Written by Laura Bell, Photographs by Moongate Productions
Sherelle Simons fully admits that she used to spy on her future husband, Michiko Campbell, and his twin brother, Machai, when they would walk past Arnold’s Market on St. John’s Road where, as a 12-year-old, she packed groceries with her twin sister, Sheraé. “My sister and I would get excited, looking out the door, to see those cute twin boys each with a head full of beautiful straight hair,” she recalls.
The couple crossed paths again in November 2008 when she was asked to help prepare for a 19th birthday party Michiko and his brother were planning. Sadly, a month later the groom lost his twin in a terrible bike accident. But out of tragedy, love was born.
“Sherelle does graphic design, so she made a beautiful RIP collage of my brother,” said Michiko, chef at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. “I saw her again at my brother’s viewing and again at the funeral. I could not stop looking at her. She is so beautiful. Finally I was able to get her phone number, sent her a text message to thank her for the collage and asked if I could take her to the movies to show my appreciation. We went to see Marley & Me and it was the best night of my life.
“I started having deeper feelings for her because she showed me that she was there for me. I felt that she could sort of relate to what I was going through being a twin herself. From her strength and how she helped strengthen me after my loss, I knew that one day I would make her my wife.”
Three years later, at a memorial party for Machai, Michiko was giving his usual speech thanking all those who had supported him through the loss of his brother when he turned to Sherelle and asked her to be his wife. Down on one knee, he proposed in front of all their family and friends with a 14-karat gold three-stone diamond ring. “Michiko says the three diamonds stand for past, present and future,” said the bride. No one heard her say yes through her tears except Michiko.
On July 29, 2015, the couple wed at Warwick Holiness Church—a beach wedding at Warwick Long Bay had been the original plan, but alas, the weather dictated a move indoors. The wedding party included six bridesmaids dressed in shades of apricot and peach and five groomsmen in apricot linen shirts, with a sacred space saved for the groom’s brother throughout the entire wedding. “Michiko had a small table with beautiful flowers and a picture of his twin brother in that space,” explained Sherelle, speaking of how they honoured Machai. “My twin sister walked out of the church carrying his twin’s picture, and, at the reception, Chiko had a seat for his brother next to him at the head table. Later in the evening we let off paper lanterns into the sky while the DJ played the song ‘When I See You Again.’”
The reception was held at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club where the chef and owner of Chiko’s Smokey Rubs just couldn’t help but get into the kitchen to season the food the day before the wedding. “I wouldn’t have had it any other way but to have great food,” he said. Meanwhile, Sherelle was responsible for all the graphic elements of the day including the invitations, programmes and table numbers. The décor was left to Exclusive Flowers, professional photographers Moongate Productions captured all the important moments of the day, and DJ Twin Starr entertained the guests into the early hours.
“The worst part of the day for me was not having my twin brother there. I missed him so much that day,” said Michiko. Being surrounded by 180 friends and family members—many of whom flew in from Ohio where Sherelle’s maternal relatives live—made the day memorable for the couple. “It was so beautiful to have everyone together, especially my papa, my uncle and my cousin who haven’t been to Bermuda in many years,” said Sherelle. “Another highlight was seeing my 100-year-old grandmother at my reception when I arrived. I knew she hadn’t been feeling well a few weeks before my wedding so we weren’t sure if she would be able to come. She looked so strong and beautiful.”
More surprises came when the groom unexpectedly took the mic and sang “I Do” by 98 Degrees to Sherelle during the reception. “It was a big surprise and no one knew I was going to sing,” he said. “I felt like a celebrity!”
“The best part of the day was seeing my beautiful wife smile,” said Michiko. “I will never forget how I felt seeing her walking down the aisle to me alongside her father.”
When asked if they would do anything differently if they could do it all over again, the happy newlyweds had the best answers. “Everything turned out how it was supposed to,” said Sherelle, while Michiko added, “I wouldn’t change a thing. It was and will always be the best day of my life.”