You are a Beautiful Bride | The Unconditional Truth



As a young flower girl at the weddings of babysitters and family friends, I remember being entranced by the regal aurora of the bride. As an engaged woman in preparation, I was encouraged, “you will be a beautiful bride!” On my own wedding day, I remember hearing the remarks of wedding guests who referred to me as the beautiful bride.

It is true. A woman dressed in white, clothed in the joy and purity of her wedding day is a sight to behold. The crowd of witnesses stands as she enters the sanctuary. The groom can’t take his eyes off of her. The journey of the bride moving towards her covenant at the altar echoes a song of every human’s heart. She is the personification of beauty, a reflection of the creator who makes all things glorious.


There is no denying that a woman on her wedding day is a beautiful bride.

Yet hearing the simple statement, “you are a beautiful bride,” brings me to a question. When a woman hears these words, does she interpret the message as admiration of her outer appearance or as affirmation of her heart and soul?

If the message is attached to the status of professional hair and makeup, heirloom jewelry, a wedding gown, and a following of photographers, then her identity as a beautiful bride becomes conditional to external circumstances.

In contrast, when a woman is offered and hears bridal admiration as a reflection of her lifelong commitment to her vocation, her beauty is fused with her existence. She is beautiful because she is. Her daily “yes” to her marriage is her most stunning quality. In the truth of this perspective, her beauty is sealed in her feminine vocation.

Despite our secular culture’s twisted reality which uses outer appearances to define one’s value and worth, God offered his son to remind us that our value is confirmed in his love for us. Our worth is defined in our status as a child of God. Therefore, it becomes imperative to shift our understanding of a “beautiful bride” away from a simple definition of a woman in white, so we can more fully celebrate the innumerable beautiful brides in our midst—the women who strive in the commitment of their married vocation.

How do we begin acknowledging this truth and celebrating true beauty? The responsibility is shared among both men and women, single and married, young and old.

To the bridal attendants and wedding guests:

Say what you mean and mean what you say. We cannot expect others to interpret the deepest meaning of our words. Take time to write a heartfelt note to express the depth of your admiration for a new couple in covenant. Choose your words with intention as you compliment and affirm a bride on her wedding day; your compliment is not only relevant to that day, but the rest of her married life. And on the average days in-between, acknowledge the beauty of the women in your life as they each pursue or fulfill marital vows in a unique way.

To boyfriends, husbands, and men:

Reflect on how you internalize the beauty of your bride. If you look at your bride and are distracted by the external clothing, emotions or demands of married life, pray for the desire to explore and know a deeper intimacy of her heart. If you are married—or desire to be married—and you know the internal beauty of your bride, tell her. From the morning of your wedding day and for the rest of forever, she is your beautiful bride: the embodiment of God’s finest creation put on this earth as a gift for you. Live in that joy.

To single, engaged, and married women:

Once you enter a vocational covenant, you are a bride. Your status in that role is not conditional on how you dress, how professional your hair and makeup look, or how gracefully you move about the day. Through your commitment in covenant, your status as a beautiful bride cannot be changed.

On the days when you feel lost or confused in your vocation, you are a beautiful bride.

On the days when vulnerability in making love brings a moment of embarrassment, you are a beautiful bride.

On the days when you are covered in stains from raising a family, you are a beautiful bride.

On the days when the love between a husband and wife is playful and fun, you are a beautiful bride.

On the days when you doubt your value as a wife but show up offering your very best for that day, you are a beautiful bride.

The woman who enters a vocational covenant is, forevermore, a beautiful bride. As the memories of your wedding day move further back in time, remain steadfastly affirmed in your inherent, unconditional beauty.

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About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would consist of a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more


Where Love Dwells



Then the Angel departed from her.

A friend of mine recently gave a talk that emphasized this line from Luke 1. This, he said, was the scariest line in Scripture. The words that proceed it are the words most of us have heard over and over again: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

PHOTOGRAPHY:    Laurentina Photography

Mary was invited into something so much bigger than herself, which in itself is frightening. Then she makes this bold statement of faith, and then the angel departed from her. No more questions, no explanation, no other answers.

Mary wasn’t given a roadmap, or a glimpse into the future. She didn’t know that she would have to give birth in a stable and then flee to Egypt to save His life. She never would have guessed that she would eventually watch her son suffer and die on a cross, only to come back from the dead three days later.

But it didn’t matter. When Mary gave her fiat, she said yes to everything that was to come, whether she knew it or not. She willingly said ‘yes’ God and in doing so, said yes to whatever would demand of her.

Like Mary, our “I do” at the altar contains a mysterious and sometimes messy reality.

When we make those promises of love we can’t know everything that will happen between then and that moment when death does us part. We don’t know how those vows will take shape. While we can dream about those good times, the bad times will inevitably come. While we can hope for health, sickness may still find its way in.

The promises I made on a spring afternoon almost three years ago look very different after two moves, big decisions, and a toddler later. And it will look even more different fifty years from now as our lives continue to unfold.

On that special day I, in a sense, made a promise to the unknown. I joyfully and willingly said “I Do” to a mystery.

And, similar to the Annunciation, it is in this mystery that Love dwells.

Love, a radical outpouring of self, is not found in knowing what is to come, but in the present. No matter how hard we try, love cannot be planned; it can only be chosen when the moment presents itself.

It is formed in those times of surrender, of joy, of consolation, and of desolation. It takes root among the laundry and dirty dishes, among the moving boxes and new jobs.

It is strengthened in the sleepless nights and early mornings, in the baby cries and smelly diapers. In wounded pride and tearful apologies, in laughter that makes your stomach hurt.

Heaven and earth intersect in a unique way when a man and woman promise themselves to the other. These earthly vows make room in our hearts for the divine, for eternity itself. Our minds cannot comprehend the depths of this Divine love we are promising. We may not understand what the words fully mean until we reach Heaven.

But like Mary we are called to say “I do” with our entire being. And like Mary, we can trust that God will give us the grace to be faithful to our call and make our “yes” truly life-giving.

Carissa Pluta

About the Author: Carissa Pluta is Spoken Bride’s Editor at Large. She is the author of the blog The Myth Retold. Read more


Newlywed Life | What Do You Do When You and Your Spouse Have Different Outlooks on Health + Wellness?



My husband spent our year-long engagement two states away in his first year of grad school, determined to save money for our life together by shopping and eating as little as possible on his small stipend. The first time I saw him after he moved, he’d visibly lost weight and was more tired than usual--the result of a steady diet of frozen broccoli, boxed mac and cheese, scrambled eggs, and a weekly frozen burrito splurge on Sundays. I bought him a cookbook and promised we could live prudently without sacrificing his health.

Meanwhile, as I embarked on post-college living for the first time, I was sampling kombucha, oil pulling, and debating buying barefoot-style running shoes. Was my husband unnecessarily ascetic? Was I blindly following any wellness trend that appeared on my radar? The answer was probably both.

Even several years into marriage, I frequently observe the ways family of origin shapes your outlook, for better or for worse. My parents, sister, and I would take classes together at the gym and enjoyed cooking together from scratch. My husband and his siblings preferred pick-up sports to gyms, and his family often prioritized convenience and savings over other factors when grocery shopping.

After our wedding, as we began sharing meals and a bank account, my husband and I found ourselves in significant disagreement over how to use our limited resources well and to determine what was actually “healthy.” He called me a snob when I turned up my nose at butter that wasn’t grass-fed. I called him careless when he’d come home fatigued and sick from dipping into the candy jar at work all day.

I look back and see each of our immoderate perspectives on wellness as a typical example of the growing pains of newlywed life. Becoming familiar with one another’s spending habits, tastes, and day-to-day nutritional, sleep, and exercise requirements are among many adjustments in the merging of two individuals’ habits into a new, shared life. I have asked myself, however, why I felt so passionately about health in particular, and why I often insisted my husband conform himself more to my habits than vice versa. He’d press me, insisting he’d cherish and care for me no matter if one of us gained weight or developed an illness.

I truly believe the human body makes manifest God’s glory and expresses the person. I believe taking care of my physical well-being--held, that is, in proper perspective with my spiritual well-being--better provides me with the energy and clarity of mind to serve my husband and children in my vocation and to place my gifts at the service of the Lord.

Yet if I’m being entirely honest with myself, I also see the raw places in my heart that hide in fear: I fear sickness, death, infertility. I fear my appearance won’t be enough for my husband; the lie that, as a woman, how I look equals who I am. It’s a constant struggle for me to embrace the tension of pursuing fulfillment in this life while still fixing my eyes on the next. I desire, too much, to cling to this life in which I’ve been graced with so many gifts.

Eternal preservation, good health, and youth aren’t the ultimate goods. Eternal life, however, is.

Fulfillment without flaw. As I’ve worked to cast down these idols, time has given my husband and I more of a shared, moderate perspective on diet, exercise, supplements, and otherwise.

So where to turn if, like us, you find yourself and your beloved at odds over a major lifestyle matter--health and wellness, or otherwise?

First, I encourage you to accept differences of opinion as a normal accompaniment to your time of transition as newlyweds and, moreover, to delve into them. Like me, you might recognize a root cause that illuminates the parts of you the Father wants to heal, to reconcile, to be invited into.

Second, trust that your spouse chose you, loves you, made a vow to you--a mirror of our heavenly bridegroom. He wants you, no matter if you’re an XS or XL, if you eat or don’t eat gluten, if you’re marathons or Couch to 5K.

And lastly, turn to the Lord. Ask how you, in particular, can put yourself at the service of the Gospel--body and soul--and for him to reveal who you were created to be, and a healthy perspective on wellness will follow.

About the Author: Stephanie Calis is Spoken Bride's Editor in Chief and Co-Founder. She is the author of INVITED: The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner (Pauline, 2016). Read more


Stresses During Engagement Can Strengthen Your Marriage.



It is hard to thank God for the difficult situations in our lives, but each time we surrender to the Lord, he works a miracle in our hearts.

Honestly, I am grateful that Michael and I endured some trials before we got married. Engagement, while a joyful time, can also be a time of intense formation in preparation for marriage. It is an opportunity to wash each other's feet, to face challenges together, and to rely on Jesus as the source of your strength and love.

You and your fiancé are sharing many joys during this time, but probably some sorrows as well. If one of you suffers, so does the other, and this shared experience can happen at a whole new level now that you have committed to becoming a family. It feels raw and vulnerable. But Jesus teaches that intimate relationships involve serving each other—and being vulnerable enough to receive service.

One of the most tender moments in Scripture is when Jesus washes his disciples' feet. At first, Peter refuses to let the Lord wash his dirty feet, but Jesus explains that this service, although messy, is crucial to their relationship (John 13:4-17):

“Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”

At first I, like Peter, was reluctant to allow Michael to serve me. I was determined to contribute equally to the relationship, and Michael expressed a similar sentiment. Neither of us wanted to be a "burden" to the other. But throughout our engagement, the Lord humbled us over and over again, sometimes in not-so-small ways. There were cockroach infestations, broken down cars, a minor surgery, a lost job, and even a death in the family.

With our pride stripped away, we were better able to humbly receive service and support from each other.

And as our relationship grew stronger, we realized it didn't matter if one of us was doing more serving and the other more receiving. We were becoming a family, and families don't keep score.

This lesson has been extremely important in our marriage as we continue to lean on each other. While some of our experiences during our engagement were sad, I can see now that the Lord didn't let any suffering go to waste. He used each trial, whether big or small, to bring us together and to teach us how to carry each other's crosses.

Furthermore, there is a whole new kind of challenge during engagement: making big decisions that affect you as a unit, as a family. Maybe you and your fiancé are deciding where to live after you get married, how to budget, or how to navigate the maze of wedding preparation. When there are bumps in the road, you are now affected as a couple. Two lives have already begun to become one.

One of our bumps in the road was our marriage paperwork. Through our own oversight, our files were lost somewhere between the Roman Catholic parish and the Byzantine Catholic parish. Many phone calls, emails, letters, visits to parish offices, and five months later, the files were in one place, and we were finally allowed to attend our first premarital counseling session.

We felt the effects of our mistake not as "my problem" or "Michael's problem", but as something we would have to solve together with God's help. At the time, I did not embrace these difficulties with grace. But looking back, I thank God for them.

During our engagement, we discovered that we can love each other, suffer together, and stay faithful to God's plan even when it doesn't look like circumstances are going to work out as we would prefer them. So when we encountered an unexpected cross during our first year of marriage, it wasn't the first time we had been challenged as a couple.

Here's the thing, though: we couldn’t have done any of that without Jesus. "We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Christ is the source of strength and love in all marriages. As Catholics, we have access to Scripture and the sacraments, where we encounter God and receive his graces.

I can't be strong for Michael, nor him for me, if we rely only on ourselves. And it isn't enough to rely on each other, either.

Sometimes we both feel stressed or sad. In those moments, Jesus reminds us of his love for both of us. He even feeds us with his own body in the Eucharist to give us strength to keep going in situations that seem beyond our capabilities.

So as you and your fiancé progress together through your engagement, I pray that every difficulty, every disagreement, and every decision will bring you both closer to each other—and, more importantly, to the God who created you and loves you both. Your vocation is a call to holiness, so why not start embracing that attitude as you prepare for marriage?

Whether great tragedy or minor inconvenience, suffering doesn't have to be pointless. We can allow God to use those moments to sanctify us. Remember, "In all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

About the Author: Kiki Hayden is a writer and Bilingual Speech Therapist living in Texas with her dog Goldberry and her husband Michael. She is a Byzantine Catholic. To find out more about how God is changing her life through speech therapy, visit her website, Speaking with Kiki.


When You're Nervous About Being the Center of Attention

The radiant joy of a bride and groom, wearing their best attire--and looks of love--for one another--is impossible to look away from. But what about when you’re that couple, with all eyes on you?

If the prospect of sustained attention from guests on your wedding day makes you apprehensive, know that nerves are normal--after all, it’s rare to be looked at, photographed, filmed, and talked to for hours at a time in most of our everyday lives. It’s possible, however, to cultivate a spirit of comfort and freedom in the spotlight, with a combination of practical and emotional preparation. Here, our advice for handling attention gracefully.

Talk about your expectations.

Seemingly simple matters, like sharing a kiss, or moving from conversation to conversation at a small gathering, can suddenly feel more complicated at your reception in the presence of dozens of guests. A bit of discussion beforehand can go a long way toward helping you and your fiancé manage expectations and feel on the same page. Have a conversation about each of your opinions on appropriate levels of PDA, a reasonable amount of time to spend with each guest in a receiving line or during your reception meal, and concrete ways to help each of your guests and wedding party members feel seen and appreciated.

Turn to the pros.

Wedding industry professionals are used to working with clients who don’t typically have experience in modeling or being filmed--and that’s a good thing! A great photographer or videographer will educate you in ways to pose, manage time, and feel natural on camera in a way particular to his or her style, one that will draw out who you are as a couple and allow them to produce their best work. Trust in their guidance, and turn to them as a resource for any specific concerns.

Cultivate self-acceptance.

If appearance and body image are a struggle for you, know this: you are enough. Beloved by your spouse-to-be and by the heavenly Bridegroom; beautiful in soul and body. On the days it becomes hard to believe this, consider ways to embrace your looks and to enhance and make visible your inner worth: cultivate gratitude for your body and pursue an exercise regimen that encourages strength and virtue. Research dress styles and makeup looks that will make you feel your best. And when comparison creeps in, step back. Close all the dress, cosmetic, and workout tabs and step into silence and prayer.

You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride…

But, let yourself be surprised.

No amount of planning can account for the grace of forgetting--that is, the moments when the sense of being watched falls away, leaving you and your beloved in freedom to absorb and cherish the sacred and joyful moments of the day. Ask the Lord for the grace to feel like yourselves even when all eyes are turned to you. When we are his instruments, open and willing vessels, we direct the eye to him, the source of all love.

Being looked at taps into something deeply human. Every person desires to be seen for who they are, without veils or masks and loved all the same. Alice von Hildebrand wrote,

Do you recall the Gospel story of the Transfiguration? The apostles went with Jesus to the top of Mount Tabor, and suddenly Jesus became radiant and his garments a dazzling white. For the first time, the apostles were allowed to see Jesus directly, clothed in His glory as God. He was transfigured before them.

Similarly, when you fell in love with [your spouse], you saw his true face, his unique beauty: with the eyes of love, you were granted a "Tabor vision" of [him].

Trust this bright Tabor vision you've been given. Daily rekindle it in your heart and let it nurture your love.

Your wedding day presents you with a similar opportunity: to be who you are, in love, at the threshold of your vocation, and able to bear the Father’s radiant love to all who are present.

Increase the Quality in 'Quality Time'



When my husband and I catch up with old friends, we are quick to ask, “what show are you watching?” We often enjoy relaxing together in the evenings throughout the work week by watching a season (or more) on Netflix or Amazon Prime. After recently finishing a gripping series, we habitually returned to our designated spots on the couch, but found ourselves at a standstill.

I hope my husband and I are not alone in the dull experience of spending more time scrolling through a streaming platform than actually watching a show. In an effort to increase the quality in the valuable time we spend together, I offer suggestions to stay on the couch—without turning on the TV. We hope you will share your own ideas for high-quality time with our community on Facebook or Instagram.

A recent post offers additional inspiration and encouragement to Reduce Screen Time in your Marriage.


Read a book

Rather than deciding on a show to watch together, consider deciding on a book that sparks both your interests. You and your beloved may enjoy having an intentional dialogue at the end of each chapter, or perhaps you prefer to sit side-by-side and silently read for pleasure. Even more, you may prefer to read completely different books. The primary intention is to share an experience in the quiet joy of companionship.

Plan a dream vacation

Where would you go? What would you do? What would you eat? Even if you don’t anticipate the possibility of making this imagination vacation a reality, creating a dream together builds communication, collaboration, enthusiasm, and shared goals. But hold onto your plan--you never know when the opportunity for travel will present itself in the future.

Look up new recipes

...Then set a date and plan to make the recipes for a stay-at-home date night. It can be overwhelming for one person to plan a romantic menu, find recipes, purchase and prepare ingredients, and set a full meal on the table. Sharing the process, responsibilities, and experience provides quality time with each step. Bon appetit!

Complete a personality test

If the last time you took a specific personality test was before you were married, have any of the results changed? Do your personality test results compliment each other in surprising ways? Snuggle up on the couch, independently complete the questionnaires and review the analysis together; the results may offer a new insight about your spouse, or a different perspective to understand their unique quirks.

Use an interior design template to brainstorm your ideal home or room decor

There are a number of DIY interior design books on the market, and many of them include a blank worksheet to help organize the ideas in your brain into a two-dimensional vision on paper. If there is a room in your home that needs some renovating, make time to create a plan and prepare the next steps. Beginning the brainstorming process in a relaxed setting can provide a calm environment to discuss potentially conflicting ideas. If your home is already decorated or the budget is too tight for renovations, have some fun creating a far-fetched dream room. Would it be a game room, at-home gym, or movie theater? Maybe the far-fetched dream is to update a pre-existing room with luxurious features and decor. Dream big while you use your creative imaginations together.

Focus on spiritual intimacy

Journey together through a devotional designed for couples, and follow the given prompts for each day or week. Pray a rosary, chaplet, or novena. Work together to memorize a new prayer—with one spouse looking at the words and the other spouse practicing from memory. Read and reflect together on the Scripture for the upcoming Sunday’s Mass. Although daily Mass and adoration are beautiful, sacred experiences to share with your spouse, Christ dwells in your home—even with you on the couch—and yearns to be an active participant in your domestic life.

Travel through time

Ask your families to share old photo albums or home videos with you. If you and your spouse were not friends during the childhood years, get to know the child who grew up to marry you. Videos reveal the sweet voice of their younger years. Pictures are a provocation for stories, faded memories, and old relationships. In what ways do you see your spouse’s inner child still alive today?

Muster up new energy

Dare I suggest you break routine, get off the couch, and do something different? My husband and I live walking distance from a bowling alley; it has quickly become our favorite place to get some pizza and hang out on a weeknight. Find a swing set and push each other so high the posts start to rock. Go on a walk around the neighborhood. Stuff your purse with snacks and visit the nearby movie theater. Invite a friend or another couple over for dinner.

Taking time to relax, prioritizing your friendship, and enjoying little pleasures together in this season of life—before your evenings are potentially filled with children’s bedtime routines—helps establish a foundation for a strong, resilient marriage.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Editor at Large. Stephanie’s perfect day would consist of a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more


The Feast of St. Joseph | A Fellow Human, A Saintly Spouse



Today is the feast day of St. Joseph: foster father of Jesus, spouse of Mary and head of the holy family. He was a carpenter, he was a man.

When we look to Joseph, we see a man who surrendered himself to the direction from an angel in his dreams. We read how he obeyed the command of God, loved and served Mary as his chaste spouse, and raised Jesus, the son of God, as his own earthly son.

Have you ever imagined when Mary and Joseph lost Jesus in the caravan, only to find him days later, preaching to adult men in the temple? My heart goes out to Joseph. The parameters of his mission were simple: love, protect, and guide Jesus and Mary. All in all, through obedience and grace, Joseph fulfilled his calling. But in this experience of losing Jesus and consoling Mary, I imagine Joseph was tempted to worry and despair.

Years later, Joseph died when Jesus was 30-years-old, on the brink of his public ministry. I picture Joseph lying on his deathbed, preparing to part from his earthly life. Joseph must have felt both sorrow and joy as he left his family with anticipation for his son’s powerful mission. I imagine the deep sadness of Jesus and Mary who said goodbye to their beloved.

Reflecting on the stories of Joseph bring his humble holiness to a human reality.

As we gaze at Joseph in statues and paintings, recall stories of him in Scripture or reach out to him in prayer, we encounter a friend. He is so approachable; a human man who intimately encountered the divine every day. This man who we rightfully honor with holy veneration was conceived with original sin. He was as human as me and you.

In the vocation to married life, we are sacramentally offered good and holy gifts such as intimacy, vulnerability, and companionship. Receiving and living out these gifts can often send individuals and couples to the heights of love, or can expose a raw wound of human brokenness. Perhaps in a moment of insecurity we believe, “I am not enough.” In the midst of an argument we fear abandonment. In prolonged frustration and anxiety, we despair and lose trust in God’s providence.

It may be easy to admire an icon of Joseph, Mary and Jesus and assume the immense joy in their family life. Amidst the celebration of such pure trinitarian love of the family, I hope against hope that there were days Joseph wished he could love Mary better. Or days when he was disappointed by how he received Mary’s perfect love. Joseph’s imperfections are the only stains of sin in the holy family, yet his entire being—holiness and imperfection combined—was destined for his specific vocation.

Through both his human imperfection and pure intention, God empowered Joseph to love Mary, show Jesus about the love between a husband and a wife, and receive love from his family. In the same way, we are each called to be fully present with God in our unique vocation, to love with virtue despite our own shortcomings.

God has so carefully woven two lives together in your marriage. On the days when your sinful, selfish, or short-sighted human nature is too much to bear, remember goodwill and purity of heart are enough for love. In striving to love and be loved, moments which expose brokenness do not define a limit for love. Rater, these moments help us identify where grace and mercy can provide healing. Joseph’s example offers peace and encouragement to every person, for our hearts to become a channel for God’s love to shine through.

St. Therese of Lisieux offers encouragement to little souls, to those who recognize their long journey to perfection, “Agree to stumble at every step therefore, even to fall, to carry your cross weakly, to love your helplessness. Your soul will draw more profit from it than if, carried by grace, you would accomplish with enthusiasm heroic actions that would fill your soul with personal satisfaction and pride.”

You are human. Joseph was human. If he could fulfill his vocation to the Holy Family, you can fulfill your vocation in your own holy family. You were created for a mission exactly where you are. As you bring your completely human heart to God, you will grow—with an ever-deepening purity of heart—in the capacity to love and be loved.

St. Joseph, you sought to bring glory to God in every action and word. Together with your pure heart, Mary’s Immaculate heart, and Jesus’ Sacred heart, guide me to embrace my human imperfection with humility so that I may receive God’s mercy and grow ever more deeply into the virtue of my vocation. St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Editor at Large. Stephanie’s perfect day would consist of a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more