A Mormon wedding is a very private ceremony, as there are no cameras permitted in the room where the bride and groom exchange vows. Friends and family members who are not of the faith are not permitted to witness the vow exchange, and many of the details of what takes place during the actual ceremony are reserved for the officiant and couple. However, there are some basic occurrences that loved ones of a Mormon couple should know about to prepare for the special day.
Before the Wedding
Before a Mormon wedding, those who wish to attend must schedule an interview with a Mormon bishop, so the clergy member can evaluate the interviewee's diligence to the faith. The bride and groom must go through this process as well. The bishop asks questions pertaining to the couple's abstinence from sex and harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco, and verifies that the man and woman "tithe," or give 10 percent of their income to the church. The couple is then referred to the stake president, who oversees all the bishops in a certain region. After asking the couple similar questions and finding their answers satisfactory, he gives the man and woman permission to enter the holy temple and become husband and wife.
To attend a "sealing ceremony," or traditional Mormon wedding at a temple, individuals must have a current "temple recommend." A temple recommend is similar to an identification card, revealing that the holder has interviewed with members of the Mormon priesthood and been found worthy to enter the house of the Lord. The Mormon Church recommends a small guest list for a temple wedding, which usually includes the immediate family of the bride and groom (parents and siblings) and close family friends to maintain the sanctity of the wedding.
The Mormon bride and groom can exchange wedding rings immediately after the bishop pronounces the couple man and wife in the sealing room. According to Mormon practice, this is the ideal time and place for this part of the marriage to happen. To include more family members in this joyous time, the couple may elect to have a ring ceremony during their reception, which doesn't take place at the temple. The exchange is often brief, and when it takes place at the reception instead of the temple, non-Mormon loved ones can witness it.
Weddings Outside of the Temple
If a couple decides not to have their wedding at a Mormon temple, anyone can attend the ceremony, and the guest list can be as large as the couple chooses. Temple recommends are not required, and a local Mormon bishop can still officiate the wedding. Some brides and grooms choose this option so that their loved ones who are not Mormon can witness their nuptials, but it's also acceptable to schedule a temple ceremony at a later date. This option is ideal if the couple needs more time to become devout Mormons, since the temple ceremony will seal the marriage for eternity, not just "til death," as is stated in most marriage vows.
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