A Couple of Catholics

A blog about faith, intentional living and the joys and struggles of married life.

Tag: Wedding

Top 13 moments from 2013

I love New Years. It’s a time to reminisce on the past and reflect on how you’ve grown. It’s an opportunity to dream, hope and resolve for a better self…a better future. It’s a fresh start, and no matter who you are we can all use those from time to time.

As 2013 draws to a close, Patrick and I have reflected on what this year has meant to us… as a couple and individuals. So here it is the top 13 from 2013.

1. We got married!

Nicole says: While most of this year was spent in the whirlwind that is wedding planning on November 23rd we made it official.

Pat says: WOOHOO, we finally made it! I married such a beautiful bride. I am so thankful to be done with engagement… it was like purgatory.

2. Honeymooning in Italy – We met the Pope…and then took a selfie.

Nicole says: As if getting married and enjoying a honeymoon in Italy wasn’t enough of a blessing, thanks to the Archdiocese of Kansas City Kansas Pat an I were fortunately able to attend a Wednesday audience with Pope Francis and afterwards we were able to meet him. YES, we met the Pope–a life goal checked off my list.

Pat says: This was an amazing trip. Between the food, the sites, the spiritual journey and my travel partner, I feel so blessed. I look forward to posting more Italy photos online soon.

3. We started a blog

Given that you are on our site right now, we’re guessing you know this. We’re only a year into this endeavor and so far it has been a fun way for us to recount our experiences as a couple and share them with you. We hope you’ve enjoyed this journey with us. Here are a few of our recommended posts:

We often post on Twitter too. You’re welcome to follow us!

4. HuffPost Interview

Pat says: Ok, so this was completely unexpected. I got an email from one of the editors from HuffPost LIVE (Huffington Post’s  live-streaming network) and before I knew it we we’re being interview about our choice not to live together before marriage.

SEE: A recap of our Interview with HuffPost LIVE 

5. Moving in together

Nicole says: While we didn’t live together before marriage, we did start going through all our things and got settled into our new house where I lived until the wedding. Safe to say that the majority of my summer was spent cleaning, sorting and organizing our new home…every teacher’s dream for the summer months. 🙂 Also, I can’t forget the many trips to drop off car loads of donations at our neighborhood thrift store.

Pat says: I am so thankful to not be driving home to my parents house each night! I feel like multiple people told me it would be a big adjustment, but honestly I just feel like I am living with my best friend and get to come home to her all the time. Can’t wait to get into a routine now that we are back from Italy.

6. Retreats and Reflections

Pat says: I had an amazing time at a men’s retreat with a Catholic Community up in Minnesota. It was a great reminder that we as men are called to be fathers and imitate God the Father. We were made in His image and we act like The Father by providing and bringing people to the Lord.

7. We’ve kept Hallmark in business

Pat says: Nicole and I love cards (especially our hometown company Hallmark). We love finding unique cards for our friends and family. Also, Nicole and I exchange cards often. However, this year in particular had some gems (especially since we could count down till the wedding). Watch this singing birthday card Nicole got me!

8. Pat STILL didn’t join a gym

Pat says: I know, I know… (thanks for calling me out Nicole!!) Unfortunately this year I did not keep up with my Insanity workout routine like I planned. At least now we can save money with a YMCA family pass. Look for an update on this in 2014.

9. The year of transition (a.k.a. weddings and babies)

Nicole says: Without a doubt, this year will be known as the year of transitions. The transition to engagement and newlywed life was obviously at the forefront for us both. However, for me the transition of moving back to KC, starting a new job and graduate school cannot be overlooked. Aside from the transitions in our own lives, some of those closest to us were experiencing their own transitions as well from weddings to babies and sometimes both.

10. Partying with family and friends

Nicole says: No doubt marrying Pat was wonderful, but truth be told my favorite part of the wedding weekend was spending time with all our family and friends. There is something so humbling in the knowledge that all these people, from all different aspects and eras of our lives came together to celebrate our entrance into this lifelong vocation. Words could not begin to describe my appreciation for each and every one of those people.

11. We traveled

Nicole says: We really got around this year. Here is a short list of places we were lucky enough to visit together. Chicago, IL, Houston, TX, Atchison, KS, Lincoln, NE,  and of course Italy (Rome, Umbria, Tuscany, Assisi, Siena and Venice).

Pat says: I also did a whirlwind tour for work including Memphis, TN, Boston, MA (for the 2013 Catholic New Media Conference), Austin, TX, Marianna, AR, Los Angeles, CA.

12. We started learning and using NFP

Nicole says: It has been a journey for sure and they weren’t kidding when they told us it would be difficult. Difficulties aside I can without a doubt see the benefits of using NFP as opposed to any other form of family planning. It is giving me a deeper appreciation for my husband and is teaching me how to love him WELL. While it isn’t a cake walk, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

13. The continual rise of online entertainment

Pat says: It’s no surprise that this year brought a slew of new online hits. We learned what the Fox says, heard inspiring messages from Kid President, saw Taylor Swift do a duet with some goats and many other Internet sensations. I hope that the New Year brings with it a fresh crop of videos with higher standards than twerking and the Harlem Shake. So I thought that this baby joyriding on a Roomba is probably the best way to end 2013… and it is ever-so-appropriately set to the 2006 hit “Ridin'” by Chamillionaire.

We look forward to sharing another great year with you. So many good things to come. God bless and have a Happy New Year!

Stop Motion Save the Date Video [How to]

If you know us well, you know that we like to be unique. Our goal (aside from getting married) is to have our guests leave thinking, “that was very Pat and Nicole.” We were looking for a creative, yet economical way to inform our guests to mark their calendars for our special day. So we decided to send out a save the date email with a personal spin on it. Instead of just an engagement photo, we created a stop motion save the date video.

To create our stop motion save the date, we used the following:

I highly recommend Finger Lab’s iMotion HD. It is both free and fully featured. In addition to these tools, here are a few other tips to keep in mind when creating your own save the date video.

Keep it simple

Not much to expand upon here; plan ahead. It’s great to have something complex and awesome, but the reality is that you are planning a wedding. Time is of the essence. My suggestion–keep it simple.

Make your video accessible

Grandma may not know how to use Instagram, but she can certainly check her email. We decided to send our video out over email simply because we knew that would work best for our family and friends. Your family may be different, so I suggest distributing it in a way that makes it easy to be viewed. Don’t be afraid to post it on Facebook, just because you can’t invite all your friends to the wedding doesn’t mean you can’t share your excitement with them.

Keep it under a minute folks

Be mindful that the goal of a save the date is two fold: #1 inform your guests of the upcoming big day and #2 allow them the opportunity to learn a little bit more about you as a couple, plus all those other important details (i.e. check out your wedding registry, website or whatever). No one wants to watch your next short film, keep it under a minute people.

So go out, have fun and make it personal. Engagement will fly by (or so others tell us) so try to enjoy the experience. What other save the date ideas have you all seen?

Living together before marriage — why I’m waiting until after the wedding

I am officially a nomad until I get married in November. I moved out of my house and am temporarily living with my parents. Life would be much easier if my fiancé and I were living together. Practical problems like financial pressures would make moving in with her a good solution. From my rough calculation, Nicole and I would save about $300 per month (money that would be nice to have for our honeymoon). However, there is value in waiting to live together until after you are married. Below are the reasons I’m waiting to move in until after I say, “I do.”

I want my marriage to last

The fact of the matter is that couples who cohabit before marriage tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect. There is a big difference between a permanent bond such as marriage and just living together in a conditional relationship.

It’s easier to slip into marriage

Often after living with your significant other for a long time, a wedding seems like something you should do. Getting married should not be a default next step. Marriage is an active and conscious decision to say that you will love and be committed to this person for your lifetime. By living together before marriage, you don’t get space (literally) to take a step back and objectively decide whether this person is truly meant to be your spouse.

Related: Watch Our HuffPost Interview on Cohabitation

I don’t need to “test it out”

A lot of people say, “I can only marry someone if he or she agrees to live together first so that we can find out whether we really get along.” Many think that this a good way to avoid divorce. This logic is flawed. Women and men see moving in together differently. Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment.

The more important question is, what is there to test? I’ve dated Nicole for over a year and a half. I think I know how my fiancé lives her life. True, I may not fully understand all her nuances, but these are all part of the excitement (and struggle) of marriage.

I want to keep the spark alive 

One of the beautiful things about marriage and the engagement period is its mystery. If we had lived together when I proposed, it would have made that hugely romantic gesture a lot less momentous. Most of the romance comes from the idea that the man and woman are entering into a huge new commitment together. If you’re already engaging in all the intimacy and sacrifice that comes with making a home together, the excitement fizzles away.

Part of what keeps the spark alive is a couple experiencing new things together. Moving in together seems pretty new and monumental wouldn’t you say?

I don’t want my wedding to be lame

Living together before marriage makes most wedding traditions meaningless. What is the point of a bachelor party? The honeymoon turns into just a fun trip and lacks a certain specialness. Lastly, the symbolism of a father walking his daughter down the aisle is lost given that it’s supposed to show the woman leaving her home and making a new one with her husband.

Chastity smastity

I decided to wait to have sex until marriage long before I met Nicole. One of the hardest things for guys to do is to say goodbye to their honeys at the end of the night (it’s even worse when you are engaged). Living together would only make chaste living that much more difficult.

I like to be unique

According to the New York Times, cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the last half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. Why should I be like everyone else?

In today’s complex world, I can see how living together before marriage would seem to simplify things. However, more and more I’m convinced that the sacrifices are well worth the benefits of waiting to make a home until after the wedding.

Have thoughts, leave them in the comments below or tweet us @CoupleCatholics.

More articles on cohabitation:

7 Wedding Registry Tips: How to Register with Authority

There aren’t many parts of planning a wedding that I have truly enjoyed, but registering for gifts that others will buy me has been enjoyable. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the registry process, but not to worry, I’ve come up with a list of practical wedding registry tips to keep in mind when tackling this aspect of the engagement adventure.

1. Start with general ideas of what you need.

Go with categories here people. Consider what rooms you need to fill. What do you or your fiancé already have? Where are you going to be living after the wedding? Before you even step foot into a store jot down a list of must have items for both you and your fiancé.

Wanna look over a wedding registry checklist? Here are some helpful links:

Bed, Bath and Beyond Wedding Registry Checklist

The Knot Registry Checklist

 2. Focus on 2-3 places for your wedding registry.

Not all of your guests are going to have the same budget, but many will spend more on you than you would ever spend on yourself. The key here is to give your guests options. The more options you give them the better. Try to select stores that cater to different price points. Also, keep in mind the geography of your guest list. If most of your guest are coming from a ruaral small town that barely has a Target, you probably want to think about registering there instead of that high-end department store in your city.

Before you get all scanner happy, be sure to check out the return policy. Some places are definitely easier to work with than others. My recommendation… Bed, Bath and Beyond. They have a great return policy and the sales associates there are great at helping you get started.

 3. Try to keep an open mind.

You and your soon to be spouse will most likely have different décor flares. Just like marriage the art of compromise will come in handy. If you find yourself at a stand-off there is no rule that says you can’t get more than one.

 4. If you want it, scan it.

Chances are you will be making many rounds of returns later. So, if you are on the fence about an item, my advice is to scan it. This also goes for things you would like, but might feel they are unnecessary (i.e. back massage chair). Scan it anyway. No harm in asking right? If there are certain items you really want be sure to scan them at multiple stores. You’ll have the best chance of getting it this way.

 5. Don’t scan seasonal items and think quality.

Be sure to avoid seasonal or sale items cause they probably won’t be around when your guests go shopping for you. Also, focus on quality. There is only one time in your life that you can ask for free stuff, so why not get something that will last a lifetime.

6. Don’t bring an entourage.

The fewer involved the better…you and spouse, not entourage. The more people that are involved, the more opinions you will have to listen to. These people don’t have to live with this stuff for the next 30 years…you and your spouse will.

7. There aren’t any rules.

Just because your mother is insistent upon registering for some nice china, doesn’t mean you need to do it. Same goes for sales people… take advice but go with gut. You are the ones who have got live with it later.

One final word, registering is time consuming. Be prepared to set aside a good chunk of time. I would say about 2-4 hours. Patrick and I spent 6 hours in the first trip. If you can’t make it that long, then stop. This is going to be a multiple trip process anyway. So when you stop caring, stop scanning. This process can be stressful at times, but in my experience this is also one of the best parts of engagement. So don’t hold back. Scan away and enjoy the process. Once you get the hang of it you’ll find yourself on a roll.

Got more wedding registry tips, let me know in the comments below.