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An Intro to Interfaith & Interspiritual Wedding Ceremonies

Published Wednesday, Jul. 7th, 2021


‘Interfaith’ and ‘interspiritual’ weddings sound similar… But what do these words really mean, and how are they different? 



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AMM Audio Articles · An Intro to Interfaith & Interspiritual Wedding Ceremonies



You may have noticed that the words ‘interfaith’ and ‘interspiritual’ sound similar, and even have to do with similar concepts -- faith and spirituality. And you’ve probably seen them pop up on wedding officiant forums, or in emails from couples who are curious about the types of services and ceremony planning you offer. 


But what do these words actually mean? How is ‘interfaith’ different from ‘interspiritual,’ and how do those differences show up in wedding planning?    


Let’s take a look at these two words and how they apply to wedding ceremonies! 




Interfaith means the coming together of people from two or more faiths or religions in conversation or activity. We see this in interfaith churches, families and communities, and at events where people from multiple religions gather to talk, worship, and celebrate. 


An interfaith marriage ceremony combines elements and traditions from two or more faiths, most often the couple or their families' faiths. These ceremonies differ from interdenominational ceremonies, which are usually defined as those between two people from separate denominations of the same faith (such as a Baptist Christian marrying a Lutheran Christian, an ecumenical ceremony.)


As an example, when a Jewish partner marries a Catholic partner, they might choose to include a a reading of seven ancient blessings, called the Sheva B'rachot (to honor the Jewish tradition), as well as something from the book of Genesis or Book of Psalms (to honor Catholic tradition). 

When people hear ‘interfaith,’ they often think of the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Sometimes they also include other large, established organized religions, like Hinduism and Buddhism, using the term interreligious



But as more people choose to identify as spiritual, and not religious, terms like interfaith and interreligious don’t quite apply. 


And for folks who belong to increasingly eclectic spiritual communities, such as New Age, pantheistic, and modern Pagan movements, the words ‘faith’ and ‘religion’ can come with some pretty heavy (and unpleasant) connotations -- reminders of intolerant and violent religious views of both the past and present. 


This is why we’re starting to see the term 'interspiritual' used more often, and in more places. 


Interspiritual means the coming together of people from two or more religious or spiritual communities in conversation or activity. It also often refers to Interspirituality, which is a movement that seeks to explore the common ground between all existing spiritual traditions and spiritual communities, and can be a spiritual practice of its own. ‘Interspiritual’ is also used when people from two communities under the same spiritual umbrella come together, such as a meeting between a Druid and a Wiccan. 


(We want to point out that Druidism and Wicca are easily defined as polytheistic religions, but because Druids, Wiccans, and other Pagans all honor different deities, along with numerous spirits of the natural world, and have a painful history with organized religions, many of them identify as spiritual rather than religious. However, some Pagan couples still prefer to refer to themselves as religious and interfaith or interreligious.) 


An interspiritual marriage ceremony combines elements and customs from two or more spiritual or religious traditions, most often the couple or their families' spiritualities.


As an example, when a Wiccan partner who follows Celtic traditions marries a Pantheist, they might choose to make offerings of milk or grain to Brighid, also spelled Brigit, Brigid, or Bríg (to honor the Wiccan tradition), as well as planting a tree or flowers outdoors in nature (to honor pantheist ideals). 




The takeaway: 


From the descriptions above, you’ll see that interfaith and interspiritual both refer to the meeting and mingling of different traditions in order to connect and celebrate with one another. 


Interfaith and interspiritual weddings are rich and varied celebrations. By their very nature, these ceremonies are rooted in shared values and shared joy, and offer powerful demonstrations of love. They give us all a glimpse into the beauty of compromise, individuality and authenticity, partnership, and the ability of families and cultures to form deep bonds despite their differences. 


When meeting with an interfaith or interspiritual couple for the first time, it’s important to ask questions to better understand the elements they’re excited to include in the ceremony, what those customs represent and where they come from, and any words they want to use (or don’t want to use) during the celebration. 


If the couple suggests a unity ritual or ceremony you aren’t familiar with, ask follow-up questions, do some research on your own, and be sure to practice it at least once (but twice is better) during rehearsal




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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