Two parties are better than one. the stranger

Erika Taylor and Steven Birklid might never have met if it weren't for Magic: The Gathering. Steven, a former professional poker player, took up Magic (it's less lucrative but has more dragons), and while visiting Seattle for a tournament, he couch-surfed into Erika's heart. "I immediately started freaking out and turning red," Erika said of the first time she saw Steven. They were first married in Steven's hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, far enough north that there was sunshine at midnight during the ceremony. The couple wanted a second wedding because many people they love couldn't make it to Fairbanks, and because, of course, two parties are better than one.

The house in Brier where Erika and Steven had their second wedding was equipped for at least five parties, with a beer-pong table in the garage and a sort of ongoing booze potluck and make-your-own cupcake station in the kitchen. Their friends and family gathered in the front yard, and Steven recited a poem he wrote for Erika. Erika said, "The only thing that really has to be perfect is the person you fall asleep next to every night. And that person doesn't have to be perfect, what you have with them does. I found that with you." They kissed, inspiring cheers, and then there was a surprise—Erika's parents renewed their vows. Erika gathered her parents and sister around her and said: "Even though shit really sucks sometimes, it's going to be okay. Because we have the four of us." "The five of us," her dad added, nodding to Steven. Steven high-fived him, eyes full of happy tears. "Now let's eat and drink!" Erika yelled, and she led the joyful assembly to a feast of Ezell's under a banner of lyrics by fun., one of the couple's favorite bands. It read: "Together, a sandwich with everything on it." recommended