Letter: It takes a village

Photo by Gabriel Rodriguez/for The Cordova Times
Photo by Gabriel Rodriguez/for The Cordova Times

Every piece of my wedding attire was handcrafted for this special occasion.

My shawl was knitted by my sister Cully Ann Marie Merritt, not by blood but from my heart, Cully used to babysit me as I was young and as I grew up our relationship grew into a friendship. We had hand dyed the yarn several weeks back with fresh fireweed leaves that we gathered from the roadside.

The wolf, which is buttoned onto the shawl, was ethically harvested by my good friend Candace Nielsen and her husband Matt Nielsen from Cold Bay, Alaska.

My earrings were thoughtfully created in Cedar Bay by my friend Brittany Banks of Alutiiq Angels. I am so honored to wear a piece from her and her family’s flourishing business.

My necklace and wedding bands were carefully crafted by a friend Shelby Stoltzfus-Avis of Metal in the Mountains. The detailed work in our copper and silver bands reflects the beautiful colors in the hand-picked stone that rests on my chest.

And last but definitely not the least, is my beautiful and wonderful lifelong friend Casey Landaluce who handmade my wedding dress. Each stitch made with love she finished it the night before the wedding with a hand sewn hem.


I am so thankful for each and every one of these amazing ladies. Each stitch, solder, bead and material are embedded with love and I felt that the day of my wedding. I always think about the saying how “it takes a village to raise a child” and it sure does, and it follows them all the way into adulthood. I wanted to publicly thank all of you for making my special day much more special with every piece that was gifted to me. I love you all.

Raven Madison