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Drum-Roll, Please


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

I’ve been thinking a lot about community over the past few weeks, and what it means to do a good job hosting one. In many ways, I’m pretty proud of the work I’ve done building community on APW. We have a great safe space to talk and support each other, we have totally fascinating discussions. You guys contribute to the conversation in huge and amazing ways with wedding graduate posts and Reclaiming Wife posts and just because posts. Plus, you care as much about each other as you do about me, and that’s a huge deal.

But there are other ways I haven’t been as good at building and facilitating community as I could be. Namely: asking for help. I HATE it. When it comes to asking for help I’m dig-in-my-heels stubborn. I don’t need help, I shouldn’t ask for it, I shouldn’t expect it. No way, no how. But over the last six months, regular readers and commenters have been having some serious conversations with me about this. Their arguments go something like this: A) We love what is happening on APW, and we want to help it grow. Personally. What can we do? B) APW is not all about you, and you can’t do it all alone. C) You’re slowly killing yourself with your not-ever-having-any-down-time and not-having-time-to-really-write nonsense. D) Let us help.

And for some reason, my extra stubborn response has been, “I’M FINE I’M SO SUPER DUPER FINE. APW IS SMALL AND SCRAPPY AND JUST ME AND DID I MENTION I’M SCRAPPY AND I TOTALLY DON’T NEED HELP AND IF I ASKED FOR HELP I WOULD BE A BAD PERSON AND PEOPLE WILL HATE ME AND I’M SO TOTALLY FINE, NO PROBLEMS HERE!”

Achem. Right. Well. But then there is my health, and me wanting to keep it. And my writing, and me wanting time to do it. And in the end, I want to do what’s right for APW, and it slowly, slowly dawned on me that doing what’s right for APW meant admitting that to really honor the little community that’s built here, I have to allow myself to accept help.

So. I’m excited to finally get to tell you guys that APW is finally not totally me.

A month ago, I jokingly twittered something about needing an intern, and Lauren replied that she’d totally be my intern and bring me coffee. Turns out the woman has an MFA in writing, lives ten blocks away from me, and is trying to build up her resume in social media. I know, right? The Universe could not speak more clearly than that.

Drum Roll, Please | A Practical Wedding

So, for the past month, Lauren has been on the APW team. If you’ve noticed more writing on my part in the last month, thank Lauren. She’s currently in charge of picking and prepping all the wedding graduate posts (with some pokes from me), copy-editing all my posts for the rather infinite errors, and re-tagging all the real wedding and wedding graduate posts so you can find them more easily. She’s planning her wedding for next summer, and starting tomorrow, she’ll be sharing her wedding undergraduate journey on APW, in fits and starts.

But it gets better than THAT even. Remember when I went to Italy and Alyssa and Liz moderated while I was gone? Of course you do, because it was awesome. Well, Liz is slightly busy at the moment growing a small human and working her dream job as a High School English Teacher. But!

Drum Roll, Please | A Practical Wedding

Alyssa is joining the APW Team (how cool is it that I can say APW Team?) as the editor of our new weekly-ish column Ask Team Practical, which will run on Fridays. You guys send me a LOT of email asking me wedding (and sometimes marriage) related questions, and I’ve officially reached the point where I can’t even dream of answering all the questions (or even some of them) and I was feeling sad. But no more!!! Now you can email those questions to askteampractical at apracticalwedding dot com (I swear to God, if you email me a press release at this email address, I will mock you on Twitter and make you rue the day, so don’t, mmmkayyy?) and once a week we’ll work on answering and/or crowd sourcing answers to these questions. Are you excited? I’m SO EXCITED.

And now, things you might want to know about Alyssa and Lauren. First: they are both helping me out for free right now, because they are awesome people. That means I, and we, owe them a rather huge debt of gratitude. I try to pay down that debt by giving them free stuff, and endless time to ask me questions about running a small business and social media. You can respect their contributions by being nice to them. I would kiss you on the mouth if you did that. Ready? SMOOCH.

Second. Alyssa is hilarious and lives in Texas and is hilarious. Seriously. She wrote the funniest wedding graduate post on record, but doesn’t have a blog. Boo. Except now she’s kind of borrowing APW on Fridays. She twitters at @Lyssachelle, and you should totally follow her. Her feed is locked, but she says YOU are more than welcome to follow her. Because she loves you.

Lauren is a writer, and lives with her fiance by the beach in San Francisco. She’s currently way too nice to me, and Alyssa and I are working to break her of that habit. Recent lessons include such gems as, “If you’re really funny, you can kind of get away with being a b*tch! Go!” Lauren writes at Better In Real Life, and she’s awesome. You should particularly read this post about feminism (prompted by some of our conversations on APW), and this post about curly straws and sobbing because your partner clearly does not love you any more, because obviously. You can follow her on twitter at @betterinrealife, and if you follow all three of us, you can totally listen in, cocktail-party-style, to us discussing APW work. Fun? Maybe. Funny? Yes.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that, hey, APW isn’t teeny and scrappy any more. Now we’re smedium sized and scrappy. And you know what? That’s a great thing. So please help me welcoming Lauren and Alyssa to the party. I think they are going to make APW an even better place to be. And for that, I owe them big time.

(And yes, I’m going to keep working on accepting help, and building community. But for a first step? I think we’ve done brilliantly.)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • http://LeahAndMark.com Mark

    Interns and help! That’s awesome! Glad you finally really accepted the help from others. I had to learn that too.

    Oh – and you’re awesome.

  • http://allthatyouhaveisyoursoul.blogspot.com Amber

    My god. You were so slow to get around to realising the obvious but thank fuck you did. Hope you are feeling more well rested about the whole hoolah now lady!

    • meg

      Where have you been, lady??? You need to get a gravitar so I can see your pretty laughing face when you comment. The end.

      • http://allthatyouhaveisyoursoul.blogspot.com Amber

        Oh bless you. I’ve sorta, ahem, moved though.

        oneofthesemornings.wordpress.com

        • http://oneofthesemornings.wordpress.com Arjie

          oh and obvs i’ve been here the whole time. Can just be kinda terrifying to comment when there are like 200+ comments as opposed to the days of like 12.

          • meg

            Oh, I hear THAT. But I miss you guys.

  • http://austingastronomist.com Kathryn H.

    Meg, I’m so psyched to see growth on APW, and to see that you’re creating a fabulous team of helpers to make it happen. Congratulations! Plus I have two new Twitter friends. Can’t wait to know you more, Lauren and Alyssa. Thanks so much for helping to make APW awesome-er!

  • http://www.firstmilkmaid.com Amanda

    Congratulations, M. Well done.
    And welcome, A and L.

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

    Yayayayay! I KNEW it! I saw Lauren’s name on a post in my google reader. Oooh so excited. And Meg, APW will always be scrappy because you are there, but now it’s scrappy^3, which is awesome because it can hit more people. Woot Alyssa and Lauren!!

    • meg

      Hear that Alyssa and Lauren? HIT MORE PEOPLE ;)

      • Alyssa

        I’m on it, boss.

  • Erin

    This is super exciting! Growing a business to include more people? That’s some sweet success. And Alyssa and Lauren? Awesome!

  • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

    Wow, this is big and so wonderful. I’m really happy for you Meg and for the APW community. And saying welcome to Alyssa and Lauren doesn’t sound right, so I’ll say thank you for jumping on board the new APW team!

  • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

    woot woot!

    margaritas for alyssa and lauren on meee.

    • Alyssa

      Not until you can partake too. Then we’ll Sykpe ‘n booze! It’ll be on like Donkey-Kong!!

      • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

        There is already a virtual drinking golf invite on twitter going on today. If only…. if only…

  • http://anyotherwedding.blogspot.com Fliss

    Such a great idea – and so glad you realised that for you, you needed to do it.

    Looking forward to what this will bring…

  • http://amidlifeofprivilege.blogspot.com LPC

    Congratulations to all of you.

  • Joannezipan

    Oh Thank Goodness – Now go have an afternoon nap Meg! You were making me feel tired!

  • http://limadean.wordpress.com Nadine

    Welcome ladies!

  • Allison

    yay! congratulations ladies :)

  • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

    Oh, excitinggg! Can’t wait to get to know you, Lauren and Alyssa!

  • http://extragrunty.wordpress.com/ Extragrunty

    This is Great News! I had no idea how long you could keep the insane pace up. Glad you now have help. Great to meet the new APW ladies!

  • mariela

    Welcome to the team ladies! This is going to be so exciting!
    Lauren, I was so confused yesterday when you were Christmas-Eve-excited for Monday morning, since you know we hate Mondays, but now! Hooray! And of course, Merry Christmas!
    Meg, for the love of all the is holy, please go enjoy a sunny San Francisco day :)

    • meg

      I’m down in LA at the poolllllll. Though I will probably work a little later :)

  • Sarah

    Hooray! How exciting!

  • Marina

    I am truly, unbelievably excited. This is fantastic news! Yay TEAM APW! (omg. that is a seriously cool phrase.) APW just gets cooler and cooler.

  • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

    Yessssss! I was wondering how you were writing so much lately. I was like, that Meg is a super human. Now we all know that you have had some behind-the-scenes help and that’s SO awesome! Yay to the APW TEAM!

  • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

    I know when something’s your baby that it’s really hard to ask for help. BUT, the fact that you needed some help to save your health and sanity is an awesome testament to the amazing job you’ve done building this community. You rock, and hi, Alyssa and Lauren!

  • Chantelle

    It’s Thanksgiving in Canada and I am so thankful for having an awesome space like APW. Kudo’s Meg, on doing an amazing job with this site, and for being able to accept help. I’m excited to see the great stuff you and your team will produce!

  • Kashia

    This is brilliant! It’s so exciting to have a Team APW!

  • Other Katelyn

    Lauren’s post about crazy straws killed me (and I immediately sent the link to my boyfriend, all like “see?! not just me!”). Welcome!

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      Hahahahaha!! Oh if there is one thing I can do – I can make sure the irrational in all of us doesn’t feel alone. Awesome.

      • ANONYMOUS

        DUUUUDDDDEEE. I decide that my husband doesn’t love me each and every month. Also that the world is ending and everything sucks. <3 hormones.

      • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

        that’s why we need you here– you’re perfect :)

  • http://www.courtneykhailstationery.com Courtney

    Congrats, Meg!! You deserve this.

  • http://www.montereyweddingofficiants.com/elope_monterey.html Maureen Thomson, Lyssabeth’s Wedding Officiants

    Awesome, Meg! The thing I found when I went from a “me” to a “team” was that it had the added opportunity to bounce ideas off of kindred spirits. Being on one’s own has its advantageous (until you work yourself to death, that is!) but it can be very isolating. So glad to hear that you have peeps working by your side (well, figuratively speaking).

  • merryf

    Congratulations on your new team, from another scrappy dont-need-anyone-else-to-help-me-I-can-do-it-all-MYSELF person! This is great, go get some chocolate and celebrate the awesome ladies in the new APW TEAM! YAY!

  • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com Sarah K

    This is FABULOUS and I am so happy. A: yes, you need help, and Lauren will keep you from exploding. B: you need content for this amazing blog, but you can’t do it all yourself (especially for all the still-in-wedding-planning stuff). And the Team (team!!) will help you with that.

    I, for one, am PUMPED for Ask Practical Wedding Fridays, since that sounds awesome and interesting and a chance for all us APW ladies to do our advice-giving gig (which we love).

    This is awesome news, Meg! And WELCOME, Lauren and Alyssa!! :D

    • http://www.ukuleleinrouen.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

      And thank GOODness it’s on a Friday so we can spend all weekend reading the responses, or there’s no way I’d make it to the next day’s post on time!

  • http://sogladthatyouexist.blogspot.com ninabb

    Fantastic. Best (volunteer) jobs ever.

  • angela

    thanks god you get help!!! probably your health will thank you…..in the meantime, we will thanks to the team you will become and are right now…
    Lauren, Alyssa, thanks for being there!!

  • http://starsinthegutter.blogspot.com Katy

    I just started reading and I can’t stop! Exciting news!

  • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

    I HEART LAUREN BECAUSE:
    You help ALL OF US when you help Meg.

    Yes, I’ve noticed that Meg has been doing a lot more writing this month, which is awesome. It’s why I still visit this site daily, even post-wedding. I love grad posts and other reader contributions (grad posts saved my life when I was drowning in the planning process, and I’m glad that they help those who are currently planning), but now my favorite posts are the ones by Meg herself. So your intern magic is allowing me to get more of what I need from this site. Basically, you rule.

    I HEART ALYSSA BECAUSE:
    The Ask Team Practical column sounds AWESOME. Totally psyched for that. Totally psyched for Alyssa.

    Welcome, ladies! :)

  • http://bourbonlove.wordpress.com kat at bourbonlove

    hooray for apw! thank you (in advance) Lauren and Alyssa!

  • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

    Hi Everyone!! All your comments are making me blush. The power of APW astounds me. I’m thrilled to be part of it. :)

  • http://offbeatbride.com Ariel

    DUDE! It’s about damn time you got some help up in here! I seriously would be lost, lost, LOST without my Offbeat Editors. And that’s only in tiny part because of the work they do … the value of having coworkers and teammates to commiserate with is something I never fully appreciated until I spent a while working solo on Offbeat Bride. Congrats to everyone involved for the birth of the APW Team!

    • meg

      I almost noted the time over dinner where you very nicely said, “Huh. You’re still doing it alone?” And then were like “blink-blink-blink,” and looked at me like, “Girl, you crazy.” I can take a hint, even if I’m a little… slowwww…. ;)

  • http://forayavecmoi.blogspot.com Caitlyn

    Hot damn! This is gonna be awesome.

    More writing+more fricking hilarious people+more=the best.

    Pro move Meg.

  • Alyssa

    YOU GUYS!! You’re all so nice, I’m so surrounded by love right now, I just want to roll in it like a puppy!

    I’m so official that I even have my own APW email address. It’s Alyssa AT apracticalwedding DOT com. This way if you disagree with me or hate something I say, you can email me directly and ruin just my day and not Meg’s. (I can’t promise I won’t tattle. But Meg will just tell me to suck it up and relate a story that’s way worse than mine and make me realize I’m a sissy.)

    The best part about this is it’s a move for APW to be even bigger and more awesome. (Well, the best part for me is that my mom is excited. But the whole APW growing and Meg getting sleep thing is good too.)

    Send in your questions! Even ones you think are dumb, because they probably aren’t.

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      I just exactly-ed you.

      • Alyssa

        I did you too. We’re our own mutal-admiration society.

        We need t-shirts.

        • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

          “I’m with really awesome, cute, and funny lady”

          • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

            oh boy… it’s already come to this??? ;)

          • Alyssa

            Caitlin – Oh, sweetie, it’s much worse. Once we found out about our mutual Firefly love, it was over.

    • meg

      We need an updated about page with email adresses for the ladies! That way people can send mean emails saying “you’re homophobic and a freak and now I’m going to kill a kitten and I HOPE YOU FEEL GUILTY,” to EVERYONE. **That** will be like internet christmas (ok, but not so much christmas for kittens…)

      • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

        That sounds like a challenge. Let’s see who can get the most outrageous hate mail. Oh how funny it will be.

        • Alyssa

          First one to cry has to buy the drinks at our first meet-up!

      • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

        i request a wall of shame for these such emails. i always wonder what the bitter hags send you. since it’s usually all butterflies and rainbows on here.

  • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

    Yaaaaaay! Meg gets help, we get more awesomeness, everyone wins!

  • Katie

    How incredibly exciting for Meg, Alyssa, Lauren, AND all of the APW-universe! I mean, less stress for Meg AND increased scrappy, sassy, smarty-pants content?! Internet Christmas indeed!

  • margiemive

    This website kept me sane while I was planning my wedding – it was THE only website that had a blood pressure lowering effect on me and I will always love it for that. But it was only afterwards that I started commenting and to my surprise, I kept reading it – and that is not true of any other wedding site. There’s something about this place that attracts people who deal with life in all its lifey-ness in a way that keeps me coming back for more. Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying that I am so incredibly pleased by the news that Meg has more help because that means more of the blog I love.

  • http://www.moodeous.com Kristy

    So much awesome I’m going to explode! Welcome and many thank yous to Alyssa & Lauren!!!

  • Marchelle

    If by scrappy you mean FUCKING AMAZING then yes, you and APW are scrappy.

    Well done, ladies.

  • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

    I have a feeling APW is only going to get smarter, funnier, more down-to-earth and more awesome… which is pretty much unbelievable.

  • http://onecatperperson.blogspot.com Angie

    that is freaking fantastic news!

  • http://koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate

    Awesome, awesome news. Congratulations on expanding & accepting help, Meg! Lauren & Alyssa, welcome!! I can imagine that APW is only going to get better & better~

  • http://www.empapers.com Eleanor

    Yay for Lauren and Alyssa!

  • Saskia

    Great work ladies!! x

  • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

    This is awesome! I love that your Empire is growing. Team Practical should be a true Team Effort. Also, excellent choices right out of the gate.

  • April

    AAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHH! I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T STAND IT!!!!!! Hoorah for Team APW and it’s partners. SO. FREAKIN. AWESOME. Ok. I need to stop the caps and exclamation points riiiiiight about now.

    There. Done. So – huge yaaaay and shout for Lauren & Alyssa and I effing La-La-LOVE this blog! Oops. I lied. One more exclamation was required. *heeee* I’ve had wine.

    Brilliant. Really. Unleash the fantastic. Well..*MORE* fantastic. You gals rock. xoxo

  • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

    yay for help!! yay for alyssa!! yay for lauren!!

    it feels like such a privilege to witness the growth of this community from when you started on blogspot to what you have here. i am grateful for this space every day.

  • Tina

    This is exciting news! Sometimes I feel like I need to hire help just to get my daily dose of APW and read all of the amazing comments. :) Am I the only one who’s a bit OCD about reading all/most comments before commenting? Damn not getting to check it until nighttime!

    I’m going to love having more sound, smart women to read on this site, I just know it. Welcome Lauren and Alyssa!

    • meg

      Interns for the readers! Done! Lauren… can you get on that…. ;)

  • http://www.agirlandaboy.com/journal agirlandaboy

    This is awesomely big news! Go you!

  • Moz

    Congrats! And thanks guys for helping out, Alyssa was so great stepping in a while back.

    Mostly Meg, I think we’re all glad to know that you will be taking time out for you and for David and growing that family you talk about with such love. Otherwise where would APW be?

  • ddayporter

    aaahhh!! I was not online much yesterday, but congrats!! so glad you finally took this step. and yay Lauren & Alyssa! <3 <3

  • http://suburbaliciousliving.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    I’m sorry, but this just seems totally corporate and I bet someday Meg is going to be famous and it totally pisses me off and makes me jealous so I’m going to call you a sellout for getting help for your awesome bad-ass business.

    Just kidding.

    Three cheers for even more smart women at APW!!! :)

    • meg

      VERY FUNNY :P

  • Carbon Girl

    I am happy for you, Meg! That you were able to ask for help. I have so much trouble asking for help that it hinders me a lot. For example, I cannot even ask friends to watch my dog for one night or drive me to the airport (10 minutes away) because I don’t want them to feel like they have to say yes or to resent my asking or to feel bad saying no or to . . . you get what I mean. Even though I never mind helping out my friends in the same way (making food for parties, taking care of their pets, driving them to the airport, etc). So I see where you are coming from. I am so glad you were able to ask for help. It would be cool if you could write about why you have trouble asking for help and how you got to a place where you decided it was OK too. I just get so worried about burdening anyone.

    • Carbon Girl

      Which is why I feel bad about my wedding. Parts were really more Do-It-Myself than DIT because I did not want to burden my friends in the least. I only asked my parents and husband for help. My friends offered to help me address envelopes, which I accepted only after I insisted on getting them all really good pizza afterwards!

  • BEX

    All I have to say is SWEET AWESOMENESS! And I love APW. A lot.

  • Alexandra

    Hurray! It’s been awhile since I was last here, because I took a few months off from looking at wedsites, but I’m kicking into a higher gear now and SO glad to see that there’s a fellow planner blogging–who must live not too terribly far from me! (I’m kinda-by-the-beach.)

    Loved Lauren’s first post. Muchly looking forward to the ‘ask’ feature. Woot!

  • http://adesertfete.blogspot.com jamie

    nice!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://etsywedding.blogspot.com jen

    omg. amazing. must. have. {{folds arms, blinks hard}}

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