Rhoslyn + Adrian | Traditional Ukrainian Greek Rite Wedding

Rhoslyn and Adrian were married in a Ukrainian Greek Catholic church. Their “Divine Liturgy” was celebrated in the Eastern liturgical rite, in a ceremony rich with profound symbolism.

Weddings in the Ukrainian Catholic Church traditionally have two parts: the betrothal, or the promise and exchange of rings, and the “crowning ceremony” during the nuptial liturgy. On the day of a couple’s marriage, or crowning, the bride traditionally walks from her home to the church in a joyful procession.

As can be seen in their beautiful wedding photos, there is a cup of wine, the Holy Gospel, and two wedding wreaths (or crowns) on a table near the front of the church. These verdant wreaths will be placed upon the heads of the bride and groom during the Crowning, the most solemn part of the wedding liturgy.

This website of a Ukrainian Catholic church explains that in that moment, they “are crowned as the king and queen of their own little kingdom: [their] home and domestic church.” Then the Gospel passage about the wedding at Cana is read, and the bride and groom drink from the cup of wine in remembrance of it.

Finally, the priest leads the newly married couple around the table which now holds the Gospel and a cross. “The husband and wife take their first steps as a married couple, and the Church, in the person of the priest, leads them in the way they must walk. The way is symbolized by the circle at the center of which is the Gospel and the cross of our Lord.”

In Eastern Catholic churches, the sacraments are often referred to as the “Holy Mysteries.” And so, on their wedding day, Rhoslyn and Adrian entered into the Holy Mystery of marriage, excited and hopeful for what their life together would bring.

From the Bride: Adrian and I met while praying at a 40 Days For Life vigil in Cardiff, Wales during Lent 2018. We went on our first date soon after on February 22, 2018. 

Our courtship moved quickly, but we were both very cautious. I had suffered a failed engagement before meeting Adrian, and he had two children from a previous relationship before he was a practicing Catholic. We prayed the rosary together every day and went to Mass frequently. We met up daily and spoke even more on the phone.

We waited for what felt like a long time to get engaged, but may seem very quick: the 15th of June!

Our biggest wish for our wedding was that the liturgy should be reverent, beautiful, and traditional. The Ukrainian rite naturally encompasses all of that. 

The Ukrainian Catholic community in Cardiff is small, and they were using a temporary church at the time, which was not in good condition. Because the church was not a particularly “beautiful” one, we made sure to focus on the beauty of the liturgy. 

We spent quite a bit of money on flowers for the church, and they turned out beautifully. The vestments which Fr. James wore during the liturgy were also stunning. 

My parents very generously bought my wedding dress, which was handmade for me, and it was amazing! I had based my dream dress on the gown worn by St. Gianna Molla on her wedding day. 

Almost everyone in attendance had never been to an Eastern Rite wedding, but we were so pleased with how people prayerfully partook in the liturgy. My dad was part of the crowning, which is like the exchanging of rings in the Latin rite. That was so special for us. 

And finally, one of the most important things to us was that Adrian's children should feel like they were a part of the day. They were so excited for the wedding, and they loved the whole celebration. Deo gratias!

Photography: Peter Jones  | Church: St Theodore of Tarsus Ukrainian Greek Catholic church, Pomeroy Street, Cardiff, CF10 5GS (on google maps, it comes up as St Cuthbert's) | Reception: Bay Den Scout Hall, Cardiff Bay, CF11 0XR |  Engagement ring: Aardbark Jewelry  | Weddings rings: Jonathan David | Flowers: Bank of Flowers | Wedding cake: Francesca’s Cakes | Wedding dress: Zelie’s Roses

Claire + Andrew | Silver-Gilded Winter Cottage Wedding

Claire and Andrew’s wedding was planned with profound excitement, the generosity of their family and friends, and a deep desire through it all to bring praise and glory to God.

This rooted purpose, to become a “praise of glory” for God, (a beloved quote from their favorite saint) helped guide them from their earlier days as FOCUS missionaries through an intentional relationship that would blossom into marriage.

From the Bride: Andrew and I met in college through mutual friends and cultivated a deeper friendship while serving on the same campus as missionaries with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Though attraction between us was obvious, dating between teammates is usually not a prudent decision in FOCUS, so waited until the end of the year before we pursued anything serious. To say this was difficult would be an understatement, but when we were finally able to go on a date, neither of us doubted this was much more than a simple attraction.

We dated long-distance during our second year with FOCUS. Andrew was in Gainesville, Florida, and I was in Nashville, Tennessee. Countless Face-times, phone calls, and airplane tickets got us through this time--not to mention a lot of intentionality. 

In fact, Andrew was consistently clear, thoughtful, and intentional in his pursuit of me. He led our relationship by making regular conversations a priority while balancing our call as missionaries; we needed to make sure we were still being present to those around us. Prayer was also an important part of our relationship. Praying rosaries, intercessory prayer over the phone, and always making time to pray when we were together were priorities. 

Though long-distance was difficult, it was such a gift to be able to pursue our relationship without becoming overly consumed in each other’s lives or codependent. 

My father passed away on Easter Sunday my senior year, and Andrew knew this was very important to me. For months he planned an Easter weekend I would never forget. After going on retreat near Nashville, we spent Easter Vigil with my students and drove to Knoxville for Easter Sunday with my mom and sister. After Mass that morning, we went out to eat, and Andrew asked if I wanted to go to the cemetery and pray for the repose of my dad’s soul. After we prayed, we went on a walk.

At the top of the hill overlooking the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Andrew got down on one knee and proposed with my mother’s engagement diamond in a rose gold ring. Engraved in the ring were the words “Praise of Glory” after our favorite saint: St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. 

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity played a curious part in our relationship since the beginning. I had been falling in love with her understanding of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in our souls and was beginning to talk more and more about her. Andrew and I read a book about her while we were friends and missionaries to try and find out more--even though I never finished the book. 

In an attempt to move slowly and intentionally in our dating process, I asked Andrew if we could date for six months before we talked about marriage and the far-off future. I didn’t know that exactly six months after we started dating was the feast day of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. St. Elizabeth called herself “Laudem Gloriae” which means “Praise of Glory” because she believed her mission was to do just that: be a praise of God’s glory. And so, Andrew had “Praise of Glory” inscribed in my engagement ring.

He shared with me that he had been praying a 54-day rosary novena for our engagement. The graces of this were so present. We went to the cathedral to pray and thank God for this wonderful gift, and when we got back to my house our family and friends were waiting to surprise and congratulate us! 

Our engagement included two new jobs, a new city and state, and a month serving with the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. Through all of this, the Lord was softening and preparing our hearts to make the radical “yes” to our vocation seven months later on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

When we chose that date, we didn’t know the second reading for the feast was from Ephesians 1, the same verses where St. Elizabeth got the idea for her name “Laudem Gloriae.” This brought such consolation and was a clear sign of God’s blessing and sovereignty over our marriage.

From the beginning of our planning, Andrew and I wanted to throw a party that would serve the many people who meant so much to us. Every detail had one aim: to be a praise of God’s glory. We wanted people to have an encounter with the living God through the revelation of his beauty, love, and grace.

I chose the Marian color of blue in a winter combination with silvers and grays to run throughout the attire and decor. Each of the bridesmaids had a unique dress that, when seen with all the other dresses, showcased a uniquely beautiful winter look. The flowers were a combination of whites, grays, and greens with fun sparkly pine cones and faux fur-tailed stems of white fluff. Attached to my bouquet was my “something blue:” my dad’s wedding ring tied to a blue ribbon and a black-beaded rosary; a rosary made by the man who creates them for the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India.

Our ceremony was held in the newly constructed Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. This absolutely gorgeous cathedral, finished in March 2018, featured countless symbols, rich colors, and the faces of some of the most beloved saints in our modern day. From the marble floors, to the rich blue ceiling tiles, to the towering dome, everything about this place of worship draws your eyes and heart to the God who loves us.

Our musicians, all friends of ours, played songs that resonated deep in our hearts. “O God Beyond All Praising” was the song we chose as our entrance hymn because the purpose of the day was to give glory to God. As the violin welcomed Andrew and I into the church, he couldn’t help but break down in tears as I stood beaming beside him. Because my dad had passed away years ago, we chose to have Andrew walk me up the aisle as we prepared to enter into this sacramental covenant together.

Incense filled the altar and the entrance antiphon directed our hearts and minds to the Blessed Virgin Mary on her special feast day. Our good friend, Fr. Victor Ingalls, reminded us in the homily of my bridesmaids that Andrew had previously dated, which brought a rather comic tone to an already joyful day. He also reminded us of our most important mission: to get one another to Heaven.

My favorite part of the ceremony, besides singing with Andrew to some of our most beloved hymns, was looking into the congregation and seeing all the people who had helped us become who we are today. This included our parents, siblings, family, our friends who saw us in our most awkward times, those who served with us in FOCUS, our mission partners who had supported us as FOCUS missionaries, and our students we had labored for on various campuses. 

We were surrounded by such an incredible group of people who had given of themselves to help us try and become the saints God was calling us to be. As they witnessed to our promise of marriage, I couldn’t help but praise God for the gifts he had given us in each and every one of them.

Many people told us that the Mass was a spiritual experience, and I believe it was because God was being revealed so vividly through the beauty and liturgy of the Mass. It emanated from the building itself, through the music and community, and through the great “cloud of witnesses” who were there praying for us and united to us as we participated in the sacrifice of Christ on the altar. It was clear that the Lord greatly desired to come into the hearts of each person gathered there to celebrate.

Our reception was a blur, but from what I remember, my mom gave a long-winded speech that had people crying from laughing and crying from just plain crying. Because my dad couldn't be there, each of my ten uncles danced with me instead. We partied the rest of the night away with an amazing band that covered the classics and brought in some more modern music as well. 

Greenery hung from chandeliers, glittering Christmas trees welcomed the guests, and blue, silver, and white candles caused the whole room to glow. Our cakes were almost too pretty to eat, except for the donut covered groom’s cake. And most importantly, the smiles and laughter and joy of our guests made my heart want to burst.

It’s okay to be excited about details when planning your wedding, but it’s also important to realize that the day is about so much more than that. You want everything to be beautiful, to be special, and to be unique to you and your husband. But in each detail you choose, remember what your purpose is for that day and who you're really celebrating.

We wanted good food, a band, a large guest list, and beautiful flowers. We wanted to serve our friends and family and give them an experience of beauty. But we also didn't want to get carried away with unnecessary excess. 

At the end of the day, the whole point was that God had invited us into this beautiful sacrament to honor and glorify him. This was something that Andrew had to be constantly drawing me back to and reminding me of. This day wasn't for everyone else's approval or for our own vanity, it was for bringing glory to God.

As we started to plan and realized our budget didn't allow for certain things I wanted, it became clear that God wanted to provide in bigger ways than I could ever hope. Our venue provided incredible resources, we found lesser known, more affordable, high quality vendors, and we met people who “randomly” had connections with a band or wedding programs. Others offered to donate their time or resources to helping us make the event beautiful. Over and over again, God wanted to show his providence in every little detail of the day.

I have always struggled with trusting in God's goodness. Will he really provide? Is his plan good? Can I trust in his timing? These fears followed me throughout being single and even once Andrew and I started dating. I grasped for control every step of the way to make sure I wasn't going to be disappointed or hurt. But as wedding planning began and I had to let go of things I was grasping onto, God showed me that his plan for providing was so good. It would exceed so many of my expectations.

As Andrew and I walked down the aisle, I stood in awe of the beautiful day that God had created. It felt like so many things that day came together completely out of my control, and it's only because of God's grace to let go and let him do the work. The truth is that no matter what you think you might need on that day, God wants to be the one who makes it beautiful.

Photography: Ashleigh Jameson Photography | Videography: David Barretto | Church: Sacred Heart Cathedral, Knoxville, TN | Reception: The Reserve at Bluebird Hill, Lenoir City, TN | Planning, Design, & Florals: Windsor & Willow | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rentals | Band: Trapped on Earth  | Food: @brownbagnow  | Bar: @thepourguys | Hair: Color, Cuts, & Curls | Make-Up: @makeupbychesni | Chauffeur/Car: @regal_carriages | Cake: @sarahsstapleton | Gown: Signature Bridal

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

Bridget + KC | Traditional Christmas Octave Wedding

During a carpool to a retreat at a dinnertime pit stop, Bridget and KC met in a Wendy's checkout line as sophomores in college.

During the retreat, they bonded over The Food Network, dishwashing, and prayer. These conversations sparked a wonderful friendship. They looked forward to running into each other at their St. Paul University Catholic Center, and KC walked Bridget to her car each evening to make sure she was safe.

One afternoon after daily Mass, KC asked her on a date. Bridget thought about how much she appreciated him asking in person, and specifically "on a date" before enthusiastically saying yes. They went to a pumpkin patch and corn maze and were amazed to spend six hours together without a single lull in conversation.

After some prayer and discernment, they officially started dating a few weeks later.

From the Bride: For the next two years our “ongoing date” was trying to visit as many churches as we could. At each location we prayed in, we picked up a rock from outside the church and numbered it. Looking back on these rocks, we like to think about the churches and the prayers they represent. They are the rocks we have built our relationship with, like the reflection in Matthew 7.

During this time, I was able to spend two weeks visiting KC while he studied abroad. We went to Italy for Holy Week and spent Good Friday in Assisi. We even attended the Easter Vigil in St Peter's. Being in Rome for Easter was such an amazing opportunity for prayer, joy, and discernment for our relationship’s future.

While we were long-distance, we also scheduled holy hours together, taking into account the time difference, so that we could still pray together. Being united in prayer made the distance more bearable.

KC proposed in September 2016 at St Mary’s of Pine Bluff church. The proposal was at the end of a scavenger hunt for letters that each included a puzzle piece. When I found him in front of the altar he said, "I think you have some puzzle pieces. We work best together as a team, will you help me put it together?"

The puzzle read "Will you marry me?" and KC asked me, "Bridget, would you do me the honor of allowing me to love you into heaven?" I obviously said "yes!

Our engagement seemed like a long one, but the whole time it was apparent that Christ was still working on our hearts and helping us to become better versions of ourselves so we could be the best spouses for each other. Every aspect of our marriage prep highlighted areas we still needed to grow personally and spiritually. We named Sts. Francis and Claire patrons of our engagement.

Planning a wedding together was so much fun, and I was very excited to have KC's enthusiastic help in the process, especially with the nuptial Mass.

Our main goal and theme of our Mass was "verso l'alto" (an Italian phrase made famous by Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that means “to the top” or “towards the heights”). We wanted everything to point to Christ and to give glory to God.

When meeting with our main celebrant, Fr. Eric Sternberg, he asked us, "What is our goal here? Have a beautiful Mass and a fun party, or knock everyone’s socks off by being a tool of evangelization and praise the Most High God?" We laughed a little, not really seeing the difference, and said "both?" He chuckled a little and responded, "right answer, I am so excited."

We knew we were lucky to be married at St. Paul’s, the university chapel where our relationship began and grew. Additionally, we told Fr. Eric the more smells, bells, and gold we could incorporate, the better. Our wedding was planned to take place within the octave of Christmas, so why not? Not only were we receiving a sacrament, we were also celebrating Christ's birth!

My family has been blessed to have many priest friends, several of whom are godfathers to my siblings, so naturally they had to be included in the Mass. The total number of celebrants came to seven, plus a deacon. We had hoped to have Bishop Morlino there too, a good friend of my family, but we were not able to extend an invitation before his passing in November. Our Mass was served by several seminarian friends and two of my brothers.  

KC and I wanted to make sure there was a lot of symbolism and tradition in the Mass, even if only the two of us noticed or knew about it.

For example, both of our rings are custom-made. KC’s ring was crafted with a band of gold from his mom's old wedding ring and set between two bands of silver from her purity ring. His growth and spiritual life was kindled by his mother. Now it is my responsibility to support and care for him in this vocation.

My engagement ring has his mom's diamond from her same old wedding band, and my wedding band has fifteen tiny diamonds that I associate with a number of spiritual references: the fifteen prayers of St Bridget, my patron saint, the fifteen original mysteries of the rosary, and the fourteen stations of the cross, plus the resurrection.

My bridal colors we also chosen for religious symbolism: burgundy for the bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen's ties with gold as an accent. Not only was our wedding within the octave of Christmas (and those are both great Christmas colors), it was on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, and we decided on red for those precious martyrs. Shades of red also symbolized devotion to the Sacred Heart, which runs through our family and social circle.

KC and I had a candle lit in the sanctuary with Bishop Morlino's photo in memory of him, and our recessional hymn, “O God Beyond All Praising,” was partially chosen with him in mind, since it was one of his favorites.

We also memorized our vows, rather than repeating after the priest. KC and I wanted to make sure our vows were ones that we knew forward and backward and fully understood what they meant. It was a little weird to practice our vows with each other in the months before our wedding, so we replaced "husband" and "wife" in the first line with "friend" while we practiced.

At our wedding, we both almost said “friend,” and it was funny for the two of us, even though no one else knew! But it was very worth it, and we still hold hands once in a while and repeat our vows to each other.

The Mass was celebrated ad orientem, and we incorporated many Latin responses. Readings were chosen with Theology of the Body in mind and as much foreshadowing of the heavenly wedding feast of the Lamb as possible. The gospel reading (Jn 2:1-11) is one of our favorites because it contains the last recorded words of Mary: "Do whatever He tells you." They are a good command for us to remember as we begin our life together following God's plan.

We each had a holy hour the morning of the wedding and went to confession the night before. My father walked with me to the bride and groom’s "first look." KC and I wanted to process into the church together, so in order to still give my dad the opportunity to "give the bride away," we had him escort me then.

After our first look, my parents gathered with us to share a prayer they had written for us. KC and I read our letters to each other and prayed together for a brief, special moment. Then, just before starting the processional, my bridesmaids prayed over me.  

The Mass was a dream. Everything went smoothly; our musicians (all music majors and two opera/musical theater majors) were phenomenal.  KC says that our friend Ben put Andrea Bocelli to shame with his Ave Maria for our Marian consecration, which was the final day of our 33 Days to Morning Glory renewal. There was so much joy, peace, and excitement for both of us as we knelt and prayed after communion.

One of the priests told us afterwards that seeing the joy and radiance on our faces as we prayed gave him so much hope for the future and deepened his flame of love for his own bride, the Church.

We didn't share our first kiss at the altar. Rather, we snuck off for a few moments alone in one of the spiritual direction rooms in the basement of the Newman Center. Those moments were so important for us to share our joy, prayers, and thoughts from Mass and to take a deep breath before family photos and being passed around from guest to guest the rest of the evening.

Our honeymoon was in Italy, where we made another pilgrimage to Assisi to thank Sts. Francis and Claire for their intercession in our engagement and to Rome for the Sposi Novelli blessing.

Wedding planning can be a lot of fun if you are striving to have a celebration that reflects goodness, truth, and beauty. KC and I encountered our own share of spiritual warfare, but because God always comes through on his promises, we received many, many comments from our priests and our guests about how peaceful everything and everyone was.

We could feel that peace too. When we trust the Lord, really trust him to take care of things and to have a better plan than we have, everything works out, and it brings joy and light to other people's personal and spiritual lives.

Photography: Wild Elegance LLC | Church: St. Paul's University Catholic Center | Reception: St. Paul's University Catholic Center | Rings: Diny's Diamonds (Madison, WI) | Dress: Brides N Belles (Reedsburg, WI) | Veil: JJ's House | Shoes: Amazon, Overstock | Brides Jewelry: Handmade | Groom's Suit: JC Penney | Cake: To Di For (Stoughton, WI) | Hair and MU: The Posh Beauty Bar, done by Katrina (Stoughton, WI) | Caterer: Blue Plate Catering | DJ: Midwest Sound DJs | Flowers: DIY, purchased through Costco floral | Girls dresses and mens suits were purchased on their own. Men's ties were from Amazon. | Invitation Suite: By the bride

Jenny + Sam | Summertime Texas Wedding

“Through desire, [God] enlarges our soul and by expanding it he increases its capacity for receiving him.” These words from Pope Benedict XVI echoed in Jenny’s heart as she prepared to marry her beloved Sam.

Jenny and Sam’s love story is one of virtuous patience and beautiful triumph, the rich fruits of Jenny’s trust while suffering a deep desire and longing to begin her vocation--for marriage.

Through their mutual devotion to their faith and love of Mother Mary, Jenny and Sam were married on a bright, summertime day in Texas.

From the Bride: It was a struggle for me to deeply desire marriage and not enter my vocation until I was 34 (and 1/2) years old. I had already watched many of my friends get engaged, married, and start a family. I did not know why God would have me suffer with such a deep desire for the vocation of marriage and not fulfill it.

I didn’t know it, but he was working out everything for the good--it just wasn't time yet. Through my suffering, my relationship with God became stronger and stronger. I even traveled to be a missionary teacher abroad for two years in the hope that maybe God wanted to work in me more before he revealed my husband to me.

When I returned from missionary work, I dated a little and put myself out there, going to young adult retreats and social functions at my church. But it seemed that many times, as most singles will complain, "the good guys are all gone."

Finally, after a summer of getting my heart broken and many unsuccessful dates, I decided to try one last round of online dating. I had joined an app when I came across Sam's profile. I thought he was cute, and he made some funny comments. He also said he was Catholic. What?! We connected and hit it off.

I quickly discovered that our morals and values as well as our devotion to our Catholic faith aligned perfectly. We also found out we had many common interests, like running. On our first date, he told me he was looking to get married. Wow, I thought. This was a first. I knew he was special, and we quickly prayed about the next steps. Before long, we knew the Lord was bringing us together for a purpose.

What I loved about Sam was his patience with me. Throughout our courtship he showed me the man he truly was. Although we lived across town from each other, we made it a point to attend Mass together every Sunday. We enjoyed attending confession and both had a devotion to Mary, Our Mother, and prayed the rosary often. We truly believe she helped guide us on our journey.

Sam planned the perfect proposal; it was just him and I. We had gotten coffee, and I was getting stressed with work and felt unsure where our future was heading. He told me that Mary would make it all better and show us the way, so we prayed the rosary together. In that moment I knew Sam was truly the one the Lord had planned for me. I prayed “not my will but your will, Lord, but I really like him!” When I opened my eyes, Sam was on his knees, and he asked me to be his wife. God's perfect plan was unfolding in front of me, and I was overjoyed to start the next chapter with this man.

Our engagement was a whirlwind since I was a teacher who was off work in the summer. We were eager to start our lives together, and we knew we wanted a summertime wedding.

But that meant we had only six months to plan a wedding for three hundred guests! Although it was stressful at times, Sam and I really enjoyed our Pre-Cana classes and preparing for marriage. We learned so much about each other and our faith, and we know it prepared us for the sacrament.

Our wedding day was the best day of our lives.

Pope Benedict XVI, said “Man was created for greatness–for God himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched. By delaying his gift, God strengthens our desire; through desire, he enlarges our soul and by expanding it he increases its capacity for receiving him.”

My entire life has been a process of God enlarging my soul and increasing my heart’s capacity to receive the gift of my marriage on July 21, 2018.

Through suffering, a lot of waiting, prayer, brokenness, redemption, and through the Eucharist, Christ was preparing me for Sam. He was preparing me to say my own “fiat” like Mary did (Luke 1:38) when he offered me the wonderful gift of my husband and our new journey together.

My mom was in charge of most of the planning for the reception, and Sam and I planned the ceremony. We wanted a beautiful, holy Mass and a joyful reception with all our family and friends. We were married in Sam's childhood church and included many Catholic traditions such as the lazo in the liturgy. We knew from the start we would also include the presentation of flowers to Mother Mary. After we prayed together and laid flowers at the foot of Mary, we gave a special rose to our mothers.

Sam and I found out during the wedding process that we have many of the same favorite Catholic hymns, like the communion hymn “Taste and See,” and incorporated them into the Mass. The priest gave a wonderful homily about the love of Jesus and the great sacrament of marriage.

When I saw Sam standing at the altar, all I remember is thanking Jesus. And as I walked with my father down the aisle, carrying my new mother-in-law’s rosary as my “something borrowed,” I smiled as I gazed at Sam, who was crying. It was a beautiful moment, and I felt so close to Christ.

The reception afterwards was a night to remember! We had delicious food and great entertainment. We did the Grand March (a German tradition) that got everyone out on the dance floor. Then came our first dance. Sam and I love to two-step to country music, and it was a special moment as all of our family and friends surrounded us to watch us have our first dance as husband and wife.

There was pure joy and peace the whole day of our wedding, and it remains even now in our marriage. Christ is so good and faithful!

Photography: Meeker Pictures | Church: Saint Mary Catholic Church-Plantersville, Texas | Bridal Portraits- Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church- Houston, TX | Reception: The Brownstone Reserve- Bryan, Texas | Food: City View Catering | Cake: Cakes by Gina | Gown: Stella York @ Whittington Bridal | DJ: DJ Mark Bobo | Florist: Trica Barksdale Designs | Hair/Make-up: Naturally Flawless | Bridesmaid Dresses: KFbridal | Flower girl dresses: Pink Princess | Men's suits: Men's wearhouse | Wedding planning: Ashley &Co. | Invitations: Dromgooles | Bridal portrait flowers: Lambrie Floral designs

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


Fabiola + Cole | Vatican City Basilica Wedding

Gratitude, love, and faith can exist in the midst of profound suffering, through God’s miraculous grace. This is what Fabiola experienced when she faced her mother’s unexpected diagnosis, two years after meeting her future husband, Cole.

A couple years later, to her great joy, her mother sat, beautiful and glowing, at her daughter’s wedding. Fabiola and Cole’s unspeakably beautiful nuptial Mass took place in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

From the Bride: Meeting Cole was a gift from God. I met him at a time of my life when I was worry-free, in college, always smiling, and thanking the Lord for so many blessings.

Four years later, I am still striving to live that way, but life has gotten harder. Two years after we started dating, my beautiful mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I prayed for strength to help my mom fight, and, of course, for healing.

I have always been a girl of strong faith, but this was incredibly difficult. And in the midst of it, Cole was there to remind me, "Fab, hold on to your faith. God's got this." He was right. God answered my prayers and sent me strength, and that strength was through Cole. He was, and is, my rock.

Cole proposed in front of my whole family, and we got married in the most beautiful place in the world: St. Peter's Basilica. The doctors were unsure if my mother would attend our wedding, but I knew in my heart she would be there, and she was.

Our ceremony was so incredibly beautiful. During the Mass, a light shined on my mom the whole time, and the amount of love in the church was breathtaking. The Holy Spirit was alive in all of our hearts.

The celebration was in English, Spanish, and Italian, our three languages. The priest who celebrated our marriage was Father Claudio Barbut, who we met at a healing Mass for my mom. His homily was all about Christ living within us.

We had almost 200 guests attend from all over the world. There were many different beliefs and religions in one room, but every guest held the crucifix that Fr. Claudio handed around before I arrived. When I saw the cross with a beautiful prayer in the hands of my family and friends, my heart was filled with joy.

Fr. Claudio gifted us a wooden cross which we held during the ceremony. Cole and I kissed the cross and promised to keep Christ the center of our marriage forever. When I close my eyes and relive that day, I smile and thank God for every second of it.

I felt so much gratitude. For my mom and how beautiful she was. To know she was right there with me. It was the perfect start to my marriage, and it made Cole and I thankful for every blessing that comes our way.

He knew Christ was the center of my world when he met me, and now Christ is the center of our marriage. At the end of the day, instead of asking for something, I have learned to start every prayer with “thank you.”

We make plans, but God has a perfect plan, and we're ready for what he has planned for us. Marriage is not perfect, and life is not perfect, but when Cole and I look at each other and love each other as Jesus would, we can overcome anything.

Photography: Aberrazioni Cromatiche Studio | Church: St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City | Reception: Casina di Macchia Madama | Flowers: Dordas Flowers