✨ GUEST POST ✨
Thanks so much, Addison, for having me as your guest again! I’m Ellie, and I write MM Historical Romance novellas. I’m popping in today to chat about my new story May Wedding, currently in the 20% off new release sale at JMS Books until May 12th.
I have to say that I love being a wedding guest, and so being a fly on the wall at the ceremonies for May Wedding was a joy! This story is book 6 in my Twelve Letters Regency romp series consisting of four established couples.
The main storyline contrasts two very different weddings. The first is a London society wedding of one of Percy’s precious sisters to the younger son of an Earl. So, of course, St. George’s Hanover Square is booked for the ceremony, a select venue for society weddings both now and then.
I thoroughly enjoyed researching Regency weddings. It was interesting to learn that even the most lavish weddings were relatively simple affairs. Facets we take for granted like an exchange of rings, wedding outfits, a wedding cake and a big party were not deemed necessary.
Weddings took place within canonical hours in the mornings, and the ceremony was short and sweet. The bride and groom would then go with their guests for a wedding breakfast (so-called as it was a morning meal) before either going to their new home or on honeymoon to a scenic part of England or even abroad.
By the latter part of the 19th century, the meal had become more lavish. Party Giving on Every Scale from 1880 comments, The orthodox “Wedding Breakfast” might more properly be termed a “Wedding Luncheon,” as it assumes the character of that meal to a great extent; in any case it bears little relation to the breakfast of that day, although the title of breakfast is still applied to it, out of compliment to tradition.
A formal public wedding was not an option for gay or lesbian couples, though I’m sure many devoted couples pledged to each other privately and informally. I liked the idea of one of the wedding guests at the grand society wedding wanting something similar with his much-loved partner and choosing a small private party on one of the regular supper evenings in the upper room of The Golden Lion that my Twelve Letters ensemble frequents.
As mentioned in my story, there are accounts of mock weddings enacted in molly houses (gay brothels) or houses of assignation. These were for more sexual titillation than romantic outcomes, with the emphasis on the pleasure of the “wedding night.”
My alternative wedding is deeply romantic with all the feels as Jo pledges his love for Daniel in front of the small group of men, their found family, who can share in their joy. It might not be in a fancy church with all the trappings, but for those involved, it’s at least equally meaningful.
Some of the gentlemen who meet weekly for supper at The Golden Lion in London’s St. James’ are preoccupied with the prospect of matrimony.
The Honourable Percy Havilland is at full organisational pelt for his sister’s triumphant society marriage, ably backed by his friends. His frequent stress-induced outbursts are endured by his ever-patient lover, Nathan.
Percy has mixed feelings about the upcoming nuptials, the sorrow at losing one of his precious sisters balanced by the opportunity of exhibiting his exquisite good taste to make this the wedding of the Season.
His friend Jo Everett reacts differently to the wedding, desiring an equivalent opportunity to mark his enduring love for Daniel Walters.
Will Percy manage to survive the wedding without falling out irreparably with Nathan? And might Jo and Daniel discover they have the support of their close circle to celebrate their own special day?
Nathan, more than anyone, comprehended how much Percy agonised over relinquishing his sister. Partly because Percy no longer practiced caution with Nathan where his feelings were concerned. But also because his lover bore the brunt of Percy’s feverish exertions for the wedding.
Percy recalled when they were in Nathan’s private sitting room in his great house off Leicester Square, during a rare hour together before Percy returned to Little Chelsea to accompany his sisters to an evening’s revels. Nathan sat in his favourite Chesterfield armchair while Percy paced before him in a manner that Nathan remarked reminded him of a caged tiger.
When holding forth at great length on selecting the exact shade of soft pink for the bridesmaids’ dresses, Percy started to argue with Nathan, despite the gentleman’s indifference to whether the ladies should wear muslin or sackcloth.
Instead of justifiably losing his temper with Percy in this wildly unreasonable mood, Nathan said, “Come here,” and patted his thighs encouragingly. After a brief hesitation, while formulating a heated debate between the virtues of a bright peach hue or a subtle shade of apricot, Percy rather sulkily sat on Nathan’s lap, holding himself stiffly.
“That’s better,” Nathan said, pulling him close. All Percy’s nervous tension started to dissolve as he breathed in Nathan’s familiar Bay Rum cologne, listened to the steady rhythm of his breath, and felt the warmth and strength of his body that Percy relied on and frequently enjoyed.
“Whatever you choose,” Nathan opined, “will be perfect, not only in tribute to your excellent taste but because of your insurmountable care.”
At this disarming statement, rather than bristling, Percy found himself weeping copiously on Nathan’s broad shoulder while his paramour patiently stroked his back and kissed his neck between reassuring endearments.
Needless to say, that had not been the only circumstance when Percy had relieved his raw nerves on Nathan. The degree of toleration Nathan exhibited on account of Percy’s mental and emotional strain in the run-up to the wedding had resulted in far fewer spats than was their habit.
On the odd stolen night in Nathan’s bed during the Season, Percy lay wrapped in his strong arms, momentarily soothed and protected from all his fears, demands, and struggles. He didn’t know how he would have survived the headlong months of Araminta’s betrothal without Nathan’s support and even managed to admit that once or twice.
With a rush of affection and gratitude, Percy raised a grin and his glass in a private toast. Nathan’s frown disappeared, replaced by an answering smile as he emulated the gesture. Percy presumed that when the last slice of cake was consumed, and they all gathered on the front steps of the house to wave off the bride and bridegroom, he would feel a discreet touch on his shoulder, or a hand briefly grasping his waist, Nathan’s way of showing solidarity.
Naturally, after the splendid formality of the Seymours’ hospitality, Percy’s wider family and even a few friends might convene at Little Chelsea for a dish of tea or something stronger to discuss the joyous event. But after Simeon and Cordelia departed to collect Harriet and bestow a similar rehash of events with a new audience in Emma, Percy idly wondered if he could excuse himself for the afternoon and decamp to Leicester Square.
He had caught that brief heated flash of interest when Nathan first laid eyes on Percy in church, delectable in tight-fitting dove grey. It seemed only fair to allow Nathan to appreciate Percy’s new clothing behind closed doors and slowly remove every layer. After being such a faithful knight during the wedding campaign, tolerating the worst of Percy’s barbs and inconsistencies, Nathan deserved a leisurely reward.
Also, losing himself in the intense, deliberate, and mind-numbing loving that only Nathan could give, Percy could glory in the achievement of the nuptials without dwelling too much on the lack of Araminta at home.
Anticipating such a sweet release, Percy put his glass on the table and ran an elegant middle finger around the rim before dipping it in the fizzing liquid. As he raised the digit to his lips, he looked directly at Nathan, allowing the promise of a flash of tongue as he delicately sucked on his fingertip.
Nathan adroitly responded to a remark from his near neighbour, only a faint flush of colour on his cheekbones betraying his response to Percy’s teasing. I’ll pay for that later, Percy thought with a pleasurable squirm.
Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.
Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.