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  • Writer's pictureBrother Jeremy

What is the Difference Between a Religious and a Civic Wedding Ceremony?


The wedding is highly personal, a reflection of unique tastes, preferences, and faith. Some people are not religious and elect a civil ceremony, focusing on the legal aspect and not the religious implications. However, many secular (or unaffiliated) people value tradition, connecting the past, to the present, to the future. These type of couples enjoy referencing God, especially the romantic aspects of the Bible.

A civic ceremony can be done by a judge, justice of the peace, or clerk at town hall. They cover just the legal requirements, ensuring that both parties are eligible (for marriage) and understand the nature of the process. This is not to say that it cannot be romantic, instead that it is the exception not the norm. Most marriages (in Ontario) are officiated by religious clergy, such as myself. To summarize this point, you do not need to be "religious" to have a religious ceremony. All you have to do is see value, chasing this format the the right one for your big day!

In addition to the Ontario legal requirements, I contextualize the event by referencing bible passages, stories, or relevant Proverbs (the writing of King Solomon of Israel). Used in both Jewish and Christian services, both traditions tend to ground the proceeding in the same traditions, passed down thousands of years, generation to generation. Jewish Weddings have unique attributes, both in language and in appearance. Jewish weddings are held under a Chuppah, or a decorative canopy. It is designed to represent a house, in a way the first home that the couple will occupy. Furthermore, there are individual traditions that are based on the ethnicity of the Jew, whether it be Ashkenazic, Sephardic or Mizrahi. While they vary in constitution (food, order and so forth) the same elements are included, making the ceremony binding according to the Laws of Moses (the Father of Ethnical Monotheism).

Christian Weddings make use of Paul's Epistles, the 1st century Jewish writer who developed said Theology. It is quite poetic, drawing parallels between God's love for Humanity and a husband's love for his wife. In addition, they also reference the Song of Solomon, said to be the most romantic passages found in Scripture. Christian weddings are multifaceted, with this paragraph focussing on Protestant Weddings. However, other branches have their own rites and liturgy.

If a couple is interested in a Rabbi, I am happy to coofficiate the service with them. A Rabbi chants the traditional prayers, grounded in Halacha (Jewish Law) making the wedding "Kosher". Furthermore, it is a Rabbi who signs the Ketubah, or Jewish legal marriage certificate. This is separate from the legal process (which I am licensed to do) but is a benefit for people seeking access to the formal Jewish community. As well, A Jewish Marriage license will help any potential immigration to the State of Israel.

Regardless of your background, I am here to serve you and your family. I will customize the vows, ceremony, procession, and signing. My job is not only to execute the civil responsibilities, but ensure that your day is perfect, to be remembered fondly for years to come.

If you have any questions please send me an message via the form on the website. You can contact me via Instagram, Facebook, or Tiktok.

Looking forward to getting to know you :)

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