Cousin’s Wedding Was ‘Cloud Nine’ Event
By Vasilisa Hamilton
Here I am in Atlanta at the J.W. Marriott in Buckhead—Valentine’s Day 2009. God has blessed me indeed, and my heart is merry. My cousin Dawn, the beautiful, doe-eyed Ph.D. candidate who earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Howard University, is getting married to Sam, the man of her dreams. I’m so excited about this wedding that I believe I can fly. Dawn is already on cloud nine.
I am thrilled to see beloved family and friends for a happy occasion—not a funeral or memorial service—and not in a “season of distress and grief,” as the song “Sweet Hour of Prayer” mentions.
Dawn is one of what I call my two “dishwasher-detergent cousins.” She and Joy, my other dishwasher-detergent cousin, share their names with popular consumer products. Joy married in Maryland (no pun intended in summer 2001 in an African-themed wedding. I haven’t seen some of my relatives since then.
Today’s wedding was Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July all at once. While there were no fireworks, it was more than spectacular. Magnificent red roses cascaded from luminous candelabras. Delicate chiffon adorned the winding staircase and exquisite crystal chandeliers. There was the pouring of the sands (red and white, of course), and the ringing of the bells, a game in which bells were placed on each dinner table. When the DJ played “Ring My Bell,” Anita Ward’s disco hit, each person seated at the table rang the bell. Every time the music stopped, the person holding the bell won a prize.
Everyone grooved to “The Electric Slide.” No wedding reception is complete without it. There was also a “candy” bar lined with apothecary jars, each one filled with Jolly Ranchers, Twizzlers, Cherry Sours, Starburst Fruit Chews, Laffy Taffy, and cinnamon Imperials. Each place setting held a personalized chocolate bar with the guest’s name on it.
A ballet company whirled and twirled to Stevin Wonder’s “Ribbon In The Sky.” Family and friends held hands and formed a circle as the newlyweds greeted each guest with a hug, kiss, fist bump, or high-five within the allotted time frame. For winning this promotional contest, Dawn and Sam won a honeymoon trip to Hawaii.
Although I fancy myself a wordsmith, in many ways, I’m at a loss for words. The entrance of the bride was breathtaking, as she was serenaded by “When I First Saw You,” Jamie Foxx’s hit song from the movie Dreamgirls: “When I first saw you, I said, ‘Oh my! Oh my… That’s a dream … That’s my dream.’”
Vasilisa will give a mini presentation on “What Being Black Means to Me” at 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28 during the Black History Month program at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1725 Gervais Street, Columbia, S.C.
When Vas graduated from Ridgeland High School, Ridgeland, S.C., at age 16, ranked third in her class.
Vas started first grade at age 4, Jonesville Elementary School, Jonesville, S.C.
Along with her best friend, Katrina Busby, Vas was one of only two eighth graders ever allowed to join the RHS yearbook staff in 1978, after undergoing a rigorous interview process with teachers/advisors Ms. Hyman and Ms. Sanders.
Vasilisa has been an avid collector of gemstones and minerals since she was in third grade (age 6).