There were multiple times throughout my wedding day where I wondered what it must be like for my parents to witness me receive the sacrament of holy matrimony.
My sweet parents are celebrating 28 years of marriage today! I am incredibly blessed to have them as parents who have witnessed their sacrificial love to me and my sisters throughout our childhoods and even now as adults and as we enter into the joys and sacrifices of the sacrament ourselves.
My parents had played a seriously major part in my life leading up to my engagement and subsequent marriage, giving me the greatest gift possible: my Catholic faith. So, naturally, I wanted them to play a big part in my wedding. I accomplished this in a couple ways:
I wrote them both letters the morning of the wedding as I was getting ready.
I have always loved writing letters. I’m the girl who thinks for 10 minutes about what to say before writing a single word. Leading up to the wedding, I thought and thought and thought about what to write, but my mind was blank. My procrastinating self decided I’d leave it to the morning of the wedding, as that would be crunch time and I’d have no choice but to write them haha! It turned out to be a good choice, as nothing can compare to waking up and knowing that in a few hours you’ll be walking towards the man who will take your hand and speak words to you about loving you forever. That kind of thing just brings on all the emotions.
As I was getting my hair styled, I wrote them letters. I told my dad how grateful I was for them bringing me up in the faith. And I told my mum about how I was imagining her on her wedding day, getting ready to walk down the aisle and promise many things like lovingly accepting children.
I wore the ruby earrings my dad gave my mum when he was in the Marines.
Our main color for the wedding was red. And it just so happened that my father had given my mum some beautiful ruby earrings as a gift early in their marriage. She still had them and offered to lend them to me for the wedding. I was overjoyed to wear these earrings that were made before I was even born; my father saw them when he was overseas and thought they were beautiful; he gave them to my mother and there I was, on the day of my wedding, wearing those same earrings. I’ve always been quite sentimental, but there is no doubt that something so small, a detail so seemingly unimportant as earrings, can mean so much.
I did my first look with my parents.
It seems as though “first looks” are the new craze in modern weddings. But Michael and I knew that we wanted to see each other for the first time at the altar. So, I decided to do my first look with my parents. My mother had seen me already that morning as she’d been with me as I got ready. But after I was ready and the wedding was about to begin, I gave the letters to my mum and she and my dad read them in a beautiful field behind the church, while I waited behind them.
As I stood there watching them read their letters hand in hand, I remember having tears in my eyes thinking about just how grateful I was to have them as parents. I thanked God for their faith, love, and guidance.
When they had finished reading the letters, they turned around and saw me. We embraced and shared in a moment that I have a hard time articulating. It was a mother and father embracing their daughter who was about to embark on a journey they knew very well. It is one of my favorite memories from my wedding and I truly encourage any bride to do this.
My dad walked me down the aisle.
As most brides still do, I walked down the aisle with my father. The love I have for him is so great and I think we both knew that it would be emotional, so leading up to the wedding, we had only joked about it (about how we weren’t going to cry lol).
But then the moment came. He opened the door and told me that it was time. Before I came out of the stairwell (where I was hiding), he made sure to tell me he loved me. He led me down the steps and into the main doorway. Hand in hand, we stood there for waiting for the music to begin and when it did, he squeezed my hand before linking arms and beginning the walk.
When we arrived at the front of the church, he turned and lifted my veil, carefully placing it so it hung straight in the back. We then hugged, and he put my hand in Michael’s.
This is one of those things that I will never forget. The bond between a father and his daughter is incomparable. The way he looked at me that day—and the way he’s looked at me my whole life—is so telling of his love for me and his desire for my happiness, well-being, and most importantly, holiness.
My mum (and my now mother-in-law) took up the gifts during mass.
My mother and Michael’s mother took up the gifts during mass. The significance of carrying the gifts up the aisle to the priest is too much to get into here, but it was so beautiful knowing the meaning of it and watching these two women, who had not only been our mothers, but had also begun to take on their child’s soon-to-be spouse as their own. Our mothers were taking up the gifts, taking part in the most significant part of mass as representations of all.
We borrowed their cake cutter from their wedding to cut our cake.
As I was going through my parents’ wedding box, I noticed their cake cutter and asked if we could use it. In their generosity, they said of course and so we used it to cut our cake as well.
Having only been married for coming up on eight months, it is hard for me to even fathom 28 years of marriage. God has truly blessed their marriage and as their daughter, I can only thank the Lord for their love, which God chose to use to bring me into being. I am incredibly grateful for their witness of a holy marriage not only for my own sake, but for the glory of God as well.
Happy Anniversary, mum and dad!
Photography by Danielle Doepke