David and Bridget grew up in the same town, lived in the same neighborhood, and went to the same high school. They met during a high school theater production of Little Women, but didn’t fall in love until several years later. Once these two decided to date, the common response from friends was, "FINALLY!"
On June 27, 2015, David proposed to Bridget by incorporating one of Bridget’s favorite plays, The Jeweler’s Shop by St. John Paul II, and a little over a year later, the couple was married in the neighborhood where their love story began.
From the Bride: During the year of planning, David and I intentionally focused on the preparation for our marriage. David was in his senior year of college and living in household with Saint Paul’s Outreach, and I was in my first year of my master’s program and had recently joined events with the Catholic Advance Movement through Pro Ecclesia Sancta. Due to our busy schedules, we had limited time and wanted to use it well to spiritually prepare ourselves for marriage, but we still participated in half-day retreats once a month for engaged and newly married couples, which introduced us to a wonderful parish community and friends. We looked forward to the meetings each month and watched the Beloved DVD series by the Augustine Institute, which was very helpful in our preparation.
I put together a document of resources and information that I found online for us to do as a couple. We read books together and would go out for coffee to discuss and check in with each other, prayed together, and generally tried to do more than the basics of marriage preparation.
In planning the wedding, we took care of the details with input from our parents, who were a tremendous help and so understanding throughout the process. David and I wanted to have a beautiful Mass to highlight the importance of our vocation and a fun, relaxing ceremony that everyone could enjoy. We decided on blush, light green, and gold for outfits and decor. We were blessed with generous family and friends who offered their time and help in putting together everything so we could stay on budget. The wedding flowers were faux and put together by my mom, aunt/Godmother, and sister. My bridesmaids' dresses were purchased at Target. One of the bridesmaids mom’s purchased beautiful pearl jewelry on a trip to gift to all the women, which matched everything perfectly. The men wore black suits and ties and were gifted with fun-colored socks to add some pizzazz to their outfits and photos. Music was done by a friend of ours. The cake was purchased at Byerly’s, and the topper was from a local artist on Etsy. David and I tried to find local artists and venues to purchase items and kept everything simple for the day.
On the morning of August 20, 2016, David and I were both nervously pacing our childhood homes as we excitedly got ready for our wedding. My friend Andrea graciously offered to do my hair and that of the bridal party; she did a stellar job! Everyone did their own makeup and helped each other with the finishing touches.
As I put my dress on, all the ladies present gathered together, including my aunts who came to help, to pray over the bride and to join together in faith. It was such a beautiful moment that brought tears of joy and hugs.
David got ready with his brothers and family, enjoying his final moments as a single man in his childhood home.
We met our photographers at Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church (which is right across the street from my house) and it was raining. It’s said that a rainy wedding day is good luck! We did first look photos in the church and took photos with our family and wedding party.
David and I wanted intentionally involved family and friends in the preparations of the wedding, Mass, and festivities of the day. The Mass involved friends and family in readings, music, handing out programs, bringing up the gifts for Holy Communion, and ushers. One of our friends organized the decor at the reception hall and my girlfriends helped in putting together the space. It was absolutely stunning and couldn't have been accomplished without all of their help!
We were blessed with seven priests on the altar. The priests involved in the wedding had touched our lives in many ways, and we were grateful to have such holy men on the altar to celebrate and share our vocation with our guests.
David and I wanted to be sure to have three elements added to their ceremony: roses for the Blessed Mother, the Litany of Saints, and the blessing of a crucifix from Jerusalem. The Mass was beautiful and we memorized our vows. It was an absolutely beautiful and humbling day for both of us!
After the wedding Mass, we held a reception line and greeted our many guests. It was so incredible to see individuals from so many facets of our lives and to and share our joy with so many neighbors and friends David and I both grew up knowing.
The reception was held at Silverwood Park, which is also in our hometown. It is a beautiful wooded park that boasts a gorgeous events facility, grounds, and lake. The sun was shining by the time the party arrived and photos were taken with all the guests. After photos, the grand entrance took place with a little help from Justin Timberlake (“Can’t Stop the Feeling!”). The meal was blessed by Fr. Alvaro Perez, a dear priest and friend from our current parish, Saint Mark’s in Saint Paul. The meal was catered by The Lookout Bar and Grill and was picnic style, with burgers, brats, beans, chips, coleslaw and fruit.
The evening consisted of beautiful speeches by family and friends, a sweet video that David put together for me, dancing, drinking, and long conversations. The reception hall had an outdoor space with a bonfire that allowed guests to chat outside while others could be dance indoors. David and I stayed until it was time to clean up and danced and talked with family and friends; it was a beautiful night!
The biggest thing I have learned is that you can prepare and know so many different aspects of marriage, but it is in surrendering and entrusting yourselves to God to and the mystery and graces of marriage that you begin to enter into the vast love and deep knowledge that this vocation brings.
Photography: Dan Zeller Photography | Church: Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Saint Anthony Village, MN | Wedding Reception Venue : Silverwood Park, Saint Anthony Village, MN | Wedding dress: The Wedding Shoppe, Saint Paul, MN | Belt: Etsy | Shoes: DSW | Bride's Jewelry: Grandma's pearls | Bridal party dresses - Target | Rings: Wedding Day Diamonds (bride), Etsy (groom) | Hairstylist: Andrea Stalewski | Cake: Byerly's | Cake top: Etsy | Invitations: Online invitations designed via Paperless Post | Caterer, bartender: Lookout Bar & Grill | Music: Mitchell Gutenberg | Decor: Emma Strub, Mary Pokorny