Style and Substance

Meg Keene AuthorIf you’re here, chances are you’ve navigated across the online wedding universe, before somehow or other finding yourself at A Practical Wedding. If that’s true, you might be a bit like I was when I was planning: half feeling like you love all the pretty wedding pictures you see everywhere so much that you want to clutch them all in your fists, and half feeling a little overwhelmed and a bit lost. Is it just you feeling that way? (Spoiler alert: No.) Maybe you know you can’t quite afford all the wedding prettiness that you see everywhere (and wish you could). Or maybe you can afford it, but you’re just not crafty or super aesthetically oriented. It’s possible you’re confused as to why all the wedding pictures you see are pictures of stuff, not of people. Even more likely is the chance that wedding planning isn’t feeling exactly like a romp in a field of flowers, but a complex mess of negotiating with loved ones. Or perhaps, just perhaps, you’ve realized that what happens after a wedding is a marriage, and you wonder why no one is talking about that.If any of these things ring a bell, or you just want a dose of wedding realism mixed in with your wedding prettiness, you have found the right place. Because here at APW we do love the pretty things. And we’re big into weddings with happy people and overwhelming emotion. But we’re even more into thoughtful discussion, personal stories, feminism, and discussions about marriage. Like British Esquire‘s tag line, at APW we aim for Style AND Substance.

Regular Features

APW is powered by user submissions (have a story? You can submit it here!), thanks to the amazing and ever-shifting community of women (and a few men) that has grown up around the site. These posts have allowed the site to grow and cover issues from many different perspectives, something the APW staff simply couldn’t do on our own. The end result is crowd sourced content, mixed in with staff writing and writing by yours truly. Each month is structured around a theme, and we try to string together posts in a way that creates a conversation that builds over the course of the month, encouraging us all to think harder (and maybe laugh a bit). We don’t expect you to agree with every piece of content we publish (in fact, we don’t always agree with everything on the site), but we do hope that it pushes you to think about weddings and marriage, or just flat out helps you with your wedding planning process.

Our features break down like so:

  • Real Weddings: One of APW’s longest standing features, our real weddings are a mix of Wedding Graduates tell us what they learned getting married, and Wordless Weddings that tell the story of a wedding through emotional images.
  • Ask Team Practical: Our weekly Friday advice column. The APW staff takes a crack at answering your burning questions, and then turns it over to the team (that’s you) for the internet’s most democratic advice giving.
  • How To: Tutorials on everything from lazy-girl wedding crafts, to how to self cater your wedding, to how to write vows, to how to do your own wedding makeup. The staff is pretty lazy in the crafting department, so we try to keep projects simple.
  • Marriage & More: Perhaps the most important section of all. This is the subsection of APW where we discuss marriage, and it’s the reason many of our readers have stuck around years after their weddings were done and over with.
  • Planning: Our planning posts are a mix of reader submissions as well as posts from our regular intern writers discussing their own wedding planning process.
How It All Started
I started APW when I came home crying one too many days in a row in the early stages of planning my wedding. Specifically, I was sobbing because I’d found a post on one of the very early wedding blogs about “budget” $2,000 invitation options. Cue tears. “How are we ever going to afford invitations?” and “I thought I had a good job, but everything is telling us that we’re too poor to get married, which is bullshit,” and “How will we ever have a wedding that fits our values?” Sob. Sob. Sob. My now-husband David (who I tend to rightly credit with all my best ideas) suggested I start a blog and call it A Practical Wedding—not in a dogmatic way, but in a the-wedding-media-you-are-reading-is-crazy way. He pointed out that I’d always wanted a blog (I’d been reading blogs every single day since early 2003). And well, here we are.

I had a lot of opinions about weddings, right from the start. I had been reading the brilliant Miss Manners books since I was old enough to drag them off the shelves (I must note that my parents seemingly intentionally placed them on very low shelves). Her no-nonsense approach to wedding planning had merged with all the punch-and-cake-on-the-church-lawn weddings I’d grown up with, and I had Things To Say. But it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t the only one. Within a few months of starting the site, I realized that there were lots of other intelligent, funny, and frustrated women out there who had their own wedding and marriage stories to share, so the site grew to include their voices as well.

APW Today

These days, I work as APW’s editor-in-chief, corralling writing by readers, staff, and myself into discussions about those same topics I started writing tiny barbed manifestos about in 2008. Plus, in 2011, I was able to fulfill a secret dream I had from day one of the site, which was to write a book about practical weddings. The totally crazy part is that it became the #3 bestselling wedding book in the country, which makes me hope that maybe fewer people are coming home sobbing after starting wedding planning. Maybe. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re making progress.

How This Site Is Supported

APW is paid for by advertisements from independent wedding vendors, all of whom have signed a sanity pledge promising to make the wedding world a less crazy place. You’ll find their ads in the form of sidebars on the main page, sponsored posts on Wednesdays and Fridays, and in our Vendor Directory. You can find out more about advertising with the site here. In addition, we do occasional corporate partnerships, like working with Procter & Gamble Beauty to bring readers DIY wedding hair and makeup posts, or with Amtrak to sponsor the national APW book tour.

Get Started

If you’re not engaged yet but thinking about it, check out our pre-engaged section over here.

If you’re newly engaged, or otherwise planning a wedding, you can get APW’s best wedding planning tips right here.

If you’re newly married, or just happily married and hanging out here, you can get APW’s best posts and thoughts on married life over here.

Or if you just want to read about how APW was founded, our mission, and our crack staff, head over here.

We’re so glad you found us.


Meg (And the APW Staff)