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We are of Different Religions. Who Decides on the Church Ceremony?

When two people are in love and make the decision to marry this is a joyous occasion worthy of celebration. However, when the two people are of different religions, this can bring with it many challenges that couples of the same religion do not have to face.

Traditionally, a couple marries in the bride’s church but today there are no clearly defined rules about such things and this is more up to the discretion of the couple involved. Some people are very connected to a church where they spent their girlhood or boyhood while others may wish to be married in a church that they have only recently started to attend.

If one person is more concerned than the other that they marry in a specific church and the other person is in agreement then the decision is made but for many couples uniting in an interreligious marriage (also sometimes described as a mixed marriage) can cause conflicts starting with what church to have the wedding ceremony in.

It is important to discuss this issue and to find a middle ground that both individuals can live with. If both people want to get married in their own church a compromise will have to be made, such as having the wedding in a different church all together or perhaps having an outdoor ceremony in a garden.

In order to get the conversation started there are certain questions each person should ask themselves and also questions that should be asked of each other. First of all ask yourself:

  • How you feel about the religion you practice?
  • Is it extremely important for you to be married in a wedding ceremony that reflects the religious beliefs you were brought up with or not?
  • Is a religious wedding what you really want and if yes how important is it to you and to your future spouse?

Some couples decide to have a secular ceremony if no decision can be reached amicably.

It is also relevant to ask yourselves

  • What roles do you plan for religion to play once you become a married couple?
  • Do you plan to attend church every Sunday and if so, will you attend your respective churches separately or will you take turns going to one or the other?
  • If you plan to have children, which faith will you raise them in?

These are all important questions that need to be clarified before you can move forward with your wedding plans.

Consider the after effects as well. You should ask yourselves how you will feel if your religious faith is not a part of the wedding ceremony. Be aware that both sets of parents will probably not want religion left out of the ceremony.

While it is your wedding ceremony to plan as you wish, realize that weddings are very personal occasions that bring people from both families together. It is important to try to find a solution that will work for all people involved.

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