I was going to title this “Of Brides and Hoodlums”, but I like the former Ms. Shears far too much to dwell on the hood-rattiness of Cory Garner, whom she married just this weekend. (I KNOW you’re reading this Cory, you lawn jockey.) That, and she planned every detail of an amazing event all by herself.
As implied, I went to a wedding this weekend; and what a wedding. Have you ever been to an event, and in particular a wedding, that had all the elements that it should have? This was one such event. This, being a Black wedding, comprised of all the usual characters and a few surprising ones. There was the bevy of single black women, all over age 30, dressed to the nines in satin form fitting dresses and hitherto hidden cleavage pushed up to greet the spring weather. 4 out 5 had some sort of tattoo of an ankh or generic Chinese symbol. There was the 50+ year old man, who undoubtedly considered himself very suave in his white Steve Harvey hat. There was the frosty 40 something female business tycoon, whose successful career had most likely kept her firmly in the guest seat at such an event and firmer still from the altar. My favorite character of the evening had to be the imposing, bald police officer with an intense love for America. He never smiled once when he spoke…which was okay – his wife smiled enough for the pair of them. #balance
“If someone invades your home, and you have a gun, you shoot to kill them, you hear?” he instructed.
“I could never shoot someone to kill!” I protested. “At best I could shoot them in the shoulder or the knee caps…but never KILL someone.”
“A’ight. Then he’s going to kill you.”
His other piece of advice that I found useful: “If you’re in your car, and an officer asks you to step out and take a breathalyzer, you can refuse.”
“This is AMERICA! You can do anything you want!”
Well! God bless America.
The wedding started an hour late, which surprised me. Black weddings always start late. Black anything always starts late. However, Rasheeda was raised with more bourgeois principles, which was why I made it a point that we got there AT 6 p.m. sharp. Even greater than my surprise was my amusement at the reaction of all the White guests, who had gotten there 10 minutes prior to starting time. One of them was an old co-worker of mine.
“Are all Black weddings like this,” he whispered to me. “Do they all start late?” Marshall answered for me.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “ALL of them.” (Ours started half an hour late, as I recall.)
But it was well worth the wait. I had never seen Cory look so put together. He strode down the aisle like he was on a Sean Jean photo shoot and adjusted his jacket with a firm tug. He thought he was the epitome of cool, until his bride made her entrance on her father’s arm. Rasheeda looked absolutely stunning. Her hair was late 1940s/50s pin-up girl glam, with make-up to match. Her gown was impeccable – a masterfully sewn mix cream material with diamondique embellishments on the bust and a crisp white petticoat. The details were carefully chosen, down to the metallic blue shoes and the diamond cuff that graced her wrist. I couldn’t see her face from where I sat, but he broke out into something between an inaudible giggle and a sheepish grin. He literally looked like a kid in a candy store – or like a linebacker in beef jerky factory. He looked as though he might devour her, which is what he about did when the pastor announced he could now kiss his bride. She never stood a chance. It was like watching a pit bull consume a Chihuahua. And why wouldn’t he? In their personally written vows, she promised him fidelity and friendship, and thanked him for not making her compromise who she was so that they could be who they are.
There were several surprises at the wedding, the most immediate being the choice of venue. It was at the Odd Fellows Building on Auburn Ave in the heart of Atlanta. When we pulled up, I was sure we were at the wrong place. The venue was surrounded by vacant lots and abandoned buildings with graffiti scrawled all over their sides. Random homeless people muttered to themselves as they walked by. There were two city missions within walking distance. But when you entered the Odd Fellows Building, it was very (very) classy. Hardwood floors, heavy drapery and modern fixtures where the things that stood out immediately. I don’t know if it was meant to be a metaphor for their personalities, but it was a successful one. Though Rasheeda (and Cory in particular) may seem hard and gritty on the outside, they are both very classy at their core.
And what wedding is complete without the drunken brother – in this case, Rasheeda’s twin – who made quite the spectacle of himself as he gave his toast from the balcony to an unexpecting crowd below. As he slurred his words of encouragement and apparent joy at this union, Rasheeda kept her eyes firmly fixed on the floor and was cackled our delight. Not to be outdone, Cory’s younger brother took the microphone and said a series of phrases that made no sense what-so-ever. Rasheeda’s older sister brought some sophistication back to the event by giving her toast. Her brother tried to reclaim the mic (I assume because he had an epiphany that he just HAD to share), but Rahseeda intercepted him and through snarling plum-red lips instructed him to give her the f*ckin’ mic.
And what better way to invite a group of urban southerners to the dance floor after dinner than to make said invitation by way of a medley of crunk ballads? I’m not too familiar with crunk, but I know it when I hear it, and I certainly know it when enormous 30 something Sigmas start stepping and skinny girls in heels start throwing ‘bows (elbows).
Marshall and I had to leave soon after, but not before I got the most awesome wedding memento to date.
And they all lived happily ever after