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For Your Marriage

Meet Sara and Justin. They married in June 2011, they welcomed their first child in August 2012.

Planning the Wedding Ceremony

This week, wedding planning came back in full swing after a few weeks’ hiatus as we moved. I picked up my dress, had my hair trial, showed my parents around our church, and reception hall, and had them taste the caterer’s food. For reasons too numerous to mention, this was the first time in three or four months my parents and I had the opportunity to discuss our wedding plans. This gave me an opportunity to reflect on the choices we’ve made for our big day throughout our engagement. My excitement is definitely rising!

One of the most fun things Justin and I got to do together during our marriage preparation process was plan our wedding liturgy. The dresses, the flowers, and the wedding colors (as long as I didn’t pick pink) were only somewhat important to Justin because he knew they were VERY important to me. He continues to remind me a priest and two witnesses are all we need to be married! However, picking our readings, our celebrant, our songs, and other options were very important to both Justin and me. We want our wedding day and wedding liturgy to be an outward sign of God’s love and grace for us and express how important God is in our lives. Therefore, our wedding liturgy is very important – even more so than the “party” afterward. We’re very blessed to have Fr. Rolling, one of Justin’s good friends who was ordained a priest last spring, as our main celebrant. Several other priests and deacons also plan to join us for the happy occasion.

Because the liturgy is so important to us, we’ve done a bit of planning throughout the months. After we met with our pastor Father Ron several weeks after our engagement was official, Father gave us a list of readings, blessings, and other options we could choose for our wedding Mass. Of course, within a week or two, I had already pulled out the sheet to see what our options included!

Picking our readings was a lot of fun, especially since Justin knew even before he picked out the girl that he wanted a specific reading from Tobit. Since he had kept the suspense through our entire dating relationship, it was fun to finally know which reading and discuss why he liked that reading in particular. We also had fun determining which other readings and prayers we wanted within the liturgy. We picked most of them way back in November or December. However, our song selection was a slightly more emotional decision, which we planned in April. Our cantor is a good friend of ours, so we got together one Saturday and spent an hour or two flipping through hymnals to determine our hymns. Justin and I can have very different tastes in liturgical music, so we were pleased when we were able to compromise on songs. We also had the opportunity to pick out/write our petitions. Since we’ve both had several family members near and dear to us pass away in the past few years, we especially wanted to remember them at this time, along with all those who have helped guide us to this place in our lives.

We both knew we wanted to visit the statue of Mary following Communion and ask her intercession and blessing on our marriage. Justin requested we also visit the statue of St. Joseph and ask his intercession as he strives to follow St. Joseph’s example of a husband and hopefully one day, a father. During this time, we will give a yellow rose to each of them. In addition, I’ve always loved the portion of the Litany of Mary where Mary is called a mystical rose. Therefore, I’m carrying yellow roses (yellow for loyalty) in honor of Mary.

Despite having a mostly “traditional” wedding, there’s one tradition I insist on breaking. I’ve never liked the groom not being able to see his bride before she walks up the aisle, so that’s not happening. More than likely, as Justin will tell you, he’ll need to calm me down before I walk down the aisle with my parents. Because we value the example and sacrifices of both sets of our parents that helped shape us into the people we are today, Justin will walk down the aisle with his parents, and I will walk down the aisle with my parents as our two families now become one.

The coolest thing we are going to do, however, has to do with our family crucifix, an idea we are “borrowing” from our good friends. One of the priests will bless our family crucifix during our wedding Mass, and then we will hang it in a prominent spot in the home and we will pray as a family in front of it. As we meditate and pray in front of the crucifix, it will remind us of the vows we will take on our wedding day.

The countdown continues to our big day with less than five weeks left!