Jessie: In New Hampshire where things are gloriously turning to spring!
I am delighted to welcome Lauren to the Wickeds today. I loved learning about her research and hope you will too! Over to you, Lauren!
Happy spring and a huge thank you to all the wonderful Wicked authors for inviting me to be a guest on their blog today. I don’t know about you, but I have to say spring truly is my favorite season. It’s also the time of the year when love blossoms, and couple’s hearts jump with joy in anticipation of wedding bells and vows of undying love. It is said that spring is the official kick-off to the wedding season and one of the most popular times during the year to tie the knot. It is also perfect timing in the relationship development for one of my secondary characters, Serena Chandler, and her beloved Zach Ludlow, which happily coincided with the scheduled spring release of Under the Cover of Murder, the sixth book in my Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series.
Before I began penning Under the Cover of Murder, I conducted a great deal of research on luxurious super-yachts, wedding dresses, hair styles, flowers, and all things wedding related by reading numerous wedding planning blogs including Martha Stewart’s and Emily Post’s. Of course, my intention was to best describe Addie Greyborne’s best friend’s big day, and call to mind images of the perfect yacht wedding—despite the challenges Serena faced from a soon-to-be, overbearing, step-mother-in-law. However, I also came away with a greater insight as to the whys of some of those seemingly small rituals that are included in today’s ceremonies that are taken for granted because we assume that those rituals are just the way it’s done.
For example, were you aware that bells were traditionally chimed at Irish weddings to keep evil spirits away and to ensure a harmonious family life? The wedding veil is rooted in beliefs of the ancient Roman Empire and was worn to “protect” women by “confusing” demons that fought to possess them during the wedding ceremony. Bridesmaids wearing similar dresses today also comes from the ancient Romans, who believed those pesky demons needed to be confused even more and used the bridal attendants, all dressed in the same way, as decoys to protect the bride from possession.
As far as the actual wedding dress goes, the traditional white or cream we generally think of today wasn’t popular until Queen Victoria started the trend in 1840. Before then, brides simply wore their best dress. Today’s tradition of tossing the wedding bouquet came out of England where it was believed the bride was extra lucky on her wedding day. In order to avoid her unwed friends and guests ripping pieces off of her dress for a bit of her good luck, the bride would toss the bouquet and run away from them. The single lady who caught the bouquet would inherit that luck and be the next to marry.
Then there’s the little-known fact as to why, the bride stands to the grooms left during the ceremony. It seems, this tradition came about because it was felt the groom needed his right hand free to fight off other suitors or evil spirits that might want to challenge the marriage union. It appears those annoying spirits played a big role in the development of many of the rituals followed today since the ritual of the groom carrying the bride across the threshold was also to protect her from any evil spirits lurking around.
In spite of following these good-luck traditions, in addition to many others commonly practiced today. In Under the Cover of Murder, nothing seems to help protect Serena from a mean-spirited step-mother-in-law or stop an uninvited guest and two dead bodies from making an appearance at her wedding. Addie, however, following the centuries-old challenge of doing what every maid-of-honor does best, protects her charge at all costs and allow nothing to add to the stress of the bride’s big day—which, in Serena’s case—might prove a truly Herculean task. Since a clue found in Agatha Christie’s first Hercule Poirot novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles proves the killer may still be on the ship and not finished piling up the dead bodies…
Readers, have you ever attended a wedding where something very memorable and unsual happened? Have you ever been a member of a wedding party? Do you like wedding cake or do you think most are more for looks than for their taste?
Lauren Elliott is the USA Today bestselling author of the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series. She grew up devouring Nancy Drew, graduated to Agatha Christie, and then began writing her own mysteries, as well as bringing her passion for storytelling to careers in professional theater and journalism. She can be found online at