Growing up, I went to 2 churches. My mom was very Catholic, because she is from the Philippines. Meanwhile, my dad believed in the Bible but not the Catholic faith – he felt it was too strict. So, we would go to a Christian church with my dad. Throughout my childhood, I bounced back and forth between the two churches with my parents, and was very involved with ministry in high school.
When I left for college, I tried going to a few on-campus church services on my own, but never felt that comfortable. Over time I realized that my faith strongly relied on my parents, and as an individual, I am not religious. For a while I felt guilty for walking away from something I was once so passionate for. But, with my internship as an event planner has changed my perspective on religion. Most of the events I help design, plan, and coordinate are weddings; events which are fundamentally religious and spiritual. I have been gratefully granted the opportunity to work weddings of different religions, and be exposed to a variety of traditions.
One beautiful wedding I worked was a Jewish wedding at the UMMA, between Rachel + Andrew. During a Jewish wedding ceremony, the bride and groom stand under a chuppah, which is a religious structure with a canopy:
After the ceremony, the groom breaks a glass with his right foot. Guests shout, “Mazel tov!”, a Hebrew phrase which translates to congratulations. Dinner and the party follows. One of the most well-known Jewish wedding traditions is the hora, which is when the bride and groom are hoisted into the air on chairs. Guests dance in a circle while the bride and groom try their best to balance themselves:
Another beautiful religious wedding I worked was a Hindu wedding at Cornman Farms, between Irina + Trey. As I have discovered, many religions use a covered structure during a wedding ceremony. For Hindu weddings, it is called a mandap. The bride and groom are seated for the ceremony next to an agni, which is a holy fire:
In addition, the bride is traditionally dressed in a lehenga, a two piece dress with detailed embroidery. The groom wears a jodhpuri, which is a formal suit from India:
Overall, it has been amazing to experience a wedding from different religious perspectives. While the ceremony, dress, dances, and other aspects vary from religion to religion, there is one thing that has remained constant – a happy couple! While I consider myself to be agnostic, I still appreciate other religion’s beautiful traditions and rituals.