Vows - 'Laugh, dream, love'
Sarah Marshall never believed in long-distance relationships, but when Norman Niles, a mathematics instructor based in the United States, befriended her on December 15, 2010 on the popular social media site Facebook, it was love at first 'type'.
However, the tale of this cyber romance, resulting in the couple's 2013 nuptials, began in early 2010 when Seth Yelorda, a pastor from Tennessee, met Marshall at a youth retreat. He was convinced that the medical student was the perfect match for a friend of his in Pennsylvania and suggested that she contact him. At first Marshall refused, but relented in the end. On a trip to Pennsylvania later that year, she emailed Yelorda several times to inform him that he could give Niles her contact information, but he was off the grid and on his honeymoon. When he eventually saw Marshall's numerous emails, he urged Niles to contact her. Niles searched for Marshall on Facebook, and sent her a friend request. On December 15, she accepted his request and the two conversed via the site constantly. After months of cyber chat, the pair agreed to meet in New York City.
With two years of courtship behind them, Niles decided to propose to Marshall in Barbados under the guise of a surprise birthday trip. While staying at the Accra Beach Hotel, Niles convinced Marshall to take a walk with him along the beach just before sunset one September evening. Aware of the risk of losing the ring to the sea, Niles took no chances. With the assistance of his cousins, he orchestrated the delivery of the ring box via a small remote-controlled hovercraft, while the ring was safely in his pocket. As the pair walked along the beach, Marshall spotted the hovercraft landing. She watched in amusement as Niles bent down, picked up the box and secretly placed the engagement ring inside. He turned to face Marshall, opened the ring box and on bended knee asked her to marry him.
After eight months of careful planning and organising, the wedding day finally dawned.
On Sunday, June 9, 2013, the garden of Laughing Waters in St Ann, became the scene of the couple's nuptials. The date chosen was the second anniversary of their first face-to-face interaction in New York City and the day they officially became a couple. The venue, beautifully decorated by Petals and Promises, who where also responsible for the décor for the reception, included a white wedding canopy decorated with a blend of white dendrobium orchids, chrysanthemums and white spider mums. The couple's personalised aisle runner, lined with white chairs, read 'Laugh, Dream, Love'-- the couple's favourite quote -- along with their names and the date.
Carrying a bouquet of white calla lilies, roses, dendrobium orchids and baby's breath ferns, the bride looked elegant in a white, strapless mermaid Angelina Faccenda-Mori Lee gown with pleating throughout the bodice and fine ruffles on the flared skirt and train and ballet-length veil by Petals and Promises as she glided up the aisle, escorted by her father, civil engineer Alfonso Marshall.
The groom's parents, retired education administrator Dr William Niles and retired professor of nursing Dr Marcia Niles, and the bride's father watched with pride throughout the ceremony, officiated by Pastor Patrick Kinlock. During the ceremony the couple paid tribute to Marshall's mother, Jacqueline Marshall,who had passed away in March 2012.
The beach front at Laughing Waters served as the venue for the couple's green, black and white-themed reception. Tables, covered in white linens and black and white damask runners with black sheer underneath, featured a mixture of floral arrangements of white dendrobium orchids, green and white chrysanthemums and green spider mums in cube vases placed on hexagonal mirrors. The vibrant colours of the centrepieces complemented the apple green napkins. Each guest table also had an engagement photograph of the couple framed in black and a single votive candle, symbolising the couple's Christian values.
Though professing to have never danced together, the bride and groom performed a perfect first dance to Brian Adams' Everything I Do, ahead of slicing into their white three-tiered wedding cake decorated with rhinestones at the base of each tier, silver pearls
on the second tier, intricately placed green spider mums and topped with a silver 'N'.
The newly-weds spent their honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico. Niles has moved to Jamaica and is a mathematics instructor at the American International School of Kingston. Marshall is currently working at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in St Andrew.
(PHOTOS: LYLE DANIEL)