Invited to a Mormon Wedding? Here’s What to Expect

A Mormon temple.

Attending a wedding of a culture other than your own can feel a little intimidating, as you may not know what to expect. Attending a Mormon wedding is no exception to this rule! If you’re going to be attending a wedding that celebrates this faith, we have all the details of what you can expect from it here.

A Sacred Vow

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Mormon faith is that the church believes a marriage is meant for life on earth—but is also meant to last for all eternity. During a Mormon wedding ceremony, the bride and groom become “sealed.” This means that they are sealed together as husband and wife on earth and in Heaven eternally. Instead of the officiant saying “Til death do you part” like they do in many ceremonies, they’ll instead say, “For time and all eternity.” This promise is between the couple and with the Lord to cherish their relationship and honor God in it as well. Since this is a sacred experience for the newly married couple, photos or videos of the sealing are not permitted.

Who Can Attend?

A Mormon husband and wife exiting a temple after their wedding ceremony.

If you want to attend a wedding ceremony at the Mormon church, you have to hold a special “temple recommend” in order to witness the couple’s sealing. This shows leaders of the church that you are part of the faith and keeping the commitments you made to the Lord. In other words, it allows you to enter His Holy House.

If you don’t have the “temple recommend” to enter into the ceremony, you will sit in a waiting room or wait right outside the Temple to greet the couple as soon as they make their way outside as man and wife. This is an exciting thing for a bride and groom to see everyone they love outside waiting for them and cheering them on, even if they weren’t allowed to be inside for the actual ceremony.

Outside Ring Ceremony

Most Mormon couples keep those who can’t enter for the ceremony in mind during their wedding festivities. For that reason, many couples opt to have a ring ceremony outside of the Temple so that everyone who couldn’t go outside can witness it. A ring ceremony is similar to what you’d see at a traditional wedding. Bridesmaids and groomsmen walk down the aisle, the couple exchanges vows and rings, and then there’s a first kiss at the end.

What About the Reception?

Non-alcoholic beverages on a table at a wedding reception.

Mormon weddings, like their traditional counterparts, do include receptions. After all, everyone loves to celebrate the newly married couple, right? Something to keep in mind, though, is that most of these weddings are “dry,” which means that no alcohol is served. These events do feature music, dancing, a cake cutting ceremony, and even a garter toss. In those respects, this is very similar to most of the wedding receptions you’ve likely attended.

What About Gifts?

You’re probably wondering what is customary for gift giving at a Mormon wedding. Most Mormon couples register just like other couples, so gifts from their registry are always welcome! You shouldn’t bring whatever gift you choose to give the couple to the Temple. Instead, it should be given at the reception—much like regular receptions. At these events, there will likely be someone or a few individuals appointed to collect the gifts, and it may even be a child. This is normal, so don’t be alarmed if a child snags the gift from you when you arise!

Mormon weddings definitely have some things that make them different from weddings of other faiths, but that’s what makes them special! This guide should help you understand exactly what you can expect if you attend a Mormon wedding and points out some of those differences so you aren’t caught off-guard.

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