Book Review: Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride by Sandra Brickman

As a wedding planner, you'd think she would have the perfect wedding experience... 
Sherilyn Caine has left Chicago behind to marry Andrew Drummond IV, an Atlanta native with a family name that tops all the social registers. Landing the job as The Tanglewood’s wedding planner is a piece of cake for someone with a Type A personality; she’s the perfect fit for a wedding destination hotel known for its attention to even the tiniest details. 

But when everything else is going along swimmingly, why are her own wedding plans drowning right before her eyes? One way or the other, Sherilyn is determined to make this wedding work—until the latest development threatens to call the whole thing off. Is it possible that Sherilyn is allergic to her fiance?

Release Date:October 28, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Source: NetGalley

When I saw this book available on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read Sandra Bricker again.  I really enjoyed the first book in this series: Always the Baker, Never the Bride---read my review here, and knew that Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride would be just as good.

I liked Sherilyn from the start.  I love reading about characters who are believable.  And reading about someone with body insecurities and who struggles with her weight makes for a believable character.  I hate, absolutely hate, to read about effortlessly skinny women who eat everything they want and don't exercise, all with no discernible consequences to their appearance.  It's a real pet peeve of mine and is a major factor in the demise of my feelings towards a certain bestselling book series.

I think being a wedding planner sounds like such a fun job.  I love everything associated with weddings, so to have an entire series focused around a wedding destination hotel is a real treat for me.  Sherilyn is a perfect wedding planner because she is very focused on details.  She is engaged to a wonderful man---however, her own wedding plans have started to falter.  Her fiance starts to get cold feet and Sherilyn is forced to reevaluate everything in her life.

One of the things I appreciate the most about Sandra Bricker's writing is her attention to detail.  Her books are so well-written.  The characters are very well-rounded, and the faith element is subtle.  No one falls in love at first sight in her novels, instead the relationships are based on mutual respect and admiration for each other.  I love that---I am not a fan of love-at-first sight relationships as they all feel so shallow.

Overall, I enjoyed this book just as much as its predecessor.  I'm looking forward to the next in the series!


Q&A with
Sandra D. Bricker

1. How did you decide on a wedding destination hotel as the setting for your books?
 As a former publicist, a lot of event planning went into that job. I used to wish all the time that there were more venues that offered everything in the same place, and that led me to this idea of one location that offered everything from engagement party through honeymoon...and The Tanglewood was born!

2. How did you "meet" the character of Sherilyn?
 I looked in the mirror. LOL. Well, then I squinted my eyes and made her a natural redhead with awesome features! Sherilyn is very much a reflection of myself. She battles a weight problem, she's uber-organized to the point that she makes the people around her a little crazy, and she has a wilder side that she has worked very hard to divert.

3. Is there any part of your personality in Sherilyn or the other characters?
 I think there's a little piece of me in all of my characters. From the first book, Emma was a diabetic with a penchant for cake. [Check!] In The Big 5-OH!, Olivia was an ovarian cancer survivor in search of what comes next after an experience like that. [Check!] Sherilyn, of course ... [Check! and Check!]

4. While doing the research for this book, did you come across any interesting stories of weddings gone awry?
 I did! A disappointing wedding, I have come to believe, is the most traumatic thing a bride can experience. She's been building up to that one moment and that one day, often since childhood. I came across several stories that made me cringe, and even cry. One bride with an outdoor wedding wasn't just rained out; it was a monsoon! Another bride I read about broke the heel of her SIX INCH shoes and fell into her cake before they even cut it. Like any other carefully-planned event, a wedding is pretty likely to have something go wrong. But sometimes things go "wronger" than others.

5. Do you think you would make a good wedding planner?
 I think I would. I used to love that part of my job as a publicist. My clients were all actors, and they had their fan club gatherings and pet charity fundraisers, all of which required event planning skills. But on occasion, I've been asked by my less-organized friends to help out with planning their weddings, and it has been a real kick for me. In fact, my friend Dianne (the most UN-romantic or ceremonial person I know!) told me she and her fiance had decided to go downtown that week to get married at the courthouse. "Dianne," I objected. "You can NOT call your friend the romance writer and say something like that!" A month later, they went to St. Augustine and were married in a beautiful destination wedding planned by ME.

6. What type of environment is best for your writing?
 I write best with a large block of time (no less than four hours) to be alone and play my inspiration music and really get into my story. I usually have a cold bottle of water, a cup of coffee or tea, or even a soda nearby, and a bowl of munchies like nuts or pretzels nearby.

7. What do you hope readers will take away from your stories?
 Before I turn it in to the publisher, I pray over every manuscript I complete and ask that God's hand would be upon it, and that every person who reads what I've written would be blessed in some way and draw closer to Him.

8. What's next for you?
I've just completed the third book in the Emma Creation series (Always the Designer, Never the Bride), and I'm just about to start on book four, the final one in the series (Always the Baker, FINALLY the Bride). I'm really excited about the opportunity to give Emma and Jackson their happily-ever-after ending at last. Emma's been a good friend to me, after all! I want to see her blessed and happy.


  1. Great review and interview. This definitely sounds fun. I enjoyed the first book in the series.

  2. Hi! I just gave you an award, go here to claim it

  3. I love the title for book four, Always the Baker, Finally the Bride. Sounds like it would be a great conclusion to the series.

  4. Great review!!! I liked the story its different and i loved the title and the cover of the book. Thanks for sharing the post.


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