Kerry-Anne Perkins and Michael Gordon didn’t plan to have their wedding day “first look” in the middle of a Black Lives Matter protest.
In fact, they’d quickly planned a small, private ceremony on June 6 after COVID-19 disrupted their original plans for a large celebration.
“We wanted our lives together to continue and not be delayed,” Kerry-Anne told Access Hollywood of why they opted for a smaller wedding rather than delaying the entire thing to a later date.
Kerry-Anne, an OB-GYN, and Michael, a wireless deployment manager, had met several years ago at a Philadelphia gym and got engaged in 2019.
Here they are, shown on their Instagram page at @meetthegordons:
While they didn’t want to delay their wedding, they also didn’t want it to be “just signing papers somewhere,” Kerry-Anne said.
So they picked The Logan hotel in Philadelphia where they could have a small garden ceremony with close family and friends. But a few days prior to the event, the hotel called to warn them that a large protest in support of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter was being planned in downtown Philly that same day.
“It would be really nice to join a protest,” Kerry-Anne told Vogue of her thinking. “We’re watching the movement; we’re feeling the movement.”
The pair decided the demonstrations would be a part of their celebration. So they prepped on their wedding day as planned while hearing distant sounds of demonstrators, and felt the emotion around them.
“We already had a lot built up inside because of the [protests over the past week],” Kerry-Anne said. “So seeing that we were embarking on this together, and everything we’ve been through, and that now we’re on the forefront of America fighting for justice and trying to push for positivity and change, I’m not only proud as a Black woman and Black professional, I’m so proud of him to represent who we are as a people.”
@voguebeauty posted this image of the bride having her hair done for the ceremony.
The couple didn’t, however, intend to take wedding photos in the middle of the protest. That happened while Kerry-Anne was waiting for Michael outside to get their “first look” photos.
As protestors passed by the hotel on the way to nearby Logan Square, they began cheering on the couple as seen in this image captured by their wedding photographer, Linda McQueen.
Here’s Luxor Wedding Films’ video of that moment, with the bride and groom holding hands and raising their fists in solidarity. The pair both said they felt the diverse crowds’ support surge around them.
Afterward, the wedding party moved back into the hotel grounds for their socially-distanced ceremony with close family and friends.
The new Mr. and Mrs. Gordon also took more photos in their Philadelphia neighborhood that day and were surprised to start receiving calls, texts and social media reactions, over their downtown bridal protest moment. They realized their plan to keep their intimate celebration low-key — in order to keep friends and family excited about a bigger wedding celebration down the road — wasn’t happening.
“Literally no one was supposed to know about this,” Michael told Vogue. “We failed horribly. This turned into something that we are never, ever, ever going to forget.”
Their wedding day moment has become emblematic of “love in all forms” — so much so that a number of artists have re-created it, as seen in the slideshow that Kerry-Anne posted on Instagram.
The couple asked that in lieu of wedding gifts, people donate to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Congratulations to the Gordons, who had their sweet private moment become a matter for public celebration!
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.