By: Meg Keene
Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books
Copyright Date: 2011
Number of Pages: 256
Format: nonfiction, wedding planning
Reason for Reading: longtime reader of APW
“Weddings are about hope. Weddings are hope for the future, hope for a new generation, and the hope that love and family can win over over everything else. Weddings are not more important than life, nor do they stand apart from life, but they represent something bigger than us, something larger than the dress we wear or the flowers we carry. So on the days it seems too hard to go on, too painful to pick out flowers in the face of deep pain, remember the why of weddings. When life leaves us a puddle on the floor, weddings allow us a reason to hope and give us a brief, shining moment in the sun. They allow us to celebrate who we love with the people we love, which is always, always necessary.”
(excerpt from the section on Planning a Wedding When Life Hurts)
Meg, blogger extraordinaire, has compiled and condensed her wedding philosophy into a very readable book. Her blog, A Practical Wedding, is chock full of information on every facet of wedding planning, and she has handy tabs organizing the site’s material. But!!! Now you can have it all in book form!! A book that takes you straight from the giddiness of being freshly engaged to the reality check that is wedding planning. You can carry it around, hand it off to friends, give it to your mother. It is the best of Meg’s blog in portable form.
I have been reading APW for almost as long as the site has been around. I have watched it grow from a baby blog on blogspot to a full-blown site on its own server. I planned my wedding using the site, and stuck around afterward because the site is more than weddings. It is about marriage; about feminism; about navigating traditional roles in nontraditional ways. So of course, when Meg announced that she was writing a book, I couldn’t wait to read it.
Well! Let me just say that I am JEALOUS I didn’t have this book when I was planning my wedding. (Although, I thankfully had the blog.) Meg’s voice in book form is just as strong as that of her blog, if not more so. She bravely puts forth her philosophies for having a SANE wedding. She debunks the wedding myths propagated by the Wedding Industrial Complex. She guides the reader through actual wedding history and wedding tradition. She details how weddings have changed dramatically in the past thirty years, no longer resembling those of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers.
Meg also, shockingly, focuses on the marriage while discussing the planning of the wedding. She gives a list of sample questions you and your partner should discuss before getting married, whether you go through pre-marital counseling (which she is a big proponent of) or not. Even when talking about the fun details of throwing a fun, celebratory party, she continually brings it back around to the marriage. She stresses that no one will remember what it looked like but how it felt. She pays particular attention to the crafting of the ceremony, which is the heart of the wedding itself. Meg gives equal credence to the traditional and nontraditional. She makes you feel validated whether you are going the traditional route or the nontraditional.
Meg also talks about the hard stuff. She delves into having the hard conversations (i.e. divorce, loss, sex, money, etc) with your partner. She broaches the subject of calling off the wedding. What if you really don’t want to spend the rest of your life with this person after all. Meg reminds us that although calling off a wedding is really really hard, it is MUCH harder to call off a marriage.
Meg is the ultimate cheerleader and voice of reason. She is here to remind those of us in the throes of wedding planning what the true goal is and how to get there without losing our minds. The foundation of her philosophy and therefore her book, are the things she cares about most: that you are authentic; respectful and considerate of your community; and ultimately focused on the marriage.
A fantastically fun, humorous, and SANE book for any woman navigating the trying waters of wedding planning.