Anna + Greg | Southern Vintage Hometown Wedding

From the Photographer: Anna Paige is a sweet, caring Southern lady from Arkansas, and Greg is a kind man who hails from way up north in Wisconsin! The two met while serving with  Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

From the Bride: Greg and I met during a year of service with Amate House through the Archdiocese of Chicago. Greg lived in a community of volunteers on the north side of Chicago, and I lived on the south side, but we would see each other during weekly volunteer meetings and other social gatherings. 

From the Groom: Anna Paige and I were volunteers in the same AmeriCorps program. We first met at a block party where I tried really hard to be cool and interesting while I “chatted her up.”

Bride:One of my first memories with Greg happened over Labor Day weekend. Our community of volunteers from Amate House met up for the jazz festival in Millennium Park and afterwards planned to watch the fireworks on Navy Pier. On the way to the pier we “accidentally” got separated from the rest of the group and ended up watching the fireworks alone together from the shoreline. That whole year was full of special moments of excitement and growth together.  We both knew from early on that we had found the person we wanted to spend our lives with.

Greg and I would go to Mass together almost every weekend in Chicago. There are so many beautiful churches to choose from, and it was always the highlight of my week. From Old St. Pat’s to St. Clement to St. Sabina, there were many great communities to worship with. Those Sunday mornings together really solidified our relationship, and Mass has remained an important part of our week. 

After our year of service ended, Greg and I went back to our home states. I got a job back in Arkansas, and he planned to move back to Wisconsin. 

However, that summer Greg sacrificed his plans of moving to Milwaukee to move to Arkansas to be closer to me. His selflessness has always been so amazing to me. He is accepting, encouraging, and loving. Greg always says, “You get to be the face of Christ to others.” I am thankful for his wisdom.

After a year of trying out new jobs and figuring out our career paths, Greg proposed to me. He asked me to go to a state park one Saturday morning, which was a totally normal thing for us to do. We walked around a lake in the park, and I noticed that Greg’s hands were ice cold despite the summer heat. I didn’t know that his hands were cold from nerves. At a certain point on the path, Greg bent down to look at a “cool rock,” and when he turned around he had the ring in his hands. It was simple and sweet, and I said yes!

We decided to get married in the small church where I grew up in the Arkansas delta. It is the same church where my sister, brother, and grandparents married, so it made the day even more special. 

We felt so loved on our wedding day. So many of our family and friends from all over the country joined us for the ceremony. Greg’s family from Wisconsin, our friends from our year in Chicago, and my friends and family journeyed to my little hometown to celebrate with us. 

The most important part of our wedding was that God would be honored through our vows and through the intimate gathering of our family and friends in his church. We sang “Lord of all Hopefulness” during the ceremony, and when the sound of the congregation filled the church I felt a profound peace. 

Groom: Our life together is pure wonderment. She’s my best friend and partner-in-crime through thick and thin.

From the Photographer: The wedding was on a perfect fall day. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church is the bride's home parish where her family members have been united in marriage for years, so it was only fitting that her and Greg chose to be married there as well. 

The church is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has old, squeaky floors that have been worn by decades of priests’ and parishioners’ prayers. The stained glass windows let in lovely light in the afternoon. The altar is center-stage once 5 PM hits, surrounded by a stunning sanctuary for Christ with beautiful representations of the Holy Family. 

Greg and Anna Paige both wanted to honor their Catholic faith, choosing a full Mass, with organ and violin accompaniment. Guests were close family and friends, while more friends awaited them at their reception due to the occupancy limits of the church. 

The bride's gown was purchased just around the corner from the church at Low's. It had beautiful ivory lace with beading throughout. The groom chose a simple black suit, allowing full attention to be on his precious bride.

What struck me throughout the entire wedding process with Greg and Anna Paige was how kind and sincere they both are. When anyone spoke to them, they listened with their full attention. While this may be part of their personality, some of this must come from their Catholic faith. 

We also saw how valued they are by their friends and family. People were thrilled to see them wed and to celebrate this union with them! The entire process was very God-honoring, beautiful,  and joyfully celebratory.

Photography: McDuff Photography | Church: St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Brinkley, Arkansas | Reception: Brinkley Convention Center| Dress: Low's Bridal

Meg + Tim | Vintage Italian-Inspired Wedding

Meg and Tim deeply desired that their wedding be a witness to the beauty of the sacrament and of their beloved Catholic faith. Incorporating their love for the Latin Mass into the Novus Ordo liturgy, they gave their guests an experience of grace, tradition, and God’s enduring love.

Their love story is one of online dating, adventure, and homemade limoncello.

From the Bride: Tim and I met on Catholic Match in late 2014, but we didn't meet in person until June 2015. We finally stood face to face on a softball field a few days before I left for a new adventure in Italy and Tim left for a camping trip in Quetico, Canada. But we didn’t know the biggest adventure of our lives was around the corner.

After Tim survived a canoe capsizing in Canadian waters (rough stuff), and I endured Italian wine and culture (even rougher), we returned to the U.S. and began forming a friendship founded upon a mutual love of good music, friendly sports competition, and our Catholic faith.

Our devotion to Our Lady, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. John Paul the Great have been at the core of our relationship even into marriage. We just welcomed our first child, a daughter, on November 11 of last year. We named her Teresa "Tessa" Rose after the Little Flower.

Tim and I knew from the beginning that we wanted our wedding day to be about Christ and his Mother, our families, and being a beautiful witness for the Catholic faith. We had grown in our faith life separately and together, but we were excited to share the Father's love with our guests as well.

I grew up attending the Latin Mass, and knew I wanted our nuptial Mass to reflect many of the traditions from the Tridentine Mass. So we planned a Latin Novus Ordo Mass that was a beautiful mix of old and new traditions.

I will never forget what our priest, Father Nathan Caswell, said during his homily: “You don't know the beauty and mystery of the good times and the hard times that await.” It made me all the more excited for the vows we would be exchanging just moments later.

It was really important to us to include Psalm 34, "I will bless the Lord at all times" into the liturgy. It echoes how we want to live our marriage; through the good and the bad, we will bless the Lord. The gospel reading was equally important because we saw our nuptial Mass as an opportunity to evangelize. We chose John 5:12-16 to share Christ's message:

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”

The aesthetic of our wedding was meant to echo a vintage, summertime Italian day. We wanted it to be reminiscent of the summer Tim and I met. Only a few days after our meeting, we continued communicating while I was in Italy, a beautiful, romantic country where I couldn't help but think that Tim and I had a bright future together.

In keeping with our vintage theme, my dress had short sleeves, an ivory hue, delicate details, and many buttons. My shoes were a vintage heel and were my "something blue." My necklace had a gold chain that held an aquamarine heart and was my “something borrowed.” Just two months after they began dating, my dad had given it to my mom, which is also when they were engaged! More than thirty years later, they are still going strong.

As I was getting ready the morning of the wedding, I knew I'd have trouble bending down in my form-flattering dress to strap my shoes, but my younger brother was at the ready. He helped me strap them in a loving, organic moment that I will remember forever. His simple act of service started the day out right.

Our reception was held at the Old Towne Hall in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It was the place I had envisioned hosting a wedding reception at ever since I had been there for a swing dancing social years earlier. It was quaint and vintage-y in so many ways. The tin, scalloped ceiling especially was our favorite element.

To further include the Italian theme and my Italian heritage, Tim and I made our own limoncello, an Italian liqueur made from lemons, vodka, and sugar, as favors for our guests. I designed the label and wrote out tags that read "Grazie!" That’s Italian for "thank you!"

A few close family members brought homemade desserts to share as well, which added a special touch. A family favorite is “baklawa” (similar to the Greek dessert baklava). My husband has Iraqi roots, and this was a special nod to his mother's side of the family.

But perhaps the greatest surprise of the day was my two sisters' performance of the "Sisters" skit from White Christmas. They really kicked off the reception with a bang. I had no idea it was coming, and I laughed and laughed, all while singing along with them. My bouquet landing on one of the chandeliers during the toss is probably the second biggest surprise of the day--if not the most embarrassing! We still laugh about it!

In the days, and especially the night, before the wedding, I was praying for peace and to be fully present during my wedding day. I woke up on June 10 and felt absolutely at peace. I experienced incredible joy the whole day, and I knew my prayer had been answered by the Holy Spirit. Ask, and you shall receive.

I felt the closest I have ever felt to our Lord as I knelt with my husband in the sanctuary. Our guests were so thoughtful, and their support was so important to us on that day, but it seemed like everything melted away. In that moment, it was just God, Tim, and I on the altar.



Photography: Kyle and Heidi Photography | Church: St. Peter Catholic Church - Volo, IL | Reception Venue: Old Towne Hall, Crystal Lake, IL | Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Meg Em | Wedding Cake: Konrad's Bakery | Bridesmaids' Dresses - JJ's House | Groomsmen Attire - Perry Ellis | Reception Music - Music That Moves | Wedding bands - Zales | Engagement ring: Groom's mother | Hair: Bella Vita Salon | Flowers - Debbie Strand Designs | Bride's Dress/Veil: David's Bridal | Invitations: Vistaprint


Kimber + Stephen | Vintage American Baseball Wedding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Your Wedding Style + Planning Your Liturgy: A Look Back on Spoken Bride Weddings

Are you recently engaged and just beginning to identify your wedding aesthetic? Did you know Spoken Bride weddings are indexed by color, style, and state?

Click the tags at the bottom of each wedding feature to see similar celebrations. It’s our honor to be invited into the unique, singular beauty of each of our couples’ special days and to share the distinctively Catholic elements that elevate their wedding days and point their guests’ senses heavenward.

Here, a collection of our past features. For our new brides, we hope they help you find your own style and introduce you to some of our incredible couples whom you might not have encountered before. For longtime readers, enjoy this look through the archives! Wherever you’re coming from we desire above all that like us, you’ll take in these stories and step back with nothing but awe, reverence, and gratitude for the Father’s fathomless love for his children.

Cultural traditions

Maria and Santi’s Buenos Aires wedding and bilingual nuptial Mass | Edith and Bomani’s Kenyan Catholic wedding | Elisabeth and Salvador’s El Salvadorian wedding | Lisa and Steve’s elegant resort wedding ,celebrating the bride’s Polish heritage

For the classic bride

Blair and Jordan’s fireside black-tie wedding | Jamie and Seth’s Baltimore wedding with astronomy-inspired details, designed by the bride | Sarah and Christopher’s Kate Spade-inspired wedding | Maggie and Ryan’s walk from literal blindness to true seeing, and their vineyard brunch wedding

Holiday weddings

Emily and Daniël’s Praise and Worship-filled Christmas season wedding | Christina and Kristian’s Austin wedding, with holiday colors and Christmas hymns | Genevieve and Dalton’s festive celebration at Rock ‘N Bowl | Caroline and Matt’s elegant cathedral wedding, rich with family heritage | Kaitlyn and John’s New Year’s wedding in blue, gold, and white | Becca and Phil’s Christmas picnic wedding

For the vintage-lover

Emma and Mark’s 1920s-inspired Arkansas wedding | Ada and Greg’s Texas celebration with her grandmother’s dress and other family heirlooms

Regional-inspired weddings

Fatima and John’s Tuscan-inspired celebration and Italian honeymoon | Brooke and Tim’s taste of Southern Virginia hospitality | Emily and Bradley’s & Katherine and Jonathan’s Louisiana weddings, inspired by French and New Orleans traditions | Erin and Andrew’s relationship guided by Our Lady of Perpetual Help, their Notre Dame Basilica wedding and reception football game | Cynthia and Chad’s Midwestern traditions and the beautiful significance of the Holy Land in their relationship | Sarah and Joseph’s Chesapeake Bay wedding with preppy and nautical details

For the rustic bride

Emily and Ben’s elegant evening on 40 acres of Nashville farmland | Chloe and Joseph’s winter farmhouse weddings and tips for spending as much of your wedding day together as possible | Jamaila and Andy’s NYC courtship and wedding filled with elements from nature

Ever ancient, ever new: unique Catholic devotions

Joan and Matt’s summer wedding, with original music composed by the bride | Kelsey and Jacob’s personal marriage prayer, and tips for writing your own | Susanna and Brad’s vineyard-inspired wedding and reflections on marriage, the priesthood, and religious life | Beth Anne and Tom’s beautiful alternative to a bouquet and garter toss | Robyn and Greg’s Divine Mercy weekend wedding and the role of this devotion in their relationship | Janae and Ryan’s foot-washing during their first look | Rosanna and Matthew’s Norbertine liturgy in English and Latin | Erica and Chris’s decision to say their vows over a crucifix | Laura and Alexandre’s fully sung Mass at a California mission | Bridget and David’s hometown Mass and decision to memorize their vows

For the DIY bride

Angela and Lucas’s farmhouse-chic Indiana wedding | Katherine and Ian’s handmade floral arrangements and reception catered by family | Amy and Jake’s Colorado Springs celebration with hand-lettered details, homemade centerpieces, and a custom crossword

City weddings

Anna and Mike’s Minneapolis nuptials | Maggie and Eric’s downtown Denver wedding | Chelsy and Ben’s portraits at the Washington, D.C. monuments during the Cherry Blossom Festival | Chelsea and Nick’s Pittsburgh black-tie evening

For the boho bride

Kelly and Peter’s high school sweethearts story and outdoor California reception | Heather and Jude’s transatlantic romance and bayside wedding day

Military weddings

Alana and Stephen’s conversion story and Air Force wedding | Hannah and Jared’s sophisticated Pittsburgh wedding, with the groom in Captain’s dress

Special circumstances and non-Roman rites

Andrea and David’s convalidation ceremony and powerful conversion story | Julia and Francis’s Byzantine liturgy | Dominika and Joseph’s & Gabrielle and Vince’s Ordinariate weddings | Victoria and David’s journey of discernment and conversion | Jenna and Michael’s Italian family-style wedding | Heather and Matthew’s witness to divine love’s healing power and their family-centered wedding with their daughters | Ashley and Ashbee’s black and white WVU wedding and advice for accommodating non-Catholic guests

For the romantic bride

Julie and Rudy’s elegant blush wedding and a love story that began in Fatima | Katherine and Dominic’s hometown wedding and rainy night reception | Elise and Hunter’s long-awaited celebration in the Maryland countryside

Feeling a call to share your proposal or wedding day with our community? Submission info can be found here.

Images by Spoken Bride Vendor Horn Photography & Design, seen in Melissa + Antonio | Springtime Ballroom Wedding

Victoria + David | Antique Glamour Wedding & a Conversion Story.

Victoria and David were a 100% match for religious values on an online dating site. And yet, she was a faithful Catholic who worked for the Church and had spent many years discerning religious life, while he was the minister of a Non-Denominational Evangelical community. Though each wondered if their differences could lead to a successful relationship, they were intrigued by their many similarities, and decided to at least go on a date.

“I thought it would be fascinating to talk about Jesus with a devout, joyful Protestant minister,” says Victoria. “I was right! We had incredible conversations, deep and very spiritually energizing, as one date led to another and another. David's theology seemed very close to Catholicism, and I was surprised how his own study and prayer had led him away from certain doctrines typically associated with Protestantism.

Hesitation took over, however, as their theological differences posed obvious barriers that would make marriage problematic. Victoria and David broke up as the difficulty of how they’d raise future children became increasingly evident.

“We both felt like martyrs,” Victoria says, “laying our growing love for each other at the Lord’s feet in order to be faithful to him.”

She continued to marvel, though, at how wonderfully paired they seemed in every other way. The Lord wasn’t finished working in their relationship.

From the Bride: A short time after our breakup, I contacted David with a high stakes invitation that seemed doomed to fail: perhaps we could date if David earnestly explored the possibility of becoming Catholic.

At first, David rejected the offer as impossible, but later agreed, believing that by seeking the truth we would land on the same page (he was convinced I would become Protestant). He also asked that I pray to see the beauty in Protestant communities. Over the next weeks and months, God did bring us to the same page, and answered both of our prayers!

David’s prayer and study, particularly of the Catechism and the Church Fathers, led him to the decision to enter full communion with the Catholic Church. God had also brought me to see beautiful workings of the Holy Spirit in Protestant communities, and to long even more for the unity of the Church.

We see our marriage as a sort of microcosm of the call to Christian unity. Our relationship is a source of great joy and growth as we are strengthened by the gifts we each bring.

Before meeting, John 17 was a favorite Scripture passage of each of us individually. It contains Christ's prayer to the Father for the unity of all who believe in him: “...that they may be brought to perfection as one…” This passage now has a double meaning for us in marriage as we allow the grace of Christ to make us more perfectly one, as husband and wife. We chose this passage the Gospel reading at our Mass, and David had ut sint consummati in unum engraved in his wedding ring.

David and I are both musicians, so the Nuptial Mass music was a high priority for us. We hired a professional choir and a few instrumentalists. Since David is not accustomed to Latin, we opted to seek out beautiful English settings and pieces. We chose a mixture of motets (including a beautiful Magnificat by Chris Mueller), the Heritage Mass sung in parts, a polyphonic introit, alleluia, and communion antiphon, and several congregational hymns. It turned out gloriously! David and I also made our vows over a crucifix that now hangs in our home.

We’d agreed early in our relationship to save our first kiss on the lips for our wedding day. This decision was always left open to discussion and revisiting if needed, but we continued to discern that we wanted to wait. To be clear, it’s not something we think is necessary for all couples, but it was something we prayerfully determined. Both of us had past relationships in which kissing was permitted, but we now desired to keep this special level of intimacy reserved for a lifelong commitment. We had a very affectionate relationship otherwise, and most people didn’t know this was a choice we had made.

Since some close friends were unable to attend the wedding, we decided to keep our bridal party simple, with one Matron of Honor (my sister) and one Best Man (David's brother). Our beloved nieces and nephews were the flower girls and ring bearers, and one nephew was an altar server.

We wanted the style of the wedding to be floral and antique-inspired, with burgundy, dusty rose, ivory, deep greens, and antique gold. The men’s vests and bow ties were burgundy, with David’s being champagne. My sister wore burgundy and gold.

As for my dress, I’d originally bought a more vintage-looking dress that needed substantial lace additions, but at the last minute, the wrong lace came in and I had to get a back-up dress! My second option was more of a princess style, which I had first avoided, but I couldn’t shake how beautiful I felt in it. By a providential turn of events, I was able to return the first dress and purchase the other for a discounted sample price. It turned out to be lovely and matched our flower girl dresses beautifully.

It was important to us that we honor my mother at the wedding, who passed away 9 years ago. I had a 10th anniversary ring of hers (from the year I was born) made into a cross necklace and into my wedding band. For the bridal procession my uncle (my mom’s brother) processed in holding a rose to represent my mother. At the reception, we also had an “in loving memory” table, and David and I sang a duet in her honor.  

We wanted a reception venue with lots of light that was big enough for a larger number of guests. We found a lovely one, where the owner even had a small chapel on the premises with a crucifix and stained glass window of the Wedding at Cana. For our first dance, we had a friend choreograph a waltz to “Clair de Lune.” Other fun details included a singing flash mob David planned with many of his performer friends. It was a medley from Fiddler on the Roof ("Sunrise, Sunset," "Wonder of Wonders," and "To Life L'chaim")! David and his mother also sang Andrea Bocelli's "The Prayer." It was a joyful and entertaining evening.

I look back and reflect on how beautifully marriage is celebrated by the Church, and how even one couple’s marriage is a special blessing to the whole Body of Christ. I was so moved by the way the Church prayed for us in the prayers of our Nuptial Mass, and simply desiring us to be deep vessels to receive all the graces of the sacrament. We were also touched by how our wedding was a source of joy--not only for us but for our friends, family, and even the priests who celebrated the Mass. We now pray for the grace to live our vocation faithfully and grow continually in love for God and one another.

Photography: Stephanie Messick Photography | Church:  Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville, VA | Wedding Reception Venue : Morais Vineyards in Bealeton, VA | Day-of wedding coordinator: MayJune events ; Rings and cross necklace: Yas & Co. Jewelers in Fairfax, VA | Flowers: Bella Floral in Front Royal, VA | Catering: Caroline Street Catering in Fredricksburg, VA | Hair and makeup: Yiselle Santos in Bristow, VA | Cakes: Gateau cakes in Warrenton, VA |  DJ: Voss Weddings | Music Conductor/Organist: James Senson from St. John the Beloved in McLean, VA

Coleen + Matt | Airy Elegance Wedding

Coleen and Matt were friends for a year at Franciscan University before their first date at a coffee shop. After six years of dating that included hours spent at Mass and reading spiritual literature on marriage, Matt invited Coleen on a walk one Sunday morning. On a hilltop, he got down on his knees and asked her to spend forever with him.

From the Photographer: Coleen and Matt’s springtime wedding day was warm and gorgeous, set for three in the afternoon--the hour of mercy--at the Historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

They looked so in love and overjoyed during the Mass! Coleen's brother, who is a priest, was the celebrant and delivered a beautiful homily that left us all wanting to hear more--myself included. The bride and groom welcomed their guests to the reception at Mulberry Art Studios in downtown Lancaster. They chose a book theme, with centerpieces that showcased their mutual love for reading. Everything was so intentionally chosen to reflect their personalities.

Instead of a garter toss, Coleen and Matt opted to wash each other's feet as a sign of service to each other. And they got it right. A wedding lasts one day, but a marriage lasts forever; that's only possible when we serve each other.

After the foot washing, all their guests, from kids to elders, got up and danced.

I was emotional countless times throughout the day--it was entirely centered on God. When I saw Matt and Coleen washing each other's feet I could no longer fight back my tears, and I let them stream down. That touched me so deeply, as I had never before seen a bride and groom perform this ritual in person. Such a sign of service and love for the other. A reminder that to have a strong marriage we have to put the other first; serve and love first. Then God himself fulfills our hearts.

Photography: Juliana Tomlinson Photography | Church: Historic St. Mary Catholic Church | Reception Venue : Mulberry Art Studios | Getting Ready Location: Eden Resort and Suites | Hair: Master Hair Designs by Beth K. Mitchel at Hair Cuttery | Florist: Jackie (Bride's aunt) | Cake Artist: Oregon Dairy | DJ: Garvo Music & DJ Services | Wedding Dress: Country Threads by Gail, Alfred Angelo

Ada + Greg | Texas Vintage Wedding

Ada and Greg met at seventeen while attending an admissions event at a Catholic college, where neither of them ended up going. Ada recalls Greg ignoring her when she tried to talk to him. He doesn’t remember their first meeting at all. But when they found themselves together during freshman orientation at a different school that Fall, the Lord began revealing his plans for them.

Greg and Ada became friends--inseparable friends, but nothing more. They studied and spent time together, went to the same parties, and were there for each other during significantly difficult and happy moments.

One of the latter took place during a semester in Rome. Amidst seasons of individual personal discernment, Ada and Greg witnessed Pope Benedict’s last public Mass on Ash Wednesday and prayed a rosary outside Castel Gandolfo as the gates closed on the last day of his papacy. When Pope Francis was elected, they were both there in Saint Peter’s Square.

They began dating their last semester of college, approximately a week after Ada accepted a job in another city. From early, they knew dating would either make or break their friendship. Ada also knew she was serious about Greg, who rearranged his life to stay near her in Texas.

Shortly after graduation, however, their careers took them long-distance for two years. While apart between weekend visits, they wrote letters and made phone calls to stay connected.

From the Bride: In addition to our long-distance relationship, we were also undergoing the major transition of leaving college and moving into the workforce. We often questioned whether our relationship was worth the time, effort, and stress we put into it. But despite our doubts, we ultimately believed our relationship was growing into something bigger, and probably better, than anything we could build alone.

We decided to get married before we officially announced our engagement, and we spent a month in challenging discernment. We don’t make decisions lightly, so we needed time for honest introspection, discussion, and prayer before we were ready to share our news. On a cloudy February Sunday, Greg asked me to be his wife and presented me with a gorgeous antique ring. Our friends and families were overjoyed, and the enthusiasm that greeted us offered confirmation that we were making the right decision.

Because we had a short engagement, we knew we needed to spend our time of preparation wisely. We spent time reading and discussing books on the sacramental and relational aspects of marriage and even met with a Catholic marriage counselor, in addition to the required preparation at our parish. For us, engagement was a period of even deeper discernment, and there were still many doubts and struggles to be overcome before the wedding day.

Something I struggled with in wedding planning was a nagging doubt that my wedding wouldn’t be good enough. I felt discouraged even in the midst of all of the joy and excitement. My mom, however, put things in perspective, saying, “We are going to have Mass and a party. It’s just a Mass and a party.” Knowing my wedding day wasn’t about perfection or glamour allowed me to enjoy more of the planning process.

Although our families were on opposite coasts while we planned our Texas wedding, they were still intimately involved in the planning.

My dress had been worn twice before by my grandmother and her sister, who were married ten weeks apart in 1963.

My veil was new, but similar to the one they and my mother had all shared. The necklace I wore belonged to my great-grandmother. In many ways, these heirlooms set the overall theme for our vintage-inspired wedding.

My bridesmaids were Greg’s three sisters, as well as mine. We asked our parents to proclaim the readings at our Mass, which was particularly meaningful: Greg and I had both been homeschooled, so our parents had truly been the ones to teach us the word of God. I also carried a small Holy Family medal that my dad had given to me as a toddler after he attended a retreat at a Trappist monastery. It has gone nearly everywhere with me, and it was important to me to have it with me on the day Greg and I created a new family.

Beautiful music for our Mass was a major priority. Because the chapel where we were married didn’t have an organ, we chose to have a string trio, pianist, and vocalist. We wanted our wedding liturgy to be particularly beautiful because it was, after all, the main event. We were also very lucky that many of our friends are musically gifted; their singing supported many of the hymns we chose.

As I entered the church with my dad, the congregation sang “O God, Beyond All Praising.” This has been a favorite hymn of mine since I was a teenager, but the lines, “And whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill / We’ll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless You still” had stuck with me throughout our engagement as the perfect motto for married life. Greg and I pledged ourselves “for better or for worse,” and despite the difficulties that may arise, God will always be with us and guide us.

One of my favorite memories from the wedding is walking down the aisle towards Greg, passing so many friends from different phases of our lives, all gathered to celebrate and pray with us. At the altar I was met by Greg and Fr. Thomas Esposito, O. Cist., a dear friend and advisor whom we’d first met in Rome. In many ways, Fr. Thomas knows us a little too well, because his homily was full of friendly ribbing as well as good-natured advice.

Greg chose our offertory hymn, “What Wondrous Love is This?,” his personal favorite. The words were perfect, reminding us that love is a sacrifice. I had also engraved the words “stern as death is love,” from the Song of Songs, inside Greg’s wedding ring as a reminder to myself of what I was promising him. He had “the greatest of these is love,” engraved in my ring, taken from the Epistle to the Corinthians we had chosen for the second reading. Finally, during communion, we sang “Be Thou my Vision,” asking God to lead us through our marriage and the rest of our lives together.

Because we were so nervous during the Mass itself, we were surprised to find later that there hadn’t been a dry eye in the congregation. Many guests, both Catholic and non-Catholic, have told us since that they had never been to such a beautiful Mass.

We were so elated after the Mass, and all of our friends and family were ready to celebrate at the reception. Greg and I danced to a song he has always played to me on his guitar. One of the highlights of the evening was the toast Greg’s father had written for us, a particularly beautiful mediation on marriage:

One needs courage to uphold such honor as the years of life grow long. Such courage may seem to have grown rare, but God has not grown less generous in His grace. You must have faith in his generosity, and though the world press on you from dawn to dusk, you must not deem the world more formidable than yourselves.

We were blessed to celebrate into the night with all those who had come to wish us well, particularly those whose weddings we had attended in the past. We ended the night by forming a giant conga line out of the building, while our friends sent us off to the tune of “The Parting Glass,” a traditional Irish folk song.

Despite all the challenges we felt as we prepared for marriage, our wedding reminded us we are not alone. We have friends and family who support us and provide wonderful examples of loving marriages. We also felt strengthened by the sacrament of marriage, so that when hard times do come, we will have the courage to face them.

Photography: Red Fern Photography | Church: St. Ann Catholic Church, Coppell, TX | Reception: Las Colinas Country Club, Irving, TX | Bride shoes: DSW: dsw.com | Bride earrings: Anthropologie | Veil: Mariso lAparicio :Www.esty.com/ shop/marisolaparicio | Bridal hair & make up: Dear Clark | Salon: Dearclark.com | Gown: Vintage | Necklace: Vintage | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Azazie: azazie.com | Bridesmaids’ jewelry: Chole and Isabel: www.choleandisabel.com | Invitations: Basic | Invite: basicinvite.com | Engagement ring: Vintage | Groom wedding band:DiamondBoutiqueCo : Www.esty.com/ shop/diamondboutiqueco | Groom / groomsmen suits:Jos. A. Banks | Groom/ groomsmen ties: Jos. A. Banks | Cake: Loft22 Cakes: Loft22cakes.com | Flowers: Lizzie Bee’s | Flower Shoppe: Lizziebees.net | Catering: Las Colinas Country Club