I think that I have never read
A story as thrilling as a Reddit thread
Or in the words of the old cliché, truth is stranger than fiction. Over the past two weeks, I’ve talked about how a wedding can drive the action in a story for better or worse. Love, money, the desire to have one’s own way (a form of power) – and sometimes even elephants are included in the wedding, so it’s a ripe ground for conflict and trouble.
So, let’s say that you are ready to write your own story. Of course, personal experience is the best source for good, truthful fiction. But sometimes you don’t have those sources. My husband and I were married in a town hall in early June to get my visa set up properly, then we had three different ceremonies/receptions in August. I don’t remember any particular drama, although I may have been oblivious at the time, and skillful at blocking the bad stuff out later. My sister’s wedding also went well. The only thing I remember is controlling my portions of delicious, delicious American food in order to fit into the dress she’d ordered for me. Otherwise, it was lovely colors, lovely flowers, and a very lovely bride. Great for a real-life wedding! But not very good fiction fodder.
However, the internet is full of wedding stories. I don’t think it’s coincidence that the term “Bridezilla” rose in popularity at the same time the Internet was growing quickly. First-person, third-person, tight and omniscient, all sorts of true-life stories were put on the internet to blow off some stress and gain a little cyber fame. Reddit, the site devoted to citizen journalism in all its amateur glory, is a gold mine.
So, here are a few ways from Reddit that weddings could be disrupted fictionally. (I take no responsibility for the truth or accuracy of Reddit’s reporting, or my reporting here. The point is to fictionalize for entertainment purposes.)
One fun way to distract during a wedding is through sounds. Have an ice cream truck drive by at the height of the ceremony. Maybe the bride (or groom) realizes they’d rather have an ice cream than be shackled to this partner for the rest of their lives. Wedding fail, book beginning.
Or maybe two weddings are planned in public gardens at the same time. Our heroine has chosen a lovely harp processional . . . but the widowed father of the bride discovers the wedding in the next garden is going to have bagpipes. Nobody is going to outshine his little girl! He bargains with the mother of the other bride (who is hot and single!) to delay their wedding by 20 minutes. Negotiations go smoothly, Daddy’s Girl heads down the aisle on the sounds of blissful strings, and then begins to take her vows with that arrogant, no-good sex maniac of a boyfriend when . . . the Scottish Pipers start up. Wedding fail, but also meet-cute for Dad and the other wedding’s MOB, start book now, please.
Here’s another romance starter. One guy mentioned that the bride brought him, a male friend, to help her try on dresses. He was bored and a little embarrassed, but being an observant young lad, he learned how to bustle a dress . . . which won him gratitude from the bride on her day, and also from a very drunk bridesmaid during the next wedding he attended. “I must know more about the mysterious man who bustled my dress last night,” Peggy cried. “I shall go through the entire guest list until I find him, the man who can bustle my dress!” She peered at the Bloody Mary in her hand, then cast it to the far side of the brunch table. “But I will do it sober, and after a few ibuprofen.” Cinderella story, right there.
What really touched me, though, was the weather stories. You can’t control the weather, after all, unless you are an author and we are talking about a story-book wedding. What a metaphor for a marriage! Imagine canvas tents, whipping in the wind and the rain, banging into carefully staged reception tables, smashing champagne glasses and upending the cake. The storm dies down as suddenly as it began. Then the photographer addresses the damp and saddened wedding party: “So, where do you want to pose for the pictures?” The bedraggled and sobbing bride attacks him with her bouquet.
Or, on the other hand, a flash flood takes out a local community, and the evacuation center is a community hall where Betsy and Brad are holding their reception today. The beautiful couple welcome the refugees. When the lights go out, they light their wedding candles. The cake and food is shared by all, and it turns out that one family of refugees had brought their acoustic guitars, so the first dance is a beautiful rendition of “Absolute Beginners”, flamenco style, while the groomsmen (from the groom’s drumming group) improvise on tables and chairs to provide the beat. It is a story they share every anniversary for the next 75 years, and they all lived happily ever after.