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My sister is getting married in June. Her fiancé is Tongan, and his family feels very strongly that we need to have a traditional Kava ceremony at the reception. We are desperately trying to find out if it is OK as part of the ceremony. I know that General Authorities have said it is wrong to get drunk… But, is it OK as a part of the traditional wedding toast? If you have any references to talks by any authorities it would be greatly appreciated, due to the fact that we could not locate any.
Aunna, from Molina California
Dear Aunna,
You have no doubt heard of the modern philosophy to treat the Ten Commandments as the ten suggestions. Look through the Section in the Doctrine and Covenants on the Word of Wisdom and see if you can find any exceptions to the prohibition against strong drinks for any festive occasion. It would be a travesty for any practicing Latter-day Saint to serve any kind of liquor at any time for any reason. Hopefully, your sister’s fiancé is a member of the Mormon Church and they are going to be married in the temple. In that case it would be unthinkable to have a reception where alcohol would be served. Naturally, the same principles should apply if the fiancé were not a member of the Church and she was having a civil wedding for time only.
Many times relatives of the couple to be married are not acquainted with the principles of the gospel and the norms of the Mormon Church, and wonder why the young people would object to doing things their way. Such circumstances can be valuable teaching moments to explain one’s devotion to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, it may not always be possible to convince others of the importance to you of your own ideals. In that case, it is well to remember that the marriage ceremony is for the people getting married. They are the focal point of the ceremony, and it should be done according to their own desires, norms and principles. Although well meaning but non-understanding relatives and friends may be put off by your insistence on doing things your way, when “your way” involves your own standards of conduct and gospel principles that you have made covenants to uphold, they will, as they begin to understand, respect you for your integrity.

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