I attended the wedding of a good friend’s daughter last night, and I couldn’t help thinking a wedding perfectly encapsulates why so many of us enjoy reading romances. Whether historical or contemporary, romance stories show two realistic people we are predisposed to like struggling to accomplish very important goals, and give us the opportunity to celebrate with them when they grow and change and finally achieve their happily-ever-after. The planning period for a wedding is equally fraught with goals to achieve, motivation for all of them, and of course plenty of conflict.
We start with two perfectly sympathetic characters – the bride and groom, otherwise known as our hero and heroine. Most of us are automatically inclined to like a young couple in love, so right away we readers care about what happens to them. The moment this couple decides to wed is amazingly similar to when our hero and heroine meet for the first time, because planning a wedding instantly catapults our young couple into a whole new world.
Which brings us to their GMC. Anyone who has ever planned a wedding can come up with a long list of Goals to accomplish. There’s the need to find a venue, pick a date, determine the wedding size, find the perfect dress, the cake… the list never seems to end. For the bride and groom, each of these goals is integral to reaching the ultimate goal – their perfect wedding day.
And each of these mini-goals comes with its own built in Conflict. Will it be a destination wedding or somewhere local? If our hero and heroine don’t live in the same hometown, then whose family will be offended when they learn the wedding isn’t to be held in their hometown? Ruffled feathers will need to be smoothed. Settling on the size of the wedding and the number of people to invite is like tiptoeing across a field covered in land mines. No matter how small the couple might want to keep the wedding, there are invariably people the parents think “must” be invited. How many of us have seen a wedding mushroom to twice the size originally planned? These are just a couple of the major hurdles our couple must cross. There’s plenty of conflict to go around, right?
Through all of this, the bride and groom, like any good hero and heroine, must keep their Motivation in mind. They want to spend the rest of their lives together, but that will never happen if they can’t get through the wedding planning first. So they learn when to grit their teeth or compromise, and what is too important to let someone else choose. In other words, they learn life lessons and grow as people and move along that character arc we like to see in well-written stories. And like any good hero and heroine, they eventually reach their happily-ever-after when their wedding day dawns.
So here’s to weddings. Here’s to stories about believable characters who deal with challenges, but have the courage and optimism to do so, and ultimately reach their reward.
And here’s to my good friend’s daughter and her new husband.
May they enjoy their happily-ever-after for the rest of their lives.
I write historical romances, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.