How to make all family feel included at a Temple Sealing

An Ask Angela article came out this week where I addressed this question. You all have responded with some really sound advice via email. Sharing them below – got any more you’d share? 

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My mother-in-law was not LDS but we invited her to come to the temple with us and there was a lovely waiting room within the building.  It was a hushed and sacred place for her to wait and the temple workers all made her feel welcomed and loved.  Although she was hurt that she could not attend the actual sealing, we exchanged our rings in the garden with her present since exchanging of rings is not part of the temple ceremony.  

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Since exchange of rings is not part of the temple wedding, two of my granddaughters have had ring ceremonies at their receptions.  They had it set up to include a typical archway to stand under.  After they walked down the aisle, the Bishop presided, had them say what they wanted to say to each other, and then exchange rings, after which he said “I now present Mr. and Mrs. ______” and then they proceeded with the rest of the reception.  It was very tasteful and allowed the flower girls, ring bearer, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and others to share in an important part of the day.   It in no way lessened the sacredness of the temple wedding.

The music, by the way, was something other than “Here Comes The Bride”.  

I am sorry that “WeddingSue” was upset because she felt like a servant.  We always set up everything before we went to the temple and did it as a family, not as something those who couldn’t attend could do while waiting.  I hope they worked it out and she realized she was a valued participant and not being ‘punished’ for not being a member.   

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Angela,
We just finished three days of  temple missionary training and this very subject was addressed. Many of the temples have a beautiful waiting area with volunteers available to visit with non-members who are unable to go inside. Questions can be answered about temples but the main purpose is to make those people feel welcome even though they cannot go inside. They can then participate in photo sessions on the temple grounds and enjoy the excitement of the wedding day.
“Helping out” at the reception would certainly make one feel like a servant, so maybe the bride and/or groom should just invite non-members to enjoy the evening and mingle with family members and guests.
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As I read this I thought back to both my children’s temple weddings and thought about how uncomfortable it was for some who were not LDS. While they were wistful about not being able to view the ceremony, they did understand how sacred it was to us because we explained it kindly in the invitation.

Instead of asking them to help with the reception, which I agree with the person who wrote to you, seems like a lame compromise, I would make them feel special by perhaps pointing them out as special guests, honored and treasured as anyone else included in the celebration.

Be thoughtful about the seating, include them with friends and other family. Some here (California) have a separate ring ceremony as the reception begins which everyone gets to observe and participate in. We had a ‘rogues gallery’ of friends and family on one wall of the reception hall – everyone we could get photos of were included in the collage. Including a non-LDS couple in the wedding lineup is thoughtful and inclusive too. All these things indicate that they are loved and their presence is as essential to their happy day as those who were in that sealing room.

Just a few thoughts. I hope they help.

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