Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #100

When I started the Black Brides series several months ago, I did so for three main reasons. 1. I used to cringe every time Mrs. Michelle Obama was called Obama's "baby mama." 2. In the classroom, I stress to my students that one of the first things formerly enslaved people did was legalize their marriages after Emancipation. 3. Finally, I love LOVE and I love weddings. My first job in high school was working at a bridal boutique. Love is powerful. It is radical. It is a form of resistance. Black women have chosen to love through slavery, Jim Crow, the Great Depression, countless wars, and even in this present moment when we must remind some that Black Lives Matter. I recognize that love does not require marriage but I wanted to feature those who pursued marriage. All of the marriages I featured did not last. Several of these relationships ended for a variety of reasons but I chose to focus on the fact that two people dared to love one another. I will always be thankful to all of the brides who agreed to be profiled.

When the series started, I had no idea that I would feature 100 women. I also had no intention of profiling myself but…SURPRISE…I’m engaged!!!!!!! Please keep us in prayer as we make our way to the altar. Thank you for following the series.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #99

Couple: Kerry Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha

Date of Wedding:  June 24, 2013

Place: Private Home in Hailey, Idaho

Officiant: Chisaraokwu Asomugha

Fun facts

The couple reportedly met when the bride starred on Broadway.  The groom attended the play and was instantly drawn to his future wife.  Upon meeting, the bride said she “didn’t date athletes” to which the groom replied that he “didn’t date actresses.

The bride and groom dated for a little over a year before marrying.

The bride wore a simple, slim-fitting white gown.

The couple took their vows in a private home owned by a friend of the bride.  Wedding guests stayed at the house before and after the ceremony.

The groom's sister, a minister in Silver Spring, Maryland, officiated the wedding.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #98

Couple: Katherine Scruse and Joseph Jackson

Date of Wedding:  November 5, 1949

Place: Justice of the Peace in Crown Point, IN

Fun facts

The bride was an aspiring nurse when she met her groom.

The couple met each other at a party.  When they ran into each other again at a second gathering, the groom asked the bride to dance.

The bride and groom bonded over their love of music.  Both of them played several instruments and could sing.

The couple married after a six month engagement.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #97

Couple: Teresa Powell and Rev. Argo Matthews

Date of Wedding:  July 3, 1993

Place: First Missionary Baptist Church (Clayton, NC)

Officiant: Pastors Lacy Simpson, Sr. and Daniel Sanders

Fun facts

The bride and groom met at a church revival at First Missionary Baptist Church in Clayton.

The couple dated for a year.

The groom the groom loves to laugh and make others laugh.  

The couple celebrated 25 years of marriage this summer.  


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #96

Couple: Erin Davis and Ernest Almond

Date of Wedding:  November 10, 2012

Place: Abundant Life Church (Hillsborough, NC)

Officiant: Pastor Andy Thompson

Fun facts

The bride and groom met at the University of North Carolina (UNC) on November 10, 2001 at a Homecoming Stepshow afterparty.

The bride and groom were both present at a very small and intimate wedding ceremony for a mutual friend in 2006 on the campus of UNC but neither recall the other person being there.

The bride and groom both double-majored while students at UNC, sharing a major of African American Studies. 

The couple found their wedding photographer (Elizabeth Ashley Co) through LivingSocial.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #95

Couple: Emily Camille Rutledge and Delmont Early

Date of Wedding:  August 14, 2010

Place: Isle of Palms (Charleston, SC)

Officiant: Rev. Sidney Davis

Fun facts

The bride and groom met on a blind date and were introduced by one of the bride's Morehouse brothers. The night they met, the groom's car was broken into, but he played it cool.  They both did, actually!  How else could they react on a first date? 

When the bride was studying for the bar exam, the groom would often pick her up after late-night studying from George Washington's campus and cook for her.  That meant the world to the bride; he's always been one of the many reasons that has kept the bride going!  He still is. 

The couple got engaged on the evening of Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009. 

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #93

Couple: Janice Shepherd and Ronald Hinton

Date of Wedding:  July 14, 1990

Place: Marriage Chapel (Dillon, SC)

Fun facts

The couple met in high school.  The groom, a student himself, saw his future bride in class and told the teacher that the student would be his wife one day.  The bride thought he was crazy.

The groom showed his bride that he was serious by writing her poems during high school.

The groom proposed after six months of dating.  The bride's father was working in a barn when the groom asked for her hand in marriage.  The bride's father responded by saying "you know she is not a drum.  When is the wedding?"  That was his way of telling his future son-in-law to take care of his daughter.

The couple married after 3.5 years of dating.

The couple's honeymoon was postponed because of a hurricane headed to Myrtle Beach.

The couple loves each other now more than ever before because they both put God first.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #92

Couple: Barbara Adams and Robert Branch III

Date of Wedding:  November 23, 1963

Place: Lincoln Memorial Congregational Temple United Church of Christ (Washington, D.C.)

Officiant: Reverend Channing Phillips

Fun facts

The couple's engagement was featured in Jet magazine. 

The bride's gown was by Bianchi of New York.  The elbow-length sleeves were white-mink trimmed and the illusion veil was topped by a pill box of mink.

The bride wore a strand of pearls given to her by the groom and she carried a bouquet of white orchids.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #91

Couple: Victoria Rowell and Radcliffe Bailey

Date of Wedding:  June 27, 2009

Place: Dublin Community Church (Dublin, NH)

Fun facts

The bride wore a pale, sunlight-yellow Jane Wilson-Marquis gown.

The couple met while the bride was on a book tour that included a stop at the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta.  LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson's wife, told the bride. "I’m going to introduce you to your husband. And you’re welcome.”

Interestingly, the day before the couple met, the bride had met an older woman in an Atlanta bookstore.  That woman was the groom's mother.

The couple had a long-distance courtship where they usually saw each other twice a month.

Samuel L. Jackson walked the bride down the aisle. 

The couple divorced in 2014.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #90

Couple: Loretta Lynch and Stephen Hargrove

Date of Wedding:  2007

Place: St. Thomas

Fun facts

The bride attended Harvard for both undergrad and law school.

While an undergraduate student, the bride was a charter member of Harvard's chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

The bride and groom met at a mutual friend's event in New York.

The couple honeymooned in Bora Bora.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #89

Couple: Tandra Williams and Walter Ramos

Date of Wedding:  June 7, 2008

Place: Iglesia Christiana Primeros Fritos (Clayton, NC)

Officiant: Pastor Ignacio Castro

Fun facts

When the bride and groom met, they did not speak the same language, so they communicated with the help of dictionaries since fancy translation apps did not exist then.

For the first few weeks of their courtship, the groom gave the bride flowers every time he saw her.

The couple enjoys the same hobbies.  They both love God foremost.

They will always remember their wedding anniversary because the date is 6-7-08!

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #88

Couple: Solange Knowles and Alan Ferguson

Date of Wedding: November 16, 2014

Place: Marigny Opera House (New Orleans, LA)

Officiant: Pastor Rudy Rasmus

Fun facts:

The bride arrived at her wedding venue wearing a wedding-day jumpsuit and cape.  She changed into a Humberto Leon for Kenzo dress before walking down the aisle at her winter white-themed wedding.

One of the reasons why the bride arrived in pants is because she and her groom rode bikes to their wedding ceremony.

The bride walked down the aisle to an instrumental of Donny Hathaway's "I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry."

The entire wedding party wore white.

At the reception, the bride and her son had a dance-off to the song "No Flex Zone."

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #87

Couple: Charisma Ricksy and Stephane Nguepdo

Date of Wedding: September 15, 2018

Place: Holy Trinity Baptist Church (Amityville, NY)

Officiant: Rev. Kevin M. Northam

Fun facts:

The bride and groom met at Penn State University.

Both the bride and groom volunteered for the MLK Day of Service at Penn State and were paired together as team leaders.

The couple maintained a long-distance relationship for 3 years.  The distance made their communication stronger.

The bride surprised her groom by reciting her vows in both English and French.  The groom's first language was French!


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #86

Couple: Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin

Date of Wedding: June 16, 2012

Place: Triunfo Creek Winery (Malibu, CA)

Fun facts:

The bride wore a custom-made R-mine gown with a purple-dipped train.

The couple had a Spanish and bayou-themed wedding.

The 400 wedding guests included Tracey Edmonds, Tasha Smith, and Derek Luke.

Shanice sang the song "Loving You" during the reception.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #85

Couple: Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade

Date of Wedding: August 20, 2015

Place: Chateau Artisan (Miami, FL)

Officiant: Ministers Essence Atkins and Jaime Mendez

Fun facts:

The bride wore a Dennis Basso wedding gown.

The couple decided not to have any groomsmen or bridesmaids.

Male wedding guests were given custom bowties from the groom's tie line to wear to the wedding.

John Legend sang the song "You and I" during the wedding ceremony.

At the reception, the couple entered to the song "All I Do is Win" and Ludacris, who was in attendance, grabbed the mic and performed his verse.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #84

Couple: Ciara Harris and Russell Wilson

Date of Wedding: July 6, 2016

Place: Peckforton Castle (Cheshire, England)

Officiant: Pastor Judah Smith

Fun facts:

The groom proposed to his bride while they were on vacation in the Seychelles.

The bride wore a custom-designed Roberto Cavalli Couture gown.  The dress featured a cathedral-length train.

The eight bridesmaids included La La Anthony and Kelly Rowland.  All of the attendants' gowns were custom-made and tailored to each woman's individual style.  

The bride's son served as the ring bearer.

Earth, Wind, and Fire provided the music at the couple's reception.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #83

Couple: Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker

Date of Wedding: April 4, 2014

Place: Private venue in Atlanta, GA

Officiant: Rev. Titus Burruss, Jr.

Fun facts:

The wedding had a Coming to America theme.  There were live lions at the entrance, elaborately dressed women dropping rose petals, drummers, and festive dancers. There was also a vocalist singing “She’s Your Queen to Be” – just like in the movie!    

The bride's father walked her down the aisle and officiated the wedding.

The bride's Rico Chapel wedding gown cost $20,000.

Bridesmaids included Fantasia, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, and Phaedra Parks.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #82

Couple: Niecy Nash and Jay Tucker

Date of Wedding: May 28, 2011

Place: Church Estate Vineyard (Malibu, CA)

Fun facts:

The couplet met at a Labor Day party in 2009.

The bride wore a strapless Ines DiSantos gown.

The bride and groom each had ten attendants.  The bride's attendants included Wendy Racquel Robinson, Sherri Shepherd, and Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Brandi sang at the nuptials.

The couple honeymooned in Anguilla.

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Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #81

Couple: Delexis C. Bagley and Reginald K. Ellis

Date of Wedding: May 10, 2018

Place: Prince Maui Resort (Maui, Hawaii)

Officiant: Dr. Maurice Nutt

Fun facts:

When the groom was a graduate student at Florida A&M University, he served as a Graduate Assistant for Dr. Larry Rivers, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  The bride worked as a work-study student for Dr. Ralph Turner, the Assistant Dean of the College.  The couple met while both worked in that office and they began dating shortly after the groom earned his master's degree.

The bride is extremely competitive!  While she may not outwardly show that she is competing, she is always locked in during game nights with friends. If she and her groom win, then she talks more junk than him (and anyone who knows the groom knows that is hard to believe).

On November 28, 2017, the couple had their first child, a beautiful baby girl.  They collectively agreed on their daughter's name months before she was born.  The bride's grandmother's name is Eva Mae Nelson.  The groom's mother's name is Erma Jean Ellis (EJE).  In honor of these two strong women, the bride and groom named their daughter Eva Janelle Ellis, Eva after the bride's grandmother and the initials EJE after the groom's mother.

The groom is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and his line brother officiated the wedding.


Celebrating Black Brides: Profile #80

Couple: Tara Dublin and George Gullatt III

Date of Wedding: February 6, 1999

Place: First Missionary Baptist Church (Clayton, NC)

Officiant: Rev. Blanzie Williams

Fun facts:

The couple met in 1995 when the bride worked at McDonald's.  She spotted the groom out a mile away.  After  a brief courtship via phone, they disconnected, but luckily, the groom found her again months later by going to her job.  Although the bride was hesitant at first, she gave him her number (again) and the rest is history.

After dating for four years, the groom proposed at the bride's job.  He made sure that the bride's mother and grandmother were there to witness the proposal.

The couple has yet to go on a honeymoon but everyday of their marriage has been an adventure.

They will celebrate 20 years of marriage in four months and are so grateful and thankful to God.