You're Jewish? Engaged? Planning a wedding? Mazel tov! Have a glass of champagne, tell all your friends--and then go get this book!
The New Jewish Wedding, by best-selling author Anita Diamant, is a step-by-step guide to getting married in an American Jewish community. She was "noding her homework." According to Diamant, she wrote this book because she was (unsuccessfully) looking for a book to help her plan her own wedding.
This book is a wonderfully helpful addition to any engaged couple's planning. It details everything from finding a Rabbi to the hundreds of tiny customs and prayers that go along with each part of the betrothal and marriage processes. There are detailed sections on choosing a Ketubah and selecting appropriate music. Although originally published in 1986, the book has since been updated to include information about evolving rituals, same-sex marriages, interfaith marriages, and elopement. She also refers you to a list of popular Jewish websites that can help you to purchase Judaica, find a Rabbi that's right for you, etc.
While focusing primarily on American Judaism, Diamant plays no favorites between the various movements within the community. She weaves history and cultural information into each chapter and really helps you to understand not only how the customs originated but also the modern logistics. The only downside is that, unlike other wedding planning books, this one doesn't do too much in the way of checklists and timelines. Nevertheless, Anita Diamant is a talented author; here she uses her grace and intelligence to create a wedding how-to that is, surprisingly, hard to put down.