When Al and Shalwah met on Tinder four years ago, they both embraced the online dating experience without placing any expectations on finding their soulmate. When they got engaged in February 2020, they never expected their destination wedding plans would be sideswiped by a global pandemic. But like everything else in their relationship, even the unexpected turns out perfectly.

Shalwah and Al envisioned their wedding on a serene private beach on the island of Curaçao. The date and arrangements were scheduled for November 2020. Then, COVID-19 forced the couple to change their plans drastically. Instead of postponing, the couple rolled with the punches and arranged a socially distanced ceremony in their home city of Brooklyn, NY.

Intent on extending the love back to the community, the bride and groom handpicked Black-owned vendors to hire for their big day. They even did most of the setup and event production themselves, which turned out to be a clever way to save instead of spend. “We used a lot of sweat equity to save money,” says the bride. “My motto is ‘you either have the time or you have the money.’ We decided to spend the time. I created the décor and enlisted a group of friends to help execute it.”

Scroll through the gallery to see Shalwah’s and Al’s gorgeous Brooklyn wedding.

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