Monday, September 14, 2009

Judging a Book by its Cover.

As you may know, my friend C. just got engaged last month on her birthday. I was originally going to get her a comfy bathrobe, as requested by her (after 16 years of friendship, we've taken to asking what each other wants...much easier); however, I decided I wanted to get her a wedding planning book before she embarked on her adventure down the aisle.

Believe it or not, I, the Professional Bridesmaid, have never picked up a wedding planing book. Never needed it (obviously) and never thought of buying one for one of 'my' brides. So this was all uncharted territory for me.

I decided to do a little online research before I headed to the book store. Ideally, I wanted a book with lots of eye candy but still provided practical advice and guidelines (with room for interpretation for C.) on planning a wedding. I went over to Amazon as I find their customer reviews are usually plentiful and helpful.

I'm not going to lie. I judged each book by its cover. How can you not judge a wedding book by its cover!!?? Hands down, the Colin Cowie's Wedding Chic won on the looks factor. You just know there's a ton of photo candy in there. Plus all of the customer reviews were positive. The Amazon description provides that Colin Cowie "is by your side every step of the way." I also like that fact that it was only published last December.

Next up is Martha Stewart's Keepsake Wedding Planner. This is a true wedding planner - it's a 3 ring binder with lists, timelines, guidelines, diagrams, pockets to hold business cards, fabric swatches...i.e. it's the bride's bible. Pro - Likely super useful. Con - It was published in 2003, and C. is not a Martha Stewart kind of girl (she's more contemporary).

Written by Elizabeth & Alex Lluch, this 3 ring binder/book is also a bride's organizer. The Complete Wedding Planner & Organizer was rated highly amongst Amazon customers and it seems to be a great start for those brides who have little or no knowledge about weddings (I guess this wouldn't be for me when I'm a bride?). One customers said she really valued the list of questions to ask vendors.

Cute cover no? So not C. but trying not to judge. ;) Tying the Knot, is another 3 ring binder style book with mostly positive reviews. However, most of the reviews commented on how it was a good organizer (e.g had pockets for receipts, checklists) more than anything. This book seems to be missing the photo candy I think C. would enjoy.

Don't shoot me when I say this but I find The Knot a little too 'cookie cutter' for me. I do appreciate the real weddings sections of the site and I think their 'knottie bio' feature is awesome but other not really my style. So as you can see, I'm a little biased. I took a peek inside over at Amazon as the 'click to look inside' feature was available for this book. The table of contents provided a detailed breakdown of the wedding planning process (but wouldn't this all be on the anyways?) which is helpful. The book also contains tories of real weddings. A big con - no good photo candy (the pictures were in black and white).

Is the title an oxymoron? I mean, come on, does easy wedding planning really exist? Hmm. I'm intrigued. Easy Wedding Planing Plus boasts "302 pages of wedding etiquette, worksheets, checklists, budget analysis and money-making tips." This is the 7th edition of the Easy Wedding Planning series. Since it was just published in June, there aren't a lot of reviews on it. I think I'll have to take a closer look in the book store.

Any thoughts on which one I should buy? Based on my internet research, I'm leaning towards the Colin Cowie book as it fits my criteria. I'll see how the other books fare in person. Did you buy any planning books for you big day? Which one did you buy? Were they useful? Let me know!


BEL said...

i got one as a gift but honestly haven't used it. i'm too addicted to

i highly recommend it! it has everything in a non-fussy, super useful way!

JessReads said...

The Colin Cowie one is is awesome for inspiration! Great photos but it's totally over the top, super glam weddings. I actually got the Tying the Knot binder. The info inisde isn't so helpful, but I love how organized it makes me, lots of planning sheets and storage pockets.

Mo said...

I bought The Offbeat Bride book, and while I enjoyed reading it, I'm not sure it's for everyone.

Simply judging by the cover, the Colin Cowie book looks more fun than the others!

"Easy" wedding planning? Do you get a wedding planner flown in when you buy the book?

The Marry Melodies said...

Go with the Martha planner!! I was looking at a demo reel last night (very odd that you post about planning books by the way.. lol we must be on the same wave link or something..) It looks like an amazing buy! It has pockets and sleeves to tuck your contracts, receipts.. color glossary for flowers, the timelines are deff a good tool to have.. detailed checklists, a list of ideas to hand to your photographer as a base... seating plans.. processional line up ideas (how to guide) everything you would need is in this book.

The Professional Bridesmaid said...

Thanks everyone for your suggestions!
@MO- your comment made me laugh out loud!

Krista said...

I found most of the knot's products to be exactly what was on their website for free.

I found the "Complete Wedding" stuff to be filled with marketing for their other products. I think "Easy Wedding" products are the same.

I don't know about the Colin Cowie. His stuff is stunning. Is it affordable? I don't know. But definitely stunning eye candy.

And I always love Martha. Her stuff is getting more budget friendly now, too, with lots of DIY ideas.

If this friend wants eye candy and has a big budget, go with Colin Cowie. If she likes ideas, timelines, DIY, and other Marta-esque goodness, go with Martha. I used a Martha wedding planner, but not the keepsake one. It was useful.

I hope that helps. Let us know what you go with!

honey my heart said...

i purchased the Martha Stewart's Keepsake Wedding Planner, but didn't really use it. i just sorta stuffed all of my planning info into a regular folder for filing purposes.

Wedding Gifts said...

I love the Colin Cowie book. Watching him create a wedding from the idea to the masterpiece is unreal. You should watch him host Get Married on Lifetime. It is full of wedding tips and trends! Very entertaining.

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