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Yay New York: The Party (Part II)


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

** The bulk of our party photos were shot by Melissa of beIMAGED in NYC, who gave up dancing just to shoot. We love her. All photos are credited individually, since the photographer community was in on it.**

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

Photo by FedorovFoto

This morning I started to tell you about the Yay New York party, but it turns out to really tell you about it, I needed more space and voices from Team Practical. So here we go…

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

Photo by beIMAGED

Rachel/DDay had this to say (That’s her in the grey with the flower):

In the span of 24 hours, I left my home, bought a party dress on the run, slogged through torrential downpours, waited in line under dripping tents, sat on a stinky bus for six hours with wet shoes, changed into said party dress in a shady and poorly lit NYC deli bathroom, ran in heels down a dark street and found my way to the epic party that was Yay New York. Lots of wine and delicious popsicles and photo booth silliness and shaking of booties. And sweating, lots of sweating. And seeing faces only glimpsed in tiny gravatars, suddenly animated and real-person sized, shaking my hands and laughing and assuring me it was ok that I just spilled wine on them (and the floor, and myself) mid-dip-low.

A mere twelve hours after leaving home, the party was over and I still hadn’t eaten dinner. The ever-hospitable Zan led me and a couple other lost puppies back to her apartment (in a church!) in Brooklyn, where she fed us the most amazing Emergency Dinner, a.k.a. mac ‘n’ cheese with peas and tuna fish (don’t squish up your nose till you’ve tried it). Not enough hours later, I woke up on her fold-out couch and let her lead me (in my lady bug pajamas, because no I didn’t bring anything to wear the next day) all the way to my bus stop, which incidentally was well out of her way (thank goodness for Zan, it has to be said). Another 5 or 6 hours later, after blushing my way through D.C. in my pajamas, I was home.

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

I was excited for this event, I was pumped to meet my “Internet Friends” (heh), I was looking forward to partying for marriage equality. But reading the live updates on APW on my way there, it was really brought home for me where I was going and why and how exciting but also sobering it all was. Joy, for the happy couples. And then absolute wretched despair for the reason this party was necessary. We still have so much work to do, and I had a long bus ride to think about it. But being in that room, with confetti and streamers (and wine and melty popsicle juice) flying around, surrounded by Team Practical… it was all about joy, and friends, and vigorous love. …I mean that in the energetic spirit of love kind of way, not, like, sex (though there was a lot of sexy in the room, too).

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

Photo by beIMAGED

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

Photo by Emily Takes Photos

Shaelyn had this to say:

I was nervous going in. My husband kept asking me if I’d know anyone there and I kept saying, “Sort of,” and shuffling around the question. Of course, I had to keep telling myself that this was APW, and these were my people, even if I didn’t know them all yet. And, of course, I was right. Within minutes of arriving, my husband and I were talking to people I’d met before, or I recognized from online. And soon that grew to gabbing with people I didn’t know at all, and eventually it exploded into dancing, and singing, and photoboothing, and hugging, and throwing confetti around with people who were, of course, my people. And I knew it.

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

YayNY was special because it was a chance to take the community that we all know from the comments and put it into physical space.
We all have grown through the agreements and disagreements in the comments, and one of my favorite things about being part of the APW community is knowing that, even if we don’t all have the same exact experiences or views, we are welcome here. YayNY felt like a celebration of the community here, and of the way we’re all working on and through and around our relationships with other people. It was a celebration of marriage, and a way to pull everyone, whether LGBTQ or Straight Ally, into a big giant group hug and say, “Hell yes!” And it was awesome.

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

Lauren, who helped with the weddings all day, said:

It was a long day. A hard working day. A stressful day. A highly emotional day, which was totally unexpected. I was tired, happy tired, but tired. I was sweaty and gross and a little part of me just wanted to go home. And then we cracked a bottle (or five) of champagne on the roof deck, wolfed down some Thai food, and all of a sudden, out of the blue, the room was full of Team Practical. The music started immediately (Meg, for the record, doesn’t have time for cocktail hour music—the girl just wants to dance, thankyouverymuch, and she told DJ Whitney Day as much) and we were dancing, and laughing, and spinning in the lights and the gauzy white curtains, with New York City beating her own rhythm outside every window. It was magical. I felt like I was part of something much, much bigger than myself.

And then the next morning, I woke up and told Zan (who let me sleep in her bed an hour after she met me) “My face hurts. I think I danced it off.”

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

Photos by beIMAGED

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

Photo by FedorovFoto

Ang said this (please read her epic post, by the way, it’s a giggle fest of awesome):

Suffice to say that the party itself was a HUGE hit. Professional party goers were on the phone telling other people to show up. I was dancing and I don’t dance. Also, Mexican Coke is fantastic.

It wasn’t till the party was almost over, when it was the staff members, some of the vendors, the DJ Whitney Day, and a two guys, who had been rather quiet all night, but were quietly slow dancing together, and we all joined arms and danced around them to close the night, that it smacked me in the face, what a big freaking deal this was.

But it was all tangled up string in my brain until Emily and I sat down to do our interview for this secret thing that I shouldn’t talk about probably. Anyways, party is over, I’m in my PJs again, Emily’s in her adorable ruffled mini dress, we were giggling hysterically and lounging on this white leather chaise that wasn’t good enough for Victoria Beckham, frustrating the hell out of the poor interviewer, and every few minutes we’d scream “SHUT UP! THIS IS FOR A *Secret thing*” Emily was doing creepy satanic doll/child school photography pictures, and was simultaneously hysterical/terrifying.

So we introduced ourselves, I forgot my business name and what I did (Doh, go me!). But then we were talking about that night, and I was somehow able to vocalize all my brain vomit coherently. About how it was heartbreaking to see these couples dancing, freely, unashamed of their love and who they are, and not have to worry about hiding it. That all they want to do is love each other, a fundamental right that everyone should be given. That the glory of their unadulterated love being able to shine freely was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever had the privilege to witness.

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

Photo beIMAGED

But it may be Mary who said it best. She said:

What struck me most was the overwhelming sense of community. At the end of the night, when we picked up that tangle of tinsel, each of us grasping a silvery thread and dancing together, it hit me—this was APW, manifest in a tangible sparkly web of awesome and sass and love and community, connecting people that otherwise would never be connected.

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

As I left the party I grabbed a small handful of very-danced-upon confetti and threw it into my bag. I think I will put it in a little baggie and save it until the day that every couple everywhere can do this. And I will take that confetti and toss the hell out of it again.

On that day, I promise you an epic confetti toss. Now let’s go out and make it happen really soon.

Yay New York: The Party (Part II) | A Practical Wedding

Photos Emily Takes Photos

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. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • http://www.blushcelebrations.com bec

    I am now a blubbery mess of tears and smiles and pride for you all. Epic party. Can’t wait for the next one!!

  • http://www.expandoutdoors.com/blog amyc

    THIS! This—the pictures; the love; the sparkles; the passion; the stories; the everything… it makes my heart sing. Thank you Meg. Thank you APW vendors. And Thank You Thank You APW community for being so absolutely amazingly awesome!

  • http://lowbrowevents.com Ang

    I have to laugh that everyone ended up at Zan’s. (I did too, but only to pack my bags and take a train to the airport)

    Zan, NYC’s hospitality committee.

  • http://sparrowgrey.blogspot.com/ sparrowgrey

    “My face hurts. I think I danced it off.” … when someone wakes up with that kind reaction, you know it’s been one sick party. Well done!

  • Amanda

    I’m trying my damnedest to be happy for all of you, but mostly I’m bummed I couldn’t be there to join in the fun. But as soon as California passes gay marriage again, I’ll be in SF for that party!

    • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

      And I hope to lead a party in Texas!

    • http://www.rorygordon.tumblr.com argo9418

      I’ll bring popsicles :)

    • meg

      Jesus! If you guys don’t stop talking about more parties, I’m going to cry!

      I’m not promising any more parties tell it’s a federal thing. Though if it passes in CA, maybe. This took at least forty hours a week for seven weeks, cost me a fair amount of money, and I need a NAP ;) We’ll see.

  • FawMo

    My heart filled up with joy while reading this. The sense of comraderie, community and unrelenting spirit just pours out of these photos.

    Yay New York!

    Congratulations on a job incredibly well done.

  • http://www.allisonandres.com AllisonAndres

    These photos are proof that APW ladies are HOT! I am also waiting for the day that we can have a “YayCA” party!

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    Wow! Amazing. And I’m also wondering – what was the Victoria Beckham business about?

    • http://lowbrowevents.com Ang

      The guy who owned the venue was VERY sweet and accommodating, but ummm a little eccentric? He was also name dropping like nobody’s business, about all the famous people that had had parties or video shoots there. Victoria Beckham, P Diddy, etc.

      We were supposed to have three couches, and when we got to the space, there were indeed three couches/lounges. He told us someone was coming to get the two white leather futon/couches. Elizabeth mentioned “But we were supposed to have three…” He stops, turns around and horrified, manages to squeak out “You can’t have THOSE couches! Those are VICTORIA BECKHAM’S COUCHES!”

      The white lounge that stayed apparently wasn’t good enough for Victoria Beckham because we were allowed to taint it with our sub par essence.

      • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

        Wow. Well, luckily the party wasn’t all about the couches, amiright? Hilarious!

  • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com/ ka

    So, I’m totally scattered and slow, but have to throw my 2 cents in, as extricated from a blog post draft:

    Making time for the Yay NY party in the midst of our wedding-planning (2.5 weeks to go) madness was non-negotiable, but I hadn’t really had time to get excited about it until I was sitting at my desk Thursday morning. Once I started reading Meg’s live-blogging, I found myself hit by not excitement over partying and raising money for a good cause (well maybe a little of that), but by what really mattered—the very personal impact of the day on the couples getting married. For the first time, something I have read over and over, but had never felt for myself, hit home: We are so, so privileged to have the option to marry. And I am so thrilled/relieved/proud to be living in a state that is *finally* extending that right to everyone.

    Philosophically, I’ve always been a supporter of gay marriage, but I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that it’s not my place to fight for it. But Meg managed to convince me otherwise both in her writing that day, and in her thank you speech that night—which I wish I could quote to you all, because the lady is even more eloquent, funny, and persuasive in person than advertised.

    The gravity of all of this made me determined to treasure that evening, even when I had a million and one things on my mind and to-do list—from the lovely dinner with my fiance before the party, to getting to see faces so familiar to me from gravatars, blogs and grad posts in person(!), to the happy, glow-y dancing in a night that became my de facto bachelorette when my actual party was canceled due to Hurricane Irene.

    I momentarily wished I could hear above the awesome music to actually converse in person(!) with these ladies who I virtually chat with all the time, until I realized we could go back to chatting on Friday, but the physical connection of being there dancing, actually together in the same state/city/room, was what was magical that night. And we danced our faces and asses off—not that I was surprised, because MY people are always the ones that dance. If Yay NY was a glimmer of the joy and fun I have waiting for me at my own wedding, then it is going to be so, so worth it. And every single person in love deserves the opportunity to have that, and all that comes after.

    —-
    My god, I’m long winded. Also, Rachel I promise I wrote this before reading yours. Great minds, etc. And, next time I may have to leave the then-husband at home and stay at Zan’s, even if the only room left is in the bathtub. APW slumber party, what what. <3

    • http:///justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

      haha! great minds, yes! and definitelyyy all for another APW slumber party.

    • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

      YES TO ALL OF THIS. <3

    • http://generally-fabulous.blogspot.com Shaelyn

      Girl, I’m glad we got to celebrate with you, and booooo to canceled bachelorettes! If there’s anything I’ve learned during the cycle of bachelorette parties among my friends, it’s that we need more excuses to go out and party with our girlfriends, so don’t consider your party canceled, just postponed!!

  • http://www.thehandmadeevent.com Kari

    Oh, Mary I am so glad we stole you from the Raleigh bookclub and now you are at ours! (Not hating, RDU, I may be hanging at yours when I am home). What a lovely sentiment – from all party goers!

    So, from now on every party should just be held at Zan’s. Though I might be tempted almost as much by cute animals at the farm as a church in Brooklyn (though that sounds cool too) so we need a country party. Where everyone wears pajamas.

    Victoria Beckham used the party space before us, and had pristine white couches that were in the space when we arrived to set up decor. Though we were all nice girls who didn’t look like we would ruin furniture, the building manager made sure to get the couches out of there stat! Oh well, more room for limbo-ing, I say (and I think that we did use the furniture that P. Diddy or the President of a small foreign country used, so APW was still ballers)

    If marriage equality passes in California again – and we should all be crossing our fingers and praying to the God of our own choosing that it does (although frankly, I think it should be a Federal question, not up to the states) – I can only imagine the epic APW party on that side of the country. Though I think that Meg, Elizabeth and Emily might need a little time to recover.

    • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

      Awww. I feel like I have two bookclubs to call home! (And don’t worry RDU, I totes represented us at the party!)

      I can only IMAGINE the YayCA party!

  • Marchelle

    I’m NOT JEALOUS AT ALL.

    Nor am I crying a little. No sirree, not me.

  • K

    I’m late to comment on this post but it can’t be said enough to Meg and her entire team – thank you for kicking ass! I am so proud to have been able to contribute by, you know, partying down. Wouldn’t it be great if APW held a fundraiser/rocking bash every year? We could have Team Practical local arrangements committees.

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