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14 Oct

Bridal Bliss: Whitney And Siya’s Wedding Was An Epic

Stanley Babb

When Whitney first met Siya, it wasn’t necessarily love at first sight. Truth be told, the event she met him at in Brooklyn, “I absolutely didn’t need to go,” she recalls to ESSENCE. Something else she had no real interest in? Dating. She didn’t need to mix nor mingle, as an alternative focused on creative execution agency, nineteenth & Park, but she allowed herself to be persuaded into attending this particular party in support of a friend — and since there was food there. So when she was introduced to Siya, she didn’t think anything of it at first.

“I went about my business and proceeded to station myself in a chair with my full plate of food and he kept coming over and asking me questions,” she says. Despite that, she found that she wasn’t bothered by his presence.

When the 2 encountered each other on the after-party, Whitney, of Bahamian descent, was taken by the soca tunes. Siya got here as much as her and asked her to bounce (which she would discover later was something he does NOT do). The dance would draw them closer, as they continued to speak because the night went on. By the tip of it, he easily asked for her number to call while she was driving back to her home in Latest Jersey to be sure she and her friend got home safely. She appreciated his concern, and would also appreciate the text message that might follow.

“The subsequent day, he sends me a text message: ‘With every part occurring yesterday, I forgot after we said we might get back together. How’s Sunday at 2 p.m.? I made us a reservation just in case,’” she says. “Obviously, we had never made any future plans but I appreciated the intentionality of all of it, so I said ‘after all.’”

The remaining, as they are saying, is history. The 2 would would hit it off swimmingly, which Siya felt would occur when he first laid eyes on her at that party.

“I’m a one who believes in love or the thought of it and I romanticize moments. The primary time that I saw Whitney in Brooklyn at African Chop House, I knew I needed to try to be as near her as possible,” he says.

They might eventually grow as a pair, sharing a house together and in response to Whitney, doing “all of those married people things without married people documents.” After some discussion in 2020, they decided that by 2022 they’d get married, but she had no concept that Siya had already began preparing to propose. He went to a minority woman-owned jeweler to design a hoop for her, which he drew by hand, and got all their family and friends involved within the proposal in a clever way amid the pandemic (more on that shortly!). Nearly two years later, on the weekend of June 11, 2022, the couple said “I do” in grand fashion, celebrating with a three-day event called Camp Madikane (which is Siya’s surname). It was a play on the sleepaway camps of childhood, crammed with food, fun and opportunities for people to make connections. It involved a welcome event with stilt walkers, a steel drum band and flamingo girls, in addition to a gospel brunch on the ultimate day. Sandwiched in between was the gorgeous wedding ceremony. It was attended by family members from all around the world, brought together on the Hutton Brickyards in Kingston, Latest York, two hours away from the town.

“These were really different people from all different walks of life/countries/cities,” Siya says. “They got here for us and didn’t even know one another but were all getting along.”

Camp Madikane, made to create community and have fun it as well, was a treat not just for family and friends, but most of all, for the most recent Mr. and Mrs. Madikane.

“The whole lot was perfect because we made sure we did it our way,” Whitney says. “Now, we have now all of those memories, from start to complete, that we’ll cherish and look back on perpetually and that’s what is basically vital.”

They’re memories that the couple decided to share with ESSENCE! Take a look at stunning images from the large day, and learn more in regards to the love story behind it on this week’s Bridal Bliss.


Wedding Location: Hutton Brickyards

Creative Direction: Whitney Headen of nineteenth & Park (the bride)

Wedding Stylist: Jenna Tyson 

Caterer: Chef Tiffani Janelle

Groom’s and Groomsmens’ Suits: Custom by 5001 Flavors 

Photographer: Stanley Babb 

Videographer: Bricks Group Media 

Florals: Javier Valentino 

Wedding Dress: Custom Ghalia Lahav designed by the bride. Dresses were coordinated by Vainglorious Brides.

Wedding Planner: Tricia Smith Brown

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