I didn’t write weddings for a long time. My couples’ HEA usually ended with a kiss and promise, but not necessarily during a wedding ceremony. And then I wrote Jude and Logan’s wedding at the end of The Posse, Meghan and Sam’s at the end of The Only One . . . it was fun!
At a fan’s suggestion, I wrote a wedding book for Ava and Liam, I Choose You. I had a blast writing their ups and downs. Later, I wrote Army Blue about Jacey and Owen’s West Point wedding. I also included weddings in The Anti-Cinderella Takes London, Age of Aquarius, The Comeback Route, and The Problem.
Here are some excerpts from a few of my favorite wedding scenes!
From I Choose You
THE CHURCH WAS PERFECT. It smelled of evergreen and lit candles. I stood with my father, Angela, Frankie and Julia in the foyer, watching as Carl walked my mother to her seat. Vincent had just seated Mrs. Bailey.
The music changed, and Julia smiled as she started up the aisle. Angela followed close behind, and then Frankie took her turn, walking with uncharacteristic sedateness.
“Our turn.” Daddy offered me his arm, and we stepped into the doorway. The congregation had risen to their feet at my mother’s cue, and the collective gasp gave me a little thrill.
I couldn’t see Liam yet, but Father Byers stood on the altar, beaming at me. I clung to my father’s arm as my heart pounded.
A few steps from the end of the aisle, I finally caught sight of my groom. Liam stood tall and unbelievably handsome in his dark suit. When he saw me, his mouth broke into a wide smile, and his eyes gleamed.
We stood at the front of the church while Father Byers intoned the beginning of the service, reminding everyone why we were here, charging us all to speak now if we knew any impediment to this marriage.
And then he was asking my father who presented this woman to be married to this man, and my father was speaking.
“Her mother and I do.” He drew me close, kissed my cheek, and passed my hand to Liam. For one breath, he held on to us both, pressing our hands together.
He stepped back to stand with my mother, and I walked forward with Liam toward the future.
We repeated the timeless words of faith and promise and love that had been handed down to us across the centuries. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish til death do us part.
Liam slid a band onto my finger, and I did the same to his. The soloist sang Ave Maria, and I presented a small bouquet to the Blessed Mother. Everything else passed in a blur of standing, sitting and kneeling, until Father Byers held our clasped hands.
“Those whom God has joined, let no man put asunder.” He smiled at us. “Liam, you may now kiss your bride.”
My husband took my hands and held them between his. He leaned his forehead against mine and whispered to me.
“I love you, Ava Catarine Bailey.”
His lips covered mine in the most gentle of kisses. It was a brief touch, and yet it contained the promise of a thousand tomorrows together.
From Age of Aquarius
“The music changed from the slower, somber tunes to an elegant and yet joyous song, something that sounded vaguely familiar to me, as though maybe I’d heard it at other weddings. I had a minute to wonder what the piece was called before Zoe rose to her feet, followed by everyone else, as Nell and Seamus appeared at the top of the staircase.
My girl was not usually comfortable with being the center of attention, but standing there, pausing so that she could be seen and admired before descending the stairs, she looked every bit the powerful woman I knew her to be. Her chin was lifted, her eyes were bright, and her smile was steady. I hoped she knew how absolutely fucking gorgeous she was. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
She wore a dress of simple blue cotton that swirled around her ankles. The color complemented her eyes and her hair so perfectly that I would have sworn she’d had it made specially for her. The top of it hugged her slender curves, leaving her arms and shoulders bare. The bunch of flowers that she held in one hand was riot of different shades of blue, with accents of yellow.
Nell and Seamus floated down the steps, both of them regal. I heard the quiet awws as they made their way to me. At the end of the aisle, Seamus bent and kissed Nell’s cheek before taking her hand from his arm and placing it within mine.
“She’s yours now. You belong to each other. Mind that you take very good care of her.”
Although Seamus wasn’t any relation to either of us, and although we’d only known him a short period of time, I felt a lump rise in my throat, and I nodded my understanding, closing my fingers with care over Nell’s smaller ones.
Seth cleared his throat and began to speak.
“From the most ancient of times to this very day, souls have sought out the one other in existence whose being completes its own. When that happens, there is rejoicing in all the realms of Light, because the joining creates new light to shine into the world, and light and love are always causes for celebration.
“When the joining of two souls transcends the physical and the emotional to embrace the spiritual, it is right and good thing for a ceremony to mark that occasion. That’s why we are all gathered here today, as friends and loved ones of this man and this woman. We are here to support their decision to bind themselves to one another for all of eternity. We are here to witness their commitment to one another. And we are here to share in the light cast by their love.”
The words he spoke were not the traditional welcome to any marriage ceremony I’d ever heard, but they were perfect for us and for this situation. Not for the first time today, I felt a twinge of guilt that my grandparents weren’t with us. They would have loved to have been part of our day. I comforted myself with the thought that we could have another celebration later, after the world was once again safe.
“Rafe and Nell, we begin by requiring that you both state your intentions toward one another regarding your decision to enter into marriage together. Be warned that you should not come into these vows lightly; they have weight and power, and they are binding for this life and forever after.”
He turned to face me more fully. “Rafe, do you intend to love, cherish and respect Nell all of the days of your life together? Will you promise to always hold her needs as important as your own? And will you keep your body and heart only for her enjoyment and pleasure?”
I nodded. “I will.”
After Nell had repeated the same promises, Seth directed us to join our hands. “Because this is a union of equals, and because we do not view marriage as a way to subjugate one person to another, but rather as a way to raise both parties to new heights, I would ask you to repeat your vows in unison, while looking into each other’s eyes. Begin by saying, I, Nell or I, Rafe.”
Obediently, we spoke the words, and then, with ours gazes locked on each other, we made our sacred vows.
“I, Rafe, take you, Nell, as my partner in every nuance of life. I promise to love you, to honor you, and to worship you with my body. I will share laughter, love, dreams, hopes, tears, sorrow, burdens and grief from this day forevermore. If I hurt you or burden you, it is not my intention, and I ask your forgiveness and grace for when that happens. My vow will remain unbreakable for all of eternity.”
Seth smiled gently at us and then lifted his eyes to the rest of the group. “You who are gathered here today are also committing to support this couple in their joining together?”
“We will.” Our friends spoke in unison, and I felt it deep within my heart. Cathryn, sitting between Veronica and Seamus, wiped at her eyes discreetly. Behind her, Tasmyn, sitting next to Joss, gave me an almost imperceptible nod, while Joss herself was grinning broadly. It was a good thing to have the approval of the ex-girlfriend squad, I decided.
“Then by the power that be, the power of light and of love and of eternity, I bind you together, now and for all days. What has been joined in the light, let no darkness tear asunder.”
Seth paused for dramatic effect before adding, “Rafe, you may now kiss your wife.”
I lifted both hands to Nell’s face, and for a moment, I simply stared down in wonder at this gift that had been given to me. And then, with gentleness that belied the surge of passion between us, I sealed my lips to hers, consecrating the vows that we had just made to each other.
“I love you,” she murmured against my mouth, and I realized with a start that this was the first time she’d ever said these words first, instead of in response to my own declaration.
“Forever, and then for one more eternity,” I agreed. “And that’s only the beginning.”
From The Comeback Route
“We stood now at the front of the canopy with the minister between us. A breeze rippled through, blowing my long white cotton dress to swirl around our legs. Leo smiled down at me, squeezing my hands, and I grinned back. His eyes flickered over my shoulder, and then back to me, and one eyebrow rose.
I knew what he saw beyond me. We’d specifically chosen this spot, just down the beach from the house, right near where our under-the-boardwalk tryst had taken place. It was part of our history, and like every other episode in our past, it was the foundation upon which we were building our forever.
The minister cleared his throat and inclined his head toward Leo. It was time for our vows.
“I, Leo, take you, Mia Quinn, to be my own, now and forever. You have been my best friend since you drew your first breath, and you will be my best friend until I draw my last. I will spend every day of my life showing you how much I love you, in everything I do and say. I promise no regrets, only truth. I promise that you will come first in my life, no matter what. And I swear that you will always be the only woman to wear my jersey.”
There was a wave of tittering laughter in the congregation, but Leo didn’t look away from me.
“I love you, Mia Quinn. Loving you is the best choice I ever made, and it’s one I will make every day, for the rest of our lives.”
I’d sworn that I wouldn’t cry anymore. This was the happiest day of my life, and I didn’t have room for tears. But as Leo’s words swept over me, I felt a lump rising in my throat, just in time for the minister to turn to me.
“I, Quinn, take you, Leo as my own, now and forever. You are my best friend, my earliest memory and the man who I want by my side, no matter what. I promise you my love and my support, from preseason to postseason and every day in between. I promise that regardless of what happens on the field, our home will be a place of unconditional love. I promise to only look to our future together and not regret the past. And I promise that no matter what team you play for, I’ll always wear your jersey.”
Leo brought our joined hands to his lips, kissing my knuckles.
“I love you, Leo, and I will spend every day of our lives together making sure you never doubt that.”
The minister spoke again, and a few minutes later, Leo slipped a delicate white gold and diamond band onto my finger. I slid a wide ring onto his hand, thrilling to the expression on his face as he looked down at his finger with a mix of wonder and pride.
“And now, having entered into the covenant of marriage through the exchange of vows, the declaration of intent, and the giving and receiving of rings, by the power vested in me by the state of New Jersey and in the name of the God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I now pronounce you husband and wife. What God has joined, let no one put asunder.” The minister smiled at both of us, a benediction in itself. “You may now seal those vows with a kiss.”
I thought I’d seen Leo smile before. I thought I’d seen him full of joy. But at that moment, when we were declared husband and wife, I realized every other smile had been dim foretaste of what came now. It was as though the brightest sunlight had just broken in a gray sky.
Taking my face between his hands, he sealed his lips over mine in a vow just as tangible as those he’d just spoken. His touch was both reverent and passionate, and my heart sped up, eager to feel his hands on me, consummating our promises in the best way I could imagine.
The minister gave a discreet cough, and Leo pulled back, murmuring against my cheek as he held me close.
“I love you, Mia Quinn Taylor.”