• Deborah Yaffe

The perfect happiness of the union

"You have some news to hear, now you are come back, that will rather surprise you."

"Have I?" said he quietly, and looking at her; "of what nature?"

"Oh! the best nature in the world -- a wedding."

--Emma, ch. 49


Who can’t use some good news these days? And so I was delighted to read this past weekend about a recent marriage made in Janeite heaven – or, at least, a marriage involving a Janeite who met her future husband at a Star Wars gathering. (Close enough.)


The bride in question, Bianca Hernandez, gained Janeite fame as half of the duo who brought us Drunk Austen, a witty and pop-culture-savvy Austen site that became the center of a vibrant and diverse fan community. Sadly, that partnership imploded last summer – Hernandez told her side of the story here -- but Hernandez remains a strong voice for inclusiveness in fandoms, including the Austen fandom.


I had the good fortune to meet an elegantly costumed Hernandez at the Jane Austen Society of North America’s 2019 annual general meeting, held in Williamsburg. (We had a delightful conversation during a Regency ball! What could be more Jane Austen than that?) At the time, she mentioned her Star Wars-loving boyfriend, so I wasn’t completely shocked to stumble over a New York Times story announcing that they had tied the knot last month, in a pandemic-appropriate, guest-free wedding at their California home.


Although Hernandez is now a member of JASNA’s board, she hasn’t abandoned her other fandoms, and certainly not the one that brought her together with her groom, Frank Knight. Accordingly, she accessorized her gown with a Princess Leia belt and carried a bouquet with a homemade light-saber handle. (After four years together, he’s also read Jane Austen; the Times reports that his favorite of the novels is Northanger Abbey.) The dress looks to have been white satin, or a reasonable approximation thereof. Take that, Mrs. Elton!


Both members of the happy couple are now going by Hernandez-Knight -- a bit like Jane Austen’s older brother Edward, who also changed his name to Knight in honor of the wealthy couple who adopted him as their heir. Here’s wishing the Hernandez-Knights a future filled with Empire waists, light sabers, health, and happiness.

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