Budget brides (and grooms!), this is so the book for you! Regarding the third planning-based book I am reviewing, Dana LaRue’s The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide, I can happily say that the author delivers everything the cover the advertises. (And she’s got a blog of the same name, too, if anyone else thought the name sounded familiar.) I knew this book was going to be fun the moment I flipped through the pages with the purple ink, cute illustrations, and sassy introduction. Like the previous books covered, this guide goes through the whole process from engagement to after the wedding. It is chock-full of goodies such as cheap themes for engagement parties (which could work for receptions, as well), a list of things to remember if having an outdoor wedding, the pros and cons of using a friend or a professional officiant, song suggestions for the ceremony and reception, DIY decorating instructions and tips, how to make your wedding more eco-friendly, recipes, and much more. It is also nice to be able to peruse several couple’s real budgets to see where they saved and splurged.
In the middle of planning myself and having already read two books on the subject, I still found LaRue’s advice pretty handy for the newly engaged. I think she keeps a range of budgets in mind and encourages the couple to stay true to themselves. It was a quick read and the best guide out of the three in terms of how the author organized the information. I never felt overwhelmed while reading which I think anyone planning a wedding will appreciate. Keep this one in mind when searching those shelves at the book shop.
There is nothing like a six week wedding deadline to make me want to finish reading and reviewing my wedding books. I can use all the help I can get! The second book I am reviewing is Christine Egan’s How to Have the Wedding You Want. It had good online reviews, and the title couldn’t help but draw me to it. I started reading this book before wedding apathy set in and completed over half of it before I set it down again. Honestly, my one criticism of it can also be one of its strength. Much like in Stalling’s Offbeat Bride, Egan gives lots of advice heavily sprinkled with personal and shared wedding planning stories from couples she interviewed. The difference in this approach is that I felt like there were a lot tales of horror and mishaps mixed in with the success stories. Readers can learn from previous couples’ mistakes, but I ended up feeling anxious at times thinking about what could go wrong with our wedding planning (which was already going wrong enough to begin with). I think the intention, however, is to make planners not feel alone if they too are struggling.
In praise of the guide, I found it easy to read, often comical in tone, direct when needed, and thorough about the many steps of wedding planning. I love The book is broken into three “phases” of planning: “The Politics of Planning,” “Nuts and Bolts,” and “How to Have Fun.” My favorite phases were the last two, especially the chapters on tackling the guest list, attire shopping, registering, timing the honeymoon, and, of course, relishing in the entirety of phase three. All couples want to enjoy the finished product after all! That part in particular has some helpful advice for how to be prepared on the actual ceremony day and how to take care of yourself the week beforehand. Also, anyone having a band or DJ at their wedding will want to read her advice on avoiding hiccups in that area.
I think this guide is particular helpful to brides who want to give themselves permission to follow their own hearts and ideas about their wedding day. Especially if you are early into planning, there are many little helpful tidbits you will be glad to have stashed away for the later stages. I will definitely be referring to a few sections myself.
Majoring in the humanities, my approach to wedding planning–surprise, surprise–is to research it to death. I am all for getting lost in tabs of the grand internet, but sometimes its nice just to settle down with a book. I decided on four wedding-planning books that I felt fit my personality and situation. The first book is Ariel Meadow Stallings’ Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides. I was excited to find a used 2010 copy at a Hastings and read through it quickly. Offbeat Bride is one of the first wedding blogs I had ever visited, and I admire its attitude.
Since I have a history of reading more nontraditional wedding blogs, a lot of the information presented was not new to me. However, if I were a greener bride-to-be, I think this book would be a great introduction to rethinking what weddings are “supposed” to be and how to plan. Stallings’ raver, camp-out wedding is not necessarily my personal vision, but I loved reading about how she navigated planning a wedding with an out-of-the-way location, lots of DIY contribution, and her personal tastes and values. She covers a lot of the hurdles of planning and the traditions feminist couples may be struggling with, and she does it all with a fun and honest voice. What I respect most about her experience, her book, and her blog is that she always brings home the fact that however you want to plan your wedding is the right way to do it. She gives examples of couples she interviewed who had weddings ranging from church ceremonies to underwater unions. There is no sense of a line for being too different or not offbeat enough.
My recommendation is for any bride who feels like taking an alternative path down the aisle to read this. Her breakdown of her planning is helpful; her writing style makes for an interesting and fun read; and her story can make more nontraditional couples not feel so alone in an industry that may not have offer the day they want.