Equally Wed
Ohio Gay Marriage Ruling is Stayed
Published: Friday, 18 April 2014 14:29
Ohio Gay Marriage Ruling is Stayed

The Ohio gay marriage ruling has been stayed. Appeals will likely take months.

How to Get Legally Married in Vermont
Published: Thursday, 17 April 2014 22:19
How to Get Legally Married in Vermont

All you need to know about getting legally married in Vermont!

How to Get Legally Married in Rhode Island
Published: Thursday, 17 April 2014 21:44
How to Get Legally Married in Rhode Island

Same-sex couples can be legally married in Rhode Island. 

Patricia + Julissa: An Autumn Wedding Under the Texas Sun
Published: Thursday, 17 April 2014 20:49
Patricia + Julissa: An Autumn Wedding Under the Texas Sun

Patricia and Julissa were married under the hot desert sun of the Texas landscape!

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Case Appealing to 10th Circuit
Published: Thursday, 17 April 2014 18:15
Oklahoma Marriage Equality Case Appealing to 10th Circuit

The 10th Circuit is hearing arguments in the Oklahoma marriage equality case.

Under the Tux: Wedding Day Undergarments for Men
Published: Thursday, 17 April 2014 17:09
Under the Tux: Wedding Day Undergarments for Men

Guys, it's not all about the tux. Wow your man with some fun unmentionables!

Barbie + Alexa: An Intimate Garden Wedding in DC
Published: Wednesday, 16 April 2014 18:48
Barbie + Alexa: An Intimate Garden Wedding in DC

Barbie and Alexa decided to make their love legal on their 8-year anniversary!

Wednesday Wedding Song: All of Me by John Legend
Published: Wednesday, 16 April 2014 08:00
Wednesday Wedding Song: All of Me by John Legend

John Legend's song All of Me touches me to my core every time I hear it, and that's why I'm choosing it as this week's Wednesday Wedding Song.

Ohio Marriage Ruling May Be Stayed
Published: Wednesday, 16 April 2014 02:23
Ohio Marriage Ruling May Be Stayed

A federal judge is considering staying his recent ruling that same-sex marriage be recognized in the state.

Patrick + Arive: Celebrating 10 Years Together
Published: Tuesday, 15 April 2014 19:31
Patrick + Arive: Celebrating 10 Years Together

Patrick and Arive recently celebrated 10 years of love together.


a-practical-wedding-book

Two weeks into her engagement, Meg Keene came across a blog promoting budget-friendly wedding invitations that cost $2,000. She burst into tears. A former theater events producer, Keene thought she had it in the bag when it came to planning a wedding on a shoestring budget, but she quickly realized this was a different beast all together.

Already, the expectations for what she should be spending on her wedding details were pushing her over the edge. Her husband-to-be, David, encouraged her to work through all her frustrations by starting a blog. APracticalWedding.com (APW) was born. The site, launched in 2008, all written in first-person (as most blogs are) delves into wedding planning, features of real couples’ weddings, tips, stories from readers and refreshingly honest opinions from Keene and Team Practical. Three years later, Keene decided to write a book for all couples searching for a realistic guide to planning their weddings. We caught up with the author of A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration in an Atlanta hotel lobby during her month-long book tour.

Sporting a comfortably chic denim skirt, tights and a striped T-shirt, a curly-headed Keene already seemed practical. I curled my legs up into my chair and relaxed as we spoke candidly about weddings, marriage equality, gays and lesbians and the almighty ever-hovering wedding budget.

meg-keene-practical-wedding

Meg Keene, author, in Washington, D.C. on her book tour for A Practical Wedding
Photo: Hart & Sol West 

 

LOVE IS LOVE

Keene is quick to tell me A Practical Wedding and the accompanying book is about wedding planning for everyone. The blogger recalls one of the most controversial posts that ever ran on APW, which was written by a bisexual woman, who had been married to a man and a woman, and was giving her take on what she learned from each relationship. A comment resonated with Keene: Someone wrote that she was surprised to see this on a wedding blog for straight people. Keene was flabbergasted. She never intended her site to be heterosexual in nature, and in fact, had taken great lengths to make sure she included gays and lesbians in her site's wedding coverage, as well as offer information on supporting marriage equality.

Keene has been a champion of marriage equality and gay rights as a whole since the early ‘90s, when her parents were involved in the Open and Affirming Movement, which was a progressive decision in the Protestant faith to actively welcome members of the LGBT community to worship in their church. Keene also broke new ground at her conservative high school when she took a girl to a dance. The writer says, “I wouldn’t really consider myself bisexual, but I think I was just emotionally equipped to do it.” Her actions had a ripple effect, and several students took same sex dates to dances, allowing them to more publicly own their sexual identity. She had a close friend attempt suicide six or seven times because of his gayness, so the idea of staying in the closet and not being proud of who one is is “super personal” to her. The converted Jewish writer and her husband even joined a gay synagogue in San Francisco, where they make their home. Straight people are welcomed with love.

It’s this activism streak in Keene that drove her to keep A Practical Wedding gender neutral. “I didn’t want to use hetero-normative terms throughout my book,” she says. “And I didn’t want to just have a chapter on gay weddings, either. For me, this was a purely political strategy. I felt like some people might not buy the book if there was a chapter for gays and lesbians.” However, if she used terms such as ‘partner’ throughout the chapters and never assumed in any instance that the couple would be comprised of one bride and one groom, she felt she could open more hearts and minds in the war for marriage equality.

THE MONEY SHOT

For all engaged readers, Keene says the chapter that shouldn’t be missed is the one on budget. “There’s a lot of shame in talking about money,” the blogger tells me. So we talk about that and the heavy truth of that statement. “You can’t compare a $10,000 wedding in San Francisco to one of the same price in, say, Kansas,” says Keene. You’ll be able to buy a lot more with the same amount of money in a smaller town as opposed to a wedding in a big city, where venue rentals and services are all driven high by the cost of living. In her book, Keene writes that when deciding your budget, you need to consider two questions: “How much does a wedding cost?” and “How much is my wedding going to cost?” The practical thinker advises, “Though it’s helpful to get an answer to the first question, try not to get it confused with the answer to the second question.” Weddings are hopelessly expensive—from feeding everyone to pulling out all the stops to wow your guests with the best flowers, cake, venue, attire and overall party that you can afford, or at least what you feel comfortable spending—which really varies for everyone. In A Practical Wedding, Keene outlines the important components, from researching wedding costs to figuring out who is going to help you pay for it (in the LGBT community, that responsibility often lays solely with the couple) to putting your budget on paper to making hard decisions to the “occasional happy splurge.” One of my favorite parts of the chapter is a cameo essay by Dana LaRue, creator of The Broke-Ass Bride, who writes, “Don’t confuse ‘expensive’ with ‘better.’” With Keene and her team, it’s all about promoting an insanity-free wedding; it can happen for you.

A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration (Lifelong Books, January 2012) by Meg Keene is available at Amazon.com and national retailers. Learn more about Meg Keene at Apracticalwedding.com.

 

TRAVEL

Always Among Friends: St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Always Among Friends: St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Published: Friday, 21 February 2014 00:56

Many consider the island of St. John to be the jewel in the Caribbean crown. Affluent and tranquil, this tiny tropical paradise is only 13 miles long and four miles wide.

Glaciers, Humpbacks and Bears, Oh My: Honeymoon on an Alaskan Cruise
Glaciers, Humpbacks and Bears, Oh My: Honeymoon on an Alaskan Cruise
Published: Tuesday, 18 June 2013 19:11

Cruises serving the LGBT community have long been popular, but gay-friendly traveling options are widening as cruise lines increasingly welcome same-sex couples. 

Pocono Mountains Retreat: Mount Airy Casino Resort
Pocono Mountains Retreat: Mount Airy Casino Resort
Published: Tuesday, 30 April 2013 05:00

Mount Airy Casino Resort offers a picturesque honeymoon and wedding destination to gay, lesbian and allied couples alike.

ASK KIRSTEN Wedding Advice from our Editor

Our Families Don't Know We're Queer or Our Gender Identification and We're Getting Married
Our Families Don't Know We're Queer or Our Gender Identification and We're Getting Married
Published: Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:00

As we approach our engagement party where our families will meet our partner for the first time, as well as each other, we are feeling really nervous that they will be uncomfortable and confused.