Lifestyle

Vows: We Found Love

Monday, January 08, 2018

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A fairy-tale love story was sealed on Saturday, December 9, 2017 when Noelle McMahon, international education manager at the University of Miami, Florida, and IT Consultant Jerrod Baldwin Hampton University, Virginia and Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, vowed to spend the rest of their lives together. The two tied the knot at the Bellefield Great House in Montego Bay near where Noelle's grandparents were married. Vows introduces Mr and Mrs Jerrod Baldwin.

That First Encounter

The two met through two mutual friends, Dominique (Noelle's college roommate) and Lee (Jerrod's roommate) on one of Noelle's work visits to Washington, DC. It was a blind date.

Lee and Jerrod picked up Noelle in her arrival in DC and went for drinks. The introduction to Jerrod followed... her apprehension faded away! Jerrod, on the other hand, had no clue he was being set up. He believed he was only going along with Lee to take Noelle out as a favour. After meeting each other that night, Lee and Jerrod planned to have dinner with her the next night. While at the restaurant the following evening, Lee surreptitiously left in the middle of dinner without telling them, so that they could be alone together. The evening was filled with great conversation, so Jerrod took the opportunity to ask her for her phone number to keep in contact. That was the beginning of their long-distance love...

Noelle and Jerrod began communicating via phone every day and eventually went on their official first date in Miami, Florida, in July 2011. They saw each other every month thereafter by travelling back and forth between DC and Florida. Jerrod even flew into Miami for one night just to take Noelle out for a dinner date! In Noelle's words, a turning point in their relationship took place during Christmas of 2011. “It was Jerrod's first time meeting my large Jamaican family...I was watching him interact with everyone, which can be overwhelming for most, but Jerrod was totally relaxed. At one point we were sitting on my cousin's patio. I distinctly remember my uncle Mike and uncle Trevor telling animated stories of their childhood in Jamaica. Jerrod was asking me to translate the patois over a plate of Jamaican food: goat, chicken, and rice and peas! I will always remember it so vividly because I looked at him and just thought, “I love him, I'm going to tell him!” So I leaned over and whispered in his ear, right there with everyone around, that I loved him. For me, that point was where I decided to stop over-thinking the distance that separated us and just enjoy the love that we clearly had found.”

Over the course of their courtship Jerrod had a first-hand view of how important Noelle's Jamaican heritage was to her. They continued to travel back and forth for two years, spending time in Florida, DC, Jamaica and other corners of the world. They bonded over their shared love of vinyl records, travel, and good food. As time went on and their love deepened, they knew they needed to be in the same state and made plans to do so. In 2014, Noelle was offered the job she had been looking for and made the move to the American capital!

“Distance is a test of love, many may fail for those who can't withstand it, but for those who can, there's only one answer: True Love.”

 

The proposal

Jerrod proposed to Noelle five years after their initial meeting, on December 9, 2016 at the Lincoln Memorial monument, in Washington, DC. They attended Jerrod's company's holiday party and had planned to meet their friend Lee after the party. After leaving the party, Jerrod surprised Noelle by taking her to the Lincoln Memorial, a place that she wanted to visit at night ever since moving to DC in 2014. After arriving, Noelle excitedly rushed up the stairs to explore the view. They walked around, took fun Olivia Pope-esque pictures (she is a Scandal fan), and became enamoured with the view of the reflecting pool where Dr Martin Luther King Jr gave his memorable speech.

As she explored, she noticed a crowd of strangers coming towards her, with their friend Lee in front holding a bouquet of flowers. Confused, Noelle asked him if he was waiting for a date. As she turned to Jerrod he said, “The flowers are actually for you.” Then he went down on one knee to reveal his true intentions for the night!

 

The ceremony

The exchange of vows took place on the lawns at the Bellefield Great House, Montego Bay, where the theme cherry blossom and shades of blush, blossom and burgundy were used in the décor. To the strains of Angel by Robin Thicke, the fetching bridesmaids made their way up the aisle in burgundy Lulus dresses. They were escorted by the dashing groomsmen, who wore navy blue slim-fit tailored tuxedos from ASOS, complemented by velvet burgundy bow ties from Mrs Bow Tie. Emotions were high as Anthony McMahon escorted his daughter up the aisle to the song This Is Why I Love You by Major. Noelle was exquisite in an Amaré Couture illusion white lace fitted dress from Fabulous Frocks Boutique in Alexandria with a white handmade lace edge cathedral veil. She held a brooch bouquet with satin fabric roses, decorative pearls, silver and gold stones and embellishments with a personalised pendant containing picture of her grandmother Phyllis. Her bridegroom, suave in a navy blue slim-fit tuxedo from ASOS, complemented by a velvet burgundy bow tie from Mrs Bow Tie, was visibly overcome with emotion at the sight of his love. The ceremony was officiated by Gregory Bent, cousin of the bride.

 

The reception

The reception also took place at the Bellefield Great House, where the décor was in shades of blush, blossom and burgundy mainly to complement the newly-weds' choice to highlight the cherry blossom pink, which represent the city of DC where Noelle and Jerrod began their lives together after long-distance dating. Master of ceremonies Dr Terri-Ann Bennett welcomed the guests and asked them to take their seats ahead of the arrival of the bridal party, who made their entrance to Bruno Mars' 24 Karat Magic, while the newly-weds entered to Lemonade by NERD and Rihanna. This was followed by the couple's first dance as husband and wife to Mint Condition's You Send Me Swingin'. Post-formalities, guests enjoyed a sumptuous three-course meal and witnessed the cutting of the four-tiered champagne and vanilla cake by Courtnee Sutherland of Courtnee's Cakes, in South Florida.

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