Author Natasha Mac a’Bháird has seen her fabulous Irish Bride’s Survival Guide evolve through many different editions since it was first published in 2005. As the world changes at a pace, so too do the traditions and logistics of wedding planning. The newest edition of the book, published in March 2011, has many new and vital bits and bobs added to it. In this month’s guest post, Natasha looks back at past editions, what’s changed and gives her insight into keeping a book as detailed as this one, up-to-date for the modern bride…
Have you heard of the phenomenon known as ‘the curse of Hello’? It refers to the unhappy history of loved-up couples featuring in photo spreads, the picture of wedded bliss, only to announce their separation within months (or in a few cases days) of the magazine hitting the shelves. Among those to fall victim to the curse were Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett, and Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley.
The first time I updated my book, three years after the first printing, I joked to my editor that it seemed celebrity marriages were being struck down by the curse of The Irish Bride’s Survival Guide. She was horrified, pointing out that her own wedding story was included, but I quickly reassured her that it was only celebrity couples who appeared to be susceptible to this curse. Jennifer Aniston’s promise to make Brad Pitt his favourite banana milkshake had to come out (who would have thought that a few short years after those vows he’d be one half of Brangelina and a father of six?). Out too was Ryan Tubridy and his unusual engagement announcement. And Brian McFadden and Kerry Katona succumbed to the curse even before the first edition went to print – I had included their story in my first draft, but had to take it out when they separated.
For the third edition, I took out Paul McCartney and Heather Mills and replaced them with Vivienne Connolly and Mark Dunne; for the fourth edition, Vivienne and Mark (sadly separated) made way for Brian O’Driscoll and Amy Huberman – I hope to goodness they make it to the fifth edition, or I’m going to start feeling responsible.
Celebrity splits aside, other updates for the new edition (resplendent in its beautiful new green jacket) included some inspiring new Real Life Bride stories. Among others, these feature recession-busting tips from my baby sister, and a ‘mini moon’ story about the new trend of taking a short break after the wedding and postponing the honeymoon until later.
The third printing had already explained the changes in the civil marriage laws, allowing couples to get married in a wider range of venues. It seems crazy now to think that when the book first came out weddings were limited to churches or registry offices. Thankfully hotels, castles and other venues give couples a real choice these days.
This time too there were changes in technology to note – DVDs have pretty much killed videos by now, and Facebook is a new way to spread news and organise events. And of course all the websites had to be checked to make sure they were still current, plus I added in new ones I’d come across in the meantime which I thought would help brides to be.
When I was planning my wedding, I found it frustrating that there was no Irish book available on the subject. So I decided to write my own. While there have been lots of small changes in the wedding world since then, the basic purpose of my book remains the same – to take the stress out of wedding planning and help make it fun.
Now I just hope celebrities don’t take out an injunction against me including their stories in my book because of THE CURSE …
You can find Natasha Mac a’Bháird at:
The Irish Bride’s Survival Guide by Natasha Mac a’Bháird (The O’Brien Press) is out now and available from all good bookshops and www.obrien.ie priced €14.99