We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
I’m about to tell you the full story of how this second edition of my first book came to be. The story has a wind machine, feathers, tragedy, death, joy. But. If you want to buy the book before you read all that (and it would mean so much to me, and push the book up on the charts, where people who don’t know about APW can find that emotional hug of a wedding planning book that they’re looking for) you can do that right now. You can buy it on Amazon, or support your local bookseller on Indie Bound.
When Life Gives You Tragedy…
For those of you who have been following along at home, you know I’ve had a very difficult few years. I mean, hell, the last eighteen months alone have been intensely hard. Last September, I sat with my dad as he died, after spending a long summer caring for him after he sustained a traumatic brain injury. Then The Tree of Life Synagogue shooting happened, and it started becoming increasingly hard to be a Jewish family in America. I want to somehow sugar coat it and uplift this for you, but things have just been… hard. Full stop.
Also, right before my dad died, I was offered a chance to re-issue my first book. After the dust had settled, I agreed, and my publishers sent over a contract. Y’all. I thought they were going to put my face and the APW logo on the cover, have me write a new intro, and call it a day. But when I got the contract, it suggested a twenty-five percent rewrite of the book. I had my lawyers make a bunch of edits, because I was sure that I didn’t have twenty-five percent new content to add to the book. Of my two books, my first is the emotional handbook for getting married (this shit ain’t easy, y’all). I figured I couldn’t possibly have smarter things to say about it than I did a year after our own wedding, while I was still riding the high of it. When I finally negotiated the contract down to size and signed it, David told me, “You understand you’re now going to proceed to re-write twenty-five percent of the book anyway, right? Because you are an overachiever.” “I WILL NOT,” I told him.
Then, of course, he was right. I did.
… Make Cool Things
So what is new in this book, other than my face, a tiny cake, and a feathered dress being blown by frantically by a wind machine on the cover? A lot, my friends. I added more of what people have always loved the most: Lists (it always surprises me how much folx love lists, but it is fact). Now each chapter leads with a bullet-pointed list of what we’re going to talk about. Each chapter ends with a section called “Wedding Homework,” which are basically action items based on what we’ve discussed in that chapter. So you can sit down with your partner and work through the book section by section, and in so doing, plan your wedding (and sort out your feelings) at the same time. Plus, I’ve further extended everyone’s absolute favorite part of the book: Questions to ask before you get married.
Also, it’s 2019, not 2011. Which means the whole industry has progressed (very much including publishing). As Alyssa mentioned last week, in the first draft of the book, I had to hide the ball on the fact that I was writing a fully gender-neutral wedding book. Writing a wedding book for people who didn’t have piles of money to spend and didn’t want to look like giant white cupcakes was already pretty outside the box in 2011 (was anyone going to buy this book? Most publishers thought no). Adding gender-neutral language on top of that? I knew that my editors might think that would make the whole project entirely unmarketable, so I tried to be subtle about it. But thanks to you all (seriously, all of you) who have bought the book, and passed it from one hand to another, I had nearly 100,000 copies of proof that I was on the right track. I also have a new, kick-ass, super feminist editor who is one of my very favorite industry people. So this time, I was actually encouraged to make extra super sure the whole thing was gender-neutral, and ask my friend Jamie Thrower to write a whole sidebar about gender nonconforming and Queer weddings. Then, I got to ask APW writer and all-around fav Jaressa Tucker McClure to write a sidebar on planning a non-white wedding (and to help me talk about the history of slavery in America, and how it was used to strip familial and marriage rights).
What other goodness lurks in these pages? I re-researched that viral article I wrote about wedding inflation for Buzzfeed, to get an even more accurate number for what my parents 1974 wedding would cost in 2020 (let me tell you about the $12,000 quote we got for recreating my parents’ wedding cake). I added a section about social media and weddings, several sections about calling off your wedding, and then, yes. I updated the chapter that I wrote about grief and loss and wedding planning, where I did my very best research and quoted people who had gone through it… with the heavy wisdom that comes from David and I losing both of our dads. It’s like the universe conspired to make this book better… but I really wish it hadn’t.
The Struggle To Celebrate
I’ve been struggling with how to talk about this book coming out. It’s a book I already wrote, so in my head, it feels like not a big deal.
Or that’s the story I tell.
I think the real story is that my life over the past few years has been a painful struggle. And it’s easy to get stuck in the place where the world sees you because of your pain… but you don’t know how to ask the world to recognize you because of your joy. So here it is. Today, the second edition of my first book comes out. It has my face on it. It has the logo of the business I’ve spent the past eleven years building. It talks openly about the loss of my dad. I proudly share the joy of our Jewish wedding. I talk about loss and joy and ten years of marriage (and about having the strength and courage to call it off if a wedding or a marriage isn’t right for you, as I’ve watched friends make that choice).
Buy The Book!
While this book officially comes out January 1, 2020 (and we’ll talk way more about it in the months to come), Amazon always drops books early. And that means that you can get your hands on this book TODAY. It also means that buying the book today makes a big difference, and is a big deal to me (and thank you, in advance).
I’d be so happy if you bought a copy for yourself, for your friend who’s getting married, for your mom who’s helping you plan, or for your partner. Buy it as a holiday gift. Buy it for yourself. Pass on the link to someone who needs it. And please: if you love it, leave a good review on Amazon. It makes a huge difference.
With Profound Thanks…
I’m so profoundly grateful to each and every one of you. Without you, this book never would have been written. Without you, it never would have sold thousands of copies. Without you, I would never have been able to update it, ten years after my own wedding. I’m so grateful for each of you that bought it, borrowed it from the library, reviewed it, or passed it on from one hand to another. It means the world to me. So thank you.
… And The Best Outtake Photos
As a for real thank you, I bring you, outtakes from our book cover shoot. They’re just for y’all. And I love each one a little more than the last.
This was my first choice for the book cover, because I’m standing there with a cake looking worried. Which is pretty much how wedding planning makes me feel. Am I going to drop the cake? How is this going to go? Why is it so hard?
I almost wore this amazing $1,710 Halfpenny London skirt on the cover. Sadly, it did not end up in my wardrobe permanently.
There was a lot of dancing it out (Ampersand in San Francisco made these flowers and they were the shit).
I really wanted to take a photo on a ladder. I do not know why. I can tell you, though, that if you wear a long dress on a ladder, it turns out it’s easy to look like you have no feet. #Whoops
Fun fact about this $3,000 wedding gown: It was made of three layers of tulle and had EXACTLY ZERO LINING IN THE BUST. It was, in fact, as see-through as you might imagine. I love the wedding industry.
A photographic representation of my feelings about $3,000 gowns that show your nipples.
Cake but… why am I holding a mini cake again?
We had this idea of showing me feeling super stressed out reading bad wedding books. Fun fact: it’s hard to make a “stressed out” face without it looking like a “constipated” or “pushing a baby out” face. Here is my face AFTER seeing those photos.
Cake but make it sexy.
This tiny spoon didn’t make it to the actual cover. But it’s my dad’s baby spoon, and has his name engraved on it. And that is really the story of this book. Laughing, crying, and eating cake.