Fashion designer Rochele Spencer created a modern mood board for her wedding to Dale Gayle, account executive, Rainforest Caribbean, on July 21. The tranquil gardens of the Manchester Horticultural Society was the venue of choice.
"I met Dale on Facebook in 2008," shared Rochele with Tuesday Style Vows (TSV). "We became friends on the app and interacted for a while then moved our conversations over to MSN Messenger where we spoke intermittently." It wasn't until September of 2009 before they finally met in person at a small fetê at her school.
"I was a second-year student at UTech (University of Technology) and he was employed at the Firearm Licensing Authority at that time. We immediately clicked after that first meeting and were inseparable thereafter. We became parents in 2015 to an adorable baby girl who we called Madison. From there we dated on and off over the years. We were mostly off but maintained a healthy co-parenting relationship. Although we loved each other deeply, the timing just never felt right. We reunited a year-and-a-half ago, decided it was our time now and here we are today."
Indeed, and with the back story out of the way, Rochele was eager to share how, in her words, "the super charmer" Dale pulled it off...
"Imagine expecting another regular day of going to your favourite restaurant for a routine Sunday brunch, and leaving as a bride-to-be!
"Our favourite restaurant for brunch on a Sunday is Broken Plate. My sister was visiting from Canada for the holidays and I really wanted to take her there. We confirmed Sunday, January, 9, to go with a small group consisting of my mum, my sisters, our daughter and my nephew. Dale invited his mum, stepdad and his close friend at the last minute, but I didn't think anything of it. I was just excited to be going to brunch.
We were seated on the outside terrace and he went inside and our daughter Madison followed. I still didn't think anything of it. My daughter came out and placed what looked like dessert in front of me but when I looked closer I saw a ring, I turned around and Dale was getting down on one knee. At that very moment, I was beyond shocked and happy."
Even though the proposal came as a surprise, Rochele admitted to having her dream wedding in mind. She chuckles as she confesses: "The wedding was nothing like the original plan. We had initially secured a venue for a large beach wedding in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, but due to unforeseen challenges that plan was scrapped. All of this happened in May, two months before the wedding! It made no sense to panic. I prayed, pivoted and called on my network of family and friends."
"The gorgeous venue we used, Manchester Horticultural Society, was suggested by a friend of mine and with the help of wedding planner Janet Fisher of Events by JanYve, my parents, immediate family members, close friends and best friend Peta-Gaye Melinette, we made it happen.
"I was very happy with this venue because it is beautiful in a mythical storybook kind of way and I didn't want to take too much away from that so I went with the softest blush and rustic elements, complemented with hints of white, pine green and gold. When I gave the wedding planner my vision, she immediately understood exactly what I wanted and her execution far exceeded my imagination and expectations," Rochele enthused.
Having to make changes to her wedding plans which included reducing the guest list from 150 to 40 was not very much of a bother to this thoroughly modern bride, as resorting to a more intimate wedding setting turned out to be something she never knew she needed. "A lot of what I did was non-traditional," she expressed. "I got ready at home in my apartment; I wanted to feel comfortable. I even requested that the photographer not be present for my 'get ready process.' Being in the comfort of my home getting ready afforded solace as I was a nervous wreck.
"I pulled on my make-up artistry skills and I did my make-up (many don't know this but I'm a certified make-up artist). My cousin, hairstylist and owner of Serene Beauty Suite Yaneek Facey flew down from Florida to style my hair.
"For the wedding proceedings, we signed our marriage certificate at home and then headed to the venue for our nuptials. We didn't want bridesmaids or groomsmen. Our daughter Madison was the flower girl, our mothers followed and then my father walked me up the aisle. Walking up the aisle was amazing; the ambience, my father cracking jokes in my ear, seeing those closest to us, the sound of the birds chirping and the sight of the majestic bamboo trees, was breathtaking. It was the kind of setting I never knew I needed, from décor, to cake, to catering."
Rochele's rustic yet sophisticated wedding theme was complemented by a minimalistic coconut creme cake from Voilà by Lilee and the eclectic fare of Kingston-based eatery Broken Plate.
Last, but certainly not least, the wedding dress. "My dress was finished the week before my wedding by myself and my very close friend and fellow fashion designer Soshorna Henry of Renasci Designs. I searched for inspiration for months but for some reason I just couldn't envision myself on the day in a traditional white dress. I knew I wanted something simple with a wow factor! I found it in an effortless column silhouette. The fabric was the perfect blend of gold, nude and bronze with the right amount of sparkle. I purchased the fabric from another fashion designer friend and crystal gown extraordinaire Kamar Porter of Kayture Stylings. Soshorna and I constructed the dress within two days. Everything used to make my dress was sourced here in Jamaica. My friends Peta Gaye and Tapper helped with the dressing. It was perfect and exactly how I wanted it."
Whilst the Gayles didn't have a destination wedding, jetting to the States was definitely in their books for the honeymoon. When asked about the honeymoon celebration, Rochele told TSV, "My husband loves sports and we are both adventurous. So I chose a wedding date that would enable us to go see a Chelsea vs Arsenal match as he is a huge Chelsea fan. We flew to the US, dropped our daughter off with family and enjoyed a road trip to Orlando. I'm not into sports as much but a match of that magnitude is an experience I think everyone should try at least once. We are very spontaneous so we didn't plan specific activities. We did so much exploring in Orlando, which included a new experience: jetskiing.