VOWS: To Have & To Hold
Their jobs played a decisive role in the romance between Althea Bryan, managing director of Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours Ltd, and Orlando Dawkins of Jamaica Tours Ltd. The scenic tours that they planned for their respective clients foreshadowed the journey they would eventually make to the altar on August 13, 2016. Vows fills you in.
The initial encounter..
In 2010, Orlando was entrusted with the task of assessing Althea’s company as a tourist attraction. Althea made several attempts to reach him to have the evaluation done, but was unsuccessful. “He took an extremely long time to respond to me, but when he finally did, and drove to Ocho Rios, an instant connection was made between us,” she shared. Althea did not hide her feelings for Orlando: “She kept calling constantly for no reason, which made me realise she was on to something, and I was too,” he said. After many calls, strings of exchanged text messages, and several “business” meetings, the duo decided to start dating. Their first date was at Spring Gardens Seafood and Steakhouse in Ocho Rios, and from that moment the courtship officially began.
The subject of marriage kept cropping up over the next four years, during which they professed their undying love for each other and their mutual desire to spend the rest of their lives together. Choosing the right moment to pop the question was important for Orlando. While vacationing for their birthdays during November of 2014 in Manhattan, New York, Orlando decided to purchase the ring and conceal it in anticipation of the right moment. One November evening, while at home with Althea’s family, he suddenly got down on one knee, ready to propose in full view of everyone. Although Althea and her family were completely caught off guard, they screamed “YES” in unison before Orlando could even get the words out.
The wedding festivities began with a bachelor party held in Cuba for the groom and his closest friends, while the bride and her attendants had a week of activities starting with a private dinner, golfing at Sandals Golf and Country Club and a spa getaway at Sandals Royal Plantation. The couple, the bridal party, family and friends all came together to end the pre-wedding celebration with a smashing booze cruise after their final wedding rehearsal.
The team at BJ’s Bridal Fantasies created a scene of seaside elegance by decorating the boardwalk of Kimono’s Pier, Sandals Ocho Rios, in red and white. An aisle was created to resemble a red carpet, engraved with the words, “Today I marry my best friend”. Guests were greeted with favours: sunglasses, medieval-style fans and customised bottles of water. The bridesmaids made their way up the aisle to One Republic’s
Beethoven’s Five Secretsdressed in glamorous scarlet V-neck halter gowns from David’s Bridal’s New York, while maid of honour Carela Graham made her own statement in a bedazzled neckline scarlet gown from Emmanuelle Boutique. They were escorted by the dapper groomsmen, attired in black two-piece suits and scarlet bow ties from BJ’s Bridal Fantasies. The strains of Christina Perri’sA Thousand Years cued the bride’s entrance as she made her way up the aisle in a champagne-coloured Larissa fit and flare satin gown with a halter neckline of intricate crystal beading on AlenÃ§Âon lace by Mori Lee. She was escorted by her father Winston Dennis and her son Donovan Bryan. An eager groom waited at the altar decked in a fossil grey three-piece suit accented by a polka-dot necktie designed by Vinroy Eccleston. His father, Lee-Bert Dawkins, was the ceremony’s officiant.
The reception took place on the beach property of Sandals Resorts, Ocho Rios. Members of the bridal party arrived to the music of Major Lazer featuring Ellie Goulding and Tarrus Riley’s
Powerful while the newly-weds entered to Tarrus Riley’sSomething Strong. The team at BJ’s Bridal decorated the space, again following the theme of red and white draperies. After welcoming the guests, Emcee Orlando Williams invited them to be seated as he directed the couple to the dance floor where they then shared their first dance as husband and wife to Anthony Hamilton’sCan’t Let Go. Highlights of the night included the bride’s garter being thrown on a customised American football for the next single man to catch, while her bouquet, made of white roses and calla lilies, was encased in a 12 x 12 fibreglass box, and keys were randomly handed to the single women for the person with the matching key to cop the bride’s bouquet. The evening also included toasts to the newly-weds and the cutting of a three-tiered chocolate-fruit flavoured butter cream iced cake by Sandals Resorts in-house bakery. Formalities over, guests enjoyed a scrumptious three-course meal catered by Sandals Resorts, and danced the night away with tunes spun by DJ Exroy of Sandals Resorts. The couple honeymooned where they were wed at Sandals Ochi.