We got married! Today I wanted to take the chance to reflect on what went into our decision to have multiple wedding ceremonies and how we decided to execute them.
To briefly catch people up, Isaac and I got married on June 30th of 2017. We had three reception and two wedding ceremonies. You may think we were/are crazy, but it was what worked for us and I wouldn’t change anything about our wedding.
The Decision to Have Multiple Ceremonies:
Okay, so I’m not going to lie, having multiple wedding ceremonies was something that was always going to happen for us simply because of our different religious and cultural backgrounds. I was raised Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) and converted to Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) as a Freshman in college. In contrast, Isaac was born and raised in the Mormon church. While on the one hand we wanted nothing more than to have an LDS sealing ceremony, we also wanted to be as inclusive as we could of my family and their diverse faiths. Also, I had always dreamed of my parent walking me down the isle and being surrounded by my family and loved ones when I committed myself in marriage.
It is also important to understand that LDS sealing ceremonies are only performed in a dedicated LDS Temple and are only attended by endowed members of the LDS church. Because the majority of my family is not LDS, they were not allowed to be in attendance at the LDS sealing ceremony. This fact and our commitment to be inclusive lead to the necessary decision to have multiple wedding ceremonies. Specifically, we decided to have a Quaker style wedding ceremony and an LDS sealing ceremony.
How we Executed the Ceremonies:
One of the exciting things about having multiple wedding ceremonies for us was the chance to really design our wedding to fit the needs of our community. While the sealing is an ordinance in the LDS church and the words are always the same, we were able to work with the Temple to have our sealer talk with my parents, have my mom help me get dressed into my wedding dress after the ceremony, and choose our guests. It was important for us to be careful about who we invited so my family and our community who were not endowed members of the LDS church did not feel even more excluded than they already were. With this in mind, we were very exclusive with who was invited to the sealing, limiting it to only Isaac’s family, my LDS family, and a few very close friends and mentors.
The Quaker style ceremony was way more plastic and malleable to our needs. We tried to stay true to the traditional format, but we decided to include the members of clergy in our family as well. Instead of trying to explain every single moment of the ceremony, I am going to attach a picture of our program.
We were also able to design our Quaker ceremony space since we didn’t do it in a church. We had the ceremony in a field at a state park where the reception center was. Because we were working with chairs and an open field we decided to set it up in a semi-circle with us and the wedding party facing the guests to create the feel of inclusivity.
A Little More About Our Multiple Wedding Ceremonies:
In each of our programs, we included a letter to our guests about our multiple wedding ceremonies and why we decided to have them. This is what we wrote:
“We believe that marriage is more than just a contract between two people. It is a commitment made by two people to each other, to God, and to their community, to work together and form a new family. Our marriage is a union that brings together different geographies, different religious traditions, and different communities.
We have structured our wedding to reflect the diversity of belief and religious practice within our own lives and within our family and community.
Both of us are practicing members of the LDS Church. In the LDS tradition, an intimate wedding service in the temple is usually followed by a large open house reception. On Thursday night, Isaac’s family hosted a large reception at their home, full of family, neighbors, and church friends. Today, Friday morning, we were married in the Bountiful Temple. LDS marriage ceremonies are attended by a small group of adult church members, and we chose a few close family members, friends, and mentors to be witnesses in this ceremony.
This evening you are all here at this Quaker worship as witnesses to ur commitment to each other. Diana grew up Quaker and Episcopalian, and our joint community is religiously divers. So this gather in today is a meeting for worship in the Quaker tradition with a concern for this marriage. Seek in yourself that living center, and open yourself to the breath of God in in love and support of this marriage.
Isaac & Diana”