The Wedding That Almost Wasn’t

The Wedding That Almost Wasn’t …Please enjoy this guest post by the author of the delightful new cozy mystery, “Body on the Bayou”, Ellen Byron.  She shares humorous details of her OWN wedding…

In my book, BODY ON THE BAYOU: A CAJUN COUNTRY MYSTERY, a Bridezilla’s wedding is postponed when the bride-to-be is declared a murder suspect and arrested. That’s about the only thing that didn’t happen on the way to my own wedding.

Jer and I met in spring of 1992. Our first date was postponed by the Los Angeles riots. Our engagement coincided with the 1993 Malibu fires. Our wedding was almost derailed by the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Frankly, it’s amazing L.A. has survived our relationship.

But about our wedding…

Although Jer is from St. Louis and I’m from New York, we decided to get married in the city where we met. We were committed to staging it at an historic site, and found a beautiful location in the San Fernando Valley, the Orcutt Ranch Horticulture Center. https://www.wedding-spot.com/venue/5509/Orcutt-Ranch-Horticultural-Center/

Back to the earthquake…

Being in a natural disaster is incredibly traumatic. Being a bride-to-be who discovers that her wedding location has been red-tagged, bumps that trauma up to a nuclear level.

We planned on holding the ceremony in the Orcutt’s Nature Garden, cocktail hour in the Gazebo area, and the reception in the Rose Garden. Lunch would be served buffet-style in the Ranch’s lovely adobe main house – which was the building that had been red-tagged, resulting in the entire operation being shut down. The site manager returned my panicked calls and assured me it would be repaired by our April 9th wedding date. “If nothing else, I promise you’ll be able to hold your wedding outside,” she said. “You won’t have to worry about the weather. It’s never rained in April the whole time I’ve worked here.”

The building was repaired by February. But guess what? It rained in April –only on our wedding day. That morning I ran into the street like a crazy person screaming at the sky, “Stop raining! Stop raining!” (Ironically, my husband asked me out because he heard me tell someone at a dinner party how much I missed the rain, having just moved to L.A. from N.Y.)

Miraculously, my prayers were answered. The rain stopped and the ceremony went on, although a lot of stiletto heels were lost to grass stains and soggy ground. We had a blast driving to and from the wedding in an old school bus we rented to transport our out-of-town guests. We hired a small band made up of retired big band musicians, and they entertained everyone with music from the 1940s. They alternated between up-tempo numbers and ballads because, as the bandleader told us, “We’re old and can’t catch our breath that fast.” Our guests using the magic markers and paper we put at each table to color us congratulatory messages. It was a glorious, memorable day.

And there hasn’t been a natural or man-made disaster

The lovely Ellen Byron, author of “Body of the Bayou”, the latest in the best selling Cajun Country Mystery Series.  If you’re interested in obtaining your own copy of this charming book, click on either link: Barnes and Noble or Amazon.  If you’d like to read about more wedding bloopers, click on the link: Wedding Bloopers

Body On The Bayou! A Mystery and a Wedding

We all have crazy friends and relatives…and they bring out the best AND the worst in us…especially when a wedding is involved.  Ellen Byron’s latest installment of the best selling ‘Cajun Country Mystery Series’, “Body on the Bayou”, offers us fun, mystery, laughter, and a delightful glimpse into the craziness of planning a wedding… all while solving a murder!  Amazon offers a great synopsis:

The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they’ve managed to survive the scandal. Now there’s a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.

When everyone else refuses the job of being Vanessa’s Maid of Honor, Maggie reluctantly takes up the title and finds herself tasked with a long list of duties–the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa’s cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke. But just days before the wedding, Ginger’s lifeless body is found on the bayou and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.

There’s a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa’s own sparkplug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou, Ellen Byron’s funny and engaging follow up to her critically acclaimed novel Plantation Shudders.

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In my mind’s eye, the Crozats’ Family Plantation B and B looks something like the photo above.  It’s definitely on my bucket list to stay at such a picturesque establishment.

Did I like this book?  No…I LOVED it!  It’s incredibly  appealing how Byron weaves family, art, an sightful glimpse into rural Southern customs and etiquette into a tight, quickly moving cozy.  Our heroine, Maggie, is a fun mix of artist, family member, sleuth and romanic figure.  Which of Maggie’s great qualities do I like the best?… her artistic bent. She is quite talented and uses it to express herself, and help others to do so, especially a precious little boy.

Would you like to obtain your own copy of “Body on the Bayou”?  If so, click on the either the Barnes and Noble or Amazon link, to be directed to the book’s page.  Once you read “Body on the Bayou”, you’ll definitely want to read the first in the series, “Plantation Shutters”!

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What to serve at a Cajun wedding?  Well, if you’ve ever been to the region, you know the food is exceptional and plentiful. I, personally, would hope there would be some such fare as the photo above!

Below a photo of the lovely author, Ellen Byron.  Hey!  Would you like to hear about HER wedding?  Thought you might… Guess what?  My next post, already written, will feature Ellen’s “Wedding That Almost Wasn’t”, in her very own words!  Check back soon!

Summer Destination Wedding – Whale of a Crime

Can you think of a better Summer Destination Wedding site than a New England Bed and Breakfast?  I can’t.  I recently had the pleasure of reading “Whale of a Crime” by Karen Macinerney.  It’s the 7th book in a delightful cozy mystery series set on fictional ‘Cranberry Island’ off the coast of Maine.  The Amazon synopsis gives a wonderful overview:

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“When a tour company books the Gray Whale Inn for a full week, innkeeper Natalie Barnes can’t wait to get cooking — and to hitch a ride on the antique schooner Summer Winds, getting up close and personal with the local whales. But when one of the humpback whales turns up dragging a mass of fishing gear from its tail, the tour takes a dark turn. It turns darker still when the schooner’s handsome captain winds up attached to the vessel’s anchor, sixty feet underwater… and not by accident. Before long, the tour naturalist (and Natalie’s best friend’s beau) is behind bars, charged with a murder Charlene swears he didn’t commit. Stir in a surprise visit from Natalie’s quarrelsome sister, midnight kitchen sabotage, a sick orphan kitten, and a mysterious investor with plans for a massive resort on the quaint island, and Natalie’s got a recipe for potential disaster. When a second body turns up just outside the inn, the heat is on Natalie to solve the double murder… or risk ending up with her own goose cooked.”

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If you’re looking for wedding venues, and you would like a small affair, consider a B and B.  They are usually located in a scenic venue, (love the photo below!), and if you rent out the entire inn for your wedding, your guests won’t have to worry about making their way home!  Hosting a Destination Wedding, (click on the link if you’d like to read another post about Destination Weddings), encourages you to trim the guest list.  This way you will include your nearest and dearest, and keep your budget on the smaller side.

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Was the book everything it promised?  Yes, and then some.  I was never bored, the characters were loveably believable; the action always flowing.   Yet “Whale of a Crime” still provided the warm domestically we all love in the cozy mystery.  The recipes incorporated in the story made my mouth water.  There are several that I will actually try…and you know me, I don’t like to cook!  I can’t wait for the next installment in the Gray Whale Mystery series.  Hurry and write another soon, Karen!  If you like cozies, you’ll love this one.  Click on the following links to be directed to either Barnes and Noble or Amazon to obtain your own copy.  Once you do, you’ll want to read all seven!

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Love the cake above.  Its simple elegance seems to go with the more causal vibe a Bed and Breakfast Wedding offers.

“The Wedding Sisters” A Book Review

As a wedding blogger, I occasionally get the opportunity to review books about weddings.  Could my job be more fun?

“The Wedding Sisters”, a delightful book by Jamie Brenner, is not to be missed.  If you like weddings, you’ll LOVE this book.  The story invites us into the lives of the four main characters, Meryl, the matriarch of the family, and her three daughters: Meg, Amy and Jo.  I was personally drawn to the book’s premise – three sisters planning their weddings… at the same time!  With four daughters of my own, I found it accurate, funny and poignant.  Brenner hits just the right cord of sisterhood.  The mix of love, competitiveness,  and a touch of pettiness, rings true.  Brenner must have sisters!

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“The Wedding Sisters” never lost my attention.   The writing is fast paced, but still allows the reader to connect properly with the characters. I felt I personally knew all four women in no time.  Their careers are exciting, problems current, their struggles timeless; a perfect trifecta.   And just like in any family, the sisters are quite different.  I sometimes wonder, when I look at my own daughters, how four women from the same home and identical parents, can be polar opposites.  But similar to “The Wedding Sisters”, family always brings them together.  As Meryl, the mother in the story, thinks to herself: ‘There was the overwhelming sense…of time marching on…of the continuum of family.  Of being part of something greater than herself.”

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I hope you enjoy the little montage of photos of my own daughters shown throughout their lives. Let me introduce you in order of age: KK, (believe it or not), a wedding/event planner like her mother; Maggie, a newly minted registered nurse recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania; Tess, a college sophomore; and Julia, a high school senior.  It really is true…Sisters make the best bridesmaids.  If you’d like to read a former post addressing that, click on the link!  Sisters, the best bridesmaids

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Interested in purchasing “The Wedding Sisters” by Jamie Brenner?  Just click on the link to either Barnes and Noble, or Amazon and you’ll be directed right to the book.  Easy peezy!  🙂

More good news?  Jamie Brenner has a new book coming out April 25, 2017, “The Forever Summer” set in Cape Cod, (one of my favorite ‘beach read’ settings), about what else…three generations of women.  Can’t wait! (You can even preorder!) “The Forever Summer” at Barnes and Noble or amazon  is available in Hardcover, e-book or audio.  Just click on either link to be directed.

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Photos:

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# 2 EB Taylor

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# 4 Matt Stauble Media

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# 6 Hannah Colt