The New Wedding Book


Plan your wedding without the weight of outdated customs and get hitched in a way that is authentic, fun, and true to who you are.

“But you’re getting married! You have to!” This empty statement is on the other end of everything from jaw-droppingly expensive dresses to staged proposal photo shoots and reception selfie stations. From the minute they become engaged, couples are pressured to buy into a one-size-fits-all script.

By breaking down the antiquated traditions of that #blessedweddingday,The New Wedding Book will help you and your betrothed throw the icky wedding traditions to the curb in honour of getting the wedding of your actual dreams — not the one you’ve been force-fed for decades by the wedding-industrial complex.

Inspiring couples to plan their wedding in a way that is meaningful to them, Bilodeau and Cleveland debunk the “traditions,” makes sense of realistic budgets, offers brilliant advice from real-life couples, and confronts the crushing pressure for weddings to be perfect.


This book is mandatory reading for every modern woman who wants to actually enjoy her journey to marriage. It's the best time in history to be a woman with ambition — and society's wedding culture has some catching up to do. You are holding a hilarious and heart-felt permission slip and guide to plan your wedding and life on your terms.

Charreah K. Jackson, author of Boss Bride

Relationships are not one-size-fits-all, so why should weddings be? The New Wedding Book outlines the many ways you can make sure that your big day is not another generic pre-scripted event, but a dazzling reflection of your unique love.

Cynthia Loyst, bestselling author of Find Your Pleasure

The wedding industry was in need of an overhaul long before the pandemic, but as 2020's pared-down nuptials made clear, the elaborate, expensive, and painfully orchestrated Big Day is not required for celebrating love. As they make clear in The New Wedding Book, Michelle Bilodeau and Karen Cleveland get that big time. A modern-day guide to getting hitched (and doing it your own way), The New Wedding Book is crammed with helpful advice on everything from ethical diamonds to engagement photos to why it's totally okay to throw diamonds and engagement photos out the window. The authors understand that everyone has different dreams for their nuptials but also that these dreams can give us more stress than satisfaction. In other words, it's a wedding book that doesn't buy into all the wedding hype. How refreshing!

Carley Fortune, executive editor, Refinery29Canada

Planning a wedding can be a nightmare. You've got guest-list pressure from relatives and seating arrangement drama, bills piling up from the caterer and photographers to interview, all while contending with expectations that you'll also find the perfect venue, perfect dress, perfect flowers, perfect first dance song, etcetera. Even the most seemingly level-headed couple can get swept up in the Wedding Industrial Complex. Let this book be your armour.

Robin Doolittle, author of Had It Coming

We're in an age of redefinition, when so many "traditional" institutions are getting a much-needed update, and the wedding business is no exception. I've always been cringed out by the "classic" North American wedding standard, but this book takes an industry steeped in capitalist excess, heteronormativity, and conformism and shows skeptics like me that getting married can actually be an accessible, personal, and—*gasp*—romantic process, after all.

Amanda Montell, author of Wordslut and Cultish

"Women have rewritten every part of our lives, except how we marry.” This line—from Michelle Bilodeau and Karen Cleveland’s delightfully disruptive new book, The New Wedding Book: A Guide to Ditching All the Rules—struck me with the force of a 10-pound bouquet to the forehead. It’s just so true. The cultural conditioning implicit in what Bilodeau and Cleveland call the “wedding arms race” is both insidious and infantilizing. Thankfully, the newly engaged now have an excellent guide to navigating the minefield of restrictive, often inherently misogynistic rituals previously filed under “tradition.” The New Wedding Book’s mission is empowering and its tone is lively. Most importantly, its advice is practical: Once you’re all fired up, The New Wedding Book provides useful tools for how to shrug off the weight of other people’s expectations and actually follow your heart. My favourite part of this wonderful, modern, extremely timely book is the personal love stories so vivid that you can practically taste the spun sugar. Essential reading.

Laura deCarufel, Editor-in-chief, The Kit

In a world where weddings are being reinvented out of necessity, The New Wedding Book helps you consider the meaning of the day and how to make it yours. It asks the best questions — practical and philosophical — and also serves as a guide to conflict-free communication with the ones you love. An exhale of a read for anyone planning a wedding after 2020.

Meredith Goldstein, author of Can’t Help Myself

Think fo Karen and Michelle as the friends you bring to your wedding dress try-ons who actually care that your dress is you — but for your whole wedding. They'll give you that nudge you need to ditch that stuffy tradition you never really liked, and tell you why is was probably rooted in an outdated sexist custom anyway. A must-read for anyone who doesn't want the cookie-cutter all-white Pinterest board, The New Wedding Book is here to usher in a new era of brides (and grooms). Think less "I do" and more "you do you!"

Sara Levine, Editor in Chief, Betches Media

Weddings should be like fingerprints: a bit messy, legally-binding, and symbolic proof of who you truly are. This book beautifully captures the nuances and natural bends on the winding road towards happily ever after, forks and all. Because there is no perfect wedding, no perfect marriage, and no perfect union. I love the notion of releasing oneself from these societal pressures and instead celebrating love in all its wild formations.

Mosha Lundström Halbert, Fashion Director and Vogue contributor

About the Authors

Michelle Bilodeau

Posted by Dundurn Guest on April 21, 2020
Michelle Bilodeau photo

Michelle Bilodeau

Michelle Bilodeau is a writer and editor. Her work has appeared in CBC Life, Fashion Magazine, the Kit, Refinery29, Flare, and Canadian Living. She is also a green beauty expert on The Social. Michelle lives in Toronto.

Karen Cleveland

Posted by Dundurn Guest on April 21, 2020
Karen Cleveland photo

Karen Cleveland

Karen Cleveland has contributed to the New York Times, Weddingbells, Today’s Bride, Fashion Magazine, the Kit, Huffington Post, Toronto Star, and the National Post. She lives in Toronto.