Writing a Cozy Mystery Wedding Scene: Truth is Stranger than Fiction

Amorette Anderson

The other day I found myself on the phone with a man I’d never met. He wasn’t a telemarketer, and this had nothing to do with lining up a blind date. (I’m married!) I was on the phone with this very nice gentleman because of an email I’d sent out to my readers. The email contained a question: Have you ever attended a wedding that went wrong? I was basically looking for funny little things that can go wrong at a wedding.

Because, when you think of it, weddings are fertile ground for these minor disasters! There are so many moving parts to the whole event: from the dresses and tuxes, to the tiered cakes, to the toasts. All those pieces amount to many chances for mistakes… Which is bad news for a bride who has fantasized about the perfect day—but great news for a cozy mystery writer like myself.

In fiction, things have to go wrong. The mishaps provide tension, conflict, and even humor. If everything went swimmingly all the time, there would be no story.

So, as I sat down to plot a book in which my main character travels out of town to attend her son’s wedding, I thought: I better fill up my mental-bank with some stories about actual weddings. This, I reasoned, would give me plenty to draw from as I went about writing my story.

cozy mystery wedding scene Writing a Cozy Mystery Wedding Scene: Truth is Stranger than Fiction
Photo by Fábio Alves on Unsplash

I emailed my readers, and enjoyed a flood of responses. Yay! The stories made me realize a few things. 1.) What can feel completely embarrassing and awful in the moment often turns into a funny story, years down the road. 2.) Wedding day mishaps can be washed away with time, leaving only a cherished memory. 3.) No one is perfect; we’ve all made mistakes. 4.) Even if everything at an event seems to go wrong, if the spirit of love is present all is well.

Among the written responses I found one that included a phone number. This wedding disaster story, I was told, could not be merely written in an email; I had to hear it for myself. This is how, on one sunny morning, I found myself on the phone with a gentleman who lived a few states away. He really did have a funny story to tell! By the end of our conversation, I could barely breathe because I was laughing so hard.

The story included a love-triangle of sorts, between a groom, his bride, and another woman. The gentleman on the phone played the role of best man. At the wedding, he was charged with being on the look-out for this “other woman,” whom he’d never met. All he knew was that she had blond hair and was pretty, and might appear as a wedding crasher. Can you imagine?

The wedding day included one awkward, strange, and humorous moment after another. Though I can’t go into all of them, I’ll relay one detail that makes me laugh, still. The ceremony and reception took place at a golf course, and the guests were not allowed to throw confetti or rice as the happy couple took their leave at the end of the evening. So… birdseed would do! Right? When guests went to fling the hand-made, crafty cones of seed out, it became apparent that a good flick of the wrist was needed. A really good flick… and then the seed would shoot out. My friend on the phone described this as a scene in which the birdseed pelted the couple like buckshot.

The bride wore a gown with seed pearl embroidery. Months later, she opened the box in which the dress was packed for storage and preservation… and found that the birdseed hurled at her that day had sprouted!

Here are a few other stories from my readers:

  • One couple chose to get married outside of a local park: “Our plans were to stand on the walkway in front of the dam and have the water falling softly over the dam behind us for a backdrop. Sounds beautiful, right?  Well a couple days before our wedding they decided to shut the dam, the water drained down and there were dead fish and garbage everywhere... It was too late to look for another venue so we had to get married on the pitcher's mound instead… ( We both like baseball and football ). The sun was shining and it was a hot beautiful day. Good thing I wasn't a bridezilla!”
  • A bride changed the date of her wedding. All the bridesmaids already had summer dresses, yet the wedding took place in the wintertime! Brrrr.
  • I love this story: “The groom had been considered a great catch.  As a result, all his old girlfriends had gotten together, seating themselves as near to the front.” Then, at one point during the ceremony, “the gaggle of former lady friends began to cry and sob loudly.  It sounded more like a funeral than a wedding.” Doesn’t this sound like a scene right out of a rom-com movie?
  • Another one that reminds me that sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction: “Our best man ended up spending the night in our honeymoon suite and ate all the chocolates the hotel had left for us.”
  • Here’s a story that stars furbaby guests acting out:  “I think there were 6 dogs tied up to the fence during the ceremony, and the song at end was accompanied with all dogs joining in. Funny now but at the time I thought my father would have a coronary.”
  • Of course, then there are the flower girls… “During our wedding my flower girl whose was about 3 got stage fright so she ran down the aisle screaming in terror. That made me laugh.”
  • Then there were the cake catastrophes! One tiered cake, baked by an inexperienced but well-intentioned friend, fell apart before the reception. It was a good thing that guests standing nearby caught some of the layers, so there was still enough sweetness to go around. 

Needless to say, I have a lot to work with, now, as I put together my wedding-themed cozy mystery. The story, Crutches and Crystals, is the tenth book in my Midlife Medicine series. I hope that you check it out! Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever been to a wedding that went wrong? Share it in the comments, below. Can’t wait to hear from you. 

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