What’s the cue to cheer, saying "I now pronounce you…" or the kiss? Again, I’m thinking of the awkwardness factor here.
Thanks in advance!
Post # 3
Hi Rebecca. I’m neither Jewish nor Catholic but my Darling Husband and I did have an interfaith marriage (I:pagain, him: more or less christian).
1) We did undesignated seated and let everyone know that when they came in the door. Granted we were having a rather informal, casual wedding so it worked for us. We still sat his family on one side and mine on the other so they could have the closest seats. Unless someone seats you and asks if you want the bride’s side or the groom’s side, I don’t think anyone is going to think twice about it. In fact, we put the family opposite the person. So My Darling Husband was on the right looking toward the "alter" area and his family was on the left. That way they could see his face instead of his back and visa versa.
2) I think as far as who escorts whom, it’s whatever works for you! I would have your Mother-In-Law "sat" somehow. But then again, this is a tradition I like, so it’s one I chose to keep. You can do whatever works for you. I like the acknowledgement of the mothers, but that’s just me. A family friend would be fine. I don’t know what you FIL’s role in the ceremony is but it would be ok for him to escort her down the isle and then join his son at the alter say if he’s the best man. Or heck! Let her walk down unescorted. She’s a grown woman, I think she can find her own way. 😉 Whatever she’s most comfortable with. Oh, another idea would be to have your Fiance escort her down and then walk back out so he can enter with the Officiant/Best Man whatever you guys are doing.
3) I wouldn’t worry too much about the standing. The way I’d address it is to mark in the program where the audience is supposed to stand for instance for the recessional. And then just don’t mark the bridal entrance. Also, it’s usually the mothers of the bride and groom who lead the standing. So if people are doing what they are supposed to do and looking to the mothers then there won’t be any problem. If you wanted to you could do a little thing about the two religious traditions in the program and talk about how you are combining the two. "For instance, today we are chosing to observe the Jewish tradition of not standing whent he bride walks down, but also observing the Christian tradition of ____________". That would give you the opportunity to address anything you were worried about.
4) Most of the weddings I’ve been to the cheering happens after the kiss and then again when the couple is presented for the first time as husband and wife. But cheering starts then just politely smile and wait for it to die down and then go on with the glass breaking. It’ll only feel awkward if you guys look awkward. Just give you rabbi a heads up so that he/she knows to roll with the cheering if it happens.
Post # 4
My sister was married in April in an interfaith Jewish (grrom) and Catholic (bride) ceremony. The ceremony was officiated by a rabbi with a Catholic deacon in attendance . The deacon said a blessing and one of the readings was from the new testament. They had the parents walk both the bride and groom down the aisle and stand with them at the front. I don’t think you need to address the guest standing issue. Those whom do will.
The breaking the glass issue was addressed at my sisters wedding by being included in the program. A page in their program detailed the various Jewish traditions (breaking glass, chuppah, etc…) and various Catholic traditions (unity candle, etc…) that were observed.
Post # 5
I’m also planning an interfaith wedding but my fiance doesn’t really have a religion so it’s a bit easier.
I did go to an interfaith wedding last month and the officiant explained the breaking of the glass prior to putting it on the ground. She also said, once the groom steps on the glass, everyone shots "Mazel tov!!" and she went on to explain what Mazel Tov means.
Post # 6
Thanks, all! I had forgotten about this post — oops!
I think I’m going to ask the rabbi to switch the order of the breaking the glass and the prounouncement, only because it’s more normal to me that way anyway.
I’m not going to worry about the standing and seating arrangements. What happens happens.