Want a gorgeous, memorable wedding? Of course you do. But before you walk down the aisle dressed in the gown of your dreams, there's quite a lot of planning you'll have to do. What will your wedding theme be? How about your color palette? Do you know how to negotiate contracts with vendors? Oh, and have you mastered the art of the perfect seating chart? We didn't mean to overwhelm you, but these are just a few of the questions you'll have to have definitive answers to in the months prior to your big day.
But don't worry—wedding planning is a skill and like every skill, it can be learned. Your starting point? One of these five books professional planners and event producers have referenced through the years and have found to be extremely useful. From practical budget breakdowns and to-do lists to etiquette conundrums, these books hold the answers to every wedding planning question you have.
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1. Celebrate Everything!: Fun Ideas to Bring Your Parties to Life by Darcy Miller
Suggested by: Anne Chertoff, a trend expert at WeddingWire
Why do you like the book? "Darcy offers up creative ways to personalize your party and the resources to make it happen."
What can real brides learn from it? "The book helps real brides explore all the different ways they can create details for their wedding from the invitation to the food to the favors to the entertainment. But what I also love is that you can get so many creative ideas for all the other pre- and post-wedding celebrations from the engagement party to the bridal shower to the rehearsal dinner and beyond."
Best sentence from it? "No matter what goes wrong at a party, being with loved ones makes everything right."
2. Fête: The Wedding Experience by Jung Lee and Kathleen Boyes
Suggested by: Allison Aronne, wedding producer at Fête New York
Why do you like the book? "I love it because it is more of a philosophy on weddings than a preset check list. It offers a fresh take on weddings for today’s modern couples and is filled with practical tips to help anyone (at any income level) plan a truly unforgettable wedding that reflects them as a couple. It addresses important subjects such as hospitality, budgeting and laying out a space, as well as how to handle certain situations that go awry."
What can real brides learn from it? "Brides can really learn how to create extraordinary weddings that bring both the bride and groom’s vision to vivid life. The book explains that every element—venue, music, food, decor—resonates with meaning, reflecting the pair’s own taste and style. It gives examples of how real couples took the steps to plan and customize their weddings."
Best sentence from it? "Extraordinary weddings have a vision behind them. They reflect the couple through every element, and they key ingredient is knowing how to masterfully orchestra it."
3. The Loverly Wedding Planner: The Modern Couple's Guide to Simplified Wedding Planning by Kellee Khalil
Suggested by: Kellee Khalil, founder and CEO of Loverly
Why do you like the book? "I love it, because from reading through it, couples are reminded to take a deep breath and remember that their wedding is about a promise to love and cherish each other for the rest of their lives."
What can real brides learn from it? "Couples can find tips to navigate modern wedding nuances such as mixed-gender bridal parties, same-sex marriages, social media etiquette, unplugged weddings, wedding worksheets to stay organized and track progress, “to do” lists to streamline every step of the planning process, and budget breakdowns from real-life couples with diverse allowances and priorities."
Best sentence from it? "By maintaining your own vision and shaking off the social pressure to include details that simply don't speak to you, you'll create a wedding that's as unique as you are."
4. Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette by Anna Post and Lizzie Post
Suggested by: Brit Bertino, destination event producer
Why do you like the book? "This book helps explain how etiquette can help, guide, and shape a couple's wedding planning choices to create a thoughtful and meaningful day for themselves and their guests. Most of today's weddings are a beautiful mixture of cultures and traditions which can mean that they can be more complicated than ever before. With new customs replacing old, new technologies to help plan and communicate, and new relationships to consider as a families grow more complex."
What can real brides learn from it? "Brides will learn from past traditions to modern updates so they can approach their wedding with grace and ease. Etiquette is about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty. There are always multiple attitudes and this book will help you set the tone for the perfect day."
Best sentence from it? "Let consideration be your guide. Make decisions based on maintaining and caring for the important relationships in your lives."
5. The Perfect Wedding Reception: Stylish Ideas For Every Season by Maria McBride-Mellinger
Suggested by: Tracy French, wedding planner at The French Connection Events and Travel
Why do you like the book? "As a wedding planner, I enjoy the book because it discusses the details of planning the perfect wedding reception based on the season."
What can real brides learn from it? "A real bride can learn about every aspect of a wedding reception from finding the perfect location to the importance of the right table setting."
Best sentence from it? "Your primary vendors will be your partners in a creative process. For a few months, you’ll be married to them! Hire wisely.”