Home > The Bonds of Unity (1917-1925) > Early Weddings in the Parish

Early Weddings in the Parish


Since the founding of the parish, weddings have always been joyous occasions. A reason to celebrate as a man and woman make a public commitment in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The first marriage celebrated in the parish was on August 16, 1915, between Hubert Van Grinsven and Mary Lydia Davidson, a convert.

Although Mary Davidson was not Belgian, for the many Belgian brides who would be married from the church in Allouez, a traditional custom was for them to carry a special handkerchief, as part of their wedding outfit.

In the days before the wedding, the young woman would embroider her name on it, and then carry it with her on her day of matrimony. Afterwards the handkerchief would be framed and hung on the wall until the next female member of the bride’s family would be ready to marry, who in turn, would embroider her name on it. Such handkerchiefs would be passed down to the bride’s sisters as family heirlooms.

Another ancient Belgian custom was for the wedding mass to have the bride and the groom enthroned in two large chairs placed near the alter, symbolizing that on this day and in this place they are the king and the queen.

During the exchange of vows the groom would slip the wedding ring onto the third finger of his bride’s left hand. The ring, being an endless circle, symbolizes never-ending love, and the third finger of the left hand is believed to hold the vein that travels to the heart, symbolizing love.

At the conclusion of the ceremony the bride and groom share their first kiss as husband and wife. The kiss is considered a symbolic act of sharing each other’s spirit as the couple each breathes in a portion of their new mate’s soul.

The bridesmaids traditionally take up a collection of coins and as the bride and groom exit the church, the bridesmaids toss the coins to the poor outside the church. Giving gifts of money to the poor helps to insure prosperity for the new bride and groom.


The first person baptized in the new church was Francis Joseph Janssens on October 18, 1914.


On June 2, 1918 , Bishop Joseph M. Koudelka confirmed eleven males and eighteen females were confirmed.