Here in Vancouver BC, multifaith and multicultural weddings are very common, thanks to our extremely diverse community. It’s wonderful! Especially for me when I’m wearing my Wedding Officiant ‘hat’.
I love delving into cultural traditions when I create my wedding ceremonies. Wedding ceremonies that are resonate with meaning for both the Bride and the Groom — as well as their respective families and friends.
The wedding this year of Allison and Alon was especially meaningful to me for precisely this reason. Allison is Chinese Canadian and Alon is Jewish.
After some time reflecting and researching, I gave the couple an array of suggestions for how we could create a custom wedding ceremony that would serve on a number of levels. Most importantly of course to set them on the path of marriage in a way that spoke to their hearts. But also to connect their families and friends.
There are in fact a striking number of similarities between their two cultures. We chose to highlight these. I told a Jewish folktale and a Chinese one… both of which reinforced the belief that two people are born destined to be together and that once joined nothing can break their bond. Guests loved it.
And everyone was moved by the reading of the Seven Blessings by Allison and Alon’s mothers. The Seven Blessings is a Jewish tradition, usually spoken by a Rabbi or even the guests. In this case both heritages strongly emphasize family so I created a multifaith version for the Mothers of the Bride and Groom to read. Definitely not traditional in the languaging, but certainly in intent.
The couple was extremely moved and as their mothers read, I felt the power of ceremony come over us all. I think of these as ‘portal moments’ when we all step through the thin place between the mundane and the sacred.
Before the wedding ceremony, guests had gathered like-with-like… but afterward I loved seeing everyone happily mingling and exclaiming over their shared values and stories. Such a positive day! One that I’ll remember for years to come.
With gratitude that meaning is alive and well in our modern world.