The Beauty of a Destination Wedding, as told by a Catholic couple



Who gets married in the Rocky Mountain National Park in the dead-of-winter, and on a Thursday no less


My fiancé (now husband) and I understood the many concerned comments we received from others while we were planning our January destination wedding. We were well aware that we were crazy and were not immune to the fact that Colorado’s unpredictable weather could very likely put a halt to everything we had planned over the last six months without a moment’s notice. The switchbacks going up the mountain were worrisome without adding in potential coats of ice. A blizzard could sweep through and shut down flights and any other means of getting to the chapel and reception venue. There was no limit to the things that could have easily gone wrong. But we had chosen St. Catherine’s Chapel on the Rock and decided to put aside the worry and simply trust that the God Who led us to each other would be there on that day to continue to provide.


  St. Catherine’s Chapel on the Rock is tucked away in the mountains, just above the town of Estes Park, Colorado. As you are driving along State Highway 7 the chapel seemingly appears out of nowhere and strikes you with the grandeur of the Creator meeting creation. It is fittingly referred to as the Chapel on the Rock because it is perched on top of a large boulder slab. Though the chapel is quite small and humble, it is difficult to see it as anything other than majestic; perhaps because it is beautifully complemented by the scenery surrounding it. It breathes to life passage 341 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The beauty of creation reflects the Infinite Beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire man’s intellect and will.” While the beauty of this setting is quite remarkable, we chose to be married in the Chapel on the Rock not for its beauty, but for its unique story.


   Over a hundred years ago Monsignor Joseph Bosetti came across the boulder and its peaked background and was inspired by the words from Christ to St. Peter, “Upon this rock I will build My Church.” It took almost two decades but his dream to make Christ’s words tangible eventually came to fruition in the 1930’s. In 1993 Pope St. John Paul II blessed the chapel while he was staying at the onsite retreat center, and there is so much of his spiritual presence and peace that seems to continually remain on the grounds. The teachings and character of Pope St. John Paul II has intensely been a source of direction in my faith life and was influential in the miraculous conversion of my husband shortly after we began dating. We believed choosing to be married in a place that was dear to this patron of families would greatly benefit our marriage.


  But there was more to this chapel’s story than its beauty. In 2011 the chapel endured a devastating fire that destroyed much of the retreat center, and in 2013 it survived a flood that swept through and damaged everything surrounding it. These historical events sparked a confidence in the love between my husband and me, namely because it rang true to our own relationship. We fell in love with one another very early into our relationship and began planning a wedding only a few months into knowing one another, which was soon canceled. We then endured over a year of our own floods and fires; a tumultuous time of being pruned into what it means to truly love one another. Through it all, we chose each other and God continues to lead us. This chapel represented the resilience we prayed for our marriage to have, so that we too could be reminded to stand confidently in God’s love and providence.


  I understand that destination weddings are not too popular in the Catholic world. For those of us who love the Traditions of our faith we could never imagine sacrificing the beauty of a Catholic nuptial mass for something with an aesthetically pleasing view but lacking the substance we know and love. The free-spirited wanderer in me had always been compelled by the idea of eloping, but incorporating the Catholic aspect into that did not seem like it could be done until I came across the Chapel on the Rock. We were able to have what we believed to be the best of both worlds by having a little less than a hundred of our closest friends and family collectively centered on the Beauty of God through His Sacraments and creation.


  With my husband and I both living in New Mexico, and our family members spread throughout the country, there was nothing convenient about our Colorado winter wedding. But I think subconsciously we wanted it that way, because love is not always convenient. Choosing each other is not always convenient. But once we made the decision to stand by having our wedding at St. Catherine’s Chapel on the Rock everything came together, even the weather. On a day that was previously recorded as Estes Park’s coldest day of the year, January 2nd ended up being sunny and blizzard-less for us. We saw it as yet another tribute to our faithful God.


  So for all brides-to-be I encourage you and your husbands-to-be to first and foremost place Christ and His Church at the center of your upcoming day. But do not forget that He has made your hearts uniquely and it is okay to follow them when planning your wedding, no matter how daunting or inconvenient it might be. It may require more trust in Him than usual, but the best things in life always do.




Chanelle is a former globe-trotter —turned wife and mother

to be—who now finds adventures in the average day to day.

Pope St John Paul II said, ‘Life with Christ is wonderful

adventure’ and Chanelle wishes to echo this at every stage of

her life.










Kate Capato

Kate is a Sacred Art Painter, Inspirational Speaker, and Faith-filled Movement artist on a mission to spread God's love through beauty! Her inspiration comes from prayerful encounters with the Lord, and the rich traditions of our Catholic faith. When she's not creating something faith inspired, Kate is often traveling all over the world with her hubby soaking in the wonders of God's creation, or spending time with family and friends to live every moment to the fullest. To see her work, visit her portfolio below and share in this mission of spreading truth and goodness.

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