Living Apart Was a Challenge. So Was Finding Her Before They Wed.

A man searches for his fiancee after she moves to the U.S., and overcomes a wedding tradition that could have kept them apart.

Living Apart Was a Challenge. So Was Finding Her Before They Wed.

Cassidy Aria Melissa Benn, Marcini Anthony Grosvenor and Cassidy Aria Melissa Benn had only met five times before their wedding.

The two were good friends before the move. They met at Grace Temple Assembly of God Church, in Guyana, an undeveloped South American country. "We have always known each other," said Ms. Benn. We became friends.

The 23rd of January 2011 was a day when things began to change. I also have something to tell you.

"I asked, "Can I be you girlfriend?" Ms. Benn remembered asking. He said he would think about it. He is a jokester. He was already feeling it, but wanted to prolong the feelings.

The two teenagers went on their first date together the next day at Church's Chicken, in New Amsterdam, Guyana. Mr. Grosvenor explained that the two teens were already best friends, and so, it was not strange. 'It's just an upgrade of title', Ms. Benn said.

Her family soon learned about the "upgrade." They told her that she was too young for dating. 'We were dating but not dating at the exact same time', said Ms. Benn.

In April 2015, dating in secret became even more difficult when Ms. Benn relocated to the United States. She said, 'My aunts brought me to the United States for a better future.' She was adopted by her maternal great-uncle, aunt, and cousin. Five years later she applied for citizenship, and in May 2022, became a U.S. Citizen.

Ms. Benn had split up with Mr. Grosvenor after the move. However, they decided to stay together. They dated long-distance for eight years. 'We have virtual dates on the 24th of each month, which is our dating anniversary', Ms. Benn explained.


It was hard. Ms. Benn (26), said that she returned for the first time in summer 2017 and stayed two weeks. She visited again for a little over a month in each of the following months: December 2018, March 20,21, December 2020, and December 2022.

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On one of these visits, Mr. Grosvenor (30) proposed. He formed a WhatsApp group to help her devise a strategy. Then he encouraged Ms. Benn, to organize the girls' night out that she wanted. So she did.

Ms. Benn recalled that when she arrived at Caribbean Cuisine restaurant & cocktail bar in Berbice, Berbice, on April 10, 2021 'I received a greeting from 10 people. Each of them gave me a rose and a card with something special that we both shared'. The last rose came from Mr. Grosvenor.

Ms. Benn works as a cashier for Express, a clothing retailer. She is also an academic advisor at York College in CUNY, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. She was born in New Amsterdam in Guyana and raised in Brooklyn's Brownsville. Mr. Grosvenor was also from New Amsterdam.

Mr. Grosvenor is a third-mate at Exxon. He completed secondary school in Guyana, taking the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exam (CSEC).

They first met at Grace Temple Assembly of God Church. The Rev. Doreen H., a senior minister, was the officiant and 93 people attended. The reception was held at Zero Gravity Home Style.

The couple celebrated a queh-queh the night before their wedding, which is a Guyanese pre-wedding tradition in which the bride hides and celebrates with the groom. 'It was epic, because my husband didn't find me, and he had to pay my dowry,' said Ms. Benn. He searched for an hour and then gave up', said Ms. Benn. My mom had hidden me in a store that was in the basement flat and he didn't think to check.

The couple reunited at the wedding, but they will soon part ways. Ms. Benn is staying in Brooklyn while Mr. Grosvenor stays in Guyana. Ms. Benn stated that she would travel as often as time and money allowed.

Mr. Grosvenor described the feeling as bittersweet. It's been difficult to leave. Knowing that we are getting closer to the end of our distance brings me peace.