Thursday, February 18, 2010

the ceremony

We have a curious situation with our ceremony. I was raised Catholic and my fiance was raised..well, sort of Jewish? He had a Bar Mitzvah. That's about it.

We're doing a semi-Jewish - in the loosest sense possible - ceremony anyways.

As a writer and deeply observant person, I've become completely mystified by the world and, even more, the universe. I won't go New Age on you, but trust me: it all blows my mind.

Having my mind blown by these things, I'm much more "spiritual" than religious. I think there's a lot of beautiful things about Catholic mass, but the teachings don't jive with my worldview. However, most of my family does continue to practice Catholicism. I didn't want to create some humanist ceremony that's completely devoid of their familiar text - the bible. I also knew I literally couldn't have an outdoor Catholic ceremony in a town where I'm no where near a member of the church.

This is where faux Jewish ceremonies come in handy. I'll adopt a few of the Jewish wedding traditions like the chuppah and blessings, but otherwise, it's going to be secular. The officiant is a Christian minister of sorts, with a lot of experience with interfaith weddings. This isn't a sundown thing with a ketubah. We are absolutely cherry picking.

Another imperative is that the ceremony be inclusive. We both feel very strongly about gay rights and gender issues, so it's necessary for us to have themes of equality, respect, and understanding woven into the ceremony. For that reason, we're including an excerpt from Goodridge v. Department of Public Health:

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations....Without question, civil marriage enhances the "welfare of the community." It is a "social institution of the highest importance." It is central to the way the Commonwealth identifies individuals, provides for the orderly distribution of property, ensures that children and adults are cared for and supported whenever possible from private rather than public funds, and tracks important epidemiological and demographic data....Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.... Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition....It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a "civil right."

I love the language here; it's meaningful and significant, which is something important for a ceremony, I think.

What has shaped your ceremony?


  1. Oh! Great thinking and a good find with that excerpt!

  2. We also cherry-picked different aspects of our combined Jewish and Catholic traditions for our wedding. This let us honor our traditions, while defining our own combined values.

    But even the more traditional aspects of a ceremony can be modernized and updated to fit your personality. For example, I create ketubahs for many interfaith and multicultural couples who want a ketubah that is modern, inclusive, and very personal. (