Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Any Jewish UK brides having a civil ceremony?

This is a pretty specific question, but I'm new to the UK and not fully up-to-date on interpreting the rules around having a civil ceremony. My FH and I can't have a Jewish ceremony as he's not Jewish, and I know we can't have any religious elements in the ceremony (with music, readings, etc). 

But my father's big "thing" that he's sticking on is smashing the glass at the end of the ceremony. I know he's going to be really disappointed if we can't include that, so I'm wondering if anyone knows whether or not it can be done? Especially considering it would technically be after the civil ceremony is over... but while we're standing in front of the registrar. 

I did find mention in a newspaper article (well, it was the Daily Mail) about Ed Milliband breaking the glass at the end of his civil ceremony, but wasn't sure if that's a special "I'm a politician" thing, or if it's something anyone could do. 

Re: Any Jewish UK brides having a civil ceremony?

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    If you're not having a Jewish ceremony, then I'd skip the glass smash.  It's a religious element.
    InLoveInQueens
  • It is - but I'm Jewish, and actually really torn up over not being able to have a Jewish ceremony. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be legal in the UK, but I am hoping to include Jewish elements as much as I'm able to (e.g. the processional will follow the Jewish traditions, I'm standing on the right side which is common in Jewish weddings, etc). Smashing the glass is very important to me and my family, and I'm trying to find a way to include it. 
  • It is - but I'm Jewish, and actually really torn up over not being able to have a Jewish ceremony. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be legal in the UK, but I am hoping to include Jewish elements as much as I'm able to (e.g. the processional will follow the Jewish traditions, I'm standing on the right side which is common in Jewish weddings, etc). Smashing the glass is very important to me and my family, and I'm trying to find a way to include it. 
    I think Jen's point was it would not make sense to have a religious element without a religious ceremony. Especially such an important religious element.
  • I've attended an interfaith non-religious wedding and they still smashed the glass at the end. No one freaked out. 
    ******************************************************

    nerdwifeSTARMOON44MyNameIsNot
  • wink0erin said:
    I've attended an interfaith non-religious wedding and they still smashed the glass at the end. No one freaked out. 
    I agree. We are having a non-denominational ceremony but may do the glass smashing. It's more cultural to us than religious (as so much of religion really is, at least to me). We'll also likely do the horah at the reception.
    STARMOON44
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    This is a pretty specific question, but I'm new to the UK and not fully up-to-date on interpreting the rules around having a civil ceremony. My FH and I can't have a Jewish ceremony as he's not Jewish, and I know we can't have any religious elements in the ceremony (with music, readings, etc). 

    But my father's big "thing" that he's sticking on is smashing the glass at the end of the ceremony. I know he's going to be really disappointed if we can't include that, so I'm wondering if anyone knows whether or not it can be done? Especially considering it would technically be after the civil ceremony is over... but while we're standing in front of the registrar. 

    I did find mention in a newspaper article (well, it was the Daily Mail) about Ed Milliband breaking the glass at the end of his civil ceremony, but wasn't sure if that's a special "I'm a politician" thing, or if it's something anyone could do. 
    This is really a question for your registrar as I think each one is different. But I do know that they have not allowed certain non-hymn songs  and non-Bible poems because they were deemed religious or mentioning god. 

  • @LondonLisa I hadn't even thought that it might depend on the registrar, good point! I guess I'll have to wait until the day to find out! I'm also planning to bring a printout of the article to show that it has been done so maybe that will sway the registrar...

    I think the glass smashing is both religious and cultural, and it is something I know I'd be really upset to not have - and something my "side" of the guest list would be some combination of surprised, disappointed, or even hurt if I didn't include it - myself included. 

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited January 2016
    @LondonLisa I hadn't even thought that it might depend on the registrar, good point! I guess I'll have to wait until the day to find out! I'm also planning to bring a printout of the article to show that it has been done so maybe that will sway the registrar...

    I think the glass smashing is both religious and cultural, and it is something I know I'd be really upset to not have - and something my "side" of the guest list would be some combination of surprised, disappointed, or even hurt if I didn't include it - myself included. 

    If your registrar won't let you do it, then do it at your reception.
    InLoveInQueens
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @LondonLisa I hadn't even thought that it might depend on the registrar, good point! I guess I'll have to wait until the day to find out! I'm also planning to bring a printout of the article to show that it has been done so maybe that will sway the registrar...

    I think the glass smashing is both religious and cultural, and it is something I know I'd be really upset to not have - and something my "side" of the guest list would be some combination of surprised, disappointed, or even hurt if I didn't include it - myself included. 

    I think you need to change your approach to this. I would definitely find out who your registrar is now and speak to them (at least the council) beforehand. What are you going to do- call her down from the altar and whisper in her ear that you want to do this?

    I also think it will manage your expectations. You don't want to walk down the aisle to be married just after hearing news that will 'surprise', 'disappoint' or 'hurt' you and your family.


  •  LondonLisa said:
    @LondonLisa I hadn't even thought that it might depend on the registrar, good point! I guess I'll have to wait until the day to find out! I'm also planning to bring a printout of the article to show that it has been done so maybe that will sway the registrar...

    I think the glass smashing is both religious and cultural, and it is something I know I'd be really upset to not have - and something my "side" of the guest list would be some combination of surprised, disappointed, or even hurt if I didn't include it - myself included. 

    I think you need to change your approach to this. I would definitely find out who your registrar is now and speak to them (at least the council) beforehand. What are you going to do- call her down from the altar and whisper in her ear that you want to do this?

    I also think it will manage your expectations. You don't want to walk down the aisle to be married just after hearing news that will 'surprise', 'disappoint' or 'hurt' you and your family.


    I didn't even know that was an option! For some reason I was under the impression that we couldn't speak to the registrar beforehand, minus the 15 minute interview we have to have with him or her right before the ceremony, which was why I have been trying to find other brides/grooms who have done something similar. 
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
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    So, in the UK you can't have a religious ceremony? Wasn't Prince William and Duchess Katherine's ceremony a religious ceremony? I'm genuinely curious. I had no idea you had to have a civil ceremony in the UK.
  • Depending on which registry office you are getting married at you should have the opportunity to either meet or email with your registrar about a month before your wedding, as they will have allocated their rotas. Actually, are you getting married at a registry office or having a registrar come to a sanctioned venue? I'm getting married in the former and they were very clear with us that there could be no religious elements or undertones whatsoever. I'm not sure if the glass breaking would also count - is it of religious significance in and of itself, or is it more a tradition that it just so happens your religion practises? (if that makes sense? Think I'm rambling!).

    Maybe if you are getting married in a venue they are more relaxed as it isn't government run? Either way, call whomever you dealt with to book your wedding as I'm sure they'd at least be able to point you in the right direction.
                 
  • So, in the UK you can't have a religious ceremony? Wasn't Prince William and Duchess Katherine's ceremony a religious ceremony? I'm genuinely curious. I had no idea you had to have a civil ceremony in the UK.

    No, you can get legally married in a church here. I think OP meant that their synagogue won't allow them to marry there as her FI isn't Jewish.
                 
    STARMOON44
  • So, in the UK you can't have a religious ceremony? Wasn't Prince William and Duchess Katherine's ceremony a religious ceremony? I'm genuinely curious. I had no idea you had to have a civil ceremony in the UK.


    You definitely can have a religious service, but you can't bring religion into a civil ceremony before the registrar.
  • So, in the UK you can't have a religious ceremony? Wasn't Prince William and Duchess Katherine's ceremony a religious ceremony? I'm genuinely curious. I had no idea you had to have a civil ceremony in the UK.
    You can have a religious ceremony, but in the UK, both partners must be Jewish to have a legally binding Jewish ceremony. We can have a blessing done by a rabbi, but it won't be a legal ceremony and we'd need to have a civil ceremony anyway. 

    Actually, are you getting married at a registry office or having a registrar come to a sanctioned venue? I'm getting married in the former and they were very clear with us that there could be no religious elements or undertones whatsoever. I'm not sure if the glass breaking would also count - is it of religious significance in and of itself, or is it more a tradition that it just so happens your religion practises? (if that makes sense? Think I'm rambling!).

    We're getting married in a venue, not the registrar office - maybe that will make a difference!

    The glass breaking is a tricky one - it is a cultural activity, not a religious one, but because it's part of the Jewish culture many people conflate it with Jewish religion, if that makes sense? The meaning can be anything from remembering the destruction of the Temple, to a reminder that everything is fragile and you have to treat your relationship with care.
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
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    Thanks for the explanation everyone. It is so interesting to learn how weddings (and other celebrations) are done in different countries.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited January 2016



    So, in the UK you can't have a religious ceremony? Wasn't Prince William and Duchess Katherine's ceremony a religious ceremony? I'm genuinely curious. I had no idea you had to have a civil ceremony in the UK.

    You can have a religious ceremony, but in the UK, both partners must be Jewish to have a legally binding Jewish ceremony. We can have a blessing done by a rabbi, but it won't be a legal ceremony and we'd need to have a civil ceremony anyway. 


    Actually, are you getting married at a registry office or having a registrar come to a sanctioned venue? I'm getting married in the former and they were very clear with us that there could be no religious elements or undertones whatsoever. I'm not sure if the glass breaking would also count - is it of religious significance in and of itself, or is it more a tradition that it just so happens your religion practises? (if that makes sense? Think I'm rambling!).

    We're getting married in a venue, not the registrar office - maybe that will make a difference!

    glass breaking is a tricky one - it is a cultural activity, not a religious one, but because it's part of the Jewish culture many people conflate it with Jewish religion, if that makes sense? The meaning can be anything from remembering the destruction of the Temple, to a reminder that everything is fragile and you have to treat your relationship with care.

    With regard to the bolded: Jewish "religion" and "culture" can be deeply intertwined. Many rituals, in Jewish weddings and elsewhere, have elements of both. And in several instances, things that were "cultural" became "religious" when rabbis, sages, and other respected figures in Judaism issued opinions and rulings on them. How binding they became has always been situational: what the nature of the opinion was, who gave it, their credentials, and the setting in which it was given. And of course, there's plenty of disagreement between Jewish religious figures to go around.

    Regardless of what any individual feels about it, or whether or not they would be "offended" by its inclusion or exclusion, I think that if a registrar feels that smashing a glass is either too "religiously" or "culturally" Jewish for a registry office ceremony, I would not try to persuade him or her otherwise and would just accept that it is not allowed during the ceremony. And, OP, that means reminding your family that your FI is not Jewish and for that reason they will have to accept that no matter how important that ritual is to them, it isn't going to happen at the ceremony.

    By choosing a registry office ceremony, you are choosing to be married according to their rules-even if that means there won't be any ritual glass smashing.

    If you can't do it at the ceremony, as I mentioned above, you can still do it privately or possibly at your reception.
  • @Jen4948 we've chosen to not get married at a registry office - but we are getting married by the registrar because that is the only person who can marry us. My family (and I) are fine with the fact that my FH isn't Jewish, but we all - myself and my FH included - are trying to figure out if breaking the glass is something we can do at the end of the ceremony.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited January 2016

    @Jen4948 we've chosen to not get married at a registry office - but we are getting married by the registrar because that is the only person who can marry us. My family (and I) are fine with the fact that my FH isn't Jewish, but we all - myself and my FH included - are trying to figure out if breaking the glass is something we can do at the end of the ceremony.

    If the registrar says no, then the answer is no.
  • Yes, that's why I'm going to ask them. I was just curious to know if anyone else had done it before I'm able to get in touch with them. 
    STARMOON44
  • Jen4948 said:

    @Jen4948 we've chosen to not get married at a registry office - but we are getting married by the registrar because that is the only person who can marry us. My family (and I) are fine with the fact that my FH isn't Jewish, but we all - myself and my FH included - are trying to figure out if breaking the glass is something we can do at the end of the ceremony.

    If the registrar says no, then the answer is no.

    The whole point of her question was to try and figure out if anyone else had done this before and if the registrar was likely to say no or yes. She clearly understands she needs to follow the registrars' rules.
    londinium215MyNameIsNotwink0erin
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited January 2016

    Jen4948 said:

    @Jen4948 we've chosen to not get married at a registry office - but we are getting married by the registrar because that is the only person who can marry us. My family (and I) are fine with the fact that my FH isn't Jewish, but we all - myself and my FH included - are trying to figure out if breaking the glass is something we can do at the end of the ceremony.

    If the registrar says no, then the answer is no.

    The whole point of her question was to try and figure out if anyone else had done this before and if the registrar was likely to say no or yes. She clearly understands she needs to follow the registrars' rules.
    Until the registrar issues his or her opinion on the matter, it's moot whether anyone else here has done it. Asking him or her is the first order of business. And nobody here in this forum probably knows the specific registrar, so we can't answer how he or she will decide.

    I would just ask him or her, "We would like to smash a glass in accordance with Jewish tradition at the end of the ceremony because it's a sticking point for my father and other family members who will be attending. Can we do that at the ceremony?"
  • Just a thought...any Rabbi's invited to the reception?  They could give you a blessing and then you could smash the glass.  Then it is time for dancing!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I attended a ceremony where they intended to break the glass at the end of the ceremony but for whatever reason there was no glass there. Coordination mix up I think. Anyway, the couple did it at the beginning of the reception right when everyone was seated before dinner. I can't remember if it was before or after the blessing but everyone watched and it was a nice moment. So that would be a good back up plan like PPs suggested.
  • Thanks, all! I finally had the chance to get through to the registrar's office and apparently in the UK they view breaking the glass as a cultural tradition rather than a religious one, so it's fine for me to do it at the end. Hopefully it all goes smoothly with the registrar they send on the day!
    Jen4948STARMOON44MyNameIsNot
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Thanks, all! I finally had the chance to get through to the registrar's office and apparently in the UK they view breaking the glass as a cultural tradition rather than a religious one, so it's fine for me to do it at the end. Hopefully it all goes smoothly with the registrar they send on the day!
    Mazel tov!
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