Wedding Planner

Want to be a writer? Get your training as a wedding planner.

HERE IS THE SCRIBE There was the bride who had a makeup artist make her bridesmaids look like “little piggies” so they wouldn’t steal the show. There was the couple who dreamed of turning a summer camp in Maine into a luxury location for their nuptials. There was the wedding where a grandparent suffered a heart attack, prompting a second (impromptu, unrehearsed) procession – firefighters followed by police followed by paramedics. And of course there were the newlyweds who traded vicious beards and the divorced parents who refused to find common ground and the many moments of kismet and serendipity one would expect when two people say ‘yes’. “.

During the 13 years Xochitl Gonzalez past as a wedding planner, it was all part of the job – and it prepared her to become a novelist. Now a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and author of “Olga Dies Dreaming,” a frothy adventure with serious undertones (picture a smart bride in a lace hoop skirt), Gonzalez said in a phone interview. “We didn’t plan simple weddings. They were intense and elaborate, and I think what’s happened is you’re getting really good at having Spidey sense. You’re able to handle very many threads at once.

When you run an event, Gonzalez explained, you start with the infrastructure (budget, marquee, restrooms) before moving on to the “decorative stuff” (flowers, adornments, music). This approach proved helpful as she tackled her multi-layered story about an upscale wedding planner caught between her own aspirations and the legacy of her Puerto Rican family. “I have a problem-solving brain, and there’s a certain amount of writing novels that I find to be problem-solving,” Gonzalez said. “You create this hypothetical world and circumstances and work your way through them in a way that feels believable and has some logic to it.”

Another useful quality in both professions: a sense of humor. “You have to be able to laugh, to be able to find certain things ridiculous,” Gonzalez said. “That ability to find humor in moments of gravity, sadness, or absurdity is something I really wanted to preserve in storytelling.”

“Olga Dies Dreaming” landed on last week’s hardcover fiction list at No. 15. It was also adapted as a Hulu pilot, with Gonzalez serving as writer and executive producer. She said: “The biggest difference between this career and the next is that I’m so much less stressed. I do not live in constant fear of litigation.