Erica + Chris | Romantic Blush + Gold Wedding

Erica had to skip her parents' anniversary dinner to drop off last-minute forms for the friend of the friend who was going to sub for her as a chaperone on a youth ministry trip. En route, Erica got a call saying the chaperone issue was covered, but decided to keep driving since she was over halfway there. She met Chris at a Theology on Tap to exchange the papers, after which Chris invited the entire group out to karaoke and sang Michael Buble's "Just Haven't Met You Yet" that very night. Erica found out from a friend that Chris had asked if Erica was single, and two days later he called, saying, "I would like to be in your presence again."

A thousand-mile distance, four years, three universities, multiple career changes, one breakup, two years of platonic friendship, and one 33-day Marian consecration later, Erica and Chris declared their love for good the day after Christmas. Another two years passed, and Chris proposed on Valentine's Day 2014.

From the Bride: If there would be any theme to our wedding, it would have to be "Family." Chris is one of four children, and I am one of eight--we are both incredibly family-oriented, and feel extremely blessed to come from two close-knit, big, Catholic families. I wore the wedding dress my mother wore when she and my dad renewed their vows at St. Peter's in Rome for their 25th wedding anniversary.

Our siblings made up our entire wedding party. Our dads were our lectors, and our moms brought up the gifts at the Mass. Even our reception centerpieces honored the marriages that went before us, with photos of our parents', grandparents', and great-grandparents' weddings that we backlit with candles. Our wedding date, the Feast of the Assumption, was also the birthday of my late grandfather.

We also chose to incorporate a tradition originally from Croatia, near Medjugorje, where the bride and groom make their wedding vows with their hands clasped around a crucifix. Then, instead of kissing each other, they kiss the cross. The crucifix is then hung in a place of honor in the home. In times of trial, the couple returns to it, remembering the promises they made to each other and to God.

My advice to engaged couples is to be good to one another. Remember that your wedding is just one day of your marriage. One beautiful, crazy, chaotic, wonderful day. And God willing, you'll get thousands more.

Photography: Carrie Vine Photography | Church: St. Stephen's Catholic Church | Reception/caterer/rentals: Twin Oaks Golf Course  | Flowers: Mary Millea | Invitations-Wedding Paper Divas  | Groom's/Groomsmen's Attire: Friar Tux  | Cake: Cute Cakes | Hair and Make Up: BridesAmore  | DJ: Adam Seagle | Lights and Audio: Kyle Froland, Frolo Sound