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A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration [Kindle Edition]

Meg Keene
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)

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Book Description

An Insanity-Free Wedding: It Can Happen!

Getting engaged is exhilarating…until it sets in that a wedding costs three times what you thought, and takes five to ten times the effort it reasonably should. And then there are the expectations: from calligraphy invitations to satin chair-covers, all those things that Must Be Done or everyone will be Horribly Offended. Or will they?

A Practical Wedding helps you create the wedding you want—without going broke or crazy in the process. After all, what really matters on your wedding day, what you’ll remember ‘til you’re old and gray, is not so much how it looked as how it felt. In this refreshing guide, expert Meg Keene shares her secrets to planning a beautiful celebration that reflects your taste and your relationship. You’ll discover:

  • The real purpose of engagement (hint: it’s not just about the planning)
  • How to pinpoint what matters most to you and your partner
  • DIY-ing your wedding: brilliant or crazy?
  • Affording a wedding without having to cut your guest list
  • How to communicate decisions with your family
  • Why that color-coded spreadsheet is actually worth it

Wedding Zen can be yours. Meg walks you through everything from choosing a venue to writing vows, complete with stories and advice from women who have been in the trenches, the Team Practical brides. So here’s to the joyful wedding, the sensible wedding, the unbelievably fun wedding! A Practical Wedding is your complete guide to getting married with grace.

Editorial Reviews


Keene's wedding planning guide is a fresh, sane voice in a field of
guides pushing big budget weddings. -Library Journal

“Getting married with grace, joy, and even fun without breaking the bank is what Meg Keene offers the marrying couple with this handy guide book. It's small and short enough to read in one sitting as well as filled with myriad details to refer to when you're ready to plan the various aspects of your upcoming wedding.”

Library Journal, 12/23/11

“Keene’s wedding planning guide is a fresh, sane voice in a field of guides pushing big budget weddings…Keene’s book stands out as she empowers brides to find the elements of wedding planning that are meaningful to them and to let go of the rest without regrets or apology. Verdict: Recommended and required reading for all newly engaged couples. Public libraries would be wise to include this practical guide in their collections.”, 12/22/11

“This book will be a touchstone of sanity. When you get derailed by something judgmental your Aunt Muriel said, or you feel inadequate because your wedding doesn’t look like something perfectly styled on the pages of a magazine or wedding blog, and you start to reevaluate and question your choices, this book will set you back on the path to stability and reason.”, 1/10/12

“Every bride could learn something—and cut her stress level—just by reading it.”

“Fun to read (she’s got such an approachable tone, very entertaining, just like her blog) and really informative as well.”, 1/9/12

“A fantastically fun, humorous, and SANE book for any woman navigating the trying waters of wedding planning.”


BookPage (“top pick”), February 2012
“Expect a big-hearted, broad-minded, super smart low-down on the indispensable practicalities of getting married.”


Portland Book Review, March/April Issue

“Keene offers couples of all faiths, ages, budgets and sexual orientation a wise and well-written hands-on guide for navigating the complexities of etiquette and cultural expectation. (Five Stars)”

Wellesley Free Library Staff Picks (blog), 3/30/12
“If you have a wedding coming up or know someone who does, treat them to this title. It will be one of the best presents they receive!”

Savannah Morning News, 4/18

“This book gives you dozens and dozens if ideas for having a beautiful, uniquely special day without compromising your dream, your plans, or your wallets. Bonus: your guests will never forget your anniversary if you utilize some of the ideas in this book.”

Huffington Post, 3/21/13

“For all the brides out there going through some wedding madness, I highly recommend Meg Keene's A Practical Wedding.”, 9/6/13

“Highly recommended if you believe what really matters on your wedding day is what you’ll remember when you’re old and grey, so not so much how it looked, but how it felt.”

Pensacola, February/March 2014

“This book strips away the excess to help you hone in on what’s really important to planning your wedding, while offering a bevy of tips and tricks to a lovely and practical celebration along the way. A Practical Wedding takes on the myth of perceived wedding “traditions” to set you on a path to a more stress-free big day that still represents the bride and groom in a beautiful way.”

Library Journal, 4/11/14
“In this sane and comprehensive guide Keene guides partners through every step of marriage, from announcements to thank-you notes—all with a deadly realistic stance. This 2011 classic is a must-buy if not already owned.”

About the Author

Meg Keene is the creator of, the ultimate wedding planning website for independent-minded brides. Her blog has been featured in The Wall Street Journal,, Glamour, Chicago Tribune,, and more. She lives with her husband in San Francisco.


Product Details

  • File Size: 474 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (December 27, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005XQ97KK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,167 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
150 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best wedding planning book I've read December 11, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a professional wedding planner. When I first started planning weddings five years ago (for friends, I had no idea at the time that I'd one day be doing this professionally) I read pretty much every wedding planning book I could get my hands on that didn't seem totally insane, because that's what I do when I want to learn about something - I read. And while I picked up some helpful pieces here and there, there was not a single book that I loved overall. I wish that this book had been around then.

Now, I didn't learn anything from this book, but that's because, well, I now do this professionally. However, if you're not a professional wedding planner? You will learn things. Good things. Things like how to find an affordable venue, and that it's OK to sometimes cry during the planning process, and why you should focus on your ceremony, and when and why you need to ask for help.

It's a wedding planning book that manages to deal with both logistics (important! weddings are full of logistics, and they are often overwhelming) and, probably even more importantly, also deals with the often intense emotional logistics around weddings and marriages. It reminds you that your wedding is not just a big party, it is the start of your marriage.

So go buy it, and buy a copy for your mother, and copies for all of your friends who are getting married. This book is definitely my new go-to engagement party gift. If you are a regular reader of the APW blog, rest assured that it's different than the website. The book walks you through wedding planning from engagement to post-honeymoon, all in a concise, smart, practical way.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new wedding-planning bible for the sane bride December 18, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been reading A Practical Wedding, the blog, since my engagement in early 2009. I'm not sure how I stumbled across it, but somehow, in my search of wedding blogs to consume my time and give me ideas on my own wedding planning, I found Meg as she was planning her wedding, and was struck by her wisdom. This was a woman who had her head screwed on straight: a woman who understood that it's about the commitment, not the décor; it's about the people, not the "pretty."

Here's the thing about the APW blog: it is updated daily with information, inspiration, words of wisdom, and discussion. There is so much goodness in the blog that you could get lost in there for days, chasing links and discovering the smart things that other people have discovered in their own wedding -- and life -- experiences. The A Practical Wedding book distills this wisdom into a 200-page guidebook of sorts, in the order that you will probably need the information. It paces you through the engagement, the hows of planning a celebration that is uniquely yours, the ways of dealing with the pressures of planning such an event, to the wedding-day comedown and honeymoon.

I honestly wish this book had been around when I was engaged, because the introduction itself summed up a dozen lessons I learned while planning and I could have saved myself some grief, thinking I was "the only one" dealing with these stresses. In the first chapter, Meg says, "You're going to need some touchstones of sanity during this process." I can see engaged couples reading this book from cover to cover when they first get it, in anticipation of figuring out what is to come, and then using the book as a bible throughout each step of the wedding-planning process. This book WILL BE a touchstone of sanity.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Plan A SANE Wedding December 28, 2011
Meg Keane's A Practical Wedding is an excellent resource for planning a heartfelt, thoughtful wedding. As a reader of Keane's eponymous blog since 2009, I was concerned that her book would be a recycled version of her blog. The book is a standalone, cohesive resource. Keane's informal and friendly voice is consistent with the blogs, as are the themes on marriage equality, partnership, and civility. The 209-page book offers big picture planning advice and more precise advice on certain topics.

The book covers the following topics:

* Getting Started - The first chapter contains Keane's central wedding planning theme. While planning your wedding, remember: "I will not remember what my wedding looked like; I will remember what it felt like." She offers specific advice on how to decide on how you want your wedding to feel and how to use this vision to plan the nitty-gritty details. This chapter should be required reading for all bridges, grooms, and mothers-of-the-bridge.

* The Basics - Keane discusses some of the basics of wedding planning - mainly wedding venues and guest lists. She recommends that couples first book their venue and then deciding on other vendors.

* Battling the Myth of Tradition - This is a fascinating glimpse into the American wedding tradition. Spoiler: many wedding traditions (e.g. unity candles) aren't all that traditional at all. The take away - liberate yourself from traditions that aren't meaningful to you.

* The Budget - Keane offers two budgeting gems - 1) prioritize your spending on only the things that matter to you, and 2) spend to make your life easier. We found this to be great advice at our wedding.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book so far! Quick shipping!
Published 7 days ago by Amory Baril
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I felt like I could have read all this info on
Published 13 days ago by Taylor Ojeda
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST READ for every Bride to be.
This was so helpful to me as I began planning because it gave me permission to say, "That doesn't matter to me, so I don't have to do it. Hurray!" Thank you!!
Published 20 days ago by Jess
5.0 out of 5 stars dress tips and lots of cool other things
Came in the mail a day early and very impressed! It has color schemes, budget planning, guest lists/invitation, dress tips and lots of cool other things! definitely recommend :)
Published 25 days ago by Elissa Ropp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 1 month ago by Delta Dawn
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Was not what we were hoping for
Published 1 month ago by Pam Stamper
5.0 out of 5 stars and I feel like I am on my way to creating the wedding ...
This book will be my bible as I try to get through the wedding planning process. I thought for sure I would have to hire a wedding planner since I had no idea what to do even... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kimberly Schulze
5.0 out of 5 stars lots of good info to help keep you grounded when planning and ...
very helpful book, lots of good info to help keep you grounded when planning and letting things get away from you. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Victoria R Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes!!
This book was so helpful and was very comforting to me while I was planning my wedding. Meg acknowledges that planning a wedding is hard, stressful work and she gives brides the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by emkd
5.0 out of 5 stars In the middle of my wedding planning process and this ...
In the middle of my wedding planning process and this book (and the website especially!) has been a huge, huge help. Just the overall calming tone has saved the day so far!
Published 1 month ago by Anna T.
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More About the Author

Writing about weddings, feminism, and life at A Practical Wedding and Reclaiming Wife, Meg Keene has become one of the foremost authorities on navigating both joyous and difficult life transitions from pre-engagement, to wedding planning, to the wedding day and well into a marriage. She has been quoted sources as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Glamour Magazine, and her work has been cited by ReadyMade, NPR, and, among others. Meg attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and previously worked in NY in Off-Broadway theater management.

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