Christine D’Ercole is a motivational speaker, athlete, and Peloton instructor. Her Wordshops span topics from body image to addiction and loss to corporate cultural growth and team building. When she’s not writing, leading Wordshops, or delivering keynote speeches, Christine is racing bicycles. She is a Masters World Champion and ten-time Masters National Champion.
Peloton is where Romy was first introduced to her, and Christine’s mantra of “I am, I can, I will, I do!” would often serve as inspiration during rides and projects.
Christine D’Ercole and Brian Hicks’ love story is nothing if not unique, and proof positive that love can happen any way, with anyone—often when you’re least expecting it. Theirs began from 3,000 miles away, between screens. Christine is a senior instructor at Peloton; she gave Brian a shoutout during a live ride, asking about the username he was riding under, “BreatheNitrox.” He later sent her a Facebook message explaining the name: He’s a scuba diver and underwater photographer, and nitrox is a gas mix that allows him to stay underwater longer.
They exchanged more messages and connected over shared interests and goals; namely, her bucket-list goal of scuba diving and his interest in finding a good road bike (as a 10-time national champion track cyclist, she was just the person to ask for advice).
Christine found herself falling for Brian, a surprise even to herself, as she’d long identified as a gay woman. And yet, “I remember feeling this sort of swell in my heart and hearing these words in my head: I REALLY like this guy,” Christine remembers. “Until one day, ‘I just love him’ rang in my head a little louder. A lot louder. The volume of my heart couldn’t be turned down. All I could do was accept and surrender. I had fallen in love.”
On Christine’s 50th birthday—the day she originally wanted to be married by—Brian finally got down on one knee. “We went to Aska, a two Michelin star restaurant in Williamsburg,” she remembers. “After languishing over every course of their divine tasting menu, he excused himself to the restroom. Upon his return I couldn’t help but notice a sizable cube in his pocket.” They went out on the patio for a photo. “It had just rained passionately. The air was heavy and steaming. The waiter took a couple pictures then left us there. Brian put his hands on my shoulders. He said words. Words I had been waiting for him to say, for so long. And it was all a blur. He got on one knee. All I wanted finally happened.”
It was after Christine took to social media and announced her engagement to Brian that Romy, taking the “I am, I can, I will, I do” mantra to heart, reached out to Christine and offered her services. “I was afraid she would think I was just some crazed fangirl, but that turned out to not be the case. I offered my services to her, first as a dressmaker, then as an embroiderer.”
Romy impressed Christine so much with her work that the two just had to collaborate. But Christine had already selected a wedding dress, what else was there to do?
Christine and Brian finally said “I do” in front of 125 guests on May 28, 2022.
Their ceremony also included a handfasting ritual. “It is an ancient Celtic tradition and we both have deep roots there,” Christine says. She collabed once again with Faden Design Studios on a custom embroidered handfasting ribbon. “Romy is a master embroiderer and she created an extraordinary heirloom textile that we will treasure forever,” Christine says. “It showcases a series of motifs representing everything we are passionate about and the things that brought us together and keep us together.” The symbols included an octopus, a camera, a manta ray, a bicycle, a bee, flowers for Christine’s daughter, and a feather for her father.
“Romy is a master embroiderer and she created an extraordinary heirloom textile that we will treasure forever.”
– Christine D’Ercole
The handfasting scarf was a collaboration between Romy and Christine, and the two would spend many hours on Zoom calls or the phone, hashing out details, sharing pictures and ideas as to how the six foot long scarf would come together.
Along the way, the two would become friends.
When the handfasting scarf was complete, Romy shipped it off to Christine.
Christine called the moment she had the scarf in her hands, crying. “It’s absolutely gorgeous” was what she said through tears of joy. “Thank you.”
The handfasting scarf is packed with details, including the wedding date on the antique camera, the phase of the moon for the wedding day, and more.
But that’s not where Romy’s involvement ended. In addition, she would even help dress the groom:
“I found a design of Van Gogh’s ‘Almond Blossoms’ that I thought would make a perfect ascot,” Christine says. “We used this to pull in the deep turquoise, which suggested the underwater world, and also was a color tie to the crinoline underskirt on my dress. Romy McCloskey of Faden Design Studios found a silk scarf with the design and made it into an ascot!”
The unique accessory was just the splash of color the groom’s outfit needed.
“‘Almond Blossoms’ has always been a personal favorite, and I was delighted to help my friend again.”
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