By: Lynette Wilhelm, Staff Spotlight
The start of August means that my wedding is in less than a month. It’s surreal to think that all of the emails, texts, and appointments will soon be summed up in one big, crazy, beautiful day!
One thing that has come up often in the weeks leading up to this point is other people’s comments that both my fiancé and I seem relatively relaxed. It always catches me a little off guard, but after thanking the commenter – while remembering the few last-minute items on my To-Do list – I try to remember to say a quick prayer of thanksgiving for the graces given that have allowed me, at least the appearance of, relative calm.
Prayer is what got us to this point. Prayer is what started the relationship (on CatholicMatch.com), prayer is what caused it to bloom (by being able to share in the sacraments such as the Eucharist and confession), and prayer is what’s guiding it to the “finish line” of the wedding ceremony. Enough cannot be said about the value in prayer in dating and in marriage prep!
Even if it was a simple Hail Mary in the car as I drove off to yet another bridal show, or a quick intention during the Angelus for my fiancé, I cannot help but think that this time has been overflowing with heavenly graces from prayer. Incorporating prayer into the wedding plans kept us focused on the real purpose of negotiating the best price-per-person at the hotel or the perfect color for bridesmaid dresses to coordinate with the flowers that are in season in late August. Because even if we didn’t get the best deal on limo rentals, and didn’t interview dozens of photographers, it will be our day, the first of (hopefully) many as husband and wife.
My advice for other couples entering into this period of engagement and preparation is to keep the sacraments in mind, and to never forget to pray. A few months ago, my fiancé and I started the practice of ending each day (whether in person, on the phone, or over Skype) with at least one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and a Glory Be. Sometimes, if one of us was in a bad mood (okay, it was usually me), it was difficult to get to that prayer time. Who really wants to call upon Our Lady when we’re feeling grumpy and annoyed that the DJ – yet again – didn’t return my call? By remembering our time for prayer, we could talk, sort out the problem, and approach this sacrament together fully receptive to the graces flowing. And boy, do they come!
Another thing to pray over are the readings chosen for the wedding ceremony. Hopefully you’re not choosing 1 Corinthians just because of the cool frame you saw at Home Goods a few weeks ago! The USCCB lists all of the appropriate Catholic wedding readings at For Your Marriage. Go through all of them at least once and think about the messages they convey, and how they can start your marriage off right at the ceremony. I’m sure your mind will be racing too much on your wedding day to really listen to them, so it’s good to know and understand them now.
As I wrap up all the little details to make our wedding day special and memorable, I try to remember that it’s through God’s graces that I am here. I pray that I never forget that the vows we exchange at the Nuptial Mass. Besides, those will get us through more than trying to match the groomsmen cufflinks perfectly with the bridesmaids’ earrings!
Staff Spotlight is — in an ongoing effort to get a range of content on Encourage & Teach — content from staff members within the Diocese of Arlington from contributors who do not write as a part of their day-to-day job.
Lynette Wilhelm has a B.A. in Political Science from Hillsdale College and a Master’s from the University of Dallas. She works for the Office for Child Protection & Safety coordinating safe environment training for the Diocese of Arlington.