The High-Street Bride's Guide
You can say your vows in a catwalk gown so beautiful it reduces your mum to tears (and not because she paid for it).
You can style a reception so stunning your guests won’t believe you didn’t hire an A-list planner.
And you can sprinkle the day with personal touches that make everyone feel like you gave them special attention before they even got there. Without spending a house deposit on it. Honest.
Samantha Birch has written for GLAMOUR, Brides, You & Your Wedding and Cosmopolitan Bride. She knows a thing or two about planning a wedding on a budget, how much you can expect to pay for everything and where to go to get it for less. And she’s put it all down here.
You can find The High-Street Bride's Guide at:
Barnes and Noble
Hi Samantha! Thank you for stopping by to answer a few questions today!
I’m a 28-year-old writer. Translation: mild obsession with words. When I’m not tap-tap-tapping away on some story, article, blog post or other, I’m most likely out for dinner with friends or curled up in front of the TV watching The Big Bang Theory, New Girl or lately—shocker—all four seasons of Battlestar Galactica on Netflix (didn’t think I’d like it, but I’ve devoured all but four episodes and I’m tense-as about how it ends). Either that or I’m under a laptop, sitting next to my husband, playing him at Hearthstone (read: I’m kicking his virtual ass).
What genres do you write?
Non-fiction and Steampunk Fantasy. I grant you not an obvious combo. The non-fiction I’ve written has included articles for GLAMOUR, Brides, Cosmo Bride and You & Your Wedding, but the big one is my book--The High-Street Bride’s Guide—which is about planning a seriously stylish wedding on next to no budget. The Steampunk Fantasy is a work in progress; I’m 21,500 words in.
How did you come to write these genres?
Straight out of uni I went into journalism because I wanted to write all day long, and that seemed like the way to get someone to pay me to do it. I started off at business magazines, moved on to Harper’s Bazaar and then from there got into writing about weddings. One day a friend of mine suggested I write a book from all my experience on the magazines and planning my own budget wedding. So I did!
The Steampunk Fantasy that I’m writing actually started when my husband and our friends got together to form a writing group. Each fortnight my husband would use a random word generator to give us our topic, and then we’d have two weeks to write something up from there. The first one we did, the word was ‘driftpiece’, and for some reason in my head that went from a ship to an airship, and then the airship’s captain… That 1,000 words is still the opening of my book.
Who has most influenced your writing?
The non-fiction is influenced by the titles I’ve written for, as well as others like Cosmopolitan, but I really wanted to inject it with my own personality and sense of humour too. That’s why there are references to things like Field of Dreams and the M&S adverts sneaked in there!
As for my fiction, I love people like Terry Pratchett, Lewis Carroll, J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams and J.R.R. Tolkien, so I think they’ve all probably had some influence on my writing.
How long have you been writing?
Forever. Seriously. My mum says I picked up a pen when I was three years old and I haven’t stopped since. The pen just turned into a keyboard.
Who is your favorite character from one of your books?
The main character from my work in progress, because I’d convinced myself I couldn’t write from a male perspective and then there he was, large as life, on the page.
Do you plan your stories or do they evolve as you write?
The non-fiction is planned out, the fiction has to evolve as I write. I’m a bit of a contradiction: I like to be in control and plan ahead and know when things are happening when it comes to real life, but I can’t stand it when I’m trying to be imaginative. I’ve tried to plan fiction before but I end up bored with it before I even start writing. Turns out the creative side of me likes to be let loose and have a few surprises.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
The ones I mentioned before, who have influenced me. Also Sharon Creech, whose young adult books I loved to bits when I was a teenager. They’re so well-written, with such vivid and believable characters, but they’re always a little off-kilter, with just enough quirkiness to be interesting and different without taking it too far. She must have really good instincts to get it so right all the time.
Is there a special indulgence you allow yourself while you’re writing?
Haha, I wish! Probably the closest I get is half a sugar in my tea—I’m usually a sugar-free, decaf tea drinker—because any other treats like having music or films on in the background would put me right off. I have to have total silence and shut myself away from the world when I’m writing, so it’s kind of more about giving things up!
Tell us a little about your current work in progress.
It’s still early days, and it’s developing as I go, so there’s not a huge amount I can say at the moment. I’m hoping it’s a bit of a different approach to Steampunk Fantasy, and I’m going for fun, adventure and memorable characters. Hopefully I’m getting it right!
If you'd like to learn more about Samantha Birch, you can find her at:
Twitter (me): @SamBirchWriter
Twitter (the book): @HighStreetBride