I remember the first time I walked into Borders after becoming engaged. I pulled up a stool in front of the “Wedding Planning” section and told my fiancée to hold my calls for a few days. For a glorious few hours I had convinced myself that I needed each and every single one of those pristine tomes lined up neatly like so many confections in a candy-maker’s display case.
Thankfully for my credit card and my sanity, I soon realized that was NOT the case. While there are several wedding advice books out there that can be very helpful, I found they were few and far between. In this post, I’ll outline the best points for five of my favorites, and hopefully help you navigate the bookstore a little better.
1. The Wedding Book by Mindy Weiss: Far and away my favorite planning book in existence. I recommend this book to each and every one of my brides at the onset of their planning experience. If you buy only one book, make sure it is this one. Mindy is one of the top wedding planners in the country, and gives you a proper hand to hold through every step of the process, even things you probably haven’t dreamed of. There are step-by-step time lines, real-life tips, and etiquette advice that is far more appropriate to the modern day than anything Emily Post wrote about. She even gives you advice on what are the smartest choices for your registry (and any bride that has been there knows registering can be a more overwhelming experience than you imagined). [The Wedding Book – Amazon.com]
2. Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, Fifth Edition. Previous book description notwithstanding, sometimes you just can’t beat the classics. You very rarely can go wrong with Miss Post’s advice, and this edition has been brought up-to-date with information on such modern issues like the groom’s involvement (or lack thereof ), multicultural unions, and even same-sex celebrations. One reason that I am a big fan of this book is that unlike a lot of planning books, she does address issues involving “encore brides”, and how to plan an appropriate ceremony. [Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, Fifth Edition – Amazon.com]
3. The Bride’s Instruction Manual: How to Survive and Possibly Even Enjoy the Biggest Day Of Your Life by Carrie Denny. Any of my fellow geekgirls will appreciate this book. Carrie cuts through the flowery language, repetitive lists, and fluffy bits of this and that, utilizing diagrams more suited to a tech manual than a wedding how-to book. Don’t worry; this is NOT to scare brides away; the illustrations aren’t complicated and are VERY simple to understand. This is the perfect book for the bride who just wants the 1-2-3 of planning her day and navigating some of the tricky situations. And the added bonus is that this is one of the few wedding books you might actually get your groom to read as well [The Bride’s Instruction Manual – Amazon.com]
4. Groomology: What Every (Smart) Groom Needs to Know Before The Wedding by Michael Essany. Let’s face it, times are changing. Couples are getting married at an older age on average, they’re relying on their parents less and less for funding, and, wait for it…..GROOMS ARE GETTING INVOLVED! And now that I’ve scared a good portion of the men away from this blog, let me put your minds at ease. Yes, it can be frightening to think of the boys becoming a part of this traditionally ladies’ affair, but in this day of information overload, there are a few great books out there to help them, one of them being this book. Michael breaks everything down into easy, entertaining anecdotes and advice, and is a great help for couples who are committed to planning their big day as a equal team. [Groomology – Amazon.com]
5. “Brides” Magazine. Is it cheating that the fifth “book” isn’t really a book, per se? Perhaps, but hear me out. I could have selected yet another proper book for the article, but I wanted to address the often-as-overwhelming bridal magazine aisle. Plus, anyone who has picked up one of their issues realizes that each one is pretty much a book in and of itself. I do recommend subscribing to one bridal magazine, and this is the one. Subscribing saves you a TON off the cover price, and this is a great one to choose. Each issue features a Splurge/Save feature where they show you one gorgeous wedding item (bouquet, dress, shoes, etc), and then show you an equally breathtaking version for a much lower cost. They also show several “theme look” ideas, where they show you different pieces to complete a full look, whether you’re going for Mod, Romantic, Sleek & Sophisticated and many more. They also have a great website with lots of tools and tips, and subscriptions run about $16.95 a year (but can often be had for much less with specials) [www.brides.com]
Natalie Jennings is a wedding coordinator at La Vida Dulce and Chihuahua enthusiast from the southside of Indianapolis, IN