Long before they said their vows, from the very beginning of their relationship, Jordan and Naomi Jackson have supported one another through thick and thin.
The pair studied at the University of Virginia. They met on campus in 2011 after she mistook him for his twin brother and they ended up striking up a conversation with one another. They would become fast friends, a companionship where both parties wanted to see each other thrive and made the effort to ensure it would happen. By 2013, they were officially a couple (even sharing the news on Instagram) and for seven years, they traveled together, lived together and went through hell and back together.
When they were in college, Naomi was a great support to Jordan, helping him with his classwork and to secure important internship opportunities that would make a difference in his pursuit of a career in finance. As the years passed, he was a significant support to her when she went through a serious health crisis. Naomi found herself dealing with a painful tumor in her liver, and over the course of their relationship she would have to undergo two tumor resection surgeries and weeks (sometimes months) of recovery in the hospital. Jordan was there as her part-time nurse and “full-time protector” as she fought her way back to 100 percent. As he shared with us, he knew that no matter how long her recovery would take, there was nowhere else he would rather be than by her side. And as she explained, she couldn’t have been more grateful for his constant presence and care. The devotion that was exhibited during that time would solidify what they both knew: They found the one they couldn’t live without.
By March 2019, Jordan was ready to ask for her hand in marriage and make Naomi his wife. He planned the proposal by taking her to the American Airpower Museum in Long Island, New York for a flight lesson to learn how to operate a small plane. When weather conditions impeded that, she was then blindfolded in the pilot seat as the plane was pulled into a nearby aircraft hangar where 50 of the couple’s closest friends and family were present. There, he got down on one knee, champagne and roses in tow, and proposed. She, of course, said “Yes!”
More than two years later, on May 31, 2021, Memorial Day, they took the extravagance of the proposal and multiplied it. The couple said “I do” at Oheka Castle in Long Island in front of 150 guests. “Ever since I was a young girl, I always wanted to be a queen, and after the past several years of recovery it felt only right to have an extravagant wedding to celebrate all Jordan and I accomplished and manifested on our journey together,” Naomi tells ESSENCE. “Of course, a queen should be married in a castle.”
Opulence was everywhere, from the castle itself and its massive and ornate garden, to the Rolls Royce Cloud and the luxurious decor with the hydrangeas and roses. The couple, who have been a team since their UV days, worked together again on their own to plan every detail of the big day, utilizing a plethora of Black vendors. What they were able to make happen was a celebration befitting Black royalty and of a love years in the making, tested and triumphant.
Check out the images from their special day, taken by famed wedding photographer Stanley Babb, and learn more about their enduring love story.
Photography – Stanley Babb
Entertainment – Finer Touch & DJ Sparkx
Videography – Bricks Group Media (Enny Olamide)
Makeup – Tia Codrington
Florist – Christine Ferguson
Hair – Mohan Jean Mary
Dress – Viero Bridal
Suit – Sam Parker
Crown – Pantora Bridal
Bride and Groom Shoes – Jimmy Choo
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The Most Memorable Moment (For the Bride)
“As I walked down the aisle, I saw Jordan at the end and literally had to grasp for air,” she says. “He was crying and as I looked down the aisle seats my closest family and friends were crying and the atmosphere was thick of genuine love; you could just feel it. It was a manifestation of everything we hoped for.”
The Most Memorable Moment (For the Groom)
For Jordan, he had two moments that stand out for him from their wedding day. They include him walking down the aisle and then watching Naomi walk down the aisle. “For me, these two moments encapsulated a lot of emotions; for one, my walk down the aisle represented the past journey up until this point, while watching her walk down the aisle represented the future,” he says.
A Sand Ceremony of Significance
The couple was led in a unity sand ceremony by the officiant, Pastor Ameer Natson.
“He blessed our marriage and gave every aspect of the ceremony purpose and intention,” Naomi says. “As Jordan and I poured our sand together to symbolize unity and love as a coming together, the once dreary Memorial Day weekend became a perfect day with birds chirping. You could feel God blessing our union. It couldn’t have been more poetic and perfect.”
Aside from just being a stunning venue, the couple was drawn to Oheka Castle in Long Island because they wanted to, as Naomi says, display Black love in a setting that often seems unattainable to people who look like us. So Black excellence in a castle it was. Surprisingly, there are multiple castles in the New York tri-state area.
“We set up tours and Oheka was amazing given the venue also serves as a hotel, which meant our guests could stay on the property the night of our wedding, something no other venue offered which help create a royal experience.”
“In terms of colors, my favorite color is purple and Jordan’s is blue. We felt lavender would be a perfect color for spring and navy blue would provide a royal touch,” she says. It came together well throughout the venue, including in the floral arrangements. The couple also made sure to include silver accents and pearls as a nod to Naomi’s sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
The Bridal Party
The lavender and navy blue also came to life in a lovely way through the bride’s tribe and the groomsmen’s ensembles. How fierce is this photo?
The Wedding They Dreamed Of
Though the couple were initially worried that they would be impacted by restrictions put in place because of Covid-19 that capped events in New York at 50 people, by early 2021, things changed.
“There was simply no way we could host a wedding with just 50 people, and so we seriously considered pushing our wedding back,” Naomi says. “Luckily, the state had relaxed restrictions just two months before our wedding day and we were able to increase our guest count to 150 people.”
She adds, “We were able to host the wedding we always dreamed as vaccinated people were able to attend, not wear masks, and could dance. With just about all of our guests fully vaccinated and/or presented a negative PCR test, everyone felt very comfortable fully enjoying every aspect of the wedding.”
The towering, pearl-adorned cake (an AKA nod example) was a treat for the eyes and the taste buds.
As the couple shared, “the dream of the wedding was to be a true reflection of Black love and excellence and all the elegance and beauty that comes with it.”
We’d say they were successful in that.
Fun Family Fact
Just as Jordan and Naomi met at the University of Virginia, Jordan’s parents also met at UV. As the couple told us, “looks like we will be sending our kids to Virginia! #Wahoowa”
Before the Nuptials
In advance of walking down the aisle to her king, as she calls Jordan, Naomi took some beautiful photos solo in the Castle. Every corner of the venue was a perfect backdrop for the images shot.
It’s a Party
The couple switched up their outfits for the latter half of the reception, letting their hair down (literally). One of the most colorful moments came when they rapped Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” with the help
of microphones. “Everyone went wild” Naomi says.
A Castle Built for a Queen
The bride was photographed, in stunning fashion, at the top of the winding stairs in Oheka Castle.
A Thank You
While the couple has always leaned on one another, they couldn’t have made it this far without the support of loved ones.
“Thank you to all our family and friends for supporting us and investing in us through our journey together,” the couple said, jointly. “It has truly been a blessing!”
After residing in Harlem for some time, the Jacksons are planning to settle into married life in D.C.
“We recently purchased our first home together in Washington, D.C. earlier this year and are happy to start our new lives in the District!”