Five couples say 'I do' in mass wedding
On Sunday, the Bog Walk Assemblies of the First Born Church in St Catherine was packed to capacity with guests who turned up to witness the unusual sight of five couples getting married in the same ceremony.
The church's pastor, Courtney Burke, explained that all the couples were members of the church, who had been together for some time, but they were unable to get married, mainly because of financial reasons.
"A lot of them were living with their partner. We decided to see how as a church, we could join them, and we came up with the idea of one big wedding, and they bought into it," Burke explained, adding that the church financed the bulk of the costs and was integral in the planning of the ceremony.
Before the beautiful brides arrived, their proud grooms gave THE STAR a synopsis of their unions. The stories were as colourful as the ceremony.
Chevon Anderson, a 22-year-old sales clerk, said he met Latoya Broomfield, also 22, on Facebook, and though their relationship was only six months old, he said it felt like they had been together for a long time.
"When I finally met her in person, she was even more beautiful. I watch her heart and her love for me, and I love her for that," Anderson said.
Uvel Bailey, a 48-year-old farmer and construction worker, shared that he fell in love with Aneisha Traile, 28, on one of his construction sites after seeing how well she treated her male friend.
"Me say I would love to get a lady to take care of me like that, and I approached her," Bailey recalled. The two have been together for eight years and have two children.
Also a construction worker, 32-year-old Junior Brown told THE STAR that he loves and respects 37-year old Flavia Brown because she is very caring.
"You need someone wha really a go look out fi you inna you good times and you bad times. She's always there for me," Brown said. They have one child and have been together for three years.
Though their relationship is a only a year old, Paul Hibbert, 45, said it feels like he has been with Carlene Johnson, 35, for many years.
The two met while they were selling at the annual fireworks in Ewarton, St Catherine. "It was like she was an angel from Heaven come down to me as a gift," he recalled.
He added that he had much to be thankful for as he suffered a stroke three months prior and was not able to walk until their special day.
Also thankful was Dwayne Wilson, a 34-year-old welder, who finally wedded Nicole Sharpe, 35, after an 18-year-long relationship.
"We met at a party. Her figure was nice. Every time me see her, it's like me stutter, until eventually, me build up the courage to talk to her," Wilson said.
The ceremony proceeded based on alphabetical order. The blushing brides marched one behind the other to the cheers of excited guests and were greeted at the altar by their grooms.
The ceremony was officiated by the Reverend Joseph Rose, who spoke about the seriousness of marriage before having the couples exchange wows.
The couples then took turns signing the marriage registry, and some church members used the opportunity to showcase their talent, singing love songs, much to the enjoyment of the guests.
At the end, all five couples kissed simultaneously, to 'Oohs!' from the guests.
Burke said he hopes to have another mass wedding in the future.