If you’re a non-Mormon who has been invited to a Mormon wedding, you may be surprised – though Mormonism is a branch of Christianity, the marriage ceremony is very different than what you may have seen at other Christian weddings.
For starters, you won’t be allowed into the ceremony.
A traditional Mormon temple sealing is a private event, open only to Mormons in good standing, and even then usually only to family members and a very few close friends.
(If one member of the couple isn’t a Mormon, or if one or both members aren’t yet considered ready to enter the temple, the couple will either have a civil wedding in a courthouse or a chapel wedding that’s much more like what you’re used to. They may then have a temple sealing in a year or so.)
As a guest, you’ll probably be asked to wait on the temple grounds or in the visitors’ center while the actual nuptials happen. You may have to do some waiting – guests usually arrive about half an hour before the ceremony, and the proceedings can take another half-hour or so. If it’s high wedding season, the bride and groom may actually need to wait in line behind some other couples, so bring some conversation starters. Fortunately, the temple grounds will probably be a beautiful and peaceful place to spend a little time.
The other bit of good news is that you will probably get to see the newlyweds exchange rings, as that isn’t considered a part of the temple ceremony. The newlyweds will either do that immediately (and rather quickly) after they leave the sealing, or they’ll have a more elaborate ring exchange at the start of their off-site reception.
• While you’re on temple grounds, you shouldn’t take photographs or videos without explicit permission. If in doubt, don’t.
• Both male and female guests should dress conservatively. Err on the side of long sleeves and high necklines.
• While your friends want you to feel included, it’s considered a sacrilege for them to talk about temple ceremonies to outsiders, so do keep your curiosity at bay.
• Don’t expect alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine to be available (or acceptable to have on you) at the reception. Plan accordingly.