Caught ya there. No anti material here, just good ole LDS improvement musings.
Picture a Mormon wedding day. Your wedding day, your sister’s, your roommate’s. How much did you have to pack into one day?
I have yet to be in an actual temple sealing but I know at some point the civil wedding occurs. Mainly signed paperwork with witnesses type of stuff. And then the actual sealing, the most sacred covenant made between two people who want to spend eternity together. A covenant which is essential to our salvation and our priority from day one as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Essentially, a huge deal. And then add on family pictures, a luncheon, more pictures for a few hours, a huge reception mostly entailing a long receiving line, cutting a cake and busting our of there by eight to hit the honeymoon. (You know I’m not exaggerating.)
A Better Way
The temple sealing is the center of a Mormon wedding day. But does it have to be?
Here me out. I first heard of the following concept years ago surprisingly from my definitely conservative, former-bishop Utah-dwelling uncle.
His question- do temple sealings and civil weddings have to all be packed into one day?
A Mormon wedding day is atypical to the general population. Namely, the couple have yet to have sex or even see each other naked (the vast majority). So, the wedding night has a lot of build up and everyone knows it. Coming from Provo, a common rumor/perception is some people rush into marriage so they can have sex. (Still valuing the temple experience of course, but there is tension.)
Now picture a world where a Mormon wedding day was nothing different from a Wedding Day.
You show up at a beach, your favorite spot in the mountains, Disneyland… and you get married. Your parents of another faith are there. Your father or male figure is there to walk you down the aisle. There is no more terror or grief about “Non-Mormon” friends or family members not allowed to be at your wedding.
Does this seem impossible? What if I told you only one thing needed to change?
Eliminate the one-year waiting period between a civil marriage ceremony and a temple sealing.
This way, you can have your “civil” wedding day just like the rest of the world. You can exchange vows, have ring-bearers and flower girls. Things I’ve never planned on because I’ve expected a current Mormon Wedding Day. You have your day, you get married.
And then, you have a sacred sealing ceremony. It could be the same day, the next week or the next year. Whenever you are ready for it. You take your close group of people, whether it be LDS members of your family, ward family, friends or former missionaries. You plan a sealing day, and you go and get sealed. This day is not about organizing bouquets and family pictures and the soda bar at the reception and honeymoon suites. It is about you, your spouse and God. Afterwards, you could go and take pictures outside the temple in your wedding dress. You could wear whatever you’d like. You could go out for a nice dinner afterwards or spend time alone. All that matters on this day is your special day together in the temple.
We can have best of both worlds. We can “be in the world” when it comes to our cultural wedding celebrations we’ve excluded ourselves from. I want a wedding day, and I want a sealing day. I want us all to have freedom, flexibility and reverence for the latter. I want to have a wedding cake and eat it too, because I’m not entirely overwhelmed of the total significance of 24 hours in my life.
This concept in no way diminishes the important of a temple sealing in our faith, rather, it expands it. Have a day of partying, of legally binding two hearts together and enjoy it. Then go to the temple and focus on your covenant and have the mental space to be fully present.
No more stigma over who’s “temple ready” and who’s not. No more heartbroken parents who can’t attend their Mormon daughter’s wedding. More party, more family, more time for sacredness.
Sounds like a total win-win. (And who would love a Disney wedding the most? That’s right- Mormons.)