Flora + Joseph | Blush and Lace Garden Party Wedding

Flora and Joseph made it their mission as a couple “to make the invisible love of God visible and tangible” to everyone they encountered. Their vintage wedding, inspired by both the Garden of Eden and Queen Elizabeth II’s garden parties, reflected this desire. 

Their story begins a few years before that joyful day, at Joseph’s sister’s wedding. That was where Joe first noticed Flora, the woman who would become his future bride.

From the Groom: Flora and I met through my sister Katherine, who at one time was Flora’s teacher and mentor. At my sister’s wedding, Flora and her friends came to celebrate a new life forged in marriage. She didn’t know that at that very time, the Lord was preparing her for her own. 

Over a year after Kat’s wedding, I found Flora on social media and added her as a friend. I didn’t want to push a relationship; I could tell from the way Kat talked about her and how involved she seemed with her faith that just knowing this woman would bring me joy and a greater peace of mind in Christ.

From the Bride: I was not interested in a relationship when Joe messaged me. I was seriously discerning the single life and focusing on my relationship with God. The summer before Joe and I met, my friend and mentor, Kathy, was travelling to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. She asked if any of us had intentions for her to pray for during the pilgrimage. I asked her to pray for my vocation. 

Later, Joe and I met in person at St. Rita’s church in New Orleans for a night of adoration and socializing with other young adults. He asked if I wanted to “grow in our relationship with Jesus together” (be his girlfriend) at a Dave & Busters in San Antonio, at the end of the SEEK 2017 conference. After SEEK, we consecrated ourselves and our relationship to Jesus through Mary on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11th. 

It wasn’t until after we made this decision that I found out Kathy had prayed for my vocation in Lourdes, France. Early on in the relationship, the vocation of married life was very much on our hearts and in our prayers.

I was studying abroad in Amsterdam, the Netherlands when Joe decided to propose. 

Our shared love language is quality time, so we FaceTimed any chance we got while long-distance. His mom texted one day and asked what my address was because she was going to send an “Easter surprise.” I thought nothing of it because she makes Easter baskets every year for her grandchildren. 

The day before Joseph proposed, he woke up, got dressed for work, and FaceTimed me. Later in the day, when we usually talked during his lunch break, he told me the principal wanted to meet with him about lesson plans, so we wouldn’t be able to chat. That night, he planned to meet up with friends. 

I found out later he was actually on a flight from New Orleans to Amsterdam. I woke up to a call from the “mail woman” the next morning, claiming that a package for me was downstairs. I put my shoes on (still in my pajamas) and headed downstairs. She told me my package was outside, and I became very confused. I stepped out onto the street, and there was Joe with flowers in one hand and an acoustic guitar in the other. That’s where he asked me to be his wife.

Engagement Photography: Rudenko Photography 
Photography:  Rudenko Photography

Photography: Rudenko Photography

My bridesmaids and I got ready the morning of the wedding at a gorgeous Airbnb on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Joe and his groomsmen got ready at his parent’s house. I didn’t particularly enjoy planning the wedding, so creating a peaceful environment on the wedding day was important to help me enter into the sacrament with Joe.

I had begun writing “letters to my future husband” three weeks after we started dating. I wrote about small and big events in our relationship, my thoughts when we were long-distance, and many thanks for his selfless acts. Joe wrote me a sweet note the morning of the wedding, and we both read our letters in the church as we waited to see each other at the altar.

Divine Mercy parish in Louisiana is where we started going to Mass as a couple, and it’s where we were married on our wedding day.

Joe and I love a particular quote by St. John Paul II. He said, “It is the God-given purpose of our lives to make the invisible love of God visible and tangible in our material world.” It has become part of our mission as a couple to share God’s love in the world. We wanted our guests to feel and know his love through the readings, songs, vows, and intentional time with our friends and family.

I walked down the aisle to a song called “Closer” by Steffany Gretzinger. The bridal party walked out to the instrumental of the song, and when the doors opened, the cantor started singing the verses. I heard the song for the first time during adoration when Joe and I were on a retreat together. It’s about the beauty of God’s love, and it reminded me of how beautiful Joe’s love is as well. 

I was already crying before the doors opened. Joe and I dealt with hardships throughout our engagement, and in this moment I was shown how victorious love is.

We chose the “washing of the feet” as our Gospel reading because Jesus showed the Apostles how to be servant leaders. Marriage is a sacrament of service, and it is our mission to share God’s love with those we encounter every day. As we were kneeling in front of the altar, I thought about how it is a place where sacrifice occurs (think Abraham and Isaac, the moment of transubstantiation, etc.), and how Joe and I were sacrificing our own lives, wants, and needs to be joined as one.

Our main celebrant, Fr. Abraham, is a spiritual father figure to me. He has known me since I was 15 and watched me grow as a leader and a woman in the years before the wedding. His homily is one I still think about often because he emphasized God’s gift of love and how important it is to seek Jesus in the Eucharist throughout our marriage.

Joe’s maternal grandfather and namesake was his best friend growing up and would have been the best man at our wedding. He was given his grandfather’s wedding ring after he sadly passed away in 2017. During the exchange of rings, when I put Nanu’s (his grandfather’s) ring on Joe’s finger, we both felt Nanu’s presence in the moment.

We placed flowers and prayed in front of a statue of Mary in honor of our patron saint, Our Lady of Lourdes. We prayed in front of St. Joseph, who has worked overtime in intercessory prayers for us. Joe and I are so grateful to have them as role models as we strive to be a holy family.

The wedding was attended by an intimate group of family and friends. The blush and greenery aesthetic we chose was inspired by the Garden of Eden. The story of Adam and Eve was the first reading, and it is a beautiful example of living in communion with God in a paradise like the Garden. 

When I imagined our wedding, I pictured long tables with our loved ones and enjoying a celebration of love and mission, like the Wedding at Cana. We asked our female guests to wear fascinators: a small, vintage headpiece. The idea stemmed from Queen Elizabeth II’s famous garden parties she hosted at the palace with people who were recognized for their public service. Since it was an intimate celebration, these were the people we recognized as our loved ones and role models in our lives.

We have so many talented loved ones that helped contribute to the beauty of our wedding day. My sorority sister, Ariel, designed our wedding invitation and luncheon menu. Joe’s sister, Genevieve, designed the wedding crest that we used on invitations, song sheets, menus, and the seating chart. Joe’s aunt Gina baked our elderflower-flavored wedding cake. My sister, Vi, arranged all the flowers for the bridal party, groomsmen, mothers (including Mary), and the reception. Each person’s contribution made the day even more special and personal for us.

Love is victorious. As the verse goes, “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7).

When it comes to wedding planning or planning for the future, it may seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. But when you finally come into the light, all the graces are so sweet and well worth it.

Photography: Molly Olwig | Church: Divine Mercy Parish - Kenner, Louisiana | Reception Venue: Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse - New Orleans, LA | Ring: James Allen  | Flora’s Wedding Ring: Etsy | Joe’s Wedding Ring: Joe’s Grandpa’s Wedding Ring  | Bride’s Dress & Veil: David’s Bridal | Shoes: DSW | Jewelry: Aucoin Hart Jewelers  | Groom’s Suit: H&M  | Cake Baker: Gina Paci Grunberg  | Hairstylist/Makeup: Kayla Theriot  | Photo Booth: Envog | Flowers: Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods  | Engagement Photography: Rudenko Photography 

Steffani + Dominick | Autumnal Southern Charm Wedding

Novenas, roses, and a fateful road trip to Wisconsin. Steffani knew, coming back from a trip in 2012, that Dominick would be her future husband. But they wouldn’t be married until six years later. 

Their love story is a beautiful reflection of patience, prayer, and deep friendship that poured over into marriage. At their gorgeous autumn wedding, in true southern style, they made their vows before God and joyfully waltzed the night away with family and friends. 

From the Bride: Dominick and I met in 2012 during my senior year of college. We were on a road trip with a group of friends to Wisconsin for a mutual friend's wedding. Dominick was an altar server and I was a bridesmaid. 

When we arrived in Wisconsin, we all spent an evening outdoors at a quaint house settled in the middle of acres of land and corn fields. Dominick gave me his shoes to sit on in the grass, and we immediately clicked over a mutual love of beauty in nature, books, music, art, and theology. 

We spent the rest of the trip like this: escaping to take nature walks to talk about life and each other, dancing, and star gazing. It all sounds so cliché, but it really was adventurous, romantic, and sweet. 

It was exactly what I had been praying for after a couple relationships that left me feeling hopeless. I had been writing letters to my future spouse since 2010 about how God was converting my heart. I said countless novenas to St. Joseph for the grace to prepare me and the husband I did not yet know. I also prayed the novena to St. Therese of Lisieux frequently, in which it is said she will deliver a rose as an affirmation of her intercession. 

When we returned from Wisconsin I knew, perhaps from intuition, that Dominick was the man I was going to marry. Perhaps it was Divine Providence that he asked me to be his girlfriend with a single rose he picked from the garden at the University of St. Thomas, Houston. I took it as a blessing delivered by St. Therese. 

I didn’t know it was the same garden where he would ask me to be his wife almost six years later, and I would present him with the letters I had been writing and holding on to for almost eight years. God and his saints have a way of planning things better than I ever can, and I kept this reality present and true while preparing for our wedding day. 

Preparation for the vocation of marriage and not just the wedding day was the heartbeat of our engagement. That was the most common advice shared with us by married couples, and we took that very seriously. We went to confession and Mass often, prayed together more, and read books like Three to Get Married by Venerable Fulton Sheen and By Love Refined by Alice von Hildebrand for discussion. We reminded each other often of the wise words from our sponsor couple: “marriage is not about you, it’s about God.” 

The highlight of our engagement was our betrothal ceremony, which we performed on the Nativity of Mary to dedicate our sacramental engagement to her Immaculate Conception. We did it with the prayer that Mary might help purify and perfect the “giving of our troth” to each other.

We wanted our nuptial Mass to be an expression of God’s gift of beauty. This was our goal, to give back to God what he had given abundantly to us. My husband is a liturgist, and I am a theology teacher and Catholic event planner, so liturgy is a common topic in our relationship. It would no doubt be our top priority and the longest part of our planning. 

Dominick and I spent much of our relationship going to Mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, a Dominican parish filled with gorgeous, detailed architecture, woodwork, and stained glass, so we knew we wanted to get married there. In fact, this was where Dominick would have proposed to me, but it took him too long to get the words out. And so we ended up at the rose garden instead. Coincidence? Not likely! 

We both love the Traditional Latin Mass, which Dominick grew up with. I was drawn into it during a major conversion through youth ministry and was more accustomed to the Novus Ordo (the most commonly used form of the Mass after Vatican II, usually spoken in the vernacular), as were many of our guests. After we considered doing the Traditional Latin Mass, we decided to use more traditional elements within the Ordinary Form such as chanting the Mass parts in Latin and singing the antiphons with more contemporary songs as the preludes. It was the perfect package of old and new. 

We wanted to pick readings that were truly expressive of our shared faith, so I picked the Old Testament reading, and he picked the New Testament reading. As a romantic, I chose lines from the Song of Songs which have always spoken to my heart. It is the story of the lover and the beloved, of God pursuing me and my relationship with Dominick being a delightful reflection of that. Dominick chose Ephesians 5, a tough passage, but a reading that we reflected and prayed with throughout our engagement with the help of the deacon who led our marriage prep. It is a reading we encouraged each other to live out, and one that we wanted our guests to hear and hold us accountable to. 

The highest point of the entire nuptial Mass was receiving the Eucharist with my husband. My soul experienced something in that moment that was beyond understanding. It was an elevation that brought me to tears, and I was fully aware that I was now united to this man in a way I would never be united to any other human being--by sharing Jesus’ Eucharistic sacrifice in an intimate way as husband and wife. 

My entrance song was “Eternal Source of Light Divine” composed by Handel. We coordinated a schola choir with our musically-talented friends who gifted us with their voices and sang the Ode, which was a heavenly piece as Dominick and I saw one another for the first time. We decided not to do a first look to preserve this moment, but had a private moment of prayer instead and said the last day of our St. Josemaria Escriva novena for a faithful and happy marriage. 

We were married in November, so we decided on an “autumnal southern charm” styled wedding. The décor was filled with deep, rich gem tones and mauve and gold accent colors. Being very much a southern girl, I knew I wanted a Gone with the Wind, antique, grand feel to our wedding and reception--but on a budget. We found a large plantation-style venue tucked away on a pecan orchard to capture the look we wanted. It was so dreamy. 

We were extremely fortunate that many of our friends and coworkers donated items we needed like printing, invitations, and decorations. I did a few DIY projects like floral lantern toppers, grand entrance bell wands, and “bride” and “groom” chair wreaths. We splurged here and there on antique pieces, like the mirror we used for our seating arrangement and frames. 

Our nostalgic invitations echoed our theme as well with mauve calligraphy and deckled edge paper. Our guest book was a poster of two characters made to look like us, and it now hangs nicely in our home. Since my husband is Italian-American, our sweets table was filled with some of our favorite treats made by my mother-in-law. We added Catholic touches by incorporating saints that played important parts in our lives on our table numbers. 

I got ready before the wedding at Link Lee Mansion, where we also had our rehearsal dinner. It is such a stunning location at our alma mater. I soaked in time with my best friends and listened to their stories about marriage and motherhood while drinking mimosas and being pampered by our hair and make up team. They also gifted me with a basket of wine; one bottle from each of them for a major moment in our marriage with handwritten cards fit to make a bride cry. 

My favorite moments after Mass were filled with dancing! Our first dance was a waltz to “La Vie En Rose.” My husband and I love to ballroom dance, so we showed each other off with our practiced waltz step. At every Aquila wedding his family circles up and sways back and forth, singing at the top of their lungs, and kicking their legs to the song “New York, New York.” My husband is one of eleven, so the evening was filled with lots of people, joy, and laughter. 

We also had a private last dance. I stole this idea from a wedding I had worked a couple years before. While people lined up to see us leave, we shared a dance alone in the ballroom to a Glen Hansard song that we sang to each other in our first year of dating. As the song goes, “maybe I was born to hold you in these arms.”

Our wedding day was the start of a journey I believe I was truly meant for. Taking time to spiritually prepare the way we did only made our transition into married life that much better. It's not always easy, but knowing that we set a strong foundation of prayer and receiving the sacraments together gives us the graces we need. 

Savoring all the joy-filled moments of the day and not getting caught up in details I could no longer change put the emphasis back on us, our vocation, and God. We were supported in every step of our engagement by our parish community, family, and friends who constantly poured love and laughter upon us. Dominick and I both believe a relationship is not meant to turn in on itself but is meant to be shared with the Christian community. My cup has run over from the many blessings this provided to us.

Photography: Ten23 Photography | Church: Holy Rosary Catholic Church Houston, TX | Reception: The Estates at Pecan Park | Flowers: Mary Tran | Invitations & Stationary- Pax Paper (Dominika Ramos) | Bride's Dress: Allure Bridal | Veil: Custom Cathedral Veil (Cindy Rose) | Bridal Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Hair and Makeup: BP Artistry | Rings: Helzberg Diamonds | Groom and Groomsmen Suits: Men's Wearhouse | Cake: Magical Memories Made Simple | DJ: Dave Clark Events

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