Starting on her 13th birthday, Chloe prayed daily for a man in love with the Church, who would lead her closer to Christ. Little did she know her future husband was growing up nearby, in the very same town.
Looking back, she and Joseph suspect their paths likely crossed in their early lives. Their story didn’t begin, however, until the summer before college, when Joseph participated in the mission trip Chloe was serving as a staff member. Throughout that week spent painting houses in a rural town, each found humor and honesty in the other, discussing everything from religion to places they dreamed of traveling.
Joseph returned home after the mission and found Chloe and her blog on social media. He later contacted her letting her know he’d read much of her writing, pursued a friendship, asked Chloe out on a date the night of her birthday.
Their college years were spent long-distance, with many weekend dates spent at Mass and in Adoration. Chloe loved the way Joseph strove to make Christ the center of their relationship from their first date onward. They chose Pope Saint John Paul II as the patron their relationship, praying for his intercession at the end of every date and phone call. Their call to marriage became clear.
On New Year’s Day, Joseph shared that he’d love to ask Chloe to marry him before the end of the summer. She valued his leadership and intentionality, waiting eagerly for the next step in their relationship. By spring break, after seeking Chloe’s dad’s blessing and on the final day of a backpacking retreat in Big Bend National Park, Joseph invited Chloe to climb the highest point in the park, Emory Peak. As the sun rose, he got down on one knee and asked Chloe to climb life’s peaks and valleys beside him as his wife.
From the Bride: Despite everyone’s warnings of wedding week stress, our wedding day was one of the most joyful, stress-free days of my life. Every moment was filled with blessings--as if God was smiling down, opening my eyes to beauty and whispering, this is for you.
Joseph and I wanted to spend as much of our wedding day together as possible, so we began the day by attending morning Mass and having breakfast together. Before we parted ways to get dressed for the ceremony, we visited Christ in Eucharistic Adoration for our last holy hour as an engaged couple.
Before meeting up with our wedding party, I surprised Joseph with a Papal Blessing, a gift I planned with the generous help of our seminarian friends in Rome. It now hangs in our bedroom as a daily reminder of our sacrament.
I decided to do my own makeup for the ceremony, and I wore the same makeup I wear on an everyday basis. I had thought about makeup quite a bit, but it was only when I thought back on our relationship that the answer to my inner debates became clear.
When I met Joseph, I wasn't wearing any makeup. I had on a baggy t-shirt, and sports shorts. I spent the first week we knew each other on mission covered in sweat, pancake batter, and paint chips. Joseph proposed on top of a mountain. When he asked me to be his bride, I hadn't showered in six days, my hair was greasy and stuffed under a baseball cap, and my eyes were bleary from waking up at 5:00 AM. And he thought I was beautiful.
I don't wear much makeup on a daily basis, but it seems Joseph compliments me most on the days I wear it the least, or not at all. So when I saw Joseph on our wedding day, I wanted to look like the girl he scraped paint with two summers before. I wanted to look like the blissfully happy girl who said yes to climbing life's highs and lows alongside my husband (although I did shower for the wedding!) .
We desired to make prayer part of our preparation for that day. My bridesmaids and I spent time praying and singing together. Meanwhile, Joseph and the groomsmen prayed a rosary in the side chapel.
Then it was time to walk down the aisle. Traditionally, the last people to process into a Catholic Mass are the officiants of the sacrament. During a wedding, the bride and groom are the ministers of the sacrament to each other, with the priest and wedding party witnessing their vows. We decided to adopt this practice for our entrance.
A unique touch was the way Joseph and I sat during the ceremony. We didn’t want to have our backs facing our guests, so we placed our chairs to the side of the sanctuary instead of using kneelers that faced the altar.
We were blessed to have our wedding Mass concelebrated by six of our close priest friends. The main celebrant was a priest from the parish we spent the most time at during our relationship. We chose readings were from Tobit, Ephesians, and the wedding at Cana.
In the days before the wedding, Joseph and I prepared to consecrate ourselves to Mary, using Fr. Brian McMaster’s book Totus Tuus: A Consecration to Jesus through Mary with Saint John Paul II. Every night, regardless of how busy we got with planning, we took time to pray the rosary and reflect on the importance of Mary in our relationship.
At a friend’s wedding we’d attended together, we were entertained the whole night by a very enthusiastic maraca player in the band. Joseph surprised me with a pair of maracas on the drive to the reception–-a car dance party ensued!
Joseph and I decided to look at the reception as a big dinner party. Our wedding week was spent cooking soup, creating a salad bar, and gathering bread. We loved cooking together when we were dating, so preparing food for our reception was a beautiful way spend time together and anticipate the big day.
Our first dance was to Ben Rector’s “Forever Like That.” We loved spending time with friends and family on the dance floor, but we also walked around to catch up with our other guests, as well.
As we walked to our getaway car and headed to our new home together, I had the lyrics from another Ben Rector song, “I Like You,” stuck in my head:
There way too many love songs, and I think they've got it all wrong. 'Cause life is not the mountain tops; it's the walking in between. And I like you walking next to me.
My prayers, first whispered at thirteen and now proclaimed in front of all my friends and family at our wedding, had been answered. God had introduced a man into my life, and now we were striving to sainthood together.
Our wedding day was joyous because we had spent so much time preparing our hearts together. Joseph and I prayed nightly, heads bowed close, begging God to strengthen us and to help us give ourselves freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully to each other.
We made sure to spend just as much time preparing for our marriage as we did our wedding. Although it seemed crazy to those around us, we took off a night from wedding planning during our wedding week. We threw on our hiking shoes, went on a walk, and got coffee. We didn’t talk about the wedding at all. Instead, we spent time laughing, praying, and reminiscing on how God had worked in our relationship. Now we advise each engaged couple we know to spend time on a wedding week date. It was one of the best things we could have done for our relationship during that week of preparation!
Photography: Jen Huhs Photography | Church: St. Isidore's Student Center, Manhattan, Kansas | Reception Venue: Big Gage Shelter House, Topeka Kansas | Rings: Riddle's Jewelry | Flowers: Ecoflowers (bride's bouquet), Hobby Lobby (created by the bride) | Bride's Dress David's Bridal | Bride's Shoes: Target | Bridesmaid's Attire: Francescas, Macys, TJ Maxx | Groom's Suit: Perry Ellis | Cake: Sam's Club | Music: Friends of the Bride & Groom