I’ve been reading A Practical Wedding, the blog, since my engagement in early 2009. I’m not sure how I stumbled across it, but somehow, in my search of wedding blogs to consume my time and give me ideas on my own wedding planning, I found Meg as she was planning her wedding, and was struck by her wisdom. This was a woman who had her head screwed on straight: a woman who understood that it’s about the commitment, not the décor; it’s about the people, not the “pretty.” Throughout my planning I read her blog. After I got married, I continued to read her blog (and the emerging “Reclaiming Wife” series that continued the discussion about marriage). When I started my business, I joined the blog as a sponsor. So when Meg announced that she wrote a book, I of course had to read it.

      Here’s the thing about the APW blog: it is updated daily with information, inspiration, words of wisdom, and discussion. There is so much goodness in the blog that you could get lost in there for days, chasing links and discovering the smart things that other people have discovered in their own wedding — and life — experiences. The A Practical Wedding book distills this wisdom into a 200-page guidebook of sorts, in the order that you will probably need the information. It paces you through the engagement, the hows of planning a celebration that is uniquely yours, the ways of dealing with the pressures of planning such an event, to the wedding-day comedown and honeymoon.

      I honestly wish this book had been around when I was engaged, because the introduction itself summed up a dozen lessons I learned while planning and I could have saved myself some grief, thinking I was “the only one” dealing with these stresses. In the first chapter, Meg says, “You’re going to need some touchstones of sanity during this process.” I can see engaged couples reading this book from cover to cover when they first get it, in anticipation of figuring out what is to come, and then using the book as a bible throughout each step of the wedding-planning process. This book will be a touchstone of sanity. When you get derailed by something judgmental your Aunt Muriel said, or you feel inadequate because your wedding doesn’t look like something perfectly styled on the pages of a magazine or wedding blog, and you start to reevaluate and question your choices, this book will set you back on the path to stability and reason.

      The wedding industry is here to sell you things, and tries to convince engaged couples that if they don’t get it they are doing themselves, their guests, and their wedding a disservice. But Meg tells us — and has other sane, practical brides and grooms joining the discussion with their wedding experiences — that you should focus on your priorities and that we can take or leave the rest. The book will save you money. It will save you a lot of grief trying to understand and control your budget. It will save you some tears (though not all, because wedding-planning is bound to make even the strongest of us break down at least once).

      Most importantly, it will help you to shape your wedding into something that reflects you as a couple, and will guide you towards that goal in manageable steps while following the path of least resistance.

      I was so excited about A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration that I ordered copies for all of my 2012 clients — and a lucky reader of this blog! So here’s where we get to the fun part: a giveaway!

      A Practical Wedding book review

      Win a copy of this book!

      I would love to give away a copy of the A Practical Wedding book to anyone planning a wedding or someone who knows anyone planning a wedding. You don’t even have to be in Texas to win! :)

      Here’s how to win:

      – Leave a comment on this blog entry with your name, valid email address (required to leave a comment), and who the book is for — with the understanding that if your name is chosen, you’ll have to give me your address so I can send you the book. Please leave a BLOG comment, not a FACEBOOK comment. Facebook comments on this post will NOT be counted, as the plugin sometimes loses comments randomly.

      That’s it! Be sure to get your blog comment in by January 4, 2012 by 11:59 PM CST, as the drawing will take place on January 5, 2012.

      I’d appreciate if you went to the Elissa R Photography fan page and “liked” it if you haven’t already, but it’s not required to win — just the blog comment!

      Just so you know, new commenters have to have their comments approved, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up immediately.

      A winner will be drawn randomly out of a hat on January 5, 2012 and the winner will be notified no later than January 9th. The book will ship out to the winner that week.

      Disclosure: The link to the book is through my Amazon affiliate account so if you purchase the book via the link I will receive a small portion of that sale. Giveaway fine print: You must be at least 18 years old and a US resident to enter. The book is a $16 value. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Once contacted by email, the winner will have 24 hours to claim the prize or a new winner will be chosen. No purchase is necessary & void where prohibited by law. I am NOT receiving any kickbacks from APW for this giveaway, as I am the only sponsor of the giveaway. 

      Even if you don’t win, I would recommend that you purchase a copy of the book!


      Since a one-year lease was enough commitment for my boyfriend at this point, I would give the book to my friend Kelly who wishes she could run away and get married but knows her family would kill her. Surprisingly, in our home area, the average wedding costs $20k? Nonono. She needs practical help!

      I love a Practical Wedding! It is so level headed and keeps you focused on the real job of a wedding – getting married!

      If I win, this book would be for me. I could really use some help planning my future wedding. We are on a very, very tight budget and I am going to need a lot of advice. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

      I would love to win this book! It sounds wonderful. I only have a promise ring for now since my boyfriend cannot afford an engagement ring yet. I’m a worry wart and would love to have something to help me chill out when it comes time to plan!

      I would love to win this book! Just got engaged and this could definitely help!

      I would love to win a copy of this book! I have been engaged for a few months but just got back to Texas and ready to start planning. Meg’s guidance would be so invaluable to me in this process! (plus I’d love to be able to take it with me to one of her book signings!)

      I really need to get the book for Nola, my future sister-in-law as she is really stressing out and needs that touchstone of sanity.

      I would love to own a copy of this book. I got engaged two weeks ago. I’m already starting to stress about planning and how expensive everything is. I could really use this.

      YESSSS!!! Well, I would of course take a gander at it when if I got it, but then I would send it along to my good, good friend from college named Bethany who is getting married next year at the summer camp where she met her fiance!

      I would absolutely love to receive this book! I just got engaged a couple of weeks ago, so the book would be a great resource for me during the planning process. I love APW and all of Meg’s amazing wisdom about keeping wedding planning sane.