Shakirah Hill Taylor first spoke to Matthew Hill Taylor, when she tried to recruit him for their church’s running team, which she had put together. He declined at first, but they bonded over both being New Yorkers, and he joined the team eventually.
After dating for a year-and-a-half, he proposed at a pumpkin patch in Bowie, Maryland. “It wasn’t long before we saw all the pumpkins were dead,” Shakirah remembers. “We had come to the patch too late in the season.” Matthew tried to make the most of the situation and buy time for her friends to arrive. On their way back to the car, she started noticing more familiar faces, and when she saw her best friends from college, she realized what was happening. Matthew dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him. “I always envisioned a private proposal, however, I was grateful he decided to do things his way.”
Four months after the engagement, they started their wedding planning process and knew they wanted to get married abroad and in the autumn, “with a brooding and romantic aesthetic.” After looking for venues in France and Spain, they finally fell in love with Borgo Petrognano in Tuscany and hired Ben Singleton of ItalyWeddings as their planner.
“From the colors to the music we played, we wanted guests to fall in love with the experience of being in Italy for this momentous occasion,” Shakirah explains. “Our colors were marsala wine, Windsor navy, and golden palm with accents of emerald green to match my engagement ring and the Tuscan hills.”
“As an ‘older’ bride getting married for the second time, I wanted my dress to be mature, sleek, stylish, and to have a timeless look,” Shakirah says. She chose an Essense of Australia crepe, mermaid gown with a lace bodice and held a delicate bouquet by Le Petit Jardin. And after the ceremony, the bride changed into a fitted, navy Misha Collection design.
On November 9th, 2019, Shakirah got ready with her makeup artist Bashirah Moore of BK Face Cosmetics, who she brought from the States. “As a Black woman, it was essential for me to have a makeup artist who understands how to work with brown skin,” the bride explains. The two spent time crafting the right beauty looks that weren’t overbearing for her skin tone. “I also spent the year before the wedding going through a regimented skincare routine by working with Glo30 for monthly facials.”
45 minutes before the ceremony started, it started drizzling, so the set-up was moved last-minute to the pergola that overlooked the sprawling hills. “While most people would be disappointed by having rain on their wedding day, I loved that the rain added to the romance and mood of the day,” Shakirah says.
The beautiful bride walked down the aisle and passed her 26 guests to Anita Baker’s “Angel.” Matthew’s father officiated the service, which made the day that much more special. “Finding love again, especially packaged in someone as remarkable and beautiful as Matthew, is a gift I treasure,” the bride shares. “I was more than ready to become his wife.”
Immediately following the couple’s first married kiss, the private cocktail hour began, followed by a three-course dinner by Class Ricevimenti in the banquet hall. To cut the cake and have the champagne toast, guests moved out on the terrace, while the hall transformed into party space.
As a nod to Shakirah’s Jamaican heritage, the newlyweds danced to Corinne Bailey Rae’s rendition of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love.” And the party didn’t cease until around 4:00 a.m.—the sign of an epic night.