Claire + Andrew | Silver-Gilded Winter Cottage Wedding

Claire and Andrew’s wedding was planned with profound excitement, the generosity of their family and friends, and a deep desire through it all to bring praise and glory to God.

This rooted purpose, to become a “praise of glory” for God, (a beloved quote from their favorite saint) helped guide them from their earlier days as FOCUS missionaries through an intentional relationship that would blossom into marriage.

From the Bride: Andrew and I met in college through mutual friends and cultivated a deeper friendship while serving on the same campus as missionaries with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Though attraction between us was obvious, dating between teammates is usually not a prudent decision in FOCUS, so waited until the end of the year before we pursued anything serious. To say this was difficult would be an understatement, but when we were finally able to go on a date, neither of us doubted this was much more than a simple attraction.

We dated long-distance during our second year with FOCUS. Andrew was in Gainesville, Florida, and I was in Nashville, Tennessee. Countless Face-times, phone calls, and airplane tickets got us through this time--not to mention a lot of intentionality. 

In fact, Andrew was consistently clear, thoughtful, and intentional in his pursuit of me. He led our relationship by making regular conversations a priority while balancing our call as missionaries; we needed to make sure we were still being present to those around us. Prayer was also an important part of our relationship. Praying rosaries, intercessory prayer over the phone, and always making time to pray when we were together were priorities. 

Though long-distance was difficult, it was such a gift to be able to pursue our relationship without becoming overly consumed in each other’s lives or codependent. 

My father passed away on Easter Sunday my senior year, and Andrew knew this was very important to me. For months he planned an Easter weekend I would never forget. After going on retreat near Nashville, we spent Easter Vigil with my students and drove to Knoxville for Easter Sunday with my mom and sister. After Mass that morning, we went out to eat, and Andrew asked if I wanted to go to the cemetery and pray for the repose of my dad’s soul. After we prayed, we went on a walk.

At the top of the hill overlooking the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Andrew got down on one knee and proposed with my mother’s engagement diamond in a rose gold ring. Engraved in the ring were the words “Praise of Glory” after our favorite saint: St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. 

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity played a curious part in our relationship since the beginning. I had been falling in love with her understanding of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in our souls and was beginning to talk more and more about her. Andrew and I read a book about her while we were friends and missionaries to try and find out more--even though I never finished the book. 

In an attempt to move slowly and intentionally in our dating process, I asked Andrew if we could date for six months before we talked about marriage and the far-off future. I didn’t know that exactly six months after we started dating was the feast day of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. St. Elizabeth called herself “Laudem Gloriae” which means “Praise of Glory” because she believed her mission was to do just that: be a praise of God’s glory. And so, Andrew had “Praise of Glory” inscribed in my engagement ring.

He shared with me that he had been praying a 54-day rosary novena for our engagement. The graces of this were so present. We went to the cathedral to pray and thank God for this wonderful gift, and when we got back to my house our family and friends were waiting to surprise and congratulate us! 

Our engagement included two new jobs, a new city and state, and a month serving with the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. Through all of this, the Lord was softening and preparing our hearts to make the radical “yes” to our vocation seven months later on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

When we chose that date, we didn’t know the second reading for the feast was from Ephesians 1, the same verses where St. Elizabeth got the idea for her name “Laudem Gloriae.” This brought such consolation and was a clear sign of God’s blessing and sovereignty over our marriage.

From the beginning of our planning, Andrew and I wanted to throw a party that would serve the many people who meant so much to us. Every detail had one aim: to be a praise of God’s glory. We wanted people to have an encounter with the living God through the revelation of his beauty, love, and grace.

I chose the Marian color of blue in a winter combination with silvers and grays to run throughout the attire and decor. Each of the bridesmaids had a unique dress that, when seen with all the other dresses, showcased a uniquely beautiful winter look. The flowers were a combination of whites, grays, and greens with fun sparkly pine cones and faux fur-tailed stems of white fluff. Attached to my bouquet was my “something blue:” my dad’s wedding ring tied to a blue ribbon and a black-beaded rosary; a rosary made by the man who creates them for the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India.

Our ceremony was held in the newly constructed Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. This absolutely gorgeous cathedral, finished in March 2018, featured countless symbols, rich colors, and the faces of some of the most beloved saints in our modern day. From the marble floors, to the rich blue ceiling tiles, to the towering dome, everything about this place of worship draws your eyes and heart to the God who loves us.

Our musicians, all friends of ours, played songs that resonated deep in our hearts. “O God Beyond All Praising” was the song we chose as our entrance hymn because the purpose of the day was to give glory to God. As the violin welcomed Andrew and I into the church, he couldn’t help but break down in tears as I stood beaming beside him. Because my dad had passed away years ago, we chose to have Andrew walk me up the aisle as we prepared to enter into this sacramental covenant together.

Incense filled the altar and the entrance antiphon directed our hearts and minds to the Blessed Virgin Mary on her special feast day. Our good friend, Fr. Victor Ingalls, reminded us in the homily of my bridesmaids that Andrew had previously dated, which brought a rather comic tone to an already joyful day. He also reminded us of our most important mission: to get one another to Heaven.

My favorite part of the ceremony, besides singing with Andrew to some of our most beloved hymns, was looking into the congregation and seeing all the people who had helped us become who we are today. This included our parents, siblings, family, our friends who saw us in our most awkward times, those who served with us in FOCUS, our mission partners who had supported us as FOCUS missionaries, and our students we had labored for on various campuses. 

We were surrounded by such an incredible group of people who had given of themselves to help us try and become the saints God was calling us to be. As they witnessed to our promise of marriage, I couldn’t help but praise God for the gifts he had given us in each and every one of them.

Many people told us that the Mass was a spiritual experience, and I believe it was because God was being revealed so vividly through the beauty and liturgy of the Mass. It emanated from the building itself, through the music and community, and through the great “cloud of witnesses” who were there praying for us and united to us as we participated in the sacrifice of Christ on the altar. It was clear that the Lord greatly desired to come into the hearts of each person gathered there to celebrate.

Our reception was a blur, but from what I remember, my mom gave a long-winded speech that had people crying from laughing and crying from just plain crying. Because my dad couldn't be there, each of my ten uncles danced with me instead. We partied the rest of the night away with an amazing band that covered the classics and brought in some more modern music as well. 

Greenery hung from chandeliers, glittering Christmas trees welcomed the guests, and blue, silver, and white candles caused the whole room to glow. Our cakes were almost too pretty to eat, except for the donut covered groom’s cake. And most importantly, the smiles and laughter and joy of our guests made my heart want to burst.

It’s okay to be excited about details when planning your wedding, but it’s also important to realize that the day is about so much more than that. You want everything to be beautiful, to be special, and to be unique to you and your husband. But in each detail you choose, remember what your purpose is for that day and who you're really celebrating.

We wanted good food, a band, a large guest list, and beautiful flowers. We wanted to serve our friends and family and give them an experience of beauty. But we also didn't want to get carried away with unnecessary excess. 

At the end of the day, the whole point was that God had invited us into this beautiful sacrament to honor and glorify him. This was something that Andrew had to be constantly drawing me back to and reminding me of. This day wasn't for everyone else's approval or for our own vanity, it was for bringing glory to God.

As we started to plan and realized our budget didn't allow for certain things I wanted, it became clear that God wanted to provide in bigger ways than I could ever hope. Our venue provided incredible resources, we found lesser known, more affordable, high quality vendors, and we met people who “randomly” had connections with a band or wedding programs. Others offered to donate their time or resources to helping us make the event beautiful. Over and over again, God wanted to show his providence in every little detail of the day.

I have always struggled with trusting in God's goodness. Will he really provide? Is his plan good? Can I trust in his timing? These fears followed me throughout being single and even once Andrew and I started dating. I grasped for control every step of the way to make sure I wasn't going to be disappointed or hurt. But as wedding planning began and I had to let go of things I was grasping onto, God showed me that his plan for providing was so good. It would exceed so many of my expectations.

As Andrew and I walked down the aisle, I stood in awe of the beautiful day that God had created. It felt like so many things that day came together completely out of my control, and it's only because of God's grace to let go and let him do the work. The truth is that no matter what you think you might need on that day, God wants to be the one who makes it beautiful.

Photography: Ashleigh Jameson Photography | Videography: David Barretto | Church: Sacred Heart Cathedral, Knoxville, TN | Reception: The Reserve at Bluebird Hill, Lenoir City, TN | Planning, Design, & Florals: Windsor & Willow | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rentals | Band: Trapped on Earth  | Food: @brownbagnow  | Bar: @thepourguys | Hair: Color, Cuts, & Curls | Make-Up: @makeupbychesni | Chauffeur/Car: @regal_carriages | Cake: @sarahsstapleton | Gown: Signature Bridal

Jenny + Sam | Summertime Texas Wedding

“Through desire, [God] enlarges our soul and by expanding it he increases its capacity for receiving him.” These words from Pope Benedict XVI echoed in Jenny’s heart as she prepared to marry her beloved Sam.

Jenny and Sam’s love story is one of virtuous patience and beautiful triumph, the rich fruits of Jenny’s trust while suffering a deep desire and longing to begin her vocation--for marriage.

Through their mutual devotion to their faith and love of Mother Mary, Jenny and Sam were married on a bright, summertime day in Texas.

From the Bride: It was a struggle for me to deeply desire marriage and not enter my vocation until I was 34 (and 1/2) years old. I had already watched many of my friends get engaged, married, and start a family. I did not know why God would have me suffer with such a deep desire for the vocation of marriage and not fulfill it.

I didn’t know it, but he was working out everything for the good--it just wasn't time yet. Through my suffering, my relationship with God became stronger and stronger. I even traveled to be a missionary teacher abroad for two years in the hope that maybe God wanted to work in me more before he revealed my husband to me.

When I returned from missionary work, I dated a little and put myself out there, going to young adult retreats and social functions at my church. But it seemed that many times, as most singles will complain, "the good guys are all gone."

Finally, after a summer of getting my heart broken and many unsuccessful dates, I decided to try one last round of online dating. I had joined an app when I came across Sam's profile. I thought he was cute, and he made some funny comments. He also said he was Catholic. What?! We connected and hit it off.

I quickly discovered that our morals and values as well as our devotion to our Catholic faith aligned perfectly. We also found out we had many common interests, like running. On our first date, he told me he was looking to get married. Wow, I thought. This was a first. I knew he was special, and we quickly prayed about the next steps. Before long, we knew the Lord was bringing us together for a purpose.

What I loved about Sam was his patience with me. Throughout our courtship he showed me the man he truly was. Although we lived across town from each other, we made it a point to attend Mass together every Sunday. We enjoyed attending confession and both had a devotion to Mary, Our Mother, and prayed the rosary often. We truly believe she helped guide us on our journey.

Sam planned the perfect proposal; it was just him and I. We had gotten coffee, and I was getting stressed with work and felt unsure where our future was heading. He told me that Mary would make it all better and show us the way, so we prayed the rosary together. In that moment I knew Sam was truly the one the Lord had planned for me. I prayed “not my will but your will, Lord, but I really like him!” When I opened my eyes, Sam was on his knees, and he asked me to be his wife. God's perfect plan was unfolding in front of me, and I was overjoyed to start the next chapter with this man.

Our engagement was a whirlwind since I was a teacher who was off work in the summer. We were eager to start our lives together, and we knew we wanted a summertime wedding.

But that meant we had only six months to plan a wedding for three hundred guests! Although it was stressful at times, Sam and I really enjoyed our Pre-Cana classes and preparing for marriage. We learned so much about each other and our faith, and we know it prepared us for the sacrament.

Our wedding day was the best day of our lives.

Pope Benedict XVI, said “Man was created for greatness–for God himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched. By delaying his gift, God strengthens our desire; through desire, he enlarges our soul and by expanding it he increases its capacity for receiving him.”

My entire life has been a process of God enlarging my soul and increasing my heart’s capacity to receive the gift of my marriage on July 21, 2018.

Through suffering, a lot of waiting, prayer, brokenness, redemption, and through the Eucharist, Christ was preparing me for Sam. He was preparing me to say my own “fiat” like Mary did (Luke 1:38) when he offered me the wonderful gift of my husband and our new journey together.

My mom was in charge of most of the planning for the reception, and Sam and I planned the ceremony. We wanted a beautiful, holy Mass and a joyful reception with all our family and friends. We were married in Sam's childhood church and included many Catholic traditions such as the lazo in the liturgy. We knew from the start we would also include the presentation of flowers to Mother Mary. After we prayed together and laid flowers at the foot of Mary, we gave a special rose to our mothers.

Sam and I found out during the wedding process that we have many of the same favorite Catholic hymns, like the communion hymn “Taste and See,” and incorporated them into the Mass. The priest gave a wonderful homily about the love of Jesus and the great sacrament of marriage.

When I saw Sam standing at the altar, all I remember is thanking Jesus. And as I walked with my father down the aisle, carrying my new mother-in-law’s rosary as my “something borrowed,” I smiled as I gazed at Sam, who was crying. It was a beautiful moment, and I felt so close to Christ.

The reception afterwards was a night to remember! We had delicious food and great entertainment. We did the Grand March (a German tradition) that got everyone out on the dance floor. Then came our first dance. Sam and I love to two-step to country music, and it was a special moment as all of our family and friends surrounded us to watch us have our first dance as husband and wife.

There was pure joy and peace the whole day of our wedding, and it remains even now in our marriage. Christ is so good and faithful!

Photography: Meeker Pictures | Church: Saint Mary Catholic Church-Plantersville, Texas | Bridal Portraits- Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church- Houston, TX | Reception: The Brownstone Reserve- Bryan, Texas | Food: City View Catering | Cake: Cakes by Gina | Gown: Stella York @ Whittington Bridal | DJ: DJ Mark Bobo | Florist: Trica Barksdale Designs | Hair/Make-up: Naturally Flawless | Bridesmaid Dresses: KFbridal | Flower girl dresses: Pink Princess | Men's suits: Men's wearhouse | Wedding planning: Ashley &Co. | Invitations: Dromgooles | Bridal portrait flowers: Lambrie Floral designs

Mychael + Adam | Rustic Midwest Basilica Wedding

Mychael and Adam met through mutual friends while attending weekly pop culture trivia nights. From there, a mutual collective knowledge of useless information and a similar sense of humor led to a friendship.

On their first date they attended Saturday Mass together at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. Two years later they celebrated their relationship with a romantic dinner at 4Bells seafood house nearby. A little later, years after that “accidental” first date, Adam proposed on Christmas Eve.

From the Bride: I have a daughter from a previous relationship with profound disabilities. She is incredibly sweet and innocent--but not for the faint of heart.

I knew it was going to take an incredible man, a “St. Joseph” in my life, to open my heart to marriage and to embrace her as his own. Adam rose to the occasion, and I fell madly in love with him.

From the Groom: I met Mychael, as a friend, when I was going through a hard time finding "the one." I knew she was a smart and funny woman, but it was those weeks following our "first date" when I really had to decide whether to take a risk or remain just friends.

But once we chose to date each other, I knew I was all in. Mychael was an incredible woman, would be a loving partner and teammate, and I already knew her as an amazing mother. We have said from early on that we are on each others team and are in everything together.

As Robin Williams wisely said in Good Will Hunting, "You’re not perfect, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you’ve met, she’s not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other." Mychael and I are not perfect, but we are perfect for each other.

During wedding planning, our priority was the nuptial Mass, making it as beautiful and sacred as the sacrament itself. We spent hours going through music on YouTube and reading Scripture to hand-pick every detail.  This made for some wonderful nights together.

Mychael and I were mindful of all the details, carefully choosing every aspect to reflect how we wanted to enter into marriage, and, most importantly, how we wanted to live out our marriage. We immediately began to book vendors, searching for Minnesota-created and sourced options for our big day. Every detail reflected aspects of our relationship, from the Notre Dame ticket-inspired save the date and “Marry Like a Champion” sign to clover leaves subtly placed in the greenery of our invitations, embracing the Mychael’s Irish heritage and my alma mater. In addition, the Minnesota outline appeared throughout the paper goods and reception details.

From the Bride: My vision for the dress was a blend of Kate and Pippa Middleton's wedding dresses, but I certainly didn't have a princess complex. Rather, I wanted to be an elegant bride for my bridegroom. I didn’t find any style that I really fell in love with or felt reflected my sensibility, so I opted for some alterations. The dress I chose was originally strapless with some tulle across the chest. By my wedding day, it had been altered with delicate lace, short sleeves, and an illusion neckline with a high lace collar.

My gorgeous, flowy long veil was purchased prior to the royal wedding but was nicknamed “the Meghan veil” by my bridesmaids.

My godmother, June, gave me her wedding rings to wear during the ceremony for luck. I wore Adam's maternal grandmother's pearls given to her by her father on her wedding day as a bracelet. She had previously passed in April. A navy blue rosary in my bouquet was my maternal grandmother’s, who passed away a week prior to our wedding.

The ceremony was held at the breathtakingly beautiful and historic Basilica of St. Mary’s and celebrated by the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Most Rev. Bernard Hebda. It featured the basilica choir and Catholic musicians Tim and Julie Smith, whom I sang with growing up.

We chose a blend of contemporary and traditional music; the Irish Catholic prelude "Be Thou My Vision" and "How Can I keep from Singing.” Our entrance song was "Lord of All Hopefulness" and our final blessing and recessional hymns were "May the Road Rise Up to Meet You" and "Love Divine, All Love Excelling."

It was important to us that prayer in musical form be central to the Mass because sacred music is a large part of our lives. The archbishop was even kind enough to compliment us on how beautiful the music was, and that he expected nothing less!

For the reception, we chose 4 Bells’ rooftop for its unique and stylish characteristics in the space, but also for their craft cocktails and exquisite cuisine. It was an exceptionally intimate planned day for us and our family and friends.

Through it all, Adam and I were both involved in the planning, which made the process far less stressful, incredibly more personal, and the big day all the more celebratory.

The Thursday leading up to our wedding was the Feast of All Saints. We attended Mass together, just the two of us, and were able to celebrate a feast day we both love.

On our wedding day, witnessed by our family and friends, we chose to enter into the sacrament of marriage together. There was no father “giving the bride away.” Rather, we chose to have the two of us enter into the church at the same time, as recommended by the revised Rite of Marriage. It was a sacrament between the two of us and God, and we received so many compliments on this choice!

As we stood behind the grand basilica doors, Adam said he was so grateful that we had come to this moment. We both recognize how wonderful it is that we are able to walk this marriage journey together, because there is no one else I want to be doing this with.

Adam is a wonderful man of faith. He is kind and thoughtful in practical and romantic ways. He is a loving partner and embodies St. Joseph. He challenges me and supports me unconditionally.

We are both mindful that we have not come to this place alone. We have held onto our Catholic faith and our faith in each other to choose marriage. Perhaps it is our Midwest sensibility or Catholics in general, but discussing our faith outwardly does not come naturally to us. And so, our nuptial Mass and wedding was a wonderful and beautiful way for us to show our love for God and our faith to friends and family.

Over the years together we have celebrated and mourned. We have attended friends’ weddings and many funerals. We have laughed and cried. But through it all we remember the lyrics of the song we chose for our first dance, "God Gave Me You:" “God gave me you for the ups and downs, God gave me you for the days of doubt.”

The wedding was one wonderful day. Our marriage will be a lifetime, and we are excited for the journey.

Photography: Rachel Kathleen Photography | Church: Basilica of St. Mary - Minneapolis Minnesota | Reception: 4Bells - Minneapolis Minnesota | Dress: Rebecca Ingram design, heavily altered by Custom Sewing by Heather (the dress was strapless with tulle when purchased from Bella Bridal in Woodbury, MN | Grooms’ Attire: Calvin Klein, Macy’s  | Rings: Bride Continental diamond, Groom Blue Nile
Bridesmaids: Adrianna Papell & Badgley mischka  | Hair: Be Lovely by Amber Ann | Makeup: Beauty by Cort Anne
Flowers: KMB floral  | Invitations & Save the Dates & Guest sign wooden board: A Milestone Paper Co. | Details including Notre Dame inspired “Marry Like A Champion” sign created by the Bride

Sabrina + Nick | Handcrafted Jersey Shore Wedding

Sabrina and Nick have always been “adventure buddies.”

During one of their many adventures, volunteering to rebuild historic cottages in the Grand Tetons, Nick asked the love of his life to accompany him on their greatest adventure yet: marriage and family.

Their love story encompasses conversion, Padre Pio, the Jersey Shore, and beehives--all part of their extraordinary, summertime wedding bathed in sunflowers and God’s grace. And it all began in a college architecture class.

From the Bride: Our Catholic relationship was not a typical one. I am a cradle Catholic who started to grow deeper in my faith only after college. Nick's mother is Lutheran, and his dad is Catholic. He was raised primarily in his father’s faith, but he did not receive any of his sacraments beyond baptism before dating me.

Nick and I met during our first year of college at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2010. He had transferred from Hartford, and I had just graduated from high school. Looking back, I almost attended a different college.

God’s plan is perfect, though, and we both chose to attend NJIT in 2010. We were placed in the same studio room for our architecture class and quickly became good friends, especially since we were both commuters. Nick would wait for my dad to pick me up on his way home from work. He would even miss his train ride home to wait with me.

We supported each other through late nights in studio, and he always kept me laughing. We became good friends but didn’t start dating until our fourth year of college because I had been in a previous relationship until then. Nick was quick to seize the opportunity.

Three and a half years later in August 2017, Nick and I found ourselves in the Grand Tetons National Park. For the past three years, we had volunteered a week of our time annually with the National Park Service in the Grand Tetons to stabilize historic log cabins in the park. Nick proposed in the barn we were working on for the week in front of all the volunteers. It was like a dream.

We decided to get married a year later on the anniversary of our engagement. As we prepped for the wedding, Nick went through RCIA with me as his sponsor. He would come to my bible study group, and our faith grew deeper. We attended holy hours together, and I knew I was growing in my faith along with him.

We planned to get married at the church by his family’s shore house that we attended all the years we dated: St. Pio’s. After our engagement, my friend Gabriella found a St. Pio rosary and gave it to me. I prayed on it every week at adoration leading up to the wedding. I even wrapped it around the stem on my bouquet with a miraculous medal.

Nick and I developed a strong devotion to Padre Pio. We prayed his novena and asked him to adopt us as his spiritual children and be the patron saint of our marriage. We also prayed St. Josemaria Escriva’s novena in the days leading up to the wedding, which we loved.

Throughout it all, I petitioned God for Nick’s full and deep conversion to the Catholic Church. And although we both have more room to grow, I’m so proud of how far we have come, especially Nick.

The night before the wedding we went to confession with the priest who would be celebrating our nuptial Mass. We wanted to receive the marital sacrament with pure hearts, and I’m so happy Nick and I made sure we did that. Before going to sleep we called each other and said the last day of the St. Josemaria novena. It was such a beautiful way to countdown to the wedding.

The weather on the big day was hot but not too humid, and I felt like God was smiling on us the whole time. My friend Gabriella said a quick prayer as we walked into the church, but I told her it had to be a quick one because I would be too emotional. I’m such a happy crier!

I kept asking God and Padre Pio to be with me because I was so nervous to walk down the aisle. When they opened the doors, I tripped a little on my dress. This helped me focus on not falling, but I also think it was God’s way of giving me something to think about instead of becoming a crying mess. When I looked up at the end of the aisle, Nick was crying hard. He was so happy, and I felt such peace knowing I was marrying him.

As the ceremony went on, I strongly felt Padre Pio was with us as well as our guardian angels. Nick and I had picked all of the music and readings for the Mass, so it was very meaningful to both of us. When we presented flowers to the Blessed Mother, we prayed a couple of Hail Mary’s and then a prayer we had written together. It was such an intimate and special moment.

Our wedding programs included all the parts in the Mass and a beautiful quote by St. Thomas Aquinas: “The Eucharist is the sacrament of love; it signifies love, it produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.”

With that in mind, we received the Body and Blood of Christ together for the first time as a married couple. All I could do was look at Nick and thank God for giving me the man of my dreams and allowing me to lead him closer to Christ.

We had worked so hard on planning the wedding, but the work we put into our faith life was worth more than anything else that day.

After the ceremony we left on a trolley to Smithville to party! The theme of the wedding was “adventure” because Nick and I always say that we are adventure buddies. And we handmade everything for the wedding. We are both architects, so we knew we could do it.

Our invitations, made by hand, included a map of the Jersey Shore with all the significant places to the wedding and to us. Our favors were honey jars made from our own honey that we harvested the weekend before the wedding from our beehive. The table that displayed the honey also displayed birdhouses that Nick had made for me when we were dating.

I wrote all the table assignments on panes of glass from old windows, and the tables were named after different national parks. Nick and his dad built wooden crates for the centerpieces,  and we filled them with flowers and fresh peaches. We told everyone to take home a peach with their honey.

Our sweetheart table had handcrafted signs that I painted as well as more crates. Nick’s mom and I made a quilt together that had Disney’s Up house on it. That became our “guest quilt,” where everyone signed in on a balloon. And finally, we painted a mailbox like the one from Up where guests placed their cards.

My favorite flowers are sunflowers and succulents, so there were plenty throughout the whole wedding. We took photos all over Smithville, a cute, historic town with many photo opportunities. And our wedding band kept everyone dancing all night.

In short, our wedding day was amazing, and I thank God everyday for it. I couldn’t wait to live life with Nick and build on the foundation we built on Christ.

For our honeymoon a month later, we travelled to Rome and Switzerland after my friend Gabriella’s wedding with her and her new husband. In Rome, we attended the Sposi Novelli blessing at the Pope’s general audience. Again, I was praying to Padre Pio that we would get to meet the Pope, but there were so many couples there that it seemed unlikely.

They started gathering all of the couples, and we found ourselves in the wrong spot. It seemed like we wouldn’t get to meet him. I told Gabriella and our husbands that we should stand on a shorter rail that I spotted. I thought even if we wouldn’t meet him, we could at least get a better view.

That short rail ended up being the gate to let all the couples into the main area for everyone to gather. So we were the first ones through! When we got our spot, I realized I had lost my Padre Pio rosary. Gabriella told me not to worry, that Padre Pio was with us anyway. But when we looked down, I saw the rosary had somehow landed in the spot we were going to stand in!

When we met the Pope, we told him we were praying for him and that he needed to rebuild the church. Gabriella and I got pretty emotional about this, so he spent a long time with us saying that he would, and that we needed to keep praying too.

It was one of the most special experiences of our lives to receive the Pope’s blessing. Nick and I have had the most incredible year, and it is all because of God and his perfect plan.

Without a Christ-centered relationship, our entire wedding day and our marriage would've been completely different. It would never have been as fulfilling. You could feel our love for each other and for God that day. Everyone said that is what made the wedding so special.

Photography: Maryanne Photography, Kevin and Aly Photography, Meyer Photo and Video Group | Mass: St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Lavellette, NJ | Reception: The Smithville Inn, Absecon, NJ | Engagement Ring: designed by the groom, via Salt and Stone

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

Chloe + Joseph | Winter Farmhouse Wedding

Starting on her 13th birthday, Chloe prayed daily for a man in love with the Church, who would lead her closer to Christ. Little did she know her future husband was growing up nearby, in the very same town.

Looking back, she and Joseph suspect their paths likely crossed in their early lives. Their story didn’t begin, however, until the summer before college, when Joseph participated in the mission trip Chloe was serving as a staff member. Throughout that week spent painting houses in a rural town, each found humor and honesty in the other, discussing everything from religion to places they dreamed of traveling.

Joseph returned home after the mission and found Chloe and her blog on social media. He later contacted her letting her know he’d read much of her writing, pursued a friendship, asked Chloe out on a date the night of her birthday.

Their college years were spent long-distance, with many weekend dates spent at Mass and in Adoration. Chloe loved the way Joseph strove to make Christ the center of their relationship from their first date onward. They chose Pope Saint John Paul II as the patron their relationship, praying for his intercession at the end of every date and phone call. Their call to marriage became clear.

On New Year’s Day, Joseph shared that he’d love to ask Chloe to marry him before the end of the summer. She valued his leadership and intentionality, waiting eagerly for the next step in their relationship. By spring break, after seeking Chloe’s dad’s blessing and on the final day of a backpacking retreat in Big Bend National Park, Joseph invited Chloe to climb the highest point in the park, Emory Peak. As the sun rose, he got down on one knee and asked Chloe to climb life’s peaks and valleys beside him as his wife.

From the Bride: Despite everyone’s warnings of wedding week stress, our wedding day was one of the most joyful, stress-free days of my life. Every moment was filled with blessings--as if God was smiling down, opening my eyes to beauty and whispering, this is for you.

Joseph and I wanted to spend as much of our wedding day together as possible, so we began the day by attending morning Mass and having breakfast together. Before we parted ways to get dressed for the ceremony, we visited Christ in Eucharistic Adoration for our last holy hour as an engaged couple.

Before meeting up with our wedding party, I surprised Joseph with a Papal Blessing, a gift I planned with the generous help of our seminarian friends in Rome. It now hangs in our bedroom as a daily reminder of our sacrament.

I decided to do my own makeup for the ceremony, and I wore the same makeup I wear on an everyday basis. I had thought about makeup quite a bit, but it was only when I thought back on our relationship that the answer to my inner debates became clear.

When I met Joseph, I wasn't wearing any makeup. I had on a baggy t-shirt, and sports shorts. I spent the first week we knew each other on mission covered in sweat, pancake batter, and paint chips. Joseph proposed on top of a mountain. When he asked me to be his bride, I hadn't showered in six days, my hair was greasy and stuffed under a baseball cap, and my eyes were bleary from waking up at 5:00 AM. And he thought I was beautiful.  

I don't wear much makeup on a daily basis, but it seems Joseph compliments me most on the days I wear it the least, or not at all. So when I saw Joseph on our wedding day, I wanted to look like the girl he scraped paint with two summers before. I wanted to look like the blissfully happy girl who said yes to climbing life's highs and lows alongside my husband (although I did shower for the wedding!) .

We desired to make prayer part of our preparation for that day. My bridesmaids and I spent time praying and singing together. Meanwhile, Joseph and the groomsmen prayed a rosary in the side chapel.

Then it was time to walk down the aisle. Traditionally, the last people to process into a Catholic Mass are the officiants of the sacrament. During a wedding, the bride and groom are the ministers of the sacrament to each other, with the priest and wedding party witnessing their vows. We decided to adopt this practice for our entrance.

A unique touch was the way Joseph and I sat during the ceremony. We didn’t want to have our backs facing our guests, so we placed our chairs to the side of the sanctuary instead of using kneelers that faced the altar.

We were blessed to have our wedding Mass concelebrated by six of our close priest friends. The main celebrant was a priest from the parish we spent the most time at during our relationship. We chose readings were from Tobit, Ephesians, and the wedding at Cana.

In the days before the wedding, Joseph and I prepared to consecrate ourselves to Mary, using Fr. Brian McMaster’s book Totus Tuus: A Consecration to Jesus through Mary with Saint John Paul II. Every night, regardless of how busy we got with planning, we took time to pray the rosary and reflect on the importance of Mary in our relationship.

At a friend’s wedding we’d attended together, we were entertained the whole night by a very enthusiastic maraca player in the band. Joseph surprised me with a pair of maracas on the drive to the reception–-a car dance party ensued!

Joseph and I decided to look at the reception as a big dinner party. Our wedding week was spent cooking soup, creating a salad bar, and gathering bread. We loved cooking together when we were dating, so preparing food for our reception was a beautiful way spend time together and anticipate the big day.

Our first dance was to Ben Rector’s “Forever Like That.” We loved spending time with friends and family on the dance floor, but we also walked around to catch up with our other guests, as well.

As we walked to our getaway car and headed to our new home together, I had the lyrics from another Ben Rector song, “I Like You,” stuck in my head:

There way too many love songs, and I think they've got it all wrong. 'Cause life is not the mountain tops; it's the walking in between. And I like you walking next to me.

My prayers, first whispered at thirteen and now proclaimed in front of all my friends and family at our wedding, had been answered. God had introduced a man into my life, and now we were striving to sainthood together.

Our wedding day was joyous because we had spent so much time preparing our hearts together. Joseph and I prayed nightly, heads bowed close, begging God to strengthen us and to help us give ourselves freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully to each other.

We made sure to spend just as much time preparing for our marriage as we did our wedding. Although it seemed crazy to those around us, we took off a night from wedding planning during our wedding week. We threw on our hiking shoes, went on a walk, and got coffee. We didn’t talk about the wedding at all. Instead, we spent time laughing, praying, and reminiscing on how God had worked in our relationship. Now we advise each engaged couple we know to spend time on a wedding week date. It was one of the best things we could have done for our relationship during that week of preparation!

Photography: Jen Huhs Photography | Church: St. Isidore's Student Center, Manhattan, Kansas | Reception Venue: Big Gage Shelter House, Topeka Kansas | Rings: Riddle's Jewelry  | Flowers: Ecoflowers (bride's bouquet), Hobby Lobby (created by the bride) | Bride's Dress David's Bridal | Bride's Shoes: Target | Bridesmaid's Attire: Francescas, Macys, TJ Maxx | Groom's Suit: Perry Ellis | Cake: Sam's Club | Music: Friends of the Bride & Groom

Jenna + Michael | Italian Family-Style Wedding

Jenna had just finished her waitressing shift when she went to a bar in Providence, Rhode Island for a Catholic young adult event. There was one spot left at the table, next to a handsome newcomer to the group. They chatted and exchanged numbers at the end of the night.

Jenna and Michael’s friendship blossomed soon after, as Michael began a new journey of discernment after departing from religious life and as Jenna began the annulment process from her previous marriage. Though both sensed the Father’s hand at work in a special way, they agreed to postpone dating until the annulment decision was finalized, one way or another.

On December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Jenna received word that her annulment had been granted. Two months later, Michael asked her to be his girlfriend, and on another Marian feast, the Feast of the Annunciation, he proposed at the Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

From the Bride: We knew from the beginning that the Nuptial Mass was the most important part of our wedding. Both of us have sentimental hearts and love for details that we tried to incorporate into the day. Our Mass, for instance, was held at the same parish where my parents were married. This was particularly special to me, as my father passed away at a young age. Choosing to be married in the same location he was made me feel connected to him in a special way. The Maid of Honor was my best friend, and the Best Man Michael’s cousin.

We are in our early 30s and wanted to keep things simple, yet joyful and beautiful, for the Mass and reception--a true representation of our relationship. For the Gospel reading, we chose the Parable of the pearl of great price, a nod to my pearl engagement ring. Pearls are my favorite gem and have particular significance in Michael’s Portuguese culture. I also carried and decorated with my favorite flowers, sunflowers.

Our mothers did the readings, and my close friend sang during our dedication to Our Lady, for which we made a special consecration to her. The bright July afternoon felt so visually fitting for who we are as a couple.

Our reception was held at a family-style Italian restaurant, where we served a casual, delicious chicken dinner. Our friends Ryan and Elizabeth sang our first dance selection, “Oceans” by Hillsong United. By the time our guests joined us on the dance floor, we stayed there all evening, and it’s a time we’ll always remember.

As a new bride, I can honestly say that surrendering to God's will through dating and engagement has shaped a truly beautiful foundation for our marriage.

Pray together always, and seek his will above all. Continue to pray together once you’re married, and don't forget to laugh and forgive one another often!

Photography: Andrea Van Orsouw Photography | Church: St. Agatha Parish- Woonsocket, RI | Wedding Reception Venue : Savini's Pomodoro Italian Kitchen & Bar | Engagement Ring: Piette Jewelers- Woonsocket, RI, Wedding bands: Kay Jewelers | Bridal Hair: Hair Stage 5- North Smithfield, RI | Music Mass: Sarah Moore (friend of the bride), Vocalists Reception: Ryan & Elizabeth Tremblay (friends of the bride and groom) | Videography- Steven Jordao (cousin of the bride) of Gue Productions | Flowers: Whole Foods | Cake: Kelly St. Gelais (friend of the bride), Bridal Gown and Maid of Honor's Dress: David's Bridal, Centerpieces and other décor- DIY by the bride and family/friends.