Love is largely about timing, and one groom was nearly a few seconds off. Dr. Marcus Bright was running late to a dinner with a friend after spending an entire day at a conference in New York City. The educator, now a visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts, had to make his way all the way uptown to Harlem, but unbeknownst to him, his friend had invited out another person, Dominique Sharpton, to join the meal.
That night, Sharpton had to leave early due to a commitment the following morning. As she made her way into a cab, Bright had just arrived—and their worlds collided. The bride, the daughter of activist Rev. Al Sharpton, invited Bright to a rally the following morning, which happened to be scheduled at the same time as his outbound flight to Miami.
He missed his plane home, and instead, passed along his number to Dominique. In June 2016, Bright proposed. Following a 16-month engagement, the couple married in Queens, New York, on October 15, 2017. The bride’s father, Rev. Al Sharpton, walked Dominique down the aisle before 1,000 guests.
“One of the greatest joys of my life was actualized when I walked my eldest daughter Dominique down the aisle,” Rev. Sharpton, the host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC, tells The Knot in an exclusive statement. “And in the moment, I felt sheer gratitude that she had found happiness. It made me recall being in the hospital in 1991—when I was stabbed during a civil rights march—praying that I would live to see my daughters find joy.”
Dominique and Dr. Bright married at the bride’s home church, the Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York, opting to open their wedding to the general public for a valid reason. “Much of Dominique Sharpton’s life was spent at public rallies and [her father’s] National Action Network events, where many members of the community watched her grow up,” a press release read.
The Rev. Margaret Elaine Flake officiated the nuptials after conducting premarital sessions with the future spouses. For the ceremony, the bride wore her mother’s tiara and a gown custom designed by Paulette Cleghorn for Yumi Katsura.
“We jumped the broom at the end of the ceremony, which is an African American tradition,” the bride, 31, tells The Knot. “I also wore a charm on my bouquet… [which nods to my] two grandmothers, who were very influential in my life, but are no longer with us. The back of the charm includes a quote: ‘Know that I am with you today as you walk down the aisle, and I walk with you forever and the day after.’ …I come from strong, beautiful women who’ve conquered and done so much for others. I walk with them every day, feeling strong and invincible as they are always with me.”
And even more now that she’s married to Bright. “I feel grateful that she’s my wife,” the groom tells The Knot. “I love her big heart and sincere spirit. My favorite moment was seeing her walk down the aisle looking so beautiful with all of our friends and family around us. It was truly a magical moment.”
“Seeing Dominique’s radiance that day will be forever imprinted in my mind,” Rev. Sharpton concludes. “When I left the house that morning, I didn’t think I was going to [only] give away my daughter. I knew I was going to pick up my new son, Dr. Marcus Bright.”
Get more details about the wedding below.
The couple hosted a meet-and-greet with their 1,000-plus guests in the great hall of the church immediately following the wedding ceremony. However, they opted for a tinier private reception for their family which was held at Terrace on the Park in Flushing, New York.
“We had reception crashers,” Dominique reveals. “At least 50 people showed up at Terrace on the Park, pushing to get into our private family reception. It was a huge problem we didn’t want to have to fix. Thankfully, the reception venue had the most amazing staff… so they took care of all of the crashers and we were able to go on with the night.”
The bride wore a voluminous custom gown by Yumi Katsura Couture, which featured a lace bodice. “I had a specific style in mind,” Dominique says. “And Paulette and her team gave me exactly what I wanted. I felt beautiful!”
The couple played off the groom’s last name, “Bright,” and went with the theme—A Brighter Future. The couple implemented sparkly tablecloths and amber lighting, and went with centerpieces in bright ivory and gold colors. “The room was bright and beautiful,” says the bride.
In line with the theme was the processional song. The couple walked out of the church to Kirk Franklin’s beloved tune, “Brighter Tune.”
Kesha Lambert, the couple’s photographer, truly made the pair feel at ease throughout the day. “She was the best photographer ever,” says Dominique. “Her team went above and beyond to ensure that they had captured the best shots and moments… It felt great working with someone who we felt actually really cared for us.”
The Planner and Designer
The couple worked with Day’s Desk Weddings and Private Events for planning, while TMG Unique Event Designs executed the design. “Even if you have a wedding planner, be prepared to spend a lot of your time on planning if you have a big wedding,” she adds.
The bride and groom’s preferences certainly filtered into the wedding menu. “Marcus and I love having steak dinners together,” she notes, “so we both had filet mignon.” There were four other options, including baked chicken, salmon, shrimp, and vegetable lasagna. “We also had the most decadent dessert table,” boasts the bride, who served sundaes at an ice cream station.
The pair served two cakes that night. The first, a red velvet cake decorated with metallic flowers at the meet-and-greet at church from Cake Man Raven. At the family reception, the couple went with a six-tier black and white marble cake. “Our cake toppers said ‘Dr. & Mrs,’” she adds.
“The day is about whatever you and your spouse want. No one else’s opinion should really matter,” Dominique says. “This is the most important day of your life and you better be sure to take it in… because it’s over within the blink of an eye.”