First Things First: Choosing Your Wedding Day

Be honest, you have most likely had the ‘when’ and ‘where’ picked out for your big-day for about as long as you can remember. Am I right? Yes, of course, and so have I! We’ll save the ‘where’ for another conversation. As for the ‘when’, let’s talk about choosing your wedding date for a moment

Being from the Midwest, I understand that while planning events, each season plays a significant role in the decision making–especially for a wedding day. All things considered, it boils down to ‘wants’ (the wedding of your dreams) and ‘needs’ (the wedding you realistically can have, which I’d be willing to bet will ultimately be as good or better than your dreams)

Cost and Weather, Both Big Deals!

The most expensive weddings tend to happen during the peaks of each season. This is typically in hopes of steering clear of problematic weather, most specifically on the most popular weekends during that time

  • Venues for your nuptials and reception should be your first phone call to claim your date. The availability and booking of your church, and then your hall second, will be setting the stage for every other arrangement that follows.
  • Seasonal weather conditions: this can most definitely have an effect on the cost of decorations, transportation, and certainly wedding attire and accessories–fancy umbrellas or faux-mink shawls will most emphatically be good additions during inclement weather, but will add to your expenses and to your bridal-party’s as well.I dislike having to mention this, but the potential for such bad weather (i.e. blizzards, etc.) can potentially cause you to consider altering the schedule of your day and/or your evening festivities, or unfortunately cancelling altogether and rescheduling for a later date.
  • Your favorite vendors (i.e. photographers, caterers, bands/DJs, florists, hair and makeup artists, etc.), will most likely price their services according to peak seasonality as well. Most specials or deals of any kind are typically to help fill their books during their slower times of the year when services such as theirs are in less demand.Remember, they are on the top of your ‘favorites’ list for a reason–they’re THAT good! So book them out as soon as your date is etched in stone…or someone else will!
  • Holidays, seem like a no-brainer, however, many love particular holidays so much they envision their wedding themed and weaved around or into that holiday. Bear in mind the additional availability stressor on your parish and your loved ones.Good rule-of-thumb, check with your priest or deacon first, before having your heart set on a holiday wedding!
  • Loved ones: making plans that clash with the schedules of our family and friends can create some pretty awkward scenarios. You want to be there for them; they want to be there for you. Their weddings, baptisms, graduations, and milestone birthday or retirement parties are just some of the events that may already be in the planning stages. Stay in touch with your closest loved one–no one wishes to unintentionally alienate the other.
  • And finally, your honeymoon. If you are planning on your honeymoon immediately to follow your wedding, you definitely will want to consider that particular time of year to travel. In order to have flexible travel time, stay away from ‘Spring Break’ for example, while again remembering, traveling through a holiday season will be most expensive and chaotic, as many other travelers flood airports and any hot-spot destinations.

Here’s a couple 0f last quick-tips

  • You may want to visit The Weather Channel website for month-by-month average temperatures (highs and lows) for where you are marrying. This might help you to pick your “yes” season, and your “no” season.
  • Keep in touch with all of your favorite vendors. Follow them on their websites and social media platforms to pick up on their trends. And, sign up for their emails!

In order to stay within a budget, keep open-minded while selecting a date. And just maybe, the date that fits into your season and budget ideal, will turn out to be your the wedding of your dreams.

First of all, congratulations on your engagement and soon coming wedding! What a very exciting, sacramental, and beautiful event in your life. Standing before God and man reciting your vows to your beloved is one of the most profound moments you’ll experience in your entire life. Along with all of the excitement, often times while planning a wedding, things can get pretty stressful. Most notably stressful would have to be, in my opinion, finding the right date to have your ceremony. One of the most common questions about the date of the ceremony for Catholics is, “Can we get married during Lent in the Catholic Church?”

The short answer? It all depends on your Parish and/or your Diocese.

Years ago, having a large ceremony with everything included during Lent was not very accepted by most Parishes and Dioceses. Due to the solemn nature of the Season of Lent, as well as how much happens during the liturgical seasons, a ceremony such as a wedding placed into the mix might have made things a bit more complicated.

The last thing you want is something as solemn and holy as the celebration of a Marriage to be indirectly regarded as not as important as it should be due directly to the business of the season.

However, in recent years, more Parishes have been open to celebrating a wedding during special liturgical seasons (not just Lent, but Advent, also).

As with every other important and/or unique question, we always err on the side of caution: talk to your Priest or Deacon before assuming anything. That’s what they are there for.

Even if you know that you can get married during Lent at your church, it’s always best to still ask about the ceremony because your church might have some unique rules surrounding the ceremony.

For instance, they might want you to have minimal or almost no flower arrangements. They might let you have the ceremony, but they might not allow a full Nuptial Mass. The point is, it’s always best to seek the counsel of the Clergy before jumping in with both feet to something that might have restrictions, or worse, not allowed at all. You don’t want to fully plan something that might not be able to happen due to the season!

Again, I wish you all the best during one of the most important and beautiful seasons of your lives together, and I pray that God would bless you more abundantly than all you ask or imagine.

When a Catholic and a non-Catholic marry one another, obvious differences in doctrine, worship, or personal piety inevitably lead to tension. So how can an ecumenical marriage thrive?

You were drawn to this person in particular, not their religion in general.

A few years ago, Annie and Stephen met while dancing like fools at a friend’s wedding. As time went on they bonded as fools for Christ, she a Catholic and he a Protestant. Despite denominational differences, they both cared about healing the world, finding joy in every day, and earnestly doing the will of God. Last year they were married, and sharing their life in marriage has only intensified their common commitments.

We aren’t always attracted to people in our churches. Religious compatibility and marital compatibility are two different things. Even spouses of the same religion enter into a marriage because this particular person helps the other become holy.

No matter how much religion unites us, we must also remember that every person’s prayer life is radically unique. Each of us has a mysterious relationship with God that no one else can ever enter into. As the poet Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Love consists of this: two solitudes that meet, protect, and greet each other.”

Your denomination is an adjective, not a noun.

Fundamentally, we are all Christians. “Catholic”, “Protestant,” “Orthodox,” or any other denominational names just specify what kind of Christian we are. Often we assume we have different faiths rather than different expressions of the same faith. But long before spouses had any kind of romantic commitment, they were already committed to one another through a common baptism.

Within a healthy marriage the man and woman both make up what the other lacks: the same goes for an ecumenical marriage. The spontaneity of Stephen’s Protestant background enlivens Annie’s contemplative Catholic piety, just as much as Stephen finds groundedness in the order and symbolism of Annie’s Mass. Each tradition has something to give to the other.

Getting involved in each other’s communities especially helps unite spouses if one cannot participate fully in the other’s liturgy. Helping with coffee hour, weekday Bible studies, or volunteer events help everyone set aside denominational differences in order to grow together as Christians.

Resist the desire to change the other person.

Annie and Stephan, photo courtesy of Caedy Convis Photography

Stephen said that whenever the phrase “I wish you would just…” comes into his head, he kills it immediately. Often ecumenical spouses entertain fantasies that this spouse will enter RCIA and receive communion with the rest of the family, or that this spouse will embrace the other’s style of worship. But do we really want the other person to grow, or do we just want them converted to our way of doing things?

You can’t build a relationship with someone you’re trying to fix. Don’t enter an ecumenical marriage with a chip on your shoulder or a passion for apologetics. Remember, marriage exists for your salvation and healing—you’re the one who needs to change.

Ecumenical marriages thrive for the same reasons any marriage thrives.

We aren’t supposed to run from difficulties, but nor should we shrug and belittle them. “It pains us to talk about this, because these are real struggles for us,” Stephen said. “Honestly, I wouldn’t suggest this to anyone,” said Annie, “unless it’s the will of God.” No matter the religion, all spouses need to hear the other person out, set aside their preoccupations or anxieties, and be sure that, as Annie says, “this is what God wants for us.”

Article contributed by Thomas Whitman. Photography by Caedy Convis Photography.

When you take the ultimate commitment plunge – getting engaged, there are an increasing number of deep waterways you may have to navigate together. To name a few, there’s adjusting to your new relationship status, making decisions together, planning the wedding, and navigating your future in-laws. While every couple wants to enjoy this special time, you may need a few tips to keep your head above water:

This too shall pass

Your fiancé’s bad mood, the fact that someone messed up the booking for the wedding venue, bridesmaid drama, the pressure to find the perfect dress, the never-ending wedding costs – these are all temporary stressors and it’s important to remember that you will come out on the other side. Try not to lose perspective as things get stressful during the wedding planning, and make sure you come back to the most important thing: you have each other and that’s all you ever really wanted.

Don’t go to bed angry

Not just applicable during the engagement stage, for many, this is solid marital and life advice. Going to bed, refusing to speak to each other other, and retreating in anger is not going to solve anything. It’s okay to disagree or not come to a happily ever after ending, but you can’t let your anger fester when you both go to sleep for the night. Agree to disagree or call a temporary truce until you can re-visit the issue in the light of day.

Have alone time

Set boundaries and don’t allow yourselves to get too caught up in the early love stages of wanting to always be together, always be in the same room, or always talking to each other on the phone. It is important for you both to continue to foster your own sense of self, away from the relationship, as well as maintain other friendships outside of each other. Together, these personal activities allow you to both show up better as a person and as a partner.

Be open to change

It might be as simple as a change in the font on the wedding invitations, to something as big as making adjustments to your daily routines to accommodate each other and your families. Whatever the case is, the need to be open to change is a common theme as you embark on a new relationship, a new lifestyle, and something as big as planning a wedding. Start with small steps, by simply agreeing to be open to listening to new ideas. Gradually work up to adopting, offering, and embracing change. Remember that you are changing to become better people together than you were when you were apart.

Ultimately, marriage is designed to help you become the best version of yourself, while simultaneously helping someone else do the same. Don’t spoil this special time with silly fights over flowers and cake flavors. Instead, keep perspective of what’s important to enjoy your days as you prepare to spend the rest of your lives together.

With 21% of Americans choosing to marry abroad in 2015, the destination wedding is becoming more attractive in the face of the increasing cost of domestic weddings. Apart from the financial benefits, couples may also envisage the beautiful wedding photos, perfect weather and gorgeous surroundings of the destination wedding. But, there are also sacrifices to be considered if choosing to tie the knot abroad.

Practicalities

First thing’s first – there is little point in organizing a marriage abroad if the legitimacy of the marriage may be questioned once back home. Marriage abroad, even in a Catholic church, is likely to be more complicated than getting married in your local church. Couples would be well advised to consult their state attorney-general to explore their options in terms of getting married abroad before the planning process has gone too far, and when selecting a church to get married in, it would be wise to check if they have experience in marrying citizens from abroad. The soon-to-be happy couple should also check the travel documentation required by their preferred country and any documentation or pre-marriage checks that may be insisted upon; although the church may be able to offer some advice on this it is always wise to follow up with the local authorities. On top of the legalities a bride needs to consider how much involvement she is willing to give up; if organizing a local wedding the suppliers and church can all be within easy reach during the planning process; not so with the wedding abroad.

Theme

When most couples choose how to theme a wedding, the question of location is usually tied firmly into this; barn-style receptions tend towards natural themes with use of wood and twine in their decorations, coastal receptions may have a nautical theme featuring driftwood and seashells. The church will usually allow for some of the theme to be incorporated in the form of colour choices for floral arrangements. Many brides spend hundreds of hours putting together a theme for their wedding appropriate to the location and enjoy doing so but this may not be so easy when getting married abroad. For the crafty bride, transporting beautiful but fragile hand-made decorations and wedding stationery for the reception is not practical, so if they choose to get married abroad they may have to choose to be ‘hands off’ in this area and order decorations and table stationery from a supplier abroad. Likewise, the hairdresser, catering team and entertainment may not fall into step with the precise and uniquely themed wedding as it will not be as easy to involve them all fully in the planning process.

Who?

The most difficult consideration for many couples choosing to marry abroad is their guests. Some couples take the opportunity to marry abroad to avoid family politics and only invite a select close few, but if there is a larger guest list it is inevitable that some will not be able to attend. Attending a wedding abroad is more time consuming, incurs a larger travel spend and no matter how close to the couple, some guests may find these factors prohibitive. The other consideration is who will carry out the service? Some would not even consider getting married abroad as they have had visions of themselves getting married in their family church with a familiar face officiating, whereas abroad they are unlikely to have met the priest carrying out the service. Once contact is made with the officiating church, couples have found the priest usually very accommodating, but for some who have grown up in the same local church community, the thought of not having their family priest officiate can become a real barrier to marrying abroad.

Choosing to get married abroad is a huge decision with many considerations, but it can be the right choice for the right couple. If they are willing to accept an unfamiliar priest, be relaxed about theming and contact, and can prepare themselves to encounter a few surprises on the day, then the decision might pay off. For the couple who have a larger guest list however or have a close relationship with their local priest it may be more prudent to choose a home wedding and avoid the emotional heartache of missing friends and family on their big day.

Article provided by: Jackie Edwards, Freelance Contributor

Weddings are such wonderful times, especially for the bride and groom, who are celebrating their decision to become one. But, planning a wedding is not always fun, and there is quite a bit of bureaucracy behind preparing for such a major event. Whether your venue is not large or your budget isn’t either, you probably have to have a guest list that is smaller than the number of people you could potentially invite. Not inviting someone to your wedding always has the potential to illicit hurt feelings and there’s no worse way to start off a marriage than to have someone upset with you. Here’s how to limit your wedding guest list without hurting people’s feelings.

Only invite those closest to you

When you think about your wedding day, who do you picture being there? While social media gives us the illusion that we are connected to people we haven’t seen in 10 years, those people may not be ones that you feel you want to attend your special day. Take an inventory of your closest friends and family and only invite those you’ve been in direct contact with recently. If you haven’t spoken to them in the past five years, their feelings won’t be hurt when they aren’t included in your wedding celebrations.

Segment your guest list

Make a list of everyone that you can possibly invite and then segment the list into categories A and B. The A list are people who absolutely must attend your wedding and the B list are those who you will invite if there is extra room.

Don’t allow people to bring dates

Let your single friends know that the invitation only extends to them. For your friends and family members who are dating or in a serious relationship, if you want to include the significant other, put their name directly on the invitation. That way, there is no confusion as to if a plus one is allowed – if your name is on the invitation you’re invited – if it isn’t, you aren’t. You can also make a small disclaimer on the invitation that the wedding is limited to invited guests only, which prevents you from getting that dreaded call where they’ll ask or plead for you to allow them to bring their “friend” of the moment. Your response card can also clearly suggest that only the people on the invitation are invited with “their name” and “declines” or “accepts”.

Limit children

While some people enjoy bringing their little ones along to a celebration, others may be happy to have a night out on their own. By limiting the children who come to your wedding, you’ll be able to easily cut your guest list and not hurt the feelings of those who aren’t invited.

Don’t invite people from work

Sure, you spend countless hours with them day after day, but unless you plan to invite your entire office, don’t include anyone from work who isn’t also a friend in the off-hours. Even then, ask that friend to keep the fact that they attended your wedding low-key, so their bragging about how fun it is doesn’t spoil everyone else’s day.

The newlywed period is an exciting time – not only are you still coming down from the buzz of your wedding and all its associated events, you are also getting to know your partner as husband and wife. While this time can be blissful, it can also be a time of adjustment, as you realize that living with someone else and sharing your life with them consists of some give and take. Here are six ways to adjust your expectations and have a fulfilling marriage.

1. Accommodate your spouse’s habits and living style

You’ve had multiple conversations with your spouse about what’s important to each of you. Now that you are living together, it is up to you to make accommodations based on how your spouse lives. Maybe they are a neat freak and like everything in its place – this means you need to figure out how to become more organized and do your part to tidy up. Maybe they need quiet in the morning until they’ve had their coffee – this means that you need to leave important conversations for after dinner.

2. Put your finances together

Money is the #1 topic that couples fight about and for good reason. There is never a relationship where couples make exactly the same money or spend in the same ways. With your expectations already set, now is the time to pool your finances together, open up joint accounts and actively each take part in paying the bills.

3. Decide on who does what

If money is the first topic couples argue about, housework and care of the children comes a close second. Rather than hope and wait for your partner to pick up their socks or do the dishes, have a conversation early in the marriage to decide on who will do what jobs around your home and within your marriage. Studies show that rather than making it a 50/50 split, partners should do the jobs they are best at.

4. Find ways to communicate openly and easily

After having all of these important conversations, it is best if you can figure out a way to keep the conversations open. Like anything, things will change and new things will pop up and as a couple, you need to have a way that you can communicate without fear of judgement or anger. Decide how this will happen in the first months of your marriage.

5. Learn to be selfless

One of the biggest adjustments a person who is newly married will have to make is to be less selfish and more selfless. As a single person, it was easy to think about what you want and only that, but as a partner in a life-long relationship, you need to consider the needs and wants of your partner daily. Rather than make decisions based on your own desires, always think about what they would want first.

6. Realize you are on the same team

Many arguments in a marriage happen because couples have a me vs. you mentality. As a married couple, you are on the same team and have the same goal: to have a fulfilling marriage. Once you realize you are on the same team, only then will you find it easier to get along with your partner.

Planning your wedding is such a joyous time, but it can be a stressful one, especially when you truly just want everything to be perfect. Not only will you be thinking about all of your guests (what they will do, what they will eat and how they will be entertained), you need to think about yourself and your spouse-to-be and how to make the day extra-special. The great thing about getting married in the 2000s is the great amount of technology out there that can make doing your wedding planning so much easier.

Here are 5 of the best wedding planning apps to help you plan your day and make it special.

1. WeddingHappy

This app is for those brides who want to keep tasks, payments and vendors in one spot using their iPhone or iPad. What’s really great about this app is that you can stay connected with your partner, so he knows what’s going on at all times. The app will let you know how many tasks you have to do and how many were completed and even count down the days until your wedding. It truly helps you get down the aisle.

See More: weddinghappy.com

2. Newlywish

A cool part about having a wedding and getting married is that you do get gifts! While you aren’t in it for the gifts, you do want to take part in tailoring these gifts to what you’ll need as a newlywed couple. Enter in Newlywish, the online wedding registry that lets you access many brands, so you don’t have to choose from just one store. Guests can easily buy and get the gifts shipped online and it is very simple for guests to purchase something as a group.

See More: newlywish.com

3. Wedding Wire

If you don’t know where to start, you’ll start here. Wedding Wire lets you get inspiration from other brides, read reviews on vendors and takes the stress out of planning. You can build your seating chart, devise your guest list, manage your budget and so much more. There is a large community on Wedding Wire who can help you with the difficult questions in wedding planning.

See More: Wedding Wire

4. Wedding LookBook by the Knot

When you are planning a wedding, you want expert advice and The Knot knows weddings. This app can help you find the right dress, the right ring, and basically lets you plan your dream wedding easily and its completely free.

Open in App Store: Wedding LookBook by the Knot

5. Appy Couple

Everything in one place is how to look at this app, which has a cool design and allows you to share your plans, photos and other thoughts with your guests, before and after the wedding. You can send save the dates, emails and manage your guest list from the app. You can even send a virtual toast! Up to the minute alerts help you stay in touch with everything you need to for your wedding.

See More: Appy Couple

Meeting Catholic Church Requirements

Young couples today desire accessible, convenient, uplifting, and modern ways of doing things. When planning to marry in the Catholic Church, demands are no different.

That’s why The Marriage Group (in collaboration with the Family Ministries Office at the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit) pioneered this groundbreaking Catholic Marriage Preparation Course.

This unique program not only meets the needs of modern lifestyles, it fulfills the requirements the Catholic Church places on an approved Pre-Cana program, and facilitates the discussions that need to take place (before entering into the next phase of the relationship between the couple and God).

Certified And Accepted

We realize couples want an authentic and recognized course. That’s why Living Our Faith in Love covers the required discussions, as mandated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Following successful completion of the discussions, couples are issued an official certificate, personalized with names and date of completion of the program.

This certificate is downloadable and printable, and serves as an official document – recognized by the officiating priest or deacon of the ceremony – to keep with other related marriage documents.

Creating A Special Course

Times have changed and traditional meetings or weekend gatherings aren’t always a convenient way for couples to take the course. Young couples who are faced with demands on their time – be it personal or professional – are less inclined to participate. That’s why this online program is ideal.

  • Not bound by our timelines or demands.
    • Running late at work? Have classes or errands to run? Not to worry. We’re not waiting (and neither are other couples) for folks to arrive at a prescribed time, or a specific location.
    • Whether it’s finished in one day, a weekend, or over the period of few months, it doesn’t matter.What matters is that couples complete each element of the course successfully at a comfortable pace, and as time allows.
  • It’s online. How convenient is that?
    • No need for couples to displace themselves, so bad winter weather, torrential downpours, or transportation issues are never a concern.
    • Participants get to sit in the comfort of their own home – or wherever there is access to an Internet connection.
  • Our program is on-demand.
    • Participants log in at their discretion. The course is always accessible.
    • Couples are not committed to face-to-face meetings, or one-on-one mentoring Although viable options, they are not always possible for everyone.
  • Location is not an issue.
    • Couples who are separated by distance can still connect (via Skype, for instance) to complete the course.
    • This course is accessible from anywhere. Whether in Michigan, somewhere else in the US, or even abroad, it’s available.

You can find similar course providers, but as the originator and developer of this most unique and modernized program, The Marriage Group’s materials and presenter insights are always novel and fresh – not rehashed.

So when couples are ready start a Catholic marriage conversation, they can come out ahead with Living Our Faith in Love’s comprehensive course.

 

 

 

Finding a partner to share the rest of your life with is a blessing. If you’ve recently gotten engaged and are planning to take your marriage vows in the Catholic Church, there are a few steps to doing so. Catholics recognize marriage as a Sacrament, so taking these important steps will prepare you for the lifetime of love and commitment that you are now embarking on.

1. Fulfill Important Requirements

In order to be married within the Catholic Church, there are a number of important requirements that must be fulfilled before you are even able to be considered.

  • Baptized Christian
    One of the partners need to be Catholic and if the other is not Catholic, he or she need to be a baptized Christian. If you were not baptized as a child, you may go through the process of becoming a Catholic as an adult.
  • Not closely related
    Both partners cannot be closely related and this includes being cousins.
  • Free to marry
    In order to be married in the Catholic Church, both spouses may not be currently married. If they were previously married, the previous spouse must either be deceased, or there must have been a declaration of nullity from the Church. In order to get this declaration, there needs to have been contractual defects in the marriage.
  • Be of the opposite sex
    The Catholic Church only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman, so partners need to be of the opposite sex in order to be married in the Church.
  • In good standing of the Church
    The definition of “in good standing” will differ from Church to Church. Basically, you do need to have regular attendance at your Church and have no scandals or immoral behavior. If you are currently living unwed with your partner, you will need to discuss this with the priest.
  • Free consent
    Both parties must freely consent to the marriage and have already worked out any issues that might cause one party not to freely consent.

2. Contact your Parish

Once you believe that you meet the requirements as stated above (or if you need to discuss them), you should contact your Parish to discuss your wedding. You will need to obtain permission to be married in the Church, whether it is at your current Parish or elsewhere. While it is not required that you be a registered member, it is definitely helpful in the process. You will meet with the clergy and get to know them and they’ll get to know you and you can discuss any issues you may have with getting married in the Catholic Church. If they have any requisite fees, you will pay them at this point or give a monetary gift.

3. Take a marriage preparation program

In order to recognize if you are ready for marriage and to prepare you for issues that you’ll inevitably face in your marriage, taking a marriage preparation course is mandatory for most marriages that occur within the Catholic Church. During the course, you’ll learn about balancing values, money, the role of family, healthy sexuality and intimacy, planning a family and parenting, communication skills and the theology of marriage. Fortunately, there are online courses that you can take that will suit your busy schedule and allow you learn about marriage, fulfilling the Catholic Church’s requirements.

4. Provide your certificates to the Church

There are a number of documents that the Church will want to see before granting you permission to marry. These include:

  • Baptismal certificates
  • Certification of Holy Communion and Confirmation
  • Affidavit of Freedom to Marry
  • Civil marriage license
  • Marriage Preparation Course Completion Certificate

5. Get married!

Once you’ve fulfilled all of the important steps to getting married in the Catholic Church, you can now choose your date and get married.