Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #78

Couple: Maria Hawkins Ellington and Nat King Cole

Date of Wedding: March 28, 1948

Place: Abyssinian Baptist Church (New York, NY)

Officiant: Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Fun facts

The bride wore a $700 ice-blue satin gown created by black designer Zelda Wynn Valdez.  The dress was long-sleeved ending in points over her hands and featured a white beaded shawl collar. 

The ceremony was billed Harlem's biggest wedding in 25 years and cost $17,000.

3,000 guests attended the event.  Thousands more lined the streets outside of the church.

The couple hoped to have their wedding reception at the Waldorf Astoria but the hotel refused their patronage because they were black.  They had the reception at the Belmont Plaza.  Guests dined on turkey, ham, and rib roast.

The bride and groom had a 5-tiered wedding cake.

The couple honeymooned in Mexico City and Acapulco.

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