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!)

jeannie

I’m Sorry I’m Missing The Wedding

Motherhood's tiny disappointments

by A Practical Wedding
I don’t actually remember the first wedding I attended, but I’ve heard the story so many times I feel like I do. It was my uncle’s wedding and I was just a baby. My older sister served as the flower girl, but was refusing to walk down the aisle. That is, until the priest offered her a nickel for going through with it. She was triumphant in her payment and happily made it to the altar. However, my mom and I missed her big moment. Right before the ceremony my diaper exploded all over me and my mom’s silk dress. We dashed back to the hotel to clean... read more
Jeannie G

Lauren: In the Photos

Now tilt your chin down... more... a little more... there!

by Lauren Fitzpatrick
“Make sure to hold your flowers like this,” the saleswoman said, clasping my hands together and bringing them down to waist-height. “Otherwise your neck will be too tense.” She raised my imaginary bouquet until it was in front of my chest. “See the strain in your neck? You don’t want that in your photos.” Before I could explain that I might not even have flowers, she’d whisked them away to shift me into a new pose. “Stand up straight. Now slowly bend your right leg and bring it in front of the left.&#... read more
vivian-dance

Kelsey: I Won’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me

(Please?)

by Kelsey Hopson
When our wedding was still an abstract concept lurking happily in my mind, I always imagined the dancing. I could see so clearly the hugging, laughing huddle of my far scattered galpals and myself taking up the whole dance floor. I could see leaning over to kiss my new wife while all of our guests jumped and fist pumped to the Backstreet Boys, and I was very excited. Then, a month or so ago when our wedding was no longer abstract, but looming, Julie came into the house after work, beaming. “I found the perfect first dance song!” she exclaimed,... read more
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Ask a Psychologist: Coping with a Family Member’s Mental Illness

You can't fix everything at once

Q: I’m getting married in around two months, and I am worried that my feelings will spoil the wedding day, for myself and for everyone else. Also, I’m seven weeks pregnant, which casts an extra spotlight on to my worries. In basic terms, my worry is about my father and my own anger and resentment towards him. He’s not abusive; he’s not a drunk; he’s still married to my mum. I know he loves me. He has, however, quit. Quit on living a healthy, rewarding life. He has no hobbies, no interests, no friends. He refuses to support my... read more
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More Than Its Parts

Crying for my father, celebrating for us

I was married the day before my father lost part of his spine. I was in Florida, trying to decide with my new husband where we’d go for our honeymoon, while my father was in surgery, the doctors removing sections of his spinal cord that had been turned to mush by a bacterial infection. E. Coli. I never expected my father wouldn’t be at my wedding, not even when he returned sick from the Dominican Republic, where he and my mother spent half the year. In DR, he was diagnosed with a simple UTI; after two months of fever, he lost the ability to walk,... read more
kiss flat irons

The Marriage of Roots and Wings

My past and my future, intertwined

Two weeks ago today, I got married. The day was absolutely perfect. June in Colorado gave us a cold snap, dreamy fog, and temperatures that granted us lit fireplaces. We stood at the feet of mountains, said our vows, laughed, cried, and squeezed each others’ hands as we floated from engaged to married. The whole evening had a sense of magic that thinking of brings me to spirit-tears. We both felt so touched by the maternal canopy of Love, of Earth. Snow-globed into a sliver of light and purity, of the place where meaning, connection, breath, and breeze... read more
vivian-bridesmaiding

Kelsey: Bridesmaiding

Lessons learned in the trenches

by Kelsey Hopson
This summer, in addition to getting married myself, I also get to be a bridesmaid; once at the end of the summer and once this week. I’m thrilled—I’ve never actually been asked to be a bridesmaid before. I’ve done a lot of day-of coordinating. I’ve been a florist. We’ve baked a wedding cake. Once, some friends and I self-appointed ourselves “bridal attendants” at a spur-of-the-moment “welding” ceremony in Oakland, but this is my first time serving in the official matching dress brigade. So far? I&#... read more
Sign the Artwork

I Didn’t Sign The Artwork

But maybe I should have

by Angela
I didn’t sign the artwork that I did for our invitations. When we first started planning for our wedding, I didn’t have a plan, really, for the stationery. In my secret wedding fantasy moments, I tended to focus on the cake. Cake is a big deal; cake deserves serious thought and opinions. But I had a bit of a sudden brain wave, just as we began planning. My awesome science-nerd dude was explaining some of the work he does with species interaction to me, and it fit so nicely, and I had an instant, perfect picture of what I wanted the invites to look... read more
Leah & Dan

Lauren: Wedding Zen Fake-Out

If only I had opinions about all this stuff

by Lauren Fitzpatrick
Wedding Zen came early for me. There were two months of activity in which we chose a country, pinned down a date, grappled with how much it was really going to cost, and booked a venue, photographer, and caterer. I bought a dress and we sent out Save-the-Dates. That was nearly six months ago and I have been in a blissful state of calm ever since. That’s pretty much it, right? Venue, photographer, caterer, dress: the big four of the Wedding Planning Safari. We made a list of additional details and left it buried in the computer. “How’s... read more
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Mexcellence Is in the Eye of the Beholder

A mini-identity crisis

by Massiel Bobadilla
I was email dating a few different wedding coordinators to see who “got” the vibe my fiancé and I were trying to go for with our wedding. To quote my sister, it is shaping up to be “Game of Thrones meets Jane Austen” and is full of winter coziness and old time cuteness. Like the Internet-loving girl I am, I’d share my wedding Pinterest boards with some of the coordinators I was talking to so they could visualize all the pinecone visions dancing in my head. Oh, but there was one bit I forgot to mention: I’m Mexican. So how does that factor... read more
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Kelsey: Using Our Time Wisely

Sometimes it's easier said than done

by Kelsey Hopson
Julie and I will end up with a seventeen-month engagement. We started off strong, embracing the idea of front-loading the stress. We got our venue, we got our food truck, we found our photographer. We chose our officiant and our DJ and congratulated ourselves on building in this luxurious stretch of time to plan this event, stress free. Cue the smugness. Coworkers and friends would ask about the wedding planning and I’d be cavalier. “You know, we’ve got most of the big pieces in place. We’ll get to the rest. We’ve got lots of time.” We... read more