Catholic Weddings

Uniquely Catholic Brides & Brides-to-Be: On Planning a Catholic Wedding featuring Mary Tavera

Welcome to Uniquely Catholic Brides and Brides-to-Be on Something to Behold!  Let me quickly introduce you to our bride for today! I met Mary through a school organization that supports CUA pride and I was immediately impressed by her contagious enthusiasm! Throughout our time at CUA I continued to admire Mary, for her elegance, beauty and life-giving personality. After hearing all about her wedding from friends, I knew Mary would be a perfect contributor to my new serious! Without further ado, let me welcome Mary Tavera!

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Tell us a little about yourself!
I am Mary Tavera! I am from Memphis, Tennessee. I went to Catholic University and received a degree in Philosophy. I grew up with three older brothers, so I am a bit of a tom-boy and I LOVE animals. I am currently working towards become an Occupational Therapist because I want to work with children with Autism.

Tell us about your husband, how you met, and your love story!
Seth and I met at Catholic University. We were both orientation advisors and became friends our junior year of college. I actually did not know him very well the first year we did orientation together, but then he and I had the same group of friends our second year of orientation. We actually stayed friends for a while and then one day he asked me what I was looking for in a guy and I realized that maybe he was looking to be more than just friends. Midway through our fall semester of junior year he asked me out on a date and of course I said yes! I went abroad in the spring of junior year and he came and visited me in Rome and I will always cherish the memories that we had traveling through Europe together for a week! He was the first guy that I actually enjoyed spending long periods of time with. The semester before Seth and I became friends I said a novena to St. Joseph that some day soon I would find the man God wanted me to marry. Seth and I both attribute our relationship to St. Joseph.

When you were dating, in what ways did you cultivate a faith life together?
Seth and I would go to Mass together on Sundays. As corny as it sounds, I always felt a sense of peace when I went to Mass with him. I felt like I was in the exact place that I was meant to be. We also went to adoration together on Wednesdays. While I was abroad, we both made sure that we were still there for each other in our faith lives, but instead of going to Mass together, we would keep each other in each other’s prayers. Another big thing that helped us cultivate our faith was saying the Rosary together.

How did he propose?
Seth proposed at the Sculpture Gardens in DC. One of my favorite things in the winter time is ice skating. Seth would always take me ice skating even though it wasn’t his favorite. It was such a cold night in February and we were some of the only people on the rink that night- there was only two other couples. One lady came up to both of us when we first started to ice skate and told us that there were people in the bushes taking photographs of us. I knew something was up at that point. Seth asked me “What is it you want Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey, that’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon Mary.” It’s a quote that he has asked me throughout our whole relationship from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Then he got down on one knee and proposed. Then several of our friends emerged from the bushes and we all laughed about the lady who thought they were just being creepy!

How did you two prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage? How did you balance wedding planning with marriage preparation?
Seth and I went to marriage prep by the Archdiocese of Washington, DC.   We also did individual marriage prep with the priest that performed our wedding. I think the most helpful aspect of marriage was meeting with our priest because it allowed us to get to know each other and different aspects of what to expect from marriage. Balancing marriage preparation and wedding planning is a difficult aspect of being engaged because there is so much wedding planning that has to take place that at times it can become overwhelming. One of the biggest things that we had to do was remind ourselves that we weren’t just planning for our wedding, but rather we were preparing for the rest of our lives together. It’s something that I think all couples have to try to be mindful of while being engaged because it is easy to get distracted by wedding preparations.

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What was your favorite reading during your wedding liturgy? Why?
My favorite reading would have to have been the Gospel on our wedding day. It was Mark 10: 6-9.

“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female .For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh, Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate. In the house the disciples again questioned him about this.”

I think it is short, sweet and to the point. This passage refers to how the husband and wife’s life changes once they are married, they become one flesh. I also think that it is important to remember that once God has joined two in marriage, nothing can break that bond. It is eye-opening to realize that our lives would never be the same after we were married and that we were making a commitment for the rest of our lives.

Did you incorporate any special family traditions into your special day?
A family tradition of ours is to say a prayer while the two who are getting married hold on to a crucifix. This tradition was started in a small community and within that small community there have been no divorces or separations. All of my brothers incorporated it into their weddings and so did Seth and I. We also go to the statue of Mary and say a prayer after the vows and leave a small bouquet at her feet. Seth and I also left a bouquet at St. Joseph’s feet and said a prayer in front of him because he is such a big part of why Seth and I are married!

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How was your wedding day a means of evangelization to your guests?
One thing that was incorporated into the speeches done by the wedding party was about Seth and my faith journey together and how important that was in our relationship. I would have to give all credit to our wedding party because they incorporated that part of evangelization on their own! I think the biggest form of evangelization that a couple can do during their wedding day is to show their love for each other and show that God was the One who is the source of that love. Another important thing for Catholics couples to do on their wedding day is to make sure their wedding includes the full Mass. We had many guests who were not Catholic and were not used to such a long wedding, but I think it is important to show that the Mass is the best way to start a marriage, rather than just doing the wedding vows.

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What was your favorite way that the Catholic faith was made manifest on your wedding day?
I think my favorite way that the Catholic faith was made manifest on our wedding day was having that time to pray together in front of St. Joseph’s statue. It gave us both a few minutes to thank St. Joseph and to realize the amazing journey Seth and I were about to embark on!

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As husband and wife now, what are some ways that you continue to cultivate your faith lives together?
Seth and I continue to make sure that we go to Mass together every Sunday because that is the most important part of the week that we have together. We also try to say the Rosary as often as we can, especially on road trips! We moved to a new area, so we are currently trying to find time to go to adoration together because that is important to us both. We also make sure to say a few prayers together before we go to sleep and end the day with prayer.

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Do you have any tips or advice for Catholic brides-to-be?
I think it is important for brides to not stress about wedding planning! Honestly, the wedding day goes by so fast that you won’t even remember half the stuff you had planned or half the details you planned for the day. Another piece of advice I have is for the bride and groom to make sure they set aside five minutes during the reception to sit with just each other and to settle down for a moment and talk to each other. A friend gave me that advice from her wedding day and I am glad Seth and I had that moment. It helps to put the day in perspective when the day seems to be flying by. Make sure that you surround yourself with people who will help your relationship grow deeper in faith. When it came to us picking our groomsmen and bridesmaids, we made sure that we picked people who would keep us on track and would be a big support to our relationship. We definitely had the best support group in the world! I would also say that before marriage, your faith lives will not always be perfect but that is okay because it is something that you will continue to work on throughout your whole marriage!

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Mary, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful love story with us! Your wedding is an incredible witness to Catholic brides and brides-to-be everywhere! I’ll be praying to St. Joseph for you guys! 

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


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