I’m in the midst of writing Driven to Distraction, the fifth book in my Lovestruck Librarians series. Near the beginning of the story, a prior heroine and hero get married in a ceremony attended by all their friends.
Fun, right? Except that, for the life of me, I couldn’t seem to get a handle on that chapter. For a full day, I attempted to imagine various aspects of the scene: what the bride would wear, what vows the groom would make, the flowers, the cake…
None of it inspired me. At all.
I really wanted any fans of this hero and heroine to feel satisfied by the wedding, but I couldn’t get the words on the page.
Then it finally occurred to me: Apparently, in fiction as in real life, I don’t really give a damn about weddings. Love, yes. Weddings, no.
As a child, I never made Barbie marry Ken. My Barbie, despite the permanent arch of her feet and the disturbing holes in the sides of her head—the better to accommodate high heels and earrings, respectively—led an independent life of adventure. Well, maybe not adventure. But she could claim sole ownership of a luxurious Dream House and a shiny Corvette.
My Barbie even boasted some skimpy lingerie. Poor Ken never saw any of it. As far as I was concerned, Barbie’s staid boyfriend did not meet her needs. Too young to attribute Barbie’s dissatisfaction to Ken’s eerily smooth nether regions, I simply decided he was boring. And so Barbie remained single, glamorous, and happy, even after I gave her a haircut suitable for asylum inmates.
In retrospect, I figure that my Barbie never married because I never thought I would, either. Boys didn’t interest me much, and the feeling was mutual. I think they resented the way I beat them at arm wrestling. And honestly? That didn’t really bother me. I graduated from college without having ever had a boyfriend. I’d gone on a few dates, but nothing serious. One of my friends, Rachel, told me, “You know, Olivia, I just can’t picture you in a relationship.” I had to agree, although I also had to control my urge to throttle her.
As year after year passed with nary a boyfriend in sight, I became increasingly convinced that she was right.
But when I was twenty-nine, all that changed.
I was teaching history in an urban high school. Between my twelve-hour days and grading-filled weekends, I had little time to get out and meet someone. It occurred to me that if I continued to stay at home, the only man I could possibly meet was a burglar. And even he might not be straight and/or single.
I want to be clear here. I enjoyed my life as a single woman. Perfectly willing to travel and go to matinees alone, I did not need a man to complete my life or make me happy. But still…I wanted a partner. Surely someone out there could enrich the wonderful life I already had. Some man, somewhere, would adore a plump nerd with lots of love to give and a deep unwillingness to shave her legs. And there had to be at least one such man on this earth whom I could adore in return.
So I did what pretty much every single, socially awkward person does these days. I went online. And there, to my great surprise, I found my geek in shining armor. The dating site matched me with him within a week after I created my account. From the beginning, Mr. Olivia Dade fascinated me. Smart, funny, and loving, he inspired me to uproot my life to be with him only six months after our first date.
And that’s why, shortly after turning thirty—nine years ago next month—I found myself where I never thought I’d be: at the altar.
My husband and I got married at a cruise stop in St. Thomas. I chose from a limited menu of options, which suited me perfectly. No fuss. As long as I didn’t have to wear shoes for the ceremony and got to marry my husband in the end, I was happy. And it was lovely.
Here’s where I got married:
And here I am, minutes after the ceremony, with a shirt over my dress because I was frying in the Caribbean sun:
What you can’t see in those pictures? This dude off to the side, watching the whole thing, along with quite a few other onlookers:
The reason he looks happy: Because he was planning to demand part of the wedding cake after the ceremony, which is totally a baller move. And not just because of his Speedo.
Other notable features of our wedding: We unexpectedly got a religious ceremony. The officiant mangled our names, and my poor, obedient husband repeated back the wrong names in his vows. (He apparently married someone named Olive. I hope they’re very happy together.) And then came the ring ceremony. My Swedish husband honestly had no clue what in the world the officiant was saying. Instead of repeating “With this ring, I thee wed,” he said something along the lines of “Whip the ring, I fee fed,” looking mildly perplexed.
I had to use spit to get my hubby’s ring on his finger. And while I was attempting to avoid a live reenactment of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” video, my youngest niece loudly announced, “This is BORING.”
So it was pretty awesome, is what I’m saying. (Although, from what I understand, saliva doesn’t usually play such a prominent role in the proceedings.)
My wedding day was so wonderful not because I had dreamed of it forever, but because I hadn’t. It came as a joyful surprise to me, just as my husband did. It was the day I took Mr. Olivia Dade as my partner, and two happy, independent lives intertwined forever.
For that reason, flaws and all, it was perfect to us—and perfect for us. In fact, it was so perfect, I frequently tell Mr. Dade that I will have all of my future weddings at the beach too. And because he’s a good man and a great husband, he laughs.
So I had an amazing wedding. You can see, however that when it comes to the actual ceremony, I’m not exactly detail-oriented. Accordingly, I wouldn’t expect any elaborate wedding scenes in my books, I’m afraid. They can be done well, but not by me. In this particular book, I started the chapter late in the ceremony, made it a wee bit dirty, and voila! Minimalistic wedding scene accomplished!
P.S. Some of my author friends were kind enough to share some of their own wedding tales too, so stay tuned for quick stories from them during the next week or two!