Essie and Maurice Sullivan’s romance started over a decade ago during their senior year of high school. New Jersey seniors that had prom on the same day all went down to Wildwood for a beach weekend. That’s where these lovebirds were first introduced by Essie’s cousin. “I knew of him since sophomore year of high school, and would always joke that he was my boyfriend even though he didn’t know who I was,” Essie told ESSENCE.
The Sullivans dated seven years with some of that time being spent long-distance. Throughout that time, Essie and Maurice discussed the prospect of marriage and building a life together. In July 2018, those plans came to fruition. “Maurice took us on an ‘anniversary’ date to The Manor in West Orange, NJ,” says Essie. “He had advised me to get my nails done earlier that week. He never really tells me to do that so I kind of knew something was up.” Though the proposal wasn’t exactly a surprise, Essie says she cried tears of joy when Maurice dropped down on one knee and asked her to be his wife.
The original plan was to enjoy their engagement for a minimum of two years so that Essie (who describes herself as a quintessential indecisive Libra) could take her time with planning. As fate would have it, the coronavirus pandemic caused them to push their dream wedding back even further than anticipated. In the meantime, they decided on a smaller rooftop ceremony at a New Jersey penthouse. “We planned the micro-wedding in 14 days,” the couple told ESSENCE. “We knew we still wanted to have a larger wedding next year but randomly decided to have an intimate wedding and we had to move quickly.”
With the help of Ilé Events, Essie and Maurice planned a chic garden-themed rooftop ceremony in their home state of New Jersey. Scroll through the gallery to see the gorgeous photos from this stylish micro-wedding.
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Here Comes The Bride
Essie walked down the aisle with her mother to MAJOR's hit song “Why I Love You.”
No Rain On Their Parade
The bride and groom were thankful that the weather cleared up in time for their big day. "Rain and thunderstorms were predicted for the day of the wedding, all the way up to the day before," says the bride. "The actual day turned out to be beautiful with no rain in sight!"
"I would have never thought I’d find true love until I met Essie," says Maurice. "We were so young, in college, and the love just blossomed."
The Perfect Match
"Maurice has such a loving heart," says Essie. "He loves me more than anything and makes me feel like the prettiest girl in the world - even when I’m bare-faced with no make-up on!"
The perfect sunset appeared for their first kiss as a married couple!
Introducing Mr. And Mrs. Sullivan
This is Black joy at its finest!
That "Just Married" Glow
There's simply nothing like it.
More Than A Feeling!
Nothing beats that "just married" vibe.
A Love Worth Waiting For
"I’m so grateful every day that we found true love and now we’ve been together for 10 years," says Maurice. "Thank God we took the chance on a long-distance relationship."
BFFs For Life
"I knew Maurice was the one when I was able to confide in him things that I don’t tell people," says Essie. "Though I am outgoing, I keep a lot of things to myself. Being able to freely talk to him made me feel very comfortable and in that instance, I knew he was the one."
This Is Why I Love You
"There isn’t just one thing I love about my wife," says Maurice. "A few things that stand out is her smile, her eyes and her go-getter mentality. Her determination to achieve her goals while motivating me is also one of the sexiest things about her."
The reception set up included long feasting tables adorned with lush white flowers and candles.
A Seat At The Table
"Since it was an intimate wedding, we had personalized gold name plates for everyone," says the bride. "I loved that because they also got to take it home as a party favor."
Micro Wedding, Major Style
Essie's micro-wedding dress was designed by her friend Ugo. "I showed her how I wanted it to look and we went shopping for the fabric," says the bride. Maurice opted for a modern and well-tailored mint green suit.
Mother Of The Bride
Essie credits her mother with helping pull of her gorgeous micro wedding. "My mom is my best friend," she says. "So she was there for me to run ideas by."
"We were allowed 30 people on the rooftop so we invited 28 guests," says Essie. "It was a perfect number and all the guests came. My best friend Simone even flew in from Cali to surprise me!"
Essie's Advice To Brides
"Don’t go over budget trying to impress people," says Essie. "We had an intimate wedding and stuck to the budget. It was great. I’m going to use this advice for our larger wedding next year!"