An Impromptu Date Night to Remember

No one ever really owned up to their part in how, during the summer of 2015, Elliot Imani Griffin and Matthew Armand Stitt ended up on an impromptu date after the biweekly Flow fund-raiser, an event for young Black professionals in Philadelphia.

“I’m not sure how much engineering took place,” said Ms. Griffin.

Mr. Stitt, who had walked with Ms. Griffin to Byblos, a restaurant and hookah bar, after the fund-raiser, said, “I thought we were all going to a 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 that Ms. Griffin, now 31, tiptoed into Philadelphia politics as an observer at City Council meetings, which she attended while working for a local crisis communication and issue advocacy firm.

During her time at City Hall, Ms. Griffin had also observed the constant activity around Mr. Stitt, 34, then the assistant chief financial officer at the City Council.

“People literally pulled him in each direction,” said Ms. Griffin, who is now a labor and employment lawyer at the law firm Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia. She graduated cum laude from Temple University, from which she also received a law degree.

Mr. Stitt, who was in a relationship at the time, said that in 2014, after Ms. Griffin began working for a council member, their friendship grew. “Younger staffers would stick together,” he said.

“Elliot became part of that larger mutual friend circle,” added Mr. Stitt, who later worked his way up to becoming chief financial officer at the City Council, and is now a director in the management and budget consulting practice at PFM, a public financial management firm in Philadelphia, where is also a director of the firm’s Center for Budget Equity and Innovation.

A graduate of Haverford College, Mr. Stitt received an M.P.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he is now a distinguished fellow of racial equity and social justice. He also received an executive M.B.A. 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 close enough friends that “exchanging numbers already happened,” she said.

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

Their first planned date, to an Italian restaurant, soon followed, and the couple had their first kiss that evening as they left the restaurant.

They bonded over their deep-rooted community activism — his maternal grandmother was a committee member in Philadelphia, while hers was a former ward leader 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 shut down for Pope Francis’s visit, Mr. Stitt suggested they take a “pope-cation.” They went to Ocean City, Md., and Baltimore, where he met her cousin.

The following year, she moved into his apartment in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood; not long after, they moved to the Center City neighborhood together. In 2018, just before Christmas, he proposed as snow began to fall on a cobblestone street in Old City. The couple bought a rowhouse in the city’s Fairmount neighborhood a year later.

Mr. Stitt and Ms. Griffin had planned to get married in February 2021, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, but postponed the date in the face of the pandemic.

On Dec. 18, they wed at the academy in a ceremony led by James E. Washington, a Christian Methodist pastor, before 100 members of their immediate families. A party followed with 170 guests, all of whom were vaccinated or presented negative Covid tests.

In 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 their ceremony.

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