Modern Black-and-White Wedding at The Cleveland Museum of Art

Amy Btiebet and Terrell Washington

Photographed by: Steve SteinhardtLocation: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

While on their first date, Amy Btiebet and Terrell Washington immediately felt a spark as they talked and learned that they both came from parents with a blend of rich diversity. “Terrell is Black and Mexican, and I’m Jordanian with a Catholic mother and Muslim father,” shares Amy. “We immediately shared a deep connection regarding family and culture.” 

After buying their first home together, Amy and Terrell decided to embark on a cruise getaway to celebrate the milestone. Terrell secretly “misplaced” one of Amy’s rings while she showered, and when she noticed, he “helped” her look for the missing jewelry. He pretended to search under the dresser and find the ring, which he had replaced with a stunning custom-designed canary-yellow diamond engagement ring. 

The newly engaged couple decided to marry the very next fall with a cool, modern black-and-white themed celebration. As soon as they visited The Cleveland Museum of Art, they were certain it was the perfect place for their nuptials, as they both love art and open spaces. “It was clean and classy, and we were able to customize the design with a relatively blank slate,” illustrates the bride. They began to check off the typical lists of things to do while planning and were both surprised by the amount of nontraditional components they wanted to add or modify to incorporate their respective cultures and interests. 

An étagère with geometric designs, adorned with whimsical lanterns and small collections of anemones and greenery, set the stage for the “I dos.” A string quartet played a specific playlist, even having to learn some tunes to meet the couple’s requests. “We wanted songs that meant something to us, either a memory from a first date or a Disney outing, etcetera,” describes the bride, who wore a strapless tiered gown that magnificently matched with the modern vibe of the event. 

The outdoor ceremony, officiated by Amy’s longtime mentor, was made even more special with the couple’s handwritten vows intermingled with inside jokes, like this Star Wars-themed line: “Do you promise to attend all Star Wars conventions, theme park openings, and movie premieres, and pretend to be just remotely interested, even if you have no idea what he’s talking about?” The bride affirms, “We made sure they were written in a style that was humorous and personal to us.” 

Loved ones shifted to a grand interior space of the museum for the reception, finding their table assignments on an extra-large chart of names written in calligraphy. Touches of marble were incorporated into the top and bottom portion of the sign to tie in the marble elements shown in the invitation suite, as well as the custom dance floor situated in the center of the room. 

The décor – designed and executed by event professionals from A Charming Fête and Joe Mineo Creative – was nothing short of impressive. Rectangular tables were decorated with ebony runners and short encased floral creations; Edison-style light bulbs and fresh verdure were suspended overhead to create a magical ambience. Black-cushioned chairs with white backs completed the look. Square tables were completely covered in plush midnight linens, paired with all-white chairs and either a towering “tree” arrangement or tall bouquets of anemones and roses. Circular tables were bedecked in luxe silver tablecloths, short centerpieces, and a single vintage Edison-style light bulb in the center. Place settings were kept timeless: white china and a black personalized menu card. 

An amazing DJ set the mood for the remainder of the night, playing everything from Middle Eastern music – where belly dancers emerged as a nod to the father of the bride’s heritage – to German polka to symbolize the bride’s maternal side, to favorite pop hits from the couple’s childhoods. “The musical selections were inclusive and extravagant,” describes Terrell. DJ Bandcamp was only interrupted by a dynamic live hip-hop performance by Crime Mob, which the crowd loved. 

Amy is filled with wonderful memories, such as seeing her dad’s joy when the surprise belly dancers came out and witnessing her husband bawling when he saw her walk down the aisle. During the ceremony, the officiant said something beautiful that the bride will never forget: “Take a moment to turn around and look at this village of people who are here for you.” And with this in mind, she gazed around the festivities and realized the day was a true representation of her and Terrell, and it was perfect.