Get a weekly dose of Black Joy in your inbox every Friday. Subscribe to the Black Joy newsletter here. 

Wedding season is in full swing, y’all and experts say the industry will be hella booming with people who are getting booed up for good because the pandemic cancelled just about everything last year.

Which leads me to my praise for one Black celebrity: Issa Rae issa wife now after she and her beau Louis Diame held a private ceremony in France. And they came through with the Vera Wang-designed dress and velvet tux! It looks like Issa Rae kept the relationship hush hush (as is her right), but she broke the Internet with photos of her big day.

So this is a shout out to all the Black couples. Whether you are queer or straight, newlyweds or veterans of the game, we want to applaud your legacy of Black love.

When a grandmother becomes a bride

When 94-year-old Martha Mae Ophelia Moon Tucker got dolled up in a bridal gown in Birmingham, Ala., her family didn’t expect her pictures and story to make national headlines.

Her granddaughter, Angela Strozier, was just fulfilling Tucker’s dream of wearing a wedding dress because Tucker didn’t get that opportunity when she married her husband nearly 70 years ago. Strozier overheard her grandmother’s wishes as they were watching the movie “Coming to America.” The family surprised Tucker with a makeup session and zoomed her over to David’s Bridal so Tucker could transform into a bride so beautiful it brought tears to the family’s eyes.

Tucker and Strozier chatted with Reckon’s videographer Kavolshaia Howze about how the magical day came together.

While this story is touching, what’s really heartwarming are the moments of joy Tucker shared with her husband, Lehman Tucker Sr. When Martha Tucker was first getting to know Lehman Tucker, they were playing house while growing up in Alexander City, Ala. Martha Tucker was the cook and they both imagined having two kids.

They were just childhood friends and schoolmates, but Martha Tucker wanted him to be something more.

“I sure did hope he was the one because I loved him. He was a nice, tall gentleman,” Martha Tucker said.

Back then, Martha Tucker didn’t know she was really speaking things into existence. Martha and Lehman Tucker would elope at a pastor’s house in 1952. And just like they imagined, there was a lot of cooking, but they had four kids together.

They filled their home with singing and dancing. Ballroom dancing and jitterbug were their go-to moves. Lehman Tucker’s played Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” and Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” all the time.

They were also masters of the Bid Whist card game. Martha Tucker still has the tournament trophies in her home. Strozier has childhood memories of her grandmother continuing the Bid Whist club meetings on Monday nights after Lehman Tucker’s passing.

Lehman Tucker died in 1975 and Martha Tucker never remarried. She teared up when I asked her what she would say to him now.

“I love you and I wish you were here,” she said. “I wish you could see all of these children and grandchildren. He only got to see one.”

The Business of Black love

Sparks fly at Natesha and John’s wedding. (Contributed by Bold as a Lion Studios in Birmingham)

Mrs. Tucker eloped with her husband at a time when segregation prevented Black women from visiting bridal shops. So, as my middle finger to white supremacy, I did a quick write up about other Black-owned wedding businesses across the South.

  • For the videos and pics: Whether it’s an anniversary, a graduation or just a moment to celebrate Black excellence, Bold as a Lion Studios in Birmingham is here to record your favorite moments. This is especially true when the wedding bells start ringing. Martez Nalls comes through with the cinematography, while his wife, Genesis, is poppin’ with the photography. Genesis’ brothers, Izas and Chavez Fuller, and close friend of the fam, Melissa Long, also help document the magic of Black love through Bold as a Lion Studios’ wedding page Elegantly BOLD. Here are two of my favorite videos. Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Williams who went with the NOLA vibes for their wedding.

And shout out to Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Asare who threw a ceremony fit for an African king and queen

  • For the venue: Wanting to bring a more industrialized-chic wedding venue to the Durham, N.C., area, boss babe Nicole Clayton opened The Cloth Mill in December 2015. The exposed brick, cathedral windows will jazz your wedding day up with an urban and chic look. And if that’s not the feel you’re going for here’s a list of nine other Black-owned wedding venues across the South from Black Southern Belle.
  • For the bling: When I learned about a Black-owned custom bridal jewelry company in Dallas, Texas, I screamed in excitement. Jasmine Carter started Balacia after her husband proposed to her in 2016. The diamonds in their handcrafted jewelry are handpicked by Carter and her husband, Devon, to make sure the quality is on point.

Keep spreading Black love and that Black joy. See ya next time!

If you enjoyed this week’s Black Joy, consider forwarding this newsletter to a few of your friends. You can sign up to receive future Black Joys here.

Correction: Our original story incorrectly mentioned that Strozier watched her grandparents playing Bid Whist. She has childhood memories of Tucker continuing the Bid Whist club meetings after her husband’s passing.