My friends’ story has gone viral this week, as it should, because it’s an AWESOME story full of travel and love and two sweet people. But, of course, that also means that there has been some negativity. So to counter that negative energy, here’s the blog post I wrote about them that never got published. Now’s a good a time as any, right?
For a couple of weeks in October, my world was a whirlwind of wedding planning — emailing photographers, searching for venues, finding the perfect outfits, last-minute fittings, picking out the right shoes and accessories, figuring out transportation… you know, the usual wedding-time scramblings. I certainly wasn’t doing all this for MY wedding, nor was I busting my ass for one of my close friends, or even a photography client. I was doing it all for two total strangers.
Lisa Gant and Alex Pelling sold almost all their wordly goods and quite their jobs in Manchester, England to travel around the world for a couple of years, and getting married in every country. So far Lisa and Alex have been married in the UK, in Canada, in Hawaii, even in an airport, and are currently winding their way back to the US from South America. And all along the way they’ve been getting help from total strangers and friends alike.
But it’s really the way in which these weddings are being pulled off that is so incredible and — I mean this in a rare-for-me moment of total emotional sincerity — wonderfully life-affirming!
When I explain their story to people in my life, everyone’s first response is to always ask “why?” And, I have to admit, when I first heard what they were up to, I also questioned it. It was a strange idea and I couldn’t see the purpose in it — it seemed like a total fucking pointless hassle. I mean, I had a rough time planning ONE wedding, let alone thirty! The mind boggles.
I had the honor of helping with both their ninth and tenth weddings, and our lives are forever changed because of them.
Their ninth wedding was a Vampire-themed wedding at at a Beverly Hills wine bar on Halloween night.
The morning of their wedding I drove them over to meet Donna of Clockwork Couture, who hooked them up with the most AMAZING vampire wedding outfits I’ve ever seen. That was already generous enough of Donna, but, in the spirit of this whole adventure, she went even MORE out of her way to hand-make a dark red ascot to give Alex’s outfit that final piece of awesome. We all sat around the shop as Donna busted out a piece of fabric and the sewing machine, and got to work… all for a couple she had just met.
It wasn’t just the fashion gods that were kind to Lisa and Alex — the photography gods were also smiling on the them as well. They somehow got Bwright Photography to shoot the wedding. The brother’s Wright are HOT twin brothers who shoot with amazing vintage film cameras! They killed it, of course, as you can see. And, just like with every volunteer vendor we’ve encountered, we felt like we’d known the brothers for a long time — we all hung out, drank wine, chatted about amazing cameras, and took fun photos and generally had an amazing Halloween night as new friends.
During their ceremony, their officiant, Reverend Marni Martin (who ALSO volunteered her time for the cause) pointed out that their wedding bands were possibly going to be the most blessed wedding bands that ever existed. By the end of Lisa and Alex’s journey, they will have been infused with so much positive energy from all their commitment ceremonies from all over the world that their usage in their final and official wedding will be so powerful and incredibly meaningful. And THAT statement really resonated with me. It became a symbol of the whole point of their crazy adventure — collecting not only memories and life experiences but blessings from all the friends they make along the way. And doing it all out of pure love. Which, I think, is the reason why total strangers DO go out of their way to help.
The rest of the week, we hung out like old friends, talking about all their experiences traveling around the world and silly times in their van named Peggy, they taught us how to make pizzas from scratch, and we taught them how to Dougie. And then it was time for wedding number ten in Las Vegas.
I will take almost any excuse to road trip, so off we zoomed to Las Vegas, where I introduced them to the concept of a “drive-thru wedding.”
All of this is to say, we went out of our way to help Lisa and Alex for the same reason that wedding planner Kelli and photographer Jonas Seaman had helped them out some 960 miles up the coast in Seattle.
Which, I’m sure, was for the same reasons that Sewit, the speaker for the Coast Salish Nation, married them in an amalgamation of a traditional First Nations Community wedding and a western union in Canada.
None of us NEEDED to do this. But we all volunteered anyway. And I believe that Alex and Lisa’s crazy love quest has changed each and every one of us for the best. Because, like their rings, these kids are blessed with so much love and positive energy from all sorts of people and places, and you can’t help but feel it radiating from them. It’s infectious (in the best way).
So, if you find yourself in the midst of their wedding path, you are invited to their wedding (wherever it may be) and you should go, or help if you can! Because being a part of this in any way has touched my life in a deep and profound way. And, even though everyone may at first be finding themselves asking “WHY?” at the end they find themselves thinking that it all makes more sense than they might have ever thought it would.