I converted to the LDS church at the age of 16, and so none of my family were members besides me. When I got married at age 20, I thought my only option was to get sealed in the temple and have a small ring ceremony afterwards for my family. I wished that I could have a civil ceremony instead and wait the necessary year to get sealed, but I never even brought it up because I was told over and over that the only way to do it “right” was to get sealed first. I was worried that my family would feel excluded, but they were all very kind and supportive to me, on the outside. I knew they must be hurting though. I still didn’t think I had a choice.

They all showed up at the temple and waited outside while the majority of my husband’s family got to come inside. I tried to console my family by telling them the temple ceremony was very simple and short and they weren’t missing out on much, but that’s not what they heard from other people. Then we went to a family member’s house where our bishop officiated a ring ceremony that had barely been planned. I was told it had to be as simple as possible, not to overshadow the temple ceremony. It didn’t even occur to me to ask the bishop what he would be saying in the ceremony, but I should have guessed, he emphasized that the real wedding had occurred in the temple, and he also mentioned other things that were hurtful to my family.

Throughout the whole thing my family was so wonderful and helpful and supportive. They chose to make the day about me and not about them, and for that I am very very lucky. But when I look back on that day, I have such mixed feelings. I was happy on my wedding day, but I was also sad for my family, I wanted them to be included in everything. It is one of the things that I regret most in my life. I wish I hadn’t been so afraid to ask for a civil wedding first. I wish I had stood up for my family and done what I feel in my heart is right.

-Julie