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Monday, June 30, 2008

Another word from Kane

Since arriving in Seattle, I've found myself in living nightmare aka a wedding show. Talk about torture. All the lace, frills and girly stuff. It makes this pink and yellow blog seem almost manly.

Okay, I exaggerate, but what can I say? As I said before, I don't do brides. Maid of honors, either, because as I learned last night, they just want to be brides themselves. Scary!

I still have to get back to the conference center to pick up the wedding dress designer then head to the airport so I'm writing this post a day early. After the long flight back to Boston, I'll be too tired in the morning. I haven't been sleeping well here. Must be the hotel. Of course, the dress designer might have a little something to do with the restless nights.

Talk about a pain in the... well, I probably shouldn't say it in mixed company. Serena James is beautiful. Okay, hot, and there's some definite chemistry there. Two problems though... she's not only got an attitude, but an "almost" fiance. The guy must be an idiot to let a gorgeous woman like her fly across the country with someone like me. But don't worry. I behaved myself. I don't date another man's woman.

Still she's nice to look at even if she's all wrapped up in bride and wedding stuff. It's probably a good thing we didn't really hit it off. Her type is looking for an engagement ring and happily ever. Serena wouldn't be good for someone like me. Or vice versa.

No matter. This time tomorrow we'll be back in Boston, and I'll never see her again.

Anyway, I'd better get over to the conference center. The one thing I've learned about Serena is she likes everything perfect. I'm sure I'd hear it if I was late. And I'd rather the flight back to Boston be nice and quiet.

Take it easy,

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Coming up this Week...

My month hosting the blog will be coming to an end this week and Linda Goodnight will be taking over!

On Monday, Kane will pop in for a few words and let us know what he's been up to.

On Tuesday, July 1st, I'll pick the winner of the monthly contest, so be sure to check and see if you won!

There will also be romance authors guest blogging on Tuesday and Thursday. As well as Wedding Planner authors blogging on Wednesday and Friday!

Thanks for sharing June with me!


And Shifter goes to...

Catslady! She is the winner of Virginia Kantra's prize, a copy of the anthology Shifter. Please send me your snail address here and I'll pass it on to Virginia.

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment and made Virginia feel so welcome here!

Don't forget there are still a few more days remaining in June so if you want more entries in our monthly contest, all you have to do is post a comment. The prize is a $30 amazon.com gift certificate and a book!

Hope you have a great weekend!



Saturday, June 28, 2008


This month we'll be previewing RITA nominee Linda Goodnight's addition to the Wedding Planners series, "Winning the Single Mom's Heart". Below is an excerpt. Don't miss Natalie, the diabetic cake fairy, her mischievous twins, and the doctor who just won't take no for an answer.....

Natalie Thompson felt a little woozy. In fact, she felt a lot woozy.
Wouldn’t it be just ducky if the cake artist collapsed on top of a vastly expensive five-layer-wedding cake?

“Not now, not now,” she muttered, blowing a strand of blond bangs out of her eyes. The chatter of wedding guests filing into the reception warned her to hurry.

Her fingers trembled as she made one last adjustment to the glittering cake topper. As a group of classy wedding planners, she and her best friends/co-workers, collectively known as the Wedding Belles, took pride in making other women’s dreams come true. Right now, her fondest dream was to remain upright for another ten minutes.

The air in front of her eyes danced with black spots. Ten minutes might be pushing it.

Why, oh why, hadn’t she taken time to eat something? With all the activity of setting up for today’s wedding, she’d used up every drop of sugar in her body. Now her insulin had kicked in, expecting to be balanced out with a meal.

Diabetes, the bane of her existence since she was seven, could be so unforgiving.

A mountain of sugar in front of her and she dare not snitch a bite lest she destroy the picture perfect confection that had taken days to create. Not that she was supposed to eat sugar in the first place.

Breath a bit short, she stepped back to survey the table. This was the first Christmas wedding of the season and in keeping with the holiday theme, the cake sat on a raised pedestal beneath a beribboned archway of twinkling silver, blue and white snowflake lights. Beneath them the cake’s frosting glistened like new fallen snow.

Draping the table in heavy white satin with wide blue bows and tiny silver bells tucked up at the corners had been Serena’s latest creation, an idea the Belle’s dress designer had brought back from the Northwest Bridal Extravangza. Natalie glanced around to find the cool, elegant blonde taking one last survey of the ballroom. Serena had also brought back something else from the Bridal Fair and subsequent plane crash which had scared them all to death. She’d brought back a rather wild and dangerous pilot, Kane Wiley, who had looked ready to eat her up like the last bite of creamy vanilla cheesecake.

Ah yes. Cheesecake. Sugar. Food. Her job and her dilemma.

Everything was ready for the reception right down to the fruit circling the dark chocolate groom’s cake. She’d spent hours dipping and decorating those strawberries to resemble tiny tuxedos. Nobody, not even her, was going to mess that up before the bride arrived. No matter how badly her knees wobbled.

“Natalie, are you okay? You look funny.” The speaker was Regina O’Ryan, Natalie’s good friend and the Wedding Belles’ exceptionally gifted photographer. Though she always complained about her generous hips and extra ten pounds, Regina looked great these days. Glowing, happy, fulfilled. Marriage to her very own Mr. Right had done that for the lovely brunette.

People all around Natalie were falling in love faster than she could pipe leaves onto a birthday cake. Natalie was glad for them, especially Regina after all she’d been through. Truly she was. Love was great until it let you down.

A too familiar pang of bitterness pinched the center of her chest. Right now was not the time to remember. It was also not the time to slither to the gleaming tiled floor like butter cream frosting on a July day.

She waved Regina away. The action took more effort that she’d like.

“Insulin crash. No biggie.” All Natalie’s friends knew about her unpredictable diabetic condition and fretted appropriately. She appreciated it, really she did, but she and Regina were both too busy at the moment to deal with her temperamental endocrine system. “The bride and groom cometh. Better get moving.”

Regina glanced in the direction of the arched doorway and her soft brown eyes widened. “Eek. Can’t miss the grand entrance.” She pointed at the fruit display across the room. “Go eat something. Now.”

Regina snapped one more shot of the bride’s table and then hurried off, Christmas red slippers clicking on white tile.

Eat something. Good advice. That’s exactly what Natalie had to do.

Oh, for a mouthful of richly frosted, sweet buttery cake. But she’d long ago come to grips with the fact that she could have her cake but she couldn’t eat it. Which was exactly why she was a cake artist, or cake fairy as she preferred to be called.

On the opposite side of the grand ballroom rows and rows of fruit cascaded around a tiered table. Strawberries, grapes, melon, pineapple all beckoned. The table looked miles away but fruit was one thing she could snitch without it being noticed. She edged in that direction, the wobble in her knees more pronounced. Usually careful about her diet, she’d been running late after the twins’ babysitter had canceled at the last minute, a victim of the evil twenty-four hour virus. With the scramble to get the girls dressed and driven to daycare, she simply had not had time to think of food.

But boy, was she thinking about it now. A cluster of big juicy green grapes practically screamed her name. Just as she reached for it, a male voice stopped her.


Like a kid caught stealing candy, she yanked her hand away and spun around. The room tilted.

“Hey.” A pair of powerful hands gripped her upper arms. “Steady there. Are you okay? Am I that much of a surprise?”

Surprise? What was he talking about? She blinked up at the expensive smelling guest. He was tall, but then everyone was tall in her world. At just under five feet, she was vertically challenged. The only people shorter were her eight-year-old daughters.

“Natalie?” The man’s voice reminded her of someone, but she was zoning out. She hated zoning out but that was the price she sometimes paid when her sugar levels plummeted. And were they ever plummeting! Any minute now she’d slide to the floor and make a spectacle of herself.

“Fruit,” she whispered, knowing she’d feel like an idiot later, but right now she had to have food. “Diabetes.”

The stranger didn’t hesitate. With rapid efficiency, he slid two pieces of the sweetest, most heavenly melon between her lips. Then, arm around her waist, he guided her onto a chair against the wall. If she hadn’t felt so awful, she might have enjoyed having a man take such good care of her again.

Well, on second thought, maybe not. The one thing in her life she’d sworn never to do again was depend on anyone, especially a man, to take care of her. Once burned, twice warned, as they say. Not that Justin hadn’t loved her. That was the problem. He’d loved her too much. So much that she’d depended on him for every single thing.

A stab of loss penetrated the fog of diabetes.

“I’d forgotten you’re a diabetic,” the deep gentle voice rumbled as he poked more fruit into her mouth. The brush of manly fingers against her lips could be erotic in another setting.

He’d forgotten? Who was this guy?

She tried to look at him, but her eyes wouldn’t open.

She chewed and swallowed, chewed and swallowed, grateful to whomever he was.

In the background, the reception was in full swing, the sound muffled by the roaring in her head. The DJ announced the first dance, and a sexy version of “Let’s Get it On” filled the air.

Natalie thought it an odd choice for the first dance. If she was the one getting married, she’d have chosen something sentimental and romantic. But then, she was never getting married again. Mr. Right came along only once if a girl was really lucky. She’d had her chance and look how that had turned out.

“Natalie,” her rescuer said, tapping at her lips. “One more bite.”

Like an obedient bird, she opened her mouth. Her heart wasn’t racing quite as fast now and her head had begun to clear.

The fructose was doing its job.

She raised her eyelids, blinked them clear. Concerned eyes as warm and rich as chocolate ganache stared back. Familiar eyes. Familiar face. Dressed in a dark suit, he crouched in front of her, one hand balancing a plate of fruit on a muscular thigh.

Natalie’s thumped once, hard.

“Cooper?” she gasped. “What are you doing here? Is that really you?”

Dr. Cooper Sullivan flashed the wide, sexy grin that had stolen the hearts of any number of coeds in college. “It was me a few minutes ago when I looked in the mirror.”

“But you’re in California.” She set up straight, shaking the cobwebs out of her head.

Cooper looked around, mouth quirked. “I am?”

“Well, you’re obviously here, but I mean…” She was making a total idiot of herself. That’s what she meant. But then she could always blame the sugar drop. The truth was, she hadn’t seen the man in years, but articulating that sentiment didn’t seem possible at the moment.

Cooper let her off the hook. “Right now, I’m attending a colleague’s wedding. Mutual friends perhaps?”

“No, no. Clients. I’m working.” She nodded toward the bride’s table where a gorgeous redhead in ice blue satin served wedding cake to a parade of guests. “Only I should have been gone by now. The cake fairy does her job and gets out of the way. Usually.”

One of Cooper’s dark, slashing eyebrows hiked. “Cake fairy?”

She nodded, gaining strength and clarity by the moment. No matter how long she dealt with diabetes, she was always amazed at how quickly she could crash and recover. “I design cakes for a local wedding planner, the Wedding Belles.”

She was good at it, too. She could turn any idea into a fabulous cake. Justin had laughed when she’d taken up cake design but she thanked God every day she had. Otherwise, she and the twins would be sponging off relatives. She shivered at the thought. Even now, finances were incredibly tight.

“Feeling better?” Cooper pushed to his feet and towered over her.

“I am. Thanks.” Emitting a shaky breath, she ran a hand across her forehead. “I know better than to scrimp on lunch. But sometimes I can slide by.”

“Not today. You were as white as the bride’s dress.” He sat down in the chair next to her as though he was in no hurry to join the rest of the wedding guests. “Does Justin know about these episodes?”

Misery swept through her. He didn’t know. Cooper Sullivan had been Justin’s friend and closest competitor all through college and medical school but they’d gone their separate ways after graduation. Actually, after Justin and Natalie married. More than ten years had passed since she’d last seen the darkly handsome doctor.

A lot can happen in ten years.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Your Funny Little Wedding Disasters….

I am not a blogger. I have no idea what to say half the time. So this morning when my mind came up blank for today’s blog I thought, this is a disaster…and the idea was born.
If anyone hasn’t seen Betsy’s Wedding, I highly recommend it for funny wedding disasters! I have nothing of the kind to add – apart from my sister’s wedding where my brother-in-law’s football team decided to make me their mascot, and threw me (bridesmaid) from man to man, up in the air! I won’t discuss a still-not-funny disaster where my father was Master of Ceremonies at my cousin’s wedding and got into the whisky first…none of us talked to him in days.
We had a few funny things happen at our wedding. Just as the car pulled up at the church, a summer storm literally broke out over our heads. I just looked out and gaped. But the chauffeur was not so easily daunted: he came around with umbrella, swept me into his arms and, balancing the umbrella over my head (don’t ask me how!) he carried me to shelter while my father, never at a loss for words, followed saying, “What about me?”
Then during the service, the priest said, “May they be blessed with children” and at that exact moment our baby daughter gurgled and said, “Ah.” Everyone burst out laughing. We, um, hadn’t told the priest about our daughter, so he was understandably confused.
We had to keep dodging the summer storms that broke out every time we posed for photos; the park was drenched, and my dress and train turned a nasty brown. No more spreading the train out for pictures…and our flower girl, my husband’s baby sister, had just lost both her front teeth, so we haven’t a single smiling photo of her. Kinda cute though.
At my brother’s wedding, my daughters were both flower girls. Walking down the aisle my shy youngest, just three, saw me and started to panic, saying, “Mummy…Mummy…” and stopped walking. My older girl and niece had to rush back, take her hands and walk her down the aisle.
Well, that’s all I can remember for now…has anyone got some real Betsy stories? Would love to hear them!

Melissa J

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Weddings and Writing

Today's guest blogger is the talented Virginia Kantra, who also happens to be my critique partner. She's also the one who helped me come up with Serena's wedding tips in the front of SOS Marry Me!

Writing about weddings and having someone planning one at the same time was oh-so-helpful to me, but as you'll read, Virginia had some writing of her own going on at the time. Enjoy!

A year ago this month, I was planning a wedding and writing a book. That sentence should come with one of those disclaimers you see at the bottom of car commercials:
“Do not try this at home.”

But as I explained to my critique partner Melissa, I didn’t have a choice. I had a deadline. And we have a daughter, an amazingly competent, intelligent, energetic, on-fire professional woman whose response to all things wedding was “Mommy Do It.”

So I did, and it was mostly a joy.

For five months, I was consumed by details of The Dress (by Maggie Sotterro)

I interviewed florists,

debated over cake,

and ordered fourteen pairs of shoes from Zappos.

“Don’t worry,” Melissa kept saying as she was tackling her own line edits for SOS Marry Me, “this is great material for a book.”

I snorted. “Yeah. Yours.”

Except, you know, Melissa was right. The following is from Sea Fever, book 2 of The Children of the Sea, an August release from Berkley.
Chapter 1

The night the only eligible man on the island got married, Regina Barone got drunk.

Getting laid would have been even better.

Regina looked from Bobby Kincaid, whose eyes had taken on the wet glaze of his beer bottle, to fifty-three-year-old Henry Tibbetts, who smelled like herring, and thought, Fat chance. Anyway, on an island with a year round population of eleven hundred, a drunken hook-up at a wedding reception could have serious consequences.

Regina knew all about consequences. She had Nick, didn't she?

The wedding tent's tiebacks fluttered in the breeze. Through the open sides, Regina could see the beach where the happy couple had exchanged their vows--a strip of shale, a tumble of rocks, a crescent of sand bordering the restless ocean.

Not your typical destination wedding. Maine, even Maine in August, was hardly St. Croix.

And the beach wedding described in Sea Fever is not my daughter’s wedding. The couple getting married are the hero and heroine of my July release, Sea Witch.

And yet…
With less than a month to plan and prepare, with only a clueless bride and the groom's awkward sister for support, Regina had pulled off the wedding she'd never had. The rented tent was warm with lantern light, bright with delphinium, daisies, and sunflowers. Crisp white linens covered the picnic tables, and she'd dressed up the folding chairs from the community center with flowing bows.

Flashback to our two tall, handsome sons on their knees in the reception hall the day before the wedding, tying organza sashes around 150 white-covered chairs.

Finally, there was the look in the groom’s eyes:
The naked intensity in Cal's eyes as he watched his wife closed Regina's throat.

In her entire life, no man had ever looked at her like that, as if she were the sun and the moon and his entire world wrapped up in one.

On the day of their wedding, our new-son-in-law looked at our daughter just like that.

It was enough to make you believe in happy endings.

So, which would you opt for? Destination wedding or family church? Or doesn’t it matter as long as the man waiting for you at the end of the aisle has just that look in his eyes?

Virginia has graciously donated a copy of Shifter, an anthology featuring her novella Sea Crossing which is a prequel to her upcoming releases, to be given away on the blog today. The winner will be selected from those posting comments! Good luck!

A six-time Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist, Virginia Kantra is the winner of numerous writing awards, including the Golden Heart, Golden Leaf, Holt Medallion, Maggie Award of Excellence and two National Readers' Choice Awards. After writing her popular "MacNeill Brothers" and "Trouble in Eden" series for Silhouette, Virginia turned her hand to romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Her new series, Children of the Sea, debuts with the back-to-back releases of Sea Witch (July 2008) and Sea Fever (August 2008).

To read more about her or The Children of the Sea series, visit Virginia on MySpace!

All wedding photos copyright Mindy Gorman Photography. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Bridal Veil Postmark

The Post Office knows how important it is for brides to have the perfect stamp for their wedding invitations. That's why the sell a "Love" stamp.

Some brides, however, want to go a step further with those special touches, and if one of them is fortunate to live in the Portland Metro area, a forty minute or so drive will take them to a small town off I-84 called Bridal Veil. There's a waterfall called Bridal Veil, but there's also a small post office. And here, brides can have their wedding invitations postmarked...Bridal Veil.

If you want to read about a bride named Kirby who drove out to Bridal Veil check out this live journal entry. A big thank you to Kirby for allowing me to use her photo in this post!

If you want to read more about Bridal Veil, here's an article for you.

Would (or did) you go out of your way for those extra little touches? If so, what are (were) they?

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Would You Add a Woof to Your Wedding?

Okay, I have to admit it.

I dress up my dog.

But she’s so stinkin’ cute, she BEGS to be dressed up. Okay, maybe SHE doesn’t literally beg “please dress me in a cute little dress and put a bow in my hair, then parade me around the neighborhood,” but she’s one of those little dogs that looks so adorable in a dress, you simply can’t resist.

That got me to thinking…if I was getting married today, would I include my Sophie girl in the wedding? Maybe put her in a matching dress, and let her trot on down the aisle with a ring bearer pillow or something? You know, I probably would. ;-).

I started Googling “Pets and Weddings” and you’d be surprised how many people have included their furry friends in their weddings. There’s an article on Five Tips for Including Your Pet in Your Wedding, should you be so inclined.

I love dogs. Love cats. I have three dogs of my own, and one cat (my second cat passed away last spring). We also currently have three fiddler crabs, courtesy of son's science teacher ;-). We've had fish and birds in the past. So you can definitely say we are pet people. I draw the line at reptiles and rodents, but furry things are cool, as are aquarium creatures.

Even writer Kurt Vonnegut had his furry friend at his wedding, so it's not all that uncommon. Here's an article about a wedding that included a furry pal named Belle ;-). On another site, I read about Pamela Anderson having a wedding for her dog. Okay, so I wouldn't go so far as to marry OFF my dog, LOL.
No matter how good she looked in the dress.<

Shirley :-)

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Always a Bridesmaid!

Have you ever felt like the perpetual bridesmaid? Granted, I don't have 27 Dresses hanging in my closet, but I've got quite a few bridesmaid gowns in there that will never see the light of day again. Not that I mind being asked by my friends to be part of their wedding party. It's quite a thrill actually, but after awhile you really just want to be a bride. At least, I do.

At Callie's wedding, I want to catch the bouquet. Okay, I know the whole thing about catching the bouquet is just a silly tradition, but did you know Melissa McClone caught a bride's bouquet and was the next to get married?

Why not me?

I already know Natalie and Audra won't want to touch the bouquet. They are so down on men right now. And we couldn't drag Belle out there if our lives depended on it. So that leaves me and well, all the other female wedding guests. Of course, I still need a Mr. Right to propose, but catching the bouquet couldn't make things worse than they already are.

Want to help me out because I need to start packing for my flight to Seattle where I'm attending a bridal show and don't have time to google it right now? Do you have any strategies on how I can increase my odds of catching Callie's bouquet?

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

This week on the blog...

Serena will be by on Monday to say hi!

On Thursday, guest blogger Virginia Kantra will be giving away a copy of Shifter, a paranormal anthology. She's also running a countdown to her release of Sea Witch with special giveaways so stop by her MySpace page for your chance to win!

A couple of the wedding planners authors will also be posting this week, including Shirley Jump who has a fun post about weddings and our four-footed friends.

Be sure to comment for your chance to win the $30 Amazon.com gift certificate and a book that will be given away at the end of the month. Each comment you make counts as one entry!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wedding Dresses

Since my heroine is Serena James, the wedding dress designer, I thought it might be fun to look at some wedding gown fashions.

This video shows the Mon Cheri Fall 2008 line:

This video shows a bridal fashion show by designer Nina Duong:

And this one is from a FAshion Show Extravaganza at Wedding Fair in Canada:

Did you see any dresses you would wear? Any you wouldn't?

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Friday, June 20, 2008

The Day After. Do you have a story?

I've never been a mother of the bride or groom, so I only imagined that the day after a big wedding is a huge relief. But when I asked my sister Helen about it, she sent me an email that really opened my eyes.

"We had a "gift opening" party at our house the day after Kelli and Ken's wedding. Everyone was enjoying each other's company. Then the inevitable happened. It was time for Kelli and Ken to leave for their honeymoon. Frank and I were saying our good-byes to Kelli, crying and holding each other, not wanting to let her go. She and Ken finally got into her silver Mustang, in love, and looking forward to their honeymoon. As they drove out of our driveway, she waved goodbye and smiled at us with a look of contentment on her face. She was glowing. It was at that moment that Frank and I looked at each other and knew that she would live happily ever after. I will never forget that moment."

Makes me misty to picture it. I never considered how parents of the bride and groom would watch for a sign that everything would be okay. Marriage isn't just a big step for the happy couple, it's a big step for parents too -- letting go. Hoping all the choices were good ones.

My sister Diana had a totally different experience!

With her daughter already off on her honeymoon, she and her husband had simply intended to return tuxes, but look what happened!

"The funniest or oddiest thing about our trip was we were just going to the city to return tuxes.

We went to Olive Garden afterward. When we were finished eating, Charlie suggested we hit the outlets in Lancaster. We drove over and realized we were only a few hours from the beach. Plus, Carissa and Kate were with us. We'd all taken the week off work to unwind from the wedding, so there was no reason not to go.

Except we didn't have a stitch of clothes. Just before we got to the beach, we stopped at the local Walmart and bought tooth brushes, deordorant, beach towels, suntan lotion, underwear and a couple tops and shorts. Then we drove down the beach and, even without a reservation, got a room at our favorite place and had a wonderful time. We couldn't have had a better time if we would have planned it."

Now that's my idea of stress relief!

Any parents of the bride or groom with a good day after story?


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Extreme Weddings

“Extreme Weddings”

Think of the word wedding, and most minds think white dresses, tuxedos, church or garden…and of course, money! But for increasing numbers of adventurous couples, the way to go is something unique that matches their shared interests or careers. I’m not talking beach weddings in Bali or, as my friends did, on a rock shelf overlooking the ocean – I mean real adventurous weddings!

For example:

1. A German acrobat couple married on a trapeze high wire. I don’t even want to go there – the details might be a bit unbalanced. J And guests might get a crick in the neck trying to watch…
2. A pair of Nepalese lovers married on top of Mount Everest to avoid interracial and caste/religious problems. While there was only the two of them and the celebrant, and it took days to get there and back, they must have had the best wedding pictures ever!
3. Annually, around 100 couples marry in the Annual Loveland Mountaintop Wedding – a mass ceremony on deep ski slopes in full ski gear. I daresay this kind of ceremony also doesn’t leave much room for guests. Colorado is not alone in this: Lake Tahoe, Whistler Ski Resort or Wildcat Mountain also offer ski slope weddings for the enthusiast. J Another wonderful idea for wedding shots!
4. Several companies cater for skydiving weddings, from Las Vegas to Queensland in my native Australia. Traditionally (okay, does that sound weird to anyone else, a tradition in skydiving weddings? J) the couple do a tandem dive with the celebrant, who marries them wherever they all land. Not sure about the whole helmet hair issue! What really amazed me was that some couples take their vows, and even kiss, mid-air. Some companies even cater for your family to make the jump with you. Shudder…
5. One I did find a fascinating thought, and one my animal-loving son would consider, is the Safari wedding. Kenya and South Africa both have companies such as CC Africa catering to this, entire packages including honeymoon destinations. I’m sure other African nations have similar.
6. In Tanzania they offer traditional wilderness African weddings, including clothing, drums and chanting. They offer rose-petal ceremonies and feasting to the sounds of the wild. I love this idea as well (shame I’ve been married 25 years!)
7. “Murder weddings” are gaining popularity for the mystery enthusiast. Love to know who gets killed and whodunit each time…
8. How’s this for a take on deep history (read my last post on where the word “honeymoon” came from)? “Kidnap weddings” are also gaining popularity. One partner makes every arrangement for a wedding, including all the legalities if they change states or countries, and drives/flies to the destination, and voila! Partner knew they were getting married, just not when…
9. One scary option (at least to me) is the underwater wedding. How deep to go? Snorkeling I could handle, but scuba??? While the views again could be utterly spectacular, the whole making vows thing with your mouth filled with the rubber tubing…nah.
10. One company west of Cairns, Australia, offers sunrise hot air balloon weddings floating over the glorious Atherton Tablelands. Once married you can swim in the lakes inside dormant volcanoes there (I’ve done it, wonderfully exhilarating!) or head back to the Great Barrier Reef and snorkel for the first time as husband and wife. I recommend staying on lovely Green Island, quiet and popular with couples.

Of course the logistics can be and often are even more difficult than in a traditional wedding. More so with who to invite because, frankly, who’d do half these things to watch a wedding? How to surprise your partner with the kidnap wedding while handling the dress issue, relatives not coming, legal issues, accommodation…

While most of these weddings sound, and probably are, incredibly romantic, I think I’m fairly glad I married traditionally. I would have liked a garden or mountain wedding, but the rest, while I wouldn’t mind trying most under normal circumstances, for a wedding? Nope, guess I’m just not adventurous enough. And seeing my darling man turns green looking at roller coasters, I’m guessing no matter how I begged, we’d have just stayed on the ground anyway.

Melissa J

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Famous Celebrity Weddings of the Past

It seems as if every day we're reading about a celebrity getting married or getting engaged, and that's a lot of fun. But we all know who the current crop of newly married or almost married couples are.
What were some of the famous weddings of the past?

How about...Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward?

Or Jacqueline Lee Bouvier and John F. Kennedy?

Of course, we all remember Lady Diana and Prince Charles. There have been posts about that gorgeous dress on this very blog. But what about Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier?

Other weddings we've watched (or read about) with interest include Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki and Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu:

Of course, back when I was teaching (a long time ago), I remember the other teachers all wanted to see the wedding of Luke and Laura (from General Hospital). And yes, I know they weren't real, but I swear that people talked about them as if they really existed.

What are some other famous celebrity weddings you can think of?

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Me? A MOB?

We heard from the newly engaged Elizabeth Wiggs on Thursday, now it's time to hear what her mother, NYT bestselling author Susan Wiggs, has to say about being the mother of the bride!

I’m not quite sure how to say this, so I’ll be blunt. Does anybody actually dream about being mother of the bride?

Come on.
Nearly every woman I know has dreamed of being a bride. But the bride’s mother? That’s kind of like getting stuck with Midge (the sidekick) while playing Barbies. It’s also sure to mess with your denial about being old enough to actually have a daughter who’s getting married. A new generation has come along, and here you thought you were the young generation. You didn’t even notice the runner behind you, reaching out to pass you the baton.

If you’re like me, the mother of an adored and indulged girl, you remember every single minute. You remember what her toddler voice sounded like when she laughed. You remember the little-girl smell of her, and dresses that were too expensive but you bought them anyway because you just had to see her in that adorable smocked pinafore. You remember the feel of her tiny–usually sticky–hand in yours as you took her into unfamiliar situations: A swimming pool. Kindergarten. The IMAX. A petting zoo. Her first piano recital. The dentist. You remember the victory dance she did to celebrate accomplishments from winning a race in a swim meet to learning cursive writing. You remember laughing so hard your sides ache, and holding her when she cried, willing to trade your soul to keep her from hurting. You remember how much she loved goodnight kisses, how much she hated black olives, and how very sure she was that you would always be the center of her world.

And then, before you know it, and this poised and accomplished young woman appears–seemingly out of nowhere–with a young man at her side. And not just any young man. The young man. Prince Charming. The forever guy. They have Big News. They can’t wait to tell you. Turns out Prince Charming has even been conspiring with your husband, arranging the surprise proposal, the whirlwind romantic weekend, start of plans that are about to consume you for the next twelve months.

All right, so you’re not the center of her world anymore. You’re the Mother of the Bride. Even the phrase itself makes you sound old. But here’s a secret–this is way too much fun. As Mother of the Bride (in e-mail, I’ve already shortened it to MOB), you get to be like the bride’s best friend, except with bigger hips and more money. You get to go dress shopping, knowing it’s not you who will have to fit into that teensy boned bodice. You kick back, sip your latte and page through style magazines while your daughter agonizes over every little decision. The baton has been passed. And that’s not a bad thing.

--Susan Wiggs

Susan's first book was published by Zebra in 1987, and since then she has been published by Avon, Tor, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Warner and Mira Books. Unable to completely abandon her beloved teaching profession, Susan is a frequent workshop leader and speaker at writers' conferences, including the literary institution Fields End and the legendary Maui Writers Conference. Her novel The Charm School was voted one of RWA's Favorite Books of the Year. She is the proud recipient of three RITA awards for Lakeside Cottage, Lord of the Night and The Mistress, and is often a finalist for the prestigious award. Her books appear regularly on numerous "Best Of" lists.

Susan enjoys many hobbies, including sitting in the hot tub while talking to her mother on the phone, kickboxing, cleaning the can opener, sculpting with butter and growing her hair. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

You can find Susan blogging at The View From Here.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Hello from Belle

I'm so excited! Not only has business for The Wedding Belles picked up, but three of my girls have found love...Callie with Jared, Regina with Dell and Julie with Matt. Callie's wedding is coming up and we're all busy planning for Julie's next year.

Of course, I know Serena will be the next bride. She and Rupert are the perfect couple. I just don't know what's keeping him from proposing. That boy better get with the program or he's going to lose out on a wonderful woman. Maybe her upcoming trip to Seattle will be the wake-up call he needs.

It was very sweet of Charles Wiley to arrange for his son, Kane, to fly Serena and her wedding gowns to the bridal show in Seattle. Charles is such a gentleman. Handsome, too.

The girls say he wants to ask me out, but I know Charles is only trying to butter me up so I'll sell him my late husband's Rolls Royce. But I will admit the attention is nice.

Not that I'm interested in dating again - I'll leave that to the girls - but I wonder if it's possible for a woman my age to fall in love again. What do you think?


Sunday, June 15, 2008

This week on the Wedding Planners...

Belle will be stopping by on Monday! She has a few things to say about her wedding dress designer, Serena James.

The award winning and NYT bestselling author, Susan Wiggs, will guest blog on Tuesday. Listen to what she has to say about being a mother of the bride.

There will also be post by The Wedding Planners continuity authors, including Melissa James who did a little research on Extreme Weddings for the blog, so please stop by!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Proposal Planner

We wrote a continuity series about wedding planners, but did you know proposal planners exist to help men plan the ultimate proposal? I sure didn't until I saw this clip on YouTube!

A very interesting profession, don't you think?

P.S. Don't forget about our monthly giveaway here on the blog! June's prize is a $30 dollar amazon gift certificate and an autographed hardcover copy of one of my releases. The winner will receive a list of titles they can choose from. Every comment you make gives you one entry into the contest! Good luck!


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Friday, June 13, 2008

Bridal Shower Tips--You're Invited!

In the weeks to come, I’ll be blogging on everything and anything related to wedding showers. So if you’re interested in the topic, keep checking back for more.

Start Early. A shower should take place about six weeks prior to the wedding and may take several weeks to plan.

Who’s the host? Traditionally, the maid of honor leads the charge, assisted by the bride’s maids.

Guests. Mothers of the bride and groom will likely have guest lists. Decide in advance how many you wish to invite, if the shower is for ladies only or couples, and if it is to be an all-inclusive or a more intimate gathering of close friends and relatives. Keep in mind the importance of introducing all these people to one another.

Invitations. Many hosts today use email or hand-crafted, computer generated invitations. The latter can be personalized and quite lovely while saving time and money. If you choose to order printed invitations, order early.

Budget. Decide in advance but don’t break the bank. A beautiful shower can be accomplished on a limited budget.

Refreshments. Traditionally, punch and cake were the mainstays of bridal showers. Today, the sky is the limit. Choose from-hor’dourves, fruit and veggie arrangements, a buffet meal, or something as fun as a chocolate fountain/fondue. Keep the bride and guests in mind when making the decision.

Theme or Type. Again, consult with the bride. A typical bridal shower includes any and all household items. But perhaps the bride would prefer a linen shower or a kitchen shower.

a. Groom shower. In recent years, the groom shower has gained some popularity. Generally given by the best man, gifts range from tools to yard or car care items-anything that says ‘guy’. Consequently, the games and refreshments will also be male-focused. A game of pool, a round of poker, some pizza or chip and dip. The important thing is giving the groom his equal due.

Games. Though not a must, at least one game is a way to break the ice and create an entertaining atmosphere. Bridal shower games are easy to find on-line. Kits can also be purchased for more elaborate fun.

Most importantly, have fun!

I’d love to hear about anything unique, cute, or special you experienced at a shower. What kind of themes have you encountered? Have you played any fun games?

Please share your thoughts and tips, do’s and don’ts for a successful bridal shower! I’ll be back with more….

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Newly Engaged!

Over the past thirteen years, I've watched Elizabeth Wiggs grow up. Not in person, but over the Internet thanks to her mother, Susan, who shared some really great stories about her beautiful and remarkable daughter. In March, Elizabeth accepted her beau's romantic proposal! As soon as I heard about Elizabeth's engagement, I asked if she would mind answering a few questions about her wedding planning experiences and, fortunately for all of us, she agreed.

Grab your favorite beverage of choice, sit back and read what newly-engaged Elizabeth Wiggs has to say about her journey to the altar so far. I think you'll enjoy this!

1. Did you decide to go with a big wedding or a smaller one? Why?

One thing that I've begun to realize about weddings is that everyone has a different opinion about what constitutes an over-the-top event. According to the more neutral Internet sources, my guest list (which, right now, should yield about 150-200 people) is in the mid-range…but some have heard that number and gasped in horror at the "HUGE" wedding I'm planning, and others have commented on how "simple and intimate" the day will be. So, rather than thinking too concretely about numbers, I simply want to invite everyone who is important to me, to Dave, and to our families.

2. What has been the most difficult part of planning a wedding?

The most difficult part – this early in the game, anyway – has been realizing that planning a wedding isn't all fairytales and rainbows. Sure, I've seen reality shows about monstrous brides, bridesmaids, and family members, but I suppose that I've always thought of stressful wedding planning as a phenomenon specific to spoiled divas and their emotionally imbalanced mothers.

This is why it was a shock to me when I had my first wedding-related tussle with my mom. I thought to myself, "This shouldn't happen to me! I'm not a bridezilla! My wedding should be a breeze to plan! Everyone should be on the exact same page as me and be super-duper thankful that I'm not crazy or demanding!" The truth is, you can be the mellowest bride of them all, with the most laid-back family in the world (no, I'm not suggesting that the Wiggs clan fits the description), and you're still going to face some, ahem, challenges. Look at it this way: you're planning an event that is more than likely going to involve a slew of out-of-town guests, a large chunk of money, and, oh yeah, it's also a genuinely important, emotional day for you. Even a Zen-master yogi trained in conflict resolution and transcendent meditation isn't gonna avoid getting a little frazzled during the planning process.

So here's how I've been dealing with the less sparkly, giddy parts of planning my wedding: Dave's aunt told me, when she heard about our engagement, that our wedding should reflect who Dave and I are as a couple. I've made that my mantra. When I get stressed, I remind myself that the details – the food we serve, the color-scheme, where we have the event – will melt away over time, and what remains will be the memory of a celebration with loved ones. Over the years, when our marriage hits rough patches (and it will), we can look back on the day and remember exactly why we decided to be partners in crime.

That's not to say that I'm going to be level-headed for the rest of the engagement. Sometimes I'll sweat the small stuff, and there will be hectic moments along the way to our marriage. But I'm realizing that the most important part of planning this wedding isn't keeping the road smooth – it's learning to address the challenges with grace and compassion. It's remembering to honor the love and support that Dave and my family give me. As soon as I remember that it's not all about me, I return to my newly engaged bliss (sometimes let loose a couple of banshee screeches before I get there, though).

3. What has been your favorite part of planning your wedding?

My favorite part so far has been sharing my excitement with Dave. In the last couple of weeks, I have watched both of us settle happily into the idea of spending forever together. Just before he proposed to me, Dave whispered, "We've been married for a long time now." Of course, we aren't married in the literal sense of the world, and that's not what he meant; he was simply saying to me that our wedding isn't going to change the course of our relationship. Our marriage has been formed over the past couple of years, and our partnership will continue to deepen for the rest of our lives. The wedding, on the other hand, is a blessing, an opportunity to invite everyone who cares for us to share our love for one another. And that's where the joy is for me: planning a day, with Dave, that will bring together our families, friends, and relationship.

Some of the best ideas for the wedding have actually been Dave's. Nothing puts a smile on my face more than getting an email from him in the middle of the day with a link to a quirky, cool venue or a touching thought about an officiator. I'm continually reminded that, more than ever before, we are each other's support, and everything we do for our wedding is a combined effort.

4. How did you make this wedding celebration uniquely yours? (And unusual or interesting touches you chose to go with)?

Growing up in the Northwest, Dave and I both deeply value the pristine landscape that we once took for granted. Before attending college in Los Angeles, neither of us realized what a gift it is to live in a community that hasn't leeched away the health of our land. That's why I'm committed to making choices for the wedding that don't unnecessarily damage our environment. And no, I'm not saying that I'm going to serve my guests organically harvested tree bark, wear moss in my hair, and replace the reception venue's toilet paper with fallen leaves – I'm just going to approach each element of the wedding by asking myself whether there's a (plausible) way that I could be less demanding on the environment.

For instance: I've never seen flowers as a vital, defining part of a wedding. In fact, they don't much matter to me either way. So, aside from my bouquet, which I will pick from my parents' back yard the day before, I'm not going to have any floral arrangements. Instead, for table centerpieces, I'll use simple, beautiful pieces that don't drain the landscape, like smooth beach rocks, soy candles, and painted driftwood.

5. How many attendants do you have? Describe the dresses you've chosen (or would like to choose).

In the interest of keeping my girls comfortable, I'll have them wear tea-length, A-line dresses, hopefully with a number of options regarding the neckline and sleeves. For colors, I'm considering a universally flattering shade of soft gray or creamy aqua. Most importantly, I'll keep the cost per frock under 200 bucks, since I don't want to force any of my ladies to go broke over my wedding.

Here's what I'm not doing: I'm not kidding myself that my gals will re-wear their bridesmaid dresses. Sure, if I do end up finding a dress that all of them love and would wear outside of my wedding, fabulous. And I want each maid to feel beautiful. But if I'm going to pick what they wear, then I need to be clear-eyed about the fact that they might not be as in love with the design as I am.

6. Any favorite songs you'd like the wedding band to play?

Here's what I do *not* want the band to play: YMCA, We Are Family, Celebration, Macarena, Locomotion, The Joker, Electric Slide, Freebird, I Will Always Love You, Shout, Who Let the Dogs Out, or the chicken dance.

Actually, we're not going to have a wedding band – just an iPod and a playlist that guests will vote on via our website (mind you, I say this only weeks into the planning process, with no knowledge whatsoever of how complicated this can and will be). We're keeping our "first dance" song secret because we want our guests to have an "AWWWWWWWWWW" moment when they first hear the melody.

7. If you could go anywhere you wanted to, describe your perfect honeymoon location.

When Dave proposed to me, he had already been thinking about this and suggested Thailand. I also immediately looked into Iceland honeymoon packages.

In reality, though, we're not going to have a month to spend on our honeymoon. Realistically, we'll have a week or two. So I'd rather not lose two days of that time to travelling to our destination, and two more days getting over jet-lag. We're going to find somewhere exotic and fun near our own time-zone, like Alaska or South America, so that we can maximize our time cuddling and practicing the terms "husband" and "wife."

8. Have you received or requested any unique wedding gifts? What are they?

Because we've lived together for almost two years, we have acquired a lot of extremely nice items for our home – so we can be a little less traditional with our registry. The "big ticket" item that we're considering putting on the list is a large, flat computer monitor that we can hook our laptops up to. To be honest, it seems unnatural and a bit uncomfortable to have a registry at all, and I've been wrestling a little with my conscience over it. But every couple that I've spoken to has given me two pieces of advice that I keep repeating to myself whenever I start fretting that it's presumptuous for me to create an in-depth list of the feathers I want for my nest:

a) Your guests are going to get you gifts no matter what, so make it easy for them – and avoid getting ten toasters that you have to run around and return.
b) Don't go cheap out of guilt. Register for what you want – and trust that your guests will spend what they feel comfortable with on your gift. Plus, many places give you a discount on items that you register for but don't receive, so this is a great way to save money on something that you would end up buying anyway.

9. If a millionaire dropped by and offered to pay for the wedding of your dreams, what additions/changes would you make?

I would have much more extravagant décor, with lush fabrics draped from the walls and stunning centerpieces that fill the reception venue with twinkling light. I would consider holding the ceremony and reception at a well-known venue, like the art museum lobby or the aquarium. And I would spend more money on my guests and wedding party, giving them unique gifts that represent how grateful I am for their support and love.

As it is, my guests are getting signed copies of my mother's books, we're leaving the walls bare, and I'm making my own centerpieces. And I still think it's going to be beautiful, personal, and memorable.

10. Have you chosen any interesting/different places for wedding photos?

At the moment, we're considering splitting the ceremony and the reception between Bainbridge Island, where my parents live, and Seattle. Because of this, there will be a ferry ride in the middle of the day, and I'm looking forward to taking over the boat with my wedding party and new husband, reenacting the "I'm flying!" scene from Titanic, and having a true Seattle experience that will forever remind us of the vibrant city where Dave and I set out on our life together.

11. A wedding is a bride's opportunity to act out a fairy tale for a day. What stands out as the most special part of your wedding?

The most special part of the wedding will be the ceremony. When I imagine the day, every other element seems in shadow compared to the moment when Dave and I meet at the end of the aisle and promise, in front of everyone we love, to spend forever with each other.

Elizabeth Wiggs is the daughter of writer Susan Wiggs, so she knows a thing or two about romance. She now works in marketing at a sustainable design firm in Seattle.

Elizabeth attended Pomona College outside of Los Angeles, California, from where she brought home more than a B.A.: when she moved back to Seattle in 2006, she was joined by a 6'4", olive-skinned Canadian with a mane of flowing blond hair who looks like he stepped off the cover of one of her mother's novels. His name is Dave.

On a random Friday last March, Dave surprised Elizabeth at home with flowers duct taped to the wall, a diamond ring, and a weekend "Engageymoon" trip to one of Seattle's nicest hotels. They are moving to Chicago this summer, where Dave will begin law school and Elizabeth will apply to business school. The pair plans to return to Seattle for their wedding on July 25, 2009.

All of us at The Wedding Planners wish Elizabeth and Dave our best for stress-free planning over the thirteen months and a beautiful wedding next year. May the love that brought you together today, only grow stronger and deeper over the years!

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