It’s never too late to find love, says 53-year-old newlywed
Kingsley and Shannon Simons are for ever grateful that they signed up for Plenty of Fish.
The dating app was a last effort for Shannon, who was in her late forties and had “kissed a few frogs” along the way.
Kingsley, meanwhile, wasn’t looking for anything more than a chance to meet new people.
In April they married; last month their union was celebrated on the cover of The Knot, a popular wedding magazine in the United States.
“I was just about to give up on dating apps but a colleague told me about Plenty of Fish. What she actually said to me was, ‘Hey, I’ve got a cousin and a friend — one’s engaged, one’s married — and they met through this app.’”
Despite her bad run, Shannon decided to give it a try.
“But instead of just going by the looks and the résumé — the write-up that folks have on Plenty of Fish — I decided to only look at people with Zodiac signs that I'm compatible with.”
According to the stars, Leo partnered well with Sagittarius, Aries and Gemini.
“If you didn't fall into any of those signs, I just kept going. I didn't even look at you. Silly, I know, but it actually worked.”
It turned out that Kingsley, whose sign was Sagittarius, lived about an eight-minute drive from her home in Columbia, Maryland.
The 53-year-old left Bermuda for America as a child. Initially he returned home every summer, but during the 23 years he spent in the military, he was only able to come about every five years.
“I try to get home as often as I can,” he said. “I think the last time I was home was in 2019 for a family reunion. “Shannon and I were looking at coming and then the pandemic hit and Bermuda restrictions were stringent, which made it difficult to try to travel to Bermuda during that time.”
Although his mother lives in the US, Kingsley’s sister Katrina Simons is still on the island.
“Pretty much my entire family — my father, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — everyone is in Bermuda for the most part,” he said.
Shannon had two daughters from a previous relationship and Kingsley was long divorced when they met on March 30, 2019.
“Her heart is so big … I’m a much more quiet, reserved person and she's very outgoing and spontaneous. And I think her personality and the way she is around people kind of brings out that in me. I think we really complement each other really well. She's just such a loving person. It's hard not to love her. And I love to tell our story because it's a testament that it's never too late,” Kingsley said.
According to Shannon, the relationship was a success because she looked for a mate with qualities that were important to her.
“I was very intentional this time, which was a little different for me. With my previous relationship, we were engaged and together for 18 years, but it was a very superficial thing what I wanted in a partner before.
“With Kingsley, this time around, I was very, very intentional and purposeful in what I wanted in a mate. He's very family-oriented — which is a huge one for me. His love of life was important to me and he's just one of the best fathers I've ever met.”
Kingsley’s proposal, on Christmas Day last year, almost went unnoticed.
“She would stay over from time to time and was asking if she could have somewhere she could put some of her stuff.
“So I put a ring in a drawer for her.”
Shannon appeared not to hear when Kingsley offered her the space. Eventually he got the ring out and went down on one knee.
“I honestly don't remember the words that came out of his mouth,” Shannon said.
She asked Kingsley for “a redo” but he couldn’t remember what he’d said either.
“I was probably a little bit nervous,” he laughed.
The couple married on April 23 at The Sagamore Pendry, a boutique hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.
“It was fabulous,” Shannon said. “The theme that we were trying to show, and have everybody else see, was this feeling of whimsical, romantic love. And that's what all the guests said — that's what they felt.”
She was familiar with The Knot, an “authority in wedding planning, advice and products”, and had “relied on them heavily as a resource” for her April wedding.
The couple were showcased in the winter issue, which acknowledged 2022 as a boom year for nuptials. The Simonses were one of 27 couples pictured on the cover who wed this year.
“The photographer that we used is a really quite popular wedding photographer. She's absolutely amazing. She just did a phenomenal job,” Shannon said.
“From my understanding she submitted the pictures of a few couples that she had taken pictures of this past year, and [the magazine] selected her pictures.”
The couple had no warning that their wedding shots would be shown publicly.
“She and I follow each other on Instagram. I actually found out [through her post]. I was just reading and was like, ‘Oh, that’s me!’”
Their hope is to visit Bermuda for their first anniversary in April.