An impromptu evening to remember

No one has ever really acknowledged how, in the summer of 2015, Elliot Imani Griffin and Matthew Armand Stitt found themselves on an impromptu date after the bi-weekly Flow fundraiser, an event for young black professionals in Philadelphia. .

“I don’t know how much engineering has taken place,” Ms. Griffin said.

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

The two were introduced by a mutual friend in 2013, the same year Ms. Griffin, now 31, tiptoed into Philadelphia politics as an observer at meetings of the council, which she attended while working for a local crisis communications and advocacy company.

While at town hall, Ms Griffin had also observed the constant activity around Mr Stitt, 34, then deputy chief financial officer on city council.

“People are literally pulling it in every direction,” said Ms. Griffin, who is now an employment and employment lawyer at the Ballard Spahr law firm in Philadelphia. She graduated with honors from Temple University, where she also earned a law degree.

Mr Stitt, who was in a relationship at the time, said that in 2014, after Ms Griffin started working for a board member, their friendship grew. “The young staff members would stand together,” he said.

“Elliot became a member of this larger circle of mutual friends,” added Mr. Stitt, who then rose through the ranks to become the chief financial officer of city council, and is now director of the management consulting practice and budget at PFM, a public money management firm in Philadelphia, where is also director of the firm’s Center for Budget Equity and Innovation.

A graduate of Haverford College, Mr. Stitt received an MPA from the University of Pennsylvania, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow in Racial Equity and Social Justice. He also holds an Executive MBA from Temple University.

By the time of their impromptu date, Mr Stitt was no longer in a relationship and he and Ms Griffin had become friends close enough that “the number swap has already taken place,” she said.

That night, “it started to feel like a date, not work,” said Griffin, who added that the two later danced until the early hours of the morning at a nearby club.

Their first scheduled date, at an Italian restaurant, soon followed, and the couple had their first kiss that night as they left the restaurant.

They bonded through their deeply rooted community activism – her maternal grandmother was a committee member in Philadelphia, while hers was a former ward head in Dayton, Ohio (Ms. Griffin is a ninth generation Daytonian). “It kind of became our fabric early in our relationship,” she said.

At the end of September 2015, when Philadelphia closed its doors for the visit of Pope Francis, Mr. Stitt suggested that they take a “pope-cation”. They went to Ocean City, Maryland, and Baltimore, where he met his cousin.

The following year, she moved into her apartment in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia; soon after, they moved together to the downtown district. In 2018, just before Christmas, he proposed as snow began to fall on a cobbled street in the Old Town. The couple bought a townhouse in the city’s Fairmount neighborhood a year later.

Mr Stitt and Ms Griffin had planned to tie the knot in February 2021, at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, but pushed back the date in the face of the pandemic.

On December 18, they were married at the academy in a ceremony led by James E. Washington, a Christian Methodist pastor, in front of 100 members of their immediate family. A party followed with 170 guests, all vaccinated or having presented negative Covid tests.

When planning the day, the couple prioritized black vendors and worked with a black wedding planner, Donielle Warren of Elegant Events Planning & Design in Philadelphia, who incorporated the tradition of jumping the broom into theirs. ceremony.

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

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