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For Your Marriage

Anthony and Sara met at the National Shrine in Washington DC and married two years later in 2014. They write about preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage.

The One Wedding DIY Project You Can’t Do Without (And the style blogs won’t tell you about)

Anthony and I are married.

It’s surreal to type that sentence.

We’re on our honeymoon as I write this, and we’ve had several moments together in the last two weeks when we look at each other and think, “what did we just do?” The reality of our marriage seems so much bigger than us, and, like all Sacraments, I doubt we’ll ever truly understand the enormity of what happened on July 26th.

But this isn’t a post about wedded bliss. This is a post about how we spent the months and weeks leading up to the wedding. Basically, this is about how we survived “wedding crunch time.”

Like many brides-to-be, I spent a fair amount of time on wedding blogs in the last year. Some of them were helpful, some were hilarious, and some were downright intimidating. But one element connected them all: they each promised to help me plan a wedding that was truly beautiful and unique. In fact, “unique” seems to be the cardinal virtue pedaled by the wedding industry. Apparently, all you need to do to have the most unique and beautiful wedding – a wedding that really says something about YOU – is follow several dozen DIY wedding boards on Pinterest, buy a small Amish village out of their entire stock of mason jars, and prepare for many long hours in front of a computer planning and re-planning, as you slowly assemble the perfect day.

For us, there were a fair amount of preparations, to be sure, and we were blessed with a small army of dedicated friends and family to help us along the way. But when Anthony and I reflected on what made our wedding the deeply beautiful experience it was for us and for our guests, it wasn’t primarily because of the preparations we made. It was because of the prayer we brought to the preparations.

We prayed a lot. We prayed when we wanted to. We prayed when we didn’t want to. We prayed for the people helping us. We prayed for the people praying for us. We prayed when we were joyful. We prayed when we were frustrated. We prayed when prayer seemed like the least practical response to the situation at hand.

Sometimes the results were immediately apparent, and most of the time they weren’t. But regardless, we prayed. We prepared for the practical things that we could, and everything else we entrusted to God. I even started writing to random monasteries a few months before the wedding begging the nuns for their prayers.

About a month before the big day, we decided that we should offer a holy hour the night before our wedding with the friends and family who wanted to attend. I had heard of the practice before and thought it might be something cool if for no other reason than it would give us the chance to be silent for one glorious hour before the madness of the wedding day descended upon us.

We realize now that that hour may have been the most important and greatest gift we could have given our guests and ourselves the whole weekend. It was also, in our opinion, what made the wedding beautiful – and unique! – as it was.

True beauty is a divine attribute in that it comes directly from God who is Beauty, Truth, and Goodness. And each soul He creates is a unique and unrepeatable reflection of His Divine Beauty. So, true beauty can only come from God.

It is absolutely impossible to recreate this unique beauty off a Pinterest board. But the unique wedding of your dreams can be yours if you surrender to the Source of Beauty.

Our wedding wasn’t beautiful because of the centerpieces and carefully planned reception seating. It was beautiful because God made it beautiful.

Little by little, through our prayers and the prayers on our behalf, we invited God into our preparations and He helped us surrender our will to Him even in the smallest details.

If we were to offer any advice to a couple preparing for marriage it would be this: Pray. Pray a lot.

When Anthony and I left the holy hour the night before our wedding, we realized more deeply than we had before that the next day was completely in God’s hands. Our wedding was perfect. It was peaceful, it was joyful, and it was a unique and unrepeatable reflection of God’s beauty through two imperfect souls who tried their best to get out of the way.