Friday, July 19, 2013

My Guide to Helpful Wedding Books and Magazines

I'm a guidebook girl; when I'm going to visit a new place, I like to peruse piles of guidebooks first, and I'm no different when it comes time to trek new life-experience territory. When I moved into my first apartment, I read tons of home decorating books, and when I got engaged last summer, I couldn't wait to hit the bookstore to peruse wedding magazines, books, and planners.

A few days after we decided to get married, I found myself in a bookstore, finally cracking the spine on a few of those wedding magazines that I had always been vaguely curious about while maintaining a safe distance from. I didn't want to be the single girl who reads wedding magazines and has a wedding board on Pinterest.

When I brought my selections to the bookstore counter, the cashier asked me when I was getting married. "Not 'til next January," I said. She was the first person to learn of our engagement.

I soon discovered that, while traditional wedding magazines have pretty fashion spreads of white gowns and thick appendixes full of contact information for local vendors, they don't have any vitally helpful information that a modern bride can't discover in a few minutes browsing theknot.com.

I would, however, soon discover a few books that, like trusted friends, would give me all the advice, support, and information I was seeking in those early, heady days of engagement.

My Guide to Helpful Wedding Books and Magazines
Real Simple Weddings
A good place to start

Soon after getting engaged, I read Real Simple Weddings straight through. Organized into sections like "guest list and invitations," it provided straightforward, concise, common sense advice that really got the ball rolling for me and helped me get an idea of all the different components that would need to come together, as well as where to start making decisions.

My Guide to Helpful Wedding Books and Magazines
Offbeat BrideA Practical Wedding
Gave me permission to do things differently

Soon after my initial foray into the wedding-magazine section, I visited my favorite bookstore, Joseph-Beth, and found the book Offbeat Bride. We still hadn't gotten my ring made and therefor hadn't told anyone about our engagement. I sat in Joseph-Beth's café, Brontë, that afternoon, drinking a glass of champagne, reading a wedding books, and feeling gloriously secretive and indulgent.

Offbeat Bride provided me with lots of personal stories and advice from real brides who did things their own way. It got me thinking about all the things that were really important to me (a meaningful ceremony, an amazing dress, an intimate guest list), and gave me permission to say "forget it" (and sometimes a more adult version of that sentiment) to all the things I just didn't care about (aisle runners, bouquet tosses, guest books).

Later, I read A Practical Wedding, a similar book that helped remind me that most "traditions" and "musts" aren't actually that old or necessary. Both these books helped give me the permission I was seeking to have the wedding we wanted to have. Knowing that so many other brides had successfully pulled of their offbeat visions made me feel much more confident in my ability to do so.

My Guide to Helpful Wedding Books and Magazines
Style Me Pretty Weddings
Time for the pretty stuff

The Style Me Pretty book and blog along with the blog, Green Wedding Shoes, have been lovely and inspirational sources for style ideas. Our wedding decor is going to be 100% DIY, and I really owe it to these incredible sources (which make up most of the ideas pinned to my wedding board) for helping me brainstorm ideas as narrow them down to the important ones.

If Pinterest and wedding blogs are overwhelming you, I definitely recommend the Style Me Pretty Weddings book because, rather than just overloading you with gorgeous images, it gives you some advice and guidelines for narrowing down your ideas and streamlining them into one, cohesive aesthetic. 

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