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OBB-APW Meetup: the Play-by-Play


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

OBB APW Meetup: the Play by Play | A Practical Wedding (Photo by Christina Richards Weddings)

Ok, so. I’m sitting down at the end of my wonderful 30th birthday weekend (30th birthdays are emotional, FYI. No one had informed me of that.) And thinking about what to write about the Offbeat Bride reading/APW meetup has me feeling overwhelmed with… gratitude, really.

OBB APW Meetup: the Play by Play | A Practical Wedding (Photo by Christina Richards Weddings)

First of all, the reading was fantastic, and it was PACKED. Like, standing room only packed. Amazing. Ariel used her famous bride sock puppet, and rocked the introduction and the budget chapter.

OBB APW Meetup: the Play by Play | A Practical Wedding(Photo by Emily Takes Photos)

Since she is awesome, Ariel asked me to read my little budget sidebar. As we were waiting for the reading to start, one of the Booksmith employees asked me if I’d practiced, and I said, “Five minutes ago it occurred to me that might have been a good idea. But, no, I haven’t read it since I wrote it.”

OBB APW Meetup: the Play by Play | A Practical Wedding(Photo by Christina Richards Weddings)

Um. But I love talking to big groups of people more than I love… well… most anything in the world. So of course I LOVED every second.

OBB APW Meetup: the Play by Play | A Practical Wedding(Photo by Emily Takes Photos)

Then Ariel did Q&A, which was the best part. (I always think Q&A with writers who’s work you love is the *reason* to go to readings). Plus, she signed a billion books.

OBB APW Meetup: the Play by Play | A Practical Wedding(Photo by Christina Richards Weddings)

But afterward was the very best part for me. Better even than speaking in front of a big group. I got to stand around and meet so many Team Practical people. Someone (I think Liz) asked me to sign my sidebar in OBB, and I totally freaked out, since no one had every asked me for my autograph. Like so:

OBB APW Meetup: the Play by Play | A Practical Wedding(Photo by Emily Takes Photos)

It was really cool and slightly surreal to get to do and event with Ariel. I mean, she is the person who started this whole progressive weddings movement online, and without Offbeat Bride, I would have never dreamed up APW.

OBB APW Meetup: the Play by Play | A Practical Wedding(Photo by Emily Takes Photos)

OBB APW Meetup: the Play by Play | A Practical Wedding(Photo by Christina Richards Weddings)

And then a bunch of us went to a bar. We don’t have pictures, because it was so dark, but we do have stories. I’ll let the other ladies take it from there. Here is Robin:

It was like hanging out with people I already knew.  Or maybe not actually– but like being with people I COULD already know, and just happen not to have met yet.  It was fairly extraordinary for me to spend the evening with a group of smart, funny, fabulous women (and a few men), to whom I felt an immediate connection.  And while there was some wedding discussion, I would say that APW is more what brought us all to the same place, what connected us to one another to begin with, but not the sole basis for discussion or connection. It wasn’t primarily what I talked about with people.  Some, but less than not.  More, that APW’s appeal clearly speaks to a certain type of person*.  And that putting some of these same persons in the same place at the same time, was like kismet.  Like, how could it be anything other than fun, engaging, connective and genuine.  *(More than a shared interest, I think it’s a shared sensibility.  Or world-view.  Or something.)

And here is the excellent Verhext:

The reading gave me the same warm fuzzies A Practical Wedding does — mind you, I am not a warm fuzzier, I’m a grump. But when Ariel asked how many of us were engaged and 3/4s of the room shot their hands up, it was heartwarming and adorable. There’s something about knowing that a whole room of people is feeling a similar ‘big love, big plans’ feeling to the one you are, you know? The whole thing was weird but awesome. I would never have pegged myself as someone who’d go to a BRIDAL BOOK READING, but the book is cute and funny, as is the author! Meg arranged a drinking meet-up afterward, I brought a slew of cupcakes courtesy of Miette, and it was really lovely to meet new people who understand the bridal crazy. Especially Meg! So adorable, jeez! & don’t you all sass me about cupcakes being passé, they’re tiny cakes you don’t need a fork to eat. They taste like cake. They’re actually even MADE of cake. I like cake.

Now? I want to do this in every single city. Because it was honestly the best. Oh. And I made myself sick on cupcakes. Natch.

OBB APW Meetup: the Play by Play | A Practical Wedding

(Photo by Christina Richards Weddings)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • sarah

    that sounds fun! all of us non-san franciscoans are super jealous right now :)

    • Brendarling

      I totally agree!
      But thank you for the nice stories and photos…

      I hope you had very happy birthday, Meg :-)

      • C

        I totally agree with you both. Ariel and Meg both look so charming; these photos are awesome! Happy belated birthday Meg.

        • kat

          yes! I so wish I lived in San Francisco this weekend. Columbus is just tooooo far away!

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Welcome to the 30s! It’s been my favorite decade so far.

    • Nat

      ^^ totally agree, I’ve loved being 30 and now 31! I wish I could stay this age for about 5 more years though!

  • http://www.verhext.com verhext

    thank you again!! i hope your birthday was spectacular.

  • http://projectsubrosa.blogspot.com Cate Subrosa

    Your 30s are gonna rock. (You know that, and it’s not why you’re emotional, I know, but I thought I’d say it anyway.)

  • http://amountainbride.blogspot.com jes [a mountain bride]

    Fun fun!! I love book readings…but this sounded like a book party? Which I’ve never attended but sounds so rad….

    congrats on givin’ the “first” autograph!

    • meg

      Book party!!!

      • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com sera

        I’m so jealous of all of you who got to attend this amazing book party! happy b-day Meg. the 20s are overrated. 30s are where you figure stuff out. although I think you are so already there.

  • http://engagedanddazed.posterous.com cheska

    belated happy birthday, meg! hope you had a blast!
    my fiance and i were late but we made it to the book reading last friday!
    i should’ve said hi, but i’m terribly shy, it’s shameful.
    i enjoyed all the readings and ariel’s puppet was so adorable! haha…
    my fiance sends his thank you’s to you (and of course to team practical!) for keeping me sane and full of sense while wedding planning! :) btw, the amazing christina richards will be photographing our wedding next year! :)
    can’t thank you enough for introducing us to her work! she is very down to earth despite her incredible talent..
    we’re so excited!

  • http://anhonorableestate.blogspot.com A-L

    So, when are you taking your show on the road? San Francisco’s not the only cool place in the country you know. ;)

  • Sara A.

    A happy belated birthday!! The meet-up looks awesome. My engaged and newly married cohorts will be happy to host in DC.

    • ddayporter

      second! bring this train to DC, we have tons of smrt ladies here. :)

      happy belated birthday Meg! love the first autograph picture! adorable.

    • Chelsea

      Here’s a third for DC! (or, even better, Baltimore…)

      • http://agorillalibrarian.blogspot.com/ Mejane

        Yes, please come to DC!

        (I wonder if Kramerbooks would ever consider hosting? Then you could have smart ladies, books, pie and cocktails all in one convenient location. It would be fabulous.)

      • http://www.google.com/ Jacey

        You’ve got to be kidding me-it’s so tarnspanertly clear now!

      • http://rxghvovkhogo.com/ iikpgbbx

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  • http://marie-evelaforte.blogspot.com Marie-Eve

    Sounds great…! Wish I didn’t live a zillion miles away…

    And happy, happy belated birthday. Welcome to the thirties. I hope that just like me you’ll find that’s a great place to be!

  • http://www.loveatthelodge.blogspot.com Erica

    Come to L.A.! Pretty please???

  • http://www.katiejaneparker.com Katie Jane Parker

    So jealous of West Coasters right now! Y’all need to come to NYC pronto! I’ll provide the cupcakes!

    And happy 30th, Meg!!

  • http://memyselfandbride.blogspot.com/ Jen

    Yup. Definitely jealous of the west coast! We’re cool here in MN, too! Come visit!

    • amy rose

      Let’s hear it for Minnesota! The Midwest would love to have you, Meg. Cheers to a happy 30th!

      • Noelle

        Agreed! Come to Minneapolis! (or St. Paul, either way).

        Happy 30th!

  • Jules

    I’m so jealous!!! I would have gone to this in a heartbeat. And as a publishing person, it warms my heart to hear of such a successful book signing! I’ll console myself with the thought that I’ll be relocating to SF from NYC after we get married this summer so maybe I will have the opportunity to meet some of Team Practical in the near future…

    • http://offbeatbride.com Ariel

      Jules, it totally blew my mind too! At my SF book signing in 2007, I think there were about 5 people there. Meg promoted the hell out of Friday’s event, and the results were awesome to see. :)

      • Jules

        That’s awesome! Would love to see your book hit the SF Chronicle list… Keep workin’ it!!!

  • http://starryknit.blogspot.com Jessica

    I had so much fun! Happy belated birthday, Meg. Thanks for convincing Ariel to do the reading.

  • Liz K

    Happy belated birthday Meg!
    And I’m so glad there’s photographic evidence that I scored your first official autograph! Wooo!
    Huge thanks again for convincing Ariel to make the journey down and for, well, just being you aka Awesome. It was great fun to put a face/personality with the writer/personality I see online 5x week.

    xoxo

  • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

    Come to Chicago! I’m more than willing to host you Meg. And Ariel! And find you guys a good place to do a reading.

    Goodness, I sound like a fan girl. Oh, wait, I am!

    • Katie L

      YES! YES! YES! Come to Chicago! I would LOOOOOVE to meet you and Ariel!

      • KD

        YES! Chicago!!

  • suz

    The reading was excellent. I dragged my partner (we’re not even engaged) (YET!) and she was skeptical at first (she doesn’t like being read to) but ended up liking it.

    I wanted to come up to speak with you afterward but you were swarmed and I was shy, so we left.

    I also wanted to raise my hand and comment but see above re: shy! Here’s what I wanted to say:

    THANK YOU for talking about the way that weddings differ and the ways they are the same. Thank you for helping those of us who will one day have an “offbeat” wedding see that we can do it our way, whatever that means to us. As a lesbian, in this new age of lesbian weddings and commitment ceremonies and all the other ways that we celebrate our communities and loves, it’s been really confusing to figure out how to fit our ceremonies in the framework of traditional ceremonies. Must we forge a new path without any throwbacks to the traditions of the straight folks? Or do we follow in the old traditions with the giving away of the bride and maids of honor and those sorts of things. And the answer is that we can do whatever we want. We can combine or get rid of or create or whatever. I’d like to thank all of you who are participating in this dialogue – whether as a blogger, or a commenter, or an offbeat bride. You may not be doing it for the gays – since the majority of you are straight. But in opening the discussion, in allowing for the possibility that change to tradition does not ruin the sanctity of that tradition, well, you open the pathway for us all to do things our own way.

    So thanks :) Sorry I was too shy to say it in person!

    p.s. Happy Birthday! I’m coming up on 35 and I have to say that the decade gets better and better!

  • kat

    Oh yes – and RE: you turning 30 = kind of emotional stage in your life… For me, it was definitely yes. that. I turned 30 in October. But I’ve wrapped my head around it 6 months later, and you know what? I like it. I kind of took stock after a few months and thought to myself that my life just keeps getting richer and deeper. So I wish that for you too. Because it feels good.

  • http://offbeatbride.com/author/offbeatmegan Offbeat Megan

    So so jealous that I couldn’t be there for this reading. But I’m loving the photos!

  • http://sillyromance.bogspot.com Amanda H.

    So jealous. It looks like you had an amazing time!

  • http://werondwif.blogspot.com Stacey

    Oooh – do one in Boston next!!! :)

  • http://offbeatbride.com Ariel

    Meg, thank you so much again & again for manipulating/convincing me to come down for the reading — it was such a great night! So many awesome smarties in the audience … I’m still thinking over some of those questions…

    • meg

      Ah, manipulation ;) So so glad you came.

  • BRENDA

    Ack! I live in the Bay Area but just discovered this site. It has been such a help already. Can’t believe I missed this :(

  • agirl

    Happy belated birthday chicken!

    So… when is this book-gig coming to the UK???

    • Bella

      Was jsut going to write – when you say every single city I really hope that includes London! Come on … you know you want to! Please?
      Happy belated birthday – hope it was a *good* emotional one!

      • meg

        London is my very favorite city. I mean, we honeymooned there. Any excuse… ;)

  • Sarah K.

    BOSTON. Boston next. It’s a great city, beautiful in the summer, and I AM JUST TOO DAMN JEALOUS. Also? I’m an event planner for a living; I will HELP you plan this shindig!! If you take your fabulous show on the road, I vote Boston next. I know it’s not necessarily the closest (uhh), but it’s made of awesome. Come on down! We have chowder! And baseball! And swans! And sane, awesome brides!! :)