Monday, January 14, 2013

HEA...I Do or not? by Carolyn Brown



Knights, Dukes, Earls, firemen, policemen, federal agents, shape shifters, hunky guys from other worlds, cowboys, dentists, doctors…the list goes on and on and on! What do they have in common? They’ve all been heroes in romance novels.

Next question. What are we guaranteed when we pick up a romance book? You got it—a happy-ever-after. That does not mean the hero (see list above and add whom-so-ever you want) and the heroine won’t jump hurdles, dodge bullets and even argue repeatedly but when the last page is turned, there will be an HEA.
It can be in the form of a happy resolution that leaves us with the feeling that all is right with the world and someday there will be a wedding between the two. Or it can be when the hero drops down on one knee in the fancy restaurant, the middle of the rodeo grounds or even in the back yard and she says yes. Or when the groom carries the bride into the honeymoon suite after the wedding—be it a fancy affair with sixteen brides maids lined up in a cathedral, or the hero and heroine standing before a judge in a courthouse. It all says there was a HEA!

Husband and I worked as wedding photographers for more than thirty years before we hung up the cameras and retired from the business so we’ve seen weddings of every sort, size and color. At the time it was a second job to supplement our salaries while we were raising three kids. Now, I look back and realize it was absolutely priceless research for my romance books.



 
The proposal is over. She said yes. The ring is on her finger. Does the book end there or does the reader want to know all about the wedding?

Okay, let’s say it goes on…
There’s the dress which is the most important thing, right? And it should fit like a glove, right? And the zipper should work…oops! The wedding photography crew (Husband and his bossy wife) always arrive at the church before anyone else other than the bride and her friends with enough make-up and luggage to fill up a cargo plane. All of the pictures that do not involve Bride and Groom together will be taken before the wedding so Bride has to be dressed an hour before time to walk down the aisle. And twice, folks, in my years of working with the bride, the zipper broke! Lord a-mercy, her pictures would be ruined if she started crying and all that mascara left big black streaks on her cheeks. So I pulled a spool of white thread and a needle out of my purse and said, “No problem. We’ll fix it right here.” Of course, I had to snip all the threads to get her out of the dress so she could change into her going-away suit after the reception but there were no mascara streaks on her cheeks or that pretty white dress. I can’t remember now why I had the sewing supplies in my purse but I never left them at home again. And yes, ma’am, I did use them for the same purpose again about a year later when I sewed the second bride into her dress.

Then there’s the cake…

It’s got to be perfect and the lady/man/company that makes it should bring it to the reception and set it up on the pretty table, right? More than once the wedding photographer’s wife walked in the door and the bride was in a panic because the cake sitting on the table looked like it had barely survived a tsunami. And between her mother/aunt/grandma and the PW, we calmed her down and went to work with whatever we could find to make the cake presentable.

And there’s bride’s hair-do…

 Perfect again for her special day, right? The hairdresser had an emergency and when the bride went to get her hair done that morning, there was a note on the door. She met me at the church door with a curling iron in one hand and her veil in the other. "I'm hoping that you can fix my hair like you fixed your daughters for the prom last year."

Then there are pictures…
Don’t you hate it when the photographer takes two hours to do the pictures and Granny Gert had already told you all the gossip in the reception hall? The finger foods are gone and everyone is bored to tears. Most of them have already given up and gone home because there's a football game on the television. Well, dear hearts, when Husband got hired, his super organized pack mule (I carried equipment on both shoulders) had a system that got those pictures done in exactly twenty minutes. Then the bride and groom could get on into that expensive reception and enjoy it while there were still people there.

It's all in the attitude! The brides all called it OOPS!
I called it wonderful research.

So as a reader do you like to read about the gorgeous wedding? Do you like to read about the dress that had to be repaired at the last minute, the cake that listed to one side or the bride’s jitters? Or would you just like to sigh and close the book when he asks her to marry him?

As a writer, do you like to write weddings? Or would you rather let the reader’s imagination decide what went on at the hero and heroine’s wedding?

Do you have a real life OOPS wedding story? I’ve got a signed copy of One Hot Cowboy Wedding to give away today to someone who comments or shares a real life OOPS. Jasmine and Ace get married in the first chapter! An editor told me once that the hero and heroine can not sit down on a blanket and fall in love. She said that the writer must put them in a tree and throw rocks at them. Poor Jasmine says that I put her on a shaky limb and lobbed boulders at her.

 

 

49 comments:

  1. Great post, Carolyn! I love to hear about weddings and all the little details that were a hit or miss.

    We have so much inspiration from real-life weddings for our novels. Don't we? For instance, a close friend told me they were at a wedding where the groom got into a fist fight with his father-in-law and yanked his father-in-law's toupee from his head! lol Sounds like a Western!

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  2. Oh, Victoria, I love it! I hope the toupee didn't land on top of the cake!

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  3. Now I know why your hubby is always there to take pictures at writer's conferences! Great post, Carolyn! Sounds like you've saved the day for many a bride.

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  4. I don't like writing weddings, Carolyn, because in the Regency they didn't make a big deal out of the ceremony. It's sort of a letdown. I do like reading them in contemps. I love the ring in that picture too! Want!

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  5. At my wedding rehersal my daughter at the age of 3 did great. Then at the wedding she went to walk down the aisle, she stopped dead in her tracks stuck out her bottom lip and wouldnt move. My mother quickly went to her and scooped her up and walked her down. Its was cute and funny. Then in all our wedding pictures she was pouting and wouldn't stand. We had to hold her. When she looks at the pictures she says I cant believe I did that. The next couple of weddings she was in, she did amazing. Now I wonder what her wedding will be like. Luckily she is only 12 so I got plenty of time.
    Thanks for all the great books. I love all of them. Maybe one day I will find that perfect soul mate like all your books. Looking forward to more.

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  6. Loved the story! I would rather they run away to get married! I have never understood all the money spent on a wedding! My hubby and I went to the court house and spent $20.00 to get married! He said that was the best $20.00 he ever spent! That was 29 years ago and I wouldn't change a thing!
    zipstersclue04 at gmail dot com

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  7. Cheryl: Husband loves taking pictures and we did have a lot of fun when we were in the business! We used to exchange stories with the guy who did our printing (dinosaur days before digital) and I got a whole book out of one of his stories one time!

    Shana: You should have that ring for sure!

    Shannon: Oh, you have pictures for blackmail now when she is old enough to get married. Love that story! Thank you so much for reading my books and your soul mate is out there waiting...don't give up!

    Zippy: My daughter and her husband went to the courthouse to get their marriage license, found out the judge wasn't busy and went ahead and got married. She had been painting all day and Groom had been drilling wheat. She called me that night and said, "Guess what I did today?"
    And I thought it was the best 50 bucks (price went up...can't get hitched for $20 anymore) ever spent, too!

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  8. Caroline, I love the throwing boulders at her!!! And, yes, you're getting your coyote, btw. :)

    I didn't realize you were in the "wedding" business. I wonder how many stayed together???

    At my daughter and son-in-law's wedding last January the figurine on top of the cake fell off and their heads broke off. Who's got the glue!!! :)

    I love HEA!

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  9. YAY Terry on the coyotes!
    We were in the wedding business for 30 years but we've been out for several years now. Never had the cake topper to fall off or I would have added glue to my "never to be without" list.

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  10. I love the cover to your book. At my nephew's wedding, the bride's grandmother fell and broke her hip before the ceremony. It was chaos trying to get her taken to the hospital.

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  11. P.S.
    Terry, the very first wedding that we did 39 years ago is still holding together and gets the crown for the longest lasting. The shortest goes to the couple who got married on Saturday, decided they'd made a mistake when they got to the hotel, and when we delivered the pictures on Monday, they'd filed for an annulment. (I often wonder what they did with those gorgeous pictures.)

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  12. Crystal: Sourcebooks does a bang-up fantastic job on covers, don't they? I bet Grandma was mad as the dickens that she missed the wedding!

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  13. I think it depends on the type of book it is and even further, the story itself, whether I need the wedding or not. I read a Suzanne Brockmann book once where the guy's SEAL buddies and their significant others helped surprise the gal with a gorgeous wedding. Other times it's enough to know they're riding off into the sunset togeter.

    I guess my only close to an OOPS was I was a bridesmade and had asked a friend to fix my hair thinking it would be fabulous, but all it turned out to be was TOO much hairspray!!

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  14. LOL, Carolyn, on the shortest wedding!!! Too funny! The photo studio made ours into a gorgeous picture, not sure how tall, but huge, to display in their window for a month. Seventeen years later, it was sitting in front of the trash for the whole neighborhood to see. The good part? The photo had been free.

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  15. Kelli: I'd just love a picture of that hair do! In Texas we don't think there's ever TOO much hairspray. When my girls were home, and they both had very long hair, I seriously thought about taking buying stock in the hairspray business!

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  16. I don't have wedding stories to share, but I did enjoy reading this post! I personally love weddings in books, movies, etc :)

    chibipooh(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. Winnie, thank you for stopping by and reading our books about weddings! Without readers, writers would soon top the dangered species lists!

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  18. Nice post. Don't have any wedding stories to share; I like to read about them.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  19. bn100: Glad you could drop by today...and very glad that you like to read about our HEA's in romance books!

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  20. When I got married the church was having its carpet replaced, which I didn't know until we got to rehearsal. My mother-in-law to be came in with a bunch of white paper and laid it down the aisle so we weren't walking on bare wood. We just made do and carried on. :D
    I like to read about the wedding, and what happens afterwards.

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  21. Barbara E: I used to tell the brides that it was THEIR day. It didn't matter if their panty hose fell off, just to kick them out of the way and keep walking. I did have an ulterior motive. I didn't want their pictures to be ruined by runny makeup or anything else! LOL

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  22. Thank's to everyone for your comments today. Mr. Random chose Zippy's name from the famous red boot for a signed copy of One Hot Cowboy Wedding. So Zippy if you'll send your snail mail address to:
    ccbrown66@att.net
    I'll put it in the mail!

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  23. Loved it, loved it!!!

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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  24. When my nephew (sister's boy) was about 3 or so, he was the ring-bearer for my brother's wedding (his sister's were the flower girls). He did great at the rehearsal, but when it came to the wedding and all the strangers to him, he froze. Luckily he would walk down with me, but stayed attached to me through the whole wedding.

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  25. Oh, I don't care how the book ends as long as there is a HEA or at least HFN ending. They can be engaged, just committed to each other, married, having their first baby, whatever just as long as the ending is happy :)
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com
    (forgot my email and that I had wanted to say that)

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  26. My mama told met to have a small wedding and a big marriage. That was good advice, but I ended up having a small wedding and a small marraige. OOPS. Better luck next time?

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  27. I loved every word, Carolyn! You really know how to tell a story. I guess it was watching all those weddings! Must have been a wonderful job.
    Amelia

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  28. June,
    In our photography days we saw lots of those incidents. One thing that worked every time was if the mother of the child was sitting on the front row with a brand new toy for the little darlin'. Bribery...it works!

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  29. Grace, we've got to compare notes sometime. I think my wedding could be the smallest ever! LOL

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  30. Amelia,
    And lots of wedding cake. Even one that had burned and then was covered up with icing. Oh, yes, we could still taste the scorch but no one said a word to the bride.

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  31. I sure do love me some cowboy weddings! But when it comes to weddings in books, then it all depends on the characters personalitites. If they choose a big and extravagant wedding or a small intimate sign the book and done it doesnt matter to me as long as there is a happy ending!!

    teresa.bautitsa@me.com

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  32. Is this where I go for the contest? I do love those cowboys...thanks

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  33. Teresa, there's always a happy ending when the sassy heroine lets the cowboy catch her!

    LS, this is the place and your name is in the red boot. Mr. Random will draw out a name tonight! Thanks for stopping by and I'm sure glad you like cowboys!

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  34. I love weddings, especially cowboy weddings and when reading a series, I love when the couple from a particular book show up in later books so the reader is updated on them.

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  35. I love wedding! They are just so happy and loving. So sweet. My favorite thing to do is watch wedding videos! So I also looove to read about them as well!


    haveyouseenmyfriend@gmail.com

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  36. My favorite part of a novel is when they get married! I dont care if its just sign the book or a long ceremony. I just love all of it!



    orangeestrella2@hotmail.com

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  37. Dottie, then you'll like Spikes & Spurs where the families keep making cameo appearances!

    Gail, they had started making more and more wedding videos just before we got out of the business. We worked with some really neat people who shot the videos while we did the still shots.

    Abby, the Happy-Ever-After does make a reader sigh doesn't it! That's what we hope for the whole time we're reading the hero and heroine through all the obstacles!

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  38. Wedding are such beautiful events. But sometimes they are just TOOO expensive! That is why I like just signing the book and done! SO much easier, yes you don't get the extravagant wedding and all, but in the end you still get your happily ever after with your husband or wife!

    azul-kim101@live.com

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  39. Kim, thank you for stopping by today. Weddings can drain a bank account pretty quick, can't they? We used to feel a lot of pressure to get the photographs perfect so all that money would at least have photographic memories.

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  40. I love weddings! My favorite part is when the couples write their own vows :) so sweet! And I agree 100% with what Dottie said. Which is why I love the Spikes & Spurs series very much!!!

    20.27.26@gmail.com

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  41. My wedding was EXTREMELY laid back. We got Married and had the reception at the same venue. Everything flowed and we had a fantastic time...

    Now however at my Aunts wedding, her brand new husband got SO RAGING drunk he took a samurai sword (where he got the sword still baffles everyone) and tried to cut the cake. It did not go well. The top ended up on the floor and the rest of the cake was sliced to a icing pulp. They ended up divorced a few years later and she still blames it on the fact they didn't have the top of the cake to eat a year later.

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  42. I'm more of a sign the book and done type of girl, it's easy fast and a whole lot cheaper!!

    St4rgirll@ymail.com

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  43. Tere, then you'll love the HEA in Dewar's story when it gets published. Can't wait for you to read it.

    MammaMassey: It was a mess, I'm sure, but that story of the sword is so so funny. I'm still smiling! Thanks for sharing and with a husband that wild, I'm thinking it was more than not eating the cake topper that caused the Big D.

    Anonymous: Yes, ma'am, it definitely is cheaper. And the bride and groom are just as married!

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  44. I love HEA, but I am OK with HFN too in a series.

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  45. My favorite part of a wedding is when the groom sees the bride for the very first time, always a sweet thing to see!!! So I do love me some weddings, especially if there is a cowboy involved!


    Sw33tpe4@live.com

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  46. Kim, thank you for commenting. Happy-ever-after leaves us with a sense of completion doesn't it but then sometimes life doesn't complete what it starts.

    Anonymous: Cowboys make anything, expecially a wedding better!

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  47. We have another winner! Tere at 20.27.26@gmail.com has won a signed copy of Darn Good Cowboy Christmas. If you'll send your snail mail address to ccbrown66@att.net I will put your book in the mail! Congratulations!

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  48. Loved the post!! What a wonderful career that must have been. The ring set in your picture is gorgeous!

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  49. Betty, I drooled over that ring...LOL! Husband and I did have a lot of fun during our photography years.

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