So, Mormon wedding. What does that mean? What wedding traditions do they have? Let’s find out what we can about the Mormon wedding. Why do I put it like that? Because there are certain rituals that aren’t allowed to be witnessed or even filmed. No outsiders may be present, only the people who are in this religion. Still, a lot of Americans are ready to sacrifice their grand weddings, with that famous bride’s walk down the aisle, and have a “secret” Mormon wedding ceremony.
This is Melissa (bride, 35) and this is Sergio (groom, 36). They're Mormon.
36 hours till “I do”
“Mormon is a nickname for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”, says Sergio, the groom.
Marriage and family are important because they believe family can be together forever in the afterlife. An important part of creating an eternal family is getting married in a temple.
“Sergio was a very steady friend and we had both been in and out of lots of relationships that always ended. Sergio would always make comments like, when are you gonna realize that we should just date? And I would just laugh because we were friends. Finally, last summer he asked me: So, when do we just get married? And for the first time, my response was: what? wait, what if that actually works?!”, says Melissa, the bride.
After the age of 16, dating in the Mormon religion is encouraged but there's no sex until marriage. 66% of Mormon adults are married, compared with only 52% of U.S. adults overall. Mormons are also considered more fertile – they have 3.4 children, compared to the national average of 2.1.
Melissa and Sergio believe that they will be united with their family in heaven.
In order to participate in temple ordinances, including for a wedding, each member has to be recommended, meeting with local ecclesiastical leader, the bishop, counseling with them and meeting the various requirements that establish worthiness and maturity – to understand what you're taking upon yourself when you enter a temple”, comment Elder and Sister Erickson, married 34 years.
To marry or attend a ceremony in the temple, you have to follow a bunch of rules, including being a member of the church, abstaining from premarital sex, being free from drugs and alcohol, paying 10% of your income to the church, and wearing temple garments. Temple garments are worn by all adults, including Sergio and Melissa, as personal reminders of the promises they've made to God. They're worn at all times, except for exercising and bathing.
24 hours till “I do”
“Immediately after Sergio and I got engaged, we realized our family and our close friends would not be able to be at our marriage ceremony. I talked to my dad and he expressed that he was sad that he wouldn't be able to be there. A few weeks later, he said he was going to try to be there. I was, like, Dad, you know what that means, that's a lot of sacrifices. He has relatives and when they get together sometimes, they have a glass of wine – and the part of the health code is that we don't drink alcohol. And there's an undergarment that we wear to remind us of the promises that we make when we go to the temple. So he started to wear those. I'm really grateful that he's going to be able to be there”, says Melissa.
4 hours till “I do”
“I don't feel stressed. I waited a long time for this and I also know that she's the best person for me”, says Sergio.
30 minutes till “I do”
The wedding ceremony is the most sacred ritual in Mormonism and isn't allowed to be filmed or spoken of in detail outside the temple. This can make the wedding or sealing ceremony seem mysterious or shrouded in secrecy, but for Mormons, it's just sacred, not secret.
After the 30-minutes ceremony, Sergio and Melissa emerged from the temple. Their souls sealed together forever.
Through prayer, lots of communication, and by following the rules of the church, Melissa and Sergio are on their way to creating their eternal family.