In our diverse, multicultural community, I’m positive that you will be asked to attend a wedding that is religious in nature, celebrating a faith that is not your own, if you haven’t been already.

    It gives me great hope that so many of you have questioned what to do, how to act or respond at these religious ceremonies.  It shows me that we all wish to respect the faith and traditions of others. Respect is the basis of all etiquette.

    I guarantee that you will never be asked to kneel, bow, genuflect, recite prayers, cross yourself or take Communion at any religious wedding ceremony of any faith.  The decision to partake in any of these actions is yours to make.  I feel that you should probably sit and stand when others do.  Kneeling is not necessary, so simply sit back in your seat.  It’s a wonderful time to watch and learn.

    It appears that most of us have access to a computer these days.  It would probably be a good idea to ‘google’ the faith and how it celebrates weddings.

    I consider it an honor to be asked to provide flowers or service to faiths other than my own.  I learn and I listen, and I find beautiful traditions that enrich my life.  It’s like my soul is a treasure chest and all these age-old traditions that I become familiar with are beautiful jewels that go into that treasure cache.

    Personally, I tend to find any religion much like another.  We all believe in a power greater than ourselves.  How we know that higher power, how we honor, and abide by the traditional tenets of that higher power seems to be a result of the parents we are given, also the time and place of our birth.  A very small percentage of religious people stray from the faith of their parents.

    When I was discussing this topic in our shop, we listed the types of religious ceremonies (especially weddings) that we have been a part of. They include:

ânº Jewish Orthodox, Conservative and Reform

ânº Roman Catholic

ânº Protestant and the various Protestant faiths (Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, etc.)

ânº Orthodox Christianity and its subsets (Greek, Russian, Maronite, Serbian, Ethiopian)

ânº Hindu

ânº Buddhist

ânº Islamic

ânº Sikh

    It is a basic belief in all faiths that weddings (and the start of new families) are held as one of the highest ideals. No one has ever said the world is a cafeteria.  I tend to pick up and learn the things that interest or please me. And those that I find unpalatable I leave alone, usually ethnocentric or misogynistic beliefs. But even then I respect the situation and even more respect those who have asked to include me.

    If, after attempting to find some information on the wedding service you’ve been invited to, you still want to know more, call your hosts. They thought so much of you, to want to include you in the most auspicious day of their lives, that they will be flattered and honored that you wish to learn enough to show your respect at the marriage ceremony.

    I love antiques; all things from the past intrigue me.  I consider the rituals of other faiths as priceless antiques that when researched, are very similar to those of others.  It’s not surprising that in this world—as vast and heavily populated as it is—that we are all much more alike than we are different.  I’d love to hear your comments and questions. Email me at  

John Sullivan has a fine arts degree from Kansas City Art Institute. He has partnered with Ken Miesner for the past 25 years at Ken Miesner’s Flowers at Plaza Frontenac, where they have done flowers for more than 1,000 weddings!