Religion, Tradition, and the Wedding Guest


If you’re worried about attending a ceremony in a different religion or culture than your own, don’t worry. You will most likely not being the only “outsider” there, and the primary thing the bride and broom will care about is your presence. These days, a religious wedding ceremony is generally open for those of other faiths to attend, and you can participate in as much or as little as you choose. Religious leaders are accustomed to the fact that there will be people of many faiths attending; thus they generally tend to explain what is happening, and what the congregation is expected to do. If you’re worried that your own religion won’t approve of you attending another worship service, speak with your religious leader. In the event it’s not appropriate for you, you can probably skip the ceremony and attend only the reception.

Here’s a quick rundown of things guests might encounter at a religious wedding:

Catholic: Most weddings include communion, which is offered only to those who have received their First Holy Communion in the Catholic Church. If you aren’t Catholic, stand so that any Catholics in your row may pass, then sit back down and wait quietly.

Jewish: The wedding service is often in Hebrew, but if you don’t understand the language, try to enjoy the spirit, music, and company around you. Men, no matter what their faith, are generally expected to wear skull caps or yarmulkes inside the synagogue. You’ll most likely find them being given out just outside of the doors.

Muslim: Most Muslims do not have a public ceremony, only a public reception.

Mormon: Most Mormon wedding ceremonies are restricted to only practicing Mormons. Don’t be offended if you aren’t invited to the ceremony.

To add to your comfort level, why not ask the bride and groom to give you a brief outline of what to expect on the day of the wedding. Or, you can read these links for general overviews.

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