Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #33

Couple: Beyonce' Knowles and Shawn Carter (Jay-Z)

Date of Wedding:  April 4, 2008

Place: Groom's penthouse in New York City

Officiant: Pastor Rudy Rasmus

Fun facts

The couple invited only 40 guests to the private ceremony.

The couple chose not to have a wedding party.

The bride's mom designed her strapless ivory wedding gown.

70,000 white dendrobium orchids, the bride's favorite flower, were flown in from Thailand.


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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #32

Couple: Krystal Reddick and Jonathan Pollard

Date of Wedding:  May 25, 2018

Place: Park in New York City & New York City Clerk's Office

Officiant: Pastor Jeffrey Crenshaw

Fun facts

The bride is a former high school English teacher and she is currently pursuing a second career as a social worker.

The bride and groom both attended Duke University and graduated in the same class; however, they did not actually meet one another until 9 years after graduation.

They credit Facebook for (re)connecting them.

The bride is the one who proposed!

The couple had an intimate courthouse wedding.




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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #31

Couple: Staria Ray and Brian Kaesi Gilmore

Date of Wedding:  September 19, 2009

Place: The Hall & Gardens at Landmark (Garner, NC)

Officiant: Rev. Theodore Breeden

Fun facts

The couple met Memorial Day Weekend 2005 in Miami, FL, through mutual friends.  The bride had originally declined to go on the trip but one of her best friends talked her into going.

After the wedding, the couple took a ride in the Excalibur pictured below.  They rode to their hotel where their car was parked.  They immediately changed clothes and drove to their house.  When they arrived on their street, it was lined with cars on both sides.  Their house was full of their closest friends and family, so they had a fight party (Mayweather vs. Marquez) while packing for their 6AM flight to their honeymoon destination.

The couple has two sons.  They enjoy traveling and attending music concerts together.



Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #30

Couple: Valerie Richardson and Maynard Jackson, Jr.

Date of Wedding:  October 7, 1977

Place: Home of Dr. and Mrs. Ford T. Johnson (parents of the bride's sister-in-law) on Davis Avenue (Richmond, VA)

Officiant: Rev. Miles Jones (chairmen of the Richmond School Board)

Fun facts

The private wedding ceremony was held three days after the groom won a second term as Mayor of Atlanta, GA.

The couple met at a gathering hosted by singer Roberta Flack at her home.

The bride earned an MBA from UPenn's Wharton School of Finance.

The bride wore a long white brocade wedding gown.

The couple honeymooned for eight days in Toulouse and Paris, France, as guests of the French government.  The groom's parents had honeymooned in Toulouse 44 years earlier.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #29

Couple: Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Date of Wedding:  June 18, 1953

Place: Lawn of the Bride's Parents' home in Marion, AL

Officiant: Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. (groom's father)

Fun facts

The couple met while both were in graduate school in Boston and married one year and four moths after their initial meeting.

The bride's first impression of her groom was not a positive one.  She thought he looked like a boy rather than a man.  Martin normally wore a mustache to look older, but had shaved it off because he was pledging Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Martin's father did not initially think that Coretta was the best partner for his son. After mentioning the intelligent women from Atlanta who came from good families, Coretta retorted, "I have something to offer too."

The groom did not meet the bride's parents until days before the wedding.

The bride wore a pastel blue, waltz-length dress.

The bride had the traditional language about obeying her husband deleted from the marriage vows.

The couple spent their honeymoon in a funeral parlor that doubled as the home of a friend (who worked as an undertaker) since there were no nearby hotels open to African Americans because of segregation.  



Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #28

Couple: Taineisha Sledge and Dorian Bolden

Date of Wedding:  August 18, 2007

Place: Pine Lake Pavilion (Mebane, NC)

Officiant: Pastor Nate Davis

Fun facts

The couple met at the information desk in the student union during the first day of the bride's freshman orientation at Duke University.  The groom was working at the information desk.

The couple got engaged in the frame of the first house that they purchased.

At their wedding, the couple danced to Stevie Wonder's "You and I" for their first dance and to Luther Vandross's "Here and Now' for their last dance.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #27

Couple: Ronda Taylor and Kelvin Bullock

Date of Wedding:  October 1, 2005

Place: White Rock Baptist Church (Durham, NC)

Officiant: Rev. Dr. Reginald Van Stephens

Fun facts

The couple met as rising high school seniors at UNC's Project Uplift.

The bride and groom were best friends throughout college and decided to start dating at the end of the fall semester of their senior year

The couple taught together at Hillside High School in Durham.

The couple had their wedding reception at a Durham historic sit, NC Mutual Life

The man and woman who caught the bouquet and garter at their wedding married each other in 2017.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #26

Couple: Sharon Celecia Lassiter and Isaac Odell Vinson

Date of Wedding:  September 10, 1983

Place: Johnston Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church (Clayton, NC)

Officiant: Rev. Luther Coppedge

Fun facts

The couple met during the summer of 1977.  The future bride was a rising freshman and the future groom was a rising senior.

The groom took the bride to her junior and senior proms.

Sisters of the bride and groom were in the wedding party.



Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #25

Couple: Dr. E. Renee Sanders and Dr. Bill Lawson

Date of Wedding:  July 4, 1997

Place: Tupper Memorial Baptist Church (Raleigh, NC)

Officiant: Reverend Victor Davis

Fun facts

The couple attended a wedding of mutual friends about 20 years before they began dating.

North Carolina’s 9th poet laureate introduced the groom to the bride.  

Guests at the couple's private ceremony were entertained by a harpist.

The couple enjoys traveling domestically and internationally.  Since marrying, they have visited over 15 countries together.

The bride is a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the groom is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.



Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #24

Couple: Mary Louise Terrell and Dr. Leon Algernon Tancil

Date of Wedding:  June 27, 1923

Place: Freedmen’s Hospital (Washington, D.C.)

Officiant: Reverend D. R. River

Fun facts

The bride was a teacher in the Washington, D.C. public schools. 

The couple married at Freedmen’s Hospital so that the bride’s sick father, Judge Robert Terrell, could witness the ceremony.

The couple had a wedding reception immediately following their ceremony at the home of the bride’s parents.

The bride was the adopted daughter and biological niece of Mary Church Terrell.

The couple received congratulatory messages about their nuptials from leading black Americans including W.E.B. DuBois.


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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #23

Couple: Tara Williams and Damien Forsythe

Date of Wedding:  August 25, 2012

Place: The Hall and Garden at Landmark (Garner, NC)

Officiant: Reverend Jonathan Ford

Fun facts

The bride and groom met in 1997 at a track meet at Clayton High School.  The groom was a senior at North Johnston High School and the bride was a freshman at Smithfield-Selma Senior High School.

The groom was supportive of everything the bride wanted for their wedding although he thought some things were unnecessary.  He came to appreciate all of the small details the bride had thought of to make their day extra special and to this day, he still tells her how much he enjoyed their wedding.

The couple have three children: two boys and one girl.

The bride and groom are HBCU rivals. The groom is a NC A&T Aggie and the bride is a NC Central Eagle.

The couple is competitive in air hockey.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #22

Couple: Sojourner Green and Derek McKnight

Date of Wedding: June 18, 2005

Place: Union Hill A.M.E. Church (Wilson's Mills NC

Officiants:  Reverend V.I. Tyrell and Reverend Rena McKnight (groom's mother)

Fun Facts:

The bride and groom met in the 9th grade after a Kenansville Eastern Missionary Baptist Association (KEMBA) Youth Missionary event. The groom was supposed to play for the service but,  declined.  Had he played that day,  the bride and groom may have never met.

While the couple met in the 9th grade, they did not date until their second year of college, at North Carolina Central University. 

The bride is 8 days older than the groom.

The date of the wedding is 4 days after the bride's Birthday and 4 day's before the groom's Birthday. 

The bride's dress was custom made by Alice Blake who is a Seamstress and Cutter/fitter for Screen Gems Studios.

Many people think that the bride and groom's two children are twins; however, they are 11 months apart.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #21

Couple: Willie Mays and Mae Louise Allen

Date of Wedding:  November 27, 1971

Place: Judge’s Chambers, Mexico City, Mexico

Officiant:Judge José Ignacio Fernandez

Fun facts

In 1952, the bride’s mother met Willie Mays and requested an autograph for her 13-year-old daughter (the bride) who was at home.

The bride’s white lace gown had an A-line skirt and high empire waist.  The floor-length dress had a scooped neckline and featured short puff sleeves.  She also wore a white lace mantilla.

The 15-minute ceremony was conducted in Spanish with an interpreter.

The groom designed the engagement and wedding rings himself.

Wedding guests enjoyed a dinner at the Fiesta Palace Hotel restaurant.  

The couple honeymooned in Acapulco.

The bride graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and Howard University and was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

The groom played Major League Baseball for 22 seasons.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #20

Couple: Commodore H. Monk and Barbara Liles

Date of Wedding: July 9, 1972

Place: St. Mark AME Church (Smithfield, NC)

Officiant: Rev. R.L. McCormick

Fun facts

The bride and groom were introduced by a friend at the request of the groom who saw his future bride and declared she would be his wife.

The couple met in March 1971 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and went on a few dates before the groom relocated to Indiana for new job training in July 1971.  The bride lived in Baltimore, Maryland.

The couple dated long distance from July 1971 until December 1971 when the groom proposed on Christmas Day.

The couple took a chance in marrying after only seeing each other a few weekends because of the distance.  They recently celebrated 46 years of marriage and credit God for keeping them together.  

The bride is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and her groom is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.  


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #19

Couple: Brandon Erby and Grejika Abram

Date of Wedding: July 18, 2015

Place: Cheniere Lake Park (West Monroe, Louisiana)

Officiant: Rev. Greg L. Oliver, Sr.

Fun facts

The couple met during freshman orientation week at Tougaloo College in 2008.

The bride and groom are fall 2009 initiates of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

The groom proposed on Valentine’s Day in 2014 by imitating the music video for the song “Come Close” by Common.

The wedding theme was vintage and country chic. There were over 30 individuals in the bridal party.

The bride’s dress was a fit and flare gown with a sweetheart neckline and dropped waist fully adorned with lace. It was embellished with rhinestones, pearls, and a buttoned-back that extended down her chapel train.

The bride declined a traditional veil in lieu of a rhinestone comb garnished with a string of pearls. The bride’s bouquet was handmade by her mother and bridesmaids.

The couple lived separately during their first year of marriage as they both attended different universities for graduate school. 


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #18

Couple: Josephine Willson and Blanche Bruce

Date of Wedding:  June 24, 1878

Place: 228 Perry Street, Cleveland, OH (Home of the Bride's Parents)

Officiant: Rev. N.S. Rulison

Fun facts

Sixty guests attended the private ceremony.

The groom's family was not invited to the wedding because of their enslaved past.

The bride's parents closed the heavy velvet draperies throughout the house to prevent the crowd gathered outside from being able to peek at the ceremony.

The bride wore a white silk gown trimmed in satin.

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a catered supper while a local orchestra provided music.

The couple sailed to Europe on June 27 for a four-month honeymoon but returned stateside in time for the next session of Congress.

The groom was the second African American to serve in the  United States Senate and the first African American to be elected to a full term.  He represented the state of Mississippi.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #17

Couple: Kellie Carter and Nathaniel Jackson

Date of Wedding:  May 28, 2005

Place: First Metropolitan Church (Houston, TX)

Officiant: Rev. John D. Olgetree

Fun facts

The couple's wedding reception was in the backyard of the bride's parents' home.  The groom had proposed in that yard  on July 4.

The couple met as children.  The future bride was 8 years old and the future groom was 10 years old.  They met in church and their families have always been close.

The couple had a long-distance relationship for their entire 3-year courtship: Colorado and Washington, D.C. and then Texas and New York.  They were also long-distance for the first four years of their marriage (North Dakota and New York City).

The couple endured their long-distance relationship BEFORE Skype, video chat, etc. became popular.  The groom was deployed six weeks after his wedding so he handwrote his bride letters every day for months.  The bride has kept those letters.

The groom deployed again when the couple was expecting their first child, so he wrote a letter to his wife and a letter to his unborn child every day of his deployment.  The letters are in their son’s baby book.



Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #16

Couple: Velvaline Shepherd and Nathaniel L. Sanders, Jr.

Date of Wedding:  June 4, 1975

Place: Johnston County Courthouse (Smithfield, NC)

Officiant: J.T. Smith

Fun facts

The couple did not give their families much advance notice of the wedding.

The couple met in high school at a political meeting.  Their romance continued while in college.

The couple attended two high school proms together years before marrying.

The bride graduated from North Carolina Central University.  The groom attended Winston-Salem State University and graduated from NC Wesleyan College.


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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #15

Couple: Auldlyn Higgins and Edgar Thomas Williams, Jr.

Date of Wedding:  May 23, 1964

Place: St. James Episcopal Church (Baltimore, MD)

Officiant: Reverend Donald O. Wilson

Fun facts

The bride wore an empire gown of white silk linen.  Her chapel-length illusion veil was attached to a halo of silk linen trimmed with pearls.

The groom was an Ebony magazine Bachelor of the Year.

The bride graduated from the Westover School in Middlebury, CT and from Fisk University in Nashville, TN.

The groom graduated from Brooklyn College.

The couple's wedding was featured in the New York Times and the New York Amsterdam News.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #14

Couple: Nicholl Lewis and Dr. Michael Young

Date of Wedding: September 22, 2012

Place: The Biltmore Ballrooms (Atlanta)

Officiant:  Elder Mary W. Young (the groom's step-grandmother)

Fun facts:

The bride and groom worked at the same place at the same time and never crossed paths (Emory Healthcare in Atlanta).

The first time the groom's mother met the bride, she said “She’s a keeper!” That may have sealed the deal. 

The bottom of the bride's dress caught on fire during the ceremony and she didn’t know about it until later. The mother of the bride and a friend put it out. The bride finds it funny now, but she would have been mortified, had she known what was going on at the time.