Maddie’s APW Book Review

As a long-time reader of APW who has been married for over two years, I’ll admit, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get from the APW book (don’t buy it till tomorrow!). I mean, hello, I’m a seasoned veteran here, folks. I already got married, I work for APW, and I photograph weddings for a living. What do you think you’re going to tell me about weddings, Meg, that I don’t already know?

And then I read the book. And I was blown away.

Within the first ten pages of the book I was crying in the waiting room of a Subaru Service Center mourning the wedding-planning experience I can never have because this book wasn’t around during my engagement. Oh the easily avoidable family drama! The DIY projects that never should-have-been! The time I cried in the car about sparklers!

What the APW book does differently from every other wedding book, blog, or magazine out there is it actually removes things from your to-do list rather than adding to it. Meg isn’t trying to convince you to buy more, do more, spend more. She just wants to make sure that the things you’re buying, doing, and spending on mean something to you. Did you just read that? It’s wedding literature that gives a shit that you’re a person. Novel.

But, back to why this book matters to you. The part that is going to blow you away. Are you ready? The APW book is the only wedding literature you’ll ever read that actually saves you money (and not in a “follow these tips to get 10% off a bunch of crap we just convinced you that you need,” kind of way). Trying to figure out how to cut costs but are tired of people telling you to eliminate guests? Go buy the book. Can’t figure out why your totally reasonable budget is suddenly too small for the wedding world? Seriously, go buy the book. Still fighting with your mom because she thinks you need chair covers? Yeah, just go buy the book. And then buy another copy for your mom.

It’s hard to put into words, but what the APW book provides for weddings (and if I’m being honest here, life) is that it gives a freedom to care about the things that matter, to cross off things that don’t, and the WIC-free wisdom to know the damn difference.

Now, I’m sure that some of you probably don’t believe me. Of course, it’s so easy to say these things now that I’m married and the wedding itself is far behind me. But as I read the book, I steadily ticked off a mental checklist of all the money and stress I could have saved if I’d had Meg’s book while planning my wedding. And let me tell you, it is worth the investment. Allow me to demonstrate:

Wedding Costs I Could Have Avoided:

Gocco Printer – $400
DIY Invitation Supplies – $100
First Wedding Dress – $100
DIY Flowers (that died) – $300

Total: $900

Cost of Meg’s Book:

A Practical Wedding (Book) – $10.88

Total: $10.88

Savings: $889.12

More importantly, I was able to make a list of all the emotional headaches that were completely unnecessary but somehow seemed so unavoidable at the time, such as:

The fight we had about sparklers and their relative safety to our guests

The time my mom and I fought about earrings

The time my mom and I fought about my ever-growing DIY projects

The week I spent not sleeping because I had to make my own invitations

The midnight photoshoot for our save-the-dates that I insisted must be done immediately, or else

The time I spent feeling bad about these things when I should have just let myself off the hook and moved on


And if that’s not enough to convince you, maybe we can talk about something else that’s important—the fact that the wedding world is kind of out to get us. Between the reality TV shows, the magazines, and the blogs, the wedding industry makes us out to be both the victims and the villains of our own wedding stories. We’re either doing Too Much or Not Enough and we can never win. And the industry is making boatloads of money off our insecurity. But this book, this monumental labor of love, it doesn’t want that for you. It gives you the power to own your wedding, to make it something that is meaningful, joyful, respectful—and that’s powerful. In fact, I’m surprised the wedding industry even allows this book to exist, that’s how much it challenges the commonly-held notions about what weddings are supposed to be. And that, my friends, is something worth celebrating.

Which is why, even though I’ve already read it, I’m going to buy a few copies for my clients and my newly or soon-to-be engaged friends tomorrow. It’s time we reclaim the word “wedding,” and I can’t think of a better way to do it than by taking this book to the top.

Photo by One Love Photo. Read all the posts on writing the APW book hereThe APW Book Buy is tomorrow!

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  • So excited to finally buy the book tomorrow!!!

  • I cannot wait to read this. Cannot. WAIT.

  • “Wedding Costs I Could Have Avoided: Gocco Printer – $400”

    Oh god, yes. I was so excited about that darn Print Gocco and then, after forking over the dough, we scrapped the DIY invitations all-together. Thank god!

  • Can’t wait ;)

  • gah I can’t wait! So exciting.

  • Kathryn

    I’m pretty darn excited about it I have to say. I think this is going to come

  • Shannon

    Yay! I think I’ll buy several copies tomorrow…

  • Kelly

    I also cannot wait to buy this! I am just starting the planning process and I specifically waited to really plan things (well I waited because this is some complicated sh*t and the WIC is out of control) until this book came out. Looking forward to making Meg a best seller tomorrow.

  • Anne

    I’m really excited about Meg’s book.

    How can we support the Great APW Book Buy if we can’t buy the book? I’d love, absolutely love, to purchase this book for myself and my friends. However, times are really, really tight in our household. My husband and I have cut out ALL of our spending outside of the essentials. So, since I can’t afford to purchase the book, what else can I do to help get the word out tomorrow?

    • Word-of-mouth is contagious. I’d spread the link around on Twitter, Facebook, and any other place where you think someone would appreciate it (are you a part of the Offbeat Bride Tribe, maybe? Weddingbee?)

      • meg

        What Elissa said (except OBT! And Ariel has a copy of the book, so she’ll do her thing). But otherwise, spreading the word, telling your local bookstore, if you read it writing an online review… that sort of stuff is so super important, and stuff I definitely can’t do myself :)

    • Lizzie

      Anne – Send me your mailing address and I’ll order you a copy for the holidays as a local thank you to the community at large for making me feel warm and fuzzy as I was planning my wedding this year (and also because, oddly enough, I don’t have any engaged friends at the moment, so other than one for myself, I don’t have much justification for ordering multiple copies).

      My gmail: lizzie.rothwell

      • AmErika

        Oh my gosh Lizzie….YOU, people like you are why I love APW and its community. What a sweetheart you are! Yeah on paying it all forward.

        And Anne….I’m in a similar boat so thanks so much for asking. I’ve already emailed engaged friends with the two reviews, shared a note about buying the book and will be FB-ing and twittering my face off tomorrow.

        I got married 1 month ago and while I would have loved the book, I know that APW was here for me anyways….its where it all started! It all helped keep me sane (thanks!). I shamelessly promote this blog, will do anything to help APW and Meg be read by more people, and can’t freakin’ wait until tomorrow! Then I can’t wait until I start working again so I can buy the book for real.

      • meg


    • maura

      You can sumbit a purchase request at your local library to purchase a copy! It will be reviewed in library media, but patron suggestions carry a lot of weight. At least they do with me.

      And generally speaking, the wedding sections in some libraries could use some updating! That’s coming from a librarian who got married last year.

      • AmErika


      • Dawn

        I just now went to do just that on your suggestion (because I too can’t really afford to buy a book I don’t ‘need’ right now no matter how much I’d love to be part of all of this) and they already have it ordered! Not sure if someone else in the area submitted a purchase request or if we just have an awesome library but we got us 5 copies on order for the Charlotte, NC library system! Yay!

  • I am really enjoying these APW book reviews. Although I’ve been married for two years, I am so damn excited to get my hands on this and devour it in one sitting. Also, suddenly 2012 seems to be the year for weddings in my world, so I will be an APW book pusher too, hee hee. :)

  • “Between the reality TV shows, the magazines, and the blogs, the wedding industry makes us out to be both the victims and the villains of our own wedding stories.”

    This. This. A thousand times this.

  • Jen B

    Are you suuuuure I need to buy this book? I’ve already transformed my thinking in so many small ways since finding APW! I don’t know that I can handle more mind-blowing-ness. (I kid, obvs, and will be ordering my copy tomorrow. Go Team Practical!)

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  • Natalie

    “We’re either doing Too Much or Not Enough and we can never win. And the industry is making boatloads of money off our insecurity. But this book, this monumental labor of love, it doesn’t want that for you. It gives you the power to own your wedding, to make it something that is meaningful, joyful, respectful—and that’s powerful.”


    I actually was able to have a wedding that was meaningful, joyful, and respectful, and a lot of that is due to this blog, and Meg, and feeling empowered by APW and the philosophy behind it. Rhe two book reviews were from the “why didn’t you write this sooner?!?” perspective– I feel like I have a “thank you for writing APW before and while I was engaged!!” perspective. I read it every damn day, and my wedding philosophy was so empowered and shaped by it that it’s hard to tell where my independent thoughts stopped and Meg’s written words began. (which makes me sound kind of brainwashed but…it’s in a good way?).

    So thank you. And I’ll be buying the book tomorrow to read and to give.

  • I just sent a copy to my cousin who’s getting married in May. She’s already dealing with overwhelming expectations and rules from her immediate family, and I think she could use the reinforcement (she’s one of those people who’s so nice, and so giving, that she never stands up for herself- we love her fiance because he always puts her first).

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