Wedding Planner Yay or Nay?

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If you are married or have been married, did you have a wedding planner? I sort of did but really didn’t for my small event many years ago. She was either a volunteer (which I strongly suspect) or a member of the staff of the church. (My family and I referred to her as “Sarge” behind her back.) Unlike my understanding of the way modern wedding planners work, her job was to make sure everyone was ready to march down the church’s aisle in the right order. She may have been there to oversee the reception (those were the days when it was more common for the reception to be held at the church), although my aunt, who was also a bit of a taskmaster and whose gift was our wedding cake, probably gave Sarge a run for her money.

Ironically, the one area where we could have used the woman’s assistance was in helping the minister keep our wedding rings in his Bible instead of dropping them. Ah well, everyone needs something special to remember from their wedding service.

We had a small wedding.

Not much work for a wedding planner. The cake had been determined already, as mentioned above, although I did get to pick the accent colors and the topper. The organist was already lined up, because that was my cousin’s gift. We got to select the processional and recessional. My brother-in-law played the piano for the reception. I made my dress, my mother made the two bridesmaids’ dresses. The groom and his two groomsmen wore their own dress suits. Though we had limited funds but still managed to purchase a few flowers and a photographer.

For my daughter’s wedding, though larger (purchased dress, paid string quartet, paid duet, reception off-site, and many more flowers), we still didn’t use a wedding planner.

All of which is to say that my description of my heroine’s work as a wedding planner in Love in the Third Act is based on two things: films which have featured wedding planners and my own ideas of what I would do in such a position. Not necessarily my own experience. Ever seen “The Wedding Planner” with Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey? (Check out that poster. Matthew in glasses. All right, all right, all right?) In this film, the wedding planner is attracted to the groom. But with McConaughey as the groom, who wouldn’t be? The heroine’s integrity is sorely tested as she battles her feelings for him versus her commitment to the couple. I borrowed the idea of integrity for my heroine.

On the other hand

“Father of the Bride,” the more recent version with Steve Martin, featured a wedding planner similar to Sarge other than this one was flamboyant as well as overbearing. Thank you, Martin Short, for your interpretation of Franck, a character that was supposedly based on a famous Hollywood event planner. Franck was my measuring stick to assure my planner didn’t go overboard. However, I liked that he maintained control of the planning process. My heroine isn’t anywhere near as directive, but she has learned she can’t let her clients walk all over her.

My heroine’s organizational and people skills are her strengths. Over time, she has developed a solid knowledge base about weddings. But she hasn’t been called upon to utilize the knowledge, skills and creativity she developed in film school. The chance to write and help produce a TV show along comes just as she’s begun to question her current career.

You are cordially invited to her weddings!

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Wedding planner Hadley Mayhew makes the mistake of sharing with a new client her mother’s bizarre request to help her find a man, never contemplating the woman will think the idea of a mature child helping their parent reenter the dating game might be great fodder for a reality TV show. Even more surprising, her client wants Hadley and her mother to be her first subjects.

Kevin Barkley had every reason to believe he’d be a huge success as a filmmaker when he won his film school’s most prestigious award. But for reasons he doesn’t understand, fate, or what seems to be fate, keeps working against him. Several producing jobs have eluded him, notably a recent offer that was withdrawn at the last minute. To make matters worse, the showrunner has been spreading rumors that Kevin is difficult.

Temporarily unemployed, Kevin is unable to refuse his aunt’s offer to executive produce and direct her latest project, a reality show about senior dating, especially since the money involved is obscene. There’s just one catch: He must agree to hire Hadley Mayhew, his former best friend in college, as his writer and assistant producer. If they are to work together, can his forgive her for revealing his fiancée was cheating on him?

Excerpt

Bethany rose and shook hands with Hadley. “This has been a great first meeting. I’ll review this contract with my fiancé and get back to you with any questions or comments before our next meeting.” She glanced at her watch. “I’d better get going. I have a fitting to supervise.”

She was out the door before Hadley could reply. Kevin remained behind to pack his equipment, even though the way he was slamming things together, it was obvious he was anxious to leave as soon as possible.

“Is she always like that? All business one minute and gone the next?” She didn’t care about the response as much as she wanted him to speak directly to her. If he opted out of his videographer duties, this might be the only chance she’d ever have to talk to him again. Awkward as things still appeared between them, for some reason, it was important they clear the air.

He stared at the door. “Yeah, more or less.” He slung the straps of two cases over his shoulders and made ready to leave.

Desperation forced her to be direct. “Are you really okay with this?”

His back was to her, but he stopped, set down his equipment and pivoted to face her. “Hell, no.”

 

Contact Barbara Barrett

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