Mitch Brooks And Cadene Russell’s Presidential Love Story
The phrase Black love gets tossed around so often you may not pause and give examples of it the proper attention deserved, but we’re always thrilled to see Black men and women standing by one another’s side, and we’re even more touched when we see them embracing in demonstration of the unconditional love they have for each other as partners.
That’s just one of the reasons we fell in love with Mitch A. Brooks IV and Cadene A. Russell’s engagement photos. The DC-based couple has been together for three years and is slated to tie the knot this summer at the National Museum of Women in the Arts July 15. After a proposal you only see in the movies — we’re talking a surprise helicopter tour — Mitch, 32, proposed to Cadene, 29, on Christmas Eve 2015, adding another beautiful chapter to their love story.
While no words are needed to see the love Mitch and Cadene have for one another, we reached out to the pair to learn more about how they met, when they knew each other was the one, and how a season of prayer and fasting solidified their union. This is their presidential love story.
1. How did you meet?
Cadene: Mitch and I like to think that we can thank President Obama for our chance meeting! Just kidding, sort of! But after moving to Washington, DC in 2010, I served on the executive board of a campaign fundraising organization supporting President Obama’s Re-election Campaign. Mitch, a corporate executive, is also an entrepreneur and co-founded an organization that continues to host special events in DC and around the country. I met Mitch on Barack Obama’s birthday, August 4, 2011, when Mitch was coordinating a fundraising event for President Obama’s re-election campaign in partnership with the organization in which I served. According to Mitch, I loved him at first sight! I tell a completely different story! But I will say that there was something special about him from the very beginning that even allowed me to eventually be open to getting to know him and ultimately fall in love with him.
2. When did each of you know the other was the one?
Mitch: I knew Cadene was special after one of our early conversations in the Fall of 2011. Cadene and I met at Union Pub on Capitol Hill one weekday evening after work. It was an unscheduled and random meet-up. We enjoyed a few drinks and had a casual, but candid, conversation about our backgrounds, family, life goals, and passions. We actually sat and talked for several hours late into the night until after the venue closed. Not wanting the night to end, we walked around her neighborhood within just a few blocks of the Capitol building and we spent the rest of the night talking and learning more about one another. I walked away from that conversation and time together saying to myself, “She is special. She is beautiful inside and out.” I knew that’s how I wanted to think about my wife. I knew she was definitely going to make a great wife and partner for someone. The question was, “Are we right for each other. Not only the right person, but the right season (time).” We dated on and off for the next few years but neither of us were in a hurry to get in a relationship. I knew she was the one, absolutely, during my fasting period shortly before my proposal planning.
Cadene: There have been so many moments in our relationship that continue to prove to me that Mitch is the man for me that I really can’t pinpoint one or even the earliest moment. Mitch is funny, thoughtful, gregarious, and fiercely loyal. But before I knew Mitch, when I was in my teens, I prayed that my future husband would be all of those things. I prayed that he would be a strong and God-fearing man who would love me as Christ loves me. And Mitch’s presence in my life is a testament to the fact that God never fails me. I am lucky to be the recipient of his compassionate, selfless, sacrificial friendship and love. And he has proven to me year after year that he is everything I prayed for years ago.
3. Tell us about the proposal
Cadene: A few weeks before Christmas, Mitch told me that he had a surprise for me for Christmas. So while we were in Florida with my family for the holidays, he said we’d be heading to Miami for a date night. On Christmas Eve, we left my parents’ home and Mitch drove us to an executive airport just outside of Miami. After arriving, and for the next almost 40 minutes, we were taken on the most breathtaking helicopter tour of Miami and the surrounding beaches just before sunset. After we landed and as I was just about to walk away from the helicopter, Mitch stopped me and started telling me that he loves me and wanted us to begin our lives together. He got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife! Of course, I said yes! In the midst of a few tears I could see professional photographer Cendino Teme off in the distance taking photos and the Miami Helicopter staff congratulating us (they were in on the surprise)! We ended the night with dinner at Prime 112 and a toast at EPIC Hotel in Downtown Miami to celebrate!
Mitch: I knew that I wanted to marry Cadene in February of the year I proposed–February 14 to be exact. It was the date of our one year anniversary and, of course, Valentine’s Day. I started planning for the engagement ring around that time.
I had been fasting and praying during the Christmas season of the year before. A large part of my reason for fasting was I felt strongly that Cadene had everything I was looking for in a wife, but I wanted God to tell/show me that he approved. I felt strongly that it couldn’t just be my decision. It had to be God’s decision and I needed him to communicate that to me clearly.
For 31 days, I fasted and prayed with the love and support of Cadene. She had no idea what I was praying about– but she supported my fast and fasted with me. After my fast, I felt strongly that I heard his voice and got approval. In February, we took a trip to NYC during Valentine’s Day weekend and during that weekend my “gift” to Cadene was to shop for engagement rings that she liked. That started the planning process for me. That summer, I worked with my friend who is a celebrity jeweler to take all of the different elements that Cadene liked about Harry Winston and Tiffany’s diamonds, and put it into one ring. That Fall, I stopped in Miami after returning to the US on an international flight to ask her father, mother, and brother for their blessing. I knew that I wanted to propose sometime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve and the rest is sweet history.
4. How did you choose the locations/theme for your engagement photos?
We wanted to have our engagement photos embody our relationship story and represent who we are as individuals and as a couple. We knew we wanted to incorporate Washington, DC in the shoot, but wanted to do it in a unique way that we haven’t seen before. Additionally, we wanted our engagement photos to embody the same vibe and energy that we desired for the wedding. So we came up with two themes: Spring Love & A Presidential Love Story.
Our first engagement shoot location was on the Tidal Basin in DC among the cherry blossom trees. This look was “Spring Love,” inspired because the cherry blossoms, a symbol of love and joy, are a true staple of spring in Washington, DC. Our second engagement shoot location was at Mason & Rook, A Kimpton Hotel, in downtown DC. Our wedding is a black-tie adults only affair and we wanted to convey this experience through a classic and elegant set of photos– think James Bond meets Barack and Michelle at the White House State Dinner. We really believe our engagement shoot unquestionably matches our own style and is especially reminiscent of our courtship.
5. Tell us about the big day
Mitch: On our big day will be surrounded by approximately 150 guests in a space filled with love. We want to have those we love, individually and collectively, celebrate our union and love together. We wanted to convey that in as many ways as possible on our wedding day. Whether we have 10 people at the wedding or 1,000 people at the wedding– the energy, passion, and spirit of the wedding would be overwhelmingly the same. That’s the goal.
Our big day is being planned by Yodit Gebreyes Endale of Favored by Yodit Events.
6. What are your hopes for your marriage?
Mitch: My hope is to grow as a man, husband, and father.
Cadene: I look forward to many more years of love, laughter and fun.
See more of Cadene and Mitch’s engagement pics on the next pages.
Photo Credit: Lauren Cowart Photography