Have you fallen in love with somebody who is not of your faith? If that is the case, you might have some challenges ahead of you. The word compromise will take on a stronger meaning as you make sacrifices to make your marriage work. Of course you should never give up the strong beliefs that have formed you into the person you are today. However, if you borrow the best from each other's beliefs, you will grow in ways you never expected.
Your Families - One of your first challenges may come in the form of concerns by your parents and your extended family members. Have a meeting with each set of family members privately and talk about the things you and your significant other have in common. After you have met with both families privately, invite both families to meet each other in a neutral setting, perhaps your own apartment or home or in a restaurant that offers private rooms. Even though it may be difficult, try hard not to let negative emotions take over, as that will simply lead to contention. A very sweet touch will be to already have a framed picture of the two of you together to give to your parents. Show them that you are already determined to make your inter-faith marriage work and ask them to place the picture in a place where they will be reminded of your commitment to each other.
The Wedding - Planning the wedding ceremony and the reception will take tact, respect and graciousness from both sides of the family. While there might be differences in beliefs, there are beautiful traditions that be blended. For example, in the Jewish faith, it is customary for the chatan and the kallah, or the groom and his bride, not to see each other for a week before the marriage ceremony. In addition, the day of the wedding, both bride and groom fast from eating from the beginning of the day until the end of the marriage ceremony. By following the tradition of the Jewish faith, the future spouse can show that he or she is willing to make sacrifices during the rest of the marriage. In addition, the Jewish marriage ceremony takes place under a canopy, or a choppah, which is a symbol of the house that the new couple will establish for their families. Again, this is a beautiful symbol that the Christian fiance will more than likely embrace with pleasure.
In adopting some of the wedding traditions of the Christian faith, one goes to the teachings of the Bible. One tradition in a Christian wedding is that the groom enters the church auditorium before the bride does. This action represents Christ as the Groom. In a Christian wedding, the parents of the bride and groom are seated in a place of prominence. This tradition stems from Biblical scriptures which teach that parents are responsible in helping to discern the choice of a spouse for their children. Often, in Christian weddings a white runner is placed on the center aisle of the church. The white runner represents the holy ground where the lives of the bride and groom are joined together by God. These traditions may seem simple, but they are important. The things these traditions represent are all good and pure, so it should be no problem to use them in your Jewish inter-faith wedding.
Find officiators, like Audrey Kaufman, that are willing to perform inter-faith marriage ceremonies and that are certified to solemnize marriages. In most cases, be prepared to meet with the officiator for counseling. If you think that it would help for your extended family to also meet with the officiator for counseling before the marriage takes place, have a separate meeting for that counseling to take place.