Ask Team Practical: Year-End Wrap-Up


Ask Team Practical: Year End Wrap Up | A Practical WeddingSo when the APW team was debating the last Ask Team Practical column of the year, I suggested we do something fun. So, I asked Alyssa if she’d do a little best of (and heck, worst of) wrap up of APW in 2010. Which, if I’m being frank, has been quite a year. Well, the lady out-did herself. She looked up all the emails she sent me this year (because the way Alyssa got this job in the first place was by sending me the worlds most hilarious emails whenever people were really mean to me in the comments). Anyway, girlfriend out did herself, toasting 2010, and APW, and all of you. So, without further ado, enjoy:

We’re doing something different for our last “Ask Team Practical” of the year.  A little goodbye to last year and hello to 2011.

My favorite things from 2010:

  • Elopements!  Is it just me, or have there been a LOT of elopements this year?  Elopements aren’t what you do when you have no family.  The idea may inspire thoughts of couples sneaking out in the dead of the night to marry against their parents’ wishes, but that’s not what they really are.  They are wonderful, amazing, detailed, simple and totally worthwhile.  AND, shall we say, glorious.
  • Diversity!  It’s nice to sit around and think we live in one lovely little tolerant world, but honestly, we don’t.  As half of an interracial couple, (and the child of one; that’s my adorable parents in my grad post!) I can tell you that there are still very very stupid people out there.  And the WIC perpetuates that by rarely featuring mixed couples or even ethnic couples in general.  It makes it seem like there are only White Protestants getting married these days.  I love that APW keeps featuring couples that take that stereotype and punch it in the face.
  • Gay couples!!  Honestly?  For me?  LGBTQ marriage is marriage at its most pure.  Due to legal restrictions, there is no real reason to get married other than you just love each other SO DANG MUCH.  I’m not knocking anyone who gets married for more practical reasons or people who don’t get married at all, but when you have to fight for your right be married?  I mean, really and truly, marching on Washington and holding up signs, fight for your marriage?  That elevates everything about your marriage.  I look forward to the day that gay marriage is just marriage, but right now it’s on a pedestal for me.  Besides, our APW couples are just gorgeous.
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress.  Y’ALL.  I LOOOOOVE Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress.  And the brides that participate, especially the ones giving away their dress.   You guys, you know you’re not just giving a dress away.  You’re sharing all those lovely memories, good karma and fuzzy bunny feelings that are all wrapped up in that fabric.  You’re giving piece of mind that one of the most stressful times in wedding planning is taken care of.  At the very least you’re giving yourself one less piece of crap to haul around after you move.  At the most, you’re giving a gift of beauty and a piece of your heart to that other lovely bride.  And brides that get dresses, keep in contact with the giver!  Send sneak peek updates!  Be honest with them. Tell them how much you love the dress, tell them if the dress doesn’t fit quite right. They are part of your bridal brigade now, and they wanna know. Oh, Sisterhood…Gah, I just want to hug y’all and feed you cookies.
  • Our amazing sponsors.  Seriously, APW is not created in a vacuum, there are lots of people behind the scenes that make it happen in lots of little ways.  And I’m not talking about Lauren, David and I. The amazing sponsors are what help pay the bills and allow Meg to breathe just a little.  Plus, have you checked them out??  When I dump my husband and finally convince Taye Diggs that we’re soul mates, I’ll be using APW sponsors.  Gorgeous.

Now some resolutions for 2011.

1.) No more saying “supposed to.”

We are done with that phrase.  Got it?  It’s like “tacky,” it’s gone from the APW lexicon.  “Supposed to” only applies to unavoidable bodily functions, as in “I’m supposed to breathe.”  Or when followed by a reversal, like, “I’m supposed to wear white, but I say eff it and wore what I wanted to.”

Forget that mess.  As long as you’re not hurting anyone, you’re not SUPPOSED to do anything.  To borrow a phrase from the inimitable Joe Clark/Morgan Freeman, “I don’t have to do nothin’ but stay black and die!”   Y’all, you ain’t gotta do nothing’ but stay awesome and die.

2.)  Let’s try to avoid taking opinions personally.

A while ago, I emailed Meg and described APW this way, and it still applies.

“This is how I see APW.

A Practical Wedding is like that best friend who meets you at the bar after work and carefully listens to your woes.

And then, after you’re done, APW leans across the table and says “Eff the b*tches.”

No, I can’t, you protest and then APW spends the next hour giving you an impassioned opinion that not only empowers you but makes a very good case for effing the b*tches, and possibly setting them on fire.

Now you either leave that discussion screaming, “EFF THE B*TCHES!!!” as you grab your pitchfork, or you may disagree and leave and do nothing.  Or, most likely, you leave not screaming, but also not taking shit from anyone.

And APW is cool with that too, but still thinks you should eff the b*tches.”

What I love about APW is the passion that comes from people, on both sides of an issue.  And while I do love a “You’re wrong!” “NO, YOU’RE wrong!” debate, there needs to be a point where we step back and go, “You’ve got your opinion.  That’s cool.  You’re still wrong, but that’s cool…”  And that includes us.  Meg, Lauren and I all speak from our own experience, as do the contributors.   Our opinions are right for us and possibly right for you.  Maybe.  But an opinion that may include you in a generalization isn’t personally attacking you.  (Unless they are.  Then report it, because we’ll remove that sh*t post haste.)

3.)  Resolve to apply APW lessons into real life.

I call them APW lessons, but honestly it’s just life lessons from one amazing woman to another.  Bring shame blasting into other areas of your life.  Empower other women by supporting them in their business, in their life and their life decisions.  Share your experiences on name changing, wedding planning, life living and let women in your life know that they do HAVE OPTIONS.  And don’t just send them the link to a post; tell them about a vendor, invite them to a book club meeting, lend them your copy of Offbeat Bride or The Commitment, invite them to coffee and talk about your own experience and the hard stuff.

And keep emailing content, contributing posts and commenting on APW.  You never know how much your ideas and opinions can help someone else.  A tiny idea can grow into something wonderful and you’ll be the catalyst!  Ain’t that cool?

4.) I’m sneaking this one in on behalf of Lauren and Meg, but let’s resolve to ease up on the typo/grammar criticism.

80% of the content on here is generated by two people, and that’s daily posts, sometimes twice a day.  (I’m giving me and contributors the other 20%, but that’s being kind of generous.)  When a correction is needed it is greatly appreciated, but an email pointing it out will suffice.  Mockery is just mean, unless it’s BAD.  Then it’s warranted.

But they both have full time jobs.  Technically Meg has two, because APW is really a full time job.  Plus poor Lauren has to wade through Meg’s 11pm flashes of brilliance and the mess that I write up and call “style,” so let’s be good to the girl, pretty please?

Cause then she’ll leave us and we’ll be devastated and possibly write poetry to win her back.

Feel free to mock me.  I got a sweet gig and probably deserve to be mocked.

5.)  Be proud of yourselves.

APW has grown by leaps and bounds, even in just the last year!  I forwarded Meg an email I sent that said, “I would like to kindly ask you to refrain from having APW be so damn interesting all the time.  I’m not getting any work done, spending all day refreshing the page….   You keep this up and you’re going to start being like, “52 replies?!?  WHAT??  Are people just LAZY today??”  It’ll happen…”

Know when that was from?  MAY 2010.  Seven months ago, we were joking about 52 comments being a slow day, thinking that was super impossible. And now 100 comments makes us think y’all didn’t even wake  up and go to work.

APW is getting huge; Meg has done a redesign, she’s hiring people, she’s running donation drives that blow some charity drives I’ve seen out of the dang water…it’s amazing.  And it’s because of you guys.  Pat yourself on the back, buy yourself something pretty and be ridiculously proud of the community you’ve helped create.  You guys and your posts and comments are not only helping current baby brides, but future baby brides who will go through the archives and go, “It’s okay that I don’t care about chair covers?  REALLY?”

So that’s it for ATP 2010.  Y’all be good to each other, stay awesome but don’t die over the holidays and ATP will see you in 2011!

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  • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

    Soooo … that means, no saying, “You’re supposed to write thank you cards”?

    KIDDING!!!

    *ducks*

    (For the record, my T-Y cards went out on Saturday, in just under the Emily Post-recommended 3 months mark, which would be TODAY!!!)

  • Marchelle

    Ah, Alyssa. I do love you. :)

    Happy holidays, lady!

    • sophia

      I love this post! I’ve learned so much from APW that helped during wedding planning (married 2.5 months) but I can’t stop coming back now that I’m married. SO thankful this forum exists!

    • Alyssa

      The feeling is absolutely mutual, m’am! :-)

  • http://palegirlinthecity.tumblr.com Annie

    Great post! I’m a relatively new APW reader (only started following after I got engaged in June), but this has been one of my biggest sources of inspiration/relief during the wedding planning process. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in 2011. Keep up the amazing work, APW team!

  • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

    In all seriousness, I’m kind of obsessed with this site, I think even more so post marriage. I recommend it to ALL engaged couples, because it really was the number one thing that kept me sane. (Offbeat Bride is fun to read for inspiration, the OBT was great for general chatter and venting, and Eastside Bride is fabulous for a great laugh, especially the “Ask ESB” feature, but this is the place I went to center myself.)

    As for the vendors, I had already ordered my invites before Meg featured Up Up Creative, and I was bummed because while her invites were a little pricier than the ones I bought, they would have been WORTH IT. I did buy address labels from her, unfortunately not in time for my thank you cards (because I’m a dolt and didn’t think of it until I was addressing them), but Christmas cards are going out this weekend and I can’t WAIT to use them. :)

  • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

    What a great wrap-up! Although I wish I had the skills to make an 80s music video montage of it… Oh well. Seriously though, thanks to Meg, Alyssa, Lauren, and the rest of APW for being a constant source of inspiration and sanity. We’re not planning a wedding yet, but APW has ensured that when we do, we’ll rock it. And beyond weddings, APW has been where I can go to find a much-needed community of awesome women who aren’t down with supposed-tos.

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      80s MONTAGE?! I want one! hahaha. Amazing.

      • Alyssa

        Y’all don’t even know how much I love a good 80′s montage. I wanted one SO BAD when I tried on wedding dresses….

  • Jen

    Maybe I’m just over emotional today but this post brought tears to my eyes. You guys really have created an amazing community and although I’m usually just a silent reader and a comment stalker I look forward to every new post and every new opinion that shows up on this site.
    Thank you for the constant reminder that getting married isn’t about the wedding, it’s about getting married to the man I love. I look forward to an inspirational 2011.

  • Wench

    You guys have kept me sane this year through wedding planning, getting hitched, having a kick ass honeymoon and also kept me sane through some not so fun illness in the last couple of weeks post all the wedding excitement.
    I cannot thank you enough – looking forward to the ongoing wisdom in 2011
    (oh and you can correct my grammar all you like and I don’t give a whoopsy)

  • Zan

    Remember how, in Kindergarten, the teacher would say, “Give yourselves a pat on the back!” for a job well done? And you’d twist yourself up into knots with your limited motor skills (er, maybe that was just me). Eventually you’d reach back there, pat yourself on the back and be all flush with pride at what’d you’d accomplished (circus flexibility and otherwise?)

    Well, consider me the APW Kindergarten teacher for a moment ladies –

    Give yourselves a PAT ON THE BACK!

    (gold stars if you send pictures of yourselves doing said Pat to Alyssa and Lauren and Meg)

    • Michelle

      With regards to the self contortion when told to “pat yourself on the back”… not just you. :)
      With regards to everything else – I second that!

  • Zan

    And also, a New Year’s prediction:

    Meg and team, it’s only a matter of time before They find you and put you on the Today show. And when They do They will likely put you up in some swanky hotel but if they don’t you should all totally crash at my place!

    • tupelohoney

      Or they eventually make a movie about you, Meg :-) There are 2 actresses I predict to be in the running to play you! One day… (if you dig it)

      • meg

        First, yeah right. And second, which two actresses???

        • tupelohoney

          Amy Adams or Jenna Fischer :-) Two adorbs, in my opinion.

          • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

            Yeah, I’ve always thought that Meg looks EXACTLY like Jenna Fischer in her pictures!

          • Joanna

            Yeah, those actresses are dead on, especially Jenna Fischer!

            And of course, thank you Meg & Team Practical. Keep doing your thing, it’s honestly making a huge difference in our lives. I can tell. You make people cry happy tears, like, everyday. And I think a part of it has to do with relief; That we are not alone, that others understand our issues because they’ve been there! And relief from releasing unnecessary pressure and expectations. Thank you.

        • Zan

          Rachel McAdams!

          • meg

            Oh, THAT I can get on board with. She’s bitingly funny/dark like me. Um, not that there will EVER be a movie about my life.

        • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

          Oh my god Jenna!! That is SO perfect!

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

    Thank you so much to everyone at APW. Meg, Lauren, and Alyssa deserve so much love for making this site what it is. This really was a BIG year for APW.

  • Aly

    I’m just going to go ahead and throw a giant, crazy a**, end of the year THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU out to the whole Team Practical. Yesterday a friend put up a link on facebook about a wedding on a typical wedding blog and I clicked through because the picture looked pretty and I was bored…..and it scared me. It truly, truly scared me. It was all about the little details (don’t get me wrong, they were gorgeous), how much it cost, how many pictures they took at so many places, etc. I do not want anyone to ever describe my wedding that way. There was nothing about how much fun they had, or how in love they are, or plans for the rest of their life- THAT’S what I want to hear about in a wedding. That’s why I love the Wedding Grads on APW, as well as pretty much every thing else here. So I know its been said 1000 times before, but its the end of the year, so once more thanks for being that voice of sanity in a crowd of crazy. We need it.

  • Paranoid Libra

    “I would like to kindly ask you to refrain from having APW be so damn interesting all the time. I’m not getting any work done, spending all day refreshing the page…. ”

    I am so guilty of that and also so very thankful for APW. It will be a huge help whenever I can finally scream from the roof tops that I am engaged.

    Oh and LGBTQ weddings just make me squeal even as a straight girl and not even having really any close friend in that community, I just see sooo much love and happiness in their photos. I mean the APW wedding grads I have read I all see such love and joy, but for some reason LGBTQ weddings just always get me a little teary. There is just so much beauty and love in them. There is also just so much beauty and love on APW.

  • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

    amen to the part about the comments. if there’s less than two pages of comments when i read a post, i consider myself lucky! and if i happen to get up early and read a post with NO comments– my first thought is “where the heck is everybody today???”!

    • http://woodenhouses.tk/ Kinzie Kangaroo

      My favorite thing is when I wake up to read the post and there are no comments and I’m like “YESSS I will be on time to work today because I won’t be reading millions of comments” and then I click refresh and in the time it took to read the post, 7 or 8 awesome people have commented. And then I have to read their comments and comment on their comments and then I’m late. Again.

      But it’s so worth it.

      • abby_wan_kenobi

        Obviously not a *lot* of APW readers are in the eastern timezone and at work at 7 am. I usually read a post and then come back two hours later to read the comments :) Because I love the posts, but I’m addicted to the comments.

      • http://fionalynne.wordpress.com fiona lynne

        Try being in Europe and needing to wait until almost lunchtime for the new content to be up! I can’t tell you how many times the refresh button gets hit during my work day. Good job my boss never checks my “most visited pages”… ;)

  • Ruth

    I also would like to say a giant THANK YOU at the end of 2010. I was so lucky to stumble on this website while planning my wedding this year and have not stopped reading everyday since that first day. I’m especially grateful for what APW has meant for me in the months since my wedding. Everyday you guys give me something new to think about, consider, feel crazy happy about and just say hell yeah I agree with that.

    What an amazing community! I’m very excited to see how we all grow and become even more awesome in the coming year!

  • meg

    Just, you know, a note that we’ll still be here next week (we’re actually planning to do wedding graduates most of the week, because we’re really behind on them AND we thought that was the best present we could give you). We just will be signing off on Thursday for the rest of the year, so this is the last ATP.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      You mean I can step away from the computer for a full week without feeling like I’m missing anything?!?!

      Holy eff.

      • meg

        No, **I** can step away from my computer for a whole week. It’s the only week I get a year, other than some really hard earned summer vacation, with moderaters, where I still have to check in internationally and put out fires.

      • Alyssa

        NO M’AM, you will be reading through the list of Reclaiming Wife prompts and composing a post. That’s your homework for the holiday season.

        Now get to it!

        And keep your hands to yourself and use your 12 inch voice. (I would have been and EXCELLENT teacher.)

        • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

          Already did! (I was always the student who finished the work before break so I could have a ‘proper’ holiday. :p )

        • Morgan

          Hey, can you guys put those prompts somewhere easier to find? It took me a bit of digging this week to get to them, and I’m lazy. :)

          • meg

            Erm. Like the submissions page? Where do you want ‘em?

  • http://nighttraintodetroit.com amy

    I would like to heartily second resolution #4. Being snide about typos/spelling errors is possibly the weakest expression of intellectual self-importance there is. I say this as a professional editor. Should they be corrected? Yes. But it’s a pretty lame reason to judge someone. Especially when, as is mostly the case on APW, the WRITING is really good.

    Is anyone really that personally offended by seeing “their” instead of “they’re” once in a while? Really? Because although I have an abiding respect for the English language, I’m kind of over it.

    Thanks for everything this year, APW! It sounds ridiculous, but this blog was one of the best things I read in 2010.

    • Kaitlin

      Yes! I have a BA in English, MA (and very nearly a PhD) in linguistics and I work at the university’s writing center, so I think about language for a living. Nevertheless, I think getting uppity about grammatical oversights is laaaaame.

      • Class of 1980

        It’s what people do when they don’t like what someone wrote, but they’re too lazy to formulate a real response. Attacking spelling and grammar is so much easier and you don’t have to think.

        • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

          agreed with 1980. but just the same, i was surprised to see this in the list- maybe i’m completely not observant, but i never really noticed people ganging up on the typos. that’s something i’ve found more on certain godforsaken wedding forums that shall not be named.

          • meg

            I get a lot of (well meaning but hurtful) emails on the subject. I’m dyslexic, so I get really hurt when I get accused of not working hard enough/ not caring enough to fix typos. Because I can’t see them. So it sucks. Everyone should remember not to assume that people who can’t spell or have typos are dumb. Some of us have learning disabilities. UGH. The end.

          • Class of 1980

            I can’t reply to Meg below her comment, so I’ll do it here.

            For what it’s worth, ages ago I read about some study on spelling and intelligence. They are NOT related. The ability to spell has more in common with a photographic memory.

            I have to write a word down to spell it right because I know what it should look like visually. I don’t keep the letters in my head; only what the word looks like. So, I think that study was right. It has something to do with vision and how our brains remember what we see.

            Anyway, I would think people would make assumptions about intelligence based on the content of the writing. I look at how a person reasons things out or how thoughtful they are.

          • Class of 1980

            Oops. How many times will I misjudge where a comment is going to show up?!

          • Marisa-Andrea

            Meg,
            Ugh is right. You’re one of the most intelligent people I know. The end.

  • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

    Yet another voice saying Congrats to APW for a great year! Here’s to a great 2011. :)

  • http://Strawberriesinparis.com Elizabeth

    You guys rock!!! Keep up the good work!!!

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

    <3 to all of you. Meg, Alyssa, Lauren, and the wonderful Team Practical.

  • http://www.ohdeerio.com smallwonder

    In 2010 I discovered APW, moved in with my boyfriend, got engaged and started planning our (hopefully) very lovely and practical wedding. As a girl whose husband elect nicknamed her after a robot, you can imagine how much I needed a site that had an intelligent and thoughtful approach to weddings and marriage. I’m so looking forward to using the site in 2011 as we approach D-day.

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      Oh my god, we’re the same person. :)

    • http://misallocationofresources.blogspot.com/ Jenn

      Me too! Except I got engaged on Dec 31st 2009 – can I still be in the club? :)

      • http://www.ohdeerio.com smallwonder

        Close enough : ) Yay APW class of 2011!

        • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

          I’m slightly in love with the idea of APW “classes”. Because it would mean class photos and reunions and things. Yea for you class of 2011.

          And lets hear it for APW class of 2009!!

          • meg

            Yayyy ’09.

    • Carla

      I kind of love the term “husband-elect”.

  • Jillian

    I only recently got engaged (November) and I cannot tell you enough how glad I am that I found this site so early in my planning process. So thank you, thank you thank you for the wonderful words of wisdom and support and for just being a place of calm. Every time I read through the archives or a new post I feel a tiny bit of wedding stress just float away. Can’t wait to see what APW has in store for the new year!

  • http://lilapuppy.blogspot.com Meghan

    Yay to APW! And a toast to the future, I know that it will be bright!

  • Amy

    Thank you APW for keeping me sane this year as I planned my wedding and got married. I’m now recommending this website for all my newly engaged friends (three since Thanksgiving already! It’s going to be a busy 2011!). I still love the wedding grad posts, but really appreciate the posts on marriage now. It’s again a reminder that we are not alone in the happy surprises and the difficult surprises of life.

  • http://memorableceremonies.blogspot.com/ Maureen Thomson

    Wonderful and inspirational wrap up. I just gotta say two things (okay three, but that’s it):

    I LOVE Elopements!

    Your story about “effing the b*tches” reminded me of my definition of the perfect friend. Someone to whom you can confess that you just murdered someone and chopped the body into little pieces with an ax, and the perfect friend pats your hand and says, “there, there, I’m sure you had a very good reason.”

    You’re spot on about the GLBT weddings. I don’t usually generalize (on account of I’m not “supposed to”) but there is a group who does not take marriage for granted!

    Thanks for an incredible year of insights. (I don’t always comment, but I always read.)

    • http://linseykitchens.wordpress.com Linsey

      Giggle, giggle. I hope I’m one of those friends to someone, Maureen. Love that description. And then we take a couple shots of whiskey.

  • April

    Awesome wrap-up! I just love and adore this site. You ladies are the best and it’s been great starting each morning with a daily dose of APW. Can’t wait for more brilliance in 2011.

    Thanks, y’all! XOXO

  • http://twentyfivetowife.blogspot.com Amanda

    I’m so glad I found this blog! I just want to give everyone on it–from Meg, Alyssa, and Lauren to all the contributors and commenters–a giant bear hug pretty much every day. I skim the comments sometimes, out of necessity (especially since by the time I wake up on the west coast the post has been up for 2+ hours and all those Easterners have gotten to it first), but I learn something new here every day, and with every post I feel a little more awesome about my own wedding, and my own choices, and how I’m the one to get those choices and eff the b*tches who try to tell me what to do!

    So I hope you all have happy glowy holidays and new years!

  • http://carmarblogs.blogspot.com CarMar

    Thank you for keeping me sane during the year of our wedding! Both before, for wedding planning sanity, and after, for the help with processing what it means to be married. I am so grateful to have found this site last October. Thank you, Meg, Lauren and Alyssa!

  • Vmed

    Yes yes, Thank you Team Practical.

    This was my sanity saver pre-engagement. It helped me set boundaries to protect my baby family to be. It has given me a mantra for wedding planning and my life:

    I’m an adult, they are adults, we all can make our own adult decisions.

    So as 2011 comes (During which I’ll be taking the MCAT, defending my Master’s thesis, finding a job, applying to med school, planning that wedding and and and getting married it’s going to be crazy awesome) I intend to continue to read and share and grow with all of you.

    Thank you, APW, you are rock stars.

  • Cass

    As a therapy-junky, all my therapists, psychologists and counselors try to beat the “supposed to’s”/ “shoulds” from my vocabulary.
    You gals (and guys) are totally helping me keep my sanity!

  • http://antisocialdystopia.blogspot.com/ Marian

    You know, I have a Live Journal and I have a friend over there who just the other day wrote an AMAZING post on the hard stuff of marriage. I promptly linked her APW and said “ZOMG! YOU AND THIS ARE SO THERE!” I also told her how awesome it was that she was talking about this because so few people do. (She has now been inspired to start a marriage blog to talk about this sort of stuff, which is WAY cool.)

    I’ve been following this blog for I don’t know how long. I’ve loved every minute of it. I especially love all the post wedding discussions (because EVERY post is more than just a post, it’s the starting point of a discussion).

    APW has prompted me to take a harder look at myself and my life and begin to realize the things that are actually important. I am an impressionable person, and sometimes I can unintentionally get caught up in the silly stuff that doesn’t matter, but I am also easily inspired to become a better person and to take charge and recognize the important stuff.

    I love this community and I am so so so glad that it’s here.

    Cheers!

  • Erin

    My 2010 Thank You to APW:

    I got married this year in March, after following Meg and APW from months BEFORE I was engaged. 2010 APW for me was a bunch of wise ladies walking with me through letting go of being a fiancee and learning to be a wife.

    Reading how APW has exploded this year, and reveling with all the bold women who have taken courageous career and life steps has inspired me to get off my complacent @$$ and start to figure out how I can be more daring and fulfilled in my life.

    All of this? Priceless. Thank you.

    • ddayporter

      yay March 2010 wedding! :) actually yay everything you said, it’s my thought exactly.

  • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

    I can’t say enough good things about APW, so I will just say this: Cheers to everyone who makes this happen, and I’m so proud to be part of such an amazing community!

  • Katelyn

    When I started reading APW in early 2010, I was un-engaged and unhappy about it.

    Now at the end of 2010, I am un-engaged and happy about it.

    98.3% of that evolution has been due to APW – my boyfriend thanks you.

    APW isn’t just about weddings – it’s about women, and how we feel, and why. For me, a lot of my unhappiness stemmed from small-town cultural expectations. Taking a step back and figuring that out, and then deciding how I *really* felt about not being engaged, is a process I’ve learned through APW. It’s a skill I’ll use throughout my life, not just wedding planning.

    • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

      Wow. That blows me away. Good on you!

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Joking about 52 comments and on my page load there were 53 here. *giggle*

    This week I officially stopped reading every other wedding blog that I picked up before getting married. Except this one. Because this one isn’t a wedding blog. This one is a life blog. And a family blog. And a positive-affirmation-pat-on-the-back blog.

    Meg, contributers, team practical, commenters, they’ve all added something to my life. And for that I am grateful.

    • http://www.emlovesben.com emilyrose

      hehe, i opened this up when there were 52 comments. i was like, “woah, did they somehow make it work so that the post said whatever number of comments there are at the moment?!” … then i refreshed the page and the post still said 52 but there were 53, and i felt dumb.

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

    Oh man, this made me tear up. I found APW at the very beginning of last year, and it saw me through engagement, wedding planning (MADNESS), the wedding, our honeymoon-cross-country-move, and this crazy thing we’re doing called building a life together. And in that same time I saw APW go from something scrappy and promising to something HUGE (which is only going to get huger). Meg, Lauren, Alyssa, TP Wedding Elves – I’m so proud of you for what you’ve accomplished here and soooo thankful that you’ve let us all give back in small and large ways so that we can be part of it.

    PS. Alyssa? I’m sort of inordinately thrilled that under the Wedding Diversity paragraph, out of all the linked words, Jason and I got “punch.” Bwahahaha. All is as it should be.

  • http://akc09.livejournal.com Annie in LA

    Another random thank-you from someone who usually just lurks but reads every day!

    Aside from the wedding advice, I hadn’t realized until recently how much you guys provide this great vocabulary that we can use to talk and think about life issues. I explained the concept of “mourning ‘little deaths’ is okay and does not equal regret” to my fiance a few weeks ago (when he was feeling broody about getting older all the different career paths he could have taken), and he paused for a moment and said, “Wow, that is really wise. I hadn’t thought of it like that before.”

  • Maria

    Thank you for APW, ladies! I’m not engaged, but I come hear to read the wisdom that is so freely offered from women who live their lives with honesty and courage. This site has helped me get through so many tough things this year by being honest, positive, and open to differing opinions. I can’t wait to see what y’all have up y’alls sleeve for next year! :D

  • angela

    i don´t know what to say…
    i will like to hug everyone of you, i mean, allll of you ladies and some gentelmen, that stay there across the big ocean from me, in another continent and even so far, far away, you always make me feel close enough to express myself (with my poor english nevertheless) and that is empowering, because even when you come from other culture and from other values, i feel you near in the big scheme of things, in the things that really matters to me.

    will all of you try to enjoy your holidays? i will try my best to enjoy mines, and i will be waiting for you in 2011.

    and please, please pleaseeee…meg, try to re-charge yourself, and give yourself permission to not open your computer on this holidays, will you? i promise you i will be awaiting you next year i you do so….deal?deal? yesssss…. great!!!
    your sanity and health is worth it….and also your marriage-time!

    ;)

    The green dress spanish bride

    • meg

      Deal. I’m also planning to be a little better to myself in the New Year, but for starters I’m going to do some RESTING.

  • http://sherwoodspecialists.wordpress.com Kayla

    Awesome year! Thanks to all who make it happen!

    I was also surprised thinking back to when 50 comments was a whole lot, and now there’s usually 200+/ What changes and/growth do you predict we’ll see in 2011?

  • http://pinchofthis.wordpress.com Jen

    “I would like to kindly ask you to refrain from having APW be so damn interesting all the time. I’m not getting any work done, spending all day refreshing the page…. ”

    yes.

    I love you ladies. Every single one of you.

  • Laura

    APW really, really is a wonderful creation, Meg & Team. I am totally inspired by it and enjoy and appreciate it every single day. That is really saying something. Congratulations on all your very hard work and on the amazing success if this year. Cheers!

  • Margaret M.

    YES to all of this.

    I felt like you all had my back when I got married this year, when it was tough and when I felt overwhelmed. I read, and reread, the posts that meant the most to me. I have some of them memorized. I am not a big blog reader, but this blog changed my life for the better. Everyone here, especially the women who work so hard to produce this blog, should be so proud of themselves.

    And nothing has surprised me more than the fact that I keep coming back, every day, because everything here has nuggets of truth that are worth as much to a person planning a wedding as they do to someone who’s married. That’s what makes this so special, and I’m so grateful for it.

    Here’s to a stellar 2011!

    • meg

      Sniff.

  • Robin

    Alyssa, I heart you. And of course, Meg and Lauren, and all of Team Practical, too. But this was just what I needed today, so Alyssa’s get top billing in my thanks today.

    Huzzah for banning “supposed to.” It’s hard enough to do for myself, in my own world, so let’s at least get rid of it between each other in our community, yes? Good. Done.

    Congratulations on a huge year. Hard earned, well deserved, and so grateful to be a part of it. xoxo

  • Morgan

    If the only thing this blog had ever given me were the words of kindness and compassion as my father was dying and I was losing the plot, I would owe Meg so much. Given how much I’ve got this site and this community – the support and the knowledge and the discussions and the thought provokingness? Yeah. I just hope no one will request my hypothetical first born child… :)

  • Marisa-Andrea

    I love this community for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I am so darn freaking proud of Meg and what she started here. Meg, I knew you were hotstuff when you turned to me in Jumal’s geography class in 9th grade and asked me to complete a survey on your I-search paper about abortion. I was like, “this girl is writing about ABORTION for her paper???!” You continue to inspire me to live courageously because you do so and you’re doing it in a very public way in this community.

    Secondly, the women here are awesome and we have a network where we can exchange ideas, get support and live outside of the box, not to be different, but to just be US. It’s liberating and empowering and something incredibly special happens here with every post. There is no limit to what we can do and this community demonstrates that everyday.

    I don’t always comment, but I’m always checking in to see what’s going on. Awesome job Meg, Lauren, Alyssa and everyone else at Team Practical. Let the revolution continue! Cheers!

    • meg

      I don’t even remember that. I was writing about abortion? I mean, it figures. I was writing about gay marriage in the 7th grade (our town was Bible belt conservative y’all, so I was borderline suicidal… not some progressive Berkeley kid, just for the record.) I totally have no memory of that, so it made me tear up that you did.

      I actually think I was actually writing about teen pregnancy… I remember somehow getting permission to attend some classes in the teen mothers program in our High School. I… just…. assumed people would never say no to me I think, so I asked for crazy stuff. Funny how they don’t when you act like that. Ah well, memories.

  • http://linseykitchens.wordpress.com Linsey

    You know when we do something brilliant and powerful? And we keep swinging our head around to look at those around us, but everyone is looking at us because of the AWEsome thing we’ve done? But we really can’t believe it, cause, hey, it’s just little old me and surely, I could never have done something this freaking-fantastic? And you can’t possibly realize the grandeur of it cause you’re IN it?

    Meg, I hope you have the ability to helicopter over yourself and just watch what this place is–how much it has changed tiny little peeps like me. I hope some part of you–even if it’s just your pinky toe, knows what amazing work happens here, work that you facilitate and dreamt in some hazy mind fart. Or maybe you really realize just how important your work is to us…and that would be the best gift! Thanks for being brave enough to do this, and strong enough to carry on.

    As someone else said, when I get married this summer I’m going to feel like everyone here is there, and it will be magic. Because that’s what this place is: magic.

  • Amanda (Alee)

    I’m getting married January 8th – WHERE ARE YOU GOING??? Just kidding, I’ll survive somehow without you. Please enjoy your well-deserved break. You’ve seen me though me five-month engagement, and I’ll be back with a winter wedding-grad post about my self-catered wedding for 100. Thanks so much for all the great reading!

    • meg

      We’ll only be gone for the week of the 27th, no worries.

  • Kaitlyn

    Getting my APW email update is the highlight of my day, no lie. I can’t comment, but just reading it is my little oasis of sanity during work.

    I love all the stuff you tackle, even if it sometimes makes my life more difficult. The post about having a bilingual wedding? I read it, thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t need to deal with that….before I realized that I did, in fact, need to have a bilingual wedding. My fiance’s mother is Taiwanese, and the grandmother speaks no English. No wedding sites other than APW cover craziness like that.

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

    A HUGE thank you to APW for the much-needed sanity during wedding planning! Meg, Alyssa, Lauren & APW community, you’re the BEST! I will soon be married but I will keep coming back to APW. Thank you, thank you!

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    You ladies are all fabulous. Those of you who make the incredibly content we all rely on, long for, and get to fuss over… and those of you who write your sweet, funny, insightful comments every day/week. I love you all, even though I haven’t met a one of you in real life. :)

    • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

      Incredible, I mean. Yay for spelling mistakes from smart people! Ha!

  • Englyn

    <3

    that is all. (I'm not feeling eloquent today).

  • Kimikaze

    I’ve been reading APW since one of my good friends got engaged, and have continued reading through wedding plans, dress fittings, hens nights, breakups, freakouts, and finally my own engagement and wedding plans. Without fail APW has always delivered the goods to make me reevaluate my thoughts. Whether it is humour, tough decisions, strong women, teary moments, or pretty pictures, I can always find what I need here. Thank you all for that.

  • Alexandra

    Ahhh, so much awesome. I can’t say when I started visiting, but certainly there were fewer comments!
    Congrats on all you have done, and have yet to do.
    I’m getting married in about ten months–Eeeee!–and this and OBB/OBT are all I read in the wedding-realm. Delightful stuff. ;p

  • http://emilyandmartin.us Emily Elizabeth

    Thank you so much to the whole practical wedding team, you guys all helped me so much through the intenstity of being engaged, and have prepared me so well for being married. You helped me through wedding planning by letting me feel like I had a support group right there at my fingertips, which I needed so much, living so far away from my family and close friends. Now, when I hear about newly engaged (or even long term engaged new) friends, I tell them about APW in the hopes that they will get as much, if not more out of it than I did. I am still learning so much from all of you (goodbye “supposed to”! I hated hearing myself say supposed to during wedding planning, and a ban is exactly what I need!)
    I’ve made a promise to myself to host an APW book group up in Newfoundland this year, by the way. And I’m excited!

  • Trisha

    This is now my go to post for pointing new people to APW. Thanks Alyssa!

  • http://made-of-sun.tumblr.com/ Trisha

    There is so much I love in this post. This is now my go-to post for introducing people to APW.