Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the qualifications of potential officiants?
- Are the officiants legally able to perform weddings in the U.S.?
- How does the match work?
- When do I have to make a commitment?
- How does the money work? How do we know how much is reasonable to pay an Officiant?
- What’s premarital counseling? How do we get it if we want it? Do we have to?
- How do we make sure I don’t get my Grandma’s awkward rabbi, or that crazy hippie Rabbi from the Commune down the street?
- Will my information be shared anywhere?
- Where can I find good resources on Jewish Weddings?
- Where can I buy Jewish Ritual Objects?
- What Makes a Jewish Wedding? Why Won’t All Rabbis Officiate Mine?
- Some Jewish Considerations
- What makes a wedding Jewish?
- Is there something in Judaism against Jews marrying non-Jews?
- Why does it matter whether one gets married on Shabbat (the Jewish sabbath)?
- What if we live abroad or are doing our wedding outside the US?
- How do I get started?
- How can I find someone to help me think through this process?
About the Officiants
What are the qualifications of potential officiants?We have found that experience and training of rabbis and cantors adds a great deal of meaning to the wedding. All officiants with Unorthodox Celebrations are rabbis or cantors and are members in good standing of rabbinic organizations that hold them to ethical standards.
Are the officiants legally able to perform weddings in the U.S. or Canada?Yes! Marriage laws differ from state to state. We will only refer you to clergy who are legally able to perform weddings in the local you select.
About the process
How does the match work?When you submit the form, within 72 hours you will receive a response matching you with 3 vetted and experienced officiants who are available to do your celebration based on the criteria specified.
When do I have to make a commitment?You’ll only commit once you’ve found an officiant you’re excited about.
How does the money work? How do we know how much is reasonable to pay an Officiant?Officiants pay Unorthodox Celebrations a fee for a successful referral. Those celebrating (you) pay only the fee for employing the officiant. It will be up to the couple and the officiant to negotiate an appropriate fee for officiating dependent on the specifics of the wedding, preparation, travel, etc. You will receive contact information for each clergy member, and can compare pricing with each. Even more than the flowers, your officiant will help ensure you have the most meaningful possible day, so if you aren’t already, we encourage you to consider this piece a high priority investment in your future lives together.
What’s spiritual premarital counseling? How do we get it if we want it? Do we have to? Spiritual Premarital counseling generally refers to a process an officiant or therapist might guide a couple through to help them prepare for their marriage. It often focuses on talking through shared visions around major life choices, communication styles, and other things that will position the couple for a successful and resilient marriage. Some officiants have their own protocol, others ask couples to seek out a therapist or other trained professional. Many officiants will only perform marriages where the couple has completed premarital counseling. We encourage all couples to strongly consider this option.
How do we know that we will like the rabbi (and that I won't get stuck with my Grandma’s awkward rabbi)?Our goal is to find you the officiant that’s the right fit for you. Our network of rabbis and cantors officiate Jewish, interfaith, unorthodox, queer, and non-traditional weddings and lifecycle events. Hopefully, filling out the request form will get you a good set of matches, but if you have additional concerns or questions, please be in touch. After the celebration, we will be in touch to hear how the match went and that will help with future referrals.
Where can I find good resources on Jewish Weddings?We love myjewishlearning.com - their weddings section can help connect you to other resources. We also highly recommend The New Jewish Wedding by Anita Diamant .
Where can I buy Jewish Ritual Objects?Many artists post on Etsy and other sites. You can search for ketubahs (Jewish wedding contracts), chuppas (wedding canopies), and other items. Your officiant will likely know of other resources or local artists.
What Makes a Jewish Wedding? Why Won’t All Rabbis Officiate Mine?
Some Jewish Considerations
At Unorthodox Celebrations, we are thrilled to help facilitate weddings between Jews and their loved ones - all backgrounds and relationships (or lack thereof) to Judaism, sexual and gender orientations, etc. warmly welcomed! Some common considerations to finding a good match for your needs:
What makes a wedding Jewish?There are many traditional Jewish wedding rituals. For a fun video exploration of this we recommend this short from our friends at G-dCast! All of our officiants have facilitated numerous weddings before and can help you create a ceremony with Jewish traditions that makes sense for you.
Is there something in Judaism against Jews marrying non-Jews?Yes, traditionally Jewish marriage is the act of designating one's partner as sacred and in the traditional rabbinic imagination was only possible between Jews. Today, there are many perspectives on intermarriage. Many rabbis will not preform them and many others will. If you sign up with us, we promise that we will only refer you to rabbis who are open and excited to do your sort of wedding.
Why does it matter whether one gets married on Shabbat (the Jewish sabbath)?The Torah proscribes Shabbat as a day of rest and as such, many refrain from all sorts of work. Because most weddings include an economic union as well as a spiritual one, many officiants will not faciliate them during Shabbat - roughly sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. We have other rabbis who do so happily (if they are not leading services). Again, we will only refer you officiants who are available for YOUR wedding. Many holidays are similarly days when Jews refrain from this work. If you want to check if your wedding falls on a holiday we suggest checking the date against this calendar: Heb Cal
What if we live abroad or are doing our wedding outside the US?Unorthodox Celebrations primarily refers in the United States and Israel, but we are happy to try to find someone world-wide. How do I get started? If you are planning a wedding, please fill out our Wedding Form. If you're looking for a rabbi bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah fill out this form. If you are seeking someone for a baby naming or bris, please start here.
How do I get started?If you are planning a wedding, please fill out our Wedding Form. If you're looking for a rabbi bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah fill out this form. If you are seeking someone for a baby naming or bris, please start here.
How can I find someone to help me think through this process?If you have a specific question, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to someone to advise you by phone or help you think through these questions (and others more) deeply, you can request to speak to an Unorthodox Celebrations staff person, we would be thrilled to offer you more support and guidance. Staff consultations are available for $40 per hour. Please email email@example.com with the subject line “CONSULTATION”, and include 3 times you would be available, including time zone and a phone number.