What could be more romantic than getting married on Valentines Day wearing your mothers wedding dress? Perhaps a little more planning would have made the difference but April is a woman in love. So what if she only met the groom three months ago or the dress is several sizes too big, yellowed with age and rapidly disintegrating as the ceremony progresses. April and her fiancé Caleb wanted to elope but their parents were firmly against it and so to please her father April agrees to a big wedding. Not the Catholic church wedding that he has in mind but one at a haunted ex-brothel where the ex-part is considered more rumour than fact. Meanwhile the grooms family boycott this particular wedding in favour of another the following week in the church run by the grooms father.
The whole wedding is one cliché after the next with the guests staying in themed bedrooms which could previously be rented in fifteen minute intervals. But the icing on the cake is the arrival of the brides drunk former fiancé, a carpet salesman named Barney, who everyone (except April) believed was "the one".
The author goes to great lengths to impress upon us just how abysmally depressing the venue is. Something that is made worse by being stranded there in a blizzard with a foot of snow on the ground in a black out without heating. There's only one thing left to do and that's to drink and drink and drink some more. The author portrays the drunks as happy people keen to dance along with the jaded polka band but chooses to focus the majority of her attentions on the gatecrasher in their midst who is another guest at the hotel. The stranger finds himself seated across from Barney at the wedding dinner and over the course of the evening the two share their deepest darkest secrets.
This isn't the fine and sensitive study of love that the cover promises but a depressing list of all the things that can possibly go wrong on a wedding day including a huge number of things that no bride in her most manic panicky moments would ever consider as potential disasters. It does have a few poignant moments and sweet ideas but mostly it's a thoroughly depressing read, a tale of woe that goes from bad to worse and has very little to do with the sort of love that most people associate with weddings instead focussing on the bond that makes two people stay together for decades although they can barely tolerate each other.