On Sunday August 5th, I had the pleasure of attending the Black Bride 1998 Magazine Meet and Greet held at the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, NC. It was sponsored by Ashleigh Crawley of Still Shots Photography, Wedding & Events by T. Michelle, Custom Styles Sweet Boutique, Something BARowed, UR Invited Custom Wedding Stationary and Oniee’s Engagements. The event brought together many businesswomen of color in the wedding and event-planning field including makeup artists, photographers, florists, cake bakers, planners and even bloggers like me. At the start of the event, we were able to network and learn about each persons business. It’s so wonderful to be able to attend events like this because it’s an opportunity for like-minded individuals to not only connect, but to collaborate while building community in an industry that is oftentimes dominated by people who don’t look like us.
About the Proximity Hotel
Next, we took a tour of the Proximity Hotel. The Proximity is a boutique hotel and is the first in America to receive the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Platinum Certification from the U. S. Green Building Council. It is a modern venue that boasts several event and banquet spaces for weddings, events and meetings. The rooms and suites are updated with the latest technology, beautiful yet comfortable furniture, amazing views of the city and one-of-a-kind artwork by their famous in-house artist, Chip Holton. Adjacent to the hotel is Print Works Bistro, where comfort food is made daily using fresh ingredients from local farmers.
After touring the hotel, we migrated to Print Works for our meal and the second part of the event. The meeting area was decorated beautifully! Flowers and candles adorned the tables and there was the prettiest dessert table with a variety of color-coordinated goodies. The event space really looked like a wedding reception. It truly was captivating! This part of the event began with an introduction of the sponsors who gave a brief overview of their businesses, followed by an introduction of the guest of honor, Mrs. Mary Chatman.
About Black Bride Magazine and CEO Mrs. Mary Chatman
Black Bride Magazine was founded in 1998 by a Caucasian woman in Houston, Texas. It is the first wedding planning platform for brides of color. Its mission is to serve minority women in a bridal market that is under represented. At the time of its inception, Mrs. Mary Chatman (the current owner) was asked to write for the magazine. When it later came up for acquisition, she jumped at the opportunity to own the magazine and immediately began rebranding it. Over the years, Mrs. Chatman built a bridal collective that is certainly impressive and undeniable.
Retired from AT&T as a Director of Business Development, Mrs. Chatman is a true businesswoman, which is apparent by the success of Black Bride Magazine. Under her guidance, Black Bride produced the first Black Bride Bridal Show, the first in the country. Indeed, Black Bride Magazine is the go-to resource for brides, as their website hit a record 1.5 million users. They recently released their 6th digital magazine, which is literally a bride-to-be’s dream! It is packed with beautiful pictures and information that is useful for those about to embark on their marriage journey and those newly married.
This year, Black Bride celebrates its 20th anniversary. What continues to set Black Bride apart from others is the “After the Aisle” section of the magazine, which discusses life after marriage. Topics covered in this portion of the magazine include parenthood, travel ideas, and the importance of cooking together, among others. It’s evident that the success and longevity of the Black Bride brand is a direct result of its wonderful leadership. Mrs. Chatman and the Black Bride team have gone above and beyond to stay on top of trends and remain inspirational and relevant, while providing valuable content for women of color. I can’t wait to see where the next 20 years takes them!
*All photos taken by Ashleigh Crawley of Still Shots Photography.*