A sign that a first date won’t be the last? When you’re so engrossed in conversation at a restaurant you overstay your welcome. “We sat there for hours and talked until the manager finally asked us to leave because it was an hour after they had closed,” says Katrinia of her first meeting with Michael. That lively conversation, which took place in November 2015, was how the pair took a connection that began on a dating site, offline. What would come from that first in-person encounter would be the most fulfilling and romantic relationship for both parties, and the last stop on their road to love.
“I realized Katrinia was the one after seeing how much she supported me through various endeavors,” says Michael. “She pushed me to pursue my dreams and to become a better version of myself.” And for Katrinia, nothing could beat the support that she received from Michael during some of the hardest times.
“I knew Michael was the one for me when I had gone through an illness and was admitted to the [intensive care unit] and he was there holding my hand every day,” she says. “He said, ‘I’m here for you and I’m not going anywhere.'”
In agreement that they were the best things to happen to one another, Michael proposed in July 2020 (COVID be damned) and the pair literally jumped the broom on June 11, 2021. After dealing with COVID restrictions that at one point, would only allow the couple 10 guests, they chose to be patient. They pushed their wedding back from a Thanksgiving celebration in 2020 to a summer bash in 2021, finally having the chance to say “I do” in front of 130 of their family and friends.
They shared many of the beautiful images from that special day with ESSENCE. Take a look at their big day in Richmond, Va. and learn more about the love that led to it.
While Katrinia was planning a special birthday party for Michael on July 5, 2020 at the Old Original Bookbinder’s Steakhouse in Richmond, she didn’t realize he was planning something even more special. After he insisted they invite both sides of their family, guests were escorted outside on an especially hot day to have cake.
“We all gathered around to sing happy birthday and toast Michael. During his speech thanking everyone for coming it took an emotional turn and changed into a proposal,” Katrinia recalls. “As he got down on one knee I burst into tears of joy!”
How The Bride Knew She’d Found the One
Michael’s support of Katrinia during a health crisis was just one way she knew he was the man for her.
“Not to mention how well he clicked with my family,” she adds. “I knew God had sent this man to be with me.”
How the Groom Knew He’d Found the One
For Michael, he elaborated on the ways he feels Katrinia made him a better man.
“She pushed me to pursue my dreams and to become a better version of myself,” he says. “Not to sound cliché but she was one of my biggest cheerleaders and always had my back. I knew I could count on her.”
The couple wed at The Dominion Club in Richmond.
“Choosing a venue was difficult during the pandemic,” Katrinia says. “There were many restrictions in place for public gatherings. Many venues had closed permanently. We wanted a place where we could have the ceremony outside, cocktail hour and reception in the same place.”
A Romantic Theme
“We wanted a place with chic elegance to compliment our theme of classic romantic chic,” Katrinia says. “We found The Dominion Club to accommodate all of our needs.”
The Bride’s Most Memorable Moment
“Seeing Michael’s tearful reaction as I walked down the aisle was one of the most memorable as well as when Minister Terrance Jones asked everyone attending the ceremony to stretch their hands toward the couple and unite to uplift our union in prayer,” she says.
The Groom’s Most Memorable Moment
“I had quite a few memorable moments seeing my future wife being escorted down the aisle, when she placed the ban on my finger and when we jumped the broom because I knew it was official and our ancestors were proud,” he says.
The Guest List
“We initially planned for the wedding to take place Thanksgiving weekend 2020; however, COVID had other plans,” Katrinia says. “The Commonwealth still had a restriction of 10 people per gathering. We knew we wanted to celebrate with our family and friends, so we decided to move the wedding to Friday June 11, 2021. We had a guest count of 130 as restrictions and mandates had been lifted.”
The stylish couple share a kiss after saying “I do,” wearing a dress from Caryn’s Bridal & Formals in Farmville, Va., and a custom tux from 707.
The First Dance
The first dance of Mr. and Mrs. Harrison.
The Bridal Party
The loved ones of the bride and groom embodied the theme of “romantic chic,” wearing shades of wine and blush pink.
Michael Loves Katrinia
The gorgeous four-layered wedding cake was made by Pearl’s Bake Shoppe in Richmond.
A Kiss From the Couple
“We are learning that adjusting to married life takes time,” Katrinia says. “We no longer make decisions as an individual but are focused as a couple. We will continue to grow with God as the head and center of the marriage. There are no limitations for our future.”
Michael Loves Katrinia
The future is bright (as bright as these fun sparklers carried by guests) for Katrinia and Michael.