So I am a convert. I am serving a mission and would like to know how to explain why my family won’t be able to attend the temple with me when i get married? It tears my heart to break the news to my family. My mom will be devastated not being able to see her son get married. If you can help in any way that would be great.
The best thing you can do is share your testimony of the Temple with your family. Talk with them about why you want to be sealed instead of married; why it’s important to you to include Heavenly Father in your marriage; why you need someone with authority from God to pronounce you husband and wife. Also share with them your gratitude for the way they reared you. Tell them how grateful you are for the values they’ve instilled in you, and how those values have led you to this decision.
In considering some of the following suggestions, you should also keep in mind what things you absolutely cannot compromise on (like Temple marriage) and what things you can (ring ceremony, reception, photos, etc). While your parents may not be with you in the Temple, you can carry a handkerchief your mother embroidered (or some other keepsake) in your pocket as a reminder that she was the first to clothe you, and the one who wiped away your tears. You can have a similar momento from your father reminding you that he gave you your first example of how to treat women, and how to treat your wife.
Before the sealing, you can have one last family prayer with your parents as a single man. Ask your father or mother to offer it on the Temple grounds before you enter. You can have a good family friend who’s LDS wait outside the Temple with them. He can also share his testimony of the Temple, and talk about some of the symbols in the architecture, or just walk the grounds. They can spend that time talking about how much you’ve grown since they’ve known you and swap embarrassing stories about you.
Just because your parents won’t be in the sealing room, it doesn’t mean they can’t participate in the other things associated with the wedding. Either at the reception or the rehearsal dinner, publicly share your sincere appreciation for your parents and the good upbringing they gave you. Let them know that they’re important to you. For these more traditional activities, you and your fiance can consider some of your parents suggestions and ways to include them. There’s traditional activities, like a mother/son dance, as well as other traditions you can start like giving them a gift to say “thank you”.
Make this a matter of fasting and prayer. Ask for your Heavenly Father’s guidance so that you know what to say, when to bring it up, and how best to include them.