Jewish Weddings

Early Planning Stages-HELP!

We are an interfaith couple, I am Christian and she is Jewish.  Our backgrounds are important to both of us, and I think we could have a very nice ceremony that incorporates both faiths and allows both families to feel comfortable and respected.  She wants to be married by a rabbi, have a huppah, have all the men wear kippahs (including me, my guests, and my family), break the glass, and have parents walk us in.  We will likely be married outdoors.  This doesn't look or feel like an interfaith wedding to me.  I am upset, and she keeps saying I thought when you agreed to be married by a rabbi you also agreed to this.  Every time we talk about it, she adds an additional thing she wants.  Now we must cut challa and have an older man do it for some kind of ritual at the reception.  Then today I heard that we must both be lifted while seated in chairs?  

This is all going to be very strange and possibly uncomfortable for my friends and guests (she will have twice as many guests as I will and the majority are Jewish).  

I have shared that all of these things aren't necessary, and we could do some things that respect my religion and take out a few of the things she wants to even it out.  For example, I mentioned keeping the huppah, rabbi, and glass breaking, but not having the challah and chair-lifting at the reception.  I mentioned not having everyone wear kippahs, but making them optional with a basket and a sign that says "optional".  I mentioned she could have her parents walk her in, and I could just come onto the stage area with the rabbi.  I was also against a big wedding, but she wants something that "she has dreamed of her entire life", so I want her to be happy.  Honestly, I would be happy with a small ceremony and 10-15 close family members.

I feel like I am being flexible, but she is being insistent on things, and I am scared.  Is this just the beginning?  I am proud fo my background, but I want to respect her background and her family too.  She has also brought up how this will be just like raising kids, and she wants to raise them Jewish.  When I ask questions about that, she immediately says, "you agreed to this" before even telling me what she wants.  At one point earlier in our relationship I mentioned having a Christmas tree and she said "it will confuse our children".  I am proud of who I am and where I come from.  She is the from the city, I am from a small midwest town.  

I love this woman and I want to marry her, but this needs to be our wedding.  She has really only attended Jewish weddings, so I think she has assume that hers should be the same.  I should also mention that we are both older (39 and 40) so I think that means we should scale things back a bit too.

Any advice would be helpful.  I feel like we should be celebrating our engagement (2.5 weeks ago) and not feeling awful about our differences.

Re: Early Planning Stages-HELP!

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    With regard to the actual Jewish wedding traditions:

    The chair thing is not a requirement, just a cultural tradition. If you don't want to do it, then don't. That can be readily skipped. No need to make that a hill to die on.

    The challah thing is simply two loaves of braided bread with a one-line prayer over them (maybe two if it is recited in both Hebrew and English). I would not make that a hill to die on either.

    The glass-breaking actually is not a fun, cute thing that Jews do. It has a solemn meaning to it. 

    But yes, kippot are worn by all males at Jewish events in accordance with Jewish law. (Actually, by all male attendees.) That cannot be "optional" for male Jews, but can for everyone else. An "optional" sign would not be appropriate though. Just let this one go.

    As for Christmas trees, no, Jewish people don't do them, but I would tell her to stop with the "it will confuse our children" bullshit. I am Jewish and have many relatives married to non-Jews who raise children together with both Christmas trees and Jewish traditions. I've known many other people who have one Jewish and one Christian parent. This is crap.

    But the big issue, I think, is that she keeps piling on the demands. I would tear up all the plans at this point and tell her that it's time to start over. And she needs to stop expecting you to do all the compromising and make some concessions of her own. Your wedding and marriage can't be only "what she dreamed of all her life." There has to be room in it for you too.
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