I always enjoy Lucy Knisley’s books: I like graphic memoirs in general, and I like Knisley’s style a lot, especially the way that her books combine drawn art and text and photographs (which may have drawn-on embellishments or labels). I got engaged in March, so it seemed like the right time to read this one, which is about Knisley’s wedding (with some background info about her relationship with her now-husband, and some added stuff about weddings in general). I found myself nodding a lot as I read: like Knisley, I’m a feminist child of divorced parents who hasn’t always understood the appeal of marriage or weddings. Also like Knisley, I’m a queer/bi woman marrying a cisgender guy (and like Knisley says re: marriage equality in the US, “changing laws went a long way towards reconciling my feelings about matrimony”) (112). My fiancé and I, like Knisley and her now-husband, are both atheists, so yeah, our wedding will not be a religious one, which means we also get to answer the question that Knisley phrases thus: “how do two rational atheists who don’t believe in “bad luck” design their wedding ceremony?” (208).

Obviously there are differences: I’m not an artist, and my mom is not a retired caterer, and no one in my family or my fiancé’s family has a piece of land on which we can build a barn in which to get married. We’re not planning on having bridesmaids and groomsmen, and I’m definitely not into DIY decor as much as Knisley is/was. But it was still nice to read a book about weddings by someone coming at it from a perspective of wanting to make their wedding their own, whether that’s in terms of saying no to traditions that don’t appeal (e.g. spouses-to-be not seeing each other on their wedding day before walking down the aisle) or in terms of not wanting to buy into what Knisley calls the “bridal weight loss imperative” (97). As Knisley puts it: “I want to eat cookies and be happy” (99). Me too.

I love the part where Knisley talks about how she and her fiancé had totally different online experiences once they got engaged (she saw a ton of wedding-centric ads; he saw none) and she wonders: “Where are the ads that truly target me, as I see myself?” – imagined ads that include “Top 50 literary passages to read before you get married!” and “Most comfortable inexpensive shoes to pad around your ceremony in!” and “10 ways to avoid those uncomfortable religious connotations at your wedding!” and “What’s your game plan? to greet your guests and also eat every single kind of appetizer at the cocktail hour? CLICK HERE FOR ADVICE!” (110) Yessssss I feel so seen. I mean, so far my fiancé is the one doing more of the planning, so maybe he’ll see more wedding ads than I do, but those imagined ads definitely speak to me.

I also love the part where Knisley talks about when she and her now-husband got engaged and how it felt to tell all their friends and family, how they ended that day “full of elation and joy at sharing the news—drunk on it and on our own happiness” (66). The part about shopping for wedding dresses only added to my own dread about that whole portion of things, though Knisley did end up with a dress she loved, which does give me hope. And aw, the part about the wedding itself made me tear up—the way Knisley describes how happy she was walking down the aisle, and how happy she was to be with close friends and family after the reception: “Everything was mud and smoke and the sweet smell of my childhood home after the rain. And John’s warm shoulder. The feeling that the day had been an eternity, and not nearly long enough” (266). Aw. This is such a charming book, maybe especially if you are planning a wedding, or are about to be planning one.

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