Tag Archives: independent rabbi in NYC

How to Find an Interfaith Wedding Officiant in the New York Area

 
You are getting married.  You have been together and have made the big decision.  You come from different backgrounds or perhaps different countries.  Your family has accepted/made peace with the decision/ empowered you both/ or is very troubled.  Pick the option that fits you or add your own. 

Finding an interfaith wedding officiant

Now  the search begins.  As you may or may not know most synagogue rabbis will not marry an interfaith couple in the synagogue itself.  As an independent rabbi in NYC, I know that reform rabbis can at their discretion perform the ceremony in an outside venue.  Ministers generally will have an easier time than Catholic priests who often have to get permission to preside  outside of the church.  These are generalizations and of course there are many New York City officiants who don’t fit into these categories    If you know friends or family who have had such a wedding you should of course ask for recommendations. This is the single best way of knowing who you will work with since the couple is happy with him or her.   If you don’t know anyone from a personal referral on to the internet.

So now armed with your iphone, ipad, laptop, etc. you start searching the net for interfaith officiants.  It is important to check out their sites carefully, finding out how long they have been officiating, where they were ordained and of course what their philosophy on marriage and ceremonies is.  Hopefully you can see pictures of them in action and testimonials.  If any of this resonates with you both you should email or call the person and have a conversation on the phone.  That will tell you a lot about the person and also whether you are comfortable with what they say.  Are they willing to do a service that is creative and personal to you?  Are they comfortable to work with a co-officiant if your fiance wants the other religion represented as well.

Next step is meeting the person.  You should have an emotional connection with the wedding ceremony officiant.  After all, it is your wedding and you want someone who relates to both of you and listens to you.  Listen to your heart.  There are many people out there so you can interview a few but go with your gut feeling.  Make sure you have a contract that itemizes date, time, fee and is signed by both parties.  That way your date is reserved during a busy summer wedding season.  You should try and meet together a few times to fashion the service and be comfortable that it is respectful to both faiths.    

The picture below is of an interfaith wedding ceremony I performed in the beautiful island of Bermuda.   

Try and give yourself as much time before the wedding to do this search.  The ceremony should be the core of your special day and you want to employ the best person for you.   All this takes time and some effort on your part but is well worth the time.  I have officiated at many interfaith weddings the last three years and have helped to make the day magical to many couples. 

Happy hunting!

 

TESTIMONIALS FOR RABBI GLORIA

Rabbi Gloria’s “How To” Manual for Co-officiating an Interfaith Wedding Ceremony

Co-officiating an Interfaith Wedding Ceremony

As an independent rabbi, I have done many interfaith wedding ceremonies over the last few years. Usually I meet with the couple a number of times, script the service, counsel and work with the respective families. It has become more and more popular to have two officiants at the service. The bride and groom each seem to want a member of their religious background present to represent them.

This has been wonderful and life affirming for me. As an independent rabbi in NYC, I welcome the opportunity to co-officiate and have become a bit of an “expert” in this field. I usually contact the other officiant first via phone or email and discuss our backgrounds and ideas for the service. Then I try and schedule a meeting of the four of us after preparing an outline. I try and be proactive and prepared before meeting so that the couple and officiants have a guide to work from. If the other officiant is in the area I host the meeting in my NYC apartment. If not, we have connected by conference calls, set up in advance.

Then, I will email a script based on the meeting to all and ask for comments. We can meet again in person or email to firm up the service. I will usually call the other officiant to make sure we are on the same page.

Chemistry between officiants is of utmost importance, as the couple and audience are looking for signs of respect and communality. So, the the two of us usually get to the wedding early and spend time one-on-one . I might take his or her arm when we walk down the aisle and try to incorporate the minister or priest in some of my rituals.

If a couple does not have an officiant of the Christian faith, I often help them find one; I have worked with many wonderful clergy over the last number of years. Most people, following such a wedding, remark to me, “The service was so warm! Did you know the other officiant for many years?” Some actually tell me that we should “Take our show on the road.” Or start a television show!

If you need a co-officiant for your interfaith wedding ceremony, it would be my pleasure to help you.

 

An Intimate and loving June Wedding

June 21A lovely couple contacted me many months ago to officiate their wedding.  These two people were very interesting: she a lawyer with poise and creativity, he a college teacher who was originally a psychology major but now was completing his PhD in mathematics.  They had known each other for 17 years and seemed already married; they were extremely easy with one another.

We first met at my apartment in NYC and then it was my turn to visit them at their house in Long Island . I love these visits because it tells me so much of what the couple is about: the treadmill machine in the den confirmed they are both runners; and all the art work on the walls – she actually sketched the drawing for her chuppah. He had traveled through 42 states in the U.S, and she had toured around Europe.

Over wine and cheese we spoke about their life together.  She said her high school teacher advised her to “marry someone smarter than you and you’ll live a happy life and never be bored.”  She thinks over the years they have discovered that each of them is smart in different ways and their differences make them a stronger couple.  How wise.  The groom wrote that his bride to be is a woman who cares for him fiercely and gives him a sense of security the like of which he has never known.

The actual wedding took place on a picture-perfect day in June at a beach club on Long Island.  Seventy friends and family watched as I officiated the service that the couple and I had written together. A low-key, warm and welcoming ceremony, it was a true reflection of this wonderful couple.

You’re engaged! What now? Here’s Rabbi Gloria’s interfaith wedding guide.

Congratulations! You have made the big decision; you are getting married! You come from different backgrounds or perhaps different countries. Your family has accepted/made peace with the decision/ empowered you both/ or is very troubled. Pick the option that fits you or add your own. 

Cake, Tasty, Wedding

Interfaith Wedding Guide

Now the search begins. You need an interfaith wedding guide! How do you find an interfaith wedding officiant? As you may or may not know most synagogue rabbis will not marry an interfaith couple in the synagogue itself. As an independent rabbi in New York City, I know that reform rabbis can, at their discretion, perform the ceremony in an outside venue. Ministers generally will have an easier time than Catholic priests who often have to obtain permission to preside outside of the church. These are generalizations and of course there are many New York City officiants that don’t fit into these categories.

If you know friends or family who have enjoyed a successful interfaith wedding, you should of course ask for recommendations. This is the single best way of knowing who you will work with since the couple is happy with him or her. But if you don’t know anyone from a personal referral, head to the internet.

Armed with your iphone, ipad, laptop, etc. you start searching the net for interfaith officiants.  It is important to check out their sites carefully, finding out how long they have been officiating, where they were ordained and of course what their philosophy on marriage and ceremonies is. Hopefully you can see pictures of them in action and testimonials. If any of this resonates with you both you should email or call the person and have a conversation on the phone. That will tell you a lot about the person and also whether you are comfortable with what they say. Are they willing to do a service that is creative and personal to you? Are they comfortable to work with a co-officiant if your fiance wants the other religion represented as well.

Here are additional questions to keep in mind:

  • Availability? Spring and summer weddings can be a busy time!
  • Do you sense warmth, kindness, connection, spirituality?
  • Experience: how many years has the person performed weddings, and are there good testimonials or references on their site?
  • Does the officiant accurately reflect and support your spiritual ideals and that of your fiancé? Does he or she have experience working with officiants of other faiths?
  • Will he or she meet with you and your fiancé before the wedding day?
  • Will the officiant be flexible with regard to the actual ceremony and focus on creating the ceremony that suits you both perfectly?
  • Is the wedding officiant warm and helpful during your interaction, whether on the phone or by email?
  • Is he or she willing to travel to your wedding location?
  • Is the price in your budget?  Remember you get what you pay for, and this is one of the most important days of your life. You want to be sure you select someone who is a leader; he or she must be warm, kind, helpful, and able to soothe your nerves and support you.

Next step is meeting the person. You should have an emotional connection with the officiant. After all it is your wedding and you want someone who relates to both of you and listens to you. Listen to your heart. There are many people out there so you can interview a few but go with your gut feeling. Make sure you have a contract that itemizes date, time, fee and is signed by both parties. That way your date is reserved during a busy summer wedding season. You should try and meet together a few times to fashion the service and be comfortable that it is respectful to both faiths.

Maldives, Sunset, Wedding, Bride, Tropical, Island

The right interfaith wedding officiant realizes that couples choose interfaith ceremonies for their spiritually inclusive approach. It is a way of rejoicing in our differences and celebrating our communality in an atmosphere of love and respect.  All should come away feeling honored and respected, with his or her uniqueness celebrated.

Try and give yourself as much time before the wedding to do this search. The interfaith ceremony should be the core of your special day and you want to employ the best person for you. All this takes time and some effort on your part but is well worth the time. I have officiated at interfaith weddings the last three years and have helped to make the day magical to many couples.

Happy hunting! And many blessings and great joy to you in your wedded life!

 

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