Tips for When You and Your Beloved's Prayer Lives Feel in Different Places

LARABETH MILLER

 

As a newlywed, I had this perfect image of married spirituality. I felt I had a spiritual life that had already known suffering, and that a golden triangle between my me, my new husband, and God seemed like a new beginning. A chance for deep, holy camaraderie.

  Photography: Spoken Bride Vendor    An Endless Pursuit

Photography: Spoken Bride Vendor An Endless Pursuit

I was a bit surprised during marriage prep to find my husband and I unequally yoked in our understandings of our souls. I remember the day I asked him if we could try to pray the rosary a few times a week together. Even though he knew praying the rosary is good, he didn’t see the necessity of saying the Hail Mary over and over. And even though I tried to explain the mediation aspect, his mind was still stuck on the practicality of it: “Doesn’t Our Lady know we love her if we just say it once?” he asked. From there, I didn’t know how to change his mind, and I felt powerless. Yet he graciously complied, knowing it was what I wanted.

In my mind, it was now my duty to help him grow closer to God and I was already a failure.

As our married days turned into months, I became puzzled and frustrated as to how to handle these differences in our spiritual lives. When we conceived our first baby, the gravity of our duty as spiritual guides to our children suddenly leaped before me. I panicked, knowing the family unit is the top institution Satan aims to destroy. I wanted to enforce a prayer regimen for my husband and I, thinking this would draw us closer to seeing eye to eye in devotion and fortitude.

But this is not how marriage works. Matthew’s Gospel demonstrates that each of us arrives at the vineyards at different times, just as God intended. That is the true beauty of it: God has placed this man into your life so that he can have a companion with whom to experience divine love. Your job as a spouse is to care for him now, in body and soul. More often than not, that requires prayer to be done in silence, all while being unseen.

Don’t let this fool you into thinking you are less. Christ knows your every fiber and virtue. Your gifts hold every tool needed to help--or in some cases, drag--your spouse to heaven. I had to learn that the only responsibility we have is to draw our own eyes towards God, and to abandon our husbands to the will of the Father.

I’ve realized your marriage will fall short in more ways than you can imagine. You are, after all, married to a human being. He may not be able to understand your struggles or have the right words to say when you experience the “bad times” recognized in your vows. When it comes to sickness and health, it’s not just the body, but also the soul that can be afflicted. One or both of you may have vices that seem insurmountable. Even external complications might present themselves, only to be wrestled with for some time.

As your lives progress, so many things will cause both of you to fail in providing for each other’s needs. I’ve found it helpful to always speak up gently and ask your spouse about his or her needs, but you can’t expect anything to be perfect. We are always called to carry the crosses of our spouse, in a life that can sometimes seem like Calvary.

That is why Christ will always be your first love. Where else would he fit into your marriage but in the gaping holes and cracks neither of you can fill alone?

Why would there ever be any reason to run after him faster if everything was solved? What a blessing to experience the empty losses and hollow recesses our souls, screaming with the desire to have Christ fill each one…and then overflow.

God will also see to it that as you draw closer to him, your husband will encounter him through your love. Nothing needs to be said; only done. Your prayers are heard through acts of service, sacrifices of your time and your body, and especially through your intimacy, when you both are the closest you can be.  

Be aware that you will have to fight. In my experience, being under attack is real. Don’t let anything stop you from praying for your husband, in whatever way you choose. If you are feeling weak, pray for his fortitude.

Do not underestimate the graces set aside for you and your spouse. They were given on your wedding day and will never run out.

God did not intend for you to despair. Ask for these graces any chance you get. They are your weapon, your fortress.

This sounds counterintuitive, but consider that we seek Christ as our first love: Detach from your spouse. Father Jacques Philippe says,

“We must put everything, without exception, into the hands of God, not by seeking any longer to manage or ‘to save’ ourselves by our own means: not in the material domain, nor the emotional, nor the spiritual… The measure of our interior peace will be that of our abandonment, consequently of our detachment.”

There is no situation where you can control all of your surroundings, your spouse’s actions, or the events at hand all while maintaining perfect, holy peace. In order to have and keep this peace, every segment of our lives must be abandoned to the will of God. Even our spouse.

Father Philippe goes into more detail on this is his book Searching for and Maintaining Peace, which would benefit every human being alive.

It takes time to realize the true meaning of marriage is a million times more than anything novels or movies show. The endless graces Christ gives in order to uphold our vows results in an immeasurable joy that’s hard to comprehend. This golden triangle, this bond, this promise, transcends every circumstance or battle imaginable. God’s covenant and love are meant to be there for the long haul...and so should we.


About the Author: Larabeth and her husband have been married for two years and have a one-year-old son. They reside in North Carolina for now, where Larabeth supports her husband through medical school while doing a mix of working, painting, writing and being a mother.

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6 Ways to Have a Spiritually Rich Wedding Rehearsal

What are your rehearsal dinner plans?

Though the rehearsal evening is traditionally hosted by the groom’s family, you and your beloved can still take on a role--whether privately or with your wedding party and family members--in planning a spiritually rich evening, one rich in gratitude and anticipation.

  Photography: Spoken Bride Vendor    Evan Kristiansen Photography

Photography: Spoken Bride Vendor Evan Kristiansen Photography

Many brides say their actual wedding day passes in a blur, with little one-on-one time for quality conversation with each and every guest. In some ways, the rehearsal dinner is like a mini-reception: joy and celebration, with more freedom of time and leisure in an intimate setting with those you’re closest to. Here, to reflect that spirit of joy and closeness, our suggestions for a spiritually significant rehearsal.

Go to Mass with your fiancé the morning of.

With such an extensive list of last-minute details and events, time with your fiancée to simply be, to absorb the reality of the transformation about to take place, can be hard to come by. Taking a few hours for a final date as an engaged couple, to daily Mass and coffee, provides a welcome respite and strengthens you in the Eucharist.

Have your celebrant(s) hear confessions.

Entering into marriage with the clearest conscience and a heart as fully disposed to grace as possible is a great gift. Ask your priest(s) to hear you and your beloved’s confessions in the chapel at the conclusion of the rehearsal and, if time allows, invite your wedding party and families to receive the sacrament of reconciliation, as well.

Attend, or host, a holy hour.

Ask your celebrant to expose the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration following the rehearsal and before your meal--if you’re planning to provide confession, it can be held during this hour of reflection. Consider extending the invitation to all guests who are able to attend, and to inviting musically gifted friends to provide praise and worship or chant.

Share a personal piece of your faith.

When distributing gifts to your wedding party and family and/or assembling welcome bags, it’s beautiful to give your guests an insight into your spiritual life as a couple. Including a custom prayer card, saint medal and short bio, or a book that’s resonated in your relationship is a gift of faith, an expression of who you are, and an invitation to learn.

Looking for ideas? Start here:

Personalized holy cards | Gifts and artwork by Spoken Bride Vendors | Spiritual reading recommendations from our community

Ask for a blessing.

Have your priest pray and give a blessing over attendees at the end of the evening.

What if not everyone is on board?

As unifying as your wedding day is--on many levels--the pain of division can also arise in instances where your loved ones are not Catholic or not practicing the faith.

If you’ve attended or read about other weddings wherein the couple, their parents, and their siblings are all entirely present at pre-wedding prayer time and immersed in the Mass, fight the urge to compare your own situation.

In some families, the Lord works through many, and in others, through certain individuals--perhaps you and your fiancé, in this instance--whom he calls to witness to the fullness and beauty of the faith to loved ones.

If inviting others into your pre-wedding spiritual plans will cause tension, allow yourselves the freedom to experience them privately as a couple. That might mean staying alone in the chapel after the rehearsal for some moments of prayer--or even Adoration--praying a novena that ends on your wedding-day eve, or praying together in the car on your way to dinner. Know that no matter how “Catholic” your wedding appears on an invitation, the actions you choose and emotions that arise in your own hearts are what truly invite the Lord into your celebration.

Did you incorporate a spiritual element into your rehearsal? Share the practices that have deepened the final 24 hours before your walk up the aisle in the comments and on our social media.

Here, read our tips for making the most of the moments immediately before your wedding Mass.

The Unplugged Nuptial Mass: What It Is and Why It’s Valuable

JIZA ZITO

 

In our digital age, it’s common to see wedding guests with smartphones or devices in hand. Everyone is excited to witness the joyous event, and with technology (and creative wedding hashtags), we are able to immediately share the day’s highlights with friends, family, and followers.

  Photography: c/o    Studio Senn

Photography: c/o Studio Senn

While it is a great gift to instantly capture and share images instantly, the constant presence of devices can also be a source of distraction and can prevent us from fully experiencing the moment. Hence, the coined phrase: the unplugged wedding.

What is an unplugged wedding?

An unplugged wedding is when the bride and groom request that guests refrain from taking photos and videos with their devices during the wedding ceremony--and sometimes the reception, as well. This includes--but is not limited to--smartphones, iPads, and digital cameras.

While it may initially seem off-putting and forward to make such a request, here are some reasons to consider an unplugged wedding Mass, and tips for making that request charitably.

Less distraction, better images

As a wedding photographer, there have been numerous times in my career when guests have obstructed an important image. Most guests like to snap a photo when the bride walks down the aisle, for instance, and during the exchange of vows, the kiss, and procession out of the church. I’ll never forget the wedding I shot where right as the bride’s father shook hands with the groom after walking his daughter down the aisle, a wedding guest got up from her seat and stepped directly across me in order to grab a shot with her cellphone.

The exchange itself between the groom and the father, as the bride looked on with a smile, was beautiful. The image, however, now has a very obvious fourth person--and her cellphone--in the frame. For me as a photographer, it was disheartening. At the end of the day, your photographer only wants to give you and your spouse the very best photos, ones you can cherish for the rest of your days.

So, although Uncle iPhone or Aunt Samsung Galaxy mean well with their desire to take a few photos, requesting an unplugged wedding is a good option if you don’t want them and their devices to make it into the sidelines of your album images.  

Getting the most from your investment

Part of hiring a wedding photographer is trusting he or she will do the job well. Your photographer is working as a professional, and you are putting forth a good investment to ensure they will capture all of the important moments of your day. Depending on your photographer’s contract, there may also be a section stating there must be no other photographers at the wedding.

If you happen to be doing a live stream of your wedding Mass for a family member or loved one who cannot be physically present, be  sure to let your pastor, photographer, and videographer know.

Mass is a time for worship

Our Catholic faith considers the Mass to be the highest form of prayer. If non-Catholic guests are attending, it’s a perfect opportunity for them to experience the beauty of the Mass and to learn more about the faith. By being present at Mass, we directly encounter Jesus Christ in his Real Presence, in the Most Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian life (CCC 1324).

So, with all the angels and Saints, we are worshipping God in a very tangible way at Mass alongside the bride and groom. With an unplugged wedding, we not only give the couple our attention. More importantly, we’re better able to give God our full attention through our worship.

"When you’re a guest, your job and privilege is to witness and pray." - Claire Watson, Claire Watson Photography, Spoken Bride Vendor

How to request an unplugged wedding?

If you and your fiancé opt for an unplugged wedding, it’s helpful to give your guests a heads up .

Spoken Bride vendor and calligrapher Sarah Erikson of Sarah Ann Design shared this simple note in her wedding program:

"To preserve the spirit of worship, please refrain from all cell phone use (including photography) while inside the church.”

Other ways to communicate your expectations are asking the priest or a loved one to make an announcement before Mass, displaying an attractive hand-lettered sign before the church entrance, or sharing the information on your wedding website and in your Mass programs.

What are your thoughts on having a unplugged wedding?


About the Author: Jiza Zito is Spoken Bride's Creative Director and Co-Founder. She is the owner and wedding photographer of Olive & CypressRead more

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Is the Wedding World Causing You Unrest? This is for You.

To the bride with a low wedding budget, stretched with every booking and purchase, your celebration will be abundant in grace and rich with meaning no matter what you spend--or don’t spend.

To the bride anxious about the months and years to come, praying daily for a long, happy, and peaceful life with her bridegroom, “when we first say our wedding vows it is by God’s mercy that he does not fully reveal what trials we will endure throughout our vocation...if we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, our cries will not be vain.”

  Photography:    Avenue Creative

Photography: Avenue Creative

To the bride looking at the number inside her wedding gown and wishing it were less, know this: you are not less. Body and soul, your beauty is yours alone. “If we are fearfully and wonderfully made, we must walk, run, and lift with poise and dignity despite knowledge of our flaws.”

To the bride scrolling through perfectly edited photos of couples kneeling before the altar resplendent in their best, bitterly thinking the photos don’t tell the whole story, you’re right. Pray for these couples; for the failings and trials behind the scenes.

To the single woman experiencing the ache of loneliness with each engagement announcement and wedding invitation, cry out in prayer, knowing the Father is never outdone in generosity even when he asks us to wait. Ask him to show you how to use this season for growth and deeper immersion in his heart.

To the wife-to-be questioning whether engagement was the right step with the right man, have courage and faith. Beg for a discerning heart, for clarity, for the ability to distinguish what qualities are and aren’t worth doubting in your relationship.

To the couple struggling with chastity, run to the Lord’s mercy and be made new, as many times as you need to. Seek the graces of self-discipline and integrity in concrete ways; develop them in other areas of your life, and watch as they strengthen you in sexual integrity. You’ll fall again. His mercy is inexhaustible.

To the couple working through past sexual sin, pray for peace. Be not afraid or ashamed of therapy and counseling. Develop the will to forgive and a heart of gentleness with one another.

If you’ve been praying daily to be the best spouse you can be, unable to silence the whispers that maybe you’re too selfish, too flawed, too stubborn for this vocation, know you aren’t alone on your path to heaven. Accept your failings, but don’t settle for them. It takes three, not two, to get married.

If your wedding is next week and you’re second-guessing your decision not to have hired a coordinator, take a breath. Speak with your photographer, DJ, and recently married friends for help with a timeline, and designate a few relatives and close friends to help the day run smoothly.

If you’ve argued with your fiancé or family members—again—telling yourself no other bride is as moody, as materially focused, less than holy, or any other comparison-worthy trait, make an effort not to compare. Every one of us is weak, called to greatness even in our deficiency. But comparing is irrelevant because your beloved fell in love with--chose--the entirety of who you are and will meet your shortcomings with love.

If wedding blogs and social media have borne decision fatigue, give yourself permission to delete your apps; distance yourself; turn inward. It will all still be there when you’re ready to look again. Us included.

You are enough. In joy and in doubt, we are here to receive your intentions, questions and stories without judgment. If any of the content here presses on a wound in a negative way and not a purifying one, know it’s alright to give yourself space. And if any of it inspires a desire to reach out, don’t hesitate to contact us. In charity and sisterhood, we are here. This is for you.

Considerations and Tips for a Kid-Friendly Wedding

Do you have plans to invite many children to your wedding?

The decision of whether to include, limit, or omit kids from your guest list is a personal choice, one unique to your relationships and directly affected by your wedding budget, venue, and time of day.

If you and your beloved are currently working out which--if any--younger friends or family members might be invited to your celebration, it’s useful to consider particular realities for the parents in your life. You might be the oldest in a large family, for instance, or have many recently married friends with babies. Parents’ ease of traveling long distances or arranging childcare can be a major factor in their ability to attend your big day and is worth bearing in mind.

Whatever your call, the temptation to fear is real: how can you avoid wounding guests or prodding sensitive relationships while maintaining healthy boundaries around your decisions? It truly can be hard to feel a sense of freedom when so many others’ expectations influence your actions. As with many wedding-related choices, it’s helpful to discern with sensitivity, move forward with prudence and conviction, and strive for peace over the fact that it’s impossible to please everyone. Chances are, guests who have been through the wedding planning experience themselves--especially in more recent memory--will be reasonably disposed to your choices regarding kids, understanding financial constraints and the challenges of managing a chorus of opinions and expectations.

For Catholic couples in particular, concern might arise in the heart that excluding children from your wedding--whether by necessity or choice, or even de facto circumstances--conveys a closed-off attitude to life. But don’t let yourselves believe that. Openness to life involves so much more than who is or isn’t on the guest list.

If, however, you and your fiancé do decide to have children attend, their presence is a visual testament to the fruits of married love and to your families’ history in the making, across generations. There are no guarantees they’ll behave perfectly, eat everything placed in front of them, keep their best outfits spotless. In a way, that’s the point. The family is a beautiful mess; a cenacle of growth through its very imperfection.

That said, having kids at your wedding isn’t without challenges. Here, our suggestions for cultivating a kid--and parent--friendly atmosphere.

Offer materials for the liturgy.

A month or two before your wedding, ask friends and family members to loan you any Bibles, prayer books, and religious picture books for children to page through during the Mass. Place the books in a basket near the entrance of the chapel, and designate a family member to offer them as guests arrive and regather them at the end.

If possible or necessary, consider kids when booking.

If you anticipate early on that your guests have a significant number of kids, consider keeping their needs in mind as you make your plans. A reception venue with an outdoor area, for example, facilitates play and breaks for kids and makes it easier and more feasible for young parents to attend. Serving a buffet-style meal rather than individual entrées is usually more cost-efficient.

Enlist help.

Hiring high school or college-age babysitters to assist with on-site childcare can result in a lower-stress evening for both parents and children--younger siblings of your close friends or members of your parish’s youth group are a good choice for this role. Provide activities like coloring, books, Polaroid or disposable cameras, bubbles, and board games.

Create a space for downtime.

If the layout of your reception venue allows, creating a nearby area for kids to rest or decompress is a welcome gesture. A downtime space might be as simple as blankets, snacks, and Netflix; a few chairs for nursing mothers are also thoughtful.

Encourage kids’ participation in your guest book.

Childlike faith is more than a figure of speech. For some children, your wedding might be the first they’ve attended; a glimpse of romance and joy that stirs the heart, and an experience more formal and special than their everyday . A sign inviting them to write (or dictate) a message to the bride and groom is sure to elicit humor; and most likely, wisdom.

We love the opportunity to walk beside you in the steps toward your vocation that will end--and begin--at the altar, with the help of so many like-minded sisters. Brides, we want to hear from you in the comments and on our social media: have you and your beloved struggled to come up with guidelines for inviting children to your wedding? How did you approach it, and if you had them attend, what measures helped make the day more kid and parent-friendly?

Bridegrooms Share | On Differences of Opinion in Wedding Planning, Long-Distance Engagement, and Arguing with Love.

How beautiful that women called to the vocation of marriage are disposed to receive the love of both the divine and an earthly bridegroom. Married life, in its purest form, affords an opportunity to know the Father’s love more perfectly by giving to and receiving from our spouse. Every person, however, remains a mystery to be constantly unveiled and made more real--true to who God has created him or her to be.

To illuminate the engagement, wedding, and marriage experiences from the perspective of men chasing sainthood and excruciating love, we’ll be periodically sharing a word from the bridegrooms in our lives. This week we chatted with Andrew, a high school teacher, father of three, and husband to Spoken Bride’s Co-Founder and Editor in Chief, Stephanie Calis.

Tell us about your discernment journey, before and during the time you began dating your wife.

When we met in college, Stephanie was in a relationship and I wasn’t the sort of guy to try and intervene. In the classes we had together, I found myself more and more interested to hear what she would say. But I refused to admit I was romantically interested. I told my friend and bandmate, “I don’t want to date Stephanie, but I want to find someone who has all her qualities. Just someone like her.”

Although I had a consistent prayer life at the time, I was still in a band, doing band things, and didn’t always watch my language or sense of humor. There was something about my wife that’s hard to put into words; something that made me want to be better. It’s not just “pure,” or “holy,” but maybe “deeply worthy of love.” Like someone that you want to cherish.

What saints have played a role in your relationship?

JPII!I learned about the Theology of the Body from Stephanie and it was one of the most formative times in my life. I also have a longtime devotion to Saint Jude, because I can be dramatic and think normal things are “hopeless cases” like finishing a paper on time or getting a job. These two men of faith have always pulled through for us.

What was your engagement like, and how did you work through its challenges?

Our engagement was mostly grace-filled. We were in different states, however, five hours apart. We spent a lot of time on the phone, which was good for us in so many ways. When we’d see each other, though, it was tough not to be overwhelmed by our physical closeness. In striving to practice chastity, we tried to hold one another to a high standard and went to confession frequently.

One unexpected challenge of engagement was the necessary material preparations for marriage. We fought about everything. I thought Stephanie was materialistic. She thought I was an ascetic. I thought she was just tossing on everything in sight onto our wedding registry: tiny hand towels? Sure! More tiny hand towels in another shade? Sure! Sixteen champagne flutes as a future heirloom? What? It was awful. But we tried to persevere in communication and forgiveness.

To serve each other well in your wedding planning, I recommend being easy-going about the particulars. If something doesn’t fit your exact vision and is not a major question of morals or finances, let it slide. I’ve seen instances where one person’s ideals trample on the other’s opinions. Accepting one another’s choices for things like attire and flowers are a small way of sacrificing for your future spouse--accepting that his or her tastes aren’t identical to yours.

How do you handle disagreements and problem-solving with your spouse?

We try to hold hands or touch in some way while working out an argument. It calms us both down. We also try to give each other the benefit of the doubt. I once accused Stephanie of intentionally burning my scrambled eggs, for instance. It was pretty petty of me--it was also pretty ridiculous--and over time we’ve tried to apply the approach of trusting and assuming the other’s best intentions before making accusations.

What has surprised you most about married life?

How natural it felt. It just felt like the next step in our relationship. It was--and is--absolutely wonderful.

Andrew’s advice for Catholic grooms and husbands:

Do something kind--just one, tiny kind thing, even just saying, I love you--whenever you recognize the impulse to do something selfish or speak something unkind. It goes a long way to helping your mood and your relationship.

And forgive immediately, endlessly and unconditionally. You’ll both mess up, again and again and again, often making the exact same mistakes you just repented for. Forgive unconditionally.

To our brides, we hope you’ll share these words with your beloved. If there are particular insights or questions you’d like addressed in future posts like this one, and if the man in your life has his own wisdom to share, be sure to reach out on our social media or at submissions@spokenbride.com.

Editors' Picks | Vol. 13: 2018 Bridesmaid Trends

At Spoken Bride, we love a good book, a good meal, a standout statement necklace, a heel you can dance in, and the list goes on. And when we make those discoveries, we want to tell everyone. So every month or two, we're sharing our latest and favorite finds in everything engagement, wedding, and honeymoon-related.

Your wedding provides an opportunity to showcase the unique gifts, tastes, and inner and outer beauty of the women you're closest to. Today, we're sharing our favorite trends for bridesmaids that help you accomplish just that.

 

Jiza, Co-Founder & Creative Director

Mismatched dresses: Instead of matching bridesmaids dresses of the same color and same style, this is when the bride assigns a different color and/or fabric to each bridesmaid according to her wedding’s color scheme. As a photographer, I love the look coordinating dresses creates. It creates visual appeal in an image with the varying textures and color. Chances are, your bridesmaids are also happier and more comfortable in their dresses, because each was able to pick something for her own body. This can also help your bridesmaids find a dress within their budget—with online shopping today, searching for a dress is easier than ever.

Bridesmaid hangers: We commonly see dress shots with a beautiful hanger for only the bride. However, with bridesmaids’ dresses becoming more and more unique, it is also lovely having some additional dress photos with their gowns, as well. You may want to first dispose of the plastic hangers, and if you are in search of a good bridesmaids gift, a personalized hanger is both pretty and practical.

Non-traditional bouquets: This is becoming more and more popular, which I couldn’t be more excited about. Corsages are no longer limited to the mothers anymore--bridesmaids are wearing them now, too. Instead of a traditional bouquet, your bridal party can carry lanterns or floral hoops or wreaths. Or for something minimal yet still eye-catching, one singular, large flower with simple greenery, such as a magnolia, a dahlia, or a peony, is beautiful. Speak with your floral designer for unique ideas!

 

Andi, Business Director

Patterned and floral dresses: I love that we’ve branched out from all-matching dresses to coordinating styles that flatter every body, and now on to prints and florals for the bridal party. Some brides have their Maid of Honor wear a floral gown and the other ladies coordinating colors; others have all their maids in vibrant prints. It’s such a fun way to personalize your wedding!

Renting gowns: I’m a huge fan of this trend! It’s great not to have to purchase anything, and there are several options like Rent the Runway and other retailers specifically geared toward weddings.

 

Stephanie, Co-Founder & Editor in Chief

Pajamas: Especially with fall and winter weddings upon us, PJ’s are an inspired alternative to robes as you and your ladies prepare for the day. From cozy plaids to crisp oxford piping to delicate boho trim, there are plenty of sets available to suit any wedding aesthetic and budget.

Fresh skin: With moves like unretouched ads, lines offering dozens of foundation shades, and campaigns featuring models (or real women!) of different sizes and races, I find the beauty industry’s current vibe of inclusivity long overdue and so praiseworthy. I hope over time, the trend becomes more than a short-lived fad, but simply a norm and expectation, showcasing a true range of feminine beauty.

This sensibility is evident in makeup trends, as well: after a few years of matte, poreless looks with heavy coverage and contour, I love seeing an increase in dewy skin, freckles showing through, and making peace with lines and natural texture. Encouraging your bridesmaids or makeup artist to embrace each woman’s unique features still photographs beautifully and allows their outer appearance to make visible the radiance of their inner selves.

Millenial pink: If the product design, websites, and clothing I see everywhere are any indication, this shade shows no signs of going away any time soon. For bouquets, nails, or your main wedding color, soft pink flatters all skin tones and can function almost as a neutral. And depending on your taste and other wedding details, it can skew minimalist, romantic, or preppy.

We love hearing your own inspirations. Have you, or will you, incorporate any of these trends into your wedding party? Share in the comments and on our social media what selections you've made for your bridesmaids' attire, gifts, florals, and otherwise!