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A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  2,542 ratings  ·  329 reviews
An Insanity-Free Wedding: It Can Happen!

Getting engaged is exhilarating…until it sets in that a wedding costs three times what you thought, and takes five to ten times the effort it reasonably should. And then there are the expectations: from calligraphy invitations to satin chair-covers, all those things that Must Be Done or everyone will be Horribly Offended. Or will the
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Da Capo Lifelong Books
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,542 ratings  ·  329 reviews


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Jennifer
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, nonfiction
Many folks who know me would look at me and say “You’ve been married twenty years. Why on earth are you reading a wedding planning book?” My answer: eleven years of coordinating weddings at my church has me addicted to all things wedding. Also, there are a lot of wedding planning books out there and I know, as a busy bride, I would have appreciated someone saying “This one! You must read this book!” So, brides I’m telling you: “READ THIS ONE!”

While I have two other books I consider must-reads fo
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Thomas Gizbert
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
So my big problem with this book is that it's supposed to be all irreverent and down-to-earth but it 100% assumes that the reader is a woman. Like, it's modern and untraditional enough to be equivocal about whether the person you're marrying is male or female, but you, the reader and primary wedding planner, are certainly female and definitely primarily concerned about your dress, and your fiancé(e) shouldn't really be involved with wedding planning except to outline the broad strokes of what th ...more
Ariel
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
The friend that recommended this book to me told me that while she found the title somewhat misleading (in that she thought it did not offer a ton of practical advice), it was very good for giving you permission to not do things that don't matter to you at your wedding. I very much agree with her assessment. This book isn't exactly a step-by-step planning guide, but I found the spirit of it very helpful for calming me down about wedding planning by reassuring me that (a) a lot of the so-called " ...more
Karen
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Is it really important that you impress all of your friends, family, coworkers, and strangers with your absolutely perfect wedding? Then this is probably not the book for you. Are you, instead, reading wedding blogs/checking pinterest incessantly, and thinking, "Really? ALL the things? I actually need ALL the things? I don't know if I can handle ALL the things- maybe just SOME of the things?" Then you will love this book.

What a breath of fresh air. If I were to reduce the main points of this boo
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Olivia DiGiammarino
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was semi-helpful and mostly a permission-giving monologue. Going into this book I knew I could do whatever I wanted; I wanted tips on how to SAVE MONEY. Instead, I found this book quite remiss of actual help, tips or facts. My secondary issue with this book is that it was super PC, LGBTQ positive, feminist and then the black hole : brides & mothers.

Not all brides have mothers, not all brides want to be reminded that the best way to make something affordable is to make a craft out of i
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Michelle Gaudet
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up after researching how to have a feminist wedding, and finding Meg Keene's various interviews on my favourite podcasts. This book is fantastic. Give it to every bride in your life, give it to every groom, give it to all your bridesmaids. It's about cutting the crap and planning the wedding you actually want. Planning a feminist and realistic wedding is hard, but this book put everything in perspective for me. I see the whole wedding industry and all the planning ahead of me with ...more
AJNels
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-improvement
I loved it because it told me exactly what I needed/wanted to hear:
- you don't have to do anything you don't want to
- ask for help
- here's why Mom might be going bonkers
- figure out the things that really, REALLY matter to you both and let the rest go
- get to your "f*ck it" moment, the earlier the better

Plus practical advice (but not endless Must Do checklists) for any kind of wedding under the sun. So glad I read this early on!
Aleesia
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"I will not remember what my wedding looked like, I will remember what it felt like."

This was such a great read and really put everything in perspective for me. So many highlights, notes and post it's! :)
Andrea
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is not a step-by-step how to on planning your wedding. This is how not do go insane while planning your wedding. Meg's book encompasses the entire journey - from engagement to post-wedding. She gives you tips and advice on how to stay sane and keep everything in perspective.

To be honest, I didn't read every section. The reason for these skipped sections is either because I'm beyond that point in my planning (venue picking, budget, vendors) or that it did not apply to me (DIY wedding). Howev
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Cheryl
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm a bride who wants to avoid the nuttiness and materialistic nature of the current wedding industry as much as possible, so much in fact that I'm reluctant to even use the word "bride" to describe myself. I felt like Meg Keene was speaking directly to me. She keeps it real. (I should add that she lives in San Francisco, and I once met her briefly in person, and she's even funnier and sassier than I imagined.)

Since reading this book, I feel inspired and empowered. Like my partner and I can do
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christine cooper
Yes. I read a wedding planning book. Why? because it was free.

I was expecting the worst and as a result found myself very pleasantly surprised by A Practical Wedding. What was great was that this book was not an explicit "how to have the most perfect dream wedding ever" and it did not provide any tips on what trends were "in" for flowers, dresses, and locations. Instead, Meg calmed me down, and helped me feel more secure about the decisions I was making for myself.

Chapters 1-3 reinforced the f
...more
Moira Katson
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Do you remember when you started wedding planning? When you had all of those glorious ideas about how it was going to be so simple and meaningful and elegant, quirky and yet devoid of craziness? Then you got mired in the depths of, "but if we don't have BLUE candelabras, Uncle Bernard will be so dreadfully upset!" and, "well, I suppose it's just $0.38 more per invitation if we..." And now you're pondering a wedding that costs four or five times what you imagined, and wondering if you will need t ...more
Kimberly
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wedding, non-fiction
A lovely gift from my little sister when Tim and I got engaged. Lots of down-to-earth advice, and the author has a very genuine tone.
Maggie
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read this cover to cover, but it was a great introduction to the process of planning a wedding for someone (me) who isn't especially keen on the whole thing. It breaks it down in practical pieces, and it's formatted a bit like a textbook with little info boxes here and there, which made it easy to find important information or suggestions. It's slightly progressive in that it gives a nod to plus-size brides, mentions a few traditions from other cultures, and includes a lot of content fo ...more
Maria
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Woohoo! I just got married last week, so I'm finally marking this book as read!

I read the first half of this book early in my engagement when I was feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions and the budget (weddings are crazy expensive). It helped me re-focus on what's really important when you're planning a wedding and how to balance so many different expectations about what your wedding will be from all the people who feel invested in it (i.e., parents).

I didn't fully read the second half of th
...more
Celine
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The most helpful wedding book I've read thus far (despite the quite horrible cover/title) and the first to actually make me excited about wedding planning as opposed to filling me with dread. Essentially your wedding is a big party with all the people you love so utilize what you need/want to plan it as such as and chuck all the rest. Helpful things to think about/consider are included while also avoiding the frenetic "this is the biggest day of your life so every decision has to reflect your pe ...more
Sareeta L
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So incredibly helpful! She really helps you figure out what type of wedding you should plan for YOU, not what everybody else wants and thinks you want. I love that she delves into how to handle your emotions and drama too. I am definitely going to pick up her planner to help implement!
Erin
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This isn’t a step by step guide really, but it helped ground me during the oft overwhelming wedding planning process.
Courtney
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So. useful.
Jaime Lutz
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’d recommend this to anyone getting married; it’s the only resource I’ve found that isn’t trying to sell you on something stupid.
Renee
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
No, I am not engaged. :) But a good book is a good book. And having attended close to 30 weddings, I still found it relatable.
Amanda Lewis
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Unsurprisingly) Practical Advice

Great book, it made me feel significantly less out to lunch about my worries and feelings. Money can’t buy a day where you are emotionally present.
Kate Kaput
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Keene is the chill-bride mastermind behind the website of the same name, APracticalWedding.com, & boy, was this book ever a reassuring lifesaver of a read. It's all about the many options for throwing a wedding, including some I'd never thought of, & more importantly, it gives you permission to ignore everyone's expectations. There's lots of great - & practical - advice in here for a wedding that doesn't bankrupt you, turn you into bridezilla, or make you lose your ever-loving mind.
...more
Liz Powell
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm a maximizer and was therefore paralyzed by indecision for approximately a year during our wedding-planning process, while making a larger quantity of decisions than ever before in my life. I read this book while planning our wedding and its message of "only do what makes you happy" became my mantra. I would highly recommend it to anyone overwhelmed by the pressures (from other people, their own expectations, or from society as a whole) of wedding planning, or who just wants a nice reality ch ...more
Sarah Cauble
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a gift from my (future) mother-in-law and didn't quite know what to expect. But I found "A Practical Wedding" to be a great read for all brides-to-be. It doesn't just discuss practical ways to budget, decorate, and create guest lists; it also dives into subjects such as "planning a wedding when a loved one is seriously ill" and other tough issues. My grandpa, who is like a father to me, is that loved one in my life. And here I was, thinking I was the only bride-to-be stru ...more
Kyla
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A friend of mine told me how great this book has been for her as she plans her wedding, so I decided to take a look at it. I am not married or engaged, but I have helped lots of brides-to-be pick out wedding guides in my roles as bookseller and librarian. What I wanted to know was, is this book really that different from others on the market? The answer is YES. It is so refreshing to have someone say that it's OK to get away from "tradition" and do what means the most to you. Keene's theme is th ...more
Carrie
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Getting engaged is not all that exhilarating, and can be downright terrifying. Balancing family expectations, society's traditional and sexist roles, fear of losing your identity, fear of conforming in a world you have fighting for a place to be original in, and, oh yeah, every OTHER fear you successfully repressed through whatever your awesome brain devised to get you past it, can come out through this insane life-commitment ceremony planning time.

This book will help you through this, ESPECIALL
...more
nicole
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Companion to the wedding blog of the same name. 

Thank you, Meg Keene. Thank you so much for this book and your website and for connecting women who keep saying what I need to hear over and over again. It can be done and it can be done within reason and in a state of grace. 

Maintaining a positive mindset is something I struggle with on a regular basis. Planning a wedding has amped my anxiety up to 11. I have had an eye twitch for the past six weeks that no amount of caffeine moderation, increased
...more
Meg
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, non-fiction
This is the second of the two wedding books I'm planning on reading, and it's a great compliment to Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides. Like OBB, it's very straightforward, not a lot of "must" or "can't," with a focus on flexibility and creativity. There's a bit less personality than OBB, which has a touch more memoir to it, but also more practical (heh) information about the various pieces of a modern wedding, and alternatives for folks who want to include a particu ...more
Kara
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is less about actual tips and more about making you feel better about your wedding. It emphasizes, constantly, that this is YOUR day and the choices you want to make are the right ones. Don't feel pressured to have a super DIY wedding if that's what you want. Don't feel pressured to do certain things because of "tradition." Don't want to write your own vows? Cool. Want to have a morning wedding? Awesome. At the end of the day, figure out what's going to make you happy, and go for it. H ...more
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Last year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen struck a chord with her viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.”...
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“We are still on our journey, still suffering and still laughing together. But I feel like the tide has turned, and I think we will have our happy ending yet. Even if it doesn’t look like what we were expecting.” 6 likes
“The Proposal The diamond industry has pulled a fast one over on us. It has convinced us that there is no way to make public a lifetime commitment to another person without a very large, sparkly rock on a very slim band. This is, of course, nonsense. Often wedding books have engagement chapters that read like diamond-buying guides. But the truth is, the way to get engaged is for the two of you to decide that you want to get married. So the next time someone tries to imply that you are not engaged because you don’t have a dramatic enough engagement story or a ring, firmly say, “You know, I like to think of my partner as my rock,” and slowly raise your eyebrow. The modern wedding industry—along with a fair share of romantic comedies—has set a pretty high bar for proposals. We think they need to be elaborate and surprising. But they don’t. A proposal should be: • A decision to get married • Romantic (because you decide to spend the rest of your lives together, not necessarily because of its elaborate nature) • Possibly mutual • Possibly discussed in advance • Possibly instigated by you • Not used to judge the state of your relationship • An event that may be followed by the not-at-all-romantic kind of sobbing, because you realize your life is changing forever It’s exciting to decide to get married. And scary. But the moment of proposal is just that: a moment. It moves you to the next step of the process; it’s not the be-all, end-all. So maybe you have a fancy candlelight dinner followed by parachutists delivering you a pear-shaped, seven-carat diamond. Or maybe you decide to get married one Sunday morning over the newspaper and a cup of coffee. Either way is fine. The point is that you decided to spend your life with someone you love.” 2 likes
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