Elaine Welteroth and Jonathan Singletary, recently had their wedding at home and like many couples, it was probably was a bit different from what they envisioned in the beginning. Many couples have postponed their plans or have ventured into the world of virtual celebrations and I have to say there is a certain charm about the whole thing.
Elaine and Jonathan shared photos of their after wedding block party with Vogue and on Instagram with the following message:
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5.10.20 ❤️💫 Some things only come around once in a lifetime. This love. That day. Our moment. Too divinely aligned to let it pass us by. Let this be remembered as the day LOVE. COULD. NOT. BE. CANCELLED. #LoveLockdown Photo by @micaiahcarter . Thank you to our BELOVED community for helping us transform an otherwise disappointing reality into the virtual stoop wedding of our dreams. And for helping us bring some light into otherwise dark times. The gratitude in our hearts is endless. We DID it, fam!!! Officiated via Zoom by our childhood Pastor, Dr. Stanley Long Most whimsical #flowerflash of our dreams by @lewismillerdesign @irini_arakas Photography by @micaiahcarter Photography by Annabel Braithwaite of @belathee Video by @better_call_sacredpact DJ’d by our sister-friend @Adeline Live strings by @rootstock.republic Violin by @JanninaN Cello by @mparsoncello Speech of the century “live in the streets of Brooklyn!” by my dad via Zoom Veil (my “something borrowed”) mailed in by my mom @tita.dee Custom @brothervellies shoes by my boo @aurorajames Wedding hair direction via FT by @vernonfrancois Production + styling support by @SinclairBolden of @everydayppl Zoom Emcee + Video by @redisdancing Zoom Motherboard Managed by @swim_bike_di Broom design by @chloe_dulce Block secured by @BrookeCHall Zoom bonding exercise by @feibz First married meal by @risboBK First dance song by @snohaalegra Additional inspiration by @priyaparker Everything above and beyond and in-between: @Melana.joy.freelove @ggggavin @makeenz Story by @voguemagazine in bio
Read Elaine Welteroth’s description via Vogue:
When it became clear that their dream wedding wasn’t going to happen due to COVID-19, Elaine and Jonathan both felt overwhelming waves of denial. “But as the reality set in, both of us realized that we actually felt more ‘married’ to our date and to each other than we did to our big, exciting plans,” Elaine says.
“There was so much meaning wrapped up into the date we picked. Plus, we had a long engagement—3.5 years!—so the idea of waiting any longer felt painful. More painful than losing out on celebrating our wedding the way we had initially envisioned.
I kept seeing messages online that read, ‘Love Cannot Be Canceled,’ and it really resonated,” Elaine says. “So I woke up one day and walked into Jonathan’s home studio and said, ‘I am marrying you on 5-10-20. It may have to be right here on our stoop. And I might be in sweats. But we are still doing this, come hell or high water.’” Figuring out the “how” became an exciting challenge.
“I think what we learned in our process of pivoting is that the key is to get clear on your ‘why’ and what exactly is most important for your wedding,” Elaine explains. “For us, the priority became saving our date. From there, we could move forward to sort out the how.”
The first step was notifying their guests of their change in plans, as it was very apparent by then that it would no longer be safe for their guests to travel or to be together in the way they had originally planned. In their message, they announced that they were saving their date—literally—with a “virtual quarantine wedding” on their stoop in Brooklyn.
“I woke up one morning with this whole vision of how we could do it—and the excitement of planning began,” Elaine says. “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.”
They wanted the stoop to be the centerpiece of their virtual wedding because it’s a space that holds a lot of significance for them as a couple, especially during these quarantined times.
“For New Yorkers without rooftop access, a backyard, or a weekend home upstate to escape to, a stoop becomes your coveted slice of outdoor space—your one refuge for fresh air and sunlight,” Elaine explains. “Whenever we need to clear our heads and get out of the house, we sit—or dance—on our stoop together.”
Anytime Elaine and Jonathan started feeling a little cabin fever, they would bring a mini speaker out to it and play Frankie, Beverly and Maze’s classic “Happy Feelings,” and dance their worries away.
“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.”
At their wedding, they wanted to re-create that feeling, and spread some joy in the community in a bigger way. “All while maintaining the necessary socially responsible distance, we wanted to give our whole block a reason to dance despite all the devastation in the world around us,” Elaine says.
From there, the wedding became a communal effort. “Whether it was jumping in to DJ or donating a piece from their own closet to help us pull our wedding looks together, everyone in our tribe contributed something special to the celebration,” Elaine says. “It was humbling to see how our community showed up for us in big and small ways at every step in this process.”
The dress code for guests—both virtual and IRL—was all white. For guests attending via zoom, the couple noted that this was a “waist-up” request. During the wedding, one guest commented, “This wedding went from black tie to pants optional. LOL.”
To make the stoop into the centerpiece of the special occasion, Lewis Miller Design installed a whimsical floral arch that framed the front door of the couple’s brownstone. “It was a bountiful explosion of bright, colorful florals that trailed the stair rails,” Elaine says. “It was beyond dreamy and elevated the entire visual experience.”
Notes were distributed to neighbors in advance of the wedding, inviting them to join in the celebration from their stoops, and 200 family and friends joined virtually via zoom. “Additionally, a small group of local loved ones came in person for the ceremony, which observed all of Governor Cuomo’s social distancing guidelines,” Elaine says.
“Including maintaining six feet of distance—I even created a social distancing standing chart and wrote guests’ names on the sidewalk in chalk to ensure everyone kept their distance.” They provided 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 gift bag.
“As soon as the music started, neighbors poured out onto the streets, onto their roofs, and some watched from their windows with homemade signs or pots and pans to celebrate with us,” Elaine says. They cheered as the bride walked down her “Soul Train” sidewalk aisle in a label-less white dress from her own closet.
“I hadn’t worn it in over three years,” she says. “But it was the first idea that came to mind when I envisioned us getting married on my stoop.
And since the mantra we set for our stoop wedding was, ‘Do the best you can with what you have,’ I decided to not overthink it. My mom mailed me her wedding dress from California to try on, and I loved it, but didn’t quite feel like me in it. I still wanted a piece of my mom with me that day, though, so I decided to wear her veil. It ended up matching the dress perfectly.”
With so much to do the morning of, Elaine ended up doing her own makeup in the back seat of a car. “I did touch-ups perched on the floor in front of a mirror where my longtime friend and ‘hair husband,’ Vernon François, guided me through a live wedding hair tutorial,” she says.
“He was always supposed to do my hair for my wedding—I’m so happy I didn’t have to give that up!” Close friend Aurora James of Brother Vellies insisted on making Elaine a custom pair of shoes to wear on the day, and they just barely cleared customs in time.
“They were the one fancy thing on my body when I walked down the aisle,” the bride says. Meanwhile, Jonathan wore a white vintage blazer he borrowed from a friend, along with white linen pants with a fresh pair of white sneakers.
Officiating via Zoom was Dr. Stanley Long, the founding pastor of South Bay Community Church, the couple’s home church in California.
“He has known both of us and our families for most of our lives, so it was very special to have him marry us,” Elaine says. Jonathan took on the role of music director and worked with Rootstock Republic, which helped the couple hire violinist Jannina Norpoth and cellist Malcolm Parson for the ceremony.
A label on the sidewalk showed each guest where they were supposed to stand, to ensure distancing, and everyone had a FaceTime buddy so Elaine could see those who couldn’t be in attendance IRL as she walked down the aisle.
After the couple said their vows, the “virtual” block party commenced. “We sent our wedding party playlist to everyone in advance and asked them to join us for our dance party,” Elaine explains.
The couple’s friend Adeline Bolden, a Brooklyn-based singer and musician, DJ’ed the wedding as IRL guests danced in the street and on the sidewalk while keeping a distance from one another.
“She played everything from Stevie Wonder classics to the Wobble, a cookout hit,” Elaine says. “Everyone let loose and had a blast.” At one point, an ambulance drove by, and the entire block cheered in unison.
“At another point, during our first dance, a police van approached, but when they saw that everyone was wearing masks and maintaining a safe social distance, they passed by without stopping—and the entire block went into an uproar,” Elaine says. “I think we all felt a collective sigh of relief.
Then the DJ started our first dance song over, “Find Someone Like You” by Snoh Aalegra, and we got to do it over, the way we planned—this time with all the love and energy of our whole community cheering us on. It was nothing short of magical.”
There are so many pictures, check them all out here.