Welcome to our wedding website! We are so excited to marry each other and to share this special moment in our lives with those who love and support us. We know this will be a *magical* day in great part due to your presence. From our hearts to yours, THANK YOU!
Relationship to the bride: Bestie/childhood friend
We've been close since high school in Michigan so there was never a doubt that Charlaé would be my go-to Maid of Honor. She had the final say in convincing me to attend Howard University. She was also the catalyst for Al and I meeting and dating each other (see more in 'Our Story' section.) I love her tenacity. She's brilliant and THE most organizationally talented person I know... she is a get-it-done type of woman.
From high school homework, to college clubbin' days to real adult breakdowns, Charlaé is my hometown homegirl. We've both come a long way since growing up in Detroit. Places we've travelled together include, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Sonoma and more. She also took me to my first Beyoncé (w/ Destniy's Child) concert in 2005 and we've attended Beyoncé and Jay, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey concerts together as well. And on 11:11, we'll be together in Jacksonville! She's my BFF and I'm so thrilled and humbled to have her as my Maid of Honor!
Erika is one of my maternal first cousins and we've had our adventures together over the years. She and I spent one magical summer glued at the hip in Jacksonville. It was the summer after I graduated from Roeper, before I started City Year Detroit. It was a pivotal point in my life... not a girl, not yet a woman, ya know? So we spent the summer beaching (barely because Erika is not really a beach person), driving around, listening to music and getting to know one another better. We bonded then and that bond has sustained over the years. She's a wife, mom and fashionista extraordinaire! She always has my back and I'm so grateful to have her to share in this special day!
Sonji (pronounced son-ya) has always been a woman who I've held in the highest regard. She is a cousin from my dad's side of the family. This Spelman College grad is the main person who quietly inspired me to attending a Historically Black University! She also introduced me to oysters when I was 12 years old. Even though I spit it into a napkin the moment it touched my mouth back then, I now crave oysters at least once a week and will occasionally gorge myself on a good 1/2 price oyster happy hour. Sonji has shown me lots of love over the years and I'm honored to have her stand with me on 11:11!
Even though Nell is a maternal first cousin, she has been like a big sister to me. She is my OG big cousin-sister from way, way back. I adored her when I was a little girl and would do anything she asked me to do because I thought she was so cool. Yes, it's still like this today LOL. Growing up with her in Florida warranted some very fond memories and important lessons for me as a young girl. She's someone I know I can turn to for advice as I become a new wife. And I love her sweet, laid-back personality. Love you, Nell!
Relationship to the bride: Close friend from college
Kaleah was one of my first friends at Howard University! Her confidence and warm smile made me gravitate toward her immediately and I have not gravitated away from her since. She has a heart of gold and her enthusiasm for building safe and empowering communities for young people is contagious. So much so that in 2013, Kaleah recruited me along with 1 other adult + 20 high school students from Chicago to fly to Malawi, Africa to spend 2 weeks co-facilitating over night summer camp experiences for hundreds of Malawian children. So you see, this girl's got vision! She is a very dear friend and I can't wait to share 11:11 with her!!
Another maternal cousin turned big sister, Syreeta helped me navigate the tricky social terrain of Detroit, MI during my teenage years. I admire her tenancy and drive to always strive for new heights in life. I've always looked up to her and she has always been a person who I was able to get advice from and share fun experiences with (do NOT ask her about the time she took me to a haunted house and I cried the whole time...). I stood by her side at her 2015 nuptials in St. Thomas and I'm lucky to have a big cousin like her stand with me on 11:11!
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Joel Pratt! Joel and I met summer of 2004 at Wesleyan through a close friend of ours, Dan Steif (Dan is also the one whose wedding it was that I met My Christine). Learning from Joel over the years has made me better physically, mentally, spiritually, psychologically, and professionally. He was the one who trained me to look like Wesley Snipes from Blade for football season sophomore year. Most people don’t know this, but he also made me a better cook. He would be the one I’d use as my guinea pig to taste my concoctions during our junior year. Now that I’m a much more seasoned cook, but I couldn’t have achieved such a feat without my main man J. Pratt! Furthermore, Joel has made me a better Christian. As someone who grew up going to church EVERY Sunday, it was great to voluntarily tap back into my roots and allowing myself to grow with Joel in our faith. Today, he is heavily involved at New Day Methodist church in Bronx, NY; where his wife, Lisa is a preacher. It is only fitting that since he has been there ever step of the way to turn me into the best version of myself, that he be there right by my side for my transcendental 11:11 wedding day. I couldn’t be more honored and humbled to have Joel as my best man!
I am incredibly lucky to have Christian as a brother. He makes sure my vision and perspective on life is always in 20/20 focus. As my younger and cooler brother, if there is one thing in life he values above all (other than God, money, family and health), it is keeping it simple. But don’t let his affinity for simplicity take away from how sophisticated a thinker the man is—just like the rest of his brothers. If you love games, technology and sports, Christian is a great person to chat it up with. On a more profound note, if you’ve ever watched Godfather, you’d what I mean when I say he is metaphorically my consigliere. I confide in him regarding a vast majority of my biggest, most strategic and most important life decisions—before I actually make them. If nothing else, a brother’s love is a brother’s love. And that, my friends, is that.
Watching Ishmael grow to become the person he is today has been one of my life’s greatest privileges. Being my youngest brother by 10 years, what he currently lacks in experience, he makes up tenfold with a tenacity and work ethic that would blow you away. To best describe Ishmael, I must turn to the book of Genesis. When it came to Jacob’s youngest son he said: “Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and in the evening he shall divide the spoil.” Do you notice the time clock there? In the morning, you devour the prey; while you’re young <insert most intense roaring sound you could possibly imagine me making>. That’s the intensity that is of my youngest brother, Ishmael. If there is anything about Ishmael that is bigger than his dreams, it is his heart and his compassion for others. Keep daring to dream, Ishmael. You’re a beast. Continue to devour that prey that we call success while you are still young. And continue to be kind to those you encounter along the way. It is this combination of your tenacity to make your dreams a reality and compassion for helping others that makes me proud to be your big bro.
Luis and I met while we are at Wesleyan and he was one of the people I lived with our senior year. Being from LA, that west coast vibe runs deep in his veins. When getting to know him, it doesn’t take long to realize how smart, multi-talented, committed, cool, calm and humble this man really is. It is because of his unique and invaluable combination of qualities that I have always had a profound respect for him since day one. Our friendship only grew when he, two of my housemates and I went to Mexico for spring break senior year. While we had the best of times body boarding, consuming shrimp tacos and coronas in Puerta Vallerta...and sipping tequila in Tequila, he made it a point for us to connect with his roots—by enabling us to get to know his extended family in Guadalajara. Luis and I have gone on to grow our friendship and partake in many adventures over the years. From that Mexico trip, Vegas, New York, Philly and soon Florida, he has become a brother I got to choose (like all my groomsmen not named Asante); and such a bond is for life.
Adam and I met while we were at Wesleyan, but didn’t form our own unique bond until I moved to New York in 2010. He was one of first people I reached out to when I got there. What was one 4th of July cookout with his immediate and extended family turned into another invite for a Labor Day cookout, then turned into invites to observe Passover, and then Rosh Hashanah, and then Yom Kippur. Before I knew it, I stopped keeping track and became a regular over the years. Throughout our budding bromance, we’ve feasted at the most unique restaurants, gone to some captivating art shows, and went to see Hamilton before it became the craze. Perhaps what makes Adam most unique and most admirable are his poise and his natural tendency to take assert his leadership whenever decisions get dicey in our group gatherings. Despite his slender build, do not underestimate the nerves of steel on this guy! With his calm, cool and unshakable demeanor, you’d swear he was born with ice in his veins. All in all, I'm privileged to have a friendship that has the levels that it has with someone I’ve been happy to look up to over the years.
Will and I met at Wesleyan and continued to grow our friendship during the summers we worked on campus. When you meet someone as genuine as Will, the friendship formed with such a person is hard to put into words—it’s just pure. That is the best way to describe the friendship I have always had with Will. It is so pure that after not speaking for about 5 years, due to figuring out life after college really, when we did get back in touch, our bond was like we had never been apart at all. I am so lucky to have such a person in my life I can call my friend. Will has become a devoted husband and father of two, all while holding it down finishing up medical school! I couldn’t be more proud of this natural-born hustler and am elated for him to be a big part of our 11:11 celebration.