Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's couple brings Jamaica home after wedding postponed

A pandemic postponed their dream wedding in Jamaica, so this St. John's couple brought the beach to their deck to have a very happy fake wedding day instead.

'We decided on forever, but COVID-19 decided on the date'

Shaleen Kennedy and Jonathan Neary celebrated their planned wedding day in style, just not on the beach in Jamaica with family and friends as they'd expected. (Submitted by Kathleen Kennedy)

They were supposed to be living happily ever after sipping Red Stripe beer out of stubby bottles on a beach in Jamaica, but a global health crisis had other plans. 

"We decided on forever, but COVID-19 decided on the date," said Shaleen Kennedy. 

Kennedy and her fiancé, Jonathan Neary, spent two years planning April 22 as their perfect wedding day in Jamaica, and she said they "were originally pretty bummed" when it became clear it wouldn't happen.

But they knew they were among thousands of couples going through the same disappointment, and as has been their pattern for the last eight years together, they focused on the positives. 

"Where we were that far in, you know three years engaged, we said, 'Shag it, what's another year?'" Kennedy laughed.

Neary and Kennedy brought as much of Jamaica as they could to their deck in St. John's on Wednesday. (Submitted by Kathleen Kennedy)

They chose the destination wedding to share with nearly 50 family and friends because they love Jamaica, and Kennedy said thanks to great travel agents and vendors, it was quite easy to rebook for April 20, 2021. 

"Same everything, just a new year!" she said. 

Bringing the beach to their deck

Kennedy and Neary found their own way to celebrate their would-be wedding day.

"We said, 'There's no way we're going to sit home and be bummed about this, we've gotta celebrate.' So we took the day off work. We went and bought some sand, made a makeshift beach and a baby pool on our deck," and decorated. 

You only live once so you've gotta go with the flow and stay positive.- Shaleen Kennedy

Kennedy's mom, who lives in the basement apartment of their home, took photos of their big replacement day. 

"We had a ton of fun. It was awesome! It was probably the next best thing to what would have been our wedding day," said Kennedy. 

She shared the photos on Facebook because they wanted to get a message out during these difficult times. 

Kennedy and Neary spent their planned wedding day enjoying the sun in St. John's instead of Jamaica. (Submitted by Kathleen Kennedy)

"There's light at the end of the tunnel. We will get our big day, but for now we've gotta deal with what we've got," said Kennedy. 

"You only live once so you've gotta go with the flow and stay positive."

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