Friday, April 17, 2015

How a Wedding is like Writing a Book

How a Wedding is like Writing a Book
By Shirley Hailstock

Weddings, like books, come in all varieties.  There are theme weddings, destination weddings, and ordinary weddings, although no wedding is ordinary.  They are all special to someone.  Theme weddings take their cues from popular culture to traditional heritage. Destination weddings are open to any place on earth (since there are people with seats on the first manned trip to the moon, earth could be a temporary condition).  In books, the wedding can be on earth, but paranormal weddings are occur anywhere in any universe.

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I've been involved in more than a few weddings.  One year I was in four weddings, three of them were destination weddings.  So I know a little about being a bridesmaid.  I've written five or six books with a wedding theme.  Most of these books required some research.  However, nothing beats the authenticity of writing from personal experience.  Much of mine was garnered first hand; being a bride, a bridesmaid, maid of honor, baker of the wedding cake, and for a couple of years I worked in a bridal shop.

Every bride wants her wedding to be spectacular and for every single detail to unfold according to plan.  When they walk through the bridal shop door, some may have an idea of the type of gown they want.  In writing, these would be the plotters, people who plot their story from beginning to end.  They have the entire story in their head.  It's just a matter of writing it down.  Other brides are looking for a dress that talks to them.  They resemble the pansters in writing.  Pansters have a vague idea of the story.  They sit in their writing chair and learn what happens in their story as it happens.  The bride sorts through the gowns and chooses the dress that speaks to her style.

Writers all want their books to attain bestseller status.  The bride wants the perfect gown that is unique to her. It doesn't matter if the bride or writer is a plotter or a panster, it's amazing how many brides choose the same gown and writers choose the subject that works for them.  It's their bread and butter, their go-to shot.  The bread-and-butter sale at the shop where I worked was a Chantilly lace gown covered in pearls.  While everyone has something about clothing they hate, this type of dress seemed to appeal to a large number of people.  The bestseller is a book that huge numbers of people both buy and enjoy.

As a sales associate (no longer called a clerk), we walk hundreds of miles back and forth over the same flooring, in and out of dressing rooms, removing clothes from the plastic protective covers and rehanging them in the same condition.  Workers need several pairs of shoes in reserve.  Even if the shoes are exactly the same, they don't wear the same and will use different muscles, keeping your legs from getting tired.  Unfortunately, nothing works for the feet.  Just as in writing, nothing works until you get the words on the page.

Having never been to a wedding steeped in heritage, I only have cliche's to go on, so I won't offend anyone, by describing a wedding.  This, however, is the confirmation that weddings can be different, but in the end, all the couples are married.  The books are different, too.  We know if given the same story idea to any number of people, the return will be a myriad of unique stories from the group.  Like series romance novels, they may have the same look and feel, but the characters are different and the situations change.  Yet happily ever after is almost a guarantee.


The destination wedding couple looks for a beautiful locale for the perfect setting to showcase the bride and groom.  In writing, some authors tour the setting for their stories.  Like the wedding, these writers want the details correct.  They want to immerse themselves and their guests in a unique atmosphere where their characters go on their adventure.  And marriage is an adventure.


Time for the reception.  The ceremony is over and the happy couple celebrates with their friends and family. The book is done.  The bride and groom dance about the decorated hall with large smiles and tearful parents.  The author celebrates in her own fashion.  Some people pop the wine, have dinner with a spouse or friend, share the news with a fellow author.  Personally, I go to bed and get a good night's sleep.  For whatever reason, I often finish a book in the early hours of the morning.  So going to sleep is a luxury.  The couple head for their honeymoon knowing everything went well and they are ready for a few weeks of fun before returning.  The author has a breather before beginning the next book.  She often cleans her office or writing area and attends to mundane tasks that were unimportant during the final days leading up to the deadline.


Each bride wants her wedding to be different, reflect her tastes and provide a beautiful showcase for the all important day.  Writers want a beautiful package, too.  They want a cover that reflects the story and is beautiful to look at. As the bride throws her bouquet on the way to her honeymoon, the writer looks to her readers to grab the book as soon as it's available and to tell every one of her friends that they must read it.  Each has a trousseau and each wants to live happily ever after.

Credit: Pixabay
The next time you read a wedding story or attend the nuptials, smile at the comparison.  And as always, keep reading. 

Friday, April 10, 2015


Shirley Hailstock

Inspiration  for learning the folding instructions

This is the final napkin with three swirls.

Attached is a link to the video explaining how to fold the napkin into three swirls.

This napkin folding technique is also available for a four swirl napkin.  Please go to my website ( or YouTube Channel for instructions.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


By Shirley Hailstock

I saw this napkin fold as I was searching the web.  I loved it but couldn't find any instructions on how they did it.  After much thought and trying various methods, I finally stumbled on one that worked.  However, instead of three swirls there are four. 

This is the on I saw on a wedding tablescape.

This is the final one I created.

I used a 15 x 15 inch napkin.  The larger the napkin, the higher it appears, but the amount of starch you might need to have it stand up straight could make it so stiff your guests would have trouble opening to use with their meal.

This is another rendition of the napkin, showing a greater contrast with color.   Color makes the table more dramatic.

Below is a video of how to fold the napkin.  If you're really interested in the three-swirl napkin fold, check out my next blog.