A Nantucket Wedding
Weddings are ideal for bringing people together, but the stakes are especially high for older bride Alison: her nuptials to David are not only a second chance for love, but also what she hopes will mend the rift between her grown daughters, Felicity and Jane. Devastating breakups and inappropriate flirtations unfold against the idyllic setting of Nantucket, as Alison finds out if their blended family can survive the big day.
After over a decade covering relationships for Time, Luscombe realized the marriage advice she had gleaned from behavioral science and personal experience could be best summed up in six F-words: familiarity, fighting, finances, family, fooling around, and finding help. Marriageology cannily examines contemporary unions while candidly providing advice for upholding your vows in the long run.
Strangers and Cousins
Leah Hager Cohen
The title of Cohen’s dysfunctional family novel aptly sums up the random people who get pulled into a big life event: important enough to be there, but not always part of the day-to-day. But put them all in one place and suddenly they’re in on all the juicy secrets, from a disclosure threatening the wedding day to a revelation affecting the town of Rundle Junction itself.
My Ex-Best Friend's Wedding
A wedding dress that links multiple generations is a beloved trope, but in Wax’s latest, it represents the complicated strands of love and resentment between bride Lauren, her mother, Kendra, and Lauren’s former best friend, Brianna. When Lauren returns home to finally wear the ivory gown on her wedding day, Kendra hopes that both women can get past their relationship-ending betrayal.
The Wedding Party
Guillory’s romances sweep readers into the short-term thrills of wedding planning, from bringing a fake girlfriend to your ex’s nuptials (The Wedding Date) to the fallout of rejecting a public proposal (The Proposal). The Wedding Party centers on the enemies-to-lovers dynamic of Theo and Maddie, who hook up while planning their friend Alexa’s wedding. But what grounds Guillory’s novels is their interrogation of whether the connection can last beyond the “I do.” The wedding Day means the end of Theo and Maddie’s arrangement… unless they want something more? And yep, that’s Alexa from The Wedding Date; we are officially in the Guillory universe.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a husband.” Alys Binat opens this Pakistan-based Pride & Prejudice retelling with a thought exercise: gender-swapping the first line of Jane Austen’s beloved romance. But when this bookworm used to viewing others through literary archetypes butts heads with Mr. Darsee at a multi-day wedding, she becomes the Elizabeth Bennet in her own love story.
A French Wedding
Tunnicliffe’s wedding “whodunit” withholds who’s actually getting married until the end. More important is getting to the altar, which starts with has-been rock star Max’s 40th birthday in the French countryside. Add in some of Max’s oldest friends, including college ex Helen, and some new additions, like private chef Juliette, and you’ve got a book as irresistible as Juliette’s kouign-amann: sweet, layered, and over too soon.
Save the Date
Doll’s memoir will fill the 27 Dresses-shaped hole in your life. It’s the book-equivalent of sitting down at the best table at the wedding, full of guests in their finery trading war stories. From the brutal end of dear friendships to some regrettable open-bar shenanigans, Save the Date is a reminder that while it’s the couple’s special day, everyone in their orbit possesses rich inner lives.
Girls in White Dresses
Girls in White Dresses best encapsulates the physical and emotional exhaustion of wedding season, as it follows three bridesmaids preparing for their best friend’s wedding. Through weekend getaways and bachelorette parties, the trio of women juggle their increasingly complicated love lives with wanting to support the bride all the way to her big day.
A Storm of Swords
George R. R. Martin
No matter how disastrous your wedding can be—no matter how much you disagree with in-laws, or run into exes you thought you might marry, or try to bury the hatchet only to see it backfire—it can never be as bad as the Red Wedding from A Storm of Swords.
Here’s another wedding disaster for you to not live vicariously through. After her betrothed leaves her at the altar mere minutes before their wedding, Miss Havisham never gets away from that day: she remains locked in her mansion, spending decades wearing her moldering wedding gown and leaving her wedding cake uneaten.
When Lottie’s boyfriend proposes a trip instead of marriage, she decides that she’s going to get hitched—to an old flame. That leaves her sister Fliss to chase them down on their honeymoon and sabotage the wedding night so they can get the marriage annulled. A frothy book poking fun at outdated wedding traditions.
The Emperor's Children
Those who enjoy hate-reading overly effusive wedding announcements will appreciate the chapter in Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children in which the New York Times lovingly describes a high-society wedding, down to sunlight smiles, lilies, and an overabundance of chiffon. It’s just one section of this richly textured novel, but it’s completely memorable.
I Take You
Lily Wilder’s fiancé is the ultimate groom: a brilliant, handsome archaeologist who gladly put a ring on it. Lily’s a big-shot lawyer who knows how to toss back a drink, and the lead-up to her wedding is full of—er—questionable decisions. (Think Bridesmaids with more tequila.) A lovable train wreck who’s reinventing what it means to be a bride, you’ll find yourself cheering for Lily to figure it out, one way or another.
China Rich Girlfriend
The second book in Kevin Kwan’s wickedly glamorous Crazy Rich Asians trilogy finds Rachel Chu on the eve of her wedding. She’s got it all: an impeccable diamond, a fabulous dress, and the love of her life. But she doesn’t have a father to walk her down the aisle—that is, until a chance accident uncovers her birth father’s identity. A story of family and unbelievable riches, it’ll put the dazzle back in your wedding season.
Wedding season is upon us, and your perfect plus-one is a book. Whether you’re hoofing it to destination weddings or panicking because you’ve been appointed the “honor” of being a bridesmaid—or getting hitched yourself while watching everything go wrong—this happy time can get overshadowed by frustration and stress.
Instead of obsessing over who catches the bouquet, take these romances and how-tos for a spin. You can live vicariously through gorgeous nuptials, do some wedding-party matchmaking, and pick up tips on how to maintain the marriage when the wedding thrill is over. Like today’s brides, these books aren’t all traditional: some are offbeat, some are full of second chances, but all of them will help you make it from one wedding to the next intact.
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