How He Asked | Ana + Sam

The Father can flood even the darkest, most hidden corners of the human heart with light.

Ana and Sam met at the University of Wisconsin in Madison; he was the new intern at the Newman Center on campus, and she was the student joining his retreat-planning team. The desire they both felt to serve the Church led them to one another.

After a few months of emails, Sam asked Ana out. Their first date was to a botanical garden on Easter Sunday. Many dates followed over the next few weeks as the clock ticked down: Sam’s internship would be over in a month, and he was preparing to move back home.

In Ana’s words: We talked about deciding at the end of those weeks if we could do a long-distance relationship, but it quickly became a no-brainer. We dated from a distance for six months, where we both used the time apart to seriously discern our relationship. I was incredibly happy—the summer was full of adventure and young love, though also shadowed by a period of extreme darkness in my own spiritual life.

We both realized around three months of dating that the other was, hopefully, the person God had planned for us. I knew in my heart and gut that if given the opportunity, I would marry Sam. Sam was a gift from God I truly could not believe I had received.

Strangely enough, this realization threw me into a torrent of worry and anxiety for months, as I began believing this gift was too good to be true. Even more devastating, I started doubting that God loves to bless us with beautiful things.

Hear me out. There was nothing wrong with our relationship. It was pure, good, and holy; at least, we were striving for that. The devil had taken control of my head and heart, trying to convince me I didn’t deserve the Lord’s goodness; that God was somehow tricking me, and his will was impossible to figure out, let alone follow.

During this time, Sam and I did a nine-day novena to St. Joseph for our relationship and for my anxiety, where we agreed to no contact at all. It was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done.

It was during this time that I realized just how much love I had accumulated in my little, broken heart for this incredible man. I told God that if he blessed me with the opportunity to marry Sam, I would.

I prayed that God would be pleased with that decision. Looking back, I now realize that God wants to hear our raw, broken prayers. Believing a situation is “too good to be true” is like believing God is too good to be true. And that, I now know, is a lie.

Sam, being the sure and steady man he is, kept me focused on trusting Christ and myself during my period of darkness. In my desolation, I experienced the kind of man that Sam is. I am most grateful for his steadiness and faith. We were fortunate that Sam landed a job that brought him back to Madison, where he has been ever since. This allowed us to grow much closer than we otherwise could have apart.

Nine months after our first date, Sam proposed in the campus chapel, St. Paul’s, on New Years Eve, the Feast of the Holy Family! St. Paul’s is the community that had brought us together, and it is where we will be married next July. God is so good, and he loves to give us good things! Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Trusting in him doesn’t mean putting a blindfold on while turning the boat in the opposite direction—it means staying the course of truth, eyes wide open, enjoying the views, all the while knowing and trusting that Christ is steering the boat. He leads us beside still waters, and he blesses us abundantly there. Let him.

In Sam’s words: I am not exaggerating when I say Ana was everything I was looking for in a girl: Catholic, faithful, pretty, funny, and more. I finally got the nerve to ask her out after almost four months. Although I still didn't know her well--our interactions had been pretty limited--I was incredibly excited to become friends. And we did become friends, fast.

After the whirlwind four weeks leading to the end of my temporary job, the decision to make a long-distance relationship work was the easiest decision. We were four hours away, so we were only able to see each other every so often. Despite our distance, we grew very close that summer. The time we spent together was obviously precious to each of us. By the end of that summer I knew I could--and wanted to--marry this girl, if that's what God wanted of me.

I was fortunate to land a job in the fall that brought me right back to Ana. I knew it was only a matter of time before we got engaged at this point. We were beginning to rely on each other and care for each other in ways that really only made sense within an engaged relationship. I got a ring in late November. Both of us had a strong connection to this chapel where I asked her, and I felt there was no better place. Ana has continued to be the greatest joy in my life, and I thank God every day she said yes!

Photography: Pete Creamer (family)

How He Asked | Katie + Jared

Jared was working as the youth minister at Katie’s home parish. She was working at Jared’s sister’s medical practice. Yet it wasn’t until their parish priest introduced them that they met for the first time. Soon after, three additional friends nudged them to consider dating. “There were so many signs leading to our dating,” Katie says, “giving us so much validation that God desired we date.”

In Katie’s words: Our four years of courtship and three years of long-distance dating have always been faith-centered. Jared and I share a deep passion for our Church and for serving her people. Some of the most meaningful times in our relationship have been service trips that we’ve participated in together, including a mission to Nicaragua. We try to carve out time weekly to pray together and attend daily Mass. We love praying night prayer before we say goodbye at the end of an evening.

This past February, we explored Arizona and the Grand Canyon. We love seeing new places and, especially, visiting new churches. We made it a priority on our trip to find daily Mass in every place we stopped: Phoenix, Sedona, and even a small church by the Grand Canyon!

We walked out on the edge of the Grand Canyon as the sun was setting. It was so peaceful, the sunset’s red glow lighting up all the crevices on the depths that stretched for miles. Jared knelt, and asked me to marry him.

Jared’s proposal was such a beautiful moment. We were already awe-filled from the vistas surrounding us, and at that moment, there was so much radiant grace overflowing for us. One of the evening’s most wonderful blessings was that we had no cell phone service or WiFi, allowing us to spend time enjoying or blossoming engagement without all the fuss of being on the phone and telling the world just yet.

We are getting married this fall in my home church, where Jared is still the youth minister. We are very blessed that the priest who introduced us will be one of the celebrants! We have many patron saints, including Blessed Stanley Rother, whose beatification we were able to attend. We also have a special devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, as we often serve the immigrant population. If we had saints’ personalities, we imagine Jared would be Saint Peter and I would be Saint Paul.

Planning a wedding can be difficult, but if you keep in mind what's important, everything falls into place. For us, our relationship with God comes first. We are trying to spend much more time planning our marriage, realizing that our wedding is just one day. We know our job will be to get each other to heaven.

Photography: W the Studio  | Engagement Location: Grand Canyon

How He Asked | Nayeli & Ivan

Both full-time ministry workers for the Church, Nayeli and Ivan had seen each other a few times at diocesan events, but they didn’t speak for the first time until Nayeli responded to one of Ivan’s tweets. Their friendship deepened, and Ivan asked her out the following year.

Nayeli knew she was in the presence of a holy man, sincere in his pursuit, yet there was no peace in her heart. In a difficult, but necessary decision, she broke up with Ivan and began discerning religious life. She knew she needed to discover if the Lord was calling her to be his bride as a religious sister.

Ivan moved on, yet time and again, God continued to bring him and Nayeli back together through friendly encounters and social media. They remained friends through her discernment.

Fast forward a few years, and Nayeli felt certain the Lord was calling her to marriage. On the feast of Saint Patrick, Ivan invited her to get a green beer and catch up. A beer turned into a night at the movies, and they both knew this was where God wanted them. He wanted them for each other.

Ivan began pursuing Nayeli once again, and she began sharing her heart with him. On Easter Sunday, Ivan asked Nayeli to be his girlfriend and invited her to discern the sacrament of marriage with him.

In Nayeli’s words: All along, we were made for one another, even from the very beginning of time--but it was all based on God's timing. It always has, and always will, work out according to God's timing.

All during Advent the year we began dating, I kept asking God to help me be patient for engagement. Ivan and I knew we were called to marry one another, but the thought of when he would ask was killing me. Since all of our relationship had been rooted God’s timing, I knew this would also apply to engagement.

I’m a planner. I plan work, school and all of my family events, so the last thing I wanted to do was plan an engagement. I wanted to be surprised, swept off my feet. That meant not snooping or asking questions! It didn’t help that I was getting asked about a ring 24/7; so again, I asked God to give me patience. I was getting antsy but I knew I needed to give it back to God.

A few days later, a friend and I were going to a young adult event at my home parish. She bailed on me, and I wasn’t feeling it to go by myself. My best friend Stephanie called and begged me to go, saying I hadn’t seen her and it would be fun and needed.

I went to the event, where there was a dinner. Out of nowhere, Ivan's sisters were “in the neighborhood” going to the new Catholic coffee shop. I invited them to stop by the event afterwards for Adoration. Stephanie asked me to save her a seat on the first pew, where she usually sits during Mass. I felt bad leaving Ivan’s sisters, but I knew they would understand my sitting elsewhere for prayer.

As the holy hour began, a reflection played over the speakers about waiting. I cried. This was everything I had prayed about during Advent. My best friend, my sister in Christ, put her hand on my shoulder and started praying for me. It was a very heartfelt moment, but I just assumed that is where God had led her at the time.

The director wrapped up the evening and dismissed the attendees, but asked Stephanie and I to stay behind while the Blessed Sacrament was reposed. Stephanie and I sat there for a minute. She asked if I saw the tabernacle key; it wasn’t there. She rolled her eyes, saying she’d be back, and it was just me in the front pew, before Jesus on the altar.

I knelt, finishing my prayer in thanksgiving, and saw a shadow. I turned to see Ivan walking up the aisle. “Hi, my love,” he said. At that moment, I knew.

He took my hand, led me to the front of the altar, and spoke the sweetest words I’ve ever heard.

There we were, standing in front of Jesus in the monstrance as Ivan got down on one knee and asked the words I’ve longed to hear for years: “Will you marry me?” As I cried, the words that kept going through my mind were the greatest love story of the Scriptures: "This one, at last, is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." At last, Ivan was asking me to be his bride, to start a new journey towards the sacrament of marriage. A new journey to get one another to Heaven. I was in awe of the goodness of the Lord. I was in awe of the one who God made just for me. In awe of the beautiful journey we were about to embark on.

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Photography: Good Harvest Photo

How He Asked | Mary Kate + Jason

Having just ended an emotionally exhausting relationship, Mary Kate cautiously took measures to protect herself from the pain of heartbreak, saying “every novena imaginable” to saints Anne, Jude, Joseph, Our Lady Undoer of Knots, Raphael, and Anthony. Her future husband was a constant fixture in her prayer life.

A line from the movie Little Boy, spoken by a priest, echoed in Mary Kate’s heart: “you moved me to move the bottle.” She deeply desired that the Lord would move to give her a holy spouse, praying for her husband’s strength and courage as they waited to meet each other.

That summer, she met a seminarian for her diocese. They became friends. And for a time, that was that.

In Mary Kate’s words: Jason and I always had good conversations, especially about the Catholic faith and about music. I often saw him, with other seminarians, at many young adult events in the area. At the conclusion of a pastoral year, Jason returned to seminary.

I continued my constant prayers for my future husband, trusting completely that God would bring him into my life when the time was right. One Sunday, about a year after our first meeting, I saw Jason’s announcement on Facebook that he had discerned out of the seminary, and would not be continuing in formation. I was shocked, and a little disappointed. If anyone would have made a good priest, it would have been Jason.

That Wednesday, I saw him again, and we were able to catch up. Over the next three and a half weeks, we saw each other frequently at different young adult events, attended several priestly ordinations together, and started getting to know each other better. At the end of that time, we went to a couple movies together. The day before Corpus Christi Sunday, Jason asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes. Two years earlier, I had asked God to bring me a good Catholic man, and to bring him to me on the Feast of Corpus Christi. In return, I would get married as close to Corpus Christi Sunday as I possibly could. To say I was a overjoyed might be an understatement.

On March 17, 2018 we celebrated nine months of dating. Jason had spoken with my parents in February and had received their permission to ask for my hand in marriage. On Tuesday of Holy Week, I assisted with the Chrism Mass in our diocese. The Mass totally got me in the Holy Week mood, and I was ecstatic. Jason and I usually see each other on Tuesdays and weekends, so I already knew I’d be seeing him that evening after work. On my way home, as we talked on the phone, he suggested we go to the Perpetual Adoration chapel in town that evening He got to my house, we had supper, and then we left for the Chapel.

We’d been there almost a full hour when Jason stood up from our pew and proceeded to kneel right in front of the monstrance. He’d done that before, so I didn't think much of it. Except that he knelt there for forty-five minutes. As it turns out, he had been waiting for me to get impatient and ask him if we would be leaving soon. We’d each thought the other simply needed some serious prayer time!

Finally, Jason looked back at me and nodded for me to come forward. I knelt beside him. After a moment or two he stood up, so I did, too. As soon as I was standing, he knelt back down, and on one knee, proposed to me in front of Jesus. I, of course, said yes. An older couple was there for their holy hour; they politely clapped and congratulated us. On the car ride back to my house, I learned some of my siblings and their families were waiting with champagne to celebrate with us! It was such a joyful evening, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect proposal.

Besides the fact that Jason proposed before Jesus in the Eucharist--thus making him the foundation of the next stage in our relationship--I think my biggest takeaway from our engagement is a reflection on my ring.

My ring has a sapphire and a ruby on either side of a diamond. My favorite color is blue, and Jason’s is red. There is a twofold significance: first, two become one in the sacrament of marriage. Second, it takes three to get married, with God as the center diamond and Jason and I as the jewels on the sides.


Engagement Location: St. Joseph's Church Perpetual Adoration Chapel | Ring: Diamonds and Jewelry Unlimited

How He Asked | TheaMarie + Benjamin

TheaMarie was raised Protestant, but met her husband-to-be at their Catholic high school. For three years, she and Ben were close friends, telling each other everything in between dating relationships with others. Ben asked TheaMarie to their junior prom where, to her surprise, he asked her to be his girlfriend two weeks later.

In TheaMarie’s words: God is beautifully omniscient and works in the most graceful ways. Slowly but surely, the Lord began to work through Benjamin's loving faith and practices to show me the beauty, mercy, and consolation of the Catholic Church. We began spending time in the chapel during lunch together, going to late-night Adoration, and exploring the sacraments together.

On November 1, 2013 I entered the Catholic Church at a school-wide Mass, with Ben as an altar server. It was very special, and an experience we both hold dear to our hearts. We both went off to college in Wisconsin, him in Milwaukee and myself in La Crosse. Dating long-distance has stretched us in ways we couldn't have imagined. These past four years have not been without tears or long discussions, but the fruits have already become manifest. We have continually looked to our Mother and to St. Joseph for guidance as we’ve weathered our journey across the distance.

Our engagement was expected, yet also completely unexpected. It was expected in that we had been courting for four years, working on our careers and bettering ourselves to grow closer to God. But the timing and setting were entirely unexpected.

I was convinced Ben would propose somewhere in our North Dakota hometown, where we spent countless hours talking, working on homework, driving around, praying, and being with family and friends. He completely surprised me when I’d delayed my flight home from school beforer Christmas break.

It was a Saturday night, and we were on our way to Mass. It was beginning to storm. Unknown to me, before we left Ben had made plans with friends who worked for the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee, asking them the best spot to propose. On our drive to the Basilica, at the same time we both said we wanted to go to a different Catholic Church we had been planning to explore more at some point. We took the exit and attended a beautiful Mass, with few present as the winter storm had made travel difficult.

At the end of Mass, we finished our prayer. Ben asked if we could go to the front of the church to pray for safe travels. As we knelt, I could feel that he was nervous, which made me nervous!

We prayed, and I got up and to put my jacket on. Ben grabbed it from me and put it on the pew. With my hand in his, he knelt and said,

"TheaMarie, we have grown so much over the past seven years. I cannot imagine my life without you. You are my whole life. Will you make me the happiest man... Will you marry me?"

I stood there in disbelief and absolute excitement and said, "Yes, yes, yes!" We hugged, kissed, and he put the most beautiful ring on my finger. The center diamond is from my mother's wedding ring, and my dad, who owns a jewelry store, created it himself.

We thanked God for our relationship and enjoyed a nice meal, just the two of us in a big city where no one knew us. We looked at Christmas lights and called our parents. The next day, I had to leave for home. It was the most beautiful time we had together and our long engagement of one and a half years has been a gift to us: a time of growing in virtue, patience, mercy, understanding, love, and allowing for God to work within us and through one another.

Photography: Ben Gumeringer Photography | Engagement: Milwaukee, WI |. Engagement Ring: Knowles Jewelry, Bismarck ND

How He Asked | Alexa + Patrick

A few months after moving back near home following her college graduation, Alexa was walking along the boardwalk in Atlantic City with her cousin Judy when Judy mentioned Patrick, the new Theology teacher at the school where she worked. She suggested Alexa visit the school as a guest speaker for Pat’s students.

In Alexa’s Words: Unfortunately I hate public speaking, but I didn't hate the idea of meeting an allegedly cute guy who was my age and taught Theology. "Tell him to send me an email and maybe we'll figure something out," I told her.

That week, I logged onto Facebook and looked up this Pat Smith guy Judy had been telling me about. I quickly found his profile, clicked through a bunch of his pictures, decided internally that I would welcome an opportunity to meet him should such an opportunity present itself, and finally proceeded to do absolutely nothing proactive about initiating communication.

A few months later, I was minding my own business when I received a friend request from Patrick Smith on Facebook. I accepted it and sent him a message. We had the standard polite inaugural exchange, then eventually got to talking about our jobs, our college experiences at, and our faith. We got to the point where the next natural step would have been to meet in person, but neither of us seemed to know how to address that.

Enter Judy again. She knew I had been working with the youth group at my parish on what would be their first annual Living Stations, and suggested I invite Pat to come down and see it. This seemed low key enough for a first meeting. And what made the whole thing even less intimidating was that I was almost certain Pat would say no: why would a man drive an hour to a see a girl he's never met and help with a youth group that he has no affiliation with? I casually invited Pat and he responded almost immediately with a yes, seemingly very excited about it.

It turned out to be a very low pressure first encounter, because Pat and I only got to talk for about fifteen minutes over the course of the night. But it was enough for both of us to know that we had the potential for at least a great friendship, and that we wanted to see each other again.

Three weeks later, at my coworker’s encouragement, I invited him to see the movie Heaven is for Real, which was followed by a series of dates and making our relationship official.

What many people don’t know about our relationship, however, is that we broke up for a period of time, after about eight months of dating. We had very different experiences with the time we spent apart. For me, those months were a time of discernment about what I was being called to in life. I briefly discerned religious life, and also took the time to truly ask myself, for perhaps the first time in my life, whether I was actually called to marriage.

Meanwhile, Pat struggled significantly with our breakup. When we eventually started talking again, he told me he’d prayed for me every day when we were apart. But what meant even more to me was when he told me he hadn’t just prayed we’d get back together. Instead, he prayed for God’s will and for me to find my vocation, whether or not it turned out to be a vocation to marriage with him. That was when I knew we had something different. We began dating again shortly thereafter.

Looking back, it's now so symbolic that we met in person for the first time at the Cathedral of the Diocese of Allentown. Little did we know when we first met there for Living Stations that we would get engaged there and, in June 2018, will be married there. Pat proposed at the Cathedral during an annual Christmas tradition, wherein the youth group gets together to help put up the tree and other decorations. 

There were about 25 of us there that day--teens, adult volunteers, and our three parish priests--and we were all busy decorating and socializing. During the event, one of the teens pulled me aside to ask me a question. Meanwhile, Pat and the other volunteers were helping everyone get in position for his plan. A few moments later, I was asked to come investigate a Christmas present with no name on it.

As soon as I picked up the gift, everyone started chanting "Open it!," so I did. Inside was an athletic T-shirt from Pat’s school, with "Future Mrs. Smith" printed on the back. At that point I was pretty sure I knew what was going on. Pat got down on one knee and four of the teens held up signs reading, Will you marry me?

We are beyond excited for our wedding this summer, to answer our vocation and begin living out our call to marriage.

Location: Lock Ridge Park - Alburtis, PA | Photography: Reflections Creative Photography

Our Best of 2017

Thanks to the beautiful vulnerability and generosity of spirit given by each of you in the Spoken Bride community, it’s been our honor to share such precious parts of your hearts, and ours, in 2017. Here, as we close this year, a look back at our featured love stories and a collection of our favorite posts.


As you plan your nuptial liturgy

Practical and spiritual wedding planning tips


If you’re in need of encouragement

As you plan your honeymoon

You are a bride, a beloved. Cherish this sacred time.


From us to you, thank you for taking part in Spoken Bride's ministry, whether through your social media interaction, your submissions, your patronage of our Catholic wedding vendors, or simply through having clicked over to the site. All glory and thanks to the one whose hand has guided this mission and brought you here. We sincerely hope the words and images you've found here have been a source of authenticity and beauty in your heart, your spiritual life, and your relationship. Be assured of our prayers as we, like you, strive for heaven in this vocation of marriage. We’re grateful and eager to continue serving you and sharing in sisterhood in 2018!