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Customs and Traditions

I need Christian (but not super religious) traditions!

dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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I'm Jewish and my fiance is Methodist.  We're trying to incorporate as much of both of our traditions as possible, without making it super religious (i.e., no crosses, readings about Jesus, etc.).  We are getting married under a chupa (a Jewish kind of flowered archway), and he is stepping on the glass.  So far, the only Christian tradition we have is that we are going to light a unity candle.  Does anyone know of any Christian wedding traditions that are not explicitly religious?  Thanks!

Re: I need Christian (but not super religious) traditions!

  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    Unity candles are definitely Christian - no Jews have them.  They wouldn't light a candle on Shabbat. 

    That's a really good idea about the readings!  Thank you!  We also just want things that are just traditions, though, not religious at all (like the unity candle, the stepping of the glass, etc.  Things that aren't at all religious on their faith, but are just a part of that religion's traditions)
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    I understand that unity candles have nothing to do with the Christian faith - that's kind of the point.  I want traditions - kind of like how Jewish brides have both their mother and father walk them down the aisle.  That has nothing to do with the Jewish faith, but it is a Jewish tradition.  I know Judaism and Christianity are both religions, but they also each have their own unique, not facially-religious, traditions.  For example, Christmas stockings and trees are not facially religious, but are obviously Christian traditions.
    GlassButton
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    Oh really?  Interesting - I had been told it was a Christian tradition.  Sorry, I didn't mean to offend or anything - I was just going off of what I had been told, and I've only ever seen them at Christian weddings, so I just believed it without much research
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    edited July 2013
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    Like I said before - I'm sorry for my assumption.  I had previously been told that it was a Christian tradition, and just assumed what I heard was correct.

    Thanks for the info.  I guess we will just go with some New Testament readings or something like that!
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    Like I said before - I'm sorry for my assumption.  I had previously been told that it was a Christian tradition, and just assumed what I heard was correct.

    Thanks for the info.  I guess we will just go with some New Testament readings or something like that!
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    Also, I'm sorry everything keeps double posting - I have no idea why that's happening!
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @Hoorayforsoup made a good point I hadn't thought of. A Christian wedding is a religious event, so looking for something that traditionally happens during that religious service that is not religious is sort of impossible. Corinthians 13 is frequently in weddings.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • edited July 2013
    Other posters have given good advice, and I just want to add that as a practicing Christian (a Catholic, to be specific), it's offensive to me that you want to use "Christian traditions" if you're not a practicing Christian. If you are, and I'm wrong, then I apologise, but your post reads like you're nominally Methodist, don't really practise, and want to incorporate random traditions "just because" you feel like you should, but you don't know any of your own.

    Also, since a wedding is the union of two people -- and in your case, two faith traditions -- it's not unreasonable of you to want to have something from the New Testament (which is the foundation of Christianity) read. A very popular reading is Jesus' first miracle -- turning the water into wine -- which is detailed in the Gospel of John 2:1-11. A point to remember about that is that Jesus was performing that miracle AT A JEWISH WEDDING, so that reading would tie your FI's faith tradition to your own. Corinthians is also popular for wedding readings -- love is patient, love is kind, etc. -- because love is love irrespective of faith or religion.

    There are also readings from the books of Judges, Samuel, Kings, Ruth, and Songs that are suitable for weddings. Those are all OT books, which might be what you're looking for if you're dead-set on not using NT readings. 

    Also, agree with other PP that a "unity candle" may not be Jewish, and it's often used in Christian weddings, but it's not definitively Christian. A lot of my non-religious/atheist/non-Christian friends have used them. 

    ETA: I mis-read you as Methodist and your FI as Jewish. Regardless, my advice stands, just with the genders reversed. If your FI isn't involved enough in his church to know what traditions he wants, co-opting random traditions continues not to be appropriate. Also, I agree with @StageManager14 that identifying as Jewish is both a religion and an ethnicity. Identifying as Christian is religious only -- either you accept Christ as the son of God and your personal Saviour or you don't. You can be culturally Jewish; you can't be culturally Christian.
    Anniversary

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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    [Deleted User]PrettyGirlLost
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    Unity Candles are loosely based in Pagan tradition, as are Christmas trees and most other major "traditions" you come across today.  Some churches (including some United Methodist ones) do use them or allow them in ceremonies, but when that happens, the flame is a symbol for Jesus, so I get the feeling it still isn't what you are looking for.

    Unlike Judaism, which is both a religion and an ethnic group, Christians are literally defined as Christians SOLELY by their religion.  So you aren't going to find non-religious traditions in the Christian faith.  I cannot wrap my head around wanting a wedding with "Christian" traditions that don't include Christ.  Christ is kind of what defines Christianity.  If you are that uncomfortable with even the MENTION or allusion to Jesus, you should probably rethink your interfaith marriage.

    I'm not uncomfortable with it at all.  My fiance and I came to a decision that we did not want a ceremony that was Jewish or Christian.  We are not going to have a rabbi or a pastor - we are getting his good friend to officiate.  Because of this decision, we are not going to have any prayers, either in Hebrew or from Christianity.  We mostly decided this for the sake of our mothers, and to keep the families all happy. 

    With that in mind, I was hoping to find some traditions from each of our backgrounds to include in the wedding, and I mistakenly assumed Christians had some traditions that were kind of similar in idea to the traditions that Jews have.

    I have no reason to "rethink" my interfaith marriage.  I go to church with him on Easter and he goes to my family's Passover dinners. His (amazing) family is kind enough to make me a non-pork option when I go over for Easter dinner, and my family makes sure our Passover seder has some food he will like.  It works out just fine.  My dad was raised Methodist, so my fiance fits right in. 
    PrettyGirlLost
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    Other posters have given good advice, and I just want to add that as a practicing Christian (a Catholic, to be specific), it's offensive to me that you want to use "Christian traditions" if you're not a practicing Christian. If you are, and I'm wrong, then I apologise, but your post reads like you're nominally Methodist, don't really practise, and want to incorporate random traditions "just because" you feel like you should, but you don't know any of your own.
    I'm not Christian at all.  I was raised Jewish, but my fiance is Methodist.  He is a practicing Methodist, but is not a practicing wedding planner. ;).  He still has to get back to me on addresses for our engagement party (in 1 month), so I figured I would go here to try to find traditions, since he hasn't really gotten back to me on it.

    I certainly didn't mean to offend at all - I'm just looking for ideas on how to incorporate traditions from his religion without making it a per-se religious ceremony, so that neither family feels like their traditions are being left out or overpowered. 
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    Other posters have given good advice, and I just want to add that as a practicing Christian (a Catholic, to be specific), it's offensive to me that you want to use "Christian traditions" if you're not a practicing Christian. If you are, and I'm wrong, then I apologise, but your post reads like you're nominally Methodist, don't really practise, and want to incorporate random traditions "just because" you feel like you should, but you don't know any of your own.
    I'm not Christian at all.  I was raised Jewish, but my fiance is Methodist.  He is a practicing Methodist, but is not a practicing wedding planner. ;).  He still has to get back to me on addresses for our engagement party (in 1 month), so I figured I would go here to try to find traditions, since he hasn't really gotten back to me on it.

    I certainly didn't mean to offend at all - I'm just looking for ideas on how to incorporate traditions from his religion without making it a per-se religious ceremony, so that neither family feels like their traditions are being left out or overpowered. 
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    ...Unlike Judaism, which is both a religion and an ethnic group, Christians are literally defined as Christians SOLELY by their religion.  So you aren't going to find non-religious traditions in the Christian faith.  I cannot wrap my head around wanting a wedding with "Christian" traditions that don't include Christ.  Christ is kind of what defines Christianity.  

    You explained this very well, what I was thinking and trying to say.
    [Deleted User]
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    CMGr said:
    I am a member of the United Methodist Christian faith.  We are one of the most open denominations of Christianity.  United Methodists come from many different backgrounds and cultures, including Judiasm.  There is nothing in a Jewish wedding that would be unsettling to a Methodist Christian.  The one tradition we do have is that after the officient pronounces that the couple is married, he says "You may kiss your bride." to the groom.  Everyone looks forward to this symbolic kiss, though it is not a necessary part of the  ritual.  It's sort of like when the groom stomps on the glass.

    Thank you!!!  This is really helpful!  I appreciate it!
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    ssautter said:

    Unity Candles are loosely based in Pagan tradition, as are Christmas trees and most other major "traditions" you come across today.  Some churches (including some United Methodist ones) do use them or allow them in ceremonies, but when that happens, the flame is a symbol for Jesus, so I get the feeling it still isn't what you are looking for.

    Unlike Judaism, which is both a religion and an ethnic group, Christians are literally defined as Christians SOLELY by their religion.  So you aren't going to find non-religious traditions in the Christian faith.  I cannot wrap my head around wanting a wedding with "Christian" traditions that don't include Christ.  Christ is kind of what defines Christianity.  If you are that uncomfortable with even the MENTION or allusion to Jesus, you should probably rethink your interfaith marriage.

    I'm not uncomfortable with it at all.  My fiance and I came to a decision that we did not want a ceremony that was Jewish or Christian.  We are not going to have a rabbi or a pastor - we are getting his good friend to officiate.  Because of this decision, we are not going to have any prayers, either in Hebrew or from Christianity.  We mostly decided this for the sake of our mothers, and to keep the families all happy. 

    With that in mind, I was hoping to find some traditions from each of our backgrounds to include in the wedding, and I mistakenly assumed Christians had some traditions that were kind of similar in idea to the traditions that Jews have.

    I have no reason to "rethink" my interfaith marriage.  I go to church with him on Easter and he goes to my family's Passover dinners. His (amazing) family is kind enough to make me a non-pork option when I go over for Easter dinner, and my family makes sure our Passover seder has some food he will like.  It works out just fine.  My dad was raised Methodist, so my fiance fits right in. 
    Then why not have a "secular" ceremony? 
    We were interested in including various traditions from our backgrounds, if possible.  I really didn't think this post would be so controversial - I was just hoping to find a couple of traditions that I didn't know about.  I now understand that those traditions may not exist.  My mistake.
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    ssautter said:

    Unity Candles are loosely based in Pagan tradition, as are Christmas trees and most other major "traditions" you come across today.  Some churches (including some United Methodist ones) do use them or allow them in ceremonies, but when that happens, the flame is a symbol for Jesus, so I get the feeling it still isn't what you are looking for.

    Unlike Judaism, which is both a religion and an ethnic group, Christians are literally defined as Christians SOLELY by their religion.  So you aren't going to find non-religious traditions in the Christian faith.  I cannot wrap my head around wanting a wedding with "Christian" traditions that don't include Christ.  Christ is kind of what defines Christianity.  If you are that uncomfortable with even the MENTION or allusion to Jesus, you should probably rethink your interfaith marriage.

    I'm not uncomfortable with it at all.  My fiance and I came to a decision that we did not want a ceremony that was Jewish or Christian.  We are not going to have a rabbi or a pastor - we are getting his good friend to officiate.  Because of this decision, we are not going to have any prayers, either in Hebrew or from Christianity.  We mostly decided this for the sake of our mothers, and to keep the families all happy. 

    With that in mind, I was hoping to find some traditions from each of our backgrounds to include in the wedding, and I mistakenly assumed Christians had some traditions that were kind of similar in idea to the traditions that Jews have.

    I have no reason to "rethink" my interfaith marriage.  I go to church with him on Easter and he goes to my family's Passover dinners. His (amazing) family is kind enough to make me a non-pork option when I go over for Easter dinner, and my family makes sure our Passover seder has some food he will like.  It works out just fine.  My dad was raised Methodist, so my fiance fits right in. 
    Then why not have a "secular" ceremony? 
    We were interested in including various traditions from our backgrounds, if possible.  I really didn't think this post would be so controversial - I was just hoping to find a couple of traditions that I didn't know about.  I now understand that those traditions may not exist.  My mistake.
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
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    edited July 2013
    You could have both a pastor (or whatever yours is called, sorry I am not familiar) and a rabbi marry you.  Then both religions are represented in harmony, and you could possibly ask the pastor what traditions he has seen done.

    Also, this is just an artical about some traditions.  http://christianity.about.com/od/weddingceremony/a/weddingtraditions.htm
    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • ssautter said:
    Unity candles are definitely Christian - no Jews have them.  They wouldn't light a candle on Shabbat. 

    That's a really good idea about the readings!  Thank you!  We also just want things that are just traditions, though, not religious at all (like the unity candle, the stepping of the glass, etc.  Things that aren't at all religious on their faith, but are just a part of that religion's traditions)
    Jewish weddings are not supposed to be on Shabbat, so not sure what that has to do with anything.  

  • See, the thing is, that even if non religious Christian traditions DID EXIST, why would you want to partake in them? I'm not trying to be rude here, but I'm seriously confused as to why you would want to incorporate traditions that have no value to you or FI? If he was practicing, he would know some of the traditions and would want to use them.

    I'm a spiritual Christian with ties to the Catholic church (I'm still figuring all that stuff out for myself), and I would have no problem if you were to use a religious reading you find meaningful, but if you were to take communion, I would be offended because you have no vested interest in the body/blood of Christ (KWIM?)

    Only incorporate those traditions that have meaning to you.

    And BTW, I don't think that poignant readings from the bible are too religious, regardless of who they mention, as long as the message is clear and of meaning to the couple.
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    [Deleted User]PrettyGirlLost
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    @s-aries8990 My FI is a practicing Methodist, but not a practicing wedding planner.  His response to things that aren’t music or food-related is “I proposed – I’ve done my part!”  So I figured, until he gets that little saying out of his system, I would just check here.

    I do think we will end up using a Bible verse.  I suggested the Corinthians passage (love is patient, love is kind….), but he was worried that could rock the boat with my Jewish family for some reason.  He’s very sweet, and is just very concerned that my mom will be uncomfortable with incorporating some things that I don’t think she would care about at all.

  • I know it's from the NT, but can you also have a reading or two from the OT? I mean, if you're using a chuppa, breaking the glass, and have an OT reading, a NT reading that doesn't mention Jesus shouldn't be too scandalous. And if they are scandalized by that passage, maybe they just need a bit more love in their own lives ;).


    But, on a more serious note @ssautter, he doesn't want any part of planning the wedding? When did you get engaged? I hope he's just being a smart ass about the planning rather than an asshole - that would concern me.
     Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    doeydoPrettyGirlLost
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    @s-aries8990 we got engaged earlier this summer and aren’t getting married until May 2, 2015.  He went to some of the venue tours, and gave his input on that, and he really cares about the music and the food.  He also suggested his good friend to officiate the wedding. For the most part, he is being a smart ass about it, but he also really doesn’t care about wedding colors, flowers, etc. 

    He will have an opinion about this type of ceremony stuff eventually, but I’m a total planner (and just finished my summer job, so I have nothing to do but plan until school starts again in late August), so I like the idea of getting some ideas on paper to help him out when he does finally admit he cares.
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
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    edited July 2013
    Didn't mean to comment
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  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
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    edited August 2013
    ssautter said:
    I'm Jewish and my fiance is Methodist.  We're trying to incorporate as much of both of our traditions as possible, without making it super religious (i.e., no crosses, readings about Jesus, etc.).  We are getting married under a chupa (a Jewish kind of flowered archway), and he is stepping on the glass.  So far, the only Christian tradition we have is that we are going to light a unity candle.  Does anyone know of any Christian wedding traditions that are not explicitly religious?  Thanks!
    Unity candles are a secular tradition, supposedly made popular by a wedding on General Hospital in the '80s.

    Also, you are going to have a hard time incorporating Christian traditions if you try to remove Christ from them.

    ETA:  I'd either have a true inter-faith ceremony as other suggested with both a Rabbi and a Pastor, or a totally secular one- no chuppa, no glass breaking, etc.

    Also, before you plan to have a friend officiate your wedding, you need to check with the office that handles marriage licenses in the exact county you are going to be married in, and be sure that what you plan to do will be legally valid. 

    I don't know what your friend's qualifications are , he could be a judge or the mayor, but if he is a self ordained minister he may not be able to legally marry you.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


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