A Mennormon Wedding

I am marrying a Mennonite.

Forget what you think you may know about them. It’s different. Old Order Mennonites were too liberal in their lifestyles and the Amish broke away. But that was years and years ago. These days it’s hard to distinguish a Mennonite from any other run-of-the-mill Protestant Christian denomination, though they do have Ten Thousand Villages and they do loads of service missions all over the world. Alcohol isn’t really their thing either.

And he’s only mildly Mennonite. I’m not sure he would self-indentify as a Mennonite but he surely identifies with them. His family’s church is a Christian fellowship that had absorbed a Mennonite congregation and he went to Mennonite schools. It’s even a famous Mennonite school. Don’t tell him I told you, he’s a bit embarrassed. It’s kind of like telling atheists that you really really like that you went to BYU.

We’re very well-suited for each other. It’s so surprising, I’m astonished by it sometimes. We have similar opinions on how we want to live life religiously, financially, academically, philosophically, healthfully, family, travelly. We both think the other is smart and funny and respectable and we get along really well with each other’s families. I’d hate to say we’re perfect because I could be the starry-eyed bride-to-be, but we’re good together and waiting til you’re 30 to get married means that you’ve dated a lot of people. And met even more that you didn’t need to date to know they’re all wrong for you.

It’s strange to find the person best suited for you outside of your imagination. I have always imagined a temple wedding. I would be a 4th or 5th generation temple wedding on both sides of my family and even when I began to have theological issues with the temple, it remained the future place of my marriage. Who knows what happened? I must have aged out of my dreams or else I was dreaming the dream of some other girl. I believe it is more than falling in love with a Mennonite, though he has figured himself prominently in my current dreams.

My family quietly prays (and maybe most of you) that I would get married in the temple, even though they are perfect supporters. His family vocally threatens death if they could not attend our wedding. My family may question my faith by my choice, his family questions the fun of not choosing alcohol to do a celebratory toast, even though you remember that Mennonites are not into alcohol. Mormons put photographs in their wedding announcements, the rest of the world leaves them out.  In the back of my mind, it was always okay to to have a reception in a church gym and serve punch and cake. The rest of the world serves dinner and rents a hall. Before I had no say in the words of my ceremony, now I have to write the whole damn thing. You see, it’s all very conflicting. You could go so far as to say complicated.

As it turns out, mildly Mennonite-Mormonism is complicated and it suits me. Like he does. And I’ve just called in a favor to have two very smart people write my wedding ceremony. I just have to decide whether or not I should put photographs in with the invitations.

Comments

  1. MikeInWeHo says:

    Where will the wedding be held, Amri? Who will perform the ceremony?

    I went to a Mennonite wedding once years ago and it was really cool. They seemed like very mellow Protestants with a strong communal identity. There was something vaguely counter-cultural about them, like you could imagine them running an organic farm together. Of course, one of the most distinctive traits of (all??) Mennonite groups is their pacifism. They are a Peace Church.

    There’s a great wiki article on them here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mennonites

  2. As one half of an Episcopalian-Mormon couple gone awry, I can say that it sounds as if you’re managing the potential tensions here very well indeed. Here’s me hoping that it goes the distance and you achieve the near-impossible: no actual screaming fights at the wedding ceremony itself.

  3. Stephanie says:

    This is funny because I live in a very, very Mennonite area, and they don’t take kindly to Mormons. One of the bigger churches even has had anti-Mormon speakers in before. And most of the Mennonites around are only Mennonites in the loosest sense of the word, much like your fiancé. Of course not all are anti-Mormon, I have a few Mennonite friends and stuff, and they don’t care.

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    I think it makes a lot of sense. You both come from iconoclastic, minority Christian religious traditions, which means you both can relate to each other far better than would be the case in a lot of potential mixed-faith matches.

    Personally, I love the Mormon tradition of putting pictures in announcements, and that is one where I think Mormons should conquer the world.

    Also, if you’re not going to get married in the temple, then there is no great virtue to having a bishop do the ceremony in a gym. If it would make his family happy, go ahead and have a Mennonite wedding service.

    But draw a hard and fast line at pictures in the announcements; there there can be no negotiation whatsoever!

  5. congratulations and best wishes

  6. Congrats! One of my best friends at Penn State was a Mennonite–everyone thought she was Mormon at first because she grew up in Idaho. I really think one of the things that really made our friendship as strong as it was were the similarities in our cultural/religious heritage, and I truly hope you find the same thing in your marriage. I hope you two are very happy!

  7. I have eaten at a Mennonite restaurant back in Somerset Co, PA. Some of the best food I ever had!! Congrats and best wishes.

  8. John Mansfield says:

    Congratulations. It looks like you’ll need to put that funeral planning on hold until after the honeymoon.

  9. He is from PA, roundabouts Lancaster County.

    Mike, we’re getting married in Boston. My brother and his wife are marrying us. It will sorta be a non-descript Christian thing with shout-outs to both our religious roots.

    It’s funny that Mormons do photographs. In books that I’ve read, apparently it’s low-brow to send them (even lower than listening to Mendelsohn) but that’s the only thing I liked when I’d get invitations. Why do y’all think that is? Why do Mormons send photos? Why is it low-brow to do so?
    I have discovered that the marriage culture between Mormons and other Americans is pretty different. I had no idea, since I thought we were mainly the same except for the temple.

  10. mfranti says:

    I love love LOVE it!!!!

    thanks for sharing you story and congrats.

    I am now a mormalutheran. we had my bishop marry us
    in an art gallery downtown. see, everyone is happy that way.

    good luck

  11. Stephanie says:

    My friend’s mom was horrified that she included a photo with her wedding invitations, and she’s very Mormon (the mother). But I agree that the picture is the best part! Especially if it’s someone who lives far away and you’ve never met the fiancé.

  12. Melanie says:

    Maybe it’s the diaspora– are we more likely to get invitations from people we haven’t seen in a while? Or in large extended families, do is there a need for a picture to jog one’s memory as to who exactly is getting married? (

    I’m a big fan of the picture thing, I have a collection going on my fridge.

    Congrats!

  13. Mark IV says:

    amri,

    I don’t know if I already told you this, but lots of my ancestors were Mennonites from Lancaster PA and environs. I once spent several days there with my mother, driving her around as she visited graveyards and photographed old homesteads. We found the building where our first ancestor heard the gospel and discovered that it is now used as a cattle barn. We might become cousins through marriage after all.

  14. Melissa says:

    Hurray! I couldn’t be happier for you, amri.

    Are former MTC teachers included on your wedding announcement list? If so, please do include a photo. I’d like to see the lucky guy.

  15. Amri,

    I’m glad you have found someone who sounds so compatible with you. I have a son who is not currently active, who married his totally non-religiously affiliated girlfriend at a local winery, with the ceremony performed by our Bishop. I think that was a first for the bishop, but the setting was beautiful.

    And yet….

    Since I don’t know you at all, I must also reflect that with my son, and his wife, there was also a little sadness. We’ve had two of our children marry in the temple, with a third getting married in the Seattle temple next Friday. My oldest son is getting married to his non-LDS, non-affiliated girlfriend next year.

    Stay close to your families on both sides. I think the fact that my wife and I are religious is a little intimidating to the non-LDS spouse and fiancee. We have been very respectful, trying hard not to offend, and keeping the religion issues off the table unless they ask. Make sure your differences don’t equate to divisions from either side of your family.

    Please accept this as friendly advice from someone who probably really has no right to speak, but who wishes the two of you all the happiness that marriage can bring. My wife and I celebrated 35 years this summer, and it just gets better all the time. I hope for that for you as well.

  16. Congratulations, Amri.

    And, um, like Mark, I’ll probably be your cousin by marriage, since I’m sorta-kinda related to most of the Mennonites in Pennsylvania. The Wengers are a longtime backbone of the Mennonite community.

    Crap, this means I’m probably related to _Mark_. Amri, I can handle being related to. But Mark?

  17. Mark IV says:

    Kaimi,

    Cuz, Hawaiian Mennonites make me laugh.

  18. Veritas says:

    Lots of people put photographs in the wedding invitation. In fact, all my friends and co-workers have in Texas and the west coast. All of them. Maybe this is one of the generational things that used to be looked down on but, is now kinda trendy? Or maybe its just a no-no in the east ( I have no idea where any of you are). As a photographer, I have to say I love the idea, and all my wedding photographer friends definitly sell invitation sessions.

    And congrats :)

  19. Amri:

    1) Congrats!

    2) I could have written most of this word for word. In fact I think I did once write this sentence: “It’s strange to find the person best suited for you outside of your imagination.” I’m two years out from my wedding, so if you are looking for a truly sympathetic ear on planning the ceremony, satisfying families, etc, shoot me an e-mail.

    3) Photos. The wedding was smallish and on the East Coast. The actual invitations were quite formal with NO picture. The second, larger reception was in Provo. For these I sent out more homey cards WITH a picture. And we served BYU fizzy punch. And beehive girls I have never seen before in my life served it. Beautiful.

  20. Amri, Congratulations!

    My wife and I just celebrated our 20th, and I agree with kevinf; I hope your marriage gets better every year. (I can’t say every day, because there are some days . . . even for best friends like us.)

    I have some extended family who have let some issues keep them apart from their parents and family. Again, from another old man, try to make sure the attitude you have right now is the attitude you keep. Don’t let how anyone else might treat you (both of you) affect the way that you treat them or each other. I believe strongly that if you truly become one, the Lord will work it all out in the end. (Just don’t tell anyone else I said so; keep it our own secret, just between the two of us.)

  21. Ray I’ll do my best to keep that one quiet.

    I think I win the photograph issue since I like them. ECS told me to put photos in the Mormon invites and leave them out of the others. Then I’m high class all around right?

    Melissa, you will be the only MTC teacher who gets an invite. I haven’t the foggiest where the other ones are. And can I remember their names? No, though one of them regularly pretended to be Yoda.

    kevinf, I don’t mind at all your wish that I marry in the temple. I know lots of people wish it. It’s not for me though and it turns out not to be very divisive. There are many things I love about the temple, though I do wish they’d re-consider the marriage. It seems like an event that EVERYONE should be able to be a part of, and a sealing ordinance could be done privately, separately. Not only would I have to leave out all his family and friends (well and him too) but many of my Mormon friends and family can’t/don’t go to the temple either so…even if I were the temple going sort right now, I’d want everyone to be involved.

    I’m interested in the history of marriage vs sealings done in the temple. When did they become one? When were all non-temple worthy people excluded? Anyone know? That’s a small question isn’t it?

    Kevin, are you going to come? I’ll send you a photo invite if you do.

  22. Oh and Kaimi, Mark is fun to be related to. He’s funny, friendly, nice. He could catch you a fish if you needed. You should not complain about that one.

  23. Amri, I married a Buddhist with a Methodist woman minister at a park in Northern California. I say, whatever works for the two of you, Yay!

    The wedding culture is indeed VERY different in the LDS culture as opposed to out- not even considering the Temple. LDS weddings, by and large, are much more modest and simple than the secular affairs I have been part of and guests at. This is somthing I think is terrific, actually. A young couple shouldn’t sell the farm to put on a 30K shindig.

    As far as pictures- in my heathen days, we did not, but now, I love getting announcements with the pictures enclosed.

  24. Hmm.

    Well, I guess since we’re related, Mark, we should start planning a fishing trip. With luck, we’ll be able to give Amri a few fish for a wedding gift. And then she could make a really smelly shrine.

  25. Kevin Barney says:

    Kaimi, make that a delicious bass.

  26. Kevin Barney says:

    Hey, Amri, on the issue of non-LDS being excluded from witnessing a marriage, check out this post from my guest-posting stint at T&S.

    I’d be interested in trying to work it out to come. Send me the particulars offline at klbarney at yahoo dot com, and I’ll try to see whether I can get away that weekend.

  27. Kevin,

    I may still have some sand bass in the freezer from last fishing trip with the boys. It’s pretty good eatin. We often get sand bass, and sometimes barracuda. We took one barracuda to cub scouts once — the boys loved it, and ultimately got to cook and eat it.

    We went out grunion running a few weeks ago with the kids, just before midnight, but we had bad luck. Only saw two grunions, and didn’t catch either of them.

  28. Kevin, that’s a great post. I’m right there with you. I want there to be a sealing. And that can be a separate ordinance but you’re right in that it hurts A LOT of people’s feelings to be left out of the marriage. Like I said, I couldn’t do it. I have a near and dear to me who takes worthiness very seriously and so has not entered the temple because of worthiness on days that the average person would still go in. I don’t want that to be an issue.

    Kaimi, do you mind faxing me some of that barracuda. We’re doing southern BBQ for our wedding and we could make that fish fit in I’m sure.

    Tracym, I like middle ground. Not quite as thrifty as the Mormons do it but far far cheaper than the regular 35K people spend. Seriously, that could be my master’s degree right there. On one night. A special night, but still.

    A Mormon woman is marrying us. Nice right?

    Deborah, I actually feel so happy about the man that I don’t feel too stressed about the religion. Just the overall planning makes me want to (in SVs language) put my head in a blender. Plus, my family isn’t antagonistic at all. Disapproval happens from other Mormons quietly. But mostly because I don’t like rings and don’t wear one.

  29. Just as an aside to Kevin’s post (#26): Why are we hung up on the order of the ceremonies? A non-member friend of my oldest son once asked me, after being outside the temple during another friend’s sealing, if she could get married in the temple – because of the spirit she felt there. I told her about the nature of sealings and that, if she was a member of the church, she could be married there – but, knowing that the rest of her family were not members, I also explained that they wouldn’t be able to attend the sealing ordinance.

    I then suggested that, if she actually joined the church and got sealed in the temple, she and her husband hold a separate “commitment ceremony” that her family could attend AFTER the temple marriage – where they re-affirmed their commitment to remain loyal throughout the eternities and re-exchanged rings in front of her family and any non-member friends. That secular ceremony would not be a wedding, but it would suffice for all but the most rabidly anti-Mormon zealots. In essence, it would be a reception – just with a special twist.

  30. Kevin Barney, your post and Amri’s situation are hitting me right where I live. My next to youngest son is getting married next Friday to a wonderful girl that he actually took to his high school prom. They reconnected after his mission, and now are getting married here in the Seattle temple.

    My dilemma is this: my oldest two sons are not active, and not TR holders. One is married, the other engaged, to non-members. My youngest son, who is dealing with some health issues, is not yet ready to go to the temple as he has not put in his mission papers. My daughter and my other son and their spouses will all be in the temple, along with many family members from both sides.

    I am considering staying outside the temple to be with my sons and their significant others, and my youngest son, while my wife represents us at the ceremony. I am trying to build bridges to these two couples, and have just started thinking about this today. I would only do it if both my wife and my son and his fiancee were okay with it, but it seems a small sacrifice in the hopes of creating greater family unity.

    Not trying to threadjack, but it seems related to me, and I am curious to see what you folks think of this.

  31. That is a huge sacrifice kevinf. I ache that you have to be put in that situation, which is why I would love the church to put its stamp of approval on civil ceremonies that are public and sealings that are private.
    I think that feels like a nice gesture to be with them while you’re wife represents you two. You’re not too sad to not see the actual sealing? If it’s good with your family then it seems like a good choice, but oh so painful.
    Like you say, it leaves Mormons and non-Mormons out of something that is traditionally a community celebration.

  32. Amri,

    This only occurred to me today while at work, and yes, it will be painful, but I hope it will also allow me to use this as a teaching opportunity. I still need to discuss this with my wife, and then with my son and his fiancee. However, I hope the gesture might have an impact on these couples. The pain of family separation for the rest of our lives, and the eternities sounds more painful to me.

  33. Congratulations Amri! I’m sure it will be the best Mennormon wedding on record. One question though: does he know about your tattoos?

  34. I’ve thought a lot about this (as many have I’m sure) and was reminded of how difficult the issue can be at the wedding of one of my closest friends. They were planning on all the adult family members attending the sealing when at the last minute–like the weekend of the sealing– the groom’s father told them he wouldn’t be able to enter the temple. It certainly cast a cloud on the day, and made me realize how difficult it must have been for my mom when she wasn’t able to have any parents at her sealing (dad wasn’t LDS, mom had passed away). The hurt fealings that can be created in these situations can’t be minimized! And yet. . .there is something so amazing that happens in the sealing. You come together with someone in the most holy place on earth and covenant to form an eternal relationship. That really should be the focus of the wedding day. I come from a large family who’s matriach died not too long ago. When my grandfather (who’s a sealer) stands in the sealing room full of his progeny and talks about the enternal relationship he has with my grandma while he seals a couple I get goosebumps.

    So my two cents is–if you believe in the temple covenant than make that happen even if some people can’t be there. Then have a crazy big community celebration that everyone can be involved in. Many people in our area have started to have ring ceremonies where they reiterate their commitment. Even though it always hurts to not include everyone (especially if you are the one left out), I think most people really appreciate being made a huge part of the celebration.

  35. ps I should have included that if you aren’t having the temple sealing I think it’s such a great idea to discard the church gym wedding idea (feels too much like sloppy seconds or something). My cousin (LDS but couldn’t marry in the temple) had a beautiful ceremony in the mountains. Even though there were many there regretting the service wasn’t in the temple, they were able to feel so much excitement and happiness for the couple by celebrating in a such a beatiful place.

    Congratulations!

  36. kevinf, I have never done this before, but look back at my comment #29. You were typing your #30 while I was typing mine. I don’t think you have to choose; to echo anon in #34, I think you can have two “ceremonies” that involve everyone in at least one of them – with the “secular” ceremony following the sealing.

  37. When my brother got married to his vaguely Catholic wife, the rented a big Presbeterian church, but were dismayed to find out how much the vicar wanted to be paid for the ceremony. So they asked my father, who at the time was a bishop. But he got released a month before the ceremony. So he went to one of those dodgy online seminaries and got ordained a priest to perform the ceremony. Church members who sussed it out were scandalized, but I know my dad loved doing it.

  38. Oh, and best wishes. I totally support the separation of the wedding and sealing if it keeps people happy.

  39. Congrats Amri. I’m excited for you.

    I have ancestors who lived in Lancaster Co too, but more who lived in Westmoreland. Mellott, Truax, Hutchinson and Stillwell are the main names that crop up a lot in my lines in that area.

  40. That’s so funny Norbert. My girl has to get a gubernatorial appointment to do it. It’s 25bucks.

    I don’t think weddings are times to make people feel bad about the temple, kevinf. So stay out to be with them but not to make them feel bad about being outside. If you want them to go to the temple, I’d use something else to encourage them.

    MCQ, he doesn’t know about my tattoos. Please kindly keep that to yourself. I’m not sure how the Mennonites feel about them.

  41. lulubelle says:

    Amri,

    Congrats! I’m getting married, too, next month to a Catholic. His first marriage hasn’t been annulled so we’re getting married on the beach at sunrise. I’ll wear a tea-length wedding dress and I’ll be barefoot. And we’re getting married by a female minister of something non denominational. And there won’t be any receptions in the gym or relief society room. I wish you all the best!! I know that dual-religious couples can work and I wish you nothing but the best.

  42. lulubelle says:

    PS: It appears I’m in the minority here but I absolutely hate the wedding announcements/invites with photos. I don’t know why but I think they are so tacky. I don’t mind including a photo along with the announcement, though. Maybe it’s from years of living on the East coast but having an announcement with a photo is considered on incredibly huge no no.

  43. Amri, would never do it to make anyone feel bad. My goal is to let them know that they are important as well. My wife may totally reject this, or my son and his intended, but I thought it might be a nice gesture.

  44. Oh, Amri, best wishes. I do think it’s weird that we know about your tattoos, and he doesn’t, though.

  45. kevinf, he will know about them soon enough.

  46. Oh, our parents were gems in terms of religion (thank goodness) — but writing out and planning the ceremony was a totally unexpected stress (though fun in many ways). I mean, suddenly I could have *music* . . . but that meant I had to plan music :).
    My favorite part of the ceremony, though, was this reading. Perfectly captured my emotions of the moment — spiritually and emotionally.

  47. Regarding the pictures:
    I believe that East Coaster non-Mormons generally look down on the photos because they put the pictures in the newspaper instead. I think the pictures in announcements/invites were either a western or Mormon thing because you could not count on the whole extended family seeing the announcement in one (or a few) newspapers.

    I remember that my mother’s parents put them in (AZ)but my father’s parents thought them low-brow (ID), so clearly some people clung to Eastern traditions more than others (and had a less scattered family).

    But classic Mormon, and that is my favorite part of the invite (unless the photo is a ring shot or has one of you lying on top of the other–I don’t approve of those).

    Congratulations and good luck!

  48. Eric Russell says:

    Non-Mormons don’t include pictures with their invitations? I’ve never gotten one from a non-Mormon, so I wouldn’t know. But even still, I think it’s very strange. I mean, everyone always puts the picture on the fridge. But if there’s no picture, what’s the point of sending out an invitation? You expect people to put your invitation on their fridge all by itself? Please.

    And a spectator, I agree with the two rules you stipulate at the end. But then I have a long list of them. I think I have yet to see a wedding announcement picture that wasn’t heinous in some way (and I’ve looked at a lot.)

  49. natasha says:

    Don’t Mennonites reject overly consumption-oriented culture? If so, it’s certainly something many of us Mormons could learn from.
    I was married in the temple, which was a lovely, sacred, family-centered experience.
    But my husband, who is an active Mormon, hasn’t had a temple recommend for years, and every family temple wedding that I attend alone is unbearably awkward. People asking overly personal questions about him–sealers making nice comments to all the couples in the wedding, and then simply passing by me, commentless. I hate how he is excluded from the whole process, stuck outside with the adolescents. I hate how I’m treated and pitied [helping me have just a bit of understanding of how single adults must feel]. Awful. I just wish weddings didn’t have to be so exclusory in order to be considered sacred in our tradition.

  50. Kevin Barney says:

    kevinf, I think it sounds like a lovely gesture.

  51. veritas says:

    Eric, I do think they use pictures. In the past 3 years I have been in 4 weddings and attended at least 20, none Mormon, and spread geographically between Texas, Illinois, California, Washington and Florida. I can only think of 2 that didn’t have pictures. Usually, the invite was a non-traditional card of some sort, often the invite was printed on the picture. I just think normal old-school wedding traditions might have looked down on it, but thats not so much the case anymore. You at least have to include a picture in the save-the-date card.

  52. natasha, Do you know a Ray you haven’t spoken with for a while? I know it’s a long shot, but the way you write sounds familiar.

  53. congratsamri says:

    Congrats from a former Bostonian/-LPWer/-Mormon who also married outside the temple.

    The most infuriating part about marrying outside the temple (especially as an older single, first time bride) is that people often question whether you’re “worthy” to marry in the temple at all.

    I hate to say this, but I had to muffle a giggle as I almost heard a collective sigh of relief on this blog when you said your fiance hadn’t seen your tattoo.

    It’s bad enough when people question the guests’ virtues when they don’t have recommends. Worse when older, never-previously-married, or divorced people are assumed to be marrying for the formalities.

    I even had my bishop insist I “come see him after the wedding so we could clear things up” when I told him I had chosen to marry outside of the temple.

    He he. I was a virgin!

  54. Natasha says:

    Ray: I don’t think so. Where would we have met? I was at BYU in the early 90s, Cambridge, Mass after that. Natasha isn’t my actual name either.

  55. natasha, That’s funny. I never attended BYU, but I was in Cambridge from ’87-’93. However, if Natasha isn’t your actual name, then you aren’t who I thought you might be. (and if you had been, the recognition would have been immediate) Oh, well. Like I said, a long shot. Good to talk with you, anyway.

    Sorry, everyone else.

  56. Oh, I was kidding about the tattoos. If you’ve met me you’ve seen them. They’re not in secret “private” places.
    And actually I”m not worthy to go to the temple. I think a few people know about my little word of wisdom problem.

    kevinf, I must have misunderstood. I think it’s a wonderful gesture. To be with your family you love that can’t go inside and have your wife go in with the other family you love. It’s a hard balance isn’t it?

    Deborah, your completely right. Music, words, order, do I walk down the aisle? Does someone give me away? Do we read poems? Is there a sermon? So many things that have to be answered. And how to involve the right amount of people. I’ll say one thing for the marriage as sealing, it sure is simple.

    I have a friend whose very faithful (and SP I think) grandfather wrote to the Church HQ his whole adult life asking them to change the worthy members only rule on marriages. He was a worthy temple goer the whole time, he just thought it was something everyone should be involved in.

    Thanks for all the well wishes. Y’all are nice to me. If I had any idea how to do it, I’d post an engagement photo for y’all.

  57. Kristine says:

    Amri, if there’s a sermon, please have Kate give it instead of Sam ;)

  58. I heard Amri had hired some ultra-liberal Unitarian-sounding minister to marry her. But that might be just a rumor.

    kevinf: My brother married a woman without many Mormon relatives, and they just had an entire ceremony like a wedding in the Mormon chapel after their temple sealing. Even got me into a suit for the first time in 7 years or so. They did not go out of their way to say that “this is a fake wedding,” which I think can estrange people. This was in Boston, where there’s less scrutiny of such behaviors.

    I’m so delighted when people make a meaningful commitment to each other that I’m not sure I worry very much at all about the location or the religious tradition involved, even as I treasure my temple marriage (though the event itself was terrifying for both of us).

    I also have heard that Amri’s tattoo is a hieroglyphic code, something about Michael Moore. Perhaps she should send a photo of that in her invitation.

    (Incidentally, I vote no on pictures in invites.)

    and on a historical note, Cowdery and Co., I think in the Articles on Marriage, maintained that a wedding had to include a communal feast. Maybe you could bury the rings like plastic babies in king cakes.

  59. Natasha, #49, I’m sorry you’ve had a bad experience attending temple weddings spouse-less. I’ve attended 3 of my in-laws’ temple weddings while my husband stayed outside. While it’s a little disappointing, I’ve always felt like just another part of my husband’s family. Of course, I’ve never experienced the sealer singling out the couples in the family – perhaps b/c my mother-in-law is also attending by herself.

    Funny sidenote: at my temple wedding, the sealer was directing our parents where to sit, when he turned to my mother-in-law, he assumed that the best man was her husband and tried to get them to sit together. We all had a good laugh about that.

  60. This is actually a new tithing question that I can’t figure out how to post. If a person is a GA and their children get free tuition at Church schools, who pays the tithing on the value of the tuition, the GA parent or the student?

  61. #30 — Kevinf asked for input with his situation of a son being married in the temple but having other sons who can’t attend.

    Kevin, if you, your wife, your son and his fiance agree that having you stay outside with your other family members is best all around, then it seems that would be a good bridge to building family unity.

    However, I have another point of view, which I have learned from watching my older sister. Disclaimer: I do not have firsthand knowledge (ie: engaged or married kids) though I am within a few years of that — so I admit that I may change my mind somewhat if I am ever in this actual situation.

    My sister has 2 married daughters. The oldest is an obvious favorite and married a man in the temple whom my sister also adores. Her second daughter chose to marry a man of whom my sister did not approve. She seriously threatened not to attend the marriage. Her oldest daughter and SIL finally convinced her to attend. Their strongest argument was that it was the DAUGHTER’s special day, _NOT_ my sister’s. My sister attended, and while unhappy about it, she was able to put aside her differences and disapproval so her daughter could have HER own special day.

    I am making some assumptions with your situation, Kevin, but it appears that you raised your family with a Gospel background and that your oldest sons chose to leave it for whatever reasons. That leads me to believe that they know to some degree about the importance of a temple sealing in the lives of some of their family members, even if they don’t understand, agree, accept, or desire it for themselves.

    IMO, they should be willing to let their brother have HIS special day, recognizing that they can share in all of it except the actual temple sealing. Supporting family members in their choices of activities/actions/etc also builds family unity and understanding. IMO, that also means they should understand why both of their parents are in the temple with their younger brother, while other family members (favorite uncle, aunt, cousin, etc) wait with them outside.

    This does not apply to all situations. As so many have pointed out, there is a WIDE variety of circumstances. What works for some wouldn’t work for others.

    Sorry for the long post. I hope I worded it well enough not to offend; that is not my intent.

    Amri, congrats! I wish both of you happiness and a wonderful life together.

  62. I had the pleasure of meeting Amri and Mark at Rusty’s bloggersnacker … both very fun people. Congrats to you guys!

    So will it be a mennormous mennormon wedding?

  63. Amri, Very best wishes! It’s lovely to hear the love in your post. As important as temple marriage is, developing love is much more important. There are too few really happy marriages, temple or otherwise. If you two build one, the eternal part will follow.
    Oh, and if you do an invitation picture, I hope you forgo the fawning bride variety. Why is it Mormon brides like to drape themselves on their grooms as though they no longer can stand alone?

  64. Re: #56 If I had any idea how to do it, I’d post an engagement photo for y’all.

    I think we would all love to see a picture posted here, whether or not it goes out with the wedding announcement.

  65. RE Amri, et al

    I talked over with my wife the concept of staying outside with my sons, and while she said everyone would appreciate the gesture, she had sentiments very similar to Mi’s in # 61

    IMO, they should be willing to let their brother have HIS special day, recognizing that they can share in all of it except the actual temple sealing. Supporting family members in their choices of activities/actions/etc also builds family unity and understanding.

    We decided together that our son that is getting married and has prepared himself for the temple deserves to have his Dad there, and so I won’t even bring it up with him. We’ll see how things work out, as my sons are about the only family members on either side that won’t be in the temple.

    Thanks to all who shared their thoughts on this. Amri, best of luck on your wedding. We’re down to the home stretch on our son’s, and looking forward to it. I suspect that it will be pretty typical, although the reception is at a local lake, a very beautiful setting where I competed in a triathlon a few years back. And they chose to send invitations with pictures. I feel okay about that, and the picture is a very tasteful black & white picture of them in a rather informal setting.

  66. William Morris says:

    Congrats, cousin.

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