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Monday, December 1, 2008

My Christmas Wedding

For as long as I could remember, I dreamed of getting married at Christmastime. It's such a special time of year, and I felt in my heart it would be a lovely time for a wedding. When my then-boyfriend proposed a few days before Christmas, I knew my dream was going to come true. I'd have a year to plan a spectacular Christmas wedding in San Francisco!

I started imagining the day right away. A full nuptial Mass at my parish, St. Vincent de Paul, in Pacific Heights followed by a reception. I wanted somewhere with a historic feel. The leading reception site was the Sherman House, a Victorian Inn also in Pacific Heights.

And then real life and something called cancer got in the way. We moved our wedding up to April in hopes that my fiance's ill father could attend. We also moved the wedding from San Francisco to New York. We had a lovely wedding and reception with forty of our closest friends and family. I couldn't imagine a nicer day.

But when I was asked to take part in a Silhouette Romance continuity and told I'd be a December 2003 release with a heroine who was a florist, I knew I'd been given a chance to actually have my Christmas wedding in the pages of the book. So here it is with only a few changes (a small town vs. the big city!)

From Chapter One, Santa Brought a Son, Book 4 of Marrying the Boss's Daughter, December 2003:

Samantha Wilson stood midway up the aisle of the empty church holding the bridesmaid bouquet she'd found on the altar and surveyed her work. On the end of each pew, a miniature wreath decorated with tiny berries, cinnamon sticks and pinecones hung from red-and-green plaid ribbon tied in bows. At the front of the church, potted red and white poinsettias created a cascading effect on the steps leading up to the altar. And the altar was dressed with fresh pine boughs and garland. Pinecones, holly, berries and the same red-and-green ribbon from the pew wreaths provided a splash of color and texture to the greenery that filled the church with a christmasy pine scent.

From Chapter Two:

As the new Mr. and Mrs. Mark Slayter finished their stroll down the aisle to the tune of Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the bells in the steeple chimed. Reed followed the stream of wedding guests outside to the steps of the 275-year-old church. People milled about as if it were a spring afternoon, not early December with a wintry chill in the air.

"I'm Rebecca," an attractive woman with hazel-green eyes said to him. "Are you a friend of the groom or the bride?"

"The groom," Reed answered. "Rebecca Donnelly, right?"

"You know my name, but I'm positive we've never met." She smiled seductively. "I would never forget a man like you."

"You sat next to me in physics and world history senior year." Her blank stare didn't surprise him. "Reed Connors."

Her mouth gaped. "I'm sorry, Reed. I didn't recognize you."

"That's okay," he said. "I only lived in Fernville a couple of years. No reason for you to remember me."

She pursed her glossed lips. "Can I make it up to you?"

"Possibly." His hint of suggestiveness left Rebecca nodding and batting her heavily mascara-covered eyes.

As he made the one block stroll to the reception, Reed searched for his friends from high school. They had to be here, but he didn't see them. He reached the reception site, the town's recreation center. An odd choice for a wedding reception considering he used to compete in chess tournaments here. The only difference between then and now was a new sign out front.

Inside, a framed picture of Mark and Kelli sat on an easel. A white mat with guests' signatures and greetings surrounded the photo. Reed picked up the pen, scribbled the words "May the force be with you as you live long and prosper together" and signed his name. Mark would understand as only a former Star Wars/Trekkie geek would.

With his seat-assignment card in hand, Reed stepped through the pine-garland trimmed entrance to the multipurpose room and was transported from the recreation center's nondescript decor into a romantic winter wonderland.

The scent of pine permeated the air. White gauzy fabric with sparkling snowflakes on it covered the walls. Garland entwined with white lights was draped over them. Next to the dance floor stood a twelve-foot Christmas tree decorated with white lights, red bows and crystal hearts. A smiling angel, with wings spread wide, graced the top of the tall tree. Reed's assistant had sent a gift for him, and he wondered if it was under the tree with the other wedding presents.

Had Samantha done all this? The girl he remembered hadn't seemed interested in flowers unless they were for a prom corsage. Thought she'd been more concerned about whether they clashed with the color and style of her dress. But Reed had thought he'd seen more in here. Too bad he'd been wrong.

Reed passed a group of carolers dressed like characters from a Dickens novel and made his way to the center of the room.

And then a little later in Chapter Two:

She picked up the smaller throw-away bouquet made with fire-and-ice roses and sprigs of pine and made her way through the crowded room to the dance floor. The sweet scent of the roses tickled her nostrils, reminding her this was a wedding not a wake.

It was fun to write my Christmas wedding day, but honestly, I wouldn't change anything from my real one except for having my father-in-law there and my sister, who'd given birth to her first child and didn't feel up to making the cross-country trip.

Did you ever think about what kind of wedding you wanted to have? How did reality compare to the wedding of your dreams?

Melissa McClone

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Blogger Dru said...

Since I'm not big on me being in the spotlight, I would have wanted a small wedding and spend the money on a nice reception at Tavern on the Green.

December 1, 2008 at 3:26 AM  
Blogger Marianne Arkins said...

My wedding was nothing like I'd planned, but heck... it seems to have taken, so I can't complain!


December 1, 2008 at 4:06 AM  
Blogger Sarita Leone said...

I never really "planned"...I'd ways just dreamed of being happily married. That's what I got so I guess things worked out. :)

December 1, 2008 at 4:51 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I guess I was a wedding planner back then. Of course, I could imagine the wedding, just not the groom! But I ended up lucking out there:)

Back when I was single and not dating, I saw a picture of a wedding gown in a friend's bride magazine. I asked if I could rip it out. I kept it in my desk, but when it came time to pick out a dress, I went with something totally different!

So maybe I was more of a wedding dreamer than a planner ;)

December 1, 2008 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

My wedding was nothing like I wanted, I bowed to parental pressure for that. If I could do it over? No, it made my mother happy. However, I do dream of at least re-doing our vows one year.....*G*

December 1, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

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