My sister got married a few years ago to an unsuspecting young man who is originally from...the Midwest. As in the cornfed, flat, calm middle of this Great Land of Ours. He was ill-prepared for the enormous, loud, and *ahem* colorful sprawl that includes our family and friends.
First of all, it is a family tradition, if one can, to get married on Halloween or close to it. It was my maternal grandmother's birthday, and it's also my parents' anniversary. The year that Little Sister got married, Halloween fell on Friday and the wedding was set for Saturday, November 1st.
Shy little flower that I am (and soul of probity), my sister, upon informing us that it would be a theme rehearsal in costume, turned to me and deadpanned, "No cleavage in church." This forced me into an immediate mental revision of my costume, since she'd just decreed that my favorite leather corset was out of the question. (Hey, I would've worn something under it in church. My parents and godparents are elderly. I didn't want them to die from shock less than 24 hours before the wedding.) The thing is, you have to be specific. If you don't say I can't, then it follows that I can. We'll get back to what I did wear in just a second.
The groomsmen, all from the Midwest like my brother-in-law, arrived with various costumes. One guy, in particular, had rented and transported an entire Captain America costume to Smalltownland for this event, complete with shield. He ran around the church yelling, "I'm Cap-tain A-mer-i-ca!" And then there was one of the Three American Tenors, who came rolling in with a tiara and a sash emblazoned with "Miss America". The best man, the groom's brother, is a Presbyterian minister near Walt Disney World in Florida. His family came as the major characters in Peter Pan: he was Captain Hook, his wife was Wendy Darling, and their children (ringbearer and flower girl) were Peter and Tinkerbell.
On the bride's side, my best friend, who along with me had been decorating first the reception hall and then the church all day, did not have time to put on her costume. One of my sister's sorority sisters rolled out as the little girl from "The Ring", and her best friend came as a 'cartoon witch' (since she does not celebrate Halloween for religious reasons, it is a testament to her love for my sister that she complied at all).
And then there was yours truly.
The "no cleavage in church" directive had annoyed me to no end, so I decided to make the most of NOT falling out of my costume: black lipstick, freaky spiked up hair extensions, fishnets, shiny patent platform boots, and a black skirt held together up the front by giant safety pins- completed with a black PVC top- however, per the bride's command, NO CLEAVAGE showed in this getup. I'm pretty sure by the time I rolled out of the church basement that night, she'd realized that cleavage was the least of her concerns. My godmother cringed when she saw me; that alone was worth the price of admission.
My sister started to complain as I held up a warning finger to silence her. I hadn't slept in three days and I was zero-tolerant: "You said no cleavage. I want to point out to you that there IS no cleavage, but other than that...well, at least I didn't have time to put in my fangs." I pivoted on one chunky four-inch heel and marched off, leaving her standing there in the aisle with her mouth agape.
The whole shebang was rounded out with my sister in a thrift-store wedding gown over a hot pink turtleneck and my brother-in-law in an orange polyester tuxedo...as he is almost six and a half feet tall, I'm still trying to reconcile where in the world he laid hands on that.
At the conclusion of the festivities, the pastor said he'd never been through a rehearsal quite like that in his rather long career. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a compliment, although to his credit he has a great sense of humor. A lesser man might've heaved the whole lot of us out into the street.
On the day of the wedding, though, a charity motorcycle road-rally came through town about an hour before the ceremony. Just after it was over, a lone biker returning through town got caught at the light in front of the church. My best friend, all four-foot-eleven of her, marched out into the street and asked, "Would you mind letting the bride have her picture made on your Harley?" Being a really nice man, and as it turned out, the son of Smalltownland's longtime Bookmobile librarian, he obliged. He even loaned her his Gargoyle sunglasses. It was the perfect end to a wacky wedding...if you don't count the keg in the back of the truck at the reception.
We're all about class and dignity back home. Truly.