It’s the stoop wedding we CANNOT get enough of! Elaine Welteroth (who you may know as the New York Times best-selling author, Project Runway judge, and former editor in chief of Teen Vogue) and her husband-to-be, musician Jonathan Singletary, had something much different in mind for their wedding day.
E + J met as kids in church in California and then reconnected in New York years later when Jonathan came into town for a job interview. Elaine called it, “one of those unexpectedly fun, quintessential New York City nights that keeps getting better and better until it becomes unforgettable.” (For more behind the couple’s rad story, check out their feature on Vogue! )
Fast forward a bit — the venue was booked, the theme was settled, and plans were set in motion. And then…COVID hit. After facing the reality that things must change, E + J decided to shift. They realized their Brooklyn stoop had become a haven to escape to during quarantine and started to get excited about the idea of saying their vows right outside their home! The mantra became, “do the best you can with what you have.” From there, the socially distanced block party wedding became to take shape!
From a soul-train aisle to a full-on dance party, this wedding was full of JOY. A true testament to the sentiment that LOVE IS NOT CANCELLED! Let’s have a look at the photos from Belathée Photography!
Elaine’s Bridal Look
Elaine counted on her lifelong “hair husband” Vernon François to guide her through a live wedding hair tutorial!
For her dress, Elaine picked a label-less white dress that had been hanging in her closet for three years. She wore her mother’s veil as something borrowed — beautiful and meaningful!
A #FlowerFlash Stoop
You know those stunning floral installations that pop up in New York’s most unexpected places? Those gorgeous “gifts to New Yorkers” are thanks to Lewis Miller Design — who’s team installed a whimsical floral arch to frame the front door of the E + J’s brownstone!
Jonathan wore a white vintage blazer he borrowed from a friend paired with white linen pants and sneakers.
A Soul Train Wedding Aisle!
Before Elaine walked down the “aisle,” they distributed invitations to neighbors, inviting them to join from their stoops! 200 family and friends celebrated virtually via zoom, and a small group of local loved ones joined in person.
Here she comes! All the IRL guests (hi, Karli Kloss!) were given a marker to stand on and a FaceTime buddy for Elaine to see as she danced down the Soul Train aisle!
On the big day, just as planned, our guests formed an aisle on the sidewalk. As I walked towards Jonathan, who was waiting at the top of our stoop, I saw my grandma’s face, my in-laws’ faces…
Each person in the aisle became a physical portal for our closest loved ones from afar. And in doing so, the people we love most made new connections with each other. It was really, really special, and so emotional for everyone.
Elaine + Jonathan were wed by their long-time pastor in California via Zoom!
Take it to the Streets
Guests (in real life and virtually) were given an all-white dress code!
Elaine shared a powerful story about their first dance on her 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 & blow-horns blaring. All the worst possible scenarios I’ve seen play out between Black people & the police flashed before my eyes.
But then I saw Jonathan’s smile & 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.
Suddenly, by the grace of God, in the most unlikely of wedding miracles—the cops turned off their sirens. They stopped yelling. And they just drove on by as the entire block erupted in cheers.
As they passed, my knees buckled and I dropped to the ground. Waves of both relief & disbelief washed over me as I melted into tears. When I stood up, our song started over and we got to re-do our first dance. This time, without fearing for our lives and the safety of a community that knows all too well just how unlikely this outcome was on a predominantly Black block in BK.
Now, just 4 (long) weeks later, what I know for sure is that in a country that murders Black people every day for a lot less than gathering (safely) in a pandemic—our 1st dance was an act of resistance.
Guests were given heart-shaped bubbles in gift bags, alongside gloves, masks, mini tambourines, packets of flower seeds, homemade brownies from Elaine’s mom’s family recipe.
Brooklyn Block Party
Elaine danced with friends like Lupita Nyong’o and Aurora James, the founder of Brother Vellies (who also designed Elaine’s shoes for the day).
The couple sent out their wedding party playlist to everyone in advance so they could join in the dance party!
The MOST beautiful day. Full of love. Full of resilience! It’s the wedding we all need right now. Thank you, Elaine + Jonathan, for pushing forward and sharing your stunning day with the world!