Shiedha Williams almost slept away the chance to meet the man who would be her husband.
Back in 2014, the DC-based makeup artist, who goes by “Shy” to those who know her, was invited to a friend’s Super Bowl party and decided to take a nap before going. That siesta ended up lasting longer than planned, finally being interrupted by a call from a friend who told her to “get over here.” Upon her arrival, she encountered Brandon Burbage, a healthcare sales executive. It was a moment that would change their lives.
“I remember Bruno Mars performing the halftime show and next thing I knew, Brandon came up and introduced himself,” Shiedha, 34, tells ESSENCE. The two had easy conversation, exchanging information at the end of the night and meeting up for their first date on Valentine’s Day (no pressure!). Things would continue to be uncomplicated for the pair, who said that their journey as a couple has felt “so effortless” because they connect naturally and truly complete each other.
“I knew Shy was the one for me by how I wanted to be a better man,” Brandon, 34, says. “She makes me better. She makes everything better.”
The couple became engaged in 2018 after Brandon surprised her by asking for her hand at Shiedha’s annual holiday party where she seeks donations of goods, like toys, to aid those in need. They finally walked down the aisle about two and a half years later on April 3, 2021 in a small ceremony with 15 of their family members present. It was a moment they had been waiting for after three reschedules and replans due to COVID, but it was worth the wait.
“Although we only had 15 family members at our wedding, over 300 friends and family joined a private livestream of the ceremony, first dances, and cake cutting,” she says. “Brandon kept me grounded in reminding me that the moment wasn’t about a wedding but that we were taking the next step in our lives and despite plans changing the moment would be unforgettable.”
The images from their big day certainly convey that it was a memorable one. Get a glimpse into it, and learn more about their love, as well as how their wedding date will go down in history as Mr. and Mrs. Burbage Day in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Day-of Coordination: Yodit Gebreyes @FavoredByYodit
Photography: Stanley Babb @stanlophotography
Floral Design: @sophiefelts
Bridal Gown: @eseazenabor
Hair: Yene Damtew @yenedamtew
Makeup: Mali Thomas @kingmalimagic
Music: Benjamin Gates @benjamingates0
In front of friends and family at Shiedha’s annual holiday party, Brandon took to the mic during the final “Thank you” speech to ask her to be his wife. “I didn’t see it coming,” she says. “Brandon is far more private and lowkey so for him to make that moment public really threw me off. I happily and tearfully said yes and we partied the night away in celebration!”
How the Bride Knew She Found the One
“My weaknesses are
his strengths and his strengths are my weaknesses. I knew I found the one by how Brandon shows his love for me through his actions,” Shiedha says. “He’s a man of his word. I’ve never had to question his love for me. Everything felt aligned every step of the way to the aisle.”
The Show-Stopping Gown
“The dress was so important
to me as COVID continued to loom over the moment in time, I knew I wanted a show-stopping gown that fit my style,” Shiedha says. “Equally important was supporting a black wedding gown designer and Esé Azénabor was at the top of my list! She was on tour stopping in DC and the
dress I chose and she customized was the very first dress I tried on.”
Hair and Makeup
A bridal makeup artist herself, Shiedha gave herself a break and enlisted the talent of Mali Thomas for her face, and Yene Damtew (a hairstylist for Michelle Obama) for hair.
“As a Bridal makeup artist and
owner of a Bridal makeup company, Hellooo Gorgeous, I knew my glam had to be top tier and I wanted my team to ultimately do what came to them at that moment,” she says. “I hired my mentor and friend Mali Thomas for makeup and my other friend in beauty Yene Damtew for my
hair. Mali is known for her impeccable glam skills focusing on skin and defined eyes and Yene made sure my blonde tresses were healthy leading up to the wedding day. I completely trusted their vision and I literally felt like I was royalty for a day!”
The Venue the Bride Prayed For
“After the second venue fell through, I prayed a simple prayer asking God to bless us with something spectacular,” Shiedha says. “The next day I reached out to Larz Anderson House unsure there would be any availability or even if DC would be open for events and luckily they were fully available the entire
day! We later discovered the venue had ties to Alexander Hamilton and as it’s our favorite broadway play, we were sold!”
The Third Time Was the Charm
“I had to replan the wedding three times but the third time really was a charm,” Shiedha says. “We initially had plans for around 100 people at the National Harbor in Maryland and as we got to the 100 day out mark, the venue cancelled. I couldn’t even say I was devastated, the writing was on the wall and everything
was locked down after the holidays. No dining, no dancing, no gathering. We had a few other vendor misfortunes, which happens, but ultimately every vendor we ended up with was truly the best of the best. Some vendors had miraculous openings from other couples
who either rescheduled or cancelled. It was divine timing!”
Their Day Became an Official Day
“The most memorable part of the day was being surprised with a proclamation from Prince George’s County executive Angela Alsobrooks declaring April 3, 2021 as ‘Mr. and Mrs. Burbage Day,’” Brandon says. “We just purchased our new home in Prince George’s County and it was the perfect ending to our intimate wedding.”
Their DC Love Story
Shiedha and Brandon lived and loved in Washington, DC and felt triumphant in being able to have a wedding in the city despite COVID-19.
A Stunning Bride in a Stunning Venue
Shiedha slayed in her Esé Azénabor gown at the Larz Anderson House.
Before the Ceremony
Shiedha is pictured looking lovely while standing next to her statuesque bridal gown.
The Bride Was a Dream on Her Dream Day
…Because there can never be too many shots of this beauty in this dress.