Buy The Book

If you’re new here and you want the APW philosophy laid out for you, may we humbly suggest that you buy Meg’s bookA Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration? Meg spent a long time summing up the most helpful tips she knew and all the best stuff she’s learned writing this blog in a compact 60,000 words. Plus, you can pass it to your Mama and say, “Mom, look. Aisle runners are a totally made up thing,” and she’ll have to believe you because it’s in a book with historical source material and everything. Seriously, it’s super helpful in a way the blog just can’t be. (We don’t have chapters! You can’t write notes in our margin! We’re sorry!)

Search for Vendors

The wedding industry can feel a lot like this, no? That’s why we’ve worked hard for the last four years to assemble a collection of vendors who are deeply sane and not looking to rip you off. You can browse through the APW Vendor Directory, where every single vendor has signed our sanity pledge. (And if they violate it, let us know right away. We’re serious about that sucker.)

Browse Real Weddings

Ever notice that the story of weddings is always told by someone… else? The photographer tells you about it, or the planner, or the journalist. Well, back in 2008, Meg realized that she wanted her already married blogger friends to write her a little letter about what they’d learned, what they’d tell their pre-wedding selves. The APW Wedding Graduates series was born with East Side Bride’s excellent advice, and it has expanded to tons of women writing about what they learned. You can search our real weddings to your hearts content, to find what’s most relevant to you.

Logistical Advice

Our Get Sh*t Done column, written by down to earth planner Elizabeth Clayton, provides advice on everything from how to buy booze for your wedding, to creating your wedding timeline, to everything you need to know about rentals. Sure, it would be nice if everyone received a magical free wedding planner when they got engaged, but this is the next best thing.

Download Our Planning Spreadsheets

Because wedding planning has a lot less to do with inspiration boards, and a lot more to do with figuring out who’s going to get the beer to the venue. And yes, you’ll want to be organized about that.

How To... do Anything

Want to know how to make a bouquet from supermarket flowers? How about making a store bought cake into a trio of wedding cakes? Looking for non-floral centerpiece ideas? Hair and makeup you can do yourself? Looking for easy cocktail ideas? We’ve got that and more in our How To section.

Search For Venues

Yes. We know. Finding a wedding venue can make people want to tear their hair out. That’s why we started the APW Venue Directory made up venues that readers loved. (And yes, if you loved your venue, you should pay it forward and submit it.) Start poking around, even if you don’t have a venue in your area, we’re pretty sure it will give you ideas. (Firehouses! Carousels! Community centers!)


Learning Unexpected Lessons on Our Hawaiian Honeymoon

Unlearning fear

by Eve Sturges
At my wedding, I knew my dad would thank everyone for coming and express some sincere sentiments about me as his daughter, and my husband as his son-in-law. I did not know that my mother would also give a speech, and I felt pretty nervous as it began. She began by announcing that, in case anyone didn’t know, I was engaged to be married once before, to someone else, and canceled that wedding at the last minute (cue my sweaty palms, crowd’s nervous laughter). Turns out that no one needed to feel nervous; my mom had a very real and [&hellip... read more

Caught Between a Name Change and a Hard Place

I didn’t want my birth last name, but what comes with this new one?

by Chelsea Risley
I no longer share a last name with my father. I carry another man’s name, and it still tastes strange in my mouth. On legal documents, I check the married box, and I had to change all my emergency contact information. No one prepares you for the paper trail that comes with marriage. No one says, “Congratulations on your engagement! Have you thought about writing your wills?” At least, no one did for me. No one told me that I’d have to pay extra attention when signing my name. No one told me I would look at my driver’s license, [&hellip... read more

In Search of My Sacred Wedding Ceremony

Carving out a ritual that goes beyond our vows

by Jennifer Tomscha
I was inspired to go to divinity school by the religious scholar Mircea Eliade who, in The Sacred and the Profane, argues that humans have an inherent yearning for the sacred. Even if we don’t practice a form of organized religion, we create our own divisions of sacred time and space. We carve out the sacred in a profane world. We make holidays of significant events, we create rituals for ourselves, we give spaces their own powerful significance. Growing up, I loved a set of strange boulders settled in the valley of a neighborhood park. I called them... read more

Guide for Millenials with Grieving Friends

Simple steps for difficult times

by Abbey Agresta
For me, it started around the same time the first of my friends got married. Other friends were losing their parents. Mostly cancer, a few other illnesses, not as many funerals as weddings, but enough to make me think about how I was dealing with my friends’ grief. Not very well, I felt. Every time, I would be overwhelmed by what they had lost, and how little I could do to fix it for them. I would pull back for fear of imposing on them, and then worry that I was abandoning them when they needed help. I got some etiquette tips, [&hellip... read more

Why Does Friendship Get So Much Harder When We’re Older?

Or maybe age isn't the issue at all...

by Kelsey Hopson-Shiller
My friend Rebecca called me last week. Among other things, she was calling to talk about friendship, and how, recently, she’s been feeling like it gets harder as we get older. Not only does it get harder to make friends, but relationships with existing friends get more challenging as well. I couldn’t agree with her more. As we get older, as we get partnered, and as some of us become parents, one of our most important support systems—our friends—becomes complicated, as does building any sort of community. We get so many messages about the... read more

My Pas de Deux with Body Dysmorphia

Instead of mistrusting the girl in the mirror, I began doubting the one in my head

by Manya Dotson
I think my dysfunctional affair with mirrors began the first time I stepped into a ballet studio and took my place at the barre. I was five years old, and I remember becoming aware of myself—or rather, aware of my body, which is not exactly the same thing. Before that moment, my body was an expression of my inner sense of self—the jumping, twirling, singing body was just me actively being me. But as I twisted and sweated and strained and was critiqued for years in mirrored studios, unable to achieve the elusive perfection that is the hallmark of... read more
All About The Dress? Not. At. All | APW

I Hated My Wedding Dress (But I Loved My Wedding)

Why is it so easy to get lost in the details?

by A Practical Wedding
Growing up, I daydreamed about my future wedding (when I was old enough to have one). Pretty common for most little girls. Unlike the stereotype, the biggest thing in my mind wasn’t the party, or the flowers, or the dress; I always wanted to know what the face of my groom looked like. The doors would open, everyone would stand, and there he would be across the aisle. How would he look? Who would he be? The most exciting thing about getting married was figuring out who I’d be married to. It is astounding how wise I was when I [&hellip... read more

When You’re the Last Person You Know to Get Married

Dancing in the pig trough

by Jennifer Tomscha
In central Missouri, the tradition is for an older, unwed sister to dance in a pig trough at her younger sister’s wedding. You can find video evidence of this on YouTube. The DJ plays “Cotton-Eye Joe.” In the middle of the dance floor, the trough resembles, disturbingly, a child’s coffin. The sister circles it for a verse or two. The song is painfully long. The crowd hoots, then grows silent, then rouses itself again when the dancer steps one foot and then another into the trough. “If it weren’t for Cotton-Eye Joe, I&#... read more

What the Father-Daughter Dance Is For

I won't be given away, but I am grateful

by Jennifer Tomscha
I come from a family of notorious criers. We’ll cry about almost anything and as a response to almost any emotion. So I’m surprised at how calm I’ve been about our upcoming wedding. I’ve cried once or twice imagining our vows, but for the most part I’ve been levelheaded and reasonable and generally just thrilled. Except when I think about the dance with my dad. Then I’ve cried, without fail. Several evenings now, I’ve perused YouTube and left tears in my wake. Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” (cried).... read more

The Day I Decided to Be a Fat Bride

Shedding hate, not weight

by Emily Hill
Today, I decided I am going to be a fat bride. Rather, my body has been deciding this for a few years, but today, I accepted that I am going to be a fat bride. I got engaged a year ago, and the whole time (as well as my entire teenage and adult life) I have been trying to lose weight. Sometimes I am successful; I have a stretch of a few months where I am eating a balanced diet and exercising a healthy amount. Last February after getting engaged, I lost around twenty pounds before our engagement party that [&hellip... read more

Losing My Mother While Gaining My Husband

I didn't get the dream wedding, and that's alright

We were already engaged. I had a dress, a ring, and was committed, but what really solidified the understanding I had chosen the right man with whom to join my life was a conversation with my family, my future husband, and a palliative care social worker about how my mother would want to live out the remainder of her days on earth. I met Camilo in September 2012 in Montgomery, Alabama, a place neither of us belonged, but were brought to by a belief in social justice and the law. I was instantly comfortable with him, finding myself pouring out [&hellip... read more

What Makes a Wedding a Wedding?

"I want a love like that"

by Eve Sturges
My wedding fantasies included, but were not limited to, eloping with a taco truck after party in downtown LA, a three-day extravaganza in my Sonoma County hometown, going to Paris with immediate family only, and hosting a small brunch at our house. My fiancé offered his own ideas, which were primarily film focused and soundtrack based. My folks had an idea that included hymns, his were concerned about a Pulp Fiction themed reception. In the end, we decided to compromise our fantasies with those who would be footing most of the bill: our parents. We ... read more