What was supposed to be an intimate moment before a couple’s wedding ceremony has turned into a symbol of solidarity and love seen and shared more with more than just their wedding party.
Newlyweds Dr. Kerry Anne and Michael Gordon shared their first look on their wedding day with dozens of people demonstrating during a Black Lives Matter protest in Center City, Philadelphia on Saturday.
“It was the most overwhelming feeling that I had in my heart,” Kerry Anne told CNN. “I could feel everything, I could feel all the current energy around us in that current moment.”
For Michael, he told CNN the moment went by in a flash but he’s grateful to have this moment to remember for the rest of their lives.
“Not to say that we are more important than or above anything that was going on or anything that was being discussed at the event, just to be a part of that was humbling,” he said. “Seeing my not-yet wife for the first time that day in that manner, was the most amazing moment for both of us.”
The couple had planned to wed on May 26, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, their plans kept getting rescheduled, Kerry Anne said.
“We were planning for this for so long and for the day to pass, it hurt and was kind of painful,” she said. “But we decided that we didn’t want to prolong our love and starting our life together as husband and wife,” she said.
Over the course of two weeks, Kerry Anne asked 21 of her and Michael’s immediate family members to join them in the courtyard of The Logan Hotel. Even though the hotel has closed its doors because of the pandemic, they offered up their courtyard for a small ceremony, Kerry Anne said.
When Kerry Anne found out that the weekend’s Black Lives Matter protests were set to take place close to her wedding location, she was conflicted because she said she wanted to take part in them but knew she wanted to kick off this new chapter in her life with Michael.
The plan for the couple to see each other for the first time was always meant to take place on the corner of the hotel, according to Kerry Anne. She said when she walked outside to meet Michael, she was initially alone and away from protesters. By the time Michael began his walk to meet her, the demonstrators had marched closer and closer to her. Eventually, they moved in around her and started cheering and clapping as Michael made his way to greet her.
Linda McQueen, the couple’s wedding photographer, told CNN protestors were chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Black Love Matters” as they gathered around the couple with their bright colored, handmade signs.
McQueen has photographed hundreds of weddings in her career but said The Gordons’ wedding will always have a special place in her heart.
“Witnessing thousands of people, from different cultures, races and creeds, all unite in encouraging this couple on their union…I got so emotional that it brought me to tears as I photographed this epic moment.”
Kerry Anne wrote her vows for Michael five months prior to their wedding day and said she had not looked at them since. She said she wrote about how Michael was the perfect example of what a black man is and should be.
“To know that we are in a movement right now, that we are here for a bigger cause, it really touched my heart and my soul,” she said. “It reflected on everything historically, going back hundreds of years ago and really bring us to this moment where I can say, I can stand next to him and say I’m proud. I’m proud of this black man, my black man.”