Joanne Jamis Cain is a steward of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. She has been married to the love of her life, Jim for thirty five years. They have two beautiful children and two grandchildren. Joanne is a wedding and event planner. Visit her blog at http://katherinesdaughter.com/. Her first book "Ordinary Is Extraordinary" was published in spring of 2016.
On May 10 of this year, my husband and I will celebrate 37 years of marriage. We were married at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, on Mother’s Day, 1981.
Five years ago, after twenty years of experience, I took a leap of faith and started my own wedding coordination business. I treat all my couples as if they are brought from God to me. I do everything I can to help a family have as little stress as possible on this very important day.
If a wedding is in your future, here are my suggestions for making your special day the best ever.
- Decide what you want. It doesn’t matter what others think. What do YOU both want? Destination wedding, barn or outdoor, hotel, or other special venue? What has meaning to you both?
- What is your budget? Weddings can be very expensive, and discussing your finances up front is important. Don’t go into deep debt paying for your day. Better to aim for what you can afford rather than start your marriage with maxed out credit cards.
- Plan a year out if possible. Start planning a year in advance of your wedding if possible. This will give you the most venue, entertainment, photographer, and caterer options. It will also help you budget wisely and enable affordable payments. Use a wedding planning guide; most are easily found on the internet.
- Nurture your relationship. Wedding planning can be stressful. If you are both feeling overly pressured, hire a coordinator to assist. Then make sure you take the time to do things together that will deepen your relationship. Church functions, time with family and friends, even pre-marital counseling with your priest should all be part of your spiritual growth as a couple.
- Investigate your vendor choices. Ask friends for referrals and/or research caterers, DJs, and other services. Read contracts carefully, and commit confidently once you have made your decision.
- Don’t go overboard. Do you really need expensive favors? A full bar? Some of my couples make a donation to a favorite charity in lieu of favors. And a full bar is rare these days. Beer, wine, and one or two signature drinks (named after the couple) are usually the norm. Take a hard look at your wish list, and decide what’s really important.
- Live in the moment. As wonderful as a wedding day is, it goes so quickly! Make sure you have someone responsible and trustworthy at the venue so you can enjoy your preparation time. Live in the moment, realize God is with you all day and every day, and don’t rush. Factor in time with your parents and bridal party.
- Roll with it. If something unexpected happens, try not to stress about it. Rain? It poured on my wedding day, and my yia yia told me it was good luck. Stay calm and let everyone do their job.
Your wedding day is one you will remember forever. Make sure you remember this day is God-given and a symbol of your love for your partner. Best wishes!
Joanne is the owner of Katherine’s Daughter Events, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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