The sun shone, the sea was as blue as the cloudless sky and a small, family group celebrated a wedding on the shoreline of paradise.
With the warm, golden sand beneath their feet, they toasted the happy couple and made memories that would last lifetimes.
Runaway Bay, one of the jewels of the Caribbean, had it all – magic, romance, a spectacular setting and the ultimate backdrop for wedding album pictures – and there were plenty to be taken.
But one person was noticeably absent from the captured images of the smiles, laughter and celebrations on that special day.
Only a single frame – a group shot and not a close-up – featured the groom’s proud mum. Jan had travelled more than 4,600 miles to embrace the Big Day moment with five others in the wedding party, but in her own words, “I didn’t feel right.”
Everything was perfect, everyone was happy and “it was a lovely, lovely day,” but Jan deliberately melted into the background every time the cameras clicked.
“I wouldn’t have my picture taken”
“I wouldn’t have my picture taken,” she confesses. “I know it seems strange, but I did not want to spoil the day for my son. That’s the way I felt.
Everything was lovely, I’d taken some lovely clothes, the setting was lovely and you couldn’t have wished for better . . . the people, the ceremony in the pagoda, the beach bungalow where we stayed and the way the locals were so friendly to us.
“But my teeth were a mess. When I smiled you couldn’t see any of my teeth and I was so embarrassed at the way they looked, I not only spoke with my hand in front of my mouth, I ate like that too,” Jan, from Kidderminster, recalls.
As the groom’s mum, the focus of attention was emotionally crippling. Now in her 60s, Jan’s troubles began some 40 years ago. Suffering from a gum disorder in her lower jaw, her dentist carried out a full clearance.
“I had four lower teeth in the front where the trouble was, but I was told I had to lose them all. In those days you just accepted it.