OBB-APW Meetup: the Play-by-Play by Meg Keene (Photo by Christina Richards Weddings) Ok, so. I’m sitting down at the end of my wonderful 30th birthday weekend (30th birthdays are emotional, FYI. No one had informed me of that.) And thinking about what to write about the Offbeat Bride reading/APW meetup has me feeling overwhelmed with… gratitude, really. (Photo by Christina Richards Weddings) First of all, the reading was fantastic, and it was PACKED. Like, standing room only packed. Amazing. Ariel used her famous bride sock puppet, and rocked the introduction and the budget chapter. (Photo by Emily Takes Photos) Since she is awesome, Ariel asked me to read my little budget sidebar. As we were waiting for the reading to start, one of the Booksmith employees asked me if I’d practiced, and I said, “Five minutes ago it occurred to me that might have been a good idea. But, no, I haven’t read it since I wrote it.” (Photo by Christina Richards Weddings) Um. But I love talking to big groups of people more than I love… well… most anything in the world. So of course I LOVED every second. (Photo by Emily Takes Photos) Then Ariel did Q&A, which was the best part. (I always think Q&A with writers who’s work you love is the *reason* to go to readings). Plus, she signed a billion books. (Photo by Christina Richards Weddings) But afterward was the very best part for me. Better even than speaking in front of a big group. I got to stand around and meet so many Team Practical people. Someone (I think Liz) asked me to sign my sidebar in OBB, and I totally freaked out, since no one had every asked me for my autograph. Like so: (Photo by Emily Takes Photos) It was really cool and slightly surreal to get to do and event with Ariel. I mean, she is the person who started this whole progressive weddings movement online, and without Offbeat Bride, I would have never dreamed up APW. (Photo by Emily Takes Photos) (Photo by Christina Richards Weddings) And then a bunch of us went to a bar. We don’t have pictures, because it was so dark, but we do have stories. I’ll let the other ladies take it from there. Here is Robin: It was like hanging out with people I already knew. Or maybe not actually– but like being with people I COULD already know, and just happen not to have met yet. It was fairly extraordinary for me to spend the evening with a group of smart, funny, fabulous women (and a few men), to whom I felt an immediate connection. And while there was some wedding discussion, I would say that APW is more what brought us all to the same place, what connected us to one another to begin with, but not the sole basis for discussion or connection. It wasn’t primarily what I talked about with people. Some, but less than not. More, that APW’s appeal clearly speaks to a certain type of person*. And that putting some of these same persons in the same place at the same time, was like kismet. Like, how could it be anything other than fun, engaging, connective and genuine. *(More than a shared interest, I think it’s a shared sensibility. Or world-view. Or something.) And here is the excellent Verhext: The reading gave me the same warm fuzzies A Practical Wedding does — mind you, I am not a warm fuzzier, I’m a grump. But when Ariel asked how many of us were engaged and 3/4s of the room shot their hands up, it was heartwarming and adorable. There’s something about knowing that a whole room of people is feeling a similar ‘big love, big plans’ feeling to the one you are, you know? The whole thing was weird but awesome. I would never have pegged myself as someone who’d go to a BRIDAL BOOK READING, but the book is cute and funny, as is the author! Meg arranged a drinking meet-up afterward, I brought a slew of cupcakes courtesy of Miette, and it was really lovely to meet new people who understand the bridal crazy. Especially Meg! So adorable, jeez! & don’t you all sass me about cupcakes being passé, they’re tiny cakes you don’t need a fork to eat. They taste like cake. They’re actually even MADE of cake. I like cake. Now? I want to do this in every single city. Because it was honestly the best. Oh. And I made myself sick on cupcakes. Natch. (Photo by Christina Richards Weddings) Meg Keene Founder & Editor-In-Chief Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.