TheGrio’s April Ryan ties the knot at star-studded wedding

The White House's longest-serving Black female reporter married retired Navy officer James Ewing on Oct. 14 in Maryland.

Political heavyweights and Hollywood stars assembled at the Gramercy Mansion in Maryland for the fairytale wedding of theGrio’s White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief, April D. Ryan.

On Oct. 14, Ryan tied the knot with business partner James Ewing, a retired Navy officer of 25 years, whom she met by chance at the Baltimore-Washington airport.

The longest-serving Black woman covering the White House since the Clinton administration described their love story as a second chance at love.

April Ryan and James Ewing married in Baltimore on Oct. 14. (Photo: Clapp Studios Photography)

TheGrio was in attendance at the star-studded ceremony, whose guests included former Obama White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and his wife Dawn Moore, U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, Ronnie DeVoe of New Edition, MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart, “Real Housewives of Potomac” stars Gizelle Bryant and Charrisse Jackson-Jordan, and Jawn Murray, executive producer of the daytime talk show “Sherri.”

Other esteemed guests were members of Ryan’s family, including celebrity restaurateur and author Melba Wilson of Melba’s of Harlem, former New York Congressman Ed Towns, and NAACP board member Karen Boykin-Towns.

The ceremony’s “romantic garden” theme transformed the venue into a floral oasis, which included an unconventional take on flower girls. 

Rather than the traditional throwing of rose petals as the bride walks down the aisle, Ryan’s wedding planner, Tia Robinson, tapped live performers from Kikimora Studio who dressed as flowers from head to toe. The “flower girls” greeted guests as they entered the ceremony, moving their limbs like real-life plants that had come to life for the momentous occasion.

The ceremony, officiated by Bishop Dwayne C. Debnam and Towns, included musical performances by gospel artist Brian Courtney Wilson.

After exchanging their vows and saying, “I do,” the couple walked down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. to Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love.” At the wedding reception, Ryan and Ewing danced for the first time as husband and wife to “You Put a Move on My Heart” by Quincy Jones and Tamia. 

April Ryan, accompanied by her daughters Ryan and Grace, walks down the aisle at her wedding to James Ewing on Oct. 14. (Photo: Clapp Studios Photography)

True to Ryan’s legacy that spans five presidential administrations, the journalist and her new husband received letters of congratulations from former President Barack Obama, presented by Jarrett, and President Joe Biden, presented by White House Office of Public Engagement chief of staff Erica Loewe.

“Presidential elections come and go, but for nearly three decades, one constant in the White House has been April Danielle Ryan,” said Loewe.

She jokingly told guests that Ryan “insisted” on having a plus one at White House events because, “She’s not going anywhere without her man.”

“For April, who loves as hard as she does, to finally find a love that is just as beautiful, we all celebrate – including the president of the United States,” said Loewe before handing them a personal note from Biden. 

Politics aside, the reception was a celebratory affair that saw guests dancing for hours to the live tunes of Wayne Bruce and the Spur of the Moment Band, who played classic R&B songs like Earth Wind and Fire’s “That’s the Way of the World (Hearts Afire),” Maxwell’s “Fortunate,” Maze’s “Before I Let Go” and even “Wobble” by V.I.C. 

Guests celebrate the Oct. 14 wedding of April Ryan and James Ewing. (Photo: Clapp Studios Photography)

An especially memorable moment came as the band played New Edition’s “Can You Stand The Rain,” which prompted band member DeVoe to dance and sing to the thrill of guests.

There were also amusing scenes, like when Ewing dropped it low to Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” as he removed Ryan’s garter and Ryan’s tossing of her bouquet, which she threw more like a football at the Superbowl as she two-stepped to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.”

Ryan, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., was also serenaded by her sorority sisters (including Emmy award-winning Ralph) as they sang the sorority’s “Sweetheart Song.”

Drawing on the newlyweds’ Christian faith, the evening ended in praise and worship as Brian Courtney Wilson sang what Ryan described as her favorite song from the gospel artist, “A Great Work.”

Following the celebration with the small and intimate group of family and friends, Ryan and Ewing traveled to Italy, where they are enjoying their romantic honeymoon. The newlyweds will be visiting Positano and Rome.

Reflecting on her love story, Ryan told theGrio, “True love is all that matters.”

She added, “You know it when you feel it, when you see it, when you smell it. All you can do is embrace it.”

Gerren Keith Gaynor

Gerren Keith Gaynor is a White House Correspondent and the Managing Editor of Politics at theGrio. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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