Barbara Ellington, Public Affairs Editor
The much-needed showers came as the bride arrived in a white 1957 convertible Thunderbird from the collection of former custos of Manchester Dr Gilbert Allen.
Guests waiting patiently at the picturesque Bellefield Great House and Gardens in Montego Bay simply reached for their umbrellas for the July 26, nuptials.
For the couple, Gabrielle Wildes and Teko Bailey, the showers were heaven's way of rejoicing for them.
In the summer of 2009 I first saw Gabrielle. She was attending a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) event at the campus in MoBay. At that time I really didn't know her, she was simply another person attending.
Then in 2010, she did one of the courses in YWAM called a Discipleship Training School (DTS), that went on for six months and her outreach (field assignment) took her to Gambia, West Africa. "During this time I got to know her a little more, but still wasn't interested in a relationship. Interes-tingly, I remember us being on the same team as we did street side ministry for the Cruise with a Cause initiative, which took place in Jamaica in 2011, but, still, nothing.
"After completing her DTS course, she decided she wanted to learn more of YWAM's opportunities, this time, it would take her to India to explore the performing arts. She always had a passion for India. She returned to Jamaica and decided to serve for several months in the Communications Department at YWAM; I was part of that team.
"During this time, I really got to know her. I saw how she dressed every morning as she came to work, how she spoke, and what I liked most about her was that she had a heart after God and could get the job done, whatever it was. She was the best teammate you could ever ask for in any game or relationship.
"Though I admired all these things about her and more, it was still simply a friendship. I was very much myself and so was she. I was actually dating a German girl at the time, but after a while, that never really worked out.
"Then around May 2012, I went back to West Africa to serve both in Sierra Leone, and The Gambia. It was during this time that I really began praying and saying to God that I really needed a wife. I was simply tired of travelling the world alone. I saw others in the airports with wives or girlfriends, but none for me. I thought, 'God, what's your problem, I need a wife too'!
"Not long after praying consistently for several nights, He opened my eyes to Gabrielle. It's as if I was blind all this time. She was always right there, right in front of my eyes! I just didn't see. I was searching all around the world for someone to join me in all the Lord had called me to, but didn't realise she was right at home.
"Feeling settled in my spirit about the matter I sent her what I though was a mild email letting her know that I was interested in getting to know her more (she says it wasn't quite as mild as I make it sound ... lol ...). It took a while for her to respond, so I sent her another email, you know, just to make sure she got the first one.
"She responded and said, "Like Job, I too am waiting to hear form God." With those few words, I knew she was the one. The emails continued and we connected with each other on my return to the island, just in time to celebrate Jamaica's 50th.
"A few weeks passed and I decided to speak with her parents about pursuing (courting) her. They gave us their blessings.
"Fast-forwarding to Kona, January 2014. I was already in Hawaii, serving at the YWAM campus when Gabrielle came over to continue her understudy of YWAM in pastoral care and human resource management. As we spent more time together, I knew the relationship was now at the place to 'seal the deal'.
As Gabrielle's grandfather (Papa) says, 'long sickness bring death, and long courting bring shame'! So I decided to call her parents and ask if they would give me her hand in marriage. It was a bit of a shock, but they said, yes.
"It was now up to me to pop the question. Like all women, Gabrielle knew there was something fishy going on, but I had to keep a tight lid on it. I arranged with my Korean photographer friend, Chris Han, that we would go to a nice place close to the beach to do a photo shoot, one that Gabrielle long awaited.
"While she focused on taking the pictures, I popped out the ring and said, 'Gabrielle Wildes, will you marry me? She was shocked, covering her face with her hands back and forth in disbelief. She had no clue what to do with herself, she didn't even remember how to respond for a moment. Then, finally, she said, YES! I went down on my knees and as the rain drizzled, I placed the lovely pearl ring on her finger."
Both bride and groom are missionaries with YWAM, so it was not surprising that their big day was shared with members of that organisation from Jamaica and abroad. It was also not surprising that the groom chose an Indian-inspired cream suit, featuring a long brocade jacket, matching pants and shoes that were to die for, from his global travels. He, however, did not eclipse his bride, whose white spaghetti-strap gown featured a fitted bodice and flared skirt lavishly decorated with beads and rhinestones and complemented by a cathedral-length train.
The bride went up the white bougainvillea-lined cut-stone walkway on the lawns of the property on the arm of her dad, Horace Wildes, to the strains of India Arie's Moved by You, and the ceremony, officiated by Pastor Wayne Palmer, included communion for the couple and lighting the unity candles.
For the reception, everyone retired to the rear lawns of the great house to a huge, white tent that was superbly decorated by Regna McClurkin and her team from For This Cause.
They chose shades of white, cream, silver and grey. Tables for eight bore huge arrangements of white carnations and rosebuds and the cream linen napkins embroidered with the letter 'B' held a note inviting guests to take them home as a gift from the couple.
The fun-filled reception was made that more special by mistress of ceremonies Marion Jacobs, who took the couple through a fact-finding game to see just how well they knew each other. She also worked the tables as she hand-picked guests to tell all they knew about the new Mr and Mrs Bailey. The ceremony culminated with bride and groom opening the dance floor.