Spoken Bride Vendors | Spotlight, Vol. 6

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:


Photography: Ashley Cook Photography

Photography: Ashley Cook Photography

Katie Michelle Design

Serves clients nationwide and international

Katie Ralls has always felt an inherent need to be creative. With a mind and heart always yearning for her next creative outlet, she finds inspiration everywhere she goes—from a breathtaking view in nature to a unique design in a restaurant. Calligraphy once began as a hobby, but quickly grew into a professional career. Now, she incorporates watercolor and digital design into her wedding lettering and design. “I love to be a part of a community that values the sacrament of marriage and inspires couples, while also helping brides and grooms create a beautiful day!”

What are three things on your bucket list?: Visiting Greece and Croatia, skydiving, and restoring a Historic Building

What are your favorite books, movies, and music?: Two of my favorite books are Present over Perfect and Big Magic. I generally read non-fiction but sometimes I like a good fiction book on a vacation. It seems like good movies are getting harder and harder to come by. I love watching old black and white classics, especially with Audrey Hepburn. I am always up for a good rom-com or an action/mystery movie. I listen to a little bit of anything and everything. Except death metal and super dirty rap.

Do you cheer for any professional sports teams?: Every spring I love cheering for my alma mater Oregon State University, in Beaver Baseball. And also watching our hometown hero Jacoby Ellsbury play for the Yankees.

Learn more about Katie Michelle Designs

 

31 Four Artisan Jewelry

Ships nationwide and international

Although husband and wife Angie and Jesse Ross come from a family of jewelers, their desire to create custom jewelry is the fruit of a Marian consecration. The symbolism, care and intention of their design and creation process yields one-of-a-kind pieces which not only capture the unique love between a bride and a groom, but also make visible the essence of God’s love and salvation. “Jewelry is used throughout scripture, including in Exodus 31:4 (our namesake) and we love creating one-of-a-kind pieces that tell the stories of our faith using precious metals and gemstones.”

What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?: After the ceremony (before all the rush of photos and the reception), we went over to a nearby lake. We looked at each other and just started laughing. It was such a crazy journey getting to the wedding (this was back in the day before Pinterest and we did everything ourselves armed only with a Martha Stewart wedding book!). We were so elated to be married but also couldn't believe it. After all the effort to create this perfect day, the only thing that mattered was that we were married.

What is your favorite place you have traveled?: Italy & Orkney Islands in Scotland

What does love mean?: Love is the purpose of life--it's why we were made, man and woman. Love means working for the good of the other.

Learn more about 31 Four Artisan Jewelry

 

Blithe and Blue Design

Washington, DC and surrounding areas

In an effort to make beautiful stationary, lettering, and design more affordable for brides and through her desire to work from home while caring for her two children, Emily Tate founded Blithe and Blue Design. Her initial mission has become the core of her professional inspiration and value. “I love being able to work with excited brides and grooms to help lessen the burden of planning a wedding. Working with young couples is a constant reminder of Christ's love, and of the love I have for my own husband!”

What are your favorite books, movies and music?: My favorite book is The Privilege of Being Woman by Alice von Hildebrand. My favorite novel is Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. I love any music by Taylor Swift, and my favorite movie ever is Princess Diaries!

How do you take your coffee?: I'm not a coffee girl! Give me chocolate milk any day.

What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?: My favorite moment at my wedding (besides walking down the aisle to my husband...and my sobbing sisters!) was looking around at our reception and having every single person that I love in this world all in one room. I doubt I will ever get that feeling again, and it was definitely one of the greatest moments of my life!

Learn more about Blithe and Blue Design

 

Divinely Designed Events

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Elizabeth Felsheim’s love for weddings is rooted in her childhood memories and long-standing passion. She recalls walking down the aisle of the cathedral with a bouquet in hand, pretending to be a bride. As a young adult, she pursued a degree in Meeting and Event Management, gained professional experience in hospitality and eventually started her own wedding planning company when she was “called to share my joy and love of Catholic wedding planning with others.”

What are your favorite saints or devotions?: St. Thérèse is my girl! I am forever inspired by her childlike faith, simplicity, and her “little way” centered in love.

What are three things on your bucket list?: Make a pilgrimage to Lisieux, France; visit all 50 States (24 to go!); become a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP)

What is your favorite food?: Tacos with Margaritas

Learn more about Divinely Designed Events

 

Infertility is More Than Physical. Research-Based Advice for Engaged + Newlywed Couples.

In the heady first days of engagement and marriage, it’s hard to imagine the possibility of anything but lifelong joy.

Though the head knows marriage calls spouses to suffering and purification, the heart is frequently focused only on the blissful--and in many ways, rightly so.

Where, then, does that leave you and your spouse the first time you face a major cross or struggle? How can we live in the tension of suffering and hope while seeking to support and understand one another?

Marc Sherman and his wife Erin struggled to conceive for nearly a decade after their wedding day. With all glory to God, they are now parents, yet their personal journey illuminated a deep need: while science and medicine offer a wealth of physical support, where were emotional and psychological resources for spouses experiencing infertility?

Marc and Erin set out to meet this need, working with research psychologists to produce qualitative and quantitative research pertaining to husbands and wives’ individual and interpersonal experiences of infertility. Their business, Organic Conceptions, was founded in 2015, offering online education designed to develop couples’ emotional awareness, communication, healthy thought patterns, and understanding of the holistic relationship between mind and body. 

Whether infertility is or is not a part of your current season, the principles of communication and understanding are relevant to all couples. Marc chatted with us to share his advice and perspective for spouses-to-be and newlyweds.


Organic Conceptions is rooted in you and your wife's personal journey with infertility. Can you share a bit of your story, and how your struggles impacted your marriage and spiritual lives (for better and for worse)?

We often see life evolving and sequencing in a particular way, and “struggle” is such an understatement in terms of what’s happening behind the scenes. Within just several months, that anxiety, worry, and concern over did we wait too long? And what’s wrong with my body? Becomes so emotionally difficult.

For my wife and I, after many, many years struggling, we were prepared to adopt and then conceived naturally--not once, but on two occasions. When you’re struggling, these are the most frustrating stories to hear. Friends and family try to encourage you, but it’s such a sensitive space. 

After living this twice, it was very clear that things were different in each of our experiences. For my wife, it changed her perception of herself, her body, our relationships, past decisions leading to this journey...that led to the start of Organic Conceptions. We hired research psychologist Dr. Kate Webster to look into the patterns that emerge in [couples’ experiences of] infertility. From a marriage perspective, this is potentially one of the first major [challenges] you face as a couple. Everything you do is called into question, including your faith.

Dr. Webster’s research ultimately showed every couple’s story would map to the same set of emotional transitions through grief, pain, and worry. These emotions are validated through the research, and then we can start to empower and support couples to stay married and close through these difficulties. 

There is a way in which a woman experiences this differently than her husband. We tell our couples, neither is right nor wrong. It’s about emotionally coming closer together and leaning on each other. Like any issue in a marriage, there’s middle ground that, through this research, can bring them to that place. Couples begin understanding how to engage and stay connected in the light of uncertainty--and there are other instances of pain and uncertainty in marriage [in addition to infertility; this provides a solid foundation for future difficulties.

For recently married couples bearing this cross of infertility, what practical advice you can share?

I want these couples to know: your emotional health and well-being matters. Research speaks to what happens in the month-to-month devastation of hope to despair.

At the highest level, our emotional and reproductive health aren’t entirely separate systems. We are physical, emotional, and spiritual beings.

[I encourage couples to not be] be too quick to jump only to fixing the physical and seeking answers; give meaning to emotional processing and experiences, as well.

Individually, couples need to make sense of this journey, but it does need to be entered into together. At the root, it’s about building a marriage, family, and life.

JacoleEngagement-0901.jpg

What about engaged couples? How can they work through fears or preexisting fertility issues in a productive way? 

Erin and I often say, Wouldn’t it be great if someone got to us sooner and made us feel we matter as individuals and as a couple; that our faith matters and that [conception] is more than a to-do list item? This is a wonderful time in couples’ lives, and for some it might not go exactly as planned--wouldn’t it be great if a couple actually puts on the table early on, asking, if this doesn’t go as planned, what options or treatments are we open to as alternatives? What a healthy conversation to talk about the timing and methods you each are open to. It’s a conversation that needs to happen earlier on than it typically does.

Marriages are damaged by the journey, not the outcome.

If a couple’s journey wasn’t made in a connected, intimate way while making decisions together throughout an infertility experience, it can carry over into family life.

The ache for children and family is a natural and human desire. How can Catholic couples respectfully, lovingly answer friends and family who suggest they pursue infertility treatment options not in line with the Catholic faith?

I suggest couples focus on connecting emotionally, share their thoughts as a unit, and remember their faith. IVF and fertility treatments emphasizes the physical, treating it as a problem to be solved, and leaves out the emotional and spiritual pieces [of who we are]--we need to make room for all three.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many NaPro doctors about getting to the root of what the body is telling us: are we brave enough to listen to what our bodies are saying? In my mind, these are the most logical first steps: learning and having confidence in our bodies. Rather than leaping over and dismissing it, let’s pay attention to it. Couples can use this language of the body and the logic of fertility care in their conversations.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Her Witness Photography

An exclusive offer for Spoken Bride readers

If and when you feel called to sign up for Organic Conceptions’ programs, fill in “Spoken Bride” at checkout in response to “How did you hear about the program?” to receive the program workbook and journal for free. Questions may be directed to Organic Conceptions.

Spoken Bride Vendors | Spotlight, Vol. 5

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 (click to jump):


Karly Jo Photography

Midwest Region

Karly Schafer grew up watching her father photograph as a hobby. She first learned film photography from him and it quickly developed into a hobby of her own. Eventually, she attended photography school and transitioned into a new career as a wedding photographer. Karly Jo Photography has been capturing significant moments between brides and grooms for eleven years. “I always try to imagine myself at the feast of Cana. I imagine myself as a servent listening to Mary say, ‘Do as he tells you.’”

What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?: Sitting at the head table, sipping wine feeling so happy and content as I looked at all of my best friends and family there with me in celebration.

What ministries are you involved in?: Raising 4 children and volunteering at their Catholic School.

What is your favorite place you have traveled?: I've been so lucky to travel and really try to take as many trips as possible. As a child we traveled with our horses around the country and Canada. As a single person, I've traveled to Europe a few times and lived in Italy as I worked as a nanny. Now as a mother, I enjoy traveling with my kids but it's different. We have been to Mexico twice with them and it is probably our favorite place to go. I also love traveling in Wisconsin... Door County and the Northwoods have my heart.

Learn more about Karly Jo Photography

 
IMG_1492.jpg

Kassondra Design

Lincoln/Omaha, Nebraska and surrounding areas

Kassie Christensen has a longstanding professional background in graphic design and has more recently included photography into her business platform. From collaborating with clients to owning her own business, her work is her passion, a gift from God and a personal source of energy and joy. “I also love becoming friends with the couple and I strive to make their day less stressful and more joyful. Capturing their memories is so special for me!”

What are your favorite saints or devotions?: I love St. Therese and her simple ways. I also love St. Tarcisius and his love for the Eucharist. St. Anthony is my best friend and St. John Paul the II, well, need I say more?! I could go on all day because I have a lot of favorite saints!

What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?: I loved after communion while my groom and I were kneeling, our cantor sang "How Beautiful" and it really just hit me. The sacrament, the gift Christ gave us, how we are called to love like Him. Our wedding day was so full of love and joy and family.

Do you root for any professional sports teams?: I am a HUGE Kansas Jayhawks basketball fan. My Grandpa worked there and my grandma has season tickets, and my whole family loves it.

Learn more about Kassondra Design

 

Paint Art Live

Gulf Coast counties and available for travel nationwide

Artist Jessa Pippin has always been called to create through her artistic gifts. As a Catholic artist, she recognizes every stroke of her paintbrush is an opportunity for intentional devotion and prayer. Jessa brings this prayers approach to her work when she collaborates with brides and grooms on their wedding day, “Not only am I creating a painting for these new couples, but I am devoting a prayer in every stroke as I create it for them. I pray for their future and for their vows and other special intentions they may ask of me when we first have a consultation.”

What are three things on your bucket list?: I would like walk at least the last 100 miles of the Camino de Santiago, open my own art studio and have a second baby!

What is your favorite place you have traveled?: Key West Florida. The sunsets were incredible!

What does love mean?: Love is an unconditional devotion above riches and poverty and sickness and health. It is absolute and endless and knows no bounds.

Learn more about Paint Art Live

 

The Little Flower Company

Nebraska, Southern South Dakota, Western Iowa, and Northern Kansas

Katrina Polk has built her business around her Catholic faith and flowers. Though a small business, she aspires to make a big impact through the beautiful presentation of flowers on a wedding day, especially through the bridal bouquet. She fulfills her professional calling to floral design with passion, joy, and gratitude, “When I am setting up the day of a Catholic wedding I love spending time in the church & thanking God for my job. I truly love what I do & none of this would be possible without Him.”

What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?: My favorite moment was seeing my husband for the first time while walking down the aisle. All the craziness of the day just melted away. I also enjoyed when the photographer pulled my husband and I away from everyone at the reception to take sunset pictures. It was nice to take a step away & enjoy each other in that moment!

What are your favorite books, movies, or music?: The Notebook because it's so stinking cute and still makes me cry. I am not too picky with movies and music, I just don't care for horror movies or country music.

How do you take your coffee?: Black or iced with a little soy milk.

Learn more about The Little Flower Company

 

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