Lea + Walter | Autumn Schoolhouse Wedding

Lea and Walter met at school--as teachers! Their friendship slowly blossomed over lunch duty, and their eventual engagement took place in the candlelit classroom where they first met.

Through the intercession of St. Jude and the graces of adoration, Lea entrusted her future spouse to the Lord, and her prayers were heard. 

From the Bride: I wasn’t looking for anyone when I first met Walter. We both worked at the same school; he was a substitute teacher covering a maternity leave, and I was a program assistant and taught an elective class. For the most part, we only saw each other as coworkers, and that was fine with me.

Even though I wasn’t looking, I prayed a novena to St. Jude, the patron saint of impossible cases, for my future spouse. The school days continued, and we continued to “just be coworkers” until Walter and I found ourselves on lunch duty together. 

Wanting to be courteous, I asked how his year was going and other niceties. I knew he grew up in the area, so I asked, “Where was it you went to grade school?” Quite plainly, he replied, “St. Jude’s.” I smiled, realizing I was about to finish my novena the following day. I wasn’t sure if God was trying to give me a sign, but I could tell he was working. 

For one of the elective classes I taught at the middle school, I took my students to adoration once a month. Because I taught multiple classes, other teachers came into the church to keep watch while I took one class out and brought in the next. During this time, I started to pray for my future spouse again. 

When I looked to see which teacher had come to help with the transition, it was Walter. “Interesting,” I thought. I decided to pray for him, saying, “Lord, bless Walter and whoever you would have for him to marry one day.” I felt peaceful about my unexpected prayer and headed out to get my next class of adorers. As the Holy Spirit would have it, I thought about Walter a lot during those next hours of adoration. The Lord was at work again. 

Although conversations were still casual and rather “lunch-timey”, we started to build more of a relationship. I learned that he liked (no, loved) sports. I liked...dance. He liked the Blackhawks and I liked...hummingbirds! I knew I had a lot to learn about this clam of a guy, but we were becoming friends, and our coworkers were taking note. 

It wasn’t long before his position was almost finished, and I started to feel sad. The lunch time conversations and hallway “hellos” were potentially coming to an end, and there was still so much I didn’t know about sports! Looking back, there were a lot of get-togethers his last month of subbing. It wasn’t long after that before we were officially dating. Our anniversary is the Epiphany of the Lord, and I think it’s quite clever. 

Later on, about one year ago, our journey to the altar started where it all began: at school. 

It was my birthday weekend, and Walter, my boyfriend, had made big plans for us. Progressive dinner dates are my favorite type of date, so that’s what filled our agenda for the night. At our first stop, we snacked on appetizers and enjoyed pub-type beverages. I couldn’t help but wonder where we would go next. 

I love surprises, but Walter does not. He told me he had a present waiting for me in the car, so I was eager to keep the night rolling. How had he kept it a secret since he had picked me up for dinner? When we got back into the car, I couldn’t spot a gift anywhere.

“So, where’s the gift?” I asked. 

“It’s actually something at the school. I’m going to take you there now.” 

At that point I was so excited, I couldn’t stop asking questions.

When we got to the school, we went into the classroom where we first met. It was dark. Why is it so dark, I wondered. Why is there a tablecloth on the side table and a vase with a dozen red roses? How is there a candle already lit? Why is he getting down on his knee? What is he saying right now? What is in that small box!? 

Needless to say, Walter and I were engaged that night, and so began our journey to becoming a wedded couple.

The process of our wedding and marriage preparation was truly a community effort. I lived with two of my bridesmaids at the time who helped me to organize plans, pick out bridesmaid dresses, colors, and flower and table arrangements. They served as my overall “wedding helpers.” 

My mom and Walter’s mom helped to gather addresses, and my sisters, Jenna and “Sis,” helped plan a super rad bachelorette party. Jenna even lent me her wedding dress to wear for the big day--unbeknownst to Walter, of course! I had a very talented friend use her artistic skills to hand write table cards, create wedding blackboards, and style hair for my bridesmaids. A bridesmaid even did my hair for the wedding. 

We were married in the same church where I had prayed for my future spouse that Friday afternoon in adoration.

I love my husband, but we could not be more different. He loves baseball, and I love dance. He loves hockey, and I love friendships. He loves golf, and I just don’t like sports. Even with our differing passions, we understand that our interests help make our relationship more balanced. He’s good at analyzing data, and I’m good at expressing my feelings. He’s strategic about problem solving, and I like executing plans. He’s good at finishing tasks, and I’m good at refining the details. 

Even just three months into marriage, we strive to understand the beauty of our wedding vows and try to uphold them as best we can. What we ultimately want in our marriage is God’s will for us. 

From the Groom: God’s intention for marriage to be between a man and a woman just makes sense. He made us perfectly ourselves, and yet we are so completely and amazingly different. My wife and I compliment each other and help one another to grow in holiness. She offers strengths that I do not have myself, and I offer strengths that she does not have. Together, we are seeking the ultimate end of marriage: heaven!

Photography:  Soul Creations Photography | Church: St. Monica Catholic Church, Mishawaka, Indiana | Wedding Reception Venue : St. Hedwig Parish Hall | Florist: Martins Supermarket | DJ / Band / Live Music: Bov Knows Music  | Cake Vendor: Bit Of Swiss  | Caterer: St. Hedwig | Rings: JR Fox, | Groom’s Suit/Tux: JC Penny | Menswear: JC Penney| Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie |Stationary / Invitations: Minted

Kimber + Stephen | Vintage American Baseball Wedding

Kimber and Stephen met through the invitation of a mutual friend. When they spent their first summer together in 2013, before Kimber went off to college, they began dating. Kimber had previously insisted on beginning school without a boyfriend, but something kept them together.

Looking back, Kimber and Stephen think this was the first “Jesus thing” in their history together.

Theirs is a beautiful story of heartbreak, conversion, and love. When they met, Kimber was not a religious person, and Stephen mourned this difference in their relationship. But distance, trust, prayer, and a semester in Ireland would change that.

Kimber and Stephen were married on a beautiful spring day in May 2018, grateful for the journey that had brought them to the altar.

From the Groom: On May 26, 2013, Kimber and I met for the first time; we were both invited to a mutual friend’s house for a bonfire. After that night, we got to know each other as the days of summer progressed and Kimber prepared to leave for college. In our short time together that summer, we started dating--even though she was adamant about starting school without a boyfriend.

But when the time came for Kimber to leave, we didn’t break up. We both believe this is what our best friend would call a “Jesus thing”.

Kimber was not a religious person when we first met. Early in our relationship, I asked her every week to come to church with me on Sunday, and she refused. As I began to imagine my future with someone not as faithful as I was, I was heartbroken, and I wasn’t sure how I could have a Catholic wedding.

I quietly held back on the topic of church around Kimber and prayed she would one day find her faith on her own. Nearly one year after we started dating, Kimber left for a semester abroad in Ireland. While she was there, she discovered the beauty of religion and changed her perspective on God.

She started going to Mass in Ireland, and when she came home she officially started her journey to become Catholic.

God has a plan for everyone. We just have to be patient.

Throughout our relationship—like any other—we had our ups and downs but never faltered. There was never a time when either of us considered breaking up because we knew we could work through anything with God’s help.

It was with this faith and love for each other that I decided to propose almost four years after our first summer together. With blessings from Kimber’s family, I secretly planned to propose on her capstone presentation day.

Knowing Kimber would be completely focused on preparing for an A+ presentation, I asked Kimber’s roommates to secretly get her “proposal-ready”. I wanted to pop the question on the “island” at Saint Mary’s College. Local legend says if you cross the bridge with the one you love, that is the person you will marry. I had walked Kimber across the bridge a few years before when I knew she was the one. Now I took her across to ask her to marry me.

On an April day, I asked Kimber to be my wife, and she was overcome with emotion. She had no idea how momenotus that day would be.

From the Bride: I became Catholic during my senior year of college, only a couple months before Stephen proposed. During the time leading up to my First Communion and Confirmation, we practiced our faith separately. We would go to church together on the weekends, but Stephen was much more comfortable in his relationship with God, while I was just in the beginning of mine.

I am so grateful Stephen didn’t push me during this time. He let me find the path to God on my own. When he proposed, we agreed it was important to both of us that we get married in the Catholic Church.

So on our wedding day, despite our different relationships with God, Stephen and I truly felt God’s presence together as we became one in flesh and in our faith.  

Our wedding Mass was held at the church where Stephen and his family have been parishioners for years. In fact, the priest who gave Stephen his First Communion celebrated it. We were beyond excited when he agreed to officiate our wedding, and the planning truly began.

I went wedding dress shopping with my bridesmaids, mom, and college roommate, Maureen—I really hoped to find my dress that day, because Maureen would be in Ireland on our wedding day. Everyone knew trying to find the dress during the first outing was a large feat, but nearly seven try-ons later, by the grace of God I found the one.

We wanted a reception venue that was industrial and rustic, and the Armory fit our description perfectly. When we booked the place, it was still under construction, but we had faith the owner would finish in time and create a great atmosphere for the reception.

When selecting our vendors, we knew we wanted to provide a fun environment for everyone attending. We agreed that neither of us really wanted cake. So instead of having traditional wedding cake, we served a frozen yogurt bar that allowed guests to create their own desserts.

After all, the first reason we ever ended up together was because Stephen asked me to be his girlfriend on a frozen yogurt cup.  

Our DJ stole the show with an awesome set list, and no one wanted to leave at the end of the night. He is a relative of mine, which made the evening even more special.

In the end, our vendors created a wonderful atmosphere, and our guests loved the frozen yogurt bar and photo booth. The pictures from the booth are priceless, and our guests were able to leave with precious memories from the evening.

The following morning as we first awakened as a married couple, we attended Mass at Our Lady of Loretto on Saint Mary’s College campus. The Mass felt strange because although it was normal for us to go there together, were were husband and wife, instead of boyfriend and girlfriend or engaged! It was the perfect way to start our married life.

I am overall grateful that, in the midst of all the planning, Stephen and I participated in a Pre-Cana program with our priest, Father Bob. We were nervous and excited to attend these meetings because we felt so ready to express and live our love for each other.

After that first meeting, all our nerves turned to excitement and a desire to keep moving forward. We wanted to keep learning about ourselves and what marriage meant in the eyes of God.

We talked about the sacredness of the sacrament and how it truly embodies the love between God and his people and the power of prayer as a couple.

Even though these meetings were difficult to attend because we both lived over an hour away with competing schedules, every minute was worth it. We believe Pre-Cana made us a stronger couple, ready for a lifetime together.

As we sit back and think about all the people that were part of our journey and all the chaotic moving pieces of a wedding, we can’t help but think about all the little “Jesus things” that led to us meeting each other, staying together, my conversion, and our perfect wedding day.

Photography: Soul Creations Photography | Church: St. Mary of the Annunciation, Bristol, IN | Reception Venue: The Armory, South Bend, IN | DJ: relative of the bride | Caterer: Navarre Hospitality | Rings: Zales | Bridal Gown: Blushing Bride on 17 | Shoes: DSW | Photobooth: TapSnap | Groom’s Tux: Men’s Wearhouse | Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal | Cake: Martin’s Bakery | Stationary Invite: Shutterfly & eInvite

Beth Anne + Tom | Florida Springtime Wedding

Beth Anne and Tom met online. Although neither of them had been in a serious relationship before, they started dating shortly afterward. "All through our dating relationship," Beth Anne recalls, "I prayed for what God wanted for us. Tom hadn't been to mass in a long time as he worked weekends. I never pushed him to come with me. But I shared the faith with him through my actions. Over time he came around and after he stopped working weekends, he asked to come to mass with me one Sunday, and has been by my side at mass ever since."

After 18 months of dating, they fell in love and started to discern marriage. Tom proposed to Beth Anne on the same bench where they met for their first date. 

From the Bride: We had many family members come from out of town for our wedding. The week of the wedding we rented a big house for everyone to stay in together. My favorite memories of the wedding week were staying with my family and bridesmaids the days before the wedding and just having a lot of good "girl time." I really wasn't nervous; we went and got our nails done a few days before, and my manicurist said she'd never seen a calmer bride.

We were married in April (a popular month to get married in Florida because it's not too hot yet) at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. One unique thing we did in our ceremony was processing into the church together. We had several reasons for doing this, one being that my dad passed away when I was eight years old, but our pastor also shared that it's actually the most liturgically fitting way to process. 

Since Tom and I were walking in together, we did a first look in the courtyard before the ceremony. I never thought I would do a first look, but I’m glad we did. It was a really special and intimate moment we had before all the craziness started. Some of my favorite photos are from that part of the day.

The reception was at Amici’s Italian Restaurant. My family is Italian and Tom’s is Polish. We didn’t intend on having an Italian reception, but it turned out really well! 

Beth Anne's Spiritual Takeaway: As devout Catholics, it was important to us to evangelize to our guests in subtle ways. I think I had the most fun with this part of the wedding. A friend offered to make us prayer cards to give to our guests. I chose an image of St. Faustina and quotes from her diary, as we got married the weekend of the feast of the Divine Mercy.

Instead of the bouquet and garter toss I gave each of the single women a white rose with a note on it promising to pray for them and their vocations. 
 

Photography: Copper Lens | Church:  Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, FL | Reception: The Milano Room at Amici's Italian Restaurant | Rings: Kay Jewelers | Invitations: Kouture Kreations  | Table Linens: Connie Duglin  | Brides Dress & Bridesmaids Dress - Davids Bridal  | Brides Shoes - Foot Comfort | Jewelry: JCPenney  | Groom/Groomsmens Attire: Michaels Formalwear  | Cake/Cupcakes - Camicakes  | Cake Topper - Couplesoncakes.com | Hair: Beauty by Blakeley and Heather  | Makeup: Christine Shelley, Mary Kay Consultant  | Photobooth and DJ & Purple Lighting: Beachside Entertainment  | Florist: Flower Works

 

Emma + Mark | Edwardian-Inspired Wedding

Emma was living in Philadelphia, waiting out the final week of a six-month online dating subscription on CatholicMatch, when she received a message from a handsome man from New York City. Their first in-person meeting began shortly after, the day Mark stepped off a train into Philly's 30th Street Station. They soon began dating long-distance, and ten months later, Mark got down on one knee in the middle of the station.

From the Bride:

Deciding where to tie the knot was tricky. We’re adopted East Coasters with friends scattered from Pacific to Atlantic. We ultimately chose rural, quirky and historic Eureka Springs, Arkansas--an hour away from my parents--for our semi-destination wedding.

Mark is a convert who was drawn to Catholicism through the beauty of the traditional Latin Mass. Our wedding mass was in English, but we were able to find a schola choir nearby to chant parts of the liturgy in Latin.

The Crescent 1886 Hotel, where we held our reception, claims to be one of the most haunted hotels in America. This was not a deal breaker for us! It happened to be situated within walking distance of a quaint, historic Catholic Church, itself a rarity in the South. We wanted a moody, vintage and romantic feel for our wedding, and the entire area made me think of an Edwardian ghost story come to life. 

I was initially afraid planning a wedding out of state would make including personal touches impossible. However, we ended up with more DIY projects than anticipated, and found many ways to reflect our style and talents. Mark and I are both graphic design savvy, for instance, so we created & printed our Save-The-Dates, invitations, programs, place cards and all other wedding signage ourselves. 

Antiquing is a passion in my family. Every time I come home to Arkansas, my mother and I scour area junk shops for oil lanterns with hurricanes, antique medicine bottles, and authentic vintage mercury glass. I showcased some of our finds for the reception, and ended up following some online tutorials and creating additional mercury glass votives and vases. 

Our wedding favor was a small jar of home-infused mint & blueberry tequila (Combine 4 cups tequila, preferably 100% agave, 2 cups blueberries, and 1/4 cup mint in a sealed container for 4-7 days, then strain). I made something similar as a gift for Mark on our first Valentine’s Day, and home-infusing has since become a bit of a shared passion. We infused & bottled it over the space of a few weeks, assembly line-style, in my kitchen. A caravan of friends driving to the wedding transported the bottles from Philadelphia to Arkansas for us.

Choosing vendors off the internet was a bit challenging, but easier than it could’ve been in the age of video chat and peer-reviews. We went with less traditional retailers for our wedding party’s attire and were pleased with the overall ease and quality. And we hit the jackpot with our photographer, Kinsey Mhire, whom we met in person for the first time on the morning of our wedding!

I found all the tropes and hackneyed sayings people spout about your wedding day to be maddeningly true. It does go fast, you won’t get to spend the quality time with each guest that you might like to, and definitely don’t forget to eat. I woke up early, made some coffee and spent some quiet time on the porch by myself, praying and reflecting about the solemnity of our vows and what lay ahead. I’ll repeat some more tropes and say that the day winds up being special not because of the details you have planned, but because it seals you & your beloved in a covenant.

 

Photographer's Website : Kinsey Mhire  | Nupital Mass or Engagement Location: St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church | Wedding Reception Venue : The Crescent 1886 Hotel | Rings: Marisa Perry Atelier  | Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal | Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie  | Groomsmen’s Suits: The Black Tux | Music: Twin Lakes Radio  | Ceremony Music: The Gregorian Schola of St. Joseph Parish | Donuts / Cake: Rick’s Bakery | Day-Of-Coordinator: The Vintage Soul | Invitations & Stationary: Created by the Bride www.emmadallman.com