I am very very excited to be hosting Paige Toon on my blog today. Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of this authors after being introduced to her by Victoria from Victoria Loves Books. I read this book earlier in the year and posted a review when it was released. But today I am very lucky because I have a fabulous deleted scene from the book. Paige has been generous enough to share a scene she cut from the book about the second wedding. I know you will be as excited as I am to read this so I'll hand you over to Paige.
Thank you to Paige and Simon and Schuster for sharing this and don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content.
Thirteen Weddings is about a wedding photographer – Bronte – who falls in love with a groom, Alex. Towards the beginning of the book, Bronte gets some part-time work as a wedding photographer, helping out Rachel.
This is an extended scene from her second wedding and features a couple of the details some of my readers shared with me about their own weddings. It should be slotted in between:
Hopefully her mother will also smile in the future when she sees these pictures, even if today has been anything but perfect.
My yawning starts the moment I’m buckled into the passenger seat of Rachel’s car.
My editor thought this chapter went on for too long – she was right, of course – but here’s what you missed out on in case you’re wondering…
Rachel goes ahead into the church so I hurry back to the porch to capture Veronica and the bridal party’s procession towards us. Veronica’s mother enters the church, flashing me a small, distracted smile as she passes, while Veronica’s father remains, taking over umbrella duties from the driver. Veronica has one bridesmaid – a maid of honour dressed in pale green satin with matching three-quarter length sleeves – and Cassie, a flower girl, who is dressed in white with a pale-green sash.
I snap away as Veronica’s bridesmaid offers Cassie a white wicker basket full of pale pink rose petals, distracting her enough so that she lets go of Veronica’s dress.
Rachel reappears and I know from the look of frustration on herface that she’s had as much luck with the vicar as the groom and I did. She rearranges her features into a picture of calm and goes to speak to our bride.
Veronica’s face crumples upon hearing the news.
I have to wonder, is it all worth it? I mean, she and Matthew are happy. They have a child together, after all. Cassie will connectthem to each other for the rest of their lives. Isn’t that enough? Why bother with all of this fuss? What exactly is the point?
Chill, Bronte, I silently berate myself. I need to try to suppress my cynical side. This is not the time, nor the place to let rip, even internally.
‘Hey, hey,’ Veronica’s father says, putting his arm around her shoulders. ‘It’s okay.’
‘We won’t have photos of the service!’ she raises her voice, her tears spilling over. ‘How is that okay?’
‘We’ll come back into the church after the ceremony and do some shots of you together, okay?’ Rachel says gently, passing her a tissue from her kit bag. ‘We’ll put everything into the post-wedding shoot.’
Cassie starts to whinge again, but the sound of a single church bell donging drowns her out. The vicar comes out of the doors and I tense up instantly.
‘Everyone ready? We have another service at three so we should get a wriggle on.’
Veronica sniffs and nods, trying to keep her tears at bay.
Rachel whispers to me to go into the church.
‘Where do you think you’re going?’ the vicar asks, glaring at the pair of us.
‘You said we can capture the bride’s entrance,’ I reply quickly.
‘We won’t photograph the service,’ Rachel reiterates.
‘I don’t see why they can’t!’ Veronica cries tearfully.
‘This service is about God,’ he reiterates his earlier sentence in a patronising manner.
‘I don’t disagree with you,’ Rachel says reasonably. ‘It’s also about the bride and groom.’
He looks momentarily flustered, but soon recovers. ‘If you disobey me, you will be asked to leave.’
‘I don’t doubt it,’ Rachel murmurs, turning around to smile at Veronica. ‘We’ll make it up to you later,’ she promises. ‘Just focus on the here and now and try to enjoy every precious second.’
‘I got some lovely shots of Matthew earlier,’ I tell Veronica. ‘He can’t wait to see you.’
She smiles and sniffs and then organ pipes up. The overwhelming sound reverberates through me and out of the blue, I feel like I’m going to throw up.
His fingers move fast across the keys, his legs rocking up and down as his feet shift across the pedals.
‘Give me your hand…’
I jolt away from the memory as a hot and cold flush washes over me in waves. ‘Come on,’ Rachel urges, oblivious to my inner turmoil. My feet follow her on autopilot to the closest pew. My heart is beating wildly and I have to force myself to take several deep, calming breaths.
Thankfully I soon have something other than myself to focus on.
Cassie manages to walk a third of the aisle on her own until she sees her father at the front of the church and then she runs the rest of the way. The bridesmaid hurries after her, but all she wants is her dad. Matthew scoops her up and hugs her tightly and Rachel flashes me a rueful look – that would have made a fantastic shot. I watch for Matthew’s reaction and want to kick the vicar again when I see his face break into a loving smile upon seeing Veronica. I hear her sniff as she passes us. Rachel sighs deeply.
‘This sucks,’ she mutters, thinking of the tearful, smiling shot of Veronica that she’s no doubt missing out on.
Cassie refuses to be put down, so Matthew has to hold her throughout the service. He doesn’t seem to mind, but the vicar looks thoroughly put out at having a little imposter invade centre stage. Serves him right for being so miserable.
The wedding reception is being held at a hotel in Henley-on-Thames, not far from here. Rachel is determined to get Veronica and Matthew alone for some romantic shots by the river, but Cassie refuses to leave their sides. We shoot what we can, struggling against wind and drizzle to get the group shots outside in the hotel garden, and then the hotel’s venue co-ordinator, a skinny redhead with her hair in a tight topknot, tracks us down.
‘The chef would like to serve the wedding breakfast in five minutes,’ she says.
‘Five minutes?’ Rachel replies, aghast.
‘You’ve already been twenty,’ the woman points out with annoyance.
‘We usually need an hour max.’
‘It’s not going to happen. The chef is serving lamb and he won’t allow it to go cold.’
First a diva vicar and now a diva chef. Anyone else?
Rachel sighs. ‘Fine,’ she says, and I start with surprise. She’s agreeing to this? ‘There’s no point in arguing,’ she says to me. ‘He’ll only spit in the food. We’ll have to shoot the bride and groom after they’ve eaten. Maybe by then, the weather will have calmed down.’
It’s wishful thinking. The wind abates, but the rain doesn’t. I keep looking out of the window with concern and glancing back at Veronica as she fends off Cassie’s grubby fingers and then takes her to the loo because she won’t go with anyone else. This doesn’t feel like a proper wedding day for her. She’s not a bride; she’s a mother in a white dress.
The speeches are spoken in relative peace thanks to the Kinder egg favours – Cassie consumes several. Mary takes her for a walk around the venue in her pushchair afterwards, so Rachel and I grab our opportunity.
‘But it’s still raining,’ Veronica points out, disconsolately.
‘You know, the Maori’s in New Zealand say rain on your wedding day is good luck,’ I point out.
‘And anyway, we have an idea,’ Rachel says. We discussed our options when we were on our break, forgoing the chance to sit and chat in a private dining room on the first floor, and instead doing a recce of the building and its surroundings.
She and Matthew follow us willingly. I carry a large, white golfingumbrella which I borrowed from one of the guests.
We go out into the garden and I hand Matthew the umbrella. ‘Go for a walk across the grass,’ I say.
He smiles at Veronica and takes it from me. ‘What about my shoes?’ Veronica asks worriedly.
‘Are you planning on wearing them again?’ I ask.
She grins and shrugs. ‘No. I don’t suppose it matters if they get a little muddy.’
‘That’s the spirit,’ I say with an encouraging smile.
I shield Rachel with another umbrella as she follows them around the garden, shooting them in the rain. ‘Stop!’ Rachel calls to them. They stand under a green arch, shaped out of a hedge. ‘Give her a kiss,’ she urges. Matthew turns to face his wife and Rachel snaps away as they smile lovingly at each other. He bends down and kisses her tenderly on her lips while the rain patters down around them.
‘Perfect,’ Rachel says and the look of relief on her face is palpable.
The evening sees further improvements. Cassie falls asleep in her pushchair so Veronica and Matthew enjoy an uninterrupted first dance. I capture the action from the dining room side of the dance floor, getting the guests’ reactions while Rachel shoots the bride and groom from beside the DJ desk.
‘Got any good ones?’ I hear someone say and turn to see a middle-aged man raising one eyebrow at me.
‘Yes, I’m sure we have,’ I reply with a smile.
We stay and shoot the other guests joining in on the dance floor, and then decide to call it a night. Veronica and Matthew are positively glowing by the time we say goodbye, the earlier stresses thankfully far from their minds.
‘Thank you so much,’ Veronica says warmly from within Matthew’s warm embrace.
‘I’ll email you the teaser shot first thing tomorrow,’ Rachel tells her.
‘We can’t wait to see it,’ Matthew replies.
A note from Paige: Sign up to my book club, ‘The Hidden Paige’, atwww.paigetoon.com for free short stories, competitions and the chance to find out more about me and my characters and what we’re all up to.
Follow me on Twitter @PaigeToonAuthor or visit me at www.Facebook.com/PaigeToonAuthor
Don't forget to check back for my review of Thirteen Weddings and visit the other blogs on this tour too!