The Rough Guide to Weddings
by Peter Buckley and Sean Mahoney
Review by ethical bride-to-be, Kristen Hartley
When I first picked up The Rough Guide to Weddings there was something about the front cover and the size of the book that just made me excited to read it.
I was already a few months into planning by the time I received the book so when I opened it up and looked at the checklist on the inside cover it felt great to be able to check a bunch of the big things off.
The timeline was handy to have on that inside cover so that I could quickly reference it and it also had page numbers that referred me to the relevant chapters to read more about specific points.
I felt a further connection to the book when I read the first paragraph. I really appreciated the honest, to-the-point introduction that lets us know what we are about to find in the upcoming chapters, a down-to-earth approach to wedding planning.
Since the moment I got engaged I have been trying to think about ways to make our wedding as fun and relaxed and as 'US' as possible. I have been surprised at how difficult this has been and how we continue to get sucked into the vortex of wedding traditions that hold no meaning to neither my fiancé nor myself.
Alternatives to the traditional wedding
I felt this book gave us many alternative ways to look at the usual traditional aspects of the wedding. As they say in the book, "There's no tradition too old to break, no rules that must be followed to the letter." I really needed to hear that and I find myself repeating those words over and over to keep me on track as I go through the process.
I felt that the book carried me through in a very organised and step-by-step way. At times I could tell that it was a book written by UK authors but I thought it did a fantastic job also referencing things that were equivalent in the US. I also appreciated the sarcasm and wit used throughout the book, it was cleverly done.
Jokes help to lighten the reading and make it fun, as the whole wedding planning process should be! The pictures were great for a laugh and a smile. My favourite tip was: "This is going to be the first day of the rest of your life – push the boat out and buy some new underwear." Well said.
A comprehensive resource
Each section did a great job of concisely explaining the points and when needed websites were given for the reader to get more information on their own.
I was really impressed by how comprehensive The Ceremony section was - I already knew what kind of ceremony I was planning on having but I read the whole chapter to learn how other cultures and religions approach their ceremonies.
The most practical thing I got out of the book was the DIY Bar List, it really made such a daunting task easy to estimate.
The only thing that I would have liked to have seen more of in the book was eco-conscious / environmentally- friendly / sustainable wedding tips. That is not to say that there weren't any, because in a few different areas they did mention a few tips, but in this day and age I think that eco or sustainable planning options should be more accessible and more of a priority.
This is the most down-to-earth wedding planning book I have read yet, so I think that there is an excellent opportunity within this Rough Guide to better educate people planning weddings about how each choice they make will impact others.
Overall I loved The Rough Guide to Weddings and I would recommend it to all the no-nonsense brides and grooms out there. I don’t feel like I need any other book to help me with the planning process.
Review by ethical bride-to-be, Kelly Lovell
Okay, I admit it: I kind of scoffed at the idea of needing a book to help me plan my wedding.
I was already snowed under with wedding planning timelines (from the bumf I was left clutching at the bridal shop to the numerous wedding magazines I'd guiltily allowed myself to buy) so did I really need anything more in depth than that?
A goldmine of tips
I couldn't imagine enjoying a book full of stuffy, old-fashioned wedding etiquette which assumes the reader has a whopping budget. How wrong I was. This immensely practical and very up-to-date book is a goldmine of tips, whether you’re planning on having all the proverbial trimmings or not.
It starts with the fundamentals:
- how to get started (setting the date, booking the venue)
- money (including a very useful breakdown of the 'average' wedding costs, plus advice on how to keep costs down)
- the wedding party (which I largely skipped, as we aren't having bridesmaids or ushers)
I mainly found myself remembering the anecdotes and sound bites from real brides and grooms as these gave me a good idea of which details are important and which – in the grand scheme of things – really aren't.
A sense of relief
What struck me quite regularly was the relief I felt whenever I read something that addressed a moral dilemma I was currently grappling with. One old chestnut was the guest list and how to cope with telling your parents that you don't want to invite friends of theirs that you don't know / distant cousins / friends' partners, and so on. The book doesn't have all the answers and it certainly can't prevent noses from being put out of joint, but there's something vaguely comforting about knowing these issues are as common as it gets.
Even the smaller details are covered, right down to options for drinks: bringing your own, DIY shopping lists (including summaries of how many servings come out of an average wine/spirit bottle – incredibly useful), cash bars, types of champagne and cocktail ideas.
Flowers and photography
Then there are the things I know precious little about: flowers and photography.
I don't like the idea of throwing my bouquet at the reception and might adopt one of the suggested alternatives instead – giving it to the longest married couple in the room, who will be my grandparents at an impressive 61 years!
As for photographs, I'm already compiling a wish list of shots in my head, although I don't think 'my silver shoes' and 'the detail on the back of my dress' will be considered worthy of photographs by anyone other than me.
Help for the clueless
Overall, I think it's an excellent resource to help structure your day, and for people at the more clueless end of the spectrum (like me) there are all sorts of things that you may not have even considered.
Who knew you were supposed to buy presents for your parents, to be presented on the day?
The rather more peripheral sections (such as suggestions for engagement parties, and stag and hen nights) are a nice touch as well, although I'll save the 'Emotional Crises' section for a little later…