Rayna Bass-Wilson is a certified boss – there’s no doubt about it. As the co-president of 300 Entertainment, she has spearheaded marketing campaigns for some of the most influential artists today, including Mary J. Blige, Megan Thee Stallion, Young Thug and Gunna.
And while she is at the top of her game and in control in the music industry, it’s an ongoing effort on her part to try and balance the professional with the personal.
“I’m still figuring out what balance looks like,” she tells ESSENCE. “Balance has looked different for me throughout several iterations of my career. I’m a work in progress, but I’m actively setting boundaries and understanding how important time is the older I get. Who I spend my time with is extremely important. I have worked to prioritize those that mean the most to me.”
Someone who means a great deal to her is Jesse Wilson, her husband. The two recently wed in October 2022 after meeting more than a decade ago online.
Although they had mutual friends, she slid into his Instagram DMs over 11 years ago (cue Yo Gotti’s “Down in the DM”) after he liked one of her pictures. He was receptive to her message, and the pair had their first breakfast date at Giorgio’s of Gramercy in New York City’s Flatiron District while she was working as an assistant at Island Def Jam. There was a spark.
His humor and values made her fall in love with him. “Oh, my God, he is the funniest man I’ve ever met. But what made me fall in love with him was just that, you know, he is one of the most honorable, loving people on this earth. I’ve never met someone that loves me more than he does. And although we come from very different walks of life, our values were the same,” she shares.
Those core values of honesty, respect, and communication eventually led them down the aisle. After eight years of dating, her husband popped the question in 2019 at a waterfront restaurant in New Jersey. Initial wedding plans for December 2020 had to be put on hold due to the pandemic. And during that year, they found themselves quarantined together, which ultimately brought them closer. “We waited almost two years, and I’m always thankful for the time because we grew even more as a couple,” Bass shares.
Eventually, the two became one during a swagged out wedding at the Hudson House in Jersey City, New Jersey. They exchanged vows in front of their loving family and friends, and even some A-list celebrities, while overlooking the Statue of Liberty on October 1, 2022.
She’s found her happy ending, and at least some balance. Getting these things required some intention from the successful music executive, and now, wife.
“I encourage women to be very real about what they want. And if they want a love life and a career, you’ve got to make the time and compromise,” she says.
Learn more about Mr. and Mrs. Wilson’s wedding and see the photos from their unforgettable nuptials in this week’s Bridal Bliss.
Wedding Planning: Elle Audrey Events
Wedding Design and Production: Cerka Creative
Photography: Amy Anaiz Photography
Videography: Luxor Wedding Films
Wedding Venue: Hudson House
Bridal Gowns: Wona NYC
Groom’s Attire: House of Billionaire New York
Hair Stylist: Jamilah Curry Hair
Bride’s Makeup Artist: Renee Made U Look
Bridal Party’s Makeup Artist: Mema Creations
Photo booth: MirMir Photo
Violinist: John Randolph
DJ/MC: DJ SNS
Stationery: Inspired by 2 Girls
Event Rentals: Glam Party Rentals
Wedding Cake: Palermo Bakery
“Black excellence. I told my wedding team [Elle Audrey Events], ‘I can’t necessarily tell you how I want it to look, but I can tell you how I want it to feel.’ I wanted it to feel romantic, thoughtful, and luxurious. I wanted our guests to feel cared for and taken care of.”
A Black Excellence Wedding Theme
“We both come from a long line of solid marriages. Both of my grandmothers have passed, and Jesse’s grandparents have passed. And I wanted to use our wedding as an example of Black excellence for my younger cousins and nieces. It was important for us to be a good example and do our wedding at the highest level. I was driven by legacy. We are a young Black couple. I wanted our vendors to be diverse, and representation was top of mind.”
The Wedding Dress
“I had stitched my grandmother’s and my brother’s names. And that was important to me because they weren’t here with me. I wanted to have them close.”
The Wedding Party
“I ended up only having my best friend and sister at the wedding because I have ten very close friends, two nieces, and three cousins like my sisters. There aren’t too many people in Jesse’s main circle, so it was like, I could have two, or I would have had 16.”
Dressed Up in Love!
“All my girlfriends were dressed in black and included in my bachelorette and bridal shower. They were there every step of the way.”
The Dapper Groom With His Groomsmen