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Best friends who married says “Faith won the battle”

By Christopher & Jeanine Culpepper

When two best friends become life partners, faith will always win the battle ahead!

Our story officially began New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2020, when we got engaged. My husband proposed in the most beautiful and unique manner at the end of New Year’s Eve Mass at St Mary’s Church in front of the altar!

It was inevitable that we decided to have our wedding at St Mary’s Church to relive that beautiful experience on our wedding day!

We decided that April is our special month to get married. It is not only a month special to us for the purpose of celebrating Easter, but it is unique to us as that very same weekend two years ago we realised we wanted to start a relationship together.

We thought to ourselves a small wedding during a pandemic is ideal for future investment purposes and that four months should be sufficient time to plan our wedding.

I remember my mother sharing with us after our engagement that the battle has only just begun and to stay “prayed up”. After completing the Catholic Engagement Encounter programme, we were ready and excited to begin our lives together. Little did we know the challenges that would lie ahead! According to the old saying “Nothing good comes easy!”

The challenge began when we attempted to purchase our first home and that process was unexpectedly unsuccessful due to circumstances beyond our control leaving us very disappointed.

The demands of our careers, personal businesses and wedding planning soon started to take a toll on us mentally and physically. Without a wedding planner some days seemed almost never-ending discussing budgets, venues, vendors, ensemble options and every aspect encompassing wedding planning.

Just as we began to grow weary, we decided to do a site visit for venue option 1. We were introduced to the most excitable and beautiful venue manager in Anushka Alleng.

We attended the meeting with all intents and purposes to book a venue but instead God smiled on us and introduced us to our wedding planner! Funny thing is my wedding planner was transitioning her way out of her post and into her new business.

You see God has a mysterious way of doing things beyond our imagination and all He asks us to do is trust the process which is usually filled with obstacles and unanticipated curve balls. However, I’m always reminded, “The bigger the battle, the sweeter the victory!”

As we drew closer to our day, the heat turned up! We experienced obstacle after obstacle from twisting an injured ankle to changing our reception location, randomly falling down some stairs, unavailability of bridesmaid dresses and every imaginable obstacle one can experience testing our endurance.

Our final straw, the media briefing announcing a lockdown. For  the first time I felt numb! Calls, messages coming in one after the other with questions thrown at us, options thrown at us and finally the biggest question of them all “Should we postpone?”

With faith as small as a mustard seed we decided to proceed with our date and trust God’s plan no matter how crazy it appeared to be simply due to the fact that what mattered most to us was our union!

Luckily, we had the support of an amazing team in our wedding planner, decorator (Taurean Designs) and family that stuck with us through it all!

As we woke to constant changes with Covid restrictions, forced to make decisions in split seconds, we knew now more than ever that we cannot do this without God’s strength, grace, and favour. We were officially baptised by fire preparing us for a sample taste of the ups and downs one can expect in a marriage.

Every day we took turns being  a pillar of support when the other was down which undoubtedly strengthened and deepened our bond! The week of our wedding, guests were called on numerous occasions being invited or uninvited to our church ceremony due to constant Covid-19 media updates limiting numbers. That tested our sanity on so many levels leaving us with little to no appetite to hold on!

We prayed so hard for a miracle to just be able to have our loved ones join in with us on our special day at the church. But God always reminds us to be still and know that He is God!

The day before our wedding a media briefing clarified that churches are allowed to have 25 percent capacity. Guests were once again invited and in the space of a few hours our team pulled together and transformed our home into a magical reception venue for immediate relatives only.

Fortunately for us, we proceeded with our plans as three days after our wedding a State of Emergency was called banning all church gatherings! Our day turned out to be nothing short of perfect because faith won the battle!