With classrooms on opposite sides of the school building these teachers, "never really had much of a conversation except exchanging pleasantries in passing" as Danise recalls. Their "first encounter" was by chance of being late for work, a hurried moment from car to entrance which certainly left an impression on them both - the spark of curiosity was well struck. A spark that grew consistently with time as Dwight "admired Danise from a far for over a year," until the appropriate opportunity presented itself, or as Dwight puts it, "the time had come," to take things to the next level.
Convinced that "she wouldn't possibly date a person she worked with," a transition into a new position was exactly the opportunity Dwight needed "to do what I had wanted to do for some time and finally ask her out." After mustering the courage, he formally asked her on their first date, and one year later "made the choice to make her my wife."
In August of the following year, two weeks into summer vacation, the two had already been looking at rings for a few months. Dwight, knowing that, as Danise admits, "I am a planner," and that, "being a planner, he knew I was trying to plan, design and orchestrate my own engagement." So he had to be smooth and inconspicuous if he were to surprise her with the perfect moment.
That moment came on August 24th when their cruise ship docked along beautiful Nassau, Bahamas. After a long day of Bahamian experience Dwight convinced a contented Danise to take an evening stroll along the beach. There, at the piers end, under the cover of tropical night, cruise ship lights in the far distance, Dwight asked Danise to spend the rest of her life with him - slipping a beautiful diamond engagement ring onto her finger. In Danise's words, "I had no expectation of it occurring that night...I was speechless, all I could do was nod the affirmative."
Bride & Groom: Danise Samantha Bartlett & Dwight Orlando Grant
Wedding Date: 8/2/2016
Wedding Location: Paradise Cove, Orlando Florida
How did you meet?
It was mid April 2013 and I had been running late for work and sitting in my car, contemplating getting out. A silver vehicle came speeding towards me. I stared and wondered, "why on earth someone would be in such a hurry to get to work?" He exited his car, rushing around it, opening what seemed like all doors, and from each grabbing an item. I looked at him and despite all his confusion, I thought "Hmmm, he's kind of cute". I waited for him to leave and got out of my car and walked towards his to inspect his 'potential', "clean, tidy, he carried a briefcase and his shirt was well ironed, not bad" I thought, and merrily went on my way. I was fast approaching my mid-thirties and had resided myself to not meeting anyone, hence focusing on my education and career to occupy my time. Dwight taught the Math department and I was Social Sciences. Our classrooms were on two complete opposite sides of the school, so we never saw each other much, but then I decided to ask a few teachers out to dinner, and this is how we came to exchange numbers. We worked together for almost two years but never really had much of a conversation except exchanging pleasantries in passing. One year it snowed so bad that I had left my car and he offered to drive me home, at least 30 minutes in the opposite direction of where he lived. As book smart as I can be, I had no clue he was slowly introducing himself into my life. We occasionally exchanged text messages, but nothing really happened until he mentioned he was leaving.
Having admired Danise from a far for over a year, the time had come. I remember our first encounter, I walked past her (unknowing that she had been watching me from her car), she abruptly stopped me like a school inspector and asked "why I hadn't said hello." We exchanged pleasantries, and soon after I ran to my office to find her name and location in the staff directory. Keeping a close eye, and even dropping her home one winter night, I knew she wouldn't possibly date a person she worked with, leaving this job for a new position created the perfect opportunity to do what I had wanted to do for some time and finally ask her out. I sent a what's app full of small talk; "enjoying the weather," "what are you doing for the summer?" And then finally I plucked up the courage to ignore her icy work demeanor and ask the big question "what you up to for the evening?" Confused by her response of "chilling with a friend," I knew I had to be more direct, because regardless of how intelligent she truly was, she just wasn't getting it. "I have to be more direct" I thought. "We should go out sometime. Even for the cinema... We could get something to eat? Anywhere you would recommend?" She did make a recommendation, and liking the choice she made, after a year of dating I made the choice to make her my wife.
In week two of our summer vacation on the 24th of August, 2014 our ship docked in Nassau, The Bahamas. Unbeknown to me this would be the location for the proposal. We had spent a few months looking at rings, and trying some on, but not really getting what I thought I wanted, not to mention, being a planner, he knew I was trying to plan, design and orchestrate my own engagement.
We had spent the day meeting up with an old university friend of mine and enjoying the perks of "being Bahamian" for the day. After an exhausting day, we spent the early hours before re-boarding the ship hanging out at a local hotel. Dwight suggested going for a walk. But being my usual self, I declined, as I was quite comfortable on the sun bed we were laying on. However, seeing his slight disappointment at my refusal, I eventually stated "I thought we were going for a walk." Afraid of my arch nemesis' mosquitos and sandflies, we braved the beach and walked toward the pier. It was pitch black and all you could see was the lights from the cruise ship in the distance.
We held each other for a moment just taking in what was the tail end of our vacation, and whilst holding my hand he asked me if I was sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Dwight slipped a beautiful diamond ring onto my engagement finger. Shocked, that it was happening when I had no expectation of it occurring that night, and surprised (he'd done really well choosing the ring all on his own) for the first time, I was speechless, all I could do was nod the affirmative. Dwight knows I am a planner and yet he still manages to find a way to throw me off track, catch me off guard and surprise me with something wonderful that I didn't plan myself!
Vintage and classic with sex-appeal. I was in love (and still am) with my dress. I had a Trumpet style dress with a semi-sweetheart neckline. A three layered dress of champagne covered in ivory sequined and beaded lace.
What was wedding shopping like for you?
I don't like shopping at the best of times but since I was a planner, I knew I had to get started. I took two of my best friends and future bridesmaids and we went to David's Bridal, simply at the time because I had a bridesmaid dress to pick up there so I was trying to kill two birds with one stone. Being on crutches and trying on dresses was hard, hot work, and you learn how "realistic" your loved ones can be. I had tried on one dress before with my mom which had a sheer back and I thought it was gorgeous. However, when it came to trying similar dresses on, nothing seemed to work. I was just about to call it a day when the assistant picked a dress and asked me to try it. I came out smiling! I felt sexy, classy and for the first time like a bride. As I looked at myself in the mirror I could see in the reflection people stopping, looking and smiling... I was so excited. My friend took pictures and said, it will look amazing when photographed, they added a veil and I was so overwhelmed...I said to myself quietly "I'm a bride!" So excited I knew this was the dress for me.
Culture: Dwight was born and raised in Jamaica, my parents are Jamaican and Bajan (from Barbados), but I was born and raised in the UK. The Brit in me couldn't help but bring in a little 007 to start off our wedding with the speed boat arrival of all the Groomsmen, however, we picked the location (the lake front with a beach - to give that Caribbean island feel we can't get in the UK), the food (there was jerk chicken and homemade rum punch), and music in line with the basic fundamentals in planning a Caribbean wedding.
Memories: What is your best memory from your wedding?
The 007, James Bond boat entrance. Somehow I managed to get all groomsmen and my husband (most who couldn't swim) onto a boat for my dream entrance. It was risky, yet it was amazing!
Advice: Get a planner! Ours did an amazing job; she was planner, mediator and counsellor all rolled into one - our wedding would not have been the same without her!
Bridesmaids: Sandlewood bridal fans, monogrammed towel, shoe heel stoppers, Evian Brumisateur facial spray, wedding flip-flops - it was going to be a long, hot day!
Groomsmen: initialed cuff-links, monogrammed towels, ties and socks.
Favorite item on the menu:
Baked Tilapia with Caribbean sauce.
First dance song:
"Thinking out loud" by Ed Sherran
Wedding dress designer: Galina Signature
Wedding Dress Salon: David's Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Naomi Deru
Grooms Suit: Savoy Taylor's Guild
Groomsmen Suits: www.riverisland.co.uk
Hair and Make-up: Hair by K UK
Ceremony and reception location: Paradise Cove
Photography: Edward Underwood Photography
Wedding Planner: Samaira Thomas
Rosen Gold Weddings and Events (UK)
Wedding Reception/Attendants/Catering and Floral Team: Bjoely Wedding Cafe
Cake: Cut the Cake
Wedding Ceremony Officiant: Reverend Glynn Ferguson - Sensational Ceremonies
Wedding Ceremony DJ/MC: VYBZ Entertainment
Wedding Decorators: Classic Event Decorating
Guest Gifts: Duncan Stewart Textiles
Stationery: BabiesLove2Party (purchase and modified by wedding planner)