What can readers expect from Stuff Every Bride Should Know?

Readers can expect a no-stone-unturned guide to planning a wedding. I didn't just suggest ways to find the right officiant; I explain a surefire way to make sure that the officiant is delivering the readings the way you want and not mispronouncing your names. I don't simply identify how to find a talented caterer; I identify an independent way to verify that theirs is a safe and clean establishment worthy of being booked. The wedding industry is full of vendors that have delivered services to dozens of weddings, but it's also full of vendors that haven't. The objective questions I offer for nearly every vendor category will help to ensure that a bride knows what kind of talent she's hiring and what type of wedding she's planning -- down to the favors.

Stuff Every Bride Should Know

Stuff Every Bride Should Know

Why did you feel that brides-to-be needed a book such as this before getting married?

As a recent bride myself (September 2013), I found that it was enough to work full time, keep a house clean and the kitties fed, and plan a wedding without wading through long, wordy guides to doing it. Stuff Every Bride Should Know is a dense, yet short, read full of the things I felt were most important: questions any bride needs to know to ask herself when picking the long line of things a wedding entails and questions she needs to ask potential vendors and venues.

Which fact surprised you the most when you were researching the book?

There are so many. I'll offer a few I never thought about before my research and my own wedding:

Rings should be purchased with thought given to how a person uses his or her hands. Hard metals are best if machinery's involved in your line of work, for example.

When she's writing the day-of timeline, a bride must remember: She is supposed to be back at the wedding venue and out of sight well ahead of when others (including the groom and groomsmen) are to arrive.

Think you know how many tables you need for the reception? Add one: Your vendors should eat, and it's polite to let them rest their feet while they do.

Finally, I never knew that you can actually create a new last name. Your choices aren't limited to your last name or your partner's.

Why is this book the perfect engagement present?

This book's true gift to any bride-to-be is its truly middle-ground approach to planning: It works for a bride who's planning a fantastically expensive wedding, and it works for a bride who's on a tight budget because anyone, no matter what they're spending, will walk away armed with the tools she needs to appropriately vet her options. Its crown jewel begins on page 136: a timeline, again written for any bride whether she's marrying in 2 months or 2 years, that identifies what a woman should tackle early, about halfway there, and last-minute.

Please tell us a bit about your company Story of Your Life.

Story of Your Life is the marriage (ha!) of my reporting background and my sister's design background. Together, we interview couples and their friends and family, write their love stories as we would any professionally penned news story, and design it as a fully personalized front page. No page has been alike because no love story is.

How much has your journalistic background helped you to put this book together?

A TON. I cannot stress that enough. The information gathering behind any piece of content is what makes all the difference; I can write, write, and write all month long, but if the substance I deliver is not especially informative, if it doesn't deliver innovative tips you can't find everywhere, then who really cares? I asked questions of brides, wedding vendors, and wedding guests, and then I asked follow-up questions. I stopped only when I was confident that the information I'd dug up for each chapter ran deep.

Of all the couples you have designed front page newspaper stories for which has been the most memorable?

This is going to seem like a cop-out, but I don't have one. That's probably the neatest thing I've realized through writing about everyday couples for Story of Your Life: Every one of us has stories laced with memorable and emotional elements. Russ and Rachel almost didn't have the proposal in Ireland he'd meticulously planned because the hotel wasn't ready for them when they arrived. The first thing Rich noticed about Laura was her animal-print shoes. Rick was sure that he wouldn't get a second date when he ended his first date with Emilie with an ... elbow bump. Readers can read and view our work, by the way, at www.soyl.weebly.com.

When did your interest in writing about engagements begin?

We launched the business roughly five years ago. I've led a 10-year professional writing career, and I've always loved journalism because it involves people, and people are inherently interesting. Add love and marriage to the mix, and it only gets better. One of my favorite parts about writing Story of Your Life pieces is most of our clients aren't used to being interviewed and appearing in the newspaper, and their reactions make doing this work very rewarding.

What is next for you?

I continue to be a full-time writer, and I recently gave birth to my husband's and my first child. I'd be lying if I said, after all of the questions I've asked and the things I've learned in these first 2 months of motherhood, that writing some kind of helpful guide for new parents hasn't crossed my mind!

Stuff Every Bride Should Know by Michelle Park Lazette is available now from Quirk Books.