I joined the church in 2005 at the age of 28. It was a huge division in my family – which is Catholic and Polish. It caused huge problems in my family. We finally started talking to each other again when I met a man.

We decided to get married. His family is all LDS – his dad was a mission president and was a Bishop at the time we were getting married. His dad is also a sealer – who ended up sealing at our wedding.

I, by contrast, had a cousin who was LDS and some friends. No one else. My family was livid. I tried to talk my husband into a civil ceremony first, before I hit my year date, but he was adamant that it had to be a temple wedding and his family was totally pushing him.

I’m ashamed to say I caved.

I caved and I regret it every day.

Marriage shouldn’t have to be a choice – which alienates one side. It should be a celebration.

My family was so upset about being excluded that they didn’t show up at the temple at all – and I can’t blame them. They were hurt. I had my two aunts who had converted to Catholicism to marry into my family show up at the temple – they understood conversion and different religions.

What my in-laws keep as the official wedding photo shows none of my family. What my family keeps as the official wedding photo shows none of his family (we took pictures at the reception afterwards too). It broke our families apart.

I couldn’t get over not walking down the aisle, not having my mom present – and my sister.

There’s no words to describe the devastation felt by a bride without family at the wedding. Walking into the wedding and knowing it was something i should want to do – because sealings are important- but knowing I hated being forced into it. I wanted to be able to choose it – not be forced into a choice between a temple sealing and my family. I still am upset about how my husband’s family forced the issue -with him and me. I was told that if I wanted to marry their son it had to be done in the temple. And it was all the more pushed because his dad was going to be our sealer. So his family was all involved – and his family’s friends. And I had my cousin and my friend. It sucked.

It was compounded by the temple saying that only a bride and her mother could go into the bride’s room. I was in tears. On what was supposed to be the start of my life, I was in tears. I guess they don’t see my situation all that often – but it’s important to realize that it happens. I hated that day.

I look back on my wedding as something I suffered through. It wasn’t a happy day. It was sad.

For those who say that a ring ceremony is enough – it’s not. Especially when my husband tried to say that we needed to exchange rings in the temple.  I put my foot down and won on this issue – after his sister came down on my side while his parents were pushing him to do it at the temple. A ring ceremony really isn’t a ceremony. I wanted it done by our family priest and our Bishop said that wasn’t a great idea since we were both LDS and it should be our Bishop because it’s still about the wedding.

The one year waiting should be changed so people like myself can have more options. People don’t want a civil ceremony first because they want they want to skip out on the blessings of the sealing. They only want the civil ceremony first because having all your loved ones there means something. Because starting a life with someone you love should include everyone you want to celebrate with you – including the families of both parties. The temple blessings will still be there for us the next day.

Natasha