Ellen McCarthy has written a charming set of lessons about living and enjoying love in her book, The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life From a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook. What intrigued me the most about this book was that McCarthy was a skeptic about the whole wedding business and love when she first began reporting about weddings and even after she married. She sometimes is still skeptical, but feels that working as a wedding reporter has allowed her to find a set of resources, whether those resources are married couples, the notes she’s scribbled down, or the books she has read, that she can utilize to keep her marriage strong and alive. This book serves as a collection of the lessons she believes everyone should be aware of regarding love and life.
McCarthy writes throughout this book that she took her job as a wedding reporter because she wanted to write about people. Sure, she would love to have a Saturday night off to go and hangout with her friends, but once she is sitting and waiting for the ceremony begin, she is immediately thrown into a new beautiful love story and the beginning of a new life together. McCarthy tackles the questions of “How do you know this person is the one?”, “Should we live together before marriage?”, and even “Should I call the wedding off?” McCarthy admits to being far from a marriage and love expert and that is why she augments her written beliefs within this book with multiple interviews from experts, as well as interviews and snapshots into the weddings and lives of the people she has interviewed for her job.
McCarthy has gathered together a multitude of information about how people go about finding love and the life they want. This book is eye-opening for people in all stages of relationships, from single to happily married for years to divorced, and provides help for those who may need a little push to understand the life they are living now.
When I was growing up, I always had a secret hope that I would meet my significant other on a plane and we would magically fall in love, travel to an exotic location, and live happily ever after. When I reached high school, I realized that my plane-phobic self would actually have to get WILLINGLY on a plane(and not freak out) to do this… My child self was crushed. I would have to continue to look for those fairy tales in books.
Just last week, I stumbled upon a fiction romance novel called Dictatorship of the Dress by Jessica Topper that allowed me to live out my childhood fantasy of travel love. In this novel, Topper weaves together the lives of Laney Hudson, the dress bearer for her mother’s wedding, and Noah Ridgewood, a software designer on his way to his bachelor party. Laney is sick of hauling her mother’s dress around, as her mother seems to care only if the dress actually makes it to the wedding, not her daughter. As she carries the giant dress bag through the airport, she is constantly mistaken for the bride, a mistake Laney uses to her advantage so she can be bumped up to first class. Here she is seated next to Noah, who the flight crew mistakenly thinks is her husband-to-be. Enter in horrible winter weather, missed flights, Laney’s lost love, and an overbearing fiancé, Laney and Noah soon find themselves grounded in the last available honeymoon suite. The two must wrestle with events in their past that are holding them back from catching this new love connection.
Did you know that March 20th is National Proposal Day? The date, March 20th, was chosen as it was said to signify the beginning of spring(it is the first day of spring!) and is also the vernal/spring equinox. If you missed the March 20th proposal day, don’t worry! There is another “National Proposal Day” on September 23rd, the autumnal equinox or the first day of fall. Both the vernal equinox and the autumnal equinox were chosen as National Proposal Days as the length of both night and day are equal, so proposing on this day is seen to put both people on a balanced scale and to symbolize their equality as they enter into marriage (I personally love the idea of linking it to the first day of a season!).
Once the proposal is over though, the fun part begins. The couple chooses venues, finds dresses and tuxes, picks flowers, and decides just who is going to be in their wedding party. If you’re lucky enough to be closely related to the engaged couple or even in the wedding party, you may find yourself on the receiving end of having to give a speech at the reception. I don’t know about you, but I simultaneously DREAD and LOVE the speech portion of wedding receptions! I can usually tell within the first couple of sentences whether that speech is going to make me laugh or cringe.
In order to help prepare said speech-giving people, I have found some toast-giving books to make designing your speech a little easier. First up let’s try something humorous like the book Irish Toasts, illustrated by Karen Bailey. *DISCLAIMER – Please make sure you know the couple REALLY WELL before decided to go a little crazy in your toast. If they’re okay with it, YOU. ARE. GOLDEN!* While some of these may be uniquely set to Ireland, note that they can also be changed to fit your specific circumstances. These are meant to give you ideas. Read these classic and witty Irish toasts and find the one that will fit your toast.
Perhaps the couple is more along the traditional sense and you are as well. Maybe you’re looking for the right quotes and toasts about love to add to your speech or need some inspiration. If so, check out Wedding Toasts & Speeches: Finding the Perfect Words by Jo Packham. In this book, Packham has compiled a wide variety of quotes that can easily be slipped into any wedding toast. Whether you’re looking for something long/short, funny/romantic, or well-known/by a nobody, this book has gathered something for you. It even offers you advice on how to be a good speaker in front of a crowd. Extra Bonus.
If you’re still looking for inspiration to create that perfect wedding toast, head to the library and we can help you find something that will help you wish that lucky couple the very best in their new life!
Spring is almost here, and with it comes that fifth season of the year: wedding season! Brides everywhere are elbow deep in flower arrangements, cake tastings, and dress fittings. If you’ve got a wedding coming up this year, or maybe just got a ring for Valentine’s Day, let the Davenport Public Library help you plan your dream wedding!
For a great all-around planner, try The Knot Wedding Planner and Organizer. It’s full of checklists and timelines to make your wedding planning as stress-free as possible.
Need the perfect cake? Check out Wedding Cakes. London cake designer Mich Turner includes simple as well as elaborate designs and recipes for every wedding style.
Need decorating inspiration? Knack Wedding Flowers has great ideas for floral arrangements, centerpieces and bouquets for every season and budget as well as DIY tips if you want to skip the florist and create these looks yourself.
Did you know that for every bride there is an average of four bridesmaids? If you’re one of the thousands of bridesmaids this season, pick up The Bridesmaid’s Manual. In it you’ll find valuable advice for everything from party planning to etiquette.
Whether you’re planning a fantasy wedding or you’re a bride on a budget looking for diy ideas, the library has you covered. So stop by today and check out our great collection of wedding books!
I checked out this kindle book via WILBOR after a friend described reading it as “entering a bliss-coma.” Perfect for a vacation book, I expected. And if you want an unapologetically romantic, milquetoast, white bread – er, white cake – wish fulfillment fantasy with little and less conflict, Savor the Moment is perfect for you! Laurel McBane is the co-founder and executive pastry chef at Vows, an all-inclusive wedding planning service. Her best friends Mac (photographer), Parker (wedding coordinator), and Emma (florist and decorator) are her co-founders, and the four of them live together in the country mansion where they also host (and cook for) dozens of weddings every summer. Also living and working in their enclave are the soon-to-be husbands of Mac and Emma (see books one and two for their Happily Ever Afters) and Parker’s brother Delaney – the suitably handsome, rich, and dashing hero that Laurel has been in love with half her life.
Among a blur of other people’s weddings, and entirely too closely surrounded by friends and a woman called Mrs. G. who acts as nanny and short-order cook for reasons not made totally clear (is she an employee? a relative? a servant? does she owe them a debt!?), Laurel and Del begin dating. You know the rest. Since they’re already friends, there’s no getting-to-know-you phase. Their whole journey is about negotiating the way their friends and relatives will see them once they’ve transitioned from buddies to bedfellows. This thin love story isn’t a very sturdy backbone for the novel, but it doesn’t really need to be, surrounded as it is by love stories big and small, glorious descriptions of gowns and cakes and desserts and wedding ceremonies, and a lot of meaningful female friendships.
The business side of Vows is pretty interesting; I like reading about women who are smart and talented, and making this business run smoothly – coordinating dozens of vendors and hundreds of guests for almost daily events – requires the characters to be brainy and focused. It’s a tough job, and Roberts’ characters are good at it. It’s great to see an author really understand and illustrate the way weddings work instead of glossing over the details, but reading about those details – the stressed out brides, the last-minute changes, the groomsmen who show up late – can walk the line between boring (if you’re not interested in weddings) and stressful (if you remember these things too clearly from your own wedding). If you adore weddings, brides, cakes, and comforting, easy love stories, this series is the right choice for you.
Simple writing and complex, yet realistic, characters make Jennifer Close’s Girls in White Dresses a great choice for a leisurely summer read. The book follows a group of recent college graduates, Isabella, Mary and Lauren (plus a host of their mutual friends) as they maneuver new lives in New York with its ever-present trials and tribulations. They each have their share of new boyfriends, new jobs and more than an abundant supply of engagement parties and weddings to attend.
Throughout the book, Close presents a funny and vivid portrayal of the complex relationship between friends. Her accurate representation of the misunderstandings, the fights and the ultimate close bond between these young women rings true and I would imagine many readers of this book will see either themselves or their friends in the pages of Girls in White Dresses!
Only a couple more months until my wedding (GAH!) so I picked up Madeleine Wickham’s The Wedding Girl, hoping that the funny, whimsical hijinks of Milly Havill, the main character, would distract me from stressing out. Unfortunately, those hijinks turned out to be kind which cause more panic than giggles.
The story begins when eighteen year old Milly travels to Oxford on her first summer away from home and gets swept up in an intimate friendship with two gay men, Allan and Rupert. Soon the men approach Milly with an elaborate favor–Would she agree to marry American-born Allan so that he can remain in England to be with Rupert? Milly doesn’t hesitate before saying yes and soon finds herself smiling and waving at passerbys as she stands arm-in-arm with Allan in front of the registry office.
Ten years later, Milly has four days until she weds Simon, the son of a local millionaire, and her secret marriage has begun to leak out sending Milly and everyone around her in a downward spiral as they try to make the wedding still happen. This seems like it may just be the perfect set-up for a witty, British comedy ala Death at a Funeral, does it not?! But no! It is heavy and melancholy, but still every bit a page-turner thanks to the questions surrounding the whereabouts of Rupert and Allan. Although I enjoyed The Wedding Girl, I would instead suggest Meg Cabot’s Queen of Babble for Brides who are looking for a fun, romantic read with lots of wedding drama.
Are you planning a wedding? If so, you might find these titles helpful.
Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding, written by Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners) and her recently married daughter, Jacobina, is done in the traditional “Dear Miss Manners” question and answer style. This in itself is pretty entertaining … well, don’t we all secretly find another person’s dilemma or faux pas a little humorous? Right, as long as it’s not us!
Interspersed throughout are practical, informative comments. For example, “Wedding as Fundraiser” is listed as one of Three Terrible Ideas (the title for chapter three.) Times have changed, but hospitality still takes the cake.
Another book I wished I had read before my son got married (sigh –it was published a year later) Anyway, Mother of the Groom by Sharon Naylor is packed full of practical insights. It’s not just about the rehearsal dinner anymore! And no, you don’t have to shut up and wear beige. Well, you don’t want to upstage the bride and critical comments are best kept to yourself — so I guess it is still kind of true.
Have fun planning!
Weddings are joyful occasions, but they’re also often fraught with emotional upheaval as adult children struggle to find their role in the family and come to terms with old resentments and tragedies from the past.
In Rachel Getting Married, Kym is home on a weekend pass from a drug addiction recovery program to attend her sister’s wedding. Rude, self-absorbed and sarcastic, she immediately stirs up trouble and tries to shift the focus of the weekend to herself. She’s also obviously fragile and damaged and desperate for love and understanding. Rachel is hesitant to reach out to her – Kym’s addictions have had far-reaching consequences and led to a tragedy that tore the family apart. Yet the bonds of love and family, though strained and frayed, hold strong and by the time Kym leaves they’ve reached a deeper understanding of and love for each other.
The various scenes of the wedding and the celebrations and events leading up to it are wonderful, often funny, sometimes heart-wrenching – a chaotic, multi-cultural extravaganza of music and traditions (the dishwasher-loading contest is especially funny) In the end, the lesson is that forgiving yourself may be the hardest thing you do, and that love can save you.
Anne Hathaway earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress with her riveting performance of Kym.