Interfaith marriages are on the rise
It is no secret that nowadays interfaith marriages are on the rise. According to the NY Times prior to 1970 interfaith marriages accounted for 13% of all weddings. That number rose to 25% by 2006 and the most recent Pew study has it rising to 36%. These numbers tell us that on your wedding day the entire congregation of guests will represent a mix of religions and spiritual practices to compliment the diversity of today’s societal norms.
This would suggest that when a wedding couple sits down with their officiant, the question should be raised: “how will you be welcoming people not of our tradition to the ceremony?” Generally speaking most clergy are very open to a discussion of how this can take place. Several of us already use this type of inclusive language in our services. Others may need a little prompting by you to remind them that it is important to you, as a couple, that everyone feel welcome and a part of the joyful experience.
Don’t assume that everyone knows what a ketubah (Jewish) is, or that many of us are the seed of Abraham (Christians, Jews and Muslims all descend from Abraham!). Don’t assume that everyone is familiar with “jumping the broom” (African American and Welsh!) or what a “mahr” is (Islam) or even what “kanyaa daan” is (Hindu).
The more we know about each other and wedding traditions, the richer the rainbow of diversity in harmony. The more our ceremonies add hints into our beliefs and practices, the more your guests can say “I get it!” and relax, feel part of the ceremony and just admire the beautiful bride and handsome groom!
Mazel Tov! That means good luck!
Images by: Rabbi Arthur Rosenberg