Good Girls Say Yes

By: Penny Wylder


I haven’t seen Lily Saxon in almost two years. After college, I stayed up by Atlanta for my job, and she came down here, two hours south to Columbus for hers. Close enough that we should be able to see each other, far enough away that it’s not easy or convenient. Just one of those things…girls who are your best friends can suddenly disappear. We’ve tried to keep in touch, even though neither of us are particularly good at it. Which is why I was ecstatic when I found out she was finally getting married to the guy she’s been gushing about for three years. And which is also why my jaw dropped when I entered this church.

The building itself is gorgeous, an old building with all the little details of something that was built in the past. Carved wood and high, arching windows. The colors of the wedding are a sensuous crimson and black, which gives the atmosphere an air of mystery and an edge of darkness that you don’t usually associate with weddings. But that’s not the biggest surprise. There’s a sign at the door with a small statement, the same one that was on the invitation that I hadn’t given a second thought to.

This is a non-traditional wedding. Please be aware that some guests and members of the bridal party adhere to an alternative lifestyle, and that everything that takes place is consensual.

I honestly didn’t think about what that meant until right now, when I walked into the church and the first thing I saw was a woman in a corset, tights, heels, and not much else, being led on a leash by a man in a suit. What the fuck?

There’s a table for gifts, and I hand mine to the girl standing behind it—young and wearing a low-cut crimson dress. I’m guessing she’s a bridesmaid, though I haven’t met her before. I don’t think anyone from college is in the bridal party, though I think I’ll see some of my other classmates in the audience. There aren’t any ushers to walk you to your seat, and when I walk into the main space, I can see why. They’ve rearranged the sanctuary into a circular seating arrangement—all the chairs are surrounding the altar so there’s no division between the guests and the bride and groom.

That doesn’t mean that the guests aren’t divided. On one side of the circle are people dressed normally, sitting in chairs and waiting. On the other side is the distinctly non-traditional part of the wedding. In the front row are men in suits, sitting in the chairs, and barely dressed women sitting or kneeling at their feet. They’re covered everywhere that matters, but it still looks like they’re wearing lingerie.

There are others, outfits featuring leather and latex and things that I would never consider wearing in public. I’m all for non-traditional, but I’m not sure why these people are here. I guess they might be friends of the groom? But the Lily I knew in college would have been embarrassed just by looking at that side of the circle.

Looking at them is unsettling. They’re so comfortable that you almost don’t notice the strangeness of their dress and posture, until you do. Even though looking at them gives me a strange, tingling feeling like I’ve forgotten something, I can’t seem to look away.

One of the men sitting in the front row strokes the neck of the woman sitting at his feet, his fingers brushing the metal collar that she’s wearing. In response, she leans into his touch, the motion smooth and sensual like a cat, gathering pleasure from his touch. He’s looking at her like she’s the most precious thing in the world, and she’s smiling even though he can’t see her. I’m suddenly blushing, because I know that I’m looking at something far more intimate than a touch on the neck should be.

I realize that I’m staring, and that there are people waiting behind me to enter the sanctuary. Yanking my gaze away from the couple, I sit down somewhere between the two sides of the circle and check my phone just for something to do, and to keep myself from staring. Lily sent my invitation with a plus one, but I don’t have a plus one at the moment, and I couldn’t even think of anyone I wanted to take. Talk about depressing.

I look around, taking note of all the details. Bouquets of crimson and black roses and lilies line the sides of the aisle, and wrought iron candelabras are placed around the central altar and in-between the seating. The result is an intimate atmosphere with a sensual twist. It’s not what I would have predicted Lily would choose, but at least the wedding is beautiful even if it isn’t traditional. Though now that I’m here, I’m wondering if the ceremony is going to be something other than I’m expecting, too.

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