We’re huge fans of TLC’s show Four Weddings, aren’t you? Lucky for us, actual brides who have taken part in the show are sharing their stories with us in this new series! Up today? Georgia Rozakis Duarte, who pulled off a fabulous wedding in five months.
When Nelson proposed to me, I knew I did not want to wait long to get married. I thought about waiting a year because everyone I spoke to said it takes about that long to plan the wedding of your dreams. However, my dream wedding didn’t involve sweating during the hot summer months in South Florida. So, February it was!
Planning the wedding
At first I was freaking out about the time, but it turned out that five months was plenty of time for me and I still had time to relax and pamper myself before our big day. If I could give any bride advice, it would be to make a very detailed to-do list. Give yourself a realistic time frame to get each item done (enlist as much help as needed to get this accomplished), and get the list done ahead of time so that there is room to make last-minute adjustments.
I enlisted the help of my sister, who was out of commission with a broken foot so she was able to make all the appointments — the florist, DJ, venues, limos, etc. I also suggest signing up to The Knot. It gave me an example to-do list with time frames and other helpful wedding ideas and tips.
The most important thing when planning your wedding is to know your budget. After all, you need to know how much money you have to play with and how far you can stretch it.
I found everything I wanted or imagined on eBay, including my invitations for much less than I would have paid at a store, and in less time. Also consider exploring a two for one deal with certain vendors if you have a friend getting married around the same time. You may not have this option but still negotiate. Almost everything is negotiable.
Although I did not use a wedding planner to plan my wedding, I did use one for the day of my wedding. If you are on a budget, this is something to consider to calm your nerves on the big day. They will make sure everything runs according to plan and they will keep everyone on time without having to get you involved. It gave me peace of mind and made my day that much more enjoyable.
Special people in my life played an important role in my wedding. My priest has known me since I was a little girl and my Koubara (god-mother of the wedding) bought us beautiful crowns that typical Greek wedding ceremonies have. They are two crowns attached together with a string, to symbolize the idea that we are connected as one for eternity.
We also lit the unity candle, which was in a beautiful shade of pink, to symbolize us becoming one. Afterwards, we walked around the table set up in the middle of the altar three times to show our witnesses our first steps as husband and wife. We do this in place of exchanging vows.
Since I’m Greek, one of my priorities was to make sure our guests left full and satisfied. After our cocktail hour, guests were directed to pick up their table seating cards. The station where the cards were placed was decorated with a framed picture of Nelson and me and our guest book.
There were also two vases filled with silver matches that had our names and wedding date engraved in pink for guests to take. Our guest sign-in was decorated with a collection of different pictures from our engagement shoot. These pictures were also used as table numbers — each table number had a different black and white photo of us.
We knew from the beginning that we wanted our wedding to be fun and something that people would never forget. We had the Kamaria (Greek youth dancers) perform; it was a surprise for all of our guests. Our DJ, who was also Greek, did a fantastic job at keeping our guests moving on the dance floor by playing all kinds of music, from Greek folk dancing to popular American hip-hop songs.
We had such a great time at our wedding. I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, I wish we could go back and do that day all over again! Our wedding was unforgettable to us because we were able to celebrate our love with all our family and friends. All the hard work and detail really paid off. I feel I married the man of my dreams, and we celebrated our love with the wedding of our dreams.