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139 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best wedding planning book I've read
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...
Published on December 11, 2011 by Elizabeth Clayton

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, but not at all what I expected ...
It's OK, but not at all what I expected. Lots of stories, a full-on hammering of the "wedding industry" (OK, enough already - I get it!), and some cute ideas if you are blessed with craft skills, or have an army of talented family and friends to help. Very little on the actual "how to" of putting together a wedding. I was hoping for some more practical...
Published 2 months ago by Susan M. Wright


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139 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best wedding planning book I've read, December 11, 2011
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This review is from: A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Paperback)
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. It pulls from many of the wisest posts on the site, but is in fact an entirely new piece of work that is valuable in an entirely different way to anyone who's planning a wedding.

The wedding industry in America gets a bad rap for a reason - it's generally full of people and organizations who are trying to get you to buy more, do more, stress more. Couples who are getting married need all the help they can get in getting away from this - it's insidious, and can trap even the most sane, laid back people into thinking that they have to do things a certain way, because it's a wedding and it has to be perfect. My favorite line in the book is tied between "There is a whole wedding marketing machine set up to sell you the perfect wedding, but the reality is, things are going to go wrong on your wedding day. That's fine. It's great, even. It's the imperfections that make the day yours." and (a quote from a real-life former bride) "I honestly just gave it up to Jesus. I mean, WWJD anyway? He wouldn't stress about anyone handing out some program fans, I'll bet you that much."

Truth.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new wedding-planning bible for the sane bride, December 18, 2011
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This review is from: A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Paperback)
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. 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.

The wedding industry is here to sell you things, and tries to convince engaged couples that if they don't get it they are doing themselves, their guests, and their wedding a disservice. But Meg tells us -- and has other sane, practical brides and grooms joining the discussion with their wedding experiences -- that you should focus on your priorities and that we can take or leave the rest. The book will save you money. It will save you a lot of grief trying to understand and control your budget. It will save you some tears (though not all, because wedding-planning is bound to make even the strongest of us break down at least once).

Most importantly, it will help you to shape your wedding into something that reflects you as a couple, and will guide you towards that goal in manageable steps while following the path of least resistance.

Seriously. Buy this book.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Plan A SANE Wedding, December 28, 2011
By 
Dew Drop (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Paperback)
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. We skipped the florist because we didn't particularly care about flower centerpieces but we did splurge on a day-of coordinator to keep the stress away.

* The Planning - This is a great chapter to return to again and again during the planning process. She has a few central tenets - organize your information early on; hire people you like; and don't drive yourself crazy on a quest to find the perfect dress/venue/florist/photographer etc.

* Doing it Yourself - She offers advice on DIY flowers, food, music, and photography. She reminds prospective bridges that do-it-together is often way more sensible (and fun).

* The Hard Stuff -- Keane discusses family arguments, bereavement, and conflicts between couples. One line in the chapter is more than just wedding advice - it's life advice: "The hardest part of wedding planning is often the conflict between what we hoped would be, and what is. Dealing with this can painful and emotional."

* The Ceremony: In this chapter Keane advocates that couples devote themselves to planning the ceremony, working with officiant, and figuring out how a traditional ceremony can reflect your personal partnership.

* One Wonderfully, Wildly Imperfect Day - In this chapter it feels like Keane is sitting down with you a week before the wedding and laying out a doable plan for the actual ceremony and reception. She recommends putting in a lot of energy planning and delegating before the wedding so that you and your partner can enjoy the actual wedding day.

* It Actually Wasn't The Best Day of Your Life - Keane discusses what to emotionally expect after the wedding. She also discusses the advantages to honeymooning.

Whether you are planning a backyard picnic wedding or a country club fete, there's practical advice for creating a wedding that will serve as the foundation for your marriage.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book, December 14, 2011
By 
anita mishook (Newport Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Paperback)
This well-written, thoughtful, empathic, humorous and tender guide to weddings and all that surrounds them is a wonderful book. It will work not only for the about-to-be-married but also for their families and friends. Ahh, sanity at last in the wedding community.A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life saver, March 15, 2012
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This review is from: A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Paperback)
There probably is not much I can say that hasn't already been said. But Meg deserves all of these words of praise, and gratitude, so I will do my best to sum up my thoughts.

There are a lot of resources out there for the soon-to-be-wed. Too many resources. Way too many. Most of them are preaching the same things, but I'm so thankful I found one that is not. When I became engaged, I put off planning our wedding for a full year, because every glance at this multitude of resources made my cringe. It was so much work that I didn't want to deal with, and didn't think I could handle. There were lists upon lists of things I could not care less about, and I don't WANT to have to care about. And the worst part of it all was that I felt like I was in high school again. Like I had to make the team, have a certain group of friends, wear certain things, drive a certain level of car, etc., just to fit in. I never wanted to fit in in high school, and I certainly don't now either. So it stressed me out. I don't want to have a wedding like everyone else, and not even one like everyone that is trying to not be like everyone else. So, we thought the best alternative to all of this was to just say 'screw it', and do our own thing. Well, as we dove into planning our elopement, I realized it didn't feel right. I started researching, and stumbled upon A Practical Wedding's website. I have never looked back. I bought the book immediately, devoured it, and devoured it a second time. I felt the biggest sense of relief and comfort as I read through the pages. I felt as if I was sitting on my couch with an old friend, who just so happens to be very well versed in all things wedding, and she was encouraging, and supportive, and full of great ideas. Just what I needed. We stopped in our tracks, and completely re-planned the whole thing.

I learned what a wedding actually means, and how it's not just about legalities. I really had no emotional ties to our wedding up until that point, it was just something we were doing. Now, the amount of excitement, and gratitude I have about what we are doing is immeasurable. I honestly think our whole wedding process would have been okay without this discovery, but it would not have been us. We now have found a way to incorporate our lives, our loved ones, and our favorite things into our wedding. It's becoming a community celebration, and a fantastic send off into our new little family we'll be forming. A Practical Wedding has taught me about tradition, meaning behind things, why we have weddings, how to survive the planning process, planning without going broke, how to fully enjoy the day (and the many days after), that my wedding is NOT an imposition on anyone in my life, and SO much more. For all of this, I am eternally grateful. I have learned so much about myself during this process, and about what our marriage and our future means to me. This book is priceless to me, and if you are planning a wedding, I don't think you should go without it.

I've been doing nothing but spreading the word about this book to everyone I know, and I will recommend it to any bride that I meet. The least I can do is offer up what it gave me to the Amazon community.

Thank you Meg, I am so grateful.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars helps to clarify your values, May 24, 2012
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This review is from: A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Paperback)
I won't call this a wedding planning book. This is a book to make you better understand the wedding industry, what weddings mean to you, and where you fit. Meg Keene does not tell you what kind of wedding you should have, but helps you figure out why you want the wedding you want. Whether your budget is $500 or $50, 000, she does not judge. This is a must-read before you get caught up in the chaos of wedding planning.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book makes you feel sane when the WIC makes you feel crazy., December 20, 2011
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This review is from: A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Paperback)
With the same grace, wit, and no-nonsense common sense she uses on her blog, Keene guides you through the basics of wedding planning. This book is not a how-to guide for a certain "type" of wedding (traditional, offbeat, LGBT, religious, secular, outdoor, indoor, winter, spring, etc. etc. etc.) but rather a rudder by which anyone planning a wedding can remain true to themselves and (relatively) sane.

Keene discusses the origins of some modern American wedding "traditions" (spoiler alert, most of them have to do with money and nearly all of them were invented in the last 100 years) in a way that's both respectful and realistic; she addresses the budget with a tongue-in-cheek attitude and absolutely zero guilt tripping; she reminds you to respect your family and guests as adults and still remain firmly committed to your values and beliefs, and tells you how to manage it all gracefully.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the history of traditions, the chapter on crafting your own ceremony (or appreciating a traditional ceremony), and the "Day Of" chapter--it's hard to address nitty-gritty spreadsheets and the overwhelming emotional impact of saying your wedding vows within the same chapter and with equal weight, but darn it, Meg pulls it off.

I've been a longtime reader of the blog and found the book both an excellent addition to it *as well as* a strong stand-alone treatise on planning the modern wedding. If you're a blog reader waffling about whether or not the book will add value to your planning process, it will. Buy it. In fact, buy two. Someone else you know is going to get engaged someday, right? :)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great gift for the engaged of all genders and orientations, December 20, 2011
By 
B. Hernandez (San Joaquin Valley, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Paperback)
Like some of the other reviewers, I relied on the blog a year and a half ago to help plan our wedding. I learned that it's possible to include your partner in your planning and why that's important, and how to create some of our own traditions while keeping the ones that matter. I would like to publicly state that we owe a great deal to Meg and the wedding graduates for empowering us to plan an authentic, sane, affordable wedding that we still get compliments on (seriously, 1.5 years later, relatives and friends gush at us about the wedding, and trust me, it's not because of the favors!).

One of my best friends just got engaged, and I knew exactly what I'd be buying her-- this book. She's not quite into blogs like I am, and this way she can have her partner and mom read it. I got it in the mail yesterday and immediately started reading it (just to see what the writing style is like and what types of info are in it). Here's my breakdown:

*The writing is conversational and down-to-earth, gives some REALLY interesting background info on "Wedding Traditions" and how many of the things that stress us out or break the bank AREN'T ACTUALLY TRADITIONAL, and is at times funny and yet completely REAL.

*I really like the incorporation of other people's experiences, and they aren't just white heterosexual women. In other words, it has the spirit of the blog-- many voices, yet with the unique voice of Meg, an independent, sassy woman who you want to have cocktails with.

*I also appreciate how Meg talks about not just the dilemmas and planning aspects of the wedding itself, but also 1. questions to talk over with your partner BEFORE you are married and 2. the post-wedding. i.e. the honeymoon and married life. I honestly think that what she says about the honeymoon is incredibly important-- she really helps prepare you for accepting your emotions (no matter what they are) and calls b.s. on the "Honeymoon=$5,000 to $10,000" myth that keeps people from giving themselves a few days to let things sink in and celebrate their new status.

I would feel very comfortable buying this book for the following people:

-Engaged men or women
-Engaged hetero/homo/trans/bi-sexual men or women
-A Mother-of-the-Bride/Groom or Maid-of-Honor who feels like they know nothing about weddings and want to be able to offer advice or at least have an idea of some of the options out there
-A "pre-engaged" friend who is discussing marriage with their significant other. Especially people who are committed but not sure if they believe in marriage or not.

This is not a book that will make people feel pressured to "Make everything yourself" (i.e. "DIY), and it doesn't assume that you have $40,000 to spend, or can only spend $500 either. I highly recommend it!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So helpful!, December 20, 2011
By 
Katie Cobb (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Paperback)
This book! It is, as its name suggests, practical and also awesome. I am a bride planing my wedding, and I couldn't believe the insane advice wedding books and websites and magazines and everything else wedding was trying to give me. This book, and the blog and community around it, are such good antidotes to all the crazy advice out there. If you're a bride looking for someone to help you figure out how to have an awesome, creative wedding and you don't necessarily need to have monogrammed napkins and chair covers and and and and... then this might be exactly what you need.
I love the great advice about DJing or self-catering or better yet, partially self-catering a wedding. And stuff about emotions! Like, how can you tell if you have cold feet, or just nerves?
Anyway, for any bride/groom/etc who wants a calmer look at weddings-- this book is awesome and comes highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wedding Planning Guide for the Sane, January 24, 2012
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This review is from: A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Paperback)
I am one of the lucky one's who found A Practical Wedding shortly after getting engaged. I come from an uber detailed family that is constantly pressing for details and pressing for the "traditional" church and social hall wedding. I have friends that have had picnics in public parks for their wedding. Needless to say, I was completely lost about how to go about this. The blog, and now book, have been a saving grace that helps remind me to go with my gut and what makes sense for me and my fiance. I bought the book as a gift for my mom, so that she better understands how my fiance and I are approaching our wedding.

We are four months out from the big day and everyone is so surprised at how relaxed and happy we are.

Thanks APW!
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A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration
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