The breathtaking and serene atmosphere at the Scot Kirk Church, downtown Kingston set the tone for the nuptial between Olympian champion Aleen Bailey and former American football player Joseph Taylor on Saturday, November 11, 2023. The church's interior was stunning, embellished with exquisite stained-glass windows, polished wooden pews and other classic furnishings. Some may say, the date of the nuptial was a perfect alignment with the angels above 11.11 because the intensity of the love that was felt between the couple could not be ignored. It was raw and authentic - a sign of spiritual connection with a soulmate.
The gathering at the church was small and intimate. In pews sat many a familiar face: local celebs and Olympians.
Aleen and Joseph met in a lighthearted and unexpected way. Aleen works at the Marriott Hotel. Her job allows her to meet new people every day. In August 2022, Joseph came by the hotel on business and the moment he waved at her she knew he was the one. "He asked me for a tweezer," Aleen shared, smiling. However, Joseph dreamily spoke about strategising his first move with Aleen. He said, "I wasn't looking for a Cinderella to fit in a glass shoe but for someone to hold and love, I was looking for your heart". Just over a year later, their fairy tale came true. Without a fairy grandmother or the clock striking at midnight, Joseph and Aleen had found forever love.
The memorable day was planned by Carla Peterkin of Events & More. The Bruno Mars song I Think I Wanna Marry You signalled the arrival of the bridal party beautifully clothed in shades of blue.
Aleen was a picture of beauty and poise in a stunning three-layer blue and white ombre effect gown designed by DrennaLuna and executed by Romario Clarke of Yolvinta. She was escorted up the aisle by businessman and family friend Timothy Spencer. The bride serenaded her groom with a rendition of Shania Twain's song, From This Moment. Her bridegroom, dapper in a suit by The Modern Groom, found it difficult to hold his emotions in check as Aleen's voice filled the church.
The officiating Ministers were Rev Nigel Pusey and Minister Zara Northover, a former Olympian, shot putter. Rev Nigel Pusey commenced with prayers for the couple, while Minister Zara's message focused on the light, energy, stability and love the couple represented. She said, "you didn't think we would marry these two former stand out athletes in football and track and field without acknowledging how sports and God played and still plays a major role in their lives."
The ceremony was short and filled with meaningful and enjoyable moments. After the couple exchanged their vows to breathe, to dance, to be goofy and to be their whole selves , Minister Zara blessed the rings. In her best Jamaican accent, Minister Zara instructed to "put it on!" to the delight of the guests, the couple made their way to the registry.
While the maid of honour Soyini Thompson, and best man, Damon Cary, witnessed the signing of the registry, guests enjoyed the beautiful singing of Sharee Elise and KMRE, who performed The Closer I Get to You and Maxi Priest's God Watches Over Us.
Minister Zara felt inclined to pray again for the couple and both ministers blessed the happy union, followed by the couple's exit as they danced to the McFadden and Whitehead classic Aint no Stopping Us Now.
The reception followed by the poolside of the ROK Hotel, and featured a buffet-style set-up by award-winning Executive Chef Volae Williams.
Ed Barnes, affectionately called "Uncle Ed" by Aleen who handled the formalities had the guest in peals of laughter.
As Beres Hammond's Rock Away played, the bridal party entered the room with vibrancy and excitement. Not to be outdone, the couple entered the room on the same energy to Shaggy and Tessane's Never Let Me Go.
It was evident that the guests were ready to party. DJ Berry played some popular Jamaican 90's hits and the guests were busy showing off their dance moves.
The wedding cake was crafted by Angelie Spencer and the family's love was palpable in the heartfelt toast and speeches. Timothy Spencer toasted the newly-weds while the groom was toastedby best man, Damon Creary.
The happy couple will wait until sometime next year to enjoy their honeymoon in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai.
Aleen May Bailey landed another gold medal but this time not on the track but with her forever companion, Joseph Leon Taylor.