Leah + Seth | Southern Indiana Chapel Wedding

Simplicity, intentionality, and authenticity. These are the virtues Leah and Seth pursued in their relationship after their lives crossed paths again. And after a mountaintop proposal, they carried these values into their wedding planning. 

Faith and family became their focus, and it shone through in the beauty of their wedding day.

From the Bride: It is amazing the way God works in our lives. Seth and I were friends all through high school, but lost touch after we left for college in different states. Years later, after I moved back to Indianapolis, I began seriously thinking and praying about God's plans for my future. 

My sister suggested we start a 54 day novena to St. Anne for the intention of our future spouses. Halfway through this novena, Seth and I ran into each other at Sunday Mass. As we caught up, we realized how much we had in common beyond our high school years, and we were eager to spend more time together. 

At one point, when we were going on dates but “not yet dating,” my sister said to me, "don't you think it's crazy that Seth came along right as we prayed this novena?" I waved her off as "reading too much into it," because I secretly thought the same thing and was afraid to hope too much. 

Seth had also been praying about his vocation the spring before we reconnected. He was determined that any relationship he entered into would be grounded in prayerful discernment of marriage and authenticity. It is easy in any new relationship to become caught up in a desire to impress the other person and hide aspects of yourself you dislike. We were both very committed to being as genuine as possible about the good and the bad. In this way, we slowly built a solid relationship based on friendship and honesty. 

Eighteen months later, Seth was attending graduate school in Virginia while I worked in a nearby city. One beautiful but cold December day, we hiked to a well-known mountainous overlook, praying the rosary and discussing our philosophies of marriage at Seth's suggestion. This discussion did not clue me in to Seth's plan to propose at the top of the overlook! 

His proposal was as simple and genuine as he is, and it was one of the happiest days of our lives. We knew that our prayers before and during our relationship as well as our commitment to being intentional and authentic brought us to that joyous day.

Seth and I were married in St. Agnes Catholic Church, a beautiful wooden chapel hidden away in the rolling hills of southern Indiana. We chose the music and readings to reflect the simple beauty and solemness of this little church. We made no plans to decorate the inside, as our concentration was on the liturgy itself. However, a thoughtful member of the parish gathered wild flowers to adorn the altar space for us. 

Our whole wedding day was characterized by small, thoughtful acts like these made by many of our loved ones. The day before our wedding, we invited family and friends to spend an hour in prayer with us. It was a powerful moment, seeing so many people praying for us in preparation for our marriage. 

These same family and friends showed us their support throughout our engagement by taking over many of the wedding duties. From liturgical music to flower arrangements to desserts at the reception, they pitched in to offer their talents to make our day special. 

A particularly special gift was made by my eldest sister, who was unable to travel to our wedding because she was nine months pregnant. She gave me the beautiful mantilla veil she had worn at her own wedding. When I put on the veil the morning of my wedding, I felt as if a small part of her was with me. 

One of the best pieces of advice we received was to talk on the phone before the wedding began. Since the end of the aisle would be the first time we saw each other that day, a normal conversation the morning of our wedding helped calm our nerves and made us that much more excited to get married. 

The nuptial Mass itself was incredibly special, not only because we chose the readings and the music, but because everyone partaking was someone dear to us. The best part of the Mass was kneeling so close to the altar during the consecration. 

Our reception after Mass was a joyous occasion. Rather than the usual sweetheart table, Seth and I chose to create a "king table" where both our immediate families could sit with us. This was yet another way we ensured family was the center of our celebration.

Seth and I have talked many times about our wedding day in the months since. We are happy that it reflected our priorities of God and family. The truth is, after your wedding, you realize how many of the small details you obsessed about simply do not matter in the grand scheme of your marriage. Your wedding should be a time to honor the serious commitment you are making and to celebrate it with the people you love.

Photography: Soul Creations Photography | Church: St. Agnes Catholic Church, Columbus, IN | Reception: Factory 12 Event Loft, Columbus, IN | Officiant: Fr. Eric Augenstein | DJ: Cade Grubbs (family member) | Caterer/Bartender: Factory 12 | Rings: Touch of Silver, Gold, and Old | Bridal Gown: David's Bridal | Dresses: David's Bridall

Emily + Jose | Romantic Candlelit Rose Wedding

There is something so beautiful about the nuptial Mass and the heavenly celebration of two lives becoming one. There are graces in engagement and the marriage sacrament that transform broken hearts. 

Emily didn’t know what would happen next. Recovering from a previous relationship and loss of a job, she fell back on prayer. Then, through the intercession of St. Joseph and the courage to jump into community, Emily met Jose. The rest is history.

From the Bride: I made one of the hardest decisions of my life when I called off my engagement to an emotionally abusive fiancé and moved back home with my parents at 27 years old. And despite having amazing colleagues at work, I was not feeling fulfilled at my job either, which made the transition harder. 

During the following fall, I prayed constant novenas to St. Joseph asking for a purposeful, meaningful job. A few months later in December, I found out I was being laid off, and my last day would be in January. Even though I wasn’t in love with my job, I knew I needed to work, but nothing piqued my interest. 

So I kept praying. My mom knew I was developing a special devotion to St. Joseph and gave me a special bracelet with his icon on it as a little gift to cheer me up.

Around the same time, I found a new parish and began attending their young adult group. I’m a natural introvert, but I knew I needed to be around other people my age for support. I decided to sign up as a volunteer for a new event held at a local, historic theatre that recurred monthly,  because I knew the accountability meant I wouldn’t bail last-minute (a bad habit of mine). After the event I left on “Jesus high.” I loved feeling like I was a part of a community, of something greater than myself.

I was surprised to get a phone call the next day from a guy I had talked to the night before, asking me out to dinner, and I accepted! I had enjoyed talking to him and figured it wouldn't hurt to get to know him a little better--and yet I did not want a boyfriend. It sounds cheesy, but I didn't think I could find anyone who would make me happy and feel loved without any hidden agenda.

Jose brought the smile back to my face and the sparkle back into my eyes. We were very open and honest with each other from the start, since I learned just how important communication was from my last relationship. Most importantly, I looked forward to going to Mass with him on Sundays, something that I never thought would be so meaningful to me. 

A few weeks after I started dating Jose, I realized that Jose means Joseph in Spanish. Coincidence?

Several months later, I was hired by the organization that put on the young adult ministry event and ironically became one of the main people in charge of running it. Since Jose and I met at the theatre and spent a lot of time there, he decided it would be the perfect place to propose.

He contacted one of my colleagues who put him in contact with the event manager at the theater. The event manager then contacted me to come in and go over event details on a Sunday afternoon. I arrived for the “meeting” at the adjoining restaurant, and my manager asked if I wanted to go inside to listen to a band while they were doing their sound check. I thought, “sure, but won’t it be a little loud to talk?” After a few minutes inside the theatre, we headed back out where Jose was anxiously waiting.

He nervously turned me around and showed me the marquee where “Emily, will you marry me?” was written and got down on one knee. His whole family and my parents (along with restaurant diners across the street) were there to witness the joyous occasion. A champagne toast at the restaurant’s rooftop followed, and then we all went to the restaurant where we had our first date to celebrate our engagement! 

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As a former secular wedding coordinator, I hate to admit it, but I was hesitant to have a full Mass. Only about a third of our guests were Catholic and wouldn’t know what was going on. I also worried they would complain about the length of the ceremony. I spent twelve months of our fifteen-month engagement wrapped up in other details like most brides do: flowers, color palettes, catering, and on and on.

I felt like once I had my dress, the aesthetic details would fall into place. One of my old colleagues, Brittany, worked at a bridal boutique and told me about a trunk show they were having. I sent her pictures of dresses I liked and told her what I did not want. I wanted something not as “traditional” that reflected my personality, so when my guests saw me in my dress they would say, “that’s so Emily!” 

I have heard of people (or while watching too much “Say Yes to the Dress”) trying on twenty or more dresses, so I was expecting to visit several shops before I found “the one.” I must have been an exception, because it didn’t take me long to find my dress. In fact, it was the first one I tried on! The dress was not normally for sale, but it was brought in specifically for the trunk show that weekend. It had a crocheted lace top and a loose, chiffon bottom that had vertical panels of the same lace all around. It was meant to be. 

I never imagined wearing a long veil--I thought they were for royalty getting married in castles--but the church we were getting married in had the most beautiful, long aisle. I felt it would be a disservice not to have a long veil. The one I tried on when I bought my dress wasn’t long enough, so I chose to have it custom made to the cathedral length I wanted. It was an unexpected expense, but even my frugal mother felt it was worth it for my special day. 

One of my favorite details was the broach I pinned on my bouquet. It was given to my maternal grandmother from my grandfather on their wedding day and also worn by my mother when she married my father.

Then, a few months before the wedding, something unexpected happened. All of the superficial details and feelings of self-consciousness about the ceremony went on the back burner as Jose and I began planning our liturgy. We both became enamored with choosing the readings and music. We didn’t want it to feel “predictable,” and we wanted to make it our own, which I worried would be difficult with the pre-selected readings and music limitations to choose from. So we took our time, carefully studying each of the readings and psalms to decide which ones reflected our relationship with God as a couple.

Two weeks before the wedding I was at my parent’s house, and my mom, feeling nostalgic, pulled out a few things from her own wedding. As I scanned over the program, I thought the Gospel reading looked familiar. It turned out the Gospel reading we chose (John 15: 12-16) picked up from the verse where my parents had left off (John 15: 9-12). It was such a special surprise from the Holy Spirit.

I sprained my left wrist a week before the wedding. Other than the bruising, I worried how I was going to get everything done before the big day. No matter how prepared you are, there are some things you just can’t do in advance (like buying fresh popcorn for hotel welcome bags). 

I feel like God was telling me to slow down and ask for help, two things I am not good at. So instead of dwelling in pity, I made the situation as comical as I could. My dad and I joked about buying a brace to match my dress, and my mom told me I got all the “day-of mishaps” out of the way early. 

It was such a lesson in humility. Having your almost-husband tie your shoes and people open bottles for you really puts little things into perspective. As much as my naturally independent spirit wants to believe it, I can’t do everything alone. A beautiful representation of this was stated in our first reading, Genesis 2:18: “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him.”

It also reminds me that marriage is not something I can do on my own. You need the love and support of others. You need God. You need to sit back and listen to him when the world is loud, and you want to give in to what is popular, which is often not from him.

When the big day finally arrived, we were married at the church where we met almost two years before. Jose and I opted out of a first look, but exchanged hand-written cards and prayed together before the ceremony. 

Though “Canon in D” is a very common bridal processional, I got chills when the organist first played it during our engagement. I was reminded of how I had always pictured myself walking down the aisle to that song, and I didn’t care how many other brides made it their grand entrance. Other pieces that added meaningful touches to our ceremony were “I am the Bread of Life,” “Oh God Beyond All Praising,” and “Ave Maria” when we offered roses and prayers to Mary.

Meanwhile, Jose was persistent that we would have the full sacrament, and for that I am forever grateful. I designed our programs to note when to sit, stand, and kneel, and our deacon helped explain different parts of the liturgy to our guests. 

Throughout the whole ceremony, I felt like it was just the two of us on the altar, and my last thought was what others were thinking.

One of the biggest blessings of the day was that Jose’s uncle, a bishop from Mexico, was able to celebrate our nuptial Mass. He spoke of his brother, Jose’s father, who passed away several years ago from cancer. His mother carried a rose in remembrance of him and placed it where he would have sat during the ceremony. Even though nothing could replace him being there physically, we felt his presence during the Mass and throughout the day.

Everyone says that weddings go by fast, and it did. It felt like an out-of-body experience. We were surrounded by family, friends, and most importantly, Jesus. The day was a true celebration of joining two vastly different lives and cultures into one. It wasn’t just the end of my countdown app, but the beginning of a beautiful, God-centered life together.

Photography: Megan Eidson | Church: St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church | Dallas, TX | Reception: Howell & Dragon | Dallas, TX | Videographer: Chevy Chey Photography  | Flowers: Lizzie Bee’s Flower Shoppe  | Caterer: CN Catering | Invitations: Vista | Bride’s Dress (Pronovias)/Veil (Bel Aire): Lulu’s Bridal Boutique  | Bride’s Earrings: PeonyandPearlWedding | Bridesmaid’s Attire (bill Levkoff): Molly’s Bridal  | Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Banks | Rings – engagement: Shapiro Diamonds  | Rings – wedding bands: Zales  | Cake Baker: Arielle Pastry Works | Hair: Brittainy Boggs | Music – Ceremony: Michael Conrady | Music – Reception: Vida Weddings and Events  | Coordination: Stacey Williams

Melissa + AJ | Romantic Marian Wedding

Melissa and AJ met in 2016 at the same church they would get married in two years later. During their courtship, it only took a couple months for them to both discern a call to marriage.

As they traveled the road to the altar, one constant remained in their relationship: the intercession of the Blessed Mother. They consecrated themselves and their relationship to Jesus through Mary the December after they met.

They consecrated themselves again on their wedding day.

And since then they have renewed that consecration a third time.

Their wedding day would be marked by abiding peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and a joy shared by everyone who attended.

From the Bride: I was introduced to AJ one night at church by a good friend who knew both of us well. A few weeks later on the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, after a Latin Mass at the oldest and most beautiful Catholic church in Miami, he asked me on our first date.

Kneeling together during the Eucharistic liturgy during that Mass, AJ says an image came to his mind of his cousin’s wedding, when she and her husband presented flowers to Mary. It was then he decided he better ask me out.

We began seeing each other regularly and from the very beginning prayed together each night.

Two months later we had already started talking about marriage and the good things the Lord might have in store for our future.

After that, on the days leading up to the feast of the Immaculate Conception, we made our first consecration to Jesus through Mary, using Fr. Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory.

The next January, our first trip together was with friends from our community to Washington, D.C. for the March For Life; it was an incredible weekend to experience and passionately defend life in the womb together.

And following my graduation from my master’s program, we set off to explore the national parks and celebrate finishing school. AJ proposed at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, on the feast day of Sts. Anne and Joachim: the parents of the Blessed Virgin, patrons of marriage, and now our personal patron saints.

It was time to plan a wedding.

While I was in charge of the logistics, aesthetics, and reception planning, AJ took the initiative planning our Mass. There were many precious aspects included in this, and he thought through each detail with love and care.

We had four priests concelebrate our wedding Mass: one from AJ’s dormitory at the University of Notre Dame, one who served AJ his first communion, another who has been his spiritual director over the years, and one involved with our young adult community.

We knew from the start that we would include the presentation of flowers to Mary in our Mass. In fact, it had been at that same church, in front of that same statue of Mary almost two years earlier that AJ and I received the Eucharist kneeling together before he asked me on a date.

I think back now to our wedding day, entrusting ourselves to Jesus through the intercession of our beautiful Blessed Mother, when we brought her flowers and consecrated ourselves for the second time.

Another addition we both felt strongly about was a foot washing ceremony. This was something we had never seen during a Catholic wedding Mass, but after getting the approval of our priests, we were thrilled to include it.  

For us, marriage is about a willful choice to love and serve the other by giving the gift of ourselves. In order to display that gift of self, service, and humility we each got down on our knees in front of the altar and washed each other’s feet.

This was just as Jesus said:“So if I, your Lord and teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done for you.”  

The two of us have also served as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion in the past. We knew that in addition to serving each other throughout our marriage, we also desired to serve our family, friends, and community on our wedding day. Thus, we decided to serve as Eucharistic ministers at our nuptial Mass and distribute communion to our guests. This was a beautiful moment, getting to serve the Bread of Life to those that we loved most.

Our nuptial Mass was not only the best part of our wedding day; it was the most special event of our lives.

It meant so much to us to hear similar sentiments not only from those attending our wedding who were practicing Catholics, but also from those who did not regularly attend church or who may not even believe in God. Each person we spoke with shared that our Mass was special, deeply meaningful, and touched them in a unique way.

My sister-in-law sang two songs during our Mass. One of our lectors was the same friend who first introduced AJ and I. We were able to include so many loved ones, aunts, godparents, grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews, and others in our wedding day.

The music was absolutely beautiful, the church was stunning, the flowers added a feeling of life, and our guests filled the place with joy. And yet, more than all that, the Holy Spirit was what illuminated our nuptial Mass and made it the divine event it was.

We both truly felt it was just the two of us there with Jesus, vowing ourselves to the other on the most important day of our lives.

Before the event, I was concerned I would be distracted with so many loved ones there to celebrate or by trying to remember what came next. I was afraid I would not be able to appreciate living in each moment during the wedding ceremony.

But that could not have been further from how I felt during those ninety minutes. I have never been so fully present to any event, Mass, or moment in my life.

I was filled with more peace than I have ever felt. On my way down the aisle, my eyes locked with AJ’s and did not wander away.

During the Mass the world seemed to become still and present with us, to allow us peace to soak in every second of this time. I was completely present in each moment, not paying attention to what anyone else was doing. It was such a gift.

The rest of the day absolutely flew by.

With so many family and friends visiting from out of town, and even out of the country, we tried to enjoy them all while remaining focused on each other.

Now, we are so thankful to live around the corner from Gesu Catholic Church, where it all began at that Latin Mass on the feast of the Assumption several years ago. We were married there, and it is currently our home parish where we serve as Eucharistic ministers and lectors.

This year, on August 15, 2018 we consecrated ourselves for the third time to Jesus through Mary during the Latin Mass of the Assumption at Gesu, now as a joyfully married couple in our home parish.

We have our families to thank for raising us to be who we are, supporting our decisions and desires, helping us plan our big day, and hosting the most wonderful wedding for us.

Looking back as a bride, planning a wedding can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. As a marriage and family therapist, I know the engagement period is typically the most difficult time in a couple’s lives. The pressure of such a big life event and the constant input they get from everyone around them can be overwhelming.

My takeaway is that it all would have been meaningless without Jesus.

He brought us together, made our relationship good, and helps us to love each other in a life-giving way. I am so thankful for my husband’s faith and dependence on God. Without that, our marriage would not be the good, selfless, sanctifying one that it is.

Although AJ and I have different interests and strengths, we use those differences to compliment one another, just as we did with our styles on our wedding day to create our perfect aesthetic.

When we experience difficulties, as every couple will, we have a greater understanding of how to handle those times and tackle them together because of our faith. I am so thankful our wedding day set us up for a lifetime grounded in the rock-solid foundation of Christ.




Photography: Tara McGovern | Church: Gesu Catholic Church, Miami, FL | Reception Venue: Club of Knights, Miami, FL | Videography: Creative Fox Films | DJ: Miami DJs | Vintage Furniture Rentals: Mi Vintage Rentals | Day-of Coordination: Le Blanc Events | Makeup: Cristal Allure | Dress: Belissima Bridal | Flowers: Simple Rustic | Hair: Styles by Renee

Danielle + Jeff | Latin Mass Fairy Tale Wedding

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.

Read more here for the story of Danielle and Jeff’s engagement, a tale of patiently growing attraction after Jeff discerned out of the seminary during their time in grad school.

Shortly after celebrating their first anniversary as husband and wife, newlywed Danielle reflects back on her wedding day with her husband, Jeff.

She says, “The memory of that special day is never far from my mind. I still recall something that our priest said during the homily at our nuptial Mass, which was, "Take this early time, this time in which despite whatever fears and anxieties you have, most everything that you dream of seems possible. And cherish that time."

For Danielle, the whole day felt like a fairy tale come true.

From the Bride: It was finally here! Friday, August 4th 2017. The day I had prayed and waited for my whole life, and it was such a beautiful day, with sun rays beaming brightly through the windows.

The bridesmaids and I got ready in the basement of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, in Vermillion, Minnesota. The girls donned floor-length dresses in a rose-violet shade. My wedding dress was a pure white ballgown with a layered tulle skirt. It had a sweetheart neckline, overlaid with lace, and was cinched at the waist with a crystal belt. I had help fastening my cathedral-length veil and jeweled comb in my hair. The bridesmaids put on their veils and said a silent prayer over me.

Since Jeff and I were having a Solemn High Nuptial Mass, it was fitting for the ladies to also wear a veil, according to the reverence and tradition that we wanted to uphold.

The Extraordinary Form had become something special for Jeff and I throughout our relationship, and it was exceptionally meaningful for us to have it for our nuptial liturgy.

Throughout the morning, my soon-to-be-husband and I made sure we didn’t see each other before the wedding. We wanted to save that moment for the time I approached him walking down the aisle.

At 3 PM the choir chanted Atténde Dómine (Hear Us, O Lord) for the procession of the clergy, and the organist played Canon in D for the entrance of the wedding party. Just before my turn to walk down the aisle, the ushers closed the giant double doors that led into the church.

When the doors swung open again, I saw everyone. The church was incredibly grand and beautiful to behold. I stood there with my blusher draped over my face, holding onto my bouquet of white roses with Grandma Rother’s rosary wrapped around it.

This rosary was special because Jeff’s grandmother received it from her husband. She walked down the aisle with it on her wedding day, just like I was about to do.

My dad and I started walking down the nave of the church, and I saw Jeff standing at the end of the aisle. As we got closer, his smile turned into tears of joy. When we approached the end of the aisle, my dad lifted the veil from my face.

I took Jeff’s hand, and we ascended the stairs into the sanctuary to take our vows. In the tradition of the Latin Mass, the vows are said at the very beginning of the ceremony.

It was very special to be in the sanctuary. Traditionally the sanctuary is reserved for the clergy, but during the sacrament of holy matrimony the bride and groom are permitted to enter beyond the altar rail.

In that moment I felt so close to God.

Once we exchanged consent, Jeff and I joined our right hands, and he made his vow to me. We were asked to release our hands and then join them together again. Then I made my vow to him.

This act of joining, releasing, and joining hands again signified that our vows were made individually. We each had our own responsibility to the other.

At the completion of the sacrament, Fr. Byron Hagan, our celebrant, prayed over us and sprinkled us with holy water. The ceremony continued with the Mass after the Rite of Marriage, and it was absolutely breathtaking.

After the Gospel reading, Fr. Hagan gave an excellent homily and made powerful points about how society has made our generation fearful of marriage; that people today are not rising to the occasion to live out God’s calling in the sacrament of holy matrimony. They fear it is too much of a weight to bear.

“I want to tell you something today,” Fr. Hagan said.

“It is not too heavy for you.”

“Because you are Catholic, because you are confirmed, because you have been living your life with the Church’s faith, in penance, obeying the sacraments, and humbly confessing your sins before God.”

“You now have the power to do something which otherwise cannot be done: which in the deepest heart of hearts all of us desire, and increasingly in our time feel too weak to even approach...This power now is attached to you because of the sacrament.”

He continued, “Danielle, your task is to, in virtue of the priesthood of your baptism, help prepare your husband to see God...And Jeff, you have the responsibility, in a priestly way, by virtue of your baptism, to help prepare your wife to meet God. To help mediate the Lord Jesus Christ…This is your test for one another.”

While he acknowledged that the married state would bring challenges for us, he reminded us we must always remember the Divine Third in our marital union: God Himself.

The Mass continued with chanting and incensing of the altar. During the consecration the priest faced the altar and said the words of consecration silently over the host and chalice.

It was completely silent now in the church except for the bells that were rung three times during the elevation of each of the sacred species.

In keeping with the tradition of the Latin Mass, the altar rail was used for the distribution of Holy Communion. The communion hymn we choose was Adóro Te Devóte (I Adore You Devoutly), written by St. Thomas Aquinas and used as his private prayer during Eucharistic adoration.

After Mass, we got in the car and drove to the reception venue, a golf club.

The day before, our family had gone to the venue and decorated the tables with mirror and bud vase centerpieces. All of our guests had a stick of bubbles by their place setting, which was a fun and interactive way for them to participate in the grand march and the rest of the evening.

The final moment of the night was our first dance. During our engagement, Jeff and I had practiced for hours to master the waltz. And even though we had done it many times before, I was nervous having all eyes on us.

Jeff and I looked at each other intensely, counting the beats of the music in our heads. All of a sudden, the music intensified, and we were off. It was like I was floating on air, even though I was just trying to stay balanced in my high heels. I had never danced in my wedding dress before either, so it was quite a new experience.

But it was magical. It twirled around me gracefully across the dance floor, and I truly felt like a princess.

After dancing for a few seconds, I realized we were actually doing it. All of those hours of practice had paid off. We were dancing a beautiful waltz, and everyone applauded. It only increased their desire to get out on the dance floor later that night.

Although there were a few things that could’ve gone better, the vast majority of our wedding was a fairytale-come-to-life. It was a dream come true!

To all single women out there, waiting for their prince charming, please remember that this story is a testimony of years and years of prayers finally answered. God hears your prayers and knows the desires of your heart. He will answer them in his, time in a better way than you could ever possibly imagine.

In our first year of marriage, we developed a special devotion to Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria and his holy wife, Servant of God, Empress Zita. We look to them for their intercession in our marriage and for all married couples.

A quote we both appreciate from Blessed Karl was when he told Zita on the day after their wedding, "Now, we must help each other to get to Heaven." I am very blessed and thankful to have found a husband who also desires to lead me closer to Christ each and every day.

Blessed Emperor Karl and Empress Zita, ora pro nobis!

Photographer: Amy K Photography | Church: St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Vermillion, Minnesota | Reception: Dakota Pines Golf Club in Hastings, Minnesota | Rings: Gittelson Jewelers in Minneapolis, Minnesota | Flowers: Flowers For All Occasions by Ginny Majeski in Hastings, Minnesota | Wedding Attire: Raffiné Bridal in Woodbury, Minnesota | Invitations / Save-the-Dates / Wedding Program: Created by the Bride, Danielle Rother | Caterer: Nicole Sindelar with Rudy’s Redeye Catering in Rosemount, Minnesota | Wedding Attire: Raffiné Bridal in Woodbury, Minnesota | Designer for Bride’s Dress: Stella York | Designer for Bridesmaid Dress: Kenneth Winston | Designer for Groom & Groomsmen Tuxedo Attire: Savvi Formal Wear | Bridesmaid Veil: The Veiled Woman | Cake / Cupcake Baker: Emily’s Bakery & Deli in Hastings, Minnesota | Hairstylist: Michelle Wilcox | Salon for Manicure and Pedicure: Spalon Montage in Woodbury, Minnesota | Disc Jockey: C & C Sound

Megan + Josh | Romantic Hacienda Wedding

Megan and Josh met at a Catholic grade school in Houston where both of them were teachers and coaches.

They initially met in the environment of other coworkers and friends, and over time they grew to mutually respect and appreciate each other’s morals and values. It became increasingly evident that they complemented each other well.

Megan describes their relationship as a fertile ground where virtue could flourish: “We pushed each other to be the people that God created us to be: sainthood-seeking, evangelizing disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Upon realizing that in each other, there was no turning back. It was love at first realization.

From the Bride: On our wedding day we had all of our loved ones, role models, and loyal friends by our side. All of my family either flew in or drove the long sixteen hours to Houston to celebrate with us.

We even flew in my grade school parish priest from Cleveland, Ohio. He was a role model to me and had been an integral part of my formation as a teen.

During the wedding planning process, the Mass was all we cared about. Our primary desire was to minister the sacrament of matrimony to each other, so that is where our focus remained.

Every reading, every song, every participant mattered more to us than the cake, flowers, food, and dancing combined.

For example, the Ave Maria was a must for our us. My uncle sang it beautifully while we honored Mary during the Mass and asked for her intercession.

Josh and I were also Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion that day. Despite planning this detail far in advance, ministering still brought us both to tears: how could we be any more blessed than to give the precious blood of Jesus Christ to our closest family and friends on our wedding day? I can't think of a more beautiful moment.

The Mass was a sheer foretaste of Heaven.

Josh and I know we are called to bring as many people as we can to Heaven. Through matrimony and all of the sacraments, we experience Jesus Christ in both a spiritual and tangible way, and we longed to share this with our guests.

We hoped that bringing as many people as we could to celebrate our marriage would inspire them to become disciples of Jesus Christ, just like my husband and I continue to inspire each other.

Photography: Cedar & Sage Studios | Church: Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Houston, TX | Wedding Reception Venue : La Tranquila Ranch in Tomball, TX | Bridal Bouquet: H.E.B. Floral | Wedding Dress: Radiant Bride | Wedding Dress Designer: Essense of Australia | Bridesmaid Dresses: Kennedy Blue | Groomsmen Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse | Make-up & Hair: Amanda Hayley Hair Co. | Cake: Ashley Wetwiski

Alana + Stephen | California Air Force Wedding

Alana and Stephen met through a mutual friend during their college years in San Diego. They quickly fell in love, though with a major difference between them: Alana was a Non-Denominational Protestant, and Stephen was Catholic. The Lord was about to draw them into his heart.

From the Bride: Throughout our relationship, I prayed asking God what to do and--if Stephen was the one--how would our interfaith marriage work. I ended up finding a book written by a Catholic Priest, Robert J. Hater: When A Catholic Marries A Non-Catholic. It answered so many of my questions and I was even able to contact Fr. Hater! He became my spiritual counselor, and later that year I converted to Catholicism.

My faith has grown immensely since converting and having Stephen by my side to answer any questions and support me has only made our love for each other grow. We became engaged on December 23, 2016 and later found out Stephen's report date for pilot training moved up for the Air Force. We had a short engagement, yet God was looking out for us and provided us with a church and reception venue.

When we found an available church, we fell in love. Not only was it beautiful and in a great location, but we had a priest, Fr. Mark, who was a family friend of Stephen's. My mother-in-law is involved in Opus Dei and told us amazing things about Fr. Mark. We met with him once before the wedding and told him of my conversion story and more about our relationship. During our wedding liturgy, he gave an amazing homily that nodded to Stephen’s Air Force career, comparing flying to marriage.

For the readings, we wanted to include our family. Since I don't have grandparents, I asked Stephen's father's mother, and Stephen asked his mother's mother. It was such a lovely moment seeing both grandmothers holding hands up as they walked up to the altar. My only uncle and his family offered the gifts, and I loved including them even though they are not Catholic. Stephen's uncle, who had sung at each of Stephen’s sibling’s weddings, did the music.

We had decided early on that we would have a moment to thank the Virgin Mary during the Mass. I realized right before that I didn't have the flowers to offer her! Stephen, being the nice man he is, didn't want to go over there empty-handed. He squatted down and grabbed the large pot of flowers that were by the altar! Everyone got a little laugh out of that! He thankfully put them back down and we saw that the flowers were already there by Our Lady. I don't think anyone will ever forget that moment.

We wanted to start a tradition at our wedding. Stephen received a sword from his commissioning for being the top of his class, and we cut our cake with that sword. We hope to pass it down to our children.

It is also a family tradition that "Rain King" by the Counting Crows is played at weddings. I think you have to know all the words before becoming a part of Stephen’s family!

God always has a plan. When we started planning our wedding and Stephen’s report date changed, it really took us for a spin. But God provided for us with a church, venue, and priest. The day that I had to move out of my studio apartment was the day before our wedding--that's providence right there!

Early on, we struggled so much with being different faiths and spent so much time concentrating on the negatives. Little did I know that God brought us together to make us better Christians. Without Stephen, I would've never been exposed to Catholicism. I think for him, growing up Catholic was seen as a routine. Through my conversion, he was really brought to the basics and fell deeply in love with his faith all over again.

Photography: Kelli Seeley | Nuptial Mass or Engagement Location: Church of Santa Maria, Orinda, California | Reception: Orinda Country Club | Rings: Exclusive Diamonds by Carter  | Flowers: Clayton Sonset Flowers | Dress: BHLDN | Tux: The Black Tux | Cake: Susie Cakes | Catering: Orinda Country Club | Invitations and table signs: Minted |  Guest Sign In Book: Artifact Uprising

Julie + Rudy | New Jersey Trail Club Wedding

In 2011, Julie was a nursing student at Villanova University who’d just signed up for a summer in Europe, including World Youth Day in Madrid. Her neighbor, who’d attended a previous World Youth Day with the Salesians of Don Bosco, recommended she travel with the Salesians’ group for her trip. Rudy was living in community in Chicago, on mission with...the Salesians of Don Bosco. At the conclusion of his service, Rudy's parish gifted him with his own ticket to World Youth Day, one that would take him to Europe with the Salesians and, ultimately, to his future bride.

Before their first conversation during the flight, Julie assumed Rudy was a seminarian. The girl from New Jersey and the young man from Miami landed in Fatima, Portugal with their group shortly before the Feast of the Assumption, where they spent the next three days with pilgrims from the world over, joined in humble prayer to Our Lady.

On the second night, following candlelit prayer in the town square, Julie decided to partake in a practice common at the holy ground of Fatima: crawling on one’s knees, the length of a football field, to the sacred spot where Mary appeared in 1917, on the day the sun danced. Rudy asked if he could join her.

For the next 45 minutes of pain and anguish, Julie and Rudy experienced the love of Jesus and Mary, through each other, in a profound way. This love between the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts became the foundation for a friendship, then romantic love, and, seven years later, for a lifetime of marriage.

From the Bride: Little did I know that what started as my European summer vacation would turn into a life-changing pilgrimage where I not only would experience the love of Christ and Mary amid millions of college students from all over the world, but also meet the man God had been preparing my heart for. My husband.

Having Fr. Steve, the priest who led our trip to World Youth Day where we met all those years ago, celebrate our wedding Mass meant the world. He has been our spiritual mentor and support from the very beginning of our relationship, encouraging us to lean on each other--but most of all, to lean on God and on the Blessed Mother.

Getting married in Our Lady of Victories, the church where I grew up, brought me such joy. Our house was two blocks away, so each Sunday, for as long as I can remember, my family would walk to church. Our Lady of Victories, being the size of a small chapel, is known as "the little church with a big heart." Having over 200 guests crammed in the pews made the church feel so full and joyful.

Inside our wedding bands are the words "Totus Tuus," which translates from Latin to "Totally Yours." Rudy and I both have a great love for Pope Saint John Paul II, who inspired this idea. JPII, through his great love for Mary, often had his crucifixes inscribed with "Totus Tuus Maria."

Before our wedding day, we promised to write to each other the morning of. The idea of elaborate wedding gifts was silly to Rudy and I, for we felt we were already receiving the greatest gift of all that day: the gift of each other, through Christ. Despite this agreement, we did exchange small homemade gifts. Rudy finished his letter to me with the words, "You are my home now," and gave me an inscribed key to our first home. I gave him a small wooden box, with a gift inside that I'd been preparing long before I knew him. It held close to one hundred letters to my future husband that I had been writing since I was a freshman in high school, when I decided I wanted to practice chastity and give the gift of myself to my future husband alone. The wooden box was inscribed with a quote from an E. E. Cummings poem: "I carry your heart. I carry it in my heart."

For the communion hymn at our Mass, we chose our favorite song, "Lord I Need You" by Matt Maher. We prayed together on the altar as husband and wife, both looking at each other and then staring up at the giant crucifix. As we heard the entire church belt out these beautiful lyrics, we were reminded that as we began to take our first steps of marriage, we would need God throughout the entire journey. We continue to pursue him as husband and wife, even more so than before, as we carry out the mission he has laid before us: to get each other to heaven.

We had certain statues placed on the altar, signifying that as we begin our vocation of marriage we ask the saints to intercede for us, pray for us, and help us. We chose Teresa of Calcutta for our love and dedication to service, St. Martin de Porres for my grandfather's presence, St. John Bosco in thanks for our meeting through the Salesians, St. Padre Pio, and especially Our Lady of Fatima, for our eternal devotion to Mary. It was in Fatima that we experienced love in its purest, most humble form. We experienced the love of Christ and Mary through each other.

As part of a Cuban wedding tradition, our godmothers placed a mantilla--a lace shawl--over our shoulders before the consecration. The mantilla symbolizes the indissoluble union that has been established before God, through marriage. Just as we were wrapped in a lace gown the days of our baptisms, we are now wrapped in this lace shawl as a reminder of the promises our parents and godparents made for us at baptism to dedicate ourselves to Christ. At the altar on our wedding day, the bride and groom renew their baptismal vows and make them as one, together dedicating their lives to Christ.

When I think back to our wedding day, the beloved quote by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, which we shared on the back of our Mass programs, comes to mind:

Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

Photography: Curtis Smith Photography | Church: Our Lady of Victories, Harrington Park, NJ | Reception: Indian Trail Club, Franklin Lakes, NJ | Rings: Diamonds Direct, St. Petersburg, FL | Flowers: Flora Gallery, Chester, NJ | Invitations: Shine Wedding Invitations | Church Programs: Morgan E. Moore | Bridal Gown & Veil: I Do I Do, Morristown, NJ | Bride's Shoes: BHLDN | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Nordstrom | Tuxedos: Biltmore Tuxedo, Ridgewood, NJ | Cake Topper: Willow Tree | Cake Baker: A Little Cake, Park Ridge, NJ | Music: Hank Lane Music | Hair and Makeup: Michelle's Salon, Woodcliff Lake, NJ | Mini Ice Cream Cone Dessert: Milk Sugar Love, Jersey City, NJ | Trolley: New York Trolley Company