MSNBC Host Holds Surprise Wedding

Symone D. Sanders and Shawn Townsend surprised their friends and family with a wedding on July 29. The MSNBC host of her new show that premiered this year spent years working in politics and on cable TV on the path to becoming before landing her new show Symone. She worked from the Omaha mayor's office to presidential campaigns for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and now-President Joe Biden in 2020. Sanders also served on his transition team and then as chief spokesperson and senior adviser for Vice President Kamala Harris. The two are a political powerhouse couple, with Townsend formerly serving as the director of the D.C. Mayor's Office of Nightlife and Culture, a.k.a. the "Night Mayor."

They said "I do" in a Friday afternoon wedding in Washington, D.C. They'd been engaged for a full year. Celebrations took place at the historic Larz Anderson House on Embassy Row. It's a detour from their original plans, with Sanders previously telling PEOPLE Magazine that they had plans to wed in Mexico.

About 100 friends and family members attended the nuptials, with only a few of whom knew that they were attending a wedding. They wrote their own vows. They also jumped the broom to seal the union, a tradition at Black weddings.

"It's the moments behind closed doors that we've shared," Townsend said, calling Sanders his ride or die. "Whether it's me complaining about Real Housewives, a political debate or photobombing my Zoom calls. It is all time well spent together."

Sanders promised to "always be there" for her Townsend. "To put it simply you're the best man I know," she added. "I'm very grateful just for everything that you are. You have always just been the most thorough person. You are so kind. You are so loving."

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The couple will honeymoon in the Mediterranean for two weeks this Fall. Until then, they will celebrate at home in D.C.