Gary & Kanika

 Photo: Empiria Studios

Photo: Empiria Studios

February 19th.

Forever a  special day in  

Steller Hair Company History.

 

One year ago, 2/19/2017, we had the opportunity to support two important individuals:

Our Neighbors.

 

 

The Story:

 

On Valentine’s Day 2017, Gary and Kanika came in for their hair appointments at Steller Hair.  Kanika was getting a cut and color with Jamee, Gary was getting  a fresh cut from Felicia.  

I (Katie) was managing the salon front desk, when Felicia came to me and asked if I would give Gary a beard trim.  I had met Gary before, and was happy to accommodate.

 

After sitting Gary down in my chair, I could sense that he was overwhelmed.  When I asked how he was, he told me that him and Kanika were suppose to leave for India that Sunday (February 19th) to visit family.  (Gary was also going to take this opportunity to ask for Kanika's hand in marriage.) 

As we continued to talk, Gary went on to tell me that their immigration lawyer was concerned that if they left America, there was a chance that it would be difficult for Kanika to return.

Keep in mind, our conversation took place during the chaos of executive orders that were being issued regarding individuals who were not citizens of the United States.  Gary was a citizen, Kanika was here on a H-1B Visa.

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Gary shared with me that the (valid) fear of not being able to have Kanika in his life made it clear to him that he needed to marry her, and marry her now. 

They decided to postpone their trip to India, and get married instead. 

A beard trim takes 15 minutes.  Within that 15 minute conversation, I had a “ah-ha” moment:

Steller Hair Company is closed on Sundays, which means that (obviously) we could host a wedding!

We had an opportunity.  An opportunity to love, support and give.  Gary and Kanika are our neighbors, friends, clients, and community.   We wanted their wedding to be a reflection of love, not fear.  

 

After offering to host their wedding at the salon, Gary went over to Kanika and they talked it over.  They both agreed that it would be a huge relief to have their wedding at Steller.  They made it clear to us that we didn't need to do anything. All they needed was  to have a space for a few friends to join them and that was more than enough.

 

I asked them if there was anything else we could do to help their day feel special (keep in mind, this wedding was going to happen in 5 days), and they gave us free reign to do whatever we could. 

Honestly, I was planning on deep cleaning the salon, and hopefully finding someone to make a cake.  

 

I asked their permission to reach out and see if I could rally up some troops in our community to add to their important occasion, and they said yes.   I then posted this on Facebook:

 
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It was a matter of minutes before I started to receive an abundance of messages.  Some were concerned that I was spreading misinformation on the status of people who were in the United States on work visas, and others were offering their services to help this day feel special.

 

After hearing the debates around the fear that Gary and Kanika were experiencing, I made sure to research what factual risks were involved in their situation. 

We live in a world where fear spreads like wildfire over the dry timbers of social media, and the last thing I wanted to do was unintentionally add to it.  

City Pages took an interest in this story, helped me navigate truth from fiction, and put words to the situation better than I could (CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE)

Regardless of any political conversation, the climate we live in creates intense fear for countless people in our communities.  Just because something isn't YOUR problem, doesn't mean it isn't a problem. 

 

Our main goal in throwing this wedding:

 

Gary and Kanika deserve to be loved, supported, and surrounded by their community.  

 

Within 5 DAYS we organized a wedding.  Who is “we”?

 

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-Fulton Brewery: Donated beer.

-Jonny Pops: Donated fancy popsicles 

-Maddy+Maize: Donated Gourmet Popcorn

-Frenchie’s Nails: Welcomed Kanika and gave her a fresh mani/pedi for her big day.

-Foxglove Market: Donated Kanika’s bouquet, along with all floral decorations.

-Maker Of Rad Designs: Created beautiful invitations and programs.

-Arcs Value Village (@ThriftStylist): Took Gary, Kanika and (Gary’s son), Gabriel to find their wedding-day outfits.

-Sibella Events: Donated seating, tables, decorations and music for the ceremony.

-Kelsey Lee-Karol:  Made CUSTOM wedding rings!

-Empiria Studios: Donated their time and talent to document the experience through photography.

-Private sponsor: Donate videography, as well as a LIVE video stream to their family in India

-Pizza Nea: Donated the ENTIRE reception, along with serving authentic Indian appetizers.

-Nora McInerny: Officiated the wedding ceremony

-Steller Hair Company: Hair/Makeup, Wedding Coordinator, Host. 

 

 

WATCH THIS VIDEO (UNLESS YOU DON'T WANT TO CRY.....THEN DON'T WATCH....ACTUALLY STILL WATCH IT)

 

This day was more than a wedding. 

This day was a representation that community is stronger than hate.  Community is stronger than fear.  Community is essential to safety. We can't keep pain, fear or sadness from seeping into our lives.

we can love, support and protect each other, despite it.