Vows: This Is Why I Love You

All Woman

Sunday, July 2, 2017 will be forever etched in the memories of Donna Bartley, marketing executive, C&W Business & TV Marketing, Flow Jamaica, and Dwayne Campbell, Seventh-Day Adventist pastor. It was on this day that the two were joined in holy matrimony at the Caymanas Golf & Country Club, St Catherine. VOWS recounts their journey to the altar.

How they met…

Dwayne and Donna met on Saturday, December 6, 2014. Donna was the youth ministries leader at the Duxes Seventh-Day Adventist Church where she was planning a four-week gospel initiative to take the gospel to the streets of neighbouring communities. She had reached out to one of her former pastors for assistance in securing a speaker she had heard about. It was during the conversation that her pastor suggested she add Campbell (this is what Dwayne is affectionately called) to the line-up as he was a young, powerful preacher who would be a perfect fit for a youth-targeted programme.

A few days later on October 11, 2014 an anonymous person messaged her on Facebook. She would later discover it was Dwayne. “My focus was solely on the programme so I ignored his attempts at small talk, even when he sent a prayer for me and referred to me in it as 'sweet girl' . I was annoyed and quickly logged out to avoid engaging in any further conversation,” Donna recalled.

The programme was slated to take place in Duxes, Point Hill, a location unknown to Dwayne, so it fell on Donna to travel with him. The two met at the Jamaica National office in Spanish Town. He pulled up across the street and as Donna walked towards the car and rolled down the window her immediate response was “Damn! He's a fine-looking black guy!”

We greeted each other with a handshake and set off to the country. The long drive had us talking about youth leadership highs and lows and what it was like to be a young Seventh-Day Adventist Christian. I find it very funny every time I say it, but the street meeting was held in front of a Sports Bar & Exotic Club called Marque, which was closed at the time.

“It was the first time hearing this powerful man of God speak and I was like, what a powerhouse! So I could say I met my husband in front of a Sports Bar & Exotic Club, but how judgmental that would sound if the full details were not shared!

“We took the long route back, and being the gentleman that he is, he offered to take me to Linstead instead of leaving me in Spanish Town to take a taxi home. That of course was his way of prolonging our conversation. He tried to invite me out about four times after that but I turned him down flat. His persistance would pay off and we eventually went out. I was very clear, however, that it was not a date and he shouldn't think it was. Things progressed and I got to learn more about this lovely man and I later agreed to give the relationship a try,” Donna shared.

The proposal, as told by Donna…

Dwayne proposed to me on a rainy afternoon at Caymanas Golf & Country Club. He was scheduled to leave the island for school and I had planned a dinner for the two us before his departure. I called Caymanas Golf & Country Club and booked dinner for two. Dwayne travelled all the way from Portmore to my family house in Point Hill, St Catherine, to pick me up. My entire family was on the island at the time, including my amazing mom, for my aunt's funeral and they debated over what I should wear to dinner. They were so excited. It rained like crazy but my gentle giant didn't allow that to deter him. We got to Caymanas and enjoyed a delicious meal. The picture-crazy person that I am wanted to capture the moment at such a beautiful place. A caddy offered to take the pictures for us (not knowing when I slipped out to the restroom that Dwayne ran outside to set the whole thing up). I was a tad hesitant as I did not know him, but I agreed. My earlier doubts were soon allayed as we took pictures at different spots on the property. I then got excited when I saw the green (the golf course) and with much excitement asked if we could take pictures there and I got a satisfying “Yes, sure thing”. I was ahead of Dwayne with excitement and was like “D, we have to do something fun and exciting for these pictures on the golf course.” Photo after photo was taken and he was like, my time now. Not realising what was happening he held my hand facing me but I was so into taking pictures that I didn't notice what was about to happen. I was like “D, turn around and smile for the camera nuh.” He did not turn and I was like “look how you spoil the picture”. Turning to face him I realised he was going down on one knee. “Sweets, I love you so much” and the last few words... “would you make me the happiest man and marry me?” Shocked, I blurted out, “Are you for real?”... he was like “Yes, I am for real, I love you so so much”.


The ceremony…

The exchange of vows took place on the manicured lawns of the Caymanas Golf & Country Club, St Catherine, which were beautifully decorated with a white wedding arch draped with crystal curtains, silver Chiavari chairs with white cushions complemented with royal blue chair sash and white carpet runner. The gorgeous bridesmaids made their way up the aisle to Major's This is Why I Love You, dressed in royal blue A-line lace chiffon floor length dresses. They were escorted by dapper groomsmen in classic fit dark grey suits. At the altar stood the handsome bridegroom in a classic fit soft blue suit by Sean John. To the strains of Marry Your Daughter by Brian McKnight the bride made her way up the aisle escorted by her father Donald Bartley. She was a vision of loveliness in a jewel cap-sleeved beaded bodice illusion neck satin trumpet gown from David's Bridal, Atlanta. In her hand she clutched a bouquet of blush roses hand-tied with a royal blue ribbon designed by Nishy.

The ceremony, which included a sand ceremony to symbolise unity, was officiated by pastors Everett Smith, Lorenzo King and Orlando Powell.

The reception…

The reception was held in the clubhouse of the Caymanas Golf & Country Club. Guided by master of ceremonies Dwight Moore, the bridal party made their entrance to Christina Perri's A Thousand Years, followed by the newly-weds who danced in to the music of The One He Kept for Me by Maurette Brown Clark, cheered on by friends and family.

Post-formalities, guests enjoyed a sumptuous three-course meal and witnessed the cutting of the four-tiered wedding fruitcake created by Veronica and Brittney Hughes. It was truly an occasion to remember.

The honeymoon…

The lovebirds honeymooned at Jewel Paradise Cove Resort and Span, Runaway Bay, St Ann.




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