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BRIDE COVID-19

How to navigate wedding planning thru BLACK

VOL. 9

The Ultimate Resource for Before and After “I Do”

MAGAZINE

Planning

ADVICE FROM THE PROS


HEY LOVELY! In a time of great uncertainty, we are reminded that the only constant in life is change and how we choose to respond to it. COVID-19 quarantine restrictions have caused many couples to completely rethink the weddings they had envisioned. Some have decided to move forward with their plans, opting for small, intimate events. Others have decided to postpone. While it may not look like your original plan, you can still create a celebratory experience and memories that will last for years to come. The unknown can spark creativity, innovation, and resiliency. Amidst changing times, we at Black Bride stand with everyone facing difficult and emotional decisions. What we know for sure is that unity, love, and commitment to each other will conquer all. This Covid-19 guide is for you. Excerpt from the Cover Story‌


Contents

Volume 9 MARY CHATMAN Editor-in-Chief/Publisher SCOTT CHATMAN Chief Financial Officer

VOLUME 9

CANDICE DAVIE Editor CANDICE L. DAVIS Deputy Copy Editor AMBER SPENCE Sales Manager ARTFULLY MADE DESIGNS, LLC Design, Art Direction & Production artfullymadedesigns.com PG

Published by BLACK BRIDETM 320 Town Center Avenue Suite C-11 Suwanee, GA 30024 Copyright © 2020 Black BrideTM All rights reserved.

9

COVID-19 Report Must-read advice from wedding industry experts. 10 Florals

24 Beauty

12 Events

25

13 Stationary

26 Planner

14 Photography

28 Travel

KT Travel & More

16 Events

29

Gifts & Favors

For More, Subscribe Online Today Everything you need to plan your dream wedding: INSPIRATION REAL WEDDINGS FINE VENDORS

Event Loft PA OneTouch Events By Dami Studios Amy Anaiz Photography Pop! by Yaz

17 Officiant SOCIALIZE WITH US! /blackbride1998 /blackbride1998 /blackbride /blackbride

Rev Roxy

18

Bridal Salon

Soliloquy Bridal Couture

20 DJ

MikeMusic

21 Planner

Favored by Yodit Events & Designs

22 Cake

BCakeNY 2 | BLACKBRIDE.COM

BForBeaute.Co

Bridal Salon Kleinfeld Bridal

Chloe Cook Events

Madianite Concierge Gifting Services

30 Design

LilyVevents

32 Stationary

Robbin's Nest Design Studio

33 Videography

Champagne Love Stories

34 Legal

Kunbi Sijuwade-Odubogun

36 Music

Honey + Vinyl


Love & Style Reimagined

MAGAZINE

COVID -19

In a time of great uncertainty, we know for sure that unity, love, and commitment to each other will conquer all.

BRIDE

thru BLACK How to navigate wedding planning

Cover Story

The Ultimate Resource for Before and After “I Do”

VOL. 9

Planning

ADVICE FROM THE PROS

Cover Look PHOTOGRAPHY: Anée Atelier DESIGNER: Pejy Kash Events LOCATION: 7 Line Studio Long Island City, New York MODEL: Taylor Ellis MODEL'S JACKET: Ines Di Santo

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MODEL'S HEADPIECE: Maria Elena Headpieces MODEL’S HAIR: Nikki Avanzino MODEL'S MAKEUP: Fede Insieme

Bride Story How real couples handled wedding plans during COVID-19. 38

Nakia & Andrew

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LaToya & Michael

44

Danielle & Peter

PG

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Atlanta, Georgia

New York, New York

Washington, District of Columbia BLACKBRIDE.COM | 3


cover story

JACKET: Ines Di Santo HEADPIECE: Maria Elena Headpieces 4 | BLACKBRIDE.COM


Love & Style

REIMAGINED BY CANDICE DAVIE PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANÉE ATELIER In a time of great uncertainty, we are reminded that the only constants in life are change and how we choose to respond to it. COVID-19 quarantine restrictions have caused many couples to completely rethink the weddings they had envisioned. Some have decided to move forward with their plans, opting for small, intimate events. Others have postponed their weddings. While it may not look like your original plan, you can still create a celebratory experience that will yield long-lasting memories. The uncomfortable and unknown can spark unmatched creativity, innovation, and resiliency. Amidst changing times, we at Black Bride stand with everyone facing difficult and emotional decisions. What we know for sure is that unity, love, and commitment to each other will conquer all. Journey in grace and trust the new route. BLACKBRIDE.COM | 5


cover story

The

realization that some moments only come around once in a lifetime is more present now than ever before, and this bridal fashion shoot in Long Island City, New York, is proof. Full of color, non-traditional elements, and style, it's sure to inspire the modern bride. Sheena Meekins and Gina Esposito, Owners and Principal Photographers of NYC photography boutique, AnĂŠe Atelier, created this unique shoot with the theme "Pervenche and Pastel" in mind. The best-friend photography duo was inspired by smoky blues meeting pale peach in a chic interpretation of dramatic fashion, set in a garden that captured the alluring glow of pre-twilight skies. Following this theme, the shoot explored a variety of colorful and non-traditional gowns from the latest 2020 couture collections by top designers, including Ines Di Santo, Romona Keveza, and Hayley Paige. To bring the entire vision to life, the set design featured a mix of live and dry florals, including an unusual mix of exotic blooms, berries, vines, and oversized stems. Elaborate floral installations paired seven-foot uva stems with painted florals sprinkled in hues of pervenche and peach on a mossy green foundation. Here's what the pair had to say about their favorite details from this shoot: "White wedding gowns are traditionally the norm, so we loved having the opportunity to play with hues that extended our color concept, not only to the decor, but to the gowns and accessories as well. It was especially a privilege to share how these gowns took on such a striking impact when paired with rich brown skin. There was something truly captivating about the rosy Ines Di Santo styles, set against the warmth of Taylor's complexion. Likewise, Ovo brought such an incredibly majestic feel to the stunning Romona Keveza caped gown. We also loved that the Hayley Paige gown included notes of both periwinkle and the peachy-nudes that inspired us from the very beginning." Reflective of the times, this shoot provides tons of inspiration for the fashion-forward bride who dares to be different and wants to set the tone for her ideal look.

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MODEL LEFT DRESS: Hayley Paige EARRINGS: Maria Elena Headpieces


DRESS: Romona Keveza

DRESS: Ines Di Santo EARRINGS: Maria Elena Headpieces

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cover story

Vendors

Photography: AnĂŠe Atelier aneeatelier.com

Designer: Pejy Kash Events pejykashevents.com Location: 7 Line Studio Long Island City, New York 7linestudio.com Models: Taylor Ellis instagram.com/lorealellis Ovo Drenth instagram.com/itsovodrenth Amanda Lougee instagram.com/alougee Concept/Creative Direction: AnĂŠe Atelier Producer: Faith Warren instagram.com/ iamfaithwarren Dresses: Hayley Paige jlmcouture.com Ines Di Santo inesdisanto.com Romona Keveza romonakeveza.com Zuhair Murad, Kleinfeld Bridal zuhairmurad.com Accessories: Maria Elena Headpieces mariaelenaheadpieces.com Models' Hair: Nikki Avanzino nikkiavanzino.com Models' Makeup: Fede Insieme fedeinsieme.com Flowers: Ivie Joy Flowers iviejoyflowers.com Videography: AJ Ingoglia Films ajingogliafilms.com 8 | BLACKBRIDE.COM

DRESS: Zuhair Murad EARRINGS: Maria Elena Headpieces


covid-19/report MUST-READ ADVICE FROM WEDDING INDUSTRY EXPERTS

QUESTIONS How do you plan a wedding during COVID-19? As if going through a global pandemic isn't enough to deal with already, many couples across the world are trying to figure out what to do about their wedding plans. Black Bride has asked top wedding industry leaders some of the tough questions to help couples navigate through these unknown territories to continue with your wedding plans. PHOTOGRAPHY courtesy of Amy Anaiz Photography

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FLORALS Event Loft PA Event Loft is a full-service floral and event design studio serving Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and beyond. We create customized visual experiences for the modern luxe couple by collaborating with partners to provide a cohesive look while incorporating unique and sophisticated uses of color and decor. Eilena stays inspired and educated by continually devising and discovering new ideas and approaches. She is a mentor for other designers and created "The Wedding Tea Podcast" for multicultural couples. Event Loft has been featured in multiple luxury wedding publications. For more information, go to: eventloftpa.com, Instagram @EventLoft , Facebook: Event Loft

Photography courtesy of Joshua Dwain Photography, Melissa Kelly Weddings, Sheronda Seawright Photography, and The Wise Image What are your company's recommendations for how couples should proceed if their wedding date is coming up soon?

Currently, in many states and countries, there are restrictions on gatherings over ten people. There are also travel bans in effect. It would be best to postpone your wedding, especially those scheduled for June and July. Everyone is monitoring the situation as it unfolds for dates beyond the next few months.

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What is the procedure and/or any obligations for the couple if the wedding is postponed?

Many companies have a fee associated with moving a wedding date. However, a lot of vendors are understanding and will work with the bride and groom. Some, including our company, can postpone weddings into the near future without charging postponement fees. Your retainer and any monies paid should be moved to the future date, but work with your planner to speak with all vendors involved to mutually agree upon a date. Your venue is top priority, but keep in mind that some vendors may not be available on the dates your venue has open. Couples plan their weddings one to two years in advance, so be flexible with the day of the week as well as different dates. Weekday weddings are a good alternative, and in my experience, often have just as many guests as a weekend wedding.

What if I need to cancel my wedding?

In the unfortunate event that you have to cancel your wedding, refer to your vendor contracts to review your agreements and proceed from there. Most vendors have spent time on staffing, meetings, calls, site visits, and so much more, so you may not receive a full refund or any at all. We encourage couples to use cancelation as an absolute last resort. Try to postpone before cancelling. Will my design have to change if I postpone?

In most cases, no. With the same venue and vision, your design should not have to change. However, if your design includes flowers that bloom during a certain time of year, you may need to be flexible. Peonies, for example, can be sourced at different times of the year, but the buds may be smaller and pricier outside of their typical season. There are a number of substitutions that can be made to give you the same look and not sacrifice your overall vision.


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EVENTS One Touch Events Jillian Smith is the owner and managing director of OneTouch Events, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, servicing clients in domestic and international destinations. A natural-born organizer of "all things production," Jillian has turned her innate leadership skills and passion into an award-winning event planning firm focused on conciergelevel client and guest experiences. Specializing in large-scale social events and transformational conferences, workshops, and retreats, the team's approach to event planning is simple and streamlined processes with measurable results-your event ROI. For more information, go to: onetoucheventsllc.com, Instagram @onetoucheventsllc, Facebook: OneTouch Events LLC Photography courtesy of Elizabeth Austin Photography, Sam Jasper Photography

Our event is in May of this year and we’re considering postponing. What do we do next?

First, take a deep cleansing breath. Then, cry, shout, or go for a run— whatever you need to do to clear your mind. Finally, come together as a couple, along with your wedding planner, to review your contracts and discuss your choice to postpone or cancel your event. Create your communication plan and next steps with: 1) your venue, 2) your contracted vendors, and 3) your guests. Find out what options are available for a new date in your venue and what vendors will be available. Decide how will you communicate the postponement to your guests and provide information for guests who have scheduled travel around your date. Now more than ever, over-communication will ensure everyone is fully engaged with your plan and can support you two as you venture into another big decision as a couple.

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Our wedding date has special meaning to us, and we've also invested a lot of money that we can't afford to lose. We still plan to move forward. Any advice?

The chosen wedding date, time, and location have significance to most couples. Due to the current uncertainty, one option is a legal ceremony with a licensed officiant, with just the two of you or with a small group of ten or less (social distancing), in an open-air environment. If your friends and family members are tech-savvy, consider live-streaming your vows for those who want to celebrate with you on your special day. If your photographer is available, ask if he or she can capture this special moment, even though the larger and more joyous wedding celebration might still be a few months away. Remembering that "love conquers all," we all must do our part by following any designated public health best practices communicated by local, state, and federal officials during this pandemic crisis. Your love is based on the special bond the two of you share, not a ceremony. Following these steps will not only assist in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it will also create some memorable moments you'll reflect on for years to come.

Is it too late to purchase event insurance?

It depends. Based on the time between your event insurance purchase and your actual wedding date, policies may not be available. If your event date is closer to the fall or winter, or into 2021, general liability insurance is still available. Cancellation or postponement insurance is available only with certain insurance carriers, and coverage varies based on your event specifications. Discuss policy options with your planner, taking into consideration your time, specs, and current contracts.


STATIONERY Photography courtesy of Amy Anaiz Photography

What if my date changes?

Not to worry. You can always send out a digital date-change announcement. If you've yet to decide on your new date, simply inform your guests that a new date is coming or let them know where to find updates (like your wedding website).

By Dami Studios Founded in 2011, By Dami Studios specializes in creating luxury custom invitations, fine stationery, and gifting. Our main focus is to create intentional goods for all of life's moments. For more information, go to: bydamistudios.com, Instagram @bydamistudiosnyc, Facebook: By Dami Studios

What if I'm unsure if my date will change, but I want to work on my day-of stationery?

We have a fall date. Should we move on with our invitation design and production?

We're advising our clients to keep dates off their day-of materials. That way, even if you move your wedding date, you can still use your stationery.

You can continue with your stationery timeline, but include a contingency insert that informs guests where to go for further communication and updates.

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PHOTOGRAPHY Amy Anaiz Photography Amy Anaiz is an intimate editorial wedding and portrait photographer based in New York City. She is keen on creating beautiful, joyous, and heartfelt imagery that tells a story. For more information, go to: amyanaiz.com, Instagram @AmyAnaizPhoto, Facebook: Amy Anaiz Photography

What if I have a smaller ceremony on the scheduled day and have another ceremony/reception at the original venue later this year? How will that affect my photography agreement?

I hope you can understand that your current package is booked for one day. If you plan to have a smaller event (on your original booking date), we are committed to doing everything in our power to capture your day. If your smaller event requires fewer hours of coverage, then we will provide credit for hours not used. Credit can apply to future events or heirlooms items, like prints, canvases, and albums.

I was supposed to have a spring wedding, but now I'm booked for the winter. How will this affect our timeline and the look for photos?

Depending on the region in which your wedding is being held, you may need to take the following into account: 1. If you want to take advantage of daylight hours, you may need to drastically push up your shoot timeline time since the sun sets earlier in the winter. 2. Check with your venue for indoor portrait and ceremony options if you are in a colder region. 3. Re-evaluate the theme of your wedding if it was originally season specific.

Photography courtesy of Amy Anaiz Photography 14 | BLACKBRIDE.COM

4. Plan for warming attire, like shawls or faux furs, for your entire bridal party if you still wish to take outdoor portraits.

Should I move forward with scheduling my engagement session?

Yes, but I would be mindful of the current CDC and state and local government mandates. Also, consider the following: 1. Setting up the session for the summer months may not work out as restrictions may go through the end of May or longer. 2. Schedule a back-up date ahead of time to ensure you're on your photographer's calendar. Dates may book up quickly. 3. Plan to shoot where you can still practice social distancing, like a local, outdoor site, or shoot somewhere intimate, such as in a home, in case public spaces have added restrictions. Some states and countries may be affected longer than others, so I wouldn't plan on a destination engagement session.


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EVENTS Pop! by Yaz Even as a child, Yaz hosted tea parties with Page Six potential, courting celebrities like Barbie and Teddy Ruxpin. She founded Pop! by YAZ to fully unleash her creativity, passion, and intensity by creating singular "wow" moments for people who demand something exciting and exceptionally unique. With over fifteen years of experience in event planning and production, Yaz is an award-winning and experienced brand and event marketer. She has developed and executed industry-leading integrated events for small and largescale brands on both agency and client sides of the industry. For more information, go to: popbyyaz.wordpress.com, Instagram @yazatpop, Facebook: Pop by Yaz Photography courtesy of Amy Anaiz Photography

I'm feeling nervous and unsure of what to do about my upcoming wedding plans for the fall?

Be patient. Be flexible. During these uncertain times, you've already endured a lot. You have reason to be anxious, and it's okay to be unsure, disappointed, and stressed. At this point, you simply can't predict what the overall impact of the pandemic will be on your event, but you can lean on your planning team to navigate the turmoil. Patience and flexibility are critical to this process. From creative vision and contract negotiations to vendor sourcing and general communication, we'll help you get through this. Should I inform all my guests that we are canceling the wedding?

Postpone. Rather than cancel your wedding events, postpone them. It makes more sense to apply the funds to a new date, so you don't lose your deposits. It's also better to carry over all the work vendors have done for your event than to start all over again.

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With all the uncertainty, should I sign any more contracts with vendors?

Read your contract. We certainly understand our clients' hesitation to sign a contract under the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19. Fortunately, many vendor contracts have, or are starting to include, cancellation clauses. These clauses often help with transferable deposits and rescheduling if clients are forced to postpone. They cover all types of postponements, cancellations, terminations, and closures, but the stipulations need to be clearly written out. Work with your planner, producer, or lawyer to ensure you have the appropriate coverage for the size and scope of your event.


OFFICIANT Rev Roxy

Photography courtesy of Reem Photography

I have to postpone my wedding celebration until next year. Do you think I should still get legally married this year?

This is a very personal decision, but as the pandemic has affected every aspect of life, we've all been called to reevaluate our priorities. Rest assured it's not uncommon that couples get legally married prior to their wedding day celebration. If your personal culture is accepting of this choice, then you won't be alone. Because of the current circumstances, many couples have decided to get legally married now and have their more formal celebration another time.

Roxanne Birchfield is the founder of and Elite Officiant for Married by Rev Roxy, an officiant and premarital counseling firm, where she is the go-to marriage ceremony connoisseur and officiant of choice for a variety of couples, including high-profile celebrities featured on TV shows such as Love is Blind, Married at First Sight, and Love & Hip-Hop. Rev. Roxy prepares engaged couples for a stress-free and joyous trip down the aisle and gives them the guidance needed to maintain a longlasting, healthy marriage. For more information, go to: marriedbyrevroxy.com, Instagram @marriedbyrevroxy, Facebook: Married by Rev Roxy

I have to postpone my wedding date by at least one full year. How can I take advantage of the months leading up to my new date?

Some couples booked their wedding officiant very close to their original wedding date, so there wasn't much time to fit in a full premarital program. If that's the case for you, the extra six to twelve months make it possible for you to invest more time in your relationship and future marriage. It's also the best way to get to know your qualified officiant in a more intimate setting.

Should we wait and do our premarital counseling closer to our new wedding date?

Ideally, premarital counseling should start as soon as possible, soon after the engagement and prior to booking your wedding venue. You want to give the counseling plenty of time so you can go into wedding planning confident of where you stand in your relationship.

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BRIDAL SALON Soliloquy Bridal Couture Miriam Liggett is the owner and chief consultant of Soliloquy Bridal Couture, a Barbara Kavchok Flagship boutique located in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. Soliloquy's gowns are designed and made in the United States and have not encountered any delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For more information, go to: soliloquybridal.com, Instagram @soliloquybridal, Facebook: Soliloquy Bridal Couture

Photography courtesy of Teri Moy Photography

Will I get my wedding gown on time?

Production of wedding gowns generally takes four to six months from time of order, and 80% of gowns come from China. Because of the pandemic, some boutiques have been left scrambling to fill orders that won't arrive on time. Others received orders up to four weeks later than anticipated once the coronavirus began to spread. Some dresses that arrived on time are still hanging in bridal shops that have been forced to close temporarily. The COVID-19 pandemic is definitely creating uncertainty and delays.

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How can I order a dress now if bridal boutiques are considered nonessential businesses?

I'm among several store owners who are offering virtual appointments. While it's not the ideal experience, brides are able to enjoy seeing the store's selection and narrowing down their style and silhouette choices. Virtual appointments aren't possible for all store locations, so bridal gown designers are working strategically to ensure production will be ready for the rush orders they'll face once brides are shopping in stores again. If you don't have a virtual appointment option, find a store that has worked with their designers to respond to the influx of orders that will inevitably result from the pent-up demand.

Should I postpone my wedding?

Yes, if you can work with your wedding vendors to find a date later in the year or early next year, you should do it. Family and friends are nervous about traveling even within their own cities. You don't want your guests to be anxious and fearful. Most importantly, you want them to show up. If waiting a few extra months will reassure them that it's safe to move about, then you should extend that wonderful engagement period just a little longer. Stay safe and healthy!


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DJ MikeMusic Not many words can sum up the powerhouse of talent that encompasses MikeMusic: musician, producer, entrepreneur, but most importantly a deejay who transcends genres. As a purveyor of eclectic beats and soul-tapping sounds, he instinctively knows the perfect soundtrack for any celebration. For more information, go to: iknowmikemusic.com, Instagram @iknowmikemusic

Photography courtesy of Kesha Lambert Photography, Matthew Ellis of Joshua Dwain Photography, and Yamean Studios

I have to postpone my wedding day. Are you available on my new date?

My availability is by far the biggest concern of all of my couples who've been impacted by COVID-19, and I'm working to accommodate changes. My team has fielded countless calls and emails to secure backup wedding dates. When couples book a DJ for their wedding, they want that specific artist, not a substitute. My clients understand how important it is to have a carefully curated musical experience, and not just anyone will do. Most professionals will do their best to accommodate your date change.

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If we have a lower turnout than expected, how will that affect our reception?

As much as guests want to be present at a wedding, the reality is that some may choose not to come or may be unable to attend due to travel restrictions. But that doesn't mean couples can't have an amazing party. If the guest count is reduced, adjust the reception floor plan to create a smaller dance floor, eliminate big pockets of space, and create a more inviting atmosphere. Place the DJ next to the dance floor so he or she can be as close to the action as possible. With fewer guests attending, there may be more money leftover in your budget. In that case, consider adding interactive entertainment, like dancers, to start the party and live musicians, such as a saxophonist or drummer, to keep the momentum going throughout the night.

Is there any way we can share our big day with guests who can't make it?

I've recently debuted a 360-degree visual experience as an option for my clients. It allows family and friends who aren't present to get in on the action. They can view the ceremony, dances, toasts, and more through this immersive technology. Another option is to set up an iPad on a tripod to stream these precious moments. Check with you DJ company to see what creative options they can provide to better accommodate you during this unprecedented time.


PLANNER Favored by Yodit Events & Designs

Photography courtesy of Elizabeth Fogarty

Award-winning event planner Yodit Gebreyes Endale has a passion for making her clients' dreams become a reality. Over a decade of experience, her kind and outgoing personality, and her ability to make her clients relax have all garnered her a stellar reputation. With her Ethiopian family roots, Yodit launched Favored by Yodit Events & Designs with the objective of designing stylish and seamless multicultural weddings and events to fill a void in the market. For more information, go to: favoredbyyodit.com, Instagram @favoredbyyodit, Facebook: Favored by Yodit Events & Designs

My wedding will be in mid-September. Should I consider postponing?

Should I still send out save-the-dates this month for my fall wedding?

I’m advising my couples to keep their plans the way they are until we hear more about what's expected for the fall. Contact your venues to see what options they have for you. Check the available dates with your other vendors, and come up with a plan-B scenario. Then, wait until June to make a decision.

I recommend you don't send them out now. Wait a few weeks, until we get more information and things calm down. It will be a more appropriate time to invite people back to socializing after being quarantined.

We want to keep our date! Should we elope instead and party at a later date?

Yes! I recommend couples do something special on your original date so you have that memory and possibly invite close family or friends within mandated limits. After everything settles, you can have the larger party you initially planned to enjoy. BLACKBRIDE.COM | 21


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CAKE BCakeNY BCakeNY is a custom cake studio located in Brooklyn, New York, and founded in 2009. We are dedicated to creating specialty cakes for all occasions. Our artisan treats are as pleasing to the eye as they are to taste. Our mission is to transfer our clients' vision into extraordinarily unique and delicious cakes. Our clients include A-list celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Alicia Keys, Barbra Streisand, and Jay-Z. We also have corporate clients on the Fortune 500 hundred list. However, most of our sales are generated from our beloved local community. Every day, we create nostalgic cakes for baby showers, birthday parties, retirement parties, and every milestone in between. For more information, go to: bcakeny.com, Instagram @bcakeny, Facebook: BCakeNY Photography courtesy of Amy Anaiz Photography, Ira L. Black

Brides are wondering if they can ever have a large scale gathering at all in the next one to two years. Are large events forever changed?

We don't have a crystal ball, but if the pandemic has taught us anything it's that people and the love we share are most important, so be flexible and creative. Most big wedding cakes are actually much smaller than they look. To make big cakes stable and serving a large party manageable, we often fake a tier here and there. Most guests are served from a sheet cake, which can quickly be created well. When it comes to cake, don't worry about size. You can still have a beautiful cake, even your dream cake, at a smaller event in the future. The most important thing is to protect your loved ones now so they can share your special day in the future.

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What can we still do to make our day special now that we had to cancel our wedding?

We have clients who have moved the date once and don't want to cancel or move the date again, especially since times are uncertain. Love persists in spite of everything else. We are here for it and have the perfect answer. Go virtual. We started the BCakeNY Celebration Zoom Party, which is perfect for weddings, Mother's Day, graduations, and birthdays—any occasion when families would normally gather together. The package includes a celebration cake delivered locally and sets of cake jars sent to your friends and family members. The important thing to know is, if you want a spring or summer wedding and don't want to push your date to next year, it's totally doable. Be open-minded and creative.

We have decided to go ahead with our wedding, but it's last minute. What can you do to accommodate our cake order?

During the pandemic, we have to be more creative and thoughtful because your wedding is still a once-in-alifetime event and should be treated as such. We know couples have a lot of considerations when postponing a wedding in these precarious times. So much is out of your control. So we try to make the answer to that question easy. At BCakeNY, we're known for unique cakes that are elaborately sculpted or made with lots of handmade sugar work. We can still do that, no doubt. But if you want something quick, think sugar or real flowers, or maybe buttercream instead of fondant. The cake will still represent your vision but may use different techniques to get there. And of course, it will be beautiful, more affordable, and delicious!


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BEAUTY BForBeaute.CO Gandy is a pro makeup artist and bridal beauty expert based in Atlanta, Georgia. She specializes in creating timeless, red-carpetinspired looks for brides and women who want to look effortlessly glamorous. With over ten years of experience, she is dedicated to furthering the representation of women of color in the beauty and bridal industries. For more information, go to: bforbeaute.co, Instagram @bforbeaute.co, Facebook: B For Beaute.co

My wedding is quickly approaching. What happens if I have to postpone?

We completely understand how stressful changing your date may be. To accommodate our brides, we've been completely flexible with offering new dates and, of course, waiving any datechange penalties. My wedding isn't until August. I'm unsure if I should go ahead and reschedule now or wait it out.

As much as we pray this situation is resolved by then, we encourage you to be as proactive as possible. Reach out to your vendors to map out a plan B and at least look at potential new date options. 24 | BLACKBRIDE.COM

Given the contagiousness of COVID-19, what measures will be taken to protect clients from transmission of this virus and others in the future?

As professional makeup artists, we have taken this responsibility seriously long before COVID-19. We have always implemented, and will continue to maintain, the highest level of hygiene and sanitation practices to protect our clients and ourselves from all bacteria and viruses. Photography courtesy of Lajoy Photography, Marc & Anna Photography


BRIDAL SALON Kleinfeld "There is no higher priority to our entire Kleinfeld Bridal family than the health and safety of our brides and their families, our employees, and our community. As we continue to closely monitor the evolving health crisis and take all necessary precautions, our client services team is actively communicating with our brides to address any and all questions and concerns in a timely fashion. Kleinfeld will reopen as soon as the governor advises that it’s safe to do so." – Jennette Kruszka, Director of PR/Marketing For more information, go to: kleinfeldbridal.com, Instagram @kleinfeldbridal, Facebook: Kleinfeld Bridal

Should I be worried about my dress arriving on time?

If my wedding is postponed, how does this affect alterations?

At this time, we are not experiencing any delays or issues due to COVID-19. However, please be assured, in the event there is a delay, our customer service team will be in contact immediately.

At Kleinfeld's, we are happy to accommodate our brides and their new wedding date should they choose to postpone their wedding. We will not charge an alterations rush fee if the wedding date is compromised and requires rush alterations due to the effects of COVID-19. Should you opt to postpone your wedding, please call your bridal salon and let them know. From there, the alterations department should contact you directly to schedule any remaining appointments.

Will there be a cancellation fee for an appointment that was cancelled due to COVID-19?

Be sure to ask if a cancellation fee is applicable if cancellation is due to closures as a result of orders by the governor of your state. Photography courtesy of Amy Anaiz Photography

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PLANNER Chloe Cook Events Chloe Cook Events is a celebration planning firm based in Houston, Texas. This down-toearth, outside-of-the-box group of creatives specializes in international destination weddings and elopements. With hundreds of weddings and events under their belts, the planners at Chloe Cook Events have a great deal of experience with troubleshooting event logistics and planning. For more information, go to: chloecookevents.com, Instagram @chloecookevents, Facebook: Chloe Cook Events

Photography courtesy of Christin McQueen, RH Photo Arts, Second Shots Photography

Everything is closed. My wedding is in three weeks in Cabo. What am I supposed to do?

Don’t panic. Things happen. The first and most important step is to immediately contact your wedding vendors. Communication is everything in a crisis like COVID-19. If you’re not working with a professional planner, assign vendors to your bridesmaids so they can assist with calls and emails. It may seem overwhelming, but with help from your bride tribe, you can knock it out in no time. Most destinations import their fresh florals, but as long as your flowers haven’t been ordered yet, you should be good. If you have to postpone your wedding to a later date, ask your officiant if he or she is still willing to marry you on your official date with just the two of you. Many venues are offering intimate ceremonies with altar setups at no charge. That’s pretty sweet! 26 | BLACKBRIDE.COM

When should I make the call to postpone my destination wedding?

During this season, the planners at Chloe Cook Events are suggesting decisions be made about four weeks before scheduled events. It’s important to keep your vendors in the loop of potential changes. Now is a good time to begin brainstorming future dates and asking for vendor availability. Create a spreadsheet with your top three future date choices and note vendor availability for each date. Review your contracts. Ask vendors that aren’t available about future credits and transfers or possible refunds. Be kind in your communication, as we are collectively going through this crisis. On a positive note, most airlines are offering flexible booking and flight change options.

My wedding is later this year. I’m so overwhelmed because I can’t reach my vendors in Barbados, and I’m not sure my wedding dress will arrive in time because it’s being designed in China. What can I do?

The response time is usually slow with destination vendors. It’s important to be patient, as they probably have brides for the current season who are rescheduling. Yes, you are a priority, but bear with the vendors. They will get back to you as soon as time allows. Many hotel employees are furloughed, so those vendors are extremely shortstaffed. Check with your bridal salon to ease your mind about your wedding dress. In all likelihood, they’ve been in constant contact with your designer. Remain calm. Your time is coming, and great destination vendors will exceed your expectations. Hang in there!


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TRAVEL KT Travel & More Stephanie Kilson-Thomas is the owner of KT Travel & More, a romance and luxury travel agency specializing in the planning and booking of destination weddings, honeymoons, vow renewals, and more. Stephanie dedicates her time to curating the trip of your dreams, taking the stress of planning off your shoulders as you prepare to celebrate your love through travel. For more information, go to: kttravelandmore.com, Instagram @KTTravelandmore, Facebook: KT Travel & More

Photography courtesy of KT Travel & More

Do resorts have a COVID-19 clause in their contracts in case I need to reschedule my wedding?

Is it safe for me to schedule a destination wedding for next year, or should I put it off?

This is an unprecedented situation, and many resorts are working tirelessly with couples to get their weddings rescheduled. While there is no specific clause in place regarding COVID-19, many resorts are offering couples the opportunity to reschedule their wedding, some at no additional cost, due to COVID-19.

Many resort employees are working from home and are still booking destination weddings. Yes, you should go ahead and schedule your wedding for 2021, if you desire, but ask what plans the resort has should COVID-19 extend into 2021.

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My guests are nervous that if they pay for a room and the wedding gets rescheduled, they will lose their money. What should I do?

It's very important that your guests add travel protection to their bookings. Many travel insurance policies have a "cancel for any reason" clause, so if they need to cancel, they'll be covered. Ask your travel agent to include the travel protection in any quotes provided so guests are aware of their ability to add it.


GIFTS & FAVORS Madianite Concierge Gifting Services Madianite Concierge Gifting Services is a fullservice gifting experience company that provides custom gifts and favors for brides, bridal parties, and wedding guests. We offer a convenient yet unique solution for event planners, wedding professionals, and corporate clients to show gratitude through gifting. For more information, go to: madianite.com, Instagram @madianitellc, Facebook: Madianite LLC Photography courtesy of Sylvia Collins, Nicole Cherie, Ashley Nicole

My wedding favors are highly perishable. What can I do to ensure freshness?

I have received my wedding favors with my original wedding date, but I’ve postponed. Help!

My guest count has significantly decreased. What can I do with the extra wedding favors?

Source highly perishable wedding favors locally if possible. Local vendors are likely to require less lead time and can ensure freshness by sourcing as close as possible to your wedding date.

Help is already on the way because many stationery designers have anticipated this need. Printable content to update your wedding favors with your new date while matching your original invitation suite is an easy and costeffective solution.

If your vendor is not able to accept returns, consider donating the extra favors to a non-profit organization in need. Your charitable donation usually qualifies for a tax deduction, so be sure to keep a donation receipt.

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DESIGN LilyVevents LilyVevents is a full-service planning, design, and decor atelier for custom event executions. The outcome: events that take your breath away. Our services are designed specifically to provide clients luxury, tailored events to capture their vision for their one special day. For more information, go to: lilyvevents.com, Instagram @lilyvevents, Facebook: LilyVevents

Photography courtesy of Jide Alakija

Should I postpone my wedding or cancel?

What are the implications of postponing my wedding?

We say postpone. Weddings and special events are a time to celebrate, and you’ll definitely want to celebrate once we get past this pandemic issue. We have advised our brides to postpone their events to alleviate any stress. The sooner the decision is made the less stressful it will be.

Check with your venues to find out what date options they have available. Review your contracts with all vendors to understand the implications of changing your date. Some contracts have clauses built into them that will help brides understand if any penalties will be incurred.

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Do I keep the same guest count, or should I consider social distancing at my wedding?

If you have moved your date to 2021, reach out to your guests to evaluate attendance. For 2020 brides and clients, it is still very early to make a call, but this is a very important topic to consider. If you have to downsize, renegotiate with all your vendors. The most important thing is to understand and adhere to all safety precautions. These are unprecedented times, and we all have to work together as a community to ensure everyone’s safety and sanity.


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STATIONERY Robbin's Nest Design Studio Robbin's Nest Design Studio is a full-service stationery atelier, specializing in "All Things Paper." Robbin Henley, founder and creative director, is an award-winning designer and innovator in the apparel and graphic design industries. As a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology NYC, Henley began her career designing bridal gowns, but quickly recognized a need in the invitation market for timeless, subtle designs with outstanding details and a modern twist. At that point, she began to create couture design invitation suites exclusively for clients at her New York atelier. For more information, go to: byrnds.com, Instagram @robbinsnestdesignstudio, Facebook: Robbin's Nest Design Studio

Photography courtesy of Gracious Company Photography, Love & Story Collective

Our wedding is scheduled soon. Out of concern for everyone and not knowing when this situation will end, we have decided to postpone our wedding. How do we let our guests know?

If you've made the decision to postpone and your new date is scheduled later in 2020, have your stationer create a postponement card to mail or PDF file to email to your guests. Include the new information, RSVP request, and your RSVP preference (email, website, phone). If no future date is planned, have your stationer create a postponement card to mail or a PDF file to email to your guests, letting them know you look forward to celebrating with them and you will update them once a new date has been selected. 32 | BLACKBRIDE.COM

We don't have the new date yet, but we’re planning for 2021 just to be safe. What should we do??

Our wedding is in June, July, or August. Should we just go ahead and postpone our wedding now?

If you're planning to postpone to a 2021 wedding date or even an elopement, have your stationer create a postponement card to mail or PDF file to email to your guests. Once you finalize your new date, work with your stationery designer to either email an updated digital version of your original invitation design or create and mail out a new invitation suite or announcement with all relevant updates.

The CDC officially recommended the cancellation of weddings in the United States until mid-May. Some states have shelter-in-place orders in effect until mid-June, so be sure to keep up with the latest orders in your wedding location. If you have a wedding planned for June or later, we advise you to check CDC recommendations for your wedding location before you proceed with your wedding date. We also suggest you have your stationer include a card with your invitation suite that states that you are closely monitoring the COVID-19 issue and will update guests in case there are any changes. Refer them to your wedding website for any updates, or let them know how you will be sending updates.


Photography courtesy of Champagne Love Stories

VIDEOGRAPHY Champagne Love Stories Champagne Love Stories is a partnership between photographer Kendal Westbrooks and videographer Danny Garrett, who’ve shared a passion for capturing love's most precious moments since 2018. We are currently based in Atlanta, Georgia, but travel worldwide. Champagne embodies celebration, luxurious taste, and style. This company takes pride in showcasing each love story in the most beautiful and unique way! For more information, go to: Instagram @champagnelovestories, Facebook: Champagne Love Stories

Is this date available?

Because we cannot predict how long the pandemic will last, we've been recommending couples push their special day back to the same date in the following year. This will simplify things and give the virus time to pass so people feel comfortable traveling and gathering in groups again.

We think we're going to have to cancel. What should we do?

Are you still available to shoot during this pandemic?

With the impact of COVID-19, we understand when couples consider canceling. However, we recommend postponing or downsizing rather than canceling. Instead of having two hundred guests, consider having fewer guests and a live broadcast to other friends and family.

Yes, Champagne Love Stories is still available. We take all safety precautions prior to shooting to ensure our couples and our team are still safe. We also practice social distancing as much as possible during the shoot.

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LEGAL Kunbi SijuwadeOdubogun Kunbi O is an attorney and publisher with over ten years of experience in the creative industry. She helps businesses and brands like yours become legally secure by providing sound, strategic advice to help your business run right and smoothly. For more information, go to: kunbio.com, Instagram @kothecurator

Photography courtesy of Amy Anaiz Photography

It has happened. The coronavirus has hit our lives hard. With every waking day comes a slew of postponements or cancellations of events many of us were depending on. As an attorney, I never expected to use the term force majeure so much in my entire life. To help you navigate this confusing period, here are five points you should consider before you take any contractrelated action: 1. Focus on Postponement

Clients and vendors are all in the same boat of disappointment here. Since everyone obviously wants to prioritize health and safety, clients should be willing to discuss postponement to a future date. This can help vendors retain already-promised business and will maintain the relationship you have with the client. The vast majority of contracts easily accommodate an addendum for date changes, so this is by far the easiest route. You've probably seen the #postponedontcancel and #saveevents hashtags going around online, so I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. Vendors may also need to send out 34 | BLACKBRIDE.COM

a new contract to reflect the rescheduled date and new terms of the future services. Working with the client, you can craft a document that supersedes the original contract and ensures you retain all or a portion of the client’s business going forward. 2. Check for Force Majeure Clauses

A force majeure clause generally excuses all or some parties, depending on the wording of the contract, from performing due to events outside the parties' control. You may have seen a lot of arguments about what does and what doesn't constitute force majeure. In many cases, government orders prohibiting gatherings or other activities would qualify if those orders affect the nature of the business or contract. Vendors and clients should also check if the clause covers epidemics and pandemics or can be reasonably interpreted to cover those types of events. Before beginning any negotiation, check for these important clauses, which could help end the business relationship on a professional and courteous, not adversarial, note. If you do not have a force majeure

clause, some courts would typically weigh whether or not to excuse you from the contract as force majeure based on foreseeability of the event, but that leaves a lot to interpretation. In practicality, you may have to cancel the contract and take any loss or other penalty which is included in the contract. However, working with your client, you may be able to negotiate down any penalty you have to pay or be able to offer the value of the penalty as credit for future work so you don’t lose cash on hand. Here's a sample FM clause for your information only. This is not legal advice and shouldn't constitute as such, and it's just the beginning when it comes to covering yourself. Contact an attorney in your jurisdiction for legal advice. No party shall be liable or responsible to the other party, nor be deemed to have defaulted under or breached this Agreement, for any failure or delay in fulfilling or performing any term of this Agreement [(except for any obligations to make payments to the other party hereunder)], when and to the extent such failure or delay is caused by or results from the following


force majeure events ("Force Majeure Event(s)"): (a) acts of God; (b) flood, fire, earthquake, hurricanes, tornadoes, monsoons, tsunamis, storms or catastrophes such as epidemics, pandemics, infestations, or explosion; (c) war, invasion, hostilities (whether war is declared or not), terrorist threats or acts, riot or other civil unrest; (d) government order or law; (e) actions, embargoes or blockades in effect on or after the date of this Agreement; (f) action by any governmental authority; [and] (g) national or regional emergency; [and] [(h) strikes, labor stoppages or slowdowns or other industrial disturbances;] [and] [(i) shortage of adequate power or transportation facilities;] [and] [(j) other similar events beyond the [reasonable] control of the party impacted by the Force Majeure Event (the "Impacted Party")]. 2. The Impacted Party shall give notice within [NUMBER] days of the Force Majeure Event to the other party, stating the period of time the occurrence is expected to continue. The Impacted Party shall use diligent efforts to end the failure or delay and ensure the effects of such Force Majeure Event are minimized. The Impacted Party shall resume the performance of its obligations as soon as reasonably practicable after the removal of the cause. In the event that the Impacted Party's failure or delay remains uncured for a period of [NUMBER] [consecutive] days following written notice given by it under this Section [X], [either party/the other party] may thereafter terminate this Agreement upon [NUMBER] days' written notice.] 3. Amend Your Contract to Cover Deliverable Services

Some contracts can be split up, allowing you to salvage the business relationship and some income. For example, if your contract included a photo shoot, image consulting, and social media consulting, you may be able to convince your client to keep the image consulting through a video call and continue with the social media consulting. While there is some loss of work, amending your contract through

an addendum or a new contract that supersedes the old one can help you keep working. 4. If You Must End a Contract, Document Each Step

Sometimes, the only thing to do is end a contract due to an inability to perform. While unfortunate, the most important thing is that you document each step you take in ending this contract in a professional manner to minimize any potential financial or reputational damage. Some contracts contain a cancellation clause that speaks directly to what happens if either the client or the vendor or company must cancel the contract. Some of these clauses contain penalties and forfeitures, which require certain steps or payments by one party or another. If your contract includes such a clause, you must abide by it. If your contract does not include that clause, you should work with your client to get to the most equitable solution possible for you both.

5. Work Together to Find a Creative Solution

We're all dealing with the same challenges, so most people are more amenable to compromise. In times of uncertainty, many businesses and clients will be more flexible about the scope of services previously agreed to. For example, instead of hosting a networking lunch, maybe the contract can be modified to reflect a virtual-networking, brown-bag lunch. Creativity is your friend when finding a solution in unique times, and we've seen that with the epic insta-lives (I’m looking at you, D-Nice!), play-date video chats, and endless Zoom meetings. Unusual times call for creative solutions. I hope you find some use in this information as I know firsthand how daunting this time is. We're living through an extraordinary economic time, and contracts which may have been guaranteed a month ago are now in flux. Hang in there. With professionalism, patience, and these tips, you and your clients can weather this storm. BLACKBRIDE.COM | 35


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MUSIC Honey+Vinyl At any event, the music provides more than the background— it’s the soundtrack to your story. Our multi-piece band, led by Sonic Sommelier™ Keanna O'Quinn, thinks beyond the track list, taking into consideration your event's decor, menu, lighting, and timing to offer perfectly paired elevated entertainment. For more information, go to: honeyandvinylmusic.com, Instagram @honeyandvinyl, Facebook: Honey and Vinyl

Photography courtesy of Allan Zepeda, Michael Daughtry, Michael Jurick

What do we do now?

How do we go about canceling?

Press pause. Sit down with your partner to process initial thoughts and feelings. Allow emotions to arise without judgment. Support one another. This is a tough time, but it's the perfect opportunity to practice how to handle the tough times that will inevitably arise in marriage.

Let's consider all options. How about postponing? Talk to your planner to explore alternative dates that may be attractive to you. Once you've identified a new date, share it with us. We can usually adapt to your needs. If we're unavailable, we can refer you to one of our trusted partners as an option. And we'd be happy to apply your deposit toward that service.

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Can we take some time to think about our next steps?

As a fellow bride, I understand this experience may be stressful. We fully support you taking time to evaluate what's best for you and your partner. We are available to talk things through with you on a call or via Zoom. We are here for you.


Bride Story

HOW REAL COUPLES HANDLED WEDDING PLANS DURING COVID-19

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bride story

ABOUT THE COUPLE

Bride: Nakia Daniels Means, 26, Senior IT Systems Analyst Groom: Andrew Morgan Means, 27, Marketing Manager Place of Residence: Atlanta, Georgia Wedding Date: 04/26/2020 Original Wedding Location: The Biltmore Ballrooms, Atlanta, Georgia Wedding Location: Couple's Home Wedding Theme: Modern Classic Original Honeymoon Destination: Fiji 38 | BLACKBRIDE.COM


PHOTOGRAPHED BY KENDAL LANIER

A

Nakia & Andrew

ndrew and Nakia met in 2011 while they were both students at Kennesaw State University. A tight-knit friendship evolved during their college years, and as the saying goes: when you love someone, being their friend is just not enough. In 2016, they took their friendship to the next level and have been together ever since. With a wedding date scheduled for April 26, 2020, Andrew and Nakia had to rethink their original plans and decided to tie the knot in a small, intimate ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Engagement Story

Andrew planned a surprise road trip to the beach for Nakia's twenty-sixth birthday. When they walked out on a pier, Andrew handed her a scrapbook filled with memories from their past few years together. When she reached the last page of the book, it said: "Nakia Shante' Daniels, will you be my wife?"

What makes your love special?

Our authentic friendship. It's a beautiful thing to have the freedom to be your true self— good, bad, and ugly. After four years of college, Andrew knew the real Nakia. Knowing that he already knew my flaws and was still attracted to me was the most freeing feeling. From the Bride

I completely forgot about the COVID-19 pandemic on my wedding day; it was just that intimate. I experienced a peace beyond understanding. I started my morning with a devotional led by my mom, walked down the aisle holding a bouquet made by my dad, and saw my groom standing at the end of the aisle smiling from ear to ear. It was priceless! From the Groom

Like my bride, I was shocked to learn that our wedding plans had to change in a short period of time. However, knowing she was fully BLACKBRIDE.COM | 39


bride story committed to still getting married had me all in. I had chills as I watched her walk down the aisle. Although we condensed many elements of the day, it was still everything I could have hoped for. Your best/most memorable moment

The most vivid memory from our wedding day happened just before we were pronounced husband and wife. The pastor said, "By the power vested in me, by the state of Georgia ... "I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh! This is legit! I’m about to be Andrew’s wife!" Wedding song, explain choice for song:

The first time I heard "Psalm 45" by Shane and Shane, I knew it would be our song. It is a beautiful Psalm written in adoration for the sacrifice of love that Jesus made for His bride, the church, on the cross. It captures the kind of love that Andrew and I will work to understand and live out in our marriage for the rest of our lives! Favorite wedding detail:

It's so hard to choose just one detail. I think our getaway car was our favorite. The best part was getting to keep the Porsche overnight and drive around downtown Atlanta the next day. What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?

It sounds simple, but I'm excited about living my life with Andrew. We are also looking forward to experiencing our delayed "firsts as a married couple" together, our first vacation, first date outside of the house, and witnessing many other weddings together. Advice for a bride/groom with a 2020 wedding date (during COVID-19 pandemic)

Every situation is different. This is very important for every couple, wedding planner, and vendor to keep in mind. What worked for the couples we're seeing on Instagram and even in this magazine may not work for you, and that’s okay. Make a list of top priorities individually, and then agree on a consolidated list together. From there, you can keep what is most important for you as a couple. Please feel free to include any other interesting anecdotes from your big day!

The morning of our wedding, my bridesmaids and matron of honor called to encourage me and pray with me. I was taking pictures in the back yard when my mom told me there was a surprise waiting for me out front. I dropped everything and ran when I saw our matron of honor, best man, and bridesmaids driving by with balloons and champagne! 40 | BLACKBRIDE.COM

Vendors

Photographer: Kendal Lanier, Instagram @champagnenupe Videographer: Daka David, aleweddings.com Ceremony & Reception Location: Couple's Home Bridal Gown: Winnie Couture (Atlanta), winniecouture.com Groom's Tux: Savvi Formalwear Wedding Planners: Lugener's Affair, lugenersaffair.com Caterer: Gotta Have It Catering, ghifood.com Cake: Cake in the Cupboard, etsy.com Music/DJ: Couple's Brother Flowers: Bride's Father Stationery: Paperlust, paperlust.co


P H O T O G R A P H E D B Y J O S H U A D WA I N P H O T O G R A P H Y

La Toya & Michael

M

ichael and LaToya met through the dating app SoulSwipe in 2015. Their first impressions of each other's profiles were enough to make them both swipe right. (Michael says LaToya was mesmerized by his broad shoulders and toned arms!) Shortly after that, they went on their first date in October 2015, and there was an undeniable, instant connection. The two have been together ever since, and after three years of dating, the couple became engaged. Engagement Story:

Michael went for an intimate proposal by making dinner plans for the two of them at their favorite steakhouse in Harlem, Ricardo's. He describes the most memorable moment of the night as seeing how shocked

and happy LaToya was when he proposed. "It's hard to keep secrets from her because nothing gets past her," he says. Later that summer, they had an engagement party on a rooftop in NYC to celebrate with their family and close friends. From the Groom:

All of my good friends knew I was planning to propose, and they were incredibly supportive throughout the planning process. I didn't know anything about diamonds, but my friend, who was already engaged, helped me out tremendously. I made reservations a couple of days before I decided to propose, and I let the staff know my plans for that night. They played "Let's Get Married," by Jagged Edge, after I proposed and brought out a celebratory drink and dessert.

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bride story

ABOUT THE COUPLE

Bride: LaToya Joy Westbrooks, 33, Senior UX Researcher at Facebook & Founder of Wealthly Groom: Michael R. Keeling, 33, E-Commerce Manager at The Foundation & Founder of The Amazon Blueprint Place of Residence: New York, New York Wedding Date: 04/26/2021 (previously 06/13/2020) Engagement Shoot Location: The Meatpacking District, New York, New York 42 | BLACKBRIDE.COM


What was the theme of your engagement shoot?

We didn't have a theme; we just wanted the shoot to be fun and a representation of our personalities and lifestyle. We ended up at the High Line, an elevated linear park, greenway, and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan. We also shot on the streets of the Meatpacking District. Were there any memorable moments during the shoot?

Even though it was about ninety-eight degrees that day, we still had a great time. Our photographer and his wife kept things light and working with them was great. It was also nice to see tourists and local people take pictures of us and congratulate us. Despite our reputation, New Yorkers are supportive in certain situations.

except for a few minor details. Fortunately, it wasn't too difficult to reschedule the wedding with our vendors because of Covid-19. We thought about an October 2020 date but decided people wouldn't be comfortable flying that soon after a pandemic. Therefore, April 24, 2021 is our new date!

What are you most looking forward to about your wedding?

Advice for a bride/groom with a 2020 wedding date (during COVID-19 pandemic):

We look forward to having the time of our lives by dancing the night away and cannot wait to celebrate with family and friends! Unfortunately, we had to push the wedding back due to Covid-19, but that just means we're going to celebrate even harder next spring!

If it's important that both of your families attend the wedding, it's probably best to push the date back to 2021. Who knows how long this pandemic will last? You want to make sure your family is safe while attending your wedding, especially those with underlying medical conditions. We also recommend investing in a wedding planner who can help you reschedule with vendors.

Have you started planning your wedding?

Yes, the wedding planning is basically finished

Vendors

Photographer: Joshua Dwain Photography, joshuadwain.com Makeup Artist: Renee, Instagram @ reneemadeulook

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bride story

ABOUT THE COUPLE

Bride: Danielle Moore, 25, Public Relations & Communications Professional Groom: Peter Calhoun, 26, Finance Professional Place of Residence: Washington, District of Columbia Wedding Date: 03/21/2020 Original Wedding Location: Accelerator Space, Baltimore, Maryland Wedding Location: Henderson's Wharf Marina, Baltimore, Maryland Wedding Theme: Bohemian and edgy romantic Original Honeymoon Destination: Turks and Caicos 44 | BLACKBRIDE.COM


P H O T O G R A P H E D B Y E M I LY W H I T E O F W H AT E M S E E S P H O T O G R A P H Y

D

Danielle & Peter

anielle and Peter met when they both attended a driving school class in the summer of 2010. They later learned that they went to the same high school and shared a circle of friends. That chance meeting turned into a long-lasting love connection, and a decade later, not even a pandemic could stop them from becoming husband and wife. Share in the joy of their small, romantic ceremony, captured by What Em Sees Photography.

ready to celebrate. As reality set in that we were going to have to make changes, I was disappointed at first but came to the realization that the health and safety of our family and friends was most important. On our wedding day, I felt very calm and satisfied with the fact that I'd finally get to marry my best friend, despite the circumstances. I also felt so much love from our family and friends who texted, called, and watched on Zoom. From the Groom:

In 2018, while on a summer trip to Aruba, Peter popped the question. After a beautiful day of touring the island, Danielle could not have asked for a better birthday present!

Changing our wedding plans the way we did was a major shift, but my first priority was always to formalize our commitment to each other. I felt proud of the way we adapted and pleased that we would finally be married.

From the Bride:

What makes your love special?

Getting married during a pandemic and completely changing our plans was not at all what I pictured. We had a lengthy engagement, so as our big day got closer, we were

Since we began dating as high schoolers, we've truly grown up together and have a marriage built on a strong friendship.

Engagement Story:

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bride story

Your best/most memorable moment:

The most memorable moment for both of us was seeing each other at the altar. We smiled excitedly at each other as my dad walked me down the wharf to meet Peter. Favorite wedding detail:

My favorite wedding detail was my bouquet. It was a quick DIY that I put together the day before, and now I think of it as a symbol of the "make it work and make it beautiful" mentality we had to have. What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?

We are looking forward to embarking on fun new adventures as husband and wife. We are especially excited to eventually go on our honeymoon and take more trips together. Advice for a bride/groom with a 2020 wedding date (during COVID-19 pandemic)

As it became clear that we would have to change our wedding plans, we felt pressure to change our date completely (by the news media, vendors, etc.). However, we felt strongly about our date, so we made the necessary changes to ensure that it still happened for us. We want to encourage any brides and grooms who feel it's important to them to keep their date to make the necessary changes to do so. There are certainly safe and creative ways to still get married during this time. If anything, the coronavirus pandemic reminded us to hone in on the most important thing about getting married—our union. Please feel free to include any other interesting anecdotes from your big day!

We are especially thankful to our pastor, Pastor James A. Marshall Jr., our photographer, Emily White of What Em Sees Photography, and my makeup artist, Leryn Breanna of Bougie Beats Artistry, who were all still willing to be involved in our special day to make it as memorable and as beautiful as possible. 46 | BLACKBRIDE.COM

Vendors

Photographer: Emily White of What Em Sees Photography, whatemsees.com Ceremony Location: Henderson's Wharf Marina, hendersonswharfmarina.com Bridal Gown: Lovers Society Freja Gown, Lovely Bride DC Bride's Makeup: Bougie Beats Artistry, Leryn Breanna, bougiebeatsartistry.com Groom's Tux: The Black Tux Flowers: Designed by Bride Stationery: Minted, minted.com Pastor: Pastor James A. Marshall Jr. Instagram @jamarshalljr


Thank You

FROM THE

MAGAZINE TEAM

MARY CHATMAN | Editor-in-Chief/Publisher I believe in the power of a beautiful love story and how it transcends a message of hope and inspiration even in times of crisis. The wedding date to celebrate can be rescheduled however, love is not cancelled or postponed. I’d like to thank everyone who worked on and contributed sound advice for our Covid-19 bride guide. A special thank you, to Amy Anaiz for brainstorming the idea during a hey how are you telephone conversation. For more information, go to: Instagram @MaryChatman1, Facebook: Mary Chatman

CANDICE DAVIE Editor

AMY ANAIZ Photographer

Candice Davie is an editor at Black Bride, author, writer, and blogger on her women's wellness site, Simplistic Chic. When she's not looking at interior design ideas on Pinterest or workout videos on YouTube, she's living the mommy and wife life with her husband and son in Atlanta, GA. For more information, go to: simplisticchic.com, Instagram @candicesophia_ and @simplisticchic_

Amy Anaiz is an intimate editorial wedding and portrait photographer based in New York City. She is keen on creating beautiful, joyous, and heartfelt imagery that tells a story. For more information, go to: amyanaiz.com, Instagram @AmyAnaizPhoto, Facebook: Amy Anaiz Photography

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CANDICE L. DAVIS Deputy Copy Editor

ARION JAMERSON Design & Production

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As a copy editor, author coach, and ghostwriter, Candice L. Davis helps online publications shine and smart people tell their stories in great books. Candice is also the host of Nothing but the Words, the podcast that gives you everything you need to know to write a great book. For more information, go to: candiceldavis.co

Arion Jamerson is the owner of Artfully Made Designs, a strategic design agency that specializes in creative and effective corporate and lifestyle custom design. For more information, go to: artfullymadedesigns.com, Instagram @MyArtfullyMade, Facebook: Artfully Made Designs

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Profile for Black Bride Magazine

Black Bride Magazine: 2020 Summer | The Covid-19 Guide  

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