Sarah doesn’t even drink coffee, but when a young man casually asked her to join him and a friend after one Sunday Mass, she said yes. The friend--Brian--joined them at the coffee shop, and he and Sarah discovered their common interests and shared Catholic faith. They began chatting via Facebook, and went on their first date son after.
From the Bride: At the time we met, Brian was finishing a Marian consecration. I had made my first one a few years earlier in college, and I warned him that his life would definitely change for the better. It is a powerful prayer! Early on in our relationship, we both expressed our desires to remain fixed on Christ and to save sex for marriage. Though these commitments were, at times, very hard, by grace we stuck to them.
We soon found out our similarities and differences. Brian has an engineering-oriented mind, while I am more creative and emotional. These differences really compliment each other, helping each of us keep the other’s concerns in check. We both love the outdoors, camping, running, and biking. We even ran a mini marathon together.
As our we got to know each other more and more, Brian also grew deeper in his faith. He began to see and realize the need for healing in certain areas of his life. This was frustrating and very hard for me at times, but I knew God desired this experience for Brian. I never stopped praying for him, and never stopped supporting him.
During our first year of dating, we were blessed to travel to Lourdes, where Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette. It was such a beautiful experience. After that trip, Bernadette took on a special place in our hearts and we have since asked her often to intercede for us. We also made plans to hike the Camino together, which is a 500 mile hike on foot from St. Jean, France to Santiago, Spain. However, I ended up not going, which was God's perfect plan: Brian had a beautiful opportunity for reflection and alone time with God. The pilgrimage took him 23 days, which equals hiking about 21 miles a day to complete it. That was probably the biggest turning point in our relationship. It has made Brian a better spiritual leader, our relationship stronger, and has truly opened his heart for a deeper conversion with God. Our Lady knew what she was doing!
Two and a half years after our first date, Brian proposed on a pond dock with bouquets of daisies surrounding us.
From the moment I said yes, I knew we were in for the most beautiful, messy, vulnerable, and love-filled adventure.
Marriage can be taken lightly these days. The overall vision and expectations can be greatly skewed and may cause great heartache. The beauty of marriage is not just waking up to your best friend whom you love so deeply, but also seeing beauty in the vulnerable moments you share. It is quite a profound thing to see a person's heart with their strengths and gifts, but there is also something truly beautiful and intimate in knowing the other's weaknesses.
Marriage is about getting the other to heaven. It is about truly desiring the good for the other. It is walking with them through their joys and their sufferings. It’s transparency; and knowing everything about your spouse and still choosing to love him or her deeply. Sacrificial love shines forth, reflecting our wedding vows.
That's why on our wedding day we were filled with joy, gazing at each other at the altar, with God as our witness along with our families and friends. Two people at the altar, tears in their eyes, knowing we were making the most beautiful covenant to each other.
I'm sure you’ve heard Dostoyevsky’s quote, "beauty will save the world." True beauty is a reflection of God. In fact, he is beauty. We hoped to bring his divine beauty to our wedding day.
Growing up, I absolutely loved the cello. I even started cello lessons at 27 years old! The first song I learned was “Be Thou My Vision.” For as long as I can remember, this song has captured my heart. Since high school, I’d dreamed of entering into the church to that hymn on my wedding day. God had even more beautiful plans.
He put a wonderful cello teacher in front of me, a retired second chair from the Indianapolis symphony. He taught me how to play the song and ended up playing it as I walked down the aisle.
When I was little I had a lot of anxiety. I would sometimes walk in my parents backyard in a nearby grassy field where horses grazed. I remember seeing daisies everywhere. They were so simple, yet beautiful and free. I longed for that freedom in Christ and the daisies in that field almost become a symbol of that beauty and freedom. From then on, daisies have always been my favorite flower; a reminder of the freedom that I attained through Christ. I chose to wear a simple, flowing gown, and carry daisies in my bouquet.
For our honeymoon we were able to go to Rome and have our marriage blessed by the Pope!
Shortly after our wedding, we were blessed with little baby, which sadly ended in miscarriage. We named her after our beloved saint of Lourdes, and now we know we have two Bernadettes interceding for us. We can't wait to grow our family and are hoping to do foster care in the near future. Another desire of ours coming true!
Praise you, God, for all you have done for me and all you have done for Brian.
From the Groom: The night before our wedding, Sarah and I had the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.
I was really excited when I found out our priest, Fr. Whittingto, was offering this to us, so we could be purified before committing our lives to each other.
I felt a reminder that, to be a good husband and father--to lead my wife and children to God--I first have to humble myself, admit my faults, and be in a right relationship with God.
Being humble can be a difficult thing, especially for men, who desire to be their family's ultimate protector and example. I’m often tempted to emphasize my virtue and dismiss my failures, thinking I need to show my wife and future that I’m a role model whom they should look up to. I'm glad I had this reminder, through reconciliation, that the best leaders are humble and seek forgiveness for their failures.
The morning of our wedding seemed to stretch on for ages. It felt like the time for Mass to begin would never come. I remember trying to fill the time of anxious waiting with prayers for God to prepare my heart and to allow me to see all the beauty in this day. While God still has plenty of work to do in my heart, I look back on my time in prayer that day and see yet another moment where God was calling me to himself.
Though Sarah and I both had times while dating when we weren’t certain if we’d be led to marriage, we always turned toward God and trusted in him to lead us and to give us the grace to be who he made us to be. As I was waiting for our wedding mass to begin I found myself praying almost the same prayer, only without any uncertainty this time:
Lord, thank you so much for this huge blessing, for putting this beautiful woman in my life. Give me the grace to be the husband she deserves throughout our whole marriage.
Photography: Soul Creations Photography | Church: St. Nicholas Catholic Church, Sunman, IN | Reception: St. Anthony Hall, Morris, IN | Florals: Roberta Haas (Family Friend) | Bridal Gown: Bridal and Formal in Cincinnati | Shoes: David's Bridal | Bridesmaids' Attire: David’s Bridal | Groom's Suit: Express | Groomsmen Attire: Express | Live Music: Brother Smith Band | Photobooth: Picture Perfect Photo Booth | Videography: Vibe Video Productions