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Joining Hands and Hearts

Preface xvii
Introduction: So You’re Getting Married! 1

Part I

Chapter One
What Is Interfaith? A Philosophy of the Heart
The Religious 15
The Spiritual 16
The Cultural 18
The Personal 19
Interlude: Anna and Josh, a former Evangelical Christian–agnostic Protestant Jewish couple 21

Chapter Two
Tell Me All About It: A Questionnaire for Couples
Logistics 28
Envisioning your ceremony 28
Your backgrounds and families 29
Matters of the heart: about your relationship 31
About yourself 34
The questionnaire. Enjoy! 36
Interlude: Annette and Robert, a Greek Orthodox–Lutheran couple 39

Chapter Three
Practicalities: The Nuts and Bolts of Any Wedding
The setting: where will your wedding take place? 42
The celebrant: who will marry you? 44
Working with your celebrant 47
The license 51
The rehearsal 51
The microphone 52
The music 52
The sacred space 52
Interlude: Christine and Dave, a Catholic–Mormon couple 53

Chapter Four
Family Matters: Working with Family and Friends Throughout the Wedding Process 56
Communication is key; listen from the heart 58
Letting go may be hard 59
Ask for your parents’ support and blessing 59
Let your parents find their own peace with your marriage 61
Let there be no uncomfortable surprises 62
Reassure your parents that your heritage need not disappear 63
Assure your parents that you’ve chosen your partner out of love,
not rebellion 65
Do not assume you know how your parents will react 66
Having a sense of humor helps 67
Encourage your parents to reach out to your spouse and his or her family 68
If your parents are too shy to reach out, do it yourself 68
Lean on your friends for support 69
Consider honoring your close family members 70
Think of ways to involve the children 71
Consider acknowledging the death of a loved one 72
If a family member or close friend is ill, consider acknowledging
them 74
Interlude: Sven and Elizabeth, an Episcopalian–Catholic couple 76

Chapter Five
The Interfaith Ceremony: Its Components and
A word about rituals 80
Building your ceremony 80
Procession 81
Ritual (optional) 83
Opening words 83
Reading(s) (optional) 86
Honoring of family members (optional) 87
Celebrant’s address 89
Prayer (optional) 91
Declaration of intent 92
Ritual(s) (optional) 93
Silent prayer (optional) 93
Vows 93
Blessing and exchange of rings 95
Pronouncement 96
Kiss 96
Closing blessing 96
Ritual (optional) 97
Recession 98
Interlude: Ginger and Stevie, a Jewish–Catholic couple 99

Part II
THE MANUAL: Turning Religious, Cultural, and Universal Rituals, Prayers, Vows, and Blessings
into Interfaith Celebrations

Chapter Six
A Menu of General Wedding Rituals and Traditions 105
Veiling and unveiling of the bride 105
Exchanging of rings 106
Sharing of a cup of wine 106
Breaking of bread 107
Handfasting, or binding of the hands 108
Candle lighting ceremony 110
Releasing of butterflies 111
Releasing of doves 112

Chapter Seven
Universal Passages for Almost Any Wedding:
Romantic Selections from Literature, Philosophy, and History
Opening words 114
Readings 115
Honoring of family members 126
Prayers and blessings 127
Vows 130
Blessing of rings 133
Ring vows 133
Pronouncement 135
Kiss 136

Chapter Eight
Religions and Their Marriage Practices: A Menu of
Baha’i 137
Buddhism 140
Christianity 148
Confucianism 157
Hinduism 159
Islam 168
Jainism 173
Judaism 175
Native American Spirituality 188
Shinto 191
Sikhism 195
Sufism 200
Taoism 204
Zoroastrianism 207

Chapter Nine
Wedding Customs from Around the World 212
Afghani 212
African-American 213
Arabic or Middle Eastern 221
Armenian 221
Austrian 222
Bulgarian 222
Cambodian 222
Chinese 223
Cyprian 225
Czech 225
Danish 225
Dutch 225
Egyptian 226
English 226
Filipino 226
Finnish 227
French 227
German 227
Greek 228
Hawaiian 228
Hungarian 229
Indian 229
Indonesian 230
Iranian 231
Irish 232
Italian 233
Japanese 233
Korean 234
Laotian 235
Latin American, Central American, and Spanish 235
Latvian 236
Malaysian 236
Mexican 237
Moroccan 237
Norwegian 238
Pakistani 238
Polish 238
Portuguese 239
Romanian 239
Russian 239
Samoan 240
Scandinavian 240
Scottish 240
Spanish 240
Sudanese 241
Swedish 241
Swiss 241

Part III
Eight Interfaith, Intercultural Couples,
Their Love Stories and Wedding Ceremonies

Leah and Zack, a Jewish–Iranian couple 245
Natasha and Phillip, a Hindu–Jewish couple 252
Mercedes and Jack, a converted Buddhist–Jewish couple 262
Vicki and Karl, a Greek Orthodox–Jewish couple 269
Marie and Luigi, an Italian-American Catholic couple 277
Chantè and Judah, an African-American, Native American,
Baptist-French, Russian Jewish, Sufi, Rastafarian couple 284
Sylvia and Fakir, an African-American Christian–Moroccan
Muslim couple 293
Jacqueline and Kenneth, a Born-Again Christian–Jewish couple 300

Epilogue 305
Resources 307
A Final Word 309
Permissions Acknowledgments 311

For further information on Joining Hands and Hearts please click below. Macomb is now busy working on her next book!

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