Invited: The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner – Book Review & Giveaway

For several years, I worked in the hospitality industry at hotels doing event coordination among other things. Weddings were always fun to help plan and oversee but as you can imagine, I saw a little bit of everything over the years, moments both beautiful and crazy. So when I saw that the lovely blogger, Stephanie Calis, had written a book named “Invited: The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner”, I was intrigued. She was lovely enough to send me a copy to review and I’ve just gotta say – I loved it!

My first thought was “Why didn’t they have a book like this when I was getting married?”. I said “I do” almost 8 years ago and while I don’t think I did a terrible job planning our wedding and reception, a resource like “Invited” would have been beyond beneficial to have along the way to keep me on track and make sure I didn’t forget anything. I absolutely recommend this book to any Catholic couple that’s preparing for marriage and honestly, engaged couples in general. There’s so much helpful information for planning any wedding, especially if you’re not sure where to start.

On the practical side, there are extremely helpful checklists and guidelines included to help keep you organized along the way along with resources for further information on a variety of topics. It helps you navigate planning the wedding mass and reception, plus the wedding preparation process itself. There’s also a section from the groom’s point of view and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter which really help make it a well rounded resource. “Invited” also provides the Catholic Rite of Marriage and samples for important things like invitations and programs.

On the spiritual side, this book seriously emphasizes the fact that as a Catholic, your marriage is a Sacrament and points your focus to the lifelong vocation rather than only the one day and event. One of my favorite lines in the book says, “It’s your spouse, not your stuff, that makes a marriage” which is a great reminder of your priorities when preparing for the big day and your life together afterwards. “Invited” also delves into the hard but necessary topics such as cohabitation and contraception and also the deeper topics of authentic love, beauty, and dignity. There is great advice throughout the book about navigating the difficult parts of wedding planning like family disagreements/drama and offers advice on how to keep peace in your life during this exciting but stressful time.

On a related note, Stephanie is the co-founder of a lovely new website, Spoken Bride, for engaged and newlywed Catholic women. It’s full of beauty and inspiration for those preparing for the Sacrament of marriage and includes everything from style/beauty advice, spiritual guidance, and vendor information. Plus you have the opportunity to submit our own wedding photos to be featured on their site!

“Invited” can be purchased online through Pauline Books and MediaAmazon, and various other sites. Or, check your local Catholic book store!

Finally, I have a copy of “Invited” to give away to one lucky reader! There are several ways to enter, so pick which ones you want and please leave a separate comment for each entry. The giveaway will end on Friday, 7/1/16 at midnight Central time.

Comment on this blog post and tell me what you wish you’d known when planning your own wedding OR if you’re not married, what you’d like to know. (1 entry)

Visit Spoken Bride on Facebook and if you want, please “like” the page. Leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. (1 entry)

Visit Vita Dulcis on Facebook and if you want, please “like” my page. Leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. Current followers can claim this too! (1 entry)

Follow Spoken Bride on Instagram. Leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. (1 entry)

Follow Vita Dulcis on Instagram. Leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. Current followers can claim this too! (1 entry)

Follow Spoken Bride on Twitter. Leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. (1 entry)

Subscribe to Spoken Bride via email (found on the right sidebar) and leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. (1 entry)

Subscribe to Vita Dulcis via email (found on the right sidebar) and leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. Current subscribers can claim this too! (1 entry)

Good luck!!

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post or giveaway, however I did receive a sample for my review. All opinions are my own.*

Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray – Book Review & Giveaway

CP Book Cover

A friend of mine, Kimberly Cook, recently wrote and illustrated a children’s book named “Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray” and I have the pleasure of writing a little review! Let me start by saying that it’s a completely darling book. The message is perfect for little ones who see their prayerful moms and are curious about what exactly she’s doing. The rhymes are so sweet and make it easy for both moms and kiddos to read. Even as a newish mom, I can already relate to so many of the scenarios in the book and the joys that they bring to a mother’s heart. And though moms often have hard days and pray for other things like patience, I’m sure that little ones will love to hear that their mommy is very thankful to God for even the simple everyday things that they do. The words will make a child feel loved and cherished by their mother but also by God who made them unique and full of reflections of His own love.

The illustrations are adorable and were completely done by Kimberly too. Which is so impressive, especially to this lady who can barely draw a stick figure. The pictures are bright and perfectly portray family interactions and the children’s lively antics. They certainly made me think of my own little girl and her silly, sweet, and curious ways!

Kimberly wrote all about her inspiration for the book on her blog, The Lion of Design, and the entire process of writing, illustrating, publishing, and receiving the final product. Her children were the spark for the book and in her own words, “My mind began to turn to my young son, and how he observed me praying, and began asking questions. The Holy Spirit was moving in me, and I knew he was drawing my attention to this lesson for a reason. As a parent, I needed to be faithful to prayer for own soul, but also for my son’s. He was always watching and imitating, and kids can tell when things are genuine, or just for show. I started reflecting on what I wanted him to know about my prayer life. I hoped that he saw the joy, peace, and consolation I received in prayer. I also wanted him to know that I talk to God about him! How to raise him to be a man of God. How to give him a Godly example. How to discipline him, as the Psalms have laid out. How to create a house of peace and prayer, so that he may go forth into the world, and know how to return to God in prayer at any moment.”

One other neat thing that came to mind as I read was that this book is perfect for any Christian moms and kids. Of course I’m not opposed to obviously Catholic books, but it is also nice that this book can be given to Christian families of all sorts and appeals to a broader audience of prayerful moms. It would make a great gift (hint hint…Christmas present!) for any new or experienced mom to read with their little ones and convey their own thankfulness and joy along with God’s divine love.

For more info about this and other great books (along with a link to purchase) please visit Ministry 23. Also, the book is being translated into Spanish and should be available before Christmas!

Now for the giveaway! Kimberly has been gracious enough to provide a signed copy of her book to one lucky reader. There are several ways to enter, so pick which ones you want and please leave a separate comment for each entry. The giveaway will end on 12/11/15 at midnight Central time.

  1. Comment on this blog post and tell me what you’re currently praying for. I’ll add these intentions to my prayer list! (1 entry)
  2. Visit The Lion of Design on Facebook and if you want, please “like” Kimberly’s page. Leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. (1 entry)
  3. Visit Vita Dulcis on Facebook and if you want, please “like” my page. Leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. Current followers can claim this too! (1 entry)
  4. Follow  The Lion of Design on Pinterest. Leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. (1 entry)
  5. Follow Vita Dulcis on Pinterest. Leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. (1 entry)
  6. Follow Vita Dulcis on Instagram. Leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. Current followers can claim this too! (1 entry)
  7. Subscribe to The Lion of Design via email (found on the right sidebar) and leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. (1 entry)
  8. Subscribe to Vita Dulcis via email (found on the right sidebar) and leave a separate comment saying that you’ve done so. Current subscribers can claim this too! (1 entry)

Good luck and I hope that all of you are having a lovely and prayerful Advent!

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post or giveaway, however I did receive a sample for my review. All opinions are my own.*