13 Creative Ways to Honor Mary at a Catholic Wedding

There are many ways to honor Our Lady during the nuptial Mass.

Clockwise from left: The Wagner, Nalepa, Malloy and Vitale weddings honored Mary with prayer and flowers.
Clockwise from left: The Wagner, Nalepa, Malloy and Vitale weddings honored Mary with prayer and flowers. (photo: Courtesy of Cameron and Mindy Braun, West Coast Catholic, Emily Malloy and the Nalepas)

In between choosing color schemes and cake flavors during wedding planning, it’s important for engaged couples to remain steadfast in their devotion and love of the Holy Family, the greatest of all families, as there’s no better role model for marriage. 

Many Catholic couples present Marian bouquets to the Blessed Mother on their wedding day as a sign of trust in Mary. But there are many ways to honor Our Lady during the nuptial Mass, as several couples explained to the Register as they recalled their wedding days.

 

Mari and Trey Wagner

For the first three years of her life, Mari Wagner lived in Colombia, South America. Her family, like most Latin American families, grew up culturally Catholic, but didn’t start living her faith until college, Wagner said. 

Wagner remembers her grandma teaching and talking about Mary, she said, recalling Marian icons and statues around her grandmother’s house and how she would teach her the Hail Mary and talk about how Mother Mary could intercede for us. 

“I think I truly grew up having a relationship with Mary before I really had a relationship with Jesus,” Wagner said. “She has just been part of my story for as long as I can remember.”

When Wagner’s mother found out she was unexpectedly pregnant with Mari, many of her friends suggested abortion. Instead, she sought out Mother Mary’s comfort and help. She went to their Marian garden and asked Mary for a coral rose — her favorite color — as a clear sign that it was God’s will for her to keep the baby. 

No roses had grown in the garden before, but a week later, the day before her mom had to make a decision, she discovered a fully bloomed coral rose right next to the Mary statue. 

“Knowing that [story] opened my eyes to just one of the reasons why I have such a close relationship with Mary,” Wagner said. “Mary has always been my mother, and has always been protecting me, and just close to me ever since I was really conceived.”

1. Coral Rose in the Bouquet

Wagner married on March 13, 2021. One way that Wagner chose to honor Mary in her wedding was placing a coral rose in her bouquet as a way to remember the choice her mother made and the constant guidance and protection Mary provides. 

2. Rosaries in the Bridesmaid Bouquets 

Wagner currently runs a Rosary business, West Coast Catholic. The inspiration came when Wagner and her husband, Trey — who was her boyfriend at the time — were both Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionaries, and after spending his summer working at a FOCUS team camp in 2018, Trey came back and taught Mari how to make rosaries. They picked out different beads and string, and the very first West Coast Catholic rosary was made. This first Rosary inspired their Sea of Galilee Rosary.

“That first rosary drew me to pray the Rosary more than ever, really,” Wagner said. 

“I wasn’t a very avid Rosary prayer. But with the sheer beauty of the beads, the cord and the intentionality behind the way it was made, I was just drawn to prayer through beauty.”

Now, Wagner offers a wide selection of rosaries on her site. At her wedding, each bridesmaid’s bouquet was wrapped with Wagner’s Immaculate Heart Rosary, a soft pink and white beaded rosary inspired by Mary’s Immaculate Heart. In between the colored beads are small, golden beads that point to Mary’s queenship.

Trey + Mari Wagner wedding
The bridesmaids were given special rosaries on the special day. | Hannah Brooke Photography(Photo: Hannah Brooke Photography) 2022 Hannah Brooke Photography, all rights reserved.


3. Praying a Decade of the Rosary Together 

Before the wedding Mass, Mari and Trey prayed a decade of the Rosary together. This was a practice they had when they were dating, which they called a “daily dating decade,” in order to pray for their relationship together. 

Trey + Mari Wagner
Trey and Mari Wagner prayed the Rosary together before their nuptial Mass. | Hannah Brooke Photography(Photo: Hannah Brooke Photography) 2022 Hannah Brooke Photography, all rights reserved.


4. Singing the Salve Regina and Ever Be 

At their wedding, Mari and Trey decided present a bouquet to Mary while the Salve Regina was sung. 



Grace and Frank Vitale

Grace Vitale didn’t know how to pray the Rosary until she met her future husband, Frank, four years ago. 

When the two met, Frank told Grace that his dad jokingly said he couldn’t bring a girl home unless she knew how to pray the Rosary. Determined to learn the Rosary, Grace would listen to audio recordings of the Rosary and go on “Rosary walks” with Frank. 

“My love for Mary exploded,” Grace said. “I have never felt such comfort in praying for any saint’s intercession. I just love the idea of this perfect mother and this perfect woman who I could model. I had female role models, but none that were the Mother of Christ.”

Grace and Frank Vitale wedding
The Vitale wedding included prayer time seeking the intercession of the Mother of God. | Cameron Braun(Photo: Cameron Braun)Braun Studios LLC


The Vitales began dating in 2020 and married on June 18, 2022. 

5. Sapphires in Her Engagement Ring 

Both Grace and Frank’s moms had sapphires in their engagement rings, so Grace wanted the same. Grace said that there is Marian theology associated with sapphires, but Grace also wanted to honor their earthly mothers with her engagement ring. 

6. Children’s Flower Procession and Presenting the Bouquet

Rather than just a few flower girls, Grace had an entire children’s flower procession. They had flowers ready in the back of the church, and any child in the church who wanted to could pick a flower and walk down the aisle together. The children then put all of the flowers in one vase, which formed the bouquet that Grace and Frank presented to Mary during their nuptial Mass. 

“I hope to have kids someday, and honoring Mary right from the beginning with the children, I just loved the idea of a childlike faith,” Grace said. “I loved honoring our mothers, in hopes of having that connection of a childlike faith, and then going to our Mother, for help and guidance throughout our marriage.”

7. Designing Holy Family Holy Cards 

As a gift to her guests, Grace designed Holy Family holy cards and placed them at each table at the reception. Grace, an avid designer and artist, has an Instagram account, The Cradle Catholic, which features all of her art and creations. She sells a variety of items, including sweatshirts and stickers, and often posts reels debunking many misconceptions about Mary and Catholicism. 

8. Wearing a Miraculous Medal and White Roses 

Besides earrings, the only jewelry Grace wore was a simple Miraculous Medal. Her bouquet was also entirely made up of white roses as one more way to honor Mary. 

Grace + Frank Vitale wedding
White roses are a hallmark of the Vitale wedding. | Cameron Braun(Photo: Cameron Braun)The Brauns


Grace + Frank Vitale
Mr. and Mrs. Vitale entrusted their marriage to the Mother of God. | Cameron Braun(Photo: Cameron Braun)Braun Studios LLC




Leah and Patrick Nalepa 

Even though Leah and Patrick Nalepa both attended college together, they never went on a date. 

Months after reconnecting at a friend’s wedding, Patrick asked Leah on a date. They dated long distance for a few years and married on Jan. 4, 2020. 

The Nalepas’ wedding was at Old St. Mary’s parish in Detroit — the same church Leah’s parents were married. Many of their bridesmaids and groomsmen were not Catholic, so in order to expose them to the faith in a non-pushy way, the couple invited the bridal party to arrive at the church one hour early for a time of prayer and adoration, Leah said. 

9. Presenting a Marian Bouquet With Parents 

When the Nalepas presented their bouquet to Mary, they decided to present it together with their parents. 

“We placed the bouquet in front of her, and while we were doing that, we had our parents both come up behind each of us and say a prayer with us,” Leah said. “They put their hands on our shoulders, and we all prayed together as a newly married couple and the new family, and, quite frankly, under the mantle of Our Mother.”



Emily and Tim Malloy 

Although Emily Malloy had every intention of attending law school, she met her husband, Tim, in college, and fell in love. He proposed to her after her last final. 

She put law school on hold as Tim was preparing to enter the Army, but after an injury, it became clear he probably wouldn’t make it past officer-candidate school. 

In this pause, the Lord broke in, Emily said. She decided to apply for an apprentice job at a local flower shop and quickly discovered her deep passion and appreciation for flowers. Although the only task she had permission to do was sweep the shop floor as an apprentice, she later became the manager and floral designer at the shop.

Now, Emily is the food and floral editor for “Theology of Home” and has been married to her husband for 12 years. The Malloy’s have four children. 

10. Salve Regina 

On April 30, 2010, Emily and Tim knelt at the feet of Mary, beseeching and imploring the Blessed Mother for her help and love, Emily recalled. As they presented their bouquet to Mary, they did so to the Salve Regina, rather than the traditional “Ave Maria.”

“Flowers accompany us throughout all our lives, and in a special way during weddings,” Malloy said. “There’s something very special about that outward offering and gift [to Mary]. It’s great to be intentional in the manner in which it’s done.”

11. Praying With the Bride 

“There was a lot of emotion tied up in the day, and I was really afraid that I was just going to be a puddle,” Emily said.

Emily remembers turning to one of her bridesmaids before the ceremony and telling her about her nervousness. Her friend gathered the rest of the bridesmaids, and they all prayed with Emily together. 

“They all got up and ran and put their hands on me and prayed. It was such a special Holy Spirit-driven moment,” Emily said. “It was just so special and one of my favorite moments.”

12. Sewing Miraculous Medal Into the Wedding Dress

Although Emily did not do this herself, she had the idea of sewing a Miraculous Medal into her wedding dress after she broke down her own dress and turned it into a baptismal gown for her children and had a Marian image embroidered onto the gown, she said. 

“It’s just a really special, subtle way of having Our Lady close to you,” she said. 

13. Using Marian Flowers 

Now, as a floral editor, Emily has learned all different kinds of Marian flowers that could be used in a wedding, depending on the season. Lily of the valley and tulips work well in spring; roses, foxglove, honeysuckles and peonies are perfect for summertime; and the star of Bethlehem and amarilla pair well with winter, she explained. 

Emily Malloy wedding
Flowers reflect the virtues of Mother Mary and so should have pride of place at weddings. | Emily Malloy

 

Malloy wedding flowers
Florals adorning the altar lend beauty and spiritual significance. | Emily Malloy


“There’s so much that can be divinely inspired through the process of being with flowers,” Emily said. “The Lord speaks to us through that. He created us to tend the garden; that was our job. The ability to connect with him in nature and in the garden shows this real love story. I can’t imagine my life without flowers.”