As a longtime fan and Instagram follower of Elaine Welteroth, I’ve loved catching snippets of the beautifully unconventional wedding that she and her now-husband, musician Jonathan Singletary, celebrated on their Brooklyn stoop while New York City was under quarantine. Welteroth (New York Times best-selling author, Project Runway judge, and former editor in chief of Teen Vogue) has posted a bit about that day in May when she and Singletary tied the knot – and as the fight for racial justice intensifies in our country weeks later, their celebration of love takes on new layers of meaning and inspiration for all of us.
When our friends from Belathée photography sent me the beautiful photos they took at the wedding, I jumped at the chance to share this literal sunshine with you guys – along with a bit more of the wedding story. One particularly meaningful moment shared by Elaine on Instagram:
“During our quarantine wedding, just as our pastor announced via Zoom, ‘You may kiss the bride!’ a NYPD police van approached our home with lights flashing and blow-horns blaring. All the worst possible scenarios I’ve seen play out between Black people and the police flashed before my eyes.
But then I saw @jonathansingletary’s smile and our whole community holding us in their love, with happy tears dripping into their masks. And we decided we weren’t letting anything or anyone rob us of our joy in that moment. We held hands and in the face of very real anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, we danced into the street — into the unknown.”
Scroll on for my favorite joy-filled photos from their wedding, and hop over to Vogue for Elaine and Jonathan’s incredible love story.
This perfect dress is one that had been hanging in Elaine’s closet for years — and it just felt right for this wedding. She paired it with her mother’s veil.
Lewis Miller created the jaw-dropping floral arch around the doorframe.
Originally, the couple had planned to get married at the home of a family friend in Napa (their families both live in Northern California, where they met.) Then, COVID-19 put a halt to those plans. But they were determined to move forward with their original wedding date of 5-10-20.
“I woke up one morning with this whole vision of how we could do it—and the excitement of planning began,” Elaine told Vogue. “In my mind, I saw the faces of people we love from afar surrounding us on iPhone screens and a small group of our local friends in white lining the sidewalk with gloves and masks on.
I envisioned transforming our stoop into an altar glowing with pretty lighting and gorgeous florals. I had no idea if any of this was even possible in the middle of a pandemic, but I was excited about having a new wedding vision to work towards.”
In her interview with Vogue, Elaine shared, “The neighbors next door and the little kids across the street started coming outside to dance with us from their stoops,” Elaine says. “It brought us all so much joy to smile, and wave, and dance—together, apart—with neighbors who had been merely strangers to us before the quarantine.”
Aurora James, founder and designer behind Brother Vellies, is a close friend of Elaine’s and made these stunning custom shoes for her. Guests were given gloves and masks on-site in addition to white parasols, bubbles, seeds to plant flowers, and homemade brownies from Elaine’s mom’s family recipe in a welcome bag. Adeline Bolden, a Brooklyn-based singer and musician, DJ’ed the wedding as IRL guests danced in the street and on the sidewalk while staying socially distanced. “She played everything from Stevie Wonder classics to the Wobble, a cookout hit,” Elaine says. “Everyone let loose and had a blast.” This wedding is proof that often, creativity is born from working within constraints. And it’s a welcome reminder that during these times, when we all have to change plans and be more flexible than ever before… unexpected beauty can blossom.
Congrats, Elaine and Jonathan! Thank you for sharing this day so full of love for one another and for your community. Biggest heart eyes for your day — I’ll be bookmarking this one to revisit when I need an instant jolt of positivity.