Bridal Bliss: Stephaine and Joseph

Bridal Bliss: Stephaine and Joseph
ESSENCE.COM Oct, 20, 2009

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Preachers need love too, and Bishop Joseph Walker found true love the second time around with Stephaine Hale, M.D. The two married at his Nashville church, Mount Zion Baptist Church, on May 23, 2009.

By Charreah Jackson

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

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Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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Stephaine was teaching at Harvard after finishing medical school when her pastor John Borders III in Boston wanted her to meet Bishop Joseph Walker. Though she was skeptical about dating a minister, after a few phone calls she realized she had met the man she asked God for.

“I told him early I didn’t want to know the Bishop, I needed to know Joseph—the person he is behind closed doors,” she says.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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Stephaine’s mother overflows with wise words.

“When I would get frustrated about meeting my mate, my mother told me what you are looking for is looking for you,” she says. "I didn’t know what that meant until I met Joseph. He was exactly what I was looking for and was looking for me.”

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

4 of 27

Joseph lost his first wife to cancer three years before meeting Stephaine. He finally felt ready to love again when they were introduced. It wasn’t easy for him trying to begin dating as a minister, and he kept his eyes outside his own church. He knew he needed help greater than him.

“I was in Nashville and she was in Boston,” he says. “I prayed and had my list on what I wanted in a wife. At the right time and the right place God will connect you. We have to keep the faith.”

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

5 of 27

Stephaine wanted to get her feet wet shopping for gowns in Washington, D.C. Her dream dress ended up being the first one she picked out. She continued to look, but came back to her first find.

“As a woman, you want your husband to love you in the gown,” she says. “Seeing his face when I was coming down the aisle, I knew I picked the right one.”

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

6 of 27

Family is key to both of the newlyweds. The first time Joseph met her father, he was wearing jeans. Stephaine laughs remembering her father asking, “What kind of bishop is he?” The two families quickly bonded and celebrated the couple’s relationship.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

7 of 27

Even though a wedding is traditionally in the bride’s hometown, Stephanie decided to have the wedding in Nashville instead of heading home to Los Angeles.

“The church had been there for him during the passing of his wife and was so welcoming to me,” she says. “I felt it was important they be a part of our day.”

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

8 of 27

Joseph will never forget the joy of seeing his bride come down the aisle.

“It’s probably, one step beneath the day I see Jesus,” he says.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

9 of 27

The newlyweds were happy to have the minister who introduced them perform their wedding.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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Joseph showered his special lady with 33 presents for her 33rd birthday—and a marriage proposal last year. Stephaine belted back “absolutely” with a twang, and did the same with her vows during the wedding ceremony.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

11 of 27

The happy couple seal their marriage with a kiss and prepare for a new life together. Stephaine moved from Boston to be with her husband in Nashville.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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The Walkers jump the broom and welcome their ancestors with the historical ritual of getting married.

“He does what is right, and not what’s popular—and he loves his momma,” Stephaine says. “The way a man treats the significant women in his life is how he will treat you.”

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

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Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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A month before meeting Joseph, Stephaine felt God dare her to write down what she wanted in a mate and to then believe it would happen.

“As women, we sometimes say what we want, and don’t believe it will come to past, thinking our expectations are too high,” she says. We have to put it out there and believe."

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

14 of 27

The newlyweds glow during their first stroll as husband and wife.

“We are intellectual twins,” Joseph says. “She understands to whom much is given, much is required. That’s what I love about her.”

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

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Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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The newlyweds sneak a kiss while riding to their reception at Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

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Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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Forget all those rules of the duties of a pastor’s wife. The Walkers are enjoying being true to themselves and walking in the light of God.

“We’re very down to earth, down-home people,” he says.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

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Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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The pastor and his new first lady are all smiles as they enter the reception. They kicked off the party with their first dance to “At Last,” performed by a live band.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

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Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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Stephaine went for a theme of “simple elegance” for her special day.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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Being a pastor since his early 20s, Joseph has also continued to be a part of community organizations, including Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

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Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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Stephaine’s success as a doctor and professor didn’t intimidate Joseph.

“There are men in love with progressive women, like me,” he says. “She was doing fine by herself, and didn’t need me to complete her. I’m here to complement.”

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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The couple cherish the special bond they’ve found.

“He is like a male version of me,” Stephaine says.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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Stephaine admits it wasn’t easy being single and waiting to meet her mate.

“I know a lot of women wonder if men really can be faithful and do all the things you dream about,” Joseph says. “We do exist. There are men out there looking for you.”

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

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Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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Joseph is happy to past the groom torch to friends and family.

“We hope our marriage allows others to see a positive image of Black love,” he says.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

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Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

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The bride and groom enjoyed a two-week European excursion to celebrate their nuptials, including stops in Rome, Venice, Capri and Paris.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime

25 of 27

Stephaine has settled into her life in Nashville, returning to her alma mater Vanderbilt as a professor. She’s also rolled up her sleeves to get involved in Joseph’s church.

Stephaine and Joseph’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Denise and Tarik

Kristen and Landon
Essence and Jaime