“Planning Your Temple Wedding,” New Era, Oct. 2004, 25
Congratulations! You are engaged to the one you love, the one you want to be with forever. You probably have many questions about your upcoming temple marriage. Here are answers to some of the questions frequently asked by engaged Latter-day Saint couples.
How do we set a date to be married in the temple?
Call the temple you want to be married in, and schedule a date and time for your marriage. Remember to consider temple operating hours and closure times. You can ask your bishop or branch president for the phone number of the temple. You can also find the contact information and hours of operation for all Latter-day Saint temples at www.lds.org. Click on “Temples.”
How soon before our temple date should we make an appointment with the bishop or branch president for temple recommend interviews? What else should we know about getting a temple recommend?
Make your appointment to speak with the bishop or branch president and the stake or mission president enough in advance that neither you nor they feel rushed or pressured for time to get the interviews done. You need to be worthy and endowed before you can be sealed in the temple, and you need to be a member of the Church for a year before you can receive a temple recommend. You and your fiancé or fiancée must each have two recommends signed by the bishop or branch president and the stake or mission president: a temple recommend and a Recommend for Living Ordinances.
Where and when do we get a marriage license?
You must get a marriage license and comply with all local legal requirements before the temple ceremony can take place. Call your local government offices to find out what is required in your area. Be sure to ask what fees you will need to pay, how long the marriage license is valid, how long it takes to get a marriage license, and how soon after the wedding it needs to be filed with the appropriate government office.
How much does it cost to get married in the temple?
Getting married in the temple does not cost money. But there is a small fee if you rent temple clothing in temples where that service is available.
What do we wear to our temple wedding?
The couple and their guests should arrive at the temple in their best Sunday dress.
In the temple, brides’ dresses worn during the ceremony should be long sleeved, modest, white, and not elaborately ornamented. Dresses worn in the temple should also have high necklines. Dresses with trains are not permissible in the temple, unless the trains can be removed or bustled for the ceremony. Tuxedos, cummerbunds, formal headwear, and flowers are not appropriate in the sealing room. If you have specific questions regarding clothing, you can call the temple where you will be getting married for further instructions or advice.
Grooms will wear their temple clothing for the ceremony and change into appropriate clothing for picture taking afterward. Brides can also wear a temple dress for the ceremony and change into appropriate wedding clothing later—if they wish.
Whom can we invite to our temple wedding?
It is appropriate to invite family and close friends to your temple marriage. They must be endowed Church members with current temple recommends. Each temple has sealing rooms of varying sizes. When you schedule your ceremony, the temple will ask how many people you expect to attend and tell you the time your guests need to arrive.
What if we have family who are not Church members?
Family or friends who are not able to enter the temple may wait in the temple waiting room, if available, or on the temple grounds. You can invite your home teacher, bishop or branch president, or other appropriate Church members to wait with those who will not be able to attend your temple ceremony and to bear testimony of the sacredness of temple marriage.
What if some of our guests speak a foreign language?
If you need help with translation during the temple ceremony, contact the temple in advance to see if assistance is available.
Can we exchange rings in the temple?
You can exchange rings after the marriage ceremony while still in the sealing room. The temple will provide guidelines on this. Exchanging rings is not part of the ceremony, and it is not appropriate to exchange rings anywhere else on temple grounds.
Can we exchange vows outside the temple?
It would be inappropriate to exchange vows after you have been married in the temple, where you have already entered into sacred covenants with one another and the Lord. But in some areas civil law may require you to be married outside the temple first.
How long is the temple marriage ceremony?
The sealing ceremony usually takes only about 20 to 30 minutes. The temple will tell you how soon before your sealing ceremony you should arrive at the temple to be properly prepared.
What should we do if there is not a temple close enough to us?
A temple marriage is worth any sacrifice. Many couples wait for a long time until they can afford to travel to the temple closest to them. If you marry outside the temple, you will need to wait at least a year before you can be sealed in the temple, unless civil law in your area requires you to be married outside the temple first. Your bishop or branch president can give you additional counsel.
Is there anything else we need to be aware of?
Two male witnesses are needed for your temple marriage ceremony. They must be worthy, endowed Melchizedek Priesthood holders with current temple recommends. Often the bride’s and groom’s fathers act as witnesses. You can also choose two other worthy priesthood holders, or the temple will provide two witnesses upon request.
You may have seen people throw rice, honk horns, or decorate cars at weddings. None of these is appropriate on temple grounds.
Of course photographs are not permitted inside the temple, but you can take wedding photos just about anywhere else on temple grounds.
If you have a reception or other celebration after your temple wedding, keep it simple. The most important part of your wedding day will be the sacred marriage ceremony. You will be eternally sealed by priesthood authority to the one you love. Remember to make this a day of family and close friends and not let other festivities overshadow the importance of your eternal marriage.
Don’t worry if you’ve never been to the temple before or if you’re not quite sure what will happen during the sealing ceremony. You will have loving temple workers and endowed family or friends to guide you in the temple.