Here I am, middle aged, married before with adult children. Not the usual candidate for the ‘Bridezilla Syndrome’ so often talked about. But it seemed as soon as I was engaged at Christmas, I became obsessed, and the library has become my source of all things wedding and bridal, but it has also given me pause for thought. Why, I asked myself, are the vast majority of these books aimed at brides, talking directly at the bride, with mention of the groom limited to how he should just answer yes when asked a question and not have his stag night the night before ‘her’ big day.
Few have anything in them about second time around weddings either and dresses are white, offering variations such as cream, ivory or, if you really wish to push the boat out – blush pink!
So with what I have learnt, and all the pages I have turned, in mind, I have a short list of the books I’ve found to be helpful, insightful or practical. But I’ve also thrown in ones that are downright over the top, but with pretty pictures.
To start, look to the past for inspiration. The Wedding by Paul Atterbury and Hilary Kay (both of Antiques Roadshow fame) have collected a fascinating selection of wedding photos from the reign of Queen Victoria on, some touching and some just plain odd! Wedding Inspirations by Beverley Jollands has romantic prose and vows you can use if that’s your bent.
In the pretty pictures to give you some ideas (but you probably won’t be able to afford them) category, top of the list would have to be anything involving Colin Cowie. He appears to be a famous American party planner and his books are stunning.
Colin Cowie’s Extraordinary Weddings and Wedding Chic: 1001 Ideas for Every Moment of Your Celebration are great to browse, as is Simple and Stylish Weddings. Another good browser is Contemporary Wedding Photos by Julie Oswin and Steve Walton.
The book I have found the most helpful in a purely practical sense is a New Zealand one. The Big Day by Kerril Cooper and Denise Irvine is a sourcebook put together by two celebrants giving legal, practical and step by step information for a New Zealand wedding.
Other books that are helpful are Ex-Etiquette for Weddings : The Blended Families Guide to Tying the Knot. This is a great one for helping to navigate the minefields of new families, adult children and new step families and not stepping on toes while having a great wedding and future.
But my all time favourite would have to be Anti-Bride Etiquette Guide : The Rules and How to Bend Them. It sets out all the traditions, rules and ‘proper ways’ to do things, then tells you to just do it your way, ignore the protests from families, friends and nay-sayers and put fun, happiness and joy first – excellent!
And just to remember that two people are getting married, not just the bride, read The Complete Guide for the Anxious Groom, or give it to your husband-to-be. It set out his roles, expectations and although it does lean a little on the “It’s her day, just say yes” theory, it’s still worth a browse.