The Knot's Complete Guide to Weddings in the Real World: The Ultimate Source of Ideas, Advice and Relief for the Bride and Groom and Those Who Love Them

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Planning for the big day? Here are the most up-to-date answers to all your questions in the first book from the editors of The Knot, the largest online wedding resource.

Overwhelmed by the countless questions and details that planning your wedding entails? Don't despair! The Knot's Complete Guide to Weddings helps you make all the critical decisions and takes you ...
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Overview

Planning for the big day? Here are the most up-to-date answers to all your questions in the first book from the editors of The Knot, the largest online wedding resource.

Overwhelmed by the countless questions and details that planning your wedding entails? Don't despair! The Knot's Complete Guide to Weddings helps you make all the critical decisions and takes you step-by-step from your engagement to the big day, from the reception to the honeymoon. Inside you'll find checklists, worksheets, true tales, insider advice, and in-depth sections on:

  • How to personalize your wedding
  • Updated wedding etiquette
  • Creating a realistic budget
  • Choosing a great location
  • Shopping for The Perfect Dress
  • Tips for working with florists, caterers, officiants, and others
  • Sneaky cost-trimming tricks
  • Invitation wording
  • Ethnic wedding customs
  • Vows and ceremony details

    Plus: Coping with stressful family situations, dealing with interfaith issues, and maintaining strength, sanity, and romance through it all.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
From the editors of The Knot, the informative and hugely popular web site, comes a comprehensive guide covering all aspects of your wedding. This hefty volume is a one-stop-shop for what you need to know, from the engagement through your honeymoon.
Library Journal
These three books offer all the up-to-date advice on weddings that this year's crop of couples might need. Going to the Chapel, compiled by the editors of Signature Bride magazine, is aimed at black couples and includes ways to add African elements to a "traditional" wedding or to use authentic African customs throughout. Included are Yoruba and Christian Nigerian suggestions as well as Muslim practices. One of the most popular sites on the World Wide Web is theknot.com, which serves over 250,000 visitors per month. Its editorial staff has put together a print guidebook to all the nuances of wedding and honeymoon planning. This guide includes everything that Emily Post ever mentioned but will be more appealing to the cybergeneration. McCoy concentrates on getting the most for your wedding dollar. Her book is concise and well organized, with worksheets, resource lists, and even wedding cake recipes. Her chapter on selecting diamonds is outstanding. Any of these titles will be a good choice for public libraries. Those serving a large, diverse population will want them all. Those that can only manage one or two will have to consider their current collections and the needs of their particular clientele.--Susan B. Hagloch, Tuscarawas Cty. P.L., New Philadelphia, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780767902465
  • Publisher: Broadway Books
  • Publication date: 12/29/1998
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Carley Roney is the founder and editor-in-chief of theknot, the most comprehensive and up-to-date information center on weddings that exists today.  Since 1996, Carley has been gathering ideas and giving advice to 250,000 couples a month, making The Knot the most popular destination for brides and grooms in cyberspace.  Its new wedding magazine, The Knot, will debut in the fall of 1999, followed by a television series.
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Read an Excerpt

Foreword

When we launched The Knot Web site in 1996, we just knew there were people out there like us--modern, smart, in-love couples looking for an up-to-date, stylish, and real-world approach to planning their weddings. Within a year we had a huge online following of hundreds of thousands of to-be-weds from all over the country. Word spread fast. It seems that couples simply can't find anything out there that matches The Knot's tell-it-like-it-is advice, fresh ideas, practical etiquette, and stress-relieving sanity. (Besides that, we are the only real resource out there for both the bride and groom.)

We're thrilled to be able to put in print the best of The Knot's opinions, exhaustive databases of information, and real people's experiences. You simply can't beat the completeness and portability of a book--never mind the fact you can snuggle down into bed with it (together).

Before you dig in, take a look at the table of contents. We've structured things in (sort of) chronological order. But don't think you have to sit down and read this book from start to finish. At the opening of each chapter you'll see what's covered. Scan and look for the headlines that address your current issues.

Since we know planning a wedding can be kind of intimidating, we've tried to make this book as user-friendly as possible. The sidebars offer easy nuggets of important info on saving money, resources, hot ideas, and more. If you're overwhelmed and don't have the vaguest idea where to begin, check out the "To Do" list in Appendix A. It tells you what to worry about when and tells you which chapters in this book will guide you through eachto-do.

This is a working book, not a bible. Feel free to mark things, tear out pages, dog-ear to your heart's content. There's a fun and fact-filled resource section in the back of the book with phone numbers, resources, checklists, and worksheets. Make it your own.

Finally, as far as we're concerned, there's only one thing that really matters: that you have the wedding you want, not a nervous breakdown. Don't get too caught up in the details. Your wedding will be mesmerizing--no matter how big or small the budget, no matter how much or how little time you can devote to making it happen. So whether your wedding is an over-the-top 400-person formal religious affair or an intimate backyard barbeque after eloping, you're in the right place. Read up. Make decisions. Trust your judgment. Let go. Enjoy.
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Table of Contents

Contents


FOREWORD

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Part I: DECISIONS, DECISIONS

1. THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
Engagement Length
Spilling the Beans
Engagement Parties
Engagement Announcements
Engaged Ups and Downs
Buying the Ring

2. ENVISIONING THE EVENT
Setting Your Priorities
Divining a Date and Time
Settling on Size
Finding a Site
Selecting a Wedding Style
Wedding Consultants

3. TAKING IT PERSONALLY
Using the Season
Adding Ethnic Traditions
Free-Style Weddings
Playing Up Your Passions

4. BUDGET AND BUSINESS
Setting Your Budget
Who's Paying and How?
Budgeting Basics
Working with Wedding Professionals

5. ATTENDANTS AND GUESTS
Attendants and Their Roles
Lining Up the Little Ones
Fitting In the Folks
Roles for Other Important People
Greeting Those Guests

6. PREWEDDING PARTIES
Showers
Bachelor/ette Bashes
The Rehearsal Dinner
The Parties You Throw

7. STANDING ON CEREMONY
Religious vs. Civil Ceremonies
Finding Your Officiant
Ceremony Basics
Ceremonies with Personal Style
Religious Ceremony Specifics
Interfaith Ceremonies
Second Weddings
Commitment Ceremonies

8. A ROUSING RECEPTION
What Happens When
The Receiving Line
Seating Your Guests
Reception Rituals

Part II: DETAILS, DETAILS

9. THE PAPER TRAIL
Printing Techniques
Invitation Basics
Invitation Wording
Addressing the Envelopes
Selecting a Stationer
Other Wedding Stationery

10. LOCATION, LOCATION
Starting Your Search
What to Look For
Meeting with Managers
Great Wedding Places

11.THE GOWN
Bridalwear 101
Where to Get the Gown
Going Shopping
The Search Is Over
Dressing It Up: Accessories
Preserving Your Dress

12. TUXES AND DRESSES
Men's Formalwear 101
Dressing the Bridesmaids
Clothing Your Wedding Kids
Fashion Tips for Mom and Pop

13. THE FOOD CHAIN
Deciding Which Meal to Serve
Choosing a Caterer
Talking to Your Caterer
Making the Menu Memorable
Hot Menus from Cool Chefs
Serving Drinks
Cut to the Cake

14. FLOWER POWER
Which Blooms to Use?
Ceremony Flowers
Reception Flowers
Finding a Fabulous Florist
Other Decorations

15. PICTURE THIS
Photography:
Focusing On a Style
Hiring a Hot Shot
Photo Types and Twists
Videography:
Zooming In on a Genre
Hiring a Video Pro

16. FACE THE MUSIC
Ceremony Music:
Music-Deserving Moments
Ceremony Music Options
Hiring Your Music Makers
Reception Music:
Band vs. DJ
Hiring Your Reception Entertainers
Getting Everyone Groovin'

17. GIVING AND GETTING
Signing Up for Stuff: Registering
Gift-Getting Dos and Don'ts
Expressing Your Gratitude

Part III: STICKY SUBJECTS

18. LOVE PATROL
Fending Off Your Family
Managing Money Madness
Passion Patrol
Religious Rifts
The Challenge of Change
Fighting Right
Cures for Cold Feet

19. COMBINING CULTURES
Differences and Your Relationship
Different Worlds, One Address
Compromise 101
Family Friction
Fair-Weather Friends

20. IN-LAWS AND OUTLAWS
Dealing with Your Parents
Divorced Dilemmas
Interacting with the In-Laws
Why Friends Freak Out

Part IV: THE MAIN EVENT

21. THE COUNTDOWN
Unfinished Wedding Business
Getting Gorgeous
It's All in the Timing
Last-Minute Craziness
Having a Ball

22. THE BIG NIGHT
Leaving the Wedding
Where to Next?
Let the Games Begin
The Big Morning After

Part V: THE GREAT ESCAPE

23. HONEYMOON HIGHWAY
The Best Beaches
Adrenaline Adventures
Urban Escapes
Head Trips
Exotica
Classic Cruises

24. HONEYMOON HELPER
Making Some Decisions
Booking Your Trip
Getting Ready to Go
Tips from Experienced Travelers
Advice for a Harmonious Honeymoon

Part VI: REENTRY

25. BACK TO THE FUTURE
Adjusting to Newlywed Life
Getting Your Affairs in Order
Living Happily Ever After

APPENDIX A: CHECKLISTS AND WORKSHEETS
Your To-Do List
Your Big-Day Budget
Your Phone Book
Your Wedding-Day Contact List
Bridesmaids' Measurements

APPENDIX B: RESOURCES
Your Wedding Clothes
For Your Wedding
For Your Honeymoon

INDEX
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Interviews & Essays

On Friday, January 22nd, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Carley Roney to discuss THE KNOT'S COMPLETE GUIDE TO WEDDINGS IN THE REAL WORLD.


Moderator: Wedding bells are ringing all over the place, Carley Roney! We are brimming with questions about THE KNOT'S COMPLETE GUIDE TO WEDDINGS IN THE REAL WORLD. Are you ready to begin?

Carley Roney: Hi, and thanks for having me, barnesandnoble.com! I'm excited to talk about TheKnot.com's new book.


Dianna Noonan from West Windsor, NJ: Help me! My fiancé is leaving everything up to me in planning the wedding. How can I get him more involved?

Carley Roney: You need to go to a resource that makes your fiancé feel more like being involved, that is one of the reasons the Knot web site is so popular -- it speaks to brides and grooms. So does our book. Then give him tasks he would be into -- picking the band, deciding on the cocktails to be served, et cetera. Once he is in there, he'll get more into it. (You'd be surprised how many grooms do these days.)


Fauna from Lewisburg, PA: Does your book only cover the wedding itself, or is there information about the honeymoon, the engagement, showers, et cetera?

Carley Roney: The Knot book covers everything, from how to buy an engagement ring to the top honeymoon destinations to how to deal with each other's annoying habits (or families). Of course, weddings A to Z are covered in complete detail and with lots of humor and real-world advice.


Jenna from Durham, NC: My fiancé and I want to be married in a private ceremony, then have the bulk of our friends and family to a party later that night. My mother says people will feel excluded...but we just don't want 200 people watching us! What do you think?

Carley Roney: Many couples these days are choosing this very intimate option for their ceremony. It also means you can have the ceremony in an intimate location and then have everyone who wants come to the reception, budget permitting. You should really explain to your mom how you feel about it -- she should understand your desire to be more private. These are your vows and your ceremony -- you need to feel comfortable about how you handle it.


Michael from Salt Lake City, UT: Hello, Mrs. Roney! I am planning on proposing to my girlfriend a week from today. She wants to have a wedding date on August 29th. That leaves us exactly seven months to plan. Is that enough time? Will we be too stressed out trying to get it done in seven months?

Carley Roney: Seven months is plenty of time to plan a wedding. In some ways you'll be better off -- less time to agonize over every little detail! Focus on what's most important to you guys and be flexible about the rest of your decisions. (P.S. I planned mine in three -- and it was a great time!)


Bridget from New Castle, DE: If the bride's family is paying for the reception, is it wrong for them to allot a lesser number of guests to the groom's family? As the bride, I'm afraid my mother is being rude.

Carley Roney: Bridget, unfortunately, your mom is right rule-wise. But these days I am kind of against that whole setup. I think that everyone -- the bride's family and the groom's family and the couple themselves -- should contribute. That way everyone can have the people most important to them there. It doesn't start everything off on the right foot if one side of the family feels slighted to start with. Ask your groom if his parents feel bad about it, and then address it if it is an issue. If not, don't worry about it!


Jessica from New Jersey: I'm so excited to order your book, Carley. It looks terrific. Do you have anything in there about interfaith weddings?

Carley Roney: So many people are having interfaith weddings these days, how could I ignore it? Also covered are interethnic weddings, second weddings, special weddings -- pretty much anything and everything weddingwise! At TheKnot.com we don't believe in cookie-cutter weddings -- we embrace them all.


Meredith Mahoney from New York, NY: Everyone told me a New York wedding would be costly, but when my florist estimate came in at $7,500, I fell over. I don't think I'm asking for anything extravagant. How can I negotiate with the florist to get enough flowers but without mortgaging a house I don't yet have?

Carley Roney: Meredith, go to your florist and tell them what the budget you have is. If they cannot do the job inside your budget, find a new florist. They should know creative ways to make you great flowers for whatever money you have, and if they don't, they aren't working hard enough to please you, and you shouldn't work with them anyway. Consider more simple arrangements that will take less time to create, more greenery (which is really trendy these days), and seasonal flowers.


Arlene from California: A second marriage. Can I wear white?

Carley Roney: Yes, Arlene, you can wear whatever your little heart desires. These days, very few people are virgins when they get married, so don't feel like you are trying to fool anyone!


Julia from Soho: Carley, I love your book! It is so comprehensive and helpful, not to mention totally fun to read! Where did you get all the great info for the book?

Carley Roney: TheKnot.com is the No. 1 wedding web site. We've been around since '96 talking to over 250,000 brides a month -- at this point we know just about any question or concern a couple could have when planning their wedding. We put the "best of" plus a lot of great extra tips, tricks, and real-world stories into this book so that online and offline couples could get all of this up-to-date advice.


Alison Burnbaum from New York: I've seen your advice on TheKnot.com. Where do you get your answers from? How do you know what the right answer is?

Carley Roney: I have friends in the "biz," shall we say. I know a lot of answers, but if I don't, I call up the industry's top experts and ask them their tips and tricks. I couldn't possibly keep up on the demand myself!


Jane from NYC: With regard to selecting attendants.... I adore my fiancé's cousin, and I would love to ask her to be a bridesmaid; however, I have a cousin who I have only seen once in the last six years (although I saw her regularly when we were younger). Would it be horrible to ask my fiancé's cousin and not my own?

Carley Roney: Hey, Jane, I swear, selecting attendants is like a minefield -- there is always some complicating factor! Anyway, my advice is, select those you love and who are closest to you. I think people overestimate how much people want to be in other people's wedding parties anyway. Unless they are really close to you, I wouldn't do it -- it can be an extra burden for both of you!


Marvi from Berkeley: Could this book apply to gay or lesbian "commitment ceremonies"?

Carley Roney: You bet! Love is love. We try to give advice that applies to all celebrations of committment -- weddings, second marriages, gay and lesbian ceremonies, vow renewal, et cetera. We do have special information on what religions are gay-friendly and other details that apply only to the gay and lesbian communities.


Lisa Hampel from Decatur, GA: My fiancé and I are not at all religious. We'd like to have a wedding ceremony but don't know who should preside over it. We'd like it to be personal -- not some random justice of the peace.

Carley Roney: In the Knot book, we address that issue, because a lot of couples feel just like you do. There are suggestions of people who can preside as well as a way to have someone important to you get certified to preside. Or you can have a friend preside and have a judge stand by just for that legal part. (I have seen that quite a few times -- it works great). Good luck!


Amanda "Tree-lover" Lyons from Portland, OR: I'm disgusted by how much paper is wasted on wedding invitations (envelope inside envelope with tissue overlay, et cetera). Do you know where I can find some tips on a more waste-free approach to planning my wedding?

Carley Roney: Recently we had an eco-wedding week on the Knot to address this issue across the board! Recycled paper is great; postcard response cards are all the rage; and single sheet invites can be very classy and cool. For more tips on eco-friendly weddings, consult the book, page 127.


Glorenz from New York, NY: In booking a reception site, I was told the gratuities for all staff were included in the per person charge. Last week I was told that it was customary to tip the maître d' an extra 5 percent on the total bill. Is this considered a gratuity outside of the customary ones?

Carley Roney: In the Knot book, we have a complete tipping guide, since it is all so confusing! Everyone always has questions about tipping. Two bits of advice: 1) Don't tip above what is on the bill unless the person has done a great job; 2) ask the hotel manager what is customary. FYI, to me it seems like you are getting off cheap, since some expect up to 15-20 percent!


Jennifer from Brooklyn: Do you think a receiving line is absolutely necessary?

Carley Roney: To me it makes sense. If you have lots of people, you want to make sure you greet them all -- it is the good hostess thing to do. If you have under 50 people at your wedding and you are sure you will have time to talk to them all, then it may be unnecessary, but it is also a good way for your parents to feel honored and meet everyone. For more receiving line tips and how-tos: pages 101-102!


MPaulette from New York: I bought a gown at a sample sale, and it needs cleaning before I can wear it. Three cleaners "specializing in wedding gowns" quoted prices of $400-$475. Do I really need a specialty cleaner? The local cleaners will do it for $85. The gown only cost $500, although it is silk organza from a famous designer.

Carley Roney: Wowza! That seems like too much money to me! The whole "specializing in wedding dresses" thing can be a scam. What you really need is a cleaner that you, the Better Business Bureau, and quite a few other people trust. I got mine, that was my mom's, cleaned at a regular dry cleaner -- it was fine, and it was 25-year-old silk satin!


Julianne Janes from Austin, TX: I love your web site, TheKnot.com! It has been so, so helpful these past few months. I'm wondering, before I place my order, how is your book different from your web site?

Carley Roney: Good question! For starters, it's portable! But more than that, since it is a book, we really could get down to the nitty-gritty on things. You'll find great resource listings, worksheets, tons of new tips, new real-couple stories, and more expert advice. Of course, our wonderful interactive tools and our cool gift registry couldn't fit in there, so you'll still need to find those at TheKnot.com!


Becky from Midland, TX: What makes this guide different from all the other wedding guides out there?

Carley Roney: I promise you, this is the most up-to-date, most realistic, and most fun guide you will find to planning a wedding -- never mind that it is for the couple, not just the bride! I read all of those books out there when I was planning my wedding, and they either wanted me to have a million-dollar stress-filled wedding or a cheapo no-frills wedding. I wanted a fresh, personal, fun, and elegant wedding that wouldn't bankrupt me -- so that's why we started the Knot!


Wendy from NYC: Do I need to invite my boss to my wedding? Is that a courtesy that you should extend? I'm a bit overwhelmed about which coworkers to invite as well.... Thanks for taking my question.

Carley Roney: It depends on how close you are to them, Wendy. I have been invited to lots of my employees' weddings, but not all of them. If you can afford it, go for it. If it means cutting out a closer friend, forget it. Budget is always the best excuse, because everyone understands money constraints. Just make sure to mention that you would have liked to have had them there!


Rhonda from Oakland, CA: Carley, my boyfriend and I are planning (and paying for) our own wedding. How do I word the invitation (without offending his parents or mine)? It seems really tricky....

Carley Roney: Rhonda, you are not alone. The biggest trend I see in weddings is that couples are paying themselves. We address every kind of invitation wording in the book on pages 115-119. There are a lot of options, but here is the standard: Bride's name and groom's name request the honor of your presence at their marriage, date.... If you want to include your parents, add "together with their parents" on the line after the groom's name. Some other creative wording options are in the book! Best of luck!


Jay from Little Rock: My sister is getting married in February. We are identical twins and best friends. Jenny (my sister) has asked me to be her "maid of honor" in her wedding party. She told me that the maid is a representation of friendship and loyalty, and it is an honor to be asked. The problem is this, Carley. I am a guy, and I have no idea what goes on at wedding showers, bachelorette parties, et cetera. We come from a very southern background, and I don't believe a man should be a part of these events. I love her to death and don't want to hurt her feelings, but I am very overwhelmed and don't know where to begin. Will your book have any ideas for my situation? Do you have any advice?

Carley Roney: You should absolutely be her man of honor! Here's why: She asked you. You are her closest friend in the world. How could you not? Besides, everyone is doing this. I promise you, it is not weird or out of the ordinary at all -- untraditional, yes, but strange, no. Ask her to enlist a second maid of honor to help you out -- she can go to the fittings, she can help you organize a bachelorette, et cetera. The book will help you with your tasks, and won't even make you feel strange about it!


Sharon from Colorado Springs: I don't want to hire someone to video our wedding, but my fiancé really wants a professional video. Any tips on trying to find a videographer that's not too intrusive? I just don't want to know he's even there.

Carley Roney: Make sure you hire a professional who gets the way you want it done -- and most importantly, what you do not want him to do. Make strict guidelines on where he can and can't be, and make sure to talk to other past clients so that you can be assured that he is subtle and smart. For the contract points and important questions to ask, go to pages 217-221 in the book!


Moderator: It's been an absolute pleasure hosting you today, Carley Roney. Best of luck with THE KNOT'S COMPLETE GUIDE TO WEDDINGS IN THE REAL WORLD. Any final words of wisdom for the nuptial-inclined?

Carley Roney: Thanks for having me, barnesandnoble.com. The most important advice I can give as the editor in chief of TheKnot.com, who talks to thousands of stressed-out brides and grooms every day: Focus on what is important to you. Don't stress over every little detail. You're planning the biggest and best party of your life -- have fun with it! Buy the book, but then come to TheKnot.com for any unanswered questions -- we'll either tell you where to find it in the book or we'll come to your rescue in real time! Good luck, everyone. Have a blast.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2004

    Great Book...Almost

    This is a great wedding resource, with lots of wedding history and even more good advice on how to keep people's feelings in mind. But it's got a giant caveat: The weddings in here are all five figures and up. It doesn't have much to do with 'weddings in the real world,' frankly--I don't have $4,000 to blow on the catering alone. If you're planning a wedding on a budget, go for 'Weddings from the Heart'--not this book, which is more like 'weddings from your parents' pocketbook.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2001

    Very Helpful Book!!

    As I am planning my wedding, I am finding this book very useful since it has useful checklists and pages for vendor information. The website for the knot is also very useful!! I would recommend this to any bride-to-be or groom-to-be.

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