A new bride had a close encounter with Cayman’s pirates on Saturday.
Inspired by the desire to do something unconventional for his wedding day, groom Ben Jones, 35, organized a surprise kidnapping of bride Sharon Hong, 34.
Just hours before being paraded by pirate captors along Harbour Drive, Ben and Sharon had tied the knot at the White House restaurant beachfront in Pease Bay, Bodden Town.
Ben had popped the question several months ago after meeting Sharon in Vancouver, Canada, two years earlier. After the wedding, Ben told Sharon they would be guests at the Pirates Landing in George Town.
Decked out in her lacy white gown, she joined her new husband and the Redcoats, sent to protect the island, on the steps of the Cayman Islands National Museum as pirates fought their way up the street.
Unaware she would be kidnapped by the pirates, Sharon watched as the governor – played by an actor – was dragged through the street in chains.
The drama unfolded with hundreds of pirates clashing swords with the Redcoats.
Suddenly, Sharon was snatched from the arms of husband Ben by the pirates as the Redcoats began to lose the battle. Sharon, looking flabbergasted but smiling in the process, glanced back at Ben in wonderment as if to say, “Is this for real?”
Ben could do nothing but smile sheepishly as he too appeared cornered by two pirates with swords drawn.
As the pirates fought their way through more Redcoats, thousands of spectators gathered at the dock to watch the drama unfold, Ben was seen with hands held high in the air as he was dragged along behind his wife by two feisty pirates.
The couple were thrown aboard the pirate ship float and made to sail through the streets with the rest of the motley crew before heading off to their reception at the Westin.
Sharon said she had no clue what was taking place. She just went along with the festive spirit.
“It was quite overwhelming when I realized what my husband had achieved with help from his friends. To keep a secret of this magnitude and to organize everything must have been difficult, as I had absolutely no clue,” she said.
After the wedding, Ben reminisced about meeting Sharon. He said their first date was at Christmastime and their first dinner together was on New Year’s Day.
“It kind of felt [like] the stars were aligning and there was something big in store,” he said.
Two years into the relationship, Ben said Sharon’s father found out he had cancer and passed away before the wedding.
Ben said before he passed, he asked her father if he could take her hand in marriage. Her father gave his blessing.
Then Ben moved to the Cayman Islands to work while Sharon stayed in Vancouver; but they knew they wanted a destination wedding.
“I proposed on Seven Mile Beach near Tiki Beach bar. We went for a light lunch at the Kimpton Hotel and then for a walk on the beach,” he said.
On the beach, Ben said there was a heart, designed with leaves, in the sand and a big vase of red roses. In the heart, written with leaves, were the words: “Will you marry me?”
Ben had arranged for an accomplice to play a romantic Romeo Santos song just at the right moment.
Ben dropped to his knee in front of Sharon and popped the question. Of course, Sharon said, “yes.”