Bridal Bliss: Natasha And Michael's Wedding Was The 'Bashment' Of The SummerAugust 11, 2022
When Natasha, a VP of marketing at BET Networks, first decided to partake in the online dating scene, joining Bumble in May 2019, she was skeptical about how it worked — and admittedly a bit confused.
“I had no idea how to even navigate the app,” she tells ESSENCE.
But with some help, she would finally understand the dating app, and make a life-changing connection through it. “At a friend’s birthday party, my friend’s wife decided to give me a tutorial and show me how to use the app and she swiped right on Michael.”
Soon after, Michael, a senior business development manager at fintech company Marqeta, ended up making quite the impression on Natasha. A year later, amid the pandemic, their bond was solidified by adversity.
“During the pandemic, amidst all of the turmoil and uncertainty in the world, Michael proved to be my safe haven,” she says, as the two crashed together in Brooklyn. “We spent months quarantined in my small one-bedroom apartment, and instead of getting sick of each other, we grew closer together. Michael’s patience, understanding and ability to love my authentic self, flaws and all, made me realize that I found my forever person.”
He felt the same, noting that Natasha’s support of him in one of the most difficult times in his life, the loss of his father during the pandemic, proved to him that she was the one.
“While we had only known each other for a short amount of time, it tied us closer together,” he says. “Unfortunately, it was an experience that she had already gone through. Tasha showed up for me in a way that I didn’t expect for her to and she really didn’t have to. The way she looked after me and the way she interacted with my family it was clear that this is someone I’d want to spend the rest of my life with.”
With that in mind, Michael would go on to work with “the two Kias” as he calls them (his sister Kia and Natasha’s cousin Kia), to propose to her. On May 25, 2021, during a trip to Jamaica to celebrate Natasha’s 40th birthday, he got down on one knee, in front of 100 of her friends and family on Zoom, and asked for her hand in marriage.
For more than a year after, the couple meticulously planned out what would be their special day, opting to say “I do” at the spacious Salamander Resort & Spa in Virginia in front of 250 to 300 guests on July 16. The day incorporated numerous personal touches, from the waving of Jamaican flags to honor Natasha’s culture, to go-go music to celebrate Michael’s upbringing in D.C. Those personal touches were seen most at the reception. The night ended on the dance floor, where people happily let loose alongside Mr. and Mrs. Hollis.
“While the entire day was wonderful, the reception was what some might call a ‘bashment,’” Michael says. “What an incredible feeling to see so many folks from different phases of our lives come together on the dance floor and have a wonderful time.”
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“The pure love, joy and fun in the room was infectious and a memory that I’ll carry forever,” Natasha says.
Learn more about how the couple’s big day came together, including with the aid of Black vendors and minority-owned businesses, the personalized aspects of the ceremony and reception, and the most memorable moments for the bride and groom, all while seeing stunning images from their big day in this week’s Bridal Bliss.
Planning & Design: @favoredbyyodit
Floral Design: @designsbyoochay
Venue & Catering, Cake: @salamanderresort
Draping, Lighting & Production: @thelightsourcecompany
Stationery: @minted, @lepenndesigns
Bridal Gown: @bridalreflectionsny
Grooms Tux: @articlesofstyle
Groomsmen’s Suits: @theblacktux
Bridesmaids Dresses: @davidsbridal
Bride’s Hair: @gabriellecorney
Bride’s & Bridesmaids Makeup: @taylorsimpsonartistry
Bridesmaid’s Hair: @tressartha
Photo Booth: @tickledphotobooth
Monogram, Dance Floor & Programs: @quietlyloud.design
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