In the fall of 2008, I was a senior English major at The College of Wooster, and I had a new obsession. No, it wasn’t my thesis on women diarists’ search for authentic self-expression (have you forgotten my penchant for procrastination?) — it was the blogosphere. Hours of every day were spent scrolling through blogs about street style, interior design, art and typography, and even a couple wedding blogs.
Of course, I didn’t tell anyone about the wedding blogs. I was just 20, Max and I had only been together a little over a year, and I didn’t want to seem like a “crazy” “wedding-obsessed” “typical girl.” (Cringing now at those labels, but nine years ago I didn’t know any better.) It’s true that part of their appeal was the romance factor, but what first drew me in were the beautiful curated photos, combining fashion, florals and decor. I experienced my first stationery swoons looking at invitations, menus and place cards on wedding blogs. But before long, I was feeling overwhelmed by all the pretty, pretty perfection on conventional wedding blogs, and wondering how it was possible that mere mortals like me were throwing such elaborate affairs.
And then I found A Practical Wedding.
Today, A Practical Wedding has grown into one of the most popular wedding publications in the world, with a team of talented writers. But back in 2008, it was a fledgling blog written solely by Meg Keene, a newly-engaged feminist who was trying to cut through the wedding industry bullshit and plan a wedding that was, well, practical. Beautiful, yes, meaningful, of course, but practical and affordable, too. Meg wrote about her own wedding planning adventures with sass and refreshing honesty, and profiled all kinds of couples celebrating all kinds of love in all kinds of ways.
Over the years, A Practical Wedding has become my favorite place on the internet. I couldn’t name half the blogs I used to read in 2008, but APW still feels as fascinating, relevant, and crucial as it did when I first found it. It has grown to become a community of thoughtful, intelligent, supportive women discussing everything from wedding etiquette to wage equality. When I need a refreshingly honest, feminist perspective on the world, APW is the first place I turn.
Yes, the site was my #1 resource for practical information and advice when wedding planning — but more importantly, it has taught me time and time again that this world is full of strong, creative women who are ready to lift up the women around them. When I launched my Etsy shop last May, I excitedly shared the news in a comment on one of the weekly APW Happy Hour posts, and received an outpouring of support and encouragement, and my first online order was from a fellow APWer.
Watching Meg Keene grow her personal wedding blog into a thriving community, two book deals, and a publication that has twice the readership of Martha Stewart Weddings(!) has been incredibly inspiring. From the first, she has stayed true to her own unique voice, and has used her platform to bring visibility to the marginalized and underrepresented — and has managed to make a profitable business out of it.
As I plan and dream and build the future of Written Paper Goods, I am so grateful to have the example of Meg Keene’s A Practical Wedding to look to. If you’re reading this, Meg, thank you for your sharing your voice with the world, and creating such a beautiful community. Your dedication, your vision, and your continued intolerance of patriarchal bullshit have continually inspired me and #empoweredWritten.