Photo: Jessica Claire
From choosing the officiant you want (whether or not your parents approve), using ceremonial symbols from a religion you don't belong to, and having bridesmaids who aren't your religion partake in your religious ceremony, faith and weddings can get tricky. Lucky for you, our wedding etiquette experts are here to help solve your biggest religion etiquette problems!
Does a bridesmaid who's Jewish have to go through the motions of our Christian service?
Her participation depends on her beliefs and the dogma of your religion. She can kneel or stand when the rest of the congregation does, and should answer "I will" or "I do" when the officiant asks if those assembled will support you and your fiancé. However, she doesn't have to say any prayers or sing hymns if she'd prefer not to. As for Communion, different beliefs have different rules. Often, people who are not receiving Communion can still approach the altar and by crossing their arms over their chest, signify that they would like a blessing, rather than the bread and wine. Talk to your officiant about the convention in your house of worship, and tell your bridesmaid. It's also a good idea to print the information in your wedding program so that guests who belong to different religions or denominations will know what their options are. Each person can then decide for herself what will make her feel most comfortable.
Our parish priest has always struck me as a bore, but my father wants him to officiate. What can I do?
It's important to tell your dad how you feel. Give him specific reasons why you find the priest less than heavenly. Granted, religion is a touchy subject, but if you stay calm and talk honestly with your father, you're likely to have an enlightening discussion. Are you open to having another priest from your church officiate? Tell your father that's what you'd like to do. If that's not the case, you must tread even more gently and fully explain why you and your fiancé have chosen to go in a different direction.
We're not Jewish, but we love the significance and look of a chuppah. Can we still use one at the ceremony?
Of course! Just call it a canopy instead of a chuppah. Wedding canopies are especially popular for outdoor wedding ceremonies, where they can help define the altar area. According to Jewish wedding custom, four attendants hold or stand by the poles, and a prayer shawl is draped over the top. Obviously, you'd omit these specific elements, but feel free to get creative with other details and embellishments.