Friday, July 10, 2015

The Writer’s Guide to Writing Weddings

with guest Lorna Seilstad.

Hello, Seekerville! I’m thrilled to be here with all of you today to talk about two of my favorite things—weddings and writing.
I’ve been doing wedding planning and wedding flowers for years. I usually help with one to three weddings a year for young couples at church, friends, or family. I don’t charge anything, and I’ve never wanted to be a professional wedding planner. I enjoy being a fairy godmother for a day, but I’m not sure I’d want to do it every weekend. I’m a master at the low-budget, high-appeal wedding. 

Writing a fictional wedding and planning an actual wedding have some important similarities and differences, so I want to give you the Writer’s Guide to Writing Weddings. Keep these points in mind as your heroine heads down the aisle.

1. Decide if your story really needs a wedding in it. Weddings are an often easy way to wrap up a romance, but unless the wedding is key to the storyline, figure out a more creative way to conclude. One way to look at it is to ask yourself, “Will the reader feel cheated if they don’t get a wedding?” Usually, I don’t think they need it. My books tend to end with a proposal or promise for the future. I think readers can imagine the wedding that will come soon for the characters.

If the wedding is part of the story’s catalyst like a forced wedding or a wedding of convenience, keep it short and simple. The real romance is yet to come.

2. If you do conclude with a wedding, remember weddings are all about the details. In real life and in the writing world, details make a wedding memorable. If you include a wedding in your novel, find a few special elements that will make it stick in the reader’s mind. It may be personal vows, the guests, or the location.  It can be when something unusual happens like rain in the middle of the ceremony and a mad dash for cover. In real life, my niece got married last year on the family farm in the pasture. She wanted natural looking “weed” flowers at the reception, so my friend and I went ditch diving to collect them. What a memory! Whatever details you choose, make them unforgettable.

3. Include family. Relationships are at the heart of all weddings. Naturally, there’s the relationship between the betrothed, but there’s also relationships between the bride and groom and his or her parents. There is a dynamic between siblings and grandparents, too. All of these are great fodder for you to create conflict (if wedding is early in the story) or reinforce the character’s growth during his or her journey. These relationships can be underscored with a tangible item like a mother passing down her mother’s cameo necklace for the bride to carry.

4. Make sure the wedding that you show would be a doable affair. Readers aren’t stupid, and if they have to suspend reality in order to buy into your wedding, it will pull them out of the story.  Is the wedding within the family’s financial means? Is there truly enough time to pull the event together? Is there something seemingly impossible occurring like a dead brother showing up? 

5. Make sure the wedding is historically accurate. If you’re writing a historical, make sure you research the wedding customs at the time your story is set. For example, white didn’t become a popular option for brides until 1840 when Queen Victoria wore a white dress. Up until then, red was a popular color for brides. Wedding customs, wedding attire, and even the time of day for weddings has changed over time. 

6. Simple, but significant sights, scents, and sounds. While a real wedding can be enhanced with everything from a scent machine to a horse drawn carriage, a fictional wedding only needs a few simple things to bring it alive. For example, a bride can sniff the roses in her bouquet and remember the first rose her groom gave her on a moonlit night. There’s no need to describe the wedding gown in intricate detail. In fact, since wedding dress styles often change, it’s probably a good idea not to.

7. Make dreams come true. For most brides, the wedding day is the one day a girl can be a princess. When I’m working with a bride, I always ask her, “What are three things would make this day perfect you?” One bride said it was an aisle runner lined with piles of rose petals. Since she didn’t have a lot of money, we went dumpster diving to get enough petals and made her dream come true. 

You can do the same thing for your heroine. What would make her dreams come true?
Below is a wedding conclusion from the first book in the Gregory Sisters series, As Love
Blooms, because I wanted to show the hero’s acceptance and encouragement of the heroine’s unorthodox desire to fly. Their surprise wedding took place in a hot air balloon, surrounded by family and friends. The balloon made her dreams come true. 

She blinked, then gasped. Before her stood the heavy wicker basket of a hot air balloon. Her eyes climbed higher, and she felt dwarfed by the huge, multicolored balloon overhead. Brother Molden waited for them inside the basket.

She turned to Lincoln. “We’re getting married in there?”

“It seemed like the appropriate place for my Hello Girl with dreams of flying. Do you like it?”
“Lincoln, it’s perfect.”

He scooped her into his arms and carried her to the basket. After setting her inside, he climbed in, and the balloonist released the tethers.

The balloon began its ascent, and Hannah could scarcely breathe. She waved to her sisters, Rosie, Pete and Elise, Jo, and Aunt Sam. Walt was there with his parents. They’d brought George too. 

“Are we ready to begin?” Brother Molden asked.

Hannah nodded, and Lincoln took her hands. “Yes, sir, I’d certainly like to make this lady my bride.”

Brother Molden grinned. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered up here . . .”

She didn’t hear most of what the minister said. She said her “I do” in the right place, repeated the vows, and exchanged the rings, but her mind was focused on the feelings exploding inside her. Like the rising balloon, her heart swelled with love until she feared it might burst.

“Lincoln, you may kiss your bride.”

And there, amid the swooping hawks and the billowing clouds, she felt the fan of his breath on her lips. Then, as if he had all the time in the world, he kissed her with a tenderness that filled her heart.

Love had called, and she’d gladly answer it every day for the rest of her life.

So friends, let’s talk wedding rings and other things. Do you like books to end with weddings? Have you read any good weddings lately? What makes a fictional wedding resonate with you? What are some of the most memorable weddings you’ve attended? 

Lorna Seilstad brings history back to life using a generous dash of humor. After her first child was born, she quit teaching and became a professional wiper. She says she wiped noses, tears, and skinned knees, but at nap time, she wrote. Today, she writes from her home in Iowa where she lives with her husband and three children. Find out more at or connect with her on Facebook and on Twitter.

Lorna's 2014 release While Love Stirs is a 2015 Carol Award finalist in the Historical Romance Category!

Take one lovely young woman.
Add two ambitious young men.

Stir . . . and stand back.

Leave a comment today for a chance to win a copy of While Love Stirs and As Love Blooms. Two winners announced in the Weekend Edition!


  1. Hi Lorna:

    Do you watch "Say Yes to the Dress"?

    Watching Bridezilla try to buy a wedding dress is often more interesting than many wedding themselves. Sometimes a group of the bride's best friends will find something very wrong with every dress she tries on. Sometimes an older sister, who is jealous that her younger sister is getting married first, will pick apart any dress the bride loves. Sometimes a grandmother, who is paying for the dress, will insists the bride buy a dress the bride hates. That show is great for writers. In an hour you'll see about every human emotion displayed with the perfect body language to match the emotions. It's a gold mine for writers.

    BTW: With that balloon wedding, you did have the balloon tied down so it didn't get higher than ten feet up until the wedding was over. Right? I felt very worried over the poor guests.

    Love your covers. What year do your stories take place. By the hats I'd expect they happen about the time.

    Please put me in the drawing for one of your books.


  2. What a great post! Welcome, Lorna!

    I loved all your suggestions. I haven't written a full wedding. But I wrote a short wedding epilogue (for the hero and heroine's parents). That was fun! Now I need to go back and look to see if that got left in the book after edits. I can't remember! :)

  3. Vince, my daughter and I enjoy that show. :)

  4. I always love to read about weddings throughout history. So the little details are all important in that case.

  5. I love all the wedding reality shows!! They are my dirty little secret!

  6. Favorite part of the wedding...the toast. Love those wedding quotes.

    Marriage is like a golden ring in a chain, whose beginning is a glance and whose ending is eternity.
    -- Kahlil Gibran

  7. Welcome, Lorna. Forgot to say that.

    We have a full juice bar and chocolate and raspberry croissants for our wedding brunch! Enjoy!

  8. Great post Lorna! I love weddings in books but I don't like it when they tarry too long. I like to have room to fantasize about it.

    One of the best wedding receptions was for a sit down dinner at the Orange County Mining Company which was at the top of a winding hill and overlooked the city of Orange, CA. The room was all glassed in so you could see the lights of the city. It was magnificent. I also hosted a reception in Dana Point, CA that was a beautiful reception hall right on the ocean. That was awesome too as it was all glassed in on two walls so we could watch the ocean and boats in a marina while the sun went down. I live in Indiana now and the receptions are in rooms with no windows. Sad.

    Have a blessed day everyone!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  9. Hi Lorna.

    Great topic!

    I've written books with and without a wedding scene. Like you, I prefer to end the book on a promise of a future together or proposal.

    Good luck with your new book. It's cover is lovely!

    And congratulations on your Carol Award final!

  10. Lorna, I have read weddings in books and also where you have to imagine the wedding. Both have worked. I have also read some awesome proposals. Janice Thompson has written some great books with weddings as a theme.

    Thank you for your tips. I would love a copy of your books.

  11. Here's a fun one. I played piano for a July 4th wedding and the minister surprised the couple by lighting a sparkler during his message. I could see their faces from my vantage point and it was definitely something they weren't expecting. It definitely added a little spark to the event. Please add my name to the drawing. Congrats on the Carol.

  12. Hi Lorna,
    You have some of the most gorgeous covers on your books, I have a few on my TBR list right now.

    I've read dozens of books with weddings in them, so it takes a lot for one to really "wow" me. I don't think I've ever read a better written wedding scene than the one Beth Vogt wrote in Crazy Little Thing Called Love. The grooms vows to his wife have to be about the most romantic and touching I've ever read, truly sigh-worthy.

  13. Hello Lorna! As a reader I don't NEED a wedding in the story. It's more about the romance for me. Thank you for this interesting post.

  14. Hi Lorna:

    It seems this morning that I didn't answer any of your questions. So here:

    Should a writer include the wedding?

    Well, WWJD?

    What would Jane do?

    If Jane Austen did not show the weddings, no one needs to unless the story itself is about the wedding.

    I also feel that weddings are really about all the people who take part in the wedding and their emotional reactions to the event. This is true in forgiveness and redemption stories where family members get back together after years of estrangement.

    Of course, a great emotional heartwarming wedding scene in the epilogue can double the HEA enjoyment and propel readers out to buy your next book! And that's nothing to cry about!


    P.S. Those are the prettiest heroine hats I've seen on a cover since Janet Dean's "Courting Miss Adelaide" which takes place in 1897. I just love that time period.

  15. the excerpt from your book, Lorna! A hot air balloon wedding! Spectacular!

    My hats off to anyone who works with brides. A tough job to keep everyone happy--the mothers, the brides, the wedding party--when nerves are stretched thin as well as budgets. I keep telling my engineer sil to design something every bride wants for her wedding. The money spent is amazing, IMHO!

    I didn't know brides once upon a time wore RED! Interesting fact I've tucked away for a game of Trivia or when chatting with a docent in some ancient European castle. Thanks for the info!

    Loved your post, which brings to mind so many delightfully funny wedding movies. Must check what's playing on the Hallmark channel this SAT. Maybe a wedding flick!

    So glad you could be with us today. I've brought a number of wedding cakes to sample: White Chocolate with Raspberry, Coconut and Lime, Pink Champagne, Butter Cream, Lemon and Red Velvet. Enjoy!

  16. I love weddings and the excerpt with the hot air balloon! My favorite part of a wedding reception is the cake. In Steel Magnolia's the red velvet armadillo cake still makes me laugh!

    I have two 20-something daughters with 'Wedding' Pinterest pages so I'm sure I'll be well versed in a few years (and neither of them are going to wear my Crisco white, 80's dress with puffy sleeves and cathedral length veil!).

    Have a great weekend...I'm going to bake a cake!


  17. Good morning, Lorna.

    Welcome to Seekerville. What a fun post.

    We had a #2 wedding event - the fire alarm went off in the hotel just as everyone was getting ready for church.

    Loved your scene.

  18. I usually skip or severely minimize weddings in my books. Unless I can make the ceremony pop I just have them head for the wedding, then jump to the wedding in the rear view mirror.

    However, the wedding in Now and Forever is, I think, the funniest wedding I've ever written, I ended up loving all the conflict going on during that ceremony.

    The heroine doesn't want to get married
    The hero's okay with it.
    The preacher is insisting upon it
    The hero's friends are rewriting every detail (out loud) to make it a tall tale to tell around a campfire. (Quote from one mountain man storyteller... "Sometimes the nights get long and the truth is sort of short and boring.")
    The maid of honor, the heroine's sister, is threatening to kill the groom.
    The groom's mother is trying to stop the wedding because her son is a wanderer and she thinks he'll make a bad husband, so the hero is talking to her and defending himself and making promises, mixed in with all the other nonsense.

    It was so fun to write.

  19. Welcome, Lorna! These are excellent tips about whether a book should end with a wedding, and if it does, what's the scene's most important job?

    Personally, I tend to skim those wrap-up-everything-in-a-pretty-wedding-bow scenes. I want every scene in a book to carry weight, so I agree that wedding epilogues need to contain something special--and I like it best if it's a final resolution to a longstanding story issue, like estranged family members reuniting or hinting at something in the couple's future that will fulfill a dream.

    I'm just really glad my daughters' weddings are in the distant past! Now I can look forward to grandmother duty when each of our three granddaughters someday gets married!

  20. Yep, MARY, the wedding in Now & Forever is definitely memorable AND essential to the plot!

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Great post Lorna! I appreciate the tips for including a realistic wedding in a story. Nothing bothers me more, as a reader, when the wedding is unrealistic. I would love to win your books.

  22. One of my unpublished works has its climax at a wedding, as the groom's father is trying to prevent it due to the bride being of a different race. (It's the 19th century and miscegenation laws are in play as well, in addition to racism.) I'm not really concerned about wedding customs but am making sure I get the wedding laws correct.

  23. Good morning, everyone! I hope all the wedding talk is putting you in a romantic mood--especially a romantic READING mood. And chocolate croissants? I'm in heaven.

    Vince, I do watch, "Say Yes to the Dress", and I agree that it's a great place to find interesting characters. body language, and family dynamics. I have two daughters and we always talk about who they're going to take when they try on wedding dresses.

    To answer your question, the Gregory Sisters Series takes place around the turn of the Century (1908, 1910 and 1913).

  24. What a wonderful wedding scene, Lorna. Loved it!

    My favorite moment during a wedding is when the groom sees his bride for the first time. Most others are watching her. I watch his face and revel in the joy and unbridled love that even the strongest man has a hard time containing.

    My favorite moment in my own wedding was when Carl, who has a foot on me, had his groomsmen pass a footstool down to him for The Kiss. Even though I knew it was coming, our guests' reactions were priceless. They didn't know whether to laugh, applaud or hide their smiles. Me? I grinned. =D

  25. On the other side of things, I do remember a wedding I attended where the words "If there's anyone here who believes..." were removed out of fear of throat clearing by the groomsmen.

  26. Hi, Missy! I like the idea of writing a wedding epilogue even if it doesn't go in the final draft. It's fun to bring the couple to that point--if only in my mind.

    Mary, isn't it fascinating to see how weddings have changed over time?

  27. Tina, thank you for inviting me. I love wedding shows, too. That one with the four brides who judge each other's weddings irritate me, but I still watch it. You mentioned loving the wedding toasts. My son was the best man at my nieces wedding last Sept. So, basically it was the cousin he was closest to who married his best friend. His toast was great. It was funny and sweet.

  28. I often try and sort of SHOVE a wedding in long before the end.
    Having the couple married, sometimes for less than Idea Reasons, is a great way to stick them together.

    In romance I always think, 'stick them together physically and shove them apart emotionally.'

    So they fall in love after they've been married a while.

    But right now I've got a couple and he's a rancher (of course) and she is a school marm and honestly, there's no good reason to keep her at the ranch or him in town. Except I've got a real good one but it has to develop. In the meantime I'm mulling over some 'compromising-yet-completely-innocent situation to keep them together.

  29. Welcome to Seekerville, Lorna! Excellent tips for writing weddings--or not. :-) Your books sound wonderful. Loved the excerpt and your covers! Congratulations on the Carol final.

    I usually end my books with the proposal. One exception was The Substitute Bride, a mail order bride story. I interjected the vows with his thoughts, which upped the humor, what I was going for. The second exception was in my novella, The Last Minute Bride. The plot centered around preparations for a wedding reception for friends and ended with the hero and heroine also marrying in a double wedding ceremony and reception. Without either ceremony, I think the reader would've felt cheated.


  30. Vince, smiling that you remember Miss Adelaide's hat! Her cover is still my favorite.


  31. Hi, Cindy. That Orange County Mining Company sounds like a great wedding venue. A perfect venue for the reception can make all the difference.

    Rose! Thank you! There's just something right about ending a book on a promise. It's like all is well with the world.

    Wilani, you're right about Janice Thompson. She has several series set around weddings.

    Good morning, Bettie. I love the sparkler idea (as long as he didn't get the sparks on her dress). That's a perfect example of a little, memorable detail.

  32. Tina, thanks for that amazing wedding quote. Wow!

    I'm grabbing a chocolate croissant to munch as I read the comments.


  33. Vince, I've never seen Say Yes to the Dress. Sounds like a better!


  34. Stephanie, your wedding dress sounds gorgeous. Mine isn't Crisco white anymore. :-( But, it didn't matter as both of our daughters wanted to select their own. Shopping for their wedding dresses was such fun. We invited the grooms' moms, too. Never leave out the future mother-in-law.


  35. Hi, Tracey! I don't think I've read Beth's Crazy Little Think Called Love. I'll have to go look it up. Anything that sigh-worthy should not be missed.

    Caryl, you bring up a good point. The wedding means nothing compared the romance in the rest of the book.

    Vince, applying the WWJD question is always good, and I agree a great wedding epilogue can be a jewel in the book's crown if done right. I loved Janet Dean't Courting Miss Adelaide, and it's cover.

  36. Mary, I loved the hilarious wedding scene in Now and Forever!

    The saddest wedding I attended had the bride sobbing after the groom's family had caused trouble that turned a wonderful occasion to wretched. So your scenario is funny only with fictional folks.


  37. Lorna, how fun to be a fairy godmother for the bride's day! A perfect wedding makes a perfect ending to a romance for me. I'm revising the wedding at the end of my WIP, so all your suggestions are very helpful. I especially like your question to brides about the three things that would make their dream come true wedding. I will ask my heroine that question and my real life daughter-in-law to be that question. Thank you....and congratulations on being a finalist for the Carol award!

  38. Keli, your dh wanted access to his beautiful bride. The stool has me grinning ear to ear!


  39. Debby, the funny thing about writing a wedding in a balloon is that I'm afraid of heights. Working with brides and their families can be difficult, but most of the time its such a blessed time everyone is agreeable. Working around the emotions between divorced parents can be the hardest thing. I've really only dealt with one bridezilla. Oh my, she was something.

    Your wedding cake choices are divine! I think I'll start with the white chocolate and raspberry.

    S. Trietch, I just watched Steel Magnolias again the other day, and yes, that armadillo cake is hilarious. My daughters have wedding Pinterest pages, too. They like to laugh at the wedding dresses from "my" time.

  40. Lorna, thanks for your kind words about Courting Miss Adelaide. You made my day!


  41. Missy, I enjoyed the special wedding scene in your latest book....a fun little twist!

  42. Hi Mary Cury, a fire alarm? Wow, that had to shake up the plans!

    Good morning, Mary Connealy! Okay, I'm going to be honest. I had just finished Now and Forever, and I thought about including that scene as an example of one that was key to the plot and filled with details which made it memorable. It was so funny. However, as you know, I write in basement, and your book was all the way upstairs (two flights of stairs) in Caroline's room.

    So, I'm glad you brought it up and I didn't have to go climb the stairs to share it. :)

  43. Forget to mention my favorite son and DIL's. New Year's Eve in Seattle.....candlelit church with bagpipes playing the bride processional, followed by dinner with a lake view, then fireworks at midnight from the Space Needle. My younger son did an amazing best man toast. All PERFECT....sigh! :)

  44. Kelly, I don't like unrealistic weddings in books, either. I keep thinking, "There is no way they could put that together in twenty-four hours," or "Unless someone has a secret money tree, that wedding could not happen."

    Hi, Walt. Good point. Wedding laws have certainly changed over time, including ages when a person could legally marry, and, as you pointed out, whom a person could marry. Your book sounds fascinating. And at that wedding where they removed, "If there's anyone here who...", did they really think one of the groomsmen would object or did they think the groomsmen would do it for a laugh?

  45. Good morning, Keli Gwyn! As the 5'4" bride to a 6'6" man, I can so relate to the height difference. I wish we would have thought of stool! I love that "first look," too. However, many brides today choose to do that beforehand with just the groom and a photographer present. I guess it's a nice way to catch the groom's expression, but I miss seeing it at the ceremony.

  46. Thank you, Janet! I think there are certainly times a reader would feel cheated w/o a wedding, especially if everything has been leading up to the event. And my heart goes out to that poor bride you mentioned. I hope they can laugh about it later.

    Sherinda, I really do enjoy working with brides and those 3 questions have proved invaluable. Often I find that they also help me see what direction the bride's thoughts are going. If she says one of the three things that will make her day include marrying her fiance, I'm pretty sure she's on the right track.

  47. Lorna,

    It would have been done partly for a laugh. At the same time, there was an underlying belief that both parties, despite being wonderful people, were not a good match. The couple divorced within three years. I knew both of them so well that I was best man at the wedding and learned of the divorce from the bride's father.

  48. It's hard to be in a wedding where you're not sure the match is good, but it would make for a good plot in a book. :)

  49. Sherinda, you son's wedding sounds truly special in every way!

  50. Hi Lorna:

    I'm a little embarrassed. I read "While Love Stirs" last year and the first thing I did was go to Google to see when revolving doors were invented. I thought 1910 was too soon. But no, they were invented in 1888! I must say I knew at once that I was reading 'award winning' writing.

    (Now I don't need to win "While Love Stirs" -- but the other book, absolutely.)

    I wish your books were on Audible. I'd love to hear them. I have to say that the cover of "While Love Stirs" sold me at once.

    It may also be the covers but I also bought,
    "Love on Assignment" and "Love by the Book" by Cara Lynn James, because the covers were irresistible.

    BTW: since you teach journalism, have you written or are going planning to write books like Cara's about writers or reporters?


  51. Hi Mary:

    "In romance I always think, 'stick them together physically and shove them apart emotionally.'"

    Brilliant! Love it! That really is what you do -- now that I think of it. "Petticoat Ranch", "Gingham Mountain", "Over the Edge", "The Bossy Bridegroom", "Closer than Brothers", heck, maybe all of them!

    Reading your books will never be the same now!
    I have the key. : )


  52. Thank you for your kind words, Vince. My current WIP, which is not a historical, has a heroine reporter. I'd love to write a historical where a woman who had write under a male nom de plume and eventually is published under her real name.

    And thanks to all of you who mentioned liking the covers. Revell's art team does a fantastic job. They sent me some hat photos for each cover in this series and let me choose which I liked. I also got to pick Tessa's dress for the As Love Blooms cover. Then, they worked their magic!

  53. Lorna, I think you're mighty brave and compassionate consenting to be a wedding planner! I hired a wedding planner/consultant when both our daughters money we ever spent! She had her hands full, but I had a stress-free day and enjoyed every moment of the ceremony and the reception.

    Congratulations on your new book...cover is gorgeous...and on the Carol Award!!

    I love movies. I started a Pinterest board for weddings too...just cause it's fun!

    One of the most eventful receptions I've attended happened in our cowboy country hometown. The bride and groom's mothers were sitting across the table from one another. Their conversation descended into a heated argument. Quick as a flash, the groom's mother reached across the table and yanked the bride's mother by the hair. The bride's mother retaliated with a slap in the face. Families from both sides jumped in to stop the fracas. Could have been a reality show...LOL..

    Please enter my name in the drawing...

    Finishing my last cuppa tea and then off to a family reunion!! Fodder for stories!! Have a fabulous Friday everyone!!

  54. Stephanie T!!! So good to see you. Groom's side or Bride's side??

  55. Kathryn, when I'm working as a wedding planner/consultant, I end up taking care of a lot of details like making sure all the groomsmen have spit out their gum. I also keep hiccups from becoming catastrophes. I sewed a bridesmaid into her dress when her zipper broke, I found a lost marriage license moments before the wedding, and delivered bouquets in a blizzard. However, I've never had to keep the mother's from physically fighting! Oh my, that had to be unforgettable!

  56. How fun to find you at Seekerville, Lorna!

    I haven't read a lot of books with weddings, but your hot air balloon wedding definitely stands out. What an absolutely fun setting! And it fit your characters perfectly. :)

    Oh, and I'll tell you once again, Congrats on the Carol Award Nomination!!! I break out into a Snoopy Dance every time I think of it.


    Great post and points, Lorna, beautifully laid out, just like the AMAZING hot-air baloon wedding in your clip above! WOW -- talk about one's head and heart in the clouds! :) I loved the entire clip, but I especially LOVED this line:

    Like the rising balloon, her heart swelled with love until she feared it might burst.

    WAY to go on using words wisely through analogy -- WONDERFUL!!

    I LOVE weddings, and yes, I always cry at them too, but then I'm a weepy CDQ, so it fits. I never tried one in my books until my daughter chastised me for not originally ending the Daughters of Boston series with a wedding, stating I was cheating my readers out of wedding (i.e. which I did in book 2 where Faith and Collin got married, but I never showed the wedding). So I remedied that promptly by writing one final scene of a wedding, incorporating 6 or 7 POV changes to get everyone's viewpoint in the family. I ended LOVING it, so I did another wedding in my 5th and 6th books in the O'Connor saga. :)

    Thanks for a great blog today and HAPPY WEEKEND!


  58. Wow Lorba! You have fodder for some contemporary wedding stories!!!

  59. Lorna. Not Lorba. Silly phone!!!!

  60. What a gorgeous excerpt from a phenomenal book!

  61. VINCE SAID: "Do you watch "Say Yes to the Dress"? Watching Bridezilla try to buy a wedding dress is often more interesting than many wedding themselves."

    TINA SAID: "I love all the wedding reality shows!! They are my dirty little secret!"

    OH MY GOODNESS, I cannot STAND to watch any bridezilla shows because they drive me crazy and I want to bash the TV screen in over the MORON bridezillas they have on. It's hard to believe brides can get that evil and selfish, but I guess like Jack Nicholson, "I can't handle the truth." BUT ... on the upside, I do LOVE "chocolate and raspberry croissants ..." :)

    BETTIE SAID: "Here's a fun one. I played piano for a July 4th wedding and the minister surprised the couple by lighting a sparkler during his message. I could see their faces from my vantage point and it was definitely something they weren't expecting."

    OH, Bettie, that is SUCH a fun idea -- what a great pic that made, I bet!


  62. VINCE SAID: "Should a writer include the wedding? Well, WWJD? What would Jane do?"

    LOL ... who cares??? (Once again my non-Janite opinion rears its ugly head!)

    I absolutely LOVE weddings ... as long as they are not my children's!! :)


  63. Stephanie, T, my daughter has a wedding Pinterest page too and has for quite a while! (She's only 18.) When my son got engaged and we started talking about wedding stuff, his fiancee said Pinterest puts a lot of pressure on brides! And I agree!

  64. Hi, Lorna. I like your pointers about when to include a wedding and how to handle them. I only have 1 manuscript "finished". It has an epilogue wedding, but it isn't a very detailed thing. It focuses mostly on the bride's room beforehand and the reconciliation between the bride and her mother. My current WIP will have a wedding mid-book, but it's the sister of the hero and helps to bring the hero and heroine together.

    Also, you mentioned the clip with the balloon wedding was from As Love Blooms. Isn't it actually from When Love Calls (the real first book of the series)? As Love Blooms is Tessa's story, not Hannah's.

    I own As Love Blooms, but not While Love Stirs, so I'd love to win it.

  65. So fun to read all the comments. Doesn't everyone love a wedding story!!!

    Although, Walt, yours takes the cake, so to speak. The Groom's Cake, of course! :)

  66. Forgot to mention Lorna, please include me in the drawing for As Love Blooms, I already own the other two, thanks for the post and book offer.

    Have a great weekend Seeker/Villagers!

  67. First chance I have had today to join in and there are a lot of comments. I will have to try to go back later to read them all as I'm sure they are interesting. I guess I generally like weddings in books. I was disappointed when I read the Mitford series by Jan Karon that she did not write their wedding into the book. Then in a later book, she did a flashback and showed their wedding. I always wondered if she had planned it that way or if there was such an outcry from the readers disappointed not to have the wedding that she wrote it in later. I think in a series like that people do want to see the wedding. It seems like in a lot of books the wedding is written briefly as an epilogue and I like that, too. I think that works well because we don't need to have a huge scene at that point.

    I recently read a couple novellas where the bride was left at the altar. Those scenes are best to include in the book as they set up the immediate problem.

    Janice Thompson has written a couple of series about wedding planners, so the weddings themselves are crucial to her books. But it was more the planning than the wedding itself that made the story.

    As for the most memorable wedding I have attended, that would have to be my youngest brother's wedding. They only wanted a small ceremony with just close family and friends. That worked out well because my son was 2 years old at the time and the 12 minute ceremony was just perfect. The first problem, though, was my sister-in-law discovered as she was dressing that she had two right shoes and no left. Not sure how that happened. Then, there was a tornado warning right after the ceremony. Fortunately, the reception was in the church basement. They had emergency lights that came on when the electricity went out, but the rest of the church was pitch dark, which was interesting when one needed to use the restroom. For pictures taken in the sanctuary, the photographer had to rely on natural light through the windows and his own lights. The pictures actually had a romantic quality to them. Fortunately, my brother and sister-in-law don't let much bother them. They are still happily married today, 18 years later!

    At my other brother's wedding a few years earlier, I was a bridesmaid and someone stole my basket of flowers in between the wedding and taking pictures. I can't figure out why anybody would have wanted them. I had to borrow another bridesmaids flower for family photos and for the bridesmaid photo I stood behind someone so it wasn't noticeable that I no longer had flowers!

    Please enter me in the drawing for the books. I love wedding books!

  68. I'm trying to remember my weddings scenes. They're really short. I'd say my stories are about half and half with "onstage" weddings up until now. In a couple of my stories, I skip over the wedding, then show the married couple in an epilogue. So, it's just according to the story.

    Kathryn, your story about the mothers fighting reminded me of an incident here about 10 years ago. A couple was about to get married and there was just such an incident (between the mothers if I'm not mistaken) at the rehearsal supper the night before the wedding. It was so bad that the couple called off the wedding. They later married... OTHER PEOPLE ... not each other.

  69. Dear Lorna,
    It's all in the details and your details will add realism and fun to any fictional wedding. I loved your "balloon" wedding excerpt from your book and hope to win one of your books, either one would be great!
    I am visiting in San Francisco and will visualize possible wedding places for my characters on my current wip today as we work our way around the city.
    Vince: I love succinct one liners and the one you gave Mary is now exception. I would love your permission to make a poster of ""In romance I always think, 'stick them together physically and shove them apart emotionally.'
    Thank you,Lorna!

  70. Hi. Brenda, my dear crit partner and friend. Brenda makes sure all my characters are dressed, all the scenes have a goal, and that I haven't left out any "a's, and's, or the's." I'm very guilty of that last one.

  71. I was here early, got interrupted, but now I'm back!!!!

    Lorna!!! I am so in love with weddings that it's almost laughable, and your advice here is perfect!

    I love writing weddings, I especially like writing wedding industry things because they're rollicking funny sometimes. Oh, the things they think of, they want, they plan... It's hysterical!

    I have to go read comments now, Vince and Tina and her dirty little secret already had me at "hello"!!! :)

  72. Lorna, thanks for the flashback to Hannah and Lincoln's wedding :) I loved that book from beginning to end!

    The most memorable wedding I've been to was that of one of my best girlfriends two years ago. I was her maid of honor, and had the joy of helping her plan and coordinate and finish little details. As I enjoy event planning and project coordination, this was great fun for me :) I still remember watching her and her groom during their first dance, and then celebrating all evening with our families and friends. It's espec on my mind these days, as they're going to have a sweet little addition come Thanksgiving!

    Please add my name to the drawing; I'd love to win either novel!

  73. Julie! Why am I not surprised that you cry at weddings? Weddings seem to fit in your books especially well. Maybe it's because they cover a longer time period? Or perhaps it's because we feel like we've "grown up" with your characters, so we want to see them get their happily ever after.

    And Tina, hmmm. I'll have to think about using my wedding stories in a contemporary romance.

    Thanks, Sherri!

  74. Coconut and Lime????? Oh, Debby, tropical decadence!!!!! I'm in!

    A fellow wedding consultant got married not long before my Beth did... in the spring. In an ice storm. With no power.

    There weren't enough generators to do much of anything at the reception, just a really bad day!!!!!

    But they're still married, 3 kids later!


    And she still laughs about it.

  75. Missy, what did we do before Pinterest?

    Hi, Becky. You are SO right. The excerpt is from When Love Calls and not As Love Blooms. Can you believe I messed up my own books? Usually, I refer to them by their color--the purple book, the blue blook, and the pink. BTW, I like the sound of the secondary wedding that brings the hero and heroine together.

  76. I read the first book in the series. I'm not really into weddings and haven't attended that many. I'd love to win a book.

  77. Good afternoon, Sandy! I've often wondered about tornado warnings and weddings. Even though I live in Iowa, I've not experienced it. It sounds like your brother and sister-in-law are very easy going and I hope they cherish their memories.

    Hi, Pam. All of these mother stories are going to make me keep a closer eye on the mothers at the next wedding I do. Then again, I may need to pack boxing gloves in my wedding kit.

    Olivia, you are so right. Just look at all the wedding details we've heard about here today.

  78. Ruth, that is so sad. Still, you're right. They got married and that's all that really matters. One young bride planned an outdoor wedding. All day had been clear, but it started raining right when the wedding was supposed to begin. She was heart broken, but I reminded her of why she was there. She took one look at her gorgeous groom and forgot if she was inside or outside. They have four kids now. :)

    Hi, Michelle F.! Good luck!

  79. I wrote an entire book one time because my daughter was upset that I ended the book with the proposal. I ended up dedicating GREATER THAN RUBIES to her. I intended it to just be the wedding of the year - billionaire wedding, and it ended up being this amazing, deep, evangelical book that I have permanently free and that's been downloaded almost 200,000 times.

    It was fun to write that wedding, because cost was no object. :)

  80. Hallee, I just downloaded Greater Than Rubies. I look forward to reading it!

  81. To be honest, I'm tired of weddings
    Ha! This is because mine was in April, and I didn't care for the planning. Thank the Lord for my sweet mama who did most of the work.

    I'd rather a book end with a promise for a future unless a wedding is crucial to the plot.

    Okay, I'll stop being a downer now. :)

  82. Hi Olivia:

    That was Mary's line not mine. You'll need Mary's permission. I didn't attribute the quote because it was a comment up above mine.

    My quote about Mary would be this:

    "Mary writes like a Mark Twain who wants to be Louis L'Amour -- except Mary does it all with romance."

    You can tell I'm thinking like a man with male author heroes. :)


  83. Hi Julie:

    I am a Janeite!

    "Pride and Prejudice" is my "Gone With the Wind"!

    "Pride and Prejudice" was the first book I had to read in school that I loved and didn't hate. "Middlemarch" and "Return of the Native" -- they are cruel and unusual punishment to put a high school student through.

    Better yet: that wonderful, God bless her, English teach who assigned "Pride and Prejudice" -- was a nun!!!


  84. Hi Lorna:

    If you have not read "Love on a Dime" by Cara Lynn James, you might find it real fun. The heroine, under a pen name, writes romances. The year is 1893. She is upper class and can't let anyone know she is writing these best sellers.

    What's funny is that I liked this book so much that I went to Ebay and bought an original dime novel, printed in 1887, "Edna's Vow", and that book is every bit as good as romances being written today. The author, Charlotte M. Stanley, seems to know every romance writing rule they teach today!

    Back then the publishers made their male detective and western authors write romances under women's names. The men hated, hated, it! When woman began submitting manuscripts the publishers and the male authors rejoiced. The female readers loved the difference so much that some of the women dime novel authors became extremely rich. No income tax, too.

    I'd love to see you write this theme story.


    P.S.; Yankee game and NASCAR Xfinity race on at the same time. Got to go. Decisions, decisions.

  85. I love nuns, Vince!!!! I owe the Sisters of St. Joseph so much! They were a huge port in the storm for me... And they knew and loved good writing!

    I have a delightful sister in Refuge of the Heart, but no wedding.

    But next summer's LI has a wedding! :)

    And "More Than a Promise" has a wedding, but I might need to deck it out more.... I'll know this week as I read. Lorna has given me a lot to think about and it's perfect timing as I go through this manuscript.

  86. UH-OH, VINCE ... a blip in the beautiful relationship we have ... I can hardly believe it! But that's okay, because you are SO amazing, you just may persuade me to read Jane ...


  87. Hallee! Good to see you. And wow, an expensive wedding you didn't have to pay for. 200K!!! WOWZA!

  88. I LOVE Mary's wedding in Now and Forever.
    I hated the fact that a wedding had to occur (seemed so unfair), but the side commentary from the mountain men was SOOOOOOOOO funny. Classic Connealy humor.

    Usually, I like epilogue weddings or epilogues AFTER the wedding. Probably the tomboy in me. Of course, I got married on the dive boat where I met my husband. Simple wedding, Jimmy Buffet attire encouraged for the male guests. We wanted casual beach fun. Married 08-08-08 so all hubby needed to remember for anniversaries was the number 8. Hmmm, i guess we went practical, not so romantic. *heh*

  89. Vince, I'm so glad you liked the covers of my books! I hope you liked the books, too!!! It's such a relief to get lovely covers that reflect the type of story you're writing.

    Lorna's covers are also gorgeous!

  90. Hey Seekers - good to see y'all again!

    Tina, I heard about the chocolate croissants and just had to pop in. ;)

  91. Lorna - thanks for the great tips about weddings and wedding planners! I love the unique setting for the wedding in As Love Blooms and the hero for thinking of it. ;) Both your covers are just gorgeous.

    I also love the idea of your being a professional wedding planner for the day. My current series has a matchmaking grandpa and a few granddaughters who plan the weddings at their honeymoon hotel, and your list will come in very handy as I write the newest book.

    Thanks again!

  92. Hi Cara:

    I have to admit I bought some of your books for the beautiful covers but I read them all for the sheer enjoyment they provided. I'm sure I gave them all 5 stars. I just wish there were more of them to give 5 starts to. : )