Megan + Josh | Romantic Hacienda Wedding

Megan and Josh met at a Catholic grade school in Houston where both of them were teachers and coaches.

They initially met in the environment of other coworkers and friends, and over time they grew to mutually respect and appreciate each other’s morals and values. It became increasingly evident that they complemented each other well.

Megan describes their relationship as a fertile ground where virtue could flourish: “We pushed each other to be the people that God created us to be: sainthood-seeking, evangelizing disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Upon realizing that in each other, there was no turning back. It was love at first realization.

From the Bride: On our wedding day we had all of our loved ones, role models, and loyal friends by our side. All of my family either flew in or drove the long sixteen hours to Houston to celebrate with us.

We even flew in my grade school parish priest from Cleveland, Ohio. He was a role model to me and had been an integral part of my formation as a teen.

During the wedding planning process, the Mass was all we cared about. Our primary desire was to minister the sacrament of matrimony to each other, so that is where our focus remained.

Every reading, every song, every participant mattered more to us than the cake, flowers, food, and dancing combined.

For example, the Ave Maria was a must for our us. My uncle sang it beautifully while we honored Mary during the Mass and asked for her intercession.

Josh and I were also Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion that day. Despite planning this detail far in advance, ministering still brought us both to tears: how could we be any more blessed than to give the precious blood of Jesus Christ to our closest family and friends on our wedding day? I can't think of a more beautiful moment.

The Mass was a sheer foretaste of Heaven.

Josh and I know we are called to bring as many people as we can to Heaven. Through matrimony and all of the sacraments, we experience Jesus Christ in both a spiritual and tangible way, and we longed to share this with our guests.

We hoped that bringing as many people as we could to celebrate our marriage would inspire them to become disciples of Jesus Christ, just like my husband and I continue to inspire each other.

Photography: Cedar & Sage Studios | Church: Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Houston, TX | Wedding Reception Venue : La Tranquila Ranch in Tomball, TX | Bridal Bouquet: H.E.B. Floral | Wedding Dress: Radiant Bride | Wedding Dress Designer: Essense of Australia | Bridesmaid Dresses: Kennedy Blue | Groomsmen Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse | Make-up & Hair: Amanda Hayley Hair Co. | Cake: Ashley Wetwiski

Liz + Grant | Classic Northern California Wedding

Liz and Grant were good friends in high school but went their separate ways. It wasn’ until their sophomore year of college, at different universities, that they reconnected, and with the potential for more.

After a year of renewing their friendship, it became clear to both of them that they desired more.

“Once we started dating,” says Liz, “I could see how Grant and I complemented each other in the light of faith. We were both raised Catholic, but our differences allowed us to point out the beauty of the faith in new ways to one another. “

“His appreciation for tradition is the perfect complement to my evangelical spirit and thus we are able to remind one another of the beauty of our faith in different ways.”

They began attending a weekly Bible study together with Father Sam, the priest who’d eventually celebrate their marriage, solidifying their individual faith lives and pursuit of each other. College meant several years of long-distance dating--including a full school year abroad--followed by Liz and Grant both returning to their hometown and beginning their respective careers. At the San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey, California, Grant proposed.

From the Bride: The day Grant asked me to be his bride, the Bishop happened to be at the cathedral for the evening Mass, which we attended right after the proposal. We were honored that he blessed our engagement after Mass, right in front of the beautiful cathedral.

We spent our engagement prepping for not only our wedding--which was so fun!--but our marriage, which was and continues to be refining in the best ways. After a 13-month engagement, we were married on July 1, 2017. What a blessing it is to have fostered a solid friendship before growing in our faith together as a couple, and eventually getting married.

You never know God's plan, and this rings true for us, as he was writing our story long before we even knew it! At the risk of sounding cliché, our wedding day could not have been more beautiful.

We had two primary goals for the day: first, to have a beautiful, sacred, holy Mass. And second, to host a joyful reception with our favorite people in the world, including a packed dance floor.

We always talked about getting married out of town--somewhere along the California coast or a quaint town in the wine country. When it came down to it, however, the most important thing to us was not to be in a beautiful city requiring our guests to travel. Being from the same place, we decided that our hometown was the best location for our wedding day. It was convenient for everyone and so special to get ready in my childhood home, while Grant spent the morning of the wedding in the home where we now live.

Summer days in California’s Central Valley can be well over 100 degrees, but our wedding day came after a big heat wave and was a perfect low-90s day with blue skies and a light breeze.

I wanted my sweet bridesmaids to all wear the same dress, but also wanted to somehow match my Maid of Honor and sister--we constantly match unintentionally! So, we wore the same pair of earrings, which I loved. I also gave matching bracelets to my bridesmaids, my sister, and my. It’s fun to see my favorite women wearing that jewelry now, after the wedding.

After going to different bridal salons to try on the same dress three times (I’m a little indecisive…thanks for your patience, mom!) I finally decided to go for it. My dress was totally different than what I originally envisioned myself wearing, but I loved its classic silhouette and open back detail. It felt simple, yet distinctive. Also, it had pockets--not only super fun, but convenient! Above all, my gown felt timeless.

Past brides had advised me to choose a new perfume for my wedding day, because the scent would always remind me of the day. I highly recommend doing this; now, a year after our wedding, I love wearing my perfume and it always takes me back to July 1.

I worked on the invitations with a co-worker who designed a beautiful suite for us, which we printed at a local shop. One of my bridesmaids and college roommates, Erika, calligraphed all of our envelopes and signage for the seating chart, ceremony welcome, aisle markers, and a Saint John Chrysostom quote.

Lauren Santos, the artist behind When Beauty Met Truth—whom I met while studying abroad together in London—drew a beautiful crest we used on our stationery and details. The crest inspired the aesthetic for the entire day. My favorite element is the dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

We wanted our Mass to exude the beauty of the Catholic Church and of sacramental marriage, yet be engaging for non-Catholic friends and family members. Father Sam did a wonderful job upholding the sacredness of the Mass, while explaining things along the way for those not familiar.

For the Mass readings, we chose Tobit 8:4-8,Romans 12: 1-2, 9-18, and Matthew 5:13-16. We chose these readings in order to share their messages with our family and friends, and also because they serve as reminders for ways we strive to live our own lives. Particularly the salt of the earth and light of the world message in the Gospel reading—we believe living a holy marriage allows us to be a light to others in this world.

Family and friends did the readings and Prayers of the Faithful, and our parents brought up the gifts.

One of my favorite parts of the Mass was signing "How He Loves" during communion with my brand new husband, knowing all of our supportive and loving family and friends were receiving the Eucharist alongside us. It was a really special moment I'll remember forever.

We were elated that our family and friends--Catholic and non-Catholic alike--commented on the joy and beauty of the Mass. All too often we hear of people saying that Mass is boring or confusing, and we truly wanted our nuptial Mass to be a beautiful expression of our faith and marriage.

At the reception, we set a table with family member's wedding photos and a framed quote from Saint John Chrysostom: "The love of a husband and wife is the force the welds society together.” It was a fun way to honor our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles as well as the beauty of marriage and the impact it can have on so many.

We enjoyed a delicious meal incorporating some of our favorite foods: local peaches—my favorite fruit—in the green salad, and gnocchi—Grant’s favorite pasta—as a second course. After the most heartfelt toasts from my Maid of Honor, Grant’s Best Man, and my dad, and following a surprise disco style father-daughter dance and a Mambo-Italiano mother-son dance, we spent the rest of the night on the dance floor with our favorite people! We opted for a traditional tiered wedding cake—funfetti with raspberry filling—and my mom sewed the tablecloth for our cake table.

We decided to do a sparkler exit; what better way to close out the most joyful day ever? After Grant and I buckled up in the car and started to pull away, I unexpectedly burst into joyful tears. We both felt overwhelmed with love and gratitude for our day. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

A faith-filled and joyful marriage can have a positive impact on so many people in our broken world, especially those whom we might not ever know we touched.

Photography: Cori Delgado Photography | Church: Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church - Turlock, CA | Reception: Del Rio Country Club - Modesto, CA | Videographer - Devad Weddings (https://devadweddings.com/) | Flowers - Farmington Flowers (https://www.facebook.com/Farmington-Flowers-Flowers-by-Megan-Dyk-172434006154428/) | Brides Dress - | Maggie Sottero via Miosa Bride (http://www.miosabride.com/) | Brides Shoes - Kate Spade (https://www.katespade.com/) | Brides Earrings - J. Crew (https://www.jcrew.com/) | Bridesmaids Attire - Alfred Sung via Brideside (https://brideside.com/) | Grooms Suit - Suit Supply (https://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/home) | Groomsmen Attire - Black Tux (https://theblacktux.com/) | Make Up Artist - Aneesa Smith (alwaysaneesa.com) | Wedding Crest - When Beauty Met Truth (https://www.etsy.com/shop/WhenBeautyMetTruth) | Calligraphy - The Love Letterer (https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheLoveLetterer)

Jackie + David | Desert Sophistication Wedding

One Valentine’s Day at Arizona State University, students at the Catholic Newman Center put on a service event distributing donations and cards to the local homeless population. Jackie met David for the first time, and a group of new friends organically grew from that event, culminating in a road trip to Sedona, Arizona. “David had taken the lead in helping make this trip a reality,” says Jackie. “My parents had bought their wedding and engagement rings there, and I had always heard of its beauty. We drove up with two other friends, hiked Cathedral Rock, and had a blast exploring the local shops. It was a memorable day trip for all of us, but I had no idea just how special it would be to me and David later in life.”

Returning to school in the fall as sophomores, David, Jackie, and their group of friends drifted apart and they saw each other less frequently. “In all honesty,” Jackie admits, he got on my nerves! Looking back, we later realized God had a lot of work to do on our individual hearts. We both confronted a lot of challenges that year.”

Slowly, patiently, the Lord was preparing them for each other.

Jackie found herself beginning to look at David with renewed wonder, seeing in him a great gentleness and concern for others and desiring to know him more and more. Once again, they began regularly running into each other at the Newman Center, service events, and pro-life work. He got involved in the prolife club again, and we ran into each other at service events and Newman Center social events regularly. At the Catholic sorority fall formal, David looked at Jackie across the dance floor after talking casually throughout the evening, and it all came together in his mind. They danced, and he asked her out a few days later.

Months after, David took Jackie on another road trip to Cathedral Rock; this time, to propose.

From the Bride: Saint Patrick is David’s confirmation saint, and his feast, Saint Patrick’s Day, is exactly halfway between our birth dates. It was also the only Saturday available in March, one of Arizona’s most beautiful months.

My only stipulation about a Saint Patrick’s Day wedding was that the theme not extend to any of our aesthetic and décor. David easily agreed. We chose a springtime desert theme: soft pinks and greens, with a pop of mango in the bouquets. I fell in love with the desert’s unique beauty when I moved to attend ASU, so I wanted to surround ourselves with it and delight all of our out-of-state guests. There were cacti illustrations on our invitations and table numbers, and I bought nopales to create hand-lettered signs--I practice hand-lettering because I think it’s whimsical, romantic, and deeply personal.

Our wedding program was actually inspired by Christina Dehan Jaloway’s. My favorite element was including the reasons David and I chose each of our Mass readings. I really hoped to counter the idea that Catholic weddings aren’t as personalized or meaningful as secular ones with custom vows and varied locations.

For David and me, a Catholic wedding in this place, on this day, with these readings and traditions, was the most intensely personal and meaningful ceremony we could dream of.

We were married in the intimate Newman center where we had met and grown throughout college. I was overjoyed to share this church with my friends who had never seen it. David really experiences the Mass through traditional music, so we hired his home parish’s choir to sing. Their arrangements were so heavenly I was brought to tears.

I was afraid I’d be self-conscious during the ceremony, but I felt so grounded. I was filled with the deepest peace, gratitude, and radiant joy. I knew God was there, waiting for me, excited to bond me forever to my husband and lavish his grace upon us. I felt completely alive and able to take in every passing, precious moment. We smiled and looked at each other during nearly the entire ceremony.

We involved friends and family as vendors because we knew they could do great work. Our readers, gift bearers, and altar servers were all friends from Newman; our college friends also did our photography, table numbers, and my hair. David’s mother, a talented baker, made our wedding cakes, and his family made all the food and decorations for the rehearsal dinner.

David and I danced our first dance to “Amazed” by Lonestar. We surprised our guests with a choreographed dance that built from slow dancing to nightclub two-stepping, to Arizona two-stepping, to country swing. It was a joy to showcase the love of dance we developed in college!

We also chose to do a garter throw, but with a twist. Pulling up my dress in front of family was a little beyond our comfort level. Thankfully, David has a goofy sense of humor! We opted to have him seductively approach me, only for me to sit him down in my seat, and then pull up his pant leg to reveal the garter on his ankle! It worked for us, and it was hilarious when David’s 10-year-old brother caught the garter, hoisted in the air by one of David’s friends.

Besides getting sacramentally married to the love of my life, the most meaningful part of the nigh twas the presence of my out-of-town family. All of my dad’s six siblings, their spouses, some cousins, and my grandmother flew out for the big day--she is 96 years old and stayed near the dance floor until the DJ closed it down at 11 PM!  My family had never hosted all of our relatives at once—we were usually the ones flying back East to visit them and dance at their weddings. They welcomed David with such open arms. Some of my fondest memories are seeing David arm-in-arm with my cousins in a huddle, talking enthusiastically with my aunts and uncles, and impressing them all with his dance moves.

The evening ended with all the remaining guests circling up around us, arm-in-arm, singing “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. The last chorus, we were all in one massive group hug. It’s truly a night I will never forget.

Being surrounded by the ecstatic joy and presence of my husband, family members and friends, was the most vivid experience of heaven I’ve ever had.

People have often remarked on the sense of peace I carry with me. Throughout wedding planning, often vendors noticed how at ease I seemed during our meetings, saying many couples were already stressed by the first meeting! However, don’t get me wrong—this peace was tested and hard-earned. There were experiences of fearing we would never find a venue, fearing we would lose our venue, having vendors back out, and stepping on boundaries as we merged family traditions and expectations. This process drew me deeper into God’s involvement in a Catholic wedding day.

It started with finding a way to use Pinterest well. Sometimes I would get caught in a spiral of comparison. When I contemplated the virtues I hoped to radiate on my wedding day, the words joy, peace, and surrender all arose. I searched those words and pinned my favorite results right on my “Bride’s Look” board alongside my hair and makeup inspiration, to remind me of some essential truths:

Joy: My friends and family are looking to see that I’m happy, not that everything’s perfect. Seeing a happy bride is what really is beautiful and gives joy to others’ hearts.

Peace: God the Father is in control of the day. He led me to my husband, and he has called us to receive the sacrament of marriage. He will be there on the big day. It’s his show! He is the one providing the grace uniting us together for life. He is the one who will provide, not me.

Surrender: “Mistakes” will inevitably happen. In those moments, I wanted to go with the flow.

I wanted to receive the day as God was delivering it, pondering everything in my heart like Mary did at Jesus’ birth.

I wanted to laugh lightheartedly about whatever happened and see it as a good story to tell later. The human experience of the event was all in the emotions felt, not the visual details or the perfect timeline.

Collecting and pondering these quotes stabilized me. It helped me internalize these truths and prepare spiritually and practically. On my wedding day, my bridesmaid printed some of the quotes from my board and distributed them. We gathered in quiet place before the ceremony. I led us in prayer and each girl read three of my handpicked quotes to center us, reminding us what was most important on this day.

I can't tell you how relieved I felt to hear my dear friends speaking those words back to me. As I waited alone to join the procession, I felt as grounded as the strongest and tallest tree in the forest. My heart overflowed in thanksgiving to God for bringing me to this day.

I remembered I was the receiver of this day, and God was the giver.

There is this pressure to provide “magic” as the bride and groom; the event planners. That’s why the details can be so stressful. You may feel like if a detail is imperfect, it will ruin the illusion of heaven you are trying to create for yourselves and the guests. The details are meant to elicit joy… but it really helped me to remember that they are not the true source of the joy. Ultimately, the union of two people together, to be married for life, can only be done by one being, the Almighty God. A celebration of what He has done in the lives of these two people.

I found a quote that said, “A wedding is a celebration that God loves his people.” And at our wedding, there was a real sense of supernatural joy. It pervaded everything, from the ceremony to the photo-taking to the reception. That, I could not have planned or pinned. Only God could provide that.

Photography: Kylee Ann Photography | Church: All Saints Catholic Newman Center serving Arizona State University | Reception Venue: Sheraton Crescent Hotel | Wedding rings: Shane Co. | Engagement ring: Jewlr | Invitations: Minted | Flowers: Fred’s Flowers
Bride’s Dress, veil, jewelry, and accessories: Brilliant Bridal | Bride’s necklace: vintage | Bridesmaid’s attire: Vow to Be Chic | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Cake Baker: Rose Hacker, mother of the groom | Hairstylist: Haley York, friend of the bride | Makeup artist: the bride | Music: Arizona Music Force

Finding Your Wedding Style + Planning Your Liturgy: A Look Back on Spoken Bride Weddings

Are you recently engaged and just beginning to identify your wedding aesthetic? Did you know Spoken Bride weddings are indexed by color, style, and state?

Click the tags at the bottom of each wedding feature to see similar celebrations. It’s our honor to be invited into the unique, singular beauty of each of our couples’ special days and to share the distinctively Catholic elements that elevate their wedding days and point their guests’ senses heavenward.

Here, a collection of our past features. For our new brides, we hope they help you find your own style and introduce you to some of our incredible couples whom you might not have encountered before. For longtime readers, enjoy this look through the archives! Wherever you’re coming from we desire above all that like us, you’ll take in these stories and step back with nothing but awe, reverence, and gratitude for the Father’s fathomless love for his children.

Cultural traditions

Maria and Santi’s Buenos Aires wedding and bilingual nuptial Mass | Edith and Bomani’s Kenyan Catholic wedding | Elisabeth and Salvador’s El Salvadorian wedding | Lisa and Steve’s elegant resort wedding ,celebrating the bride’s Polish heritage

For the classic bride

Blair and Jordan’s fireside black-tie wedding | Jamie and Seth’s Baltimore wedding with astronomy-inspired details, designed by the bride | Sarah and Christopher’s Kate Spade-inspired wedding | Maggie and Ryan’s walk from literal blindness to true seeing, and their vineyard brunch wedding

Holiday weddings

Emily and Daniël’s Praise and Worship-filled Christmas season wedding | Christina and Kristian’s Austin wedding, with holiday colors and Christmas hymns | Genevieve and Dalton’s festive celebration at Rock ‘N Bowl | Caroline and Matt’s elegant cathedral wedding, rich with family heritage | Kaitlyn and John’s New Year’s wedding in blue, gold, and white | Becca and Phil’s Christmas picnic wedding

For the vintage-lover

Emma and Mark’s 1920s-inspired Arkansas wedding | Ada and Greg’s Texas celebration with her grandmother’s dress and other family heirlooms

Regional-inspired weddings

Fatima and John’s Tuscan-inspired celebration and Italian honeymoon | Brooke and Tim’s taste of Southern Virginia hospitality | Emily and Bradley’s & Katherine and Jonathan’s Louisiana weddings, inspired by French and New Orleans traditions | Erin and Andrew’s relationship guided by Our Lady of Perpetual Help, their Notre Dame Basilica wedding and reception football game | Cynthia and Chad’s Midwestern traditions and the beautiful significance of the Holy Land in their relationship | Sarah and Joseph’s Chesapeake Bay wedding with preppy and nautical details

For the rustic bride

Emily and Ben’s elegant evening on 40 acres of Nashville farmland | Chloe and Joseph’s winter farmhouse weddings and tips for spending as much of your wedding day together as possible | Jamaila and Andy’s NYC courtship and wedding filled with elements from nature

Ever ancient, ever new: unique Catholic devotions

Joan and Matt’s summer wedding, with original music composed by the bride | Kelsey and Jacob’s personal marriage prayer, and tips for writing your own | Susanna and Brad’s vineyard-inspired wedding and reflections on marriage, the priesthood, and religious life | Beth Anne and Tom’s beautiful alternative to a bouquet and garter toss | Robyn and Greg’s Divine Mercy weekend wedding and the role of this devotion in their relationship | Janae and Ryan’s foot-washing during their first look | Rosanna and Matthew’s Norbertine liturgy in English and Latin | Erica and Chris’s decision to say their vows over a crucifix | Laura and Alexandre’s fully sung Mass at a California mission | Bridget and David’s hometown Mass and decision to memorize their vows

For the DIY bride

Angela and Lucas’s farmhouse-chic Indiana wedding | Katherine and Ian’s handmade floral arrangements and reception catered by family | Amy and Jake’s Colorado Springs celebration with hand-lettered details, homemade centerpieces, and a custom crossword

City weddings

Anna and Mike’s Minneapolis nuptials | Maggie and Eric’s downtown Denver wedding | Chelsy and Ben’s portraits at the Washington, D.C. monuments during the Cherry Blossom Festival | Chelsea and Nick’s Pittsburgh black-tie evening

For the boho bride

Kelly and Peter’s high school sweethearts story and outdoor California reception | Heather and Jude’s transatlantic romance and bayside wedding day

Military weddings

Alana and Stephen’s conversion story and Air Force wedding | Hannah and Jared’s sophisticated Pittsburgh wedding, with the groom in Captain’s dress

Special circumstances and non-Roman rites

Andrea and David’s convalidation ceremony and powerful conversion story | Julia and Francis’s Byzantine liturgy | Dominika and Joseph’s & Gabrielle and Vince’s Ordinariate weddings | Victoria and David’s journey of discernment and conversion | Jenna and Michael’s Italian family-style wedding | Heather and Matthew’s witness to divine love’s healing power and their family-centered wedding with their daughters | Ashley and Ashbee’s black and white WVU wedding and advice for accommodating non-Catholic guests

For the romantic bride

Julie and Rudy’s elegant blush wedding and a love story that began in Fatima | Katherine and Dominic’s hometown wedding and rainy night reception | Elise and Hunter’s long-awaited celebration in the Maryland countryside

Feeling a call to share your proposal or wedding day with our community? Submission info can be found here.

Images by Spoken Bride Vendor Horn Photography & Design, seen in Melissa + Antonio | Springtime Ballroom Wedding

Chloe + Joseph | Winter Farmhouse Wedding

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

Sally + Matthew | Southern Elegance Wedding

We are honored by the opportunity to walk alongside you in this marriage ministry, from Yes to I Do and beyond, and we love returning to our couples' stories as they continue to unfold. If we've featured your love story in our How He Asked engagement series and you now feel called to share your wedding with us, as well, submission details can be found here.

Read more here for the story of Sally and Matt’s courtship and engagement, marked by total joy, certainty, and peace.

When Sally’s friend told her she knew a man who was tall, handsome, and serious about his Catholic faith, she jokingly suggested Sally marry him. Sally was intrigued, yet hesitant; her job required a significant time commitment, and Matt had just begun medical school. At the time, he had made a decision not to date until he was done with his studies. The Lord has a way of changing our plans for the better.

When they met, spending time together among their local Young Adult ministry, the attraction was mutual. Despite the other obligations in their lives, Sally had the boldness to ask Matt out! A sense of trust and certainty about their call to marriage was clear from the beginning, and Matt proposed, with Sally’s grandmother’s ring, the following year.

From the Bride: I was talking with a few girlfriends recently about how important, but also difficult, the season of engagement tends to be. At least in my experience, it was difficult to balance planning a wedding with preparing for marriage.

Matt and I had such a desire to be together--to be fully united as husband and wife, to live in the same house, to make all our decisions together--but the reality was that we weren't there yet.

We were also learning how to build our relationship with each other and Christ, alongside the very real and often overwhelming responsibility of planning a wedding. In all of it, we received great advice from another young couple and from dear priest friend that helped us tremendously during our year-long engagement: first, focus on planning the Mass. When we felt overwhelmed by cake flavor choices or dress colors, we remembered to keep our focus on the sacrament of marriage itself.

Second, a priest told us to be at peace, because ultimately, it was Jesus who would be there on the altar with us on our wedding day.

How could we be afraid, nervous, or overwhelmed knowing that the Lord of the universe loved us so much that he would be there to unite as husband and wife, and to accompany us in our married life?

The day before our wedding, Matt and I went to confession and then Mass, just the two of us, before a flurry of family and friends arrived. I remember walking out of Mass hand in hand with a sense of peace just washing over me. We had spent the last two years falling deeper in love with each other and with Christ. We had grown in patience and trust, practiced chastity even when it was difficult, learned to pray as a couple, and finally our wedding had arrived. From that moment on, the weekend was filled with joy.

We decided to take pictures before the Mass because we wanted to spend as much time as possible at the reception with our friends and family. We took pictures at a nearby park, first just the two of us, and then the bridal party joined for group pictures. I was a little apprehensive that seeing each other before the wedding would somehow ruin the big reveal as I walked down the aisle, but it ended up being the only real opportunity Matt and I had all day to just take a deep breath and be together.

We spent a lot of time thinking through the details of our Nuptial liturgy. We were blessed to have four priests concelebrate; all of them, along with the bridal party, processed in behind the raised Cross to the hymn "O God Beyond All Praising." An unexpected benefit of choosing hymns instead of more traditional instrumental pieces for the procession is that every time one of these hymns is played at a regular Sunday Mass, it brings back all the great memories from our wedding day.

We provided wedding programs since not everyone who attended was Catholic. By including the music and major Mass parts in the program, we hoped people would feel more comfortable participating in the liturgy. One of my bridesmaids and dear friends designed the front of the program. She did an ink drawing of the altar from our home parish, where the ceremony took place. She had the original print framed, and it now hangs in our home as a beautiful reminder of our wedding day.

We chose Matthew 22:35-40 for our Gospel reading, in which Jesus teaches that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. That really is what this whole Christian life is about. In marriage, God has given us the immense responsibility to help get our spouse and children to heaven, and we do this by learning to love God more perfectly.

After communion, we approached Mary and asked for her intercession in our marriage. While we spent a quiet moment at the foot of her altar, our family and friends sang the Salve Regina.

My favorite part of the whole Mass was getting to say our vows and slipping a ring over my husband's finger. I thought I would be nervous in that moment, but the Holy Spirit was so present to us. I'll never forget looking into Matt's eyes and being overwhelmed with gratitude for what God had done for us.

The reception passed by in a flash. We were lucky enough to have a wedding coordinator who snuck us into a back room of the venue for a bite to eat before we made our entrance on the dance floor. I can't recommend this enough to friends who are engaged!

Once we entered the reception, every moment was spent either dancing or hugging all of our dear friends and family who had traveled to be with us. We wouldn't have eaten anything if it weren't for those first 15 minutes in the back!

We knew that we wanted to have a fun, family-friendly reception. We decided to forego the bouquet toss, but did a traditional first dance as well as Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances. We had a simple wedding cake from a local bakery we both love, and also offered two other passed desserts.

Matt felt really strongly about choosing to wash my feet at the reception in place of a garter toss. I still remember what he said before he knelt down to wash my feet:

"Tonight, I promised you, Sally, that I would spend every day of the rest of my life loving you and serving you. So as my first act of service to you as my wife, I would like to wash your feet."

The moment was brief, but so sincere and I think speaks volumes about the kind of man my husband desires to be.

As reception favors, we gave out 4x6 watercolor prints by the talented Katrina Harrington of Rose Harrington Art that read, "The human heart is always drawn by love." We hoped this quote by Saint Catherine of Siena would be a small reminder to our guests of how much we love them.

We also had a lot of fun planning the smaller details of our day. My engagement ring was originally my grandmother's ring, which she generously gave to Matt before he proposed. His wedding band was his grandfather's; I had it engraved on the inside with totus tuus, meaning “totally yours.” This phrase was Saint John Paul II's apostolic motto and referred to his total devotion to the Blessed Mother Mary. To us, the phrase reminds us to entrust ourselves fully to Mary and, ultimately, to Jesus--but also completely to one another.

Marriage is such a precious gift from God because it reveals--albeit inadequately--the mystery of God's love.

I marvel at the fact that in marriage, God invites me to love as he loves.

In our vows we promised "to be faithful to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and to honor you all the days of my life." It is our job to try to live that out each day since.

We love imperfectly because we're human, but the experience of Matt loving me completely and unconditionally is truly the biggest gift I have ever received. I cannot begin to comprehend how much more God must love me. Instead, I try to simply give thanks to God daily for his abundant blessings and to serve him unconditionally.

Photography: Kelly Ginn Photography kellyginnphotography.com | Church: St. Peter Catholic Church in Memphis, TN | Wedding Reception Venue : The Atrium at Overton Square | Wedding Coordination: Michael Doyle of Lynn Doyle Flowers
Flowers: Lynn Doyle Flowers (
https://www.lynndoyleflowersandevents.com/) | Catering: CFY Catering (http://cfycatering.com/) | Make-up: Kasey Acuff | Hair: Salon 387 (http://salon387memphis.com/) | DJ: DeepBlu Entertainment (http://www.deepblu.net/) | Cake: | Muddy's Bake Shop (https://www.muddysbakeshop.com/) | Wedding Favors: Rose Harrington Art (https://roseharrington.com/)  | Wedding Dress & Veil: BHLDN (https://www.bhldn.com/) | Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids (https://bellabridesmaids.com/) | Tuxes: American Tuxedo (http://www.americantuxedomemphis.com/)  | Invitations: Shine Wedding Invitations (https://www.shineweddinginvitations.com/)

Victoria + David | Antique Glamour Wedding & a Conversion Story.

Victoria and David were a 100% match for religious values on an online dating site. And yet, she was a faithful Catholic who worked for the Church and had spent many years discerning religious life, while he was the minister of a Non-Denominational Evangelical community. Though each wondered if their differences could lead to a successful relationship, they were intrigued by their many similarities, and decided to at least go on a date.

“I thought it would be fascinating to talk about Jesus with a devout, joyful Protestant minister,” says Victoria. “I was right! We had incredible conversations, deep and very spiritually energizing, as one date led to another and another. David's theology seemed very close to Catholicism, and I was surprised how his own study and prayer had led him away from certain doctrines typically associated with Protestantism.

Hesitation took over, however, as their theological differences posed obvious barriers that would make marriage problematic. Victoria and David broke up as the difficulty of how they’d raise future children became increasingly evident.

“We both felt like martyrs,” Victoria says, “laying our growing love for each other at the Lord’s feet in order to be faithful to him.”

She continued to marvel, though, at how wonderfully paired they seemed in every other way. The Lord wasn’t finished working in their relationship.

From the Bride: A short time after our breakup, I contacted David with a high stakes invitation that seemed doomed to fail: perhaps we could date if David earnestly explored the possibility of becoming Catholic.

At first, David rejected the offer as impossible, but later agreed, believing that by seeking the truth we would land on the same page (he was convinced I would become Protestant). He also asked that I pray to see the beauty in Protestant communities. Over the next weeks and months, God did bring us to the same page, and answered both of our prayers!

David’s prayer and study, particularly of the Catechism and the Church Fathers, led him to the decision to enter full communion with the Catholic Church. God had also brought me to see beautiful workings of the Holy Spirit in Protestant communities, and to long even more for the unity of the Church.

We see our marriage as a sort of microcosm of the call to Christian unity. Our relationship is a source of great joy and growth as we are strengthened by the gifts we each bring.

Before meeting, John 17 was a favorite Scripture passage of each of us individually. It contains Christ's prayer to the Father for the unity of all who believe in him: “...that they may be brought to perfection as one…” This passage now has a double meaning for us in marriage as we allow the grace of Christ to make us more perfectly one, as husband and wife. We chose this passage the Gospel reading at our Mass, and David had ut sint consummati in unum engraved in his wedding ring.

David and I are both musicians, so the Nuptial Mass music was a high priority for us. We hired a professional choir and a few instrumentalists. Since David is not accustomed to Latin, we opted to seek out beautiful English settings and pieces. We chose a mixture of motets (including a beautiful Magnificat by Chris Mueller), the Heritage Mass sung in parts, a polyphonic introit, alleluia, and communion antiphon, and several congregational hymns. It turned out gloriously! David and I also made our vows over a crucifix that now hangs in our home.

We’d agreed early in our relationship to save our first kiss on the lips for our wedding day. This decision was always left open to discussion and revisiting if needed, but we continued to discern that we wanted to wait. To be clear, it’s not something we think is necessary for all couples, but it was something we prayerfully determined. Both of us had past relationships in which kissing was permitted, but we now desired to keep this special level of intimacy reserved for a lifelong commitment. We had a very affectionate relationship otherwise, and most people didn’t know this was a choice we had made.

Since some close friends were unable to attend the wedding, we decided to keep our bridal party simple, with one Matron of Honor (my sister) and one Best Man (David's brother). Our beloved nieces and nephews were the flower girls and ring bearers, and one nephew was an altar server.

We wanted the style of the wedding to be floral and antique-inspired, with burgundy, dusty rose, ivory, deep greens, and antique gold. The men’s vests and bow ties were burgundy, with David’s being champagne. My sister wore burgundy and gold.

As for my dress, I’d originally bought a more vintage-looking dress that needed substantial lace additions, but at the last minute, the wrong lace came in and I had to get a back-up dress! My second option was more of a princess style, which I had first avoided, but I couldn’t shake how beautiful I felt in it. By a providential turn of events, I was able to return the first dress and purchase the other for a discounted sample price. It turned out to be lovely and matched our flower girl dresses beautifully.

It was important to us that we honor my mother at the wedding, who passed away 9 years ago. I had a 10th anniversary ring of hers (from the year I was born) made into a cross necklace and into my wedding band. For the bridal procession my uncle (my mom’s brother) processed in holding a rose to represent my mother. At the reception, we also had an “in loving memory” table, and David and I sang a duet in her honor.  

We wanted a reception venue with lots of light that was big enough for a larger number of guests. We found a lovely one, where the owner even had a small chapel on the premises with a crucifix and stained glass window of the Wedding at Cana. For our first dance, we had a friend choreograph a waltz to “Clair de Lune.” Other fun details included a singing flash mob David planned with many of his performer friends. It was a medley from Fiddler on the Roof ("Sunrise, Sunset," "Wonder of Wonders," and "To Life L'chaim")! David and his mother also sang Andrea Bocelli's "The Prayer." It was a joyful and entertaining evening.

I look back and reflect on how beautifully marriage is celebrated by the Church, and how even one couple’s marriage is a special blessing to the whole Body of Christ. I was so moved by the way the Church prayed for us in the prayers of our Nuptial Mass, and simply desiring us to be deep vessels to receive all the graces of the sacrament. We were also touched by how our wedding was a source of joy--not only for us but for our friends, family, and even the priests who celebrated the Mass. We now pray for the grace to live our vocation faithfully and grow continually in love for God and one another.

Photography: Stephanie Messick Photography | Church:  Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville, VA | Wedding Reception Venue : Morais Vineyards in Bealeton, VA | Day-of wedding coordinator: MayJune events ; Rings and cross necklace: Yas & Co. Jewelers in Fairfax, VA | Flowers: Bella Floral in Front Royal, VA | Catering: Caroline Street Catering in Fredricksburg, VA | Hair and makeup: Yiselle Santos in Bristow, VA | Cakes: Gateau cakes in Warrenton, VA |  DJ: Voss Weddings | Music Conductor/Organist: James Senson from St. John the Beloved in McLean, VA