Vows - Love on the dance floor
What it's like to be a parent: It's one of the hardest things you'll ever do, but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love."
— Nicholas Sparks, The Wedding
When freelance consultant Roxanne Stephenson made the seemingly minor decision to help a friend by selling bar tickets at the popular bacchanal party spot Mas Camp in Kingston in 2008, little did she know it would change her life forever. Racehorse owner and trainer Ryan Darby was among the revellers one night, and from the moment he laid eyes on her he was determined to make her his.
"One night, while I was working, Ryan came up to my window and started a conversation. I ignored him at first, but he was very persistent. So, after several attempts to get my attention I finally decided to appease him," Stephenson told Vows.
While Darby was relentless in his pursuit of the ever-so-coy Stephenson, his belle-to-be admits that for her it wasn't exactly love at first sight. In fact, she had a few tricks up her sleeve that ensured he would have to work very hard to capture her heart.
"When he asked me for my number I gave him my friend Francine's number instead. And when he called her to speak to me I was surprised that she gave him my number. I had a bad habit of giving guys who I was not interested in my friend's number just for fun, but I guess on this occasion Francine got me back," she recalled with a chuckle.
After a few months of wooing, the pair finally started dating. Five years, and many soca parties later, Darby had his own trick in store. One night Stephenson simply went to bed and woke up with the sensation of having a ring on her finger.
"It's funny, because while I was sleeping I felt him putting the ring on my finger. But I wasn't too sure, so I called my friend Robyn for her to come and look to see if there was a ring on my finger. Eventually I had the courage to take a look myself, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was beautiful," she shared.
Their nuptials, however, would have to wait another two years due to the addition of two beautiful bundles of joy, their daughter Rhea-Marie and their son Ryder. Admittedly not a big fan of the "fairy-tale wedding", Stephenson opted for a ceremony and reception that reflected the couple's fun-loving personalities.
They wed on November 23, 2013, in a ceremony officiated by Father Adam Oleszczuk, at the rustic Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Stony Hill, St Andrew.
Themed 'The Journey', the celebration chronicled their love, from its inception, with the bridal party including persons who played a role in bringing them together. Their adorable children also played their part, with Rhea-Marie
acting as a flower girl and seven-month-old ring bearer Ryder being pulled up the aisle in a radio flyer red wagon.
Escorted by her uncle Richard Stephenson, the bride walked up the aisle to her husband-to-be, as Christiana Perri's A Thousand Years played in the background, and tears streamed down the faces of the members of her bridal party. The blushing bride was, however, jitter-free.
"It was all very emotional, but I was not nervous at all. I stared at Ryan the whole time walking up the aisle. He looked very happy and amazed when he saw me. It was like he was experiencing love at first sight all over again, "she recalled fondly.
The reception, held at Strauncastle Gardens in Stony Hill, St Andrew, took place in a lounge setting with a party vibe, immaculately decorated by Andrew Hall of 1080 Group, with music by DJ Krush. For their first dance as husband and wife, the couple decided to depart from the traditional slow song, choosing instead three up-tempo tunes: The first was Marry Me by Train. The second, Patrice Roberts' soca song Sugar Boy, was aimed at recreating the night they first met. The third song was Joseph Stepper's retro dancehall hit Wife.
Eight years — and two angelic children — after the night they met, the fun-loving couple still enjoys sharing laughs and entertaining both their own friends and those of their children. They look forward to more such gatherings in the future.
"Our house is like an amusement park; not only do we love to entertain friends, but we love to entertain our kids and their friends as well. We are excellent parents and excellent friends. We always try to balance our love life with our family life," said Stephenson.