Think of a traditional American wedding and you’ll probably consider a couple standing in front of an official at a house of worship. Most newlyweds have decided to follow the guidelines for a religious ceremony for centuries, but now this idea is changing. Since fewer people associate closely with a particular faith, and it is more common to marry someone with their own beliefs and traditions, couples plan different types of marriages, including those with spiritual and civil ceremonies that meet the legal requirements of marriage, but are not based on a particular religion. We have broken down the differences between religious, spiritual and civil wedding ceremonies so that you can choose the best option for your big day.
TRADITIONS AND SUPERSTITIONS OF THE WEDDING
If the newlyweds follow the same faith or are looking for a traditional wedding, they are likely to choose a religious ceremony – which means that they will marry in accordance with the customs and guidelines of the particular faith. Since many religions consider marriage to be a sacred act, newlyweds usually have to meet certain requirements before getting married in a place of worship , for example, one or both of them are likely to have to practice the religion of the church, mosque, or synagogue. Religious ceremonies are beautiful, elegant and meaningful – but remember that you can have less freedom in terms of dress code, song selection and wishes. In addition, religious ceremonies are not legally binding, and you must obtain a marriage license to be legally and officially married.
Let’s say that a couple is not religious, that they want complete creative control over their big day, or that they follow extremely different religions and do not want an interfaith marriage. Since confessional ceremonies are probably out of the question, the bride and groom have two options: a civil ceremony or a spiritual ceremony. In a civil ceremony, the newlyweds get married under the law, and not under God. The marriage is often organized by a government official such as a justice of the peace, a notary, a judge or a county clerk, which makes it legally binding. Since the non-religious ceremony does not have to follow certain traditions, a couple has more freedom to personalize their place, vows, clothing, officer, music, etc.some couples who decide to have a civil ceremony get married in the town hall or the courthouse, but these types of ceremonies can take place anywhere.
Some couples do not adhere strongly to a particular religion, or they may consider themselves spiritual but not religious. If the newlyweds decide not to get married in a civil or religious ceremony, they can opt for a spiritual ceremony instead. Marriage will not follow the traditions of a particular faith, so the couple can customize every detail at will. You can even use some aspects of traditional religious weddings, such as an opening prayer or a signature of ketubah, but you still have complete creative control in accordance with your beliefs. Like civil weddings, spiritual ceremonies can take place anywhere,and a government official usually presides over the wedding. Friends or family members can also be ordered and marry the couple. The marriage will be legally binding as long as it is made in accordance with the law.