The First Real Challenge

Countdown 56 days, 23 hours. 

Church, paperwork, reception-done, done, and done. Photographer, DJ- booked. My gown, bought! Guest list and cake-done and done. Rehearsal dinner-booked! So far, we've got most of the big items out of the way. Surprisingly, these were fairly easy decisions to make. What I thought was the easiest and most fun one though, turned out to be the most tedious and difficult one: The INVITATION.

I thought that when we decided to go digital it would be easier and less stressful because we won't have to worry about the right color, the texture, proofs, mail merges, addresses, seals, and stamps. We wouldn't have to worry about sending it way in advance. And, we would be helping in saving the planet. A digital invite would only require creativity, skill, e-mail addresses, and the send button--yeah, it should be that easy right?

Little did I know that I'm really not that skilled! Creating a digital invite, specially the one that I have in my head is not so easy after all. It's clear in my head but executing what's floating around up in my head is a little challenging. Thanks to Stephani Becerra, a very talented artist, I'm hopefully on my way to realising this idea. But for those of you who need to plan yesterday, please visit ana-joe.com for all relevant information about our wedding

P.S. Below is my inspiration for creating this digital invite. It may not be as smooth and flowing as this video by Ryan Woodward, but I hope we can get it close to that.


Pre Cana

"The world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life." 
- Oscar Wilde -

May 12, 2011
It's supposed to be the end of the world today. Although this prediction comes from a nut job, it was still worth some marketing dollars and spots on prime time news. BUT for some people--150 to be exact--it wasn't enough of an excuse to skip 10 hours of marriage preparation seminar (precana). That's how Joe and I spent our Saturday. The Catholic Church requires that everyone who wants to get married under the Catholic Church take these sessions for a fee of $195.

I guess it's a small price to pay for something that may or may not help make our marriage work--neither of us knows anything about getting/being married, so I'm not about to pooh-pooh suggestions from people who do know a thing or two.

But however optimistic I was about the idea of a church wedding, I think it's fair to say Joe and I are both dreading this day--and the rumors about the world ending was the least of our worries. We kept an open mind, a very scared, open mind.

The speakers are married and they have three kids. That's a surprise. How long have they been doing this? How long have they been trying to convince young New Yorkers, most of whom are not even religious--some not even Catholics--that getting married in the Catholic Church is a great, "holy" thing to do? How long have they been preaching about love, fidelity, abstinence, and all that? And how many couples have actually walked out of these seminars thinking, "Wow, that was awesome! I can't wait for the next session!" I look at the 150 faces in the room and I see boredom, ambivalence, and annoyance. It's a tough crowd. They are both trying to get a laugh or two out of us. I keep looking at the wife who is still laughing at every joke her husband makes. I wonder if she's heard all of them at this point and she still thinks he's funny.

I wonder what the other couples in the room are thinking. What is Joe thinking about? He seems intent on getting something out of today. That's good. Or maybe he's concentrating on not dozing off.

As for me, I started writing as soon as we sat down. This is great. I'm running out of pages to write on and I've only been sitting here for two hours. I'm picturing different scenarios in my head on why these people are here, what their relationships are like--are all of them happily engaged? Am I the only one thinking about these things. From time to time, I hear something interesting from the speakers and they manage to get my attention.

"Why do you want to get married in the Church?" I look up. The husband asked the room this question. Nobody wants to be put on the spot like this, but a brave woman raised her hand and announced that it was because she wanted Jesus Christ to be a part of their marriage--every day of their lives. I look around me and I can't read any of these faces. And I'm thinking, that's ridiculous. First of all, I doubt if you're always going to be aware of Jesus. And second of all, I don't know if I buy into that. That's technically another man that you want to be a part of your marriage. If it was any other guy you were fantasizing about, this would've been cause for emotional infidelity. But because it's Jesus, it's okay. There are a lot of reasons why people want to marry in a Catholic Church. But from what I am learning today, faith and the holy trinity did not even make it to the top ten reasons couples get married in the Catholic Church. According to statistics, "40% to 50% of Catholic marriages are between a Catholic and a non-Catholic; regional averages may be higher or lower." The top three reasons people choose to marry in a Catholic Church are as follows:

1. It's a nice tradition.
2. My parents want me to.
3. My partner wants to get married in a Church.

I peeked at Joe's answer and his reason is #3. I knew that. As for me, I wanted this because even though I am not religious, I believe certain things are sacred. Marriage happens to be one of them. I just don't think anyone should mess around with, "I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life... for better, for worse...until death do us part." 

These words are almost humanly impossible to follow through if you think about the length of time you're gonna have to do it! I have no doubt that Joe and I will be very happy. However, the consistency of keeping that promise, like everything else that counts, will be a challenge. And I'd like to be able to pull the "help me god" card whenever I need to. Fifty to sixty years is a very long time to be with someone every day of your waking life and I'm not about to pretend that every day is going to be peachy. So if I have to call on a miracle one day, why not?