Ada and Greg met at seventeen while attending an admissions event at a Catholic college, where neither of them ended up going. Ada recalls Greg ignoring her when she tried to talk to him. He doesn’t remember their first meeting at all. But when they found themselves together during freshman orientation at a different school that Fall, the Lord began revealing his plans for them.
Greg and Ada became friends--inseparable friends, but nothing more. They studied and spent time together, went to the same parties, and were there for each other during significantly difficult and happy moments.
One of the latter took place during a semester in Rome. Amidst seasons of individual personal discernment, Ada and Greg witnessed Pope Benedict’s last public Mass on Ash Wednesday and prayed a rosary outside Castel Gandolfo as the gates closed on the last day of his papacy. When Pope Francis was elected, they were both there in Saint Peter’s Square.
They began dating their last semester of college, approximately a week after Ada accepted a job in another city. From early, they knew dating would either make or break their friendship. Ada also knew she was serious about Greg, who rearranged his life to stay near her in Texas.
Shortly after graduation, however, their careers took them long-distance for two years. While apart between weekend visits, they wrote letters and made phone calls to stay connected.
From the Bride: In addition to our long-distance relationship, we were also undergoing the major transition of leaving college and moving into the workforce. We often questioned whether our relationship was worth the time, effort, and stress we put into it. But despite our doubts, we ultimately believed our relationship was growing into something bigger, and probably better, than anything we could build alone.
We decided to get married before we officially announced our engagement, and we spent a month in challenging discernment. We don’t make decisions lightly, so we needed time for honest introspection, discussion, and prayer before we were ready to share our news. On a cloudy February Sunday, Greg asked me to be his wife and presented me with a gorgeous antique ring. Our friends and families were overjoyed, and the enthusiasm that greeted us offered confirmation that we were making the right decision.
Because we had a short engagement, we knew we needed to spend our time of preparation wisely. We spent time reading and discussing books on the sacramental and relational aspects of marriage and even met with a Catholic marriage counselor, in addition to the required preparation at our parish. For us, engagement was a period of even deeper discernment, and there were still many doubts and struggles to be overcome before the wedding day.
Something I struggled with in wedding planning was a nagging doubt that my wedding wouldn’t be good enough. I felt discouraged even in the midst of all of the joy and excitement. My mom, however, put things in perspective, saying, “We are going to have Mass and a party. It’s just a Mass and a party.” Knowing my wedding day wasn’t about perfection or glamour allowed me to enjoy more of the planning process.
Although our families were on opposite coasts while we planned our Texas wedding, they were still intimately involved in the planning.
My dress had been worn twice before by my grandmother and her sister, who were married ten weeks apart in 1963.
My veil was new, but similar to the one they and my mother had all shared. The necklace I wore belonged to my great-grandmother. In many ways, these heirlooms set the overall theme for our vintage-inspired wedding.
My bridesmaids were Greg’s three sisters, as well as mine. We asked our parents to proclaim the readings at our Mass, which was particularly meaningful: Greg and I had both been homeschooled, so our parents had truly been the ones to teach us the word of God. I also carried a small Holy Family medal that my dad had given to me as a toddler after he attended a retreat at a Trappist monastery. It has gone nearly everywhere with me, and it was important to me to have it with me on the day Greg and I created a new family.
Beautiful music for our Mass was a major priority. Because the chapel where we were married didn’t have an organ, we chose to have a string trio, pianist, and vocalist. We wanted our wedding liturgy to be particularly beautiful because it was, after all, the main event. We were also very lucky that many of our friends are musically gifted; their singing supported many of the hymns we chose.
As I entered the church with my dad, the congregation sang “O God, Beyond All Praising.” This has been a favorite hymn of mine since I was a teenager, but the lines, “And whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill / We’ll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless You still” had stuck with me throughout our engagement as the perfect motto for married life. Greg and I pledged ourselves “for better or for worse,” and despite the difficulties that may arise, God will always be with us and guide us.
One of my favorite memories from the wedding is walking down the aisle towards Greg, passing so many friends from different phases of our lives, all gathered to celebrate and pray with us. At the altar I was met by Greg and Fr. Thomas Esposito, O. Cist., a dear friend and advisor whom we’d first met in Rome. In many ways, Fr. Thomas knows us a little too well, because his homily was full of friendly ribbing as well as good-natured advice.
Greg chose our offertory hymn, “What Wondrous Love is This?,” his personal favorite. The words were perfect, reminding us that love is a sacrifice. I had also engraved the words “stern as death is love,” from the Song of Songs, inside Greg’s wedding ring as a reminder to myself of what I was promising him. He had “the greatest of these is love,” engraved in my ring, taken from the Epistle to the Corinthians we had chosen for the second reading. Finally, during communion, we sang “Be Thou my Vision,” asking God to lead us through our marriage and the rest of our lives together.
Because we were so nervous during the Mass itself, we were surprised to find later that there hadn’t been a dry eye in the congregation. Many guests, both Catholic and non-Catholic, have told us since that they had never been to such a beautiful Mass.
We were so elated after the Mass, and all of our friends and family were ready to celebrate at the reception. Greg and I danced to a song he has always played to me on his guitar. One of the highlights of the evening was the toast Greg’s father had written for us, a particularly beautiful mediation on marriage:
One needs courage to uphold such honor as the years of life grow long. Such courage may seem to have grown rare, but God has not grown less generous in His grace. You must have faith in his generosity, and though the world press on you from dawn to dusk, you must not deem the world more formidable than yourselves.
We were blessed to celebrate into the night with all those who had come to wish us well, particularly those whose weddings we had attended in the past. We ended the night by forming a giant conga line out of the building, while our friends sent us off to the tune of “The Parting Glass,” a traditional Irish folk song.
Despite all the challenges we felt as we prepared for marriage, our wedding reminded us we are not alone. We have friends and family who support us and provide wonderful examples of loving marriages. We also felt strengthened by the sacrament of marriage, so that when hard times do come, we will have the courage to face them.
Photography: Red Fern Photography | Church: St. Ann Catholic Church, Coppell, TX | Reception: Las Colinas Country Club, Irving, TX | Bride shoes: DSW: dsw.com | Bride earrings: Anthropologie | Veil: Mariso lAparicio :Www.esty.com/ shop/marisolaparicio | Bridal hair & make up: Dear Clark | Salon: Dearclark.com | Gown: Vintage | Necklace: Vintage | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Azazie: azazie.com | Bridesmaids’ jewelry: Chole and Isabel: www.choleandisabel.com | Invitations: Basic | Invite: basicinvite.com | Engagement ring: Vintage | Groom wedding band:DiamondBoutiqueCo : Www.esty.com/ shop/diamondboutiqueco | Groom / groomsmen suits:Jos. A. Banks | Groom/ groomsmen ties: Jos. A. Banks | Cake: Loft22 Cakes: Loft22cakes.com | Flowers: Lizzie Bee’s | Flower Shoppe: Lizziebees.net | Catering: Las Colinas Country Club