Elaine Welteroth Opens Up About Her Viral Quarantine Wedding and the Moment That Almost Ruined the Day

The newly-married Project Runway judge graces the cover of The Knot's Fall 2020 issue

Elaine Welteroth The Knot
Photo: Micaiah Carter

Project Runway judge Elaine Welteroth has been reminding her nearly 600,000 Instagram followers that we can't forget to spotlight Black love and Black joy amid ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. And nothing exemplified those concepts better than her quarantine wedding to singer-songwriter Jonathan Singletary on May 10.

The former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief and her longtime love tied the knot in front of their Brooklyn stoop, surrounded by a small group of family and friends (including actress Lupita Nyong'o and model Karlie Kloss) who maintained a safe social distance throughout the event. Photos and videos from the stunning wedding — which was officiated via Zoom and broadcasted online for a larger group of 200 guests — soon went viral.

In a virtual interview with The Knot for the bridal magazine’s Fall 2020 cover story, Singletary said, "It’s important to smile, it’s important to find moments of joy, it’s important to find peace in the storm, it’s important to find gratitude even when it’s difficult."

Welteroth sweetly complimented her hubby's sentiment before adding, "We need to understand deeply, every single day, ‘Black Life Matters,’ and that’s what this fight is for. It is for Black life, it is for Black love, it is for Black joy, it is for Black peace. Not more Black pain, not more Black trauma, not more Black murders and hashtags."

She continued: "This is almost like a battle for Black people to keep being humanized. It’s why celebrating Black love is important because we still have to defend why Black lives matter. I think when you see examples of Black love in this time, it helps to contextualize. It helps bring us all to the table, and it helps us see each other in this."

Elaine Welteroth
Elaine Welteroth.

From the flower-lined stoop and the all-white dress code, to the block party reception and the fashion insider’s label-less dress from her own closet, Black love prevailed at Welteroth and Singletary’s nuptials — even in the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic and social unrest across the country.

But Welteroth told The Knot that her wedding day wasn’t as perfect as it looked on social media because of an abrupt visit from the New York Police Department.

“The thing about our wedding and the way that we shared it—it’s like there was this glossy, Instagram version of the wedding video, but there was also a moment [the video team] didn’t capture that really was the defining moment of our wedding and, honestly, a defining moment of our union. And a moment that really illuminates what it is like to be Black in America everyday — trying to celebrate your love, trying to exist joyfully, trying to create a moment of celebration for our lives,” the Bravo star said of the experience, which she first opened up about in an Instagram post on June 7.

Welteroth remembered the NYPD police van approaching the quarantine celebration with their blow-horns blaring and patrol lights flashing. “As a Black person, when you see the police, you don’t think, ‘They’re just here to make sure everything’s going to be okay.’ You don’t see ‘protect and serve.’ You really see a symbol of danger. You see the red,” she explained.

The couple were instantly flooded with “past trauma” from negative interactions with police officers over the years, but Welteroth said she wasn’t going to let that ruin one of the most important days of her life.

“I thought, ‘We’re okay. Let’s do this. Let’s do this. Let’s do this. Let’s do this anyway. Let’s do this anyway—I’m not giving this to them. We’re not doing anything wrong.’ And we just kissed, and we held hands, and the music started and we danced into the street,” she shared.

The Knot's Fall issue hits newsstands on Monday, July 27.

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