20 Jun Personal Post: the Sibs gets married | Part 1
All weddings are special in their own way, but this one is ESPECIALLY special for me, because this is the wedding of my favorite (and only) sister, Anya. I barely know where to start, because of course we’ve known each other for a bit of time. We have been best friends (at times perhaps reluctantly, but nevertheless) basically since I’ve been born. We’ve been together through everything – from magic kingdoms and forts we created as kids, through school and first loves and heartbreaks. I’ve seen her go through a tremendous amount of trials in the years since we both became adults, and because of this I was very cautiously optimistic when she first started telling me about Grisha. He was first a co-worker, then a friend, and then (as it happens) – more. As it turned out, Grisha was a friend of a friend of my parents, from St. Petersburg (where, in case you didn’t know, Anya and I were both born), but by the time the mutual friend had suggested they connect, they were already good friends. It’s all very complicated, the friend connections and the paths that Anya and Grisha had separately traveled, but the important thing is that they both wound up there – working as translators for NASA in Houston. They bonded over a mutual fascination with just about everything (I believe Anya mentioned that she first *KNEW* when he was just as excited as she was about a giant snail shell she found on her way to work), a love of books and zest and passion for living life to the fullest. I was, as a dutiful sister, skeptical. When we all met, though, it didn’t take long for me to start seeing: this was for real, and it was very good. Seeing her and Gri and the kids together – they formed a family, and a happy one. I don’t have sufficient words to say how much it meant for me to see her happy – taken care of, nurtured, loved. It’s exactly what you want for the people closest to you.
Fast forward 4(ish) years. They had a happy home, the four of them (well, 8, if you count the cats and guinea pigs). Suddenly (it seemed to me) Gri suggested they get married. Anya had always said they weren’t planning to – they were committed, permanent, so there was no need. But I always held out hope that one day she’d get to have the “the big wedding experience” (and, if I’m honest, I wanted the chance to have the sister-of-the-bride experience, and to celebrate what they had found together). Of course, she accepted. And, of course, since they wanted a no-muss, no-fuss small family affair, it turned into two weddings in two states with all the fixin’s. The first wedding was a family shindig in San Diego, where my parents and grandparents live. This was for the granfolk who could no longer travel, local and family friends. It was held in my parents’ home, and was laid back and informal. With no officiant or legal exchanges, it was really a pre-wedding wedding. There was a brief ceremony, in which some promises and rings were exchanged, followed by all manner of jovial silliness. That’s the thing you have to know about these guys – they don’t take themselves too seriously :). After the ceremony Grisha got knighted, by my mom, under our family crest. Then there was food, and wine, and toasts. Leo (my nephew) played the guitar and danced “the worm”, our parents danced the tango and Anya and Grisha read a poem together . After dinner, in true Russian fashion, out came the guitars and singing and dancing ensued. And yes, I took pictures – what else could I do? As for the second wedding – well, you’ll have to stay tuned for the blog part 2 ;).
I could spend many pages describing why I think Anya and Grisha were meant for each other – why they fit together perfectly, how great of a dad Gri is to the kids and how absolutely thrilled I am that he has joined our family. But I could never do it justice, and then I’d just become a sappy sobbing mess. So as usual, I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.
To my dear sibling – you deserve every bit of happiness. Milk it for all it’s worth.
Juniper Spring Photography is based in San Jose, California, and specializes in documentary wedding photography.