Weddings are picturesque events that symbolize two individuals joined in bliss; the planning that goes into it however, can prove to be less than harmonious.
That’s where Joann Williams comes in.
As the self-employed proprietor of Joyful Occasions, an event planning service, Williams makes anxiety induced headaches and event planning nightmares a thing of the past. A 1985 Florida A&M graduate, Williams launched the business on her birthday back in 2005 and has been going strong ever since.
“I’ve been doing wedding planning for over twenty years, but it started out as a hobby,” said Williams, 47. “A number of people complimented me on my services and my attention to details. Since then I’ve enjoyed a number of event planning opportunities, hosted a number of parties and it all led me to starting the business.”
It was in May of 2004 that the event planner first organized a wedding and instantly got hooked. Since that day, the entrepreneur has utilized her skills and dexterity to transform Joyful Occasions from an unpretentious hobby, into a successful business venture. Williams said she has coordinated more than thirty weddings and special events and is looking to conquer more.
Williams said she hasn’t stumbled upon any “bridezillas,” and she does her best to eliminate any anxiety.
“Basically I encourage brides to follow the plan that is mapped out for them,” Williams said. “Some brides like to procrastinate and I always tell them when they procrastinate they run the risk of having a stressful wedding when in fact my goal is to relieve them of stress.”
In keeping with the idea of being stress free, Williams said her business provides complete wedding services including free initial consultation. If the couple signs with the planner, Williams offers up to three different packages for them to choose from. Each one is catered to the needs of the respective couple. Williams also provides the essentials to decorate the wedding facilities.
“I try to extend to my brides a complete one stop service,” she said. “With any event that I sign on to, I like to make sure that I don’t just meet their expectations but that I exceed their expectations.”
And exceed them she does. Williams has gained positive attention and numerous compliments from individuals for her skills and aptitude. Among those individuals is Calvin Calhoun, 29, a former saxophonist of the Marching 100. Calhoun said Williams was the perfect wedding planner.
“She put our vision first,” said Calhoun, who holds a degree in pharmacy from the University. “She went above and beyond what we had expected. When Joann says she’s going to do something she does it. She really is top notch.”
Yvonne Dowling shares the same opinion. Dowling, a Tallahassee native, enlisted the help of Williams for her daughter’s nuptials and said the planner was indeed a hard-worker.
“Joann was an answer to my prayer,” Dowling said. “I was in the position of needing assistance when my daughter’s wedding was only a few weeks away. Joann assured me our event would be beautiful and would meet our expectations. In actuality, she went above and beyond to create a truly memorable and fun event.”
In addition to planning weddings, Williams also arranges family and class reunions as well as school dances. She organized FAMU High’s prom for the last three years. Williams describes her gift as a God given talent and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
“I was inspired by this gift from God,” she said. “He has been in the center of everything that I do. This is my passion. This is what keeps me up late at night and this is what brings me joy when I wake up the next morning. Whenever I bring a smile to someone’s face then my job is done.”