Monday, March 4, 2013

Basilica Monday

Photo by Yue Wu
Photo by Danielle Rose
Photo by Yue Wu

Photo by Danielle Rose

This morning I spent an hour and fourteen minutes with a busy signal as our morning pump-up music. I did everything with one hand, not because Ryan wanted to be glued to my hip, but because I had a phone glued to my hand. And it paid off:

Today is the first Monday of March...which means that it is Basilica Monday, the Black Friday of Notre Dame weddings. The day when couples hoping to marry at some point in the following calendar year in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus gather all of their nearest and dearest (and not-so-nearest and not-so-dearest because, come on, it's a numbers game) to ambush the poor Basilica secretary from 8am on. That is the situation. There isn't a four year long waiting list or any truth to the "Book your wedding when you are a freshman so you have a date ready!" myth; on the contrary, there is just one woman answering the phone and hundreds, maybe thousands of people battling it out with their dial speeds to be that lucky caller who gets in right as a luckier caller hangs up. Here is the run down. 

1. The Basilica has openings for four weddings on Saturday and two weddings on Friday (except during Lent) for every weekend besides football weekends, holiday weekends, and weekends with major university events such as graduation or ordination, give or take a few.
2. The time slots are 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm for Saturday weddings and 1pm and 3pm for Friday weddings.
3. They open up the calendar for the following year on the first Monday of March. So today, March 4, 2013, the Basilica starts booking weddings from January 2014 on (although this year the 2014 football schedule isn't set in stone so they aren't booking fall weddings yet! I feel bad for the brides who are waiting anxiously).
4. The most competitive months are obviously the summer months (wedding season!) and September and October. Why? Because this is what campus looks like in the fall. Throw in the fact that those two months already have half of the weekends reserved for football and you have some pretty nervous brides-to-be calling in. It really is crazy how quickly all the summer dates go. I got in at 9:14am today for Meagan and Tommy, and all of the 1pm and 3pm time slots in June and July were already gone. Wow.
5. You must be either a current student, alumnus/a, member of Sacred Heart Parish, or a current full-time member of the faculty or staff who has been employed at ND for at least five years.
6. To call in, you do not have to the bride or groom. If you are the caller with the magic dialing finger, then you just need the names of the bride and groom, their affiliation to the university, religion of both the bride and the groom and at least one must be Catholic, address where the confirmation packet should be mailed, phone number of either the bride or the groom, a long list of dates and times that they are interested in. Options dwindle quickly so the list better be long!
7. You don't technically need to be engaged to get a date! I thought this proposal story was really cute when I was researching for our wedding three years ago. 
8. You don't actually have to call in on Basilica Monday to get a date...it is just first come, first serve. I know four couples who called in after they were engaged, didn't want to wait until the next year to be married, found openings in less popular months of that year and had got married at the perfect time for them.

Calling in this morning for Meagan and her fiance, Tommy, made me remember how nervous I was back in March of 2010. I was freshly engaged, studying abroad in France, had rounded up probably 40+ family members, friends, dorm friends, the rugby team to call, call and call and since I was in Europe, I only had my unlimited calls to the US via Skype to let me participate in the running of the calls. Despite our large group, each hour kept passing without any luck until my friend Sara, a Basilica bride who had gone through the chaos the year prior sent me a glorious email that she had reserved our very top choice date! That email is on my short list of best emails received ever.

Are there any tricks? Be a Basilica bride who didn't get in for herself, I guess. But other than that, not really. Or at least I don't know any that still work. The year Sara got in, her friend called the operator, gave the Basilica extension and the operator put her through and she got in! However, the next year (the year we were calling), my friends tried that numerous times and no bueno. They tried calling from the dorm phones in the hallways...same busy signal as a cell phone. Sara actually wasn't even calling the whole morning for us...she had a break in the middle of classes at work, called and got in right away! Thank goodness for Sara and her impeccably serendipitous timing. Hi Sara! As for my luck this morning? We have Ryan to thank for that! I was alternating between calling, getting a busy signal, hanging up, calling, nursing him, him twisting around to watch his favorite YouTube dog video, busy signal, coming back to nurse, hanging up, calling and then IN! Maybe try that next year? Ha.

So say a rosary, start a novena and pray that God's will is carried out.

Is it worth it? For Chris and me, yes, yes and yes. The first time I went to Mass with him and our two best friends before we were even dating was at the Basilica. It was where Chris first picked a tulip for me (shhh! not sure if that is allowed...). The Basilica was where we went to Mass throughout the week and on Sundays. It was where I would poke Chris while standing in line for Confession whenever we saw this young couple with a sweet baby boy and whisper, "Let's be them!" and hope in my heart that that wish would come true. It was where we would pray and pray and pray some more. I couldn't have imagined being joined to my husband in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony anywhere else.

Not to mention it is pretty breathtaking. But, I'm just a tad bit biased.

Can't wait for your wedding, Meagan and Tommy!!

What was it like for your wedding church or venue? Four year wait, Basilica Monday or six-month call ahead?

24 comments :

  1. This was great! Thanks for the insight. I've heard about the terrors of booking, and now I just feel sorry for the poor secretary! JJ gets to play/music direct for all ten of the Sacred Heart Parish weddings per year in the Basilica, and he just did his first one this past weekend.

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    1. She was actually really happy and nice on the phone! I bet she has a lot of fun on Basilica Monday since she isn't the one stressed about getting a date. And whoooa that is so neat. I love spotting weddings on campus, but JJ actually gets to go!

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  2. My husband graduated in 1998 but we did not seek a Basillca spot. He lived in Flanner (until, "They killed it" (ie made it an office building) and never attended mass there. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed that he didn't push for a wedding in South Bend.

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    1. My childhood dentist lived in Flanner before "they killed it" as well! The Basilica is definitely a special place. I hope you can go to Mass there sometime!

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  3. Danielle Rose? She was in our area a year or two ago. Don't remember why I didn't attend her concerts, but now I have her music on my iPod. I awake to "See You in the Eucharist" every morning. God bless you!

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    1. Next time she comes to town, you should go to a concert! She is a dear friend of mine and such a talented photographer besides being an amazing singer. My friend, Aubry, is her little sister.

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  4. Love Basilica Monday--and love the serendipitous irony that we both were able to get in for other brides but not for ourselves! :) Hope Meagan got a date she wanted--I'm sure her wedding will be as beautiful as ours were thanks to that gorgeous, special place! :)

    Had to comment though to share a random story! The summer before my senior year in HS I attended ND Vision; Danielle Rose was a music minister who I adored while there, and I still have & listen to her CD! A few weeks ago John and I were at Mass at a parish we don't usually attend and while flipping through the hymnal and I saw the song 'Be God's' in it, which is my favorite of hers! I was excitedly whispering to John about the fact it was in the church book and how much I loved the song, and as soon as I finished telling him it was announced as the Communion hymn--it made me so happy!

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    1. She got her first choice date in July! And she is an 11am bride like you were :) And I love your story! I put her music on a lot in the mornings...so good!

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  5. We got engaged in November and we weren't planning to have a Basilica wedding, but my parish declined to schedule a wedding for us because I'd only been a registered parishioner for about 5 months. We then called Amy, and she had a spot for us in July, at 9am! That was actually our first choice time, and since I'd spent a summer at ND I knew how beautiful July mornings could be. We had a brunch reception at the Morris Inn, and Danielle Rose's "Holy Family" was our first dance song. :)

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    1. Summer mornings really are beautiful in South Bend! It all worked out perfectly :) I didn't know that was your first song! She is sooooo talented!

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  6. What an awesome story! I love serendipity like that! Also as a side note-did you paint your top banner? It's such a lovely watercolor!

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    1. Me, too! And yes, I did. Thank you so much!

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  7. What a beautiful ceremony! My sister went to ND, and we went to her friend's wedding there - amazing! I love your blog and the fact that you were helping your mother-in-law with her 12th! Such a blessing :)

    Danielle was not to far from me at a little convent in the Texas panhandle...she is such a gift with her music and love for Christ.

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    1. How neat! She really does have a gift. And thank you! It really is a blessing to have another little one for Ryan to play with. We were just a year away from being a real-life Father of the Bride II family ;)

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  8. Your wedding photos are glorious!!

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  9. Wow, this is crazy! I never knew it was that hard. I grew up on Cape Cod, and the summer weddings there are really popular, so all of my siblings and I got married in the Spring and Fall, and even then it was about a year wait. Your wedding photos are awesome!

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    1. It really is crazy! You were smart to go for spring and fall. A year isn't too bad of a wait. I think most engagements are getting to be that length even if there isn't a wait for the church.

      And thank you!

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  10. What a gorgeous location and wedding!

    We were married in my family's parish church...very easy to secure a date, especially since we wanted the weekend before Thanksgiving so I would have to take minimal time off from my teaching job to go on our honeymoon. I wouldn't have had it any other way, but your choice was truly breathtaking!

    Katrina, I just nominated you for a Liebster award. Have you gotten one before? I was having trouble searching your site to see...in any event, if you would like to participate, please check my blog! I just posted the details!

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    1. Thank you, Jeannine! That is great you were able to get a date with perfect timing :) I think it is so worth it to be able to go on a honeymoon.

      Thanks for the nomination! I'll have to get working :)

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  11. Whew, I'm going to a Basilica wedding this spring, and, not having gone to ND myself, I had no idea it was such a production!

    We were married in Toronto's Cathedral, and we went in in February 2009 and found everything was booked until late June 2010 (which was only a few weeks later than we'd hoped). Then G20 was scheduled for the 25th-26th of June, and there were riots on our wedding day.

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    1. Have fun at the wedding! I hope the tulips are blooming when you are here :)

      Wow, I just looked up photos of the Cathedral...stunning! At least that could balance out the riots...what a story!

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  13. Oh. My. Gosh. These photos are from your wedding?? Incredible!

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