Race to the altar for couple as lockdown disrupted plans

The second attempt at having a wedding ceremony for Steffon and Shaquel Evans turned out to be a rushed success Friday night after their big day, scheduled for Saturday, was scratched again due to the recent weekend lockdown.

When the Office of the Prime Minister’s release circulated Friday afternoon, advising of the lockdown that would take effect hours later, Steffon, 24, quickly called Shaquel, 26, advising her that she may have to slide into her wedding dress earlier than she anticipated.

“I was in so much shock that I hung up the phone on him,” said Shaquel as she spoke to The Nassau Guardian in the lobby of Super Clubs Breezes hotel.

“I pulled over to the side of the road at least five times to catch myself and I cried…I broke down in tears because I was so heartbroken.

“I just knew there was no way I was going to be able to pull this off in four or five hours. He said we’d have to have it at 6 p.m., but I said we can’t because I didn’t have my hair in yet. I said my girls didn’t have our makeup artist, the hair stylist, none of that.”

They were able to contact family and friends and pull off a ceremony with just over 20 people at 9 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Hall, Boyd Road.

“The wedding that was supposed to start at 7 p.m. started at 9 p.m,” Steffon said.

“So, we had 40 minutes to do it so that people could go home and not get arrested. The ceremony was beautiful, more so for the people in attendance.

“Because we spent all of this money, the things that we paid for were not there, the décor was not there, her mother was not there. A lot of people we really wanted to be there couldn’t make it. I enjoyed the fact that we got to share our vows and express our love, but honestly, it’s not recommended.”

Steffon said when they learned that the prime minister had granted special permission to a foreign couple to wed on Harbour Island on Saturday and another couple on New Providence, they were heartbroken because he too had written the prime minister, but to no avail.

“Throughout this process a lot of people have argued about the feasibility of us having stopped and having written the prime minister right away, but we did that the first time,” he said.

“We tried to write the prime minister when we couldn’t get our marriage license and we got no response. And so, we didn’t get the same response that whatever wedding happened. No hard feelings though. If we could’ve done it we would have too. So, we’re not upset with the people who did it. But clearly the system isn’t serving everybody the same.”

The couple legally wed on May 29 in a small ceremony — a day before their initial wedding day — which too had to be rushed because of a weekend lockdown.

That ceremony had only 10 people in attendance.

However, the young couple wished to “do it right” with their closest friends and family and set a full ceremony for July 25.

The entire process, from their hitch on May 29, has been a roller coaster as Steffon said even getting a marriage license proved near impossible for them.

Their Family Island honeymoon to Exuma has since been postponed as well as inter-island travel stops tonight.

Makeva Wallace, of Buttons Bridal and Formal Wear, said all four of the weddings she was scheduled to produce outfits for over the weekend were postponed and brides left disappointed over the abrupt announcement of a weekend lockdown.

“I’ve had two brides in particular, this is their second time postponing their wedding,” Wallace said.

“For one of them that was scheduled to happen this weekend, his bride was stuck in Florida. It’s a big mess.

“You can’t say to a bride the day before her wedding that she can’t have the wedding after she’s spent almost $20,000 on her gown, makeup, food, flowers that are going to die, and the venue. Who is going to compensate these people for the money that they have spent?”

The emergency order released on Saturday morning stated that weddings would still be allowed to take place, but with only five people in attendance.

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