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Weddings Exposed

We sometimes speak (okay, write) here at Manolo for the Brides about wedding professionals. We discuss what to look for, how to know this is or isn’t the professional for you, and how to negotiate getting what you really want. We almost never cover the question from the other side. What is it like to work weddings professionally? How do vendors help steer the clueless and those with unrealistic expectations toward a plan that makes better sense? What do they do when their best efforts in that regard don’t work? And what makes doing what they do worth all the hassle?

It is the tension between expectation and reality that keeps the work interesting. It is also what occasionally – when I come home very late from a particularly horrible event – makes me want to bury my head under my pillow and wake up in a world where weddings no longer exist. But by the next weekend I’m out there again. The truth is I like what I do. And maybe twenty years from now my clients will look at the photographs I took and remember how they felt, not just what things looked like. They might even know by then that the feelings were what mattered. Or maybe they will see where it all went wrong later was foreshadowed in those moments caught on film, when no one was trying to keep up appearances. I’m not a glamor photographer. I’m not a fashion photographer. I’m a storyteller, and the story I tell is the one I see.

Thus ends the introduction of Claire Lewis’ book Exposed: Confessions of a Wedding photographer.

Lewis is – in case you couldn’t tell from that snippet or the title of her book – a professional wedding photographer. She also happens to live and work in my neck of the woods, the San Francisco Bay Area. We’ve never met. I doubt that I’ve been to a wedding she shot. On the other hand, by the end of the book I wanted to invite her over for scones and wedding gossip.

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NtB Loves: Gorgeous Pictures of Weddings

It may not surprise you to learn that I collect wedding books. Hopefully, I’ll never have occasion to marry again, so I can’t exactly say that my bookshelf-busting collection of nuptial tomes is particularly useful. The ones I love best are the ones with lots and lots of gorgeous photographs. Surprising, right?

Here are four wedding books that absolutely take the cake and are a great addition to your collection…even if your collection is made up of a stack of library books.

Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings is full of pictures of glamorous affairs styled in the southern tradition. It also includes secrets, tips, practical how-tos, and advice, but who cares about any of that when there are soirées to salivate over?

Fete

With over 150 beautiful photographs of lavish weddings, Fête: The Wedding Experience is full of inspiration. Even if you don’t have the money or time to replicate everything, you can still cop a few ideas.

Inspirations

The publisher describes Inspirations as “a lush sourcebook of ideas for creating the perfect ambiance,” which isn’t shocking when you consider it’s a Preston Bailey book. Page after page of eye candy will show you how you can use art, nature, and culture to plan a wonderful wedding.

The Best of Martha Stewart Living: Weddings

And then there’s Martha. I sprung for a used copy of The Best of Martha Stewart Living: Weddings just to see what was inside. What did I find? Perfect pictures of everything from cakes to guestbooks to bouquets and boutonnieres.

Mmmmm!

What’s Up In the Weddingsphere

Joyful, carefree, and a little bit wild at the edges

8/8/08 is great! For more reasons than one

Hacking the TwoBirds dress

Marriage is more than just the wedding

There’s just five days left to enter to win The DIY Bride

What does a £500 wedding look like?

The five second rule in action

Waddle Me Down the Aisle

I find it fascinating at how little things have changed since the 14th century

A wedding that’s truly out of this world


Nanny’s etiquette guide

Time warp wives?

In Which Twistie Reviews iDo

Let’s get self-referential here for a minute or two.

My esteemed colleague, Never teh Bride, has recently had her book, iDo: Planning Your Wedding With Nothing But ‘Net, published. She was kind enough to send along a copy to me. Of course we all know that free copies of new books to the media are meant to be review copies…okay, she seemed both surprised and amused when I broached the concept to her, but you don’t send a copy of your latest novel to the New York Times Book Review in hopes that they won’t write it up, and, well, I do write about weddings and wedding planning and wedding goodies for sale. It seemed only reasonable to me that our readers should get the skinny on this volume if not precisely from the horse’s mouth, then from the mule next door.

So what did I think? Click the link and find out. Yes, I’m a tease. What? This surprises you?

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Event designers branch out

I was recently sent two freebies to review, both of which sprang from the minds of event designers. It’s a common phenomenon — when you live in the world of weddings, it’s not that difficult to envision yourself creating a product that will bring joy to brides-to-be. (Note to companies looking for new product lines: I’m available. Really available.)

First Impressions
The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day is indeed BIG. With it’s sweet two-column, multi-color design, it rather reminds me of the many home hack books I was given when I first moved out of my mother’s house. Not a page goes by where some tip of Weiss’ is highlighted in cream or taupe — overall, it’s very dignified. Information is easy to find, and there’s plenty of it!

Deeper Deets
I’ll admit that I had high expectations for this book, because Mindy Weiss is a highly sought-after event planner and “lifestyle expert.” It’s the little details she slips in, like three ways to fold a handkerchief, sample reception menus (Weiss admits that Thousand Island is her favorite dressing), an illustrated gown guide, and multiple wedding timetables make this book stand out among its peers. For those brides who like to jot things down, there are plenty of fill-in tables and blank note pages in the back of the book.

The Verdict
Other than iDo (which still has no reviews on Amazon, hint hint), this is probably my favorite book dealing with mainstream modern-traditional weddings.

First Impressions
I really like the box that envelops the Zinke Design Going to the Chapel gift set because it’s substantial and complicated. You really have to work to get the garter, ring bag, and handkerchief out of that box — I was almost afraid I was going to rip something, but Arin Robinson’s products are auspiciously sturdy. The trio of accessories matches The Wedding Book, which is a little weird in light of this review!

Deeper Deets
The set is made of satin, linen, lace, and the garter is lovely. It combines a ribbon with elastic, which means I can make it as small as my wrist or wide enough to fit over my head. I’m actually wearing it on my head right now. The hanky and the ring bag unfortunately gain nothing from being made out of linen. Both are pretty, but the handkerchief would do little to dry a tearful eye and I don’t know that putting one’s rings in a bag is the best of ideas. This leads me to believe that these items are meant just for show, and I’m a stickler for design that’s lovely AND functional.

The Verdict
I personally would not buy this $92 set for a bride-to-be, but I could see an older female relative doing so. When, exactly, do the rings go in the bag, anyway? Is it meant to be used before the wedding or as an alternative to the ring bearer’s pillow? I’d much prefer to give my hypothetical engaged friend or sister a vintage hanky embroidered with her initials or a handmade ring pillow I sewed myself.

Shameless self promotion

I was recently interviewed for an article in the NY Post, and it’s looking like I will be jetting off to NY tomorrow to film a TV segment. It was a false alarm — the network decided not to do the story. Ah well, better luck next time!

Win a free autographed copy of iDo: Planning Your Wedding with Nothing But ‘Net!

iDo! Do you?

News of iDo: Planning Your Wedding with Nothing But ‘Net is getting around, thanks to my ubercool publicist at Simon & Schuster and the word getting around. The sweeties over at Aisledash called me a “wedding guru,” which made my entire weekend. I was quoted in an article on Smartmoney.com, and I’m being interviewed for an article in the NY Post tomorrow. And there was an entire article based on iDo in the NY Daily News!

If you’d like to see what all the fuss is about — or you already own one copy of my book and you’d like one for a friend — tell me in the comments what you think I should call my next wedding planning book. Be as silly or serious as you want to be — there’s no guarantee I’ll ever cop your title, but you never know!

At noon EST on Wednesday, June 25, I’ll use a random number generator to pick the lucky commenter who will win an autographed copy of iDo.

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