Newlywed John Kamphuis hasn’t even been with the firm four years, and already so many of his life experiences are intertwined with Plante Moran. Most recently, he and his wife, Haley, got married in our Grand Rapids office — in a ceremony officiated by fellow PMer Joe Donovan.
While we don’t have a copy of all staff marriage records dating back 95 years, we’re pretty certain this is a first.
So what brought this about? John and his fiancée wanted to travel outside the United States for their friends’ weddings and their honeymoon — something that wasn’t allowed until John, who’s Canadian, completed the very lengthy green card process. So they did what many others like them have done: planned to get married in a courtroom — before holding a more traditional wedding — to jumpstart the green card application process.
However, when John looked into the requirements for courtroom marriages in Kent County, he was surprised to see there was a two-month wait. On the way to a client, he voiced his disappointment to his friend and colleague, Joe, who had an idea: It just so happens that Joe’s an ordained minister and was happy to offer his services. Even better? He proposed they hold the ceremony in the office. While John was skeptical at first, he quickly grew to embrace the idea.
“Please, don’t joke about us naming our first kid “Frank” [after firm founder Frank Moran]. That would be a harder sell on Haley.”
“I was so caught off guard by Joe’s offer that I didn’t even know if he was serious,” John remembers. “Then I started thinking, ‘Well, maybe this can work.’ Of course, I had to convince Haley. She didn’t even know Joe and, while she was happy I liked working for Plante Moran, she’d never once thought about us saying ‘I do’ at my office. But we had other friends who’d had to navigate the green card process in unique ways, so she was a bit familiar with nontraditional weddings. Eventually, she agreed.”
That’s how, on a Friday morning in February, John and Haley, along with Joe and two witnesses, ended up in the Grand Rapids’ La Grande Conference Room to share in the first Plante Moran wedding. Joe’s speech was so touching that John’s mom — who had Skyped in — even shed a few tears. Afterwards, John left to meet a client while Haley left for dress shopping in Pittsburgh, where the traditional wedding will take place later this year.
With positivity and a healthy dose of Plante Moran spirit, John looks forward to the next chapter of his life.
“It’s funny how connected I feel to the firm,” he says. “I had my internship here, I’ve worked in different offices and states, and now, I’ve gotten married here. I’m not sure what’s next, but please, don’t joke about us naming our first kid Frank [after firm founder Frank Moran]. That would be a harder sell on Haley.”
Congrats, John and Haley. We wish you the best of luck.
John and his bride, Haley, celebrate their nuptials.