Eight years ago, a casual conversation at a bar about the annoying traits of humans and a plethora of reasons not to date, set the stage for a leap-year proposal and a 'beautiful beginning' in paradise.
Dana Sessa and Kevin McGettigan met through mutual friends in fifth grade, and he developed a 'schoolboy crush' on her because he was into sports and she played softball.
Their short-lived friendship ended when they started attending different schools. But over a decade later, another chance encounter at a bar brought them together again. "I remember we talked for hours about how annoyed we were with men and women and why neither of us wanted to date anyone ... he even tried to hook me up with other goofy guys who were milling around," Dana recalls. "We exchanged numbers," said Kevin "and she called that same night!"
Dana, who works in human resources and is the most persistent of the two, said they dated for four years before purchasing a home that they share with her son, Tyler. "They [Tyler and Kevin] have always had a great relationship and because we were all so happy together, he [Kevin] got comfortable with life that way, but I wanted him to take the next step and propose," she said.
TAKING THE LEAP
One day on Twitter, she saw an advertisement from the Rachel Ray show inviting women to propose to their boyfriends on the special Leap Day (February 29, 2012) broadcast. Dana says she wanted to have more children and she wanted to do it "right this time". "Kevin was always so good at taking care of us; working long hours and giving his all to ensure that my son and I were very comfortable. I wanted to turn it around to show him that I appreciate what he does and I really care about him."
She sought the approval of his mother and learned that he had entertained the thought of proposing to her for over two years. However, he could not find the right moment for his extravagant plans, which included using giant blimps or flashing LED lights across the wings of an airplane at the Solberg airport where the family went for the annual balloon festival.
Under the guise of being guests on the Rachel Ray Show because she was a picky eater, Dana proposed to Kevin in the spirit of the age-old Irish tradition of women proposing to men on Leap Day. On her birthday, March 1, Kevin went down on one knee and declared his love, before family and friends, asking her in return to be his wife.
As a special surprise, Sandals Resorts International provided the newly engaged couple with a complimentary Beaches Resorts FamilyMoon to Jamaica.
The wedding team at Beaches Negril, created a simple-elegant yet splendid tropical set-up of a bamboo frame accentuated with touches of soft sand linen on the island's famed seven-mile beach.
The bride looked exquisite in her lace and sequinned strapless gown from David's Bridal as she walked down the aisle adorned with Hebrew shells, to the violinist's rendition of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major. Her long stems of fragrant magenta dendrobium orchids completed her stunning ensemble. The groom wore simple, yet classy, tan linen slacks with a white linen shirt and a bloom of the dendrobium orchid to match his bride's bouquet.
"Everything was perfect," Dana and Kevin agreed. "We took a leap of faith doing it differently with an unconventional proposal, accepting Sandals' gift of a destination wedding and coming to Jamaica ... we were not disappointed ... nowhere in the world have we seen people exude such warmth and friendliness."
The McGettigans honeymooned at Beaches' sister property Sandals Negril Beach Resort and Spa.