Advice & Planning

Former Dallas Wedding Planner Mary Hollis Huddleston Talks About Her New Book With Co-Author Asher Fogle Paul

Without a Hitch is a new novel set in the ruthless world of high-end Southern weddings. The book follows Lottie Jones, an unlucky-in-love twentysomething who winds up working in wedding planning and experiences wild adventures, hilarious mishaps, and plenty of self-discovery along the way.  

The book marks a debut for authors Mary Hollis Huddleston and Asher Fogle Paul, friends from TCU whose careers took them in different directions—Paul, as an entertainment journalist, and Huddleston, who for many years worked as a wedding planner in DFW and is now a Nashville-based home design and entertaining influencer. The pair decided to team up to pen a fictional work that borrows heavily from real-life events. 

The book comes out December 7 and is available for pre-order now. We spoke with the authors about what inspired the project, the wild world of wedding planning, and why Dallas readers will love it.  

 

What is it about the world of wedding planning, particularly in the South, that makes it such rich fodder for a book? 

Mary: Oh my goodness, weddings bring out the best and the worst in people. I feel like a wedding planner is almost a therapist. It’s a lot of emotions, a lot of money, and a lot of pressure. When you’re trying to manage those expectations, and make somebody’s dream come to life, you’re bound to have some bumps in the road. I like to think of them as pretty humorous, because if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry. 

Asher: People are proud to be from here—and their weddings often celebrate or incorporate many of the attributes that make the region unique. I think there is a specific attitude of “bigger is better.” All that adds yet another layer to an already momentous day.   

Tell us in your words what the book is about. 

Mary: It’s about a girl, not unlike both of us, who fell into a career when her plans fell through. She had to pivot and ended up in this career that she never expected and it took off, and she was really good at it. It’s really about her personal journey in life, her professional journey, and how things can be better than you expect. 

Asher: Our heroine, Lottie Jones, has pinned all her future hopes on marrying her college boyfriend—and made zero other solid plans. Eventually, heartbroken and adrift after graduation, she starts working at a boutique, high-end wedding firm. It’s a cutthroat, intense, and glamorous environment; the clients are outrageous and the events extravagant. She finally has a chance to build a real, satisfying career—and possibly a new relationship. But first, she’ll have to figure out why she lost her way in the first place and how to find herself again.  

How much of your own life and real-life experiences are in the book?  

Mary: A lot. Everything is very inspired. I was not looking to do a memoir. It’s a very inspired account of both of our lives, both personally and professionally.  

Asher: Many people have a first love or early relationship that they think is going to last forever. We wanted to create a story about someone who takes that to an extreme in a way neither of us fully did, fortunately. After college, we both pivoted into careers and, eventually, family lives that neither of us anticipated at 18 or even at 22. Many of the experiences Mary had in events and that I had in journalism prompted this book. 

Why do you think Dallas brides in particular will love this book? 

Mary: I think Dallas brides are going to love this book, because they’re going to read it, and they’re going to be like, “Oh, my gosh, yes, that’s exactly what happens.” I think they’re really just going to relate to these moments. I love that about the city—people are all in, and more is more, and less is a bore. 

Asher: Books like this are a reminder that you’re not alone. Everything that feels like a total disaster has already happened for someone else, and worse. I hope they recognize places they’ve been, venues they’ve considered, and the city they love in our pages.  

 

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