APW Book Tour: Boston


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

First! It’s Friday, but this is not Ask Team Practical. The thing is, Alyssa has some rather big news these days (Congratulations Alyssa!!!) which means she’s getting the next two weeks off from Ask Team Practical to take a nap. Ok, I can’t actually prove to you that she’s napping during her newfound time off, but I certainly hope she is. So, that means instead of getting wedding advice on the next two Fridays, you’re going to get me telling you about the book tour events, during which I’m totally giving out wedding advice (see how it all ties in??). This is good for several reasons: A) Alyssa gets to nap, B) I get to tell you about life on the road, which makes me feel like I’m carrying all of you in my pocket, C) Pretty pictures. And yes, regular wedding related content (and lots of it) will totally be back Monday. But, the book tour is going to be over soon (I’m already at the halfway point, if you can believe it) and I want to record this moment before it passes.

First, before I even dive into Boston (wonderful, wonderful Boston), I thought I’d catch you up on life on the road, and what I’ve learned. Maybe it will help you for your upcoming adventures, even if they happen in the comfort of your own home. Because bravery and adventure is, well, bravery and adventure. So, now, in no particular order the news:

  • You will miss your husband (but it will be worth it). David is coming into New York tonight, and I’ve never been more excited to see him.
  • You will miss your teddy bear. Sigh. (Shut up.)
  • You will need more sleep than you normally do. I don’t know why travel and unfamiliar places are tiring. But they are. And you will. So take care of yourself.
  • Which brings me to: take care of yourself. It’s pretty much your number one priority because you can’t do the other stuff if you’re a mess of falling apart.
  • Drink a lot of water, not a lot of drinks. I know. It sounds like a bummer, drinking less. But you cannot wake up hungover every other day because people in every city want to toast you (god bless ‘em). Conserve your strength. Because you will need it for things like….

BOSTON. Boston hit me like a sledge hammer in the best possible way. First of all, I stayed with Lauren of Suburbalicious, and yes. You should totally be jealous.  I got to stay in their attic, which I was super into. (Why don’t I have an attic?) Plus, her husband cooked for us, and she has a truly impressive booze collection.

The first morning I woke up terrified because I had my first ever radio interview. It was The Emily Rooney Show, and you can listen to me chatting about how to make your centerpieces really memorable (have them accidentally light on fire), and wedding inflation. I went on after two political reporters, which of course just annoyed me because I wanted to talk about Mitt Romney! I have Things To Say! And then I realized that in the hilarious alternate universe that is NPR (a universe I totally live in, by the way) I am the fluffy programming. Me, talking about feminism, breaking out of the cultural narrative, and constructing egalitarian life transitions, I’m the “light” one. HA! Also, when the producer for The Emily Rooney Show walked in, I immediately knew why I’d been booked. I mean, I could tell she was APW people/my people from a mile away. Her name is Frannie, and I love her. We spent twenty minutes chatting after the show, and that might or might not have been one of the most fun parts (I couldn’t say…).

And that wasn’t it when it came to media. No! The next day, I woke up and did some Local Access Television (rad) where the host was super nice and let me talk about whatever I felt like. And then, off to…

Talk of The Nation, on NPR. I don’t want to be all dramatic and tell you that being on NPR was the pinnacle of my professional life to date, but it TOTALLY was. I don’t even know what to say about the experience other than, they put me in a tiny one-person radio booth (I was glad I’d gotten to practice my interviews over the last few days and whittle down my stories) and then suddenly I was on air. Getting the APW message out was fun, but the call-in stories were possibly even more awesome. There was the woman who got married in her teens in a Justice of the Peace mobile home (her kids love the pictures), the woman who had a potluck hoedown for $500 (she doesn’t regret a thing), and the woman who got married with her closest friends on a dude ranch (she remembers every second of it). NPR listeners really are the best people.

And then, my friends, there was the event at Porter Square Books. I’m still totally overwhelmed by it. In short: about 140 people showed up (and the super kind staff looked like they’d been hit by a truck), they sold out of books before I even started talking, and there was a line out the door for signing for 45 minutes. It was… crazy, amazing, wonderful, overwhelming… all of it.

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding
APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding
APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

APW Book Tour: Boston | A Practical Wedding

When we were driving over to the bookstore, I was chatting with Lauren and her husband about working outside of the artistic medium that I was trained in. I commented that, since I was trained as an actor, writing just felt like something I did and I didn’t self-identify as a writer (which can be a great thing, since my ego doesn’t get in the way of the work in the same way that it used to). So then I went to the reading and signed books for an hour straight, which totally blew my mind. And when I got back, Lauren‘s husband said, “Do you feel a little more like a writer now?” and the funny thing was, I totally did.

So thank you Boston. For making me feel like a writer, for asking the smartest, funniest, and most feminist questions, and for letting me take off my shoes and use the word vagina a lot.

Photos by: calin + bisous photo, Emily Sterne Photography, and Kelly Benvenuto Photography (all awesome ladies!) roll over the pictures for the photographers name.

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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  • http://www.asafemooring.blogspot.com Kirsty {a safe mooring}

    Boston, I HATE YOU. I can’t believe you went and had all that fun without me. So rude.

    <3

  • http://www.empapers.com Eleanor

    Wow, the crowd looks amazing, you look amazing! You can tell from the pix that there was a really good vibe going on…Man! I wish I could’ve been there.

  • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

    My old hometown… I wanted to be there! So glad it was a massive success. (said it before, I’ll say it again: come to Londonnnn.)

  • Alicia

    Being on NPR is TOTALLY on my bucketlist!

  • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

    I just want to say this: I love the pictures from your trip, especially the ones from shoes and feet. Feet set us firmly on the ground and say a lot about who we are and where we are in life, don’t they?
    I wish I was in the US, to hear you speak :)

    • April

      HA! I was *JUST* going to post something very similar, then scrolled thru the comments and saw this. :-) Ditto. Love the photos of Meg doin’ her thing sans shoes.

    • http://twitter.com/becaolivetree Beca

      Holla from Ms Red Boots!

    • KTH

      Yeah — would it be ridiculous to request a round up of Meg’s shoes from the trip? After reading these posts I suddenly have the urge to go shoe shopping.

  • http://suburbaliciousliving.blogspot.com Lauren

    Guess who ironically never got her book(s) signed?

    THIS GIRL. Haha!

    • http://townhousetohome.blogspot.com adria

      While I’m excited for DC on Monday, I truly wish I could have been in Boston…love that dirty water.

      And? I’ll buy another book and get it signed for you, mmk? (You know, if I remember, because I will probably end up forgetting but I will try really hard to doubly support Meg and get you a present). Word.

    • meg

      Check the book in your house. Dedication page.

      • http://suburbaliciousliving.blogspot.com Lauren

        You are so sneaky!! Adria, you can now pass on that book to someone else, and share the love :)

    • Beth

      Hate to get off subject because YAY MEG and BOOKSTORES and WOMEN. But also, Lauren, those were some damn good cookies. Care to share the recipe(s)? Please, please, please?

  • Lisa

    So exciting to read about your amazing experience! Listened to you on TON yesterday and loved it! Only wished you’d have been able to talk to Neal Conan! Looking forward to your future dispatches! Xx Lisa

  • http://www.myhonestanswer.com/ my honest answer

    You’re so right about needing more sleep than usual! Why is it that travelling is so tiring? I mean, assuming you’re not driving (well, we know you’re not, thanks Amtrak!) you spend most of the day sitting around and reading. Yet I’m always worn-out by it! I think you’re right – it’s the mental stimulation of new things and places.

    Your trip sounds amazing. Thanks so much for taking us all along with you!

    • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com Basketcase

      I find the same thing when travelling. I sleep really heavily.
      I also find I get really thirsty and will chug tonnes of water – as much as I can get my hands on.

  • Robyn

    This experience was amazing!! You did an amazing job speaking. You are even funnier in person. Your ability to make everyone feel comfortable is a talent. Also, the vibe in the room is just unbeatable. I know I may be being a little dramatic right now, but I feel like the APW community is just the only thing that makes me feel normal (specifically the crying stories) during this whole wedding planning process, so THANK YOU!!! Have an amazing rest of the tour! You are doing an amazing thing!

  • Jacque

    Meg, you were fantastic and getting to see you/meet you/ have you sign my book was definitely the highlight of my week! And thanks for the words of encouragement on my elopement :)

  • http://shewearsboots.blogspot.com Megan

    Meg, congrats. Seriously. Heard the interview and just was grinning ear-to-ear to hear your voice and what you had to say. Wonderful.

    I just wanted to say that I have totally experienced what you describe as an artist working out of the medium that was a big part of one’s self-conception. I was in theater for 10 years, and after a year in grad school in Northern
    California (which may or may not have been a CLOWN school), I realized I didn’t like it very much, and I stopped. Cold turkey. And I became a musician.

    And as you say, because music was always something I’d done, but never something I thought of as part of my personal identity, I can do it with no ego, no stakes, and suddenly, the best work I’d ever made was just flowing out of me. And now, yes, after a very minor-but-significant set of successes (and 2 cds) I feel a lot more like a “real” musician.

    So, nothing against Madame Theater or anything, but here’s to breaking up one’s artistic past, and meeting Mr. Right (you know, artsy-fartsy speakin’)…

  • Nicole

    Hey…THAT’S MY FACE! Woot!

    Remember when Meg yelled “Whore!” in the middle of her talk? That was great.

  • http://www.queerskiesahead.com TheQueerBird

    Aww look at all those pictures of the original boston book club folks! yay! I love Boston APWers.

  • Erica

    First of all, I could not be more excited to see Ms. Meg talk in person on Monday in DC(ish)!

    Second, as a girl who performed on a stage or two back in the day I’m seriously digging Meg’s character shoes. Word.

    See you Monday!

    • meg

      Vintage diagonal strap Mary janes. Thanks Brooklyn thrifting!! :)

  • http://tolombia.blogspot.com Tolombia

    Just listened to the TOTN interview – wonderful! Also, a friend of mine just got engaged, can’t wait to buy her the book.

  • http://colleencentral.wordpress.com Colleen

    Seriously. Sitting here in the Women’s Center crying like a 2 year old because I didn’t hand the duty phone off to someone and go on Wednesday night. Totally jealous of you Bostonians.

    PS. Even though I wasn’t there, I appreciate that you said vagina multiple times. Viva la vagina!

  • Kate W.

    Aww I wish you were coming to Ohio! Also, I totally blame Alyssa for the fact that I googled lotus birth.

  • http://heartnstomach.tumblr.com The Esthete

    Oh man, I gotta go clean my green boots…awesome shot though Calin!

    I know everyone in the room was so excited to meet you, but also that APW is finding a broader audience and resonating with people who might have never come across this website for one reason or another! There were these two older women in the front row and afterward I heard them talking about how far we’ve come as women- I don’t know if it was the fact that you said “vagina” multiple times or that you yelled “whore”, but I suspect it was just what you mentioned- women (and some men!) talking and thinking critically about marriage and weddings, supporting each other, and asking awesome questions.

    Shout out to Lauren’s cookies too, they were awesome.

    • http://made-of-sun.blogspot.com/ Trisha

      I loved the green boots! I meant to find you after to complement them, but got distracted talking to other people.

  • pearlabeth

    Every event should have at least one kickass pair of Fluevogs present. Those boots are amazing.

    For folks in the area, there’s a conversation going on in the Boston APW Facebook group about meeting up more often!

    • http://twitter.com/becaolivetree Beca

      Cheers! My Sugars are one of my most prized possessions. I feel like a superhero when I wear them!

  • Marie

    Filled w/ so much joy for you! Some happy book stories for ya;

    I gave one to my future mother in law, who is ridiculously awesome, but also somewhat conservative. I die laughing every time I think of her reading the “eff ‘em” language. (and on a more serious note, I think the gender neutral/marriage equality aspect is great for her–the book gave me a chance to put where I stand out there; I might otherwise never discuss it)

    One of the ladies I’ve asked to stand up with me at my wedding did not say yes right away, because she was worried that because she was pregnant (it was too early to have told people), I might want to ask someone else because it would be hard to have her fitted FOR A DRESS. (Don’t worry, I gave her a book, too;). It was a reminder that your message is so important, and so needed.

  • sb

    I see people I know in those pictures!

  • Cass

    The event was so great. I agree with the others who posted about the vibe – it was so amazing to be in such a supportive and non-judgmental environment. I felt like I’d found my tribe. Best of luck on the rest of your tour, Meg. You’ll continue to kick ass.

  • elyse

    happy my former city made you feel so welcomed! if only all this happened in 2009, i would totally have been there. instead, i’m going to send some friends your way in dc.

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.com/ Sheryl

    I’m so happy to see all the happy faces surrounding you!

    Also, it’s incredibly adorable that you take off your shoes during your talks.

  • http://redandtheengineer.blogspot.com Elle Marie

    I dragged my fiance along (eek we’re in a picture!) and now he TOTALLY GETS why I love APW. We were walking in the parking lot after the signing and he said, “You know, I think I *do* want to read the book!” (I’ve been asking him to read it for the past few weeks.) And he had a great time at the talk.

    • Nicole

      That is awesome. I was so happy to see the guys represent!

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    “I don’t want to be all dramatic and tell you that being on NPR was the pinnacle of my professional life to date, but it TOTALLY was.”

    This makes me so so so happy. Yay yay yay yay yayyyyyyyyy for you! And yay that it resulted in book buying. The whole “feeling like a writer” thing teared me right up. You’ve arrived! All such good things. Congrats!!!!

    THANK YOU for taking us in your pocket, since I have no way to get my ass to either Boston or NYC, despite it feeling SO CLOSE.

    And, you were amazing on TOTN. And your voice DID sound like what I would have guessed. Could have been the modulation. Not sure. :)

  • April

    ZOMG I just adore these updates, Meg! Cannot wait till you’re back in Cali and I get to attend one of these sessions. YIPPPPEEE!

  • https://twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

    So excited for the LA (Pasadena) stop!!!

  • KTH

    By the way, Amtrak’s plan is totally working. I now really want to take a really long trip via train.

  • Rachel

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for an AWESOME talk in Boston! I loved reading the book (and the peace of mind it gave me), but listening to you and all the questions from attendees in person was even way more awesome. My fiance has started telling me I’m like a walking APW sales person – I tell everyone I know that they should read the book – it’s really made that much of a difference in my wedding planning. So, thank you :)

  • http://twitter.com/klovescoffee Kristy

    Wow. I feel like Austin really has to bring it now, to live up to Boston & Denver.

    Loved hearing you on NPR! It would totally be the pinnacle of my career, too.

    And yes, travel is exhausting. I think it’s partly that you’re completely off your schedule and, though you can sleep a lot on a train, your body may not be fully relaxed. Especially since you’re so excited because you’re on your BOOK TOUR. That’s kind of huge.

  • http://breannajai.tumblr.com breannajai

    I must say, I miss my Ask Team Practical, but this was lovely to read. Congratulations on doing this pretty scary thing and rocking it (NPR!!)! Seriously. The vibe in that room looks excatly like it should. Happy, fun, and serious all at the same time.

  • Corinna

    MEG! Come to my bookstore. We would love you. Lots of people got engaged over the holidays, they need your help. It is in Kentucky, I know, but Kentucky is wayyyyy cooler than you think. http://www.carmichaelsbookstore.com (I work here, don’t pretend to own it, ever :) )

  • http://winksandwhistles.tumblr.com Kristin

    Meg – you at Porter Square Books was the highlight of my week! Thanks for being so awesome and funny and not afraid to use the word vagina A LOT along with some other choice words.

  • http://hodoeporicon.blogspot.com Stacey

    It was super cool to meet you, Meg, and thanks for signing three extra books for me (presents for engaged couples)!

    I invited a married-in-Germany-but-planning-her-stateside-celebration friend (you signed her book “to limbo!,” which was awesome) and she brought along a newly engaged friend. Between their experiences and my 19 months of marriage (with an 11-month deployment), we were a good cross-section of the APW community, I think. We all loved hearing you speak, Meg, and each got a lot of value out of it. Outside the bookstore, the newly-engaged girl said, “It was nice to feel like I found my tribe.” :D

  • Sarah

    The event was wonderful – thanks, Meg! I got married before APW got its start, but it’s a testament to all the things you said at the event that I’ve read the blog consistently (several days a week) since I discovered it a few months ago. It was great to be a part of the crowd at Porter Square Books (even being part of the standing crowd – it just made it all that much more exciting) and know that I was in a room full of “kindred spirits” (any “Anne of Green Gables” fans out there?).

    Oh, and Boston APW Book Club – I want to join you! How do I do that??

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I’m not in Boston, but when the next book club comes up, Meg will talk about it here on the blog and then there will be discussions on Facebook for the different cities to plan their meetings.

    • http://made-of-sun.blogspot.com/ Trisha

      Search for APW – Boston on Facebook to find the facebook group, where a lot of the planing seems to take place.

  • http://txtingmrdarcy.wordpress.com Txtingmrdarcy

    These pictures just made me totally weepy.

    And no, I am not PMSing. Or Drunk. OR “with child” (Sorry Alyssa, I know you hate that one.)

    The JOY and the FUN of that room are so tangible, and it just hit me for the jillionth time how awesome all of you are, and how I wouldn’t have survived wedding planning without you. And Meg… you’re like our collective older sister who just did the most amazing thing ever and published a book. Awesome.

  • http://www.essential-images.com Essential Kate

    Oh Meg! Vile head cold kept me away from the crowd at Porter Square Books! And these photos? Awesomeness obviously happened there! Keep on spreading the word, keep on being the champion for Sane Weddings. Good luck with the rest of the book tour.

    And omg, Alyssa has the pregnancy I had…… in a word, er, three…….. It Gets Better.

  • Frannie

    Love you back! :)
    It was so much fun having you on the show.
    I’ll keep you posted about our “practical wedding” planning progress and the hijinks sure to ensue…

    • meg

      Yes Frannie! That would be EXCELLENT.

  • Lakelady

    Before I could even check APW this morning, my friend who originally brought me to the site told me I was in the photos and I almost died! So glad my moment meeting Meg was captured on film, as it was truly the highlight of the week!

    Love this post and loved the talk on Wednesday–it was truly awesome to be surrounded by so many rad people and meet Meg in person! So glad Boston represented so well! Loved your NPR talks too.

  • Sara

    Ha! So I just read what Lauren’s husband said and I uttered (out loud to myself in my office), “HA! SHE TOTALLY DOES!!”

    Although you’re halfway done already, there’s something about seeing you signing these books (which is the same way you signed the other books at the other events … don’t try to make sense of it) that seems so real. I actually looked at your gorgeous face and said, “Man, she looks so legit.” For reals.

    You look so relaxed and in your element and so present. Maybe after a little practice it just started feeling more like you. Meg, YOU ARE NOT AN IMPOSTER!! THIS IS THE REAL ^%$&ING DEAL AND YOU’RE IT!
    (and I’ll tell that shit right to your face on Monday in DC!!)

  • kasaro

    this makes me sad that i’m not home…well i mean, i AM home…but not home like boston home. instead i’m in my new home, with the baby family that i’m creating with my man. and if i’m going to miss out on meeting meg (you know, MEG, THE writer of THE blog and THE book…yeah, THAT meg), i can’t think of a better reason than being here and working on this. and i know that meg and team practical would agree…because they taught me about focusing on the things that matter most and letting the rest fall away.

    but just a little bit booooooo because i wish i was there in boston too!

  • http://www.marriedwithkittens.blogspot.com MWK

    It is a good think that Talk of the Nation wasn’t on in my carpool (we are NPR listeners exclusively…unless there’s a basketball game on) because I would have massively freaked out in a small space with three middle-aged men who would have been very, very confused. But I’ll have to give it a listen soon! So proud of you, lady. Also: jealous of you and Lauren hanging out as she is the best-est (and so are you). Although not really jealous because it makes me happy to think of you having women in these cities that you met THROUGH APW and who now are your actual good real-life friends and who are welcoming you to their cities. It’s just…neat. It’s fucking neat as hell.

    • http://www.marriedwithkittens.blogspot.com MWK

      Um, sorry for the swearing.

      • http://www.soulwanderings.com/ one soul

        Is that not allowed? If not, then WHOOPISE. ;)

  • http://www.soulwanderings.com/ one soul

    SO proud of you.

  • http://www.emilysterne.com Emily Sterne Photo

    What an amazing room full of (MOSTLY but NOT ALL) women!! I was really impressed with the depth of the questions that were asked – of course the hour could have easily been spent getting into any ONE of the issues that were raised.

    Also, I would like to join the Meg’s Shoes fan club…