She Wrote the Book on Wedding Planning

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Join Barbara Wallace, award-winning wedding planner and author, at Martha’s Bookstore on Balboa Island, where she will be signing copies of the newly released “Beautiful Bride From Every Angle: Look Great in Every Photo … and in Life!” on Sunday, April 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The book is co-authored with stylist, hair and makeup artist Annie Withers and photographer, Lars Wanberg. Divided into sections on Planning, Style and Photography – and a special chapter for the groom – each of the three authors offers their philosophy and expert advice.

Barbara’s no-nonsense approach immediately will put brides at ease. She states towards the beginning of the book, “Many of the photos you see in magazines are not of real weddings and are clearly not feasible from either a financial or practical standpoint unless you have an unlimited budget and/or care nothing about the comfort of your guests.”

Many brides-to-be spend hours flipping through bridal magazines. But “Beautiful Bride From Every Angle” is more comprehensive and is lacking advertisers’ agendas, emphasizing instead the bride’s happiness, empowering her to plan a wedding that truly reflects her tastes and style.

Stylist and co-author Annie Withers writes, “When did one kind of beauty begin to define us? Somewhere along the way we lost sight of our nuances, our subtleties.”

Barbara Wallace has found her calling in wedding planning. Finding one’s calling is rarely a singular isolated incident or decision. Rather, it is a culmination of combining one’s life experiences, talents and interests over time.

Barbara, a Southern California native, earned a degree in fashion design from the University for Hawaii before returning to the mainland in the ’70s. In 1979, she lost her husband, and needed to build a new life. She went to law school and, upon graduation, worked for the Irvine Company for 11 years.

As she was beginning to tire of the corporate world, Barbara’s daughter showed her a book that would change the course of her life yet again. The book was about unusual careers and her daughter pointed out the section on wedding planners, believing her mom would be a natural.

“I didn’t even know what [a wedding planner] did – that was before ‘Father of the Bride,’” laughs Barbara.

To get started, Barbara relied on all of her past experiences – fashion design, law, business – and her natural strengths – organization, creativity and entertaining (including a slew of homespun birthday party extravaganzas for her daughter).

“I even read the Amy Vanderbilt etiquette book from cover to cover in high school,” she admits.

The first wedding Barbara did was as a favor to a friend in 1986.

After taking some training through the Association of Bridal Consultants, in 1997 she began doing weddings full-time, mainly for brides who planned their own weddings but needed help coordinating the details. Within only four years, Barbara built a strong reputation for herself as well as strong relationships with florists, caterers, venues, and other vendors; carefully noting which ones were the best in the industry.

The tipping point in Barbara’s new career came when Barbara decided to only take clients who hired her for full-service wedding planning rather than just partial service. One day she got a call for a job and turned it down telling the potential client, “I only do full-services weddings.”

“I hung up the phone and said to myself, ‘What did I just do!’ I turned down a potential client! But then I told myself, ‘Come on, this is where you are going.’”

In an industry that relies heavily on word of mouth, Barbara’s success continued to soar. She is a two-time recipient of the coveted Gala Award for Best Wedding, in 2005 and 2007, and her work has been featured in print: “The Knot Weddings, Real Simple Weddings” and “The Bride and Bloom Magazine” as well as on TV. She was the wedding planner for “The Real Housewives of Orange County’s” televised wedding of Laurie Waring and George Peterson.

“Beautiful Bride From Every Angle” is also a beautiful book from every angle. A visually pleasing hardback with a flowing layout; the language is rich, the photographs gorgeous, diverse and captivating, and the information is helpful and easy to follow.


Barbara Wallace is also the author of “Wedding Vendor Handbook: Get to the Top and Stay There” ( ZinGiBer Publishing, 2009). She can be contacted by visiting


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