I Do! Pros and Cons of a Holiday Wedding

The holidays are stressful enough. Throw in a wedding and the most wonderful time of the year can turn into chaos.

Or not.

img_3356

When my daughter, Allison, and her boyfriend, Ryan, decided to tie the knot last March, we knew it would be a short engagement. While she was finishing her student teaching in New York, he had recently joined the Air Force and was stationed more than 1,000 miles away. The separation was difficult, and they were anxious to start their new life together. So although she had visions of a summer wedding, perhaps on a beach somewhere, we scrapped that idea and December 29th nuptials were planned.

Planning a holiday wedding is like planning a wedding at any time of year. You need to arrange venues for the ceremony and reception, build a guest list, purchase wedding clothes, hire a photographer, arrange for music, order flowers, and so much more. But a wedding smack dab in the middle of the busiest holiday week of the year has its own set of pluses and minuses, which we encountered immediately.

Weather Worries

The first concern, obviously, is weather. Most of the people who participated in or attended our wedding live in the northeast, so the prospect of inclement weather weighed heavily in our decision making. A blizzard or ice storm could have ruined everything.

But we’d also experienced fair weather at Christmas, so we knew we had the possibility of a decent day.

We took the risk, figuring we’d have plenty of advance notice of a pending storm to confirm our guests’ attendance in time to notify the venue of a change in our head count.

We checked the Weather Channel daily (sometimes more) the week or so before our special day, noting that the 29th was the only day with snow predicted, up to a 90 percent probability at one point. But at the last minute the forecast shifted to rain later in the day, and, although not ideal (no one likes a wet wedding), the worst of the rain held off until after the ceremony. Whew!

unnamed

photo by Bill Celnick, Starlight Wedding Films

Expenses

Weather aside, there are several advantages to a holiday wedding. First up: Cost. Since it’s not the most popular time for brides and grooms, wedding venues offer the same services at a fraction of the expense. And because there’s not much demand, it’s more likely you will get the venue of  your choice on the date you desire. We were able to secure the date and place easily for our first choice of venue and received the same package they offer in June and October at a very reasonable price.

Although expenses are a pro, they can also be a drawback to a late December wedding, as the season tends to come with a lot of extra spending, not only for the bride and groom’s families but for guests as well. Some may be struggling to provide a nice Christmas for their families – gifts, decorations, food, and travel – and the added costs of being wedding guests or attendants – travel, accommodations, clothing, a gift – can strain the budget. It’s something to consider.

Hiring Professionals

Another advantage to a holiday wedding is the ability to hire your first choice in professionals. Again, because of the drop in demand, we were able to hire the photographer, DJ, florist, and organist we preferred with no problem. And, at the last minute, Allie decided she wanted to hire a videographer and managed to book the one she wanted just a week before the wedding. (Although not at the top of our list of priorities, hiring the videographer turned out to be an excellent decision. See our wedding trailer here. We’ll be able to relive this day for years. )

And we had no problem reserving the church. Allie and Ryan met at college – her alma mater, his employer – and wanted to be married on campus in the  gorgeous chapel. In late December, the college is closed – no classes, no students –  and the chapel was ours for the asking. And we didn’t have to battle for parking, which is at a premium when school is in session.

Christmas vs. Winter Theme

Allie was adamant that although she was being married during Christmas Week, she did not want a Christmas-themed wedding. She wanted a Winter Wedding with a rustic look. This was expressed to the planner at the venue, who ensured that all Christmas decorations – trees, wreaths, poinsettias – were removed prior to our event and replaced with our flowers – blue hydrangeas and white roses – and woodsy decorations. We were not able to change the decorations at the church: lit trees, poinsettias, and garlands of greenery, all very pretty. If decor is important to you, make sure you let those in charge of your venue, church, etc. know up front.

Holiday Gatherings

A wonderful benefit of a Christmas-week wedding we really enjoyed was the presence of so many family members from out of town who came days ahead of the wedding to spend the holidays with us. It was a great opportunity to reconnect, catch up, and renew some holiday traditions.

Stress Management

Although wedding preparations happen months in advance, last minute preps and issues pop up in the weeks and days before. December on its own can be hectic and demanding. You’re already in the throes of shopping, cooking, baking, decorating, parties, and end-of-year work commitments. Coordinating a wedding only adds to the stress. It’s a good idea to keep detailed notes and an agenda to stay on track and avoid melt downs and break downs. Ask others to pitch in when appropriate. And remember to have fun! A trivia night at the local brewery with members of the wedding party helped ease the tension. A mother-daughter spa day just days before was also a blessing.

Bottom Line

A holiday wedding may come with its own set of worries, but the advantages more than make up for them.

New Release Spotlight! Kate Carlisle’s “The Grim Reader,” a Bibliophile Mystery

img_4048-3

Kate Carlisle is back with a new mystery!

Grim ReaderSan Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright was hoping for a fun, relaxing weekend at a local book fair, but a murderer made other plans in the latest in this New York Times bestselling series.

Brooklyn and her new hunky husband, Derek, are excited to be guests at Dharma’s first annual Book Festival. The entire town is involved and Brooklyn’s mom Rebecca is taking charge. In addition to all of her other event related duties, she’s got Brooklyn doing rare book appraisals and is also staging Little Women, the musical to delight the festival goers. If that wasn’t enough, she and Meg, Derek’s mom, will have a booth where they read palms and conduct séances.

Brooklyn couldn’t be prouder of her mom’s do-it-all attitude so when a greedy local businessman who seems intent on destroying Dharma starts harassing Rebecca, Brooklyn is ready to take him down. Rebecca is able to hold her own with the nasty jerk until one of her fellow festival committee members is brutally murdered and the money for the festival seems to have vanished into thin air.

Things get even more personal when one of Brooklyn’s nearest and dearest is nearly run down in cold blood. Brooklyn and Derek go into attack mode and the pressure is on to catch a spineless killer before they find themselves skipping the festival for a funeral.

Purchase The Grim Reader Today

About the Author

Kate CarlisleNew York Times bestselling author Kate Carlisle is a native Californian who worked in television production for many years before turning to writing. It was a lifelong fascination with the art and craft of bookbinding that led her to write the Bibliophile Mysteries, featuring Brooklyn Wainwright, whose bookbinding and restoration skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery and murder. Her first book, Homicide in Hardcover, debuted in February 2010, followed by If Books Could Kill, The Lies That Bind, Murder Under Cover, One Book in the Grave.

With the publication of A High-End Finish in November 2014, Kate launched the Fixer-Upper Mysteries featuring building contractor Shannon Hammer, who specializes in Victorian home renovation and repair. The series is set in Lighthouse Cove, a seemingly idyllic town with many dark secrets hiding under its floorboards. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel is bringing the Fixer-Upper Mysteries to TV in a series of movies starring Jewel and Colin Ferguson. The first movie premiered in January 2017, the second less than three months later, with plans to film several more.

Kate is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She is the proud recipient of the Golden Heart and Daphne du Maurier awards, and her first Bibliophile Mystery received a Best First Mystery nomination from RT Book Reviews. Kate loves to travel and read and drink good wine and watch other people cook.

Visit Kate online at www.KateCarlisle.com, where you’ll find a Secret Room filled with lots of bonus content, such as maps and character lists!)

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! Catching Christmas, Holiday Romance by Terri Blackstock

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading!

Day 37, Book 37

 This is the last one! 

41wxpBBQzmLA heartwarming Christmas story about finding what really matters in life.

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is paying his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild-goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

Purchase Catching Christmas Today! 

About the Author

61dMc3SekCL._US230_Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-selling author, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

In 1994 Terri was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. As she was praying about her transition, she went on a cruise and noticed that almost everyone on the boat (including her) had a John Grisham novel. It occurred to her that some of Grisham’s readers were Christians, and that if she wrote a fast-paced thriller with an added faith element, she might just find her niche. As God would have it, Christian publishers were showing interest in the suspense genre, so she quickly sold a four-book series to Zondervan. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian titles, most of them suspense novels.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading!

Day 36, Book 36

I chose this book because my daughter is having her own wedding in December!

51A7TpEF93LFrom the USA Today bestselling author of The Christmas Sisters comes this funny, charming and heartwarming all new original Christmas novel. This is Sarah Morgan at her festive best!

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret of their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself! If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiancé but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived—how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget!

Purchase A Wedding in December Today! 

About the Author

61lcKPe24lL._US230_Sarah Morgan is a USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of romance and women’s fiction. She has sold over 18 million copies of her books and her work has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist. Sarah lives near London, England with her family and when she isn’t writing or reading, she likes to spend time outdoors hiking or riding her mountain bike.  Join Sarah’s mailing list at http://www.sarahmorgan.com for all book news. For more insight into her writing life follow her on Facebook at www.facebook/AuthorSarahMorgan and on Instagram at @sarahmorganwrites Contact Sarah at sarah@sarahmorgan.com

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! Bah, Humbug!, A Heartwarming Holiday Read by Heather Horrocks

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading!

Day 35, Book 35

415CtavfsBLLexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller.

For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer’s block–until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes it’s the perfect solution to his plot problem. He digs in and discovers two things: one, his villain’s weapon will fit inside a snowman’s body, and two, this particular snowman was supposed to be the backdrop for Lexi’s next show.

From this improbable beginning comes friendship, but can there be a happy ending for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood?

Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.

A novella of about 100 pages.

Purchase Bah, Humbug! Now

About the Author

31ppoKCoHZL._UY200_USA Today bestselling author Heather Horrocks writes inspirational romances and cozy mysteries that are funny, flirty, and feel good in multiple series (Moonchuckle Bay, Chick Flick Clique, Christmas Street, and Who-Dun-Him Inn). She loves making readers laugh, fall in love, and feel lighter at heart. Find out more at HeatherHorrocks.com. She lives with her witty husband Mark and funny little dog Gus (who has his own blog at her website www.BooksByHeatherHorrocks.com) and assorted long-term visitors who tend to come in and sit for a spell here and there, too.

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! Travel to Ireland this Christmas in The Mistletoe Matchmaker by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading!

Day 34, Book 34

51zg0ULZpBL

Beloved author Felicity Hayes-McCoy returns with an enchanting, cozy new novel, perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Nina George, and Nancy Thayer—It’s Christmas in Ireland, and when Cassie Fitzgerald arrives from Toronto to visit her grandparents, she learns that it’s never too late to come home.

The days are turning colder, preparations are under way for the Winter Fest, and everyone is hoping for a little holiday magic on the Finfarran peninsula. And as Cassie Fitzgerald, fresh from Toronto, is about to discover, there’s more to the holidays on the west coast of Ireland than mistletoe and mince pies.

Enchanted by the small town where her dad was born, Cassie makes friends and joins local librarian Hanna Casey’s writing group in Lissbeg Library. But the more she’s drawn into the festivities leading up to her first Irish Christmas, the more questions she wants to ask.

Why does her sweet-tempered grandmother Pat find it so hard to express her feelings? What’s going on between Pat and her miserly husband Ger? What happened in the past between the Fitzgeralds and Hanna’s redoubtable mother Mary Casey? And what about Shay: handsome, funny, smart, and intent on making Cassie’s stay as exciting as he can. Could he be the one for her?

As Christmas Eve approaches, it’s Cassie, the outsider, who reminds Lissbeg’s locals that love, family, and friendship bring true magic to the season. But will her own, fractured family rediscover the joys of coming home?

Purchase The Mistletoe Matchmaker Now!

About the Author


7119nghthlL._US230_-2
Irish writer Felicity Hayes-McCoy is the author of the “Finfarran” novels, set in a fictional county on Ireland’s West Coast. Cathy Kelly, bestselling author of “Between Sisters” and “Secrets of a Happy Marriage”, describes Felicity’s Finfarran books as “a delicious feast”, while Jenny Colgan, New York Times bestselling author of “The Cafe by the Sea”, calls them “charming and heartwarming”. Hachettte’s UK & Irish edition of the latest Finfarran novel, The Transatlantic Book Club, publishes May 2 2019. The Library at the Edge of The World, the first Finfarran novel, was published in June 2016: The Sunday Times called it “engaging, sparkling and joyous” & The Sunday Independent wrote “An easy, pleasant summer read for fans of Maeve Binchy”.  Summer at The Garden Café, the second in the series, came out in the UK & Irl May 2017, The Mistletoe Matchmaker, a warm, empowering Christmas story, in October 2017, and The Month of Borrowed Dreams in June 2018: The Irish Independent’s review called it “a heartwarming novel … which will leave you longing to read the earlier ones”.

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! Christmas at Waratah Inn, Heartwarming Christmas Romance from Lilly Mirren

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day 33, Book 33

511lD-1IRMLChristmas is a time for second chances…and for love.

Elizabeth Cranwell’s children left home, her husband divorced her and dissolved their shared business, and she’s set to spend Christmas alone.

Without her husband or the thriving business she spent years of her life building, Elizabeth doesn’t know who she is or what to do with her days. She’s dreading spending her first Christmas alone when her friends convince her to book a holiday at the Waratah Inn.

Robert Patch thought things couldn’t get any worse when his only daughter married a controlling and angry man. That was until his grandchildren arrived. When his son-in-law won’t allow Robert to stay with them over the holidays Robert does the next best thing and books into a nearby inn so he can see the children. He is pleasantly surprised when he meets a woman who reminds him of the love he lost so many years ago, in a way that reawakens a heart he’d long thought dormant.

Filled with memorable characters, from a cheeky possum to a cook who moonlights as an amateur counselor, this sweet, small-town Christmas story celebrates the camaraderie of a life lived in community and second chances at life and love.

A stand-alone, heartwarming Christmas romance for fans of Sheila Roberts, Debbie Macomber, and Debbie Mason.

Purchase Christmas at the Waratah Inn Now!

About the Author

Author-photo-cropped-photoshopped-768x990Lilly Mirren lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and three small children.

Lilly always dreamed of being a writer, is now living that dream and writing full-time. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her children, doing housework or spending time with friends.

Lilly is also a bestselling romance author under the pen name Vivi Holt.

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.