Why Support The Best Best Businesses For The Job–Black Vendors Should Be Included In That Too, Before COVID-19 and Racial Unrest

Congrats to all my couples who trying to move forward with planning their weddings during this COVID-19 pandemic, and racism epidemic. You have a challenging time ahead. You will have many questions. Can we go back to having group gathering? How many are we allowed? How safe is my venue? What safety measures are they taking to ensure the safety of my guests? Can I travel? Can I still have my destination wedding? Will my family and friends want to attend? Can I go on my honeymoon? What do I do? Help!! And now you have to deal with another aspect of the process, racial equality? Wait, what is that a thing now part of my wedding process?

Well, apparently it is now that every mainstream (code word for white publication) is featuring the “Top Black Businesses To Support Now & Always” that adds another bit of confusion to the dynamic. So you mean to tell me if I don’t hire a black vendor that means I am a racist? Well, only you can answer that. The purpose of this article is to encourage you to hire the best person for the job. I can say that because I did that when it was my turn to be on the other side of the table for my daughter’s wedding a year ago. With all my years of access to the best of the best, I had to choose which of those vendors were suitable for our theme, “Black Renaissance” (Yeah–some call it the Great Gatsby) our budget, yes– as a publisher we too have budgets.

And we chose a variety of vendors that were willing, capable, and qualified to execute our vision for my only daughter’s wedding.

From their engagement pictures to the actual wedding we made sure we picked vendors we love.

I am proud to say, our choices, because trust me, as hard as I tried, she wouldn’t let me do everything. She constantly reminded me it was their wedding. Yep, her husband was very much involved, not only financially but aesthetically. He too had a vision of how he wanted his wedding to be executed. He simply didn’t just show up– he was part of the whole process of vendor selection and approval.

First thing first was the referee, I mean the wedding planner. I chose Nia Mozee, (African-American) of Simply Nia Design, because of her years of working on fashion week productions, and creating events with me and being a contributing editor for World Bride Magazine. I knew she would know how to handle the challenges myself and my daughter would have between her wants and my role as a bossy mother (I know myself, I can admit it). I knew she was receptive to critic and open for creative contribution from me, and was hardworking and had the resources to do so.

The venue was purely their choice and I stayed out of it. It was a beautiful place and it had great reviews, Elite Palace, South Asian owned and operated, with a diverse team. Nia Mozee stepped in for the negotiation and equipment list to ensure that they got the best of what they wanted.

Flowers, She had the down packed, we selected based on season, and esthetic. She brought in the most amazing accessories to tie in with the theme from the tiniest detail. The invitations were beautifully created to set the tone for the guests. We chose to go with one of my favorite vendors– Papyrus Papers who expedited the order because to my point (yes I’m gloating for being right about sending out invitations even if you do an e-vite), people still expect a hard copy invitation. Thanks to the people at Papyrus for rushing this for us.

Her dress, the most amazing part of every bride’s experience was designed from the house of Pronovias after seeing their show during a season in NYFW Bridal and it brought me to tears after seeing the diversity in skin color, size, and ethnicity. I knew then that was the brand that recognized my daughter in all her glory. We made the purchase at Designer Loft, owned by a supporter of World Bride Magazine, and who had a variety of dresses in my daughter’s size, and treated her like royalty– thanks Liz Salassie (Ethiopian-American).

Thank you Badgley Mischka for the beautiful shoes for my daughter and I. I changed twice– I bought two pairs.

Hair and makeup by dynamic duo– Sonia Castleberry, owner and operator of Brides By Sonia Castleberry (African-American) on hair duty. Aziza Walker (African-American), celebrity makeup artists, and friend of World Bride Magazine. Who were both within the budget of what we had allotted

.

The cake came from the one and only, my friend, supporter of World Bride Magazine, the one that will drag me to an event when no one would invite me, Ron Ben-Israel (Israeli-American, and Global Citizen). He created the most amazing Black cake to compliment our theme– that my daughter and her husband were able to enjoy a year after with their couples cake. And every one after the wedding literally kept calling us to ask us if we still had cake–NOOOOO, we ate it all, you all it all.

The music ranged from classic old school Jazz, and blues during cocktail hour to the move the crowd music that bring the young people to the dance floor with our exceptional DJ Randy Pierce.

Photo by Hector Adalid

Now we get to the best part of it all. The pictures– whew!!!!! Long time friend, fellow fashion industry icon, uncle to my children– Marc Baptiste (Haitian-American) although he is not a wedding photographer when his baby girl was getting married he could not help but say yes to shooting our wedding portrait and assigned his long time assistant, fellow portrait photographer to shoot the reception, the extremely talented Hector Adalid.

So yes I may be privileged to be in a position to hire all these great talents, be certain we still did our research and looked for people who respected our vision, and appreciated our business.

So to our World Bride Magazine readers, fans, supporters, and others–choosing your vendors doesn’t have to be a political statement–you just have to be conscious to make sure you are getting the best person for the job when they apply. And ask yourself the honest truth–do I really not see race and color with my choices? But ultimately we all have the right to choose who we want to give our business too, it should not be forced. But when the “R” word comes up don’t look so shocked and surprise– you might just fit the description.

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