The T. rex costume could have had several meanings: It could have been that the maid of honor who wore it to her sister's wedding was critiquing marriage as an institution that should be extinct. It could have been a colorful rebuke of the $72 billion wedding industrial complex, where the average bridesmaid dress goes for $150. It could have been a cruel joke about someone being a Bridezilla.
Christina Meador, 38, is the sister of the bride and maid of honor who was sweating profusely inside that dinosaur costume on an August day in Nebraska. She wasn't making a statement about marriage, she says. (She's been married 16 years herself.) And it definitely wasn't a comment on her sister. Meador just isn't a dress person, she said in a phone interview, and she really doesn't like being in the spotlight.
To ease Meador's mind about being maid of honor, her sister, Deanna Adams, told Meador she could wear whatever she wanted. "I already felt like everyone was going to watch me," Meador said, so she might as well have fun with it.
Leading up to the wedding, Meador and Adams would trade jokey texts about what she might wear: lederhosen or a steampunk outfit? Adams said OK to the dinosaur, but Meador kept checking with the bride and groom, giving them the chance to veto her outfit. They never revoked their blessing.
Just in case, Meador had a backup: Under her T. rex costume, she wore a $20 gray dress from Ann Taylor Loft, purchased at a consignment shop near the wedding venue. After the ceremony, she shed her prehistoric skin "because it was really hot," Meador said. It was also a bit unwieldy for dancing: "If I moved, I was afraid I was going to knock someone with the tail."
Much cheaper than the standard wedding dress and not requiring alterations, the dinosaur was purchased for $65 on Amazon, Meador said. "We're not all about spending a lot of money on stuff," Meador said of her family. "It's just a day. It's the marriage that counts." Other members of the bridal party wore Converse sneakers and flip-flops.
After Meador posted a photo of the wedding ceremony on Facebook, the image went viral - getting thousands of likes, comments and shares. Jezebel declared her "the Best Person in America." And of course, some of the comments were mean. People accused her of showboating, but others defended her. Adams also shared an image of the wedding party on Facebook, too, including an image of texts in which she approved the T. rex costume.
"I wasn't trying to steal my sister's spotlight," Meador said over the phone, adding that Adams looked so beautiful, "not even a giant inflatable dinosaur could distract from that."
After the big day, Meador gave Adams the costume as a wedding gift.