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For Your Marriage

Brooke and Tim are high school sweethearts who grew up in Southeastern Virginia. They were married in June 2017 and blog about marriage preparation and the joys - and challenges - of newlywed life.

Scheduling Times for Prayer on our Wedding Day

Hey, y’all! Tim and I are back this month and we’re reflecting on how scheduled prayer truly made a difference on our wedding day.

Throughout the day before the wedding and the wedding day itself, Tim and I thankfully had multiple opportunities to pray by ourselves, with one another, and with our loved ones who had gathered to celebrate with us. Despite what you might think at first, though, those times of prayer didn’t necessarily come naturally. Making sure that we scheduled opportunities for prayer was something we actually needed to be really insistent on, since we knew that as soon as we woke up the day before the wedding, it would be pretty crazy from there on out. Especially since our whole wedding was very DIY, the day before – and even the morning of – was packed with tasks that needed to be accomplished. Without scheduling times for prayer, it would have been easy to only focus on what task or event was coming next and not intentionally open our hearts to one another, our guests, and God.

So how did we do it? How did we intentionally schedule prayer into our wedding day preparations and the day itself?

We started with a Holy Hour the night before the wedding. After the rehearsal dinner, our family and wedding party headed over to a chapel on Catholic University’s campus, where our presiding priest graciously offered to host our Holy Hour and even to offer confessions during that time. We also invited any of our guests who were already in town to come join us as we adored our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Tim and I selected the songs ourselves and two of our dear friends, who also sang for our Mass, generously led the praise and worship for us and our guests. Being able to select the songs truly gave us a chance to pour our hearts out to God through music that had personally and very recently aided us in our relationship with Him and one another. We were also able to invite our guests into our own prayer lives and share with them our relationship with the Lord. The time before the Blessed Sacrament was so fruitful and sweet as we prepared for the biggest day of our lives – I remember reflecting the whole time on how truly faithful God had been to us and how His promise to us was finally coming to fulfillment.

A second way we were intentional about prayer being part of our wedding day was asking the bridal party to pray over us before all the major events began. I’m sure every bride could tell you that it can get a little hectic and stressful in the bridal suite on the morning of. Even for the most laid-back brides (which I certainly am not), tiny stresses can add up and threaten to steal our peace. It was important to me, therefore, to take the time to ask for the bridal party to all pause, join together, and pray over everything that was about to happen – asking God to be present and let His grace work in all that unfolded. Tim and I also wrote letters to one another that were exchanged between the maid-of-honor and best man on that morning. Those letters carried our most heartfelt prayers for one another, our praise of God for the gift of one another, and the deep peace and joy we felt as we stood at the threshold of our vocation.

Tim and I knew from the beginning of the planning process that we wanted to do a first look. Not only is it easier on the timeline and helps with nerves, but we knew we wanted to pray with one another before our Mass. I know, I know, you’re going to say we could’ve done that without seeing one another. However, we had also decided that we would walk down the aisle together, as the ministers of the Sacrament – so that more or less meant we had to see each other before the Mass – it was a win-win all around! We did our first look in a chapel on Catholic University’s campus – a chapel that we had poured our hearts out in over our vocation multiple times before – and knelt side by side as we poured out our hearts in anticipation of this Sacrament one last time. Our first look gave us the opportunity to soak in this day, to soak in each other as bride and groom, and to soak up the grace all around us. It helped us focus on the most important part of the day – the Sacrament – and be present to everything else with our eyes fixed on God’s faithfulness.

Lastly, moments before our Mass began, we arranged for our priest to hear our confessions. I can’t say enough how glad I am we did this. It allowed us to once again focus on what we were freely entering into on that day. It was yet another opportunity for us to enter into dialogue with God and to hear His voice as we prepared to follow His will. And it gave us a chance to be absolved from our sins and return to a state of grace so that we could receive the Sacrament of Marriage and of the Eucharist more worthily. We received three sacraments – Confession, Eucharist, and Marriage – all within an hour’s time. How awesome is that!

All of these opportunities for prayer could have easily been lost if we hadn’t taken the time to intentionally schedule them. It is so easy to get caught up in the timeline of a wedding day and let other things take precedent. But being intentional about prayer bore so much fruit for us, and I hope this encourages you to be intentional as well.