Close To Christmas Weddings

Wh2c32c4b2bf91d7a296545f98fd37ee1aen I was a teenager, my older cousin Cindy got married.

It was in Ohio.

In December.

In the cold and snow.

I was all of 13, but fit in well with two of her sisters who were a year older and younger than me, so I was quickly enlisted in the bridesmaid corp. It was my first winter wedding. It was my first wedding as part of the wedding party.

We wore burgundy velvet, floor length gowns. Our hair pieces were head bands with silk poinsettias glued to them and instead of bouquets of flowers, we carried white furry muffs with another poinsettia pinned to the front of them. It was an afternoon wedding, but the grey winter sky that threatened more snow made it feel like late evening, almost dusk.

I remember little about the ceremony itself. My cousin married the man who is still her husband nearly 40 years later. My cousins and I had fun getting ready, doing our hair, walking down the aisle and partying with everyone later.

That was a much different wedding than the other important December wedding in my life, the one that took place between my mother and father.

They decided to get married 3 days before Christmas. They had very little money, so they just went to the Justice of the Peace in their little hometown to elope. No months of pre-wedding planning. No bridesmaids, no bestmen/ushers, no flowers, no cake. Just two people deciding they wanted to spend their lives together.

And they did.

For the next 61 and 1/2 years they stayed together. Through thin times (and there were many of those in the beginning) and through thick. Through rich and poor. Through sickness and health. Through three kids, three in-laws, eight grandchildren, and a bunch of great-grandkids. Through ups and downs. They stuck it out.Β Close to Christmas final

The last fall I was home before my daddy passed away, I noticed something. They touched each other often. Daddy would walk by Mom as she sat at the table talking to me. He’d just pat her shoulder and she’d reach up and pat his hand. Then he’d head to the family room. This happened several times a day. It seemed the older they got, the more the need to touch each other became. When I asked Mom about it, she said, “We just like to remind each other we’re glad we’re here.”

When I moved away from home many, many years ago, I decided it would be fun to send my parents a flower arrangement for their anniversary. It was usually a centerpiece of holly and evergreen and red candles for their dining room table or poinsettias for their fireplace. Sending it on the twenty-second let me surprise them on their anniversary and know they could enjoy them through the holiday season.

The last two years, since Daddy died, I’ve made sure there were red roses in the arrangement. See, he grew roses, Mom’s favorite flower, and every day during rose season, (May-Sept in Ohio), he’d cut fresh roses for her vases in the kitchen and family rooms.

So, when I decided to write a Christmas novella for the Westen series, I naturally titled it CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS. And when I think of the phrase close to Christmas, it reminds me of my parents anniversary which was always…close to Christmas. πŸ™‚ And winter weddings can be such fun.

Here’s the blurb for the novella:

It’s been a long dangerous year for the town folks of Westen. A celebration is just what they need. It’s four days before Christmas and the town is not only decked out in their holiday best, but looking forward to the wedding of Sheriff Gage Justice and his love, Deputy Bobby Roberts.

First Bobby’s lawyer sister, Chloe comes to town looking over her shoulder, which has the quiet deputy, Wes Strong wondering what has her running scared. Then problems start to happen with the wedding plans.

Has Chloe brought trouble to Westen?

Or does someone in town want to ruin the wedding this close to Christmas?

And I even borrowed my parents wedding anniversary for the date Gage and Bobby are getting married. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

So, do you know anyone who was married close to Christmas? Have you ever been in a winter wedding? Do you think they’re romantic? Have you been a bridesmaid? How many times? (I was 6 and a matron of honor once.)Β 

Since this is a little launch party and I’m celbrating my parents anniversary in two days, how about I give out 2 print copies for CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS as part of the Bandita 12 Days of Christmas?

 

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Comments

51 Comments

  • Jane says:

    Happy Anniversary to your parents, Suz. I don’t know anyone who got married in December. Most of the weddings I’ve been to have been in the spring and fall. I’ve been a bridesmaid once. It was my cousin’s wedding and we were in Vegas, so it wasn’t too traditional. Our bridesmaids maid dress were basically off the rack prom dresses.

  • Helen says:

    Suz

    I have just finished this story and I loved it thank you for another great visit to Westen πŸ™‚

    Happy anniversay to your parents my parents were married in winter as well but it was July here in Oz I have been to many weddings over the years but I can’t remember one in December although that is summer here so I am sure there are lots of them my wedding was in April autumn and I very nice time of the year and you know what I have never been a bridesmaid.

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Helen,

      Thank you, Helen! I’m so glad you enjoyed Close To Christmas!!

      I would’ve loved an autumn wedding, but I had a March wedding, that was sort of like an “end of winter” wedding. But thankfully, no snow, so my family from out of town could attend! πŸ™‚

  • pjpuppymom says:

    What a lovely tribute to your parents, Suz. I know you must all miss your daddy terribly but what wonderful memories you – and your mom – have of him.

    I don’t remember ever attending a wedding close to Christmas. I was maid of honor for a childhood friend.

    • Thanks, PJ! I have often thought of my parents marriage as the quiet, solid, steady kind of marriage. Two people coming together to take on life, love and the world as necessary. Couldn’t think of a better one to emulate!

      Only 1 bridesmaid? For a while there I thought I’d be a model for the movie 27 dresses! πŸ™‚

  • fedora says:

    Happy anniversary to your parents! I have good friends who just celebrated their anniversary, and yes, I was blessed to be one of their bridesmaids. I think I was fortunate enough to be a bridesmaid seven times; only one of them was a winter wedding πŸ™‚

    • fedora says:

      Oh, and their favors were ornaments, which we still hang on our tree every year πŸ™‚

    • ^5’s Fedora on being a bridesmaid 7 times!! We’re tied!

      I think I was in so many because big, elaborate weddings had just come into style. That and I love to smile and chat up people, so I was always part of the troupe!

      • flchen1 says:

        How cool is that, Suz?! I am blessed to have so many girlfriends and family–it was a very busy run for a couple years πŸ˜‰ Now we’re fortunate to be invited to attend a wedding every few years πŸ˜€ There’s a season for everything!

  • Amy Conley says:

    I’ve never been to winter wedding. I’ve only been a bridesmaid twice and they were of course summer weddings. I think a wedding would be neat but my birthday is January 2nd so that’s all too much together. Of course my daughter came on January 1st so I’m really glad I didn’t have a winter wedding.

  • Mary Preston says:

    That was lovely thank you. I do think a winter wedding could be beautiful, but not here. The winds would not make for a happy bride I don’t think.

    I was a bridesmaid once for an older sister. It was nerve racking. I don’t like being in the spotlight.

    • Mary,

      I imagine there are fewer winter weddings further north in the states due to snow and wind, too. My cousin was very lucky to have hers fall between two heavy snowfalls that year. So, snow on the ground, but not stopping the wedding. (I do remember wearing leggings under my gown to keep warm!)

  • sandyg265 says:

    I was maid of honor for my sister-in-law. I’d much rather just attend a wedding than be in it.

  • Maureen says:

    I can’t remember going to a wedding around the holidays but I think it is such a happy time that it must be nice to attend one. I was a bridesmaid and also a maid of honor. I enjoyed both of them since they were for people I was close to.

  • Shannon says:

    Since I wasn’t the svelte bridesmaid material, most of my friends and family have asked me to read the scripture for their wedding. Which was great, I got to be a part of it, didn’t have to do the pictures, and could pick my own (more flattering) dresses.

    My own wedding was on 1 Jan, so not quite a Christmas wedding. We were on a small budget so my bouquet was mostly of red carnations with three white roses.

    • Shannon,

      What a cool way to be part of a wedding, and yea on getting to pick out your own dress! I sang in several friends’ weddings back when we were all getting married. I liked that part the best. I sang and was my sister’s matron of honor. That was a bit nerve wracking, but I felt so honored to do both for her.

  • Brenda Rumsey says:

    I’ve not been to a wedding around Christmas, but it sounds really romantic. My husband wanted to get married on Halloween, but we decided to do it the day before instead…LOL.
    It’s great that you were inspired by your parents wedding. Happy anniversary to them.

    • Brenda,

      I think a winter wedding is very romantic. So glad I got to have one through Gage and Bobby! πŸ˜€ Way less planning that way. hehehe

      And good for you to miss the Halloween wedding. That has it’s own issues. I mean, do you invite everyone to come in costume? Do you serve Halloween themed cake and dinner?

  • Kaelee says:

    Lovely post. I love the fact that you include roses in your bouquet now. What a wonderful reminder of your Daddy.

    I know my paternal grandparents were married in December. Now I have to find out what date. My younger brother should know.

    I was a bridesmaid twice . My sister’s wedding and my older brother’s wedding which were both held in the summer.

    • Kaelee,

      Thanks. I know it means something extra special to Mom when she gets those flowers with the roses in them.

      You should find out when your grandparents were married. I bet they were like my parents and just got married without too much fanfare. It was the times back then.

  • Deb says:

    Oh, Suz! What a wonderful, beautiful post today about your parents!! It brought tears to my eyes!
    Your bridesmaid dress and accessories sound like they were so pretty. I have been to two Christmas weddings. They were both gorgeous with the churches decorated for the Season. The bridesmaids in one wore burgundy velvet dresses and carried a single white rose. In the other wedding, the bridesmaids wore cream dresses, to match the bride’s antique cream-colored dress (1940s dress she found in a vintage shop), and they carried three red roses with evergreens. The reception of the last was simple, but beautiful, with gold and red glass ornaments arranged on evergreen boughs on the tables and strings of white lights. Very romantic.

    • Deb,

      Both those weddings sound just gorgeous! My cousins was probably the pretties wedding I’d ever been in as far as gowns and decorations go. My personal favorite was my daughter’s. Probably because there was so much genuine love there between the families and friends!

  • catslady says:

    My sister eloped in December so that doesn’t really count lol. I was only a bride and never a bridesmaid lol. I would think it would be pretty at this time of year but then there is so much else going on I wonder if anniversaries get ignored sometimes.

    • Catslady,

      Lucky you to being the bride and not a bridesmaid! As much as I enjoyed being one, there were some odd dresses, one or two which weren’t too flattering. πŸ˜‰

      And I know my parents didn’t do much to celebrate their anniversary, but Daddy often bought Mom some chocolates. I always thought that was sweet, (pardon the pun.).

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Suz your description of your parents touching each other made me cry. Thank you for sharing that. You come from a long line of love, as the song says.

    Congratulations on this release, and what a gorgeous cover! Your talented daughter has outdone herself once again.

    • Aw, thanks, Cassondra. It was one of the sweetest things I ever got to witness. πŸ™‚

      Yeah, we’re a stubborn lot. My mom’s parents were married 65 years, them 61.5, Jazzman and I are nearing 34. Long line of love!

      Lynds does have fun with the Westen books. Of course, I think she loves all the covers she does. But with mine she has carte blanch, so it’s always a surprise with what I get! πŸ˜€

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Exciting post, Suzanne. My mother and father also were married in December, the third, to be exact, four days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 7. They eloped and Dad was off to the South Pacific to fight in that war.

    None of my family, other than Mom and Dad, have Dec weddings. I’ve always discouraged them because the celebrations tend to get caught up in the holiday craziness. My anniversary is May 21, which is just perfect, except that I had my last child born May 22, and Dr. Big’s birthday is May 23. We have a lot of celebrating to do in May!

    • Jo, you do have a lot of celebrating in May!! We have two birthdays that month, my sister’s and my oldest grandson.

      Do you know that the Jazzman asked me to marry him on Dec. 7th? Neither of us has an excuse to forget that day since it’s on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

  • gamistress66 says:

    no winter weddings with the exception of a friend who married in Feb many years ago. most the weddings in my family seem to be either spring or fall. have fun celebrating both the book release & your parents’ anniversary πŸ™‚

    • GAMistress,

      February definitely counts as winter! In Columbus, they usually get more snow then than in December. We usually get one snow fall or icestorm down here in Dallas.

  • Suz, what a wonderful story!

    One of my cousins got married around Christmas–I don’t remember the exact date, but it was one of two Christmases we went to Florida instead of staying home, and it was fun.

    I have been a bridesmaid at least four times and a maid of honor once, none of them in the winter. For one of those weddings, a friend called and asked if I had plans for the evening. When I said not, she responded, “We’re getting married. Do you want to come stand up with me?”

    Of course I did. She said to wear a long dress if I had it (and, having been a bridesmaid recently, I did). We rendezvoused at the church she and her intended had been going to. The groom brought one friend along, so there were five of us in the wedding party, counting the bride and groom. The minister turned on the lights in the sanctuary and married them. It was sweet, and we all went for pizza after.

    I’ve been pulled out of courthouse hallways to witness weddings like your parents had, and they were always touching. The last was for a couple who looked to be in their late 70s at least, and they just sparkled.

    I’m glad your family has such wonderful memories of your parent’s wedding and marriage.

    • Nancy,
      Wonderful story about your friend’s marriage. Do you know my oldest got married in an ice cream shop? Yep. The owner was ordained and they just popped in one day and “got er done!” She didn’t want a big fanfare, and I’m still grateful for that! Of course I could’ve been invited for some ice cream! hehehe

  • Susie Fisher says:

    Love the Westen series πŸ™‚ My parents were also married in December. Bridesmaids twice but thankfully not in December, but early March and it was cold.

    • Susie,

      I didn’t know your parents’ anniversary fell in December, too! How cool is that? Yeah, March weddings can be quite chilly. We’ve had more than one snowy anniversary over the years.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    My husband and I got married December first forty-one year’s ago. My bridesmaids wore dark green velvet dresses. I think winter weddings, especially December are romantic. Just read the Christmas novella The Baker, the Bodyguard and the Wedding Bell Blues by Lori Ryan. Very funny and quite romantic. Also loved your Close to Christmas With the touch of suspense!

    • Debbie,

      Wow, I’d have loved a dark green velvet dress. Makes me think of more historical times and of course that’s always romantic to me. πŸ™‚

      So glad you enjoyed Close To Christmas. It was fun to write and revisit Bobby and Gage.

  • Teresa Hughes says:

    My husband and I will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary on December 23rd. It is the only wedding near Christmas I have been a part of. We did as your parents and just went to the magistrate for the big day.

    • Teresa,

      Wow, I didn’t think anyone got married as close to Christmas as my folks! You beat them by a day! Congrats on the 16 years!! Hope you take some time to celebrate it!

  • What a wonderful post, Suzanne. And what a wonderful way to keep your Dad’s memory alive.

    I’ve been a bridesmaid a number of times, but usually I have been asked to sing in weddings rather than be in the wedding party.

    The funniest memory I have is having to audition to sing in a college buddy’s wedding in a big church in Birmingham. I had come home from an opera tour in Germany to visit my family for a few weeks and sing in this wedding. The poor bride was horrified that the church music director and organist insisted on hearing me before allowing me to sing. I thought it was hilarious! I handed him the music for the Alleluia from Mozart’s Exultate, jubilate (which was originally written for a famous castrati) When I finished singing I took the music from pipe organ music stand, tucked it into my leather portfolio, looked at my friend and said “Ready for some lunch?” It was a hoot!

  • EC Spurlock says:

    My husband and I were married on Christmas Eve in front of a fireplace in a 300-year-old country inn in the backwoods of Connecticut. We had only immediate family and a few close friends (including one whose father was a justice of the peace and performed the ceremony), a total of about 30 people. My long-time high-school best friend was my only attendant because my soul-mate best friend couldn’t make the trip. There had been snow a few days before but it was sublimating because it was warming up and it was very foggy. My friend and I both had lace long-sleeved dresses; I had wanted to carry calla lilies but the florist said “Oh, you don’t want to cover up that lovely lace!” and instead made us lace fans with silk roses, freesia, pine stems and gold beads with trailing gold ribbons. She also made us a centerpiece of a hurricane lamp/candle surrounded by pink poinsettias and white roses with pine stems, which I have to this day and still put out on my table every Christmas. We had our wedding night upstairs in that same inn with candles shining in the windows.

    My friends thought it was the loveliest, most tasteful wedding they had ever been to. My parents were mortified because it was so cheap and tiny and my Dad never forgave me for not having a big Italian wedding so he could get back some of the money he had spent on his brothers’ and sisters’ kids over the years.

    • EC, that sounds beautiful!! I love small intimate weddings with close friends and family. It’s the way it really should be. IMHO.

      LOL on your poor dad trying to get back some from his siblings! Poor guy!

  • bn100 says:

    don’t know any and haven’t been

  • Cathy Phillips says:

    Happy Anniversary to your parents. I know quite a few people who got engaged at Christmas, but none that got married in December.

  • Laurie G says:

    My nephew married last year on December 21st in Milwaukee. It was a beautiful wedding. The bridesmaids wore dark green velvet dresses and they carried white muffs. Of course that night a blizzard blew through. We had a very difficult time driving back home. I don’t think they are any more romantic than any other wedding. It was not a great time for a wedding as life is already hectic enough just getting ready for Christmas and traveling to get together as a family for the holidays.

    I stood up in 5 weddings . I was the matron of honor for my sister.

  • May Pau says:

    I live in Ontario Canada and it is freezing here and very few people get married in December.

    I was a bridesmaid 2 times….