Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Love at first sound - Mission accomplished

Published:Monday | May 9, 2016 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson
The newlyweds bask in their love, as they start a new chapter as husband and wife.
Seal it with a kiss: a classic look for the happily married couple.
Sisterly love: Brittney Robotham (left) helps to get her little sister Cataleya Phillips ready to walk the aisle as the flower girl.
The happily blended family. From left: Malik Phillips, Brittney Robotham, the groom and bride, Seanece, Shaneille and Cataleya Phillips.
Walking to meet her groom, the beautiful bride glowed with every strut.
Taking their first walk as husband and wife, the newlyweds are cheered on by mother of the bride Muriel Lewis (left), sister of the groom Joan Sharpe, and best man Courtney Wilkinson looking on in approval.
The newlyweds are pictured in paradise, with the ocean as the perfect backdrop.
The bride being walked up the aisle by her uncle Lascelles Sinclair.
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When describing initial signs of attraction, many couples trace the origins back to love at first sight. But for O'Neil Phillips, his encounter with Judith Thompson was love at first sound.

The two met 15 years ago through a mutual friend, over the phone. As O'Neil told Flair: "I was living in California at the time and had been looking for love in Jamaica. When I spoke to Judith for the first time, we clicked. Our conversations were never-ending, like taking up a good book to read and not being able to put it down. They were nice,

comfortable, exciting and addictive. I found myself looking forward to speaking to her every day."

For Judith, the feelings were mutual but she had a secret. "The friend that we had in common actually told me that a friend of hers was going to call her, and that when he did, if I could answer the phone and pretend to be Stacy* because it was just not working out between the real Stacy and O'Neil. I found the request strange, but played along anyway."

 

CAUGHT BY LOVE

 

He asked why she hadn't been answering his calls and Judith, aka Stacy, said her phone was out of service and proceeded to give him another number - her own number.

She kept up this alias act for quite some time, three months to be exact, but discovered in the process that the mission had been compromised - she was falling in love. "I couldn't take it anymore and I came clean, confessing that my name wasn't Stacy, it was Judith," she revealed.

She thought it would've been over then, but after the initial shock, things went back to normal. "He said he was glad I had told him now rather than later. I guess you could say my friend played cupid without even knowing it," she added.

They spoke about four times every day. A year later, Judith received a call that changed everything. "When I answered the phone I heard his voice, but saw that the call was coming from a Jamaican number. I quickly asked if he was here, to which he replied, 'yes'. He then wrapped up the call by saying, 'I'll see you at 8 p.m.'".

Judith, who considered herself a "hot mess" at the time, immediately booked her hairdresser, who worked her magic.

O'Neil told Flair that when he finally met her in person, it was electric. "I was drawn to her energy and her beauty right away." For Judith, when she saw him she realised that he was the man for her.

 

Long distance

 

They remained strong in their long-distance relationship, each travelling frequently to make it work. But in 2008, O'Neil said enough was enough, he couldn't deal with the distance any more and decide to move back home to Jamaica. "When you are with the one, you just make that decision to jump - without a parachute - and do what you have to do, knowing that what is meant to be will be," O'Neil noted.

They both had children before they met, but Judith wanted one more with the love of her life. When he moved back to Jamaica, she told him that she was giving him a baby for his 50th birthday. Their beautiful daughter was born one day after his 50th birthday. They lived happily together for eight years with their beautifully blended family, until O'Neil decided it was time to make it legal.

 

Birthday Proposal

 

Since O'Neil and Judith were far from conventional, it wasn't surprising that they had two proposals one private and one public. The former took place during dinner at Spanish Court's Rojo restaurant. According to Judith, "We were having dinner on his birthday and suddenly he stopped eating, got up, went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!" But, there was no ring. So, on Judith's grand 40th birthday celebrations, he decided to repropose during the speech segment of the evening, going down on one knee with a ring and asked again if she would marry him. With all the screams surrounding her, she said yes once more.

 

Beach Wedding

 

O'Neil wanted to provide a fairy-tale wedding for his queen. It would unfold at sunset with the beautiful Caribbean Sea as the backdrop, followed by a reception, and dancing under the stars on April 2. The couple chose Sandals Resorts, which made all their nuptial dreams a reality. The wedding was beautifully themed with all female guests wearing white and male guests wearing grey. The bride was a vision of elegance and beauty in her ivory wedding dress. And when she walked down the aisle to meet her husband-to-be, he was speechless.

The ceremony and reception were filled with laughter and happiness, and provided the perfect prelude to Judith's birthday the very next day. "It was the best gift I have ever received for my birthday."

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com