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Wedding Ceremony: How to Mix Wedding Beliefs and Wedding Traditions?

Q.

My husband-to-be is Greek Orthodox and I am a firm agnostic. How can we include his ethnic and religious wedding customs in our wedding without making my family faint (e.g., Mom would pass out if the wedding's in a church)? I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable, but I want to ensure a balanced wedding ceremony with wedding rituals that are important to both of us. Also, there are things we can't do anyway because of the restrictions of the Greek Church (I wasn't baptized). Help!

A.

Clearly you and your fiance have found a way to live with your different belief systems -- you're getting married! That's great. Now the challenge is incorporating both sides into your wedding. First, you should actually find out if you can even have a Greek Orthodox wedding outside a church. If not, then you probably want to add some of the rituals -- the less religious ones, perhaps -- to a service performed by an officiant other than an Orthodox priest (most Orthodox priests won't officiate outside a house of worship). You might add the Greek crown ritual and include non-religious readings or poems that mean a lot to you. A good way to decide what the options are is to talk to his pastor or another officiant. If you feel like Mom's going to freak out at any religious blessings -- or that his parents will be upset about the non-religious parts -- make sure you each sit down with your parents to explain how important it is that both sides' beliefs be included. After all, you two are joining in marriage, so everyone's going to have to learn to coexist and, yes, love one another.


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