Must the HEA include a Wedding?

“I understand that marriage is not always the goal”
Alexandra Turner
Le Chevalier

For those visitors to this site who don’t live and breathe romance novels, HEA stands for “Happily Ever After” and is one of the must-have ingredients for a novel to qualify as a romance.

In addition to writing romance, I also read my fair share. Today I have a minor, minor pet peeve to share – ending with a wedding.

One of the things that knocks a book down a notch, for me anyway, is the tacked on wedding scene at the end of the book. I understand the impulse to create an elaborate wedding, especially if your characters come from a society set where the wedding is the “event of the season.” Still, I think some of the authors I’ve read must have been wedding planners before they became authors.

My advice, as a reader, is to include the wedding if it moves the story forward. If it doesn’t, skip it. If you can wrap up all the loose ends with the “I love you and don't want to live without you scene” by all means do it. I can fill in the rest of their history without having it explained to me.

For some reason, I don’t feel quite as strongly about the “baby epilogues.” Those are the short chapters at the very end of the book that jump ahead and show the happy couple with a child. While I don’t consider them necessary, I can certainly fill in that detail as well, they don’t bother me too much. Perhaps it’s because they are usually quite short.

In Le Chevalier, I skipped the wedding scene and concluded with a scene that held much more significance to the future of the happy couple.

Of course, I’m just one reader and I would love to hear what others think. Do you like the wedding scenes, or do they leave you a little bored as they do me?


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