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Tinita and Jerrod, An HBCU Romance

There is something so special about an HBCU couple. We absolutely adore them at Black Southern Belle and Tinita and Jerrod’s classic wedding makes our hearts smile. This beautiful NC A&T and Howard bred couple brings all the HBCU and southern details we can handle. Get some Wedding Wednesday inspiration from this wonderful couple.

Bride Name: Tinita Ortega

Groom Name: Jerrod Kearney

Wedding Location: Potomac, MD

Wedding Date: 5/8/15

Alma Mater of Bride: Howard University (The Real HU!)

Alma Mater of Groom: North Carolina A&T

Current City where you live: Laurel, MD

Hometown: Bride- Staten Island, New York; Groom- Durham, North Carolina

How did you meet? Church and Christian Mingle!

How long did you date? 9 months

How did he propose? Jerrod spent months convincing me that he was not ready to propose to me and saw himself getting to a state where he was ready the following year (2016). One night, he told me that we were going to his friend’s going away party. Once I walked into the hibachi restaurant (my favorite) I was immediately greeted with a loud Surprise! by about 20 of our close friends and family members! Jerrod told me that it was an early birthday surprise and we proceeded to order and eat. A little after we all finished eating, he stood up to give a Thank You speech, and by the end of it he was down on one knee! I was of course completely shocked and surprised! And in true Jerrod fashion, he made sure it was all caught on video!

When did you know he was the one? One night, after a silly fight that we had, he came over to me, hugged me, and told me that he was committed to making this relationship work and that he hoped that I was willing to do the same because if he couldn’t make it work with me, he’d be single for the rest of his life since he knew without a doubt that I was the woman that God had sent to him. So sweet!




What is the cutest thing he has done for you without you asking? During my doctoral pursuit, there was a point where I was unsure of whether or not I’d be able to meet the deadline for graduation, denying me the opportunity to walk across the stage that semester. I called him, crying, and he assured me that I would in fact graduate and not to worry. Later that day, he brought me a card that said “Congrats Grad!” along with a singing/dancing bear dressed in a cap and gown.

What is something you love about him that has completely changed your life? I love that I no longer feel the need to be so Type-A about everything in life because he has proven to be more than capable of taking the lead. He makes me feel confident that I’ve chosen the right man to be the head of my household.

What part of wedding planning is making you crazy? Thankfully, the wedding is over, but the most stressful part was packing everything up to transport to the venue! I was deathly afraid that I’d forget something, SMH.

What part of wedding planning can you not live without? I couldn’t live without the nightly calls to Jerrod to vent about the wedding planning process, lol.

What was your first thought the day after your engagement? “I can’t believe he tricked me into thinking he wasn’t ready to be engaged until next year!” then, “I love him so much!”

What was your favorite part about the ceremony? Walking down the aisle to all of the smiling faces and seeing Jerrod’s reaction

What was your favorite part about the wedding? Dancing with Jerrod for our first dance!

Did you do any DIY? If so, what? Several pieces on the welcome table, including decorative candles, a blinged out “K”, a Black and White HBCU history photo album, and HU/NC A&T themed props that graced the photo booth table (e.g., NC A&T/HU billboard sunglasses, pom poms)

How did you incorporate your alma maters into your wedding experience? The aforementioned DIY aspects as well as large photos of us dressed in our school cardigans and school umbrellas displayed on easels, black and white photos from moments in our school’s history displayed on each guest table during the reception, and a hanging scrapbook page displayed on the photo booth table decorated in our school colors and showcasing two film strips with photos of Jerrod and I showing off our HBCU props

Who were your wedding vendors?

Invites: Le’Trice Penn;
Flowers: Nubia Fasil;
Catering: the venue provided
DJ/Entertainment: DJ Casanova (Jamie Olivares-Alberti);
Dress: Venus Bridal;
Rentals: Cheers Party Rentals, Inc.;
Wedding Planner: Shanique Coleman;
Photographer: Terri Baskin;
Videographer: Ian Atkins;

What were your wedding colors? Plum and silver

What was your wedding theme? HBCU love

What is your favorite part about being married to each other? Learning something new about each other every day

What did you learn about each other through the wedding planning process? That Jerrod is invaluable as a rational, reassuring, calming voice when stress drives me beyond the point of reason!

Now that you are married, how will you decide which homecoming to attend when they are the same weekend? Obviously Howard! The Mecca trumps all others!


From the moment we saw this wedding, this couple had our hearts. Nothing makes us smile more than a good southern ball gown and Tinita gave us just that and then some. We are sooo excited for this couple and wish them nothing but happiness and blessings as they start on their journey of matrimony. Black Southern Belle is so happy for this couple and glad they have already planned out homecoming season 🙂





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Michiel Perry

Michiel is a Black Southern Belle living a lowcountry life. I love all things fashion, home decor and southern! When I am not running around doing fun stuff for Black Southern Belle, I live in antique stores and have a minor obsession with historic homes 🙂

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