Merella Shuster and Dario Espinoza were wed in the Salt Lake City Temple on Tuesday, August 16, 2011. The two met last summer in Beijing while Espinoza was completing an internship with the American Embassy and Shuster was practicing her Chinese for her Asian Studies minor. It only took one date to realize that they had each found “the one.”
Fiscally prudent wedding preparations ensued after Dario’s April 4th proposal. The Espinoza nuptials featured a flare for homemade decorating and cost-cutting manual labor with a cake, bouquets, centerpieces, and cake toppers all made by the couple’s friends and family. The bride’s morale was only temporarily devastated when her dress, a bargain purchased from a questionable Chinese internet website with grammatically incorrect text, arrived in Provo. “It was droopy and the sleeves were too big and it looked like an old shower curtain,” Shuster said.
Fortunately, one of Espinoza's acquaintances, a seamstress for the BYU Living Legends team, completed the alterations to make the dress a perfect fit. Too perfect, in fact. Nobody anticipated the catastrophic events that would unfold on the wedding day.
Salt Lake City on August 16th was favored with sunny weather in the high 80s. Guests from the wedding party traveled from Germany, China, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, and Alaska to witness the ceremony. The unprecedented number of relatives on Shuster’s side of the family promised an auspicious event, but happy celebrations were delayed when the bride and groom did not make their triumphant exit from the temple doors on schedule. The wedding party waited. And waited. They waited so long that Willaby, Merella’s youngest sister and the most scantily clad bridesmaid, suffered minor sunburn.
An hour later than planned, Shuster and Espinoza emerged after an alleged “dress malfunction.” Older sister and temple escort Sarita Rich was on site in the bridal dressing room to confirm allegations of said malfunctions. Apparently the bridal gown’s zipper, after being zipped and fastened, split, leaving a half-inch hole six inches from the bottom of the zipper. “We all stared at the back of the dress and told Merella not to move,” Rich said, “And as soon as I touched the zipper, trying to pull both sides together to relieve some pressure where the dress fit the tightest, the whole zipper split from top to bottom.”
Rich explained that audible gasps of horror--"Oh no!” and “Oh dear!”--issued from temple matrons as they gathered wide-eyed and open-mouthed, staring at the bride’s exposed back. “I admit, right then the thoughts going through my head were not temple worthy,” Rich stated. Shuster, always cool under pressure did not break down in hysterics. Instead she merely laughed it off, saying, “Well, that’s what you get for ordering from China!”
Temple matrons simply told Rich that she would have to “sew [Merella] in,” i.e. sew up two feet of stressed zipper by hand as fast as she could. When Rich reported that the cotton thread kept tearing, Merella inquired if there was any dental floss to be found in the temple. None of the elderly ladies had any, but they did procure some heavy-duty thread. Rich and Shuster's temple attendants took turns threading needles, stretching the zipper in place, and sewing the stitches. Only one temple matron’s finger was pricked with a needle in the process.
Other than the dress malfunction, all went as planned. The couple enjoyed lunch and open-mike toasts in the Joseph Smith Building and then invited all to join them for an open house in their new apartment in Provo from 7-9 p.m. After exiting the temple, Shuster was instructed not to eat, breathe, or sit down until the dress could be cut open with scissors at the end of the evening.
Preliminary photos here. More to come! Someday.