Valentine's Day, 1982, a time for romance . . . and variety. Two weddings as different as night and day, from the bizarre and quirky to the innocent and nostalgic.
It was a pairing of old-fashioned love and New-Wave ritual. Ed Silverman and Donna Nichols pledged their troth in the twilight zone: at 2 a.m. Sunday morning at the Academy 6 Theatre in Greenbelt, following a midnight showing of the cult favorite "Rocky Horror Picture Show," in which they acted the parts of two characters.
Fred Lowell and Barbara Holmes enjoyed their sticky, sweet service in Sunday's sunshine, in the old-fashioned ambiance of Weile's Fabulous Fifties ice cream parlor in Langley Park.
Silverman, 24, is a sheet-metal worker, and Nichols, 18, works as a tape handler at NASA in Greenbelt. Silverman's wedding also marked his 73rd "Rocky" performance, as part of a small troupe, ages 14-24, that dresses up in lurid costumes and mimics the action on the screen.
"Donna and I met here at the theater, around Halloween," Silverman said, applying his heavy makeup and adjusting his hump on a bench at the far end of the shopping mall. "I walked through the movie line looking for someone to play 'Janet,' and I picked her. At first she backed off and said 'No, thank you,' but later I talked her into it." Silverman played the humpbacked anti-hero "Riff Raff"; his bride-to-be finally gave in and portrayed Riff's sister "Magenta," a vampy, vampirish domestic.
"I'm the father of the bride," said Cyndi Andersen, 18, a sinister figure in torn black fishnet stockings, tight black corset and garish makeup. "Didn't they tell you I was giving her away?" Andersen, who claims to have seen the picture 225 times, played "Frank N. Furter," a transvestite from the planet Transylvania.
"I proposed to Donna about a month ago," Silverman said. "I asked her, how would you like to get married about a year from this Valentine's Day?" "And I told him, why do we have to wait till next year?" Nichols said. "We figured, why not at 'Rocky Horror,' since that's where we met," Silverman said.
"My parents are happy. We held a ceremony for them at the house this afternoon -- regular, traditional, not in costume," Nichols said. Both ceremonies were performed by the Rev. Ken Chroniger, a Seventh Day Baptist.
News spread like hot butter through the popcorn lines. "Did you hear that two kids are getting married at 'Rocky Horror'?" squealed one teen-ager to the couple behind her. "You have to see this to believe it."
After the customary rice-tossing, water-squirting, card-flinging abandon of the movie, the couple, dressed in quilted gold lame' spacesuits and black stockings, marched down the aisle to the synthesizer strains of "The Wedding March," from the "Flash Gordon" sound track, attended by about 20 fellow creatures of the night. "I wish to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Silverman," announced Chroniger after the brief ceremony, to applause from friends and the curious who remained. A chubby cupid, in pink diaper and puffy white wings, shot the couple from atop the fire exit with an oversized heart-shaped arrow, and the entourage left boisterously to celebrate the start of a "Rocky" marriage with a reception at the Bob's Big Boy in the parking lot.
From Horror to 'Happy Days'
What could be better with wedding cake than ice cream?
Polaroids whirred and flashbulbs popped as Cheltenham grocer Fred Lowell, 34, and Barbara Holmes, a data processor also from Cheltenham, took their vows next to the jukebox at Weile's Fabulous Fifties ice cream parlor.
Lowell proposed to Holmes in a booth at Weile's. "I've been coming here since I was a kid, and I've brought Barbara here for ice cream many times," said Lowell, standing in his ivory tux next to a glass ice cream case, piled high with colorful wedding gifts.
About 75 guests sat at booths under revolving fans, milk-glass lights and signs for sundaes with names like Purple Passion and The Happy Pair.
Weile's owner Jana Hollar used nine gallons of strawberry ice cream to create a fattening fantasy for the wedding, topped with mounds of whipped cream and heart-shaped cookies. Hollar's daughter Laurie, 9, was the couple' s flower girl.
After the Baptist ceremony by the Rev. Henry L. Hutchins, guests lined up to slurp the gooey desserts and sip pink punch.
"Fred asked me to marry him here, so I think this is kind of romantic," said Holmes, in antique lace wedding gown with yellow flowers in her hair. "This place reminds me of 'Happy Days,' but I guess we're both throwbacks from the '50s anyway," she laughed.
Whether through the trappings of the past or the trimmings of the future, love still looks about the same.