Back in 2012, Janae was a high school senior applying to schools, while Ryan was a college sophomore discerning a transfer to a different university. Both ended up at The University of Texas at Tyler, where they met on the tennis team. Neither had a firm reason as to why they were supposed to attend Tyler, but knew it was where the Lord had called them.
During Janae's freshmen year and Ryan's junior year, the Lord drew them both into deeper relationship with him. No longer surrounded by her parents and friends, Janae had to take ownership for her faith. At times she felt alone, but it was in times of loneliness that she discovered her helpmate in God. That same year, the Lord was working in Ryan's heart, as well. He began to follow Christ with his whole heart and felt his life transform. Their individual faith journeys landed them in the same Bible study.
After two years of pursuing the Lord and of countless tennis matches later, Ryan asked Janae to be his teammate for a lifetime through the vocation of marriage.
From the Bride + Groom
In Janae's Words: Ryan and I chose to do a first look before the Mass so we could still get all the photos we hoped for with our tight timeline. It gave us a chance to break away from the craziness of the day and just be together. During that time, we washed each other’s feet to reflect on Christ’s example. Jesus exemplified humble service by washing the Apostles' feet. He showed us that true love looks like dirty feet: we have to bend down, bear burdens, forgive, love, and serve. It is our hope and prayer that our marriage reflects this call to serve, and that we daily embrace the messiness and beauty hidden in the vocation of marriage.
We got married in the parish where I grew up. It's where Ryan was confirmed into the Catholic Church and where I received all of my sacraments. I thought the church itself looked beautiful, so we didn’t do much to decorate; we just wanted it filled with as many as of our family and friends as possible. Because many of our guests were not Catholic, we provided a guide explaining the Mass. Ryan learned a lot during his time in RCIA and wanted to help others understand there is so much beauty and deeper meaning behind what may seem like repetition and rituals. Our hope was that all our brothers and sisters, no matter their denomination, could have a wonderful worship experience during the ceremony.
One of my favorite moments of the day accompanied the readings. We chose Tobit 8, the story of St. Raphael, Sarah, and Tobias. A few weeks before the wedding I stumbled upon an old letter I'd written before college. It hit home with this reading.
When I decided on UT Tyler, I joined their Catholic Campus Community Facebook page and saw a prayer that really resonated with me. After reading it I felt a huge sense of peace about my decision to attend, and I wrote this letter:
To my future husband,
I pray about you and for you all the time. You are important to me, and I’m learning the value of prayer for the big things and the small things. One of the really big things I have been praying about lately is UT Tyler. I leave next month to college and I’m looking for a strong Christian support group. In doing that, I joined Tyler’s Catholic Campus Community page on Facebook. This is the first post I saw:
"Saint Raphael, in all confidence I ask your guidance in the task of planning my future. Obtain for me through your intercession the light of God’s grace so that I may decide wisely concerning the person who is to be my partner through life… Find for me a helpmate in life, the person whose character may reflect some of the traits of Jesus. May he be upright, loyal, pure, sincere, and noble…
Saint Raphael, friend of the young, be my friend, for I shall always be yours. To your special care I entrust the decision I am to make as to my future spouse. Direct me as you did with young Tobias and Sarah to the person with whom I can best cooperate in doing God’s holy will, with whom I can live in peace, love and harmony in this life and attain eternal joy in the next. Amen.”
I love that prayer. The words are exactly what I want to say and the prayer was reassurance that Tyler is where God wants me to be.
Praying for you.
At the end of his homily, our deacon read my letter aloud. I had tears in my eyes as I heard those words I wrote exactly four years prior and was able to see so clearly God’s providence.
I am all about the details so I had so much fun planning a wedding. Before the rehearsal dinner we had an open Adoration hour for anyone who was in town. This was a special time for us to slow down, reflect, and invite Jesus into the center of all we were doing.
I love to DIY, so I did the calligraphy for the seating chart, made the invitations, and created a photo booth back drop. I used the sleeve of my mom’s wedding dress to wrap my bouquet, wore my grandmother’s earrings, and used a box my grandfather carved to hold our rings. My cousin made us a custom kneeler that we will use to pray together for years to come. Our flower girl wore her mom’s flower girl dress.
Since Ryan and I are both tennis players and a lot of our wedding party was from the tennis team, we exited the church through a tunnel of our wedding party holding vintage tennis racquets. I love peaches, so we had peach-themed wedding reception.
Our guest book was my parents' family Bible that they gave us as a gift. We had our guests highlight a verse that was meaningful to them and leave a note or advice for us as newlyweds. Our moms made a lot of the desserts. Ryan and I are both Texas kids, so our first dance was to a good two steppin’ song, "She's Like Texas." We had a last dance, “God Gave Me You,” with just the two of us on the dance floor while our guests headed outside for our exit.
In Ryan's Words: Our wedding ceremony had so much meaning thanks to my bride. Janae is more creative than I am, and can come up with wonderful ideas, including ones for our Mass. Of course, the Mass is always special because we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus. One of my favorite parts of the Mass, and a moment that was very special to me, was communion. Janae came up with the idea of us being the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. It was special because our first act as a married couple was an act of service to those who love and support us, and we were able to give them the best gift--the body of Christ! We pray that we continue to bring Jesus to those around us every day.
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to communicate! This is person is going to be your best friend through life and it is important to establish that open line of communication. We are only a few months into marriage, and we are already seeing the joy and intimacy that came as a fruit of these conversations. It may not always be pretty or easy, but it is important to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly! Also have those completely weird and random conversations. Express your hearts to each other often! Jesus works in those words.
Janae has been supportive and loving to me. She forgives me right away every time I make a mistake and acts like it never happened. Through this, I realized every time I sin I hurt God and the world. Yet he always forgives me. I always thought I couldn’t make it up to him or work for it to be right. But for some reason, Janae’s love has helped me truly start to understand God's forgiveness. I cannot pay God for all the wrong I have done. It’s pure love and mercy. Marriage has helped me understand this love.
Photographer: J. Violet Photography | Videography: Ryan Barry Productions | Church: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, New Braunfels, TX | Reception Venue: The Springs, New Braunfels, TX | Cake: Sweet Dreams Bakery | Bartender: Margarita Madness | Hair + Make Up: Meaghan Pavuk, Style by Meaghan | Stationary + Invitations: DIY | Caterer: River City Catering | Rings: Ernesto's Jewelry | Photobooth: DIY | Groom's and Groosmen's Tuxes: San Anthony Jewelry & Formal | Bride's Dress: Ventura's Bridal | Bridesmaids Dresses: RenzRags