The Miracle of the Flowers: A Wedding Story

The Miracle of the Flowers: A Wedding Story

The wedding industry is a bully. It pressuresĀ cash-strapped brides to have a Pinterest-perfect wedding no matter what the sacrifice. Add in a deeply entrenched Italian-American culture that saysĀ parents mustĀ provide for their daughter’s big day (or face eternal embarrassment), compounded with the fact that our Catholic families equaled over 250 people (not including friends), and you’ll start to get a picture of the impossible situation we found ourselves in when my darling James got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.

I didn’t think I couldĀ have one of those dream weddings. My parents had just sold ourĀ home at short sale and we were living with my grandmother. JamesĀ hadn’t foundĀ a full-time job yet. A traditional Italian wedding seemed impossible.

Impossible, but here’s the catch. God is Love. And with Love, all things are possible.

love

One day, during lunch, I went to a nearby church and prayed. I was doing that famous novena for James to get a job so we could get married. Yes, I wanted a nice wedding, but what I really wanted was to start a marriage with the man I love. I opened the hymnal to a random page, and it happened to be a song about marriage and the miracle at the wedding at Cana. That’s when it hit me:

Jesus would take care of it. His first miracle was making wine at a wedding to keepĀ the party going.Ā Not only would he find James a job so we could get married, but he would make sure we had a nice wedding, too.

cana

My parents are the ultimate fighting team when it comes to art projects. One Artist + One Engineer= Two brilliant, imaginative people who turn visions into reality. There’s really nothing that these two can’t do. And they channeledĀ their genius into my wedding.

My mom single-handedly made all of the favors. The programs were printed (by my dad!) on gorgeous parchment-style paper and bound in scrapbook paper and ribbons assembled by an in-house team of relatives and friends. My mom and sister madeĀ all the boutonnieres, bouquets and corsages out of gorgeous silk flowers a year in advance. We basically kept the glue-gun manufactures in business throughout the whole of 2012.

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One of our gorgeous DIY programs. We had an assortment of paper and ribbons so each one was unique.

Then came the unexpected gifts. My dress alterations and veil were all FREEĀ from a friend of my mother. My gorgeous and unique centerpieces were also done by another friend of my mother. The beautifully engraved cake-serving set and the elegant toasting flutes were gifts from my dear friends. That deliciousĀ dessert buffet was a community effort on the part of our friends and familyĀ who volunteered to bake their favorite sweets for our big day. And our dream honeymoon was a gift from James’s parents.

Jesus did it. He provided for our big day. Yes, he cares more about the marriage than the wedding, but he cares about the wedding too! There were so many examples of how his love poured through our friends and family and made our day amazing. And family was everywhere. TheĀ priest who married us was family. The altar boysĀ were family.Ā Even our wedding coordinator was family. We were completely overwhelmed by love.

And to top it all off…

Out of all these gifts and blessings, there was one little miracle, one gift thatĀ stood out as a reminder that ALL the gifts, big and small, were signs that JesusĀ was taking care of this wedding.

In an effort to curtail expenses, we had decided to forgo altar flowers. Those big, gorgeous arrangementsĀ are veryĀ expensive, and we just didn’t have the money. We decided that someone would run to Home Depot in the morning and get potted flowers to place around the altar.

In the rush of that morning, no one remembered to purchase ourĀ little potted flowers. Oh well. Except when we arrived at the church…

ThereĀ were flowers on the altar!Ā Three huge, gorgeous, professional arrangementsĀ that were the PERFECT colors for our wedding were on either side ofĀ the tabernacle and in front of the altar. They’re in all of our pictures and they were incredible.

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See those GORGEOUS flowers on either side of the tabernacle? Those were the anonymous gift! There was a third arrangement in front of the altar. And of course, our wonderful priests (an uncle and a friend), and the bouquet my mom and sister made.

We have no idea where they came from. We’ve guessed that maybe one of our friends or relatives did this for us, but we will never know. Working through loving human beings, God made a miracle happen, and showed us his overwhelming, gratuitous love. As the Rite of Marriage says, “Christ abundantly blesses this love.” And he did. Like making wine out of water, the way our wedding came together was a beautiful, mysterious example of the overflowing love of God.

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“One small step…”

Knowing that I will never be pregnant, no matter how hard I storm the gates of heaven, is something that has taken me manyĀ years to accept. I still have my off days. Some days are smiles, some days are tears, some days are calm, and some days are far from it. Some days, the best days,Ā are beautiful opportunities for growth.

It might not look like much, but it was aĀ milestone for me today when I created my adoption board on Pinterest. “Adoption is the new pregnant” is my title, after a shirt I saw on the site. It may be a little overly cheery for those facing the sharp pain of infertility (including me on my off days), but I think I am finally ready to embrace this line. Pretty sure. I hope.

WhileĀ attempting to focus on the positiveĀ and scouring Pinterest for adoption pins, I found the blog of this amazing woman. She’s in her 20s, like me, and she’s been down the same road. Like me, she has known since her teens that she could never be pregnant. I’ve only read some of her blog so far, and I find it to be well beyond inspirational. It was exactly what God needed me to see at this point in my life. Thank you, Mrs. O’Brien, if you ever read this. And thank you, God, for helping me and JamesĀ alongĀ this road.