As we head into 2017, I wanted to share some of my favorite wedding planning books and workbooks with you. These are not your average wedding planning books full of $100,000 budget weddings. They show you how to break the “rules”, have a little fun and help make the planning process more enjoyable.

The best wedding planning books for 2017A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration

by Meg Keene

Purchase: Paperback | Kindle

A Practical Wedding helps you create the wedding you want—without going broke or crazy in the process. After all, what really matters on your wedding day, what you’ll remember ‘til you’re old and gray, is not so much how it looked as how it felt. In this refreshing guide, expert Meg Keene shares her secrets to planning a beautiful celebration that reflects your taste and your relationship. You’ll discover:

  • The real purpose of engagement (hint: it’s not just about the planning)
  • How to pinpoint what matters most to you and your partner
  • DIY-ing your wedding: brilliant or crazy?
  • Affording a wedding without having to cut your guest list
  • How to communicate decisions with your family
  • Why that color-coded spreadsheet is actually worth it

Wedding Zen can be yours. Meg walks you through everything from choosing a venue to writing vows, complete with stories and advice from women who have been in the trenches, the Team Practical brides. So here’s to the joyful wedding, the sensible wedding, the unbelievably fun wedding! A Practical Wedding is your complete guide to getting married with grace.

Why I love this book: I’m a HUGE fan of the Practical Wedding blog and this book started it all. Of all the wedding planning books out there, this one might be my all-time favorite.

The best wedding planning books for 2017Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides

by Ariel Meadow Stallings

Purchase: Paperback | Kindle

Unenthused by a white wedding gown and bored by the hoopla of the Hollywood-style reception, Ariel Meadow Stallings found herself absolutely exhausted with the nuances of traditional nuptials . . . so she chose to take a walk off the beaten aisle. In this updated edition of Offbeat Bride, Stallings humorously recounts the story of the original offbeat wedding—hers—and shares anecdotes and advice from dozens of other nontraditional couples. She also includes a chapter on budget weddings in today’s weak economy, along with sidebars, tips, tricks, and planner encouragement to help you figure out your special day. What results is a combination of hilarious wedding stories and tons of helpful how-tos—a perfect mash-up of memoir and handbook.

At once practical and enjoyable, Offbeat Bride validates choosing the funky, different, and offbeat over the traditional, and leads couples through the planning process—from unique ideas on how to announce their engagement all the way to answering the question, “So, how’s married life?” Stallings is the ultimate guide to the alternative wedding of your dreams, and with Offbeat Bride, she brings you a book that serves both as an encouragement and celebration of aisles less traveled.

Why I love this book: Much like A Practical Wedding, the Offbeat Bride also has an online empire that I love and share articles from often. As far as wedding planning books go, this is perfect if you’re looking for something more alternative and untraditional.

The best wedding planning books for 2017Weddiculous: An Unfiltered Guide to Being a Bride

by Jamie Lee

Purchase: Paperback | Kindle

In this irreverent wedding guide, MTV’s wedding planning guru and star of Girl Code, comedian and bride-to-be Jamie Lee, offers practical advice and hilarious insights on how to stay sane while planning your “big day.”

Weddings. What was once a beautiful celebration of a couple coming together for a lifetime of happiness has become a bit ridiculous, complete with the whimsical monogrammed mason jars and unconventional photo shoots. The Epic task of creating that special event can be nightmarish—a dizzying maze of minutiae and seemingly endless choices that might tempt you to say yes to a quickie drive-through chapel in Vegas.

But weddings don’t have to be stressful. You don’t have to give in to the crazy—or give up completely. Famous funny gal Jamie Lee learned much more than she counted on pulling together her own wedding, and in Weddiculous she shares her first-hand experiences and hilarious hard-won insights with every girl who just said “yes.”

Jamie gives you the real low-down, puts the madness into perspective, and walks you through the process step by step in a calm, realistic, and highly entertaining way. Weddiculous includes helpful checklists, timelines, and suggestions on everything from what questions to ask vendors to how to handle difficult bridesmaids to what’s worth the extra cost (and more importantly, what’s not). Throughout, Jamie provides guidance on when you should trust your gut and when you need to listen to others.

What Amy Sedaris has done for hospitality and crafting, Jamie Lee now does for weddings. Weddiculous will help remind you what’s really important about your wedding day: it’s just the first day in a long and happy marriage.

Why I love this book: This book is the ROFL/LMAO of wedding planning books. It’s realistic, practical and hilarious. AND, it just came out at the end of 2016. I first heard about this book from a podcast episode of My Favorite Murder (one of my fave non-wedding podcasts). 

The best wedding planning books for 2017AstroWed: The Universe’s Most Kickass Wedding Planning Book

by Stacey Dyer

Purchase: Workbook

The AstroWed framework is the key to wedding-planning sanity. It’s ready to help you with the HOW behind every wedding to-do, not just the WHAT.

Inside this groom-, bride-, and LGBTQ-friendly workbook you’ll learn:

  • How and why to cross out all the to-dos that don’t matter to you
  • Make stress-free decisions when it comes to your weddin
  • How to use the Priority Galaxy
  • Fend off evil brain-sucking ’Zillas
  • Why there’s a bird in a space helmet yelling, “Remember: THIS IS YOUR WEDDING!”

You’ll also find:

  • Timeline-based clusters of worksheets
  • Blank worksheets for you and your vendors, to help truly make this wedding YOURS

What AstroWed doesn’t offer, and why it’s like a mullet: It doesn’t have fluff or filler, nor will it throw so many to-dos at you that you don’t know where to start. AstroWed is streamlined, focused, and simple to use. Think of this workbook like a friendly wedding-planning mullet: How-to-use-this-framework in the front (business), worksheets in the back (party!).

Why I love this book: Unlike the other wedding planning books, this sucker is a workbook. If you’re not into the frills and sequins, this book will guide you through without wanting to gag. Stacey was kind enough to send me a copy when it first released and I love recommending it to my clients!

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