PICTURE this: you're enjoying a beautiful, secluded spot by the clear waters of Lime Cay with your significant other when, all of a sudden, he hands you a personalised magazine capturing the journey of your courtship thus far. This was the first surprise Jodi-Kaye Smith of the President's Office at JAMPRO received on what she thought was just a regular beach outing to celebrate her boyfriend Richard Ennis' birthday.
Ennis, programmer/analyst at eGov Jamaica, had intricately planned and designed the magazine for Smith, and with the help of friends and family, was able to pull off the perfect beach proposal.
When Smith reached the back of the magazine expecting a proposal but seeing only a blank page, Ennis played it cool by saying this gift was to commemorate another month together. Thankfully, her disappointment was only temporary. The couple's friends and family had buried the engagement ring, inscribed with the words Will You Marry Me, in the sand, and were patiently awaiting the lovebirds' return from their isolated spot.
Ennis, cool as ever, casually asked Smith as they approached if she noticed something in the sand. Then, he got down on one knee. Smith was so overwhelmed that she immediately backed away from the message in the sand, only managing to muster the words "Are you serious?" over and over again. The bride-to-be's state of utter disbelief was video-recorded by her brother Perryn Smith of Krystal Clear Productions, who also captured her eventual response: "Yes!"
Despite their eventful engagement, the couple's courtship followed more traditional lines. They met at Bethel Baptist Church, where Smith worshipped, and where Ennis had been invited to attend the youth/young adult fellowship meetings by friend Jerome Campbell. Ennis, whose own church, Fellowship Tabernacle, did not have such a group, became a regular at Bethel Baptist in 2012.
"After we were introduced, we would meet at the young adult fellowship regularly, to get to know each other better," explains Ennis. The two became friends through the fellowship's activities; post-meeting lymes, birthday gatherings, beach days and trips to the countryside. After some time, Ennis asked for Smith's number, and as their relationship blossomed, they knew they were past the point of being 'just friends'. Keeping things traditional, Ennis asked Smith to be his girlfriend after receiving her father's blessing.
It took no more than seven months of courtship for Richard to know that it was time to pop the big question.
The two officially became one in a beautiful, Christ-centred ceremony led by Rev Al Miller at Hope Gardens' historical entrance on Friday, May 23, 2014. Event planners Marguerite and Kara-Ann Anderson of Petals and Promises completely transformed the venue, turning it into a living fantasy of royal blue and yellow tones with charcoal and white. These bright tones popped out on the lovely white altar which had a wooden cross with a bouquet of yellow roses standing in between two urns with a colourful array of spider mums, lilies, carnations and chrysanthemums. Two flat-screen TVs were erected on either side of the altar, to regale the wedding party with the heartwarming proposal video, which was shown before the start of the ceremony.
Thirty-six years before, the bride's father, Patrick Smith, had received his own bride at the altar in the same veil that his daughter wore as he handed her over to his new son-in-law. The bride had the family treasure restored for the occasion. "My mum's veil matched my dress perfectly!" she says. The bride looked stunning in her customised ivory mermaid gown designed by Madeline Gardner, who enhanced it with a belt and asymmetrical strap. The groom looked dashing in a three-piece grey suit by Spokes Apparel. Like the altar, the groom's tie was a blend of all the wedding colours. The bridal party stood out in blue bridesmaids' dresses by Louise Graham, accessorised with bouquets of roses and alstroemeria to complement the bride's.
The new Mr and Mrs Richard Ennis displayed their love, equality as partners and mutual respect as they chose a ceremony of servanthood (washing of each other's feet), as opposed to a sand or candle-lighting ceremony.
The reception took place on the lawns of the house where the bride grew up, under a clear-top tent adorned with dazzling chandeliers. A large bookshelf standing behind the head table added a unique décor element that incorporated even more of the couple's personalities into the wedding. The shelves displayed items characteristic of the bride and groom; ballet shoes, boxing gloves, dancing figurines, a karate black belt, a cricket bat and even the magazine that recorded their courtship.
Petals and Promises put together an effortlessly elegant reception, adding a touch of glitter to the blue and yellow theme to go with the celebration. "Everyone kept asking what the theme of the wedding was -- the theme was fun. We wanted it to be fun, and it was," shares the bride. The Smith-Ennis wedding had no problems living up to its theme -- the tossing of the garter was done during cocktail hour as a mini-cricket match. The bridegroom was the batsman, his father, Michael Ennis, the bowler; the bride's dad, Patrick Smith, was the wicketkeeper and of course, all the single men in attendance acted as fielders.
Mr and Mrs Ennis' special day went so perfectly that the bride couldn't pick out just one memorable moment. "The whole day was memorable! There were so many moments filled with laughter and a few tears," she admits. The groom, however, best enjoyed the dancing at the end of the night. Mr and Mrs Richard Ennis' love story and personalities came to life on their wedding day, which turned out to be just what they wanted: traditional, yet fun!