With some trepidation, I tried it on, or mostly on—I was able to zip the dress only to my waist. Fortunately, the fabric is cotton brocade, and after I wetted it down it stretched enough to zip most of the way up. I could even take some short, shallow breaths. Sitting, however, would be painful and possibly injurious, and closing those little pearly buttons was out of the question.
As I arrived at Matthaei, two friends in flowing taffeta-and-silk gowns spilled out of their car. We waltzed towards the conservatory together, trying not to trip on our hems as we climbed the steps.
The party room was full of long tables covered with white tablecloths and vases of flowers. The punch bowl and drinks were on one side, the food on another, and an open floor was primed for dancing. There was even a photographer, hired to capture our celebration re-enacted. My contribution to the event was a mini-tiered cake complete with decorator icing and a bouquet of flowers to toss.
Not everyone wore white. There was a butterfly costume complete with wings, and a gaudy bridesmaid dress. A woman who was visibly pregnant at her wedding stuffed a soc-cer ball under her dress to provide an illusion of authenticity. The men wore cowboy hats and suspenders, suits and T-shirts, and one arrived with an armful of colorful caftans, which he changed every hour or so.