Shaleen Kennedy and Jonathan Neary had been planning the ultimate destination wedding at the Riu Ocho Rios in Jamaica, but COVID-19 had other ideas. The Newfoundland couple was disappointed, of course, but took everything in stride.
“We originally were bummed it had to be moved,” says Shaleen. “But we fully understood it was a global pandemic and that the safety and health of everyone was most important! We are positive and go-with-the-flow type people, so taking the positive approach was the only way we knew to go!”
In March, the couple worked with staff at the Riu just before it closed due to the pandemic They booked for one year later, and the resort honoured their same price. Rather than the original April 22, 2020 wedding, they have begun the countdown to their new April 20, 2021 date.
“Our destination wedding dream and plan is still alive and progressing, and we have the new date booked. Same plans and place, just a different year,” says Shaleen.
To celebrate the original date, the couple got a little creative. They couldn’t go to Jamaica, so they brought Jamaica to their own backyard, and toasted with some Red Stripe. A local business, Jamaica Taste NL, provided jerk chicken, and the couple listened to some Bob Marley as they ate and video chatted with their wedding party.
“We are sharing our story to let other couples know that this will all just be a story to tell someday and that we will make it through together. We are here for each other and we will all get our big days when it is safe to do so! We had so much fun celebrating what would’ve been our wedding day. It was the next best thing to getting married and we are glad we were able to make the best of it,” says Shaleen. “We hope our story gives other couples the light at the end of the tunnel and at least makes them smile/laugh!”