Dominika + Joseph | English Garden-Inspired Wedding

When Dominika first spoke to Joseph at a college Christmas party, she immediately fell for the kind, gentle, well-dressed graduate student she'd just met, but he didn't have romance in mind at the time. The following May, Dominika checked out a book from the campus library where Joseph worked, solely with the intention of talking to him more. Soon after, Joseph asked her out to a poetry reading picnic. A woman approached them at the picnic and asked if they were married! At that moment, Joseph thought, "Oh, that I would have such a wife!"

Dominika spent that summer traveling overseas, including to World Youth Day in Madrid, during which she and Joseph wrote each other countless letters. While in Spain, she prayed for their relationship at the shrine of Our Lady of Pilar. Thanks to pure providence, Joseph proposed back home a year later at their home parish, on Our Lady of Pilar's feast day. They entered into marriage on the Feast of the Visitation and third anniversary of their first date.

From the Bride: We were married at Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, the principal church of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The cathedral was established as a provision for converts from the Anglican tradition who didn't want to lose the traditions of their patrimony. Now it's also full of people like my husband and me, who are cradle Catholics but love this unique and beautiful liturgy.

The words of the Anglican Use wedding liturgy differ from the Roman Rite. There's lots of 'plighting of troths' and such, so it was a different experience even for most of the Catholics present. Our priest did a beautiful job in his homily of both explaining the language particular to our rite and reflecting on the mystery of marriage.

For music, we had a quartet from our parish choir sing the William Byrd Mass for four voices. I walked into the first part of Cesar Frank's setting of Psalm 117: Dextera Domini--"the right hand of God". It's a heavenly piece frequently associated wtih icons of militaristic saints, but marriage is a spiritual battlefield, after all.

Our wedding theme sprung up organically from the aesthetic and tradition of our church. My Pinterest boards were littered with all things English garden wedding. I wanted a soft palette with lots of white, gold, soft pastels, and blue for Mary. Flower crowns were a must, and dancing outside under strung lights sounded pretty magical.

It was important to us that we stick to our budget and not to feel as though we were buying into the wedding industry, yet still have an aesthetically beautiful wedding. So it meant a lot of creative thinking, DIYs and being intentional about what wedding projects we took on. For example, we used simple white cakes as table centerpieces, which saved on both having a wedding cake and on expensive centerpieces. The cakes were a hit because they were all different flavors, so our guests had fun going to different tables, trying different cakes, and meeting new people. For cake stands, my mom found simple ceramic cake plates from Marshall's, and I thrifted antique books to stand them on. I surrounded the cakes with gold votive candles, and on our table numbers, I wrote quotes from saints and literature about love and marriage.

Some of my favorite memories of the day are going to confession with my husband the morning of the wedding, praying a rosary with my bridesmaids and parents in the bridal room before the ceremony, hearing the fulfillment of my childhood friend's promise from eight years prior tosing "Moon River" at my wedding, dancing the Virginia reel while my bridesmaid and college roommate fiddled, and eating a giant plate of gnocchi.

My husband and I both love toasts at weddings and the ones at our wedding were so very good. Our best man (and now Dominican novice!) is a renowned wedding toast giver, and his speech was full of both hilarity and profound wisdom. I particularly love this excerpt:

"I myself am not married--that is not an invitation--so I cannot give you two much advice here. Thus I thought it best to turn to another man who was not married: therefore, St. Thomas notes that every sacrament derives its efficacy from conforming to the Passion of Christ--in other words, marriage is a crucifixion.

"But, like the Passion, it is also the fruit of charity, a sign of Christ's love for His Church. You will have sorrows and frustrations, but those are the seeds of indefatigable virtue and exquisite joy."

Photography: Meagan McLendon; Church (also Reception Hall): Our Lady of Walsingham; Flowers: mibellarosa; Caterer: D'Amico's; Bride's lace blouse and camisole: BHLDN; Bride's skirt and veil: Jenny Kim Couture; Bride's shoes: Toms; Bridesmaid dresses: J. Crew; Flower girl dresses: Zara kids; Groom's suit: Black Lapel; Groom's tie: Roger David; Hair and Makeup Artist: friend of the bride (works for Your Makeup Expert); Wedding Coordinator: Two Be Wed; Cakes: Houston Pie Factory; Handlettering: the bride; Reception music: Spotify playlist and speakers borrowed from a DJ friend; Nuptial Mass music: performed by friends, playlist here; Rings: Rust Jewelry