One Motorcycle, Two Brides, and Three Tiers of Krispy Kreme

I mean, have you EVER? She's STUNNING.
Caveat: this post does not include a recipe, nor any photos of aforementioned Krispy Kreme donuts, although those were served at the wedding in lieu of wedding cake. But, I wanted to share this with you. Hope it fills your heart even a smidgeon as much as it has mine.

My cousin Erica is a wild animal of the fluffiest variety. You know how the biggest, baddest men are actually teddy bears on the inside? My Harley-riding, 6-foot-one-inches tall, stunner of a cousin is exactly the same. What I mean to say is that this young woman (she's 12 years younger than I) may run marathons, travel the globe for work (and play!) and generally tackle life head-on, but she also has this beautiful and rare capacity to make herself vulnerable in the most intense of circumstances.

Two years ago she started dating someone that from the moment she shared the news, just felt different. Gone was any desperation or fear from Erica's voice. When talking about this new relationship, she simply had a calm about her: a steady hope. Watching it unfold in social media, I fell in love with her new love, too. Alisha was a bona fide grown up. Gorgeous and successful, it was almost too good to be true. And, then, one day in July 2013, I got a call.

"So...I wanted to call you and let you know directly..." Erica was speaking very, very quickly. Oh, s--t. What was she going to tell me now? I could feel the other shoe dropping. "...that we've decided to take a leap of faith and I'm moving to London I know it's kind of fast and sudden..." Insert sigh of relief. Oh, thank goodness.

It didn't actually seem sudden at all. Not to me, anyway. Alisha and Erica had been dating long distance for about a year. Only a few months before this conversation, they had survived the Boston Marathon bombing (literally seconds and inches). It made sense they wouldn't waste time. Plus, Alisha is my age, so, for sure she knew what she was doing, even if E didn't, right?

Erica moved to London last October.

In early December, I got an email asking me to officiate her wedding. What?!?!?!?!?!! Beyond thrilled, I said YES and proceeded to tell everyone we knew that my cousin was engaged! Okay, I actually told people that I had been asked to officiate a wedding and that my cousin was engaged.

Me (left) yukking it up as officiant. Alisha taking in her bride.
Me and my mom.
Where she got the idea to ask me to officiate, I do not know. Humbled, honored and scared s--tless, I pretty much got e-ordained the next day and started writing the ceremony. Which was great because I realized right away that I had no freaking idea how to write a wedding ceremony. Several library trips and one large Amazon purchase later, I read everything I could get my eyes on. (In case you are ever called to do this, the most helpful of these were the Knot's Wedding Vows & Traditions and Reverend Judith Johnson, PhD's The Wedding Ceremony Planner, the latter of which completely saved my life.) It took me the whole 10 months to write what would take me less than 20 minutes to say, but it filled my year with something so happy, so meaningful, so deep that it was more than worth the hours I spent reading, writing, editing, sending the brides email after email.
If only you could hear Alisha whispering "Oh my God" as she sees her bride for the first time.
Erica with her flower girls Piper (her niece) and Lulu (my baby girl!).

Stealing a kiss at the altar that was decorated with sheets of Led Zeppelin music.
My husband and I have been fortunate enough to attend more than 12 weddings in the 7 years we've been together. This one was something unique and special. There is something truly beautiful about seeing two people who are so obviously meant to spend life together commit to doing just that. These two were so grateful, so vulnerable, so earnest, so very beautiful in every way and they poured themselves into this gathering, each wanting it to be special for the other. Alisha, formerly entirely non-musical, learned to play Led Zeppelin's Thank You on the guitar in only 5 lessons. Erica rode in on her dad's Harley with Uncle Danny.

Just married!!! And, Erica's dad's (my Uncle Eric's) Harley, in repose.
Each of them had make up and hair and gowns and fabulous shoes. Every touch was personal to them. Even the gifts they gave to each of us in the wedding party (I was an honorary member) were personal. Beautiful art books specific to something that means something to each of us. In my case, a gorgeous book of art made famous by some of the world's most incredible bands.

Hands-down the BEST Best Man I have ever seen (in those fab red shoes). Robert was never further than this from Alisha all day long.
Of course, these women are family, so, I will never forget this. It was an incredible experience and has made me feel so close to them. But, I cannot thank them enough for giving me the opportunity to step so far outside of my comfort zone that my boundaries have been redefined. There are not words for the gratitude I feel to them and the hope I have in my heart that they will have happiness and laughter every day of their lives together. The English language fails me in trying to describe the love I feel for them and the overspilling of love I have felt every moment since declaring them Mrs. and Mrs. Anderson.

They had it right. Led Zeppelin said it best. "An inspiration is what you are to me." Thank you, Alisha and Erica. Thank you.


When Jeremy, Lulu and I got home Sunday afternoon, naturally, I baked an apple pie. More on that soon.

xox,

A.

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