Amy says she would have laughed out loud if, back in middle school, she’d been told she would marry the shy young man who asked her to dance at their school’s cotillion. But providence delights in revealing to us the most wonderful surprises.
Amy and Jake became fast friends in high school when they found themselves on the same speech and debate team, making each other laugh and offering support through breakups and debate competitions. The next thing they knew, they were dating.
The two attended the same college and same semester abroad in Rome, where their faith and relationship deepened. It was in the Eternal City that the realization hit: their vocation was marriage, to each other.
During Amy’s summer job in Alaska, Jake flew out to visit and brought her to a mountain lake. In true Harry Potter fan style, he presented Amy with a golden Snitch, saying, “since you’re such a catch, will you marry me?”
From the Bride: The beginning of our engagement was indescribably precious. At the time, I was living with a priest and his wife--they were former Methodists who’d converted to the Catholic faith after marriage. Immediately after Jake proposed, we received a blessing from the priest and were able to worship in the perpetual Adoration chapel at his parish. Throughout our engagement, we prepared through a weekly holy hour and guidance from our college chaplain, who would marry us. We celebrated Valentine’s Day with an Engaged Encounter retreat. Although our 18-month engagement often felt endless, it allowed us to prayerfully prepare every moment of our wedding day.
When planning the wedding, we knew certain trends related to vendors, timing, and dress weren’t entirely our style. We opted for a morning wedding with a brunch reception in the parish hall, with a wall of windows letting in the daylight. We were married in the same church my parents had met and married at, and which Jake’s grandparents had attended throughout their lives in Colorado Springs. We chose bright colors and shorter bridesmaids dresses, despite the midwinter date.
I knew I would cry throughout the day, but I didn’t realize just how much! It all started when Jake and I met to pray together before the Mass. As I held his hand, behind his back so he couldn’t see me, we both teared up. Fortunately, I was carrying a handkerchief from his grandmother, who had passed away earlier in the year, as my Something Old. My tears continued as my bridesmaids and sister-in-law prayed over me before the Mass, showering me with their love.
As my dad and I walked down the aisle in the glorious morning sun, the truth of the moment hit me: we were finally entering into our vocation. To do so in the church we’d grown up in felt like home, and each part of our liturgy reflected that. We used chalices that were donated in Jake’s grandparents’ names and had family share their musical gifts throughout the Mass. Nothing was more precious than being surrounded by our loved ones as we made our vows--ones I could barely finish through more happy tears.
Two moments from our wedding Mass stand out in my memory. First, as our priest recited the nuptial blessing over us, he asked each attendee to offer up their intentions for us and ask for any graces they wanted us to receive in marriage. I have never felt the Holy Spirit more powerfully than in that moment of silence.
Second, to honor our Blessed Mother, Jake and I offered her roses as my sister sang the Ave Maria. Choking up with tears from the beauty of the moment, we prayed a Memorare to Mary, asking that she bless our life together.
Along with tears came wonderful laughter throughout the day. As we signed the marriage license, our wedding party was cordoned in the confessional. One of our groomsmen popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate and spilled nearly the whole bottle on the floor, leading to some wonderful photos of our horrified and cracking up bridesmaids.
For the reception, I’d learned calligraphy for invitations and place cards and handmade them with my sister. We painted wine bottles for centerpieces and printed crossword puzzles for guests to complete. Jake’s cousin created a beautiful wooden cake stand with our initials on it, which now sits at our front door.
After Jake’s dad blessed the food, we greeted our guests at the head of the buffet line. I highly recommend this –nobody skips out on food, and this lets you forego a receiving line! Our brunch included our favorite foods: breakfast burritos, crepes, grilled cheese and cinnamon rolls.
In lieu of a first dance, we chose to include a scavenger hunt and musical chairs game for the wedding party. They competed to determine whether the Maids of Honor or Best Man would give their toast first. As the Best Man and my sisters alternated singing and sharing memories, I couldn’t help but cry again. My sweet sisters stole the show, and our guests talked about their speech for weeks after.
We emerged from the reception to cheers of joy and a shower of confetti, captured perfectly by our photographer. Since we were leaving early the next morning--New Year’s Day--for our honeymoon, we stayed at the hall to clean up and attend evening Mass. What a blessing it was to spend that first peaceful hour after our guests departed in prayer and thanksgiving for the gift of marriage!
Venerable Fulton Sheen writes, “The vocation to marriage is a vocation to happiness, which comes through holiness and sanctity,” something I think about when I’m asked how married life is. It is both new and familiar in ways I never expected. On one hand, it is a natural continuation of our relationship. Day-to-day chores are the same; our relationship and love for each other are not drastically changed. However, there is an incredible intimacy which wasn’t there before. We continue to grow--spiritually, emotionally and physically--together as we’ve developed habits of prayer, tradition and sacrifice, all reflecting the beauty of our vocation to true happiness that began on our wedding day.
Photography: Lionhearted Photography | Church: St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church, Colorado Springs, CO | Wedding Reception Venue: Julie Penrose Hall, St. Paul Catholic Church, Colorado Springs, CO | Rings: Shane Co. (Bride), Hurdles Jewelry, Boulder, CO (Groom) | Caterer/Cake/Flowers: Bon Appetit Catering | Dress: Leanne Marshall | Shoes: Sseko Designs | Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Photobooth/Emcee: HEPS DJ and Photobooth