"Can you give me your bouquet for a moment?" asked the Lorax-mustachioed priest at our wedding Mass. I was surprised and a tad embarrassed; I don't love attention, even on my wedding day.
My bouquet had caught many eyes, including our priest's, because it wasn't made of flowers. I’d created it from the pages of books. Our priest asked for my bouquet during the homily. I handed it over and he started to ad lib about how the novels whose pages I included were symbolic of my husband and I. These books, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (barring its problematic ending), reminded me of how open my husband and I are with each other and how we love doing unusual things together. We each make the other better and are always working at our relationship. Books, said our priest, can already be good as their own entitiesu. But when transformed by marriage and by God, they can become something even more beautiful--like my bouquet.
Two people, their own individuals, become one new entity in marriage, better than they could be alone. How much more beautiful and meaningful could marriage get?
Truthfully, I didn’t think anyone would really care about my bouquet. In fact, when friends and family members heard about the DIY project I’d planned, they did the polite head nodding thing while saying “Oh, that sounds interesting,” which almost always actually means, “Okay, good luck with that.” I continued anyway, a sucker for meaningful things.
Practically, I created this bouquet because I was getting married in February in the Midwest, where fresh flowers would have cost an arm and a leg. But I also did it because my husband and I read The Fault in Our Stars together in our early days of dating. We both identified with the characters' interactions. I love personalizing everything I can and creating meaningful moments. I chose my bouquet as an opportunity to personalize our wedding liturgy.
I bought the books and began tearing out their pages, cutting out petal shapes, and wrapping them around floral wire. It was a long process, yet incredibly worth it--it is something I can keep forever. After the wedding, a friend asked if she could write about it for Reader's Digest in an article about alternative wedding bouquets. I was honored, and sort of stunned that my simple bouquet would reach the amount of people it did.
But isn’t this like marriage? A marriage is hard work: lots of menial tasks, yet so full of sacred meaning. A marriage starts with something ordinary, like a book or like two independent people, and makes it into something extraordinary, like a bouquet or one in the eyes of God. And then these two people go out together and serve. So without trying to, or seeking it, God taught us and our wedding guests the meaning and the call of marriage: to join together and create something extraordinary.
Let God work through your creativity. After all, he is the creator of all life.
About the Author: Lauren Henderson is a newlywed and convert to the Catholic faith who loves cooking, baking, reading, and singing in the car. She studied Psychology in college and enjoys guessing whodunit in mystery shows. A lover of children, she cannot wait to be a mother someday. Lauren and her husband host the podcast God Winks and the Kitchen Sink.