Spoken Bride Vendors | Spotlight, Vol. 4

Are you recently engaged and ready to book your wedding vendors? Newly married or attending a wedding, and in search of gifts that affirm the vocation to marriage?

We are proud to serve you through the Spoken Bride Vendor Guide, the first online resource for distinctively Catholic wedding vendors: hand-selected professionals from around the U.S. with not only an abundance of talent, but a reverence and passion for the sacrament of marriage that brings a uniquely personal, prayerful dimension to their client experiences.

From photographers and videographers who understand how to capture the most significant moments of your nuptial Mass, to coordinators who understand the needs of Catholic couples, artists whose jewelry, stationery, and prints become enduring keepsakes long after your wedding day, clinical and theological experts in the fields of fertility and relationships, and beyond, Spoken Bride Vendors view their work as a call and find deep joy in putting their talents at the service of the Lord.

What’s more, our vendors are truly engaging and fun. With a range of stories, hobbies, and devotions, it’s our privilege to share who they are and connect them with their ideal clients--you, faithful Catholic couples who are energized by working with like-minded, prayerful individuals. Each month, we’ll be introducing, or re-introducing, you to members of Spoken Bride’s vendor community, and we encourage you to learn more through their full vendor listings.

Our Vendors for This Month:


Beauty of the Soul Studio

Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC

Emily Ott’s passion for photography began as a curiosity, grew as a side hustle, and developed into the full-time vocation. She desires to uphold the value and sanctity of marriage in her marriage, her profession, and her relationships with clients. “After a few years working under another photographer, I decided to officially launch my own business in order to cater more specifically to the couples in my area searching for someone who appreciates the true value of their wedding day beyond portolio-building moments, and knows what it's like to be on the other side of the wedding day.”

What is your favorite place where you have traveled?: My honeymoon was an incredible 9 day trip to Italy. The first half of our trip was to Rome, which was incredible enough with all of the Church history, beautiful landmarks, and even participating in the "Sposi Novelli" newlywed blessing at the Wednesday papal audience. But my favorite place was the second half of our trip, to the tiny island off the coast of Naples called Ischia. We stayed in a medieval castle, functioning as part tourist attraction (with restored rooms, chapels, and gardens) and part hotel in the renovated section that had previously been a monastery. We had a room with an incredible view, never had a bad meal, and enjoyed the warm Mediterranean air!

What are your favorite saints or devotions?: My husband and I chose St. Michael the Archangel as a patron of our relationship while we were dating, and have continued a devotion to him into our marriage. I'm particularly fond of the Divine Mercy Chaplet as well—it was an integral part of my prayer life particularly during my dating years in college. I also owe much of my spiritual conversion to Eucharistic Adoration and try to go as often as I can.

What is your favorite food?: I'm a sucker for pizza. I'm particularly a fan of authentic Italian pizza (three trips to Italy in the last three years will spoil you like that) with its soft, dusty crust and authentic tomato flavor... but I'll also take a slice of hot delivery pizza. And yes, I am #TeamPineapple - no shame here!

Learn more about Beauty of the Soul Studio

 

Lauren Emily Photography

Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Virginia

Lauren Noa and her husband frequently relocate due to their commitment with the Navy. Despite new homes and communities, Lauren’s faith, love, and vocation to wedding photography remain the same. “My faith fuels my love of art and beauty, my family inspires my work ethic and encourages my business adventures, and my husband is my biggest support system and shows me the love and joy that helps to breathe life into my photography. I really do believe that photography can be a form of service and an opportunity to show Christ's love and peace to families and couples especially on their wedding day.”

What is your favorite moment of your wedding day?: My absolute favorite moment of the day was walking down the aisle and locking eyes with my husband-to-be. I thought my heart was going to fly out of me. There really isn't a better feeling! We had been dating for over six years by the time he had graduated and we were legally allowed to marry, so we got married just a few days after. Those were some of the longest few days! My second favorite was standing in front of our parish's statue of Mary while my sister and best friend sand the Ave Maria. That was the only time I cried that whole day!

What are your favorite books, movies, and music?: The Lord of the Rings definitely is at the top of the list, for both books and movies. But I have too many favorites to mention! For music, I love most anything acapella, some country, and I am really falling in love with Broadway Musicals...currently Bandstand is a favorite.

What are three things on your bucket list?: I would love to travel to every state to photograph a wedding. I want to have at least four happy, healthy, and faithful kids. I want to travel Europe to photograph all the pretty people at all of the historical things and take part in at least one pilgrimage (probably to Lourdes) while I was there.

Learn more about Lauren Emily Photography

 

Wild Grace Therapy

Miami, Florida or Serving Clients Nationwide through Online Virtual Sessions

Marriage and family therapist Melissa Tablada prioritizes her faith first, followed by family. Her personal priorities influence her professional philosophy. “Theology of the Body is a huge inspiration for my work, as well as the married saints such as St. Anne & St. Joachim, Mary & St. Joseph, St. Zélie & St. Louis. My faith plays a role in my business because my faith is the foundation of everything in my life. The way that I can best serve my clients is when we bring faith into the therapy room and allow the Holy Spirit to be present and active our sessions. God leads all of my life, my work is absolutely included in that.” The intersection between faith and professional therapy is where Melissa serves the world and strengthens marriages, the foundation of society.

Do you root for any professional sports teams?: Miami Heat & Miami Dolphins because I married a Miami man who loves his teams.

What ministries are you involved with?: I am involved in Fiat Marriage Community, Respect Life, Gesu Couples Group, Better with Betsy, St. Augustine Young Adult Group, and I serve as a Eucharistic Minister

What does love mean to you?: Love means that we desire the absolute good for the other person. We can love more fully by seeing the way God does, serving those around us, and choosing to love even on the days we don't really feel like it.

Learn more about Wild Grace Therapy

 

Kirsten Ann Photography

Madison, Wisconsin

Kirsten Gord refined her photography skills into a full-time business in order to serve her family as a stay-at-home wife and mother. “Everything I believe about the human person, the dignity of life, the relationships between man and woman, the role of husband and wife, and the importance of families is rooted in my Catholic faith. Therefore, the way I treat others, the way I view beauty, and the way I present my work are all framed by these Catholic understandings.” Kirsten’s value for beautiful photography and the depth of her spiritual life form her mission as a Catholic wedding photographer.

What are three things on your bucket list?: Hike around the Norwegian fjords with my husband. (I got to do this once after graduating college, but I really want to have this experience with him!) Make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Camino de Santiago and/or visit the homeland of one of my favorite saints (Lisieux, Poland, etc.).

What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?: Wow, this is hard. If I had to be more specific, I would say making our vows was my favorite, for two reasons. One, because it was the moment when we entered into a covenant with each other before God, promising to love one another faithfully for all our days. Two, because Joe could barely get through it! He is a mega-crier, so he was sobbing through all the vows. It was so sweet!

What ministries are you involved with?: Currently, I am mostly involved in local Catholic mom's groups. However, while I was in college, I was very involved in the campus ministry at St. Thomas Aquinas (at Purdue University - "Boiler Catholics"). I attended, then staffed, then co-chaired a staff for the Boiler Awakening Retreat. I also co-founded and led the Catholic Women's Group, which is still going strong on campus today!

Learn more about Kirsten Ann Photography

Spoken Bride Vendors | Spotlight, Vol. 3

We are proud to serve you through the Spoken Bride Vendor Guide, the first online resource for distinctively Catholic wedding vendors: hand-selected professionals from around the U.S. with not only an abundance of talent, but a reverence and passion for the sacrament of marriage that brings a uniquely personal, prayerful dimension to their client experiences.

With a range of stories, hobbies, and devotions, it’s our privilege to share who these men and women are and connect them with their ideal clients--you, faithful Catholic couples who are energized by working with like-minded individuals. Each month, we’ll be introducing, or re-introducing, you to members of Spoken Bride’s vendor community, and we encourage you to learn more through their full vendor listings.

This month’s featured vendors (click to jump):

Zélie Veils

Bridal Attire; Fowler, Michigan, ships nationwide

Rebekah Shannon crafted her own wedding veil and loved the process. Two years later, with her husband’s encouragement and under the patronage of St. Zélie Martin--herself a lacemaker and businesswoman--Rebekah made her gifts official and founded her business, offering custom and ready-to-wear bridal veils. She intercedes in prayer for each of her clients and experiences great joy in seeing her work “worn on the biggest day of someone's life. Especially at such a pinnacle moment, like the first look or the vows. It's a part of that memory for them forever.”

Rebekah’s spirit of good will extends beyond her brides: “My Catholic faith,” she says, “was the drive to partner with an organization that offered a helping hand to the most vulnerable. We were very intentional with our decision to choose human trafficking as the issue we'd address.” A portion of each Zélie Veils sale is donated to the global NGO Love Justice, dedicated to pursuing human dignity and freedom with practical and political support.

Favorite movie: A Quiet Place

Favorite devotions: Other than the Martin family [the family of Saint Zélie and her husband Louis, the parents of Saint Thérese], I've always had a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart, especially in striving to understand the depth of Christ's love for us.

The best place I’ve traveled: Rome in 2016. My husband and I met Pope Francis and he blessed my first baby while in the womb!

Learn more about Zélie Veils

 

Our Lady’s Armory

Gifts; Cincinnatti, Ohio, ships worldwide

When Nick Jobe proposed to his bride, Elizabeth, he gave her the gift of a handmade Rosary. He discovered a love for the craft of creating precious sacramental items, along with a market need for quality religious items with a masculine sensibility. Our Lady’s Armory was founded in 2015, offering rosaries made from paracord or precious gems, religious jewelry, and cufflinks. Custom options are available, offering a unique opportunity to gift accessories with the significance of a favorite saint from groom to groomsmen or bride to groom.

True to the name of his business, Nick has dedicated his work to Mary, our mother. Inspired by Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s Militia Immaculata, he says, “[I see the Militia as] something to which all the faithful are called, especially Catholic men. I see my role as the "Quartermaster" of Our Lady's Armory, which means I help outfit soldiers for their spiritual service to Our Lady.”

Favorite part of working on weddings: My favorite part of [creating custom rosaries and cufflinks for wedding parties] is the deep level of personalization that each customer seeks for the finished product. Most of my regular customers are happy to pick a product straight out of my catalog, but all of my wedding customers have found ways to incorporate their favorite saints or particular devotions, either by special patron saint medals on their rosaries or by unique cufflinks that aren't offered in my standard catalog.

Ministries I’m involved in: Knights of Columbus, Swole.Catholic

Love means: willing the good of the beloved.

Learn more about Our Lady’s Armory

 

Mackenzie Reiter Photography

Photography; Houston, Texas, serving Houston, Austin, Dallas, Texas, New York, California, and available for worldwide travel.

Mackenzie says, “Ever since I can remember I have always been the ‘friend with the camera.’ I purchased my first digital Kodak camera in the fourth grade! As the years have passed, my experience with photography has grown tremendously and turned from a hobby into a career. I love documenting weddings because there is something so unbelievably special in having a front row seat on someone's wedding day.”

A recent bride herself, Mackenzie desired to find fellow Catholic vendors for her own wedding, recognizing the ways in which they understood her priorities and needs. Now, behind the camera, shooting weddings on a combination of film and digital, she loves the opportunity to intercede for and share in the particular joys of Catholic marriage with each of her couples: “with my own personal experience I can truly capture and beautifully represent the sacredness of a full Nuptial Mass Ceremony.”

On my bucket list: To leave the world better than before I left it, to travel the world with my husband, Chisam--I love traveling to places off the beaten path--and to photograph a Catholic wedding in a different country!

I take my coffee: extra sweet!

Favorite saint: Thérese of Lisieux

Learn more about Mackenzie Reiter Photography

 

Elizabeth & George

Photography; St. Louis, Missouri, serving the greater St. Louis area and available for nationwide travel.

Elizabeth Ngundue dropped out of school, after four years of study in the music department, to fulfill her longtime dream of pursuing photography full-time. Along with her husband George, Elizabeth now spends her days producing images she describes as “romantic, elegant, and timeless,” flooded with beautifully airy natural light.

Elizabeth and George share a particular love for capturing “two beautiful souls committing their lives to one another…[marriage] is our key to heaven and it's an incredible day to witness God's holy will at work.”

Featured on: Style Me Pretty, The Knot, Magnolia Rouge, Once Wed, Smitten Magazine, St. Louis Bride & Groom, Chic Vintage Brides.

How the Catholic faith plays a role in my business: The faith inspires everything I do, truly. I love highlighting masculinity & femininity.

Love means: Living each day more selflessly for others.

Learn more about Elizabeth & George

Advice from a DJ | Setting the Tone for the Dance Floor

DEREK HALL

 

At balls and galas in the past, there was a dance of the time, such as the macarena or cha cha slide. In my opinion, the minuet, quadrille, or polonaise are the best part of any historical fiction show or movie. Historically, the party’s dance would be initiated by the guests of honor, often royalty--then the dance floor would be opened for guests to join. Social dancing is not quite the norm these days, but there is an opportunity to have some fun, relay beauty to your guests, and lead them into your celebration as you twirl about the dance floor.

I loathe being the center of attention; formal dances can be uncomfortable bubble of alone time in the spotlight. As a DJ, I have worked with many couples who want to be on and off of the dance floor as fast as possible. The truth is, you and your new spouse are the guests of honor on the wedding day. As you host your family and friends for the celebration, I encourage you to take on the responsibility of opening the dance floor with your first dances.

PHOTOGRAPHY:  Du CASTEL PHOTOGRAPHY

If you’re not having dancing, roll the first die of the board games, butter the first bagel of your brunch, bounce the first bounce in the bouncy house. (Yes, you can now have bouncy castles at your wedding.) The pressures we may feel as the center of attention are most often rooted in our own insecurities; rest assured, the other guests will not hold up scores of your dance at the end of the song.  

The truth is that not everyone is paying extremely  close attention to your movements. Some guests watch with admiration, some eat their cake and drink their coffee, some chat among themselves.

Regardless of the attention span of the crowd, these first dances are  one of the few times during the wedding day to have alone time with your parents or with each other. It is really just about the two of you on the floor. Sharing an intimate experience is not the same thing as being stranded on the dance floor. Dive into the opportunity to be vulnerable together, to create a memory, and to savor a moment. When the song ends, the DJ can easily fade out the song, turn the attention to the guests, and keep things rolling.

Though I don’t always enjoy being the center of attention, I love a good dance party. If we replace our fears with a smile and some joy, we can stir up the best start of a dance party you’ve ever seen. Below I share additional insight and advice from my experiences as a husband and a professional DJ.

Learn a new kind of dance

My wife grew up as an Irish dancer and I did ballroom for several years around college. We decided to do a waltz for our first dance--and later did an Irish dance. We worked on them for several months, but for us it was largely a fun project that was sincere to who we are. It was athletic, challenging, and something to do together outside of grad school and wedding planning.

In practicing the steps, my wife and I learned how to dance the movements of a waltz rather than memorizing specific choreography. If things come off the rails in a choreographed dance, it may be hard to adjust on the spot. Give yourself at least a couple of months to learn some specific steps. Get comfortable making mistakes and moving back into the music. Most people won’t know if you mess up, so follow the leader, laugh at yourselves, and enjoy the process of trying something new. .

Pick the perfect song

The perfect song is unique to each couple.  Often, nostalgia has more value than perfect lyrics. Most often, guests are either distracted during the first dance or are enamored by the loving embrace of the couple to pay attention to the words of the lyrics.

If you and your fiance don’t have a song that is extremely meaningful or appropriate for a first dance, choosing a new song gives you something special that will forever be anchored to your first dance. If you plan to learn a kind of dance--as suggested above--ask a professional for recommendations for types of songs to match with a specific type of dance.  

Do the first dance last

I have emphasized the importance of sharing an intimate moment on the dance floor. But consider that your first dance doesn’t have to last the entire duration of a song. I’ve worked with many couples whose  families don’t have a strong dance party tradition.Here’s my pitch: make a plan for your MC explain that the couple doesn’t want to just share a first dance on their own, but with all of the guests--the friends and family who helped them get here. The first dance immediately becomes communal, inclusive, and fun for everyone.

Your bridal party and immediate families can be a part of the plan, and join you on the dance floor after the first verse and chorus. At the end of the song, the next song should come right on and everyone can come in around you. I have had a couple of these types of starts blend right into an upbeat remix or some great sing-alongs (think “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”).  

Get great pictures

So, we have done something to create community and inclusion of everyone in the room. We are making dancing “the cat’s pajamas,” the thing to do. Grab grandparents for a dance. Sing along to your favorite Spice Girls song you drove around singing with your mom when you were young. Burn it down for 30 minutes. Your photo and video are generally scheduled for a short chunk of dancing, and they can capitalize on this initial time with the guests and guests of honor together on the dance floor.

If we have a slow build or if you disappear from the dance party at the beginning of the celebration , you are missing out on a great chance to create and capture special memories of the night.  Eventually, some people might leave, go back to their dessert, enjoy a drink, or get some fresh air. A good DJ or band will figure out how to keep the party going. When you look back at your photos, your favorites may be from those first 30 minutes of fun. The mood for the night has been set. Anything else is gravy.


Copy of Contibutor headshot MEDIUM 200px.png

About the Author: Derek is one half of The Block Party, a DJ company specializing in playing vinyl, mixing records, and trying to pour as much warmth and friendship into the vendor process as possible. They have done weddings and events all over the country; when they aren't traveling to throw monster dance parties, Derek and his wife Clare are traveling to visit their nieces and nephews or adventuring as a couple.

VENDOR GUIDE | WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

Spoken Bride Vendors | Spotlight, Vol. 2

We are proud to serve you through the Spoken Bride Vendor Guide, the first online resource for distinctively Catholic wedding vendors: hand-selected professionals from around the U.S. with not only an abundance of talent, but a reverence and passion for the sacrament of marriage that brings a uniquely personal, prayerful dimension to their client experiences.

What’s more, our vendors are truly engaging and fun. With a range of stories, hobbies, and devotions, it’s our privilege to share who they are and connect them with their ideal clients--you, faithful Catholic couples who are energized by working with like-minded, prayerful individuals. Each month, we’ll be introducing, or re-introducing, you to members of Spoken Bride’s vendor community, and we encourage you to learn more through their full vendor listings.

Our featured May Vendors (click to jump)


Extended Hands

Stationery & Hand Lettering; Columbus, Ohio and serving the continental U.S.

The mission of Extended Hands is “to create invitations that are tailored to witness the beauty of the Catholic sacraments.” Owner Shea Santho, a professional graphic designer, uses rich materials to reflect the significance of her clients’ occasions, loves hearing her couples’ dating and proposal stories, and prays for them throughout their engagement.

Shea shares, “it’s an invitation that seeks the communion of others to share with them in a sacred sacrament! It’s an invitation that will bring others home to the Church, in front of Jesus in the Eucharist!  Whether [wedding] guests are practicing Catholics, fallen-away Catholics, or have never even stepped inside a Catholic Church before, a couple’s wedding day--and ultimately their marriage--is a witness to the Catholic faith. The invitation is the first glimpse their guests will see that makes a statement in itself, on what the sacrament of marriage means to them.”

Favorite movie: One of my favorites would have to be Little Women.  My sister and I grew up as competitive figure skaters and performed to the soundtrack, and it has become a tradition for us to watch the movie with our mom the weekend before Christmas Eve and wrap presents together.

Favorite wedding-day memory: I find myself replaying moments of the day in my mind all the time: meeting my husband at the altar, saying our vows, when the priest prayed over us for the nuptial blessing and again at the final blessing, walking down the aisle as a married couple for the very first time, walking out of the church with family and friends cheering in celebration. So many precious moments.

Go-to prayer: I have always had a special devotion to Our Lady, particularly Our Lady of Medjugorje.  I love praying the rosary. My favorite rosary mystery has always been the first joyful mystery, the Annunciation.  I love so many prayers, but my favorite prayer would probably be the Hail Mary. I love the words because they are the words the angel spoke to Our Lady at the Annunciation and Elizabeth’s words at the Visitation.  Three Hail Mary’s and the Memorare are often my on the spot, go-to prayers.

Learn more about Extended Hands

 

Kelli Seeley Photography

Photography; Sacramento, California

A self-described lover of film and fine art, and of people and love stories, Kelli took her first photography class at 14 years old. She began second-shooting weddings after her college graduation, and launched her own business the following year, shooting fine art-style images on film and digital with a timeless sensibility. As a wife and mother, Kelli views her God-given talent as a part of her life’s call, understanding the graces that flow from balance and rightly ordered priorities: “My Catholic faith is the #1 priority in my life. From that understanding, I believe I am called first to my vocation to my own marriage and as a mother to my children. I also feel God has called me to be a photographer, so by his grace and the support of my family, I am able to pursue and run my business. I pray before every shoot, and I pray before responding to wedding inquiries that God’s will will be done. My desire is to do his will in all things, so I completely surrender my business to him.”

I’m inspired by: love, family, truth and beauty. I am inspired by the imperfections of life here on earth because they unite us in our humanity. I am inspired by authentic emotion and freezing a moment with my camera so it can be remembered forever.

Favorite foods: Pizza, salad, and burritos. And you can never have enough avocados on all of those things!

Love means...Sacrifice. Helping your beloved get to heaven. Willing the good of the other. Discovering [your spouse’s] love language and doing little things to show them care and affection.

Learn more about Kelli Seeley Photography

 

Evan Kristiansen Photography

Photography; Boston, Massachusetts and Greater New England; available for travel.

With 15 years’ photography experience, including 6 years of shooting weddings, Evan is a seasoned pro who consistently discovers a sense of comfort and fast friendship with his Catholic clients--through communication and a shared faith, he finds they share common goals and boundaries with their photography and is inspired by their witness: “[I find] hope in the institution of marriage, the church, and in God that they display when they're at the altar on their wedding day. It is nothing short of miraculous, and stands in stark contrast to the culture around them...You don't meet a lot of cynics at weddings. I think this is because people subconsciously recognize the universal good of marriage, and what it represents. I think it's wonderfully "countercultural" to commit to someone for life.” Evan loves working with Catholic couples, making it his mission “to provide my clients with a wedding photographer that doesn't just know wedding photography, but also knows the Mass, and God.”

On my bucket list: I'd love to do the Camino, I'd like to get married (God willing!), and I'd like to run an Iron Man triathlon (I've got a half coming up!).

Favorite place I’ve traveled: I love traveling back to my home country of Norway. I grew up there as a kid, and there's something that just feels...homey about it. It's also one of the most beautiful countries on earth. It's worth going just for the hiking!

Also, when I visited Assisi last year it was one of the best experiences of my spiritual life thus far, and I would love to spend more time in rural Italy.

Favorite saints: My confirmation saint is St. Olav (Olaf) the Holy, of Norway. I have devotions to St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Albert the Great, and St. Augustine--I pray for their intercession regularly.

Learn more about Evan Kristiansen Photography

 

Visual Rose Productions

Videography; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.; available for travel.

A self-taught videographer with more than 5 years’ experience, Visual Rose founder Nick DeRose--a husband and a father of three--understands and reveres the bond of faith he shares with his Catholic clients. “There is just something special filming those kind of weddings,” he says. “It just makes everything super authentic. The way the relationship was formed and how [the bride and groom] go about the wedding day allows me to film it such a beautiful way.” Fittingly, Nick describes his work as “authentic, simple, and joyful,” knowing wedding videography becomes more and more of a gift over time: on sharing a couple’s highlight video with them for the first time, Nick says, “[I love] giving them something to cherish as a keepsake they can show their future kids as they grow their family.”

I’m most inspired by: Prayer and being around my family. My wife and I have three kids; seeing them and their joy is very inspirational to me. Beautiful music is also very important and is always a huge inspiration.

Favorite saints: Mary and Joseph.

Love means...an act of the will. Giving yourself to one another regardless of how you feel.

Learn more about Visual Rose Productions

Spoken Bride Vendors | Spotlight, Vol. 1

Are you recently engaged and ready to book your wedding vendors? Newly married or attending a wedding, and in search of gifts that affirm the vocation to marriage?

We are proud to serve you through the Spoken Bride Vendor Guide, the first online resource for distinctively Catholic wedding vendors: hand-selected professionals from around the U.S. with not only an abundance of talent, but a reverence and passion for the sacrament of marriage that brings a uniquely personal, prayerful dimension to their client experiences.

From photographers and videographers who understand how to capture the most significant moments of your nuptial Mass, to coordinators who understand the needs of Catholic couples, artists whose jewelry, stationery, and prints become enduring keepsakes long after your wedding day, clinical and theological experts in the fields of fertility and relationships, and beyond, Spoken Bride Vendors view their work as a call and find deep joy in putting their talents at the service of the Lord.

What’s more, our vendors are truly engaging and fun. With a range of stories, hobbies, and devotions, it’s our privilege to share who they are and connect them with their ideal clients--you, faithful Catholic couples who are energized by working with like-minded, prayerful individuals. Each month, we’ll be introducing, or re-introducing, you to members of Spoken Bride’s vendor community, and we encourage you to learn more through their full vendor listings.

Our Featured April Vendors (click to jump)


Laurentina Photography + Video

Washington, D.C., available for nationwide and international travel

While studying abroad in Orvieto, Italy, Laura Kuah fell in love with the art of photography--and, through the art and theology surrounding her, with the Catholic faith. Specializing in building relationship throughout a couple’s engagement through vendor connections and monthly communication, all bathed in a spirit of prayer and intercession, Laura says, “Our postmodern world has lost the human connection. We have become fixated on the "hustle" rather than slowing down to appreciate the little moments in life. This is the message I want to share with the world: that you are enough, that God loves you with an everlasting love and that your story is worth it.”

How I describe my business: Candid, artistic, and free-spirited, and adventurous. Life is an great adventure and we have to be bold enough to step in faith to trust the journey God has given us. As a documentary photographer and storyteller, I love to travel.

How my faith plays a role in my work: My Catholic faith helps me promote the dignity of the human person with my clients. I love sending them notes, gifts and going the extra mile to make sure they feel loved and appreciated, as I have such a huge honor of documenting their special day. I also know if we are a good fit based on the questionnaires that they fill out during the initial inquiry process. Furthermore, I embarked on the Catholic faith and entered the Church as a result of the time I spent living in a convent in Italy and my friendship with the nuns there. They truly believed in my potentiality and loved me through every step of my messy, faith-filled life.

My coffee order: I love Italian espresso or cappuccino with dairy-free milk, or a matcha green tea latte.

Learn more about Laurentina Photography + Video

 

PHOTOGRAPHY | @love_evermore VIDEO I @youplusmefilms VENUE |@enchantedforestweddings DESIGN + STYLING | @carmennavarrodesigns VINTAGE DECOR + PROPS | @ricketyswank FLORALS | @lovelystemsfloral CAKE + TREATS @irenesdesserttable HAIR + MAKE UP | @bridesamore STATIONERY | @sea.and.sun.calligraphy TUX | @friartux DRESS | @thedresstheory MODELS | @kortnaaayyy + @griffinbrady52

Sea & Sun Calligraphy

Stationery & Hand Lettering; Murrieta, California

Marisol Acosta first picked up a fountain pen in eighth grade, when she began learning the art of calligraphy, and has since continued mastering her craft. Offering bespoke invitation suites, menu and place cards, wedding Scripture verse prints, custom wedding monograms, and canvas art—many inspired by nature—Sea & Sun Calligraphy combines Marisol’s delicate watercolor art with hand-lettering that’s at once timeless and original.

My favorite part of working on weddings: helping my customers express themselves on that special day with our custom designs. It is very special to be part of something so sacred.

I root for: the Dodgers & Lakers since I was born in Los Angeles. I was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys as a young girl, and my husband also loves the same teams I. I’m a lucky girl!

Favorite Saints: As a young girl, I never understood our Catholic devotion to the communion of saints. But as I grew older I was blessed to understand the gift of the saints. I have a devotion to St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Faustina, and St. Catherine of Siena. I developed a special devotion to St. Padre Pio during my breast cancer diagnosis in 2012, which I survived by God's grace. I also love St. Anthony of Padua for his quick and amazing intercession with lost items and St. Francis of Assisi—his life is so inspiring.

Learn more about Sea & Sun Calligraphy

 
StGabriel copy.jpg

Michelle Arnold Paine

Fine Art & Gifts; Perrysburg, Ohio

A former student of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and MFA graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Michelle specializes in commissioned paintings of sacred architecture, using oils or watercolor to commemorate a couple’s wedding church or venue.

Michelle holds a particular fondness for painting Catholic churches--she says, “Couples work so hard to find that perfect place to join their lives together: I enable them to take it home. I love that I am participating in a life event and creating something that will last as an heirloom of that short day.”

Ministries I’m involved in: I’m a participant in my local Catholic mom’s group and the regional leader of Catholic Creatives Michigan.

On my bucket list: exhibiting my paintings in a solo show in a museum, visiting the Gothic Cathedrals of Northern France (Chartres, Reims, etc.), and having a skylight!

Love means: giving with joy.

Learn more about Michelle Arnold Paine

 
JTP_5395.jpg

Juliana Tomlinson Photography

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, available worldwide

While in school for TV and studio journalism, Juliana’s husband gave her a camera as a wedding gift. As she used it for video, she discovered another hobby and gift: photography. Viewing her talent as a means of evangelization, Juliana describes her work as “romantic, joyful, and timeless,” in the hope that her images will allow her couples to frequently recall the events and emotions of their wedding day, “and that will help them to choose one another day after day.”

Favorite saints and devotions: Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and Saint Gerard

I take my coffee: black with sweetener, if I like the coffee bean. Otherwise, pour on a lot of fat-free milk!

Love means: Today more than ever I know love is a choice. Everyday we need to choose to give ourselves to the other, be patient with the other. And in that we need to decide to love even when feelings don’t match up.

Learn more about Juliana Tomlinson Photography

Julie + Tim | Beach-Inspired Wedding

Tim and Julie’s love story is one built on patience, truth, love, and a little Mario Kart.

When they first met, Tim was a fallen-away Catholic who loved to ask questions. Julie was a practicing Catholic who quickly came to love Tim’s fun personality and deep conversation, but was hesitant to take the next step.

They knew the difference in their beliefs would keep them from being “equally yoked” in a possible marriage, but God, in his infinite knowledge, still had a plan.

From the Bride: Tim and I met through Nick, a mutual friend, on February 5, 2016. I was tired that day and almost didn’t go out. But we all met at a local restaurant and spent a good portion of that night talking. Tim asked for my number and if he could call me the next day to hear my testimony. I did not think much about him other than as a nice new friend—after all, he was a fallen-away Catholic, now Protestant, and I was devoutly Catholic.

However, he called me the next day, and we talked for about two hours. A week later, he invited me out to Dunkin Donuts. We met that evening and enjoyed a great conversation about God, our faith, and our interests. Conversation flowed naturally, and he admitted that he would love to date me but did not believe in being unequally yoked, so we left things as friends.

Tim and I became best friends in no time. Sometimes we got together with Nick, and sometimes it was just the two of us playing Mario Kart or coloring and just enjoying each other’s company. I began to feel a tug at my heart that despite Tim’s Protestant faith, I loved his heart for God and his personality. He was very devout in his faith, and I knew he’d make a great Catholic!

In June 2016, I discovered Our Lady of Siluva was a great saint for the reversion of sinners, so I began praying to her and including his reversion in my rosary intentions. Months went by, and I continued praying daily for Tim as we continued our friendship. Over time, he began showing more of a genuine interest in Catholicism and asked me questions about misconceptions that initially had pulled him away. I shared some apologetics books and articles with him, and on January 13, 2017, we started dating.

It was at this time he told me he would like to go to Mass. I continued to pray my rosary and reached out to my priest to pray for Tim at Mass as well. The first few Masses he attended were difficult for him, but he kept feeling pulled back. Months went by and misconception after misconception soon became answered. Tim began to fall more and more in love with the Mass, and around May of that year, he made the decision to attend RCIA.

In June 2017, Tim declared that he felt called to start praying the rosary with me, a year after I began asking for Our Lady of Siluva’s intercession. He continued to dive into learning more about the Church, and he began to fall more in love with the truth of Catholicism every day. By the time he began RCIA, the catechists said that Tim knew so much, he should be on the other side, teaching it!

On September 23, 2017, a few days after my birthday, Tim and I decided to go down to one of our favorite places: Wildwood, New Jersey. Later that evening, Tim had me get in his car and made me close my eyes until we arrived at what I later discovered was Sunset Beach in Cape May. He took my hand and led me to an open patch where two chairs were facing each other.

The sun was setting over the ocean behind us. I sat down and discovered he had brought his guitar, and what followed was a beautiful heartfelt speech of his love for me, combined with all our favorite Christian songs and love songs that reminded us of each other. I was a puddle of tears by the end of the speech, and he got down on one knee, saying jokingly, “Wait, I forgot something!”

He ran off, and came back with my little shih tzu, Ginger, wearing a sign around her neck that said, “Julie, will you marry me?” He got down on one knee again and asked me the question that made me the most joyful girl in the world! We finished the night with an engagement shoot from our talented photographer and (later) DJ of our wedding, Daniel Jeffrey (of Daniel Jeffrey Studios), who had also had taken pictures of the entire proposal in hiding.

Tim and I wanted our faith to be the centerpiece of our wedding day, so the night before our nuptials, we went to adoration together. There were going to be many cultural Catholics and Protestants at our wedding, but we could not imagine our ceremony without a beautiful nuptial Mass focusing on Christ.

Ever since we began praying the rosary together in June 2017, we hadn’t missed a day, so it was very important for us to begin the morning of our wedding day by praying the rosary on the phone together.

Fittingly enough, it was difficult to find a wedding date that worked for our priest, church, and reception, and the one date that was available ended up being June 9, 2018, the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady had heard my intentions back in June 2016, continued to hear our intentions when we began praying together in June 2017, and now she was going to be a part of our wedding day in a way we never could have expected.

Early that morning, we called each other on the phone and prayed our rosary. We also read letters that we had written to each other. Tim’s letter was absolutely one of the sweetest things I  have ever read, and I was grateful I read it before having my makeup done. We hung up and prepared for the next time we would see each other--to become husband and wife.

I could hardly wait to get into my dress and veil, because they were everything I dreamed of. I had always wanted a ballgown, something with a slight poof that would remind me of my days as a little girl, twirling around in princess dresses. Modesty was also incredibly important to me, but I never imagined I would find long sleeves and a modest neckline like I did.

The dress was on clearance from David’s Bridal, and it was simply meant to be. They only had two sizes left, one of them being my size. There was so much gorgeous detail: beading and lace from top to bottom. My mom graciously sewed some additional lace to the back of my dress, as there was a small section that seemed abnormally “bare” compared to the rest of the dress’s modest covering and lace detail.

I slipped into my lace flats, which were the perfect combination of simplicity and daintiness to match my style. Finally, I put on my veil. I loved how traditional it looked; it reminded me of the veil my mom wore on her wedding day. There was just enough detail on the edges, and it was the perfect length for me. Altogether, I truly felt like a princess.  

I chose mixtures of roses and lilies for our flowers. Roses in honor of Mother Mary, and the lilies in honor of my mommom who had passed away thirteen years ago. I was very close to her, and the lilies (in addition to me wearing her watch) were little reminders that she was with me on my special day. I also chose mixtures of creamy whites because white symbolizes purity.

My bridesmaids’ bouquets were just as beautiful: baby’s breath surrounded soft purple and pink roses. They went perfectly with their royal blue dresses. It had been so difficult for me to choose the dresses for my girls. I knew I wanted them all to be the same, but I kept going back and forth on the color. Finally, I came across a royal blue color swatch, and it was so richly blue, it reminded me once again of Mother Mary’s hand in our day. I settled on beautiful, modest dresses from JJ’s House with short sleeves and lace on the top half with a flowy bottom.

We lovingly planned our Mass so it was nothing short of a foretaste of Heaven.

Tim processed down the aisle, followed by our priest and deacon who had been a part of his reversion to the Church. The air was filled with all our favorite hymns including the “Servant Song”, “How Beautiful”, and “I Am the Bread of Life.” I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D”, the melody I had dreamed of walking down the aisle to since I was a little girl.

We had been nervous for our nuptial Mass because of how few guests were practicing Catholics, but the love of God was tangible the entire time. Our priest kindly reminded those who were not Catholic or not practicing to refrain from the Body and Blood of Christ, which helped save us a lot of stress.

It was wonderful having our priest who had been with us from the very beginning of our relationship preside over our wedding Mass, and it was equally as wonderful to have our deacon who was a part of Tim’s RCIA process assist. Our ceremony was not at our parish, but at the church where Tim had been baptized and received Communion before he had fallen away. We did this to bring our spiritual lives together—Tim’s former church and our current priest and deacon—and it was beautiful seeing how this parish had come full circle for Tim.

Nick, who helped Tim and I meet, was our lector, and our two dear friends from RCIA presented the gifts. We chose the “Wedding at Cana” for our Gospel reading because, of course, we had to continue to tie our Blessed Mother into our day! And our priest gave such a wonderful homily on unity and following Christ that I think it was refreshing for all our Protestant friends, many of whom had never been to a Catholic Mass, to hear such a gospel-centered message. We concluded the liturgy by giving flowers to Our Blessed Mother while praying and singing “Ave Maria”. It was a beautiful end to a beautiful Mass.

Our reception was filled with food and dancing. Tim and I created little “Madlibs” from Vistaprint for our guests to give us some “wedding advice,” and we added some of our favorite saint quotes on love and marriage. Our cake was beach-themed, since we both love the beach and that was where Tim proposed. We had graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar for sand, two little beach chairs that read “Mr. and Mrs.,” and a topper that said “God Gave Me You”. Our first dance was “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, another song that reminded us of our relationship.

Our wedding day flew by, like they all do, but I carry the joy with me every single day when I reflect on it.

Like many girls, I had dreamed of this day my entire life. But there were so many things that occupied my mind that felt overwhelming. Our priest once told us that nothing is perfect this side of Heaven. Things can go wrong, people get sick and can't show up, inclement weather happens, or construction can occur on the outside of your church (like in our case!).

However, after stressing over all the details for months on end, I realized how small all these worries really were. The only thing that really matters is the marriage sacrament between you, your husband, and God. The prayers you pray each morning, the sacrifices both of you will make, and the trials both of you will face are so much more important than the flowers, the cake, or any of the other little things that occupy the wedding day.

Reflecting back on our day, we realized that everything we worried about went to the wayside, and the peace of God was with us from start to finish. Everything simply fell into place, and God's hand was in every single aspect.

For us, taking the time to go to adoration the night before and praying novenas, a daily rosary, and other devotionals in preparation for our marriage were astronomically important to developing a sound relationship grounded in Christ. So many people stress about the wedding day but neglect the ever-growing commitment it takes to have a strong, healthy, and holy marriage.

And so, Tim and I can't stress enough the importance of constantly relying on God's graces and keeping Jesus the center of your wedding day, your engagement, and the rest of your marriage. If we could do it all again, we would definitely stress way less about the minor wedding details and fully surrender our trust to God. We would trust that He would make our day grace-filled and beautiful, no matter what happened. And yet, we could not feel more blessed about our day and how grateful we are to live out our sacrament of marriage together.

Photography: Emma Dallman Photography, Spoken Bride Vendor | Church: Saint Matthew Roman Catholic Church | Reception: Presidential Caterers |  Rings: Jared's | Invitations: Vistaprint | Flowers: Kremp's Florist | Dress, Veil & Shoes: David's Bridal | Bridesmaid's Attire: JJ's House | Grooms & Groomsmen Tux: Mens Wearhouse | DJ/Photobooth/Photography: 925 Entertainment; Daniel Jeffrey Studios | Videography: Joyful Films

5 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wants You to Know

EMMA DALLMAN

 

As a wide-eyed, newly engaged young thing, I quickly learned planning a wedding takes a village. Whether you’re planning an extravaganza rivaled only by the likes of Jay Gatsby, or an intimate gathering of close family and friends, you’re going to interview and assemble a team of wedding vendors and trust them to help you execute a life-changing event that is special, memorable, and totally unique to you and your fiancé.

I can’t speak to the inner life of florists, DJs or cake decorators, but after 3 years as a wedding photographer, I do have advice to help set your expectations and have the best possible experience while taking your wedding photos.

Consider the following five points the answers to questions you didn’t think to ask and the solutions to problems you didn’t anticipate--all from the perspective of your friendly neighborhood matrimonial shutterbug!

It's okay to feel awkward.

Occasionally a future bride will admit to me (in hushed and sheepish tones), "We're not very good in front of a camera," or "My fiancé is kind of uncomfortable having his picture taken."

First of all, this is super normal! More likely than not, you and your fiancé are not fashion models. Maybe your last experience taking professional photos was during your senior year of high school. An experienced and talented photographer knows how to make you comfortable in front of the camera.

Before every shoot, I come armed with prompts, stories, games, and suggestions to help turn your focus off of me and back onto each other. When you and your fiancé are interacting more genuinely, I'm able to capture what's authentically between you, rather than posing you in a way that's artificial. My favorite thing to hear at the end of a portrait shoot is, ”Oh, that was actually fun!” or, "That was easier than I expected!”

 If you’re worried being trailed by a stranger loaded down with loud and obtrusive camera gear is going to make you nervous on your wedding day, try to book an engagement session with your wedding photographer. Couples who book me for engagement shoots before their wedding day consistently tell me it makes a huge difference in their comfort level. I'm always able to help a willing, cooperative couple look their best in photos, so if you're feeling apprehensive, try not to stress! 

Our insight might be valuable to you.

Photographers and videographers are the two wedding vendors whose job is to follow brides and grooms around All. Day. Long.  From the early morning makeup session to the last guest who won't get off the dance floor, we ride the wedding-day roller coaster with our clients in a way a cake decorator or a calligrapher doesn't. All that to say, we've been around the wedding world, we've seen some things, and we've got some wisdom to share!

I always tell my brides I'm willing to offer as much or little input on timeline planning as they might want. Assuming you have a comfortable, communicative relationship with your photographer, you should feel free to reach out with questions about timing, group dynamics, lighting, and more. You may not realize it, but in your photographer you have an expert wedding resource available to you.

Prioritize the important shots.

Look into the future for a moment to a point in time after  your wedding day: What kind of photos will you want to frame and hang in your new home? What kind of photos will you want to give as gifts to family members? What kind of photos will you use as your first Christmas card? This could vary, but for most couples this will mean portraits of the bride and groom together, along with family portraits.  

When planning your wedding timeline, try to take this into account. Don't allow your poor photographer only 15 minutes out of your wedding timeline to try and snap the most important  photos of the day! I encourage brides to allow at least 30 minutes for family portraits (depending how large your family is), and at least 45 minutes to get some classic and creative shots of the newly married couple alone. So when laying out the events of your day, make sure to allow adequate room for what’s most important to you!

Don't rule out a First Look.

Most brides I work with will initially tell me that they don't want a "first look." They picture a classic scenario of locking eyes down the aisle of a church with their beloved, seeing his reaction to all their bridal glory.

I understand how special and crucial that moment is. Believe it or not, doing a first look may actually allow you to enjoy your wedding day more!

Couples who do a first look still get photos of that awesome, emotional moment when the groom takes in his bride’s beauty for the first time. They get to react with a little more privacy and authenticity, which can be nice if one or both of them is on the shy side.

But best of all,these couples get to head to their cocktail hour and their reception a lot sooner. If you finish those important portraits before your ceremony, then you're free enjoy your guests, relax, and be a part of your own party!

I strongly recommend a first look to couples having an evening or sunset wedding, and to anyone who feels a little conspicuous knowing a whole church full of people is hoping to see them cry.

It's not about the photos!

After all that talk about timing, cocktail hours, and feeling awkward, the most important  thing your wedding photographer wants you to know is that it's not about the photos! Even as a Catholic bride, it can be easy focus on the details you've worked so hard to put together; to inadvertently begin thinking the cake, the flowers, the dress and the photos are what’s making your day special.

In reality, the inverse is true: the beautiful, important, sacramental commitment you make as a couple turns an ordinary cake into a cake that will forever be special to you. It makes the flowers you choose special, the dress you wear special, and every other aspect of your day. In the end, your photos will be special because they'll help you remember what actually happened on your wedding day--even if the weather was bad, your cake turned out funny, or the best man lost his tie.

 As you research, plan, and book professionals to help your wedding day take shape, don’t be afraid to ask for their insight and advice. Most wedding vendors--especially Catholic ones!--get into this business because they’re romantics at heart, because they love beauty, and because they believe in the importance of marriage. Most likely, they’ll be ready and willing to help you in any way they can. I hope this insight gave you the confidence to embrace your wedding photos in a new way, and helped supply some ready-made answers to your photography questions!


Copy of Contibutor headshot MEDIUM 200px.png

About the Author: Emma Dallman, a Spoken Bride Vendor, is a wedding and portrait photographer serving the East Coast and the world beyond. She lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband Mark and her puppy Hildy. The things that make her happiest include slow weekend mornings, live music, Mexican food and Netflix comedy specials. She is endlessly fascinated by the uniqueness and the beauty of every person she photographs.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM