The President’s Corner

The President’s Corner

Debra Johnson
Debra Johnson

By: Debra Johnson
Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter

On 2/1/15, my firstborn son Eric married the love of his life, Heather. It was a beautiful weekend that included a bachelor/bachelorette bowling party, a rehearsal dinner, and the main event: a beautiful ceremony and reception on a cruise ship. It was an incredible ending to year-long, nonstop saga of laughing, crying, detail wrangling, problem solving, decision making, and fretting. . . .And then all of a sudden. . .it was over!

The couple chose to get married onboard the Carnival® cruise ship Liberty® while it was in port. Guests, family, and friends came in for the weekend for parties and then boarded the cruise ship on Sunday for the event. Everything was gorgeous from the weather to the wedding party and guests, the bride and groom, and the beautifully written ceremony. After the vows, we moved right into a nightclub on another deck to have the reception. We ate, drank, laughed, cried, danced, and tossed the bouquet. . . . and when the celebration was over, we all left the ship, tired and happy. Eric and Heather stayed on to cruise their way through their honeymoon in the Eastern Caribbean.

Debra's Son's Wedding 1Debra's Son's Wedding 2Debra's Son's Wedding 3

While I reflected on what a wonderful time the whole weekend was, I also tried to figure out my message for this article, as I knew I had to get it out quickly — and then the thought hit me. I remembered all of the things I was able to do to help this couple save money starting out because I am a technical communicator.

It started with the wedding announcements. I helped write the announcement for print and for social media. With the couple’s input, I designed, wrote, and printed wedding invitations. I created the rehearsal dinner invitations, menus, and the welcome banner.

I re-wrote the horrible instructions sent by the cruise line required for the guests and wedding party to attend the event; I was able to decipher them, put them into more user-friendly verbiage, and then match the look and feel to the invitations. When I was done with them, they clearly articulated all of the necessary required security rules and boarding information. . . .

You should have seen what a mess the original that I received from the cruise line was. Disaster! There was no way anyone never attending a wedding onboard a ship could have figured out what to do.

The newlywed couple is incredibly grateful, but I had a blast doing it and was happy to help. It also occurred to me: What a great way for new technical communicators to add to their portfolio. In the end, you may never really know how much doing something like this helps your career, or what kind of huge payoff it may have in other ways!

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