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An Impromptu Date Night to Remember

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No one ever actually owned up to their half in how, in the course of the summer time of 2015, Elliot Imani Griffin and Matthew Armand Stitt ended up on an impromptu date after the biweekly Flow fund-raiser, an occasion for younger Black professionals in Philadelphia.

“I’m not sure how much engineering took place,” stated Ms. Griffin.

Mr. Stitt, who had walked with Ms. Griffin to Byblos, a restaurant and hookah bar, after the fund-raiser, stated, “I thought we were all going to a dinner with a group as usual. It ends up being me and Elliot.”

The two have been launched by a mutual pal in 2013, the identical 12 months that Ms. Griffin, now 31, tiptoed into Philadelphia politics as an observer at City Council conferences, which she attended whereas working for an area disaster communication and challenge advocacy agency.

During her time at City Hall, Ms. Griffin had additionally noticed the fixed exercise round Mr. Stitt, 34, then the assistant chief monetary officer on the City Council.

“People literally pulled him in each direction,” stated Ms. Griffin, who’s now a labor and employment lawyer on the legislation agency Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia. She graduated cum laude from Temple University, from which she additionally obtained a legislation diploma.

Mr. Stitt, who was in a relationship on the time, stated that in 2014, after Ms. Griffin started working for a council member, their friendship grew. “Younger staffers would stick together,” he stated.

“Elliot became part of that larger mutual friend circle,” added Mr. Stitt, who later labored his manner up to changing into chief monetary officer on the City Council, and is now a director within the administration and funds consulting observe at PFM, a public monetary administration agency in Philadelphia, the place can also be a director of the agency’s Center for Budget Equity and Innovation.

A graduate of Haverford College, Mr. Stitt obtained an M.P.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, the place he’s now a distinguished fellow of racial fairness and social justice. He additionally obtained an government M.B.A. from Temple University.

By the time of their impromptu date, Mr. Stitt was not in a relationship, and he and Ms. Griffin had develop into shut sufficient buddies that “exchanging numbers already happened,” she stated.

That night time, “it started to feel like a date, not work,” stated Ms. Griffin, who added that the 2 later danced till the wee hours at a close-by membership.

Their first deliberate date, to an Italian restaurant, quickly adopted, and the couple had their first kiss that night as they left the restaurant.

They bonded over their deep-rooted group activism — his maternal grandmother was a committee member in Philadelphia, whereas hers was a former ward chief in Dayton, Ohio (Ms. Griffin is a ninth technology Daytonian). “It kind of became our fabric early in our relationship,” she stated.

At the top of September 2015, when Philadelphia shut down for Pope Francis’s go to, Mr. Stitt instructed they take a “pope-cation.” They went to Ocean City, Md., and Baltimore, the place he met her cousin.

The following 12 months, she moved into his residence in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood; not lengthy after, they moved to the Center City neighborhood collectively. In 2018, simply earlier than Christmas, he proposed as snow started to fall on a cobblestone road in Old City. The couple purchased a rowhouse within the metropolis’s Fairmount neighborhood a 12 months later.

Mr. Stitt and Ms. Griffin had deliberate to get married in February 2021, on the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, however postponed the date within the face of the pandemic.

On Dec. 18, they wed on the academy in a ceremony led by James E. Washington, a Christian Methodist pastor, earlier than 100 members of their rapid households. A celebration adopted with 170 company, all of whom have been vaccinated or offered unfavourable Covid assessments.

In planning the day, the couple prioritized Black distributors and labored with a Black wedding ceremony planner, Donielle Warren of Elegant Events Planning & Design in Philadelphia, who integrated the custom of leaping the broom into their ceremony.

Both the bride and groom agreed that the celebration included “the best of family, friends and our political friends who have become family.”