I’ve been wanting to write a review of All Things Are Ready, by Amy Hayes, for a long time. But first we had a wedding. Now I can really tell you how much I love this book!
Those of you with young children may not need a wedding planner today. But you will tomorrow. 🙂 (You’ll need it a lot sooner than you think!) And you probably have some friends who could use this book right now. So, if you have the time, keep reading. (You’ll see a couple pictures from our youngest daughter’s wedding at the end!)
First, let me tell you that Amy Hayes is the most amazing, calm, wise, and organized wedding coordinator a bride (and her mother 🙂 ) could ever ask for! I know, because she has graciously coordinated several of our own family’s weddings. She’s the kind of coordinator that helps make everything happen without you even knowing she’s doing it — no stress, no raised voices — just strong, calm presence.
So she has plenty of wisdom and experience to offer in this beautiful wedding planner! I was able to give it a test run this summer, and I can tell you first-hand that it works! Our daughter, Susannah, said yes to God’s-perfect-man-for-her in late May and the wedding and reception for more than 300 people happened on September 14! We couldn’t have done it without this planner!
This planner is unique.
- Amy speaks from a passionately Christ-centered, Bible-centered (not bride-centered) perspective.
- She seeks (successfully) to help a Christian woman plan a wedding efficiently and with joy.
- She takes a serious look at what the Bible says about weddings.
- She boldly states that it doesn’t need to take more than 12 weeks (yikes!) to plan a wedding (unless you want it to), and then goes on to give us all the help and tools we need to actually accomplish such a feat.
- She offers a bride and her family strategies to plan a wedding they can actually afford.
- She reminds us that weddings are about rejoicing — and then does everything she can to help minimize the stress that so often overpowers the joy that should characterize our wedding plans and wedding day.
In over 300 pages, Amy accomplishes this with:
- Step-by-step guidelines to help you prioritize expenses, choose your wedding date and venue, select wedding attendants and attire without offending people, figure out what mood and ambience you want to create with your music and decorations, plan the liturgy of your ceremony.
- Checklists that help you think about every detail of apparel, food, invitations, venues, maid-of-honor and best-man responsibilities, a wedding and reception coordinator’s responsibilities and what you should discuss and provide for them, and even what agencies you should inform about your name change after the wedding!
- Worksheets to help you compile your guest list, decide on your budget, interview photographers and caterers, create your photo list, figure out how many corsages, boutonnieres, and flower arrangements you need, design and organize your decorations.
- Charts for contact information, guest lists, addresses, thank you cards, prioritizing.
- Timelines that help avoid the panic and stress that often happen before a wedding, schedule the bride’s priorities and activities (relaxing and rejoicing) during the week before the wedding, and — here’s the best part — even a “12-Week Engagement Calendar” that makes it possible to actually plan a wedding in 12 weeks if you want to!
- Devotions especially for the bride, that gently help her take her eyes off herself, and instead put her focus on Jesus, and on giving joy to her groom and to the others around her. This is such a beautiful — and unique — part of this planner!
- Creative ideas for those who would like to incorporate themes from Scripture in their wedding — ideas for verses, music, decorations, and more, for weddings that reflect on the Song of Songs, the Book of Ruth, Ecclesiastes and the Mystery of Love, Christ and the Church, or Family Heritage.
All this great information is packaged in a beautiful 3-ring notebook, which allows you to add your own pages of notes and records, or you may also choose to transfer lists and worksheet pages into something more portable for shopping and planning trips. I found the entire 300+-page book too cumbersome to haul everywhere with me.
I can tell you that this planner will help anyone plan a wedding with less stress and more joy, less money and more beauty. I can speak from personal experience! While I was helping edit this book before it went to press, I firmly stated that I would never plan a wedding in 12 weeks. It would be way too stressful! Ha!
Because Peter and Susannah were committed to going on a mission trip to India in November, we agreed to plan their wedding in 16 weeks so they could get married soon enough to adjust a bit before launching off to India! Of those 16 weeks we had between engagement and wedding, at least three entire weeks were already committed to non-negotiables like family camp, speaking engagements, travel, and writing deadlines. We actually ended up with about 12 weeks to plan the wedding. (Never say you’ll never do something…)
My big wall calendar, filled in with the tasks on Amy’s 12-week calendar, became my brain, and I just did whatever it said to do whenever it said to do it. Susannah and Peter’s wedding reception was insanely detailed with lots of challenges, and it all came together with the help of Amy “holding my hand” in this book.
And — at the wedding ceremony — Amy was gracious enough to be our coordinator, calmly, quietly shepherding us through the day. I thank God for her, and now you can, too!
For the rest of this month, All Things Are Ready is on sale for just $33, saving you $6 from its regular price. Buy it now and tuck it away, ready for when you need it, or give some copies away as a gifts!
We have one copy to give away!
To enter our giveaway, tell us one of your favorite wedding day memories or share a favorite wedding tip with us. You may enter more than one time, each with a separate comment. This giveaway closes at midnight, on Friday, January 17, 2014. The winner will be randomly selected at that time, and announced in our blog post on Tuesday, January 21. We’re looking forward to reading your comments and sharing this great resource with one of you!
By the way, as I post these pictures from the wedding, I realize I never posted anything else from this glorious, God-glorifying day! Peter and Susannah ran off to India before their pictures came back, and since they came home, I still haven’t seen a lot of the photos! We’ll have to remedy that! Stay tuned! It was a really fun day, and Amy’s wedding planner helped make it that way!