Planning your Jewish/Catholic Wedding Ceremony?

Are you engaged and planning a wedding that incorporates your Jewish and Christian backgrounds?  Many of our couples face this challenge and do not know where to even begin.  Our experienced interfaith minister, Rev. Samora Smith has created and performed these type of ceremonies for hundreds of couples and offers some great advice.

First consider:

  1. Are either of you more religious than the other?
  2. Are you comfortable with the mention of Jesus or Adonai in the ceremony?
  3. Will you have a Rabbi & Priest present or an interfaith minister to represent both faiths?

Differences between a Jewish and Catholic Ceremony:

  1. Processional
    • Christian:  Groom waits at the Alter and Bride is walked by her father
    • Jewish: Groom and Bride are escorted by both parents
  2. Vows
    • Christian:  Bride and Groom recite vows and answer “I Do” in the ceremony
    • Jewish: Vows are not traditionally recited but are instead written on a Ketubah for the couple to sign in the presence of family and clergy before the public ceremony.
  3. Scripture Readings
    • Christian:  Most ceremonies include readings from the Old or New Testaments in the Christian bible
    • Jewish: The wedding ceremony does not include any scriptural readings
  4. The Pronouncement & Kiss
    • Christian:  Clergy will pronounce the couple married followed with “You may now kiss the Bride”
    • Jewish:  The Jewish wedding ceremony does not include a kiss but many modern couples have incorporated it into their ceremony.  Most Jewish ceremonies end with the “Breaking of the Glass”

Rituals and their Meaning

  • Christian
    • Lighting of the Unity Candle- Two tapers are lit for the couple and then a larger candle is lit by the couple to represent the joining of the two becoming one.
    • Bible Verses There are many bible verses that can be included in the ceremony.  (Corinthians 13, Ecclesiastes and Old Testament do not mention Jesus.)
  • Jewish
    • Ketubah- A contract containing promises that each promises to each other.  It is usually written on a beautiful piece of art for the couple to display in the home.
    • Chuppah-A four-pillared canopy that the ceremony will be performed under.
    • Kiddush Cup-The couple will share a cup of wine with a blessing
    • Breaking of the Glass- Usually done by the groom with the sentiment that it will take as long to put the glass back together as their relationship will last (forever)

As an experienced wedding officiant, many of my couples don’t know how to include both faiths in their wedding ceremony.  Your ceremony is an opportunity to show your families how your faiths are similar and honor your upbringing.  If you choose a ceremony that is less religious, you can incorporate some of the rituals as symbolic gestures to your faiths.

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