Erin met Andrew her freshman year at Notre Dame, but despite their many mutual friends, they didn’t get along immediately--she perceived him as too much of a bookworm! Two years later, though, when Erin’s basketball rec league needed another male teammate, she asked him to join. Their friendship grew, and over Christmas break they both attended a Notre Dame bowl game in New York. At Mass together after the game, Andrew decided he should ask Erin out. Their first date was on his birthday, and it was clear early on that they were called to marriage.
Andrew proposed ten months later and they set a wedding date for the following year, yet shortly before the wedding, they discerned that they should take a break. Though the time apart was painful, it was purifying. Erin and Andrew found themselves together again after a period of prayerful discernment, and on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Andrew asked Erin, for the second time, to be his bride.
From the Bride: While Andrew and I were broken up, I took a trip to D.C. to visit my sister at Catholic University. While there, I visited the Basilica and, where there are many alcoves dedicated to images of our Blessed Mother throughout the world and history. I felt very drawn to the alcove of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. While there, I prayed for clarity and direction regarding my relationship with Andrew.
When we began dating again, I told Andrew about my trip and he mentioned that he had a devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, including an icon of her on his desk at work. We also remembered that the first time Andrew visited my family in Philadelphia, my mom had enrolled us in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mass League at the Shrine of St. John Neumann.
As if Mary needed to drop another hint, there was a prominent image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at the front of the chapel where we got engaged. We set our wedding date for June 25, as close to her feast day on June 27 as we could. Andrew and I first announced the date at my grandma's bedside just two days before she died. All of my aunts exclaimed that June 25th was my grandparents' wedding day. Grandma smiled. On the shelf of her headboard cabinet was a tri-fold wooden icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Because of this, we decided to get married at Notre Dame, Our Lady's University, under the arms of the one who has been watching over us in good times and bad, and will continue to be a powerful intercessor for our life together.
Leading up to the wedding, we invited all of our family and friends to join us in praying a novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. We wanted to include those who’ve played a role in our sacramental journeys in the wedding, so we asked our godparents to be lectors and our Confirmation sponsors to be Eucharistic ministers. The presiding priest was my spiritual director during college, who helped both Andrew and I significantly throughout our engagement. Our ringbearer and flower girls were the children of two different couples who really encouraged us and showed us what a great Catholic marriage can look like. Of course, no one has been a better example of loving marriage to us than our parents and grandparents. I chose to make my headband out of lace from my mother's wedding dress and wore my grandmother's pearls.
Our wedding was at 9:00 A.M., so we had a brunch reception following our nuptial Mass. Despite the time of day, we still included dancing, cake and all the typical wedding traditions. Instead of a garter toss, we had a football toss! In fact, after the reception, all of our family and friends joined us for a game of touch football on the campus quad. Andrew's family has a tradition of playing touch football on Thanksgiving morning, so we wanted to honor that ritual.
When it came to our big day, we were just so excited to get married that none of the details seemed to matter. Throughout the planning process, I would frequently say, "I don't care what happens as long as the church doesn't burn down, and the priest and Andrew show up." It helped us keep the focus on our marriage, as opposed to just the wedding day.
We chose the Gospel reading for our Mass from Luke 1:26-38, the Annunciation. It is not commonly used as a wedding reading, but it held great significance to us for a few reasons. First, we felt it was fitting to honor Our Lady since she has been so crucial throughout our relationship. Secondly, we felt that Mary's fiat was perfect to reflect upon as we began our marriage together. Saying yes to God's will is what each of us are called to. Andrew and I saying Yes to our vocation to marriage is our fiat. Mary's trust in God is something we all can aspire to and she is our perfect example.
Photography: Peter Ringenberg Photography | Nupital Mass or Engagement Location: Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Indiana | Wedding Reception Venue : Morris Park Country Club | Flower: Lemler Valley Farm | Bride's dress: Jefre's Bridal | Groom's and Groomsmens' Tux: Mens Warehouse | Make Up Artist: Clearly Clare Makeup | Cake: Martins | Music: Acoustic Generation