Sometime around 1:30pm Sunday, I tweeted that I was at the most ghettofantabulous wedding ever. I take that back, it wasn't ghettofantabulous. It was... unique. Tell me what you think:
My plan for the weekend was to do as little as possible. That did not work out at all. It was Tax-Free Weekend and I ended up running around making sure BougieNieces/Nephews had a few new outfits for school. So I decided Sunday would be my day. I had a book, iced tea and a sofa calling my name. New Dude called at mid-day to say he forgot he had a family wedding to attend and did I want to go? Not really. Wedding meant cute hair, cute dress, heels, make-up and polite conversation... in other words: effort to pull it together in 103° heat.
He laughed, "It's not that serious, this is the Ray side of the family. You're good in a ponytail and whatever you throw on. We won't stay long. You come to this wedding and I'll go to the man-candy movie with you this week." Hmpfh, like he wasn't already planning on seeing The Takers? He doesn't miss a Zoe Saldana sighting. Not. A. One.
Moving on. "What exactly is the Ray side of the family?"
"You met Big Ray."
"Yep." At the infamous first date picnic.
"The whole family is some form of Ray. His dad is Ray Senior, the two daughters are Rayetta and Raylene. There's a Rayquan, a RayNell, a RayJean and at least four other variations I can't keep track of on that branch of the family tree."
"Uh-huh. And whose wedding is this?"
"This is Raylene's second wedding. She is marrying Tariq who is the father of her second child. They are getting married in Ray Senior's warehouse. Quick ceremony, we drink a glass of champagne and we're out. You in?"
Like I would miss Raylene and Tariq's happy nuptials? I needed to know what a wedding in a warehouse looked like. In less than fifteen minutes I threw on dress, wedge sandals, semi-cute ponytail, mascara, lip gloss - done.
Surprisingly, even though the outside of the warehouse looked industrial as expected, someone had taken considerable time and effort to transform one section of the warehouse to look like a wedding wonderland. It was a little too much white and silver everywhere for me, everything was covered or wrapped in white polyester that had been bedazzled or glue gunned with silver glitter and rhinestones but considering we were inside a moving and storage company, I was impressed. Then I glanced at page two of the twelve-page program. "Um - Derrick, what is an "Usher-themed" wedding?" I asked as we sat down.
"I have no idea." We soon found out. The wedding started out just fine. Mamas and Daddys walked down the aisles sedately. The fact that the groom's mama came down the aisle in fluffy bright pink bedroom slippers - I decided to let it go. Maybe her feet hurt? The fact that the bride's dad (Ray Senior) was carrying his bottle of Corona down the aisle - I let that go too. Maybe he was thirsty and it was his warehouse after all.
The flower children were dressed in jeans with white T-shirts and had on Usher style sunglasses but okay they went on down. Then everything went dead silent before the music came on. From the loudest speakers ever blared the opening bars from Usher's OMG. The groomsmen all dressed in jeans, white t-shirts and striped vests with the Usher sunglasses came jammin' down the aisle. They had a routine ya'll. Complete with skipping, hopping, bumping, grinding on the floor, booty poppin', the whole nine. Brothers were sweating and breathing heavy by the time they reached the altar-type structure. The groom brought up the rear dressed in all black (jeans, t-shirt, tennis shoes) with the Usher fedora tilted to the side. He had his own step to cut. His Usher glasses had the rhinestones in the shape of a heart on the sides.
Next came the bridesmaids, the music changed to U Remind Me and the ladies, dressed in dark denim capri pants, silver sequin halter tops and bright red patent pumps had their own jam session down the aisle. Sunglasses in full effect. Now some of the sisters were not well-equipped to drop it like it was hot and pick it back up in five-inch heels on a concrete floor but um - they did what they could do. It was a Soul Train line from the hell 'n hoochie side of the tracks. They made their way up the aisle.
Now, a quick confession before I get to the bride's entrance. Derrick had started doing something every time I walked in his house. It took me to the eighth or ninth time to realize that it wasn't a coincidence that Usher's There Goes My Baby happened to be playing each time I walked in. The first time he played it as a joke because we said how cool it would be if everyone walked around with theme music. Then he kept doing it to see how many times it would take until I caught on. I'm slow apparently. Corny but cute. So back to the wedding...
When the music started back up and it was There Goes My Baby, he leaned over and whispered, "I'll never play it again." Old girl came in with a silver micro-mini dress and clear heels that laced all the up her leg. She too had the special rhinestone heart sunglasses plus half a leather driving glove. She sidestepped, twirled, gyrated and shimmied her way up the aisle. It was quite uncomfortable for about 80% of us in the room. Behind us, the lone Caucasian couple were seated and they looked like they had landed in an episode of the Twilight Zone.
The vows were lyrics from Usher songs melded together with his song titles: "Baby, I'm so caught up, U don't need to worry about gettin' no papers. Every night, I'll be your lil freak and you'll always be my boo." I cut my eyes to Derrick and mouthed, "Seriously?" He shushed me, "Let them speak their truth." But I noticed when they had the ceremony of swapping sunglasses (no, I'm not joking); he had trouble keeping a straight face. Finally, the officiant (I don't know whether it was preacher, deacon, judge, disc jockey) pronounced them man and wife; they did all but dry hump each other before Tariq raised up his hand in the Usher peace wave and yelled, "DJ - cue that song!" Can you guess?
Um-hmm. The club beat of Yeah! started up and the whole group had an exit dance back up the aisle. We followed (more sedately) out to the next warehouse which was set up to look like a club. We were told that the wedding party was taking pictures and would be in shortly. We sat down and kept a straight face when they passed a basket for donations for the wedding fund. The "basket" was a white trash can with a picture of Usher superglued to the side.
Ladies dressed in denim mini-skirts and white tank tops came out and passed each of us a card. We were being asked to select our meal. Let me give you a clue - we were asked to check a box next to white or dark, spicy or mild. Our beverage choices were Big Red, Dr. Pepper, or Tap Water (yes, it was capitalized) with or without ice. For a small fee, we were invited to the "adult beverage station" where we had a choice of beer or wine cooler. Glancing over toward the three red igloos, we noticed the two-tier cake that had what was supposed to be Usher on the top but it really looked more like Michael Jackson from his Man in the Mirror phase but with short hair.
"Okay, that's enough." Derrick said to me. He dropped an envelope into the donation basket and we hightailed it out of there. As promised, we were in and out of there in less than 30 minutes. We climbed in the car and got back on the highway. It wasn't until he turned on the Heart & Soul satellite station and three songs in Love in This Club came on that we started cracking up.
"Bless their hearts, I'm not going to judge but there is such a thing as taking a theme too far!" I said.
"That was... something to see." He said diplomatically before dissolving into laughter. "I'm scared to know which song they picked for the first dance."
I know one thing, I told him to order the video. The size 30 sister with the curly weave down to her hips outdanced ev'body up that aisle.
BougieLand - ever been to a wedding that caused you to bite your tongue and wonder WDDDA (Where Dey Do Dat At)? have you seen a theme wedding gone too far? Do share... the floor is yours.