As the Wench newsletter said, in April the Mayhem Consultant and I finally got around to getting married. Since there was so much interest, I hijacked this date so I could tell you a bit more and show you some pictures.
Our aim was to have a ceremony that was classy but relaxed. I have a friend who broke up with her fiancé three times between engagement and wedding. She was an artist and a perfectionist, and I’m sure the wedding was perfect (I didn’t know her then, so I didn’t get to see). But who needs that much stress? Besides, they ended up getting divorced—those three break-ups must have meant something. <g>
Our philosophy was that there are many good choices and no perfect ones, so once we found something we liked, we went for it.
Finding the venue was easy—just a few miles away is a gorgeous building designed as an English manor house, with some elements copied from Warwick Castle. The MC says it was built by a bootlegger who later gave it to an order of nuns in an attempt to expiate some of his many sins. I am not sure about this—the official history of the building is much tamer.
But whatever its past, the Castle at Maryvale, on the campus of a private Catholic girls’ school, is stunning, and so very, very right for a historical romance writer!
Despite my being a romance author, I’m not all of that romantic day to day. But who could resist the image of floating down this staircase in something glamorous?
Even as a little girl, I never fantasized getting married in a sumptuous white gown—white was never my color. But I love dark reds and burgundies, so I thought it would be fun to have a medieval style gown made in that color range. So—I did. I also went for the matching cape, which swept gracefully behind me. (The result if either The Scarlet Woman or Little Red Riding Hood. <G>)
Another reason to have a proper wedding is because my two nieces had been hoping for someone in the family to get married so they could be flower girls. By the time we got around to it, the older was junior bridesmaid size. Aren’t Marielle and Caroline gorgeous? Caroline looks just like my heroine, Lady Victoria Mansfield, aka “Tory.”
(All three of our gowns were made by Belinda Berry of Romantic Threads. She specializes in marvelous historical garments. She also made my necklace.)
We wanted music to match the setting–baroque and classical works like Bach and Handel and Pachelbel and Mouret. We were lucky to find the Raphael Flute and Strings Trio, which was perfect for this occasion.
Food matters, too. Good food and good company make an occasion. The good company was the friends we've accumulated over the years.
For the food, Maryvale had only two approved caterers, both very good, so we went with the one that really blew us away. Chief regret: not enough leftovers. <G>
Cakes, like gowns, are the subject of much interest. Our local gourmet grocer is considered one of the top bakers in Central Maryland, so we hopped over for a tasting (by the way, this tasting business in GREAT! I never heard of it before planning this wedding), and made the mistake of starting with samples of their famous buttercream on pound cake. Everything after that, both at this store and the other bakery we sampled, paled by comparison. The taste was rich and yes, sumptuous, but not too sweet.
We tossed in a bit of medieval looking design, and the caterer served the slices with real whipped cream and fresh berries. Yummmmmmmmm!
Needless to say, all the Wenches and Whipmistress Sherrie were invited, but given the vast distances ("the sun never sets on the Wench Empire!" <g>), not everyone could come. Pat and Susan were my bridesmaids, and Joanna was able to come, along with several of my non-Wench writer friends. Note that the Elusive Susan managed to be least in sight when this picture was taken. <g> Pat, MJP, and Joanna are in the middle:
It really was a lovely time, and friends from many different parts of our lives mingled wonderfully even though they'd never met. In the end, we got what we wanted–a wonderful party with friends and family where everyone seemed to be having a good time. (Photographs taken by Shantel Mitchell and Edward Hawkins.)
When we were in Australia several years ago, a Ozzie writer suggested a line from "Gigi" that she thought suited us. I liked it so much that I had it printed on the back of the program:
"Some people get married at first.
Others get married at last."
Mary Jo, not feeling all that different for being married. And no, I am not changing my name!