If seeing Welteroth and Singletary unabashed celebrate their Black love was the highlight of your spring, it’s worth noting that it almost didn’t make it to the public. “I was not sure that I wanted to share [it],” says Welteroth. “But it felt necessary to share now.”


But while we’ve recounted the ways in which the couple made the ceremony safe and adaptable for both their in-person guests and loved ones from afar amid a pandemic, there was one moment that didn’t make the ‘gram–but one Welteroth believes “really illuminates what it is like to be Black in America every day—trying to celebrate your love, trying to exist joyfully, trying to create a moment of celebration for our lives.”

[Elaine:] [R]ight at the moment when our pastor said, ‘You may kiss the bride,’ his voice was drowned out by the sound of sirens—a police van. It pulls up and starts going in on his...

Jonathan: Megaphone.

EW: And he’s yelling.

JS: Like, ‘Clear the streets!’

EW: ‘Clear the streets. Disperse.’ It was aggressive. Literally, the police interrupted the moment where we were supposed to kiss—have our first kiss as husband and wife. I just thought, ‘What do we do?’ And I almost forgot to kiss him. In that moment, all of the most terrible things that I’ve seen take place between the police and Black bodies flashed before my eyes, and I could just feel the panic flood my veins. And I’m just like, ‘Have I put my community in danger? Have I put myself in danger?’


So, even in the pinnacle of a joyous moment, it tears at the very core of our humanity, and it reminds us that we are not afforded the same pursuit of life, love and happiness—that’s not afforded to so many Black people. And our love, our joy, it is fragile. Because in a moment, you can go from being celebrated and on a high and feeling joyful and being in a state of love with your partner to being...to honestly being flat-faced on the ground with someone’s knee on your neck...To have to contend with that and even just go through that emotion and the thoughts of that [during our wedding], it threatened to steal our joy. It threatened to steal our moments and rob us of this celebration that we had painstakingly preserved.


The incident—and the anxiety, dismay and other complicated emotions attendant to it—are among several candid and detailed revelations the couple share about what many of us perceived to be a fearless display of Black love and joy.

“It was so special and yet so marked by some of...the deepest traumas that we carry with us every day as Black people,” Welteroth shared, explaining that the moment itself not only caused some PTSD but compelled her to share her wedding story with the world. “It illuminates this idea of what it’s like to be Black in America in a way that words can’t.”


The Knot’s Fall issue, featuring Elaine Welteroth and Jonathan Singletary, is available online now.

Corrected: Tuesday, 7/21/20 at 5 pm, ET: An earlier version of this article credited the cover photo to Belathée Photography. The photographer was actually 2020 Glow Up 5o honoree Micaiah Carter.