Rhoslyn and Adrian were married in a Ukrainian Greek Catholic church. Their “Divine Liturgy” was celebrated in the Eastern liturgical rite, in a ceremony rich with profound symbolism.
Weddings in the Ukrainian Catholic Church traditionally have two parts: the betrothal, or the promise and exchange of rings, and the “crowning ceremony” during the nuptial liturgy. On the day of a couple’s marriage, or crowning, the bride traditionally walks from her home to the church in a joyful procession.
As can be seen in their beautiful wedding photos, there is a cup of wine, the Holy Gospel, and two wedding wreaths (or crowns) on a table near the front of the church. These verdant wreaths will be placed upon the heads of the bride and groom during the Crowning, the most solemn part of the wedding liturgy.
This website of a Ukrainian Catholic church explains that in that moment, they “are crowned as the king and queen of their own little kingdom: [their] home and domestic church.” Then the Gospel passage about the wedding at Cana is read, and the bride and groom drink from the cup of wine in remembrance of it.
Finally, the priest leads the newly married couple around the table which now holds the Gospel and a cross. “The husband and wife take their first steps as a married couple, and the Church, in the person of the priest, leads them in the way they must walk. The way is symbolized by the circle at the center of which is the Gospel and the cross of our Lord.”
In Eastern Catholic churches, the sacraments are often referred to as the “Holy Mysteries.” And so, on their wedding day, Rhoslyn and Adrian entered into the Holy Mystery of marriage, excited and hopeful for what their life together would bring.
From the Bride: Adrian and I met while praying at a 40 Days For Life vigil in Cardiff, Wales during Lent 2018. We went on our first date soon after on February 22, 2018.
Our courtship moved quickly, but we were both very cautious. I had suffered a failed engagement before meeting Adrian, and he had two children from a previous relationship before he was a practicing Catholic. We prayed the rosary together every day and went to Mass frequently. We met up daily and spoke even more on the phone.
We waited for what felt like a long time to get engaged, but may seem very quick: the 15th of June!
Our biggest wish for our wedding was that the liturgy should be reverent, beautiful, and traditional. The Ukrainian rite naturally encompasses all of that.
The Ukrainian Catholic community in Cardiff is small, and they were using a temporary church at the time, which was not in good condition. Because the church was not a particularly “beautiful” one, we made sure to focus on the beauty of the liturgy.
We spent quite a bit of money on flowers for the church, and they turned out beautifully. The vestments which Fr. James wore during the liturgy were also stunning.
My parents very generously bought my wedding dress, which was handmade for me, and it was amazing! I had based my dream dress on the gown worn by St. Gianna Molla on her wedding day.
Almost everyone in attendance had never been to an Eastern Rite wedding, but we were so pleased with how people prayerfully partook in the liturgy. My dad was part of the crowning, which is like the exchanging of rings in the Latin rite. That was so special for us.
And finally, one of the most important things to us was that Adrian's children should feel like they were a part of the day. They were so excited for the wedding, and they loved the whole celebration. Deo gratias!
Photography: Peter Jones | Church: St Theodore of Tarsus Ukrainian Greek Catholic church, Pomeroy Street, Cardiff, CF10 5GS (on google maps, it comes up as St Cuthbert's) | Reception: Bay Den Scout Hall, Cardiff Bay, CF11 0XR | Engagement ring: Aardbark Jewelry | Weddings rings: Jonathan David | Flowers: Bank of Flowers | Wedding cake: Francesca’s Cakes | Wedding dress: Zelie’s Roses