Welcome to the ESSENCE.com comprehensive resource guide of some of our community’s best wedding professionals. From dress designers to photographers, we’ve got you covered. Keep clicking for the 411 on Black bridal experts from around the country and beyond.
Who: Ross Oscar Knight, Ross Oscar Knight Photography
Specialty: Knight captures love in all its innocence and magic the way very few in his field can. His clients appreciate his acute attention to detail and personalization.
Why He Should Be on Your Radar: Based in Atlanta, Knight is a renowned international photographer, yet his work has a warm, down-home feeling. His photography has been recognized by Oprah Winfrey and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Specialty: The Ethopian beauty is a force in the bridal gown industry, and her collections are sold at retail giants Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.
Why She Should Be on Your Radar: Style divas like Halle Berry and Vanessa Williams have turned to Amsale for her fashion expertise. Based in NYC, the Fashion Institute of Technology grad has the unique ability to design dresses that make all silhouettes shine.
Who: Raven Patrick De’Sean Dennis, III, Cake Man Raven
Specialty: Mouthwatering red velvet cake and delectable sweet potato cheesecake.
Why He Should Be on Your Radar: Raven has baked pastry delights for a wide range of notable clients including Maya Angelou and Mary J. Blige. Although he is currently based in the heart of Brooklyn, his southern background is transferred to a wholesome goodness in his never cookie-cutter, memorable cakes.
Specialty: Located on New York City’s posh Upper East Side, The Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier carries the best of the best in the bridal gown category. By appointment only, brides-to-be can try on fabulous dresses from our girl Amsale to Oscar de la Renta and Angel Sanchez.
Why He Should Be on Your Radar: With more than 20 years of experience, Ingram has paid his dues. Previously featured in The New York Times and Women’s Wear Daily, the Harlem resident has personally consulted thousands of brides-to-be at trunk shows and bridal registry events across the country.
Specialty: Planning the weddings of such stars as Usher, Toni Braxton, Lela Rochon and more.
Why She Should Be on Your Radar: Valentine knows her stuff. The new cohost of TNT’s “Wedding Day,” Valentine doesn’t solely work with celebrities and goes out of her way to save her client’s money when possible. The talented sister is also author of her own bridal tome, “Weddings: Valentine Style” (Atria Books).
Who: Stephanie Stokes Oliver, co-owner, Ultimacy Villa Retreat
Specialty: Providing a relaxing retreat in a calm tropical paradise on the quaint island of Anguilla.
Why She Should Be on Your Radar: A former writer/editor, Oliver and her husband teamed up with a local Anguillan couple to launch the ultimate home away from home in the beautiful Caribbean. Newlyweds will adore this romantic space with superb service overlooking pristine waters.
Specialty: Producing one-of-a-kind dresses, headpieces and other bridal necessities, all inspired by products of the African Diaspora.
Why She Should Be on Your Radar: Based in Dallas, Fleetwood has written the book on Afrocentric weddings, literally. She is the author of “The AfroCentric Bride: A Style Guide” (Amber Books) and women from all over the globe turn to her for gowns and headpieces with cowrie shells, beads and feathers for a true “wow” factor.
Who: Preston Bailey, wedding and special event planner
Specialty: Giving birth to magical spaces for a who’s who list of high profile clients in fashion, entertainment and media. Bailey has an artistic edge that is simply unsurpassed by no one. He is also known for incorporating floral arrangements in unexpected places for his events.
Why He Should Be on Your Radar: While the Panama-born wedding honcho has clients such as Bill Cosby and Laurence Fishburne on his résumé, he has found ways to cater to us working-class folk as well. In 2005, Bailey partnered with the über resort Sandals for destination wedding package collaborations, and then in 2006 he teamed up with 1-800-FLOWERS so that his floral skills could be available in a wallet-friendly way as well.