“Our relationship started when we were both attending St Mary’s College,” Tuesday Style Vows (TSV) was told by Shanay Jenkins. “Nicholas Surgeon was a high-ranking member of the cadet team and I was in search of a club that would have some positive impact on my development whilst having fun.”
She didn’t have to look far! She’d found the right club complete with a friend. “We would have lunch together, he would walk me to classes, and would always ensure that he was the one to train me whenever the opportunity arose. He’d often quip, “I see potential in you, and I want you to be just like me or better’.” Right there and then she declared him a keeper!
“Every summer and Christmas break we would attend cadet camps at different schools across the island. I remember the first camp he asked me to be his date for the ball. I told him yes, but ended up going with another friend. He was visibly upset but in the end, we all had a good night.
“I was always his sounding board. Whenever he was about to start a new relationship he’d ask my advice. One of the last camps we went on together he sent me an SMS, saying, ‘No matter what, we will always be BFFs.” I agreed, clueless that our relationship would soon change.
“At his graduation, which I attended as a prefect, I realised while singing the national anthem and, as tears flowed freely down my cheeks, that my best friend was going away and how much I’d miss him. When he started sixth form at another school, we would talk on free nights every night until they stole his phone and things became distant.
“A year later he would surprise me at my graduation. You could say that this was the turning point in our relationship. We started dating. The fact that we were attending separate universities did not deter our relationship. We found ways to maintain our relationship.
I remember days when we didn’t have lunch money, his mother would get up early in the morning and cook curried goat and white rice to ensure we had a substantial meal. Oftentimes we’d consume it all before classes commenced. Most Friday evenings we’d enjoy our little cheap dates and enjoy ourselves as much as possible.
“In 2018 we both went on a work and travel programme and had so much fun. I remember one day, for example, it was his day off, so when I burst [through] the door I saw him sweating so hard. He was trying to make fried dumplings but they came out wrong. We laughed and ending up both cooking dinner that night together.”
By the end of the year, on New Year’s Eve in fact, came the proposal at Sovereign Centre with her sister, nephew, and two of his friends in tow. “We were all having ice cream, talking and laughing when Nicholas went quiet. I turned around to see him on one knee about to pop the big question. I said, ‘Yes!’ And that was the beginning of great things!”
Indeed, by 2019 Nicholas had completed studies at UTech and was called by the Jamaica Defence Force for interviews and to face a selection board. He was accepted. Shanay hosted a small surprise send-off party for him knowing that they’d be separated and incommunicado for one long year.
Upon completion of his international training, he returned to Jamaica.
Their son Daniel was born in September 2020. It was a difficult time but they pushed through, confident that better days were ahead. They were. In September 2021 Nicholas got a promotion. A wedding date was set for April 2022.
The ceremony took place inside the main hall at the Medallion Hall Hotel, where Webster McPherson and his team from Dream Wedding Services and Décor used shades of turquoise and red with hints of gold to create the perfect setting.
To Tarrus Riley’s She’s Royal, Shanay commenced her walk up the aisle on the arm of dad Oral Gayle. She was poised and flashed a beautiful smile, confident that her white off-the-shoulder gown with beads — a gift from the bridegroom’s mum — perfectly complemented her husband-to-be’s ceremonial dress.
The ceremony, which was officiated by Pastor Aldwin Gidden, included a sand ceremony and the Arch of Sabres, a military wedding tradition in which sabres or swords are used to salute newly-weds.
The reception continued inside the Rio Grande Hall at the same location, where MC Dave Reid welcomed guests ahead of the arrival of the bridal party to Master KG’s Jerusalema featuring Nomcebo, followed by the newly-weds to Romain Virgo’s Good Woman.
Dinner, catered by Dream Wedding Services and Décor left guests satiated and ready for the toasts.
Maid of honour Shaneece Marks raised a toast to the bride, best man Damane Henry to the groom, family friend Angilisa Chambers to the bride’s mother, and toasting the groom’s parents was the groom’s sister, Katanya Campbell. The groom’s mother gave an emotional speech via Zoom.
The cutting of the wedding cake with the groom’s sword, followed by the couple’s first dance as husband and wife to Dolly Parton’s Islands In the Stream brought the formalities to a close and afforded the newly-weds the opportunity to mingle and thank their guests ahead of departing for their honeymoon at SeaGarden Beach Resort, Montego Bay.