Weddings, Past & Present

2016-08-12 10.00.40

Copyright TaraKA & the Tara Chronicles, 2016

The current heat wave we are experiencing here in the mid-Atlantic states is almost unbearable. Todd hasn’t ridden in days. I haven’t run in nearly twice as long. I just can’t do it.

We catered a wedding last weekend that was eventful to say the least. The staff was running around getting the house ready, and we were all sweating like characters in Dante’s Inferno. Bee and I joked about our sexy boob sweat, and then Dee chimed in about swamp ass and I nearly wet myself. This, folks, is the behind-the-scenes stuff that keeps up morale.

The A/C was running inside, but this couple had chosen to be married in our courtyard, so we had a number of jobs to be done outside. As I usually run the bar, my job kept me mostly inside. But then I was called to set up the outdoor beverage station under an umbrella’ed table, and by the time I returned inside I looked like I’d taken a shower. In my clothes.

While everyone complained about the heat, I was inspired to recount a wedding I was in on the hottest day of the year in 1988. Well technically, after doing a little research, it was July 17th that was the hottest day that year, at 102 degrees. But that date, through the third week of August, marked a “higher than average” span of temperatures. I’ll say.

The date was August 13th and, while the historical record says it was 91 degrees, the heat index was easily near 100. A longtime dear friend was marrying her high school sweetheart, and I was honored to be a part of the wedding. At least, until the pool began to swell in my bra.

Wendy was married in the same Catholic church that my parents were married in – so you can see how small our large world really was, in some ways. She wore a beautiful full-length white satin gown, adorned with pearls and beading, and fitted sleeves with the puffy shoulders common in the 1980s. Like all brides, she chose beauty over comfort, and paid no mind to the season. The bridesmaids wore floor-length royal blue taffeta gowns with baby blue cap sleeves (pictured).

After the ceremony, the guests adjourned to the Elks lodge a few blocks away and the bridal party went to have formal pictures taken. I don’t remember what the bride and groom rode in, but I will never forget what the bridal party was treated to. We rode in rumble seats to a popular outdoor spot for wedding photos, about 2 miles away.

Heat, sweat, and rumble seats don’t mix… and I can’t speak for the other girls, but my hair did NOT like this combination. The photos probably took no more than 30 minutes, but it felt like hours as we stood there in full-length gowns, and the poor groomsmen in tuxedos!

When we finally arrived at the Elks, after another exciting and extremely slow ride in the rumble seats, we stepped gratefully into the air-conditioning and assessed our wilted selves. Beads of sweat sparkled on the men’s foreheads. As for the girls, large circles of sweat had darkened the royal blue fabric under our arms. I wondered at poor Wendy, who still looked beautiful, although she couldn’t have been comfortable in that dress. We were able to collect ourselves for a few minutes as we lined up for the grand entrance into the reception.

A short time later the bride and groom had their first dance, which they never finished as Wendy fainted in her husband’s arms. We took her to the restroom and attempted to cool her off with water, but she was sick. I remember coming out to check on my date, and stopped to chat with one of Wendy’s elder relatives who was concerned. She was relieved that she was recovering, and then speculated – with a twinkle in her eye – that maybe Wendy was expecting. Hardly. I think Wendy was lucky that she’d only suffered from heat exhaustion.

Thankfully there were no obvious casualties in the wedding we catered last week, but the guests were determined to stay indoors until the ceremony was announced. The bride was gorgeous. Her mother, in a floor-length pale blue lacy gown, was gorgeous. The bridesmaids were gorgeous. None of them looked like they had even kissed a temperature over 70 degrees. We the staff, on the other hand, looked a little worse for wear… but no one really cares what we look like, as long as we’re still pouring the drinks and serving the food.

As for eventful, the ceremony had just finished, we’d just passed the champagne toast, and the entire guest list was running indoors. A torrential downpour moved in so fast, it’s a miracle they all made it inside. Some members of the staff? Not quite. Their white tuxedo shirts clung to the skin like a wetsuit. And it rained, and then it stopped. Some of the guests went back outside. And then it started pouring again. And then it stopped. And then the DJ set up indoors, and the guests danced outside.

I guess it’s a really good thing it didn’t rain on Wendy’s wedding.

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