Author: Meg Keene

Publisher: Da Capo Press – Lifelong Books – 242 pages

Book Review by:  Laxmi Chaandi

Getting married with grace, joy, and even fun without breaking the bank is what Meg Keene offers the marrying couple with this handy guide book. It’s small and short enough to read in one sitting as well as filled with myriad details to refer to when you’re ready to plan the various aspects of your upcoming wedding.

A wedding does not have to make you go crazy, offend relatives and friends cut out from your list or make you take out long-term mortgage to get the cash up front to pay for every expense you knew and did not know about. Before making your lists of people, places, events, expenses, food, drinks, decorations, tables, chairs, flowers and all the other stuff needed for your wedding, read this book.

With careful reading, this book can provide you a proper perspective, a sensible timeline of events and a bird’s eye view of the total expected cost. When you are armed with these, have written down a detailed plan and take the actions itemized in your plan, you are less likely to go insane before and during your momentous occasion.

In 10 chapters, you’re shown how to get started; write down the journalistic H and Ws (how, who, what, when, where, why) to get the basics; traditional vs. non-traditional weddings; setting your budget; the planning process; the do-it-yourself over the wedding planner route to save money; handling the tough stuff; the ceremony itself and how to make it a memorable one; how to keep cool even if some things are imperfect, and looking back, feeling good about it all.

Meg Keene says that what ultimately matters is how you and your partner feel when you are pronounced husband and wife, when you vow to love each other for the rest of your life no matter what happens.

While ensuring that there are no major mishaps in any part of your wedding, if things go smoothly with minor unexpected happenings, it is okay, she writes. What important, she points is out is that your family, relatives and friends have come to grace your wedding and give their blessings to you. And knowing you’ve put sufficient time and effort, when some things do not quite turn out as you expected, is no big deal.

As you start planning your wedding and write down a list of things needed, Meg writes that you should be honest to yourself as what you need and want. So do not add things or events you do not want. Some people write down everything they are supposed to have in a wedding. Having joy at your wedding is fundamental, and that should be your goal, she advises you. When you think back about your wedding years after you got married, you will likely not have mental images of it, but you will more likely recall how you felt.

The process of planning your wedding is not that difficult, the author writes when you’ve covered the basics and started writing them down on paper – what (the type of wedding you want to have such as a large, medium or small one and the where is related to this question; who to invite (start making a list of people): where to have it (start making a list of places to have it at).

Part of the planning process is also the question of when (discuss with your partner and respective families what date and time would be most suitable) and the how (this would include finances – discuss what the likely final number would be, after writing down rough estimates based on the number of people and the charge or cost per person at the place(s) the wedding, the reception and any other event(s) would be held.

Once you have these basic questions answered, it is easier to fill in the details. My view is that one of the first and most essential requirements in planning your wedding is a notebook, especially the ring binder type, with which you can replace the sheets as you change, modify and finalize your plans and details.

A Practical Wedding is a no-nonsense book to have in planning your wedding in weeding out what you do not want to have in this milestone event in your life and focusing on what you do want in it. Your wedding event(s) most of all, writes Meg Keene, should be a source of happiness, sharing it with the ones you love and care for, and the beginning of contentment in your married life.