Alexandre recalls that when he met Laura at their church in high school, he thought she'd make a wonderful wife for someone one day, but they were only friends and dated other people until a few years later. A year into their dating relationship, Alex felt drawn to discern the priesthood while visiting with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in New York, he plainly realized his heart's desire and road to Heaven. That Monday, he was back on a plane to California.
By Thursday, after talking with his spiritual director and with Laura's father, Alex bought a ring and had it blessed. Friday they were engaged, and in less than two months we were married!
We asked Laura to share her experience of planning a wedding and meeting all of the Church's marriage prep requirements during such a short engagement. Her advice and simple approach to planning is valuable no matter how many days you have on your countdown.
From the Bride, on having a short engagement: We still had the requirements for marriage prep, we found a one day (long day) retreat that covered all the requirements. We learned the typical six-month engagement churches require is usually more for the local parish to meet scheduling needs, process paperwork, and, most importantly, to ensure couples don't rashly jump into marriage.
One priest who said our wedding Mass was a local parish priest who'd counseled us during Alex's discernment period, and the other was Alex's spiritual director. Both of them felt Alex's months of discernment, in addition to the time between our engagement and wedding, was a long enough period for us to prudently enter into the sacrament. It ended up being close to the usual six month period, anyway, from the start of Alex's discernment to our wedding day.
I employed the help of our family and friends in a big way to help get all of our planning done. Delegating a few people to research various options made it easy for Alex and I tolook through them later. We made our invitations ourselves in one afternoon, using our own printer and having family help assemble. Our reception venue also did what I thought was a lot of work for us, like linens, set up, food and cake, and a chocolate fountain that was included in our package. I went to only a few dress shops and ended up choosing a sample dress so I could skip ordering and waiting weeks for it to arrive. I just got my gown altered and cleaned.
From the Bride, describing her wedding day: We wanted our wedding to be simple, classy, and visibly Catholic. Our ceremony was a full sung Mass presided over by the two priests whoimportant during our discernment period. We were married at the Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano. By God's providence there was an opening for one of the weekends we were hoping to get married! It was such an awe-inspiring church that it made the reality of what was happening sacramentally even more tangible. During the exchange of vows, our priest moved to the bottom of the altar steps so that Alex and I were higher than him, signifying that in matrimony the priest does not administer the sacrament, but the espoused couple administers it themselves. Our reception was just down the street from the Basilica and was a perfect place with many different spaces for our guests to visit and relax.