Tips for Interfaith Weddings

Tips For Interfaith Weddings

Tips For Interfaith Weddings

We’re a melting pot of different ethnicities,  cultures, races, etc. and it only seems fitting to intertwine these traditions be included in your wedding day. Whether it’s a prayer or dance, these small details can enhance your guests experience and hold powerful meaning for the two of you.

While the obvious differences in an interfaith marriage should be discussed way before your wedding day (how to raise the children, what do Mom and Dad think), in the engagement period you need to go over any conflicts the two of you have.


  • Have family members from each side read a blessing or prayer from their religious tradition.
  • Provide translations of any rituals performed in other languages.
  • Conduct a “unity” ritual from both faiths, such as the sharing of a cup of wine (Judaism), lighting a unity candle (Christianity), wearing crowns (Greek Orthodox) or hand fasting (Celtic).
  • Illustrate each family’s support by having both sets of parents walk their children down the aisle.
  • Determine who will officiate the wedding: Some interfaith couples opt for two clergy members, one from each person’s faith, to perform the ceremony. Others look for interfaith officiants who have performed interfaith weddings in the past.


Tips For Interfaith WeddingsAlison Conklin Photography


  • Step on toes: respect each family’s strong ties to their own religious traditions and tactfully and carefully explain how rituals from both heritages will be included.
  • Forget your guests: describe the different religious rituals in your program and provide translations.
  • Try to do too much: you can’t replicate the entire wedding ceremonies for each tradition; your guests will be bored and your wedding ceremony will lose some of its intensity. Careful editing of the ceremony elements is pertinent to a good ceremony.


Tips For Interfaith Weddingsvia Interfaith Weddings

Creating an interfaith wedding that is meaningful, memorable and perfectly you starts focusing on personalizing the ceremony to reflect the needs, beliefs, and values of you as a couple and your families.

Jumping The Broom

Jumping the Broom

You may have heard of “jumping the broom” and “typing the knot,” but in the African American community, these are more than just expressions. It is a tradition stemming back to the days of slavery when slaves were forbidden from marrying. They created this ritual to represent the beginning of their new life together. In modern ceremonies, couples jump over a broom, often decorated with adornments of flowers, herbs, ribbon, and tulle, after they’re pronounced married. Tying the knot is a symbol to represent unity. Cloth, twine, or other forms are used to bind them together literally.


Jumping The BroomVia Tri Wedding Central

Tradition, customs, and honoring your ancestors are very big in this community. There are countless ways to honor your ancestors during your wedding ceremony and reception. You may also choose to add ethnic touches including a Libation ceremony which is held to honor elders. During the ceremony a prayer is said and an elder presents water or liquor as an offering to God and the ancestral spirits for their blessing.

Food and drink is important at all weddings, but for African American ceremonies, these are integral parts of the day. During the ceremony, there is a tradition that involves tasting the four elements: lemon for sour, vinegar for bitter, cayenne pepper for hot, and honey for sweet. The four tastes represent the different times or moods of married life.


Jumping The Broomvia Simply Elegant Brial

And, you can’t forget the beat of the drums! Music is very important to families, and when music is made…comes the dancing! You can walk down the aisle to their rich sounds or have them lead a bridal march after the ceremony. The sound of drums also has historical significance for African-Americans since drums were outlawed during slavery because they were seen as a coded means of communication between the slaves. Check with local music schools, African-American newspapers, and cultural centers to find drummers in your area.

Tradition of Jordan Almonds

Jordan almonds have long been a popular wedding favor among brides and it’s not just because they’re tasty and inexpensive. The tradition of serving Jordan almonds at a wedding stems back to Italian and Greek customs. Jordan almonds are raw almonds coated with a sugar shell. The bittersweet taste of the almonds is intended to represent life, while the sugarcoating is added to ensure that newlyweds will experience more sweetness than bitterness in their new life together.

It’s customary that Jordan almonds be distributed in odd numbers. Since odd numbers are indivisible, this is meant to symbolize unity between the new couple. In Italian ceremonies, Jordan almonds are packaged in groups of fives to represent five wishes for the couple: health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity. Tradition also holds that if a single woman sleeps with the Jordan almonds under her pillow, she’ll dream of her husband-to-be.

Jordan almonds can be packaged any way you desire, whether in a small bag, personalized box, out of a bowl, or atop a silver platter. If you’re planning to hand out Jordan almonds at your nuptials, consider attaching a tag with the traditional Jordan almond poem to explain the significance of the candy:

Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat

To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet.

Five wishes for the new husband and wife —

Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!

Five Wedding Traditions You Can Skip

Tradition is an integral part of a wedding celebration.  It has defined the ebb and flow of ceremonies for centuries, passed down through families and cherished by loved ones. Heartwarming: yes. Necessary: not always. The tradition that trumps all is a couple’s personal touch on their special day, and their overall part in the process. If you are rethinking a traditional ceremony, read on for some examples of add-ons that you may want to leave behind.

1.       Guests should have assigned seating. Unless your cousin can’t stand your uncle, there’s no need to corral and separate grown adults into assigned seating at dinner. Guests enjoy socializing and open seating gives them the freedom to move around and sit with different relatives and friends throughout the evening. If you are going for a casual feel, this tradition is best left in the past.

2.       You shouldn’t see your fiancé until the ceremony. I pose this question: why can’t you see your betrothed before the ceremony? Do you like the idea of waiting to glimpse his face when you are walking down the aisle, or is it just tradition for tradition’s sake? Bottom line: if you want quality time with your almost-husband before the ceremony, go ahead and take it. It’s your day, and you should do what makes you comfortable.

3.       You should have a same-sex bridal party. Yes, the bride and grooms’ attendants usually belong to their respective genders, but who says your best guy friend can’t stand next to you on your wedding day? The tradition of including friends in the ceremony is an important one, and should supersede whether they are female or male. Friendship is invaluable; include those who deserve to be included.

4.       Guests should sit on “sides.” Many couples struggle with an imbalanced guest list; that is, one side of the family is bigger than the other. Mitigate the problem by eliminating sides altogether. Not only does it even things out, but it encourages the families to mingle and get to know one another. It’s a win-win.

5.       You should toss the bouquet and garter. Many people consider this age-old tradition cheesy, but they play it out because it is expected. While some wedding guests may be looking forward to fighting for wilting flowers or a satin skivvy, it is avoided by others. If you aren’t keen on this tradition, review your guest list to help decide on its inclusion. If there are 50 singles attending, you might let this one go. One the other hand, if the single people are limited to your twice-divorced step-uncle and your 45-year-old aunt, it may be best to spare them the awkwardness.

Tradition has its place, but your wedding should be your own creation. Give the “should’s” of wedding planning a backseat to your own feelings. You will be happier with the result.

Bouquet & Garter Toss Traditions

Much to the chagrin of single people everywhere, two of the most common wedding traditions are the tossing of the bouquet and garter. You know the routine…the single ladies gather on the dance floor and, after counting to three, the bride tosses a small bouquet over her shoulder to the waiting women. Whoever catches it is rumored to be the next to be married. The same thing goes for the garter toss, only the men are the ones doing the catching. Since these two traditions are observed at nearly every wedding, where did they begin?

Both traditions actually date back to the same custom from the 14th century. At that time, brides were believed to possess a surplus of luck therefore everything they touched was filled with good fortune. At wedding ceremonies, guests would actually attack the bride in an effort to steal an item from her. They would clamber around her, pulling at her dress and flowers, in hopes of securing a lucky souvenir for themselves. Many brides actually had their dresses torn to pieces before the end of the wedding celebration by greedy guests hoping to find favor and luck. Not surprisingly, over time this tradition evolved into a more refined, less dangerous custom: the tossing of the bouquet and garter.

Tossing of the bouquet and garter is a more civilized way for brides and grooms to pass their good fortune onto others. It’s believed that whichever man and woman catch the bouquet and garter will be the next to find love, quite possibly with one another.