Everyone Wore White At This Deacon Hotel Micro Wedding
The venue changed to Airbnb two days before the intimate celebration.
Sometimes it’s about the simple things – like a chic little night out with all-white decor and clothes, right down to the bride, groom, and their guests. This is the case with this micro-wedding at the Deacon Hotel, which was everything the couple dreamed of despite some pandemic pivots and technical glitches before the party. Photographer Taylor Baldwin from Mom Photog all broken, and we share the celebration below.
It all started in 2010, during She’neil johnson and Zachary Spence Jr.freshman year at Howard University. The Brewerytown couple both ended up in the nearly empty cafeteria after midday class and sat down with a mutual friend, unbeknownst to them. They didn’t talk much – She’Neil didn’t even have her name – but started to cross paths at parties and events, got to know each other, and developed a connection. They finally started dating in 2011, during their sophomore fall vacation.
Zach’s proposal seven years later (February 22, 2018) was a stumbling block. The Naval Sea Systems Command systems engineer posed the question onstage at a Kelela concert in London – the singer and the city are among She’Neil’s favorites – pulling off an elaborate surprise that included a two-hour hike. days across the pond, avoiding his fiancee – being at Philly Airport when her flight was delayed (her plane left right after hers) and putting her sister and friend, not to mention Kelela, in the secret. The big moment has gone viral.
The couple chose August 22, 2020 for their wedding for a number of reasons. Among them: The month and year marked a decade since they first met Howard, and they originally planned to say ‘yes’ to DC’s Long View Gallery, with a guest list of 200. “Whatever what happened, we wanted to do [this] our special day, ”says She’Neil, CEO and co-founder of the skincare company Base Butter. So when the pandemic put the brakes on this approach, they shifted gears, informed their attendees of the postponement, and prepared for a small backyard wedding at an Airbnb in Philly with their immediate family. But a problem in the technical system canceled their reservation two days in advance, and they could not rebook.
She’Neil admits she was nervous – her family was arriving the next day, and she and Zach just wanted to get married. Fortunately, a friend who knew the owners of The Deacon in Grad Hospital called on behalf of the couple and found the hotel could accommodate the wedding and an overnight stay for their family.
The rest of the details came from there. Planner Kevinah Williams has stayed true to the couple’s wish for an all-white, chic, and eclectic wedding. She built and hand-personalized a circular wedding arch, accenting it with gold and greenery. (Nature’s Gallery Florist created the bouquet and arrangements of large white roses, orchids, cascading foliage, seasonal flowers and pampas grass.) For the first time when she walked down the aisle.
In keeping with the theme, all 14 guests (including the couple’s puppy King) wore white, and She’Neil and her sisters found her helmet on the morning of the big day at a South Street store. Particularly sentimental? She’Neil’s grandmother, Helen Lewis-Higgins, presided over the ceremony, which ended with the newlyweds walking down the aisle and then having a little dance party with their family before photos and dinner.
The only hiccup of the big day: The couple wanted to keep their intimate nuptials private and asked their immediate family not to post any photos or videos on social media. As it tends to happen, someone ended up posting a pre-wedding congratulatory message and tagged She’Neil and Zach. “Before we knew it, the cat was out of the bag,” says the bride. “I even had to quickly inform our larger wedding guests via email that it was indeed a small ceremony at the moment.” The couple eventually let their guests in person post the experience on social media and shared their wedding photos with their future guests so they could feel the joy as well.
“Kiss him!” said the couple, who are planning their postponed party for September in Washington and hoping to eventually travel to Africa for their honeymoon to learn more about their culture and ancestors. “Everything really happens for a reason. We wouldn’t want our wedding to go any other way – it was an intimate moment with our loved ones. “
Photographer: Taylor Baldwin from Mom Photog | Place: The deacon | Planning / Design: Kevinah Williams of Krafted by K | Flowers: Nature’s Gallery Florist | Restoration: Ricky’s rolls | Wedding dress: custom design of Amblasha | Hair: Parris Street | Make-up: Sabrina Johnson (sister of the bride) | Groom Attire: SuitSupply (styled by Amber Wyche) | Cake: Domonyque Ladd | Celebrant: Helen Lewis-Higgins (Grandmother of the Bride) | Illustrator: Love Shema
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