Staying Sane When You're Planning Your Wedding by Pam Brodowsky and Evelyn Fazio is a collection of loosely connected short anecdotes, submitted by ‘real people’
who’ve been through these experiences. It’s not so much of a how-to book, but rather a
"hope you don’t."
Hope you don’t get stuck waiting in an
un-air-conditioned church; hope you don’t have a father-in-law who breaks his leg a few days before the wedding;
hope you don’t hire the wrong photographer; hope you don’t have to be maid of honor to the bride
As someone currently caught up in the bridal wave, I had high hopes for this book but
came away disappointed.
Because the stories are written by many different people, the quality of the writing varies. The editors could have done a better job of integrating the stories, creating a more cohesive text. Also, many of these tales are not the
"horror" stories that they are made out to be: the diabetic bride passing out at her reception has a significant problem; the bride whose wedding cake got a little mussed up in the back, not so much. Perhaps many brides do lose their sense of perspective when planning their wedding, but if the purpose of the book is to keep them on task, I’m afraid it doesn’t quite make it. Still, it’s an entertaining read that incorporates some realistic reminders that there are more important elements to your wedding day than who wears what color shoes, or if you’re putting live fish in the centerpieces.
The book aims for a humorous tone, but with few stellar exemptions – “Swept Away,” about a mature bride who tries her best to please everyone; “Preteen Witch in the Wedding,” about a snotty ten-year-old who tries to hijack the festivities (but falls short); “Bridal Net,” about the pitfalls of online searching – many of the stories are more bland than bold. And a few less stellar examples promote the not-so-innocent side of brides,
instead showcasing brides who manipulate their way into their "perfect day."
The editors’ contributions enhance the book, however, with survival hints and sanity quizzes sprinkled throughout. The survival hints at the end of each chapter may be little more than applied common sense, but judging from the stories in this book and the plethora of “bad bride” reality shows like
Bridezillas, reminders of common sense are absolutely necessary. The book does include a few good solutions
- assigned seating to avoid family feuds, for example – that may help those in the midst of wedding planning, and the authors attempt to cover most of the situations that real modern brides may find themselves in, so there’s a real diversity to the selections. Everything from differing cultures to destination weddings, from being a second-time bride to dealing with difficult bridesmaids is discussed
Staying Sane When You're Planning Your Wedding is part of the
"Staying Sane" series, which includes Staying Sane When Your Family Comes to Visit and
Staying Sane When You’re Dieting, all written in a similar vein, with contributions from people who have
"been there, done that." Unfortunately, the result, in this case, is a book that’s realistic but not overly funny.
Although there are elements to recommend it – the survival tips, particularly - there are hundreds of books out there for brides-to-be, and I’m not sure that I’d add this one to my keeper shelf.