Calm & Bright


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Calm & Bright | A Practical Wedding

Dear APW,

As we sign off for the year at APW, I always try to write a post that helps me wrap my arms around what happened over the last twelve months. And this year, thinking about what I’ve experienced has been baffling. What do you say about a year full of the unexpected—a year that started with a surprise national book tour by train, and ended with a baby? It’s hard not to have some sort of sense of cognitive dissonance, putting it all together. And while the bookends of the year were wonderful, the vast middle portion felt like a wasteland: a hard pregnancy combined with multiple family crises were some of the hardest months of my life.

Through it all, APW was there, and thrived. Running and writing for this site was the steadying force in my life this year. And how APW grew. In some ways, the growth felt out of our control, and all we could do was react to it the best we could. We made the best decisions we could (and a fair amount of mistakes) as we learned new ropes (while in my case, balancing the physical and emotional strain of pregnancy). But there were so many joys along the way: meeting many of you on tour, our expanding and amazing staff, our new How-To shoots, our intern writers, our reader-contributors, our phenomenal sponsors, and you guys: the readers. This year I’m beyond grateful that I got to tour around the country and make jokes in front of whole rooms of you guys, and speak on NPR. But mostly I’m grateful for the ability to get to show up each day, work with women I adore, and write about things I believe in. And for that I have each of you to thank.

The other night, I was up in the middle of the night for a three a.m. feed. As I changed our son’s diaper, I heard a train whistle echo through the cold dark air. That was same train whistle that soothed me to sleep so many nights in January, rocking back and forth to sleep in the cozy comfort of my sleeper car. And I finally felt some sense of wholeness to the year. This was a year where I saw this side of morning many times: in train cars, walking through pregnancy insomnia, during repeated bouts of early labor, rushing to the hospital as my water broke, and rocking my baby to sleep.

And still the train whistle echos, reminding me of where I’ve been and where I’m going, and forever calling me towards adventure. So thank you. Thank you for reading, for listening, and for ever beckoning me onwards: towards dramatic journeys, and the quiet ones that unfold at three a.m., in the still of the night.

For now, for the holidays: everything calm, everything bright. See you back here January 2nd.

Love,

Meg

Photo by: Hart & Sol West (APW Sponsor)

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://www.whataboutsara.com SJG

    wonderful to hear from you, meg – here’s to hoping that all is well with your little family! happy holidays.

  • Carrie

    Hugs, lady. Thanks to everyone at APW!

  • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

    I discovered APW in early 2012, and it was SO helpful in a way that involved more transitions and big stuff than I could have anticipated. Thank you Meg, everyone on the staff, and all of my fellow readers/commenters for giving me SO much incredible insight and support in so many ways this year!

  • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

    Thank you for APW!

  • Copper

    Thanks to APW for being there for me throughout the pre-engagement bit of things. I’m looking forward to all you have to share as I organize my thinking around through the next phase of things! This place has brought so much more comfort and sanity than any other wedding resource out there.

  • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

    Happy holidays, dear Meg! And a wonderful 2013 for you, for your family and for all APW staff!

  • http://youlovelucy.tumblr.com youlovelucy

    Maybe I’m just a real sap today, but this post made me cry,

    I love you guys.

  • http://byjacki.com Jacki

    Happy holidays and happy new year to all the APW staff and community who I’ve come to appreciate so much in the last year! Wishing each of you and your loved ones all the best. See you all in 2013! :)

  • http://www.amidprivilege.com Lisa

    xoxoxoxox.

  • http://www.sarahhoppes.com Sarah

    Happy holidays to the APW staff and all of “team practical.” I found this community last January or February, a few weeks before the NYC book party (so much fun), and I’m just so thankful for everyone involved. In a year where I proposed (but kind of didn’t realize it), got laid off, started a business, grew another business, got married despite a natural disaster, and dealt with all the day-to-day insanity that is just life, APW was such a helpful space. THANK YOU ALL!

  • Alicia

    Thank you to APW for such a wonderful year! Enjoy your well deserved rest!

    I have got to do my part and start writing that beginnings submission…

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.nl/ Amanda

    All the happiness to you Meg, and to all of the APW team. And what a full year it has been.

  • Marie

    Happy holidays and thank you for this year! APW has meant so much to me this year, between a cross country move, a wedding, and figuring out my new role as a wife while trying to tie up loose ends from my old life. Thank you to everyone who wrote all the amazing posts and to all the commenters who made each post more relatable. I’m looking forward to everything 2013 has to offer.

    • http://www.sarahhoppes.com Sarah

      Oh yeah. I totally cried, too.

  • http://travelingroadshow.tumblr.com ANDREA

    Why on earth am I crying? Something about the big and small journeys I think, echoing my year not in the actual events, but in the emotions of them. Thank you, specifically and generally.

  • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

    I discovered APW just this year, so as part of your major growth in 2012, thank you so much for all you’ve done and the hard work you continue to put into this site. I’ve been fascinated and moved and inspired as I read through all the archives and kept up with current posts and conversations. I’m in a transitional period of my life, and APW has majorly influenced my perspective on external events and internal responses.

    Thanks again for all you do! Enjoy the well-deserved holiday break.

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

    Meg, this was just beautiful.

    Meg, Maddie and the whole APW team, have a wonderful break and thank you for all your hard work!

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

    Happy holidays! And while as a reader who will miss the posts over the holidays I have to applaud the business decision of staff taking the holiday season off. I can’t wait to read more come January.

  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

    Thank you so much for all you do here. I knew when I found this website that it was going to be really helpful with my wedding planning, but I had no idea how much more it would be. The wedding will be over by the time you’re all back to work, but I’ll still be here for all of the wisdom, inspiration, and community. Happy holidays to you and yours.

  • Granola

    Congrats on your son Meg! So exciting.

    And a big thanks to the APW team and community. Can’t wait for next year.

  • http://www.amberwilkie.com Amber Wilkie

    Happy holidays, APWers! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that this site exists. Thank you for filling this niche that is clearly much bigger than any of us would have thought. Keep on rocking in 2013!

  • Class of 1980

    Meg,

    Here’s wishing you and David have a blast as parents. Happy Holidays to you both and the little one.

  • Nicola

    Happy Holidays Meg and all at APW! thanks for this fantastic blog which has made our wedding planning so much happier and more peaceful, a real beacon of sanity on the interwebs. Keep up the good work and see you in 2013!

  • Megan (from Nova Scotia)

    Meg, and to everyone that makes APW what it is, thank you for making the year a little more wonderful. I’ve lurked and commented for months, and have found such a sense of community here an hope that we manage to give a little of it back to you and the APW team. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for all of us.
    Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels so nostalgic about the sound of a train whistle…

  • Justine

    Merry Christmas APW and friends! Thank you for all of your hard work in bringing a fresh perspective to weddings and marriage. I found you during my pre-engagement state over the summer. Since my fiance proposed during the (relatively mild where I live, i.e. no power for 12 days was the only “loss” we had) aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, I’ve been reading APW with new eyes and loving this site even more. I look forward to hanging around to be inspired and empathize with APWers throughout the next 22 months of planning our wedding with my fiance and my mom.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!