Surprise, it's a wedding reception, not a party!
Chester Francis-Jackson, Gleaner Writer
My dears, there is class, and there's style, and then there's chutzpah. When you find all of these essential ingredients in one individual, you are talking a phenomenal. When that person is stunningly beautiful, you are talking a social
, the style-perfect Ann Chen!
We live in a society where gentlemanly qualities are frowned upon, men of style are rare and men of distinction are an endangered species.
Well, not so with the urbane Steven Ueker, a hotelier, by training, but a gentleman at heart, fluent in at least three languages. Ueker is a connoisseur with a great appreciation for both the extraordinary and the commonplace, and therein lies his distinction!
So when you have such a gentleman and a woman, it becomes only a matter of time before they both realise that not only are they blessed, they're living in the same city and sharing the same circle of friends!
And so it is, my dears, Ueker and Chen - two beautiful people - were made for each other! This fact was not immediately clear to both, but became increasingly so as they interacted socially. Their friends impressed upon them their obvious attraction to each other.
Understanding and love
As they say, where's there's a will, there's always a way. And despite both being married at the time, their attraction began manifesting itself. They overcame the odds and found their way to each other, and have been for the last four years, perfecting their understanding and love of each other, sometimes much to the chagrin of friends and onlookers.
Well, my dears, about two weeks ago, the couple sent out invites to friends and family to join them at their Content estate, above Reading, just outside Montego Bay, to join them for a Valentine's Day soiree, or so they all thought.
And on Sunday, February 14, friends from all over motored up to the absolutely fabulous home to join the couple and, my dears, what a Valentine's Day it proved!
My dears, love was definitely the order of the day, as everywhere one looked, there were heart-shaped papier mché 'throwaways' that ringed the various tables and seating areas, and closer inspection revealed messages of hope, love and charity. But the show-stopper was the gigantic banyan tree converted into a 'tree of love', as heart-shaped cut-outs in red and white hung from the base to the branches of the tree. Each heart bore the name of friends of the couple in attendance or invited!
Valentine's Day love cakes
The afternoon got under way, with mimosas, sangrias and oodles of ice-cold champagne cementing the notion that the affair was another Chen-Ueker fab-fest.
But my dears, it proved to be much more as pre-arranged Ernst Michel, visiting from New York, took the microphone and started the proceedings. Chen and Ueker had sought and received the dates and wedding anniversaries of their married friends present, as well as the song they each danced to on their wedding day. And, beginning with who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year, the master of ceremonies called upon each couple to the floor with their wedding song playing and presented them with a Valentine's Day love cake, by the hostess.
It was perfect as couple after couple briefly shared the story of their unions in celebration of their love and first impressions that took them on their love journey.
As each couple shared their story, the buzz among those gathered was that the evening would climax with an announcement by Stephen and Ann of their betrothal. But the ever astute Janet Silvera of this newspaper, opined, "I don't think there will be any announcement of an engagement, it will be more of a wedding." She cited as her reason Chen's fabulous dress with its mini-train and the fabulous accessories as well as the regal dress her visiting sister was wearing. She was adamant that the dress was befitting a bridesmaid and not for a mere garden party!
Well, how right she was!
My dears, after the last couple had taken to the stage, Ueker and Chen took the floor, and thanking their friends for their friendship over the years, exhorted them to rekindle their love on the occasion of it being Valentine's Day. And then they dropped a bombshell, by announcing that they had tied the knot earlier that morning in a breakfast ceremony at the
fab Round Hill Hotel and Villas.
Dears, what up to that point was proving an evening of magical proportions became an evening beyond compare, as the somewhat generally unexpected announcement was greeted with wild applause; others reached for their cameras to record the moment, others rushed forward to be the first to offer their congratulations. Then came tears of joy, and how!
And so, there they were - Mr and Mrs Ueker - a picture of radiance basking in the afterglow of their surprise nuptials. As dusk wafted over the estate, lanterns provided a most warm, cosy and welcoming glow to make for the perfect romantic ambience.
Among those present and sharing in the joyous occasion and announcement were sister to the bride
and her husband
, from Tampa, Florida;
, in from New York; the esteemed
and his wife,
; the lovely
; the charming
; the lovely
; the fab
, her mom,
- who designed the wedding dress for the new bride; the elegant
Heartfelt congratulations to Stephen and Ann Ueker!