Finding Your Wedding Style + Planning Your Liturgy: A Look Back on Spoken Bride Weddings

Are you recently engaged and just beginning to identify your wedding aesthetic? Did you know Spoken Bride weddings are indexed by color, style, and state?

Click the tags at the bottom of each wedding feature to see similar celebrations. It’s our honor to be invited into the unique, singular beauty of each of our couples’ special days and to share the distinctively Catholic elements that elevate their wedding days and point their guests’ senses heavenward.

Here, a collection of our past features. For our new brides, we hope they help you find your own style and introduce you to some of our incredible couples whom you might not have encountered before. For longtime readers, enjoy this look through the archives! Wherever you’re coming from we desire above all that like us, you’ll take in these stories and step back with nothing but awe, reverence, and gratitude for the Father’s fathomless love for his children.

Cultural traditions

Maria and Santi’s Buenos Aires wedding and bilingual nuptial Mass | Edith and Bomani’s Kenyan Catholic wedding | Elisabeth and Salvador’s El Salvadorian wedding | Lisa and Steve’s elegant resort wedding ,celebrating the bride’s Polish heritage

For the classic bride

Blair and Jordan’s fireside black-tie wedding | Jamie and Seth’s Baltimore wedding with astronomy-inspired details, designed by the bride | Sarah and Christopher’s Kate Spade-inspired wedding | Maggie and Ryan’s walk from literal blindness to true seeing, and their vineyard brunch wedding

Holiday weddings

Emily and Daniël’s Praise and Worship-filled Christmas season wedding | Christina and Kristian’s Austin wedding, with holiday colors and Christmas hymns | Genevieve and Dalton’s festive celebration at Rock ‘N Bowl | Caroline and Matt’s elegant cathedral wedding, rich with family heritage | Kaitlyn and John’s New Year’s wedding in blue, gold, and white | Becca and Phil’s Christmas picnic wedding

For the vintage-lover

Emma and Mark’s 1920s-inspired Arkansas wedding | Ada and Greg’s Texas celebration with her grandmother’s dress and other family heirlooms

Regional-inspired weddings

Fatima and John’s Tuscan-inspired celebration and Italian honeymoon | Brooke and Tim’s taste of Southern Virginia hospitality | Emily and Bradley’s & Katherine and Jonathan’s Louisiana weddings, inspired by French and New Orleans traditions | Erin and Andrew’s relationship guided by Our Lady of Perpetual Help, their Notre Dame Basilica wedding and reception football game | Cynthia and Chad’s Midwestern traditions and the beautiful significance of the Holy Land in their relationship | Sarah and Joseph’s Chesapeake Bay wedding with preppy and nautical details

For the rustic bride

Emily and Ben’s elegant evening on 40 acres of Nashville farmland | Chloe and Joseph’s winter farmhouse weddings and tips for spending as much of your wedding day together as possible | Jamaila and Andy’s NYC courtship and wedding filled with elements from nature

Ever ancient, ever new: unique Catholic devotions

Joan and Matt’s summer wedding, with original music composed by the bride | Kelsey and Jacob’s personal marriage prayer, and tips for writing your own | Susanna and Brad’s vineyard-inspired wedding and reflections on marriage, the priesthood, and religious life | Beth Anne and Tom’s beautiful alternative to a bouquet and garter toss | Robyn and Greg’s Divine Mercy weekend wedding and the role of this devotion in their relationship | Janae and Ryan’s foot-washing during their first look | Rosanna and Matthew’s Norbertine liturgy in English and Latin | Erica and Chris’s decision to say their vows over a crucifix | Laura and Alexandre’s fully sung Mass at a California mission | Bridget and David’s hometown Mass and decision to memorize their vows

For the DIY bride

Angela and Lucas’s farmhouse-chic Indiana wedding | Katherine and Ian’s handmade floral arrangements and reception catered by family | Amy and Jake’s Colorado Springs celebration with hand-lettered details, homemade centerpieces, and a custom crossword

City weddings

Anna and Mike’s Minneapolis nuptials | Maggie and Eric’s downtown Denver wedding | Chelsy and Ben’s portraits at the Washington, D.C. monuments during the Cherry Blossom Festival | Chelsea and Nick’s Pittsburgh black-tie evening

For the boho bride

Kelly and Peter’s high school sweethearts story and outdoor California reception | Heather and Jude’s transatlantic romance and bayside wedding day

Military weddings

Alana and Stephen’s conversion story and Air Force wedding | Hannah and Jared’s sophisticated Pittsburgh wedding, with the groom in Captain’s dress

Special circumstances and non-Roman rites

Andrea and David’s convalidation ceremony and powerful conversion story | Julia and Francis’s Byzantine liturgy | Dominika and Joseph’s & Gabrielle and Vince’s Ordinariate weddings | Victoria and David’s journey of discernment and conversion | Jenna and Michael’s Italian family-style wedding | Heather and Matthew’s witness to divine love’s healing power and their family-centered wedding with their daughters | Ashley and Ashbee’s black and white WVU wedding and advice for accommodating non-Catholic guests

For the romantic bride

Julie and Rudy’s elegant blush wedding and a love story that began in Fatima | Katherine and Dominic’s hometown wedding and rainy night reception | Elise and Hunter’s long-awaited celebration in the Maryland countryside

Feeling a call to share your proposal or wedding day with our community? Submission info can be found here.

Images by Spoken Bride Vendor Horn Photography & Design, seen in Melissa + Antonio | Springtime Ballroom Wedding

An Introduction to the Byzantine Rite of Marriage

JULIA DEZELSKI

 

If you’ve ever attended a Catholic wedding, you know the Church does weddings a little differently than other traditions- there are certain things we do and don’t do. However, if you are a Catholic in the United States, chances are you may not know that the Church has different marriage rites, depending on the liturgical rite a couple belongs to. I barely knew myself until I was planning my own wedding in the Byzantine rite. For every liturgical rite in the Catholic Church (there are over twenty!) there is a different liturgy of marriage in keeping with the rite’s tradition.


Last December, when I was married in the Byzantine rite, I had only once attended a wedding in the Eastern Catholic Church and needed plenty of instruction. I had been officially welcomed into the Eastern Catholic Ukrainian Church the previous June after requesting a change of rite (from the Latin rite in which I was raised). It was during my studies abroad in Rome that I stumbled upon the Byzantine rite through association with the Russian Catholic Church established there on the Esquiline hill. I was initially attracted by the beauty and depth of the liturgy (although I didn’t know any Russian!) and after further study of the history, iconography, and spirituality of the East, I knew that I wanted one day to embrace that patrimony as my own. Upon returning to the United States, I had the opportunity to do so and my husband-to-be was very supportive (and curious) about marriage in the Eastern rite.

Despite our inexperience and our guests’ unfamiliarity with the Eastern celebration of marriage, everyone was touched by the unparalleled beauty of the rich symbolism behind every gesture and edified by the solemnity of the rite.

Here are a few of the most interesting features of the Byzantine rite marriage:

The Procession

Much to the surprise of our guests, my father did not accompany me down the aisle. Instead, my husband and I processed hand-in-hand down the aisle behind the celebrants. By entering together, we crossed over the threshold of the church as equal partakers in this unfolding mystery of love. The focus is not on the bride alone, but on the couple, already becoming one mind and one heart as they make their way into the House of God.

Unlike other weddings, we did not have a handsome band of ladies and gents as an entourage. Instead, our two witnesses led the wedding procession carrying icons of Jesus and the Virgin Mary into the church. These icons now hold a prominent place in our home and serve as a reminder of that sacred day and its foundation. The choir’s intonation of Psalm 27 during the procession served as a reminder: “Happy are all who fear the Lord, who live according to His will. You shall eat the fruit of your own labors, you shall be happy and you shall prosper. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the heart of your home …”

The marriage rite actually begins in the vestibule of the church with the service of betrothal that confirms the free will and intent of the bride and groom. Although we were already betrothed (more on that later), we reaffirmed our free and unconstrained consent to enter into the marriage covenant.

Intercessions

As soon as we had publicly professed our intent, we were prayed for by those around us. The Byzantine liturgy is sprinkled with intercessory prayer: for the soon-to-be spouses, for blessings upon their marriage, for the fruits of the bride’s womb, for the couple’s children and their children’s children. Drawing upon a rich array of biblical marriages, the priest then offers a prayer to bless the couple like the biblical couples from Adam and Eve to Mary and Joseph. By being prayed over with such powerful imagery, the new couple becomes a part of the biblical story of redemption and a link in the genealogy of Christ’s second coming.

Marriage Vows and Crowning

To seal their participation in the story of salvation, the bride and groom are now invited to place their right hands on the Gospels. The priest then covers their hands with his stole as the groom followed by the bride read their marriage vows. Both my husband and I appreciated that we were not asked to repeat the words of the priest - we read them for the first and only time directly off the page. The vows were simple and profound, undergirded by the promise to love, respect, and be always faithful to our spouse with the help of God and all the saints.

The sacrament of matrimony in the Byzantine rite is also called the Holy Mystery of Crowning. The reason why becomes apparent at this moment, when the bride and groom are now crowned - that’s right - literally crowned with either a wreath of myrtle or a crown of jewels (not exactly precious jewels, but not plastic, either!)

The crowning is most certainly the most dramatic part of the ceremony, not only for the spouses who are trying to keep their heads upright, but for the whole assembly that witnesses a new dimension of marriage that is not typically highlighted in a wedding. The crowning is not some sort of mock celebration of how the newly wedded spouses might feel on top of the world but instead the “crowns of glory and honor” placed on their heads symbolize the honored martyrs who shed their blood and gave their lives for Christ and their neighbor. Like the crown of martyrdom, the crown is a prize of a marriage well-lived: a crown of sacrifice and self-giving. It is a foretaste of a glorious marital end!

The Common Cup and Procession

The Byzantine marriage rite is not celebrated within the context of a eucharistic celebration. However, a chalice of unconsecrated wine is offered to both husband and wife, symbolizing the bitter and sweet moments of married life that they will share together. This is followed by a final ritual journey when their hands are joined with an embroidered cloth and bound to one another, the couple is led around the tetrapod - a symbol of Christ - three times, by the priest carrying the Gospels. Again, the couple is starting their journey together by following the Word of God with Christ as the cornerstone of their life’s foundation.

The concluding prayer invokes God’s blessing on the couple until their crowns are received into God’s kingdom.  

In every Catholic liturgical rite, marriage is a sacrament that places you on a life journey of complete self-giving (and hopefully, a crown will be your prize!). Francis and I began our life journey walking as a couple over the threshold of the church and hope to journey together towards the Kingdom of Heaven while building our domestic church day by day. Regardless of rite or tradition, all Catholics are building the same Church - in their marriages and homes - each in their own way. This is the beauty of the Church: its unity and its diversity.

 

deselski headshot.png

About the author: Julia Dezelski is currently finishing a doctorate in Theology. Her areas of interest include marriage and family, consecrated states of life, and the feminine genius among others. Julia was married last December in Washington, DC and can’t wait to cuddle with her first child due in January.