It's two days after Valentine's Day, and Wylline Oduyeru has finally gotten out of bed for the first time since the 14th; she
has to get the Valentine's decorations down and put away and get ready for the string of Mardi Gras weddings that are headed her way. At the Simply Beautiful 24-Hour Wedding Parlor in the Dutchtown neighborhood, nuptial ceremonies tend to concentrate around the various holidays.
"Oh, yes, we always have at least one or two Mardi Gras weddings. Halloween is big, too; and I had six weddings on Valentine's Day," says Wylline. She sat down for a brief respite in her busy schedule to explain the ins and outs of the wedding business.
Q: What kinds of folks get married in your wedding parlor?
A: "Well, we get a good mix of all kind of people in here. The state has told me we do more weddings here than anybody in the state of Missouri. Contrary to the image some people might have in their head, we have a lot of normal people who just don't want to get married at City Hall, but don't want or can't afford a big, lavish wedding. We used to be located in Soulard, but this neighborhood has been a good location for us, because this is a more working-class neighborhood, and these people around here really need this service. However, we will do just about any kind of wedding, and let's face it: if you decide that you want to get married on a Monday night at 7 o'clock and you want to do something weird, I'm the only game in town."
Q: So, when you say "a little weird," what do you mean?
A: "I keep a bulletin board of Polaroids of some of my more...interesting weddings. You have to be a little out of the ordinary to get on my board. Things like the vernal equinox, we have had so many of those type over the years that I don't even consider that too unusual. So, here we've got this fellow dressed like a vampire or something and he's looking like he's going to lick the minister...we have Marilyn Monroe and her pink poodle...and look at these here! You wouldn't know it to look, but that "woman" is a man. Yeah, we don't care if you're gay or straight or what, as long as you are serious about the commitment. We get a lot of weddings where people want to have their dogs in the wedding; I've even had one cat, but it didn't really want to be here."
Q: Are there any weddings you won't do?
A: "Do you want to hear about the only two weddings I've ever kicked out? The first was these two gay guys who wanted to get married in togas and barefooted. I said no way; we can have some fun with it, but even though it's a lighthearted affair, it is going to be done with dignity and respect. The other one was a couple from the African Acrobatic Troupe that was in town with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus they brought a monkey with them! I mean, that monkey was all over the place, tearing this place up! I threw 'em all out in the street!"
Q: How big was this monkey?
A: "I'm talking about a monkey!" (here, Wylline raises her hand to indicated a sizeable simian, about 3 feet tall) "I don't have a lot of rules and regulations, but people have forced me to come up with a few."
Q: Are you the minister at the weddings at Simply Beautiful?
A: "No, I have a pool of ordained ministers that I can call on to perform marriages; I have seven minister, so I can try to match them to the couple. I've got black, white, male, female, gay, Hispanic, Bosnian. I also have an Elvis minister. I've got one for every eventuality! We like to have a good time, and let people have a relaxed experience. We provide the cake, the champagne, the minister and the music, and they can just enjoy."
Q: What have you learned from 5 years in the wedding business?
A: "Well, I'm not married and I don't even have a boyfriend, so I don't know what that tells you! I cry at every wedding, and I get emotionally involved in all of them, and people keep coming here because they know I'm sincere and they know I care about their wedding...and I've found the more I cry, the better tips I get."
If wedding bells are in your future, give a call to Wylline at 481-8200. No monkeys, please.