Kimberley Johnson has always been spurred by excitement. More than anything, Gary Dockery always wanted an experience of fulfilment with a woman he loved. Kimberley is that woman, and she knew that adventure was just a doorstep away when she accepted the proposal to be his wife. “There’s nothing more exciting than sharing a new adventure with your best friend,” she told Island Wedding.
Kimberley recalls the day, during her birthday photo shoot on September 13, 2020, when she turned around only to see Gary down on one knee with a ring in his hand. “He totally surprised me with the proposal, which is very hard to do. We had already been sharing an apartment for a few months, and the experience cemented in my mind that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, but he was just staring and smiling at me; no words came out at all. ‘Yes!’ That was the answer, of course. I could tell he was nervous. It was the most beautiful ring. It was kind of surreal, and we were both smiling all the way home,” Kimberley recalled.
Gary said he recognised she was a “magnificent individual” the moment they met; however, the two were only fifth-formers trying to navigate high school when the friendship started to bloom. The topic of marriage began to permeate most of their conversations while pursuing undergraduate degrees, and having a bit in common – from their love of movies and plays to taking weekend trips – Gary started to entertain the thought a bit more, he said.
“Our very first date was to the movies, and over the years we’ve enjoyed many movies, plays, as well as weekend trips to the beach; and we’ve found that it helped to strengthen our bond. There were two defining moments in our relationship which helped to cement our love and commitment to each other. The first being a weekend together in St Ann, to celebrate New Year’s Eve, while Kim was a pharmacy intern. The second, when she got dengue, and I went to the hospital to be by her side,” he said. “We eventually got to a point in our ever-blossoming relationship where we felt like marriage would help to show our full commitment to share a lifetime of experiences. Based on where we were in the relationship, I knew the answer would have been yes. The moment felt right in our lives to find ever after.”
Fast-forward to 2021, during premarital sessions with Rev Astor Carlyle, who also officiated the ceremony. Their conversations turned to defining how a marriage becomes divinely inspired when two persons can embrace the significance of their journey together. “I can’t pinpoint a specific message during the ceremony, but prior to that, Rev Carlyle said, in the future, we should always remember that our child, or children, don’t come first; our spouse comes first. That will allow our marriage to remain strong and intact, even after our child or children are grown. That has certainly stayed with me,” Kimberley shared.
The groom explained that the reverend was speaking about the dynamism of life, and that a couple should always seek to find favourable solutions to make their marriage last.
Getting the wedding of their dreams almost a year later was merely the beginning, which Kimberley and Gary owe to the expertise of wedding planner Léa-Nadege Barrett of Dolce Décor Weddings, who helped to coordinate the creative, efficient and lively team, which included decorator Jadie Soutar, caterer Jerron Green and photographer Geovanni Hinds. Also, to pâtissière Kathryn Getton, who designed a simply sweet, ‘bare all’ vanilla cake which literally highlighted the mantra of the married couple – with the cake topper ‘Let the adventure begin’ – heralding a life of new experiences that the newly-weds signed up for.
“It showed we’re ready to take on the journey of marriage, which goes beyond our wedding day. It affirms the vows we made before God and our witnesses that we’ll be there for each other, through all of it, for the rest of our natural lives. Seeing Gary at the altar waiting for me, at that moment, I was like, ‘This is it, this is my husband’. The adventure had begun. A lesson my parents gave me was not to allow the experience of others to affect our marriage; we’re the writers of our own story,” the bride reminisced.
“As with all adventures, there are uncertainties, but through Christ, we will seek to both learn from our experiences and develop an even stronger bond,” her husband added.
The wedding took place on August 28 at the Konoko Falls in Ocho Rios, and it was one waterfall the bride and groom did not mind chasing. They noted that even with the threat of curfews and restrictions and the torrential downpours one week before, it turned out to be a blessed day filled with sunshine, with only a gentle zephyr to create the soothing acoustics against the water. The lush gardens along the falls complemented the wood elements of the décor, merging well with the juniper green, beige, indigo and gold colour scheme selected. Songs like Just The Two Of Us by Lucy Ellis, I Choose You by Kiana Lede, Find Someone Like You by Snoh Aalegra, The Vow by RuthAnne, and U Move, I Move by John Legend, featuring Jhené Aiko, are forever imprinted into their story, Kimberley shared.
From the photographs and other highlights of the ceremony, to the music, laughter was another component that added light and lyrics. With the couple’s friend, Christopher Daley, known popularly as comedian and actor Johnny Daley, as the master of ceremonies, the guests would definitely have shared in a few tears of joy, which Kimberley says has been a mainstay of her relationship with Gary.
Kimberley shared, “That’s because we’re friends before anything else; you feel safe to be open and honest with your best friend. You’re able to be there for each other through the laughter, and also through the tears. There’s no bond stronger than that.”
The Dockerys celebrate three months of ‘ever after’ together this Saturday, which, they say, has been filled with adventure. “We’ve spent our weekends visiting some great local attractions like Chukka Tours, horseback riding, river tubing and testing out the all-terrain vehicles. But adventure, especially in the pandemic, has meant we have had to be creative. It meant spending more time at home, so we have become adventurous in the kitchen, trying out new recipes on the Sundays when there were lockdowns,” the couple said.
“Embarking on these quests are important for us, since it gives us time to disconnect from work which, at times, may become very demanding. It also provides an opportunity for us to explore and appreciate the varying amenities the country has to offer,” Gary continued.