How Elaine Welteroth Pulled Off Her Quarantine Wedding—and Found Joy Along the Way
In a recent interview, the author opened up about her and Jonathan Singletary's stoop wedding in Brooklyn and shared why holding fast to their original date was the right call.
Many couples around the country were forced to entirely rethink their wedding plans when the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States earlier this year. Elaine Welteroth, a journalist and author, and her husband, Jonathan Singletary, decided that they would forge ahead with their plans, in true Brooklyn, New York, fashion. Yesterday, Welteroth joined People's Morgan Evans on :BLACKPRINT #NoFilter—an Instagram live series launched by the Meredith Corporation's Black Employee Resource Group—to share how her wedding came to life, noting that it was actually a long time in the making. "It was very organic. We had been engaged for three-and-a-half years," Welteroth said. "I'm a big proponent of a long engagement. My mom always said, 'Take your time girl, because hopefully, God willing, you only do this once, so there's no rush.'"
This pace allowed the couple to prioritize pre-marital counseling and hit career milestones—after completing both, Welteroth knew the time was finally right. "It really wasn't until my book—More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) ($12.98, amazon.com)—was birthed fully that I felt this space open up in my heart and in my life where I was like, you know what, I think I'm ready. Let's plan this wedding," she said.
The date they ultimately chose—May 10, 2020—held a special place in their hearts. "It was Mother's Day, and we're really close to our moms. Our moms actually, you know, inadvertently and indirectly introduced us because we were raised in the same church back home in Northern California," Welteroth told Evans. "Our moms have sung next to each other in the choir stand, so they think that it was their manifestation, like their prayers, that made this whole thing happen. So we were like, how sweet would it be to do our wedding in tribute to our moms?"
As their wedding day neared, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to surge worldwide, inevitably leaving the bride and groom with two options: postpone the nuptials or pivot towards a more intimate event. They chose the latter. "Ultimately I just realized that for us, it was less about the big, grand, new party of it all," Welteroth explained. "It was more about making this commitment to each other on this date that we decided on, that we felt was anointed by God." To mark their big day, they opted for a socially-distanced affair; they asked a small group of close friends and family to attend and wear white and invited even more of their loved ones to join in on Zoom. The couple exchanged vows right on their Brooklyn stoop, a spot that Welteroth described as their true happy place, whatever the occasion.
In hindsight, Welteroth knows this was the right decision. She and Singletary were living in quarantine and were just days away from the tragic murder of George Floyd—and now she feels so grateful that their celebration brought joy, prefacing a history-making moment as Black people and their allies continue to fight for change. "I think it's so nice to be able to reinvent tradition, reinvent ritual, and I think that's what this moment is calling for us all to do," she said. "To just be open to pivoting, and letting go of your plans, and sort of surrendering to whatever the greater purpose is in this moment."
For more, catch the :BLACKPRINT #NoFilter Instagram live interviews on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. ET.