Elevate Difference

The Paper Bride: Wedding DIY from Pop-the-Question to Tie-the-Knot and Happily Ever After

Weddings are expensive. CNN Money states that, even with the recession, the average cost of a wedding in 2008 was $21,814. Paper goods, like invitations, save-the-date cards, and guest books can add up—so why not make them yourself? Esther Smith's instructional how-to book, The Paper Bride, goes over absolutely everything you need to make a wedding the way you want.

The Paper Bride starts with a cute proposal idea—a ring hidden in a book—and moves onto alternative ways to let people know you are engaged: postcard, magnets, or even traditional save-the-date cards, but with funky envelopes and mailers. Smith comes up with out of the ordinary ideas for invitations and bridal showers. Not a fan of finger sandwiches? How about a liquor shower, where each guest brings one bottle for the party and one bottle for your liquor cabinet. The book truly sticks to its name, even showing off a paper wedding dress.

Smith's background is in letterpress, so she goes into great depth about making your own books and journals, and even has a chart for doing calligraphy yourself. If you have never done paper crafts before, don't worry: Smith goes over each step in detail, and provides diagrams that even a first time DIYer can follow. In the back of book, there are templates for making envelopes, boxes, program fans, and coasters. Some of the crafts are offbeat, like making paper flowers, while others are great even if you aren't planning a wedding, such as making your own photo album.

The great thing about The Paper Bride is that Smith emphasizes putting your own style into your wedding. If you're not into the traditional white wedding, then you can design your paper goods to reflect that. No matter what type of wedding you're having, this book has something you can use. But as Smith reminds her readers, the wedding day should not be the pinnacle of the relationship: “it will be wonderful, whatever happens, but it shouldn't be the happiest day of your life. You don't want the rest of your life to go downhill from there. You want to live happily ever after!”

Written by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch, April 4th 2010

Hi Anonymous,

The author doesn't really go into replacing patriarchal customs with egalitarian ones, but she does emphasize that the wedding should be about the two people, not what everyone else wants.

Does the author talk about how to drop the patriarchal customs and replace them with egalitarian ones? I wish more people would drop the custom of the father giving away the bridge. Also, can we ever get rid of the engagement ring and replace it with something more egalitarian?

I have a friend who stopped wearing her engagement as soon as she got married because the simple wedding ring is easier to wear.

My daughter is getting married and is at a loss about how to make her wedding unique (and affordable!). Thanks for this review--I'll have to look this one up.