On July 15 five years ago, Anya Edun and Aldene “Roy” Forbes met for the first time on an excursion to Stingray City. Almost to the day five years later, they were married on the sands of the Marriott Beach Resort in George Town.
Born in Toronto, Canada, and raised in Pembroke Pines, Florida, Anya journeyed to Grand Cayman in 2011 while her sister Alana was in her final semester at St. Matthew’s University.
“I was visiting to help pack things up and take home,” said Anya.
The trip to Cayman quickly turned into a girls’ trip, with Anya inviting some friends along, and Alana arranging a boat excursion where Roy, who is originally from Mangrove Bight in the Bay Islands of Honduras and has lived in Cayman since he was 18, was working as a captain.
“That’s where we were first introduced,” said Anya.
While Anya and her party left for Stingray City, it was not long before Roy, who had stayed behind, showed up on a watercraft.
“I am actually the first and only person to knock him off a Jet Ski,” said Anya.
Though Anya returned home to Florida, they kept in touch through instant messaging.
Then, one day in August, Roy bought a plane ticket to Miami.
On this trip, Roy got to meet her family. And together, Roy and Anya toured South Florida and Key West.
Two months later, in October 2011, it was Anya’s turn to visit Cayman. The relationship blossomed from there.
In October 2015, Roy proposed to Anya at their George Town home.
According to Roy, he first waited for Anya to finish graduate school to ask for her hand.
Having promised her parents that he would wait, when Anya finished her studies in May the same year, Roy waited a few weeks for her family to arrive in Cayman to get their permission.
On Oct. 24, Anya woke up to a ring on her finger and a bouquet of roses next to her.
“I walked downstairs to find Roy on one knee in the living room,” said Anya.
With her family present, Roy asked Anya to marry him.
Anya said she was at a loss for words. “All I could do was cry and hug him.”
After shopping for and trying on many dresses, and after a nine-month engagement, Anya walked down the aisle on July 16 on her father Azam’s arm in a strapless Oleg Cassini designer bridal gown her sister helped pick out.
Anya held a bouquet of blue orchids, calla lilies and crystal accents arranged by her mother.
For the groom, seeing his bride in her gown for the first time served as his favorite part of his wedding day.
Before 100 invited guests, Joy Basdeo pronounced the couple husband and wife.
The wedding was planned by Anne and Alana, mother and sister of the bride.
“After five years together, I’ve come to learn that she’s the one person I can’t be without, my best friend,” Roy said on why he proposed. “And the way she loves my kids and my family really made the decision easy for me.”
As for the bride, her favorite memory was the bridal party’s entrance to the reception.
A different song was selected for each pair of the bridal party, and Anya and Roy entered to “Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. The couple re-created Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey’s famous lift from the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing,” one of Anya’s favorite films, that featured the song.
“And we danced the rest of the way to Lyrikal’s ‘Cloud 9,’” Anya said.
This fall, the newlyweds intend to honeymoon on a cruise. In the future they hope to travel and explore Europe, particularly Barcelona, Spain. “Roy’s favorite football team is FC Barcelona,” said Anya.
“He has always wanted to travel there and visit the stadium. Depending on the team’s schedule, we’d love to watch a game in person too.”
For Anya, Roy’s giving and kind nature are characteristics she admires.
“As I mentioned in my vows, he is the most giving person I know, and everything he does is without expecting anything in return,” she said.
Roy said, “There are so many things I love about my wife, but if I had to choose one out of all the others, it would be the way she’s changing my life for the better every day, always pushing me towards my goals and aspirations in life.”
Anya, 31 and Roy, 37, live in George Town.