Here comes the bride! Rachel Lindsay, the first black woman to lead ABC’s legacy dating show The Bachelorette, is about to get married to her dream man Bryan Abasolo. After going back and forth on her wedding plans, theme and whether or not to air the wedding on television, it’s all finally happening! The lovebirds will say “I do” during a ceremony on an undisclosed (for now) island in the Caribbean surrounded by their closest friends and family…and no cameras!
The couple, who affectionately nicknamed themselves “R&B”, along with The Knot Registry, recently hosted ESSENCE at a private Southhampton home to showcase all of their must-have wedding registry selections. It was an epic day to learn about Rachel’s bridal style. “I’ve learned that I’m a much more traditional bride than I like to admit,” the former attorney told ESSENCE exclusively. “Even from the invitations by Ceci New York with the script font. My dress is very traditional, even though it’s a little risqué.”
The Future Mrs. Abasolo dropped gems about her experience as a Black woman on this mega public platform. “When I was approached to be the Bachelorette, I was like, ‘Uh, no. I don’t think I can do this again,'” she said. “It was conversations that I had with people that said, ‘I’m so happy to see a Black woman represented well in a franchise, or ‘I’m watching this show again because you did it,’ that renewed my wanting to be part of this franchise. I felt it was bigger than me, and the icing on the cake was that it actually worked.”
Rachel also addressed the show’s glaring lack of diversity, which actually came up in her first casting interview for The Bachelorette. “[The producers said] ‘hey we’re going to be honest with you. We struggle getting contestants of color to even come in because our show has such a history of them not going far.’ I said, ‘oh, I’m glad you brought it up, let’s talk about it.’ It worked out to my benefit. Granted, this isn’t politics and we’re not changing the world, but I really hope more people of all races apply to show.”
This is ultimately why Rachel is rooting for Bachelorette fan-favorite Mike Johnson to become the first Black Bachelor. “If I were to give Mike any advice, I would say be yourself and don’t allow social media numbers, blogs and articles change you or make you think you’re anything less than what you are,” she says. “Go on and represent yourself as a man, as a Black man, as a man in his late ’20s, as a professional, as a veteran. There are so many lists you check off. You’re not just the first Black male that’s the lead of this franchise, and your journey isn’t any different just because you look different.”
Rachel and Bryan, who currently reside in Miami, found a way to incorporate a charitable component with their wedding. In partnership with The Knot Gifts Back, The Knot will donate a portion of the cost of each eligible registry gift that is purchased to charity.