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Okay, I know how impossible it is to find a full mass wedding program. Seriously hard. Especially if you want one with the responses and directions and yada yada yada. So I thought I would post mine for you. I can’t get the fun fonts to post, but you would probably change those as you see fit anyway! I did a mini booklet with each part of the mass getting its own page. Feel free to copy and use, I didn’t steal this from anywhere so it’s all yours!

We used cream colored paper for the inner pages and blue cardstock for the covers and tied them together with twine. We printed them off at kinkos which I think cost around $50, but that might’ve been cause we printed them off twice due to a mistake in the first one. Oops.

The celebration of the

Sacrament of Marriage

uniting

Jacqueline Elaine D.

and

John Mark S.

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Saint Mary’s Catholic Church

August 14, 2010

INTRODUCTORY RITE

Officiants

Deacon Bernie T.
Father Louis B.

Bridal Party

Aron D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .cross bearer, cousin of the bride

Kevin S. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . best man, brother of the groom
Katie S.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . groomswoman, sister of the groom
Jacob J.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . groomsman, friend of the groom
Paul C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . groomsman, friend of the groom
Nathan M.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . groomsman, friend of the groom
Annette D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . maid of honor, sister of the bride
Shelley D.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . maid of honor, sister of the bride
Meghan S. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . bridesmaid, sister of the groom
Clare M. . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . bridesmaid, friend of the bride
Liana K.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . bridesmaid, friend of the bride

Rachel D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . flower girl, cousin of the bride
James D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ring bearer, cousin of the bride

John S.
Escorted by his parents, Mark and Rosemary S.

Jacqueline D.
Escorted by her parents, Bob and Kitty D.

PROCESSION  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joy of Man’s Desiring

BRIDAL PROCESSIONAL . . . . . . . . . . Trumpet Voluntary

Please stand.

GREETING

OPENING PRAYER

Please sit.

LITURGY OF THE WORD

FIRST READING………………Genesis 1:26-28, 31a

Kelly G, friend of bride and groom

Please respond, “Thanks be to God.”

RESPONSORIAL PSALM……..………..Psalm 118

Refrain: This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.”

SECOND READING……………..………1 John 4:7-12

Susan W., aunt of groom

Please respond, “Thanks be to God.”

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

Refrain: Alleluia

Please stand.

GOSPEL…………………………………Matthew 22:35-40

Please respond, “Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!”

HOMILY

Please sit.

Fr. Louis B. and Deacon Bernie T.

RITE OF MARRIAGE

STATEMENT OF INTENTIONS

EXCHANGE OF CONSENT

BLESSING AND EXCHANGE OF RINGS

PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL

The prayers of the faithful have been composed by the members of our wedding party and our families. They will be read by John and Jackie in their first act as a married couple.

Please join us in prayer. Respond, “Lord, hear our prayer.”

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LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

PRESENTATION OF GIFTS

Claire, Anna, and Hannah D.

Cousins of the bride

Please join in singing “One Bread, One Body.”

PREPARTATION OF ALTAR AND GIFTS

PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS

Please respond, “Amen.”

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

Please respond,  “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of His name, for our good and the good of all His Church.”

SANCTUS

Please join in singing, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”

MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION

Please respond, “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.”

GREAT AMEN

Please respond, “Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; grant us peace.”

COMMUNION RITE

NUPTIAL BLESSING

LORD’S PRAYER

Please join hands and pray:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours, now and forever.  Amen.

SIGN OF PEACE

BREAKING OF THE BREAD

Please kneel.

COMMUNION

Please join in singing “Servant’s Prayer.”

If you are not receiving communion today, you are welcome to come forward with your arms folded across your chest to receive a blessing.

CONCLUDING RITE

 BLESSING

Please respond, “Amen.”

DISMISSAL

Please respond “Thanks be to God!”

RECESSIONAL

Please stand and join us in singing “Lead Me, Lord.”

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We are grateful to our parents, Bob and Kitty D. and Mark and Rosemary S..  Thank you for the unconditional love and support you have shown us today and every day.  The example you have set in your own relationships will inspire and guide us to create our own marriage based on love, compassion and mutual respect.

Thank you to our grandparents, Gene and Peggy W., Jack S., Bob and Ann D., and Ruth J.. We also want to thank and remember our grandparents no longer with us, Pauline S. and Billy J..

We keep in our hearts all those who could not be here with us today, especially John W. and Karen J..

Thank you to Amy H. for providing us with music.

Thank you to Father Louis B. for coming out of retirement to celebrate with us today. Deacon Bernie T., thank you for your support today and always.

Finally, to our siblings, Shelley and Annette D. and Katie, Kevin, and Meghan S., thank you for your friendship, your love, and your presence here today.

We are blessed.

(new page)

Please celebrate with us at the home of the D. family at

123 Anywhere Road

Anywhere, VA 11111

at 6pm.

Directions to Reception:

1. Head south on Old Mill Rd

2. Turn left at 5 Road

3. Turn left to merge onto 4 Road

4. Turn left at 3 Road

5. Drive 1.2 miles

6. Turn right at 123 Anywhere Road

The bride and groom will be residing at:

116 Somewhere over

The Rainbow, MT 00000

After August 22, 2010.

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Just a note, I might have the nuptial blessing in the wrong place. Ours came at the very end, but my parents think the priest just messed up. So you might want to double check on that one.

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Something Old

The handkerchief my godmother gave me for my first communion that she carried in her wedding. I asked the florist to wrap it around the bouquet but she just kind of draped it from the front, so it was a little more formal of a look than I was going for. But still pretty.

Something New

Dress, shoes, one of those things.

Something Borrowed

My earrings I borrowed from my mom. Quite literally borrowed because the night before I realized I didn’t have the earrings I was going to wear, the ones I bought my dress to match to. Oops. Apparently it’s bad luck to wear pearls on your wedding day, but so far no catastrophes in our marriage yet. They were pretty much the only jewelry I wore that day.

Something Blue

Also borrowed, my mother’s rosary.

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Brides love details, don’t they?

I wasn’t that good at them. Like I’m sure I could’ve designed a bar out of old barrels and decorated the tent with cute bunting, but I just couldn’t figure out the logistics of it all. Who would set it up? Would I do it that morning? Can’t do it the night before in case it rains. Argh. My aunts were a lot of help setting things up before the reception, but I wasn’t that good at describing things so unfortunately the favors and guestbook ended up on the same table as the presents and so people didn’t see them, yada yada yada. So maybe it’s good things were pretty simple!

But our photographer did a great layout for our album that made my wedding look all planned and fancy and coordinated. I tried to replicate it, which was hard and took a long time. More power to you wedding photographers.

Tada! Pretty, eh? (Btw, if you want to steal that as an ‘inspiration board’ feel free but either link bank to me or my photographer please!) Now let me go through each one by one and explain the original vision to you and then what actually happened. Cause I’m like that.

Before we got engaged, John and I were talking about how favors were stupid at weddings. You know, unless we did something awesome. Like beer mugs. I’m pretty sure we thought they were more awesome than other people, but still. They are pretty “us” (well, they were in the days that I could drink beer!) You can’t really see it but the other side of the mug looks like a bar logo; it says “J&J Semmens Est. 2010.” We would’ve done blue, but there is this local festival that sells these type mugs every year. They misprinted a 1000 (!) of them and so donated them to the shelter I worked at. I thought that being surrounded by blue mugs on my wedding day would’ve given me PTSD. They are in a Longerberger basket my mom had laying around. So far 90% of people who we have visited have had these cups in their bathroom. They are for beer people, beer!

Pies! Did I mention we had pie at our wedding? We did because I told John that I really wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for our wedding. He said “No. It has to be white.” I said “it doesn’t have to be anything! It’s whatever we want!” (These were in the days I could eat chocolate and fruit!) His response “It’s a wedding! It has to be white!” I said, “well you know we could do something else, like pie.” His response? “YESSSSSSS”

You can’t really see it, but I epoxy glued glass vases from Goodwill on glass plates also from Goodwill to display the pies. They were all supposed to be displayed on their own table for the whole reception but…

Most just kind of ended up staying in the boxes. Which kept them fresh, but not as photogenic! By the way, all pies are from Our Daily Bread in Blacksburg, VA.

Notice we have a cake, too? Well, because we didn’t want to give my mom a heart attack at not doing a cake cutting, we asked my aunt who bakes cakes as a hobby to make us a little tasting cake. Turns out, she baked an entire wedding cake! And it was delicious. (Yes, I had both). Just plain vanilla and vanilla, but so fresh and so good. Best wedding cake I’ve ever had, hands down.

I made this sign, and I thought it was cute. It was supposed to go on one of those cake things but just ended up on the table. (I thought it’d be cute to have a sign that said pie on a cake plate….and box it’s on is supposed to look like the top of a mason jar. I tried to be creative, I did!)

Everyone loved the pies and the cake. As I think you can tell by the expression on my cousin’s face!

Okay, that’s enough for one day. I’ll finish up the detail posts in the future!

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How can I NOT do a wedding post on the “Royal Wedding Eve?”

Ah, I remember the day before my wedding. Throngs of people lining the streets. Every TV network was covering the event. There was much discussion of my dress – lace? Modern? White? Ivory? It’s a friggin wedding dress people, they all look pretty similar.

I’ve been swamped with work this week, but the TLC wedding coverage has made good background noise for cooking dinner. I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessed (if I was planning my wedding still, I probably would be however), but it is such a unique historical event so I am intrigued. Plus I’m a girl and I like princesses. So shoot me.

It’s interesting to see how much rebroadcast of Diana and Charles’ wedding there is, knowing how it ended. Not to be morbid, but knowing that divorce is in the future, it makes it sad to watch. I hope, too, and pray, that William and Kate won’t experience the pain that Diana and Charles did. The wedding will be fun to watch, but even more importantly, I hope their marriage is a beautiful one.

I’m just writing this while watching Diana’s wedding. For like the millionth time this week. (I don’t get all the fuss about what does her dress look? It looks exactly like the bridesmaid’s. Just bigger.)

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Without any further ado, more pics from our reception. Please try to ignore all the paparazzi in the background.

One uninvited guest – the dog next door.

The Dinner Hour

We should’ve put some more effort in planning our menu. I didn’t realize until we got there that there were multiple starches and like one vegetable. Also there was supposed to be a vegetarian entree, and there wasn’t! My apologies to the vegetarians at our wedding.

First we were introduced. Which was a little silly because we had been hanging out for a couple hours already.

The boys were a bit outnumbered at our wedding. I think it worked out okay though.


I love my cousin’s reaction at us coming out.

I’m not really sure why they were so excited, to be honest!

More cousin shenanigans.

One great thing about having a photographer is that you get to see all these moments you would’ve never known happened otherwise.

I have 9 cousins on my Dad’s side. 3 are close in age with my 2 sisters and I, and then there is about a 10 year gap between us and the younger 6. We didn’t assign seating at the wedding, so they all decided to make a kids table and put 9 people at one table! One of them got banned apparently, though.

We didn’t have a head table, but we marked off 3 tables for the bridal party, parents and grandparents. My Nana decided to opt out though and sit with her friends.

Another funny story from the dinner – come 6:55, the DJ told us that it was time to eat. (The DJ was not great, but it was so lovely to have a Master of Ceremonies. I gave him a schedule and then didn’t have to think about anything after that, he just took care of it all.) So we went to get our plates (buffet), and one of the caterers came running up to us saying, “Um. It’s not 7 yet? You guys told us 7? The food isn’t ready. So we just stood there and snacked for a few minutes!)

See how full my glass of champagne is? When I went up to the bar to get a glass to toast with, the bartender decided to give me and my groom a double pour. It was good champagne, too!

This picture is from my sister’s toast, when she mentioned a particular fight my dad and I got into when I was 3. Our deacon yelled out, “who won?” We still haven’t settled that one. We’re both saying “me!” here.

Cake cutting. We just did it because its one of those things you do at weddings. But you know what I love about this picture? Look in the background – no one is paying attention anyway!

Dinner’s over – next up, dancing.

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Yes, cheesy country songs are appropriate for this post.

So, if I was a *good* wedding blogger, I would show you pictures of all the lovely and unique details from our wedding. Truth is, our wedding wasn’t terribly unique, creative, or really anything out of the ordinary. I’ll show you some “detail shots” too, but for now, I just want to show you my favorite moments from the wedding. I’ll spare you a break down of “these are the toasts…this is t

he cake cutting.”

The inspiration for this is the wonderful website Moment Junkie. This website features fabulously hilarious and moving pictures from weddings. Not “these are the shoes I bought on etsy perched quaintly on a white picket fence” shots.

So here are our moments.

Our reception was at my parent’s house. The post-ceremony pictures wrapped up pretty quickly, and so we just went home. We got there about an hour before the reception started. I cannot recommend this enough. No worrying about holding up our guests, just hanging out. We greeted everyone as they got there and had plenty of time to talk to people as they arrived. This was my favorite memory of the day – standing on the porch, drinking a cup of coffee, feeling the breeze. Just happy.

My Grandpa took a nap inside.

John’s grandpas took a seat to watch the festivities.

My parents have a big backyard, so we put out a bucket of toys – frisbee, wiffle ball, bocce. Huge hit.

Rounding the bases.

My cousins changed into play clothes. I love this picture – she just looks so happy.

My husband played catch with our cross bearer, my cousin.

Bocce.

My aunt made our wedding cake. She’s putting on the final touches here.

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Pictures, and just a few words.

(more…)

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This is it ladies and gentlemen, this is the post in which we get Mar-ried!

So like I’ve mentioned before, marriage is a sacrament in the Catholic Church.

So what’s a sacrament?

Basically, it’s an outward sign that confers God’s grace on us through Christ. Most Christian churches only recognize two sacraments – baptism and communion. Catholics recognize 7: baptism, reconciliation, communion, confirmation, holy orders, marriage, and anointing of the sick.

According to the Catechism 1661:

The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life

It’s not that marriage is necessary to enter heaven, but a way in which we love God through loving another. It is agreeing to love someone unconditionally, the way Christ loves us. And in doing so, we are blessed.

So how do we go about this?

First, the priest/deacon asks a series of questions to establish our intentions, along the lines of:

Will you love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?

and

Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?

to which we responded, “we will.”

Then we joined hands.

With tears of joy in my eyes, I turned to John, and began to say those sacred words that would join us in marriage.

I Jackie, take you John, to be my husband.

Then I took a deep breath in, ready to continue. I wanted to speak clearly and not blubber my words out.

Instead, I got choked up.

A nice, long, awkward pause while I tried to gather myself, causing half the congregation to think I was having second thoughts. It was bad. People admitted that afterwards. Oh well, still counts, awkward or not.

I promise to be true to you, in good times, and in bad. In sickness, and in health. I will love you, and honor you, all the days of my life.

Then he repeated those same words to me. Much more gracefully, I might add.

I love these vows. I have them memorized. I think John does too (though we didn’t attempt that on our wedding day!) For one, I love that we didn’t say:

I don’t think its an either/or. Some days will be good, some will be bad. We will have good times and bad times, but doesn’t mean “hey – it’s a 50/50 shot for how it will go from here!” (Not knocking anyone who says these vows! Its just my interpretation – your interpretation might be very meaningful to you, and that’s what counts!) For another, we promised to be true to each other in sickness and in health. We didn’t realize how quickly that vow would be tested. And because of that, we have already seen what its like to go through good and bad times. And we know we’ve promised to be true.

They are simple vows, and the same that our parents said to each other, and our grandparents said to each other. Generations have spoke these words. I love partaking in that ritual and the generations of promises that have held my family together.

You have declared your consent before the Church. May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessings. What God has joined, men must not divide.

Next, the rings.

The best man, John’s brother, handed the deacon the rings. He gave me my husband’s (husband’s? Not sure when you are actually “married.” I think we’re like half married at this point) ring, and his mine, and instructed me to place my hand on top of his. While holding the ring. I was really confused and very scared I would drop it so I just put my clenched fist in John’s open palm. They both looked at me funny and the deacon said, “okay I guess that works too.”

I was pretty awkward through this whole thing.

A side note about our rings? We ordered them back in early spring. Want to know what the problem is with that? It was still cold in Montana. And when it’s cold in Montana and you are on a budget and you live in the basement, it’s not all that uncommon for it to be about 57 degrees in your room. Which makes your fingers shrink. And in that basement, of course, is where I tried on my ring. And determined it was too big. And asked my husband to exchange it for a smaller size.

Which he did. Over the summer. When we were apart, he in Montana and I in Virginia. So when did I try on the ring for the second time? The Monday before the wedding. Surprise, surprise – it was too small. Like, couldn’t even get it over the knuckle to fake it for the wedding and return it later. So we had to order a new one.

Anyone else overnight their wedding ring? No? Just me?

Well alright then.

The deacon said a prayer over the rings, and we told each other to

take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

You know what comes next.

Remember how I choked back those tears? They were making their way out my nose. So what romantic thoughts were floating around in my head as I married my husband?

“My nose is running. Oh no, my nose is running. I can’t wipe it in front of everyone. I have a handkerchief on my bouquet. That won’t work. Crap. I have to kiss him.”

He kissed me anyway. He said he didn’t notice. He just told me that it was gross.

Married! People clapped. It was surreal.

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There are basically 3 parts to the Catholic wedding – the Liturgy of the Word (aka the readings), the Rite of Marriage (aka the vows), and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (aka communion). Add a few prayers in there and some processions at either end, and bahda bing bahda boom, you have a wedding.

Picking the readings for our wedding was one of the things John and I most enjoyed about planning our wedding. We put a lot of thought into our selections.

The First Reading

The first reading is traditionally from the Old Testament. This passage was read by a close friend who did JVC with us in Spokane.

Genesis 1:26-28, 31a

Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air . . . God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.

We chose this reading because we loved the language of the creation, of being connected to the wide world, a world full of beautiful creatures and full of life. We know that what God has created is good.

The Responsorial Psalm

The responsorial psalm is a psalm that is usually sung, with the cantor singing a verse and the congregation responding.

Psalm 118

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

We chose this psalm, which is usually sung around Easter time, because it is so full of joy. It is also a reminder that this day, our wedding day, was a gift from God.

A beautiful picture of John’s grandparents singing along. One of my favorites.

The Second Reading

The second reading, which is usually from the New Testament, was read by John’s aunt and Godmother. This reading was what really was the hallmark of our wedding, and what we tried to keep on our hearts throughout the day.

1 John 4:7-12

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God….for God is love.

God is love. A simple, beautiful reminder, that what we have is holy. That our love for one another isn’t just butterfly kisses and splitting root beer floats. It’s real, and it is from God. We love, we love each other, we love others, because God first loved us.

The Gospel

The Gospel is read from the first four books of the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It is usually read by the Priest or Deacon. (In our case, it was the Deacon).

Matthew 25:30

One of the Pharisees, a scholar of the law, tested Jesus by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him,

“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.

This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

We chose this reading, not because it was short and sweet and happened to have the word “love” in it, but because it is a great mission statement for marriage. Catholics believe that marriage is a vocation, a calling. We are called to be married or to lead a single life just like some people are called to enter into the ministry. Not just because its just what you do when you meet someone and fall in love, but also because it is a way to serve God and to serve others. So in our marriage we will seek to love God, love each other, and love those around us.

The Homily

The homily (or sermon) was said by a priest, the same priest who gave me my first communion, and by the deacon, who was a family friend of ours.

I love this picture from the wedding:

We are either looking at each other like that because a) the priest had mentioned having babies for the gazillionth time, or b) because I turned to John and said “shoot, I forgot to asks someone to videotape the wedding!” (I didn’t).

My mine strayed a bit during the homily cause, well, I was getting married in about 5 minutes. ACK! I do remember the Priest saying there are three things you should do at least once a year:

1) go to a museum to remember where you came from

2) hold a newborn baby to celebrate new life

3) go to a wedding to celebrate love

We had received our mission – love God, love one another, for God is love. It was finally, finally! time to wed.

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The clock struck two. Everyone was seated and waiting. It was time to head down the aisle.

Cue the music.

A Catholic wedding mass is basically a church service plus a wedding, not just a wedding. So all of the music should be appropriate for worship. No Chris Brown or “Here Comes the Bride!”

My bridesmaids and groomsmen walked down to “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” Its such a beautiful, celebratory song.

All along, it had been my plan to walk down the aisle to this song, but I decided against it at the last minute. Why? Well, originally I thought was silly to change the music just for me, but I had went to a wedding a few months prior where the music didn’t change for the bride, and it seemed a little anti-climatic. Not that I really viewed myself as the “climax” of the wedding, but I didn’t want to be too untraditional.

Instead, I walked down the aisle to Trumpet Voluntary:

On the piano. So, I’m not the best at making last minute decisions, but it worked! It was still full of joy and anticipation, which is what I wanted.

But I haven’t walked down yet. First a good 21 other people had to go down. Yup, 21. Like I said, the Catholic wedding is basically a church service. If you haven’t been to a Catholic Mass, at the beginning during the opening hymn, people who are administering the sacraments or otherwise participating  in the service process down the aisle. I’ll spare you all 21 pictures, though!

First to go would be my cousin carrying the cross. Next, a fellow FJV who was one of our readers. She was followed by the priest, the same priest who gave me my first communion, and the deacon, who was a good family friend of ours.

The bridesmaids and groomsmen made their way down, and then the real cuties.

My youngest cousins were the darling ring bearer and flower girl. At first, I admit, we were going to skip these jobs. Too many extras. I just wanted to keep things simple and focused. Then my sisters reminded me how fun it had been to be in my aunts’ and uncles’ weddings. They were right. Making sure the wedding day wasn’t just about us sometimes meant things were a little less simple.

My flower girl is holding the same basket that my mom and my great-aunt carried in their weddings. It’s actually glass, though the flowers are wrapped in a not so pretty silver paper so the basket looks silver. I was selfish and wanted to carry a bouquet, but I wanted to make sure my mom’s basket was incorporated in the day. And God bless her for allowing her glass basket to be carried down that tile floor!

Our turn.

Like I said earlier, in a Catholic wedding, those who administer the sacraments process down the aisle. We believe that the bride and groom actually administer the sacrament of marriage to each other, hence the bride and groom walk down the aisle. We believe it is of upmost importance that we enter marriage freely and of our own will, but we are not given into it. See what I’m getting at? No groom waiting at the altar for a bride to be given to him, for us!

Catholic brides and grooms are actually encouraged to walk down the aisle together. But I grew up in a not-so-Catholic world and had always wanted that “moment” of seeing my groom waiting for me at the altar. I also didn’t want to tell my dad I didn’t want him to escort me down the aisle. He was important to us. All of our parents were. They made us who we are and we wanted to honor them on our wedding day.

Our compromise?

Isn’t that a cool picture, by the way?

We thought both of us being escorted by our parents was a good balance of being traditional and honoring our parents without reinforcing the (what we think are) sexist undertones of being given away and without putting too much emphasis on the bride. Hey, my groom is important too!

There we stood and prayed, surrounded by our parents

as well as the women

and men who are so dear to us.

(John’s sister was a groomwoman, and isn’t that the cutest ring bearer picture ever?)

There we stood, full of joy and ready to wed.

(all photos courtesy of Enigma Productions)

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Forever and ever, you’ll be in my heart…

Before we go any further, it’s probably best to say what marriage means to me and my husband.

When we decided to get married in the Catholic Church, we knew we were promising to marry for life. The vows we say to each other would not end, even in divorce, and so it is something that we couldn’t take lightly. Our decision to marry wasn’t just about love or romance, but about the support of our families, our desire for a family of our own one day, a willingness to work through the good and bad, honest discussions about finances, chores, etc. We knew it would be beautiful, and at times it will be hard, but definitely worthwhile. With all that in mind, we decided to go for it.

Marriage is a sacrament in the Catholic Church. According to foryourmarriage.org:

The sacraments make Christ present in our midst. Like the other sacraments, marriage is not just for the good of individuals, or the couple, but for the community as a whole. The Catholic Church teaches that marriage between two baptized persons is a sacrament. The Old Testament prophets saw the marriage of a man and woman as a symbol of the covenant relationship between God and his people. The permanent and exclusive union between husband and wife mirrors the mutual commitment between God and his people. The Letter to the Ephesians says that this union is a symbol of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Quite an adventure and quite an undertaking. We aren’t just two people in love, we are two people in a covenant, a covenant like the one we are in with God. That is a big. deal.

But with all the trappings of dresses and bouquets and earrings, its easy to get distracted before the wedding. I was trying to focus on remaining prayerful, but I’ll admit, my mind was all over the place. But that’s okay. Yes, you should try to focus on Christ and the awesomeness of what you are undertaking on your wedding day, but its not your only chance. I live that sacrament every day. Every day I can take a moment to think about our holy adventure.

I asked everyone if we could say a prayer before. Two minutes later the Deacon came in and asked if he could lead us in prayer. So we did it twice. We were basically twice as holy.

Also, how about the not-so-awesome alterations on my dress? I have a wrinkle around my middle in most of the pictures. Boo. I hope it was one of those things you only see in pictures and not in real life.

It was a peaceful moment, surrounded by the women who mean the most to me.

One of my favorites, me and my future mother in law and sister in law. (And one of the few where my veil looks good.)

All in, and it was go time.

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