Guest-Lauren Elliott

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

33 Thoughts

  1. I’ve been a bridesmaid 3 times and a bride twice. My Dad gave me away twice. The 2nd time it was my Dad and my son. My son got married a year afterwards and now I have 3 beautiful granddaughters. I do like wedding cake. A good friend of mine made my cake and gave it to me as a wedding gift. He was a pastry chef. Best gift!!

  2. Welcome, Lauren! I love hearing about the old traditions and the reasons they came about.

    The only time I was part of a wedding party was two years ago at my older son’s wedding. He and his bride asked their elders (which, in my son’s case, includes two parents and two step-parents) to stand up with them first. After we’d each read or recited something meaningful, we sat and their peers stood up with them. It was lovely.

  3. Lauren, congrats on the new book!

    As for your questions:

    I attended one wedding where those getting married were well above three sheets to the wind BEFORE the ceremony. And another time I was at a wedding where I had to do all I could not to deck the groom before the reception. (There’s video of that one and I won the betting pool on how long the marriage would last…to the day).

    Technically I stood up for my brother at his ridiculously stupid first wedding. Less than an hour after the ceremony, the “bride” revealed her true colors and I started the countdown in my head to the marriage collapsing.

    And I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a piece of wedding cake. But I also don’t go to weddings anymore either.

  4. “Under the Cover of Murder” sounds wonderful and I can’t wait for the opportunity to read it. Sounds like the research was both fun and enlightening. Fun to learn the reason why some things are done were started.

    I can’t think of anything but the normal of weddings I’ve attended. I love cake as long as it’s not all looks. I’d rather have a cake that looks like it’s made by a child and taste yummy than one that is worthy of magazine pictures but is dry or has no flavor.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  5. My cousin’s multi-tiered cake collapsed in on itself before they could cut it. This was an early 90s cake with multiple tiers connected by pillars and bridges and such. I think the photographer got one picture of it before it came crashing down. I was in the wedding party and my groomsman’s pants were too large and his suspenders broke and he was worried that his pants were going to fall down as we were dancing, but all was good. it was a fun day. And they are still happily married, over 30 years later!

  6. Sounds like you did your research – and what onerous research it was! LOL

    I’ve been a maid of honor twice, for my best friend and for my sister. My best friend had an outdoor ceremony and it poured that morning. The guests had to be trucked (literally) to the hilltop in a 4×4 where they’d laid down wooden planks over the mud so we could get to the pavilion. New mother that I was, I saved the day for many a lady with my endless supply of wet wipes. My sister was married in our university chapel. It was a lovely day without a hitch (which in itself was surprising because her in-laws can be touchy people and we all expected some kind of spectacle over something).

  7. Welcome to the Wickeds! I love all of the research you did! I was in lots of weddings back in the day. Some over the top and some that were perfect and fun. One even had a dress I wore to many other events!

  8. I was Maid of Honor at my sister’s first wedding. It was that same wedding that the photographer was getting everyone in the camera frame on the steps of the church for a shot when she exclaimed, ” where did mom go”? My mother had fainted and was laying on the steps. Seems she had forgotten to eat that day. On the way to the reception they took her through McDonald’s drive through and got her a hamburger to tide her over till the dinner.

      1. It was a legendary marriage but that’s another story. I did get a wonderful nephew from it, though.😘💙

  9. The most memorable story I know of is my parent’s wedding cake was sat on by an overly large aunt before the reception.

  10. I’ve been a bride twice, both times in non-traditional ceremonies – once in a park with our dogs in attendance and the second time in the Town Office here in Maine. Come to think of it, I stood on the right at that ceremony?!? I’ve also been a bridesmaid for three uneventful weddings.

    As for wedding cake, any cake is good cake. At my first wedding I had devil’s food cake with white icing. The lady in the bakery was very traditional and she shook her head through the entire order. My husband to be and I got quite the chuckle of that, but the cake was spectacular.

  11. Lauren, congratulations on your latest book. Love reading this series!

    The most unique wedding I attended was a Mennonite wedding in rural Ontario. The bride, a close university classmate, invited me. Christine was not a Mennonite until she got married. It was a low-key wedding ceremony without any of the typical wedding decorations or frills. Most of the Mennonite women wore no makeup or jewelry. The only jewelry Christine wore was her wedding ring.

    There was no wedding cake, which is fine by me since I hate eating any frosted wedding cakes.

  12. I’ve been involved in several wedding parties over the years, but sadly not my own. Can’t think of any I’ve been to with anything extra memorable happening.

    1. How about other cakes? Or do you prefer pies? Maybe savory items like a cheese tray? I am at least as happy with a cheese tray if given the option!

  13. I have been honored to be in several weddings and have attended quite a few weddings as a guest. The wedding cake my husband and I had was really good, one of the best cakes I remember ever eating. However, the groom’s cake was chocolate and everyone raved about it. Alas, we did not get even one small bite of it. 🙂 Your book sounds intriguing and I do like the cover. Best of luck with your writing! And, thanks for sharing your wedding research.

  14. Yes. At our wedding, the minister was late because he could not find his robe. At our reception, my aunt’s oxygen tank sprung a leak. I was the maid of honor for my friend’s wedding. I love wedding cake.

  15. I have never been part of a wedding party. I did go to a wedding a few years ago (for one of my nephew’s best friends). Everyone knew the marriage wouldn’t last, but what can you do. Both the bride and groom were fairly immature at the time. The bride wore a short, lace stretchy dress which barely covered her derrière and cowboy boots. During the cake cutting, the bride and groom got into a cake throwing, cake smearing food fight. The wedding took place on my birthday so, needless to say, I was really sorry I gave up my birthday celebration to attend!

Comments are closed.