One great thing about living in America, is that we are the Melting Pot of the world! We get to experience different ways of life right in our own back yard. We have all sorts of delicious food, music, entertainment and people. Here, in America, we have every color and nationality of person imaginable, with different races and backgrounds, frequently comes different religious backgrounds. I would never say, one religion is better than another, they are just different. Each with their own traditions, beliefs and customs. Each beautiful in their own way.
You never know who you are going fall in love with. Your soulmate could be the boy down the street or the girl on the other side of the globe. Each person comes with their own set of beliefs. When planning your wedding, it is important to remember that their beliefs are as important to them as yours are to you. You love this person and you would never want to disrespect them or their religious beliefs.
Sometimes, Catholics marry Jews, Buddhists marry Atheists and Protestants marry other Protestants. It just happens. If you find yourself in this boat, you are not alone. You are not the first and I guarantee you won’t be the last. I, myself, married a person of a slightly different faith. I 100% understand the emotions you may be feeling. If one partner in the relationship is not as “practicing” as you are, it might make it easier; however, you will still of course want to be respectful. If both of you are extremely devout in your own religion, it may seem to make for a more challenging ceremony but not impossible! Let me offer you some suggestions.
Tips for blending religious and cultural differences:
Speak with your partner to determine if you would both like a religious ceremony. Some people not good or bad prefer to leave their religions completely out of the ceremony and simply write vows to each other and have a non-denominational ceremony. I personally, feel that if you eliminate such a huge part of yourself, you may wish 10 years later you hadn’t. Something to consider.
If you both decide that having a religious ceremony is important, wonderful! This comes with its own unique challenges. Perhaps your religious affiliation will not permit a clergy member from another affiliation to perform in their house of worship. You need to respect that. You now need to find mutual ground. Marriage is all about finding mutual ground anyway, so why not start with the most important day of your new life together. I have seen beautiful Jewish weddings blended with Indian customs. For example, the Bride wore her traditional saree during the ceremony and at the end, the couple performed the traditional glass breaking which is custom in Jewish ceremonies. For the reception she changed into a “traditional” wedding dress and danced the night away.
Never assume! This can be hands down the worst mistake when trying to blend different traditions. Never assume, for example, that you will get to walk down the aisle to live music if, in your partner’s faith, it is not permitted to have live musicians perform in their church. This happens-trust me!
Have open communication. You never intend to be rude or disrespectful, you just are accustomed to something different. Asking is always the best policy.
Trust yourself. At the end of the day, you and your partner are the ones getting married. As hard as it will be, try not to let Great Aunt Sally bully you into having something that you are not completely comfortable with. As harsh as this may sound, your mother and grandmother had their wedding (most likely). They got to plan their weddings how they saw fit. You are your own person and you need to trust yourself. If, you second guess and defer to everyone else, it stops being your day and becomes an event that is no longer centered on the love you have for each other. Trust yourself and if you don’t, trust your planner.