If you’re wondering how to pick a wedding date for your Jewish interfaith ceremony, the first thing you should do is nail down an officiant. We see couples booking venues before officiants all the time, and when they have a certain officiant in mind for their ceremony, it can be disappointing to learn that their first choice is either unavailable or cannot officiate on that date. So step one is to find Jewish clergy using our free service if you don’t already have an officiant. And step two is to connect with your officiant and pick a wedding date (or perhaps a few dates) that work for both parties. Looking for venue inspiration? These might inspire you.
The same goes for other Jewish lifecycle events, such as baby namings.
How To Pick A Wedding Date: Jewish Holidays That Are Off-Limits
One of the reasons it can be very frustrating when couples who plan to have a Jewish wedding choose their venue and date before connecting with Jewish clergy is that there are a handful of dates when most Jewish clergy won’t officiate. Here is the full list so you know what to avoid.
Shabbat: Some Jewish clergy will officiate on Shabbat, especially if it is close to sundown on Saturday, but many will not officiate from sundown on Friday until Sundown (or close to it) on Saturday. It’s best to choose your officiant first, and find out what their boundaries are.
Rosh Hashanah (sundown Sept. 25, 2022; sundown Sept. 15, 2023): This is a two-day holiday, though there are a few rabbis who may not observe two days and perhaps would officiate on the second day of the holiday.
Yom Kippur (sundown Oct. 4, 2022; sundown Sept. 24, 2023): This is a very holy day on the Jewish calendar, and no Jewish clergy will officiate on this day.
Sukkot (sundown Oct. 9, 2022; sundown Sept. 29, 2023): This one’s a maybe. It’s a seven-day holiday, and you can likely find an officiant for days three to seven, but itmay be hard to find a rabbi for the first (and possibly second) day.
Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah (sundown October 17, 2022; sundown October 6, 2023): Immediately following Sukkot are Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. In Israel and in some liberal North American Jewish communities, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are celebrated together eight days after the start of Sukkot. For others, Shemini Atzeret is celebrated on the eighth day after the start of Sukkot and Simchat Torah is the following day. Most rabbis will not officiate on these days.
Purim (sundown Mar. 6, 2023; sundown Mar. 23, 2024): While this is a lively, fun holiday, it’s unfortunately not one when you will find Jewish clergy to officiate your wedding or baby naming.
Passover (sundown Apr. 5-13, 2023; sundown Apr. 22-30, 2024): This one’s a no-go. Jewish clergy won’t officiate during this eight-day holiday.
Shavuot (sundown May 25-27, 2023; sundown June 11-13, 2024): This is a two-day holiday, but it’s mainly the first evening and the day that follows when clergy will not officiate. Many Reform rabbis do not observe the second day.
Why Are These Holidays Meaningful?
These are the Jewish holidays you’re not going to want to choose as your wedding date because most rabbis, whether or not they themselves are leading services or not on these holy days, wouldn’t be comfortable officiating lifecycle events. There are still plenty of other days on the calendar and you can learn more about these holidays and more from our Jewish Holidays Cheat Sheet. If you’re ready to connect with Jewish clergy and find a date that works together, we encourage you to use our free 18Doors Clergy Referral Service.
18Doors is here to support interfaith couples and families exploring Jewish life. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship provides offerings for couples in cities nationwide. If you have questions, please contact email@example.com.