The thing about figuring out what we’re proud of is that it often involves taking a step back from our mundane, day-to-day focus. As I’ve been working on putting together Pride month for APW, I’ve been forcing myself to step back and look at my life. Yes, my bedroom is currently a mess (many motherhood myths are overblown, but babies d0 generate a lot of laundry). But if I stop looking at the piles of tiny clothes, I can see that our bedroom also looks like a tree house with its branch-level windows, that our bed has a headboard David made, and that the room is a pretty shade of blue we picked together last summer. In short, who really cares if it’s a mess? It’s our little space, and I’m proud of that.
This month, I also took a moment to take a step back and look at my business. It’s easy for me to see APW in the task list: essays to write, posts to be edited, submissions to sort through, editorial calendar to organize, staff to be managed. And APW is all those things, blessedly, since I find much of my joy in the day-to-day grind of the work. But APW is also something else. It’s a community of readers. It’s all of you guys gathering every day to share your stories, to support each other, to tell jokes, to simply hang out. It’s also a community of artists. I’ve heard a lot recently about how advertising is changing and disappearing online, but advertising at APW is a different beast. You can’t just buy a banner ad here mindlessly. Our sponsors are awesome and dedicated, they sign our sanity pledge to attempt to change the wedding industry and work their asses off to support this community. And you guys support them back, just as fiercely.
A few weeks ago, I asked APW advertisers to send me pictures of themselves at work. Since I was in high school all I’ve ever wanted professionally was to work for myself, run a creative business that filled a need, and help artists make a living. And looking at these pictures, I was banged over the head with the realization that is what APW does. What I don’t see in the day-to-day of editing and managing is all of the APW Sponsors who are hard at work shooting your weddings, making your engagement rings, designing your invitations, crafting your albums, and so much more. By shopping APW, you guys support this site, but you also support a flock of artistans making a living. By putting your wedding dollars to work in a way that mirrors your values, you guys literally change the world a little every day. If you’re not proud of that, you should be.
Here are some quotes and images from APW advertisers who bust their asses to put a little more beauty in the world. Cheers to them, and to you. If you’ve been meaning to shop for your wedding, but haven’t gotten around to it yet? These guys. With love.
(And if you’re an artist who works on weddings and wants to join us, we’ve got two front page spots currently for the taking. You can see more about that over here.)
We love working with APW readers because they are always so interested and invested in the materials we work with and our emphasis on ethical sourcing. —Bario-Neal
We are always always thrilled to work with APW readers, because they are one and all dedicated to having a celebration that is truly “them,” truly an expression of their own love. And somehow all have a great sense of humor too! —Kimi, A Printable Press
APW couples are truly practical! They “do it together” like A Practical Wedding advises, making do-it-yourself flowers a bonding experience, not just a money saving experience. —Blooms By the Box
Knowing a customer is an APW reader is a kind of shorthand for me which says: “This is a good-hearted person with a down-to earth sensibility about their wedding and will totally get my offer.” —e.m. papers
We love working with the APW community because they are fun, sane, communicative, reliable, and creative. In short, they are awesome! —Oakland Bakes
Every time I get an email or phone call inquiry from an APW reader I get so excited—excited to work with an awesome couple who has their head on straight about weddings, but also excited because I usually gain a couple of real friends! When I was planning my own wedding, APW was an amazing resource. Now as a wedding coordinator, APW is still a resource but for the best customers I could ever ask for! —Allison, Pop The Champagne Events
I love working with APW readers because they’re just like me: straight-forward with a sense of humor. —Vivian Chen Photography
I like APW readers because they are instant best friends who appreciate the awesomeness of a Death Star Disco Ball. —Emily Takes Photos
I love working with APW brides because APW brides are always full of surprises (wedding performed on horseback), fun (want chickens in their formal portraits), and sanity! Basically, APW readers rock! —bycherry photography
I love working with APW readers because APW stands for everything I am looking for in a wedding: grounded, loving, progressive and meaningful. —Beck Diefenbach, Photojournalist
I love working with APW readers. They are my favorite clients. Their weddings are real. Not fluff. It’s about love, not things, and that’s what life is all about. —Debi Parker Photography
We love working with APW readers because they are down to earth and gracious women who appreciate personal and friendly service! —Shop Joielle
APW readers get it. They look at a wedding day as a day of joy and laughter with a healthy dose of reality and fun. Photographing weddings is fun. My clients are fun. It’s a fun job. Probably the funnest (and yes, I know “funnest” is not a word). —Emily Alt Photography
I love working with APW couples because they’re wonderfully real, colorful, and I know we’ll share values of staying sane, open, and letting magic happen. —Jillian, Little Bat Photography
The couples who we have gotten to know through APW have been unique, sincere, and, well, pretty darn great; we like working with APW readers because they are down-to-earth folks, excited to work together so that we may document their beautiful day, and honor their love. —Two Moon Photography
After a recent client call I received an email thanking me for making everything so easy on the call. The client told me I “give good phone.” Love that so much. I only get that from APW clients. —Julie, Aper + Pink
We knew we wanted to work with APW from the moment we decided to shoot together and make this thing a full-time job, because I have so much love for the site and the community, and he found out how awesome APW is through me. But we shot our first APW couple last week, and it was pure, f*cking magic. They put the marriage at the forefront of their wedding, and that informed everything about their wedding day and all their interactions with us. Because of that, I think the photos and footage are the best we’ve ever shot. —Sarah Hoppes
I love working with APWers because I know we are coming from a similar place philosophically! APW weddings always focus on what matters (the marriage, yo!) while still being some of the most fun, quirky, creative weddings around! —Journey Lost Productions
My APW couples just get it. They get that it’s about building a life together and bringing a whole big family together. They have the greatest perspective on the day! And they’re constantly making me smile, laugh, and cry with the outpouring of love and creativity that they bring to their weddings. —Julie Randall Photography
I love working with APW readers because they throw the kind of weddings that I love to attend, and it’s flattering as all get out when they invite Glo to be a small part of that fun-ness. —Taryn, Glo