Both of our wedding day locations came with a bit of drama (okay, so the reception place with LOT of drama/stress), but everything ended up turning out so lovely!
Ceremony: Saint Gabriel’s Catholic Church
Father Joe graciously agreed to perform our ceremony even though we didn’t belong to his parish. I fairly sure James’s mom and I called every Catholic Church in and around Kansas City only to find places book over a year ahead of time, super high prices, and a bring-your-own-priest policy. Saint Gabriel’s was the only place that really worked with us, and we loved Father Joe from the start. (He loves France too!)
Marriage Prep Fun
Being married in the Catholic Church meant marriage prep. Every diocese has different requirements and since we were living in Madison, we went by their’s. This meant two all-day classes and taking an online questionnaire.
The online questionnaire had a surprise $100 fee and a visit to a marriage counselor. Even though not a particularly nice surprise (I actually tried really hard to get us out of it), we enjoyed the time we spent with Dr. Paula. She confused us at first by giving us the print-out of another couple’s questionnaire and then by asking me constantly if I was ready for children. “Not right now, but maybe in the future”, I said.
Now it was her turn to be confused. “Well, on James’s questionnaire he marked that you were pregnant, but on yours, Susan, you said that you weren’t.”
I’ll give it to James that there were tons of questions and it was easy to get off by a line or two, but the Church takes this one pretty seriously. After a good laugh and reassuring Dr. Paula we were not in fact pregnant, we got on with our session and she gave us her stamp of approval.
Apparently our session went so well she forgot to mention our little mistake in the questionnaire in her write-up and this came up again in the form a frantic/awkward phone call with Father Joe two weeks before the wedding.
Our ceremony was in the evening and absolutely lovely. I wish I had audio from the cantor and pianist because they were so amazing! They basically came with the church and were more than we could’ve hoped for. Before the ceremony our cantor sang Panis Angelicus by Cesar Franck and How Beautiful by Twila Paris, then our pianist played some classical selections as everyone prepared to walk in.
The grandparents and my mother walked in to Air by Bach and then the bridal party and James with his parents walked in to Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach. Yes, James walked in with his parents. It’s the policy of St Gabe’s that no one just “appears”, everyone walks down the aisle. Maybe not typical for most weddings, I think it’s fun James was able to have an entrance as well.
My dad and I walked in to Trumpet Tune by Purcell. I love how upbeat and joyful it is. During the ceremony our cantor sang an amazing version Ave Maria, mainly because my mom loves the song, but it’s also a classic song/blessing to have at a Catholic wedding.
James and I exited to Rondeau by Mouret. Another very happy song and according to the pianist, written by “some old French guy”. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Before the wedding I would play all the songs on youtube and imagine the ceremony…sometimes I do it now just to remember how fun it was.
The week of the wedding the wedding coordinator (from the church) informed me that James and I would be kneeling throughout basically the entire ceremony. Ugh. I had never knelt in my dress (although I do remember watching Kate Middleton do it very gracefully at her wedding), so having to do it for the first time in front of 140 of our closest friends and family made me a little nervous. Kim, my MOH, was ready to lower me down/up when the time called for it, but I was sure my dress would split in the process.
Turns out, Father Joe just let us stand the whole time. Granted a 1/2 on my feet in heels wasn’t the most pleasant thing, but going up/down a million times would have been much worse. The wedding coordinator kept motioning for us to kneel, but I just pretended I didn’t see her. Surely Father Joe trumps the wedding coordinator. We only had to kneel once, for the Nuptial Blessing, and my dress stayed perfectly intact.
We asked family members to do the readings and they accepted without any hesitation. We both somehow made it through our vows without crying, although I’m certain my voice cracked more than once. At first I couldn’t stop thinking about everyone staring at our butts, but then after the first few minutes I hardly remember anyone else being there at all.