5 Common Wedding Planning Mistakes You DON’T Have to Make

Courtesy of the new #APWPlanner

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer


When Meg first sent me the manuscript for the new #APWPlanner she’d been killing herself writing for nine months, she sent it with the caveat that it “might just not be that useful or interesting.” Now, ignoring the blatant impostor syndrome of that statement (I’m working on it with her, y’all), I explained to Meg that the reason she thinks her wedding planning advice is not all that useful is because it’s not for her. She’s got a theater degree, she used to produce shows in New York, and now there’s a CEO nameplate on her desk. (Well, metaphorically speaking at least.) In short, girlfriend is nothing if not organized.

I, on the other hand, am… not. And my wedding was an exercise in pulling off a disorganized miracle. Now, I loved my wedding in all of its joyful chaos. But I made so many mistakes along the way, mistakes that caused me weeks of stress and even hurt the people I loved. And I made these mistakes because I just didn’t know any better. At the time, wedding blogs were all inspiration boards and color stories and no logistical advice or numbers. Wedding coordinators were barely a thing yet, unless you had the money to hire Jennifer Lopez to come fix your life. But as I read the #APWPlanner, I saw all of my problems solved in plain black and white… six years too late. Turns out, all I needed was someone who knew what the hell they were doing to tell me what the hell I should do.

So to celebrate next month’s launch of the #APWPlanner, here are five things I learned from it that would have helped me avoid some totally unnecessary wedding planning mistakes:

Olive Garden Rule

1. YOU HAVE TO THINK IN REAL DOLLARS. The first time we met with our venue manager, I remember sitting down and explaining that we were really trying to keep our food budget at about $15 a head. At which point I think I watched her die a little inside. My logic? You can totally get a sandwich a side of fries for $15. Duh. Her logic? HAHAHAHAHAHA IS THIS GIRL CRAZY?! Which is why my favorite tip from the #APWPlanner is the Olive Garden Rule, courtesy of Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events. The Olive Garden rule goes like this: Unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks notwithstanding, at the Olive Garden, an appetizer, a salad, and a few glasses of wine will cost about $50 per person. Transition that to a hundred guests, and it would cost $5,000 to serve Olive Garden at your wedding. In short, could I have spent $15 a head at my wedding? Yes. But I would have served them a sandwich and a side of fries, with tables and chairs not included. And that’s not what I was asking my venue manager for.

So think about what you want, and then think about what it costs in the real world (times the number of your guests, plus things like tables and chairs). If you still want it once you’ve done the math, great. You have a realistic starting point for thinking about costs. If you don’t, figure out what you do want (sandwiches and fries are pretty delicious). Behold: #TheOliveGardenRule.


2. WILDLY Guessing at the guest list is a bad idea. So I’d read online somewhere that you can expect roughly 80 percent of your invited guests to attend your wedding. Except there’s a caveat: if your guests are mostly local, you can actually expect closer to 85 or 90 percent of your guest list to attend. Which is exactly how our expected two hundred–person wedding suddenly became a 225 person wedding without warning. In our… barely two hundred–person capacity restaurant. #Whoops. There are different rules for all kinds of different wedding scenarios, but guessing is never a good idea. But here’s a cheater’s tool: if you click here, you can download a page directly from the #APWPlanner with estimates for different kinds of wedding scenarios and guest types. So go print it out, hang it on your wall, and then use it to calm yourself down every time you start to worry about space constraints at your venue.

Rentals 3

3. rentals are not always going to be more expensive (or less work). Somewhere in the abyss of my poor grandmother’s home are a bunch of boxes filled with dozens of hurricane vases, tiny votive holders, and twenty chocolate brown tablecloths with tiki-style runners. Why? Because I assumed it would be cheaper to buy everything than rent. And there’s something to be said for not having to expunge twenty chocolate brown tablecloths from your life after your wedding is over. Because spoiler alert: nobody wants twenty chocolate brown tablecloths. (Unless you do, in which case, they’re yours.)

dress rule

4. Wedding Dresses Aren’t Inherently a Scam. You may have heard this one before. Girl wants to buy affordable wedding dress. Girl buys cute BCBG number off the rack for $100. Girl’s family waits until three weeks before the wedding to tell her that the dress is kinda sorta see through and possibly in danger of a wardrobe malfunction. Girl winds up in David’s Bridal two weeks before the wedding praying for a miracle. Hint: I’m the girl. And my predicament was no one’s fault but my own. I figured that everything wedding-related, including dresses, simply had a wedding tax applied. White dress? Double the price and call it a wedding dress! Except that’s not exactly true.

If you’re going for a white wedding dress (and there’s plenty in the #APWPlanner that says you certainly don’t have to do that, so feel free to send a copy to your mom) there’s a whole bunch of internal support and see-through-ness that gets accounted for in ways that white evening gowns don’t always do. So in a lot of ways, you get what you pay for.

traditional venues

5. A Non-Traditional Venue Isn’t the Answer to All Your Problems. When we were planning our wedding, I refused to even consider a traditional wedding venue. Why? Well, mostly because I was hellbent on martyring myself to the cause of our wedding. But also? Because traditional venues, with all their requirements and up-front costs, scared me. But here’s the thing I learned the hard way: you still have to pay for a lot of those costs with non-traditional venues; you just do it piecemeal instead (I mean, people need bathrooms no matter where you get married). And you do it without the added insurance of knowing that your venue has done this a thousand times before. My restaurant venue, for example, had never hosted a wedding before. And while they were generally awesome to work with, they also weren’t prepared for basic wedding related things like… staggering the buffet so there isn’t a huge line. Also, making sure the married couple gets a plate of food.

Pink Line

When Michael and I were planning our wedding, we did it with the assumption that the smart way to plan was take whatever the wedding industry told us we should do and then do the opposite of that (because clearly they were just going to line their pockets with our naïveté). And the problem with that is the exact same problem you face when you do All The Things the wedding industry wants you to do: you’re not making an informed decision.

I’ve learned to forgive myself, though. When we were planning our wedding, it was nearly impossible to make an informed decision, because there was no information to be found. We either had to trust the wedding industry, or not. After reading the APW Planner, what I’ve learned is that the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. You want the wedding industry’s information, without the sales pitch. And maybe a little bit of hindsight. Not that I know anything about that.

The good news is it’s not 2009 anymore, so hindsight is actually available on Amazon for .99. (Hint: It’s the #APWPlanner. And surprise—it actually is useful and interesting.) And to answer your questions, yes, it will save you a ton of cash (and dead flowers, and tears, and maybe even therapy bills). And yes mailing a copy to your mom and MIL is basically like buying yourself a mini spa break for the holidays.

And let’s be real—if you’re planning a wedding, you probably deserve a mini spa break right about now.


BUY THE #APWPlanner:

Wedding Planner iconsBN iconsIBOOKS iconsINDIE4

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • Pingback: 5 Common Wedding Planning Mistakes You DON’T Have to Make - Healthy Fit Mom on The Go()

  • I can understand Meg’s struggle with her manuscript as I was not trained as an employment guru but wrote a book on how to find a job. It’s available for free today through an Amazon promotion which you can find via my blog : employmentgame.wordpress.com.

    As for tradition I am also reaching out to today’s women and advising marriage. A recent blog post provides some thoughtful advice on why women should get married that flies in the face of contemporary culture. My basic thesis is that you can always get a job. Here’s the link, looking forward to your commentary on my ideas : http://wp.me/p6QFjS-3B

  • Sarah Shinyhelmet Stovetop

    RULE NUMBER THREE ALLLLL THE WAY. My fiance and I are eloping and then having an elopement reception in our home when we get back. Recently I’ve been really into tidying after reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. And what I realized is that some things–like, sanity–are worth spending the money on. We were going to buy all our own linens and all our own serveware, stock our own bar etc. And for what? To have a massive pile of crap to deal with after the party….most of which would probably end up in a dumpster. Sad face. Once I let go of the idea that I had to control everything, letting other people do their job is actually CHEAPER. Like, much cheaper. Our liquor vendor delivers, provides a bartender and free glassware rental for less than $1k. They also accept returns on unopened bottles. Likewise, hiring a caterer to serve appetizers is actually less expensive. The app plan I had for myself would have required days of shopping and driving, days of prep, and me practically in an apron the entire party. And, TA-DA, guess who has a free serveware rental? It’s easier to talk down and negotiate with a vendor than it is to talk down bulk gold chargers at the Dollar Store.

    • Kayjayoh

      And if you are going to buy, having an immediate plan and willingness to deal with Craigslist. (Or ebay, but I like not shipping.) Some people hate the process of selling things on Craigslist. I’m ok with it, so I was able to resell all my used linens (without even re-washing them!) for cheap and my purchased-but-not-need unused ones for retail. Only had to deal with a little bit of flakiness.

      But depending on your personality and the Craigslist culture in your area, that may not *really* be an answer.

      • Meg Keene

        Oh, Craigslist culture. We’ve always been big on freecycling on Craigslist. (Not actually getting things free, but giving them away free. Though our trick is we put them in the paid section, for like $20, and then when the people show up we refuse to take their money… because we get better response that way. Plus, it’s nice, because we used to be the people picking up $20 furniture so it’s a fun way to pay it forward.) Anyway, as the Bay Area has gotten all Tech Boom Super Affluent, it’s gotten harder to give stuff away or even sell it used… which I kind of hate.

        • Kayjayoh

          My policy when giving stuff away for free is to post it as free, but do the “let me know when you think you can come for it, I will leave it out on the porch for you.” Because if I have to deal with people, there is going to be money involved. :) And I have the luxury of having a porch.

          But gods, so much flakiness!

          • Meg Keene

            I’m telling you! Make it $10, and people will show up right on time. But I kind of like dealing with people, so that part is fine for me.

  • Jess

    So grateful for my cousin who showed up for Thanksgiving and said, “Why is this even a question? You don’t have to do any additional vendor finding for food, rentals, or flowers, your guests can stay in the same building, and you can have an after party at the bar ON SITE.”

    Perspective on the traditional venue changed for life.

  • Eenie

    Is there going to be any organized buying of the book or should we just preorder it now? I want my one purchased copy to count as much as it can!

    • If I’m correct, all preorders count towards first week sales! So, no need to wait. Your heart is in the right place though!

      • Amanda

        This is true. Preorders count for first week. And, my two cents, make sure you buy it from at NYT-reporting bookstore (b&n, most likely your local indie, amazon if you must** but please think hard about it before clicking…).

        • Eenie

          I just cancelled my amazon preorder, and will be placing an order with a local book store. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Meg Keene

      I feel really weird saying this butttttt…. I think we’re not doing a organized book buy this time. You guys were SO EFFING AMAZING last time, I feel badly asking y’all to do it again. But <3 <3 <3 for asking.

      • Mary Jo TC

        I want to call BS on that ‘feeling badly.’ Why should you be afraid to ask the awesome community you created and continue to nurture to support you? The idea of the great Meg Keene feeling this way stabs me in the heart. It’s like all the times women are excessively modest and downplay their accomplishments or neglect to ‘toot their own horn,’ to their professional detriment. I mean, don’t do an organized book buy if you don’t feel like it, but, that’s a silly reason. Either way, I’m glad to hear that pre-sales count toward the first week, so that might make an organized book buy pointless anyway.

        • Eenie

          Yes. Honestly, buying the book AND buying the book at the right time is such a small way to repay and support this community.

          • A single sarah

            Organized buy with discussion of publishing intricacies? I learned a lot in the comments just now :)

  • Christy

    Is it too late to get the book if my wedding is April 1? Most of the big planning stuff will be done by then.

    • Eenie

      You can always gift it to someone in the future! My wedding is April 23 and I’m still getting it. I assume there will be some good day of stuff.

    • Kayjayoh

      If most of the big stuff will be done by then, I’d say the info you’ve already gotten off the site will do ya. However, you could always buy it just to be supportive. And pass it along to the next bride of your acquaintance.

    • Meg Keene

      Actually, nope, not too late! A good chunk of the end of the book is about the stuff you’ll do in the final months (and days). I’d argue that’s actually BY FAR the most important stuff, in terms of your sanity. And as with everything in the book, it gives you far greater detail than anything we’ve ever had on the site. I learned a ton while working on the book… so it’s help I never could have offered before! (Also, help that’s better in one place, on paper.)

      • Danielle

        $15 is a small amount to pay for even a teeny increase in sanity those last few months. TRUST!

      • Christy

        Hooray! Thanks for the excuse to order it! (And I just realized I even have an Amazon credit! I’m ordering it right now. Oh wow I’m excited. Too excited.)

        • Christy

          Just ordered it :)

  • Rebekah Jane

    I wants it, my precious! Organizing is one of those things I love, but most in theory. I’m the lady that buys the planners and never uses them, who fills out her iCal with every detail and then doesn’t look at it until ten minutes before she’s supposed to leave.

    Great example: last night, I completely straightened up my closet, grouping clothes and shoes in my own personal system. Will it stay that way? Maybe for a week. Will I fix it again? Maybe in a month.

    Plus, there’s that whole “pre-engaged” status. If I start bringing wedding books home, I think the boyfriend will roll his eyes right out of his skull. I mean, hypothetical planning is one thing, but if I go concrete before we officially declare engaged status, that might be classified as “a bit much.”

    • chrissyc

      Ha, I know exactly what you mean about buying wedding books while “pre-engaged”… thank goodness for ebooks! :)

  • Carolyn S

    Rule 5 was huge for us. We found out quickly and early on in our planning process that, even though we thought we were pretty cheap, it turned out that our laziness far outweighed our cheapness in decision making. Having an all in one venue where the day of coordinator came with the venue, the food was amazing and everything was in one place? Best.

    • macrain

      Yes! Rule number 5 immediately jumped out at me. When you really crunch the numbers, you’re gonna pay one way or the other! Also, yes- laziness.

  • Amanda

    So much truth in this article! Quick question though…when I follow the Amazon link, it says the title will be released January 5, 2016. How will that arrive by Christmas? I’m missing something haha

    • Stephanie__R

      I’d also love to know more about the ship date! I got engaged last week and need to make a number of big wedding decisions before Christmas. I’d love to benefit from the wisdom in this book as soon as possible. :)

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Sorry for the confusion, Amanda! Pre-orders were originally going to start shipping on the 15th, but it looks like Amazon won’t actually release any pre-orders until the official release date. I’ve adjusted the post copy to clear that up!

      • Amanda

        Oh ok that makes sense. Thanks for clarifying!

  • I love all these rules, and I went through all of them during our wedding planning. The rule about rentals was HUGE for us – we had a Pi Day wedding with a science theme, and I wanted specific laboratory glassware for our centerpieces. We were going to buy and I was not looking forward to having a house full of lab glassware, but then we found a rental company that had the exact glassware we wanted! Made life so much easier.

  • Mary Jo TC

    A theme here seems to be: getting over sticker shock by realizing that high prices are often justified, and understanding the benefit of the convenience offered by rental companies and traditional venues, etc. even though they’re WIC. Good point. Wish I had a bride in my life to gift this book to.

    • TeaforTwo

      That is seriously true advice. When we went into wedding planning, I kept hearing about prices were jacked up as soon as the word “wedding” was mentioned. But realistically….I didn’t actually see any of that. The prices that were high were high because they were all x150 guests, or because someone else had to take care of the details (and get paid to take care of the details) while I was busy getting married.

      This isn’t to say that you can’t have a meaningful wedding for $500, because you totally can. But the biggest lesson of wedding planning for me was that there weren’t many “tricks” to saving money on our wedding. We could save money the same way we can in our normal lives: by buying fewer things. Whether that meant not having “stuff” at our wedding (liquor, professional photographer, favours) or having fewer people at our wedding, it was never going to be as simple as telling the rental place that the plates we wanted were for a family reunion instead of a wedding.

      • Eenie

        I mostly agree, but I couldn’t get a courtesy hotel block for a wedding and I could for a family or social event at one hotel. I didn’t end up going with them because they were more expensive, further away, and I felt like that was stupid.

    • Meg Keene

      Like Maddie, I 110% did not understand this when wedding planning. After having done all the research, I now realize doing it on your own can sometimes cost twice as much. (It can be cheap too, but that often means a ton of extra work, and I wish I’d known what to expect on that front.) I walked away from the book thinking that all inclusive venues (“wedding factories” if you will… though they are often also Bar/Bat Mitzvah factories, etc.) are a DAMN good deal, and let you stress so much less. Yeah, sure, their less unique, but still…

      • emilyg25

        So much work. I loved my casual backyard wedding, but my advice to the newly engaged is to stay open to those all-inclusive traditional venues.

      • Mary Jo TC

        My family is all about the wedding factory venues. They’re often the only places big enough to hold us all. So what if my cousin’s wedding gave me senior prom flashbacks because it was in the same place? Another cousin is getting married on January 2 and she’s psyched about the fact that the venue is hosting a New Year’s Eve bash and leaving the décor up for her–how easy can you get? We’re a farm family that’s seriously into DIY in a lot of ways, but somehow, not weddings.

        • Nell

          I went to two different weddings in the exact same banquet hall venue. They could not have been more different. The only thing that was the same was the lovely view of the sunset. There is no law that your wedding has to be in a totally novel location.

          • Amy March

            Two sisters, a month apart, same venue. So different!

      • Yup, we originally wanted a place that would have involved our own bar, catering etc and ended up booking a place that does everything. I have enough DIY (because I’m a crazy person) without worrying about liquor licenses and rental companies etc. So so glad I don’t have to worry about that stuff now.

      • researchwarrior

        Last year was wedding mania for me and I probably attended 6 different celebrations during the course of a few months. Venues ranged from a waterfall in Yosemite to a mason jar-filled barn to a beach in Hawaii to – yep – the ballroom of a popular steakhouse. At the time, my cousins and I joked about just picking “Wedding Package B” and calling it a day, but in a lot of ways, that was the most personal and fun of all the receptions. Pinterest doesn’t necessarily beat the factory for making a wedding guest feel the love of the couple getting married.

      • Helen

        We got married on a tropical island, gave our amazing venue a budget and let them do it all. No worries about place settings or decorations. It was probably “Wedding Package B”, but really what that meant was that we weren’t think at all about whether we’d remembered to put out the bunting or if people liked the favours. We got to spend most of our time planning time on the ceremony and then our on the day attention on getting and being married.

    • Bsquillo

      Yeah, as someone who ends up working as a vendor for lots of corporate events as well as weddings, there just isn’t that much difference between the two…besides a ceremony and people in big fancy tuxes/dresses. Bottom line, it just costs a lot of money to serve dinner and alcohol to 100+ people. It costs even more money but saves you a lot of sanity to pay for professionals to do things like bring the plates, pour the drinks, clean up, etc.

  • Amanda

    Slightly off topic, but I feel it’s important. I love this community for it’s ethics–be it green, conscientious, humane… Why the Why the WTF is up with the Amazon links? Their working conditions in their factories are abysmal & criminal. They rip off the authors they publish. Their corporate environment is a cannibalistic shark tank. They’ve destroyed the advances for small authors while claiming to be their champions. Smaller publishers without corporate international media conglomerate parent companies can barely swim against them. Is it that hard to link to Indiebound??? You can pre-order at any indie bookstore too. Is quick shipping on Amazon really that important? Those discounts come at a steep price on the back-end & it will affect consumers sooner than they’d like to think. The money “saved” goes through a chain that undermines the salaries, advances, royalties, and overhead–in addition to the bots and drones and humans in the warehouses–of everything and everyone who worked to put that book into your hand. Okay…rant over. But seriously! PRE ORDER HERE>>>> http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780738218427

    • ParkSlopian

      Hah, was just posting alternate links for the same reason. Pre-order from your local indie bookstore!

    • Meg Keene

      If you click on the link at the bottom for the free download on RSVP rates, you’ll get every possible direct link, absolutly including indiebound. We use Amazon links in the post because the vast majority of APW books sell that way.

      (Side note: I agree with most of the terrible stuff about Amazon, but I will say that they’re not all bad for small authors, though they’re clearly pretty terrible for their workers. But as far as authors go, they rip us off… we get exactly the same pay no matter where the book is bought. Their last big shakeup with publishers was about slightly lowering digital book rates, and I actually did agree with them that system is better for authors. We make REALLY good money on digital books, and by lowering the rate slightly we sell more of them… though their tactics in that fight were atrocious. And because they boost sales for authors like me, that sell mostly online, and major bookstores overlook, they actually boost our advances. SO. It’s a mixed bag. Not great for publishers, not great for their workers, but often actually pretty good for authors. My books probably wouldn’t really sell without them, sadly. So they are opening up the playing field for different types of publications.)

      • Amanda

        This is super industry-y and probably of little interest to this thread, but I spend a lot of time to doing it, so please bear with me! Just to quickly separate out two issues: the authors Amazon publishes through Kindle are now being paid based on how much of a book is “read” as a percentage, vs. an actual unit. So authors who are published through Amazon aren’t being paid for their output/actual work done, but how audiences choose to engage with it. This is really, really bad for valuing creative work as real work. A totally different issues is the “small platform author” conundrum. Unlike Amazon’s publishing programs, traditional publishers pay royalties based on real units, which is not affected by the discount Amazon sold the unit at to consumers (the rate itself–say, 7.5% on a paperback–is affected by the discount bookstores purchase units at, which is related, but a weedy P&L thing).

        But what Amazon has seriously affected is the advances, which is closer to what I mean by “bad for small authors”. So a midlist author who would’ve been paid, say, $45K five or 10 years ago is now being paid $10K or less or not at all because the cliff between being in Amazon’s top 100 and 101 is so steep. A small handful of advances are being paid in the 7-figure range, the backlist and 1 or 2 bestsellers pay for those big advances to break even, and the midlist is eviscerated. I can’t tell you how many conversations–including at 10:30 this morning!–I’ve had about not being allowed to champion a book like APW because it’s “too small.” The way the culture is going, there won’t be more authors like you, which literally breaks my heart. That’s a very, very long way of explaining that, but I’m crazy passionate about it. Online sales are so important, especially for authors who don’t have a physical footprint in stores, which is why I’m a one-lady crusade for breaking up Amazon’s online retail monopoly.

        • Meg Keene

          But then again (industry chatter, ignore us if you don’t care), I actually emailed my editor this morning who did indeed confirm, that she’d hate Amazon completely, except for authors like me. In short, basically ALL of my books sell on Amazon, and sell well on Amazon. Because of Amazon, I’m a very successful midlist author. Without them, you’d probably have never seen a second book from me. With them, you may well see a third, and a fourth… and maybe even non wedding books one day. (We can only hope!!)

          In short, a lot of publishers DID pass on me, because I was “too small,” and now are trying to buy books like mine, because my book has gone on to do so well… on Amazon, almost exclusively. Because of Amazon, I’m making really healthy money for my publisher every single year, and God knows publishers like that.

          So! I don’t disagree with you over all. But I also know that without Amazon I wouldn’t get to write and sell books, let alone to help support my family by doing so. So at the end of the day, I’m grateful to them, and I’m happy that they do well by at least some mid list authors.

          In short, buying other books NOT on Amazon is probably very very wise, and it’s something I do. Buying my particular book on Amazon is pretty much the only way to promote its sale and success. Indie’s don’t stock wedding books, and places like B&N only really promote wedding books that are physically large and flashy. The *content* of my book has proven helpful to people, even if it’s not in a gigantic three ring binder (which is why those useless things exist: SHELF SPACE), and on Amazon that’s been rewarded.

          • Amanda

            Oh, I hear you! I am also able to make a living because of royalties, doing something I love, which is kind of the coolest. A separate but important issue we can rally around: I have A LOT of love for Perseus as a whole because of their investment in quality midlist across its imprints. I say this a lot, but midlist & indie publishers have vision, creativity, tenacity, and verve–they Publish books, not just print them. They’re not afraid of “failure,” and have a positive outlook on potential. I do have a lot of big-picture fears though, that aren’t unfounded. Like, what happens when Amazon, that knows they control nearly all of your sales, turns off the buy buttons, without Lagardere Group lawyers to sort it out? Suddenly, I’m without a paycheck, for no other reason than relying on a monopoly with a shady track record.

          • Meg Keene

            Oh I HEAR you. Remember when Perseus almost got bought by Hachette in the middle of that knock out fight. That was a fun few months for me. The issue as an author is I don’t have a ton of control period. I’d love for Indie’s to carry me, but they don’t. I’d love for B&N to promote me instead of the fluffy empty planners, but they don’t. So for me Amazon is one more part of that. But yeah, I share your concerns, for sure.

            And I have been so so happy at Perseus, in a way my friends at big fancy labels really have not been. I’ve ended up feeling so blessed ending up with them, and not one of the fancy fancy names.

          • Hannah

            Could this be a possible topic for a future blog post? I’d be interested to read a variety of blogger-authors’ perspectives on the state of publishing!

    • Clare Caulfield

      I didnt know some of the things you shared about Amazon, so thank you; its given me food for thought in terms of actively looking for alternatives in the future. However as an international reader, Amazon links are so much more accessible than some other sites that may not ship overseas or do so at higher costs or much slower timeframes

  • ParkSlopian
    • Meg Keene

      If you click on the link at the bottom for the free download on RSVP rates, you’ll get every possible direct link, also!

  • macrain

    To add to number four, which I whole heartedly agree with- sometimes brides tend to feel the same way about hair and makeup if they choose to pay professionals to do it. Why should I pay more than my bridesmaids? Is this a total scam? Well- if you hire someone good, they are going to spend extra time on you to make sure it’s perfect. They are also going to stick around until the last possible moment to do touch ups- mine was out the door RIGHT as we were leaving for pictures. Plus- you are probably going to care a whole lot more than you would if you were just in someone’s wedding. Bottom line, you get more time and attention and care when you are the bride, and that’s what you’re paying for. There’s no need to get bent out of shape that you are paying for the EXACT same thing, because if you hire professionals who know their shit, you really aren’t.

    • Ashlah

      I think where that gets frustrating is when you’re someone who really doesn’t have expectations higher than any other time you might get your hair done. I really didn’t care that much about my hair, so the idea of paying extra just because I’m a bride and they *think* I need extra attention is annoying. It’s the same justification I heard from a venue charging $1500 for a wedding reception and $500 for any other large event. “Expectations are higher for a wedding.” But we just wanted a laid back casual event. It was called a wedding, though, so it’s was $1,000 more.

    • M.

      I actually found this to not be true, in my personal exeprience. My hair and makeup people did an awesome job on me…but definitely didn’t spend significantly more time or effort on my look than my bridesmaids. It might have been because we all went with fairly simple looks and the only difference for me was braiding and some false eyelashes, both of which took maaaaybe 5 minutes? But then my one younger bridesmaid wanted cat eyeliner and my MOH wanted her hair teased, etc., etc., etc. So it all really evened out and in retrospect, it kinda sucks that I had to pay nearly double the cost just for being the bride.

      Anecdata, I know! But a few of my other friends had similar experiences where they expected, let’s say, 25-50% more attention from the hairstylist based on the 25-50% price increase, but didn’t really get it.

    • KH_Tas

      Like Ashlah, I dislike the idea that you automatically *want* ‘extras’, and would far rather have a tiered pricing system based strictly on the desired result and not the occasion.

      Note: My hair and makeup was *less* fancy than my bridesmaids, by personal preference, which is colouring my response here.

      • meganfm

        I have a short bob, and all i want to do to my hair on the day of is get a blowout and have someone straighten it for me, but all the hair/makeup artists I spoke to insisted on charging me the $150+ bridal rate for my hair. I have no hair to DO anything with! Fortunately I managed to find a hairdresser who does weddings and agreed to just charge me $50 for a blowout, which is perfect.

    • Jenna

      Fair enough, if that’s what you want. But if you are happy with the “exact same thing” as your attendants, then you should be able to pay for that and get it without the stylist insisting that’s not okay and you HAVE to pay more.

  • So much truth about renting instead of buying- when a friend of mine got married she bought all the decor months ahead on Ebay, and it’s still ALL OVER her house. She offered to help with a friend’s birthday party and, surprise surprise, the decor was all the stuff from her wedding.

  • Lisa

    I have a good friend who just got engaged two weeks ago, and I’m seriously considering gifting her this book as an engagement/Christmas present!

  • Bsquillo

    I’m bummed I don’t currently know any newly engaged folks to gift this to! Congrats on what looks like an AWESOME resource, Meg! 2013-2014 me would have used the hell out of this.

    Also, side note: Maddie, your hair color in your new staff pic is FIRE <3 <3 <3

    • Maddie Eisenhart


  • Elinor

    Love this post!

    Cue running to the printer to print 5 copies so I can leave around the house and in my handbag and my bf’s work bag so we can memorise this and remember it and quote it back to each other when we start to go around the bend…..

    Also purchasing 2 copies so that when I start to quote the book (which I KNOW I will) I can whip out a spare copy for someone instead of having to give away my own copy.

  • elliejay23

    Deal alert!! Although there is clearly a great divide about the pros and cons of purchasing and selling through Amazon, the fact remains that there is a 30% off discount going on until 3AM on Dec. 1 THAT CAN APPLY TO THE PRE-ORDER! *skips back to Amazon to buy the book on sale*. I think we can all agree on 30% off, am I right? :D

    On a somewhat unrelated note, I’ve found that in many cases, chain stores/restaurants are LOCALLY owned by LOCAL people who have a stake in their communities as well as their business. So in fact, purchasing a book at your local Barnes and Noble, as opposed to your local indie bookstore, may not be such a bad thing.

  • KH_Tas

    The only problem with ‘you get what you pay for’ is that, while usually true, every industry has a few dodgy dealers who are willing to skim off the top.
    I once saw a polyester, hardly any ornamentation, one layer of cheap polyester lining, barely any internal support, cheapest possible production methods for $5K when a properly made, ornamented wedding dress in the same city started at $1500.

  • Jenna

    That said, people can and do wear white evening gowns all the time, and if you are OK with what a white evening gown is (e.g. not a specially-created garment for a wedding, so lacking the bells and whistles) there is no reason why you can’t just do that. Someone, somewhere, figured out how to wear that BCBG gown non-scandalously, so I’m sure such a thing can be done.

    • tr

      Thank you! To a degree, you “get what you pay for”, but that comes with huge caveats.
      Is it a good idea to try to buy your wedding dress for $30 from Forever 21? Probably not. Will your BCBG evening gown have the same structure and support as an actual wedding dress? No. If you aren’t really familiar with the brand’s quality and fit for your body type, is this the time to try something new? Maybe, maybe not.
      However, there’s no reason to automatically rule out white evening gowns from quality retailers that you’re familiar with on the grounds that it’s a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. As long as you’re fine with skipping the bells and whistles of a wedding dress, there are plenty of beautiful, high quality evening gowns that can be purchased in the $200-400 range. There are also some wonderful options available for even cheaper, but sure enough, below $200, the quality may be a tad iffy.

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  • Kate

    Is there ANY way to get the APW planner in time for Christmas? This is the perfect gift for my newly-engaged friends and I’d rather not wait until January!

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  • Maggie

    I may have to disagree with renting is cheaper than buying. Absolutely the most important key to saving money is being flexible and having an open mind.
    If you’re buying, look at the market before you consider buying vs renting. If mason jars are a useful, easy thing to sell, and you want those then buy them. Unique vases? Opt for the dollar store or keep an eye on craigslist. Chances are that someone else already wants to sell theirs. If you’re flexible (i.e. you know that those $1 wine glasses will be available at the dollar store, so you have time to wait and watch craigslist), then you’ll save money if you can wait as long as possible to pull the trigger on a purchase. I bought table cloths and spent a couple of hours ironing and rolling them and am bringing a steamer just in case they need to be freshened up. It was $78 to buy 14 table cloths. It would have cost me $140 to rent them, plus a delivery fee. I also read all of the advice on how to DJ your own wedding, priced out rentals, and found a sweet, perfect PA system on craigslist for only $100 more and I don’t have to beg anyone to rush and return in the day after my wedding. I didn’t ‘save’ money on this purchase, but my guy is excited to keep it around in his ‘man cave’ and I’ve already had friends ask if they could borrow or rent the PA system for their events.