Catholic Weddings

Uniquely Catholic Brides and Brides-to-Be: On Planning a Catholic Wedding featuring Carolina Baker

Welcome to Uniquely Catholic Brides and Brides-to-Be on Something to Behold! I’m so happy you’re here! Let me quickly introduce you to our bride-to-be for today before I let her do the rest of the talking: Carolina and I have been close friends ever since I transferred to CUA! We’re both Theology majors, worked at the USCCB, and have a love of Kate Spade and red lipstick. She’s one of the most lively, sociable and dedicated persons I know, and I’m so honored to feature her on my blog today! Without further ado, let me welcome Carolina Baker!

Tell us a little about yourself!
Hello, Something to Behold! My name is Carolina Baker. I am a senior majoring in theology and philosophy at The Catholic University of America in D.C. I am originally from Tucson, Arizona where I still go home to every break to enjoy awesome weather and great Mexican food. Hobbies include journaling, adoration, djing (I go by DJ Veritas), grocery shopping, Christian philosophy, and taking on the city with my awesome fiancé!

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Tell us about your fiancé, how you met, and your love story!
My fiancé’s name is Jared. We were both working at the School of Theology at CUA when I met him in September 2012. When I saw him for the first time, I thought he was the cutest kid I had ever seen. For two years, we cultivated a great friendship. I felt like he was someone I could trust with anything. One afternoon in the spring of last year, a mutual friend invited us to a Nationals baseball game. We ended up talking the entire time and late into the night. I went home and cried because I knew that God was calling me to make a difficult decision. I was in a relationship at the time, but I felt that He was offering me happiness that He had prepared especially for me, a happiness that I had been praying for. After a few super fun date, he asked me to be his girlfriend!

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When you were dating, in what ways did you cultivate a faith life together?
The absolute bare minimum for us is going to mass together every week. Jared and I grew up with very different religious experiences (He is a convert, and I am a cradle Catholic). This makes it really interesting to discuss how we like mass to be celebrated. We almost always ask, “Did you enjoy mass?” and end up talking about the music, the homily, or the liturgy as a whole. We love to talk theology and how we look at Catholicism. Something really important for us is talking about our faith struggles. We keep each other up with what we’re struggling with and what we’re working on. It helps us to support each other and keeps us accountable.

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How did he propose? 
Jared proposed at a resort in Phoenix, AZ while visiting my family over New Year’s Eve weekend. We went to mass and dinner before arriving at the resort. When we got there, he asked me if I wanted to “go look out at the stars”. He set me up so I could see this gorgeous rock fountain, a raging bonfire and the stars above us when he asked me. He said, “I’ve had a great 7 or 8 months and I want to make it 70 or 80 more years.” I said “yes!” and we ended up dancing the night away with my family.

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How are you two preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage? How are you balancing wedding planning and marriage preparation?
We are already figuring out that engagement is very different than dating. It’s incredible and beautiful. We love each other more and more every day, but it also comes with its own spiritual challenges. The great thing is that we are both loving wedding planning. Jared is very involved and he’s a blast to work with. We are hoping to have some friends who offer marriage prep help us do it. They prepare couples as husband and wife which makes them a great couple to emulate and admire. As for NFP…. we haven’t quite figured that part out yet!

Have you chosen the readings for your wedding liturgy? Why makes you like these specific ones?
It’s impossible not to love Ephesians 5:22-33, especially as a theology major who loves Christian marriage and family. Jared jokes that I’m pushing for “traditional gender roles” using that reading, but it perfectly shows how marriage is an expression of God’s love for us and that it mirrors the relationship between Christ and His Church. We also love the readings on the wedding at Cana, and Isaiah 62:5. “As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”

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Are you planning on incorporating any special family traditions into your big day?
Mexican families have a few special traditions for weddings. One is called the “lasso”. The maid of honor and the best man wrap an extra large rosary around the couple that literally ties them together. The wedding couple also has godparents, just like we have in the Church. The godparents are more involved in the wedding and are a source of help and guidance for the couple. We hope to also consecrate our marriage to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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Are you planning any special way to evangelize your guests on your wedding day? 
A large majority of the people at the wedding will be non-Catholics or non-practicing Catholics. We hope the mass alone will be some source of evangelization. I know many people have adoration hours as part of the rehearsal. We want to make sure that we include things in the wedding that are truly us, if that makes sense. Our wedding should reflect us as Catholics and how God has worked in our lives. We are working with an awesome Catholic wedding planner (wink, wink, Brooke Paris) to brainstorm more ideas on how to do this!

A Catholic marriage is meant to be fundamentally open – to children, to society, to community, etc. How do you plan to let the love between you overflow into a love for others?
I honestly feel that Jared and I have already been doing a pretty good job at this aspect. Jared and I certainly don’t hide our love in front of others. We are both pretty openly loving people, so it’s hard not to let everyone know how incredible it is to follow God’s plan for you. Being together helps us love our families better. Being with Jared has helped me be more generous and patient. We help each other be better people to other people. What more could I ask for?

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Do you have any idea what your something old, new, borrowed, and blue will be? Do you have any suggestions of faith-filled items that could fill these categories?
I have always planned to pray a rosary before the ceremony. I would absolutely want a borrowed or old rosary for that. I always felt that each one of those things should be sentimental contributions from the both families. I would suggest rosaries, Bibles, or even a traditional veil. Maybe your something blue could be inspired by Mary!

I can’t thank you enough Carolina for sharing your love story with us! It is such an honor to hear how you are planning to incorporate the Catholic faith into your big day, and also how much the faith is at work in you and Jared’s relationship already! I can’t wait to be your Catholic Wedding Planner! 

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To contribute to “Uniquely Catholic Brides and Brides-to-Be” on Something to Behold email brooke.a.paris@gmail.com. I can’t wait to hear how you planned/are planning a wedding that is uniquely and wonderfully Catholic!

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