Help Us With The Relaunch: Wedding Search Terms

Help us help you

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

Last week, when I announced the impending relaunch of the site (eep!) I mentioned that we were going to make weddings highly searchable. Because let’s be for real. We all talk about how we love everyone and the world is a lovely rainbow (it is), but when you’re planning a wedding, you really want to find examples of people like you. You want weddings in affordable venues in New York City. You want to see what other hot plus sized wedding dresses ladies are rocking. You want to see other weddings in churches, other receptions in restaurants, or weddings with 250-why-is-my-family-so-damn-big guests.

So today, we’re polling you: how do you want to search your weddings? Big wedding websites let you search by things like “brown” and “boho chic” (real examples), but my guess is that’s not y’all’s speed. I’m thinking you don’t want to search by color and style, but instead want to search by things that are more… helpful.

But you tell us. This morning is about wishing and hoping (and hopefully wish fulfillment, in a few short weeks).  How do you want to be able to search through APW weddings?

**Edited to add: We’re not crowd sourcing how to build the site today. That’s all been set in the nine months we’ve been working on it (and I think you guys will be happy with it, seeing your comments). What we’re specifically looking for is wedding search terms.**

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit #NASTY

Staff Picks

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  • TeaforTwo

    I’m having a daytime wedding in December, and it’s been difficult to find weddings that will look mine.

    I definitely want to be able to search by season, because I’m not exactly on the prowl for wedding sandals, my dress is going to need sleeves, and I want to make sure I’ve fully explored my options for faux fur stoles. (Bonus points for “holiday” weddings, because I’ll be damned if I’m getting married in mid-December without having a Christmas tree to take pictures in front of.)

    I also want to search by time of day/meal, mostly so that someone can assure me that people will dance even if the dancing starts at 3pm.

    • Michaela

      Totally agree on searching by seasons. I’m also planning a winter wedding and it’s been hard to find other similar weddings to get ideas/think of ways to get around seasonal obstacles (ie: where to take pictures of your big bridal party when it’s likely going to be below zero temps).

      • TeaforTwo

        YES! There are all kinds of practical considerations to do with getting married in the winter that just don’t exist for “in-season” weddings. How do I keep the bottom of my dress out of the snow and slush? Where do we take photos without freezing? Who’s going to mop near the front door of the reception so it doesn’t get all slushy and gross? Let’s build in time to make sure our photos are done before the sun goes down at 4pm. What if it snows and no one can get here? What if it DOESN’T snow and everything just looks grey and barren instead of wintry and festive? Where do people go if they don’t want to be too near the music, but it’s too cold to take the party outside?

    • Rachel

      “My dress is going to need sleeves, and I want to make sure I’ve fully explored my options for faux fur stoles.”

      THIS. I would love more winter-specific content as winter approaches because I feel like it’s an area most big wedding websites kind of avoid.

    • Erin

      YES! I had a winter wedding (January 7, two years this winter!) and while I LOVED it, it was very hard to find inspiration.

    • meg

      Funnily enough, it’s winter weddings that we’re definitely sorting out. I’m not convinced the difference between say: spring and summer weddings (aka, most of them) is very huge, but winter weddings are there own animal.

    • Jennifer

      I’m also getting married in December and would like it to be easier to search seasonally! It’s easy to find info on cheap ways to do summer weddings (picnic in the park, hot dogs/burgers, and outdoor games) but ideas for winter weddings tend to be really expensive (hot chocolate bar, caramel apple bar, etc). It would be really helpful to be able to search seasonally!

    • Rachel

      Another winter bride-to-be here! A winter wedding section would be GREAT, especially for those of us who happen to be getting married in January but don’t want to have a “winter-themed” wedding. So much of what you can find on winter weddings involves snowflake-shaped decor, hot chocolate bars, etc. – as if we all need more reminders that it’s cold and gross outside. Just because it’s January outside doesn’t mean it has to look like January inside!

      Also, this: “What if it DOESN’T snow and everything just looks grey and barren instead of wintry and festive?” SO afraid of this.

      • Sara B

        This exactly! I am also planning a winter wedding (Jan 2014, in Binghamton NY). I’ve been looking for decoration and food inspiration. But more importantly I’m trying to figure out what sort of dress I can choose for my bridesmaids to keep them warm, but still pretty.

        I actually came to this site today thinking: Maybe I can find a way to search team practical for winter bridesmaids dresses… maybe they have an ask question section like ESB…)

        • Rachel

          My January wedding is actually going to be down south, where the cold won’t be much of an issue, but I’m still thinking about putting bridesmaids in patterned tights and cardigans!

  • Frances

    Ok, so my favourite search site online is Yes, it’s a knitting website, and you search for patterns. But finding specific things is so easy. Basically, you tick certain keywords which narrows down your search. The more you tick, the smaller the number of results that are returned. It means that you can search for a variety of combinations that are specific to your needs.

    • Gahhh I just did the old “Trying to Exactly! something but my giant fingertip hit Report this comment.” So please un-report and give it a couple of extra Exactlys because this is what I was going to say. Matrix of keywords-style search is the ultimate in search utility.

    • Clare

      Yes, I was just thinking how much I like check boxes. I was thinking of Zappos because, as is the case with weddings, I know nothing about shoes. I like having different categories and being able to select multiple options in each category. When you don’t know the proper search vocabulary, it makes it much easier.

    • Elisabeth

      Frances speaks truth!

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      Love Ravelry! I also like that there are different categories to browse–the patterns, people, yarns. I don’t think the divisions are as obvious on APW, but maybe the comments will prove me wrong?

      • Jenny

        Just another plug for a zappos esque narrow down search terms. In fact, when I was doing some website testing for a product for my my, this was the type of search people felt best suited our needs. I imagine it wold work well with APW too.

    • Beth

      Yes to check boxes or, alternately, the ability to disclude certain terms. There have been many many times I’ve wished for that option when searching sites. Like, yes, I would like to see all your sandals, just not the pink ones.

  • Amy March

    1. Budget.

    2. Location

    3. Number of guests

    • Jacky

      All of these. They’re all related, especially location and budget: a wedding in New York City is probably going to cost more than a wedding in a small Midwestern town. I struggled a lot at the beginning with finding out “typical” costs of various items (photography, catering, etc.) in my area, and being able to get an idea of others’ budgets based on location would be very helpful.

    • Outside Bride

      I really like location and number of guests, but there’s so much judgement around budget (high or low) and also so many variables, that if that is searchable it might need to be split out in a way that’s not just a number. I’m not sure if I would want to post a number (where to even start calculating? ) and I feel like it might reduce some of the diversity of submissions if a number, or even a ranged, was tagged to each wedding. Is there a different way to get at the question of budget?

      • JessPeebs

        Re: way to get at budget: approx. amount spent per guest, maybe?

  • Gwen

    Whatever the categories, oh-so pretty please make sure that the user can indicate whether the multiple search terms selected are AND, or OR or NEITHER.

    • morningglory

      Hooray for Boolean Searching! I agree!
      (Librarian geek out moment!)

    • Yeah, this is a good idea. Sort of Google’s version of “exact” or “broad” for keywords.

      • Jessica

        High-fives to other librarians out there! Love Boolean searching and maybe an advanced search option so you can have multiple search terms. Eg cocktail, city hall, small

  • Grace

    I’m planning a small secular restaurant afternoon cockatil style wedding for next fall. It has been soooooo hard to find inspiration because it seems like that no one has every put all of these things (or even more than one of these things) together in the history of the internet. Especially since we are also having the ceremony at the restaurant, and are going to be skipping a lot of traditions (bouquet/garter toss, first dance and parent dances, all dancing, wearing a veil, having an asile…).

    I second Teafortwo’s suggestions of searching by time of day and season. Type of venue would also be really helpful. As would how the food is being served, which faith the ceremony is based in (including none!), and size of the guest list. I think even searching for what a wedding doesn’t have might be neat, too. I can’t be the only one to ever not have dancing at my wedding, and would really like to be able to see how others have handled it, what problems they faced because of not having dancing, etc.

    Also I would reeeeeallly like to be able to search photographers by travel policy. There just aren’t a lot of good, affordable, photojournalist wedding photographers in my area so finding the ones that would travel made my search so much less frustrating.

    • Nikki

      Hi Grace,

      A few websites call this ‘dinner theater style’ wedding. Where the guests are seated at the dining tables during the ceremony. Haven’t seen it done in a restaurant setting, but the general concept is there. This is something I have been considering, you’re not the only one not to have dancing :)

      Happy planning!

      • Grace

        I don’t think everyone will be seated during the ceremony…we’re serving an appetizer buffet so it’ll be more of a coaktail party type thing. That’s nice to know that term though – it’ll be so nice to have more ways to get ideas!

        Although now I kind of want a cheesy dinner theater wedding with the guests in stadium style tables while we act out some elaborate plot where my fiance has to save me from pirates or something. With acrobats.

        • Nikki

          Acrobats, ha!

          It can be difficult to find more less than traditional ceremony guidance. I feel like kickin it old school, having cake and punch and sending everybody on their way!

          The restaurant idea has crossed my mind, but to find one w/i 30-40 mile radius, that can hold a crowd and doesn’t have parking issues..sigh.

    • Corrie

      Agreed. This is where it would be super helpful to do a Ravelry-style search with multiple check boxes. I’ve been trying to search for cocktail-style weddings that still involve kids (aka evening weddings without a full meal where family members’ kids are present) and it has proven basically impossible to find on the internet in general. This could also be a sign that they don’t exist, but I’m sure SOMEONE has done one before!

      • We had kids, even if it was cocktail-style. And we organized kid-friendly activities: a photobooth (kids had a blast with all the props), a table with coloring books + crayons + bubbles, and we set up a photography race / game (kind of like a rally ) for the older kids. There was no seating plan, just a relaxed buffet and later ice cream and finally cake almost at the end.

        • Corrie

          That sounds fantastic, and exactly the type of thing I’m looking for! I don’t think we can afford to feed people a full meal, but we want to have an evening dance party and there are a lot of kids in our families (immediate and extended) that I would be very sad to exclude. If we’re already going to have the 6 nieces and nephews from my partner’s side, it seems rude to exclude my cousins’ kids who I’m also close with.

          • Lydia Jane

            I’ve found a photographer in Arkansas that is willing to photograph for FREE if you pay their travel costs (I suppose they’ll use their discretion if your destination is worth it to them)…but basically they are looking to expand their portfolio and need to get out more…its worth a shot! the site is Good luck!

      • Sarah

        I was JUST thinking about Ravelry and was about to make a comment as such but you beat me to it! Love the mulitple search features there.

    • Eventhough our reception happened after a religious ceremony, what we did sounds pretty much like what you are envisioning.

      -We had a cocktail like reception at a restaurant (there was also the option of having the ceremony there, you just had to make sure the judges came).

      -There was a menu spread with different kinds of food, and later in the day an ice cream stand

      -There was no seating plan, we just let people mingle and find their places and change throughout because we really wanted a cocktail like feeling.

      -In the end we did have a first dance (because we really wanted one) but that’s all the dancing that happened.

      You can see our venue here for inspiration:

      Or our wedgrad post:
      (just skip the part about the ceremony)

    • M.

      Another vote for “dance-free” weddings!

    • Our wedding wasn’t dinner theatre style, but it was secular, in a restaurant, with no dancing. (It comes up if you search “Sarah Chris hurricane sandy wedding”. I know I’ve seen other restaurant weddings as wordless and/or grad posts here, but I don’t have links or search terms to offer.

    • Cathy

      Hi Grace,
      We had our ceremony and lunch reception in the same restaurant. It was a humanist ceremony that was super lovely. There are definitely a good few restaurant weddings here on APW that helped me with inspiration early on.

      The fact that restaurants come pre-decorated is always a plus!

      My criteria:
      Low key
      Type of venue
      Time of day

    • meg

      The last problem has already been solved for you. If you go to the APW vendor directory and search your region, anyone that travels there for a flat rate will be included in your search.

  • Lindsay Rae

    All of these are great suggestions!

    Based on some of the “Ask Team Practical” subjects, I would also suggest a tag of family dynamics – maybe for people who are looking for specific advice on what to do about the estranged dad who wants to walk her down the aisle, or the divorces in-laws who can’t stand to be in the same room and how other Graduates have handled it.

    I also think size would be helpful, as well as season, time of day, formality, religion, etc. I really like Frances’s idea about ticking off the descriptors that you’re looking for.

    Super excited about the new launch! Can’t wait to see what the team has in store :)

    • TeaforTwo

      Siiiiiiiiiiiiize! Especially when people are talking about budgets. With 130 must-invite family members coming to our wedding, folks talking about how they served dinner to 45 people for under $10K just doesn’t apply.

    • M.

      Speaking of ATP, I’d love it if there were an ATP landing page where it was just a list of all the titles of the columns, like an index to read through. Oooh, yes so good just imagining it!

    • Shiri

      Agreed, I’d love to see “The Hard Stuff” broken down a little bit. And a tag that separates divorced family issues and divorce of the person writing, or something like that?

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        Yes for more subcategories in the hard stuff. In addition to Shiri’s suggestion, I’d like to see tags for stories of health problems and coping with death. Those posts have been powerful.

  • It will surprise no one that I think searching by religion or mixes of religions is a good idea! Interfaith ceremonies are ones that people often have questions about.

    I second the modeling Ravelry idea!

    • Kess

      Agreed! With “secular” is included as one of the options!

    • Rachel

      Yes yes yes. I was desperately searching for interfaith wedding stories where both parties were serious practitioners of their own religion. I found a few here, which is more than elsewhere, but it wasn’t easy.

      And I LOVE the Ravelry model idea.

    • Caroline

      Oh yeah. I’d also like to be able to search for “chuppah” so I can figure out how to make ours by looking at pictures. Although if I could easily search for
      “Jewish” and “interfaith”, it would be good enough.

  • Kris

    The keyword “cloud” is a decent model, but it needs more; for example, how do I search for “family issues”, or “children” – which are big topics, but not immediately represented there. Having both a visual tag group (cloud, checkboxes, other ways…) + a keyword search “All posts with “family” + “Children” would be a great start.

  • K.

    Different cultures would be huge for me; I’m marrying into a Latin American family and it would be awesome to easily be able to find, for example, the Ask Team Practical regarding bilingual weddings or WG/WW’s that feature multicultural concepts (without being appropriative like the big sites because APW featured weddings are awesome) or even discussions on how to appropriately honor different cultures, etc. Most big wedding websites don’t really have any sensitive and intelligent resources, and I’m sure there’s more on APW than I’ve been able to find!

    • Kess

      Oooh yes! I’m always looking for information about bilingual weddings, and it’s really hard to find practical information that doesn’t just suggest we have an english ceremony with one or two french readings. That doesn’t work when the groom’s parents will literally not understand a word of the ceremony. I’m guessing there’s info in here I haven’t been able to find.

    • I second this! We had a Japanese/Hawaiian meets White culture wedding, which was super fun, but it was definitely not easy to find weddings that look like ours, even though I know they must be out there…

  • Kat R

    Size of wedding and location would be the biggest for me. We had to go with a less-than-awe-inspiring Country Club because of the 275-person size of our wedding, and looking at photos of intimate garden paradise weddings just make me sad now. But the Country Club and Social Club weddings on this site give me hope!

    It would also be nice to be able to search more specific kinds of DIYs. I’d love to be able to look up “paper crafts” or “sewing project” or things like that!

    • Laura C

      Yes, this! We’re planning for 250 and I would love to find more stuff that’s targeted at that. Like, I remembered this post as helpful to me at a certain point (and I found it either through a link from a more recent post or by just sitting down and reading through the archives), but just now it took me forever to find it. And the bigness of my wedding is something that occasionally makes me feel a little left out of APW, so I’d love to have a place I could go at the site to find that content and calm myself down. (And, side note, I’d love more of that content! Because having made the compromise with my fiance to have a much bigger wedding than I would have chosen, it is hard finding ways to keep it practical.)

  • Sara

    I’m looking for variations on a lot of traditions, as many of the standard ones don’t ring true to me. So I’ve been doing a lot of google searches like “propose to each other,” “walk each other down the aisle,” “different kinds of processionals,” “alternative to garter toss,” “alternative to bouquet toss,” “all parents in processional” and so on and so forth, but they don’t turn up much. It would be helpful to me to be able to find APW posts by looking for specific parts of the event (processional, recessional, first dance, toasts, cake cutting, etc.) so that I can see all the variations you lovely APW mavens have come up with.

    • APracticalLaura

      I agree! Break it down by activity – I used APW a lot for different things I was struggling with (i.e., how to address envelopes, or ideas for readings, writing vows, etc.)

  • K.

    Oh, and if there is a DIY/DIT section, maybe the projects can be ranked in terms of difficulty? That way, a lazy and all-thumbs gal like me wouldn’t even have to look at the tougher DIYs, no matter how pretty.

    • Lily

      Ravelry is a good model here again.

    • K.

      And taking the edit into account (search terms only, not building the site), search ideas could be “DIY easy” “DIY lazy” “DIY intermediate” “DIY difficult but worth it” or something along those lines.

  • I personally love the wedding- and marriage- philosophy posts best. Maybe some way to distinguish posts that muse about why we do what we do from those that focus more on stuff we do because it’s self-evidently pretty?

  • Chloe

    Some other key words that would help me:

    african american
    multiple weddings
    African weddings
    long distance travel
    out of town (/country/continent!) guests
    city/urban weddings

    • meg

      I’m interesting for people that are in interracial couples to chime in here. That’s not something I’m 100% comfortable breaking out: I’m not sure the differences are enough to make it ok to act like it’s something different from any old wedding.

      We will of course sort by things like women of color, but in that case, we’d include any wedding with a woman of color, interracial or not.

      • Emily

        Speaking as the bride half of an interracial wedding, on one hand, I feel like it’s cool to be able to find them—everyone deserves their cake topper moment, ya know?—but on the other hand, it feels maybe a little weird to be singled out.

        I think my wedding graduate post was tagged “wedding diversity” which is maybe a more helpful catchall? But maybe not specific enough for search purposes.

        • This seems like something couples would need to self-identify when they submit content. That might seem less like you are putting people in boxes they don’t want, and not a case of the staff deciding for themselves these weddings are any different than any other wedding?

      • Amy March

        I’m in an interracial relationship and would love to see them broken our- both for the posts where interracial issues are discussed AND for the interracial weddings where, at least from the coverage here, it doesn’t appear to have been a big issue.

      • Carolyn

        I remember the issue of how to tag posts – especially relating to couples of color- coming up on Offbeat Bride a million years ago (2010) when I was planning my wedding. I think I agree with Ariel (and Sarah Hoppes, below) that a solution lies in self-identification of certain post tags. Admittedly, things will slip through the cracks (because not everyone wants to be seen as a “bride of color” or a “plus-sized bride” but it seems like a worthwhile compromise to avoid alienation.


        • meg

          In the future couples will self identify, but of course we have to categorize the current posts, or you guys won’t be able to find anything.

          That said, my question wasn’t about the “bride of color” category. That’s something I’m comfortable with. It was about interracial weddings, which at the end of the day (and after internal staff discussion, particularly with Rachel, who’s both a woman of color and someone in an interracial relationship), I’m just not.

          • Carolyn

            Ah I see. I guess I misunderstood the specificity of your previous question. Never mind! (tiptoes backwards slowly….)

            Though, I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and seriousness with which you approach these issues, not to mention the candidness with which you admit something is beyond your purview.

  • Rachel

    As has already been stated, season (winter weddings FTW!) and time of day (morning, brunch) would be great. Other things I’m sure you’re already planning but I’ll leave here anyway:

    – Logistics (not sure if that’s really a search term but being able to find all posts about logistics in one place would be great)
    – City Hall and Courthouse
    – LOL or Humor or something to that effect (Basically, sometimes you just want to read the lighter stuff — funny, crazy, ridiculous things about wedding planning)
    – Pre-engagement (these posts were SO helpful to me before I was engaged)
    – Dresses
    – Shoes
    – Beauty
    – Foods and drinks
    – Really good ideas

    • M.

      I just need to verbally EXACTLY!!!!! x infinity the pre-engaged suggestion, or whatever search term would help people get there without that specific term. That’s how I found APW (a friend sent me a link) and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so validated about anything in my life. So, SO helpful! And it really helped my fiance and I start talking about marriage more openly. So, thanks for that.

    • scw19145

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve clicked on the “just engaged” and “just married” tabs hoping to get to a list of all the posts that fall into those categories. it’d be great if you could search by stage- pre-engagement (I echo M.’s comment below me- I’m in this stage, but we’re already planning? and already picked out a ring? and my sanity has apw to thank!), just engaged, almost married, just married, etc.

      • scw19145

        err… M. above me, not below me.

  • M.

    Searches that would have helped me:

    cocktail-style reception (i.e. no seated dinner, mingling) — I would have LOVED to be able to see the Wordless Weddings or Wedding Grads that had this more easily.

    finances (was looking for advice on joint bank accounts) — eventually found Marriage & Money I & II

    officiant/s (esp. if friend or family member officiating)

    • Cathy

      Marriage and money issues!
      Also, reclaiming wife topics like
      Work life balance
      Relationship roles
      Gender roles
      ‘Building our own family’
      ‘Argh, in-laws!’

      • thegoose

        “Argh, in-laws”. YES!

  • Faesdeynia

    It would be nice to search the individual components of the wedding. Most of us are designing from scratch, so being able to look up “writing _____ vows” and “how to do music for _______” would be really helpful. I love the step-by-step posts about these things, and it would be swell if they were just as searchable as the other stuff.

    As Frances posted, Ravelry is amazing for finding things, and I never have a problem there. Even when I can’t remember the exact name of what I’m looking for, I can get close.

  • AmandaS

    I concur with so many of the ideas regarding size, season, culture/religion, (non)traditional. and crafts DIY/DIT.

    I also think that having key words or a matrix would be great too.

    Budgets and logistics are my biggest hurdles right now. Like someone mentioned above. Reading something about throwing a 10k wedding for even 100 people is just not gonna work for me. I’d love to read all sorts of budget posts at once so I can pull and pick the advice that really seems to work.

    What about weddings sorted by region. My 7k wedding in Michigan is probably way different than the 7k wedding in NY or Texas. Hell, my Lansing wedding is way different than your Detroit wedding.

    • Caroline

      I think searching by region would be great!

    • Kestrel

      It might also be helpful to separate locations by ‘city’ or ‘rural’ as well. I imagine a wedding in Chicago would have a lot more similarities to a wedding in NYC than a wedding in Dekalb, IL (random rural-ish town I found on google maps)

  • mimi

    I definitely want to be able to search playlists. I’ve had a hard time finding some of the amazing playlists that have been posted here.

    Also, specific types of weddings (outdoor, summer, brunch, bbq, etc), types of dresses (short, vintage, not-white), etc would be very helpful.

    Finally, specific categories of advice & reclaiming wife posts (like about finances, jobs, babies, etc).

    • One More Sara

      for searching playlists, I have followed maddie on 8tracks, so I can just look at her playlists there (all of which link back to the original APW post, so you can view the playlist without listening to the whole thing). *BONUS* i usually see new playlists on 8tracks before they get posted here. #shortcuts #winning.

  • Kess

    A method to filter posts by wedding related or not would be very helpful. The “life” posts are often interesting but honestly I’m more here for the pretty weddings!

    • Emmy

      Agreed. I’d like to see clearer division between the planning posts and the philosophical posts.

    • Ella

      So funny! I feel I’m the opposite. I’m about 6 weeks away from the big day (cue internal screaming and many, many wedding dreams), so I’m done my wedding vision/planning advice-seeking. I stay at APW because of the philosophy posts, so this would be super helpful for me personally because I don’t really care about all the wedding-specific posts anymore.

  • Ruth

    I second the idea of easier to search reclaiming wife posts! I’m assuming you’re revamping Reclaiming Wife too? I’d just like to see more reclaiming wife posts generally- it has so much less content than APW, and I notice the content it has tends to be a lot heavier. I’d like to see open threads on Reclaiming Wife too, because engagement is a community you’re only in for a short while, but marriage is a community you’re in for a long time, and i’d love to see more resources and support for that.

    • Corrie

      Agreed. Even though I’m not married yet, I love reading the Reclaiming Wife posts and would love to be able to search for them by topic (motherhood, child-free, fertility, careers, friendship, divorce, etc.)

      • One More Sara

        Meg has already said a few times that she doesn’t want to create separate tabs for families that include children and families that don’t bc 1)teamification of women (moms vs non-moms) and 2) we usually learn something from these posts regardless of parental status.

        What could probably be middle ground though is weddings with children and weddings without children, bc each of those types of weddings come with their own special issues.

        • Corrie

          I agree. I definitely think that search terms for weddings w/ kids and without kids should be available, but the learning aspect of the Reclaiming Wife posts are exactly why I think kids and no kids should be search options there as well. Some people without kids aren’t kid-free by choice. I can see the cons of it, but as someone who thinks she wants kids, but also wants to consider what life would be like without kids (by choice or not), I would really like to be able to search for that content based off the lifestyles I want to read/learn about. Just a consideration for the pro-side of kid related searching, but I completely understand if that’s a direction APW doesn’t want to go, since the Meg and staff don’t intend to bring in much of a parenting focus anyway.

          • Corrie

            Since I can’t edit my comment, I should clarify that I’m not talking about separate headings for R.W. posts, just advanced search filtering options. I think there’s a big difference.

          • One More Sara

            I think fertility could be a search term, because it’s something that families go through, rather than sorting them by type.

            And I definitely know where you are coming from. I’ve tried researching parenting stuff on the internet which can be kind of… dangerous (turns into the internet parenting wormhole: you’re a bad parent if you don’t do this! kids should always be doing this at this age! my opinion is obviously right and i don’t care what you think!), so I while would definitely value a community similar to this one specifically for parenting (cmon internet unicorns! why are you so hard to find!), Meg has said they aren’t really going in that direction :(

    • Ruth

      I should add, when discussing making Reclaiming Wife more searchable, it doesn’t have to be about kids. (I adore the fact that Reclaiming Wife is marriage-centered, vs. parent-centered.) But I’d love to see the Marriage and Relationship posts be more searchable. Searching for tangible things around weddings is certainly useful – but I’d also love to be able to search relationships topics, such as ‘religion,’ ‘in-laws,’ ‘sex,’ ‘infidelity,’ ‘chores,’ ‘long-distance relationships,’ etc…

      • Melissa (The Researcher)

        I agree with this whole idea, and was planning on commenting about the need for non-wedding relationshippy tags/searching (mostly the Reclaiming Wife stuff), but you fine people beat me to it. I often send these essays to my friends when we’re discussing something relevant, and it would be great to find them quicker/easier.

  • MJ

    I’m having trouble coming up with a clear, search term-y way of saying this, but planning a wedding with lots of GUESTS coming from out of town/other countries. I managed to muddle my way through that (and am planning on submitting a post!) but it was hard to find examples of that other than “make a welcome bag!” I can’t afford to make 50 bespoke welcome bags, INTERNET!

    • SamiSidewinder

      Yes! the logistics of having most of your people coming from out of town. It’s not a destination wedding, because I live here, but it kind of is. Maybe a term like traveling? Traveling guests?

      I had so many questions around this. Should I get people to the wedding site? Should I worry about where they stay? Should I let my family talk me into having three parties in a weekend, one at my house? (hint: I did let them). And not just in terms of small weddings, though I realize most of these types are, but mine decidedly was not.

      Also: how to get all that shit done when you have people all over the place? Can there be some kind of distance planning category? Both for those planning far from their venue and people planning far from their people.

      • Seconding everything both of you are saying. Being able to find this kind of advice would be so helpful!

  • Corrie

    I definitely second the vote for a sort option by region or even state. I haven’t seen many weddings on here from Ohio (plus it’s hard to search for them) and I’d really like to see examples of how people are using resources, vendors, budgets, etc in my state (or at least region).

    Triple ‘exactly’ to the people who mentioned search options for preengaged, which is how I also found the site (and my current state of existence).

    Also, I don’t think anyone has mentioned a search option for same sex weddings, which I imagine would be helpful for a number of APW readers.

    Even if people aren’t comfortable listing their exact budget with their wordless wedding or wedding grad posts, maybe they would feel comfortable listing a range in which their budget fell? A budget range sort option would be super helpful.

    DIY seems to be too broad of a search term in and of itself. This might be too specific, but what about search options for specific types of DIY – kind of like DIY subcategories (vows, decorations, music, photography, catering, etc) since there are many different ways people approach DIY? For example, someone might be interested in searching for examples of DIY vows and music, but plan to outsource decor, photography & food.

    • I second the regional! I got married in SE Ohio and being able to find Ohio weddings always made me squeal.

    • Alexis

      Maybe this is crazy and undoable for the relaunch (or ever), but maybe a new wedding abstract/summary feature could help with the apparent lack of weddings in certain areas??? There are only so many weddings that can be featured in full posts that can be indexed and searched for so it can appear that certain places or types of weddings are not well represented (maybe I did find all the archived Vermont weddings with the current search capability- there just aren’t that many!). I’m thinking an additional catalog of accessible, reader-submitted, brief wedding summaries that included a few key tags like region/state, venue, number of guests, recommended vendors, etc. Maybe something like this could help fill in the gaps and meet the needs of folks having weddings in rarely featured/less populous areas?

    • Grace

      Ohio wedding buddies! I feel you – it’s like no one on the internet ever got married in Ohio. And if they did, they’re FB friends of mine who threw a totally different wedding than the one I want. Sadface.

    • Helen H

      Absolutely on the state / region. I would add that Chicago is a completely different place than the rest of Illinois. I am sure brides in other states with a HUGE city feel the same way. Most of the vendors who serve those big cities are not particularly interested in travelling to the boonies and their prices reflect their urban location. Finding other weddings outside those glitz and glam cities would be awesome!

    • Granola

      Yay Ohio!!! This reminds me to add my venue to the directory and maybe submit a wedding grad post so the home state is well-represented.

      • Corrie

        Yes, yes, yes!! Please do all of that!!

    • Carolyn

      Ahem, Ohio weddings are the best. It’s so sad, I feel like All Of The Research I did went to waste. I feel like I know enough to plan, like 7 awesome Cleveland weddings. Le sigh.

      • Corrie

        Maybe you should do a post titled “Cleveland Weddings, 7 Ways.'”Alternatively, if you don’t feel that there’s readership ‘market’ for that, as a pre-engaged Clevelander, I would absolutely LOVE to see all the info you compiled! My email is myfavholliday(at)gmail(dot)com if you are willing to share. :o) It would be so helpful!

  • I would ask for:
    -timeline (for when you want both the timeline and some of the posts about the hows and whys of the timeline)
    -iTunes wedding; self-dj wedding
    -dry wedding (ours was dry due to liability reasons)

  • Sarah

    I would love to be able to find the following non-related items easily:

    –secular ceremony templates, readings, ideas, stories
    –divorced parents stories
    –reception crafts
    –documents for logistics
    –design ideas by item (i.e., shoes, veils, dresses, wraps, suits, etc.)

    • Lydia Jane

      yes divorced parents! it’s going to be interesting dealing with mine…we haven’t all been in the same place at the same time for YEARS

  • Granola

    These are probably going to fall into the bucket of “stuff you’ve already thought of,” but:

    – Catholic (or other religious denominations/lack thereof, such as Quaker, Baptist, Mormon, Atheist, Secular, Muslim, Jewish…) Also, interfaith wedding could be its own tag, and the post could also be tagged with the two other faiths. Then anyone who would find any aspect of it helpful would be able to get to it
    – non-strapless dress (I desperately wanted to find more of these)
    – keywords for all APW vendors, so if they’re featured or hired in other APW posts, you can check them out.
    – Bridal Party (Maybe ranges 1-2, 3-5, 5+) This way people could get ideas on how everyone decided to dress
    – Guest Size (Again, ranges, perhaps <50, 50-100, 100-150, 150+)
    – Geographic Region & States (Midwest, West Coast, New England, Ohio, California, New York)
    – Major Cities (Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., Seattle)
    – Same sex, opposite sex
    – Courthouse, non-church, outdoors, church, — Maybe don't use "church" but some other "house of worship term" as the idea is to differentiate between in a house of worship vs outside of one

    Good luck APW! I'm working on a tagging project at work actually but this one seems way more fun!

    • Caroline

      Yes! Non-strapless dresses!!!!!!!!!

      • Lily

        I third the non-strapless dresses!!

    • Helen

      Yes! A search on dealing with same-sex weddings!

  • Hintzy

    So something I particularly enjoy about apw is the range of relationship topics that are covered. Search terms regarding the relationship issues that are discussed here would probably be helpful – which are search terms that I’m confident (although I haven’t checked) that are not searchable on the wic sites.

  • Paige

    -Time of day (morning, afternoon, evening)
    -Location (church, garden, park, backyard)
    -Catering style (picnic, potluck, self-catered, food trucks)

  • I would like to see some sort of glossary or starting point for phrases that have evolved because of APW discussions as a way to introduce the context of the terms to newer readers. Some phrases that come to mind “baby family”, “pre-engaged”, “ducks are wily”, “shame blasters.” There are probably more, but those are all I can think up.

    • M.

      “solidarity fist bumps” :)

    • ktmarie

      I have been meaning to mention that for a while, and in addition, including all the acronyms. When I first started wedding planning and reading APW about a year ago it took me a long time to figure out FMIL, etc. Help out the newbies!

  • Margaret Thatcher


    Your wedding in a summer field with tons of DIY touches may be the bee’s knees, but it’s not going to help me with my mid-March ballroom wedding one iota. And there’s so much of that to sort through right now…it seems that 4 out of 5 have rustic weddings, and that just would NOT look right with my space. Why is it so hard to find vintage without rustic, or nonrustic without tons of bling, orchids and uber-modernity?

  • Emmy

    I’m a really visual person, so when I was planning my wedding, I did search for a lot of color/style type terms. I wanted to get an idea if the ideas in my head actually would look good in person. Here are some of the terms I would have found helpful:

    colored wedding dress

    I actually searched for “mason jar wedding,” “globe,” and the like on Pinterest, but I understand that A Practical Wedding has much more to offer. So other search terms:

    how much alcohol to buy
    dance music
    diy hairstyles

    • YES to Quaker and self-uniting! That’s what we want to do.

  • Lisa

    More city hall, courthouse weddings, and elopements, please!

    There is not a lot of good info out there on how you actually elope. Probably because the WIC doesn’t make much money off of people like me, ha! Most sites just say some variation of grab your partner and get married! But there is planning involved, even in an elopement…for instance, how do you choose an officiant if you’re secular? Do people who choose a courthouse wedding feel it was “romantic” enough, for lack of a better word, or should I try to find an officiant and photographer and do it outside in a pretty place? I’m trying to decide if we should elope in Costa Rica (our honeymoon spot) or if the legal hassles of international requirements are too much and we should just do it at the courthouse before we go.

    I am very interested in finding “pretty” city halls within driving distance and haven’t been able to find a resource for this. Every search for “pretty” city halls turns up San Francisco (which is lovely, but sadly 3,000 miles away).

    Also, please include info on how people chose their honeymoons! I had the hardest time picking out a spot, and no one has echoed this feeling so maybe I’m the only one, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime, very expensive trip and I felt overwhelmed by all the options. Neither my fiance or I had a strong preference (we are homebodies and introverts by nature; travel isn’t really our thing) so it felt very challenging to find a place that felt right.

    • M.

      To that end it would be nice to find different types of honeymoons: shorter, not taken right after the wedding, local, etc. There are as many types of honeymoons as there are weddings! Among the three weddings I’ve been to this year and mind, the couples did: 3 days immediately in Northern WI on the lake (essentially local b/c budget concerns), a week in New Orleans, a month in Europe a year later (work conflicts after the wedding), and mine will be California (as far as we can go with our FF miles).

      • M.

        in search terms then..

        short honeymoon
        delayed honeymoon
        european ..

    • meg

      Offbeat bride has a great honeymoon section. We’re not going to sort honeymoons anyway at all, since we don’t have a single post on honeymoons on APW ;)

    • Rebecca

      We ultimately didn’t go the city hall track, but a good bet is to try to find “historic” city halls/ county courthouses as they generally hit more of the “pretty” notes (although Austin and Seattle have pretty yet modern city halls). You can search the National Register of Historic Buildings as well as your state’s registry (which is usually less exclusive and will have more buildings in it)

      If you give me a region I could totally be persuaded to do some random internet searching for you on that front…

      • Lisa

        Great tip! Thank you! I will definitely check out the National Historic Register.

        We are in South Carolina, so anything in the Southeast would be fair game!

        • Rebecca

          So, a few random choices. I looked out of state since South Carolina has a waiting period and part of the fun of a courthouse wedding is getting married right then.

          North Carolina
          Chowan County Courthouse- Oldest courthouse in North Carolina, still in active use. The town its in is major B&B territory if you wanted to do a honeymoon as part of the trip.
          (North Carolina seems to have gone on a kick of combining their courthouses with their detention centers, so pickings seem slimmer)

          Athens-Clarke County Courthouse- bigger, but with proper courthouse presence
          Bibb County Courthouse
          Glynn County Courthouse (super cute)

          All of these have some sort of web presence, so you should be able to at least find a phone number to sort out logistics.

    • Eloping varies so much by region. Every province/state/etc has their own rules about holding times and who can officiate and it’s hard to give across the board advice. My husband and I originally wanted to elope to Montreal, but after finding out about Quebec’s requirements it just wasn’t feasible for us, so we did it closer to home. Even within the province we live in, some cities do city hall weddings/elopements and some don’t. Some you have to book city hall in advance, some you just show up. Very hard to give all around advice with those variables.

      • Lisa

        Good point. And most government websites are horrible, so it can be hard to find the right info without calling and going through an automated menu.

    • Carolyn

      That’s a great point. And honeymoons have appeal to anyone on the relationship spectrum (dating, engaged, long-married) because, duh, travel. There’s not currently any calls for posts where I feel talking about honeymoons is appropriate. Yet, I feel like the planning, budgeting, destination, and actual vacationing are VERY telling of our relationship as a whole.

  • Lindsey d.

    To the time of day/type of meal list I’ll add “buffet,” which is the typical wedding setup where I am (south Louisiana).

    I’d also love to be able to search by region — I would suggest South, Southwest, New England, New York, California, Texas, West, Pacific Northwest, Midwest, Midatlantic, etc. Some weddings will fall into more than one category, but going a bit more specific would help those who are in Vermont, but not NYC, for example.

    It would be nice to break down the segments of wedding planning as well — the “research” segment, where you are looking at various venues, caterers, deciding what type of wedding yours will be. The decision/negotiation segment. The getting it done segment. The month before. The week of. The day before. The day of. The day after.

    • One More Sara

      YES FOR MIDATLANTIC! Maybe even separate the huge metropolitan areas. New York City photographers currently dominate the Northeast section of the vendor directory, and while awesome, wasn’t really helpful for me in Delaware.

      • meg

        You can sort by state in the vendor directory all ready. But the issue really is that we don’t HAVE any photographers in Delaware, though I’m sure many of the NYC and DC photographers would be more than happy to travel to you.

    • meg

      So, I’m not against adding things like buffet, but I’m not sure that on APW that would be worth it. We don’t tend to include a lot of pictures of food (because it feels like the wedding industry over-sell of objects), and our couples don’t tend to write about the process of choosing food.

      That said, we’re always down for creating informational posts ABOUT specific subjects, like buffets. Are there particular things you would be looking for in a post/ tag like that?

      • CC

        Just went through choosing food, which was a major thing for my fiance and me because we’re foodies and our parents (and many guests) are a different sort of foodie because of Chinese traditions.

        I would have been looking for some discussion about what food means to people and how to choose a caterer.

        Some of the things we learned:

        There are different types of buffet…yeah…huh?
        -dropped off food that gets laid out by own selves…sort of DIY option
        -food prepared completely ahead of time, laid out on site by staff
        -food finished on site
        -food mostly prepared on site
        -buffet stations, attended chef stations, passed appetizers…wait what?

        Navigating food identity is hard! We love Chinese food, but only if it’s done excellently, so that was out. How to choose foods that were deemed festive enough while not breaking out the surf and turf? A whole pig is a very festive option for Chinese weddings, but would that be offensive or really gross out some people? Do we completely stay away from anything Asian at all? Asian inspired or things in egg rolls feels weird.

        Figured out our words to describe to caterers what kind of menu we would like. Honest food with a southern flair that is high quality without being too cerebral…got that phrase right after about 4 meetings.

        Caterers somehow turn into wedding planners if you don’t have one.

        I also have some feelings about table service, wait staff, etc that I need to sort out.

  • Lydia Jane

    I’m planning a non-christian spiritual ceremony, probably at a cabin resort, with bonfires and camping for 2 nights. soooooo, I’d like to be able to search for “non-christian spiritual (or religious) ceremony”, as well as “camping” “cabins” and “bonfire”.

    It would also be good to search for examples of the details: decor (diy, rented, etc), what kind of photographer (amateur, professional, friend/family, etc), meal/food types, kids, dogs, season, what kind of dresses (vintage/new/borrowed/bought on, traditional/non-traditional, matching/non-matching, homemade, bought on etsy, bought in a bridal store, etc), also for outdoor weddings, the different types of rain plans! and the big one: budget (and location, for reference).

  • I’d like to search through the vendor sponsorship posts by location of that vendor. I’d also like to search posts by author. I love Rachel’s writing, and when I try to go back to it and search for her posts, I can’t find them! Maybe link to them under the staff page?

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      I like the idea of search by author. With staff (and past staff and interns) having easy checkboxes. And somehow having an easy way to see when a person has contributed multiple posts (like Maya!)

  • Emmers

    Ooh! Searching by venue (ie outdoors, indoors, tent wedding, backyard wedding, hotel wedding, etc)

  • Jenny

    As a recent wedding grad (one month today!) I certainly second the recommendation for increased postings for reclaiming wife. I took great solace in this site for the past year and don’t want to lose touch with the community, but also don’t want to keep rethinking decisions that were made in our wedding by looking at all these fancy new ideas. ;)
    Some reclaiming wife terms:
    – family planning
    – nesting
    – décor (because I refuse to believe that ladies with this much wedding style have boring homes!)
    – crafting (again, wedding DIY skills put to use post-wedding)
    – career
    – adulthood

    And now search terms that I would’ve found helpful in wedding planning:
    – butch wedding attire
    – gender neutral attire/vows/songs/etc
    – writing your ceremony
    – timeline (the posts on different types of timelines were my SAVIOR)
    – logistics (this is the part no one wants to talk about, but at times I felt like I needed a damn MBA in organizational management to arrange everything – even with a LARGELY DIT wedding)
    – zen (or some such term when you need a reminder that if you just let go, it will all be ok. at the end of the day you’ll have a spouse and be surrounded by those you love, and no one will notice that 1/3 of the helium balloons lining the drive have deflated)

    The following terms I think some people in my boat may have wanted, but depending on how the search capacity is set up I may not have (aka – I love the all-inclusive, happy rainbowyness of the site and how you don’t have to pigeon hole yourself into looking at “plus size” “lesbian” “non-traditional” weddings)
    – queer weddings
    – lgbtq weddings
    – voluptuous dresses
    – plus-size

    • Lisa

      This reminded me of another great topic I’d like to see on reclaiming wife: feeling ambivalent about having kids while the bio clock is ticking. I love reading about people who were sure they didn’t want kids, or were sure they DID want them, but that’s not me. I am deeply unsettled and uncertain about whether I want to have children or not and I’d love to hear some honest discussion of that topic.

    • Emmers

      logistics! Yes!

      • Emmers

        And zen, double yes!

  • Caroline

    In addition to what is mentioned above, I want to search for:
    -at home
    -modest dress or at least non-sleeveless dress since modest is so subjective
    -DIY dance playlist
    -name of the post since there are some I remember the name
    -size ranges (mine is about 60-80 people which is neither really small nor big)

  • ktmarie

    I think this has already been kind of covered, but I think a general category to search for the ‘feel’ of the wedding might be helpful. Because you can have a vintage wedding that feels like a laid-back BBQ or have a vintage wedding that is very formal. So maybe some suggested options in the ‘feel’ search could be:

    • Outside Bride

      Yes! I especially like that you split out “formal” and “traditional”. On a lot of wedding websites, the terms seem to be interchangeable. One reason I love coming here is that both are perfectly acceptable, but they are used in a way that respects that a wedding does not have to be formal to be traditional. Also, I love “nerd-tastic”!

  • Please please please plus size and fat acceptance. I am so limited as a fat woman in clothing already and I want to know what all my options are for wedding outfits and clothes in general.

    I also included fat acceptance because so very few photographers show fat people in their portfolios and I want someone who feels good shooting me and maybe has some experience in making fat people look nice.

    And I don’t want to deal with any vendor who is going to try to give me any weight loss talk.

    I’ve struggled with disordered eating and public shaming and that type of non-helpful help is very much unwanted.

  • Corrie

    One thing I just thought of, that I’m not sure already happens….would it be possible to add tags to the Happy Hours? I’m guessing it might not work because the content is primarily in the comments and the tagging would have to be an after-the-fact thing. However, the Happy Hours usually end up with some of the longest comment sections, and from the few I’ve read, they often result in some lengthy but interesting conversations about specific topics (one about travel/honeymoon ideas comes to mind…which I only noticed because it started among the initial comments). Sometimes I start reading through the Happy Hours and think, “oh there isn’t much interesting here” so I stop because it’s too much to read through. For example, if I’m searching all of APW for posts about wedding attire, it would be super helpful for the Happy Hours that contain a lot of commentary about wedding attire to show up in the results as well, because I might not know that it’s there otherwise (and they might have info that’s more relevant to my region than the regular posts). I hope that makes sense!

    • Jen

      I also feel like often the content that I’m looking for is something that came up in the comments, and it’s not always directly related to the post (when it’s not a “happy hour” but a wedding graduate post where lots of things can come up) so it’s really difficult to find. I love reading through all of the comments, and when friends come to me for wedding advice I often have thoughts like “there was a lot of great conversation about (insert subject here… for example: parents paying for the wedding and having opinions on things)”…and then I have trouble finding the conversations I remember…
      Obviously tagging posts according to things that come up in the comments would be A LOT of extra work…but it might be something to look into at some point!

  • Seshat

    Geographical location
    Indoor vs Outdoor
    Venue type (ballroom, park, museum, etc)
    Casual vs Formal
    Time of Day (or, brunch vs appetizer/cake & punch vs full dinner)
    Religious or Cultural affiliation(s)
    Destination Weddings
    Supplement events (ex. showers, rehearsals, full wedding weekends etc)
    Same sex weddings
    Dress styles (colored, short, long sleeve, etc)
    Bridal Party (matched/mismatched, even/uneven sides, mixed gender sides)
    Alternative ideas (not having fresh/any flowers, walking down the aisle by yourself/with your groom/with both parents, cake alternatives etc)

    I also love an idea mentioned above about ranking DIY/DIT projects by difficulty (or time commitment needed).

  • L

    Thank you, APW, for posing this question literally three days after my fiancé and I got engaged!

    -laid back/relaxed
    -Jewish-ish or culturally Jewish (or culturally Catholic or otherwise incorporating religious traditions into a basically secular wedding)
    -Off the beaten path/nontraditional venues
    -Wheelchair-accessible venues
    -Battling decision fatigue (Is this a thing?)

    Also, just generally, more posts about real budgets and more information about what venues really cost would be uber helpful. It kills me how hard it is to find venue price information online. I suppose APW can’t single-handedly make the wedding industry more transparent when it comes to costs, but if wishing made it so…

    I love the “How We Did It” series and the Lowe House post about real budgets (though maybe she could do another one with something in the 10-15K range?).

    • Kater
    • KC

      There is Real Research on decision fatigue (although I’m not sure if there’s any research as to it+weddings), so I think we can safely say that decision fatigue is in fact a thing.

      (re: wheelchair-accessible venues, if you can borrow a wheelchair from someone or a hospital or nursing home, etc. [possibly with a returnable deposit], you can sometimes do a wheel-through [start from “vehicle” and include bathrooms!] to see if it’ll work. I know this doesn’t help with finding them to begin with, but if a place isn’t sure, it can help?)

      • L

        Thank you! This is a great suggestion!!

        • KC

          I’m glad it’s helpful! One additional note about something that might not be obvious to everyone: open up the wheelchair to make sure that doorways are wide enough and that you can get around corners. (obviously, if you can get ahold of the actual wheelchair that will be used, that’s best, since there’s a certain amount of size variability [esp. if motorized or “extra wide”], but any wheelchair should let you “see” more clearly where the potential sticking points would be and either discard the venue or measure things for comparison with the actual wheelchair(s) used or find “alternate routes” within the venue)

          (also, from having grown up around a surprising number of people with wheelchairs: with many mobility issues, it’s preferable to be able to remain in the wheelchair rather than having to shuffle over to a chair and back; it’s pretty easy to leave off some chairs of some rows if you’re doing that, and some churches have “short pews” with space for wheelchairs at the end without sticking into the aisle. With some mobility issues, this is not a problem, and the people would rather “fit in” during the ceremony, with wheelchair or whatever off to the side somewhere. Wheelchairs also take up more width at a table than “average” chairs and are also not always low enough to “fit” under all tables, although I think most people with wheelchairs are used to figuring out workarounds to the latter for meals? But it can alter table spacing.)(I apparently have a lot of opinions about wheelchairs. Sorry!)

    • Rebecca

      Not sure what you’re thinking, venue wise, but anything built after about 1990 (1992?) would have been built under the ADA and should be wheel chair accessible. Older buildings that have undergone significant renovations in that time period as well. If you’re in a position to weed things out based on venue age and want a quick criteria.

      (If you’re really nosy, you can usually look up building permits as public records (often online) and confirm construction dates.)

      • KC

        I’m pretty sure that you can’t solely go by building date (having been in buildings built since 2005 where only the ground floor is wheelchair accessible, and the beautiful open space with giant windows where one would most likely have a reception was on a floor only accessible by stairs). It may be true for spaces above a certain size or possibly for all government buildings or some other subset of buildings, though? Or certain things may be required to be accessible (some percentage of bathrooms?) while others may not be required to be accessible (large gathering spaces?) – I don’t really know. You’re more likely to get “most non-office doorways are wide enough for wheelchairs” in “modern” buildings, but even then there are exceptions.

        (sorry to disagree – I’ve just seen definite counterexamples to this, and hence wouldn’t want people assuming that building date is a guarantee – I do totally think that it would be a good filter for “probable/less probable”, though.)

  • Jenny

    A lot of what I was going to say is mentioned above, but I would love to see the open threads have their own landing page, with the ability to search them by topic, or maybe just the topic listed in a concise way.

    I think another tag or search item I would have liked broken down was relationships, with your fiance, with your family, with your fiance’s family, with your friends. APW talks a lot about these things, I it’s something I felt like was really unique about this community, but it would be nice to be able to find those words of wisdom when you really need them.

    • Cathy

      And the importance of friendship

  • Emmers

    Ooh– how about people centered search terms:
    *guests — this could be used for posts on whittling guest list, but also guest comfort (ie serve them on time), and other wrangling of the guests
    *Mother of bride (& groom, etc)
    *Father of bride (& groom, etc)
    *bridal party (bridal brigade, etc)
    *complicated family
    *honored guests
    *wedding coordinator/DOC
    *wedding planner
    *pets (ha! sort of people)

    • Emmers

      Yes, what Jenny said above!

    • Emmers

      A few more:
      *extended family
      *blended family

    • MDBethann

      *children (in addition to kids)

  • Katy

    Most of the things I searched for during my planning have already been mentioned, but about a week before the wedding in utter frustration I searched for “groom won’t help plan wedding,” “unhelpful groom,” etc. My now husband who is a wonderful, caring and supportive person really struggled to care about all the tiny details in wedding planning. I think I remember reading a post a while ago about how a groom not interested in weddings doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about the marriage, or something to that effect. Pre-wedding freak outs need search terms too! :)

  • Emmers

    And someone has so probably already said this, but tags/search terms for various parts of the day/weekend:
    *rehearsal dinner
    *getting ready
    *ceremony–this could both be for wordless weddings with interesting ceremonies, but also for the various series of posts about ceremony readings, music, etc
    *cocktail hour
    *dancing–again, could be used for wordless weddings with fun dancing photos, but also playlists, etc
    *wedding weekend
    *welcome events

    • Emmers

      ha– and last one and must go (can you tell I love lists?)
      *wedding recovery

  • It’s important to me to be able to search by dress designer. I like to see real women in dresses I’m interested in, and it drives me nuts when I’ve searched through an entire website and found no examples only to stumble upon one later and ask myself why wasn’t this post tagged with the dress designer?

    I also like the idea of being able to search by time of day (Morning wedding, Afternoon Wedding, Late evening), season, and budget.

  • Sara

    Would love to be able to search your planning content as much as your real weddings content. Specifically I’ve found the following types of posts helpful and would like to be able to find them easily in one place for future reference

    Logistics/Get Sh*t Done

  • Alison O

    I’m not sure if there’s a lot of content on this on APW–if not, I’d love to see it!–but if so, it would be great to make it more searchable…

    Ceremony styles, specifically ceremonies involving audience participation in the form of family members/long-time married people/friends/etc. sharing advice/wisdom, stories about the bride(s)/groom(s)/couple…or receptions with lots of (planned) toasting. How could that look? How is it planned and executed? I’m big on emotion and interpersonal connection and community via verbal means at weddings but haven’t found many examples of how to pull it off without being over the top hippy, which is not me or my crowd. Just slightly hippy.

  • Things I wanted to search when we were planning our wedding:

    Weddings by location

    Weddings by venue type

    Weddings by size (started by searching city hall, but wanted to search by whatever you’d call the next biggest guest list. Ie, not a strict elopement, but a very small wedding)

    Weddings by religious affiliation (found the “how to write a ceremony” and how to write vows” posts super helpful here)

    Reception ideas (specifically non-dancing options)

    Weddings w/ plus size brides and grooms ((which I understand is difficult to do, because readers who post from their weddings would need to self identify as plus sized and be comfortable being listed as such on the site. But if people had the option up self identify and chose to do so, I would have found it easier to search for inspiration -which I found anyway because I read the archives start to finish.)

    Wedding outfit inspiration

    • Sheldon

      I LOVE this website. It covers everything. Except, I did not find anything on groomsmen’s gifts. We decided on personalized and/or engraved hip flasks or some sort of engraved flask. It is unique, useable and long lasting as well as really personalized. I got my gifts from this site:

  • K

    Venues: “civic venues”
    cakes: “cupcake” “cupcake tier rental” “homemade cakes” “dietary restrictions”
    food: “dietary restrictions” “food limited by venue constraints”
    music: “I don’t like to dance”

  • KC

    This may not fall under the category of this thread (and sorry if it doesn’t!), *but*, if you continue to have a search box, it might be helpful to compile the top things people search for in practice to catch what’s missing?

    Otherwise, I think having check-boxes to narrow searches down by common criteria is an awesome idea if it can be done, and having suggested search terms (I love the “pre-wedding freakouts” and “technical details” [like the Lowe House Events posts] and “DIY projects” ideas mentioned above) or including categories somehow is also a fantastic idea.

    I also suspect that if you request a brigade of taggers and give them clear instructions, some people in the community would probably be willing to help out with the massive job of content sorting. :-)

    (I also kind of wish that some comment threads were their own post, since there’s a lot of useful crowdsourced content there (shoes! what to wear with x! what to give to your parents/bridal party! honeymoon! how to phrase difficult thing y!). But that’s probably our own fault for not submitting things as posts. But some of the comment threads, esp. in Happy Hours, are really useful/interesting.)

  • Abbey

    I’d love a search term for curly-haired brides.

    • Emer

      I’d like one for brides with short hair/pixie cuts!

  • D

    When being able to select on ‘location’ or ‘region’, would it be possible to include terms like Europe/Africa/Asia or even all separate countries that you have posts from? I only found one Dutch wedding (maybe there is just one post?)

  • Health Needs/ Disability to find weddings where concern for the health of the bride/groom/whoever factored into the planning (you’ve had cancer, broken legs, that one where groom went to the hospital the next day…)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      “illness” and “injury” would be good search terms, as well as the particular illnesses and injuries discussed (cancer, Asperger’s, etc.)

      Also, I’m sure people planning without a parent, or after the loss of a sibling, would like to be able to search for others’ experiences about that.

      • Cathy

        And health/illness/disability for relationships/reclaiming wife posts

  • Would it also be possible to expand “the hard stuff” searchables?

    Stuff like- divorce, cold feet, broken engagements, illness, difficult family, etc.

    Sometimes if I’m having a hard time, I wish I could have some of the APW entries right at hand that are really revelant to my problem.

    • moe

      This stuff, all of it.

      • KC

        And maybe after people have read three “Hard Stuff” posts in a row, then a picture of a kitten shows up?

        (mostly kidding)

        • Copper

          I was just looking at today’s wordless wedding, with the bride holding a kitten, and thinking that’s exactly what I need some days! More kitties.

          • KC

            Hooray for brides plus cute animals!

            Baby ducks would be excellent, too.

            (Not that there are not plenty of Internet Places to find cute things. I just sometimes don’t realize that I need a bit more fluff and a bit less overwhelming stuff until I’m already somewhat underwater.)

    • Emer

      Yes. My mother is dead and my father is difficult; I’d love to be able to search for others with similar stories.

      • moe

        My mother is difficult and my father is dead. The wedding tension associated with the both of them was real! Glad I found APW!

  • Aubry

    I will read this all later, but I’m off to work! So sorry if this is a reapeat. I would love to tag weddings with features of the wedding (rain, bangs, outdoor etc). I was trying to find this epic lesbian wedding where it rained and the photos were unbelievable (a friend had rain in forecast for her wedding a few weeks ago) and I couldn’t find it for the life of me.

    BTW I volunteer to help sift through content and tag stuff – I know all too well the troubles of trying to update loads of content to a new structure.

  • moe

    When I was planning there was no shortage of places for me to look for ideas on style, colors, dresses etc…

    When I came HERE I was looking for topics that I didn’t see addressed anywhere else. I wanted to read about what other brides did when they had lost their father too. I searched this site high and low looking for ceremony ideas on how to do our vows and a declaration of affirmation. I was looking for advice on DIY project management. Oh! and how I wanted to kick myself when Lowe House events started doing those planning features a few weeks too late for me!! That info is priceless!

    So if there was some way to categorize the content that makes APW unique and awesome that would be great: gay/lesbian, religion, feminist, DIY, wily duck, etc

    • meg

      This is more or less the plan. Well, other than feminist. My goal is for ALL our weddings to be feminist, obviously :)

  • Ana

    Gay weddings. Season of the wedding. Level of religious-ness/religion. Ooh, can we sort by family “stuff”? Divorced parent, parent not attending, with kids (your own kids/inviting kids). ALSO whether or not the wedding had a professional planner/day-of coordinator.

  • Splendid

    I would love a “Getting Sh*t Done” post about how to rehearse a wedding ceremony without spoiling it and what to do the day before!

  • Splendid

    I would love a post on “Getting Sh*t Done” on how to rehearse a wedding ceremony without spoiling it and what to do the day before the big day!

  • Laura K

    I’d love to be able to search or sort posts by phase of planning (or phase of life) for example:
    just engaged
    after the wedding/reclaiming wife

    I supposed this is for another thread, but this reminded me that I would love to see more posts about pre-marriage counseling or other ways that couples work through important decisions about what their marriage will look like (how they will/won’t combine finances, whether they want kids, and all that other stuff you’re supposed to figure out when you’re engaged that’s more about planning your marriage than planning your wedding day). Anyway, that’s what I was trying to search for on APW earlier this week :)

  • Ashley

    Work is crazy so I don’t have time to read through all of the other comments, so sorry if I end up repeating a lot of what has already been said. I also don’t exactly know how to best summarize some of these things into easy word-search phrases, but maybe some of you social media geniuses can handle that part. Last disclaimer- I’ve already searched for some of these on the website and know that you can find them if you search right, but still wanted to throw my two cents in here.

    1. Being able to search for weddings that feature people of color. I know some of that is based on how one chooses to identify themselves, but it sure was difficult to for me to find images of other black brides.
    2. Being able to search for wedding drama with your:
    a. partner
    b. bridal party
    c. friends (and being the first to get married!)
    e. other family
    f. budget (oo! especially when it comes down to who’s paying between you and a spouse)

    3. Being able to search for wedding regret or hating your wedding.
    4.Forgiving yourself and others for wedding behavior.
    6. Feminism and weddings

    Ok, I realize some of these are just posts that I many need to think about submitting but still. Can’t wait to see these changes!

  • Emer

    – Older brides
    – Brides without make-up

  • Liz

    I’d like to search for venues where a medium sized wedding guest list (~70) could stay and where the wedding could also be held. Like a wedding weekend camp!

    Also I’d like to search for venues that are easy to fly to (close to a major airport perhaps?). This is important because so many people have to fly to weddings nowadays, I don’t want my guests to have an hours long road trip to deal with after hours of flying.

    Also can we search by expense of venue? Maybe a general $/$$/$$$ rating. I don’t want to fall in love with a place online and then figure out I cannot. afford. it. If the real weddings on APW could give a few cost breakdowns that would be amazing. And then maybe you could make a bar graph showing how much APW brides spend on cake or the dress or the venue or cost of food per plate. I could help with this! I think this would help a lot in getting grooms to see what real weddings cost before they totally freak out. And it would help us all see where are the easier places to cut costs.

    I think you guys do a great job with wedding music. I have a lot of APW music related posts pinned.

    I’d love to help with this stuff on APW!

  • Emilie

    Weddings without dancing!

  • Belladonna

    I’d bet this has already been covered, but I’d like a way to find posts about having a wedding when you don’t know whether or not your family will show up, and therefore the guest list will be lopsided towards one partner. I live in one area, moving to a whole new one, and family members are scattered in other places. It’s been hard to stay close since the loss of my parents, and I don’t know if what’s left will be willing to travel so far on my behalf.

  • Stalking Sarah

    Adding my own search term ideas to the pile:

    couples – LGBTQ, interracial, interreligious, intercultural, international
    ceremony – traditional, semi-traditional, religious, secular, self-written
    location/feel – beach, mountain, indoor, outdoor, place of worship, forest, camp (OMG camp weddings were so much something I searched for), etc
    wedding operations/getting shit done – logistics, payments, vendors, photographers, DJs, friendors, problems, website, invitation, project planning, spreadsheets, timelines, etc
    APW special sauce – how to not be crazy, sane wedding planning, the hard stuff, family, conflict, relationships, calling off wedding, parents, siblings, wedding party, etc

    What I really wanted when we were wedding planning was for someone to sit me down and say, “Here is how you plan a wedding.” I feel like The APW book does that brilliantly. And as a rabbi* once said, “The rest is commentary.” So I feel like that needs to be clear to folks as well. Not sure how that’s relevant, but… there you have it.

    (The story is of a rabbi being asked to teach the torah while a student stood on one foot. The rabbi said, “Love others as you love yourself. The rest is commentary. Now go and study.” Not that I am comparing the torah to the APW book, but… if you read nothing else, read the book. If you still need more, then the website has that.)

  • Copper

    It has never once occurred to me to search for a specific type of wedding on APW. I’m actually really surprised how much play that stuff gets here.

    I tend to search for the planning/practical stuff more. I’m always frustrated that when I search for “engagement rings” I have to sort through a ton of Wordless Weddings (that have one line somewhere buried in them about an engagement ring) to get to the Alternative Engagement Ring Roundup posts I was actually looking for. Could we prioritize title searches above content searches so that when we know the title (or nearly know it) those will be direct hits?

  • April

    Urban / Rural
    Time of day
    DIT (maybe subcategories for decor, attire, and food?)
    Blended families (or couples with children)
    Secular / religious
    >50 guests / 50-100 guests / 100+ guests
    local / destination

    Clearly, I like to air on keeping the categories broad. One of the things I love about APW is stumbling on ideas that would never have otherwise occurred to me!

  • Dawn J

    Excited about the re-design! All of these suggestions are based on searches that I’ve tried to run on the site, with varying levels of success, to find new content or old content I had read previously:

    Civil Ceremony
    Secular Ceremony
    Civil Vows
    Secular Vows
    Poetry readings
    Prose readings
    Feminist Ceremony
    Second Wedding
    Mother in Law
    Honoring Family
    Honoring Friends
    Guests of Honor
    Brunch Wedding
    Daytime Wedding
    Separate Ceremony and Reception

    [Location] Wedding (for example, when I run a search for “Houston Wedding,” all posts in which the word “Houston” appears will be returned. To find Houston weddings only, I would have to navigate to and select an appropriate tag/category)

  • While planning and in newlywed years, I would have found these search terms helpful: immigration, relocating for marriage, bilingual, and self-catering. More recently, something like “surviving the worst” or “when your life falls apart unexpectedly” would have been useful. It took me a good while to find Kayla’s post when I was trying to re-find it to re-read it this summer after I found myself facing the same thing.

  • LurkingLady

    -Weddings in the U.K.
    -Seconding the vote for budget or cost per capita.

  • Lea

    You know what would be utterly fantastic? A SURPRISE ME button that takes you to a random wedding. I love to browse the archives on here, and that would be a fun way to do it. Smitten Kitchen has a Surprise Me button and I could spend an entire lunch break hitting that thing.

  • del678

    Wedding websites including APW abound with outdoor/ barn/ tent/ mountain/ farm/ BBQ/ backyard weddings (which are all beautiful). Where oh where is the indoor inspiration? Suddenly by having an indoor ceremony and reception, my style is alternative not the norm.

  • Leigh Ann

    My search terms would be: Simple, elegant, traditional, and original/personal protestant church services.

  • Penny

    Number of guests
    Location (as in city or region. I’m in Australia so it’d be nice to see any Australian weddings or resources you have)
    Venue types (restaurant, hotel, bar, function hall, backyard, at home, park, city hall, church, museum, art gallery, winery, summer camp, farm, beach)
    Related but different is urban/country. An inner city wedding at a restaurant has different issues (e.g. traffic) to a wedding at a restaurant in the country (e.g. getting vendors and guests to an out of the way spot). And the look and feel can be very different too. I’m always looking for cool urban weddings.
    Religous/secular (or even Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, Humanist, Muslim, Athiest/Agnostic)

  • Helen

    The one thing I’ve been unable to find when searching is where to submit entries (like for a wordless wedding or another type of submission). I’ve tried and I’m sure it’s somewhere obvious, but I can’t find it and searching hasn’t helped.

  • Jalondra

    Some things that might have been helpful to me: brunch wedding, ethnic/cultural traditions, guest number range, food and serving style (buffet, family, seated, self-catered), pictures prior to ceremony, morning weddings, region, budget range, maybe? (I understand the sensitivity around stating budgets, but a tagging a general range might be helpful if you are trying to focus on weddings with similar, financial, at least resources available), municipal/publicly-owned venues (a lot of people talk about the cheapness and romance of such places, but not about the restrictions and labor involved), beach wedding logistics, post-wedding recovery (clearing out decor, picture printing, name-changing, gift receiving and giving, insurance and id cards, resolving wedding-induced family/friend conflicts, starting a new or reorganizing a disrupted household, rebuilding shell-shocked finances).

    I understand the points made above about discomfort with seeing interracial weddings grouped separately and you should do what seems right for the site and its readership, but doesn’t the idea that they shouldn’t be because there is nothing fundamentally different about them “from any old wedding” kind of suggests that other groupings, such as women of color and are somehow fundamentally different? Or that what people are looking for in these types of subcategories is some kind of obvious difference? I’d like to be able to go straight to women of color posts because of the likelihood that I will find experiences and feelings that I relate to, and to African American weddings because its nice to see me and my family and my friends reflected; it makes it easier to picture myself as a bride in a white media world and way more likely that I’ll be able to get ideas on everything from hairstyle to reasons why or why not to jump the broom, not because Black weddings are so different. Just a thought.

  • Kelsey

    Two bride weddings-non white dresses, or two bride, two dress wedding. Super helpful. Gracias!