There was an instant connection when Tori Elizabeth (the cofounder of The Colored Girl, an empowerment community that’s 65,000 women strong, and a cofounder of the e-commerce shop Wilde Indigo) and Keegan Phillip (a financial tech sales manager at PitchBook and the cofounder of HareClub, a men’s self-care company) started messaging each other on Tinder. After a couple of months of texting, they went on their first date at Corner Social in Harlem. “The sense of humor I showed via text was not my in-person vibe and all of his jokes failed drastically,” Tori says. “But Keegan being Keegan, he was determined to be liked and he asked me to another spot after dinner called Red Rooster.” There they went salsa dancing, and they laughed like crazy while trying to learn the moves. That night they thought there was no romantic chemistry, but it was the beginning of a real friendship. From then on, they were each other’s go-to.
Eventually, something shifted in their relationship. “During this time Keegan tried to have his cake and eat it too—he wasn’t ready to retire his bachelor card, but I was not down for the okeydoke,” Tori says. “So we decided to continue keeping our options open and remained friends. Which didn’t last long because we both don’t like sharing and are low-key-crazy. So after we both stated that we loved each other during our Valentine’s Day date…Keegan got some sense and asked me to officially be his girlfriend on leap day, February 29, 2016, and the rest is history!”
After three years of seeing each other, Keegan took Tori on a surprise date to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. While taking photos of her in front of the torii gate in the Japanese garden, he got down on one knee. “Keegan put the ring on the wrong finger because he was shaking nervously, and I was like, ‘Babe, wrong finger,’ and he was said, ‘Sorry, I’ve never done this before.’ He finally put the ring on my finger and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said, ‘Yes!’” Tori remembers.
After celebrating their engagement, they turned to wedding planning. “We are very good friends with the owner of Dar Sabra Hotel in Marrakech, and we felt the architecture, scenery, and color palette was perfect for our wedding vision,” Tori explains. They worked with the Maëv wedding team to orchestrate everything with a goal of utilizing rich jewel tones balanced with nudes and neutrals.
Tori had all three of her looks custom-made. “Being a non-traditionalist, I wanted to create a runway vibe rather than the standard bridal look,” she says. Her ceremony dress was a long-sleeve, high-neck hand-beaded Albina Dyla gown with a long tulle train added for dramatic effect. She paired the detailed dress with simple Jeffrey Campbell heels. “I opted for a green jeweled headband and dainty stud earrings to keep the accessories minimal as the dress and matching gloves already had a a lot of details,” she says.
When guests—all wearing semiformal or formal attire in midnight blue—arrived at the ceremony, they were greeted with the scents of burning sage, frankincense, and myrrh, along with the sounds of a Moroccan drum.
The aisle was made up of white Moroccan rugs, lined with burning torches, and the altar was a custom built circular stage surrounded by tan pampas grass. Guests were seated in a semicircle around the altar, so everyone had a good view. “Our wedding party stood behind us in formation on the steps of Dar Sabra,” Tori says. “Our 24-year-old flower goddess was in the center in all white to add balance and regality to the wedding party.”
The bridal party wore custom hand-beaded emerald green suits designed by Khanum’s & Tori. “I believe in women being seen as powerful, bold, and beautiful,” the bride says. “I wanted my bridal party in pantsuits with pulled-back braided ponytails to show the beauty of androgyny. Their suits were paired with clear, pointed-toe heels to keep the focus on the suits.” Rather than with bouquets, they walked down the aisle holding gold and clear lanterns with flowers cascading out. Keegan was in a Narok New York suit, and the groomsmen wore custom Garçon Couture wine-color dashikis paired with black leather slippers and Amen Trends custom hats made in Nigeria.
The couple’s mentor and friend Terri Matthews counseled them in the lead-up to the wedding, and then served as the officiant. “The ceremony felt like a safe and sacred space surrounded by love and joy,” Tori says. “The music was curated perfectly for the environment and felt like us. Every aspect and detail of our wedding was created with intention. We wanted to create an experience that we and our guests would always remember.”
“I felt a lot,” Keegan says of what was running through his head during the ceremony. “There was a lot for me to think about. I was happy because I was getting married. I also felt sad because a lot of my family from Trinidad couldn’t be there, as well as my late grandmother and uncle. I came such a long way as an immigrant in America that I was just so happy about this day being one of my biggest accomplishments and really wish they were there to experience our day.”
“I honestly didn’t have time to think about the fact that I was getting married as I was the one planning every detail of the wedding up until the moment I was set to walk down the aisle,” Tori admits. “I also was very sick the day of the wedding with a very bad stomach bug. But I knew that this day would never happen again and I needed to push through and be present. So the moment I walked down the aisle and saw Keegan’s face I felt an overwhelming feeling of being blessed and grateful to God for this day. This day that we would become one and build a life of legacy together.”
Dinner followed the ceremony. “We wanted to save the traditional programming for the after-party,” Tori says. “We wanted this time to enjoy our guests, each other, the food, and the ambience.” A custom draped tent was erected under the stars with chandeliers hanging from the top. Two long wood tables were topped with mirrored coverings to reflect the flames of the candles. The centerpiece was a runner of greenery and cotton that cascaded off the table. On each guest’s plate was their name 3D-printed in gold as a keepsake. Tori wore a white silk slip dress with pearl beaded straps. “I added a level of drama with the Oyemwen emerald green floor-length tulle dress that swept the ground as I walked,” Tori says. Her shoes were gold Miu Miu heels to complement the white, gold, and mirrored decor.
After the reception, the couple cut the cake; Tori threw her bouquet and garter, and then changed into a custom Albina Dyla white lace flare-leg jumpsuit adorned in feathers and pearl beading before she and Keegan came out rapping “International Players Anthem.” “I wanted this look to feel more bridal yet functional,” Tori says of what she wore for the party that went until 5 a.m. “This was my Sasha Fierce moment to show that wives can look fly and still get down and have fun!”