wedding is exciting. But it's also very, very hard work. In order to navigate it, you're going to need to arm yourself with an array of tools to help you stay on track (and sane). Using checklists and apps is a start, but sometimes picking up a good old-fashioned book is the most effective wedding-attack strategy. Ahead we’ve rounded up 24 essential reads that detail-oriented fiancés will want to add to cart now. These bridal guidebooks can help you easily tackle everything from tricky timelines to subtle etiquette and all the other tiny nuts and bolts holding your big day together — plus, there are plenty of glossy picture-filled pages to peruse for added inspiration. Scroll on to find the ultimate planner that fits your wedding style to an organized and effortless T. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
This book is here to remind you and your significant other that planning a wedding should be fun! The secret is choosing to do things the way you want them done, not the way tradition tells you it should be. In addition to information surrounding logistics and aesthetic, this pre-wedding literary tool will also help you navigate tricky opinions, budget conversations, and more.
Bridechilla Wedding Planning Survival Guide, $, available at
Getting to "I do" requires a good deal of
but there's a book for that! This planner includes checklists to organize all kinds of information while helping you keep track of each new idea when it hits. And if you know anything about Erin Condren, it's that she's the queen of the stylized planner — so we could only expect this iteration tailored specifically to your wedding needs is an excellent choice.
Oh Joy! x Erin Condren
Floral Festival Metallic Wedding Planner, $, available at
Erin Condren More
Let the countdown begin! This stunning marbled organizer has an 18-month calendar to help you stay on track as the big day draws near. From fittings to tastings and everything in between, it has a bullet point checklist to make sure you've got all your bases covered for a wedding that'll be a total home run.
Your Perfect Day
Bridal Planning Diary, $, available at
Amazon More Customized Wedding Planner
Personalize your planning process with this customizable organizer. In addition to leaving your own stamp on its covers, discover 8 tabbed sections and 170 printed pages of planning essentials so you're ready for the big day.
Customized Wedding Planner, $, available at
Etsy More The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer
One thing you'll learn very early on in this process is that weddings are
But your budget doesn't have to break you, especially with this resource for planning a dream wedding at a realistic cost. Included are hundreds of practical tips, sample budgets, and creative inspo and alternatives to all the essentials you've been dreaming of.
The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer, $, available at
Scoring a handmade wedding planner is as easy as popping over to this bespoke book shop on Etsy — each of the detailed planners is filled with everything from organization worksheets to inspirational mood boards and more designed to keep you on track and within budget up until the big day.
Luxury wedding planner book, $, available at
Etsy More Story continues
Not only does this book help you plan all the stuff pre- and post-nuptials (because there's also the engagement fête, bachelorette party, and honeymoon to think about!), it also offers plenty of tips to guide you in every step of this journey. There are even storage pockets so you won't lose
Sand & Leaves
Wedding Planner Notebook, $, available at
Martha Stewart's eponymous wedding brand has been around since 1995 — which makes her the bona fide OG of weddings. Her latest book offers the same tasteful aesthetic and practical advice that you'll find in the pages of her magazine, along with 300 full-color photographs, loads of creative ideas, and tips for everything from choosing your color palette to orchestrating the perfect honeymoon sendoff.
In this definitive guide to LGBTQ+ weddings you'll find advice on every aspect of your big day, plus an entire wedding-planning checklist — sans heteronormative generalizations.
Weddings are complex events with many, many moving pieces. Pulling off a fabulous party without a hitch is not the whole story, however — there are awkward guest-list situations, issues with family, and more. This etiquette guide will help reduce your stress around all of these questions.
This is not a
per se, but perhaps even more useful during wedding planning. Erin Condren makes customizable wedding-planning organizers with monthly checklists to keep you on track, plus a place to work out your budget, seating chart, menu, and more. You can make the cover a personal photo collage, add your names and wedding date, or choose from one of the classic designs.
If you don't have an unlimited budget for your wedding (so, like, most of us), run, don't walk to get this book. Meg Keene, who also runs the website
A Practical Wedding
, will completely change the way you think about weddings — this is not an understatement. You may start to think of some of those traditional "musts" as not so traditional or obligatory anymore. Most importantly, it will help you focus on what really matters: how your wedding
, not how it looks.
We suggest buying this as a companion to Meg Keene's
A Practical Wedding
. The unique thing about
A Practical Wedding Planner
is how it actually really gets your wheels turning. Not only does it provide useful tips and advice, but it also has many interactive lists and graphs throughout, which allow you to focus on what you really want. For example, in the first chapter you'll go through and circle all the things that are important to you, and create a wedding mission statement. And who doesn't love a good pie chart?!
Is mercury retrograde just in time for your big day?
Never Throw Rice At a Pisces
is the astrology lover’s guide to wedding planning. In it, astrologer Stacey Wolf offers insights about time of year, vows, and honeymoon planning, all geared toward your specific sign. We don't know if it's truly scientific, but we love this one anyway.
If you're not a poufy-white-dress, throw-the-bouquet, everything-matchy-matchy type of bride, read this book. In it, author Ariel Meadow Stallings chronicles how she got fed up with traditional weddings and decided to become the OG offbeat bride. There are also tons of helpful tips on budgeting, conflict mediation, and more.
Two words: Pretty pictures. Abby Larson, the founder of popular site
Style Me Pretty
, offers gorgeous inspiration for all types of weddings: classic, modern, rustic... You can pore over tons of real weddings full of unique, thoughtful personal touches and get ideas for days.
Ah, here it is, the OG of wedding-planning books from The Knot. It has everything: planning and budget worksheets, detailed timelines, money-saving tips, and plenty of gorgeous visual inspiration.
celebrity wedding planner in the country, Mindy Weiss offers this comprehensive guide to every single — and we mean, every single — aspect of planning your nuptials. For the hyper-organized (or those who aspire to be), she offers checklists galore and lists all the questions you need to ask each vendor. Plus, there's a budget worksheet that doesn't leave out one detail.
Yes, the DIY "moment" in weddings is over, but plenty of couples still incorporate homemade elements into their celebrations. This book is full of tutorials for everything from vintage-map votive candles to hand-sewn programs to fill your wedding with vintage charm.
Written by the creator of the popular same-sex-wedding website
, Laura Leigh Abby, this book is "a wedding guide for the bride who exudes youth and style no matter what her age, who is inspired by innovation, and who wants to marry the woman of her dreams and do it her way. She is a visionary who is up to the task of blending tradition and rebellion, but she is looking for some practical wedding-planning advice." Abby shares her own experiences and advice on everything from picking vendors to wording the invites — and she's not afraid to break the traditional rules.
Bridesmaids need love, too! If it's your first time bridesmaiding and you need a little hand-holding in the form of a book, this is a great guide to throwing all the pre-wedding parties, staying within your budget, and generally being fabulous.
If you can't bear to see another twine-tied invitation — or, God forbid, a
— this book of modern style ideas is for you. Far from the usual rustic-romantic Pinterest fare, it serves up a feast for the eyes: Pick from eight vibrant color palettes, and pore over the chicest photos in your preferred hues.
Sometimes you need a good, old-fashioned workbook to keep everything organized when wedding-planning. In this 100-plus-page organizer, you can record details about your budget, parties, attire, invitations, flowers, music, honeymoon, and more. It even has plastic folders where you can stash your documents, receipts, samples, and more.
This book was originally published in 1994 — when same-sex marriage was not yet legal and symbolic commitment ceremonies were the norm — but has gone through a few editions. Tess Ayers and Paul Brown cover trends, fashion tips, and offer advice on how to deal with difficult family members. They touch on topics most bridal magazines don't, like how two brides can match their wedding dresses and how to find LGBTQ-friendly businesses.
This isn't your typical wedding-planning book, but then again, Jamie Lee isn't your typical bride. The comedian and star of MTV's
explores the more surreal aspects of wedding planning and approaches everything with an irreverent sense of humor. If you, like Lee, are an unconventional bride-to-be stuck in a traditional world, you might very well relate — and use her practical, no-nonsense advice.
Loverly is an excellent resource for all things wedding-related, so it makes sense that its book would be just as useful. The site's editors have broken down the process into three major parts (the big picture, logistics, and the big day), with easily digestible tidbits and advice that will help keep everything in check. This book is full of unexpected advice you won’t find in a typical planning tome — paired with inspiring real-weddings images.
More The Bride's Essential Wedding Planner
is a quick and easy guide to every part of your big day. We love the DIY, money-saving approach the book takes, and it also has fun compartments to house vendor business cards and make notes. Think of it as your very own customized workbook.
This handy, pocket-sized book is one you can easily carry around with you on the go. Don't be fooled by its smallness; the pages are filled to the brim with easy-to-understand checklists, big-picture queries, and day-of logistics. It’s got everything you need — and nothing you don't.
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