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Shanna and Shantih are Married!! (But not to each other)
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Shanna and Shantih are Married!! (But not to each other)

Wedding Cake

This past weekend, I made wedding cakes and attended the weddings for two of our employees — one former and one present.  One wedding was a non-traditional couple having a very traditional wedding while the other was a traditional couple having an extremely non-traditional wedding.  I loved them both.

Shanna worked for us for a couple of years as our baker and part time cake decorator.  With her great energy and sense of humor, Shanna was a real asset to the bakery — not just because she was a great baker, but because she brought a lot of positive energy into the bakery which buoyed everyone.  Over the years, I’ve really come to appreciate how much one person can bring the whole space down and make a crappy place for everyone to work and how much one person can lift a space up and get everyone to look forward to coming to work.  Shanna was definitely the latter.  When Shanna met Kari she was immediately smitten and talked about her constantly.  Kari came with three young kids, which didn’t faze Shanna one bit.  She was on board from the beginning with the idea of helping raise the kids.  Unfortunately for us, this meant that Shanna wanted a job with more long term prospects and benefits than our little bakery offered.  So she found a job using her nursing degree that paid much more than we could afford.  I was sorry to see her go, but completely understood.  So about a year after she left us and soon after the Supreme Court overturned Prop 8, we got a “save the date” from Shanna and Kari.  Of course, our wedding present to them was the wedding cake.  Shanna had two requests — that Bernie personally do the tasting with them and that I personally decorate her cake.  We were happy to oblige.  About a week before the wedding, I started thinking we should do a “groom’s cake” as a surprise (which might be a real surprise considering there was no traditional “groom.”).  Shanna’s a huge Kansas City Chiefs fan.  The Chiefs are having a fantastic year, so I decided we should do a cake of her favorite team.  She was very surprised and, I think, touched.  Their wedding was held at Bernardo Winery and was quite traditional in format.  We had a great time and it was great to see Shanna so happy.  So here’s Shanna’s cake along with Shanna holding her groom’s cake the day after the wedding.  I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures of the couple on the big day itself, but it was an evening affair and my cell phone didn’t get any pictures that were halfway decent.

 

Now to Shantih, one of the quirkiest guys I’ve ever known.  Shantih had been a customer for a while and kept asking Bernie for a job.  I had been a firm “NO WAY” for over a year, as I thought he was just too much an odd duck to hire.  He finally wore Bernie down and Bernie ended up hiring him, much to my great concern.  Now 8 years later, I have to say I was completely wrong about my concerns.  There’s no question that Shantih has his quirks.  He’s been known to show up to work in mime make-up and work his entire shift without saying a word — merely miming to customers.  In fact, their wedding invitation had a picture of his fiancé, Amanda, with Shantih in white face and a dorky bowler hat peaking out from behind her.  He adopts foreign accents routinely — often so foreign, they don’t sound like an accent any actual person on this planet has.   And he routinely grows moustaches and beards to style rather exotically — he even entered a moustache styling competition at one point.  But as odd as he is, he’s just the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet.  He’s funny, charming and vulnerable in a way that just endears him to nearly everyone.  He’s great for us because he genuinely loves Twiggs and really looks out for us when he’s working — and even when he’s not.

Of course, Shantih wanted a wedding where they would march to a different drummer — literally.  He wanted to get married in the middle of Park Boulevard underneath the University Heights Street sign — half a block from the Twiggs on Park Boulevard where he works.  Much to everyone’s amazement, he was actually able to arrange for Park Boulevard to be closed for two hours for their ceremony.  He had everyone meet in Trolley Barn Park and then, wearing a circus ring master’s outfit pieced together from thrift store purchases, led a procession to the sign while he played a trumpet with a rag tag band including that different drummer.  Following Shantih’s instruction, we all formed an aisle standing on either side of the middle turn lane once we got to the sign.  Then Amanda, radiant in the white fairy outfit she made herself, walked down the “aisle” and met Shantih underneath the sign.  Of course, they’d written their own vows which were quite touching.  Amanda promised to love all of Shantih’s eccentricities, present and ones yet to emerge.  Shantih had a sweet speech that included audience participation we’d rehearsed in the park prior to marching to the sign.  Once they were pronounced man and wife, Shantih picked up his trumpet and Amanda picked up a baritone horn.  Then they played their way back down the aisle and into Bourbon Street, a bar where they had their reception.

Like any good wedding reception, the cake was a focal point!  Shantih wanted a carousel for his wedding cake with faces and mirrors.  Amanda wanted it to be colorful.  Shantih had done a quick sketch but practically fell over himself telling me to design what I thought would look good because I was the “artist.”  I think he was concerned about offending me by designing the cake himself.  But I just wanted to give them something they would love.  I really had fun with the cake.  With Shantih, I just had to include some moustaches with the design.  It was quite a conversation piece, if I do say so myself.    So here’s a picture of me with the cake, a picture of the happy couple, a picture of the wedding happening under the sign and a picture of Shantih and Amanda leading the parade post wedding into the bar.

 

The reception was pretty remarkable.  There were a few relatives to be sure, but most of the 200+ attendees were folks from the neighborhood who knew Shantih from Twiggs.  There were 20 year old students and an 80 something retired school teacher who loves Shantih because he carries her order out to her car so she doesn’t have to look for a parking space and walk.  There were folks in costume and some not.  There were just folks from all walks of life who normally would never have gotten together, but they came together because Shantih is so charming in such a non-threatening and quirky way.  As I looked around the reception, I really began to appreciate what a remarkable person Shantih is.  Weddings are generally a mish mash of people, but most are there due to familial obligations, not because they really want to be.  But everyone was there because they chose to be there.

So if you’re single and despair of ever finding someone, take heart.  Shantih is proof that there’s someone for everyone.  And if you’re an odd duck and despair of ever finding your place in this world, take heart.  There are corners of this world like University Heights which will not only tolerate your eccentricity, but embrace it and celebrate it.  Congratulations, Shantih.  Bernie and I are very grateful you’re part of our lives.  And we’re thrilled for you.  May you and Amanda have a long and successful marriage.  And wherever that different drummer leads you, Bernie’s and my love and best wishes will follow you always.

 

 

 
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