From atop the majestic Rosehall hills overlooking the alluring blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, the evening remained unusually still, as if out of respect for the solemnity of the occasion and a duty to provide a picture-perfect backdrop for the wedding of Courtnay Patterson and Javaughn Thorpe.
All that unrehearsed bliss, the incessant laughter of wedding guests, and the captivating handsomeness of bride and groom must have been too much for Annie Palmer, the fabled white witch of Rosehall and previous owner of the infamous, centuries-old St James property where the nuptials were unfolding.
The wedding theme #CourtedByThorpe chosen by Courtnay and her eventual bridesmaids, if creative, hardly tells the whole story of how this marriage came to be on April 28, 2023 — a date she picked because “I did not want an odd number”.
It is Javaughn, an accounting officer at Kingston Wharves Limited, who remembers all the big and little details, all the important dates, all the likes and dislikes of Courtnay, an attorney who is assistant manager, group legal, trust and corporate services at Sagicor Group.
It began for them in September 2011 at a career expo at the University of Technology Jamaica (UTech) where, as students — she at St Andrew High School for Girls and he at Kingston College — they were introduced by a mutual friend, Romier McCarthy, later to be a groomsman.
“I had just moved to Kingston from Montego Bay and I wanted to make friends,” recalls Courtnay. “After we were introduced we talked a lot and I found our conversations very engaging. He was easy to talk to and there was no pressure for a relationship.
“For me, it was all innocent and platonic. I remember telling him, ‘I hope you find someone who matches your energy’.”
Javaughn had previously been given an earful about this girl Courtnay, which was followed up with the intro at UTech. “That same night she surprisingly messaged me saying ‘hi’. It was like a gift that God had dropped at my feet,” says the smitten Javaughn.
“We spoke everyday for weeks and I confided in my friends that I was interested in a long-term relationship with her although I did not tell her at the time. Another guy had an interest in her and it took me a while to do so. But I was determined that I had to get to her first.”
The friends drifted away from each other and after a year met literally by accident. Courtnay learnt by Twitter that Javaughn had been in a motor vehicle crash, reached out to him, and their daily conversations resumed. Plus more.
Javaughn told himself that if their relationship was to resume, he wanted nothing less than to marry her, and he did not want it to reach the two-year landmark before they began to plan for those eventualities.
Even as Javaughn was being encouraged by his close guy friends to pop the question, Courtnay and her close girlfriends were having conversations about marrying Javaughn. Of course, without each other knowing.
Javaughn began shopping for a ring online. With the assistance of Courtnay’s close friend Ebun Akinladejo, he found one that delighted him, purchased it and had it shipped to Tara-Gayle Allen, a mutual friend living in Miramar, Florida, and her eventual maid-of-honour. The die was cast.
As Courtnay recalls it: “We were at the Ocean Coral Spring Resort in Trelawny. On Sunday evening, November 7, 2021, I received instructions to make myself ready at 5:00 pm. I was not told for what. A staff member came for me, blindfolded me and took me downstairs. I still had no idea what was happening.
I went along for the ride.
“Later I was told that it would be a photo shoot. At the location Javaughn appeared with a photographer and reminded me that it was the 10th anniversary of our relationship. There was more [of the] photo shoot at a second location and at a third.
“That is where Javaughn proposed to me. I remember that it was raining. There was a big ‘Will you marry me’ sign and in the background our favourite song, One and Only by Adele, was playing. He popped the question and I said ‘yes’.”
On wedding day at the White Witch Golf Course, the laughter and goodwill of family and friends of the couple permeated the atmosphere. The lovely bride wore a Maggie Sottero dress purchased at Brides of Florida.
Officiant Rev Herbert Redway kept the proceedings, including a sand ceremony, lively and apace, as did master of ceremonies Damion Austin. Truly, it could be said that wedding planner Shevanise Lee outdid herself. Krafted by Design was responsible for the exquisite décor.
Group dance song: Happiness by Ding Dong