Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities: Part I

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Hmmm, maybe Dickens knew something about wedding planning? Or perhaps we were subconsciously inspired by his novel -- or at least its title?

Our summer celebration will carry from the suburbs to the city, so we wanted to provide a bit of background about why we chose two (very different) areas for our wedding day.


The Saint Thomas of Villanova Church is located on Lancaster Avenue, as part of the Villanova University campus (which is my alma mater); however, it provides a place of worship for both an outside congregation and the student population. Parishioners from the surrounding neighborhoods attend mass on Sunday mornings, while the students gather at masses on Sunday evenings (at 6:00, 8:00 or 10:00 p.m.). Mr. Bruschetta would often drive up to Villanova on the weekends, for movie dates, study dates -- or sometimes, just to attend mass with me ( dates?).

And during my junior year, I was selected to serve as one of two "mass coordinators" for the 6:00 p.m. mass. Since each of the masses were student-run, my principal responsibilities included checking in each week's volunteer ministers (and filling in as needed when a one failed to show up on time), and ensuring the uninterrupted flow of the mass. Basically, I was church stage crew.

On a weekly basis, this was relatively straightforward -- measuring out hosts and wine before the mass, making sure the celebration started on time, etc. -- but the larger masses throughout the year (including the third Sunday in Advent and Palm Sunday), meant extensive preparation and dress rehearsals. I held this position through the senior year, and in so doing, became intimately familiar with all aspects of the church.

Climbed up the twin spires to the bell towers? Been there. Crept through the capacious depths of the church's (decidedly scary, dirt-floored) basement? Done that.

Once I forged this connection with the Villanova church -- and helped Mr. Bruschetta establish a link as well -- I don't think either of us questioned that we would eventually marry there. So during our Pre-Cana weekend in November, we selected music for our nuptial mass (more to come on this later!) that is unique to the church, and reminds us of the Sunday evening masses we used to attend there together.

The biggest challenge of planning this part of the wedding? Reserving the church! It's no secret among alumni and parishioners that, because the church is so beautiful -- just wait until you see the inside of this Gothic church -- there is usually a lengthy wait list to marry here. And in order to accommodate so many couples, the wedding coordinator can schedule up to three masses (11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m for alumni, 3:30 p.m. for parishioners) on any given Saturday.

I decided to take no chances. A midnight voice message on March 1 (the first day I could reserve the church for our wedding day) secured us the 1:30 time slot.

Backwards though it may seem, Mr. Bruschetta and I began searching for our reception venue in January 2008 -- and had it booked before we had even reserved the church.

Wait, what?

Oh yeah, but that's a story for another post, my friends.

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