“Of course I care. I care about getting married to Blake. I just maybe don’t care about all this cake business. At least not as much as you do.” Carson rallied and said cheerfully, “So, what do you recommend?”

“Well,” Harper said, taking the question to heart, “if I were you and having my wedding at the Legare Waring House, I’d go with the hummingbird-cake cupcakes in mason jars. Just as you said. It’s brilliant and as lowcountry as you can get.”

“That is the theme of my wedding,” Carson said.

“I’m a little jealous, to tell you the truth. I love those mason jars.” Harper twiddled her fork between two fingers. “But I love my coconut cake, too.”

“The coconut cake. Must taste the victor.” Dora reached across the table to take a forkful of the coconut cake. “By the way, do I have to remind you that you’re going to be eating both cakes anyway? You’re the bridesmaids for each other’s wedding.”

“Along with you, matron of honor,” Carson said to Dora. “And if you keep eating like that, you’re not going to fit into your dress.”

Dora stuck out her tongue, then slipped the cake into her mouth.

Harper put her napkin on the table and moved aside the plates. “Now that we have the cakes decided on, let’s talk about what we should put in the goodie bags. They should reflect the different themes, too.” Harper reached down into her enormous bag and pulled out two manila folders. “These are the goodie-bag choices. I’ve narrowed them down to these few. So look them over and let’s make our choices.”

“This is a few?” Carson’s eyes went wide with horror at the bulging files.

Harper ignored Carson’s outburst and put the files on the table, flipping them open to reveal countless photos of items ripped from magazines and more downloaded from the Internet. Dora thought Harper seemed quite pleased with her organization.

“Dora, will you write our choices down?”

“Absolutely.” Dora pulled a pen and paper from her purse. She, too, moved the cake plates back, but not before a long, lingering look at the lemon curd. “It’s like a shower,” she said with a giggle.

Carson stared at the thick piles, then pretended to roll up her sleeves. Her fingers flipped through the photos as fast as a croupier did cards. Dora went through the photos more slowly, wondering which ones she might have chosen for her wedding a decade earlier. Hers was a traditional Charleston wedding, and all the stops were pulled out. Her wedding was held at the venerable St. Philip’s Church, her rehearsal dinner at Mamaw’s impressive house on East Bay, and the reception at the exclusive yacht club. Dora’s mother spared no expense for the grand wedding. Dora had felt like a princess that day in a gown of satin and tulle. She’d never been thinner, either. Despite the marriage’s failure, she’d always hold that one, beautiful day as a highlight in her life.

She was daydreaming about her wedding when Carson handed her a small pile of photographs and announced, “Done! I choose fans, flip-flops, suntan lotion, saltwater taffy, bottles of water, sun hats, and, if there’s enough money, beach towels.”

“Wait, you’re going too fast,” Dora said, writing on the paper. When she finished, she looked up. “Okay. Got it.”

“That wasn’t too hard, was it?” Harper asked with innuendo.

Dora, not wanting to get off topic again, said, “Harper, your turn.”

“I’ve been through these for weeks now. I already know what I want. Ready? Jars of tupelo honey, bug spray, pralines, and a canvas bag. And since Carson gets the cake in mason jars, I’m going to give away scented candles in mason jars.”

Dora finished writing Harper’s choices, then reviewed the selections. She tapped her pen against her lips and double-checked the lists. Her face became thoughtful. She set her pen in her lap, looked at her sisters, and made a face.

“Did you see what y’all did? You selected items for the other bride’s wedding. Not your own. Harper, all your things are for a plantation wedding, and Carson, you chose things for a beach wedding.”

Carson and Harper each looked at their own selections, then at the other’s, and started laughing.

“I just chose the things I wanted to give away,” Carson said. “It came naturally. My mind always goes straight to the beach.”

“Me, too.” Harper grew introspective. “I always wanted a traditional wedding. I’m drawn to the formal weddings in bridal magazines. And when Prince William and Kate got married, I was glued to the television.” Harper looked at her sisters, her expression perplexed. “I don’t know what to do for a beach wedding.”

“Then why are you having a beach wedding?” asked Carson.

“It’s what Granny James wants.”

Dora said, “But, Harper, it’s your wedding.”

“I know, but it makes her happy to plan it. She’s been so generous with me. I owe her this much. Besides, I’m getting married to Taylor, which is all I really want.”

Dora wasn’t buying it and gave Harper a look that told her so. “That’s hooey. No one who does this much research and collects this much stuff doesn’t care.”

Harper blushed. “Okay! I admit it. I want a plantation wedding complete with an elegant wedding gown, live oaks dripping with moss, winding creeks, scented candles in mason jars.” She put her hands to her face. “Carson, I want the wedding you’re having. The Legare Waring plantation has so much lowcountry history and tradition. That’s more who I am. I guess I always thought I’d get married some place like that.”

“I know what you mean. I always saw myself getting married on some beach. Just him and me and a few people I really cared about.” Carson wiggled her brows. “Preferably in Hawaii.”

Dora scratched her head. “Hold your horses. Let me get this straight. Carson, you want a beach wedding, but Harper is having that. And, Harper, you want a plantation wedding, but Carson is having that.” Dora crossed her arms, pointing her fingers at each of them. “You two are having each other’s wedding?”

Both brides looked at each other, then giggling, nodded.

“How in heaven did that happen?”

Harper leaned back against the chair. “That’s what comes of letting someone else plan your wedding.”


Tags: Mary Alice Monroe Lowcountry Summer Romance
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