Making Your Way to the Altar(s)
Planning a wedding ceremony that will set the tone for a lifetime of love can be a meaningful and illuminating process—or a tear-inducing morass. And that’s before you try to incorporate two faiths. Besides, there's not exactly a rulebook to consult when a Christian and a Wiccan get hitched. Take, for example, a recent interfaith wedding Brockway officiated: an atheist man with Christian parents marrying a Wiccan woman with a Jewish mother. The planning began on the tense side: "Just don't say 'Goddess' in front of my 84-year-old grandfather," the worried groom cautioned his bride. But, ultimately, the couple wound up with a wedding that integrated their— and their families'—respective traditions, using one of Brockway's favorite refrains. "Never 'instead of,' always 'in addition to,'" she intones, meaning, never omit a ritual
important to one partner or the other; instead, always be willing to incorporate more.
To honor the Christian side, the bride wore white, the couple lit a unity candle, and the wedding ceremony was co-officiated by a Unitarian minister. The Wiccan half of the nuptials involved lighting a specially blessed oil candle representing the male and female deities—and having the bridesmaids "call in the directions," a longheld Wiccan tradition.
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Too convoluted? Brockway says about one in four couples choose to say "I do" twice, in two distinct ceremonies. Traci, 32, and Partha, 31, had a Christian ceremony one night and a second full-scale Hindu wedding the next, complete with traditional Bengali dress and the blessings of a Brahmin.
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To Brockway, the biggest boon is seeing older generations set aside their differences to rally around the newlyweds. After one interfaith wedding, she spied the fathers of the bride and groom shuffling off together.