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!)

corey-email

Our Story Doesn’t Come in an Email

Unsubscribing from the advertising industry's wedding dreams

by Allison Knopp
Advertisers would like their products to be telling our stories. They would like for their perfumes to make us fall in love, their crackers to be the ones to fill our children’s’ bellies, their gadgets to be the ones playing the soundtracks to our lives. The send us messages that say, if you have this, your story will have a happy ending. As marketing professional, I always thought of myself as a savvy person who could see through the commercials. You know like, “Aw, that commercial made me tear up, but that doesn’t mean I will be purchasing that... read more
emily-imperfect

Lauren: Buying the Imperfect Dress

It's my dress. Or is it?

by Lauren Fitzpatrick
I bought my wedding dress today. It was on sale at a local boutique, marked down from $1495 to $660. The saleswoman said I could have it for $550, if I bought it today. I felt the familiar clench in my chest, the one that comes when I am forced to make a Big Decision, one that involves parting with a stack of money. “I’ll have to think about it,” I said. “Go home and look at the photos.” She nodded. “No worries. We don’t pressure you here.” Then she went and hung the dress in the front window, right behind the screaming red clearance sign... read more
emily-symbolic

Symbolic Annihilation

We are more than you can possibly imagine

When I got engaged, one of my best girlfriends surprised me with a delicious stack of bridal magazines, lovingly wrapped in a pink paper bag and gold ribbon. We hugged in her San Francisco apartment, fog and sunlight beyond the windows, the Pacific a blue glimmer. We ate strawberry shortcake and watched trashy TV, flipping through glossy pages of cream and taffeta and sugar and lace. It was a lovely moment between two women who know each other’s worst and best, and who can revel in the fun of (finally!) getting hitched. But there’s something odd—... read more
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Separating The Joy From The Pain

I can’t remember my wedding day without remembering the eight months before it

by A Practical Wedding
“Well. Hell.” That thought danced around my head regularly for the eight months of my engagement. Six months of indecision, misery, fighting, crying, and panic attacks followed by two months of quick decisions, fighting, ugly cries, guilt, depression, love, and joy. I don’t regret my wedding. I love my wedding day. I should love it: I fought for it, cherished it, defended it, excused it, explained it, loved it, planned it, and, finally, experienced it. But I’m still resentful. Resentful of how unhappy my husband and I were. How many weeks my... read more
Hello and Goodbye | APW (1)

Hello and Goodbye

An achingly pretty dress. A terribly lost girl.

by Shannon Brennan
Never a bride. Not you. Yet there you are, in the first of many sticky July afternoons, trolling the bridal salons for a dress. Oh, you mean a gown, they say. Dresses are everyday, they say. Gowns are special, they say. Silently call bullshit and call it a dress anyway. You shop in secret, apologizing to the close friend that gets dragged along, a spectator to your agony, your indecision. She waits patiently as you struggle, unable to reconcile the person you see in your mind’s eye with the lost girl in white that stares back at you in triplicate from... read more
Lauren: But What if Nobody Comes? | APW (1)

Lauren: But What If Nobody Comes?

It only takes two anyway

by Lauren Fitzpatrick
When you graduate high school in Indianapolis, the done thing is to have an open house. You get some meat trays and a sheet cake from Marsh, put up some awkward photos of yourself growing up, and invite everyone you know to visit your parents’ house between the hours of two and five on a Saturday afternoon. Your guests will slot you in between a number of other, nearly identical, open houses, flitting in like gift-bearing fairies to say congratulations, good luck, and oops gotta go. But what if you planned an open house and no one came? To my... read more
harber-meandher

Me And Her Against The World

My wedding is for my mom, who gave up everything for me

Uncertain is an accurate way to describe my life. Nobody can predict the future, but given my childhood, what would become of me was up for discussion. A few months ago, a new friend said to me, “Blessed is he who had a difficult childhood.” I was born into rather unfavorable socioeconomic conditions. Early in my mother’s pregnancy with me, she made the difficult decision to leave my father and raise me on her own, without him knowing of my existence. As a young twenty-two-year-old from a poor family, with no education, no job prospects, and few... read more
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Kelsey: What Equality Actually Looks Like

We don't want to be your gay wedding story

by Kelsey Hopson
When you are a lady about to marry another lady, you are never quite certain of the reaction you are going to get when this fact comes to light. Last spring, when we started talking seriously about getting married and planning a wedding, I prepared myself—and us—for angry, homophobic reactions. I asked every married, queer friend we have for safe vendor recommendations. I called ahead to jewelry stores and made sure to ask them if they would have a problem with my girlfriend and I shopping for our engagement rings. We managed to hire our vendors and... read more
Anatomy of an Injury: Learning to Slow Down | APW

Anatomy Of An Injury

What a broken tequila bottle taught me

Yesterday, after running six miles along San Jose’s Guadalupe River trail, I slipped on a sliver of glass on the sidewalk and landed, knee-first, on a broken tequila bottle. I sat for a moment on the concrete, staring at the jagged gash on my right knee, stunned. I’ve had my fair share of tumbles and falls, but this was different. The cut was clean but deep. I couldn’t look at it. My iPod blared and my insulin pump was still safe on my hip. I propped myself on the corner of the busy street and the trail, and within a minute had... read more
Cake It's What's For Dinner | A Practical Wedding

Lauren: Cake, It’s What’s For Dinner

And pie is what's for breakfast.

by Lauren Fitzpatrick
I came into wedding planning with very few assumptions: I’d wear a dress, probably in some shade of white. My dad would walk me down the aisle. Jared would be the groom. We would eat cake. In my head, cake was a given. What’s the point of birthdays and weddings if there is no cake? I still think about my friend’s wedding cake in Key West back in 2007. It was key lime-flavored and I had to fight the urge to hover around the tables, eating abandoned slices as I went. On their one-year anniversary I almost asked if I could come around to help them... read more
Becoming Less | A Practical Wedding

Becoming Less

A story of hope

by A Practical Wedding
I had always expected the wedding dress shopping process to be an exciting time in my life. I suppose I had never really thought about how being a recovered anorexic would affect the process. Or, rather, how the process of dress shopping would affect my recovery. As I began to look at pictures of dresses, the actual prospect of trying them on and looking at myself in a mirror filled me with dread. Downright panic, even... read more
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Hayley: A Tale of Two Bridal Shows

But seriously, why no open bar?

by Hayley Cotter
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I attended my first bridal show. The advertisement promised an experience “like no other bridal show the world,” but as I had not attended any other bridal show in the world, that wasn’t much to go on. Nonetheless, I decided to tag along with my older sister, whose wedding was quickly approaching. Freshly engaged myself, I wasn’t really in planning mode yet—I was just excited to be doing something wedding-related. One of the first vendors that we visited was offering free chocolate-covered strawberries... read more