Denise Ray celebrates at elegant bridal shower

Dr. Denise Ray is pictured

Denise Ray

and John “Tee” Shields will experience one of the most important days of their lives when they exchange nuptial vows at Bight Hope Baptist Church on Sept. 9. A very special prelude to that day took place on Saturday when Denise’s family and friends showered her with love and best wishes for her new life with her future husband. The occasion was an elegant bridal shower tea at The Rittenhouse Hotel in downtown Philadelphia.

Denise’s fiancé and long time love is a retired juvenile probation officer and director of the Sonny Hill Community Involvement Basketball League.

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One of Denise’s closest friends, Marlene

F. Watson

, who

will serve as the bride-to-be’s maid of honor, coordinated the tea.

“Denise and I have had a long lasting friendship that began at Howard University as undergraduate students. She is truly a sister-friend. Remarkably, Denise is a dream maker. She is one of those often unsung, ordinary yet extraordinary people who inspires and encourages others. As deputy chief of the Juvenile Branch of Philadelphia Family Court, Denise worked tirelessly to create programming for youth that would give them a chance to connect with their potential and to dream. What I love most about Denise is that she lifts others as she goes. I am proud to be her friend and to wish all of her dreams into existence as she marries the love of her life,” Marlene said.

Every aspect of the event reflected meticulous style and attention to detail. The invitation to the tea, program for the tea and wedding invitation were seamlessly designed to carry out Denise’s theme and color palette. The carefully selected ivory linen stationery bordered with a delicate fuchsia floral design was exquisite.

The affair was attended by members of the wedding party and bridesmaids and nieces, Saireah Ray, Alexis Henry-Ray, Anastasia Henry-Ray and Imani Fletcher.

Other guests were fellow members and officers of Bright Hope Baptist Church, including Kimya Johnson, “First Lady of the Bright Hope”; Augusta A. Clark, Bright Hope trustee emeritus and former Philadelphia City Councilwoman-at-Large; and Syndney Walton and Alyssa Pinder who are church junior deacons.

The bride-to-be was also joined by some of her fellow members of the Philadelphia Carats, Inc.: Cheryl Mason-Dorman, Brenda Willingham, Claudia Averette-Williams, Elaine Evans De-Vaughn, Johanna Daye, April Rawlings, Lloyd Mitchell, Joyce Matthews and her beloved junior high school teacher, Peggy Epps.

As the ladies arrived, each had their photograph taken, and each signed a keepsake book with a personal message to Denise. High tea included traditional,

assorted tea sandwiches, freshly baked scones, lemon curd, Devonshire cream and savory tarts. There was also a delicious vanilla cake.

Following a champagne toast and opening of her gifts, each guest offered Denise heartfelt advice for an enduring and happy marriage!

“It was truly an auspicious, elegant, yet down-to-earth event thanks to my dear friend and coordinator Marlene, family and friends,” Denise observed. It was a well-rounded program that blended the elegance of high tea with great fun! The ladies crafted facsimile wedding gowns from

toilet tissue. The designs were hilarious, unbelievably detailed and creative. Some of the toilet tissue creations included gloves, trains and even tiaras! “Nevertheless, one design did make the winning cut, most resembling the gown I plan to wear on my wedding day,” Denise beamed.

The afternoon was a special celebration of universal love. It was an expression of an enduring love between two people preparing to culminate in the ultimate union, marriage. But it was more than that. This time also represented an extension of love of those close to the bride-to-be in her family, church and community as she moves to a new phase in her life.

Denise graciously thanked everyone for coming and gave them lovely favors, wallets in a rainbow of colors and various textures as a memento of a very special afternoon!

I thank Denise for sharing this part of her journey and look forward to sharing this wonderful couple’s “Wedding Story” with you!

If you would like your “Wedding Story,” anniversary or engagement featured in The Philadelphia Tribune, which is published on the last Sunday of each month, please e-mail you request to


Happy Birthday and very best wishes to

Minnie Marie Mickey

who was 101 years young on Sept. 16! Mrs. Mickey was the life of the party at her home in North Philadelphia on Sunday!

Have a fantastic week “Out & About” in Philadelphia, everyone!

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