logo

Real Wedding

Sweet and Eclectic New York Wedding: Ericka and Emily

Bryan Sargent Photography

Sept. 20, 2014

Ericka and Emily met serving in the Peace Corps. They were in a group of 40 volunteers who went to Ethiopia together in 2008.

They had two distinct beginnings to their engagement. Initially, in the fall of 2012, Emily proposed to Ericka on the couch of their apartment after getting Ericka’s father’s blessing. Emily had to get the phone number out of Ericka’s phone while Ericka was in the shower, and sneak away when he called her back.
The second time they started their engagement, it was organic. They went through a period apart, and when they came back together, it just became something they were planning. There was no proposal that time. Emily says it was better that way. The original proposal introduced an odd dynamic into their partnership. They always came to choices together, and the fact that one asked the other was odd compared to the way they usually did things.
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Ericka was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer five months before they were planning to walk down the aisle. They had to rally with funds and morale. They raised enough money in record time to still have their wedding as planned and to pay for medical expenses. Ericka had a double mastectomy in July and went to her dress fitting with surgical drains. They both wanted the wedding to happen, and despite the adversity, wanted it to be great.
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
As Ericka’s caretaker, Emily had to take on extra responsibilities with planning, like finding a wedding team to support them on the wedding day, as a planner or coordinator was outside of the budget.
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Lack of funds meant becoming very creative with how to have a stunning wedding with little money. They used a practically free venue for the ceremony and an affordable loft space in Brooklyn, where they live.
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Some of the details were particularly special. Doing a traditional Ethiopian dance during their first dance was very significant as their relationship started in Ethiopia. Ericka’s dress and flower crown also mattered a lot, as did the best men’s suspenders, bow ties and pocket squares, and the wedding cake topper.
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography

Emily’s favorite wedding day memories were walking down the aisle with their parents then joining together; their first dance, Ericka singing “Eight Days a Week” to her and dancing with her mother. The toasts were also really touching.

Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography
Ericka most enjoyed the first look, dancing with her dad, their vows, the two swans that lined up in the lake as they had their ceremony and seeing everyone so happy for them.
Bryan Sargent Photography
Ericka and Emily recommend that engaged couples stay connected to each other. “This celebration is an expression of your relationship and what it is in the world. Stay true to what matters to the two of you and don’t settle,” wrote Ericka.
Bryan Sargent Photography
They also suggest getting lots of help from friends and your community. Don’t try to do it alone and take advantage of offers to help as your loved ones really want to.
Bryan Sargent Photography
Bryan Sargent Photography

As a postscript, Ericka and Emily shared that their fairytale wedding unfortunately did not result in a fairytale ending. However, they wanted to honor the beauty that was their wedding, and while they are still in the healing process, they worked on this piece together. Their relationship was imperfect, but their wedding was nothing short of an expression of their true love. We wish them both a happy future.

Their LGBTQ-Friendly Vendors

Photographer: Bryan Sargent Photography // Reception Venue: Bat Haus

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

More Real Weddings