A Practical Wedding Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Wedding You Want with the Budget You've Got (without Losing Your Mind in the Process)

A Practical Wedding Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Wedding You Want with the Budget You've Got (without Losing Your Mind in the Process)

by Meg Keene


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The author of A Practical Wedding offers a no-nonsense wedding planner, with all the tools, tips, and strategies to get the celebration you want, on a budget you can actually afford

Whether you're newly engaged or haven't quite made anything official yet, but you know you want to spend your lives together, you're going to need help planning your wedding. When you're ready to take a deep breath and start, this is the book you want—need—to have. From figuring out what you really want—as opposed to what everyone else thinks you should want—to helping you keep an eye on the ceremony itself and the vows, Meg Keene, founder of apracticalwedding.com, covers all the essentials. With checklists (such as flowers, food, final venue walk-through) and key spreadsheets (guest list and seating chart, budget, venue search, and more), A Practical Wedding Planner helps you:

  • Set a budget—and stick to it
  • Choose a venue: traditional, non-traditional, and everything in between
  • Hire good vendors and keep your friendors (and tells you why DIY doesn't always save money)
  • Figure out catering, rentals, and everything else Pinterest forgot to tell you
  • Reality-check wedding décor
  • Create and write a ceremony that really represents both of you
  • Get everyone to show up...and have a good time

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738218427
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 01/05/2016
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 119,819
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Meg Keene is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of A Practical Wedding, which started as a blogspot account on her kitchen table, and is now the largest independently-held wedding publication in the world. Meg has published two (creatively named) books: A Practical Wedding, and A Practical Wedding Planner, both top sellers on the wedding bookshelf. Meg's work has been referenced in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR. It's also showed up on sites like Jezebel, Feministing, Refinery 29, and The Hairpin. She's proud of her roots in California's Inland Empire, though she's also done her time in Brooklyn. Though you're never supposed to say you converted to Judaism (you're just Jewish), she always says it anyway. Meg works and lives in East Oakland with her husband and two tiny kids. For more: For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Chapter 1 Figuring Out What You Really Want 1

APW Basics 1

So You Liked It (and You're Gonna Put a Ring on It) 2

Priorities, Priorities, Priorities 2

Venn Diagram of Emotional Goals 5

Our Wedding Mission Statement 5

All the Wedding Things (Many of Which You Don't Need) 6

Wedding Planning Priorities 7

Extra Credit: Bringing In the Family 9

Putting It in Order 11

How to Have a Fun Wedding 13

The Perfect Is the Enemy of the Good 14

Chapter 2 Guests First, Budget Second 15

APW Basics 15

Don't Start by Cutting Your Guest List 16

Questions to Discuss with Your Partner 16

The Guest List Spreadsheet 17

Sidebar: Wedding Party Basics 18

Setting Your Budget 19

The Sky Is the Limit 20

Taking It to the Bank 21

A Post-it Note Does Not a Budget Make 21

The 123s of Budget Setting 21

The Devil Is Not in the Details 22

The Myth of the Wedding Budget Pie Chart 23

Real Wedding Budget Pie Charts 24

Chapter 3 From the Ballroom to the Beach: Location and Logistics 27

APW Basics 27

Figure Out What You Want in a Venue 28

Traditional Versus Non-Traditional Venues 28

Traditional Venues 28

Non-Traditional Venues 29

How to Find a Traditional Venue 29

Venues and Catering cost? 30

Whittling Down Your Options 30

All-Inclusive Venues 30

Finding Non-Traditional Venues 31

Sidebar: Destination Weddings 32

What Is (and Isn't) Included? 34

Sidebar: Ideas for Non-Traditional Wedding Venues 34

How to Throw a Wedding in a Non-Traditional Space 35

Rentals 36

Finding a Rental Company 36

Order Lots of Glassware (and Other Rental Tips) 37

Table and Linen Sizes 38

Renting a Tent 39

Other Items You Might Need to Rent 40

Sidebar: Questions to Ask at a Venue Walk-Through 42

Chapter 4 Vendors, Friendors, and Doing It Yourself 45

APW Basics 45

Hiring Vendors: Who Conies First? 45

Sidebar: Questions to Ask at a Venue Walk-Through 46

How Vendor Pricing Works 46

Where Are All the Awesome Vendors Hiding? 47

Don't Forget to Vet Your Vendors 47

Wedding Vendor Contracts 49

What to Do If Something Goes Wrong 50

Hiring a Photographer 51

Alternative Methods for Capturing the Day 53

Hire a Non-Pro 53

DIYing Your Photos with the Help of Family and Friends 54

Who Is Going to Plan and Run This Thing? 55

Hiring a Wedding Planner 55

Hiring a Day-Of Coordinator 56

Venue or Catering Managers 57

Do All of Your Weddings Look the Same? And Other Questions to Ask 57

Wedding Stage Manager-Your DIY Wedding Planner 58

Sidebar: What Your DOC (or Wedding Stage Manager) Does 58

Hiring an Officiant 59

The Four Basic Types of Wedding Officiants 59

Hiring a DJ 60

DIY DJing 61

Hiring a Band 62

Hiring a Hair Stylist or Makeup Artist 63

Yes, You Can Wield the Hairspray Yourself 64

DIYing Your Makeup: Your Regular Routine… Plus 64

…And Everyone Else 65

Sidebar: Tipping Your Vendors 65

So You've Been Reading This Book…and Decided You Want to Elope 66

Just a Few Ways You Can Elope 66

Marriage License: A Mini-Checklist 66

Un-Plan Your Elopement 66

How to Reschedule or Call Off Your Wedding 67

Chapter 5 Cheers! Feeding Everyone 69

APW Basics 69

The Many Ways to Feed Your Guests 70

How to Find a Full-Service Caterer 70

What Full-Service Caterers Do 71

Sidebar: What to Look For in a Traditional Caterer 71

Think Outside the Box 72

Food Service Options 72

Sidebar: Accommodating Food Restrictions and Allergies 73

Alcohol Service Options 74

Sidebar: Standard Wedding Bar Options 74

Restaurant Weddings 75

Sidebar: Wedding Cakes: Flour, Butter, Sugar (and Cash) 75

Non-Traditional Catering, from Food Trucks to DIY 76

Sidebar: The DIY Catering Checklist 77

Who's Taking Out the Trash? And Other Staffing Issues 78

How Much Food Do You Need? 79

Sidebar: How to Buy Alcohol for Your Wedding 79

Food Trucks 82

Food Truck Issues to Consider 82

Yes, You Can Have a Potluck Wedding 83

Sidebar: Catering Hack Ideas 84

Self-Catering 85

What You Need to Self-Cater 85

Meal Planning 86

Sidebar: Self-Catering Planning Documents You'll Need 86

Chapter 6 Getting Everyone to Show Up (and Have a Good Time) 89

APW Basics 89

Save-the-Dates 90

Invitation Wording and Etiquette 90

Sidebar: A Note on Child-Free Weddings 92

Sidebar: The Gently Feminist Guidelines for Addressing Wedding Invitations 94

People Are Terrible at RSVPing (Help Them Help You) 96

Thank-You Notes 97

What to Include in a Wedding Website 97

Sidebar: Hotel Blocks 98

Registries Aren't About You, Exactly 99

Sidebar: A Note on Giving Gifts 100

Social Media and Weddings 101

To Share… 101

Or Not to Share… 101

Is That the Question? 101

Wedding Vendors and Image Usage Rights 102

Sidebar: Party, Party, Parties! 102

Chapter 7 In This Hot Outfit, I Thee Wed 105

APW Basics 105

Wedding Dresses: Scam or Not' 106

Traditional Wedding Dresses 107

Sidebar: Dresses by the Dollars 107

The Alterations Game 108

Wedding Dress Timelines: Separating Fact from Fiction 110

Sidebar: Bridal Accessories: From Sparkle to Bangle to Pouf 111

Body Image, Sizing, and Wedding Dresses 111

Sidebar: How to Have an Empowering Wedding Dress Shopping Experience When You Wear a Plus Size (or Any Size) 112

Not All Wedding Dresses Come from Wedding Dress Stores 113

Major Retailers and (Nan-) Wedding Dresses 113

Buying and Selling Used Dresses 113

Vintage Wedding Dresses 114

Sidebar: Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for a Vintage Wedding Dress 115

Buying a Dress from China 115

The Perfect Bridesmaid Dress Does Not Exist 117

Traditional Bridesmaid Dresses 117

When Your Bridesmaids Are All Across the Country… 118

Bridesmaid Dress Alternatives 119

Sidebar: How to Make Mismatched Outfits Work 119

Suits, Suits, Suits 120

Types of Suits, or What to Do with All the Buttons 120

Sidebar: Rental Tuxes and Affordable Suits 121

Buying a Suit That Fits 122

Suit Colors and Fabrics 123

Sidebar: More Casual Groom Style 123

Androgynous Styling Options, Suits for Women, and Other Gender-Queer Fashion Choices 124

Chapter 8 Sparkles and Spreadsheets: A Realist's Guide to Wedding Decor 127

APW Basics 127

Don't Plan Your Wedding Backward 128

Get off the Internet and into Your Venue 128

Creating a Decor Plan 129

The Relaxed Color Palette 129

Glitter Fabulous Is Totally a Style 130

You Can't Do All the Projects (So Pick a Few That Matter) 130

Sidebar: DIY and Decor Management 131

The Big Ugly Space Problem 132

Advice for More Decor Situations 134

Outdoor Spaces 134

Low-Light Spaces 134

Venues Where You Can't Attach Things to the Walls 135

Sidebar: Affordable Decor Materials 135

Chapter 9 Picking Flowers: Florists, DJY, and When the Blooms Js Off the Ranunculus 137

APW Basics 137

When to Use a Florist 138

Finding a Professional Florist 138

Working with a Florist 139

Sidebar: Where to Buy Wedding Flowers 139

Flower Chart 140

Floral Hacks 141

DIY Bouquets and No-Big-Deal Centerpieces 144

Floral Consulting and DIY Flowers 144

DIYing All of Your Wedding Flowers 144

Chapter 10 Ceremonies, Vows, and Why We're All here 147

APW Basics 147

Pick a Thesis 148

Sidebar; Legal Requirements 149

Putting the Words Together 150

Pick a Structure 150

Fit In the Fun Stuff 150

Sidebar: A Checklist for Officiating a Ceremony 151

The Building Blocks of a Wedding Service 152

Sidebar: Wedding Ceremonies: Many Cultures, Many Ways 153

Wedding Vows: Engrave Them on Your Heart 155

To Write or Not to Write 155

Breaking Down Vows into Parts 155

How to Write Your Vows 156

Interfaith Services: The Basics 158

Sidebar; Religious Wedding Vows 159

Sidebar: Secular Wedding Vows 161

Chapter 11 Getting' It Done 163

APW Basics 163

Being Laid-Back Requires Advance Planning 164

Once It's Planned, Pass It Off 164

Sidebar: How Long Is a Wedding? 164

A Wedding Timeline Is a Gift to Your Guests 165

Sidebar: Sample Timelines 168

Sidebar: The Gap Between Religious Ceremonies and Receptions 170

Making a Floor Plan 170

How Much Space Do You Need? 171

When to Have a Seating Chart 171

Escort Cards, Name Cards, and How Seating Assignments Work 172

Creating Your Seating Chart with Minimal Tears 172

Sidebar: Planning a Wedding Weekend 173

Shuttles, Buses, and Vintage Cars 174

The Wedding Rehearsal 176

The Rehearsal Dinner 177

Getting All the Stuff There, and Back Again 178

Sidebar: Day-Of Emergency Kit 180

The Wedding Planning Binder 181

Conclusion from Here to the STARS 183

Appendix 185

How to Throw a Wedding in a Non-Traditional Space 185

Potential Rental Items Checklist 186

DIY Catering Checklist 188

Potential Floral Item List 189

DIY Flowers Shopping List 190

DIY Bar Alcohol-Buying Calculations 191

DIY Bar Alcohol-Buying Shopping List 192

DIY Bar Setup List 193

Final Site Visit/Venue Walk-Through Checklist 194

Last-Minute Things You Might Have Forgotten (Two Weeks Out) 195

Last-Minute Things You Might Have Forgotten (Night Before) 196

List of Documents to Have in Your Day-Of Binder 197

Sample Spreadsheets 198

Guest List and Seating Chart 198

Budget 200

Venue Search 204

Pack List 206

Important People 208

Vendor List 210

Working Timeline 212

Decor Setup Instructions 214

Find More Resources on APractialWedding.com 215

Acknowledgements 217

Sources 219

Index 221

About the Author 239

Customer Reviews