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Stoop in the name of love: Stranger hosts NYC couple’s pandemic wedding

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After nearly a decade together and two children, Latoya Ingram and Donnell Lewis were finally ready to tie the knot.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t think of a great venue for a socially distant pandemic wedding. They considered a City Hall celebration, but quickly realized it was closed. So Ingram, now Ingram-Lewis, 41, took a chance and turned to Facebook, posting a long-shot call for help.

“Hi Moms, anyone know of a brownstone owner in Harlem who would allow me to get married on their steps,” she wrote in late October on the page for the neighborhood group Harlem Moms.

Ingram-Lewis was shocked when 10 total strangers reached out to offer their homes. 

Call it their “something borrowed.”

“We went around to every one of them,” Ingram-Lewis told The Post of scouting for the perfect stoop spot to host their nuptials.

The stay-at-home mom — who said the spring lockdown made the couple want to act on their four-year engagement and “be committed as a family” — was smitten with Mica Henderson’s building, in the historic Jumel Terrace section of Washington Heights. “It was just beautiful,” said Ingram-Lewis.

Plus, the neighborhood had additional significance for the duo, who were actually both raised there. “That’s where our first dates were,” said Ingram-Lewis. 

Mica Henderson
Mica Henderson
Courtesy of Mica Henderson

Henderson, who’s lived in the neighborhood for two years, knew her home was the right place for the nuptials.

“We live right across the street from Morris-Jumel Mansion, the historic area — it’s very pretty,” she told The Post. “It’s right next to the clapboard houses that are in lots of movies. I thought it would be nice for them to take photos there, and they did.” 

It was an easy choice to share her digs with the local lovebirds. “I believe you have to do nice things for others in order to receive good things in your life,” said Henderson, 45. “Why not help people out?” 

It’s not the first time she’s been involved in a stranger’s wedding.

Once, when in Las Vegas, she met a couple who was eloping. Henderson ended up being their witness and posed for the official photos. They stayed in touch, and she flew to England to attend their reception months later. “Anything to do with love and marriage, weird s–t always happens to me,” said Henderson, a social worker. 

She and Ingram-Lewis never met in person and didn’t speak on the phone — the entire affair was planned over Facebook messenger. “It was totally easy, [Mica] said, ‘I’d be honored,’ and that was just it,” said the bride, who also found their officiant via Facebook. “It was really sweet.”

The wedding was on Thanksgiving day. Ingram-Lewis hired a decorator to dress up Henderson’s stoop with flowers and candles. “[Mica] blew away the leaves from the house so the person could decorate. They came out before to make sure it was neat and tidy for us,” she said. 

Only 20 people were in attendance. Keeping within COVID-19 guidelines, guests wore masks and were asked to stay with the people they live with. Ingram-Lewis’ son walked her down the makeshift aisle. 

“It was almost like we rented a venue. It was only us for the most part. We got so lucky. No one was walking around,” recalled Ingram-Lewis. “Every so often we would see a few people, they would say congratulations.”

Latoya Ingram and Donnell Lewis's wedding.
Latoya Ingram and Donnell Lewis’s wedding.
Tolique Fair

Henderson and her family, who would normally spend Thanksgiving bringing food to local shelters but couldn’t this year due to the pandemic, went outside to watch the ceremony. “It was a nice little distraction,” she said. 

Though the groom had always imagined a larger, more traditional wedding, Henderson’s stoop was perfect to him. “I didn’t realize how beautiful it was until it happened,” Lewis, a maintenance tech, told The Post. 

They’ll always be thankful for Henderson’s random act of kindness. “A lot of people would be apprehensive: ‘Oh, we don’t know them. We don’t know if they’re good people, bad people, rowdy,’” Ingram-Lewis said. “But she literally had no issue whatsoever. It was like she trusted me, and she didn’t even know me.”

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