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.
Shortly after celebrating their first anniversary as husband and wife, newlywed Danielle reflects back on her wedding day with her husband, Jeff.
She says, “The memory of that special day is never far from my mind. I still recall something that our priest said during the homily at our nuptial Mass, which was, "Take this early time, this time in which despite whatever fears and anxieties you have, most everything that you dream of seems possible. And cherish that time."
For Danielle, the whole day felt like a fairy tale come true.
From the Bride: It was finally here! Friday, August 4th 2017. The day I had prayed and waited for my whole life, and it was such a beautiful day, with sun rays beaming brightly through the windows.
The bridesmaids and I got ready in the basement of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, in Vermillion, Minnesota. The girls donned floor-length dresses in a rose-violet shade. My wedding dress was a pure white ballgown with a layered tulle skirt. It had a sweetheart neckline, overlaid with lace, and was cinched at the waist with a crystal belt. I had help fastening my cathedral-length veil and jeweled comb in my hair. The bridesmaids put on their veils and said a silent prayer over me.
Since Jeff and I were having a Solemn High Nuptial Mass, it was fitting for the ladies to also wear a veil, according to the reverence and tradition that we wanted to uphold.
The Extraordinary Form had become something special for Jeff and I throughout our relationship, and it was exceptionally meaningful for us to have it for our nuptial liturgy.
Throughout the morning, my soon-to-be-husband and I made sure we didn’t see each other before the wedding. We wanted to save that moment for the time I approached him walking down the aisle.
At 3 PM the choir chanted Atténde Dómine (Hear Us, O Lord) for the procession of the clergy, and the organist played Canon in D for the entrance of the wedding party. Just before my turn to walk down the aisle, the ushers closed the giant double doors that led into the church.
When the doors swung open again, I saw everyone. The church was incredibly grand and beautiful to behold. I stood there with my blusher draped over my face, holding onto my bouquet of white roses with Grandma Rother’s rosary wrapped around it.
This rosary was special because Jeff’s grandmother received it from her husband. She walked down the aisle with it on her wedding day, just like I was about to do.
My dad and I started walking down the nave of the church, and I saw Jeff standing at the end of the aisle. As we got closer, his smile turned into tears of joy. When we approached the end of the aisle, my dad lifted the veil from my face.
I took Jeff’s hand, and we ascended the stairs into the sanctuary to take our vows. In the tradition of the Latin Mass, the vows are said at the very beginning of the ceremony.
It was very special to be in the sanctuary. Traditionally the sanctuary is reserved for the clergy, but during the sacrament of holy matrimony the bride and groom are permitted to enter beyond the altar rail.
In that moment I felt so close to God.
Once we exchanged consent, Jeff and I joined our right hands, and he made his vow to me. We were asked to release our hands and then join them together again. Then I made my vow to him.
This act of joining, releasing, and joining hands again signified that our vows were made individually. We each had our own responsibility to the other.
At the completion of the sacrament, Fr. Byron Hagan, our celebrant, prayed over us and sprinkled us with holy water. The ceremony continued with the Mass after the Rite of Marriage, and it was absolutely breathtaking.
After the Gospel reading, Fr. Hagan gave an excellent homily and made powerful points about how society has made our generation fearful of marriage; that people today are not rising to the occasion to live out God’s calling in the sacrament of holy matrimony. They fear it is too much of a weight to bear.
“I want to tell you something today,” Fr. Hagan said.
“It is not too heavy for you.”
“Because you are Catholic, because you are confirmed, because you have been living your life with the Church’s faith, in penance, obeying the sacraments, and humbly confessing your sins before God.”
“You now have the power to do something which otherwise cannot be done: which in the deepest heart of hearts all of us desire, and increasingly in our time feel too weak to even approach...This power now is attached to you because of the sacrament.”
He continued, “Danielle, your task is to, in virtue of the priesthood of your baptism, help prepare your husband to see God...And Jeff, you have the responsibility, in a priestly way, by virtue of your baptism, to help prepare your wife to meet God. To help mediate the Lord Jesus Christ…This is your test for one another.”
While he acknowledged that the married state would bring challenges for us, he reminded us we must always remember the Divine Third in our marital union: God Himself.
The Mass continued with chanting and incensing of the altar. During the consecration the priest faced the altar and said the words of consecration silently over the host and chalice.
It was completely silent now in the church except for the bells that were rung three times during the elevation of each of the sacred species.
In keeping with the tradition of the Latin Mass, the altar rail was used for the distribution of Holy Communion. The communion hymn we choose was Adóro Te Devóte (I Adore You Devoutly), written by St. Thomas Aquinas and used as his private prayer during Eucharistic adoration.
After Mass, we got in the car and drove to the reception venue, a golf club.
The day before, our family had gone to the venue and decorated the tables with mirror and bud vase centerpieces. All of our guests had a stick of bubbles by their place setting, which was a fun and interactive way for them to participate in the grand march and the rest of the evening.
The final moment of the night was our first dance. During our engagement, Jeff and I had practiced for hours to master the waltz. And even though we had done it many times before, I was nervous having all eyes on us.
Jeff and I looked at each other intensely, counting the beats of the music in our heads. All of a sudden, the music intensified, and we were off. It was like I was floating on air, even though I was just trying to stay balanced in my high heels. I had never danced in my wedding dress before either, so it was quite a new experience.
But it was magical. It twirled around me gracefully across the dance floor, and I truly felt like a princess.
After dancing for a few seconds, I realized we were actually doing it. All of those hours of practice had paid off. We were dancing a beautiful waltz, and everyone applauded. It only increased their desire to get out on the dance floor later that night.
Although there were a few things that could’ve gone better, the vast majority of our wedding was a fairytale-come-to-life. It was a dream come true!
To all single women out there, waiting for their prince charming, please remember that this story is a testimony of years and years of prayers finally answered. God hears your prayers and knows the desires of your heart. He will answer them in his, time in a better way than you could ever possibly imagine.
In our first year of marriage, we developed a special devotion to Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria and his holy wife, Servant of God, Empress Zita. We look to them for their intercession in our marriage and for all married couples.
A quote we both appreciate from Blessed Karl was when he told Zita on the day after their wedding, "Now, we must help each other to get to Heaven." I am very blessed and thankful to have found a husband who also desires to lead me closer to Christ each and every day.
Blessed Emperor Karl and Empress Zita, ora pro nobis!
Photographer: Amy K Photography | Church: St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Vermillion, Minnesota | Reception: Dakota Pines Golf Club in Hastings, Minnesota | Rings: Gittelson Jewelers in Minneapolis, Minnesota | Flowers: Flowers For All Occasions by Ginny Majeski in Hastings, Minnesota | Wedding Attire: Raffiné Bridal in Woodbury, Minnesota | Invitations / Save-the-Dates / Wedding Program: Created by the Bride, Danielle Rother | Caterer: Nicole Sindelar with Rudy’s Redeye Catering in Rosemount, Minnesota | Wedding Attire: Raffiné Bridal in Woodbury, Minnesota | Designer for Bride’s Dress: Stella York | Designer for Bridesmaid Dress: Kenneth Winston | Designer for Groom & Groomsmen Tuxedo Attire: Savvi Formal Wear | Bridesmaid Veil: The Veiled Woman | Cake / Cupcake Baker: Emily’s Bakery & Deli in Hastings, Minnesota | Hairstylist: Michelle Wilcox | Salon for Manicure and Pedicure: Spalon Montage in Woodbury, Minnesota | Disc Jockey: C & C Sound