When my daughter Amy got engaged, she told me she had ordered this book. What a wise move! I bought a copy for myself, so that I could be a good and supportive mother of the bride (MOB).
Meg Keene, who also writes the blog A Practical Wedding, approaches the subject of wedding planning with humor, grace, wisdom and a deep love for marriage. Not just weddings, but the time-honored institution of marriage.
The book’s tone is encouraging (you won’t have to go into debt), reassuring (you can maintain your sanity) and liberating (if it isn’t meaningful to you, don’t do it). Keene’s mantra is, “I will not remember what our wedding looked like; I will remember what it felt like.”
The book’s contents cover the superficial, the soul-searching, and everything in between:
- The purpose of the engagement
- Dealing with family issues and other hard stuff
- Venues, guest lists, schedules, food, the ceremony
- Budgets and keeping it sane
- When to DIY and when not, and why
Keene’s advice for couples on a budget is priceless: “You should focus your planning on things that make you feel delighted and alive.” She reminds readers that most of what the wedding industry tells us is “tradition” has only come about recently. Despite what you see on Pinterest, most of that stuff is not traditional. Amy’s grandmother would be shocked by the lavish no-expense-spared weddings today.
She and my father were married in the priest’s rectory with only a few people present (that’s how mixed marriages were done in the Catholic Church in 1941). The reception was at my grandmother’s house, with homemade food and cake. So the at-home or backyard wedding is probably the most traditional thing you can do.
November 8, 1941
Samples of wit and wisdom from “A Practical Wedding”:
On working together: “Remember that the choices you are making about your wedding are the first choices you are making as a brand-new-baby family, and they are practice for the much bigger choices in your future.”
On traditional vows: “Getting married means joining in a tradition that is thousands of years old. By saying the same words that generations and generations before you have said, you tie yourselves to the strength of an institution that has stood the test of time, helped people survive great hardships, and helped them embrace enormous joy.”
On the purpose of bridesmaids: “Bridesmaids exist to stand in front of the bride on her wedding day, and not let crazy within ten feet.”
On planning: “Planning a wedding is such a giddy mix of beautiful things combined with a serious dose of pain in the ass …”
January 27, 2001