ABOUT

When my now-husband Andrew asked me to be his bride beneath a statue of Our Lady on our college
campus, I laugh-cried for about an hour afterward at the pure joy of starting my life with the man I'd been writing letters to since before we'd ever met. About a week later, the cluelessness set in: how, exactly, did you get married in the Catholic Church? At that point in my life, I hadn't been to a wedding in years, and none of my friends were married yet, so engagement, spiritual preparation, and the practical aspects of wedding planning were entirely a mystery to me.

We figured it out, gradually, but if this sounds like you, I want to do you one better. I started Captive the Heart during a period of unemployment in my newlywed days as an attempt to meet the deep need I'd noticed for holy, reflective, and stylish Catholic wedding inspiration and to satisfy my creative hunger. Here you'll find practical planning advice and resources, music suggestions that speak to the cry of our hearts, real couples' love stories, money-saving tips, inspiration boards, and honest talk about beauty, femininity, and sex and chastity. There's also plenty of ideas for inspired romance, no matter what your style, spiritual reading to do together, and now and then I like to share snapshots of life with my extraordinary hubs and our sweet babies.

All the trendy, pretty things, life updates, and musings of my restless heart are here on the blog, but I'm also thrilled to offer you a resource that covers all the concrete spiritual and practical matters involved in wedding planning. INVITED: THE ULTIMATE CATHOLIC WEDDING PLANNER walks you through planning a sacred, stylish celebration and preparing for marriage, from first steps after the ring's on your finger all the way through navigating newlywed life.  It's got planning worksheets for everything from budgeting to Mass selections to invitation wording and is all shot through with the authentic, life-giving joy I've found in St. Pope John Paul II's vision of human love.  INVITED is available on Amazon and from Pauline Books and Media.

In 2016, I co-founded and launched a new ministry, Spoken Bride, for Catholic brides and newlyweds, featuring wedding-related content alongside inspiration and love stories from real, beautiful Catholic weddings and resources to connect you with Catholic wedding vendors. My writing can now be found there. I hope you love it and find the combination of writing for brides with beautiful imagery and a community for creatives is a true help as you prepare to enter into marriage.

So have a look around, click over to Spoken when you're done, and if you're recently engaged, introduce yourself!  I love hearing from you and getting to know you. I hope you find not just information but community at Captive the Heart and Spoken Bride.  My prayer for you is this: as you're purified by love's fire during your engagement, I hope you'll feel a sense of complete peace and surrender.  Look to Mary, whose very life was a "yes," and find your  example in her.  She "renders captive the heart of man to deliver him over to her Divine Son," and your engagement offers you the same opportunity in such a real way.  Enter in with her, and rejoice.

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14 comments:

  1. Hi, Stephanie! You sent me here with your response on my "Traveling with Jesus" blog post on American Catholic blog. I LOVE your blog! This is going to be a GREAT resource as a plan our wedding. :) I look forward to checking back often!

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  2. Thanks so much, Lindsey, and same to you! Congratulations!!

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  3. I'd love a post about readings. I'm having the hardest time picking the readings for our mass, especially as it seems every wedding I go to has the SAME ones ("Love is patient, love is kind"-- so beautiful, but I'm sick of it) and the Wedding at Cana!

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    1. Hi Katie! Thanks so much for your suggestion! I really enjoyed picking my own Mass readings, but since they'd been in my head for so long beforehand, I never did much investigating into other options. Sounds like a worthy pursuit!

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  4. Seriously, this is brilliant! I love the entire idea of this page!

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  5. Hello! I"m so happy for the What I Wore Sunday linkup and for finding your blog! Although not a Roman Catholic myself, I do love conversing with, reading about and meeting people who are constantly finding ways to glorify the Lord in all aspects of their lives.

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    1. I'm so glad you found my blog, too, so I could find yours!

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  6. Hi, Stephanie from another Stephanie (though I most often go by Stef :)) -- thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Yours is all kinds of WONDERFUL!!! As the mom of two girls (one 21-year-old and one 11-year-old) I so appreciate blogs like this that celebrate REAL womanhood. Thank you for your voice. Will share your blog with other young women and concerned moms :). Keep writing, we'll keep reading!

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    1. Thank you so much, Stef! I'm so glad you found my blog and I found yours!

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  7. Haha, I just re-read this page and now that we live in PA I actually know what Wegman's is. What a great store!

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  8. My sweet fiance proposed two months ago, and ever since then I've been in a panic. I'm much in your situation as a new fiance and had no clue where to turn. Everywhere I looked seemed to be nothing but weddings that were either too expensive or completely eschewed our traditional Catholic values and I had no clue where to turn. Tonight, I finally broke down, lit the candle we bought the day he proposed, and begged God for some sort of guidance. While browsing Pinterest shortly afterwards, I stumbled across this blog and felt a wave of relief--there are/were others! Thank you oh so very much for being one of what I'm sure are many answers to my prayer and go Mary! (He proposed at our local Schoenstatt shrine ;) )

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    1. Congratulations, Maria!! I'm so glad you found my blog and will pray for your engagement!

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  9. how long did you pray to saint raphael for his intercession in helping you find a husband before your prayer was answered? and did you pray to god as well and tell him what you wanted in a husband phyically and spiritually?

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    1. Hey Robbie! To tell you the truth, it was a couple years worth of prayer. I prayed to both St. Raphael and to God, and I did have a sort of "list," but looking back, I shouldn't have. I think the big picture qualities, mainly finding a spouse who would lead me and, God willing, our future family, to Heaven, is the most important attribute, and other, more specific physical or spiritual things fall into place. I would pray for some more specific things; for instance, I always hoped my husband would have a devotion to Mary and that we shared the same sense of humor, since that had been an issue with other men I'd dated, but honestly, it is so true that the Father is never outdone in faithfulness. Believe me, I know that the waiting and longing is excruciating. But some of the things I love most about my husband are things I never even anticipated wanting or admiring, and I love that they've been surprises, rather than items checked off of a list. It took me a long time to see that prayer isn't a "do x, y, and z exactly like this, and you will get x exact result," and it's so hard with something like waiting to meet your spouse. This is starting to ramble, but basically, I'd encourage you to keep the faith even in times of loneliness and to be discerning but not over analytical in whom you date. I will keep you in prayer!

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