For many couples, their wedding isn’t just a day to celebrate their love, but also an occasion to honor the traditions and beliefs of their religion. Before you set out to plan your own religious wedding, take a look at these seven mistakes to avoid.
1. Skipping the research. Every religion has its own set of rules or requirements for couples getting married. For example, Catholic couples need to go through Pre Cana, a marriage preparation program, before saying I do. And Jewish couples will have to avoid certain dates when planning their wedding, such as Shabbat and major holidays. Be sure to check with your officiant before booking any vendors or putting down deposits.
2. Not consulting your groom. While you might have your heart set on a religious ceremony, you still need to check in with your groom. There might be elements of the ceremony that he isn’t comfortable with, or perhaps he doesn’t share your beliefs. Keep the lines of communication open and be willing to compromise.
3. Thinking the ceremony can’t be original. Just because you’re choosing a religious ceremony doesn’t mean you can’t let it reflect your personalities and who you are as a couple. Your officiant should be willing to work with you on incorporating special readings, music, etc. that can make your ceremony stand out from the typical religious vows.
4. Sticking with traditional vows. While there might be specific vows you need to say to one another in a religious ceremony, that doesn’t mean you can’t add your own personal vows to the I Dos. Just let your officiant know in advance this is something you want to do.
5. Giving up on your “dream” venue. While it’s true that some religions prefer you to get married in a sacred venue (such as a church or synagogue), most officiants are willing to work with you if you have your heart set on a religious ceremony in another locale. For example, a Catholic priest will tell you that you need to get a dispensation of place to have a recognized Catholic wedding in a non-Catholic spot.
6. Forgetting the dress code. Different religious venues might have a dress code in place, which could mean nixing bare shoulders (no strapless dresses), low backs and anything else deemed too revealing. And don’t forget to make your guests aware of any dress requirements through your wedding website and a special insert with the invitations.
7. Keeping guests out of the loop. Not only do you need to let guests know about dress codes, but you should also make them aware of anything else they might not be prepared for upon arrival. For example, in traditional Muslim and Chassidic ceremonies, men and women are separated.
8. Not explaining the ceremony to guests. Chances are not everyone on your guest list will be familiar with the rituals performed during your ceremony, so be sure to have your officiant explain them as they happen. You can also put notes in your wedding programs.