Wedding planner at Beaches Negril Resort & Spa, Shannon Olivia Irving, and graphic designer at Diamond Thoughts, London, Reuel Perron Jones, met while studying at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) six years ago — a serendipitous meeting, as it turned out.
"We were in a singing group together, so music was our initial common ground. Singing in the group for a while, we never really paid any special attention to one another until one particular evening when Shannon was really distressed about something and no one else in the group seemed to be concerned but me," Jones told Vows.
"I then took it upon myself to be a gentleman. I approached her and asked if she was OK. I told her that if she ever needed a friend to talk to, I was there. That evening we talked for over three hours. That was the real beginning of our friendship which later blossomed into something more serious," he continued.
Though it took time to develop, their romantic relationship eventually grew into a force too powerful to ignore. In addition to their mutual love of music, the couple enjoyed cooking and travelling together, going out on spontaneous dates, catching good comedies and watching the TV series Frasier.
When he thought it was time, Jones not only knew exactly how to pick the right moment to pop the question, but also had a helpful team of well-wishers committed to aiding him.
"There is always that pressure on guys to create the right atmosphere, so that the question is asked at the most magical moment possible. I didn't feel that pressure, but really wanted to do something special so Shannon will have a story to tell our kids," he revealed.
"Shannon was completing her internship in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, at Wyndham Hotel Resort & Spa. My plan was to pay her a surprise visit, all the way from London, to pop the question. Fortunately, a number of the staff there knew me because Shannon spoke about me often, so her managers and supervisors helped me plan the surprise," he continued.
According to Jones, for the proposal his team of well-wishers had managed to convince his intended that she needed to help them set up for a couple's special dinner, under a gazebo that faced the ocean's horizon, in time for the sunset.
"Clearly she was setting up her own surprise spot, but she didn't have a clue. When she finished setting up the site, she waited under the gazebo to serve the couple. Music started to play and I showed up from nowhere, singing a song I composed for her. I have never seen her blush so much in my life. I was sure her cheeks were going to burst. The song incorporated the big question, so on my knee I sang 'Will you marry me', and everything else is history," he recalled.
The lovebirds tied the knot on July 22, 2012 at the lovely City View Hotel, located in the cool hills of Smokey Vale in upper St Andrew, with a stunning panoramic view of the city as the backdrop. The ceremony, while not elaborate, did have its share of special moments.
"We knew it was going to be a hot day, so we decided to do something a little different by making fancy bag juice. We made them to match our colour scheme and added a ribbon at the top. It really was a hit on the wedding day. Best way to cool off!" said the grinning groom.
For their first dance as husband and wife, the couple chose Michael Buble's popular song, Everything.
"The lyrics are really nice and reflect exactly how we feel about each other. We just love him as an artist, especially how well he executes classics from Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, and it's just a really nice song," Jones shared.
The couple honeymooned at Sandals Resort & Spa, in both Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, and now look forward to working on their music ministry together. They are extremely optimistic and excited about their future.
"We have so many things planned and with God in the centre of our marriage, we pray they will become a reality," said Jones.