Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dealing with Different Religious Beliefs

No one but the two of you can decide if you should get married, or not. And that's definitely something worthy of serious thought! But once you're sure this is what both of you truly want, then you start thinking about just what sort of wedding ceremony you should have. And one of the core issues is, what does each of you really believe about marriage, and faith, and religion, and how the three will effect your wedding.

It may not be something you've spent a lot of time discussing. Regardless of your current religious practices (or the lack of) each of you was probably raised with and exposed to certain beliefs and those principles may still be somewhere deep inside. They may also play a role in your future, when there are children to raise, or a period of crisis.

For the short term, you might also want to think about the religious beliefs of your loved ones. What do mom and dad, or grandma think about the importance of faith in a marriage? Do they consider it important? Is that going to be an issue? Do you want extra upset or hassle about your wedding?

It's usually easier to deal with these issues than you might think. The first step is for the two of you to decide a couple of things:

1. What does each of you really believe? Is there a God? What are the guiding principles in how you live your life? Do you have faith in some set of beliefs? How do you feel about religion?
2. Now that you've thought about your own beliefs, how similar or different are they from your partner's beliefs? Will both of you be able to continue your current beliefs within the marriage? Will any compromises or accommodations be required? Who will make them?
3. How will all this effect your families? What do they believe? How will that effect you?

These can turn out to be big issues. Don't just assume you know the answers! Talk about it in detail, so each of you knows where the other stands. Once you're comfortable at that level, the rest will be easy.

One of the first issues is what sort of wedding you will have. Will it be in a church? What church? If not actually in a church, who will perform the ceremony? A minister? A priest? A Rabbi? An Imam? A judge or justice of the peace? Fortunately, in today's world, any one of the above choices is usually available. If you want to be married in a house of worship, they may require that you take certain steps to become members of their group, before the wedding.

But more and more people are now choosing to have their weddings in other places. You can be married at a hotel or country club, in a park, on a beach, or at your own home. In almost every part of the country, there are independent "wedding officiants" who can perform the ceremony at the location you choose. Some of them are ministers or priests, some of them are civil appointees. By checking around, you'll discover you can have almost any type of ceremony you wish, at a place of your own choosing. (And, it's easier on everyone to have the ceremony and the reception both at the same place!)

You can go directly to an officiant at sites like in New York, or in Florida, or in Michigan. And there are hundreds more across the country. For nationwide directories, try websites like the American Association of Wedding Officiants (AAWO), or the National Association of Wedding Ministers (NAWM), or maybe Interfaith For strictly civil ceremonies, check with your local county or municipal government.

You can have a beautiful wedding ceremony that combines elements from two or more religions (interfaith), you can have one that involves God and universal religious beliefs without reference to any specific religion (non-denominational). There are also ways to do a very romantic secular (non-religious) ceremony without resorting to one of those dry "civil" ceremonies. These days you can find a "wedding officiant" (someone legally authorized to perform marriages in your state) for whatever sort of ceremony you would like-- you just have to look around, and then talk to them about what you want.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Many Sources of Wedding Information

Even if you're brand new to the whole engagement world. You probably already know there are lots of bridal and wedding magazines at your favorite newsstand or bookstore. For the most part they're excellent, and contain lots of good information. They're usually a little bloated on the advertising side, but those ads can provide a lot of good ideas too.

What you may not know, is just how many other resources are out there to help you!
There are books, websites, even video and TV programs addressing every aspect of getting married! In many cases, they also offer some things that the major magazines do not.

For example, what about local information for your state or city? Would you like to discover some unique places in your area where wedding ceremonies are being performed? How about the inside scoop on wonderful locations for your reception? Want to do some comparison shopping for photographers, DJs, florists, or cake bakers? These are all examples of useful information you're not going to find in the national bridal magazines.

Who's going to perform your ceremony? What are the local laws about marriage in your state? How do you go about getting a marriage license? And, how much should you expect to pay for various items or services, in your area? Again, the national magazines can't deliver that sort of information!

The other thing is, most of the ads in the magazines are for national brands or products. In the first place, buying ad space in those publications is usually way too expensive for your local suppliers. Plus, why would your local wedding supplier spend thousands of dollars to be in a national publication, when they only do business in your local area? Rev. Ron Heilner, of Wedding Ceremonies- Michigan ( says, "Those national magazines are beautiful, and they have some excellent articles. But a local or regional wedding company doesn't really care about reaching people on the other side of the country. And, the prices for their ads are totally out of our reach!"

Try some web searches using terms like "michigan weddings," "connecticut brides," "atlanta bridal," or "dallas ministers." You'll find lots of local information!

Check out some of the major websites like "," or "theweddingchannel," or "theweddingdirectory." Yes, they're national resources, but they often have links to some local information for different areas of the country.

The point is, there's plenty of good information and fresh ideas for you to consider. Buy all the magazines-- they're beautiful! But "think local," too, and don't lose touch with your roots!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Welcome to The Wedding Guide!

This "ezine" is an online resource for answers and ideas about getting married in general, and about actual wedding ceremonies, in particular. We gather information from many places and bring it together in articles to address your interests.

We have a great deal of experience in planning, writing, and performing wedding ceremonies for people of many backgrounds and preferences. Our extensive information database and international contacts also provide the opportunity to answer your specific questions, if you wish.

We will attempt to publish information in response to the most frequently asked questions, and also in areas where we feel there are some "inside tips" you might like to discover. But we will try to respond to individual questions via email, whenever possible.

Just send your questions or comments to:

We hope you find the information useful!

The Editor