Planning a Bridal Shower? A Catholic Perspective on Lingerie and Lingerie Shower Tips

ANNE MARIE WILLIAMS & BRIDGET HEFFERNAN

 

In the summer of 2018, Anne Marie received an invitation to a lingerie shower, co-hosted by her friend Bridget. She had some initial misgivings: she’d been to several similar showers in the past and distinctly remembered the discomfort.

At past parties I’d attended, it felt like we were all there to gawk and catcall, expecting the bride to be “naughty" wearing the gifts she opened. I felt like we were invading her and her husband's bedroom--what was supposed to be their sacred space. Furthermore, taste in lingerie is a pretty personal preference. .

In the end, however, I accepted this particular invitation because I trusted the women organizing it. Bridget and her co-host been my good friends for several years and were Theology of the Body enthusiasts. I didn't know what this party would look like, but I trusted it wouldn't be gross or weird.

The shower was beautiful and tasteful, from the decor and treats to games and the opening of gifts. At one point towards the end, the married women present were invited to share advice from their own marriages. Some of their words reflected tremendous vulnerability, and I truly had a sense of the sacredness of marriage.

Because there can be misgivings or hesitation with this topic among Catholic brides, I asked Bridget to share her perspective and planning tips.

Lingerie showers have a reputation for being more trashy than classy. As super classy ladies yourselves, why was it important to you to throw a lingerie shower specifically?

When planning this bridal shower, we wanted to celebrate the gift of intimacy in marriage--both in Katie, the bride, receiving the gift of William, her husband-to-be, and by giving herself to him.

When you prepare a special gift for someone, you adorn it with beautiful wrapping. That is exactly how we look at lingerie.

The purpose of lingerie, used appropriately, is not to objectify the body, but precisely to emphasize the gift of the body.

I would also add that, beyond the style, the woman's behavior and attitude when wearing lingerie can emphasize one or the other: gift or object. As with so many other things in life, if she has the right perspective towards her own body (and assuming she is marrying a good man), her husband will respond to that.

How did you determine the atmosphere and mood for the shower?

We used a lot of greenery and simple white decorations. A trip to Hobby Lobby resulted in garlands of greenery, some of which we separated from the stem and arranged around the room. In the end, the shower had a garden feel with a feminine flair.

For other Catholic women planning pre-wedding events, can you share the order of events for the day?

First, introductions. Once all of the guests arrived, we sat in a circle and went around the room introducing ourselves and how we knew the bride.

Second, food. We prayed and invited everyone to get food from the other room. We served an assortment of hors d’oeuvres and beverages, including bacon-wrapped, maple-soaked water chestnuts, tomato, basil, and mozzarella skewers, blackberry and basil-infused water, coffee, juice (with the option to add Moscato!), and Blueberry, Lemon, Poppy seed muffins.

Third, sharing stories. While we ate, we went around the room and told the group a fun or funny story about the bride. Before long, the room was filled with laughter. Laughter always bonds!

Fourth, a game called Mixed Up Wisdom. Each guest was given a 3x5 card; on the front, she wrote a common marital problem, and on the back, she a corresponding wise solution (for example: what to do for dinner tonight?). Once everyone was done, we stacked the cards and passed them around. Each person would read the top card’s problem and the bottom card's solution, then put the top card on the bottom and move the stack to the left for the next woman to read. The mixed up combination of problems and solutions was quite hilarious.

Fifth, real wisdom.

We opened the discussion for all the married women in the room to offer real advice or kernels of wisdom they’d learned about creating a happy, healthy, thriving marriage. It was so beautiful to see and hear what they had to share.

Sixth, a simple Mad Libs game we printed from online. We had two teams with different scenarios, which we read aloud at the end. Everyone was rolling with laughter by the time we were through.

Finally, we were ready for the opening of gifts. At this point, I said a few words about the dignity of women and about the beauty and importance of approaching marriage with that understanding of the gift of self.

In view of that, joined one another in giving to Katie, both with beautiful intimate clothing and with our support and prayers. It was beautiful. As she opened the gifts, she and each woman in the room had a sense of joyful reverence for what Katie was anticipating.

After she finished gifts, we all prayed over Katie, that she and William would share a joy-filled, holy marriage, giving witness to the call to give of themselves to each other--as Christ gave of himself to us.

What would you say to someone who might object that a bride's intimate attire--and the marital act it's meant for--is private, not for the theme of a party?

Great question! It goes back to the point of the lingerie. If the point is simply to make a woman  look like a sex object, then I think it has no place in a bridal shower--or frankly, in the bedroom, either.

But if the point is what it ought to be--namely, to adorn--then there is something very beautiful about other women gathering around the bride-to-be and helping her prepare to adorn herself as gift for her future husband.

What feedback did you receive?

We were blown away with how many women said afterwards how beautiful the shower was and how much it meant to them to witness such a reverent and holy, yet joyful approach to preparing a bride for marital intimacy.


About the Authors: Anne Marie Williams is a stay-at-home mom to Isaac and Eva Marie and is a part-time Intensive Care Unit nurse from central Illinois. She met her husband on CatholicMatch and they were married in April 2015. She's a firm believer that beautiful, strong marriages change the world. Anne Marie and her husband serve on the PreCana marriage prep retreat team for their diocese. She and Bridget met in 2013 and have been friends ever since.

 

As a single working professional, Bridget Heffernan enjoys working as a Lean Six Sigma Process Re-Engineering Consultant. However, Bridget's real passion is discovering, seeing, and talking about the beauty of God's handiwork, especially as regards the worth of the human person. As a team member for the monthly diocesan PreCana Retreats, she channels this passion by giving talks on the complementarity of masculinity and femininity, dignity and identity, and the power of sexuality & why sex is worth waiting for. Growing up in the middle of four brothers, she used to be a tomboy. As her understanding of the natural complementarity of masculinity and femininity grew, as well as her appreciation for the strength of the Blessed Mother, her love for authentic femininity grew, as well.

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You are a Beautiful Bride | The Unconditional Truth

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

As a young flower girl at the weddings of babysitters and family friends, I remember being entranced by the regal aurora of the bride. As an engaged woman in preparation, I was encouraged, “you will be a beautiful bride!” On my own wedding day, I remember hearing the remarks of wedding guests who referred to me as the beautiful bride.

It is true. A woman dressed in white, clothed in the joy and purity of her wedding day is a sight to behold. The crowd of witnesses stands as she enters the sanctuary. The groom can’t take his eyes off of her. The journey of the bride moving towards her covenant at the altar echoes a song of every human’s heart. She is the personification of beauty, a reflection of the creator who makes all things glorious.

PHOTOGRAPHY:   RED FERN PHOTOGRAPHY

There is no denying that a woman on her wedding day is a beautiful bride.

Yet hearing the simple statement, “you are a beautiful bride,” brings me to a question. When a woman hears these words, does she interpret the message as admiration of her outer appearance or as affirmation of her heart and soul?

If the message is attached to the status of professional hair and makeup, heirloom jewelry, a wedding gown, and a following of photographers, then her identity as a beautiful bride becomes conditional to external circumstances.

In contrast, when a woman is offered and hears bridal admiration as a reflection of her lifelong commitment to her vocation, her beauty is fused with her existence. She is beautiful because she is. Her daily “yes” to her marriage is her most stunning quality. In the truth of this perspective, her beauty is sealed in her feminine vocation.

Despite our secular culture’s twisted reality which uses outer appearances to define one’s value and worth, God offered his son to remind us that our value is confirmed in his love for us. Our worth is defined in our status as a child of God. Therefore, it becomes imperative to shift our understanding of a “beautiful bride” away from a simple definition of a woman in white, so we can more fully celebrate the innumerable beautiful brides in our midst—the women who strive in the commitment of their married vocation.

How do we begin acknowledging this truth and celebrating true beauty? The responsibility is shared among both men and women, single and married, young and old.

To the bridal attendants and wedding guests:

Say what you mean and mean what you say. We cannot expect others to interpret the deepest meaning of our words. Take time to write a heartfelt note to express the depth of your admiration for a new couple in covenant. Choose your words with intention as you compliment and affirm a bride on her wedding day; your compliment is not only relevant to that day, but the rest of her married life. And on the average days in-between, acknowledge the beauty of the women in your life as they each pursue or fulfill marital vows in a unique way.

To boyfriends, husbands, and men:

Reflect on how you internalize the beauty of your bride. If you look at your bride and are distracted by the external clothing, emotions or demands of married life, pray for the desire to explore and know a deeper intimacy of her heart. If you are married—or desire to be married—and you know the internal beauty of your bride, tell her. From the morning of your wedding day and for the rest of forever, she is your beautiful bride: the embodiment of God’s finest creation put on this earth as a gift for you. Live in that joy.

To single, engaged, and married women:

Once you enter a vocational covenant, you are a bride. Your status in that role is not conditional on how you dress, how professional your hair and makeup look, or how gracefully you move about the day. Through your commitment in covenant, your status as a beautiful bride cannot be changed.

On the days when you feel lost or confused in your vocation, you are a beautiful bride.

On the days when vulnerability in making love brings a moment of embarrassment, you are a beautiful bride.

On the days when you are covered in stains from raising a family, you are a beautiful bride.

On the days when the love between a husband and wife is playful and fun, you are a beautiful bride.

On the days when you doubt your value as a wife but show up offering your very best for that day, you are a beautiful bride.

The woman who enters a vocational covenant is, forevermore, a beautiful bride. As the memories of your wedding day move further back in time, remain steadfastly affirmed in your inherent, unconditional beauty.


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About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would consist of a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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5 Ways to Highlight Your Bridesmaids' Feminine Genius, Inside and Out

Are you currently shopping for bridesmaids’ attire and planning events with the women who will stand by your side at the altar?

Photography:    Du Castel Photography

True sisterhood and virtuous friendship are a gift to your marriage, a source of support and intercession that enter into your joys and trials. In his Letter to Women, praising the unique gifts, dignity, and role of women in the world, Saint John Paul II directly thanked “women who are daughters and women who are sisters! Into the heart of the family, and then of all society, you bring the richness of your sensitivity, your intuitiveness, your generosity and fidelity.”

In thanksgiving for the role of these precious female friendships in your life and in the years of marriage to come, here, suggestions for illuminating the feminine genius in your bridesmaids’ attire—and, above all, on the interior.

Look for dresses that flatter a range of feminine beauty.

When a woman feels confident in the clothes she wears, she projects a visible sense of inner contentment and confidence, as well. Radiance. Draw out this beauty in your bridesmaids by seeking out lines that offer a wide range of sizes--including maternity, if necessary--and universally flattering styles. Floor-length dresses, one-shoulder or wrap styles, and A-line silhouettes flatter women of any size and body type.

Mismatch.

The trend of mismatched bridesmaids’ looks, in color, style, or both, continues going strong; consider inviting your maids to pick their own dress within guidelines you’ve chosen, allowing each to wear a piece she feels best complements her skin tone, figure, and taste.

Choose accessories just for them.

The inner uniqueness and unrepeatability of every person is manifest, among other ways, in the way a person dresses and presents herself to the world--and that’s a beautiful and fascinating, revelatory thing! If you’ve opted to give jewelry as a wedding party gift, contemplate each bridesmaid’s personal style and consider picking out a different necklace, saint medal, pair of earrings, or other item that reflects who she is.

Commit to body positivity, together.

The prospect of being photographed, processing up the aisle, and giving speeches is enough to make any woman desire to look and feel her best. If you or any of your bridesmaids share the goal of getting in shape before the wedding day, strive for a healthy attitude and spirit of encouragement, not of self-criticism. If these women are your closest friends, you likely wouldn’t dream of speaking to them harshly about their bodies and self-image.

Yet when it comes to our own selves, we as women are so quick to perceive only flaws. Surround yourself with your friends, and build each other up. If fitness is important to you as the big day approaches, consider taking a workout class together, meeting for weekly hikes or runs, or even doing videos at home together. Focus not on weight loss, but on strength--both outer and inner.

Give of your time, and your heart.

If time allows, spending one-on-one time with each of your bridesmaids during your engagement wonderfully commemorates your relationship as the transition into marriage approaches. Have a coffee or dinner date, go to Adoration together, or visit a shared favorite spot.

The Scriptures and lives of the saints are rich with strong, compassionate women who stood by their friends, some even unto death: Ruth and Naomi, Felicity and Perpetua, Clare and Francis, Brigid and Patrick. Your wedding celebrations present a unique opportunity to celebrate the female friendships in your life, as well.

We love hearing your own rituals and ideas. How have you honored the women in your wedding party?

Readers Share | The Saints Who've Shaped Your Relationships

This week as the Church celebrates the dead, the communion of saints, and all souls in Purgatory on All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, respectively, we invited you to share the holy men and women who’ve interceded in your spiritual lives and relationships on our social media.

For inviting us and others into your deep joy, for fostering hope in God’s faithfulness in women still awaiting their love story, for witnessing to abandon and reckless trust in the Father, thank you. Your responses were too many to list in a single post--let alone to list every woman who cited Our Lady, Saints Therese, John Paul II, or Louis and Zelie Martin as favorite patrons! We read every single one and find each so uniquely, personally beautiful.

Here, a selection of your stories of saintly intercession:

St Gemma - for many reasons! My husband is a pharmacist, I was seeking employment when we were first married and we both recently lost our fathers. She’s the patron saint of: Pharmacists, children who have lost parents and those seeking employment! - Danielle

Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria and his wife, Servant of God, Empress Zita. They were a beautiful Catholic married couple and have been a great role model for our marriage. - @danielleduet

St. Michael the Archangel. His battle courage was inspiring to me, and helped me in my own spiritual warfare. Like St. Michael, I was able to cast my own demons out. - @_desirita_

St. Therese and St. Zelie Martin. I’ve struggled with finding and being content in my vocation, and through their intercession have received many graces. - @thebrownebunch

St. Raphael. I met my soon-to-be fiancé through Catholic Match and Raphael's intercession throughout our relationship has been so influential. He's the patron saint of their website and the hero of our relationship. - @violetsheabee

St. Therese has had (and continues to have) a profound impact on how myself in relationship with my fiancé. Long distance has required a lot of humility and trust on both of our parts, and I've leaned on her Little Way to help me do small things that benefit our relationship with each other and with God. - @meganboes

St. Joseph! The St. Joseph novena played a big role in both our individual discernment journeys. As a couple, any time we have a difficult situation and don't know what to pray for, we say his novena, and always receive exactly what we need, and then some! Plus, all the men in my family have Joseph as their middle name, and so does my husband! - @acrgripshover

Our Lady of Angels. - @i.marie.daly

St. Anthony. - @vegan_wannabe_81

I got engaged on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, by the grace of God and through the intercession of St. Joseph, Mama Mary, and St. Anne. - @meganaosborn

St. Thomas More, Mother Mary and St. Joseph. - @marie_xavier_felix

St. Maria Goretti. - @paigealexandrahussey

St. Therese, St. Faustina, and the Holy Family! -@becca_from_texas

St. Josemaria Escriva. - @akeeshers

St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Cecilia! My senior year of college, while my husband and I were still dating, I felt a call to a religious vocation. I was so confused about it so I prayed countless novenas to Therese--I didn’t hear an immediate response, but I eventually did. That spring break, some girlfriends and I drove to Nashville for a retreat with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (Cecilia is one of my faves because I’m a musician). While I loved it there, I felt a peace within my heart that I was called to marriage. Two years later, my husband proposed. - @josieweisenberger

St. Gianna Molla and her husband, Pietro! We named our first born after her! - @thetinymangia

Our Lady and St. Louis de Montfort. - @maddy__anne__

St. Joseph! My parents did a novena to St Joseph to pray for a husband for me and weeks into the novena, [my future spouse] came along! And we got engaged on May 1, the Feast of St Joseph the Worker. - @rachelgmz

St. Therese of Lisieux! Ever since I was a young girl, I have been praying novenas to her in the hopes of finding my future husband. She is my patron saint, and my fiancé's favorite. We asked her special intercession for our relationship on a recent trip to the National Shrine in DC, and he proposed on her feast day this year, along with a beautiful white rose! - @whateverisgracious

Our guardian angels! - @ann.elissa

St. Ignatius of Loyola. My husband and I would pray his Prayer for Generosity while we were dating and it was a constant reminder to serve the other person. - @jessie.dupre

St. Elia. - @soulachreim

St. Monica, St. Anne, and St.  Michael...mother Mary above all. - @scenescerity.images

St. Jude. I began his novena and on the last day saw [my future husband] Wesley, and knew I should see where things went with him. After that we have prayed to him every night and I began seeing St. Jude everywhere. Now, Wesley and I are getting married [this fall] (2 years after I began my novena)! - @rach_whalen

Our Lady Undoer of Knots, Saint Joseph, Saint Anne, Saint Anthony, Saint Michael, Saint Jude Thaddeus, Saint Raphael, and Saint Dymphna. I keep adding them! - @edna_songz

Saint Veronica. She has inspired me to wipe my husband’s face as he carries his crosses. She reminded me what we are called to do as brothers and sisters in Christ and had a profound role in shaping our relationship. - @brittbritt_ottens

Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, St. Therese’s parents. The man who is courting me and I had to go two months without seeing each other when we began our relationship. He sent me a talk about sanctification in marriage, which focused on their lives; since then, we have continuously asked for their intercession as we discern marriage! They have become a major influence for me and we are thankful to have another beautiful couple to look up to! - @alynacampero

Saint Therese of Lisieux; she is always reminding us to give ourselves fully to each other and to never seek anything in return. She teaches us how (in Story of a Soul) to live life in a way that strives for selfless love and complete humility. And her parents guide us in how we will want to raise our kids someday. - @maddie7548

To each of you who responded to or have been moved by this question and its answers, we are grateful. If you have suggestions for future reader-sourced topics, be sure to share them with us for consideration!

Images by Lionhearted Photography, seen in Amy + Jake | Midwinter Mountain Wedding

When You're the Maid of Honor

CAROLYN SHIELDS

 

We spent hours of our childhood dreaming of this day: what our dresses would look like, how the man would react as we walked down the aisle to him, and so on. Olivia fell in love first, with a marine (she set the bar high). Watching my sister-not-by-blood fall in love was honor enough, but when she asked me to stand by her on her wedding day, I was flushed with warm admiration. It was an honor to participate in so many small, intimate ways that weekend; something I will truly cherish forever.

Listening to her tiptoe upstairs the night before, having that moment together to eat toast and sip coffee the morning of, when the earth was defrosting itself, is a cherished memory. Standing behind the church doors, as I straightened her dad's tie, she whispered, "Carolyn?" And I turned.

"Do I look okay?"

My eyes smarted with tears as I straightened her veil once more and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. She pulled me into a hug, kissed my cheek, and told me she loved me. And then I had to go ahead of her.

So you're here, too--the Maid of Honor? I'm sure you're feeling just as honored as I did. Sisterhood is something so beloved, so I want to share ways to incorporate as much prayer into your best friend's day as possible. And if you're like me, I no longer lived close to the bride during her engagement, and couldn't run across the street to her house like we did when we were little. I wasn’t able to walk over and help her tie 150 ribbons for her favors.

But you can do the following, no matter how far apart you and the bride are.

Pray for her guests.

I was privileged to write out Olivia's wedding invitations, something I could do on quiet evenings in my apartment three hours away. As I wrote out her guests’ names, I realized just how many names I didn't recognize. I was curious as to who these people were, people who meant so much to Olivia and her fiancé that they were invited to join them on their big day. So over each envelope, I thanked God for their presence in the bride and groom’s lives.

I also wrote out her escort cards. Over each of these, I prayed for each guest’s safe arrival to the ceremony and reception.

Create a spiritual bouquet.

I know it's tradition to collect the ribbons from bridal shower gifts to build a bouquet for the bride to carry at her rehearsal. When I tried, it was the saddest-looking thing ever! So instead, I reached out to Olivia's friends and mine to create a spiritual bouquet. I bought white roses and scribbled the sacrifices, novenas, rosaries, and prayers our friends offered for Olivia, tying  them with twine onto the flowers. I thought she would feel more comfortable walking down the aisle holding a bouquet of prayer (some from women she’d never met) than one made of ribbon!

Take a moment to pray over her.

Even if you don’t often pray in this way, in that moment when she looks immaculate, it's minutes before go time, and the butterflies are raging, she’ll welcome it. Invite the bridesmaids to join you in prayer, place a warm palm on her shoulder for physical support, and let your heart sing its praise.

Reflect on honor.

That's who you are! The Maid of Honor. What does it mean to honor someone? What does honor deserve? What place does honor have in our faith? If we believe our Holy is who he says Hh is, then we must understand who we are.

And on this weekend, on that altar, that's what you represent.


About the Author: Carolyn Shields is the founder of The YoungCatholicWoman and is fresh off of the wedding of her sister (she set up the bride and groom!). Her current projects include web design and engagement and wedding photography

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Editors' Picks | Vol. 13: 2018 Bridesmaid Trends

At Spoken Bride, we love a good book, a good meal, a standout statement necklace, a heel you can dance in, and the list goes on. And when we make those discoveries, we want to tell everyone. So every month or two, we're sharing our latest and favorite finds in everything engagement, wedding, and honeymoon-related.

Your wedding provides an opportunity to showcase the unique gifts, tastes, and inner and outer beauty of the women you're closest to. Today, we're sharing our favorite trends for bridesmaids that help you accomplish just that.

 

Jiza, Co-Founder & Creative Director

Mismatched dresses: Instead of matching bridesmaids dresses of the same color and same style, this is when the bride assigns a different color and/or fabric to each bridesmaid according to her wedding’s color scheme. As a photographer, I love the look coordinating dresses creates. It creates visual appeal in an image with the varying textures and color. Chances are, your bridesmaids are also happier and more comfortable in their dresses, because each was able to pick something for her own body. This can also help your bridesmaids find a dress within their budget—with online shopping today, searching for a dress is easier than ever.

Bridesmaid hangers: We commonly see dress shots with a beautiful hanger for only the bride. However, with bridesmaids’ dresses becoming more and more unique, it is also lovely having some additional dress photos with their gowns, as well. You may want to first dispose of the plastic hangers, and if you are in search of a good bridesmaids gift, a personalized hanger is both pretty and practical.

Non-traditional bouquets: This is becoming more and more popular, which I couldn’t be more excited about. Corsages are no longer limited to the mothers anymore--bridesmaids are wearing them now, too. Instead of a traditional bouquet, your bridal party can carry lanterns or floral hoops or wreaths. Or for something minimal yet still eye-catching, one singular, large flower with simple greenery, such as a magnolia, a dahlia, or a peony, is beautiful. Speak with your floral designer for unique ideas!

 

Andi, Business Director

Patterned and floral dresses: I love that we’ve branched out from all-matching dresses to coordinating styles that flatter every body, and now on to prints and florals for the bridal party. Some brides have their Maid of Honor wear a floral gown and the other ladies coordinating colors; others have all their maids in vibrant prints. It’s such a fun way to personalize your wedding!

Renting gowns: I’m a huge fan of this trend! It’s great not to have to purchase anything, and there are several options like Rent the Runway and other retailers specifically geared toward weddings.

 

Stephanie, Co-Founder & Editor in Chief

Pajamas: Especially with fall and winter weddings upon us, PJ’s are an inspired alternative to robes as you and your ladies prepare for the day. From cozy plaids to crisp oxford piping to delicate boho trim, there are plenty of sets available to suit any wedding aesthetic and budget.

Fresh skin: With moves like unretouched ads, lines offering dozens of foundation shades, and campaigns featuring models (or real women!) of different sizes and races, I find the beauty industry’s current vibe of inclusivity long overdue and so praiseworthy. I hope over time, the trend becomes more than a short-lived fad, but simply a norm and expectation, showcasing a true range of feminine beauty.

This sensibility is evident in makeup trends, as well: after a few years of matte, poreless looks with heavy coverage and contour, I love seeing an increase in dewy skin, freckles showing through, and making peace with lines and natural texture. Encouraging your bridesmaids or makeup artist to embrace each woman’s unique features still photographs beautifully and allows their outer appearance to make visible the radiance of their inner selves.

Millenial pink: If the product design, websites, and clothing I see everywhere are any indication, this shade shows no signs of going away any time soon. For bouquets, nails, or your main wedding color, soft pink flatters all skin tones and can function almost as a neutral. And depending on your taste and other wedding details, it can skew minimalist, romantic, or preppy.

We love hearing your own inspirations. Have you, or will you, incorporate any of these trends into your wedding party? Share in the comments and on our social media what selections you've made for your bridesmaids' attire, gifts, florals, and otherwise!
 

Editors' Picks | Vol. 12: Favorite Love Stories

At Spoken Bride, we love a good book, a good meal, a standout statement necklace, a heel you can dance in, and the list goes on. And when we make those discoveries, we want to tell everyone. So every month or two, we're sharing our latest and favorite finds in everything engagement, wedding, and honeymoon-related.

The best romances direct our earthly emotion and longings to the Holy One, the beloved of our souls whose love is bottomless. Today, we're sharing the love stories that inspire us from literature, movies, TV, and the lives of the saints.

Jiza, Co-Founder + Creative Director

Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series: Oh, where to begin?! There is something about Anne and Gil that will always give my stomach butterflies or make my heart skip a beat. I love Gil’s devoted pursuit of Anne and that he loves her for who she is, even when she is absolutely stubborn and unreasonable. From their early rivalry to their friendship to their eventual marriage, this fictional romance is one of my all-time favorites.

Chiara Corbella Petrillo and her husband, Enrico: Chiara is a young Italian wife and mother who died in 2012 of carcinoma. When you read her biography, Chiara Corbella Petrillo: A Witness to Joy, written by her friends Simone Troisi & Cristiana Paccini, the beginning delves a great deal into Chiara and Enrico’s roller coaster courtship. Their marriage, too, was also not short of great suffering and sacrifice up until her death. Their relationship is real, gritty, and painful, yet still full of joy, trust, and redemption. In a world that idolizes the appearance of a curated, blissful marriage, I find great consolation in Chiara and Enrico and their absolute surrender to always serve God and do His will, no matter how much it hurts.

 

Andi, Business Director

Jim and Pam from The Office: this has got to be one of the most down-to-earth, relatable love stories out there (you know you cried at their wedding!). From the start I loved how Jim and Pam were friends; their relationship just slowly grew from there, and the show drew it out over a few seasons because real life is messy and doesn’t always happen on our schedule. Jim was so patient and it was worth it in the end!

 

Mary and Joseph: As I recently prayed the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary, I was reflecting on the theological virtue of hope, and Mary and Joseph came to my mind. Saint Joseph shows us so much trust in the Lord when he decides to marry Mary, despite the unexpected news of the Word becoming flesh in her womb. They both show us hope by trusting in God’s plan for their marriage and family, even with all the unexpected circumstances they had to endure.

Ella and Kit from Cinderella (2015): I had very low expectations going into this Disney remake and ended up blown away by the tenderness and affection that grew between Cinderella and Prince Kit. So much depth, personality, and actual motivations were given to these characters, and it made them so real! I think my favorite aspect of their relationship is the purity it’s portrayed with: neither had the intent to use the other for their own purposes, and neither felt worthy of the other, allowing real love to grow.

 

Stephanie, Co-Founder + Editor in Chief

Kitty Scherbatsky and Konstantin Levin from Anna Karenina: Tolstoy’s novel is most famous for its portrayal of a love story gone off the rails, via the affair conducted by the title character. So I found myself surprised, as well as incredibly moved, when I read the book for the first time and discovered that in contrast to Anna’s infidelity and emotional caprice, the story also traces the development of another relationship, one rooted in constancy and personal growth. The romance between Kitty and Levin matures as each grows in awareness of human nature and suffering, culminating in one of the most beautiful proposals I’ve ever encountered--fictional or real.

Saint Gianna Molla and her husband Pietro: Saint Gianna, to me, is a woman of vocation. She embraced all the Lord called her to in both gladness and trials; her decision to give birth to her fourth child at the cost of her own life embodied our ultimate call, as Christians, to lay down our lives. Her sacrifice is heroic, yet what stands out to me most is the ordinariness of who she was, in the best way: a 20th-century working mother, like so many of us, who desired to create a joyful and peaceful home for her family. The number of canonized married saints is few, so I am grateful for the poetry and encouragement I’ve found in the letters exchanged between Gianna and her beloved husband, Pietro. They cared for one another with a beautiful regard for one another’s spiritual well-being, with a sweet tenderness, and even a holy boldness--feeling certain of her devotion to Pietro, who was the shyer of the two, Gianna was the first to say I love you, expressing her desire for a lifelong commitment and family!

Tami and Eric Taylor from Friday Night Lights: I consider myself emotional when it comes to love (read: crying over practically every Spoken Bride wedding submission), but I’m not easily swayed by shallow sentiment or sweeping gestures. I find the real and the messy romantic, because that’s who we, as humans, are. It’s what I love in the relationship between Coach Taylor and his wife. I truly can’t think of another TV marriage that is so realistically and positively portrayed: one rooted in abiding trust and good will, even when frustrated by life and work’s demands, one that doesn’t blow problems out of proportion for the sake of drama but confronts them with honesty and respect, and one with expressions of endearment and physical affection that feel so unaffected and true to life.

Did we include your favorite couple on this list? Share the love stories you love in the comments and on our social media.