Welcome to the first blog post of Matrimonial March. In case you missed yesterday’s post, for the rest of the year, each month my blog features a specific theme. Every post will tie into said theme. This month, the first month of this themed idea, is all about weddings. Some of my guest bloggers will talk about their own weddings – or wedding planning. Some will talk about weddings from books they’ve written. Some might talk about divorce. The topics will be diverse, but all about weddings.
Including this one.
Once upon a time, I was a wedding planner. Yep. I was an event planner for 12 years, and 4 of those were dedicated almost exclusively to planning weddings. I worked for this gorgeous historic home that had been converted into a museum. We raised funds and maintained the museum by holding events there, specifically weddings. This historic home was located on a prime piece of real estate, nestled between a golf course and a copse of trees. It was located in the suburbs of Detroit, far enough out to not feel urban, not too far so as to potentially lose business.
Wedding planning is a ridiculously stressful career. It also comes with great payoffs – when (almost) everything goes smoothly and the bride and her mother (let’s face it – these are the people you have to impress when it comes to planning a wedding) are both happy. I have so many stories, both positive and not so much.
The venue where I worked was not large enough to seat more than 120 people for dinner, and if they wanted dancing too ( who doesn’t?), we had to literally clear, break down, and roll away tables to make it happen. Therefore, during the milder months, we erected a large tent, overlooking the golf course, where we could comfortably seat 300 for dinner, along with a lovely dance floor and plenty of room for either a DJ or band. To get from the house to the tent, you had to cross approximately twenty feet of lawn. No problem on a lovely, clear, summer eve. Not so much fun during a thunderstorm.
I spent a large portion of my wedding planning career agonizing over the weather. I knew The Weather Channel better than the stodgiest grandpa did. I was obsessed. My family teased me that I was old beyond my years. Really, I was just worried about whether or not my bride would hate her wedding day. Out of our control or not, the weather matters on one’s wedding day. Especially if your wedding is supposed to be outside.
I have as many happy memories as I do frustrating ones of those years of my life. And I’ve put those memories to good use. I can’t even tell you how many manuscripts on my computer feature either a wedding or a wedding planner. The ones I’ve published so far include:
Usually the wedding planner is the good guy (hey, that was me, remember?). Sometimes, though, I like to shake things up. The fourth book in The Resort series, Valentine’s Day at The Resort, is about a wedding planner. Except she isn’t one of the good guys. In fact, she’s a very, very bad person.
Which was really fun to write, frankly.
Allison Bell, the main character in The Resort series, calls her best friend, Bree, and inquires about the wedding planner that has taken up residence at The Resort, where both Bree and Carter, Allison’s on again/off again boyfriend work. This is their conversation:
“The wedding planner for my Valentine’s Day wedding has a gorgeous assistant, and much to my surprise, he’s not gay. Not in the least.” She sounded positively giddy.
“Speaking of the wedding planner, Carter doesn’t sound too pleased with her. What do you think?”
Bree hesitated, then burst out, “I hate her. I can’t believe this woman is a wedding planner. She treats us all like servants. All of us – except Carter.”
“Except Carter?” Out of nowhere, warning bells started clanging in my head.
I could almost see Bree nodding vigorously. “She fawns over him, worships him, follows him around everywhere. It’s way over the top.”
“He didn’t mention that she fawns over him.”
Bree went on for another five minutes about the woman’s fawning.
“Is she pretty?” Please tell me she wasn’t. Please tell me she looked like a bloated cow or a rhinoceros or anything but pretty…
“She has the largest boobs I’ve ever seen.”
Naturally, Allison hurries over to The Resort to have a look for herself. Here is her conversation with Carter, after she’s seen the woman for the first time:
“I just got my first glimpse of the wedding planner,” I said breathlessly.
Carter’s hand stilled, and then he slowly pulled it out from underneath my skirt. He leaned his head back to look down into my face. Since I was a solid foot shorter than him, and the rest of his body was still molded to mine, he had to lean way back.
“Did you meet her?”
“No. Just watched her on the screen. Nice rack.”
Carter stepped away from me and dropped into the single chair in the room. He ran his hands through his hair in a rare agitated motion. “Allison, this is nothing at all for you to worry about.”
I arched one eyebrow in an impressive imitation of him. “The fact that you start this conversation with, ‘this is nothing for you to worry about’ worries me more than anything else.”
He leaned forward, grabbed my hands and tugged me closer, so that I stood directly in front of him. “Please don’t get bent out of shape about her. She is a bitch and I am not remotely attracted to her. She’ll be gone in ten days and our lives can go back to normal.”
“Why do you think I’m worried that you might be attracted to her?” I asked, curious to know his answer, even though I was worried that he was attracted to her. Who wouldn’t be?
He looked up at me. “Are you going to get pissed if I point out that she is obviously attractive?”
“Probably. I was sort of hoping you hadn’t noticed.”
Bree is the marketing manager for The Resort, which unfortunately means she has the job of ensuring both the bride-to-be and the wedding planner are happy. Here’s an excerpt from a conversation between Allison and Bree, regarding an email Bree received from the bride:
“Check this out. It’s an email from my bride. It’s about three pages worth of things she needs me to take care of before the wedding.” She looked up at me. “Isn’t this what a wedding planner is supposed to do? Why is she emailing all these requests to me?”
I didn’t know much about weddings, and even less about wedding planners, but I agreed with Bree. I looked back at the email.
“‘Contact florist and find out what time they will deliver flowers. Contact bakery and arrange cake delivery. Cake and florist’s deliveries must coincide because florist will need to decorate cake. Bride’s parents will bring favors with them. Favors are a bottle of wine from the family’s winery. Favors will need to be set out at every other place setting. Bride will provide place cards. Place cards will need to be set out, alphabetically, on a table in the foyer,’” I read down the list.
“This is weird, Bree. I saw J-Lo’s movie. This is the stuff wedding planners are supposed to do. Do you have Clarissa’s [the wedding planner] email address? You should just forward this to her.”
“It gets better,” Bree said, and she hit the page down button a couple times. Then she pointed at the computer screen and read, “‘I’ve contacted my wedding planner concerning these items and she indicated you would be happy to handle them for her, since she is so overwhelmed with ensuring The Resort is perfectly safe for our friends and family.’ What the hell?”
We looked at each other blankly. What the hell indeed?
And it goes on and on. The wedding planner has a ridiculously hot assistant with whom Bree starts an affair, but he wants Allison, which causes a bit of tension. Not to mention the wedding planner’s obsession with Allison’s boyfriend, and his refusal to put her in her place. Oh yeah, and there are strange things happening at The Resort, and the wedding planner has an unnatural interest in the building’s security system. Allison and Bree, along with the bride-to-be, in clumsy, klutzy amateur sleuth fashion, decide to take it upon themselves to figure out what’s really going on, because one thing is certain: That wedding planner doesn’t seem to do much in the way of actual wedding planning.
When I wrote this book, I pulled from my experience as a wedding planner – and a bride – as well as my experience working in hotels and restaurants. Hopefully that makes for a fun and sexy read!
Since I’ve spent so much time talking about Valentine’s Day at The Resort, maybe I should give you info as to where you can purchase it. Or better yet, why don’t I give you a coupon to pick it up at a deep discount? While it is part of a series and is fun to read the books in order, you can still thoroughly enjoy this one without going back to read the first three (but feel free; I won’t stop you).
So head on over to Smashwords (you can choose the appropriate download for your e-reader; they have all of them) and pick up Valentine’s Day at The Resort for 99 cents – just be sure to use the coupon code below:
Promotional price: $0.99
Coupon Code: CV52C
Expires: March 31, 2015
Enjoy the read and check back tomorrow, when Jennifer Ray gives us a little insight into what it’s like to provide cakes for discerning brides!