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.
Elizabeth and Matthew met in Ireland in a study abroad program in college. Their fairy-tale introduction at the top of a castle became a very real and fruitful relationship. As they discerned marriage together, they helped each other grow in love for the Lord.
Matt eventually took Elizabeth back to Ireland as a gift, and after a brief set-back and improvised castle tour, proposed to her in the country where they met.
“Incandescently happy” after their engagement, Elizabeth couldn’t believe that “life could be so beautiful and abundant.” And yet beauty and generous abundance is exactly what the Lord desires to give every one of his children.
In Elizabeth’s Words: Before I met Matt, I prayed a novena to St. Anne for my future husband, and I met him on the ninth and final day of that novena. I didn't tell him that until we were engaged.
We met in a castle while studying abroad in Christendom College’s Ireland program. It's a true story, I promise, and was something we never could have planned! As Matt would tell it, I was late and he was early. I had been traveling with my brother before meeting the student group in Ireland, and we met them on their first day at their first stop: Bunratty Castle.
Matt says, to this day, that he waited until he got to the tallest tower of the castle to introduce himself because he wanted to make a good impression on me. He did.
Afterwards when I was dating Matt, God made it consistently clear that he was the man for me, for many reasons. One of these reasons was Matt’s deep and wise faith, which he really cultivated and grew in college. I admired that, and it made me hungry to know Our Lord more fully and also to love His bride, the Church!
I used to tell Matt that I fell in love with God long ago, but it was dating him that really began my love affair with the Church.
I believe my contribution to Matt’s faith-walk came in a humbler way. He tells me often that my love of the Father, this 'Abba' of my heart, inspired him to pray differently and seek to love the Lord more deeply and personally than he had before.
It is beautiful that God, in his wisdom, knew how we needed to complement each other.
We were both adamant throughout our dating relationship that we were discerning a unique vocation to marriage with each other, and we tried to be intentional about that in our conversations and prayer life together. We discovered we had the same dreams for life and the same ultimate goal of heaven, and we both discerned that God was calling us to each other to help us reach those dreams.
After a few years of dating and graduating from college, Matt took me back to Ireland as a gift. He invited my siblings and a few close friends to join us, so I couldn't have asked for a more treasured crew. He was smart because he immediately put me off the scent and told me I shouldn't expect an engagement to happen. Matt was still saving for a ring, and paying for the trip was expensive. I was completely oblivious.
My darling friend Anna always tells a story about the night before we all left on this trip. She was talking to her dad, and he asked, 'So Lizzie knows she's getting engaged on this trip, right?" Anna replied, "Nope, somehow she has no idea whatsoever." She even had to make sure I was wearing cute clothes the day Matt proposed because I was not thinking about it at all.
We arrived back in Ireland on Monday morning as a group and drove up to stay at Ards Friary. This was where Matt and I spent our first summer studying, praying, and having fun together. It brought back a flood of happy memories.
On Tuesday we drove down to Knock Shrine and attended daily Mass. We then drove to Ashford Castle, where we experienced a falconry lesson for the first time. It was so fun!
Afterwards, Matt walked with me to the back of the castle. It was like something out of a fairy tale, situated on a lake with pristine gardens.
I didn't know it at the time, but he had to quickly change plans right before he proposed because the bagpiper wasn't ready yet. One of the concierge guys swept in to help Matt by distracting me. He offered give us a tour.
I was a history major in college, so when he started telling me things about the house that didn't add up, I thought he was the worst tour guide ever! In reality, he wasn't a tour guide at all, but it was pretty comical. The tour was also incredibly short, only lasting about 3 minutes. I was confused and wondered what this guy was doing, but we left our funny tour guide and walked back to the garden by the lake.
It was there that Matt proposed with a bagpiper playing the background, and I immediately started crying happy tears. He told me how I had helped him learn to love God as a Father and that he wanted to spend his life serving God by serving and loving me.
Looking back, there really aren't proper words to describe the euphoria of a moment like that, but “incandescently happy” was a phrase that suddenly made sense. He pulled out a gorgeous three stone ring, telling me it was a reminder that God would always be the center of our home.
As soon as i managed a 'yes' through my tears, we were swarmed by my two brothers and sister. Everyone was crying, and everyone was happy. The next thing we did was FaceTime my parents and Bella, my little sister with special needs. She started smiling as soon as she saw us. I think she knew what was up!
We spent the rest of the day on a boat on the lake drinking cider (my favorite) and loving every moment. I pinched myself, overwhelmed by blessing and in disbelief that life could be so beautiful and abundant.
Matt is truly a princely man. He is honorable, wise, compassionate, funny, and brave. I felt (and still do!) like the luckiest girl in the world.
We spent the rest of the trip touring Ireland and celebrating. To top it all off, Bono from U2 invited us for lunch at his home in Dublin to celebrate our engagement. My parents have known him for many years, and he actually knew we were getting engaged before I did--which almost resulted in me finding out by accident--but that's a whole other story.
We drank wine at his home and celebrated the beauty of this life together. When Bono and I took a photo together, I held my finger up to the camera with my beautiful new ring as he said 'Party like a ROCK star!'
Proposal Photography: Friends/Family | Engagement Photos: Laura Gordon Photography | Nuptial Mass or Engagement Location: Ashford Castle, Ireland