Creating a Unique Wedding Registry

CLARA DAVISON

 

Wedding registries can be both an exciting and anxious part of wedding planning. Who doesn’t get excited about making the ultimate wish list for their new home? This is an opportunity for you and your fiancé to decide your style as a couple and how your future home will reflect that.

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At the same time, it can create an extra level of stress as you scrutinize each item you add to your registry. What does it mean to be a good steward of your friend’s and family’s generosity? How much should you consider the price range of items? Is it wiser to restrict your registry to necessities, or is this an opportunity to include things you would not consider purchasing yourself? What is the balance between kitchen items, larger furniture pieces, linens, and miscellaneous?

A little prayer and confidence in the joyful generosity of your friends and family during this season of engagement can help alleviate these anxious questions.

A wedding registry is an opportunity for those who love you to channel their affection into acts of charity. And there is never another time in your life when you’ll get to create such an exciting wish list!

And so, it can be fun to find ways to veer from the traditional aspects of wedding registries and add some uniqueness to this part of wedding planning. Here are three ways to make your registry more personalized towards your future life as a married couple:

Books

What better way to celebrate your marriage than growing your new family’s library? Though my husband and I accumulated a large number of books during our years as English majors, I wish we had added the missing classics to our wedding registry. This is a wonderful way to infuse your personality into your registry and give your guests the opportunity to add to your book collection. It is also a great way to include your fiancé—who may be apathetic about towel and sheet colors—in the registry selections. Giving your guests the option to purchase books might be a welcome change from the usual selection of linens and kitchen items.

Charities

As you and your fiancé begin creating your registry, this is a wonderful time to discuss how charitable giving will be incorporated into your marriage. In the midst of picking items that you will no doubt enjoy in your future home, it is nice to consider how your upcoming marriage will benefit others. Is there a specific charity that is significant to you or your fiancé? Is there a ministry that has supported you and your beloved’s spiritual growth?

As a couple, you have the opportunity to begin your marriage prioritizing charitable giving and inviting your friends and family to join you. What a beautiful testimony to the life-giving fruit of marriage!

Experiences

One of my favorite developments in wedding registries is the incorporation of experiences. Most registries now have the option for couples to create individual experiences that their guests can choose to help fund. This is a nice way to balance the many physical gifts on a registry with experience gifts that build memories rather than clutter. I used this option to create specific experiences that our guests could gift us for our honeymoon. Tickets to the Vatican Museums and to a play were just two of the options that guests could use to help us celebrate our first few weeks as a married couple.

In the midst of the chaos of wedding planning, the registry can be an opportunity to relax and enjoy dreaming up the trimmings of your future home. Adding a few unique additions to your registry is a fun and refreshing way to incorporate your interests as a couple. What are some unusual items that you have added to your registry?


About the Author: Clara Davison has worked as a whitewater raft guide, sex trafficking researcher, U.K. Parliament researcher, swim coach, and freelance writer. She currently works in independent school advancement and lives with her husband in North Carolina.   

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Moments that Matter, Memories that Last

ELIZABETH MAHON

 

On a wedding day, the bride and groom’s carefully selected vendors come together to serve specific roles with a shared objective of making the day a run smoothly. Coordinators keep everyone on schedule as bouquets and floral arrangements are assembled, finishing touches are added to cakes, and priests deliver their homilies. The wedding photographer is there to capture and preserve these memories.

As a wedding photographer, I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of one of the most monumental days in people’s lives. This role is unique from other vendors. I remember the pressure I felt the very first time I was charged with the responsibility of photographing a wedding, “These photos could hang on their wall for generations; make sure you don’t miss any of the big moments!” I thought.

While I still feel a certain type of pressure going into wedding days, my outlook on capturing them has changed slightly over the years. This is partly due to my own experience as a bride, but mostly because of seasoned knowledge of how a wedding day will unfold. I have seen enough wedding days to anticipate how they will likely progress; most vendors will tell you the same thing, echoing the words of Julius Caesar, “experience is the best teacher.” Yet, the tangible anticipation of serving a couple as a wedding photographer prevails (even with years of experience) because the intimate moments that matter are fleeting.

In the photography community, there is an emphasis on capturing "moments that matter.” These moments happen between the scheduled events, or they might not be noticed by the bride and groom until they look through their gallery of images long after their wedding day.

It is impossible for the bride and groom to see every aspect of their wedding day when they are in the spotlight. They will miss the look on the father-of-the-bride’s face when his daughter vows her life to her husband, and they might not see the wedding guests in prayer during the dedication to the Blessed Mother. As the day unfolds, I am constantly on the lookout for these moments. It is a more organic approach than simply working from of a shot list or checking items off of a list; there is always a sense of anticipation.

Of course, it cannot be denied that there are parts of a wedding day that require structure. The family formal photos and standard portraits are important. As part of a pre-wedding questionnaire, I have all of my couples list any guests of honor who will be in attendance, and the family photos that they, or their parents, wish to have.

I thrive on looking for unique ways to capture the ceremony, depending on each church--as no two are the same. Parish churches, Cathedrals, and chapels all radiate a different type of beauty, and it is fun to get creative.

Although I have documented many types of wedding ceremonies over the years, a majority of my experiences have been in the context of a Catholic Mass.

The sacrament of matrimony adds an entirely new meaning to the phrase “moments that matter” because of the sacramental graces bestowed upon the couple. While these graces can never be fully captured in a picture, their essence is what I aim to reveal in the photos I take.

I try to focus on moments throughout the day that will last long after the sparkler send-off. While the handcrafted invitations and DIY centerpieces are exquisite and deserve to be remembered, they do not bear the same importance as those intangible moments. I can recognize a bride who values sacramental elements when she is seeking a photographer who is familiar with the  beauty of the Catholic Mass.

It is a gift when I am able to partake in the Mass as a photographer. I have heard homilies that are edifying to my vocation as a wife, joined in prayer for couples alongside the congregation, and gratefully received communion as a part of my work day.

While I want my clients to have an overall enjoyable experience throughout wedding planning, it is most important that they cherish the photographs from their wedding day for years to come. If you are seeking a wedding photographer, look for someone whose work highlights what is most important to you. If you and your photographer value the same aspects of a wedding day, you will capture and cherish those fleeting yet precious “moments that matter” forever.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth is a national wedding + portrait photographer and Spoken Bride vendor. Although based in Maryland, she has traveled the country photographing weddings from California to Maine and everywhere in between. She loves old movies, the Green Bay Packers, and learning any/everything about American history. Elizabeth is married to her college sweetheart, Patrick, and the two are raising their baby boy Theodore just outside of Baltimore, MD.


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3 Tangible Ways to Include the Saints in Your Wedding Day

CLARA DAVISON

 

For as long as I can remember, saints and their stories have played a huge part in my spiritual life.

As a child, I loved learning about Saint Fransisco, Blessed Imelda, and other children who achieved holiness at a young age. In my teenage years, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Saint Dominic Savio, and Blessed Chiara Badano began inspiring me. Learning about holy men and women who related to my current stage in life strengthened and encouraged me on my spiritual journey.

Once engaged, I began considering ways to incorporate the saints into my wedding. They have been alongside me through every part of my life, and I wanted to include them as I entered this vocation. Here, three ways I have seen the saints’ intercession incorporated in Catholic weddings:

Wedding bouquet medals

During my engagement, I asked friends and family to pray for us in the weeks leading up to the wedding. I may have tentatively suggested--or not so tentatively, as my siblings tell me--that they ask the intercession of specific saints on my husband’s and my behalf. I then invited my prayer warriors to bring a medal of their specific saint to the wedding and tie it onto my bouquet before I walked down the aisle.

I can’t tell you how touching it was to receive so many medals on my wedding day and to feel the weight of my bouquet carrying the symbols of many prayers. Since the bouquet was too large to preserve, it became especially significant to have those medals long after the flowers and greenery faded.

Stories of married saints

As I planned my wedding, I began seeking out saints who were called to the vocation of marriage: Saints Gianna Molla, Elizabeth Ann Seton, and Jane Frances de Chantal just scratch the surface of many amazing married women. I found it incredibly powerful to study the lives of Catholic wives who lived out their vocation with such holiness.

I also learned of many married couples who are both saints! While Joseph and Mary are the epitome of a holy marriage, there are a variety of others to learn from: Saints Louis and Zelie Martin, Joachim and Anne, and Blessed Charles of Austria and his wife, Servant of God Zita, are just a few from whom I drew inspiration. Learning about these holy relationships is a great way to reflect on your hopes for your own marriage.

Litany of the Saints

When picking Mass music, my friend chose the Litany of the Saints to be sung while grandparents, parents, and bridesmaids walked down the aisle. She and her fiancé were able to pick some of their favorite saints to include in the litany, making it particularly personal. While not a traditional piece for a wedding, I found it a beautiful testimony to watch the couple’s closest friends and family escorted down the aisle as their closest friends in Heaven were called on to intercede.

Our brothers and sisters in heaven are such a wonderful aspect of the Catholic faith. What are ways you have seen them included in weddings?


About the Author: Clara Davison has worked as a whitewater raft guide, sex trafficking researcher, U.K. Parliament researcher, swim coach, and freelance writer. She currently works in independent school advancement and lives with her husband in North Carolina.   

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4 Tips for Peaceful Wedding Planning

BECCA AREND

 

“So, how’s wedding planning going?”

If you’ve been engaged for more than a week, you’ll understand when I say that this question has been coming up a lot in casual conversation lately. My fiance and I have been engaged for many months already (with only a few to go!), so my answer usually sounds something like this:

“Oh, you know, we’re just trying to focus on the important things like deciding on a church, reception venue, caterer, musicians, dress, photographer, videographer, picking colors, doing marriage prep, choosing our wedding party, and, you know...everything else.”

When I was a single young adult watching my friends plan their weddings, I swore that I would not let the commercialism of the wedding planning industry stress me out for my entire engagement. And yet, even my most easy-going friends seemed to fall into this trap.

In fact, the rebel in me always wanted to sneak away to some little chapel with my beloved, a priest, and our immediate families to have a simple wedding. Just to spite the industry that tells me I can’t get married without a stressful, expensive party.

Meeting and falling in love with Chris definitely changed my perspective. He loves me with such a selfless, strong, Christ-like love that I wanted the whole world to witness it! So now we’re planning a wedding and reception for a few hundred of our closest friends and family. But my inner rebel still refuses to be swallowed alive by the all-consuming wedding planning industry.

Here are a few ways that my fiance and I are trying to keep our peace during the wedding planning process:

Be realistic about your timeline.

My fiance, Chris, proposed in April 2018, and we were so excited to get married. But we set the date for June 2019. Why did we choose a fourteen month engagement when we were so eager to start our lives together?

Chris and I looked at our situation and knew that we would need some extra time to adjust to this new stage in our lives. When we got engaged, I was getting ready to move from Denver, Colorado to Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada so that we could live in the same city.

I was adjusting to a new ring on my finger, not to mention a new job, new home, new friends, and a new country. Even adapting to the metric system was a challenge.

Personally, I process new information slowly and internally, so it was important for me to remember my emotional needs as we planned our timeline. Chris knew we would benefit from adding a few extra months to our engagement so I didn’t get overwhelmed. And now that I’m getting used to life in Canada, I’m better prepared to tackle the logistics necessary in wedding planning.

Maybe you are in the opposite situation. Maybe you have both been awaiting your vocation eagerly for many years or have dated for a long time. Whatever the situation, don’t feel pressure to pick a certain date or timeline based on anyone but you, your fiance, and the marriage prep requirements of your diocese. Take the time you need.

Choose your top priorities.

After a few weeks of engagement, Chris and I sat down and talked about what aspects of wedding planning were most important to us. He really wanted to find a beautiful, big venue to host all our loved ones, while I wanted the Mass to be at the church where I grew up. I also really wanted an excellent photographer.

I love this strategy, because once we picked our top three or four priorities for our wedding itself, we were free to be flexible about the rest of the details.

This means that I bought a lovely dress at a great price, and we plan to email all of our save-the-dates rather than mailing them. Our friend is going to DJ the music at the reception, and we are borrowing most of our decorations from a friend.

Most wedding stress, in my opinion, comes from thinking that every Pinterest-worthy detail is essential. In reality, you get to decide what is and isn’t important on your wedding day. To make this easier on everyone involved, communicate your priorities to the people who are helping with the wedding.

I was able to realize this first-hand when my sister got married a few weeks ago. It struck me that the things I remember most vividly from that day are the details that she and her husband prioritized: the beautiful chapel where they got married, the way they planned the dinner hour to make sure everyone got to eat right away, and the epic glow-stick dance party at their reception.

Every detail was beautiful, but I could easily distinguish what was most important to the couple. Decide what matters to you, and give yourself permission to be flexible about the rest.

One thing at a time.

Here’s the most practical wedding planning advice that I have received to date: do one thing per  week and nothing more.

Try to imagine a plate spinner performing at a circus. They run around a stage trying to keep a dozen spinning plates and bowls balanced on top of sticks.  Watching that much chaos would make me anxious!

It’s so tempting  to try to “spin” a dozen tasks at once, especially if you are a multitasker like me. Often, my days include calling the caterer, and while I’m waiting to hear back, I email a bunch of photographers. In the meantime, I buy the craft supplies to make gifts for my bridesmaids while scrolling endlessly through centerpieces on Pinterest.

The problem with this approach is that, unless you’re superwoman, something comes crashing to the ground from neglect. You definitely don’t want to be three months away from the big date, meticulously crafting those centerpieces, only to realize that you never actually got back to that photographer with the deposit.

When we get wrapped up in these last minute details, we lose our peace, and it gets harder to prepare our hearts for the sacrament we are about to receive.

Get an excellent planning checklist (find one that works for you), and check off one thing at a time. Don’t move on to something else unless you’ve finished the previous task, or at least added a note on how to finish it later.

Remember your “why.”

I recently watched an excellent TED talk that reminded me to make wedding planning decisions based on why I’m getting married in the first place. The speaker illustrates how companies and organizations should start by talking about why they exist, determining how to share that with the world, and finally focusing on what products or services they should offer as a result. In reality, most organizations get that order flipped and focus too much on petty details instead of remembering the underlying meaning behind everything they do.

We can be tempted to do the same thing. We get so focused on the details, or the “what”, that we start to forget our “why”.

Ultimately, I want to marry Chris because I love him, I trust him completely, and I am convinced that he will do a better job getting me to heaven than anyone else. He has given his heart to me and his life to the mission of the Church. I want to join him in that mission to bring Jesus to the world. That’s my “why.”

Because of those reasons, we can better know some of our desires: we want a beautiful wedding Mass with all our friends and family present so that we can give witness to the centrality of God in our lives. When I think about it from this position, the tactical decisions come into perspective.

During my sister’s recent wedding, one the bridesmaids kept saying, “All the details seem to work themselves out. As long as the bride and groom show up with the priest and make those vows, the whole day is a huge success, in my book.”

Our wedding is about celebrating the vocation that God is calling us to embrace. Chris and I want all those little details, from the photographer to the music to the reception decorations, to point to the beauty of the sacrament. And yet I want to look back on our wedding day and remember not the stress of worrying about the details, but the joy of becoming Chris’ wife.


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About the Author: Becca Arend is a twenty-something who loves Jesus. As a proud Minnesotan who recently moved to Halifax to be nearer to her fiancé Chris. She loves American things, like Chick-Fil-A, spelling words without an extra u, and the Imperial System.

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Pursuing Wedding Day Perfection with Humility

EVAN KRISTIANSEN

 

Each day from January 13-20, Spoken Bride's distinctively Catholic wedding vendors will be featured through Instagram takeovers and contributions on the blog.

Are you recently engaged? We invite you to learn more about the gifted wedding industry professionals who partner with us through the Spoken Bride Vendor Guide.


While I was at Mass recently, I was reminded why Jesus says of children, "The kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Luke 18:16).

Next to me, my three-year-old niece was reading a children's missal and following along during the liturgy. When we reached the consecration, the missal described it as the point of the Mass where "the real Jesus" appears.

My niece started looking intently around the church. I glanced over at her, sitting on my mother's lap, and watched her eyes slowly fill with tears. I asked what was wrong, and she explained that she "could't find him. Where's the real Jesus?" She burst into tears, burying her face in my mother's shoulder.

My niece had such a desire to meet Jesus in person that she broke down when she couldn’t find him.

As my mother was comforting her, probably trying to think of a way to explain the mystery of the Real Presence to a three-year-old, I reflected on my own posture toward the Eucharist, the “source and summit of the Christian life.” (CCC 1324)

The Eucharist, truly God in body, blood, soul, and divinity, is available seven days a week at my local Catholic parish. When was the last time I wept with childlike longing because I couldn't receive? When was the last time I chose to commit a sin, knowing full well that it would interfere in my relationship with the Lord?

I think that couples preparing for marriage should regularly do a similar reflection. It can be so easy to get distracted by details during wedding planning that couples forget to ask, “what is this day about?” and “who is this day for?”

It might not seem like the best place to begin planning a wedding, or even thinking about marriage, but a thorough examination of your motivations and your personal failings will ultimately help you grow toward a more Christian relationship, a more relaxed attitude toward your wedding, and a better and holier life.

So, let's humble ourselves, shall we? There are three things that are important keep in mind when planning the “perfect wedding:”

You are not perfect, and neither is your future spouse.

"For there is no distinction, all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God" (Romans 3:22-23).

Besides Jesus and Mary (“Our tainted nature’s solitary boast”), there have been no perfect people. You and your partner are likely (though we strive against it with all our hearts) to commit sins in the time that you are together--worse, the two of you are likely to commit sins that directly affect your relationship.

You are right to expect your future spouse to be striving for the perfection of virtue, just as you should be, but keep in mind the verse above: all have sinned.  

The “Good News” is that Christ has provided us with the answer to these struggles: himself. He, being the truly perfect spouse of the Church, humbled himself and hung on the cross for our sins. Shown in this amazing act of ultimate love, he greatly desires your conversion of heart.

Have you accepted this truth, and gone to confession recently? Make plans with your future spouse to go together, and definitely before your wedding! Jesus gave the apostles the ability to bind and loose sins (Matthew 16:19), and the priest at your local parish has this same faculty, inherited by merit of his ordination. Our contrition can be expressed to that priest, acting in the person of Christ, and through genuine repentance we can be given absolution for any sin, big or small.

That we can be confident in God’s forgiveness through the sacramental ministry of the Church, is one of the most beautiful things about our Catholic faith! Furthermore, you can view going to confession as a powerful step toward a holier, healthier, and happier relationship with your beloved.

With a little bit of humility about our own imperfections and a repentant confession, our sins are washed away and our souls made clean. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

It is important to strive to do for your future spouse what Christ does for us. Forgive your partner when they've done wrong, even if they don't “deserve it.” *

However, I have found that it is  easier to see imperfections in others than in ourselves. Stephen Covey, in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, says "We [then] judge ourselves by our motives—and others by their behavior." Ask first if your partner’s actions can be seen in another light, or recognize that they may not be motivated by malicious intent at all.

Then examine yourself and ask when you last failed to live up to the call God had planned for you. Act from that place of humility, rather than on your first instincts.

Remember to ask forgiveness for the wrongs that you have done them. Make the first move, in love, and you may resolve conflicts much more quickly. If you make this pattern of humility a regular exercise, you will see the fruits of Christ's mercy in your relationship.

Your wedding won't be perfect, either.

"When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, 'they have no wine.'" (John 2:3)

Being a wedding photographer can be a surprisingly intimate experience. I am hired to capture details of someone's life that they often don't share with others. The privilege of listening in on earnest prayers, capturing tears of joy and happiness, and witnessing the unification of two lives is an honor I receive with great gratitude.

When I take photos, I try to capture the feeling of the day as the couple experiences it. Bright colors, white dresses, beautiful decorations, and smiling faces are all mainstays of wedding photography. But as with many forms of media, it is easy to get the impression that these perfect images mean a picture-perfect day.

Ask any of your married friends about their wedding, and they will tell you (usually after gushing, "It was wonderful!") all about the myriad of small mistakes that were made during planning, at the rehearsal, and even on the big day.

In six years as a wedding photographer, I have never seen a perfectly executed wedding. I have seen mistakes and "imperfections" ranging from the very small (processing down the aisle in the wrong order) to the very large (a church so hot that the mother of the groom was hospitalized).

There will be mistakes made at your wedding, and no amount of planning may stop them from happening. But if the event isn't perfect, then what unifies the couples that genuinely enjoy their day?

In my experience, these couples are those that see their wedding for what it is: an imperfect event planned by imperfect people crowned with a supernatural reality.

A couple can be married in front of a crowd of five people just as validly as a crowd of five hundred; they can be married for no money just as easily and completely as they can in a wedding that costs a small fortune; they will still be married if their tablecloths aren't the right color, or if that one relative makes a bit of a fuss.

I say these things to free engaged couples from unnecessary worry, not to make them paranoid. If you know, as I do, that an absolutely perfect wedding isn't possible, I hope it allows you to relax and remember the purpose of the day: getting married to your bride or groom. Everything else is ancillary.

With this in mind, I advise my couples to schedule ten minutes together after the ceremony without the photographer, wedding planner, mother-in-law, or any guests. The goal is to take in the reality that you are married. Kiss each other, pray together, and then face the rest of your wedding day knowing that whatever else happens, you are now one flesh!

No mistake of planning, no social faux pas, and no guest falling face first into your wedding cake will change that reality. See this as an opportunity for humility. Give this special day to your spouse, to your families, and to God. Be confident that, whatever else may happen, God has already accomplished the work of the day.

And so, acknowledging all this human imperfection, what is the proper response?

The response to our imperfection: Humility.

"Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." (Exodus 3:5)

Humility. But is it really that easy? To let all material worries go, and achieve the elusive "perfect joy" of St. Francis? No, it is not, but relinquishing control to God is a huge first step. It is a step to eventually embracing humility as a permanent feature of your life.

If pride is the source of all sin, and humility is the virtue that directly combats pride, then embracing humility is a sure route to fighting sin in your relationships with your beloved and with God.

Humility thinks first of what your partner needs instead of what you want. Even when their actions are wrongly ordered, humility means forgiving your spouse as you have been forgiven by God.* Humility means holding yourself to a higher standard before encouraging your beloved to do the same. Finally, humility means allowing yourself to be forgiven, both by God and your future spouse, so that you can move past your failings and “live in the truth [of humility]” as Teresa of Avila says.

So, let us live in the truth, and humble ourselves before God.

Place all of the logistics at the feet of the Lord, enjoy your wedding as it is, and you'll find that the day is made perfect by God present in your union, even without all the perfect trappings.

Oh, and that planning detail you’re currently fretting over? Forget it. I give you permission!

*In each place where this asterisk appears, the following is a necessary inclusion: The mandate to forgive one another is universal, but there is no such mandate to stay in abusive (physically or emotionally) or dangerous (spiritually or physically) relationships. Please discuss these kinds of issues with friends, family, your priest, a therapist, and/or law enforcement personnel.


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About the Author: Evan shoots timeless photography and serves the Boston and New England areas. He is available for travel and specializes in Catholic clients. Born in Norway, Evan has 15 years' experience, including six years' worth of shooting weddings. With a great hope in sacramental marriage, he sees love as "making a complete and unreserved gift of yourself to the other."

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A Photographer's Encouragement for Engagement

SINIKKA ROHRER

 

Each day from January 13-20, Spoken Bride's distinctively Catholic wedding vendors will be featured through Instagram takeovers and written contributions on the blog.

Are you recently engaged? We invite you to learn more about the gifted wedding industry professionals who partner with us through the Spoken Bride Vendor Guide.


When he asked me to marry him, I started crying tears of excitement. I was ready to be united with the love of my life and believed that nothing could stand in the way. Little did I know that nine months of marriage preparation, wedding planning, and managing family expectations would present a journey of challenges before we could walk down the aisle.

Although wedding planning was one of the most materialistic and difficult times in my life, I chose to enter the wedding industry to bless couples as their photographer and as a source of encouragement. We offer both beautiful images and positive support; we remind couples to embrace the hustle and bustle of wedding planning tasks by slowing down and enjoying engagement.

Your time as an engaged couple can seem extremely long and difficult due to a multitude of new situations, pressures, and circumstances. But there are many reasons why it's one of the most formative times in your marriage. As a bride and a photographer, I have journeyed through many engagements with couples. I pray that my perspective may help you experience your season of waiting with intention and a grateful heart.

Engagement is a precious time when you are able to communicate, discern points of conflict, and problem-solve prior to married intimacy.

It's during this time you are making some of the biggest foundational decisions in your relationship, like where you will live, where you will work, and how you will celebrate the holidays. Take time to dive into every conversation and seriously begin working through obstacles as you prepare for marriage.

Engagement gives you the ability to slowly unite as one.

In other words, engagement offers a buffer of time to release old, selfish habits and to develop new routines for new life circumstances. Marriage is a vocation that immediately strips you of the ability to be selfish; engagement is a time to prepare your mind, body, and spirit for that kind of sacrificial love. It is important to consider how daily routines and household responsibilities will change after your wedding.

Engagement allows you time to focus on Christ.

It is this time of waiting that gives you space to communicate about your faith and pray together. Use this time to create a vision for a shared spiritual life and goals for your new family’s foundation of values.

Engagement can be a challenging time to balance physical temptation, external pressures, emotional distress, and deadlines for key wedding planning decisions. But this time won't last forever.

Years from now you will look back on this season and it will be a small dot on the timeline of your marriage. With this in mind, utilize this season to its fullest by discerning issues, growing in selflessness, and focusing on Christ. After taking this time to build your foundation, you may even find the first year of your marriage will be easier than you expect!


About the Author: Sinikka Rohrer is the founder of Soul Creations Photography. She is a go-getter and dream-chaser who loves to serve others well. She loves all things healthy and early morning spiritual reads. Most days you can find her walking hand in hand beside the love of her life, Alan, with their baby John David in her arms. On any given day, you'll find them taking hikes and planning vacations out West.

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3 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Wedding Date

JULIANA TOMLINSON

 

Each day from January 13-20, Spoken Bride's distinctively Catholic wedding vendors will be featured through Instagram takeovers and written contributions on the blog.

Are you recently engaged? We invite you to learn more about the gifted wedding industry professionals who partner with us through the Spoken Bride Vendor Guide.


You are engaged, showing off your ring, celebrating with family and friends, and it quickly becomes time to answer your first big wedding planning question: when will we get married?

Some couples decide to get married quickly, while others take a year (or more) to say I do. There is no rule about how long you should be engaged--no right or wrong. There is only right or wrong for you.

So how long should you wait from the day you say yes until the day you say I do? I offer three considerations to answer this question.

Do we have a budget?

If the Lord has placed the desire in your heart to get married--and soon--do not be afraid because you don’t have the money. The most important thing is receiving the sacrament. Whether you find vendors that will work with your budget, plan a DIY event, or enlist the help of friends and family members, answer the call from the Lord. As a photographer, I can assure you there are wedding vendors with any budget range.

Many couples prefer to save money before jumping right into planning their special day. Again, there’s no right and wrong, but I want to remind you that preparing to get married and to receive the holy sacrament of matrimony is more important than planning your wedding. Take time to discern spiritual and logistical goals for your engagement with your fiancé, then determine a budget and timeline that supports those goals.

Is our foundation solid?

Maybe you are afraid to answer this question because you love your fiancé so much, you know you want to spend forever with him or her, but you are also aware that you need to build a strong foundation first. If this is true, don’t feel pressured to schedule your date just yet. Take time to go to adoration together, pray, talk to your priest and ask him to guide you through this season until you are ready.

There is nothing wrong with waiting if the Lord is asking you to prepare.

For me, this is the most important question couples should honestly answer. Without a foundation, a stable house can not be built. And if one decides to go ahead and build without laying the foundation first, it is very likely that the house won’t stand for long.

Have we asked the Lord?

This may seem obvious, but taking important decisions to prayer with the Lord is so important. He cares for us so much, and he is the one who has called you into this beautiful vocation. Rest assured he has the answer.

Spend some time with our Lord, do a novena with your fiancé, and quietly pray together. Let our heavenly Father guide you. He will answer and let you know how much time you need for your engagement . Perhaps some detail you desire at your wedding is only available at a certain time of year, for example. Trust the ways he shows you his perfect plan. Trust the moments when you are filled with peace.

Beyond conversations and discernment with your fiancé ,our Church is rich in resources to help engaged couples prepare for marriage. Pre-Cana retreats or marriage preparation classes help to build a foundation and resources though your archdiocese, parish, mentors, and other Catholic organizations support your preparation for marriage.

Do not be afraid as you run toward the sacraments and the teachings of the Church in your preparations to become one as husband and wife!


About the Author: Juliana Tomlinson is a Catholic Wedding Photographer from Brazil who lives with her Husband Greg, her miracle baby boy Theo and fur baby, Arthur, in Lancaster, PA.

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