For years, Danielle and Jonathan were like two ships passing in the night. They both lived in Chicago and had plenty of mutual friends, but they did not connect until a friend’s birthday party. When Jonathan made it to the bar where Danielle was sitting, he offered to buy a round of margaritas. Danielle recalls, “As we sat and drank, we all made plans to continue the birthday celebration over brunch that weekend. Although I wasn’t sure I was interested in dating a friend of a friend, Jonathan was excited about the opportunity to see me again. At brunch, I learned just how smart and funny he was. Brunch turned into an afternoon of bar hopping, and we spent the night drinking and dancing almost forgetting the rest of the people we were with. At the end of the night, he took my phone, saved his number in it, and sent himself a text message.”
After dating for about a year and a half, Jonathan decided it was time to take things to the next level. He decided to propose during the Thanksgiving holiday. Under the guise of going to dinner, he asked Danielle to get dressed. Then he convinced her to stop for a drink before dinner. She was not enthused when he asked her to go to the rooftop to view the city. It was raining and she just straightened her hair! But, when they made it to the roof, Jonathan got down on one knee and proposed as a photographer came out of hiding to capture it all. When they returned downstairs, Danielle discovered that Jonathan had planned an intimate party to celebrate with family and friends.
For their wedding, the couple wanted a vibe that was timeless and classic. It was also of the utmost importance that they supported black businesses. Danielle shares, “We set a goal to ensure no less than 60 percent of our vendors were Black or POC-owned. We exceeded that goal! About 90 percent of the vendors we worked with were people of color.” From their Catholic ceremony officiated by Jonathan’s uncle at the St. Augustine Catholic Church, a historically Black church in Washington, D.C., to dancing to Haitian Kompa music, to Danielle’s custom wedding jumpsuit made by black designer Hysis Designs, their modern wedding was full of black excellence, culture and love.
- Couple: Danielle Cadet & Jonathan Wiggins
- Location of Wedding: Washington, DC
- Wedding Date: October 12, 2019
- Wedding flowers: White roses and hydrangeas
- Favorite item on menu: Morel Crusted Lamb Chops, Sautéed Asparagus & Curry Mash (we also had passed mini tacos and tequila as a passed hors d’Oeuvres with mini Patron bottles)
- Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts: Pajamas and earrings for the bridesmaids; Japanese whisky and whisky rocks for the groomsmen
- First dance song: “So High” by John Legend
- Advice for brides: Try not to get hung up on the idea of perfection. The day will be perfect, but not because everything goes according to plan. It will feel perfect because you will never feel more surrounded by love.
How did you know they were “the one”?
I knew Jonathan was “the one” on our second date. Despite an amazing first date (getting drinks and seeing the James Baldwin documentary), I was unsure about continuing to date him. After friends convinced me to say yes to a second date, we planned to go to a shooting range. Jonathan picked me up in his car and I off-handedly mentioned always wanting to learn how to drive a stick shift. The shooting range was packed, and we were told we’d have to wait 3 hours. Thinking on his feet, Jonathan offered to teach me how to drive his car. He drove to an empty lot (which turned out to be a race track!), and the lesson began. He was so patient and calm, walking me through every step. Meanwhile, I was terrified I was going to ruin his car. We followed up the driving lesson with drinks, where we talked until the restaurant closed — this would become a trend for us.
Describe your wedding dress and your favorite wedding accessory.
My wedding dress was a fit and flare satin gown in ivory with a pearl and crystal-encrusted bodice, crescent neckline, asymmetrical draping and pickups, and a chapel train made by Allison Webb. I originally really wanted to work with a Black wedding dress designer, but I completely fell in love with the gown and couldn’t get my mind off of it. So I decided to go to a Black-owned tailor (Cheryl A. Lofton & Associates). I also worked with Black designers for my favorite wedding accessory — my wedding jumpsuit! It was a work of art created by Hysis Designs that had a mesh and crystal-encrusted bodice with satin pants and a detachable skirt.
I am Catholic and it was really important to me to have a traditional Catholic ceremony. Jonathan’s uncle is a priest, and we asked him to marry us in the church we had attended throughout our relationship — St. Augustine Catholic Church which is a historically Black church in Washington, D.C. It was such a special and personal touch to be married by a family member. I also chose to get ready with my bridesmaids and family at a Black-owned bed and breakfast in the city, so we rented out the Akwaaba DC Bed and Breakfast. It was beautiful to start the day in a building that celebrates Black history and Black culture. It felt like the perfect way to start the rest of my life.
What is your best memory from your wedding?
Our venue was a federal building with a beautiful terrace that overlooked Constitution Avenue. Instead of leaving the venue for an after-party, we hosted an extended reception on the terrace, and it was more fun than we could have ever imagined. At one point, Jonathan and I looked around at all of our beautiful Black guests dressed in black tie celebrating inside a federal building. It felt presidential, and made us so proud to have this moment for our community, our culture — and for our ancestors!
We had a breathtaking seating chart and bar built by Evolution Event Rentals Inc. When our guests walked in, they were greeted by a gorgeous acrylic custom seating chart draped with candles and flowers. When they entered the ballroom, they saw a mirrored rose gold bar that completely set the tone for the room. It was grand but classic and we got so many compliments! We also had beautiful banquet seating at some of our tables. I was blown away when our wedding planner suggested them, I had never seen anything like it. When we walked into the room, I was even more in love with the design than I thought I’d be.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Remember to focus on your future and the partnership you’re building rather than the stress of the wedding. Never lose sight of the incredible blessing it is to have found your soulmate, and keep your love at the center of it even as things get challenging throughout planning.
- Photography: The Madious
- Bride’s dress: Allison Webb
- Bridal salon: The White Magnolia (Atlanta location)
- Bride’s headpiece and/or veil: Bridal Styles Boutique
- Bride’s shoes: Christian Louboutin
- Bridesmaids dresses: White Runway (custom)
- Cakes/desserts: Couture Cakes by Sabrina
- Catering: Spilled Milk Caterers
- Ceremony venue: St. Augustine Catholic Church
- Event decor/design: Events by Neakai
- Entertainment: DJ Tay James
- Event planner: Events by Neakai
- Florals: Bella Fiori Events
- Groom’s attire: Lapel Tuxedos//Christian Louboutin
- Groomsmen attire: Lapel Tuxedos
- Hair: Crowned by Tea
- Lighting: Summit Event Lighting
- Linens: DC Event Rentals
- Makeup: Blush by Makki//Jennifer Lodge
- Reception venue: Andrew Mellon Auditorium
- Rentals: Evolution Event Rentals Inc.
- Stationery: Isabella Invitations
- Videography: Chris Hall | Nue Film
- Tailor: Cheryl Lofton & Associates
- Jumpsuit: Hysis Designs
- Custom signage: Party Presentation
- String Quartet: DC Strings
- Bridal Suite: Akwaaba Inns