A couple’s plan for a low-key outdoor wedding was turned on its head when Joe Biden was declared winner of the election as the beautiful bride walked down the aisle and hundreds of Brooklynites took to the streets to celebrate.
Kwame and Justice Keyes (nee Batten) held a ceremony at the fountain at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York on the morning of November 7 so their families could watch them tie the knot after they first said ‘I do’ during a virtual ceremony.
But as Justice, an Orlando, Florida, native, walked down the aisle with her eyes fixed firmly on her husband-to-be, cars began honking their horns and people emerged from their homes banging pots and pans and cheering.
Kwame told DailyMail.com: ‘As much as they weren’t cheering for us, they actually were. People were banging on pots, everyone was blowing their horns, everyone was cheering. You felt the energy in the air, it was overwhelming and it felt like a burst of happiness.’
2299486 Newlyweds cheered on by NYC crowds after Biden won election
Celebrations: Kwame and Justice Keyes are pictured walking through Brooklyn being cheered on by well-wishers who turned out to celebrate Joe Biden’s win
Newlyweds: Kwame and Justice Keyes (nee Batten) held a ceremony at the fountain at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York
‘For us, we are embarking on this new journey. It’s a new beginning for a Brooklyn, it’s a new beginning for New York City, it’s a new beginning for the United States, it’s a new beginning for the world and it’s also a new beginning for us.’
He added: ‘I definitely felt that love had won.’
Biden secured the 270 Electoral College votes he needed on that Saturday, after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed processing.
Kwame, a native New Yorker, and Justice met in 2017 while training to become flight attendants and describe their meeting as ‘love at first sight’.
Kwame worked at United and Justice at JetBlue, but both were furloughed during the pandemic. They decided to plan their wedding three months before the big day anyway.
Special day: Justice and Kwame pose for pictures at their outdoor wedding, which was attended by members of their families
Celebrations: Kwame told DailyMail.com: ‘As much as they weren’t cheering for us, they actually were. People were banging on pots, everyone was blowing their horns, everyone was cheering. You felt the energy in the air, it was overwhelming and it felt like a burst of happiness’
‘We decided to just jump the broom because why wait?’ Kwame said. ‘It just seemed like there was nothing but turmoil every time you turned around. It was one bad thing after another. It was like, “we can’t wait for the perfect moment, the perfect moment is now.”
Kwame, a native New Yorker, and Justice met in 2017 while training to become flight attendants
‘It’s pretty rough, it’s hard to survive during this time. I feel like there is hope because our bond and our love and the fact that we were willing to take this step, the courage that we showed, our future is bright and we will overcome this.’
The wedding hit one stumbling block after another, with their first photographer canceling a week before the ceremony and the bridal shop ruining the dress. A new gown had to be altered just five days before Justice walked down the aisle.
On the Saturday of their wedding, the couple were blessed with 70 degree temperatures and blue skies.
Justice, who wore a white gown with a sweetheart neckline and button detailing down the back, said: ‘When I finally got down the aisle and face-to-face with Kwame, a few minutes later you just hear this honking, and it kept getting more intense.
‘It was pretty hard to focus to be honest. I was looking around and I was just like “did Biden or something win or something? What’s happening?”
‘Our families insisted it was because of us, but I knew there was no way all those people were honking for us. It was just so many people coming together. It was fun to witness.’
She added: ‘Eventually during the ceremony somebody said “yeh he did win”.’
The couple made the half-mile trip on foot to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden through throngs of people to take photos.
Furloughed : Kwame worked at United and Justice at JetBlue, but both were furloughed during the pandemic
Memorable moment: The couple made the half mile trip on foot to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden through throngs of people to take photos
‘We had like a thousand people cheering us an following us all the way from Grand Army Plaza down to the Botanical gardens,’ Kwame said. ‘It was really really really amazing to feel that love, they were just so happy.’
A video of their walk was shared online by writer and civil rights activist Shaun King and it had soon been viewed more than a million times.
Kwame added: ‘A quote from one of the greatest lyricists to ever grace the mic, BIG, Biggy, “spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way”. And that’s exactly what happened that day.’