Weddings as Inspiration

Congratulations to LORALEE LILLIBRIDGE who won the pair of handcuffs in the drawing from my previous blog. Loralee, please contact me with your snail mail address.

We recently attended a family wedding, and it reminded me why I used a wedding as my setting in Shear Murder, book ten in the Bad Hair Day mystery series. The sheer sentimentality, the joy of the married couple, the suspension of family conflict for one evening, lend themselves to an outburst of passion that can have good or bad results. In my story, it ends in the matron of honor’s death, her body found by my hairdresser sleuth under the cake table.

This particular wedding took place at a magnificent site in Mitchellville, Maryland: the Newton White Mansion. Surrounded by beautiful acreage, this historic house is the perfect setting for a nuptial ceremony.

Newton White (800x600)   Mansion (800x600)

Mansion View (800x600)   Mansion View2 (800x600)

The processional began to the music of violinists. A more beautiful bride couldn’t be found. A traditional Jewish wedding followed, with all of the customs described in my earlier blog. The wedding program explained each ritual in detail. At the breaking of the glass, cheers erupted.

Processional (800x600)  Bride (800x600)

After the bridal party exited and slipped away to take photos, we entered a separate smaller room for cocktails and appetizers.

Cocktails (800x600)   RichNan (800x600) (2)

Dinner and dancing followed with live, pulse-pounding music. Young people might like it that loud, but we couldn’t be heard over the noise. I prefer quieter, romantic dance music for a wedding or at least rock decibels that don’t beat through your head. Anyway, the dinner was delicious. Stuffed lobster tail and filet mignon followed a mixed greens salad. I was most impressed by the magnificent flower arrangements. The centerpieces were exquisite. Again my writer’s brain erupted with ideas. I remembered an unpublished story of mine wherein floral wiring was used as a method of murder. I can’t help it; we writers are unable to turn off our storytelling mind. And I’d also had the foresight to bring business cards in my beaded clutch purse.

Those treats that look like lollipops are cake pops, all the rage in the dessert stores these days. I thought they were the dessert and ate two. Chocolate covered strawberries accompanied them. Then wedding cake got passed around. Oy! I was too full to eat another bite.

Reception2 (800x600)   Flowers (800x600)

Dinner (800x600)   Cake Pops (800x600)

Cake (630x800)   Cake Cutting (800x653)

We left the mansion feeling happy, sated, and tired. We spent the rest of our time in Maryland eating meals with family, touring downtown D.C., and strolling around Bethesda. I look forward to the next wedding that brings us north again. So much time, money, and planning goes into this event, and it goes by so fast! But such is life, and these events live on in my stories and in my heart.


I love weddings, so I was happy to attend one last night. My critique partner’s son was getting married, and all of us in critique group were invited. The six of us have been together for years. We celebrate our book sales and rave reviews, bemoan our rejections, and generally support each other through life’s events. Sometimes our pre-work chatter seems more like a therapy session than a discussion of the book biz. It’s wonderful being part of this group of committed and caring friends, especially when we get together with our spouses and socialize.

While dining at the reception, listening to the dance music, and watching the bride, I couldn’t help but feel I had stepped into my latest book, Shear Murder. In this story, hairstylist Marla Shore is attending her friend Jill’s wedding as a bridesmaid when she discovers the matron of honor dead under the cake table. Naturally, I sneaked a look there last night, but thankfully the cake cutting ceremony took place without a hitch. It was a lovely evening which engendered many happy memories.

Bride Dance








Cindy Toast

Author Cynthia Thomason, mother of the groom, giving a toast.

Zelda, Nancy, Allison

Zelda Benjamin, Nancy Cohen, Allison Chase

Oline Cogdill

Mystery Reviewer Oline Cogdill

Critique Chorus

Zelda Benjamin, Allison Chase, Cynthia Thomason, Karen Kendall, Sharon Hartley








Has anything unusual ever happened to you at a wedding?