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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Heller

10 decisions I loved from our wedding

Updated: Feb 20

Planning our wedding, after years of dreaming and thinking about the day, felt like a surreal experience. And, truth be told, I loved every step of the way! It felt like an amazing opportunity to share our story and vision with friends and family, as we invited them into the celebration with us.

I firmly believe that your wedding day should be a reflection of you and your relationship. What are some unique things you enjoy or a dessert that is special to both of you? Look for the fun ways to break traditions or add a twist to the celebration. I personally think the best weddings are the ones with the most personality and when you say, "this is so them!"

As Andrew and I were planning our day, it was fun to make the decisions that felt truly "us!" Here are 10 of my favorite decisions we made to make our day feel extra special to us.

1. Fasted & prayed leading up to our wedding day

Leading up to the wedding day, Andrew & I wanted to cultivate a deeper prayer life together. For the 40 days leading up to our wedding, we each chose a particular fast / mortification that we could offer up for each other. We also prayed the Surrender Novena for the 9 days leading to our day. Both of these practices kept us spiritually grounded during the craziness of the last minute planning. It was so special to enter into our marriage deeply rooted in prayer.

2. Holy Hour & Confession before our wedding rehearsal 

Before our wedding rehearsal at the Cathedral, we had an hour of Adoration and offered Confession for our family and bridal party. Starting our wedding weekend with Adoration allowed us to have some intentional prayer and quiet the distractions. One of my favorite memories from the weekend was being at the Cathedral in Adoration, surrounded by our family and bridal party as we prayed and prepared to enter into the Sacrament. We could feel the power of their prayers, support, and love.

3. Airbnb for girls (and guys!) to get ready. 

In our wedding vision, we wanted all of our people together so we found a local Airbnb that was a 3 floor mansion! This provided us space for all the bridesmaids (and their husbands) to spend the night(s) and also gave us the space for the girls and the guys to get ready together. The girls took over the 3rd floor apartment space and the guys had the basement (which had been turned into a speakeasy!) to hangout together, play some pool, and get ready for the day . This helped the photographers as well, since they were both at one location. It also made transportation easier for the bridal party to get to the Church. The whole house was filled with people getting ready, family helping out, florists finalizing details, photographers at work, and lots of excitement all morning!

4. First look together and time for prayer 

The wedding day can move so quickly and there isn't a lot of time for a bride and groom to enjoy a moment together. Andrew & I scheduled our first look together a few hours before the wedding ceremony. Our intention behind the decision was to give ourselves some sacred space alone. We were so excited for that special reveal and to have a few ( emotional!) moments together before the ceremony. In order to keep the moment as sacred as possible, we decided to have our first look at the Cathedral. I noticed my nerves immediately calmed down as soon as I saw him standing at the altar. We are so glad we created that space to receive each other and have some time to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament together.

5. Invited A LOT of priests and friends to be a part of the Wedding Mass

Our #1 priority of the day was to create the most stunning wedding liturgy we could! We wanted to create an opportunity for our guests (especially non Catholics) to have a spiritual encounter as they entered into the Nuptial Mass that was filled with the extraordinary beauty of the Eucharist. So, we invited all of our priest friends to be a part of the liturgy! There were 8 priests and 2 deacons who were part of the Mass. We also had 18 servers, mostly friends of Andrew's, who were able to add a richness to the liturgy procession with incense, the cross, candles and torches. As I stood in the back of the Church with my dad and watched the procession begin, I got tears in my eyes and my heart exploded with excitement. It was stunning.

6. Personal petitions for our engaged friends and expecting friends. 

At a wedding we attended as an engaged couple, the bride & groom personally listed us in the wedding petitions as they prayed for their engaged friends. This special note deeply touched me and I wanted to extend a special prayer at our wedding too. During our petitions, we wrote a special petition for those preparing for Marriage and listed our friends. We also included a petition for those expecting a baby within the year and named each of the couples. Adding personalized petitions felt like another way we could enter more deeply into the graces of the day and share those with others.

7. Wedding Prayer Cards 

We designed a customized prayer card that included our names, wedding date, and prayer on the back. Our ushers handed each guest a prayer card with a program as they walked into the Cathedral for the ceremony. Andrew & I wanted to invite our guests to enter into the beauty of the Sacrament and ask them to unite with us in prayer. We also had the cards out at our rehearsal dinner and prayed the prayer with our bridal party.

8. Group wedding party entry

At our reception, we had our DJ announce the entire wedding party. They all came running into the reception space from 4 different doors, wearing sunglasses and cheering loudly! We wanted to create a lot of energy for the entrance and having our bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, and personal attendant dance into the room was a perfect hype up before we walked in.

9. Parent’s anniversary dance  

Part of the reason we chose September 1st was that it was also my parent's wedding anniversary. As a way to honor them in an extra special way at the reception, we invited them to have a "first dance" before Andrew & I had our first dance. It was beautiful to watch them celebrating together. They were glowing!

10. Andrew's mother-son dance 

Andrew's mom passed away shortly after we started dating and parts of the day were difficult as we wished she could be with us. As a way to honor her, Andrew chose 3 special women to invite out to the dance floor during the "mother-son" dance: his sister, his godmother (his mom's sister-in-law), and his mom's best friend. There wasn't a dry eye in the room as he shared these special moments with some of the women who helped raise him and were extra close to his mom.



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