Wednesday, June 18, 2014

YW Temple Marriage Night

Before school let out, our youth attended a special Bishop's Fireside on a very sensitive topic.  I know there are very passionate  feelings on the issue (on both sides).  Sadly, our youth have been on the receiving end of some really harsh comments and accusations from their peers at school and in the media for their beliefs.  They feel attacked and conflicted.  Bishop did a wonderful job of both addressing the issue, stating our stance, and being very open and loving.  The youth spoke about LOVE and OBEDIENCE, and we had a ward member share his story of his sister, who is homosexual, and how her orientation doesn't change their love and respect for her as a sister and an aunt.  Bishop followed up with his remarks, which were wonderful!

After the meeting, I had a strong impression to present to the girls the TRUTH of where they can find eternal happiness, joy and peace.  I felt like the SACRED COVENANTS we make, and the ORDINANCES we receive, including TEMPLE MARRIAGE had been shoved to the sidelines and hushed, amidst all the noise of the angry debate.  I had the idea to have a YW Temple Night, with speakers and music.  A really special evening that the girls could FEEL their worth and divinity and the PLAN Heavenly Father has for His daughters.  I had a vision of tables set up, covered with temple marriage photos for the girls to look at.  THESE are the examples I wanted them to see.  Strong women they know and admire, who are covenant MAKERS and KEEPERS with our HEAVENLY FATHER.

I pinned a couple things on Pinterest of some ideas others had done, and my friend Melissa wrote a message  "I'd love to help you, if you decide to do this activity!"  That was all it took for the wheels to set in motion.

We talked about it as a YW presidency and set the date, but only had three weeks to get it ready!  I sat down with the ward list, trying to prayerfully decide who would be best to speak.  I knew the topics I wanted were "How Personal Progress and living the YW values helped prepare me for the temple and temple marriage."  I also wanted another to speak about "The Power and Importance of Making and Keeping Covenants".  I also wanted a special musical number, but I wasn't sure which one.  Three names immediately came to mind for the assignments, and I quickly emailed the sisters and waited for their response.  Unsure if they would be in town, be willing/able to do it, etc.  All three came back immediately with affirmative responses.  It was truly miraculous!

Everything fell into place for this activity in a similar fashion.  Ideas would come, and they'd work out PERFECTLY: A cake maker in our ward could make a wedding cake for the evening, another sister had lots of silk flowers and greenery and white material for the displays.  The call for wedding dresses and photos and decorations were met with a great response from the RS.  Invites came together like a snap!   Melissa did some gorgeous wooden temple blocks (with leftover wood she had at home) as handouts, and found white Christmas lights at Goodwill in MAY!  Amazing.  It truly felt like Heavenly Father was helping this activity become a reality.

The evening was beautiful.  We had all the girls wear white tops, and the room was transformed - so beautiful!  Thank goodness for the MANY hands and hours who sacrificed to get everything set up and taken down.  Thank you, ladies!

The invite:

I learned from L-Train in our days of cranking out events for Members of Congress that an invite is the first impression of the event.  If your invite is lame (or non-existent), there won't be as much interest.  I found this customizable wedding invite site that gave me a pretty font, and another site of a lady who allows free printing of her temple photos for personal use.  A little ribbon and a hole-puncher, and the invites were done.

The Decorations:

Melissa had the brilliant idea to use a double-classroom for the display instead of the large nursery room.  This saved us a TON of time and grief in trying to cover the toys AND The ugly walls with our sparse amount of fabric!  The finished look really filled the room and made a nice U-shaped walk-through room for them to enjoy.  White Christmas lights were tacked to the walls and white fabric was tacked on top.  The dresses were labeled and put on hangers and then hung on the ceiling tile bars!  The room glowed beautifully!

Our Stake YW have these great black and white table runners that we've borrowed before.  We used them both on the tables as well as the wall to hide the pins an seams where the dresses hung. Another sister in the ward donated some white bouquets and vases from her daughter's wedding, and we used those on the display tables.  I think we managed to get at least one photo of each of the girls' parents.  It was fun to see them excitedly showing their friends their parents' photo or dress!

The cake:

A sister in our ward decorates cakes as a hobby.  She made this delicious layered vanilla cake with raspberry filling.  Isn't it beautiful?  It tasted delicious!  The girls were so amazed that this WHOLE cake was made just for THEM!  It was really a big hit!  "A REAL wedding cake!"

The girls love this sprite + rainbow sherbet drink.  They always request it at "special" events, so we had to have that!

The Room:

The YW room was decorated with vases and silk flowers, statues and temple pictures, all kind of in this black and white and gold theme.

Do you like how we covered the hideous CHALKBOARD?  It's a dusty, messy eyesore.
That could have used some more details, but we ran out of time.
 One last-minute feature was a photo booth!  We thought about letting them dress up in dresses, but we didn't want to be responsible for them getting dirty.  Inspired by this Mormonad, we had the idea to let the girls get their picture taken in front of the temple, instead.  

Using this big temple print we had for our bulletin board last year, and we had a couple veils that the girls could wear and have their picture taken IN FRONT of the temple.  It wasn't for everyone, but I knew the Beehives would love it, and it was a fun little activity for the girls to do while they ate cake and visited after the program.

Rachel (left)  sang the beautiful song "Happily Ever After", and did such a beautiful job!
It was perfect for our numerous book-loving girls!

Everyone went home with one of these beautiful temple blocks as a keepsake for the night:

"I'm Going There Someday" with a print of OUR temple :)
The talks and music were wonderful, heart-felt and powerful.  Each was very different, but we had girls spanning 12-17, and I think each had a part that they really enjoyed and hopefully felt The Spirit and the message we wanted to convey of the importance of making the temple and temple marriage a goal.

I never wanted to run another activity in my life after that one, but it was really special, and all the work was worth it for these special girls!

1 comment:

Laurie said...

What an amazing activity. I agree I think when we lose the eternal perspective it is easy to get caught up in the often times very UGLY debate. Gods laws are eternal. True joy and happiness come from making and keeping temple covenants.