June is traditionally the most popular month for weddings, but Brooklyn writer Maryann Reid has convinced nearly a dozen couples that this September will be a fine time to say “I do.” That’s when she’s holding Marry Your Baby Daddy Day, an all-expenses-paid mass wedding to be held in New York City. Despite the event’s cheesy name, Reid says it has a serious purpose: to reverse what she calls antimarriage trends among Blacks. In 2002, more than half of Black children were born out of wedlock. Reid, a single 29-year-old, has recruited a minister, wedding planners and dress designers to unite ten couples on September 29 (timed to coincide with the release of her book Marry Your Baby Daddy) and has even gotten local businesses to foot the bill.

“Many couples with children want to get married but don’t because of the enormous expense involved,” she says. Skeptics might point out that a City Hall wedding costs less than a touch-up at the salon. And some activists caution against promoting marriage in a vacuum. Joe Jones, president of Baltimore’s Center for Fathers, Families and Workforce Development, says we should support marriage, “but at the same time, we as a society need to make sure that families, particularly low-income ones, have access to the necessary social support they’ll need to make it work.”