Wedding Receptions in the You-Tube Era

 Posted by N. M. Cedeño



What’s going on with wedding receptions these days?

My husband and I were apparently married in a bygone era, the pre-YouTube era. Consequently, our bridesmaids and groomsmen did not choreograph dances, put on a ballet, or produce a Broadway musical during our reception for the entertainment of our guests. I would never have asked them to do so. And, it wouldn’t have occurred to them.

Now, the newly engaged search YouTube for what’s “traditional” at wedding receptions. Because if it’s “traditional,” it must be on YouTube, right? And, if the newly engaged believe the videos online, then an important part of the reception is the “Introduction of the Bridal Party” who are called out by name and title by a DJ, as if he were introducing contestants on the Price is Right.

“Introducing the Mother of the Bride! Mary Smith, come on down!” yells the DJ as music booms loudly in the background.

The members of the bridal party then enter the room in pairs or individually, dancing into the room possibly with props, to the applause of the gathered guests. Sometimes, the entire wedding party then gets together and performs a choreographed dance number for the watching crowd. Based on YouTube, this is a required duty of the bridal party and an important part of entertaining the guests. The bridal party had better be ready to put on a show.

My wedding cake

Not having been involved in any weddings recently, I had no idea that this practice had become so ubiquitous. Back when I got married, the bridesmaids went to showers, paid for a dress, showed up at the wedding, and posed for pictures. The maid of honor and best man had a few other duties as well: giving speeches and planning parties. So, when asked to be a bridesmaid recently, I said yes, not knowing that I would be receiving instructions on choosing an appropriate song for my grand entrance, selecting props and/or costume items, and, of course, choreographing my dance moves.

I have never aspired to be on Broadway or dance in musical theater. I have two left feet and no sense of rhythm. The ballroom dance class I took in college taught me quickly that my ability to see a dance step and then copy it was almost nonexistent. Imagine my shock when I received my instructions.

So of course, I told the bridal couple that my husband wasn’t willing to do any of that stuff. He’s a required member of the wedding party, so I threw him under the bus. The bride was surprised, but understanding. Having carefully studied YouTube, she hadn’t realized that bridal parties haven’t always danced into the reception. It never occurred to her that we didn’t know that entertaining the crowd with a dance routine was a duty of the bridal party.

In days past, I remember the bride and groom being introduced as they came to do their first dance. No one bothered to introduce the entire bridal party. Bridal parties didn’t do choreographed dances and post them online in the pre-YouTube era, that bygone era, before 2005.


N. M. Cedeño writes short stories and novels that are typically set in Texas. Her stories vary from traditional mystery, to science fiction, to paranormal mystery in genre. Her debut novel, All in Her Head, was published in 2014, followed by her second novel, For the Children’s Sake, in 2015. In 2016, For the Children’s Sake was selected as a finalist for the East Texas Writers Guild Book Award in the Mystery/Thriller category. Most recently, she has begun writing the Bad Vibes Removal Services Series which includes short stories and the novel The Walls Can Talk (2017).

Visit her at or find her books at her Amazon author page .



Giving Thanks – Maybe

Kathy - greenKate Wyland


Next week is Thanksgiving in the U.S., a time to reflect on the things we are grateful for. Usually we think of new things that have come into our lives–new baby, promotion at work, new car.

Wedding partyWe’ve had several of those in our family this year, the latest being our older daughter marrying a wonderful man last month. But I’d like to talk about the “bad” occurrences that end up having good results. We’ve had a few of those too.

In March my husband had a mild stroke that put him in the hospital for a week. Turns out that one of his carotid arteries was 90% blocked and had been affecting his health and abilities for a while. Cleaning it out has given him lots more energy and clarity. He feels so much better. The experience also spurred a renewed emphasis on taking care of his health and evaluating the options. And that seems to be the only after effect of the stroke, for which we are extremely grateful.

houseJust two months later our landlord informed us that he was going to sell the house we’d been renting for a few years. We were faced with the unpleasant task of moving while my guy was still recovering and didn’t need the stress, or buying a house we’d never considered purchasing. After weighing the options we decided to take the plunge. Long term it should be a good investment. It feels good to be able to fix things the way want them. (Can’t wait to get rid of the outdated wallpaper.) It also feels good to be settled again. Each year when it was time to renew our lease I would start looking at other places to see if it would be worth moving. I won’t be doing that for a long time now. Instead I’m spending my time redesigning the landscaping and planning inside changes.

Of course we’ve also had purely bad things happen with no silver linings apparent. A nephew with cancer that has metastasized throughout his body, family and friends who’ve lost their jobs and haven’t found new ones, my horse Glory who is going blind from cataracts. (Unfortunately, unlike with people and dogs, surgery isn’t an option.)

The same kind of thing happens in our stories. Our protagonists are challenged and by facing the problem are changed for the better.

In my book Wyoming Escape, Mikela runs and hides from a killer at a dude ranch. To her surprise she encounters a man she can trust (a new experience) and who is willing to risk his life for her. She also finds a “family of friends” that accepts her at face value, which in turn helps her change how she interacts with her real family.

In my current WIP, when Callie Burns finds a dying man, the ranger who answers her 911 call is the epitome of the type of man she avoids at all costs. By the end of the story, she has changed her views of him and a number of other things.

How about you? What are you grateful for? Any mixed blessings?



Forewarning Cover

Healing is her life. Will it be her death?


Wyoming Cover - 4x6 - #2.

Wyoming Escape
Two dead bodies. One dirty cop.
Is she next?


Cover - Images - 2.

 Images – A Love Story
She’s learned to hide from life.
Should she hide from him?


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Cindy Gets Married and The Name Debate

CindyCarrollEThat sigh of relief heard around the world on August 8th was my mother. It was the day I married my best friend. My mother confessed to me years ago that she thought I would never get married because I was so independent. And she was okay with that as long as I was happy. Apparently I even told people at work that I would never get married.

Before we met…

I took a class from Rose’s Colored Glasses about writing 50 books a year. It’s a great class and one of the assignments is to write a back of the book bio. Where did we want to see ourselves in five years? I took the class in 2008. This was my fantasy bio:

Cindy Carroll, New York Times bestselling author of several books exploring the dark side of human nature, divides her time between Cape Breton and Phoenix with the occasional jaunt to Hollywood. This summer she will be working on a series bible and pilot episode for her Ghosts Ties book series which has been optioned for television. Next February you can catch her on the red carpet before she heads into the Oscars, where she has been nominated for best original screenplay for her second feature film, 7 Billion Reasons. No matter where she is, her husband is her rock. She says she couldn’t have created a better hero.

At the time I wrote that bio I had been single for at least eight years. Why the mention of a husband in the bio when I (supposedly) professed my desire to not get married? Because it wasn’t that I didn’t want to get married. At that point in my life I just didn’t see it happening. I’ve always waned the kind of marriage my parents have. They’ve been married for forty-six years and they still flirt with each other and subject us to other public displays of affection that have us yelling, “get a room!”

The wedding

Ceremony picture taken by Nik Rosser
Ceremony picture taken by Nik Rosser

We had more than eighteen months to plan the wedding. At first we talked about having it in our province. I think that lasted all of five seconds. Then we talked about having a destination wedding. While I love tropical beach settings, neither one of us does extreme heat very well. Then talk turned to having it on a cruise ship in November. We’d never been on a cruise and we’d already be on our honeymoon. In the end, to keep the wedding small, we decided on Woodstock, England. It’s a gorgeous town with a long history. We got married and had the reception at the town hall. Planning an overseas wedding is not an easy task. That’s why we couldn’t have done it without my brother-in-law and his partner. They were our connection to England and did all the heavy lifting when it came to organizing things and contacting people. That five hour time difference is a bear.

We had Skype meetings every week to go over the details that still needed to be worked out. It was fun but stressful at the same time. I liked seeing how things were taking shape but not being able to see suppliers face to face or just call them from work was difficult. In the end everything turned out great. My husband (still can’t get used to saying that) 🙂 did the research for most of our suppliers and his choices were excellent. The food, flowers, cake, photographs were all amazing.

Photo taken by Christopher Graefe
Photo taken by Christopher Graefe

There was a lot more we had to think about because we wanted to have the wedding in England and not one of the typical destination places. Of course every experience is an opportunity for a writer so later on this year I’ll be releasing Planning a Destination Wedding: It’s No Vacation. It’s outlined, sort of, and just needs the actual writing filled in.

Still me

A lot of that day is a blur. I just wanted to be married and enjoy the rest of the day with my new husband, family, and friends. But I’m pretty sure the officiant announced us as Mr. and Mrs. Husband’s Name. I didn’t bother to correct her because we all wanted to move on to the next part. The celebration. Of course a frequent question before and after the wedding was about the name change. Would I be changing my last name? And the answer is no, I’m not changing my last name. I posted a question on Facebook before I got married asking if anyone does that anymore and it caused a bit of a stir. There were some very emphatic responses to the question. I’ve known for years that I wouldn’t change my last name. I don’t see a reason for it. In the past I know it was the done thing, not changing it wasn’t even a consideration. Some women don’t associate their last name with their identity.  To some it’s just a name. To me it is my identity. It’s how family and friends know me. It’s how my readers know me. It’s how the writing community knows me. Some men get upset when a woman doesn’t want to change their last name upon marriage. My husband was totally on my side regarding the name change, or no name change.

After our third date we knew we were going to be together forever but I thought the wedding day would never get here. The first month of marriage has been great and I can’t wait for all the anniversaries to come.

Any advice from all you married folks out there on how to keep the marriage happy?

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ReflectionsFinal2A road trip goes wrong for a group of friends trying to help one of them get over a break up. They find an inn where the mirrors are cursed and they realize they don’t know each other as well as they thought they did.

A road trip without a plan sounded like a good idea when Lena and her friends hit the road. A mini vacation and support for Steve, recently dumped, have the friends travelling through small towns and back roads. After hours of driving in the heat in a cramped car they’re all ready for something to eat and a good night’s rest. Reflections Inn looks perfect for the group of friends. A little run down, it hides a supernatural horror.

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