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08/09/2015

Buddhist Wedding Ideas for an Interfaith or Non-Denominational Ceremony

I had the great honor of marrying Amy and Bryan this summer at a lovely rooftop venue overlooking the East River and the 59th Street Bridge.

 

When I first met with this beautiful couple (truly, they are adorable), we discussed ways to blend their philosophy on love, their values, and their unique romantic story with cultural aspects that would also honor their families.

 

Together they shared an interesting mix of roots -- a combination of Chinese/Taiwanese and Korean/American along with several family faith traditions such as Buddhism, Catholicism, and Judaism. They wanted everyone to feel included, yet wanted to bring in sacred elements that were meaningful for them both.

 

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photo: formal dresses canberra

 

Buddhism was part of the bride's family background and the groom was very comfortable with that tradition, so we opted for a ceremony that featured Buddhist and Asian elements blended in a very loving and contemporary way. Although it was by nature an interfaith and intercultural union, the ceremony of marriage was more about the spirit of love than religion.

 

My thanks to the newlyweds for allowing me to share some aspects of their ceremony here to help other couples who might be interested in including the spirit of Buddhism or Chinese culture in their interfaith, non-denominational, or personalized ceremonies.

 

Honoring Family

 

We began with a welcoming statement to the guests and an non-religious opening blessing, then we honored family with words and the symbolic gesture of bowing to show reverence to their dearest family members, their guests, and one another. It went like this:

 

Rev. Laurie Sue speaks: It has been said in a Buddhist Homily that: "Nothing happens without a cause... The union of this man and woman has not come about accidentally but is the foreordained result of many past lives. This tie can therefore not be broken or dissolved."

 

At a wedding, we see firsthand how the lineage of love gets passed along. The light of love that illuminates this marriage would not be possible without the love passed along to Amy and Bryan by their families.

 

At this time, they would like to take a moment to honor the people who have loved and nurtured them. (Names of loved ones here.)

 

It is most appropriate on this day that we thank you all for your inspiration by bowing.

 

The bride and groom will bow to the bride's family to honor and thank them. (bow to Amy's side)

 

Next the bride and groom will to bow to the groom's family to honor and thank them. (bow to bryan's side)

 

The bride and groom will now bow to their guests to thank you all for your love and support. (bow to center)

 

And finally, Bryan and Amy will bow to honor one another. (bow to each other)

 

Blessing After Bowing:

 

We completed the bowing with this short, celebratory blessing.

 

This family is united in a circle of love and strength.

 

Every joy shared adds more love.

 

Every obstacle faced together makes the circle stronger.

 

With every birth and every new union, the circle will grow.

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