When Mr. Wellies and I began to plan our wedding, we knew that religion would be a major factor in our decision-making process. I’m Jewish, while Mr. Wellies is studying to convert. There are several denominations of Judaism, ranging from Orthodox (more traditional) to Reform (more liberal). We practice Conservative Judaism, which falls somewhere in between. We believe Jewish life adheres to halakhah (Jewish law); the law can adapt to modern times, yet it shouldn’t go too far and abandon important traditions.
For example: As a Conservative Jewish woman, I can wear a tallis, or prayer shawl, to morning services. In Orthodox Judaism, it is strictly forbidden for women to wear prayer shawls. For breakfast each morning, I eat cereal instead of bacon, because pork is trayf, or not kosher. In Reform Judaism, some Jews choose to eat pork. Generally, Conservative Judaism tends to be more liberal than Orthodox Judaism and more traditional than Reform Judaism.
Image via Michal Fattal
The most important day of the week in Judaism is Shabbat, the holy day of rest. It begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday. According to halakhah, Jews are prohibited from working on Shabbat. This includes cooking, using electricity, signing a contract, and transferring an object from one domain to another. As a result, Orthodox and Conservative Jews are unable to get married between Friday night and Saturday night. A wedding requires the aforementioned work; moreover, Jews should “not mix one occasion of rejoicing with the other.” The integrity of each happy occasion should be preserved by keeping them separate.
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Where does that leave us? For a traditional weekend wedding, Mr. Wellies and I could get married on a Saturday night after sundown or during the day on a Sunday. Unfortunately, we don’t want a nighttime ceremony, so that nixes the Saturday idea. If we got married on a Sunday afternoon, people would probably need to leave early, because they’d have to go to work on Monday. The other Sunday option is a brunch reception, but we’re not brunch people, and I never imagined that kind of reception for my wedding. This left us with one alternative: We are getting married on a weekday.
Did religion affect your wedding planning?