Views, interpretations and beliefs on love and marriage vary around the world, but what happens when love strikes between two people from different communities, faiths or cultures, can love still prevail?
After the fun, games and laughter of ‘courtship’, enjoying all that you have in common and all that is different, you wake up one day and realise that “this is it”; you’ve found your life partner, the love of your life, your soul mate. But when things take a more serious footing and conversations turn to marriage, interfaith relationships can start to look and feel like the odds are stacked up against them.
Awkward conversations with families can arise, you realise that perhaps the wedding you had always imagined as a child may not be allowed; and the prospect of isolation and rejection by your place of worship would be sure to test any couple’s strength and resolve.
But living in a modern pluralist society where the latest 2011census shows that nearly one in eight couples and families are ethnically mixed; two million homes are headed by couples from two different ethnic groups and 1.25million people count themselves as ethnically mixed, suggests that mixed relationships are becoming more commonplace.
Rita Patel a leading member of the Hindu community in Swindon, in her interview with the BBC, suggests that mixed marriages are more like one in three or one in five.
Jan Shillito from Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings believes:
“Just because you have fallen in love with someone outside your particular faith it shouldn’t mean you should have to give up your own faith or force your partner to change their beliefs. A marriage should be based on mutual respect for each other and your beliefs, we’re all individuals and have the right to choose what we believe in or not as the case may be.”
So what are the options for an interfaith marriage?
There are a huge variety of traditions, customs, rituals and symbolic gestures involved in wedding ceremonies so it’s important that you sit down together and work out what’s important to you. The Inter-faith Marriage Network is a good place to start for general F&Qs.
If your parents or religion don’t give you their permission or allow you to have a religious ceremony this doesn’t stop you from having a legal civil ceremony. This can then be followed by religious blessing for one or both faiths or a celebration ceremony. Have a listen to Vikesh Jobanputra talking about his mixed marriage to Kelly Stooke, they managed to make it work for both of them.
Jan Shillito went on to tell us why Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings are unique:
“There are no set rules or etiquette, as they are written and designed for our couples they can be what they want them to be. Whilst we don’t profess to be religious experts we are more than happy to work with you to include any religious or spiritual content and any symbolic gestures or actions. We are dedicated to making your ceremony a personal one that can reflect your values and beliefs and be meaningful to you both”
Your Celebration Ceremony can be held anywhere you choose, providing it is suitable for the number of guests and style of wedding ceremony, it doesn’t have to be licensed and it can be outdoors.
Celebration Ceremonies are qualified and approved in wedding ceremonies by Government training body Ofqual, one of the first five in the UK and currently the only ones in the North. Couples usually do the ‘legal bits’ at the Register Office with just their two witnesses on the morning of their ceremony or the day before.
Visit their website on: www.thememorybox.com/ceremonies/
Call Jan on 07745 385 981
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