Love at last - high-school sweethearts wed
Time stood still on Jamaica's south coast as Christine Carroll Rhodes prepared to walk down the aisle. Beyond the sound of her beating heart and the crashing waves, she could see her destination - the over-water wedding chapel at Sandals south coast and a first of its kind in Jamaica. With its spectacular panoramic views of the long reef, it would have been easy to get lost in the moment. But then she saw him - Arthur Lawrence Kuntzman, the love of her life.
In photo: The couple seal their vows in paradise with a kiss.-Contributed
This moment had been 37 years in the making for Christine and Arthur, both from Collierville, Tennessee.
"We were high-school sweethearts," said Arthur. "And you've probably seen our storyline on the silver screen," Christine added. "I was the high-school cheerleader and he was the football jock."
It had the pieces for a perfect love story, but time willed them apart. Christine married twice and became a mother to three wonderful children, and Arthur fathered four children of his own, also from two previous marriages.
Coming from a small town, Christine and Arthur would always see each other around, particularly at weddings and funerals.
Arthur admits that he always loved Christine, but the time just never seemed right. However, two years ago, that all changed. "A friend of mine came to me one day and said guess who's single again," recalled Christine, who was also out of a relationship at the time. "I reached out to Arthur via Facebook and that eventually led to a date."
After that date, Christine and Arthur were inseparable. "I've never been quite so happy," said Christine, adding, "and I didn't think it could get any better."
But it did. It was January 25, 2016 and Christine and her girlfriends were out dining in Memphis, Tennessee, when Arthur casually strolled in. "I was a bit surprised to see him there," Christine recalled. She continued, "and then he popped the question." Arthur said they both cried.
Christine notes that after the proposal, they were both excited to start planning the wedding. Both had already had the big weddings, and this time they wanted something different. "We just wanted it to be about us," said Christine.
The very first couple to say their 'I dos' at Sandals South Coast's over-water chapel.-Contributed
A wedding on the water
Stephanie Garner was a Travel Agent for Travel Leaders, and most important, a trusted friend of Christine's. "Stephanie, was the one who suggested a destination wedding," said Christine. "She gave us three options, one of them was Sandals south coast in Jamaica and after looking at the pictures we were hooked."
Stephanie also told the couple that a new over-water wedding chapel was being constructed at the resort, and that it would be a good location for the wedding if it was ready by the time they visited.
"Lucky for us, it was completed right in time for our visit, and the minute we saw it, we knew that was where we wanted to exchange vows," said Christine. "We were also thrilled to learn that we would be the first couple to wed at this magical little chapel."
Vowing to keep it simple, the couple selected the Sandals WeddingMoons beautiful beginnings wedding package and opted for a customised bouquet of bright red roses. They also met a couple at the resort who stood in as their witnesses.
"We loved everything about our Sandals WeddingMoon. From the amazing sunsets at the resort's Latitudes Bar, all the activities, and of course there was the convenience of having our Personal Butlers; DeVaughn and Kemar, attend to our every need," added Arthur.
Christine Carroll Rhodes got the perfect sunset as a backdrop for her nuptials to high-school sweetheart Arthur Lawrence Kuntzman. -Contributed
The beautiful over water wedding chapel where Christine and Arthur tied the knot, is located just off Sandals south coast's Italian Riviera. A picturesque chapel that can seat up to 20 family and friends for a truly intimate ceremony, the seaside decor within the chapel includes a drift wood alter, polished with a silver leaf finish, and an aisle of tempered glass panels allowing guests to view the marine life below. The chapel's open-air design also features glass doors on all four sides that can open all the way up to really let the outdoors in.