Ray Anthony Biggs II and Rakim Hassan Daquan Brooks each describe themselves as “genteel” — depart it to a nightclub to loosen them up.
One evening in November 2017, Mr. Biggs was invited to go dancing by Aaron Rodgers, a mutual good friend. Mr. Biggs went over to Mr. Rodgers’s townhouse in Anacostia, a neighborhood in Washington, to satisfy up. When Mr. Brooks — who had been renting a room within the townhouse — walked down the staircase in his basketball shorts and a T-shirt, Mr. Biggs invited him alongside. (“He was very interested in me and thought that I ought to come out,” Mr. Brooks, 36, stated with fun.)
So Mr. Brooks threw on some denims to match the health club T-shirt he was carrying, and he joined the group. Within the pouring rain, the three of them went to Bliss Nightclub, the place Mr. Biggs and Mr. Brooks had a couple of drinks and danced collectively. They quickly realized that they wished to arrange a date to have a correct dialog.
Just a few days later, the 2 met over dinner at Authorized Sea Meals, a restaurant in Chinatown that has since closed. Each males are sometimes punctual, however Mr. Brooks was quarter-hour late. Whereas that wouldn’t be out of the peculiar for most individuals, Mr. Brooks was nonetheless embarrassed. To make up for it, he ordered a number of totally different wine tastings and chosen what he thought was the very best bottle for them to share. The 2 spoke about wine for hours.
“It was an extended date, although it began late,” stated Mr. Biggs, 37, teasingly.
Some weeks later, Mr. Biggs invited Mr. Brooks to his church, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md. The pastor preached about “making peace with all individuals,” a message that resonated with Mr. Brooks due to his values and profession path. He’s the president of Alliance for Justice, a judicial advocacy group. Mr. Brooks holds a bachelor’s diploma in Africana research from Brown and has a grasp’s in political idea from Oxford, the place he was a Rhodes scholar. He additionally has a regulation diploma and an M.B.A., each from Yale.
“I believed, if that is the neighborhood Ray is part of, I can belief him with my work and my coronary heart,” stated Mr. Brooks, who’s from East Harlem. “So I felt actually drawn and related to him.”
Mr. Biggs, who’s from Monroe, Ga., is a mission director for the Maryland Transit Administration and is keen about creating equitable entry to public transportation. He graduated from Georgia Institute of Expertise with a bachelor’s diploma in civil engineering. He additionally earned an M.B.A. from George Washington College.
Earlier than assembly Mr. Brooks, Mr. Biggs had claimed that he would by no means date a lawyer or a New Yorker. “Now I’m about to marry somebody that’s each,” he stated in an interview two days earlier than the marriage. He stated his notion had been that New Yorkers had been “at all times on the go on a regular basis” and “didn’t take time to get pleasure from life,” and that “all legal professionals inform lies” — a sentiment handed down from his grandmother.
“He challenged my perspective on that,” Mr. Biggs stated of Mr. Brooks.
In Could 2018, the 2 formally grew to become a pair after which briefly lived collectively in Harlem the subsequent yr. In September 2020, they determined to maneuver again to Washington collectively.
On Dec. 12, 2021, simply because the solar was rising, they proposed to one another with matching rings on the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
On Sept. 23, the couple had been married at Sequoia DC, a restaurant alongside the Potomac River. Joycelyn McGeachy-Kuls, an administrative regulation decide from New York, officiated the ceremony in entrance of 156 visitors. Whereas the couple’s moms had already met one another earlier than, the remainder of their instant households had been assembly for the primary time.
Mr. Brooks’s mom learn a poem in honor of his grandmother, a e book collector who died 20 years in the past. The poem was in a e book known as “The Common Language and Different Poems” by Edmund Terry, and subsequent to it was a observe that Mr. Brooks’s grandmother had written when he was simply 3: “Rocky, while you discover this, keep in mind me.” (Rocky is his household nickname.)
“It’s a actually stunning poem about rising outdated and maturing,” Mr. Brooks stated, “and the significance of valuing issues.”
The couple famous the symbolism behind the identify of the restaurant, too. “They’re resilient and by no means cease rising,” Mr. Brooks stated about sequoias. “Serious about the power of these timber and our personal relationship, after which to go to a spot that was known as Sequoia DC simply felt like good symbolism.”