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Solange Franklin and Brian Reed Tie the Knot in Bed-Stuy

Solange Franklin and Brian Reed Tie the Knot in Bed-Stuy

Authored By Cathy Black 0 Comment(s)

Solange Franklin Reed and Brian Franklin Reed’s wedding hashtag, #FranklinReedNoHyphen, was born out of a legal battle. “We both wanted to merge our last names to become Franklin Reed,” explains Solange. “Note the use of a space rather than a hyphen. We really had to fight for that space, which was unexpected and amusing. After two visits to the marriage bureau, we learned that according to state law, when you change your name through marriage, you have to either take one partner’s last name, merge them into a single word, or use a hyphen. We weren’t into the idea of a hyphen, so after our wedding we had to go to court and argue in front of a judge why we preferred to use a space. Thankfully, he was tickled and ruled in our favor. Thus, the hashtag.”

Thankfully, the beginning of their love affair was much less fraught. The two met on the Fourth of July in Washington, D.C. “I was visiting my dear friend Megan Whitty, who I’ve known since I was a baby,” remembers Solange. “Megan brought me to hang out with some of her D.C. friends for the day and Brian was one of them. We ate nachos at a marina bar, crashed a barbecue full of people with very different political leanings, watched a stranger perform an impromptu performance of the black national anthem, and bought a bottle of whiskey and passed it around as we ran along the Potomac River in the rain. We always joked that there were fireworks—literally because it with the Fourth, and obviously figuratively.”

Later that weekend, Brian insisted on joining Megan and Solange on their outing in D.C. They strolled around the city and ended up at a bookshop on Capitol Hill called Capitol Hill Books, where the owner happened to recite a love poem to them as they were leaving. “I told Brian he should read a book of short stories by Edward P. Jones that I’d just finished,” the bride recalls. “Which he did and loved, and it gave us something to share when we found ourselves meeting up in New York weeks later.”

On July 4, 2014—the anniversary of the day they met—Brian surprised Solange with a road trip back to D.C. They spent the weekend there seeing friends but also biking around to spots they’d visited that first weekend together six years earlier. “We visited the house Brian had lived in at the beginning of our relationship, which meant a lot to us that first year,” says Solange. “We went to the same table at the same marina bar where we were first introduced and ordered the nachos. And, of course, we went to Capitol Hill Books, where we’d spent time together that first weekend and where I’d recommended that Brian buy what became the first book we read and shared together, All Aunt Hagar’s Children by Edward P. Jones, which is, appropriately, about D.C.”

Inside the bookshop, in a back room upstairs, Brian pulled Solange quietly aside and handed her a small key. “He told me to keep it on me at all times because I’d never know when I might need it,” she says. “This is also something he did the first year we met—he gave me a key to hold onto at all times for several months, and then while I was celebrating Christmas with my family a box arrived that only that key would open, and it was filled with photos and other goodies. This time, I held onto the key for two days, at which point I lost it. I searched frantically for it, retracing my steps all over the city. Finally, in tears, I told Brian I’d lost it. With some effort, he was able to get me another one, which I then attached to my bra so I’d never lose it again. Six months later, we were in our pajamas, drinking wine, when Brian said he wanted to give me an early Christmas present. I hate early presents, so this took some serious convincing. He brought down a package. I unwrapped it and inside was a silver locked box. I quickly realized this was the box I needed the key for and ran upstairs to get it. I unlocked the box (with the bra still hanging off the key!), and inside was the ring Brian had worked on with my friend Eric Lundquist of Pink Noise, along with all the sketches, wax designs, and molds. I was completely taken aback. He and Eric worked for months secretly sketching rings, and I’m pretty sure I was sized in my sleep at some point.

Brian knew it was a pretty bold risk creating something for me without my input, so he had a couple alternative molds made and the selected style made as a prototype so I could make the final choice but see his favorite. Brian asked if I would be his wife, and I just started cracking up laughing and said yes. The prototype was the perfect style, and I love that I’m the only one in the world with this ring. We didn’t post it on social media or even call anyone from our family that night. We just laughed a lot, drank champagne, and danced in our pajamas in the dark by the light of our Christmas tree.”

The couple planned to have part of their ceremony outdoors. “I love autumnal fashion but prefer summer weather, so early fall seemed best,” explains Solange. “Plus, I have the fashion calendar to contend with, so while it didn’t take precedent, fashion month was taken into serious consideration for scheduling. October 10 ended up being nearly perfect because it was right after Paris Fashion Week. All of my fashion friends including Grace and Jawara, who did my hair and makeup, flew directly from Paris the day before.”

Akwaaba is a mansion, but it’s intimate, “kind of like a cozy hug from your grandma,” jokes the bride. “It has all sorts of different nooks and crannies for guests to explore, including a beautiful Southern-style front porch with hanging plants and big windows. We were glad to support a business owned and operated by a black woman. Plus, Akwaaba reminded me of my childhood home: a charming old house filled with great African-American art.”  READ FULL STORY at VOGUE


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