It has been over six and a half years since I’ve moved to Jamaica. During that time I have attended more funerals than I care to think about, but not one wedding. Perhaps I am at that stage in life where all those around me are moving on to the other side and not down the matrimonial aisle. On December 18th, my wife and I finally attended our first Jamaican wedding. This was not one of those society weddings you see pictured in newspapers. It wasn’t even a middle class affair. This was a wedding, a simple but beautiful wedding. But just because there weren’t paparazzi shooting pictures all over the church doesn’t mean it wasn’t just as grand as someone’s on the society pages.
Barrington and Claudia met at church. Each has been active in the church for many years. I first met them when my wife and I were directors for the church’s outreach program. They were volunteers who bagged flour, rice, and other food items for distribution to one of the poorer inner city communities. And they are still active today.
As they were making plans for their big day, it was decided they wanted more than a handful of relatives and friends to witness their special union. Therefore, their wedding date was set several months in the future. Like most couples getting married, they wanted everything to be just perfect. This meant a lot of planning. To do this, they would both have to set aside the funds to make this happen.
As you can see in the pictures, the church was decorated quite elegantly. Plants, flowers and balloons were strategically placed around the sanctuary. The reception was at the far end of the sanctuary where tables were set up in typical banquet style. The wedding cake was a three-tiered Jamaican Christmas cake. Quite appropriate for this time of year.
The service was conducted by Pastor Mary Wildish of Trumpet Call Ministries International, located on the shores of Montego Bay. There were over fifty relatives and friends to witness the vows between Barrington and Claudia. The ring bearer, Enroy, and flower girl, Shanice, are Claudia’s children. The bride was given away by her brother, while the best man was Barrington’s good friend. In addition, Claudia had two bridesmaids and Barrington had two groomsmen.
The bride and groom seemed to be a little nervous but the ceremony ran smoothly. It was nice the bride and groom used a microphone so we could hear them exchanging their vows. Then, Pastor Mary had some very special words for the newlyweds to practice to ensure their love and happiness until death do them part. Following the vows, it was the photographer’s turn to take all the various pictures of the wedding party. Have you ever noticed the photo sessions seem to take as long as the ceremony itself? It was true in this case also.
The reception was typical of those I had attended in the states. There was the traditional toast by the best man, cutting of the cake, and throwing of the bouquet. Can you see in the picture of the bouquet being thrown that only one woman was interested in catching it and very exuberantly?
A couple of weeks after the wedding, my wife and I had Barrington and family over for a Sunday dinner. It was during this visit that we were saddened to hear the eroding world economy had left them both without sources of income. They are each hard working people who have faith in God that He will open doors of opportunity very soon and they will prosper. Our prayers go with them as they start off their new life together. Later…