Courtesy of Catholic Stewardship Consultants
Every year, our parish welcomes couples who travel from all over to be married in our beautiful church. After months of planning over the phone, the bride and groom-to-be arrive and are welcomed by Paulette Adams and the Wedding Ministry team: Theresa Hernandez and Frankie Hemby, who assist during the wedding liturgy. The Wedding Ministry serves both parish couples and visiting couples who are planning weddings, but Paulette estimates that about 80 percent of the weddings she helps plan are destination weddings.
A transplant from snowy Michigan herself, Paulette is grateful that she can play a small part in helping these couples marry in the Church surrounded by our aloha.
“We don’t want them to get married on the beach, we want them to get married in the church,” Paulette says. “It’s a witness to everybody that attends. Sometimes it’s just a few people, other times it’s a large group. It’s a great witness to see couples standing in faith with the Lord and wanting Him to be part of their marriage.”
Paulette works with the bride over the phone several months before the wedding. There is a lot of paperwork that must be transferred from the couple’s diocese to our diocese, and Paulette checks in with the bride to ensure that things are on track. Then she walks the couple through the Church’s procedures and protocols for marrying at St. Michael and our missions and begins planning the liturgy with them. Finally, the couple arrives a few days before the wedding and Paulette gets to meet them in person.
“I try to make them feel relaxed and at home,” Paulette says. “I don’t want them to have any worries on the day of the ceremony.”
During the rehearsal, Paulette likes to step back from the mayhem of wedding planning and touch on the real purpose of marriage.
“I remind the couple that it’s a covenant, not just a contract, establishing a relationship between them,” Paulette says. “As they grow in their own relationship, they need to make sure they continue to grow in their relationship with the Lord. Don’t put Him on a shelf and just call on Him when you need Him — make Him part of your marriage.”
The team makes sure everyone is where they need to be and are prepared to do their job. There is a lot of coordination between ministries to make the wedding go smoothly. It starts with Susan Bender in the parish office, who handles the paperwork, then Paulette takes over the details, while the parish ushers, altar servers, lectors, and musicians step in to make the liturgy beautiful and memorable.
Deacon Sandor says, “The work these people do is invaluable to the couples but also to the different ministries and clergy. They allow us to fully trust that our weddings are always beautiful, but more importantly, that anyone seeking marriage at our parish will know the depth and significance of the sacrament – with Jesus at the center.”
For Paulette, the ceremony is the culmination of months of communication and work. “When I see them stand at the altar and look at each other, sometimes they’re shaking, sometimes crying, I just see how important this is to them,” Paulette says. “I’m grateful that I was part of helping them get down this aisle.”
Paulette Adams and the Wedding Ministry team are always looking for extra help. If you are interested in this ministry, please email Paulette at email@example.com or call the parish office at 808-326-7771.