It’s May! The Month of Mary, the Month of Mothers, and what I have personally deemed the commencement of Wedding Season.
Yes, weddings are celebrated year round, in the same way that Mary (and mothers, for that matter) are thought of and honored across the calendar, but I know that I’m not alone in the circumstance of attending an outsized proportion of weddings in the months spanning May through October. Indeed, of the weddings that I myself have attended in the past decade, 100% of them occurred between May and October.
With that being said, it seems like an apropos time to share a gift guide for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Here are some ideas of beautiful goods to gift to the couples in your life who are exchanging vows this season, whether as a shower gift or a wedding gift.
Domestic Church Materials
In celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, couples are doing more than committing their lives to one another and to serving as a witness of Christ’s spousal love for the church. They are initiating their own domestic church as they begin to build their home together. In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Based on the sacrament of marriage, the family is the "domestic church" where God's children learn to pray "as the Church" and to persevere in prayer” (2685). While no materials or supplies are needed to build the domestic church – its efficacy rests on faithfulness, prayer, God’s grace, and the movement of the Holy Spirit – that doesn’t meant that items inspiring and evoking prayer and faithfulness cannot be boons to building a virtuous home.
For instance, a Holy Water font like this one or this one invites all who enter to touch themselves with water that signifies the rebirth and the action of the Holy Spirit inherent in Baptism. Or a wall medallion like this one, portraying the iconic Catholic symbol of the sacred heart, invites the mind and heart to reflect on God’s boundless love. Or, a banner like this one adds a flair of festivity for all the moments of celebration in your home, from birthdays to baptisms to sacramental anniversaries.
In addition to items that seem more specifically oriented to building a domestic church, Catholic art is a wonderful way for a couple to infuse their home with markers of their faith…in addition to adding beauty, of course! I’m drawn to the idea of gifting art depicting the Holy Family as two individuals come together to begin building their own family unit. For instance, this Holy Family print, and this Holy Family statue are excellent gift options.
Other Beautiful Items for the Home
On the other hand, you may feel hesitant to give the gift of art for a couple’s new home. There is no accounting for personal taste, and it is hard to discern what someone else’s preference in art might be. If you are unsure about gifting any sort of decor item, another great option for a wedding gift would be to go with a more practical home goods item, such as a tray like this one or a pitcher like this one. The practicality, or usefulness, of these items does not detract from their beauty. Arranged with a candle or vase of flowers, the stoneware tray can be as aesthetically pleasing as any piece of art on a wall, even as it is functional.
Last but not least, books can make wonderful shower or wedding gifts. Some of my most beloved cookbooks are ones that I received from aunts, cousins, and family friends when I got married, and I love that I can remember my wedding day each time I pull them off the shelf to make a favorite recipe contained within.
Beyond cookbooks, books that make excellent gifts include coffee table books, prayer or poetry collections, or books that contain wisdom for building a rich family life. For instance, containing gorgeous images of homes and profound words from saints and literary figures, the Theology of Home series guides readers in creating deeper sense of the divine within their dwellings. The Catholic All Year compendium walks its readers through the liturgical year, offering an overview of the seasons and feast days and practical tips on celebrating them within your own context. And this Timeless Hymns for Family Worship collection contains sheet music and lyrics for some of our faith’s most beloved songs, to be sung around the piano or simply acapella in your family’s living room.