After reading Relish by Lucy Knisley, I became a fan of her graphic memoirs, with her honest, down-to-earth style and colorful, realistic graphics. Her latest graphic memoir, Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride, is another winner, describing the intricate planning, preparations, and execution of her wedding in her humorous, self-deprecating style.
Lucy came to the whole mass wedding industry with decidedly mixed feelings, “aghast and impressed with the significance and pageantry of it all,” as she says in the book. She covers the whole process here, from when she and her husband, John, first met to their engagement and through all of the complicated, intense preparations leading up to the special day. Lucy is, as you know if you’ve read her other books, an unconventional and creative artist, so she was a bit unsure about the whole wedding thing at first but soon found herself in the thick of it.
Lucy wasn’t satisfied just choosing her dress, flowers, bridesmaid dresses, and décor like most brides. No, true to form, she plunged in headfirst and ended up doing a lot of the work herself, creating a very unique DIY wedding that perfectly fit her and John’s lives and values. She did buy her dress – a bargain she found after extensive searching in the usual bridal boutiques – but she made her own veil, created the decorations for the reception, made elaborate gift boxes for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and even made the groomsmen’s ties. Her mother built a barn on her property for the event (though she’d been planning to build one soon anyway), they worked with local vendors for catering (you know Lucy’s food choices were a key component!), and she and John even chose their own playlist instead of hiring a DJ or band.
|Page from Something New by Lucy Knisley|
As with her previous books, Lucy describes this whole crazy process with her usual humor and thoughtfulness, digging deep into the emotions of the journey, as well as finding the humor along the way. In between chapters describing her own experiences are brief informative (and funny) pages on strange wedding traditions, historical context, and weird wedding facts. Each chapter opens with a photo collage she created, and photos from her wedding and preparations are sprinkled throughout. For me, this book was just entertainment, but if you are a soon-to-be bride yourself, dissatisfied with the expensive, ready-made wedding accouterments available, then this book might also work as a handy guide for you. Just as Relish included recipes, Something New includes plenty of DIY ideas and even some project instructions.
I had no idea all the things she did herself were even possible when I planned my own wedding! I just went along with the traditional stuff and got swept along in the process. But Lucy did things her own way (that Frank Sinatra song was made for her!), by her own admission got a little crazy at times (what bride doesn’t?), and documented every step of the way for our amusement and edification. There are even an afterword from her husband, John, and a few photos and drawings that hint at what is to come next. I can’t wait for her next book so I can read all about it!
291 pages, First Second