The Secret Weapon This Photographer Is Giving All Her Clients

You Can Have One, Too

When you put out a book, your publisher asks you to do things like… ask people to review it. Get it out into the world. Ask people to take pictures with it. And as womxn we’re trained to never ever brag about ourselves (I mean, hi, how many times have we talked about this on APW?). So asking people to review your book is, for me, about as fun as scrubbing my skin with sandpaper. I mean… I only spent many many months trying to make this book… good… and… having people talk about it feels… excessive… no? But, like it or not, we asked some people to review the second edition of my book. First up is Sandra, the amazing photographer behind Sandrachile, the only wedding photographer I know of who uses weddings to feed the homeless. So now, with only mild embarrassment, I give you Sandra.


“Wedding Land is not always the most rational place to be,” Meg says in the new edition of her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for a Beautiful, Affordable, and Stress-Free Celebration. That is exactly why this book is the best thing ever written for those contemplating marriage.

As a wedding vendor, I have navigated the depths of the wedding industry for years. But as an immigrant who is a wedding photographer, seeing the dynamics of weddings in the United States is both glorious and terrifying. What I can tell you for sure is that there is simply no book anywhere in the world that is so thorough and in-depth as this one. Meg’s writing feels like a compassionate friend is grabbing your hand while walking you through everything you need to know about your heart and your mindset, before the wedding, and before you even get engaged. Anyone who reads this book will feel less lonely through the journey of planning a wedding, and will find the encouragement and support they need through the journey to getting hitched. This is not just a book written by a professional who tells you what to do and how to do it; rather, it is a book written with heart, by someone who has been there, for herself—and for thousands of others.

For too long, wedding books have been addressed only to cisgender couples, and if there were any Queer folks on the audience, they were just forced to adapt. Here, there is an entire section dedicated to Queer weddings! And this section includes specific things for them, acknowledging that they navigate issues that cisgendered and hetero couples simply don’t, in terms of logistics, but also in terms of the emotional load.

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And right along the lines of inclusivity, the book also addresses issues and advice for the weddings of people of color, intercultural couples, and interfaith couples.

Among my favorite pages and chapters:

  • The tips to hack traditional caterers are #lifesaving.
  • The examples of wedding budgets by wedding planner Alyssa Griffith on pages 60 through 64 are incredibly eye-opening.
  • The example timeline is rational, flexible, and so so helpful.
  • There is a whole section on how to cancel a wedding, which no one ever talks about, but here Meg actually did!
  • Chapter Six, which is on planning through loss and grief, made me cry.
  • The history of weddings in Chapter Four gives you so much insight into how wedding customs came to be, relieving pressure from so-called “traditions”.

I could continue quoting favorite and helpful parts of this book, but then I would simply be transcribing the whole thing. Personally, I deeply wish someone had shared some of the wisdom in this book with me before my own wedding. Meg starts the book with suggestions of topics to discuss before you even start thinking about marriage. These topics are not about just weddings but about marriage and life itself. It would have eliminated so much drama from my life to consider these essential topics before diving into wedding planning.

Thank you, Meg, for writing such an amazing Bible of relationships, and for taking the time to acknowledge the many dynamic issues of weddings with the love you poured into this book.

Now I want a case. I want to give this book to all my couples. Tell me where to buy a box of books! Editor’s note: right here!

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