Darryl and Dawn: One of the 16 couples who won their dream wedding courtesy of the Bahamas Tourism Office and their 16.16.16 win your wedding promotion.
It wasn’t an on-line dating service or an introduction through friends – it was the love of hockey that first brought Dawn Saunders and Darryl Flowers of Pickering, Ontario together. Dawn, a single mom, says she felt she was living in a hockey rink, taking her 13-yea-old son Ethan to hockey practice or games five times each week. Meanwhile, Darryl, a single dad to nine-year-old daughter Alyssa, just loved the sport himself. It was during one of Ethan’s games, in the midst of cheering for her son from the sidelines, that Dawnmet Darryl. I actually remember Dawn from high school, Darryl recalls. She was a year ahead of me.Suffice to say, the sparks – or rather, pucks – flew. Four years of dating later, Darryl was driving to work one morning and heard about the Bahamas 16 Weddings contest on the radio, which would give 16 couples the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to marry in the Bahamas on November 16, 2016 at 16:00 in 16 different incredible Bahamas locations. Ever since I met Dawn, she always has talked about going to the Bahamas, Darryl says. This was the perfect chance to make her dreams come true.While he entered the contest right away, Darryl knew it was a long shot to win. So, he could hardly believe it when The Bahamas Tourism Office phoned with the news that he and Dawn had been chosen to be among the be one of the 16 couples getting married in the Bahamas. As with most weddings, ordinary or otherwise, it wasn’t long before it was time for Dawn and Darryl to catch their plane to paradise. Three days prior to the big day, all 16 couples arrived in Nassau to apply for their marriage licenses. The first night, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism hosted anall-white dressdinner as a warm welcome to the islands, where the lucky couples met and mingled in the mild Caribbean air. The following day, the excitement began. The couples were all whisked away to 16 different wedding locations, where each bride and groom would prepare for their wedding day. After a 20-minute flight from Nassau, Dawn and Darryl arrived on the island of Eleuthera. A private transfer in a black Escalade –and a chilled bottle of champagne, of course – was waiting to take them to The Cove Eleuthera, an ultra-luxurious, 57-room resort nestled between two turquoise blue coves. Dawn and Darryl settled into a beautiful oceanfront villa built for two, where they would spend the next few days reviewing the details of their special day with the resort’s wedding coordinator, and meet the Reverend who would marry them. Of course, you can bring a wedding to the sunshine, but you can’t always bring the sunshine to the wedding. As Dawn and Darryl’s wedding day arrived, so did the rain. The skies were dark and gloomy as the rain poured on and on throughout the day, eventually compelling The Cove to move the wedding indoors. As The Cove staff powered into Plan B, the couple remained calm and in good spirits. They were, after all, still in paradise. I can’t lie, Dawn shares with a radiant bridal smile. I was a little disappointed. But I had every confidence in The Cove Eleuthera. I knew my wedding would be magical.
As the couple began to dress for their wedding at 16:00, it was full steam ahead as The Cove staff quickly removed all the furniture from a three-bedroom oceanfront villa and strung decorations to make it look like a little white wedding chapel on the beach. Then, as if by miracle – and a mere hour before the ceremony – the clouds cleared. The sky turned bright blue, and without wasting a moment, The Cove moved the chapel to the beach again, and prepared to throw the wedding Dawn had always dreamed of. On November 16, 2016 at 16:00 hours, at the same time as 15 other couples in various romantic spots throughout The Bahamas, Darryl and Dawn said their vows on the point between the two coves, against a sunset ocean backdrop. The day was even more special as Dawn’s parents, Lynne and Ken Saunders, Darryl’s sister Michelle and two brothers, Jay and Steven along with their girlfriends, Chelsey and Cheryl where able to attend. I felt like I had to pinch myself, it just didn’t feel real the new Mrs. Flowers recalls of the festivities. Darryl, meanwhile, couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear. Never in a million years, did I think I would be married in one the most beautiful places in the world. I can’t thank the staff at The Cove enough. Everywhere, anything, anytime, we were treated like royalty.