I’m going to confess something that might surprise you, given the title of this post: I haven’t finished the book. I got an advance copy of “A Practical Wedding,” did a happy dance around the room because I was so excited that:
a) Meg had published this book
b) I had merited an advance copy
c) I’m actually quoted in it!
Then, I devoured the first chapter and brought it down with me to Ephemera, because Arin is engaged and because, as a stationery store, brides and weddings make up a huge part of their world. I was so excited that I jumped around a little more (solo jumping around isn’t as fun) and then I pressed the book at them and declared it the official Ephemera copy because I wanted every bride who was struggling with the actual, real issues involved in wedding planning (the font on your invitations isn’t actually a real issue, one comes to realize) to have access to its wisdom. I inscribed the copy and gave it away and then waited for the copy I’d ordered as part of the group book buy to arrive.
And once it came, I did it again. I brought my purchased copy of “A Practical Wedding” with me to the mother-daughter dinner that my high school friends and I did over Christmas because I was so excited. When my dear friend Katelyn’s lovely mom took a shining to it, I gave that copy away on the spot.
This is actually a good sign. This book is something I want out in the world, not on my bookshelf. I’m going to buy and give away more copies because RIGHT THERE IN THE FIRST CHAPTER IS THE ONLY WEDDING PLANNING LIST YOU REALLY NEED. It’s a list of the important questions for partners to ask each other before you get married. The deep, deal-breaker stuff. Like whether you’d move to a different city if your partner got a job offer, how you want to raise your kids, take care of your parents. The kinds of questions Joe and I would tackle with a glass of wine, sitting on our kitchen counter, which is how we typically carry out our serious conversations. The questions whose answers matter a million times more than anything else you’ll ask during the engagement phase.
This is more than a wedding planning book. It’s a marriage planning book. It’s a sane friend that fits on your bedside table and in your purse and that by all means you should share.
The gist of my quote in the book is that I approached wedding planning as the first thing Joe and I would do as a married couple, and that my mom thought of it as the last milestone for a mother and daughter relationship. This fundamental difference, which I only really recognized in hindsight, after months of some not-pretty fights over more basic, banal things, made my engagement feel like a rocky ship voyage. It was not fun. But then my mom started reading APW and I started realizing that even by being the anti-bride, I could come off as a bridezilla. (Lessons: Compromise! Scrap *fun* details that are driving you batty! Focus mostly on the elements of your marriage that will last longer than a day!)
I wish this book existed on Sept. 25, 2009 so that someone could have placed it in my hands and given it to me inscribed with something like:
Never, ever read TheKnot.com
Moments after getting engaged in a canoe.
Pretty much the only thing that truly matters is exchanging vows — and meaning them!
Read my wedding graduate post over at A Practical Wedding to hear more about what I learned.