So you’ve read lots of articles about planning a wedding written by professional wedding planners and coordinators… but who knows better than an actual bride-to-be? Today’s blog post is written by Josephina Papailia, who is getting married at the Agora Grand Event Center in July. (For another bride’s perspective, Dezarae chimes in here, and for a groom’s perspective, Jim chimes in here. For more information on planning, we have blog posts on choosing your wedding meal, your photographer, and your flowers.)
How did your fiance pop the question?
I’ll start by saying that Evan is definitely not your typical romantic guy! I was sent to work up in Presque Isle for a week in early October and Evan was home from work so he came also. His family has a camp at Sugarloaf, which is also where we went on our first date a few years back. After the work week, he mentioned that it would be a great idea to go up to camp and I agreed. We spent the next morning relaxing, went out for breakfast, then decided to go walk around Sugarloaf. It was such a gorgeous fall day so we sat on the chairlift and gazed at all the different colored leaves and talked about how beautiful the scenery was. Then Evan got up and put his phone on the wood across from us and I remember thinking, ‘oh we’re taking a selfy but how is he going to get the phone to take a picture!’. He then walked over to me and got on one knee and asked me the question, and all I could say was ‘are you serious’. It was so romantic and unexpected that all I could do was cry from happiness. Evan said, ‘I guess that’s a yes?’, and I said yes! We then called all our family (which knew!) and filled them in on the news! It was truly one of the best days of my life.
What is the theme of your wedding (if any)?
Our wedding theme is classic romantic, which includes lots of flowers with colors like blush pink and gold.
What was your biggest challenge in wedding planning?
Not knowing where to start! We chose to do everything separately, instead of package options, so that took extra time to figure out and plan.
What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
Both Evan and I are really excited about sharing the day with all our family and friends, dancing the night away, and celebrating our union! We are also really looking forward to being married in the Basilica!
What was especially important to you about planning your wedding?
For me personally, the flowers were very important. Evan liked everything that I suggested so he was easy to please! Equally important to us were the photographer, videographer, and we’re Albanian, so, the food!
What are you planning to do before your wedding to make sure you’re relaxed and fully present on your special day?
We both plan to take a few days off from work and spend some time with our wedding party.
Who helped you in the planning process?
We’ve had help from almost everyone in some way or another. My mom and dad have helped with picking the caterer and the venue and making the favors, Evan’s parents and sister are planning the rehearsal dinner, my bridesmaids have helped me pin stuff on Pinterest to get decoration ideas, and the list goes on! Evan has been there every step of the way! Andrew, the owner of Agora, has also been a huge help in being there for any questions Evan and I have had throughout the process (which have been many!). Lastly, we will have a day-of coordinator for the wedding day so that everyone is free to enjoy the day.
What surprised you about the wedding planning?
Honestly, the amount of time and cost of all the details were the most surprising for both Evan and me. People don’t realize how much effort, time, and money go into planning a whole wedding, especially a large one like ours!
Did you stay within your budget? If not, what were some of the unexpected costs?
I did my research after we got engaged but I felt that the articles online were unrealistic for today’s wedding prices. The only unexpected costs were the little things that add up at the end of the day.
How many venues did you look at, and why did you choose the Agora Grand Event Center?
We looked at two different venues located in Portland (online) and decided to check around Lewiston since that’s where my parents live. We Googled “best venues in Maine” and the Agora Grand was one of the top choices! I remember thinking – ‘there’s no way this venue is in Maine!’ and then to find out it was in Lewiston! Evan and I decided we had to look in person and fell in love with the venue right away.
What are your honeymoon plans?
We are headed to Italy! I am Albanian-born so we are also having another reception in Albania after the honeymoon to include the rest of my family.
What one tip would you offer brides-to-be about planning their wedding?
Have fun during this time!! I can honestly say I did not stress about a single thing during the planning process and everything has worked out perfectly (at least so far!). Enjoy this period in your life because it goes by fast!