While virtually no Orthodox or Conservative rabbis will perform an interfaith wedding between a Jewish person and a person of another religion, some Reform rabbis and many Reconstructionist and Humanist rabbis will perform an interfaith wedding between a Jewish person and non-Jewish person. Marrying when you are both from different religions is no easy task. Knowing in advance what some of these differences are and identifying probable areas of tension between you and your fiancé and between your two families can help you minimize some of the potential conflict.
There are vast differences between, for instance, Judaism and Christianity in general and in the ways in which both religions view and celebrate weddings. In both Judaism and Christianity, weddings are considered a holy event, and some priests, ministers, and rabbis will have similar requirements for the modesty of the bride's and bridesmaids' clothing. However, almost all of the traditions, except for the use of a ring, are entirely dissimilar. In Judaism weddings are both a religious and a contractual ceremony while in most other religions (with the possible exception of Islam) weddings are a religious ritual.
Christian weddings are very different from Jewish weddings in many religious and cultural ways. At a Jewish wedding, the groom walks down the aisle and the bride walks down last; at a Christian wedding the groom waits at the front with the clergy for the bride, who is “given away” by her family. At Christian weddings, vows are recited by both the bride and groom; at a Jewish wedding, the details of the couples' commitments are outlined in the ketubah. Many Christian weddings are held in churches, and Jewish weddings today are more and more often held in hotels and reception halls, though synagogues are also used for wedding ceremonies to some degree.
In Catholicism the wedding is a sacrament, meaning it is performed in the context of a mass. Depending on the depth of your families' Jewish background, this ceremony, as it includes the imbibing of the body and blood of Jesus, may be jarring to them. Some priests may perform intermarriages without sacrament.
Jewish Views of Intermarriage
The reason Judaism is and has been historically so opposed to interfaith marriages is not out of prejudice. Indeed, Judaism does not believe that non-Jewish people should become Jewish. The Talmud itself states that righteous non-Jewish people have a share in the world to come. Rather, the opposition comes from the fact that it is very difficult to have an encompassing and fulfilling religious life that you cannot fully share with your spouse. Thus, not only is the wedding itself often difficult to negotiate, but certainly the raising of children and the observance of your religion in depth can be quite a challenge also.
It is advisable to take the planning of an interfaith wedding slowly so that you can make time to discuss it as a couple. Go over your differences in custom, culture, and point of view. Well before your engagement, you might engage a rabbi and a priest or minister that you both trust to have a frank conversation about the potential challenges of an interfaith wedding and marriage. Ask the rabbi to paint a picture for you from his experiences. What are the points of difficulty you may encounter? Many couples wish to become more involved after their children are born. Will being of different faiths make this process more difficult? This can help to facilitate later conversation between you and your fiancé as you begin to envision your marriage together.