We fill our nonfiction collections with books for cooks, crafters, builders, hunters, and more, but sometimes brides get left at the altar of collection development. Here are five titles to spruce up your wedding collection: some are old, most are new, and one is blue.
- The Wedding Dress: 300 Years of Bridal Fashions by Edwina Ehrman (V&A).
This decadent bridal book is actually an exhibition catalog to the new show opening at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London this May–March 2015. Ehrman traces the history of the wedding dress since 1700 and explores the social construction of weddings. Supported by V&A’s immense fashion and object collection, it provides brides with inspiration as well as intriguing history. The wedding dress is having a bit of a publishing moment right now so you might also want to consider Eleanor Thompson’s The Wedding Dress: The 50 Designs That Changed the Course of Bridal Fashion (Prestel), a lavish book focused on key dresses that transformed thinking about what to wear on the big day.
- The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography by Kathryn Hamm & Thea Dodds (Amphoto: Crown).
The photos of a wedding and engagement are just as dream-over-and-obsess-about-worthy as what to wear, what to serve, and what to carry. This new guide helps same-sex couples and photographers (and for that matter straight couples looking for new ideas) find poses and approaches that perfectly capture the memories of the day.
- A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration by Meg Keene (Da Capo: Perseus).
In this sane and comprehensive guide Keene guides partners through every step of marriage, from announcements to thank-you notes—all with a decidedly realistic stance. This 2011 classic is a must-buy if not already owned. Also make sure you have Angela Kear’s The Busy Brides Bible for Planning a Fabulous Wedding Without the Expensive Cost of a Wedding Planner (Llumina), another classic of the smart and doable wedding genre.
- Style Me Pretty Weddings: Inspiration and Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration by Abby Larson (Potter Style: Crown).
If you didn’t pick up Larson’s debut title in 2012, buy it now. The author’s blog, stylemepretty.com, is one of the top wedding sites, and her taste guides millions. Photo rich and lush, her book has a hipster, chic feel and combines wedding examples with advice and do-it-yourself projects.
- Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, 6th ed. by Anna & Lizzie Post (Morrow).
Just recently revised, this exhaustive reference on wedding planning and rules serves as a core standard for couples navigating invitation lists, seating arrangements, gifts, and parties. For all soon-to-be marrieds who care about the standard rules, this is the go-to source. Since the fifth edition was published in 2005, it is time to update.