This Is How I Officiated My Best Friend’s Wedding

This Is How I Officiated My Best Friend’s Wedding

A few weeks ago, I did what I thought I never could or would. I officiated my best friend’s wedding! That’s right, I’m an ordained minister.

*wedding march plays in background*

Ok ok, enough chuckling. It’s true.

And while, officiating a wedding wasn’t exactly on my bucket list, having led a ceremony for my best friend and now husband is something I will forever cherish and remember. That of course, wasn’t always how I felt about the whole thing. I mean, you could only imagine how shocked I was when I first heard the word “officiant”. To be exact, I believe it was “Jo! You’re going to marry us!” My reaction? “OMG. Ok…is this legal?” After some googling, I quickly learned that not only was it legal and totally legit, but that it was in fact, very common.

Excited and honored, I still couldn’t shake the nerves. Could I really do this? I had experience with public speaking, but my emotions were not something I could easily control. How could I prevent myself from being a total wreck the day of? I had yet to hear of a sobbing minister performing a ceremony and I wasn’t about to be the first.

So, here’s how I did it. Step by step.

1. Let It sink In

It took a few weeks and a Friends episode (Monica and Chandler’s wedding) for me to feel a sense of relief. I told myself that if Joey could do it, so could I! I spoke to my bestie and to family and friends about it, hearing others have confidence in me gave me the confidence I needed.

2. Make It Official

Before proceeding with the script ceremony, making it official seemed appropriate, and if you’re into obeying the law; necessary. Becoming a legal officiant was probably the easiest step in all of this and after consulting with my friend Google, I learned of a few different sites that could make me official. I went with American Marriage Ministries and after a few minutes and at no cost, it was a done deal.

3. Do Your Research

There are all kinds of wedding ceremonies out there. Traditional and non-traditional, some follow a longer script and others are short and simple. Will there be a bible verse or a special religious ceremony? I started off by doing research with the idea that I’d present options and ideas to the couple.

4. Talk to the Couple

Talking to the couple clarified a lot for me. We agreed on an overall theme for the ceremony. In this case, it would be bilingual (English and Spanish) and it would be around 20 minutes in length. While following a non-traditional ceremony, we still wanted to incorporate some religion to the script and after some research, we learned of the cord of three strands or unity braid ceremony that fit the theme perfectly.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

Only thing left to do then was practice, and we all know, practice really does make perfect. Having a finalized script written down, word by word, I began practicing it any way I could. I went over it with my family, my fiancé and even some friends. Feedback all really helped in tuning it all up and I made sure to time myself, knowing no one wanted to be standing in 100 degree weather while I preached on.

5. Breathe

Public speaking is never easy. Feeling the pressure to lead a ceremony perfectly is beyond stressful. Taking the time to breathe and relax all up until the day of the wedding was what helped me get through it successfully. The trick really is to enjoy the experience and let things happen as they will. I didn’t cry during the ceremony, but I did choke up a bit towards the end…and looking back, I don’t think anyone ever realized it as they were in tears themselves.

All in all, it was beautiful and in my bestie’s own words,

“Having one of my best friends marry my husband and I will be a memory I will cherish forever. Not many people I know can say that. I will always have a special bond with her that will never be broken.”

XOXO, Jo

Products Getting Me Through Summer 💋

Products Getting Me Through <b>Summer</b> 💋

Product and beauty must-haves; not something I usually write about or choose to share. Not that I’m greedy or anything, I just always figured we were all on the same page. Like, I’m sure we’re all stumbling upon the same product ads, influencer posts, googling the same thing.

Like…”Best bronzing cream 2017″

Maybe or maybe not? Either way, I am currently obsessing over three products that I’d feel too greedy if I didn’t share, because they really are THE BOMB (me trying to bring lingo back). Proven to be amazing not only by me but my sisters and some of my savviest friends; I really feel like these three were my summer must-haves.

Signorina In Fiore by Salvatore Ferragamo

Can I just say that perfumes speak louder than words & Ferragamo’s Signorina in Fiore speaks soft, sweet words of elegance and romance. From the pink packaging to the beautifully decorated bottle, the moment I got a taste of the fruity Italian scent, I knew it’d be my summer go-to. To be completely honest, I like to save this one for special occasions…that’s how special it is. 

Maui Babe Browning Lotion

…you are the reason I reached my darkest color this summer (sun helped too). I swear I don’t recall a tint of red on my skin & I really do think I owe it to the natural ingredients protecting and bronzing me. Light mineral oil, Kona Coffee Plant Extract, Aloe, Kukui Nut Oil to name a few. It’s recommended that you use an SPF with and an after lotion to keep extra moisturized; I went with Maui Babe’s line of products and they all worked wonderfully.

Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+

Before coming across this tinted moisturizer, I was giving Laura Mercier’s a go! Not enough coverage & not enough SPF, I was a bit disappointed until I was introduced to an alternative. Thank you, thank you, thank you Sephora! I made it through a summer vacation in Europe without having to wear too much makeup, no burn or breakout in sight (sensitive skin), all thanks to the great coverage & SPF this tinted moisturizer has to offer.

Now, I wouldn’t be reviewing or recommending anything that was too good to be true. All three faves can be purchased for reasonable prices & are a total steal. While I was gifted the Salvatore Ferragamo perfume bottle, all opinions are my own & recs are 100 in my words and true.

Until next time,

❤️JOJO

My Two-Week Adventure in the Mediterranean ✈️

My Two-Week Adventure in the <b>Mediterranean</b> ✈️

So much has happened in such little time. All so surreal that I have to pause at moments to pinch myself, just so I know I’m not lost in some dream.

From having an amazing trip, maybe the best yet! Yes, exhausting, as we moved around every day trying to explore as much as we could; San Francisco to Vienna to Prague, Croatia, Greece, Switzerland & back home. Rey and I were planning this one for some time & we wanted it to be extra special. What I didn’t know was just how special this trip would end up being, as I said yes to marrying my best friend & the love of my life in Mykonos, Greece. Rey & I have known each other for ten years, we’ve done so much growing together that I couldn’t picture myself with anyone else. He’s the one & officially my forever.

Ok ok, this blog wasn’t meant to be a love story nor a diary of how my proposal went, so back to the point. I previously listed some of the places where we landed and explored, all in two weeks! Now, instead of boring you with details and making this all about me, I’ve compiled a list of highlights in hope that it will inspire you and maybe help guide your next trip.

Can’t Forget, Won’t Forget! My Top 10

Setting Foot on Charles Bridge, Prague

It was our first full day in Europe & I was struggling (bad jet lag). I couldn’t understand how Rey was so full of energy and ready to take on Prague. He was so excited about going to Charles Bridge that I agreed to it. I knew about it, but it wasn’t until I walked across, up the bell tower & saw the view that I was able to fully appreciate it. On and across the bridge lie years and years of history and it was all so beautiful.

Soaking in Prague 🍺

The moment I learned that soaking in beer was a thing in Prague, I was in! Rey teased me a bit for being so excited about this so-called beer spa. I mean, above everything else we had planned for our two weeks in Europe, all I could think of was beer! Soaking in beer, drinking unlimited amounts of beer, wouldn’t you be excited? In the end, it was everything I expected & more…Beer Spa Bernard is the one, don’t forget to make a note of this one.

Hiking from Split to Kašjuni Beach, Croatia

In between eating and drinking, getting some sort of workout in is so so crucial for me. A five-mile hike with a view from Split to a small little beach called Kusjani wasn’t only the best workout we got in two weeks, but the most memorable.

Walking the City Walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic. Just imagine walking its city walls & being able to take in its beauty from all angles and heights. The ocean breeze hit our cheeks as we climbed up and around, taking in every view that came our way. A camera with full battery and memory space is needed for this one…I mean, especially since it’s where much of Game of Thrones is filmed.

Island Hopping Croatia

I’m a coastal girl & I love me a beach. Taking a boat tour from one beautiful beach to another was just what I needed, especially when the temperature is hitting 90+ degrees. We soaked, we tanned, we ate & drank. From Koločep to Šipan and finally, Lopud where you can find the famous Sunj beach.

Riding a Quad Through Mykonos

ATV’s take me back to vacationing in México. Except doing this in Greece is so much better! From beach to beach, we explored the island of Mykonos and fell in love with every bit.

“I’m Engaged! 💍”, Mykonos

Rey was very excited about having dinner at this fabulous restaurant called M Eating. If you didn’t already know, the man is a foodie, real food lover. Reservations had been made months in advance & upon arriving at the small but so elegant Greek restaurant, our expectations were met. The food was delicious, champagne fit the occasion & the rest I’ll leave for another blog entry. Let’s just say, it was the best night and dinner yet.

Lost in Oia, Santorini

Santorini was and is special. An island of houses beautifully decorated in white and blue. The island is small and it’s easy and fun to get lost. It’s not an easy walk, especially when it’s hot, but the views and photography we captured were well worth it.

Watching the Sunset at Ambrosia, Santorini

Ambrosia, I learned of this restaurant thanks to a friend. Listed as one of the most romantic restaurants with an extravagant view (especially at sunset) and candlelit dinner, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience it. Rey & I watched the sunset here & celebrated our final days in Greece.

Exploring the Acropolis, Athens

Arriving in Athens felt like arriving in any other big city, cars rushing through, people going about their days; nothing too special really, but in the midst of all the madness is where the magic lies— the Acropolis. Just a hike up & you’ll find yourself surrounded by remains nearly 2500 years old, crowned by the Parthenon, arguably the most important and beautiful building in Western Civilization, and if that wasn’t enough, a stunning view of the city surrounds you. Rey & I followed an audio tour guide (by Rick Steves) and it really completed the experience.

Sigh & of course now I’m having major vacation withdrawals. Anyway, while my list was made up of ten, the memories and highlights were endless. Soooo, too soon to start planning the next vacay? I’m thinking Asia. 😊

XOXO, Jo