Elizabeth and I are sharing some ceremonies that, well, didn’t quite happen as planned. We’re each giving away a copy of our books today so don’t be a stranger!
Excerpt One: from “Marrying Mattie” by Tanya Hanson
“Dearly beloved…” Jake, his childhood pal, sounded so masterful and mature Call snickered and Mattie giggled. “We are gathered today…”
Coyly she peered up at him beneath her pink bonnet, and Call’s breath caught. Jake went on with a dear little homily about the two of them, but Call didn’t hear a single word. From chuckles throughout the congregation, however, he reckoned Jake did a fine job, then the preacher segued reverently into the Lord’s prayer before starting the vows.
As directed, Call took Mattie’s hand and said firmly, “I will.”
“I will.” Mattie replied firmly when it was her turn.
Before the final pronouncement, Jake gave the congregation the time-honored directive. “If anybody has any objection why these two should not be united in holy wedlock, let him speak or forever afterward hold his peace.”
Brixton Haynes chuckled a bit then; Caldwell understood. He had threatened to break up the wedding vows between Brix and Minda those two years ago although of course, he hadn’t followed through.
A deep voice Call didn’t know resonated through the little church, and the congregation gasped. Shock smacked him in the gut.
At the appalling words, Call’s skin crawled from his toes up his spine to his neck. As he turned around to see who had spoken, Mattie slumped against him. Her mouth hung open.
What was happening? Call couldn’t find air to breathe.
“Who disrupts this sacred ceremony, sir?” Jake asked, voice stern but shaky.
“Woodrow.” Mattie was so breathless only Caldwell could hear.
The newcomer stood tall in the back row and faced the altar with his bowler in his hands. “Reverend, I am Woodrow Paulson Carter the Third,” he said in a loud, confident voice. “Mayor pro Tem of Gleesburg, Pennsylvania. County assistant District Attorney, and husband of this beautiful woman.”
In one loud voice, the gathering emitted a long howl.
A cold worse than winter clammed Call’s skin. His right arm grabbed Mattie as her knees wilted, her pink hem a puddle at her feet. Eyes big as blue moons dwarfed her white face. The air around him started to turn black…
Jake finally found his voice. “Mr. Carter, just what are you doing?”
“Reclaiming my wife.”
Mattie stiffened against her bridegroom. “Woodrow, how could you do this?”
“I could, darling, because I must. I am your husband. And I intend to run for President of the United States. There is no one but you worthy enough to be my first lady.”
“You are not my husband!” Mattie spoke firmly. “I was duly represented in Pennsylvania’s Court of Common Pleas. You and I are divorced.”
Excerpt 2: From: “The Hand-Me-Down Bride” by Elizabeth Lane
WEDDINGS UNDER A WESTERN SKY by Lisa Plumley, Elizabeth Lane and Kate Welsh
Arabella’s wedding had been far different than she’d imagined. There’d been only a few days to plan it before the circuit preacher came through. Grandma Peabody’s silk wedding gown was splotched with water stains that not even Sally had been able to remove. Arabella had chosen to wear it anyway, for luck. The wreath of wild flowers in her hair, had matched the bouquet she carried down the aisle of the little white church. She had never felt more beautiful. And when she looked up into Stewart’s eyes to recite her vows, his love had flowed through her like warm sunlight.
In attendance at the simple ceremony were a few friends from town, as well as Charles and Sally who’d smiled and held hands the whole time. A special guest of honor, Stewart’s dog, had been bathed, brushed, and adorned with a garland of ribbons and daisies around its shaggy neck. During the ceremony, the wayward mutt had wandered off to romp in a puddle with a canine friend, then returned to the church, leaving muddy footprints down the aisle. A wedding picnic at Charles and Sally’s had capped the festivities.
In other words, the day couldn’t have been more perfect.