My friend Tabitha is getting married this summer and since her planning is almost entirely complete, she was in a great position to recommend good books. (By the way, Tabitha introduced me to my own fiance.)
The only one she felt was worth my time was called Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternative for Independent Brides. Although I'm slightly leery of things that self-proclaim as alternative, indie or hipster, I gave it a shot. Here's my review.
I liked it. I liked the author's ability to self-deprecate. I liked the narrative format in which she tells the story of her own wedding and brings in examples of what other couples have done. I like her constant reminder that you should have the event that makes you most comfortable. I loved her descriptions of her hippie mother.
Mostly, I liked that she admitted that things must be held in tension and gave examples. I was intrigued by the chapter entitled, "Vanity, Fashion, and Other Things We Shouldn't Care About." She writes about not wanting to have an all-vegan meal but compromising with her husband because she loved him. Where is that in most bridal magazines that advertise only to women and tell them, "Today is the day when you get everything you want." No joke. I saw that in an ad from a stack of Chicago Style Bride that someone donated to me.
The only thing I didn't like was that there was a lot of emphasis on rounding up your friends and getting them to do the work with you. If I waited until my life was in a place where I could put the time and energy into coordinating my friends and rolling up my sleeves and working alongside them, Jacob and I wouldn't get married until 2010 or 2011. I believe that marriage changes a relationship and I know that we would start to flounder if we had to stay too long in this liminal state of engagement. Not because our love isn't strong enough but because who we are and where we are in our lives needs the structure of the institution to act like a trellis for our love to grow on. So, I would rather be married than married in a perfect microcosm of the community that surrounds me. We'll be in a rented hall instead of a backyard or forest preserve. We'll have caterers instead of homemade cupcakes. So, the challenge for me is to transpose the author's spirit to my medium.
I just found the website that she started after she published the book. Also worth taking a look at. She shows real couples getting married. Not just cute, perky tattooed city-dwellers. I like that, too.
So, the book is well worth someone's time if regular bridal magazines make you just a little bit sick to your stomach.
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