I'm currently reading my way through most of the wedding books in our library (and it's a pretty big library). I started with all the planning ones, but I'm not sure I could recommend any of them. Go with the blogs when it comes to ideas and how-to's, they're much more modern and realistic.
Now I'm reading 'perspective' books - i.e. how to keep your wedding planning in perspective. Just after we got engaged Gadget got me a book, without any prompting from me, called "Emotionally Engaged: A girl's guide to surviving the happiest time of her life." I think he got it as a joke, but it was actually really helpful. It gives ideas on how to cope when your engagement and wedding planning isn't what you'd previously dreamed it would be.
Ours definitely isn't. Not that it isn't good - I love planning things - but it was hard to accept breaking the news by Facebook, a limited number of cards, and having my mum on the opposite side of the world during the early decisions.
I then read "Going Bridal," which was hard to read at times but has given me a new terminology - wedding P&O (planning and organising). I've also read "One Perfect Day - the selling of the American wedding." This I absolutely recommend - and I kind of wish I'd read it earlier in the planning process. Not that I would change our plans, but it definitely helped put those "must have" items into perspective. Including the dress.
I've just finished "Offbeat Bride," the book that led to the blog. This was also a great book to read - how to change the status quo without upsetting your family and friends. In short, how to keep your wedding yours. Sensible advice interspersed with off-the-wall ideas and amusing anecdotes made this not only easy to read but also inspirational. I mentioned before that I haven't got very far into the Offbeat bride blog (you have to apply to join their forums), but every time I want to search for something outside the mainstream bridal media Google turns up something useful from OBB. Like Lego button holes...
I'd love to say that everyone should read Offbeat Bride and One Perfect Day before being allowed to spend any money on their wedding - but even I realise that would never work. Some people genuinely want the mainstream, fairytale day, and even many of those that don't probably need to start mainstream before becoming disillusioned and moving sideways.
My reluctance to involve myself with the WIC was present from the start - partly from a budget perspective and partly because I've been to several weddings that were very similar. I was determined not to spend a fortune on one day, and to have a wedding that looked like us. But I still started my journey in the traditional place - with bridal magazines and their infamous checklists. Then I looked at The Knot (actually their Look Book was worth a glance - I wouldn't buy it though), Brides.com, and 'pretty' blogs (snippet and ink and green wedding shoes are my poison of choice!). It wasn't until later that I found 2000dollarwedding and had this epiphany.
So my advice to the newly engaged? Do what you want - just be aware there are choices outside the mainstream. And seriously consider reading Offbeat Bride and One Perfect Day!