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Getting hitched, without a hitch

First slide

When the groom’s running late, she's there to let the priest and musicians know. When groomsmen and bridesmaids hesitate, she directs them to the right place. And memorably, when flower girls don’t cooperate, Teressa Sadowski, a wedding coordinator at Our Lady of Hope Church in Potomac Falls, walks them down the aisle until cheers of encouragement from the congregation lead them to the altar.


Many churches rely on volunteers such as Sadowski to help weddings run smoothly. For more than 10 years, she has spent her weekends coordinating weddings at Our Lady of Hope, and for a few years, at St. Theresa Church in Ashburn. “It's a beautiful sacrament, and you get to see couples in love beginning a new life together,” she said. “There’s also a sense of style and protocol that I enjoy. In some cases, you’re catechizing a little bit as well.”


On the day of the wedding, “it’s a lot of running around,” she admitted. “My role is ensuring that (everyone) knows what to do when they get there.” But once the ceremony begins, she loves to hear the homily. “I've listened to so many beautiful homilies about marriage, and I’ve been married for almost 25 years. It never gets old to listen to an inspirational homily about what marriage is.”


Alyssa Glorioso, a parishioner of St. Louis Church in Alexandria, is in the midst of launching her business as a professional wedding coordinator. Though she previously was a teacher and a campus minister, there were several clues that her true passion was wedding planning, she said. One was that managing large events was the favorite part of her job.


“It’s big picture and details all in one process,” she said. Glorioso also was one of the “unusual brides” who missed planning her wedding when it was all over.


“The last little nudge was when my oldest sister made her final profession as a Dominican,” she said. Glorioso and her mom planned a celebration for 150 people in Buffalo, N.Y. “We felt such joy being able to plan it for her,” she said. Soon after, she decided to launch her company: Glorious Weddings.


At the weddings Glorioso has been in or helped coordinate for friends, she’s tried to be as thoughtful and helpful as possible. “The first thing is to be calm yourself because if I seem frazzled then that sets the tone for everybody else,” she said. “If the bride is a little bit stressed, I would check in with her, maybe bring lavender essential oil or offer to pray with her before she walks down the aisle.”


Glorioso anticipates much of her early work to be day-of coordinating, or partial planning. “The biggest thing is to make sure no one is interrupting the bride during the day with questions that I could very easily answer myself,” she said.


Naturally, not all her clients will be Catholic, but she hopes to bring Christ’s love to the celebrations. She remembers how Jesus and Mary worked behind the scenes at the wedding feast at Cana, which was the Gospel reading at her own wedding.


“Even if I can’t explicitly bring my faith, it will show in how I comport myself, by being that respectful, loving presence, caring for the person first and leaving pride at the door,” she said. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018