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Five Unforgettable Fictional Trips Down the Aisle



Every Bride Has Her DayLynnette Austin is an expert in tying the knot. With her Magnolia Brides and Maverick Junction series, she's sent many couples happily down the aisle.

Now with wedding season in full swing, Austin has created a list of five fictional weddings that stand out above the rest—and will jerk the emotion out of you like a doctor giving the Heimlich.

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Weddings are wonderful—until they're not!

Can any other event top a wedding? We love them; we love the magic, the romance, the promise of them. The wedding day, the beginning of a couple's happy-ever-after. Laughter, tears, beginnings, and endings all wrapped up in tulle and lace, roses and wisteria. And, yes, there is drama. Family members and friends who haven't seen each other in ages come together with all their assorted histories, back stories, and baggage. Bridezilla, the crazy aunt, and the outlandish mother are all in attendance. Absolutely anything can happen…and does, as we see reflected in fiction.

Most couples today don't want simple. Brides and their mothers and attendants are haunting Pinterest and Instagram. They want a celebration and are willing to spend what it takes to make it happen. It's a magical moment, a choice, a commitment.

That magical moment comes at a big cost, though. Today's average wedding runs right at $33,000 (unless you're tying the knot in New York City—in that case, it'll cost closer to $77,000!). With this kind of price tag, brides often hire a wedding planner and choose a destination wedding to ensure things run smoothly.

All this was on my mind when I decided to write my Magnolia Brides series. Jenni Beth Beaumont (The Best Laid Wedding Plans) and Cricket O'Malley (Every Bride Has Her Day) create weddings at Magnolia House, a renovated antebellum plantation in Low Country, Georgia, and bring to life a couple's fantasy. Okay, let's be honest. They're mainly bringing to life the bride's fantasy, one the groom is willing to go along with because he loves her.

Like my series, fiction is full of memorable weddings. Unlike my series, where things fall into place (at least by the end), these weddings are a mixture of the good, the bad...and the ugly.

Here are my top five most memorable fictional weddings:

 

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#1—Immortal in Death by J D Robb. This is a great wedding. In fact, it's one of my favorite ever. In this futuristic romance/mystery, we have a reincarnation of Cinderella and Prince Charming, although this Cinderella has not been sitting around waiting to be rescued—and resents ever needing help. Eve Dallas came from nothing, literally. Social workers named the eight-year-old girl the police found, bloody and broken, in an alley in Dallas. Roarke, too, came from an abusive background but has turned himself into one of the wealthiest men on the planet.  From a single look exchanged during a funeral in the series' first book, I knew these two were meant for each other. Yet it took Eve and Roark three books to tie the knot, building up anticipation not only in the bride and groom but in the readers. And it was so worth it! This book united two damaged, well-matched souls who could heal and love each other despite their history with no reservations and no limitations. The fascinating element here, for me, is that they are one of the strongest couples in fiction, yet each retains his/her individuality. Both have space to grow in and out of their relationship. Eve's multi-billionaire groom ordered her bouquet—simple white petunias because she'd told him they didn't put on airs or try to be what they weren't. She entered the marriage with a mixture of terror and joy. I think Eve said it best herself when she told Roark, "I love you. Sometimes it makes my stomach hurt, but I kind of like it."
 

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#2—This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. You knew one of her books would have to be here, didn't you? This wedding, between Kevin and Molly, was wrought with emotion—but far from the feelings expected. No tears of joy dampened cheeks; no toasts of happiness rang out. Far from it. I don't want to spoil the story, so I'll simply say the circumstances leading up to the wedding were unusual—and that's a massive understatement. Neither the bride nor the groom was doing any happy dancing about this walk up the aisle. In fact, there was no aisle and no words of love. Kevin and Molly married in her sister's living room with only her sister and brother-in-law, their four children, and two dogs in attendance. As Kevin so succinctly put it, "This marriage won't be anything more than a minor inconvenience for either one of us." Those are hardly words to make a bride's heart smile. When Molly's five-year-old nephew scooted between Kevin and Molly as they readied to say their vows, both grabbed onto him like a life line, happy for the buffer. Neither even looked at the other. And yet This Heart of Mine has landed on my top five memorable weddings. Why? The intense emotion. The reader can't help but feel for these two. Definitely not the feel-good wedding-of-your-dreams, but the book? Top-notch! And the marriage itself? No spoilers here. I'll let Susan Elizabeth Phillips answer that.
 

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#3—The Last Suppers by Diane Mott Davidson. This wedding is all about hope. Davidson writes the Culinary Mystery series and, when it comes to a memorable wedding, the one between Goldy Bear and Homicide Detective Tom Schultz is hard to beat. Goldy's first marriage was a nightmare of abuse, but burly, big-hearted Tom Schultz has finally convinced her to believe in love again. As Goldy waits in the church's sacristy in her beige silk suit and pinching new shoes, both she and the guests become restless. Where is the priest? Where is the groom? A call comes in. The priest has been murdered…and the groom kidnapped. Although the would-be bride returns home alone and single, the reader—and Goldy—have hope. Hope that Tom's alive and well and that he and Goldy will find their happy-ever-after. Not a wedding anyone in Furman County, Colorado, will forget!
 

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#4—Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts. If there was ever a happier fictional bride and groom than Carter and Mac, I haven't read the book yet. Since this was a four-book series about wedding planning, the readers' expectations were high—and Nora delivered! It was fun, it was emotional, and it was oh, so satisfying. The perfect wedding dress, the shower with all the people Mac loved in attendance, the groom who was so nervous he added maple syrup to his morning coffee instead of cream. All the traditions, all the little touches have been expertly dealt with in Happy Ever After in a way that puts us right there in the room with the happy couple. We met Mac and Carter in book one of this series, so we had four books to fall madly in love with them. We want nothing but the best for these two wonderful people. As our usually fumbling, bumbling Carter so succinctly stated, when you find someone "who makes you see who you really are, and who you are is better, just better with her, you'd be crazy not to want to spend the rest of your life with her."
 

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#5—The Perfect Wife by Lynsay Sands. Although this book is a historical, it's timeless in its message to women. Avelyn, the heroine, is…well, nicely endowed. She's not the rail-thin stereotype that most of today's magazines and television shows espouse. Bullied by her three cousins about her weight, Avelyn insists she'll lose two stone (twenty-eight pounds) before the wedding and has the maid take in the waist of her wedding dress and cut away any excess seam. And so, on the day of her wedding, the two stone remain and her beautiful new gown will not fit. What are a mother and maid to do but to bind Avelyn so tightly her "vitals appeared to be taking up room generally used by her lungs"? Our plucky bride makes it through the ceremony, right up to her groom's kiss. When his lips met hers, "her lips were soft and warm and…gone?" The wedding scene is such a combination of comedy and absolute horror that I found myself entranced. It's a memorable example of how we sometimes allow others to define our self-image.
 

 What unforgettable fictional weddings make your list?

 —Lynnette Austin

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The luxury of staying home when the weather turns nasty, of working in PJs and bare feet, and the fact that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged, are a few of the reasons Lynnette Austin gave up the classroom to write full-time. The author of eight novels, including the Magnolia Brides series, she was a finalist in RWA's Golden Heart Contest, PASIC's Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers' Maggie Contest. Having grown up in a small town, that's where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody…and all their business. Her latest book Every Bride Has Her Day is available now.

 


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