Customizing Your Big Day

Obviously, your wedding day is about you marrying that one person you know you want to spend your life with. John and I wanted this day to be both special and memorable to us. Having a priest that I have never met before marry us at the front of the church hardly seems like that would grasp the relationship that John and I have with one another. A huge part of who we are today came from the way we were raised by our families to know and love Christ. You stop and look at the big picture and realize that John's family is protestant and my family is Catholic. To a lot of people, this seems like it would cause arguing, fighting, and eventually either the bride or the groom giving in to which church they will get married in. Anyone who knows me and John know that we are both stubborn but we want to do what will make the other one happy. Not to mention just "giving in" does not fit into either of our vocabulary. This is where we had our idea to customize our big day but combining our backgrounds.

Growing up in two beautiful but different churches, we wanted to take pride in how we have grown in our faith and proudly show where we came from. After online research and talking to my mother (who has had a Catholic wedding and been to several), we chose what is important to the Catholic faith and then researched what is important in the Protestant, or in this case United Methodist faith. We were able to sit down together and plan out how we want our ceremony. Surprisingly, it is still traditional. However, this is obviously a John and Tina wedding.

My point is this is your day. Who says you have to do everything that everyone else has always done? What is special to you and your husband to be? Once you answer that question, plan your wedding together and make it special for you because this is the start of your lives together.

Here is the structure of our Catholic United Methodist Ceremony:

The ceremony will start at 4pm. The altar ends facing the lake and all of our closest family and friends will be seated waiting for everything to begin. While everyone is coming in to take their seats, there will be an instrumental that will be very soft and classical.
The first to walk down the isle will be the grandparents of both the bride and the groom. When they reach the altar, they will take their seats in the front row. John and his groomsmen will be waiting at the beginning of the isle. This way John is not alone at the altar and my bridesmaids will still be escorted down the isle.
The next to come down the isle will be John's parents. They will walk through the doors of the Villa and escort John down to the altar. Once they have reached the altar, the Vandiviers will walk to the Unity candle and John will remain standing next to the minister and the priest.
They will be followed by my mom who will be escorted by my brother. My brother will take his seat in the front row with John's siblings while my mom joins John's parents at the candle.
Next, my bridesmaids will enter and will be greeted at the beginning of the isle by John's groomsmen and then escorted to the altar where they will stand with John and I as we get married.
Of course, the next person to walk down the isle will be me and I will be escorted by my father. Once my father gives me away he will join my mother and John's parents and they will light the family candles.

Brad Slaten, the United Methodist Minister, will do the opening prayer.
Brad has been apart of both mine and John's youth. He was our youth pastor at Wellspring and he is also the man who baptized John when he was in high school. To me this seemed more personal to the both of us.

Father Kinsel, the Catholic Priest, will then introduce my Maid of Honor to do the Old Testament Reading.
Father Kinsel is a friend of my dad's. He knows our family and has become good friends with my dad over the past couple of years.
After Stacey does the first reading, John's Best Man will be introduced to read the a reading from the New Testament.

Typically, in a Catholic wedding they do 2 readings, a gospel and then a sermon. John and I decided to have Father Kinsel give a 5 minute sermon including the gospel he feels relates to the ceremony and then Brad Slaten will also give a 5 minute sermon including the gospel he feels relates to the ceremony. This way we are incorporating both denominations into our wedding.

Brad will then give us the invitation to exchange the vows we have written ourselves for the other person.
Father Kinsel will then give the blessing and begin the exchanging of the rings which will end in "I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss your bride".

This will lead the guests into cocktail hour where hors d'oeuvres will be served, wine and beer will be available, music will play and guests will mingle while the bride and groom take pictures.

The rest is traditional from there. We will dance the night away and live happily ever after.

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