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Jewish Weddings

Interfaith Jewish Wedding

Hi Girls!
There is not any advice on interfaith weddings here so I thought I would try this board too...!
I need some advice...my fiance and I are in the process of figuring out who will marry us.  We are up for having a rabbi- he does not mind even though he is not of the Jewish faith and I am.  But, as you know, in the Jewish faith, rabbis can not marry on the Sabbath which is sundown to sundown Friday through Saturday. Which is where we are getting into a problem. We could get married at 8:15pm on a Saturday night in the summer but  then that only leaves around 3 hours for a reception with clean up. Some places want you out of there at 11.  We could do appetizers and cocktails and stuff for that.. but it would not be very long at all.
We could get married on a Sunday and then there would not be a problem with the rabbi, but then again it is a Sunday, which is cheaper but maybe harder?
If we did indeed want to get married on a Saturday before sundown, does anyone know of a justice of the peace in the Pittsburgh Area that maybe incorporates some of the Jewish traditions?  Has anyone else been to an interfaith Jewish wedding recently? What did they do? 
Any help or suggestions would be great- we have not found a place yet but are looking around at Edgewood Country Club, Rolling Hills Country Club, The Sheraton, The Doubletree.  I just wanted to see what people thought!


Re: Interfaith Jewish Wedding

  • tenofcups4metenofcups4me member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Lots of questions there! You can probably have most of what you want, maybe even all of it, but I suggest figuring out which elements are most important to you first.

    In the Philly area, I've attended a lot of interfaith weddings, some performed by rabbis and some by judges. (At my own interfaith wedding, we asked our best man and MOH to get ordained online and officiate our ceremony so that's another option.) Most of them have been on Saturday nights.

    A few points to consider:
    - A reform rabbi will sometimes start somewhat before sundown on a Saturday night. I've attended Jewish/interfaith weddings officiated by rabbis on Saturday in the summer that started at around 7 or so. So you might find someone who will start earlier.

    - If not, you could also consider starting with a cocktail hour then ceremony then reception so you can still have a full evening event.

    - Many places will allow receptions to go far later than 11. Again my own first wedding started at 7, cocktail hour from 7:30-8:30, dinner and dancing till 12:30. Their standard was 5 hours for the reception, but they didn't care how late it started as long as it was after 6 (in case there was an afternoon reception). You might want to look around for more flexible reception venues.

    - If the rabbi is really important and you can't find another venue, you could consider fall, winter, or spring when it gets dark out a lot earlier.

    - I've also attended several weddings officiated by judges who incorporated as much or little Jewish traditon as the couple wanted so that's another option, though I think it's harder in general to find a judge if you don't have personal contacts.

    - If all else fails, Sunday afternoon or evening is always an option.

    So it really depends on which elements are most important to you, but I can say with certainty I've attended several interfaith weddings officiated by rabbis on Saturday nights in the Philly area so it can definitely be done! I don't know what the situation is in Pittsburgh though. I'd probably simultaneously start looking for a rabbi -- and asking about how late it can start -- and checking out reception venues that go later into the evening. Then take it from there... Good luck!
  • edited December 2011
    Well FI and I are getting married by a rabbi and we are an interfaith couple.  I'm Jewish, FI doesn't associate with any religion, so we getting married Jewish.  first of all, find a rabbi to marry you.  And if you really want it to be on a Saturday night, find one that has no problem with a wedding at that time.  Google interfaith rabbis in pittsburgh and see what comes up.  For us, it took us over a month to find one.  We asked my childhood rabbi, who has married 2 non-jews before (he served in the marines) but never married an interfaith and refuses to do any of the customs (I still need to tell him we went with another rabbi and I'm down to 4 months before my wedding, oy).  We tried one of the interfaith clergy companies, but they were already booked, and then finally recommended an old hebrew high teacher, a rabbi from a reform synagogue, who will do everything I want.

    Now onto the day...honestly, most Jewish weddings are Sundays because of the issues with the Sabbath.  That being said, try and pick a "holiday" weekend.  We picked Labor day weekend, so that our guest have the Monday afterwards to travel home.  My parents were married on Columbus day weekend.  I have friends getting married on Memorial Day weekend.  July 4th works for this year too!  If you dont want a holiday weekend, consider an early Sunday wedding so guests can be on the road by evening time.  Our wedding is at 3, and the reception ends at 9.  And like you said, Sunday weddings are cheaper!  i love all the discounts we get for it being on a Sunday!

    I know the issues you have, I went through it when we began planning, so keep your chin up!  everything will work out!
    At sea, heading to Lisbon, Portugal Anniversary
  • edited December 2011
    thanks girls! 
    I did contact my old rabbi and he said he does not do interfaith marriages.  Another rabbi from interfaith marriages.org said he would indeed marry us because I am Jewish- but not until dusk.   I would love it even if it were like an hour earlier!!!
    I am still looking around but it is hard to get a rabbi for that reason!
    I know it will work out but it is just stressful....!
    I am a teacher so I really want a summer wedding so I do not have to worry about taking a honeymoon in the fall or spring.  If we did the wedding in the summer, and it went until 9 or 10 on Sunday then people would have to take off work  if they want to come- but they will if they want to come :)
  • edited December 2011
    If folks really are your friends and familiy and want to celebrate, then they will come.  We did the holiday weekend and told folks several months ahead of time and those that were really committed came; I feel that no matter when we did it, those same folks that are opting not to go wouldn't go.

    Remember, it's your day and while you want to take your guests into consideration, marriage is a life cycle event and not just a reason to party...  Try interfaithfamily.com - perhaps they may have more interfaith options in your area, but doing a ceremony before dusk will be your major sticking point.  I'd consider having the cocktails before, then there ceremony, and then the dinner and dancing so that you can still have a Saturday affair....
  • LBRM_NJLBRM_NJ member
    Knottie Warrior 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    At least around here, Sunday jewish weddings are VERY common, especially in the summer.  I have been to a TON of Sunday night weddings and never took the next day off.  I've had a wonderful time at these weddings and just sucked it up the next day at work!
    The Knot lost my info, but, I've been married since 6/19/05!
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker My Blog - "Helping Make Sense"
  • 2dBride2dBride member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    You might think about a Sunday morning wedding, with a brunch afterward.  That way, you can serve a full meal, including alcohol, for much less than the cost of a dinner reception.  And guests could make it home early enough on Sunday to be able to get to work the next day.

    Also, Pennsylvania has what is called a "self-uniting" option, which means you do not have to have an officiant at all.  While originally developed for the Quakers, it is available to anyone of any religion.  If you used this option, you could have any relative or friend act as officiant in terms of running the ceremony.  However, because an officiant is not actually required, you wouldn't have to worry about the qualifications of the officiant.

    Just thought you might like a couple more options, in case you can't find a rabbi to do a Saturday service before dark.
  • edited December 2011
    if you are desperate for a rabbi the one marrying me and FI (who is not jewish) will incorporate traditions you choose, and will marry a jew and non jew on saturday before the end of shabbat. 

    his name is rabbi alpern, and he is from saratoga, NY. i know he travels far and wide. but he IS expensive. and i know someone on this board had what they would consider a bad experience with him. my FI and i have been happy with him so far, and we would so far recommend him. 

    you can email him at:

    if you contact him please let him know Lynnie referred you. 
    october '10 siggy: Early Pic of me and FI (not the first.....)
    image Visit The Knot! Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • rabbimichaelrabbimichael member
    Second Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Good evening Haley, I am Rabbi Michael and I can help you regarding your upcoming wedding. I can be emailed at [email protected]
  • edited December 2011

           Hi. I too am in Pittsburgh. My date is Next August, on a Sunday evening. My Fiance is of the jewish faith and is practicing however is not an active member of a synagogue. I would like to have an Interfaith. Have you been able to secure a Rabbi? We are looking into me converting because It's important to me that we walk on the same path and have a Jewish home. Would love to speak further and see what information you have found thus far.

    My email: [email protected] Smile


  • edited December 2011
    Hi! So I have not checked back in a while! sorry!  We did find a rabbi in Pittsburgh- His name is Art Donsky- very friendly.  We are also looking into meeting with another rabbi next week to see different options.
    My email is [email protected] so feel free to email me with anything!
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