How an LDS bride and groom can include non-members in an LDS wedding ceremony
Photo Courtesy of Ravenberg Photography

Ideas to Include Non-Members

Fellow Latter-day Saints generally understand the etiquette surrounding an LDS temple wedding, but what if your reception involves non-members as well as members?

Since any non-members or less-active Latter-day Saints on your guest list won’t be able to attend your temple sealing, including them in the reception becomes that much more important. Some things you can do when non-members or less-actives are present are:

♥ Explain the significance of the temple sealing to them personally beforehand
♥ Include an insert about temple sealings in the reception program or along with the wedding invitation
♥ Tell guests what to expect at the reception, including the absence of the “customary” open bar
Have a ring ceremony at the reception

How to Perform an LDS Ring Ceremony

non members at an LDS reception
Photo Courtesy of April Smith Photography

An LDS ring ceremony is very meaningful to guests who weren’t able to attend the sealing. If you anticipate any hurt feelings from anyone who felt excluded from the sealing, you should seriously consider including a ring ceremony at the beginning of the reception.

Ring ceremonies are short and sweet. They usually include an opening and closing song and prayer, words from an officiator of your choice, short “speeches” from the bride and groom (no vows, though,) and the exchange of wedding rings.

Though it isn’t a wedding ceremony and is certainly no substitute for the sacredness of the temple sealing, a Mormon ring ceremony may help some of your guests feel that they were part of the wedding day even though they weren’t able to be in the temple with you.

Latter-day Saint Couples and Multiple Receptions

It’s not at all uncommon for LDS couples to hold two or more separate wedding open houses or receptions. The most usual reason is that the bride’s side of the family lives in one state and the groom’s side lives in another, but other factors may influence the decision to hold more than one wedding reception.

Ring ceremony at an LDS wedding reception
Photo Courtesy of Amelia Lyon Photography

Maybe the family members all live near each other, but you and your fiancé wish to celebrate with friends from college. In that case, you could hold one reception near home for family and a second open house near school for classmates and friends.

Cost also plays a role. If you’re set on having a catered pay-by-the-plate reception, then you are limited in who you can afford to invite. In that case you could consider inviting only your closest family and friends to the catered dinner, then celebrating with a more casual (and more inexpensive) open house in the cultural hall for the rest of your friends, acquaintances, and ward members later.

including non members at an LDS reception
Photo Courtesy of Carly Daniel Photography

And finally, due to divorce or other awkward situations, some family members may not get along with each other. If you’re nervous about having certain family members in the same room for too long, consider holding two separate receptions to distance the dueling relatives and avoid conflict on your wedding day.

There are a million ways to plan LDS wedding receptions, and none of them is necessarily right or wrong. Depending on your budget, your location, and a number of other factors, you need to decide what is best for you. No matter what you choose, make your plans with confidence and then relax and enjoy it when the day comes.

♥ Jenny Evans
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