#WritingChallenge: Here Comes the Bride!

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It’s June, and wedding season is upon us! Few things are more romantic and heartfelt than the perfect wedding day. But what happens when it’s not so perfect? Harlequin editor Karen Reid knows all about that:


“In the car on the way to the wedding, my dad and I (and my friend behind us in the car with the bridesmaids) were rear ended by a teenager at a yellow light. I got out of the car in my big wedding dress crying and fretting, followed by my very upset mom. The wedding had already been delayed 30 minutes (due to having to get a new minister to perform the ceremony!) so I was ready to go insane.

But a woman in a minivan filled with groceries saved the day, taking me, my mom and my bridesmaids to the park where my groom was waiting. We arrived and disembarked (in a strange minivan) and I was more determined than ever to marry Josh. Just as I was about to march down the aisle solo, an OPP car pulled up on the other side of the park and there was my dad to give me away. I felt like a proper mafia daughter, walking down the aisle with my mafia boss dad—he’d even forgotten to take off his sunglasses, completing the look!”

Thanks, Karen, for sharing your story! (And we hope everything was perfect after that!)

Authors, your challenge this week: create (and motivate) your unique arrival-of-the-bride scene! Bride on a bus? Woman in a Winnebago?  It’s your call! Just make it romantic and heartfelt in the most unperfect way!

Write your short scene in the comments below any time between now and Sunday, June 4, 2017 and we’ll check back with you on Monday!

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  1. Sadie sighed. She should go by the church. After all, it wasn’t fair to leave everything to Rod. In case anyone hadn’t got word that the wedding was off, she should let them know. That fancy wedding planner should have done it all, but…
    She’d finally confessed everything to Rod, and now she wouldn’t be marrying him. At the very least, she had to help pay off this wedding. She’d dragged herself out of bed, eyes and nose still red and puffy from crying, and pulled on whatever she found on the floor. She’d scraped her hair back in a ponytail and avoided mirrors. She slid her phone in her back pocket without looking at it. She didn’t want to hear from anyone right now. She headed out to the doggie day care to get her usual clients to walk. The day care was its usual scene of chaos, and Sadie thought Val might not actually have realized today was supposed to be Sadie’s wedding day. Val leashed the five rowdiest dogs and sent them off with Sadie with relief. The dogs were happy to see her, but she expected that they might be amongst the few as word got out.
    The sunlight hurt her eyes and she wished she’d grabbed sunglasses. In fact, she was squinting so hard that she was at the church before she realized that it wasn’t empty and quiet. Quiet, mostly, but there were cars everywhere, and the wedding planner was standing in the doorway tapping her foot.
    “Sadie?” she said with disbelief, looking at the disheveled mess in front of her. Rufus, a particularly drooly boxer took a liking to the wedding planner and lurched forward. Sadie restrained him with an effort.
    “Why are you here? The wedding’s off. Didn’t Rod call you?” Sadie asked.
    The woman looked horrified. “What are you talking about? Rod’s waiting at the front of the church. What happened to you?”
    Sadie gaped at her. “Rod’s here?” She suddenly thought of her phone. Deftly clipping the leashes around her waist, she pulled out her phone. Dead.
    “I have to talk to Rod.” she said.
    “You can’t go in like that – Sadie! Sadie!” the wedding planner called to her back.
    Sadie pushed through the front doors, dogs trailing behind her.
    There’s been a low hum of conversation from the people in the foyer and in the sanctuary. This came to a halt as one by one they turned and saw Sadie enter.
    Rod was there. He was standing at the front, with the minister and his best man. Sadie swallowed. He wasn’t supposed to be there. Knowing the truth about her, he should be long gone, thanking his lucky stars he was rid of her.
    Instead, he was standing in front of everyone he knew, waiting, trusting she’d come through. He looked around, and seeing her there, smiled, smiled that warm smile that encased her in their own bubble of love. She didn’t deserve him. But she would love him till the day she died.
    Sadie wasn’t sure how she got to the front of the church, but she had to answer that smile.
    “I thought you might not have got my message.” Rod said.
    “Phone was dead.” Sadie said. But under those simple words a wealth of communication was vibrating between them.
    “I thought you didn’t want any attendants.” he teased.
    Sadie had forgotten the dogs. Rufus was chewing on some greenery. Dexter was raising his leg-
    “No Dexter!” Sadie yelled, but it was too late.
    The minister was taken aback, but after a glance at his watch, asked if he should begin the service.
    Sadie looked down at her yoga pants, covered with hair, and tried not to imagine how the rest of her looked. “I should go change.” she started to say.
    Rod gripped her hand. “I’m not taking any more chances. Let’s just do this.”
    Sadie looked in his eyes. “Are you sure? After all that I told you-”
    “It doesn’t matter.” he said. “This is what matters.” He leaned forward and kissed her.

    • I love seeing how everyone comes up with something different from the same starting point, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the scenes!

  2. Lissa

    “Get married at the beach, she said. It’ll be so romantic, she said. Where’s the romance now?” Nicole muttered as she bunched the hem of her wedding gown in one hand and tried to hold it out of the water.
    She should never have let her mother plan her wedding. She could only plead temporary, or perhaps permanent, insanity. Now the white horse she was supposed to ride to the ceremony had run off, and Nicole had narrowly escaped a dunk in the chilly gulf waters. She could still see the mare, her mane flying in the wind as she galloped down the coast toward freedom. Lucky horse.
    Nicole heaved a sigh and tried to hoist her skirt higher. The silken fabric kept slipping through her fingers and dragging in the damp sand. She cursed as she dropped one beaded sandal and had to stoop to retrieve it before a wave washed it out to sea. Her skirt was growing heavier by the minute, the gray sky threatened rain, and strands of her caramel hair were falling out of the elaborate knot her mother’s hairstylist had created. If she squinted, she could make out the shape of the wedding pavilion ahead. Far, far ahead.
    She fought the temptation to rip off the heavy skirt and forced herself to keep moving, but the pavilion didn’t seem to get any closer. A sudden pain shot through her left foot, and she moved her skirt aside to examine it. She extracted the sliver of shell lodged in the skin and limped to the water to rinse the cut.
    “Excuse me, miss.” Nicole turned around. An elderly man in a maintenance cart half-filled with plastic trash bags had stopped beside her. “Do you need any help?”
    Why would he think a woman in a half-soaked wedding dress, alone on a beach, nursing a cut foot, might need help? But the situation wasn’t his fault, so Nicole bit back her irritation and summoned a smile. “If you could give me a ride to the wedding pavilion, I would really appreciate it.”
    He shoved the bags aside and helped her aboard, and in moments, they were bumping along the sand at a surprising speed. Nicole wedged her feet back into her sandals and tried to smooth her hair. The enormous flower arrangements and the filmy fabric draped over the pavilion screened her from view until the man swung the cart around the rows of seats, headed straight for the altar. Nicole glimpsed her mother’s face, mouth rounded into an “o” of horror, as the cart lurched to a halt beside a wrought-iron candelabra.
    Her mother wanted a dramatic entrance, and Nicole had certainly delivered. The crowd, which briefly hushed at the bride’s sudden appearance, began to buzz. Nicole had been avoiding looking for him, but when two strong arms lifted her off the cart, her skin tingled, and she gazed up into Tristan’s chiseled features.
    “A garbage cart? Really?” His ocean-blue eyes gleamed with amusement. “If you didn’t want to marry me, you should’ve just said so.”
    “I don’t want to marry you, and I did say so. Repeatedly,” Nicole snapped, careful to keep her voice low.
    Tristan ignored her words. He turned to face the guests, their audience, in a perfect photo-op pose before depositing her in front of the minister. “Looks like everyone’s here,” he said cheerfully. “Let’s get married.”

  3. Jocelyn

    “You look absolutely perfect.”
    Shannon leaned forward from her careful perch in the backseat and patted her dad’s shoulder. The tux material felt heavy and slick under her hand.
    “It’s not the white I normally wear.”
    “You look perfect in that as well. But a lab coat would let you sit beside me in front, unlike what you’re wearing today.”
    Shannon couldn’t keep the smile from splitting her face as she looked down at the lace and satin of her wedding dress. It had taken the two bridesmaids to get her loaded in the back seat of her dad’s car, but after three years of wearing ACUs, she wanted to look a little girly on her wedding day. Hopefully Jake would recognize her coming down the aisle. She couldn’t recall if he’d seen her in anything but Army Combat Uniform or scrubs. She’d worn jeans the few times he’d been home on leave since she’d gotten out and started in civilian practice.
    Squeezing her dad’s shoulder before she eased back, Shannon was conscious of the rustle of all the fabric that shared the seat with her. Jake better recognize her. She didn’t want those wonderful lips locked with anyone else when they were finally pronounced man and wife following years of trying to get in the same time zone, let alone the same place.
    The stoplight ahead flashed yellow. The smile remained on Shannon’s face she felt the car slowing for the intersection. This was not a day that a yellow light meant ‘go very fast’.
    Closing her eyes, Shannon took a deep breath. She had no jitters about marrying Jake, only about being the center of attention. In surgery, it was different. In her personal life…
    “Look out!”
    Shannon’s eyes flew open at her dad’s exclamation, which immediately preceded the horrendous sound of a crash. Lunging forward, she saw the crushed cars in the intersection through her dad’s windshield. An encompassing look revealed the smoke rising from one hood and the bloody face of a driver. There were others in the vehicle, but she couldn’t see their condition. Without hesitation, Shannon pushed open the car door and moved to get out. Or tried to. Yards and yards of wedding dress pulled her back.
    “Dad! Call 911. Are you wearing a belt?”
    Shannon understood her dad’s confusion as she swung her feet to the open door. Thank goodness she’d opted to wear TOMS instead of some crazy heels. “Do you have a belt on?”
    “No. Couldn’t find any belt loops on this thing. Got suspenders though.” Dad was springing out of the front seat, phone pressed to his ear.
    “Crap.” Shannon did some rapid thinking. “Well, we can make them work. Help me get my dress out of the car.” She tugged at her train. So beautiful. So in the way. And draping in a lovely bustle from the delicate button on the back of her dress wasn’t going to work in this situation. Her dad rounded the front of the car and reached out his free hand. Shannon used it to hoist herself out. She turned and gathered the rest of the dress, pushing it behind her as it slid off the seat.
    Grabbing the phone her dad handed over as he maneuvered out of the tux jacket and suspenders. Shannon rapidly advised the situation as she knew it to the calm voice on the line. The bloody face in the driver’s seat was unmoving and slumped against the broken window; she requested an ambulance. Her dad bundled up the train behind her and together, they used the suspenders to secure it as tightly as possible in a mangled bustle harnessed to her waist. She felt like a deformed turtle.
    As the driver of the other car was shakily exiting the vehicle, Shannon hurried to the bloody driver. He was starting to come around.
    “Jill,” he moaned.
    Shannon sucked in her breath as she looked past him and the deployed air bag to see the woman in the passenger seat. The woman who was obviously in labor.
    “Oh, crap.” Shannon felt a presence beside her at the window. Her dad was draping the tux jacket over her shoulders and the strapless gown she wore.
    “Keep you warmer,” he murmured, alluding to the cool Wyoming fall weather, “and cleaner.”
    “Thanks, Dad.” Shannon slipped her arms in the sleeves.
    Another voice frantically called “Jilly, Jilly” as an older woman struggled from the back seat. Upon exiting, she slumped against the side of the car, one hand on her chest, the other against her jaw, sweating as she breathed in shallow pants.
    “Crap,” Shannon muttered at the classic signs of a female heart attack.
    She set to work.
    A few moments later, she heard the welcome sirens. By then, Shannon had established the contractions were three minutes apart and determined that – although okay – the upcoming dad needed some stitches and an x-ray for safety. After confirming that grandma-to-be wasn’t allergic, Shannon had the woman chew an aspirin and lie on the ground, monitored by her dad. She ignored the gathering bystanders with phones raised to their faces. Relief slumped slender shoulders under the tux jacket when cops arrived to take control of the situation.
    “New style for scrubs?” Dan called as he hopped out of the ambulance that had pulled alongside.
    “Ha, ha,” Shannon responded before giving him the run down as he and his partner unloaded the gurney. “You all there is?”
    “The other active ambulance is at the rodeo. We can call in another team, but…” the EMT shrugged.
    He didn’t have to say any more. Either option would take time. Time they didn’t have.
    Shannon blinked back tears as she moved as fast as her attire would allow to where her dad had backed out of the way after the ambulance arrived. Lips that should have soon felt a new husband’s kiss felt instead a little numb as she spoke. “Dad, I can’t leave. We’ll get them to Memorial as fast as possible, but there’s too much going one for one EMT in the back. I don’t know when I’ll be to the church. Please tell…” Shannon had to breathe shallowly for a few moments to keep the tears at bay. She figured she’d cry today, but for very different reasons.
    “Please tell Jake that he’s waited for me this long, hopefully he can wait a little longer.”
    Her dad nodded and hugged her. Shannon could tell from the firmly pressed lips that he was fighting tears as well. He turned and strode in his tux pants, shirt, and bow tie to where he’d moved the car. Shannon didn’t see him pull out as she was already back breathing with the mother-to-be.
    A few minutes later, she and Dan were crowded into the back of the ambulance with their three charges and the driver was speeding toward the hospital where Shannon worked.
    Dan winked at her across their moaning but stable patients. “We’ll get you there, Dr. Synder. I don’t think we’ve got Canon in D or the Bridal March on this thing, but we’ll play the sirens at least. You’ll make your entrance. It will be one your groom won’t forget.”

    • Deirdre

      Very dramatic, and emotional, Jocelyn. You’ve provided the setup for a great bridal entrance and romantic “I do”s. Would love to see that scene!

    • Jocelyn

      Thank you for the feedback! And thanks for this program. A lot of story ideas and writing exercise come from them. The time taken and information received from the SYTYCW editors is definitely appreciated. Thanks again.

  4. Steph

    The rain was pouring down hard, Mother Nature was clearly having a laugh at Brenna’s expense.
    “This is my wedding day! And it’s ruined!” She cried to anyone who would listen to her. Her dress felt like a 100 pound weight fell on it. “There, there, peanut, everything will be okay,” her mother tried to placate her, but Brenna didn’t want to hear it.
    “Mother! My wedding to Doug is ruined! He’s not marrying a princess now, he’s marrying the freaking bride of Frankenstein! Everything is ruined! My hair! My dress! What else could go wrong?”
    “Um..” The voice startled the two women, causing them to turn around. “Oh, no, what is it NOW, Sebastian?”
    Her brother came into the bedroom, his head hung. “The limo is stuck,” he muttered. “What did you say?” Brenna cried, moving toward him. He looked up at her, a pained expressing on his face. “I said—um, the limo is stuck in a ditch.” Her eyes bugged out, her cheeks flaming hot with anger. “This is unbelievable!” She shouted, scaring her mother and brother.
    “Wait, Brenna, I have a plan to get you to the church!” Her brother said.
    “Well? Spill it! What is it? I need to marry Doug today, dang it!” She cried.
    Her brother gripped her shoulders, holding her in place. “We take the motorhome! It’s our only option!”
    “No! No way in heck!” Brenna shouted, scaring her mother and brother. “I am NOT going to marry Doug getting out of an RV for God’s sake!”
    “It may be your only option, dear.” Her mother said. Brenna looked in her direction, “you can’t be serious, mother! How will it look, me coming out of a 20 year old RV to marry the love of my life!”
    “Sis, it’s the only option. Either that, or we walk 20 miles, and I don’t know about you, but I am not carrying your long train for that hike!”
    Brenna stared at her brother, realizing he was right. There was no other option. It was either the RV, or call off the wedding. And she sure as heck was not going to do that! Brenna was going to marry Doug now, or never. She preferred now.
    With a sigh, she looked at the two of them. “Fine! I give! But if anything happens to my dress, so help Mother Nature!” She said as she grabbed her dress, scrunching it up in her hands, cursing the bridal shop for convincing her to get a long train. “Let’s go!” She stormed out of the dressing room as best she could, her mother and brother quick to follow.
    As she got into the RV, Brenna tried not to cry. The RV was dirty, grease stains were everywhere. No wonder no one wanted to drive this thing. “Where am I going to sit?!” She screeched. Her brother quickly covered a seat with some towels, her mother helping Brenna to sit down without dirtying her dress.

    She wanted to cry. As her brother drove as quick as humanly possible to the church, all Brenna could think was that she would be marrying Doug. She would get her happily ever after.
    They pulled up to the chapel in record time. As she started getting out of the RV, Brenna could hear gasps from the outside. Looking up, she saw all her guests standing outside the church, Doug front and center. She could only imagine how this scene looked to him.
    He walked up to her, taking her face in his hands. “This is quite the entrance, love,” He said, kissing her forehead.
    The kiss calmed her. She looked up at her soon-to-be husband and sighed.
    “This was not the entrance I wanted to make. I wanted everything to be perfect today.”
    He cradled her face, making her look at him, “Baby, you could come wearing a burlap sac, and I’d still marry you. Doesn’t matter how you got here, what matters is, you ARE here, and now, everything IS perfect because we can get married. Are you ready to do this?”
    She smiled, “I’m ready if you are.”
    He squeezed her hands, “let’s get hitched then!”

    • Deirdre

      Aww, I love Brenna’s devoted groom! Arrival in an RV is a very original entrance, although I did wonder why it was the only alternative. (Replacement limo? Cab?) Thanks for a fun and romantic scene, Steph!

  5. Yvonne

    “Explain to me again why we’re on this stinky vessel?” Mary Mills demanded, stepping around a stack of lobster pots and up to the rail of the boat.
    “We’re meeting Bridget’s Revenge, at the flower pot rock. She’s Smitty’s boat and Ryan will be onboard.” Tamara Locksley clung to the wooden rail with a white knuckled grip.
    “I get that,” Mary reached out and patted her best friend’s ring-less left hand. “Ease up there girl, you’re killing the boat.”
    Tamara blinked and looked down as she gingerly opened her hand. Part of the boat’s wooden rail was crumbled in her palm. “Jason, you said Argonaut was seaworthy!” Tamara yelled into the wheelhouse at her brother.
    “And so she is, at least as far as flower pot rock and back. Don’t get yer panties in a bunch my girl. It will be fine.” Came back the shouted reply over the sluggish banging of the diesel engine.
    Tamara took a shallow breath, the exhaust smell was getting to her, and slowly released it. She focused her eyes back on the horizon with ironclad determination.
    “Why are we going now? What’s the big rush, we could have waited for Ryan on the dock. High slack tide isn’t for another three hours.” Mary bent her knees and spread her feet to obtain better balance. Instead of grabbing the rail, she folded her arms across her chest.
    “I can’t wait three hours, or two, or even one.” Tamara cut her fiery dark eyes to her friend’s dubious expression. “It’s always the men that’s expected to do the sweeping romantic things, well women can too.” The boat took a sharp slap from the rolling sea, setting it lurching like a cork. Tamara swallowed hard and wished the sun would come out of the clouds. She felt so cold.
    “And what’s the romantic gesture this is after to be?”
    “I’m going to propose to Ryan. He thinks I don’t want to be his wife because he’s a lobster fisherman.”
    Mary opened her mouth and Tamara held up a warning finger. “Do not call my future husband a fisher. That’s only silly PC talk. Nobody on the coast calls themselves that, only you authors.”
    Mary bit back her first reply. “Did you bring a ring?”
    Tamara didn’t answer Bridget’s Revenge was in sight, tied to her mooring ring, waiting for the tide to change so she could offload her catch. Jason chugged his own vessel alongside and Ryan and Tim used a gaff and bumpers to allow the two boats to meet.
    Tamara scampered over the side and stood in front of Ryan’s larger form, peering up into his surprised face. “Tam, what are you doing here? What’s happened?”
    “Nothing, everything. I’m sorry, I’m making a hash of this.” She grasped Ryan’s muscled forearms as she looked up into the purest blue eyes she’d ever seen.
    His hands automatically encircled her tiny waist. “What’s going on?”
    “Ryan Wilkes, I love you and I have from the moment you first kissed me. I know you don’t think we should be together until we can financially handle it, but I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to remain apart.” Tamara paused as the smell of the catch made her throat close up. Gritting her teeth she dropped down on one knee in front of the man she loved and pulled out the box she’d been carrying all day. Opening it she said; “Ryan Robert Wilkes, will you please marry me.” She offered him the gold wedding band.
    Dead silence met her words. Then there was a whoop of laughter as Ryan plucked her off the deck and pulled her into his arms laughing and kissing her at the same time. “Yes! Of course I’ll marry you Tamara.”
    Relief flooded her as she slipped the ring on his finger.
    “Well that’s a first on my boat.” Captain Smitty grinned at the pair.
    “Smitty, will you marry us? Now?” Tamara twisted in Ryan’s embrace and turned hopeful eyes on to the grizzled older man.
    “I will, girl. I’d be honoured.”
    “Great, thank you.” Tamara patted Ryan’s large hands so he’d let her go. “Mary come aboard, you’re here as a witness.” Tamara went to the opposite rail and hung on. “Just let me be sick, then we can get on with the vows.”
    Ryan dutifully held her hair.

  6. Ruby Mae O'Dell

    “Danielle will you please stop fidgeting? How do you expect us to do your makeup if you won’t hold still?” her younger sister, Moriah, asked her.

    Danielle forced herself to hold still. “Sorry. I’m nervous and we’re late,” she responded.

    “Well you’re gonna be even later if ya don’t sit still and let us finish,” Ashlyn spoke up. “Whatcha so nervous about anyway? John’s a great guy and is head over heels for you. Though I can’t imagine why,” she added with a laugh.

    Danielle swatted her younger sister’s arm. “Ashlyn, you’re such a nuisance. If ya must know why I’m nervous just look at who’s doin’ my makeup. My lil tomboy sis who hates makeovers.” Danielle shook her head. Of all the days for her seven younger siblings to act up, they had to pick today to be their grandest performance. She should have been in the wagon half an hour ago.

    Ashlyn stifled a giggle. “Well it’s kinda late to find someone else so your stuck with me, Sis. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of ya.”

    “Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid of.” Danielle retorted.

    Tap, tap, tap.

    “Come on, Danielle! I ain’t waiting all day for ya! If you’re not out in five minutes I’m going to leave ya!” Malachi shouted from the other side of the door.

    “You’ll do no such thing, Malachi!” Danielle shouted back. “This is my wedding day and I’ll take as long as I wish.”

    “Ya wanna bet!” Malachi laughed.

    “Calm down, Danielle. He’s only kidding. What do ya think of your makeup?” Moriah said.

    Danielle looked in the mirror, groaning at the sight she saw. One eye had blue eye-shadow, while the other had pink and each cheek was a different shade of blush. She knew she shouldn’t have let two teenagers do her makeup. Now she was going to be even later. “I haven’t got time for this.”

    “What’s wrong with it?” Ashlyn asked.

    “What’s wrong with it? You mean besides the fact my face appears to have a split personality?” Danielle shook her head as she grabbed a few makeup wipes and started wiping. “Alright. Ashlyn, you do my makeup and Moriah, you do my hair. And try to hurry please. We should have been at the meadow by now.”

    Twenty minutes later she was finished and ready to go. She turned the doorknob. Or at least tried to. It wouldn’t budge. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” Danielle banged on the door. “Malachi! Malachi, you open this door this instant! You hear me?”

    She ran a hand down her face. Nothing was going right. Today was meant to be the happiest day of her life. It should have been perfect. She’d try to call someone but there was no reception on the guest ranch where they were.

    Tap, tap, tap.

    “Dani? Are you ready yet?” her youngest brother asked from outside the door.

    “Yes! I’m ready! Gabriel, can you open the door please? Malachi locked us in,” she replied. Malachi was going to get into so much trouble for this.

    The door opened. Gabriel stood on the other side, an amused grin on his freckled face.

    “Thank you, freckles,” she said as she hugged her little brother.

    “You’re welcome. But Kaylyn and Bethany ain’t ready yet.”

    She almost hated to ask this. “What do ya mean? They were ready before I got started.”

    “I know. But Kaylyn is making pictures with the flowers you gave her and Bethany is making sandcastles in the barn.”

    “There isn’t any sand in the barn. Besides, I told them to stay on the bench until I finished.”

    The ten year old just shrugged in response. Danielle took a few deep breaths. She was afraid to find out what the two youngsters had done.

    “Alright. I’ll go get the girls. Ashlyn and Moriah, go on and get in out wagon. Gabriel, get in your wagon and don’t you move before I get back with Kaylyn and Bethany.”

    She bundled up her gown and headed toward the barn. There was Kaylyn, kneeling on the ground by a giant happy face made of rose petals. “Kaylyn, we gotta go! I told you to stay on the bench. Hurry and get all these petals back in the basket. Where’s Bethany?”

    Kaylyn pointed inside the barn and began picking up the petals. Danielle rushed inside the barn, finding the five year old in the back corner. “Come on, Bethany. It’s time to go,” she beckoned.

    Bethany shook her head causing her short blond hair to bounce. “I’m playing. I’m making castles.”

    Danielle sighed. She should have taken them with her into the cabin. Too late now. She made her way to the back of the barn. She pinched her nose as she got close. “Bethany what are you playing in?”

    “Stinky mud.” Bethany stated simply.

    That wasn’t mud. It was horse manure and it was all over her. What was she going to do? She didn’t have extra dress for Bethany and she didn’t have time to go get her one. She would just have to put her frilly pink pajamas back on her. It was either that or let her help toss flowers while smelling and looking like that.

    “Come on, Bethany. We gotta get you cleaned up.” She led Bethany out of the barn, then to the cabin after sending Kaylyn to the smaller wagon where Gabriel was waiting.

    Fifteen minutes later and they were finally on their way to the meadow where her groom, family, and friends were waiting. But then wouldn’t you know it, they had to endure one more delay. A string on Marcus’ guitar broke and it took him another fifteen minutes to restring and tune it.

    Finally, it was time for her to walk down the aisle. She placed her hand in her dad’s arm and they walked down the aisle. She couldn’t believe she was marrying the man of her dreams. When she made it beside him and John took her hand in his and smiled, she knew this was truly going to be the happiest day of her life. Despite the rocky road of sibling mishaps she had to endure to get here, she’d made it. Her makeup disaster was an easy fix. Malachi was just having his fun. Kaylyn was just being creative Kaylyn. Bethany… well, she didn’t know what she was playing in and she looked kind of cute going down the aisle in her pajamas. The guitar string could have happened anytime and she was thankful Marcus had extra strings. Now come to think of it, Gabriel was the only sibling without a mishap today.

    “May I have the rings please?” The pastors words broke through her thoughts.

    “Oops… I’ll be right back.” Gabriel said softly. She turned in time to see Gabriel make a dash toward the wagon.

    Everyone was laughing. Yes, her wedding was truly one of a kind. Nevertheless, she wouldn’t trade it for anything. She was marrying the greatest guy in the world. Her family and friends were here to support her. And she had a wedding story she would never forget. One that would never cease to bring a smile to her lips and warm her heart with love.

  7. Ruby Mae O'Dell

    Okay my first one was more for comedy and I couldn’t help myself. LOL Here’s my second entry:

    Kathrine Bridges tried to calm her jangled nerves. She should be happy. She was getting married today. But she couldn’t help feeling nervous.
    She stared down at her extended stomach. Her little one was due three days ago. She had hoped to have the baby before the wedding. But God had other plans apparently. It was a good thing they had bought two different wedding gowns. They had purchased a maternity gown just in case.
    “Aren’t you the most beautiful bride anyone could ask for,” a familiar voice declared.
    A blush warmed her cheeks as she turned to face her groom. “What are you doing here Garret? You know it’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding.”
    Her tall handsome cowboy walked up to her and placed his arms around her. “I couldn’t wait to see you. Besides, I don’t believe in luck.” He inclined his head, placing a gentle kiss on her lips. “How’s my girls?” his voice was low now.
    She smiled as she placed a hand on her stomach. “We’re fine. I still can’t believe you’re doing this. Not many men would take on the husband and daddy title on the same day. especially when the child wasn’t his.”
    He placed his palms on her cheeks, sending tingles of awareness through her body. “I’m doing this because God blessed me with you and because I love you. And I’ll love this little girl as if she was my own.”
    Unshed tears filled her eyes as love for this man soared in her heart. “I love you too, Garret.”
    He smiled that handsome grin of his that melted her heart. “I never get tired of hearing you say those precious words. well, I better get to that alter.” He kissed her once more before releasing her. “See you soon, love.”
    She hurried to finish touching up her makeup. Garret’s visit had cured her anxiety and now she was more determined than ever to let nothing get in the way of her happily ever after.
    She left the small Sunday-school room and made her way to the double doors leading to the sanctuary. She doubled over as a short wave of pain ripped through her stomach. She was still trying to catch her breath when her dad walked in.
    “Katie, you’re the spitting image of your mom. You’re so beautiful,” her dad stated. He looked down and noticed a small puddle in the floor. “I don’t know what happened there.I’ll get someone to clean that up after the wedding. You ready?”
    Kathrine shook her head. “My water just broke.”
    Her dad’s eyes grew wide in surprise. He burst through the double doors, leaving her alone in the church’s lobby. “Katie’s in labor!” she heard her dad shout. She lowered herself in a chair as another contraction started, harder than the first.
    Within seconds, Garret burst into the lobby, a mixture of worry and excitement clear on his face. He swooped her into his arms and rushed her to their limousine they’d rented for their honeymoon and placed her inside. He explained the situation to the driver as he climbed in, followed by her dad.
    Garret squeezed her hand as the labor intensified. “You’re doin’ great, love. We’re almost there. Keep breathing. In and out.”
    Before she knew it, she was in a hospital room with Garret. After twenty minutes of intense labor, she finally held her little girl in her arms while Garret sat beside her on the bed.
    “She’s so beautiful. Just like her mom.” Garret said in admiration. He smiled at her before planting a sweet kiss on her lips. “You ready to go?”
    Confused, she look up into his eyes, searching for an explanation. “Go where? I can’t leave the hospital this early.”
    A wide grin formed on his lips. “You’ll see.”
    He helped her into a wheel chair as she held little June in her arms. He pushed her down a few hallways and down an elevator before coming to a stop at a bench where her dad sat.
    Her dad smiled and stood when they approached. “What’s going on?” she asked him.
    “You’ll see in a moment.”
    Garret smiled, kissed her on the cheek and walked through a door next to them. Afterward, her dad pushed her through the door.
    The bridal march reached her ears, bringing tears to her eyes and a smile to her lips. All their family and friends were here at the hospital’s chapel. Her heart filled with love at what Garret and her dad had managed to pull together while she was in labor.
    She stood with June when her dad made it to the alter with her and joined hands with Garret. Her dad started the ceremony.
    After awhile he asked Garret, “Garret, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife and June to be you daughter?”
    “I do, with all my heart.” Garret answered with a smile filled with love.
    “Kathrine, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?” her dad asked her next.
    She stared into Garrets eyes which were filled with love for her and June. Love for him filled every inch of her being. She offered up a quick prayer of thanksgiving for God blessing her with this man before saying, “I do.”
    “Then I now pronounce you, man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
    Garret didn’t hesitate. He kissed her fully. He kissed her with a kiss filled with love and promises of a blessed future as a family, him, her, June, and their future children if the Lord willed it.

    • Kayla K.

      Wow, Ruby, talk about unconventional! The baby being due was obviously no secret, so I love that, just like having a second wedding dress, the bridal party also planned a secret ceremony in case the baby decided she was done waiting!

  8. Warning- long one….

    “What do you mean my dress is missing in action?!” Elena squealed in horror at her mother.
    The one-off Paris house design dress was worth a small fortune. Last minute alterations with a promise it would be back before the wedding. Panicked, she glanced at her watch. Ten hours to go. The pulse in her neck throbbed at an unhealthy pace.
    “Not lost, just in transit.”
    Waving at the hairdresser to stop with her hair, Elena pushed out of her chair, pacing her old rooms, back at the old palace. “I can’t get married in my underwear.” She clutched at the opening of the white, silky, satin nightgown.
    Suddenly the doors burst open and her father rushed in, wide eyed. Her heart sunk lower in dread. Now what? “There is a sandstorm approaching fast.”
    “Great, so much for infrequent occurrences, isn’t one enough already,” she grumbled under her breath, her heart pounding wildly in her chest. “Mum, I need the dress diverted to the city palace and I have to find a way out of here, before the storm hits. Once it does, no-one would be leaving.” Been there, done that. She turned to the hairdresser. “Pack up your stuff, you’re coming with me. Mum, dad, grab whatever you need, we are out of here. Whose idea was it for me to get ready here, anyway!” She snarled, storming out of her rooms.
    “Yours my dear,” her mother reminded her.
    “Yes, well, that was stupid of me. He is going to kill me!”
    One of the staff came running up to her, handing over a phone. “Hassan?” She answered with hope.
    “You do realise there is a storm heading your way, my love?”
    “Um, yes, we are heading out now.” She won’t mention the dress; hopefully by the time she got there, it would’ve also arrived.
    “I’m sending in the cavalry to bring you all back, they should be there within an hour.” Her heartbeat slowed, and breathing eased. As usual, he came to the rescue.
    “Thank you, baby, and I swear, I’m listening to you next time.” He laughed softly in her ear, both knowing she had a mind of her own.
    “Now, do not be late,” he teased and hung up.
    “Darling, don’t you think you should put something on?” Her mother suggested. Stunned, she stopped and looked down. Of course, she couldn’t arrive at the city palace like this. Oh, the scandal, she smiled to herself, kissed her mother’s cheek in passing and rushed off to put on some clothes, jeans and T-shirt, easy for travelling in. That looked out of place with her fancy up do hairstyle.
    Leaving the bedroom, she spotted her tiara, grabbing it on the way, and rushed out, joining the others at the entrance hall. The eight foot gates already open waiting for their arrival. Quickly, she did a count in her head about travelling time; there is no way they could make it here and back by car. It had taken days by camel. He did say the cavalry.
    “Quickly, Hassan sent in the air force,” she rushed outside, down the steps and run to the gates with her entourage. Within the hour, should’ve told her. Her eyes darted around, looking for signs of the plane, only to still at the sight of a dark, and threatening, menacing, front approaching from the west. Her eyes scanned the skies, heart in the throat. “There,” she pointed to the skies with relief. They watched as two air force helicopters landed just outside the gates. With no time to waste, they were rushed upon the helicopters.
    Elena in the second one, taking off, and followed the others as the storm approached fast. She looked behind as the distance was eaten up, and so was the palace in a cloud of sand. Relaxing, she sank into her seat. Eight hours to go. Soon she would be back at the city palace and getting ready to marry her prince.
    Suddenly there was a high pitched sound. She sat up straighter, her heart slammed against her chest. “What’s wrong?” She squeaked into the headphones. No, no, no, this can’t be happening!
    “Have to land, now!” With a sudden jerk, she clung on for dear life as they went off course, the pilot fighting for control. Screaming as they went down, landing in the middle of the desert with a heavy thud, but in one piece.
    A malfunction that the men worked on. All telecommunications down, and she was stuck in the desert with time ticking away. She paced as they worked. The heat was burning down upon them, the temperature rising. The hours fading fast as tear pricked her eyes. This was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, not this disaster. Her and her stupid ideas of getting ready in the palace where they had first met.
    A distant deep hum sound drew her eye upwards as a plane flew by, turned and went in for a landing. She reached into the helicopter through the open door, removing her tiara. Hassan would have started a search as soon as she didn’t arrive. She ran towards the back of the air force plane that lowered the back ramp. There waiting for her was her hairdresser and mother, and her dress, much to her relief, hugging her mother tightly.
    Arriving at the palace in her lace and satin designer dress, tiara and veil in place, the eleventh hour, she walked out of the back of an air force plane, her mother behind, straightening the long tail, her father waiting perfectly dressed in his tuxedo, ready to walk her down the isle.
    And taking a deep, calming breath, she walked through the palace, towards the grand ballroom where the ceremony was being held that was filled to capacity with A-list guest from all over the world. She saw none of them. All she saw was him, waiting for her, her prince in all his royal garb.
    Taking his hand, she looked up into his dark amber eyes of approval and love. “So glad you could make it.”
    “I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” she smiled, eyes gleaming.

    • Kayla K.

      Phew! And here I thought we were going to have to worry about the dress showing up in time, not a sandstorm knocking the bride out of the sky! Not one, but two rescue aircrafts. The prince really did go all out for his princess!

  9. Emily

    She wouldn’t have called him if she weren’t desperate. Kathleen adjusted her sunglasses and turned away from the road, hoping she wasn’t too easily recognizable. At least her bridal attire acted as a disguise.
    Jake looked up at her from where he crouched by the car’s tire. Of course he had to be the only remaining mechanic in town. Don’t say it, she willed him. You’ve said it enough. I get it. But it’s time to move on.
    “It’s a quick fix, just not quick enough,” Jake stood up and addressed her. “You gonna make it on time?”
    Kathleen looked at the glowing red numbers of the digital clock at the bank. The ceremony was supposed to have started four minutes ago. Everyone was waiting for her in the garden at the church. She had taken her brother’s car home at the last second to get their grandmother’s locket to wear as her something old. Of course he hadn’t told her one of the tires had been about to fall off.
    “You two finally getting hitched?”
    Kathleen froze. She wanted to keep her back turned and ignore the comment, but curiosity got the better of her. Not curiosity about who had made the comment so much, but about who had seen her with Jake.
    Ryan Kennedy. He would tell everyone at the coffee shop that he had seen her with Jake and it would be all over town before her wedding ceremony was even over.
    “Shut up Ryan,” Jake called as his old friend rolled passed with his car windows down.
    Kathleen tried to ignore the guilt and sadness that crept into her heart when she saw Jake’s face. She still loved him and always would, but they wanted different things. She and Connor wanted to devote their lives to ministry, live simply, and travel the world.
    In the six years they dated throughout high school and after Kathleen left for college Jake had asked her to marry him three times. The first time he asked they were sixteen and had been dating for two years. He had taken her on a walk down by the river and when they were seated under a tree, he pulled a tiny diamond promise ring out of his pocket. “Promise me you’ll marry me someday,” he almost whispered, holding the ring toward her. He stared into her eyes deeply, vulnerably. She knew how much he loved her. Silently she nodded in agreement, too immature to find any words for such a momentous occasion. He slipped the ring on her finger and there it had stayed for the next four years.
    Two years later, as high school graduation approached, Jake broached the subject again. “After graduation I want to get married, buy a house, and start our lives together. My dad is ready to retire and wants me to take over the garage. What do you say? Are you ready?”
    Guilty and distressed, Kathleen had told him, “I was accepted to the honors program at the university. I want to go to college, experience life outside this town, and figure out what I want for my future before we get married.”
    The last time he proposed was also the day they had broken up. Kathleen was home for Thanksgiving junior year. Jake had grown his dad’s garage into a thriving and lucrative business and wanted to set a date once and for all. She would be graduating in a year and a half and it wasn’t unreasonable to start planning a wedding that May.
    “After graduation I want to become a missionary and travel to countries where I’m most needed. I’m just not ready to settle down and be a wife,” she told him through tears. Jake felt like he had been punched in the stomach. He had been waiting for the love of his life to be his bride for four years. It suddenly became clear to him that they were on different paths in life and probably always would be. He felt like such a fool for waiting, hoping, that Kathleen would “come around” and marry him.
    Now here they stood, on Main Street for all to see, two weeks after Kathleen’s graduation. She should have been marrying him, but instead she was engaged to a guy she met at the university only six months before. They were going to travel the world together as missionaries, starting in Cambodia. Jake had no desire to travel to Cambodia when he had all he needed right there on Main Street.
    “Hop in,” Jake gestured to his shiny new car, the one he had purchased for himself to celebrate the success of his business. “I’ll drive you.”
    Every inch of Kathleen’s body was sweating. She was already late and here she had a ride, ready and willing to bring her to the church. But Jake? The ceremony was to be held outside and everyone would see her arrive with him. She had no choice.
    “OK, thanks.”
    When they pulled up to the church all of Kathleen’s guests gasped. The whole town knew it was Jake’s brand new red luxury car. Connor and his guests looked at the others in confusion, unaware of what was causing the sensation. Jake parked the car in the emergency lane for lack of any other space.
    Kathleen threw her door open, knowing Jake would be a gentleman to the end and open it for her. She wanted to beat him to it so he wouldn’t get out of the car and make a bad situation worse. Struggling to her feet amid the lace and tulle of her dress and veil, Kathleen took just long enough to get out that Jake was able to dash around the hood of the car and meet her on the curb.
    “You look beautiful,” he told her, his eyes dark and hollow with hurt.
    Before Kathleen could say anything in reply he lifted her veil and kissed her softly on the cheek. “For old time’s sake,” he whispered before walking back to his car.

  10. Kimberly

    “Dad, why are you running?” Melissa asked.
    Now somewhat out of breath with tiny beads of perspiration forming in the middle of his forehead, her 64-year old father replied, “Sorry sweetie, I was in the restroom when someone yelled that it was time. I did not want to be late for walking the bride down the aisle.”
    “Daddy, you’re fine. Would you like a moment to catch your breath before we head into the church?”
    After casually wiping his brow with his handkerchief, her father offered his left arm and responded, ” Nonsense, Robert is waiting for you so I am ready when you are!”

    Who gives this woman away?

    The preacher’s words brought Melissa out of the temporary trance that she didn’t realize she was in and as she hugged her father fiercely she heard the faint rustling sound of paper –underneath the jacket of his tux.
    “Daddy, do you have something under your jacket?” Melissa asked.
    “It looks like one of those toilet seat covers from the restroom!” with a look of shock on his face.

    “I’m so sorry Daddy!” Melissa whispered tearfully.
    Her poor father, he must have walked her down the aisle with the seat cover hanging from the back of his tuxedo this entire time!

    Robert my groom to be with all the character of a saint enveloped my father in a hug, helped him nonchalantly slide the toilet seat cover into the right pocket of his tux, shook his hand, and very lovingly grabbed both of my hands to guide me to the altar at his side.

  11. Marcie R

    “Mom. You can’t be serious.” Nora stood on the wooden dock, the skirt of her wedding dress gathered in her hand so the hem wouldn’t drag the ground, and stared at the four-seater seaplane.

    “It’s the only way to get back to the lodge. You did say you wanted to get married at sunset.” Lorraine, in her mother-of-the-bride pale pink skirt and matching jacket, gestured to the plane again.

    “That I did.” Nora said. Her stomach was already a jumble of nerves and the sight of the bitty plane made it worse. She had wanted a Fall wedding, with the glow of the setting sun glinting off the orange and red leaves, the air cool with the promise of changing seasons. And a perfect chance to cuddle close near a fire with her new husband. Her fiancé Adam had wanted a destination wedding – a mountain resort where their families could mingle and for him to have the opportunity to fish with his groomsmen.
    Nora’s mother told her marriage was all about compromise, which was part of the reason where they found themselves now. A dress mishap – a broken zipper and not a single sewing kit at the lodge – and no time to change for the trip down a curvy mountain road to the town that not-so surprisingly had a bridal shop, brought them here to a seaplane on the lake. All because the road was inaccessible due to an accident between a produce truck and a tree.
    Nora worried her bottom lip.

    “Sweetheart. Have I ever steered you wrong?” Lorraine cupped Nora’s cheek. Her palm was warm and soothing, like a mother’s touch was meant to be. Like her mother’s touch had always been ever since Nora’s father died suddenly when she was nine. And just like her mother was here with her now, to walk her daughter down the aisle.

    Nora bit her lip, tears blurring her vision. “No Mom. You’ve never steered me wrong.”

    Lorraine rubbed her thumb across Nora’s cheek. “Then let’s get you to your wedding.”

    Once settled in the plane, they were up in the air and anticipation added to the nerves in Nora’s belly. And just as quick they were landing on another lake, the plane skimming to a stop near the dock.
    The pilot, and older gentleman with love of the outdoors obvious by the creases next to his eyes, opened the door and assisted Nora and her mother from the plane.

    Lorraine touched Nora’s elbow and nodded toward land.

    There, where the earth met the water and the dock stood Adam, his hands clasped in front of him, a grin on his face. Behind him in an arc, stood the bridesmaids and groomsmen, the minister a few feet beyond. The sun angled perfectly, the fall leaves seeming to sparkle in its rays and a sense of peace settled over Nora. Her father might not be here physically, but he was here in spirit.

    Lorraine placed Nora’s hand in the crook of her arm. “I think this is better than what you had planned in the garden out back.”

    “So do I Mom. So do I.” And Nora took the first step to her soon-to-be husband.

  12. Fiona Marsden

    Not a good sign when the bride can’t make the wedding. Alexa glared at the smoke curling up from the lift mechanism. Apparently taking forty guests plus the bridal party down the cliff was too much for the geriatric machine.
    Stepping closer to the edge of the cliff, she looked down at the scene below, the guests seated on folding chairs on the beach, framed by the clear blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Grayson Mainwaring stood in front of the canopy with his best man. Looking at his watch. He was right to be nervous. After the catalogue of disasters that had followed her agreeing to marry him, this might be the last. The one that spelled finish.
    The sign that what she knew, what he argued against, was true. She didn’t deserve him. The tightness in her chest intensified, like trying to breath at thirty thousand feet. Fate was telling her something. Over and over. The plane having to turn back due to an engine malfunction. The missing luggage. Alexa smoothed clammy palms down the satin of the borrowed wedding dress. Even the dress itself was so not her. All poofy and marshmallowy. Her missing gown was somewhere between Kathmandu and Athens.
    Ironic that the only luggage that arrived safely was her climbing gear. She watched Gray step forward to say something to the minister. He hated her climbing. Hated her risking her life. But what kind of life would it be without Gray anyway. She turned to the lift operator and gave him instructions. She met her father’s gaze and smiled. “Are you up for it?”
    He stripped off his jacket. “One last adventure together.”
    The man was back with her luggage and she pulled out suitable ropes and harness, checking them. It only took a few minutes to anchor the setup to the steel frame near the lift. As her father took his position at the edge of the cliff, she saw the wedding guests starting to pay attention to what was happening. She eased out the rope and with a nod, her father dropped over the ledge.
    In moments, he signalled for her to pull up the harness and she stripped off the bulky petticoats and bundled the skirts around her waist. The harness would crush the satin but if billionaire sophisticate Gray was prepared to choose a crumpled bride instead of a no show, she would know how he really felt about his unlikely bride.
    Poised at the edge of the cliff, the adrenalin surged through her system. This was different somehow. A shout from below startled her and she released too quickly, dropping ten feet before regaining purchase on the cliff face. Gray was there, waiting. Focussing, she sucked in a breath and pushed off, letting the ropes glide through her gloved hands smoothly.
    Large hands gripped her shoulders as she landed, shoes sinking soft into the sand.
    “You damn fool, Alexa. Crazy woman.”
    He spun her around, ignoring her father who was undoing the harness. His pupils shone black, dilated until his grey iris was a pale rim. Alexa opened her mouth to respond but his mouth hit hers hard. When he let her go she struggled for air, her chest heaving.
    “I love you, Grayson Mainwaring.”
    “About time you admitted it.” His hand smoothed a strand of hair off her face. “I love you, Alexa Trask.”
    This was better than summiting Everest. Because it was Gray, the greatest adventure yet.

  13. Jacqueline Burrows

    Mark looked at his watch again. She was late. Okay, he knew it was customary for a bride to keep her groom waiting on her wedding day – obligatory even – but Donna was half an hour late and he was starting to get worried.
    He glanced at the vicar who gave him a sympathetic smile. He must see this all the time; nervous grooms, panicking for no reason. He loved Donna, but they’d never had an easy relationship. They were both doctors in the A&E department of a busy hospital; a stressful, pressurized environment. Sometimes they took it out on each other. He was impatient and could be a pain in the butt sometimes, but Donna could give as good as she got – one of the many things he loved about her – she was feisty and kick-ass, independent and strong. His perfect woman.
    He turned to Tim, his Best Man who was watching him anxiously, ‘Where is she?’ he whispered.
    ‘Just chill, mate, she’ll be here. She loves you.’
    He knew that but maybe he’d pushed her into this marriage. Perhaps she wasn’t ready. He was the one who had nagged her until she had given in to his demands. Had she changed her mind? Realised that a gorgeous, independent woman such as herself didn’t need a man to complicate her life? Had he lost her already, before their lives together had even started? Or had he been too practical, not romantic enough? He had never been any good at talking about his feelings, hiding them under a brusque, matter-of-fact attitude. He wasn’t feeling matter-of-fact now. He was tense and nervous.
    Tim put a restraining hand on his arm to stop him fidgeting. He glanced over his shoulder at the people behind them, talking quietly amongst themselves. His friends and relatives on one side of the church and Donna’s on the other. Equally matched. How embarrassing would it be having to tell them that the wedding was off because the bride had changed her mind? He felt something twist deep inside him at the thought.
    ‘She’s not coming,’ he croaked, his throat as dry as a desert. He needed a drink.
    ‘Of course, she’s coming. They’ve just been held up, that’s all.’
    ‘So why doesn’t she text?’ Tim had no answer for that. They lapsed into silence again. Would Donna be so cruel as to stand him up at the altar? His Donna? She couldn’t do that to him, surely?
    Then, through his muddled thoughts, he was conscious of a sound that provided a background score to every one of his working days; the wail of an ambulance siren, getting closer. But it wouldn’t be coming here, it would keep going down the high street towards the town, taking some poor soul to the hospital. This was a quiet lane that contained a few picturesque cottages, the church, cemetery, and fields, covered in buttercups and daisies, shimmering in the summer sunshine.
    But the sound grew louder and he looked at Tim questioningly. His friend shrugged. He turned around again and looked more closely at the guests. No-one was ill, they all looked fine and gazed back at him as if expecting him to take charge. Maybe it was someone who lived in one of the cottages.
    As the siren grew piercingly loud, Mark started marching down the aisle towards the front of the church. Someone needed medical attention and he hadn’t been aware of it. He’d been indulging in his own private pity party and neglected his duties. Call himself a doctor; he should be ashamed.
    Tim called after him, ‘Mark – where’re you going?’ but he didn’t turn back.
    When he got outside, an ambulance was just pulling up and two paramedics leapt from the front to open the back doors. He looked around but there was no-one in sight. Then, he couldn’t believe his eyes as Donna emerged from the ambulance, looking spectacular in her wedding dress. Her short dark hair, framed around a heart-shaped face, was adorned with flowers and she held a bouquet tightly. He stared at her in bewilderment as she walked sedately up to him.
    ‘Hi. I bet you didn’t think I was going to turn up, did you? Were you worried?’
    The relief he felt was overwhelming. He wanted to take her in his arms and hug her, but instead he put his hands in his pockets and faked nonchalance. ‘Nah, I knew you’d be here. After all, you can’t resist me, can you?’
    She grinned and her blue eyes sparkled with mischief. ‘Well, you do look good enough to eat in your morning suit.’
    ‘And you scrub up pretty good too.’ The truth was she looked utterly gorgeous. She was a beautiful woman who had never used her looks to her advantage, preferring to outwit people with her brains. ‘So, what happened?’ He gestured to the ambulance where the paramedics were helping the bridesmaids and both the bride’s parents to alight the vehicle. An unconventional arrival indeed.
    ‘The limo broke down – wouldn’t you know it? Lee and Marjorie were on their way back to the hospital after finishing their shift and passed us on the main road. Lucky eh?’
    He faked a frown. ‘And you think this is an effective use of NHS resources doctor?’
    She laughed. ‘Well, I’m here aren’t I? How long would you have been prepared to wait?’
    Surely she knew he would have waited forever. ‘Oh, another five minutes or so.’
    Tim clasped him on the shoulder. ‘They’re waiting for you inside – you need to go back in now.’ Then he turned to Donna. ‘Are you certain you want to marry this guy – he’s a bit of a handful. Sure you’re up to it?’
    Donna laughed delightedly. ‘Yes, Tim, I can handle him. I know exactly how much of a handful he is.’
    Mark raised his eyebrows and forced himself not to laugh out loud at his future wife’s innuendo. ‘I hope someone has had the foresight to take a picture of you emerging from the ambulance. I think it should go in the staff newsletter as our official wedding photo.’ It was a picture he would carry in his head for a long time.
    As he waited at the altar, he couldn’t resist turning around to watch Donna walking up the aisle on her father’s arm, the little bridesmaids trailing behind her. She looked up and saw him watching her. Her look was solemn but the sexiest wink she’d ever given him nearly made his knees buckle. Now that was the image he would carry in his heart forever.

  14. Kate C

    She was going to kill him. Trent sat in the back of the squad car and bowed his head. There was no way that Kelly would forgive him for missing the wedding. Her father was a cop, and here he was, going to the central office for speeding. Sure, he hadn’t paid a couple of speeding tickets. And, yes, he might have ignored the parking ticket from a few months ago. But that wasn’t enough to land him in jail–right?
    The police officers in the front of the car, separated by a wire mesh barrier, were talking between themselves. One had radioed someone and then frowned at the other.
    He didn’t take that as a good sign.
    They arrived at the station and an ambulance, two fire trucks, and three limos were parked in the driveway in front of the squat brick building.
    He stared out the window.
    The minister–at least, he thought it was the minister–was in the gazebo in the little park in front of the police station. People were gathered in neat lines by the small structure. His parents were there, along with hers and…was that Aunt Ethel and Uncle Floyd?
    Kelly stood in her ivory maternity gown, wringing her hands while talking to her mother. She frowned when she saw the squad car pull up, but then straightened and walked towards him.
    “I think you’re going to get more trouble than dealing with us,” the younger officer chuckled.
    “Oh, she’s in a snit,” replied the older one. “Good luck, man.”
    Kelly wrenched open the door and glared at him. “Trying to escape?”
    He shook his head, guilt washing over him. “No, I was trying to get there in time and…”
    “I don’t care. I’m due in three days and you better live up to your promise or I’m going to let them send you to jail.”
    He promised her he’d do right. Despite the tugging on his lapel, he slumped in the seat. He’d messed up again. “I was trying to be there on time. The dryer took longer than I was expecting and my socks–”
    “I took an ambulance to get here on time,” she responded cooly.
    “Oh.” He had no words. Nothing that could justify the reason why he’d be late for his own wedding because his socks weren’t dry. Laziness? No, that wasn’t his style. “I’m…sorry?”
    “Will you promise that you’ll be there on time when the baby arrives?” she asked.
    “God, Kels, I wouldn’t miss that for the world.”
    “Good.” She nodded at the officers who shrugged, and she yanked him out of the squad car. “You’re keeping the handcuffs,” she whispered. “I’ll get a key for later.”
    He let her lead him to the front of the gazebo where the minister raised an eyebrow at his handcuffs, but didn’t say a word, besides those required for the ceremony.
    “I love you,” he murmured gruffly right before he kissed her. Her hands cradled his face and he was unable to touch her. The kiss was a promise that he’d try to do better. That he’d work to keep himself out of jail from stupid driving infractions so she’d be proud of him. He could do this, for her.
    When he lifted his head, she was smiling. “You better be good,” she murmured, a twinkle in her eye. “My dad gave me the key and said you’re free to go..if I free you.”
    Life would never be boring with this woman. She held the key to the handcuffs…and the key to his heart.

    • Patience Bloom

      Very cute, Kate C. At first I couldn’t quite tell whose POV this was in: Kelly, the father, or Trent, but then it became clear. This really shows the complications that happen during a wedding and through no fault of his own (well, maybe a little fault), a groom’s intentions can get derailed. But I like how it ends and you show well the push and pull in this relationship. Nicely done!

  15. Chrissie

    Sunny and clear. Yes, that’s what the weatherman said. June had always dreamed of the perfect wedding. She had planned her wedding day right down to the finest detail. Even if she wasn’t getting along with Eric right now, she was going to be married today. And that was that.
    June went over her wedding list one more time. Invitations sent out and responses received – check. Bride – check. Wedding dress – check. Flowers – check. Hot Air Balloon – check. Pilot— what the—? She peered over the side of the rainbow colored balloon’s passenger basket. She was at least twenty feet off the ground—with absolutely zero pilot. She was alone. And she didn’t have any idea how to drive or fly or whatever these damned hot air things did…crap. Double crap.
    “Ahoy!” she called down to the gathering of people looking skyward with surprised expressions. “Where is my pilot?”
    Dad waved and yelled back, “He went to take a potty break. Somehow your basket came untied. Wish I could help. I love you, June-bug.”
    She looked up into the gaping hole that showed the inside of the big fabric balloon. A long cord hung down. Without another thought, she tugged on the cord and fire shot out of the burner. She screamed and crumpled to the floor. Not only was she going to miss her perfect wedding, she was going down in flames.
    She tried to stand but a slight breeze had picked up and the basket swayed to and fro. Her stomach rolled with the rhythm and she pulled herself upright to hang over the side and puke in a not so lady-like manner. She sucked in a deep breath and tried to remain calm. Hysterics at this point would do nothing to help her land this thing.
    The ground below was looking more like a patchwork quilt than grassy fields. Ha! She was supposed to rise over the trees and land on the Carolina beach where the groom and wedding party awaited her arrival. She half-wondered what they were thinking or if they even cared. Did she care? Right now the answer was no. More than getting married, she wished for a miracle to help her back to earth.
    God must have heard her plea for he sent a rumble of thunder and a bolt of lightning to bring her to her knees. The supposed-to-be-clear skies opened up and a downpour of rain pelted her and the fast sinking hot air balloon that held her aloft. No, this wasn’t a good sign. This wasn’t what she wanted to happen.
    A sudden shudder and the basket tilted to the side. June held tight to the metal rail running along the basket edge. The balloon hit something and jerked to a stop, flipped sideways and nearly toppled her to the ground below. At least she wasn’t flying any longer. A bright rainbow of fabric floated down to settle on top of her and that’s when the tears started. She couldn’t stop. Her day was ruined. Her dress was soaked, her hair falling out of its bun to tangle in wet knots, and she was lost.
    “Anyone on board? Hey, are you okay up there?”
    June scrambled to her feet and peered over the basket edge, startling a little when it shifted. She was hanging in a huge tree with a magnificent flower over her, the poor balloon had given up. But she was alive and anxious to be rescued. She sighed.
    “Yes! I’m here!”
    “Be right up.”
    It seemed like ages before the deep voice that had called up to her showed her its face. The fabric pushed aside and a dark-haired man with the widest grin she’d ever seen reached in and held out his hand. She accepted his offer and he assisted her to the edge. She looked down at the tree limb and was not about to climb over the side of the basket. Where were the paramedics when you needed them? What about the firemen and their tall ladders?
    “Come on now. We’ll take it slow. You need to get out of the basket before it comes apart. This is a nasty storm approaching.”
    “Don’t let me fall.”
    “You can count on it. I didn’t risk the climb to have you fall. Come on, you can do it.”
    June raised her long lace wedding dress and hiked a gartered leg over the side. The basket shifted again and she fell into the rescuer’s arms. He actually caught her. She held her breath as he made his way down out of the wide based tree. He set her on the ground and with her first step she wobbled in her heels and fell face first into the mud.
    “No. No, no, no!” June struggled to her feet shaking off his hand to assist her. Thank God her face hadn’t hit the dirt too, but her $5,000 dress was ruined. “I’m so done with all this wedding stuff.”
    “Too bad.”
    She noticed him then, really noticed him. He was taller than Eric and had a lean muscular body with strong arms. Nice brown eyes that sparkled with humor. And a killer smile. “How did you find me? Where are the others? Where am I?”
    “Hold on now. One question at a time.” He chuckled and helped her brush off some of the mud. “I don’t know where the rest of your party is supposed to be, but I have a ranch house across the pasture and I would be honored if you would come home with me. You can clean up and we’ll make some calls.”
    “Okay.” She surrendered. She needed his help and there was no other choice.
    “I’m Paul, by the way.”
    “Like the June bug?”
    “That’s what my dad always called me.”
    “June-bug. I like it.”
    And that’s how June met her husband twenty-eight years ago.

    • Patience Bloom

      Wow, Chrissie! This is an adorable story! Very unexpected how this turned out. I thought it would be a totally different story, though I knew she would ditch Eric somehow. I like how this winds up being a lot about the heroine and we really get into her thoughts. Well done!

    • Chrissie

      Thanks so much, Patience. I was exhausted, a long day working hard to meet a deadline, and I was up past midnight and I remembered this challenge. How could I resist. o this is where my thoughts are when I am half asleep. Lol. Glad you liked it. 🙂

  16. Lakisha friday

    Why did they have to make this a real scene? That’s what the green screen is for to make actors and actresses appear to jump off tall buildings or high places and scale models of tall buildings or other landmarks.
    The director, Gene Jennings, had said he was going to do something new and exciting and this was certainly new and exciting to say the least.
    Giselle swallowed hard as she looked out at the sky and the fluffy white clouds. If only the clouds could hold her up in the air and she not fall through them that would be spectacular but clouds are not like that.
    “Ready to meet your groom?! asked the pilot, Emma.
    “This isn’t like rehearsal! Giselle stated, I don’t see why I have to do this! Its better on a model!
    “You know Gene! Emma said, he wanted fresh and new! Just jump! We’re filming live!
    “Live!” Giselle moanes within herself. Of all the rotten stupid things Gene could have done. Why this! When this scene is over she’s going to give him a piece of her mind.
    The bridesmaids and the groomsmen all jumped from one plane below unto the gigantic mat. Once they were settled the groom jumped. Gene watched the handsome devil jump from his plane down to the landing. BJ is such a fine specimen. Tall, muscular, baritone voice that could sing the panties off any woman young or old. But they were only actors pretending to get married. They’re really best friends in real life and that would just complicate things further to be in a real relationship. But still….
    Giselle’s turn to jump from the plane is next. She takes a deep breath then exhales and jumps out of the plane to the awaiting crowd below. She lands safely on the mat as the team rushes to her aid. BJ is waiting for her with a killer smile on those kissable lips of his. Giselle smiled back awkwardly. Something looks a bit off as she scanned the crowd. This was supposed to b a closed set. Why is her family and his family doing here?
    “BJ? What’s going on? Giselle asked, I thought this was a closed set? I mean I’m glad they’re all here but….BJ stopped her by placing a finger on her lips. He takes her hands and held them up to his chest and kissed them.
    ” Remember when we talked about getting married in real life? That our relationship would not be the same? BJ asked.
    “Yeah, Giselle replied, we both agreed that pretending to get married is way easier. So that’s why both our families are here? To see our fake wedding for the movie?
    BJ smiled as he motioned for the pastor to come followed by the ring bearer. Mimi, Giselle’s best friend handed her a little black box. Inside is a beautiful diamond ring with her birthstone in the middle. A ruby.
    The pastor began reading and BJ put the ring on her finger and she in turn put one on his finger as the cameras rolled. This is some fake wedding. She thought. Seems real.
    You may kiss the bride. The pastor said who Giselle didn’t know. Guess he’s a replacement.
    BJ pulls her close and dips her in a delicious kiss as the crowd whooped and whistled and shouted with joy. Giselle never been kissed like that before. BJ’s got talent but this kiss wasn’t a kiss. Too passionate and needy and she couldn’t restrain herself from him.
    ” Wait! Giselle pushed him away. You never kissed me like that.
    BJ smiled and held her hands.
    “That’s because I’ve never had a wife to kiss like that before.
    ” Huh? Giselle is confused. Wife?
    BJ pointed to the crowd.
    “They came to see a wedding, Giselle. Ours.
    ” Ours? Giselle’s voice shook as she saw her mother hold unto her father who nodded his head in silent approval.
    “Yes, BJ said, You just kissed your real husband on national TV. We’re really married and I’m taking you, my beautiful wife, Giselle home.
    Wife? Giselle needed to sit down. Who could have seen this coming? She certainly didn’t.

    • Patience Bloom

      Dear Lakisha, There are so many interesting elements to this: marrying the best friend, who turns out to be a real husband, the whole reality show theme, how the tables are turned at the last minute. This is an exciting set-up that could definitely be expanding so that we are right there with her as she goes through this spectacular rite of passage. Nice job!

  17. Kathryn

    “Lizbeth,” her mother had whispered into the phone.
    “I called to ask you for a favor.”
    Lizbeth had been sitting in a leather chair, day dreaming and humming quietly.. Her meeting agenda was open, but she was thinking about her wedding day which was in three weeks. The ceremony was to be at Orchard House and her parents were coming by limousine from their house and she had arranged a beautiful room overlooking the water where they could stay overnight.
    There would be white sails in Nantucket harbor and a sweeping green lawn leading down to a magnificent oak tree, where they would join their lives together. It would be her and Josh, Josh and her wedding day and all of the people they loved would come and celebrate with them. Afterwards, sparkling champagne would be served on the terrace and a shore supper of lobster would blur into dancing until dawn.
    She had implored her mother not to fuss about the arrangements, not when she had her hands full caring for her father. There was nothing that could go wrong, everything was perfect.
    “I’m in a meeting mum, can I call you back?” Lizbeth sounded as soothing as she could be.
    “Yes, of course you can call me. I’m your mother! But what I wanted to ask was if you could have the wedding here in Yarwich, at St. George’s Church?”
    “Mother” It took Lizbeth a moment to understand the words.
    “Do you mean the church up the street from you?”
    “Yes, dear, the white church where you went to Sunday school is what I am thinking.”
    “Not in Nantucket.” Lizbeth could hardly keep her voice from squeaking. How could this possibly be alright?
    Mrs. Smith went on as if the world had not fallen in.
    “I know it’s a lot to ask, but your dad is getting worse. He didn’t recognize me this morning at all. The doctor says that he can’t stay home much longer.”
    “Mum, are you all right?”
    “Your dad wanted to see you married, and I thought.” The old woman paused to take a breath.
    “I thought if he was back in St. George’s where he went every Sunday, hearing the organist play the song that we had at our wedding, that he might know that it was your wedding day and smile once more. Only music seems to make him remember now.”
    Lizbeth could only stare at her cell phone.
    “Dementia is cruel, Lizbeth, your dad was strong for all those years, but now he is anxious all the time. I wouldn’t ask, but your wedding date is June 18th, and when I looked at the calendar I saw that it was father’s day too.”
    There were tears in Lisbeth’s eyes and she could barely see the photograph of Josh on her phone.
    “Of course, you can say no, Uncle Oscar will be there.”
    “Sure, mum, we can do that. There’s a little league baseball tournament in Nantucket on the same day, I bet Josh can arrange for them to use the rooms and enjoy the supper.”
    “A year ago your father could have walked you down the aisle and given the speech.”
    “I want you both there, mum.”
    You found a man who truly loves you, didn’t you, dear?”
    It was all Lizbeth could do to nod.

    • Chrissie

      Awww…so sad, but in a good way. A friend of mine bumped their wedding up for her mother who was dying of cancer. it seemed to be what was holding her here. she passed shortly afterwards. Changing the date or location can be done and still present warm memories.

    • Patience Bloom

      So bittersweet, Kathryn, and much like how reality can sometimes take us on a different kind of journey. I like how you show the heroine’s dream wedding and then what could also be a lovely wedding. It does bring home the truth that weddings often are about the whole family and not just the bride and groom. Nicely done.

  18. Maita

    The sun has just set and the church was filling up. It was pretty earl for an evening service. The reception will take place well into the night but that was alright. People sleep late nowadays.
    The bride arrived in the the most shocking red hearse. “A hearse? Really?” The best man commented.
    “At least she’s committed to forever,” the groom smiled, flashing his shiny white fangs.

  19. Esther Valencia

    Henrietta Austen couldn’t believe she wasn’t getting married in a few hours. Her dream wedding was happening right down to the gold dipped cream roses but the bride was her conniving step-sister, Amanda. Six months ago as she’d been choosing table cloths and centerpieces, Henrietta’s fiancé, Geoff had gotten drunk and slept with Amanda. And to make things even more icky, he’d knocked her up. Amanda had decided she was keeping the baby and that it deserved two parents so she’d shared the nauseating news at the big family dinner with both their families. Henrietta’s father had punched Geoff and knocked him into the cupcake stand while Henrietta just stared in shock. Geoff was supposed to have been the one person who always put her first and just like everyone else in her life he’d chosen Amanda. Henrietta got out of the shower and heard knocking. She sighed knowing her dad was probably making sure she showed up to the farce. She threw on a robe and just opened the door. “I said I’d be there Dad so what— “
    Nick Moretti smiled and took advantage of her shock by tilting her face up and settling his lips on her. He kissed her softly and when Henrietta shivered he wrapped his arm around her waist and brought her flush against his chest. He deepened the kiss and took possession of her parted lips. As her mouth softened and clung to his, she forgot about everything and where she was even standing. He trailed kisses down her cheek and then nuzzled her throat as she sank into him. “Nick what are you doing here?” His hand slipped down and he hugged her close while dropping soft kisses on her nose, cheeks and eyelids. “Henrietta, I have no idea how Geoff could be stupid enough to lose you but I’m not going to make the same mistake. Come to Santorini with me.” She looked at him and saw an emotion she was afraid to name in his eyes.
    “Nick, I don’t understand? What are you saying?”
    “Darling I’m not letting you get away. I’ve been in love with you for years and when Geoff proposed and you said yes, I wanted to break his face. He was never good enough for you and I hate the pain he put you through. You’re not going to that ridiculous wedding.”
    “Nick, I thought you just wanted a casual hookup. I don’t even know what to say.”
    Her heart was pounding and as crazy as Nick sounded she wanted it to be true. He took her hand and kissed it and said the words that would change her life.
    “Henrietta, come to Santorini with me and start our lives together. I want to wake up next to you every morning until the day I don’t. I want to hold you as you cradle our children and I want to hold your hand as we watch them grow up into amazing people. Take a risk sweetheart and come away with me.”
    In a moment that seemed to stretch out and slow down, she looked at him and saw all the love that he had for her. He was choosing her and in doing so, he gave her the courage to choose him. “Yes! Let’s go. I’m not willing to lose you either.”
    “Perfect. I’ve got a bag packed for you so just slip on something comfortable. Our flight leaves in a few hours.” She ran into her room and quickly threw on an icy blue ruffled dress and came back into her living room to see Nick on one knee. She gasped and tears started streaming down her face. He got up and kissed them away and slipped an antique gold ring with a stunning opal and slipped it on her ring finger. “Today is your wedding day and the start of our new lives together” he murmured into her ear and instead of shock or surprise all she felt was an overwhelming sense of rightness. This was right where she was supposed to be.