I recently attended a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony for one of my close friends. My friend was glowing and the sun was shining. It was picture perfect.
Although she is Mormon, my friend isn’t as active now as she was growing up, and the man she married is not a member of the LDS Church. The temple was not a part of their wedding — a fact that was difficult for her parents, who had hoped their daughter would marry in an LDS Temple.
But even though they wanted a temple marriage for their daughter, they were nothing but happy, supportive and proud of their daughter on her wedding day. There was no bitterness or unhappiness at the wedding. Instead, all the energy was focused on the joy of my friend marrying a wonderful man.
In the LDS faith, temple weddings are a big deal. All members of the LDS Church must meet certain morality, lifestyle and church activity standards to enter the temple. We revere the temple as sacred ground, so it is understandable that we would want to be married there along with the people we love. Because of this, the decision of a child not to marry in the temple can cause heartache.
On the flip side, my husband and I were married in the temple while some family members waited outside. This was difficult for everyone, but these family members never tried to dissuade us from being married in the temple. Rather, they encouraged and applauded our choice to marry there. They respected us and the temple enough to let us make our own decision.
They also understood that our decision was not meant to exclude anyone, but because we wanted to start our marriage in a place where we made covenants that are sacred to us. Their love and understanding made our wedding day joyous, just as the love from my friend’s parents did as she started her new life with her husband.
Both circumstances made me think how every bride deserves to have her family united in happiness on her wedding day, no matter where she is married. After all, I believe temples are made to create family unity, not to spark disharmony.
What has been your experience with family members deciding to marry in or outside the temple? How can you keep the decision about temple marriage from tempering the wedding day joy?
Erin Stewart is a regular blogger for Deseret News. From stretch marks to the latest news for moms, Stewart discusses it all while her 4-year-old daughter crams Mr. Potato Head pieces in her little sister’s nose.