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Couple pledges to keep vows

Natanga Smith

Couple pledges to keep vows

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It was 2008 when Elica Carmichael met Kristian Gittens. After first becoming friends, they started dating the following year. Fast forward five years and they are now basking in the glow of their January 4, 2014 wedding day.
The two are still excited about the joyous occasion, holding hands and smiling. Kristian is the perfect gentleman, holding out her chair, getting her something to drink and reminding her that she left her phone on the table.
“She is always forgetting it,” he said.
Elica agreed, saying the phone has been left so many places and Kristian chipped in: “And another thing is she is always late.”
But one day she wasn’t late was January 4 as she reached the wedding venue before Kristian and his groomsmen.
“The wedding was the bomb,” she said giggling. “Everything was perfect.” The date was perfect as it was “New Year, new beginnings” and the theme was vintage with bling and most of the burden was on a wedding planner, courtesy of winning the 2013 Forever I Do competition.
With a wedding package of $35 000, the duo made sure they did what they could to make the day what they wanted.
“Well I made the day what she wanted,” said Kristian. “It is really her day.”
There were some slight hiccups along the way – such as Kristian getting his suit a week before the day but that didn’t put a damper on their excitement to be wed before God and family and friends.
The wedding was being held at Mahogany Ridge for 4:30 p.m., and the parties got ready in Christ Church – 14 people to be exact. Elica kept her bridesmaids on a schedule, while Kristian’s excuse was “one groomsman made us late. When I called, one bridesmaid said they were in St Thomas and we didn’t even leave Christ Church yet.”
But Elica was patient. After all they have been through (a couple of break-ups and arguments), she knew waiting a couple more minutes for the man she was going to spend the rest of her life with was no big deal.
“When I walked up the aisle he sang When God Made You. It wasn’t a surprise because he had told me, but it still got me a bit teary eyed,” she said, looking at her husband seated next to her.
More tears welled up as they read their personal vows, but none actually fell as Elica said she made a promise she wouldn’t be a weepy bride.
The couple spent their honeymoon in St Lucia.
“The bed was the best”, they both said in unison. And then blushed and laughed.
Looking back at their romance and actually entering the Forever I Do competition, they recalled that they missed the first deadline for entries, but when the deadline was extended they knew they it was a sign from God.
Devout Christians, 24-year-old Kristian and 31-year-old Elica prayed about the outcome, but knew it would only happen if it was God’s Will.
Winning meant they can afford the wedding they want, as Kristian was currently studying while running his own business doing cakes, and Elica is employed, mother of one.
The couple impressed the public and judges with their story which started five years ago when they worked together: Kristian was working at his place of employment and Elica filled in on Saturdays.
Elica recalled looking forward to seeing the young man who’d piqued her interest, while Kristian remembered waiting eagerly for Saturdays to arrive. This went on for some time; they would have casual conversations, all the while both were hesitant to act on what they were feeling.
The quiet young woman recalled her feelings at the time: “From the moment I saw him I knew there was something unique about him, he was so different from everyone else.”
Kristian expressed similar sentiments: “The first day I saw Elica I just stared at her, she was the most beautiful lady I had ever seen and each time I saw her it was like she got more and more beautiful.”
The then 19-year-old thought she was out of his league and did not act on his feelings, instead settling on being friends.
Although they both felt that attraction almost from the start, they each had issues to overcome.
Elica had had her share of bad relationships and was leery of men.
Kristian was thinking about his future, his studies, and focused on that.
“I was a little younger than she was and wondered if I would be able to handle that. Also, I was into my final educational degree and wondered if this was the right time to get involved in a relationship with someone I longed for; and of course, I was still of the opinion she is still way out of my league,” he recalls.
“As time went by he would be on my mind constantly day and night… It got so overbearing to the point that I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer, I just had to let him know how badly I was thinking about him. So I texted him.”
There was no reply. Kristian admits now that the text shocked him so he took a day to mull over it.
“It was a different ball game. The age was a problem and she had a son (Akiel) who was nine years old at the time.”
Rewind to the engagement which was something out of the movies. Well it actually was a movie. The couple was talking about marriage for a while and Kristian said he is always good at surprising Elica, which she admitted to.
“I made a movie trailer about me getting stuck with my car and calling my friend and I had to to get to the Olympus. I had asked the people at Olympus if I could show the movie as part of my engagement and they said yes.”
Elica was in the VIP with her friends, unaware of Kristian’s plans and looked at the screen and saw the “trailer”.
“I said to my friends that person looks like Kristian. They said no but I said it is him. Just then he came out from behind the screen and asked me to come down to the stage.”
Elica was in shock and took a while to respond to Kristian’s bended knee proposal.
The ring, he admitted, was not the one she wanted as his budget was limited, but she said she was happy with it.
The couple said they are still learning the ropes, living together and knowing each other’s quirks.
“She won’t let me cook in peace,”said Kristian, who has a culinary arts degree. “He leaves his drinking glass anywhere,” she retorted.
But both said that they are a work-in-progress. The relationship is growing stronger and Kristian is in his final year of his management and marketing degree at the University of the West Indies and rejecting cake orders.
They can’t settle on how many kids they want in their future but it “won’t pass two”, they agreed.
The couple agrees that every relationship is work and with their Christian principles guiding them, the two are holding fast to their beliefs and standards
“Prayer works a lot for us as Christians. Don’t give up. A lot of people give up too easily,” they both said.
Elica says theirs is a happy story and acknowledges that while there is an age difference, Kristian’s maturity is far above those his age and is possibly one of the major reasons why their relationship works.
“I would not trade Kristian for anything,” she affirms.
Kristian feels the same way about his dream girl and both are sticking to the vow “Till death do us part.”