Aaron and Emily met in college, and after developing a solid friendship--through daily Mass, involvement in campus ministry, and Facebook messenger--they both began to desire a dating relationship. As they began their sophomore year, Emily knew that she was in love with Aaron. To her delight and surprise, the feeling was mutual. One evening shortly thereafter, Emily and Aaron began dating after praying together in the campus chapel. "It was in that moment that I knew this man was going to be my husband someday," Emily recalls. Three years later, Aaron proposed in the same chapel where they began dating, and the chapel where they eventually married.
From the Bride: Our wedding was all about details: From draping my First Communion rosary through my bouquet and Aaron wearing cufflinks I’d given him during our first year to carefully selected Mass readings, and ditching cake for an ice cream sundae bar at the reception (and having cake pops as favors), our personality was stamped on everything. Instead of floral centerpieces, I put together four 3-sided picture frames for each table that had photos of Aaron and me during our childhood with the people sitting at the table. Watching everyone pass them around the table throughout the reception and reminisce was a scene I will always treasure.
One of my favorite parts of wedding planning (and one that all of the guests are still talking about!) was writing individual notes to each guest on the inside of his or her place card. Everyone still asks me how I had the time to write all of those notes by hand, but for me, it was the most calming and rewarding part of the whole planning process. In the midst of chaos, I had the opportunity to take a moment and think of each person attending our wedding in a deeply personal way.
One challenge I faced during the planning was struggling to word the section in our program on reception of Communion. We were going to have several non-Catholic family members and friends in attendance, and I realized that our wedding may be the one time in our entire lives that we could truly evangelize to our loved ones.
With that idea in mind, I started writing, and what had originally begun as a sentence or two about who could receive Communion turned into a double-sided insert in our wedding program that talked about the Mass, the symbolism behind exchanging rings, the importance of the readings, why Catholics have to get married in a church, and offering flowers to Mary in a lighthearted tone that reflected our wedding style while also offering us a chance to lovingly share our faith with our family and friends.
Our wedding day brought about an uncharacteristic calm in me. I’d always imagined myself pacing up and down the house on the morning of my wedding, freaking out about last minute details and getting cold feet, but instead I slept in, went to confession, and prepared for the day with peace and joy in my heart.
Instead of renting limousines, I has asked my parents to drive me to the chapel in our blue minivan, the same one they’d brought me to the school in for the first time. As is characteristic for Aaron and me, there was a torrential downpour by the time we arrived, but the rain only rattled my nerves for a moment before I regained a reigning sense of peace.
Our wedding Mass was beautiful and flew by in a whirlwind of emotions. My former pastor celebrated the Mass and offered a beautiful reflection on God’s presence in our relationship. At the end of the homily, I suddenly realized with a jolt the moment I’d been waiting all my life for was here, and it felt like the whole rest of the room melted away and it was just Aaron, me, and God. The best part was getting to giddily whisper “We’re married!” to Aaron afterward.
God’s extra wedding present to us was stopping the rain after Mass, allowing us to take pictures with the picturesque Hudson River in the background.
All my life, people had always told me that my parents’ wedding was the best they’d ever attended because of its simplicity and fun atmosphere. I had always desired that sort of wedding, so hearing everyone tell me that ours was the best wedding they’ve ever attended made me so proud. Despite all of my planning and worries, God made the day even better than I could have imagined, and we feel so grateful to have begun our marriage with such a blessed day.
Emily's Spiritual Takeaway: I saw God working through our wedding because everyone there was truly the best version of themselves. Aaron and I marveled as normally straight-laced family members partied on the dance floor and old friends smiled for the first time in years. Months later, everyone is still talking about how amazing it was and how ours was the best wedding they’ve ever been to. I believe that Aaron’s and my genuine love for one another and joy to finally be married simply spilled over to everyone else. Which leads me to believe that our mission as a couple did not end on our wedding day. Our marriage is not just about us; as we witnessed on our wedding day, the way we interact as a couple and love one another affects those around us for the better. After our wedding, I realized that, when I married Aaron, I not only signed up to work on getting him to heaven, but also took on the task of getting others to heaven through him.
Photography: Newman Photos and E-Von Photography | Church: Founders Chapel-Mount Saint Mary College| Reception - Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel | Wedding Dress, Bridesmaids' Dresses, Veil, and Accessories: David's Bridal| Bride's Shoes: Elegant Park | Groom and Groomsmen's Tuxes: Men's Wearhouse | DJ: Soundsational Party | Flowers: Lucille's Floral | Videographer: Best of Times Video | Rings: Kinston Fine Jewelry and Michael's Jewelers | Cake Pops: Busy Bee Cake Pops