A Celebration of Love, Happiness and Partnership

A Celebration of Love, Happiness and Partnership

Happily Ever After

with wedding consultant Shikima Hinds

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

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Amid COVID-19, couples are still saying I do! Yes, their weddings may be a little different from their original vision, but, as they say, “love isn't cancelled”.

After coronavirus changed their wedding plans, Tatyani Clarke and Jason Brown found new ways to celebrate their love and subsequent union. We wanted to know about their journey during the planning process, and Tatyani answered some of our pressing questions.

Shikima Hinds (SH): Tell us about your original wedding plans.

Tatyani Clarke Brown (TCB): Initially, we had planned to get married in August 2020 with a guest list of 120 persons, including friends and family who were excited to travel from overseas for our special day. We were to have a grand celebration on the lawns of the Jamaica Pegasus, under a large clear-top tent, with LED monitors that projected photos of the proposal and an electronic welcome sign. Plans were being made to have an exquisite backdrop at the reception, lush centrepieces and LED lights that would accentuate the natural beauty of the garden. However, many of those plans changed when our guest list plummeted from 120 guests to nine guests.

SH: How did you feel when the prime minister announced the drastic reduction in numbers for weddings?

TCB: At first we were distraught, overwhelmed by the fear of uncertainty, not knowing what other drastic announcements would be made. It was frustrating knowing that we had started planning early to avoid the stress of unwanted disasters and then only to have our plans interrupted by a global pandemic. It was already a challenge trying to finalise a guest list of 120; how were we to have a wedding with only 10 persons? Not only were we emotionally afflicted by the numbers but we were saddened by the travel restrictions because it meant that some of our closest relatives would not be able to attend, including Jason's two sisters.

However after much prayer, discussion among ourselves, and support from our families, we had a turning point. We became tired of worrying. We shifted our focus from looking at the limitations to exploring the possibilities. Our faith grew and our doubts subsided.

SH: What was your process in deciding if you should get married? Did you hope to wait it out and see? Did you immediately make a decision? How many times did you change your mind during the process?

TCB: The process of deciding when to get married was emotional. Jason and I knew we wanted to get married in 2020, but we were uncertain if COVID-19 or the government regulations that came with it would allow us to get married in August. We thought of postponing the wedding to a later date in the year with the hope that the borders would open and the numbers allowed for weddings would increase. Then we had a thought about getting married sooner than August, a suggestion that didn't seem ideal when it was first thought of, as not many persons were convinced that this was the wisest decision. Then we wondered if we should leave it at the original date of August. It was overwhelming but we kept the faith. We finally decided on June 6, 2020 as the date, two months earlier than intended. We decided to take advantage of the 10 guests allowed for social gatherings while we had that opportunity, not knowing whether that number would have reduced or whether weddings would have been banished for the rest of the year. LOL.

SH: What was the feedback from your guests?

TCB: Our guests included some of our closest family members and friends, who embraced the idea of a smaller wedding. They were blown away by the beauty and elegance of the ceremony and expressed that we had made a great decision. To them, it was the best wedding they had ever attended.

SH: How did the concept of your wedding change?

TCB: Our wedding changed from having an extravagant (though elegant) party of 120 guests to a small and intimate gathering, celebrating love, happiness and partnership. With only nine guests present we opted to offer live-stream services to those who could not physically attend.

Though we celebrated on a smaller scale, we were sure to enjoy every moment of it. It was nothing short of the grand occasion we intended to have. In fact, having a smaller wedding allowed us to focus more on the details, become more creative with décor, and offered more flexibility with activities such as our photoshoot.

SH: How did you feel on your wedding day?

TCB: I was excited and ready to marry the love of my life! Surprisingly, I was not nervous before the start of the wedding or worried about what could have gone wrong. I was feeling confident and accomplished, knowing God's plan was in full effect.

SH: What would you say to other brides going through the same process because of COVID-19?

TCB: Never lose sight of what's most important to you and your partner. A small, intimate wedding may be the answer to your prayers. Downsizing doesn't mean you can't create the experience you dreamt about having on your wedding day. You can still dress up, get your hair and make-up done, take your photos, and enjoy yourself. Don't focus on the limitations; explore the possibilities and have fun with them. It helps when you have a good support system because there will be days when things just don't seem to be going well; but hang in there. Don't be afraid to personalise your wedding and keep your partner in the loop. Most importantly, let God be your guide.

You've asked and we've answered! Welcome to your weekly column Happily Ever After with wedding consultant Shikima Hinds, who will each week spotlight all the questions you've been asking since COVID-19 was added to the guest list!

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