Book Review: How I Planned Your Wedding


Susan Wiggs and Elizabeth Wiggs Maas at Third Place Books

Buy.  This.  Book.

How I Planned Your Wedding:  The All-True Story of a Mother and Daughter Surviving the Happiest Day of Their Lives by Susan Wiggs and Elizabeth Wiggs Maas is fab-u-lous.

When I got married in 1969, mothers and brides were on their own.  Weddings cost less than a substantial down-payment on a house.  My own mother gave me free rein because she couldn’t be bothered with pesky details.

Susan Wiggs is a different kind of mother, and Elizabeth Wiggs is blessed to be a very cherished daughter and grand-daughter.  When I read this book, I realized that Susan’s romance novels are superb because she invests heavily in unconditional love.  As a best-selling author, it would be easy for her to write checks.  But, she makes a greater investment:  herself.

Four Generations of Wiggs Women courtesy of Susan Wiggs

. . .my mother’s heroines are smart, independent and usually pretty sassy, and

second, we Wiggs women are boisterous and outspoken and

don’t need no stinkin’ men to complete us.

Elizabeth Wiggs Maas

Generations of Love

The wedding industry focuses on the pomp and circumstance of the Big Day.  Little attention is paid to the most important decision:  a wise choice in our life partner.  The book is laced with nuggets of wisdom about finding someone who brings sizzle, passion, character, and solid values into our lives.

Yes, it is a fantastic guide on how to plan a wedding.  But, it is an even better guide on how to build a foundation for an enduring happy and passionate marriage.

Elizabeth’s flair for writing is evident from her first words:

I was born to be a bride. 

. . .that magical [first kiss], the kiss that erased all others. . .The zing of chemistry. . .After growing up under the wing of a bestselling writer, I finally, finally understood what my mom’s books were really about ~ and why they’re so addictive. . .

Susan reflected:

. . .love in all its forms gives life its meaning. . .

A lasting love is the deepest of life’s joys. . .

When you find the love of your life, the puzzle piece that completes you, the one person who gives you that deep sense of joy, then every day is your prettiest day.

. . .he will see your true beauty.  As time goes by, your beauty will only deepen and intensify in his eyes.

First Kiss to Honeymoon

Elizabeth and Dave are the brilliant offspring of highly accomplished people.  Elizabeth is about to receive her MBA from the University of Chicago, and Dave is graduating from Northwestern University’s law school.  I have been following Elizabeth’s blog from its inception.  One of my favorite posts was about how Dave proposed and planned a romantic “engageymoon.”  It is expanded in the book which artfully shares how a groom can be an integral part of the planning process.  I believe this sets the stage for a healthy, equal partnership.

The couple’s budget for the wedding was $20,000:

Dave and I set our priorities.

. . .it’s not a bad thing to make sure you’re on the same page. . .your bond will strengthen as your vision and purpose take shape. . .Dave and I sort of decided how to spend our budget. . .and in the process, we laid the groundwork for future financial decisions. . .

Warning:  the wedding industry. . .exists in order to shake you down. . .easy to get swept into a vortex. . .

Dave and Elizabeth, however, got creative and planned a meaningful ceremony and memorable party.  She bought her beautiful dress at I Do Bridal in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle for $750 after a hilariously recounted trip to a swanky bridal salon.  Elizabeth bought her bridesmaid’s dresses at Target for $34.  They’re gorgeous.

Photo courtesy of Jay Wiggs

Good Taste Events served as wedding planners, and the invitations were created by bridesmaid Aubrey’s letterpress company Atlas & Campbell.  Yvonne Wong was their photographer, and Mitch of Cabfare Productions was videographer.  Jacquellynn at Sorella Salon did Elizabeth’s hair.  Look Cupcake created 600 cupcakes.

On my wedding day, I married my best friend and soul mate.

Our road to the altar was giddy, joyous and, okay, sometimes a little bumpy.

But through it all, guiding, judging, encouraging, snarking and cheering us on, was my mom.

Elizabeth Wiggs Maas

Cheat Sheets

Each chapter ends with a valuable cheat sheet.  Here’s a sample for the Big Day:

. . .something will probably go wrong on your wedding day. . .I tried to convince myself that my day was so well planned-out that everything would go off without a hitch.  .  .nothing ~ will keep you from ending up married to your partner in the end.  Unless you leave him standing at the altar. . .

I wish this book had been written before my own wedding.  Although I’m too cynical to take another trip down the aisle anytime soon, I treasure what Elizabeth and Susan taught me about unconditional love in this book.  I recommend it highly.  You can buy it on-line or at Target.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I wish you all true love.

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