Aida & Reggie
Bride’s Dress: “Auden” by Nouvelle Amsale
Photography: Inspired By Studio
The couple was introduced in the summer of 2016 by a mutual friend who hoped Aida, a native Californian, could help Reggie get oriented to the Bay Area after moving from New York. They connected immediately and quickly realized they had three things in common: their devotion to family, love of adventure and appreciation of laughter and fun.
Despite the incredible “first date,” it would be months before they would reconnect. Reggie’s roommate was hosting a birthday party and invited one of Aida’s best friends. Aida decided to go on a whim and by the end of the night Reggie made sure to secure a second date. Since that fateful night, Aida and Reggie have traveled around the world. Their fifth date was in Cambodia; and they have visited 13 countries to date. From AfroPunk in Paris to family time in Ethiopia, they have kept true to their love for each other and the African diaspora.
On January 26, 2019, Reggie brought Aida to the Brown Estates Vineyard, the only black owned and operated winery in Napa Valley. Together they were whisked off on a private tour of property. It concluded at the gazebo at the edge of the property. There Reggie got down on one knee to propose to Aida. As soon as she said yes, her parents started planning the traditional Ethiopian engagement party. The party was filled with Ethiopian food, music, dancing and “back home” traditions.
Since Aida was a teenager she dreamed of wearing an Amsale gown. The first time Aida learned of Amsale was on the Oprah show in 2007. In this episode, Amsale shared her journey from Ethiopia to becoming a renowned couture designer. Amsale’s story also inspired Aida to start her own design consulting firm.
For the wedding venue, they chose the old abandoned 16th Street Station Train Station in West Oakland because of its connection to African American history. The Station was the original West Coast headquarters of the first Black union, The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Many African Americans who came to the Bay Area first passed through the Station. They wanted to memorialize the historical significance of the Station as the start of their own lives as indeed it was the starting point of a new life for African Americans decades earlier.
The wedding incorporated the bride and groom’s cultural traditions. The Ethiopian capes worn are traditional wedding garb to emphasize the royal nature of the event. The lighting of the candles is an American tradition that symbolizes unity, faith and their new life as a combined entity.