|The new Mr and Mrs Buttimore leaving|
Southend Ward LDS Chapel
My wedding day was wonderful. At 11 a.m. I walked down the aisle on my father's arm, followed by five bridesmaids, to where my husband-to-be was waiting with his best man. We recited traditional vows, exchanged rings, walked back down the aisle together, and then had a wonderful reception celebration with 80 guests. For most of our family members and many of our friends and colleagues it was the first time they had set foot in an LDS church.
After the reception we drove to the London England LDS Temple where we were sealed for time and for all eternity in the presence of 20 friends, most of them members of our ward.
It was a wonderful day, and I particularly love the fact that we had the best of both worlds. We had the dream traditional wedding in our LDS chapel surrounded by those we love, and we also had the meaningful and sacred sealing ordinance. I wouldn't change a thing.
Members of the church in the US have faced a particular problem for many years. Unlike in the UK, marriages which take place in an LDS temple are legally recognised, so US couples are encouraged to marry in this sacred place. (For non-Mormons reading this, Temples are different from the chapels used for weekly Sunday worship. They are reserved for particular ordinances - including the sealing of marriages for eternity - and are, in fact, closed on Sundays.) However, only worthy recommend-holding members of the LDS church are permitted to enter a Temple. This means that a couple whose parents are not members of the church (as is the case for my husband and I) cannot be at their wedding. Engaged couples therefore face the agonising choice between having their wedding elsewhere so that their family can be present and then waiting the year the church requires before entering the Temple for the sealing ordinance, or explaining to their families and friends why they will not be able to witness their marriage.
|Waiting to go into the London Temple for our Sealing|
The law on marriages in the UK has relaxed recently. It used to be the law that marriages could only be conducted in Anglican churches, other churches where a licensed registrar was present, or council registry offices. In the last few years, however, this law has been changed and now owners of stately homes, hotels, etc., can apply for a licence to conduct weddings. There's even an old windmill nearby which hosts weddings, although not receptions because it can only hold 20 people.
Could the London and Preston Temples now apply to be licensed for weddings? Could British Latter-day Saints now legally marry in the Temple?
I think if there was the suggestion that the Church might apply for such a licence most Latter-day Saints in the UK would be against it. We love being able to invite our non-member friends and family to our weddings. Whenever prophets and apostles encourage us only to marry in the Temple, we are quite aware that their counsel does not apply to us. We cannot marry in the Temple, we can only have our marriage sealed there - albeit whenever we like, including on the day of the legal ceremony.
It's not going to be an issue, however, because of another law about marriage. Weddings in the UK have to be open to the public because it has to be possible for anyone with a legal impediment to the marriage to be able to come into the ceremony and declare it. The Temple is not a public building therefore, unless UK law changes further (which seems very unlikely), it will never be legal here to marry in the Temple.
And whilst we're on the subject of laws about marriage in the UK, weddings also have to take place after 8am and before 6pm. Evening weddings are not legal because before electric light was invented the law had to ensure that the parties could see each other and were thus marrying the right person. Neither it is legal (or sensible, given the weather) to get married out-of-doors. Weddings have to take place within a licensed building which is also a permanent structure - although some venues have built pretty pavillions or gazebos in their gardens to get round this rule. Quick weddings can't happen either. It takes at least three weeks to call banns for a wedding, and an appointment needs to be made for a special licence, with both parties being interviewed, so that can take several weeks to arrange too.
What do you think? Was your Temple marriage perfect in every way, or would you have preferred to walk down the aisle in your chapel too?