How (Not) to Have a Perfect Wedding

Arliss Ryan, Author . Sourcebooks $14 (341p) ISBN 978-1-4022-0974-1

Ryan's first foray into chickish lit (after The Kingsley House ) chronicles a troublesome wedding day through the eyes of the many people involved. Leading the cast is Anne, the wedding planner, who wears a smile for her difficult clients as she fights the emotional upheaval of having been served divorce papers earlier in the day. Her story bookends the nutty nuptials of “VHM” (very high maintenance) bride Allison and doofy groom Mead. By filtering the wedding day through a host of perspectives—the bride's divorced parents, family friends, vapid bridesmaids—Ryan fleshes out her initially screwball cast, showing the perfectionist aesthete behind the daddy's girl, the frightened woman behind the shrewish socialite, the kind heart of the much-reviled trophy wife. Naturally, hijinks threaten the big day: the groom may have slept with one of the bridesmaids; the flower girl, ignored by her partying parents, vanishes during the reception; the bride's hopeless sister gets ejected from the wedding party. Some characters remain opaque or superfluous, but there's enough goings-on to pull readers through the rocky spots. (Nov .)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
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