The main distinction is that a Liberal wedding is fully egalitarian, meaning that both participants – whether of the same or opposite genders – say and commit themselves to the same ritual Jewish phrases and they exchange rings.
In an Orthodox wedding, typically only the groom gives the bride a ring and she does not speak. An Orthodox synagogue would also not marry a couple of the same gender.
However, if you want the marriage to be legally recognised at the same time, then it must be a venue that is registered for weddings.
Alternatively you can have the civil ceremony in a place such a registry office, before having the religious ceremony with a Liberal Jewish rabbi in the venue of your choice.
As with all wedding planning, please speak to your individual community rabbi for more information.
As for any rituals that were, traditionally, reserved for bride or groom – both same and opposite gender couples can discuss, with their rabbi, ways to incorporate these.
For example, instead of the traditional part of a wedding ceremony where the bride walks around the groom seven times – many couples walk around each other three times each, then walk once in a circle together.
If you wish to join one of our communities, to begin this process, then please click here.
Joining a community brings with it many benefits beyond your special day, including festival and Shabbat services, learning for adults and children, fun events, social action, being part of the wider Liberal Jewish community and, above all, making lifelong friends.
However, while the law does not authorise our rabbis to solemnise mixed faith marriages, many will perform blessings – provided that the non-Jewish partner is committed to building a Jewish home and to raising any shared children as Jews.
They do not take place under a chuppah and there is no Ketubah. They are different in structure and content to the Jewish marriage ceremony, while recognising the importance of Judaism to the couple and celebrating their love and commitment.
To find out more about mixed faith blessings, please discuss with your rabbi.