What are Mormon Weddings like?
Updated: Jul 28
So you've been invited to a Mormon wedding, or maybe you're planning your own and never attended. You're probably wondering, "What are Mormon wedding receptions like?" I'll admit, at my first Mormon wedding I was a bit confused too! I had my friend, and former client Jessie Purvis explains how Mormon weddings work:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or "Mormons," as many people recognize us by, are married in a sacred and beautiful place called the Temple or what we like to call it, The House of the Lord. What goes on inside these Temples is extraordinarily sacred and personal; therefore, I cannot disclose all the details. However, I will share the basics so that those reading may connect with the religion even more.
What happens at a "Mormon" wedding?
As church members, we believe that a marriage between a man and a woman is not only meant for this life here on earth, but it is intended to last for all eternity. We get married civilly as everyone else does, but we also become what is called "sealed." In other words, we are sealed together as husband and wife here on earth and in Heaven. Instead of hearing, "till death do you part," we hear, "for time and all eternity." While we make promises to each other as a married couple, we also make promises to the Lord as a couple to cherish our relationship and honor Him in our marriage as well. This ordinance is such a sacred and unique experience for the newly married couple, so it is not acceptable to take photos and videos of the sealing.
Who Can Attend a Mormon Wedding?
All family and friends who hold a special "temple recommend" are allowed to join and witness the sealing. A temple recommend shows leaders of the church that you are keeping the commitments you made to the Lord and can enter His Holy House. Those who are not members of the church or do not have a temple recommend, can sit in the waiting room or wait outside the Temple to greet the couple as they make their first appearance outside! As a newly married couple, there is nothing more exciting than to walk out the doors of the Temple and see everyone you love cheering you on and showing their love, even if they weren't able to go inside.
So people who aren't members of the church don't get to see you get married?
Unfortunately, if family or friends are not members, they do not get to see you be sealed together. Fortunately, most couples choose to perform a ring ceremony outside of the Temple for those family and friends who could not come inside the Temple and participate. A ring ceremony is very similar to a regular wedding, bridesmaids and groomsmen are walking down the aisle, exchanging vows and rings, and a kiss to make it all official at the end! It's such a fun time for everyone to be a part of!
Do Mormon weddings have a reception?
Everyone loves a good party! Receptions are very common after the ring ceremony! However, most Latter-Day Saint weddings are "dry" weddings because we do not drink alcohol. But you best believe there will be awesome music, dance circles where everyone can show off their dance moves and so much love and laughter to go around. Everything from cake cutting to garter toss will be done if the bride and groom wish.
Latter-Day Saint weddings are very similar to a "normal" wedding. We have one more step to ours- being sealed to the love of our life for eternity because this lifetime surely isn't long enough! This sacred experience is something couples wait for, for their whole lives, and finally, being sealed to your love is something no one can recreate.
How Long is a Mormon Wedding Ceremony?
Most of the ceremonies I have attended have never been as long as the couple said they would be - they're usually longer. Most are about an hour in length.
Thank you, Jessie, for your knowledge!
A few tips for attending a Mormon wedding:
If you're in the wedding party, anticipate waiting inside the Temple's waiting room or outside the Temple. The LDS Temple in Fort Collins Colorado gets very hot during the summer, so bring a water bottle and be prepared for the heat.
You cannot take photos inside the Temple, whether you're the photographer or part of the wedding party.
The big reveal for the audience is when the couple walks out of the Temple doors after their sealing. Everyone cheers as the couple emerge!
Anticipate photos to happen outside of the chapel. This is typically where the wedding party and family photo stake place and some of the romantics.
If you plan to go to the Temple or on the temple grounds I always suggest respecting their rules, the bride has to wear a sleeved dress (just capped sleeves is fine), I always try to be respectful by covering my shoulders as well. Also remember, try to wear a high neckline!
One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to experience weddings from various faiths and cultures. I think it has entirely altered my perception of love and marriage. I think it's important to share this knowledge and diversity with others, so we begin to understand there's not a one size fits all for weddings. I love Mormon weddings because of their sacredness - the fact that even though there may be a party, a portion of it is deeply intimate, meaningful, and not shared with the entire world. Instead, it's deeply rooted in their faith and focused on the commitment between the two people.
Check out a full wedding I've photographed at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Fort Collins, Colorado, to get a better understanding of what a Mormon wedding looks like. If you're looking for a Colorado photographer who has worked at the LDS Temple in Fort Collins, you're in luck; please feel free to contact me about your big day!
This blog post was guest written by Jessi Purvis, member of the LDS church. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us! We are excited to share a variety of religious practices and cultures to educate about different weddings. This is our first blog in the serious - check back for more!