Author’s Note: This article was originally published in the January 2012 edition of Businesswoman’s Magazine‘s Bride2B supplement. For more information, visit http://mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=95209 . The article starts on page 10.
By Rosalba Ugliuzza
Destination weddings at exotic places have been the flavor of the season for a long time.
Who can forget the wedding of Hollywood starlets Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in November 2006? They spared no expense when they tied the knot in a lavish, star-studded ceremony in the same city where they publicly declared their love a year before in Rome, Italy. Most girls could dream of having an elaborate wedding like the Cruises, but others like Lancaster County bride Christine Culp Keyser prefer a small, relaxing, yet intimate ceremony.
“Personally, I never thought I would be getting a destination wedding,” she said. “Jamaica allowed our families to travel together for the first time.”
The blue, clear sky served as a beautiful backdrop for Keyser and her husband, Brent, when they married June 9, 2011 on the private beach at the Couple Negril Resort in Negril, Jamaica.
Brent, an officer for the Columbia Borough Police Department, said he had hoped Mother Nature wouldn’t spoil their special day.
“Honestly, I [thought], I hope it doesn’t rain. The clouds were rolling in right at 11:00, and Chrissy was still in the room getting ready, and it had rained every day so far until that point,” he said.
With 38 close family and friends and some hotel guests in attendance, Keyser walked down the aisle in a mermaid gown and no veil to the Jamaican steel drum version of Pachelbel Canon D. The couple exchanged vows in a 15-minute ceremony.
“It was very simple. We didn’t want to make a big production out of it,” said Keyser.
After the ceremony, which ended around lunchtime, guests were treated to cake and champagne poolside and on the beach. According to Keyser, the resort staff did all the wedding decorations as well as take pictures of the ceremony.
When the couple returned home, a beach-themed reception was held for approximately 200 people at the Susquehanna Fire and Rescue Company in Columbia. Keyser wore her wedding dress and Silver Spring Restaurant catered the event.
“It was a fun party. We had a DJ,” she said.
It was exactly two years prior to their wedding date that the couple attended a mutual friend’s wedding at the same resort. Keyser said that Brent loved the resort so much that he suggested that they get married at the same place.
With the help of her two closest friends, Keyser’s goal was to have a simple wedding.
“I’m not the type of girl that likes a big production. The whole wedding (planning) made me feel narcissistic,” she said. “The theme throughout the process was about us celebrating our marriage. It was about spending time with family and enjoying each other’s company.”
The “down-to-earth” couple met right before Thanksgiving in 2005 at a local pub, where they were celebrating a mutual friend’s birthday.
“We started talking and he told me he was going hunting. He called me every day when he went hunting,” Keyser said. “Ever since then, we’ve been connected at the hip.”
Keyser received an early Christmas present in 2009, when Brent presented her with a diamond ring that he designed. Brent said he didn’t feel any jitters before proposing.
“My mom had a dream that we got engaged,” Keyser said. “We told people of the engagement through text message.”
Today, the couple lives in Elizabethtown. They enjoy spending time with their families, having bonfires with friends, going up to their cabin near Penn State University, and traveling. In fact, the couple is planning another group trip to Jamaica in 2013.
“Ideally, my husband and I would love to go every year,” she said. “We consider ourselves Jamerican.”
In addition to having a peaceful, healthy and happy lifestyle, Keyser said she hopes that she and Brent have a lot of stamps on their passports 50 years from now.
In the meantime, Keyser recommends future married couples to have their destination wedding in Jamaica.
“It’s a peaceful place. It’s a gorgeous place.”