Tag Archives: Corina Harris

Looking Back at the History of Me: Wedding Planning

10 years ago today I was sitting in my parents kitchen to set plans in motion that would change my life forever.

James Harris proposed to Corina Harris in the middle of the bridge during the Simcoe Festival of Lights 2006

12 days previous my boyfriend of over 3 years had gotten down on one knee and proposed while we were visiting the lights in Simcoe, Ontario. According to him I made him wait for an insane amount of time before answering, when in reality I had taken a couple of seconds to soak in that exact moment. I wanted to breathe in those few seconds as I knew it would never happen again. Marriage, to me, is forever and I wanted to be able to soak in what he was saying, the look in his eyes, the darkness of the night with all the Christmas lights around us. When I said “Yes!” I swear he didn’t hear a word as he asked me several times after if I had even answered at all. It seems that I said the words and instantly pulled him to me for a big hug and a kiss. It was a magic moment.


Driving home after he asked the question involved me asking a million questions. I wanted to know if anyone knew he was going to ask (yes, he had told his sister.) I asked if he had gotten my dad’s permission (he did not) and if anyone in my family knew (they did not.) I asked if I could tell someone as I was bursting at the news, and he gave me permission to call my best friend since kindergarten, so Devon got a call before anyone else in my family because I couldn’t hold it inside. But then my new fiance had another card up his sleeve.

“We aren’t planning anything until at least the new year.”

He made me wait. I was allowed to research, but I wasn’t allowed to decide on anything until the new year had dawned, and thus why we ended up sitting at my parents table on January 2nd, 10 years ago.

My parents were happy to talk to us about our plans. I am the youngest of four children and it had been a long time since they had helped any of their children plan a wedding. I was older, living on my own with my partner and my parents were more than happy to give us advice and to stand by us in whatever we wanted.

The week after Christmas, I had used some time to do some research into different venues around and had made up some spreadsheets with pricing and ideas that I had. All the different options were swirling in my head and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I hadn’t thought of colours, or how many people we were going to invite. I knew who my bridesmaids were (with two sisters and a best friend it was a no brainer) but wasn’t completely set on anything else.

This mad hatter cake was designed by The Cake Box, flowers by Zehrs, letters by Corina

“Have you set a date yet?”


Was the first question asked. I answered that we hadn’t. That I looked at the calendar and figured since we most likely needed a year to plan a wedding, that we would be looking at a spring wedding for the following year.

That was about the last thing I got a chance to say.

My mom grabbed the calendar and they started looking later into the year and nearly every weekend had a problem except for one specific date – September 29, 2007. It was the last weekend in September, not a long weekend and not someone’s birthday. It wasn’t the same date that other friends who were getting married in September had picked and it was open and free.

I sat back in my chair completely gobsmacked.

“How could this be happening?” I thought to myself.

They looked at me and said “What do you think about that date?”

“I can’t believe this is happening.”

“You don’t like the date?”

“No. That isn’t it.”

My husband and I had met on a website called emode.com. Emode had a series of fun tests and personality tests that they ultimately turned into a dating site. They matched people on the site by their personality type and told them if you would be a compatible match. For fun I had taken a “Wedding Date Predictor” test on the site. Long before I had even met my husband to be, it had predicted that I would get married on September 29, 2007. And here were three people that I loved agreeing that it was the absolute perfect date for us to get married.

Gobsmacked. No other way to describe it.

Once that was decided, then it came time to look at my spreadsheets and the information that I had compiled. I presented the information and then sat back as the following discussion happened.

Wedding flowers, Wedding cake, I Do, orange and brown wedding
The backyard wedding of my dreams was planned by my parents and my husband on January 2, 2007.

Fiance: “I’m just not sure which option is the best one.”
Father: “Well I think you should just have it right here. Have it in the backyard. If you do, I’ll pay for the tent.”
Fiance: “That would work.”
Mother:“You can get married at the top of the hill and we can line the aisle with mums.”
Father: “I’ll build something special for you at the top.”
Fiance: “Yeah that sounds good.”
Father:“And your mode of transportation can be the wagon. I’ll talk to Mr. Nichol and see if he’d let you do pictures at his house. That way you can have the ceremony and the reception in the back yard.”
Mother: “If it rains you can still get married on the hill but we’ll keep all the guests in the tent.”
Fiance:“Yeah this is a great plan.”


I sat back listening as all the plans were made around me. The basis for my entire wedding was planned at that small round table in my parents kitchen with me barely saying a word. It was a foreshadow of the entire wedding planning. I picked my dress, but my bridesmaids chose the colour sash on it (taupe). I had a say on the bridesmaid dresses but they picked the colour (dark brown). I did help out with the tuxes but my husband had a huge say on the colours and who wore what (brown and cinnamon).

The entire wedding planning process came down to some advice my grandmother had given me years before I had even met my soon-to-be husband. “Something is going to go wrong. How you handle it, is what everyone is going to remember.” She was essentially saying to not sweat the small stuff. Go with the flow and just enjoy your day and everyone else will enjoy it too.

Corina on her wedding day

Oh sure, I fought my battles along the way. I figured out the things that I thought were important and stuck to my guns. I wanted to wear sneakers, and sure enough I walked down the aisle in my brown and white Chuck Taylor’s. My husband loved the idea and wore a pair of brown and cream Adidas. I wanted a Mad Hatter cake, and sure enough we got a cake designed by the best cake designer in the region (although my husband-to-be insisted it be more symmetrical than I wanted it to be.) For my borrowed, I wanted to walk down the aisle to Ave Maria as my mother and oldest sister did and I certainly did. I got to choose the caterer and most of the menu. I selected the florist and what was included in my bouquet but trusted my sister Lisa in her judgment on what the bridesmaid should carry.

My wedding planning involved a lot of compromise, and a lot of trust in each other and our family and friends. It ended up being a fantastic party with lots of dancing, lots of food and memorable touches everywhere. Having it at my parents house made it so much more personal and allowed us to relax a bit more.


Was I stressed out and frustrated during the planning process? For sure. Did things go wrong on the day of? Absolutely. Did I care? No.

I let other people handle things. People came to ask me questions and I would just defer them to someone else to figure it out.

I laughed. I hugged people. I thanked everyone for coming because I knew everyone there. It was my wedding and even though the planning wasn’t all me, it felt really good to be surrounded by people that I loved and to finally marry the man that loved me.

10 years ago my life changed, but I am so glad it did. I’m incredibly grateful to my parents and all they did to help plan my wedding and I’m still madly in love with the man that I married, even if his “Groomzilla” status will forever be etched in my mind. Family is where it all began, and family is what we are now. 10 years. What a wonderful ride this has been!

On September 29, 2007 Corina married James on an “unseasonably awesome” day, as James has ordered the day the date was chosen.

Job Hunting When Overqualified

“You seem overqualified.”


When did I become overqualified?

Now that my daughter is a year old I find myself in the position of job hunting again. I knew this was going to be what happened at the end of my maternity leave but I didn’t anticipate hitting as many road blocks and I never anticipated hearing that I was overqualified for positions in industries I’ve never worked in before.

About 6 weeks before my daughter turned one, I started applying for positions that interested me. They weren’t necessarily the perfect jobs for me, but I felt that I could sink my teeth into the role for a few years with a great company before moving into another more perfect role. Essentially I wanted to prove my worth, learn more about the business and then hopefully if I did a good job I could move up, or around into a better suited role.

Corina Harris, black and white, blazer, pin
Corina Harris wears this pin often in job interviews after inheriting it from her mother.

My resume was good. I got a response within 24 hours from a recruiter in the company asking me to fill out two online tests – one personality test and one aptitude test. I was told the results take about 3 days to come in and yet I got a phone call the very next day to come in for a face-to-face interview.

Things happened quickly. The interview went well and I was asked to come in for a second panel interview for that position and two more that had come up. I was nervous, but confident that I had skills and experience that they were looking for.

Let’s be honest, any panel interview can be intimidating. This panel interview for 3 different jobs with 6 pairs of eyes felt even more so. But I was lucky, I had a few people on the other side of the table I had met socially and one that I had done some work with in the past. It made it much easier to answer their questions and remember to look around the room at everyone even if the question asked had nothing to do with a position in their department.

I walked out of the interview a little nervous but hopeful.

Did I answer all the questions well? Was I able to sell myself to any of the jobs, when all of the jobs seemed so different?

A week later I got the bad news, I didn’t get any of the permanent jobs. What had happened?

I didn’t hold it against any of the hiring managers. I was told that the people they had selected for the roles were all excellent candidates they couldn’t pass up. How can I argue with that? The recruiter told me to keep my eyes open for any jobs in the company that interested me and he would be sure to get me right in front of the hiring manager. I guess my test scores were just that good.

At this time I reached out to the people I knew on the other side of the table and thanked them for the opportunity and wished them well with the new recruits. I had opted to not reach out to them before this point because I didn’t want any whisper of impropriety. They all responded to tell me they were sorry it didn’t work out and that they wished me well with my job search.

A conversation later with one of them told me that they were impressed with my interview skills and no one held it against me that I couldn’t make up my mind about which job I wanted the most. This made me feel good. It means that my interview skills were still strong even though the nature of the interview had me a little worried.

But then I was told this:

“We were looking for more of an entry level position and let’s face it, you are not entry level.”

Not entry level? How can someone without much experience using your products and software be considered to be not entry level?

When I started to think about life beyond maternity leave, I made the decision that I wouldn’t take just any job. I wanted the right job for me. I knew this would be a bit of a challenge because I laid down a mandate of working in Cambridge. I’ve worked outside of town for 15 years and I wanted to come back to my roots and work closer to home.

I started scouring the online job listings and the larger company websites that don’t post their jobs publicly. I applied only to positions that I thought were interesting, where I could learn and grow within their company and where I saw potential for me to succeed. I’ve had some interviews and received one letter with a veiled “don’t call us, we’ll call you”.

I’ve had to do several aptitude and personality tests, many labelled differently but essentially the same. I shared my resume and cover letter with managers at a few different companies who weren’t hiring, just to see how my resume read and I was told that it sounded great and they wish they had a spot for me on their team.

Through some advice from a friend who recently got a dream job, I even sent in my resume to two staffing agencies. During an interview with one of these agencies I was told I appear overqualified and asked how I would overcome the question from a potential employer. The truth is, I had never been asked that question before. I’ve always felt that you should learn about the core of a company before moving up in that company. You need to learn their products and their software before moving into a leadership role.

I’m honestly looking to work somewhere that I can learn and grow and help that company grow and succeed.

I’ve had a few friends tell me that perhaps I should dumb down my resume a bit. Perhaps it is my experience or job titles that are holding me back. I thought about it for a few minutes but then realized that isn’t who I am. I am proud of my accomplishments. I’ve worked in two different companies that felt my experience was worthy of promotion. I worked hard to get recognized and I want to show that I can work hard again.

With management experience on my resume, I have a sinking feeling that some employers are scared to hire me because they think I will expect too high of a salary. I’ve also reached a new age bracket now that I’m over 35. Is that what makes me look overqualified?

I want to find a job I can settle into longer term. I want to grow with a company and I’m not looking to just jump in and jump out like someone might want to do in their 20s. I have a family to consider now. I want some stability. But could my maturity make it look like I’m perhaps overqualified?

This past week I reached the 5th step in a long interview process for a position that really excited me. I passed the phone interview. the initial face-to-face, the personality and the aptitude test. I sat down for another panel interview, which seems to be the norm these days, and they were moving onto reference checks which I knew would just sell me even more.

I listened to their questions during the panel interview and when they asked me if I realized this wasn’t a management position, I knew it was a veiled way of asking about being overqualified for the job. This question is not new to me and I started to wonder if all the interviewers I had met with were comparing the job I was applying for against my job titles.

I am an adaptable professional. I can take what you throw at me and I can get the job done. I just want a chance to prove that. I thrive in environments where I get to wear several hats, where I can be working with multiple departments or customers and where I can be organized and learn and grow. I believe training is important and I’m not afraid to ask questions if I don’t understand something and I’m also not afraid to make suggestions if I see room for improvement. Every position I’ve ever had I feel is a service position and I feel effective communication is a key to success no matter what your job title is. If this makes me overqualified, then I guess I am.