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No one compares to Colin Cowie when it comes to getting and staying organized. His latest wedding book, the fifth bearing his name, can help even the most disorganized bride-to-be emerge a systematic spouse.

Colin Cowie’s Wedding Planner & Keepsake Organizer (Sterling Signature, standard edition $35; deluxe edition $60)

Imagine having a wedding dream team at your disposal. Perhaps Vera Wang would sketch the gown, Sylvia Weinstock would handle the cake and a celebrity planner would be at the ready to ensure every other detail is executed with perfection. Now any bride—even those who aren’t as methodical as wedding and party planner to the stars Colin Cowie—can have the pro’s expert advice at her fingertips. Inside the new, fabric-encased Colin Cowie’s Wedding Planner & Keepsake Organizer (Sterling Signature, standard edition $35; deluxe edition $60) are suggestions, worksheets, and fill-in-the blank lists covering everything from the engagement party to living as Mr. and Mrs. Seeking instant wisdom? Consider the gems below, borrowed from Cowie’s book, your big-day CliffsNotes.

The Golden Rule “Not only is the focus of attention on you, but it is also on how gracious of hosts the two of you are.”

The Invitations “By creating a logo and using the same type of paper and color scheme for all the printed pieces you’ll be using, your guests will make the connection that the different parties and places fit together. Be creative and consistent in your stationery.”

The Guests “After you have a full, unedited list, classify your guests into A lists, B lists and C lists. Work out your must-haves, your if-there’s-rooms, and your probably-shoulds.”

The Dress “A bride’s look should always be timeless. I always tell them to think about their daughters looking at the wedding photos 20 years later and saying, ‘Mother, what were you thinking?’”

The Wedding Planner “The relationship will only work if there is mutual respect, so be polite in your suggestions and observations, and offer alternatives whenever possible.”

The Vendors “Never pay anything until you see a contract. A contract should very clearly spell out all specific deliverables—even as specific as what the vendor’s staff should wear to the wedding and what they are responsible for removing the day after.”

The Menu “Food is like theater. Appeal to the senses when making your selection. Appeal to temperature, texture and presentation. Also be sure that there is a light starter if your main course is heavy; you don’t want your guests asleep in their chairs or rolling toward the dance floor.”

The Cake “Although Americans have the tradition of saving the top tier of the cake and then serving it a year later, I suggest taking detailed photographs of your cake and asking your baker to make a fresh one for your anniversary, instead. I promise it will taste better!”

The Seating “Consider separating couples across the table from one another so they mix with everyone. The idea is to balance the energy at the table. Children should be seated at their own table, preferably with a babysitter hired to help.”

The Best Man’s Speech “Whether your best man is the prankster or a preacher, make sure to pull him aside and agree on the spirit of the toast. No matter what, stories about ex-girlfriends are completely taboo.”

The Music “Don’t leave it to the bandleader or DJ. Generally you want live or recorded music during the ceremony and then a live band or DJ at the reception. Keep energy levels up by keeping the music going, from the moment the guests arrive to the time they leave.”

The Perfect Wedding “I never use the word ‘perfect.’ The word ‘perfect’ conjures up too high an expectation. Something is going to go wrong, but that is why you hire great professionals: They can divert it, fix it and get it back on track so that there is the least amount of negative impact, if any, on the guests.”