Guest Traci Hall: Writing parallel events—when real life smashes into fiction, or vice-versa 😉

By Liz, happy to welcome Traci Hall back to the blog! She’s talking weddings today…so let’s get to it! Take it away, Traci!

Thanks to Liz and the other fabulous Wickeds for letting me hang out on your blog today! I’m thrilled to be here 😊

I’d like to share my wedding experience writing book four of the Scottish Shire series. Lydia wants to marry Corbin but, well, death happens as it often does when writing cozy mysteries. I was planning my wedding for May 1st as I was penning this to make an April 15th deadline so there were many times when the whole process felt brilliantly surreal.

Who doesn’t love weddings? Yet, so many things can go wrong despite detailed planning.

Lydia and Corbin try to get hitched at the old kirk and honor his family’s traditions, from the Luckenbooth brooch to sharing vows in the same church. The Smythe’s lovely tradition is riddled with superstition.

In fact, the Luckenbooth brooch comes from 16th century Scotland where there were permanent small shops that sold wares on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, called Locked Booths. The jewelers were popular, and the heart and crown style became known as a Luckenbooth brooch. Some have thistles or a jewel. The tradition was that the man would give it as a betrothal gift to his lady, and later, when they had children, the pin would be attached to the baby’s blanket to keep away evil spirits. 

Now, Lydia is a very modern-thinking woman but to make Corbin (and his family) happy she goes along with everything his stepmother wanted—except for choosing a different Luckenbooth brooch. The one Corbin had chosen, with a real ruby, for Lydia’s birthstone, is deemed to be cursed.

Lydia doesn’t believe in curses. She loves Corbin and regrets not eloping to Gretna Green as he’d suggested when he’d first proposed. Especially when a Smythe cousin dies with the missing Luckenbooth in her hand at the bottom of the kirk’s steep stairs. The wedding is postponed, and his family wants him to call it completely off.

Paislee takes her duties as matron-of-honor seriously and promises to find out what’s going on before someone takes another shot at her bestie. In the end, Lydia gets what she wants, and Paislee has a new side hustle knitting pet gear.

As I wrote the ups and downs for poor Lydia, I was choosing a venue for my own wedding, something small and intimate. This was a second wedding for both of us and we’ve been together for nine years already. This was about celebrating our relationship with our family. Because of Covid, we’d delayed our nuptials by a year. We created our own vows and were married by a dear friend. We chose a seaside restaurant with historic rooms and a stellar view. The wedding would be outside near the sand dunes with a Sunday lunch to follow. 

A storm was predicted for the entire weekend—hurricane season in South Florida. Saturday, I was kind of worried that things would need to be indoors, or worse, canceled. I had buckets of hydrangeas that my new sister-in-law was keeping alive by cutting the ends and dipping them in alum powder, or else they wilted. I had no idea that they would be so delicate—oh, but they were so lovely.

Sunday dawned with blue skies! I didn’t realize that we’d be competing with the air show. Military planes and jets zipped by throughout the day. As far as fiascos went, we didn’t have a dead body to contend with, lol, just the planes and threat of rain. 

It was a good thing we didn’t plan an immediate honeymoon as we ended up with Covid, after two years of avoiding it and despite getting our booster in April. Now that some time has passed, I can look at the beautiful pictures and laugh. 

I hope Lydia and Corbin can share a smile now too.

Tell me about any wedding disasters that you know of in the comments! I’ll choose a winner for an ARC of Murder at a Scottish Wedding.

Thanks for chatting with me today!

Here’s the blurb for Murder at a Scottish Wedding:

As her friend’s matron of honor, Paislee Shaw vows to solve the mystery of a missing brooch and a dying wedding guest . . .

Paislee’s specialty sweater shop and yarn business Cashmere Crush, in the charming Scottish village of Nairn, is closed today for a special occasion. Her bonnie bestie Lydia is moments away from walking down the aisle of the church at Old Nairn Kirk to wed Corbin Smythe. Gramps and Paislee’s eleven-year-old son Brody are seated in the pews with the other guests—the only family not in attendance is their black Scottish terrier Wallace. As matron of honor, Paislee is at her friend’s side when Lydia lets out a frantic cry. The Luckenbooth brooch her betrothed gave her is missing. A traditional Scottish love token, the gold heirloom has been in his family for generations and not wearing it could bring bad luck—according to the superstitious Smythes.
 
But the real misfortune falls on a distraught cousin who suddenly disrupts the ceremony and dies with the brooch in her hand. The Smythes insist it’s the curse. But Paislee must broach the subject of…murder. And was the intended victim the guest—or the bride? Only Paislee can determine who to pin the murder on . . .

47 Thoughts

  1. I’m glad your wedding wasn’t ruined by weather! The new book sound fun.

    I don’t know of any wedding disasters, thank goodness. As my younger son is getting married next month, I’d like to maintain my streak!

  2. Hi Traci! You’re a new author to me. Your book cover looks so cute!

    My own wedding was a disaster. We decided to have it outside, in a state park. Everyone showed up over an hour late, then a lot of people didn’t show at all.

    I choked on my wedding drink, and it’s in the photos. Plus, I found out later, that my whole wedding party went out to dinner after we left to go on our honeymoon and trash talked us the whole time. (my Mom went with them and told me later what had happened.)

    So, now, I tell everyone who’s getting married to just elope lol. For some reason when you get married so many people decide they have to have a say in everything then it really isn’t your affair anymore. It’s been turned into something unrecognizable.

    1. Sarah, I am shocked! I can’t believe it. That would be really awful to have the people close to you trash talk you. Elope, elope, elope–hugs to you–and I’d cut them off the friend list for sure

      1. Oh, I did. I haven’t spoken to those people in 17 years. I haven’t missed them either. It took me a long time to realize what good friends look like.

        Thank you for the kind words and huge hugs back!

  3. I have heard of many weddings that turned into family disasters with arguing but hadn’t experienced one myself until my son-in-laws. Well, the wedding itself was uneventful but the reception afterwards was a disaster! We (his father me plus paternal grandparents) were placed in a corner right behind the speakers for starters. I could just sense that was the beginning and I didn’t disappoint myself lol. Some uncles of the groom got into a fistfight over switching tables next. Various squabbles popped up all over the place once alcohol got added to the mix. Topping on the cake was when the bride and grooms families were introduced, though! My husband and his ex-wife (grooms mother) who had been divorced for over 30 years were introduced as “Mr. John and Terrie Laweryson “. I think the whole hall heard my jaw hit the floor lol. That was enough for me, we left right after. Now, the son-in-law is divorced – don’t think that marriage lasted but a few years, so all that drama for naught!

    My own two marriages were by notary publics, short and sweet, no drama!

  4. I showed up at my wedding rehearsal 45 minutes late. My dad is sitting there patiently asking if we are going and I’m like I don’t know. Then the next day, my wedding day, it’s grey and gloomy out. I should have known it was a sign for the next 21 years. I don’t think any one in the church could hear me say my vows except the minister and my ex. We had the reception at my parents, over 50 friends and relatives squished into the kitchen and living room and then all the partiers spilled down into the unfinished basement where my brother was in charge of the music. I think the theme song for my party was “Pissin’ in the Wind” My brother played it a few times.

    Thank you so much for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

  5. I love your series and can’t wait to read the new book! As far as wedding disasters go, I would have to choose the wedding of my nephew’s friend. I gave up my birthday celebration to attend this fiasco. The bride and groom had been off and on for a couple of years when they decided to get married. The wedding was at a small event center and when the bride walked in, she was wearing a mini dress that barely covered her backside. During dinner at the reception, they had an argument, and when the first dance came up, she wouldn’t dance with him. They finally settled down again, and it was time to cut the cake. They thought it would be a great idea to have a cake fight and started throwing cake all over each other. As a result, no one had cake! Needless to say, they are no longer married, but the wedding lasted a couple of years longer than I thought it would.

    1. I never liked the idea of smashing cake in the other person’s face. I mean, this is supposed to be your best friend. Why ruin their special day? Thank you, Christi!

  6. Congratulations on the new book! I’ve never seen a disaster at the actual wedding but, boy, at the receptions! To some people “Open Bar” seems to equal “Get disgusting sloppy drunk and make a fool of yourself”. I feel sorry for the couples who worked so hard to make everything perfect for themselves and their guests just to have it ruined.

  7. I’ve heard many stories about the lead-up to my parents’ wedding. The week before they find out that the church group, who usually does the food for wedding receptions, somehow didn’t know there was a wedding and said it was too late to do now. So mom and her mother hit the grocery store and grandma made all the food and held the reception at the farm.
    The night before the ceremony, mom came out from dinner with dad and his parents to find a flat tire.
    Dad’s favorite aunt had been battling cancer and ended up in the hospital a couple weeks before, but insistedshe would be at the wedding. It looked like she would until she had a setback and day before they decided not to let her out. (They had the priest tell everyone after the ceremony to head for the reception and get started, while mom and dad and their best man and maid of honor stopped to see her at the hospital in full dress.)
    Morning of, dad’s uncle had a heart attack at the breakfast table. Everyone else finally gets to the church to find a coffin up front. Luckily the funeral home was still in town a few blocks away, saw all the cars, and went to find out what was going on. So he grabbed a few guys and they moved the casket to the basement “because I don’t think you really want that in your wedding pictures.” They had to open up casket to make sure there wasn’t too much “shifting” during the move, did grandma of course had to go see who it was. Mom later could laugh about their “extra guest.”
    Surprisingly after that doozy, the ceremony itself went fine.

  8. Glad you got to have the ceremony outdoors despite being in the flight path! The photo is wonderful. What a beautiful cake.

    Mine is a South Florida story as well – and it should have been a sign – my first husband and I were married by a notary in Fuch’s Park in South Miami. At the time it was much more rural that it is today. The notary was late, she was nearly killed in a traffic accident on US 1, but managed to make it – don’t ask me how, but she refused to go to the hospital until after the nuptials. My father busily snapped photos of everyone and everything – including my husband’s and my two dogs chasing the ducks, discovered at the reception that he forgot to put film in the camera! Some things are best left unrecorded.

  9. I can’t think of a real life wedding disaster. But those poor cozy sleuths. They can’t go on vacation or get married without a dead body showing up. It’s the worst. For them. But if it means another chance to visit with them, I think the readers win.

  10. When my parents were married in 1942, they had invited a not very nice, very fat aunt. For whatever reason, the wedding cake was on either a chair or a low table, and the fat aunt sat on the cake.

  11. Can’t wait to read “Murder At A Scottish Wedding”. I can’t think of any wedding disasters share. I had a very small wedding and there wasn’t much to go wrong.

  12. I was 22 when I married for the first time. My mother was not happy with my choice of a mate because he was from a Jewish family, and I was from a Catholic family. (Neither he nor I were religious at that time.) My mother gave me a bridal shower and many Catholic women were invited. One of them pulled my mother aside and asked how she could possibly have allowed me to marry this person. My mother sighed and said that she had tried everything to stop it, but her daughter (me) had her mind made up. My mother said that maybe we would get divorced after the wedding. Long story short, Mom was right! I married the wrong person and regretted it later. But there is a happy ending! I am now married to a wonderful husband and couldn’t be happier! The second time around was best for me.

  13. I was married in December and there was a blizzard, many guests didn’t make it and my new husband & I had trouble driving in the mess so we’re quite late to the reception!

  14. Our minister was late for our wedding because he could not find his robe. He could not remember where he left it. The organist was playing the wedding march as he was in the back of the church looking for his robe. I was in tears. Our organist realized he was not there so she started playing a different song. He found his robe. We were finally married for 34 years now. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  15. Well, it started out the day before: First, we get to the airport late as the groom and his sister got into a fight before we left for the airport. He zooms up to the airport and insists l go in with his sister as he goes to park. We go in and l meet my husband-to-be’s mother and grandmother, who are off of the plane and fuming as he is not with us. As he jogs up his mother took one look at me and said, “You didn’t tell us she wasn’t Italian.” I should have known then…
    We were late enough that are getting them to their hotel that my family, who had given up on waiting for me, was gone. So l was getting to spend the day with these people! They take he, his sister and her baby shopping and eventually we get back to the little house we will be renting (after dropping off his sister). His grandmother takes one look around, sinks onto the couch and starts wailing, “How could you sink so low?” We then get to go to dinner with these women, during which Grandma would wail things in Italian and his mother would say, “Don’t say that!” to her, then turn to him and say, “How could you….?”
    We managed to leave them at the hotel instead of taking them to the rehearsal, and he cons a different sister into picking them up to go to the party after. My grandmother knows I have had miserable day, sneaks my husband-to-be, bride’s maid and I out of the party after several hours and we wander the park. When we come back to the hotel my greatest fear was the elevator was going to open and those women would be inside! Well, as we were going up, they were going down as they had finally noticed he was gone and had thrown such a fit that my father was taking them back to their hotel. Yes, this was the day BEFORE my wedding.
    42.5 years of marriage now. Yes, the horror of the day before led to a marriage that is still going strong.

  16. Congratulations on your new adventure. No matter how long you have been with someone before saying “I do”, it always feels different afterward, a new and good different. I wish you adventurous love for many many years!
    My husband and I joke that the wedding was a complete disaster but the honeymoon and the years that followed have more than made up for it. Start with a beautifully planned southern style fairy tale wedding to take place on a riverboat with the captain performing the ceremony. The day before the wedding, a wedding on the 29th of June at noon in the Alabama heat, the boat company calls to tell us that the boat has been dry docked for repairs and will not be ready and no they do not have a back up plan other than for us to use the dock area for an outdoor ceremony. So no boat, no shade, a crazy amount of wind and the sounds of traffic making it challenging to hear us say our vows. Side note, the DJ did not remember to bring our song for our dance, thankfully he realized in time to call ahead to the Sam Goody record store (yep I am that old) so that they could meet him curbside with the best of UB40 CD which had the remake of Elvis’s Can’t Help Falling In Love. He managed to get back just in time and was kind enough to give us the disc. When we left the reception to go home and grab our bags before heading to the airport, we realized that we didn’t have an apartment key and only the well to do had cell phones back in 1996. I am not quite sure how we managed to get in or if maybe the apartment office was open. After getting onto the plane, everything took a turn for the best, the crew announced that we had just been married and gave us a bottle of champagne to celebrate with, the bed and breakfast upgraded up to a suite since the honeymoon suite had already been booked prior, and we had a wonderful weekend in New Orleans and the French Quarter. We have been together for 26 years and are still very happy.

      1. The only thing I can think of is at my sisters wedding when they were bringing the wedding cake out the person holding the cake dropped it. Luckily they did have a smaller cake to replace it.

        Thanks for the chance!

  17. When my younger daughter got married, she picked out a veil and though it was expensive, I said I would pay for it myself snd we just wouldn’t tell her dad. Flash forward to her wedding day and as she comes down the aisle I realize we didn’t put it on!? Several of her friends borrowed it and we laugh about it now! We did put it on afterwards to get a few pictures…. I don’t know how we forgot it..

  18. My then husband and I attended a wedding of one of his employees we’ll call Sam. The Bride’s parents (quite wealthy) had rented the entire park for the nuptials. The wedding went off without a hitch. The ceremony not so much. The new bride was so drunk she never made it out to cut the cake. The band played on. The disgusted groom hitchhiked from the park. $75,000 down the drain and that was twenty plus years ago.

  19. Well, I do not know how much of a fiasco our wedding was, but it was different. We had dated in high school and college for 6 years. Then we got engaged and that lasted another 13 years. So, we finally go to the Fort Worth, Texas Tarrant County Courthouse to get married–just us. Took off work that day to do it. Turns out they were working on the courthouse, and it was closed, so we had to go the Criminal Courts Building to get married. The Justice of the Peace married sans witnesses. Now that was 39 years ago, but Hubby Dearest keeps saying that it was criminal and not real because no witnesses. I have the license. Anyway, he just likes to tease me. We sent out Announcements to friends and family that said on the front, “It happened.” and on the inside, it said Mr. and Mrs. and our address. We got lots of comments on that one. After all of that and all of these years, I guess it was really meant to be as we are happy and together,

    1. Friends of ours got married after living together for a long time. They sent out announcements that said, Mr. and Mrs. Name are happy to announce their daughter, Miss Name, is no longer living in sin.

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