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Ways to honor and involve non-Jewish relatives in wedding

 
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amother




OP
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 6:03 pm
Hi all,

I'm posting this on behalf of a friend of mine who is a convert. She and her future husband will have a MO-ish wedding next year (with COVID restrictions obviously being a wild card). She's looking for ways she can honor and involve her non-Jewish family members in the wedding. I suggested reading English translations of the Sheva Brachot but would love to hear other's ideas or what you've personally done.

I posted this in the Geirim/BT forum but didn't get any responses, so figured I'd try my luck here.
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amother




Olive
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 6:09 pm
Provide them with a nicely-presented explanation of the different parts of the wedding and the reasons behind them.

Allow them to hold her jewelry when she's under the chuppah.

Give them warm smiles and genuine blessings.

I agree with reading English translations of the sheva brachos.
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amother




Papaya
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 6:12 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Hi all,

I'm posting this on behalf of a friend of mine who is a convert. She and her future husband will have a MO-ish wedding next year (with COVID restrictions obviously being a wild card). She's looking for ways she can honor and involve her non-Jewish family members in the wedding. I suggested reading English translations of the Sheva Brachot but would love to hear other's ideas or what you've personally done.

I posted this in the Geirim/BT forum but didn't get any responses, so figured I'd try my luck here.


Present chatan to parents, visit often together, so that they can familiarise before the wedding and that they feel they are part of the process.

Have her father/mother give a speech.
Let brother do a dia-show about her youth...
If family plays instruments, ask them to play something at an appropriate time.
Integrate family with dancing
Prepare bensher with transcript and translation. I think written translation is better than translating sheva broches to english, because non-jewish family members have no problem with ceremony in a foreign language... if they want to know the translation, they can read up...
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amother




Cerulean
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 6:18 pm
Reading a translation of sheva brachot is lovely. If one of the relatives is a good speaker, ask him/her to give a toast at the meal. If they have children, have the kids walk down the aisle.
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Rubber Ducky




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 6:22 pm
amother [ Olive ] wrote:
Provide them with a nicely-presented explanation of the different parts of the wedding and the reasons behind them.


We did this. It's very helpful for non-religious or non-Jewish relatives so they have some idea of what to expect. This includes explanations of things like separate dancing. And if there is an accepted dress code (for example, no sleeveless dresses or plunging necklines), people appreciate a heads up about that too.
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amother




Wine
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 6:23 pm
Have relatives serve as witnesses on the marriage license (and prenup if they're doing that).
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amother




Cerise
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 6:48 pm
If her chuppah is held up by people (like a Talis on poles rather than a lattice or floral pillars) they can hold the chuppah poles.
I love the idea of them reading translations of the Sheva brachot at The chuppah.
You are mechabed His father with the third bracha follows by her father with the English translation of the 3rd blessing.

With the invitation, so they know what's coming and can prepare, and where to be when, I would send a program of events /explanation (kabalate panim-bedekin chuppah-yichud-first dance- dinner ......)AND typically dress -most people would rather know that the women will be wearing dresses with sleeves and no cleavage. Better to know that and it to be your choice than to be surprised when you show up in a beautiful sequin plunging haltertop jumpsuit.

Wishing Mazel Tov to the chassan and Kallah.
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 6:55 pm
If they're parents, they could escort her the first part of the way down the aisle.

Write something to either put in a program (a good idea to educate the non Jewish attendees as to what's happening) or to read aloud, making sure it's proofed first.

Have them sit with the kallah at kabbalat panim, give them a special time to dance.
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amother




Cerise
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 7:45 pm
imasinger wrote:
If they're parents, they could escort her the first part of the way down the aisle.

Write something to either put in a program (a good idea to educate the non Jewish attendees as to what's happening) or to read aloud, making sure it's proofed first.

Have them sit with the kallah at kabbalat panim, give them a special time to dance.

Can they not escort her all the way down the aisle?
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amother




Periwinkle
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 8:01 pm
amother [ Cerise ] wrote:
Can they not escort her all the way down the aisle?

I was at a frum wedding where this was done.
Who walks down the aisle is a matter of minhag, not halacha. It's not even really a part of the actual marriage ceremony.
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 8:02 pm
amother [ Cerise ] wrote:
Can they not escort her all the way down the aisle?


It depends who you ask.

Some say it's better to be escorted by and be under the chuppah with a Jewish couple who has been married a long time, and can represent the established Jewish home. AYLOR.
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amother




Green
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 8:28 pm
imasinger wrote:
It depends who you ask.

Some say it's better to be escorted by and be under the chuppah with a Jewish couple who has been married a long time, and can represent the established Jewish home. AYLOR.


There is a known minhag for the parents to walk her halfway, stop, and the chassan comes and gets her and brings her in to the chuppah, which represents their home. This could work well here. And if dad isn't Jewish, it might remind him of the idea of giving the bride away, which might be comfortable for him.
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Iymnok




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Sep 23 2020, 10:22 pm
Seat them at the head table even if that table ends up quite long.
Give them front row seats at the chuppah.
Invite them in for the first dance.
Have one be responsible for the "props" under the chuppah.
Can one of them be MC for the chuppah?
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amother




Navy
 

Post  Thu, Sep 24 2020, 1:09 am
imasinger wrote:
It depends who you ask.

Some say it's better to be escorted by and be under the chuppah with a Jewish couple who has been married a long time, and can represent the established Jewish home. AYLOR.


Good to know - at least DH was escorted by healthy parents and a healthy loving home.

Do people forgo having their parents if they are divorced or if they were raised in neglect in abuse?

If not then why should someone make their non-jewish or not religous parents not full walk them down?
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Chickensoupprof




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Sep 24 2020, 1:25 am
I'm a BT and I got married last year in the JLE in London which is kinda litvish/haredi.
My mom is Jewish my dad is not, my grandmother got with me who is also not Jewish (my dads mom obviously my mothers mother refused to come).
My father refused to bentch me because he is an atheist and doesn't want to quote some biblical stuff he doesn't believe in, instead, he blessed me by saying ''may you be very lucky''. I find that funny and understandable this is how my dad is (I have a little of his character).
The sluchim prior to the wedding explained how a Jewish wedding looks like and is like this was helpful for my parents.
I advise that the relatives of your friends get heads up. For instance, Dutch people wait until everyone is served while we were in yichud dinner was served and all the Dutch were not eating till the sluchim of my city told it is ok to eat now xD It is helpful. And for more things, it was boiling hot and my husband has Gateshead family/kollel avreichim and so on and my mom wanted me to take off my top because it was too hot. She was kinda angry that I keep saying no. It was kinda embarassing that my mom was pulling my jacket in front of chareidi family she still doesn't understand and find it sectaric. So I truly advise keeping explain things regarding modesty and so on. However I think I had a more frummer wedding than she is getting.

My mother and MIL walked me down to the chuppah, and my father and DIL did it with my husband and also stood under the Chupa however the sluchim were close by also one was an eid.
The thing was, that both the times my mother and MIL gave the cup of wine, this is what I strongly asked the mesader kiddushin, because I didn't want my father to be left out, so he decided that the mothers give the wine and not the fathers so my dad would not be embarrassed. This was really important to me, however, I think my dad would not have been embarrassed (I honestly believe this) my mother would have found it and for months she has been rubbing in that she would be angry at me if my dad gets a different role...
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Sep 24 2020, 4:09 am
amother [ Navy ] wrote:
Good to know - at least DH was escorted by healthy parents and a healthy loving home.

Do people forgo having their parents if they are divorced or if they were raised in neglect in abuse?

If not then why should someone make their non-jewish or not religous parents not full walk them down?


To the bolded, yes, again, AYLOR. Their parents are honored in other ways, but
there is an inyan of being escorted to the symbol of a strong Jewish home by a couple who are still married.

Neglect or abuse, I have seen people struggle with this circumstance, and ask for advice.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Sep 24 2020, 6:16 am
Thank you all so much for your responses! My friend is really struggling with how to make everyone feel included, and I never would have thought of all these ideas!
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keym




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Sep 24 2020, 6:34 am
Reading a translation or explanation of each of the brachos
Being the one to announce each of the honorees
I was at a wedding where a non Jewish close friend read the prenup document after the kesuba
And many of the responsibilities- holding or giving out jewelry, adjusting veils, holding onto the ring, helping dress the chassan in his kittel, speech or toast during the dinner,
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