Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted–she’s dead.
Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.
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Wedding Horror Stories
I’ve always been slightly fascinated by wedding horror stories. When you’re planning a wedding, nothing is supposed to go wrong. The expectations are impossibly high, and bridal magazines keep them that way with articles about planning your perfect day, throwing a fairytale wedding, or having the wedding of your dreams.
Pinterest is no help. Going through hundreds—nay, thousands!—of pictures that look like they should be the cover of a bridal magazine gives brides-to-be unrealistic expectations that their perfect day will, in fact, be perfect.
But in reality? Something always goes wrong.
Since my main character is a destination wedding planner, her job is to make sure everything runs smoothly, and if they don’t, it’s her job to fix it. So I love hearing stories about the times things didn’t go quite right. It’s not that I want anything to go wrong when I attend a wedding. Quite the opposite! But after it’s all over and everyone can laugh about it, the drama makes for good storytelling.
Over time, I’ve noticed some familiar patterns. While the details may be slightly different, wedding disasters tend to fall into one of these categories:
Minor details. These are the little things that I think almost every bride has to deal with, like a mishap with the canapés or a typo in the wedding program advising the couple to “love on another.” Maybe the flowers aren’t exactly the same pale pink as the bridesmaid dresses. Maybe the Flower Dog starts barking in the middle of the ceremony. Those are the things that are easy to laugh off.
Weather and natural disasters. They always say it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day (which I think is something they made up a long time ago to make brides feel better). But it’s really good luck if you can laugh because your entire wedding party got covered in mud or you had to get married in a root cellar because there’s a tornado warning.
Wardrobe malfunctions. These happen a lot. The bride steps into her wedding dress only to find it doesn’t fit. An out-of-town bridesmaid shows up with the wrong dress and doesn’t match the rest of the wedding party. A flower girl spills her Capri Sun island fruit pouch down the front of her dress with minutes left to spare.
People problems. With any luck, everyone at the wedding will be on their best behavior and have a great time. But Pinterest never shows the maid of honor who drank too much, the groomsman who punched the best man for sleeping with his girlfriend, the couple who tries to upstage the bride and groom by announcing their own engagement, or the loud-mouthed uncle who finally has the opportunity to get a long-standing grievance off his chest.
Production values. The tablecloths don’t show up and you have to send a bridesmaid to Target to buy last-minute replacements. The air conditioning goes out and the melted frosting slides off the cake. And of course, anyone who’s ever seen America’s Funniest Home Videos has seen proof that this really happens: the bride’s dress catches on fire.
The key to dealing with any of these situations? A hearty sense of humor is a good starting place. Having a wedding planner or dependable bridesmaid to act as a “fixer” also helps. And remembering that those pictures you see on Pinterest never tell the whole story is an absolute must.
So, readers, what about you? Was your wedding day perfect? Or do you have a story to tell? Let’s all bond over mishap in the comments below!
About the Author
As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.
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