My Cousin Married Me

and yours can, too!

Ryan, Alyssa & Dan

My cousin Ryan has been my best friend since day one (well, since the early 90s when he prematurely graced us with his presence). We’ve vacationed together, “man hunted” together, and once, we *accidentally* ate a box of chocolate laxatives together (do not recommend). Our interesting-from-the-outside, unique dynamic has consistently sparked questions among family members, as no topics are off limits between us.

For two years straight in our teens, we talked on the phone every single night, often combing through the phone book for pizza restaurants to prank call. Ryan, my ultimate “ride or die,” even took a $200 taxi cab to Long Island at the age of 11 to ‘rescue’ me from a sleazy bar. I puked rum punch on his shoes thereafter.

Of course, I introduced Ryan to my boyfriend Dan at the get-go, and they built a strong relationship over eight plus years (mostly through their ridiculously large appetites). When Dan and I finally got engaged, it was only apt to ask Ryan to marry us, which was met with his signature flamboyant excitement and immediate planning:


In Massachusetts, it’s surprisingly easy and cost-effective to obtain a one-day pass for a friend or family member to legally perform the ceremony. So, with the legalities checked off, we embarked on a collaborative writing process, aiming to ‘surprise’ Dan at the ceremony with our brilliant masterpiece and Ryan’s impeccable delivery.

Here’s a clip of the opener:

Dan and I hit the jackpot, discovering old emails to one another in our first summer of dating. Although 19 years old, marriage was somehow top-of-mind for us down the line (#honeymoonphase). Instead of formal vows, we read our email exchanges at the ceremony (read more about our unconventional style here), yielding many laughs (myself included).

Dan Vows

Alyssa Vows

Back to 2016, eight-and-a-half years later. We followed the emails with some forward-looking promises, but kept them lighthearted. You know, he won’t fight me for the window seat on airplanes, and I’ll stay awake during road trips when I’m in charge of navigation.

The only thing missing from the evening was the top hat Ryan really wanted to wear (firm “no”). And, the word “abreast,” which we strategically (and unethically) removed from the famous Rumi poem he recited mid-ceremony, as our combined maturity level together is around the age of six.

Most importantly, Ryan is, in fact, available for hire if you need an officiant.

Check out video below if you want to hear the email exchange:


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