Couples struggle to schedule temple dates, plan weddings

Liz and Carlos Vergara were sealed in the Jordan River Temple nearly six months after their civil marriage ceremony at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Couples can only book temple appointments 90 days in advance of a wedding date, which makes it difficult for many to plan their weddings. (Whitney Bigelow)

COVID-19 temple restrictions have caused Latter-day Saint couples to struggle in securing dates for temple sealings and endowments, creating wedding planning difficulties.

The different booking schedules at temples and wedding venues have made planning a temple wedding during the pandemic a frustrating task for many couples.

“It has been difficult because you can only book temples 90 days in advance but all venues are booked out six months in advance because of all the postponed weddings from COVID,” said Rebecca Heath.

Heath’s fiancé Isaac Richards said they have been planning their wedding since December, but because things can change so quickly they have really been on their toes for every detail of their wedding.

“Regardless of the difficulties in planning, weddings are worth it. I’ve just been amazed at how so many people just move forward and create a new family even in these uncertain times. It’s inspiring,” Richards said.

Soon-to-be bride Sara Bunker said she ran into similar scheduling issues. She and her fiancé decided to go ahead and choose a venue and a date, but they picked a weekday when the temple would likely be less busy in the hopes that there would be some availability.

Vanessa Valdespino said many plans couples have had for a long time won’t be possible because of both the scheduling difficulties and COVID-19 restrictions still in place.

“I can’t have all my friends and family waiting outside. It has always been my dream to have everyone I love who can’t come in wait outside,” Valdespino said.

Despite these challenges, Valdespino said they have found the silver linings in planning a wedding during this difficult time. She said the restrictions have actually helped her and her fiancé see that getting sealed for time and all eternity is the most important thing for them.

“My fiancé and I got to the point where we realized we can’t please everyone. Especially with the COVID regulations. Ultimately, it’s only about me and him and the promises we are making with God,” Valdespino said.

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