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APW Happy Hour


Come see us at the Love/Make Expo this weekend!

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

 

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

HI APW!

It’s the end of Spring Break, which was catch-up week for me, while my kid was in nanny care with one of his most beloved people ever. Next week I’ll be back to skipping more work than I should to play ball with him, which sounds good to me.

In the meantime, Maddie and I are headed to The Bold Italic’s Love/Make expo in San Francisco on Sunday and you should come too! We have it on good authority that we’ll be right at the top of the stairs on the second (bigger) floor, right by the bar and the Photobooth. Which is where you want to be anyway, amiright?

XO,
MEG

P.S. We had a bang up #APWentrepreneurship conversation on Instagram this week about learning to say no. Go catch up, if you haven’t already.

Highlights of APW This Week

We revealed APW dress pages! But then there was this super-smart comment we think needed some highlighting:

I ordered tons of dresses from Nordstrom, Dillard’s, and a few other places around the web with easy return policies, then had a try-on party with my besties. It was like being at a bridal store, but I knew the dresses would zip up/go over my hips and boobs, plus we had the exact sparkling wine and snacks I wanted.

I don’t want to watch rape scenes. My partner doesn’t get it.

Me and him… and her.

Buying the imperfect wedding dress.

Planning a destination wedding in Mexico when you’re not rich for $13K.

Pastel eye makeup for your wedding! Back issues of Tiger Beat not included.

A quintessential New York elopement in Grand Central Terminal. Or perhaps you’d rather get married at New York City Hall? We’ve got you covered.

Because you can’t put emotions into a spreadsheet.

Link Roundup

Around the web

You have to buy Elle magazine in print this month to get the full article on my-favorite-teenager Tavi Gevinson interviewing Maddie’s-favorite-complicated-pop-star Miley Cyrus, but it’s worth every penny. In that moment where I thought, “I wasn’t as smart as Tavi at eighteen,” I remembered what eighteen was actually like. I was pretty damn smart, actually, if not as worldly. Eighteen-year-olds normally are.

You can make money doing anything if you work hard and good at it.” From selling crack to college, on work ethic and hustle. Powerful, correct. I cried.

The ladies over at the Man Repeller on what beauty means, and not wearing makeup. Or, being fucking awesome as usual.

For the other art school grads in the house, “What I Wish I Knew After My MFA Ended.” Not that I have a graduate degree in… anything. But good advice for art and life.

Emma Stone calls out Andrew Garfield on his casual sexism at a press conference.

We’re glad commenters are, “Oh, shut up,” to this bitchy article about unplugged weddings.

Pastel photographs of a segregated world.

What is to come with clemency under the Obama administration. (This may sound boring, but it’s a great read about an important subject.)

NYPD Twitter photo contest is going… not so swimmingly for them.

The invisible benefits of gaming while male.

Speaking of rape scenes making people feel awful, how about that rape scene in Game of Thrones last Sunday? Yeah, we hated it too.

FRIENDS OF APW

On Tuesday, Sarah Deragon officially launched The Identity Project’s Indiegogo campaign! The goal: bring the photo project to cities across the nation. She could use your help!

For Mother’s Day 2014, Minted is donating 20% of their art sales to Every Mother Counts, an organization working to make pregnancy and childbirth safe in the developing world. The cause is close to my heart, as someone who had a dangerous delivery and is tired of “the birth experience” being touted as a status symbol instead of a process where you work to safely bring a child into the world. Use the code APWEMC during checkout on Minted between 4/21/14 and 4/28/14 to make the donation happen, and you will receive a downloadable card that lets your mom know that a donation to EMC was made in her name.

APW’s web design team, CooperHouse is having another Digital Creative Workshop this weekend in Seattle! A few tickets are still remaining, so if you’re looking to learn a thing or two (or twelve, let’s be honest) about Photoshop, Illustrator, and Graphic Design for Small Business, jump on it!

APW’s 2014 Happy Hours are sponsored by Monogamy Wine and Promisqous wine. Thank you Monogamy and PromisQous for helping make the APW mission possible! if you want to learn more about monogamy (and possibly win birthday treats), head over here and sign up for their newsletter.

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://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

    I’ve been waiting for days for this: I got married on April 12 and it was AMAZING! Here’s our wedding featured on Amanda Summerlin’s blog: http://www.amandasummerlin.com/blog/2014/04/karen-and-michelle-unitarian-universalist-wedding-in-north-carolina/#comments (I’m the one in the dress)! Yes, I will be doing submissions as soon as we get our pictures. I just had to share them here. APW kept me sane during the entire process. Thank you so much for this phenomenal site.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Mazel tov!

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Thank you, APW friends! As you can see we poured our heart and soul into our wedding and it showed. We got huge compliments on everything we did. Many people said it was the most joyful wedding they’ve ever attended. Several years ago when getting married was just a tiny possibility we picked out the invitations with the Love Joy Happiness graphic (from empapers). That pretty much determined everything: does it bring us love joy and happiness? If not, then no. If yes, bring it on! We served Lebanese food for the appetizer/cake reception. People asked us, “Why Lebanese? Are either of you Lebanese?” It’s because their food makes us happy and we knew our guests would love it. We chose blue attire because blue makes us happy. We’re pretty simple, really.

    • YOQ

      Beautiful! Congratulations!

    • Lawyerette510

      Agghhh! So beautiful! As I was scrolling through it was one awesome thing after another: the clothes! the cake! the detail pics! the choir! the pic of you swishing your dress! Congratulations!!!!

      • swarmofbees

        The swishy picture! So fun and beautiful :)

        • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

          Amanda Summerlin is super talented. She said “We have to get a picture of you rocking out that dress.” So we did!

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Would you believe that’s a strawberry cake? We went with the theme of what makes us happy and our friend’s strawberry cake makes us happy. So we asked her to make it. Then she got another friend to help because she has cake stands and knows how to work with fondant for the streamers. It was fabulous! We also had baklava, lady fingers, and cheesecake bites for our guests as well.

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!! What a beautiful, joyful wedding!

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Thank you! It truly was very joyful. I’m so glad Amanda was able to capture that in these photos.

    • Sarah E

      Wowzers!The smiles! The watches! That dress! Amazeballs, lady.

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        We bought each other watches as wedding gifts (shouldn’t Amanda Summerlin sell that picture to Fossil? Holy crap!) because we were inspired by the line from Jim Croce’s song “Time in a bottle”: “You’re the one I want to go through time with.”

    • MC

      BEAUTIFUL!!! And so great to see another UU wedding on APW :) Congratulations!!!

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Thank you! We couldn’t imagine having our wedding anywhere but our church. While it’s not legally recognized in NC (one day we plan to go to NYC for the legal bit) the most important part was being married in our church with our church family. Instead of a chalice we lit three candles to recognize people who are working for marriage equality, to honor those who have passed on (and in particular Michelle’s aunt) and one to recognize all those present. Our minister talked about the importance of making meaning and honoring this commitment and the importance of the community’s support. We had a reading from Robert Fulghum (also a UU). We ended with singing Shalom Haveyreem, the song we end all our services with. We worked hard to ground it within the principles of Unitarian Universalism.

    • jashshea

      BLUE DRESS. Red SHOES. EEK.

      And are your rings matching?! I love that.

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Actually, our rings are slightly different from each other. The secret is that we got them on Amazon. We had a really hard time finding a ring for Michelle that was a larger circumference ring for a small hand. We only found it on Amazon. The inner patterns are different from each other. Kind of like us :-)

        • jashshea

          LOVE.

    • Laura C

      Oh! The underskirt on your dress.

    • macrain

      Yay Karen!! Congrats! You both look so happy! Love your photos. :)

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Thank you!!!

    • Christina McPants

      OMG, the red crinoline. YES! Love!

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        The red crinoline and the red shoes were a BIG hit! We wanted bright, vibrant colors, ones that made you happy when you saw them. One of Michelle’s jobs was getting my bouquet and she asked for the red ribbon. Because Michelle is shorter than me I didn’t want to wear heels. The flats I found (Nine West) were the third pair of shoes I bought (returned the others). The third time was the charm. The clothes were custom made by Miss Brache on etsy. We have never met she made everything from measurements we gave her. Our family and friends were skeptical but we knew it would work out. And it did!

    • http://prettypicturesbydanielle.tumblr.com/ Danielle

      Gorgeous! Love the colors! Congratulations!

      And also… tall femme girls rule :)

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Which is why I wore flats. Michelle is quite a bit shorter than me so I worked hard to find red shoes that didn’t make me any taller than I already am (and before I met her I didn’t consider myself to be tall!).

        • http://prettypicturesbydanielle.tumblr.com/ Danielle

          Your shoes are awesome! My partner is also shorter than me, so I like to wear flats too. However, we recently attended a formal party and strappy heels just looked better with my outfit, so I went with it! Sometimes it’s fun to be a glamazon :D

    • emilyg25

      Oh my gosh! I love the one of your partner hiding the flowers, and the one of you swishing your dress, and the one of the man dabbing his eyes, and the black and white trio of you kissing your partner, and well all of them! Congrats!!!

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Amanda Summerlin knocked it out of the park! She was/is worth double, triple what we could have possibly paid her. Some friends thought we were nuts for hiring someone we hadn’t even met until that morning (we chatted via Skype) but we stuck to our guns. Hiring her was one of the first things we did. And it paid off. She was incredibly easy to be with, she was accommodating and she was fun. Who can ask for more than that? Oh and she’s seriously, seriously talented.

        • emilyg25

          Seriously seriously. Of course, it helps that you and your new wife are fucking adorable together and clearly over the moon happy in love. :)

          • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

            Being happy makes for great photos!

    • KEA1

      I am swooning over the gorgeousness of it all. CONGRATULATIONS on your marriage, and on what appears to be a glorious celebration to mark its beginning!

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Thank you!

    • http://andshelovesyou.com/ Lucy

      *grabby hands*

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Holy CRAP! So, so, so, SO awesome! Congrats!!

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Thank you!

    • Caitlin_DD

      Beautiful! What a sweet happy wedding. And those watches! Doing an engagement watch for the man here, so I appreciate that.

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Our watches are nice, she made them look stunning. Make sure your photographer gets pics of the watch. It will be part of your “story.”

  • Emmers

    Hey APdubs! I got officially engaged this weekend! Hooray! I knew he had bought the ring, but I thought it wasn’t ready yet, so it was a lovely surprise.

    Now we’re finding a venue and beginning our main planning (and I’m reading the APW book for calming words).

    Have any of you done/been to a cocktail reception style wedding? We’re leaning toward this route, with the reception happening around dinner time (with heavy hors d’oeuvres).
    Any advice on making it awesome? We’re planning to have some seating at tables, but lots of high top cocktail tables for the bulk of it. We’re also planning on having dancing, and I’m wondering if people are going to be tired of standing/how much seating we should have.
    Thanks, guys!

    • SarahG

      Congrats! I’ve never been to a cocktail party style wedding, but it sounds awesome. I think it is good to have pretty much enough seats for everyone (maybe some of those higher bar stools for the high top tables?) just because people are lazy and get tired easily. But that’s just me; I’d probably get a little stressed out if I realized there weren’t enough chairs, and try to snag one. Also depend on how long your ceremony will be and how much standing people will be doing for that, and beforehand as well. Good luck!

      • Emmers

        Ceremony will probably be all seated. So hopefully that will make it so they can stand longer. But we were thinking seating for maybe just 1/3 of folks. Maybe that’s too little (part of the problem is we may be able to fit a bit more seating, but not enough for nearly everyone).

        • Meg Keene

          Seating for everyone. I’ve been to weddings with seating for 1/3. Know where I ended up? Curled up in the corner in my best dress trying to shove food in my mouth, along with all the other friends of the couple. We didn’t rank for chairs.

          • Emmers

            Ok! Thanks for the input, guys. Now more stress about finding a venue that can fit everyone with seating. Maybe we can add seating to some of our high tops. Or hope that lots of people won’t come (I feel like a jerk saying that). Ugh to wedding planning!

          • YOQ

            Our guest list got a bit out of control, so I’m hoping people can’t come too. It kind of sucks, but I try to look on the bright side–we’re blessed with an abundance of loving friends and family! Who will, I hope, not mind being too crowded…

        • Lisa

          We actually decided not to use a wedding venue we loved because, while everyone could fit into the space, not necessarily everyone would have a chair (probably 90 chairs for 100-120 guests). I just didn’t like the idea of any of my female friends having to balance a purse/clutch, a cocktail glass, and a tray of food with no where to sit it down.

          • Lawyerette510

            I’ll chime in too, that it’s important to have enough places for people to sit/stand to eat and chat and enjoy their drinks. That doesn’t mean you have to have a spot at a table for everyone, but a mix of regular tables with chairs, high tables each with a few stools, etc. Also, if you have a coat-room, or even just coat racks, or hooks etc, that will help make sure that chairs are free for sitting because people wont also need them for placing things on.

            But cocktail reception weddings are generally awesome. That said, be sure to set guest expectations accordingly, as a 7:00 pm start time etc will mean that some people will assume dinner is being served unless you tell them otherwise.

        • Sarah

          I’m doing a cocktail style wedding, with small plates/food stations. I plan on having seating for roughly 2/3rds of the guests, so 100 chairs for 150 people. Our reception will be 5 hours, but I’m hoping with dancing, and the interactive food stations, and probably some kind of coat check thing that we’ll be fine and everyone will be comfortable and well fed.

          • Emmers

            coat check– brilliant!

        • Ellen

          I went to a cocktail reception where I literally shared a chair with my brother’s girlfriend. We were both falling off and we had six people trying to cram around a tiny table. Not fun.

    • Marcela

      Congrats!! My SIL had not much seating at her wedding a few years back and I will be honest, it was tricky. The older guests and some with younger kids staked out the few chairs and the rest of us were SOL. She had three 8 person tables with normal chairs in the actual event space and then hi-tops with tall chairs on the porch outside for a 150ish person wedding. Unfortunately we had a freak cold front come through and no one could be outside for any decent length of time so all those chairs were not usable.
      One thing I will say about the food is that when we priced it out, to actually do a cocktail style reception was significantly more expensive than a more traditional buffet/plated dinner. Shocked the heck out of me.

    • Sarah E

      This is our plan, too, and I’m not too concerned. We have a high percentage of fierce dancers on our guest list. Since it will be late evening, I figure a large portion of the non-dancers will also go home earlier than the fierce dance crowd, freeing up more seats for late-night-chatters and tired-fierce-dancers.

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

        We did not have a chair for every single person but there was dancing too and it was a late reception, so it worked out fine. It was a dessert reception…

    • Meg Keene

      We can work on a how to post on this (and if your self catering, we’ve got lots of info on that already). If it makes you feel better, this is a pretty classic reception style. People didn’t used to serve dinner unless they were RICCCCCHHHHH. So, this is how my parents reception was.

      Do have seating though. Not being able to sit down to eat or rest is pretty much the worst.

      • Emmers

        Yes, more postings about this would be excellent! One of the timeline how-to things does address cocktail receptions, which made me so happy (it was actually one of the top results when i searched “cocktail wedding reception” or something on Pinterest.
        A lot of stuff I’ve found has been more on cocktail hour vs a cocktail wedding reception, unfortunately. So any APW magic would be awesome!

        • KH_Tas

          Agree with this, we’re trying to figure ours out.
          Our venue includes seating for 81% of the invited list, maybe we should look into bringing some more in? Depends on how many declines we have of course, we might have exactly the right number

    • Annie

      A cocktail-style reception is really common in the South – they’re my favorite! I’ve been to lots of weddings with fewer chairs than people.

      One thing that makes it more WIC-esque but super convenient is lounge-style seating. In my experience, people are less likely to “claim” few large bench-style couches than they are a table. You can probably get them from a local party rental that does flatware, linens, etc.

      A few things you may want to consider if you have fewer chairs than people: start the dancing early, limit the number of toasts and cut the cake early so people can leave if they’re tired of mingling/standing. I’ve also seen chairs around the edge of the room and a few tables reserved for people with mobility issues.

      • Sarah E

        Oooh, lounge seating is a great idea, especially to accommodate the conversation.

        • Lawyerette510

          yes! seating doesn’t necessarily mean chairs at low tables!

      • Emmers

        love this! Good tips, thanks!

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

        Yep, we had chairs around the edges, in addition to some at café tables…

    • Jess

      We’re doing this in 3 weeks! I’ll report back at the happy hour in a month. :)
      Everyone we’ve told about it loves the idea, and our caterer is really excited too. Friday evening wedding and reception with all passed foods and an emphasis on good cocktails. We’re heard the number of 50-60% seating. (We’re doing a mix of rectangular 8 person tables, seated cocktail tables, and standing high top) We will also be having a dance party. :) There’s also a grilled cheese food truck come in for late night food too.

      • Emmers

        Grilled cheese foodtruck! Cocktail wedding solidarity!

  • Anon

    So, I decided to go wayyy outside my comfort zone and had a boudoir session done for my fiance. I’m not telling many people about it, so this feels like a safe place to say – I saw the proofs this week and . . . I love them. They’re soft and pretty and classy and sexy. The (very pronounced) tomboy in me never thought I would do something like this – but I’m so glad I did. I’m pretty sure my fiance will be shocked, as well

    Also, I realized that having the pictures taken was as much for me as it was for him. I feel more confident and beautiful and accepting of myself in this skin. I hope to be able to look back at the pictures in 50 years and really appreciate the person I was in this moment. And, more than anything, I hope he loves them!

    • Lawyerette510

      I am sure he will love them! Plus I love that idea of portraits like this as a way to look back and appreciate who you are at this moment. So happy for you that you are happy with them.

      • Anon

        Thanks – I just let my body hang-ups go and thought, “no time like the present!”

    • GMG

      Oh my goodness. This is awesome! I have been wanting to do this for a *long* time but don’t have the courage! If you don’t mind me asking, how did you find a photographer you were comfortable with?

      • Anon

        I had a great experience, and would highly recommend it. A teacher friend who does photography on the side (engagements, baby/children, etc.) has a photographer friend that does much of the same work plus boudoir, and had linked to one of her boudoir sessions on FB. I loved her work and contacted her on my own. We really clicked and I actually think we’re going to be friends now, too, which is awesome :)

    • emilyg25

      Boudoir is oddly such an awesome and empowering experience. Glad you had fun!

    • Crayfish Kate

      YAYYYY! So glad you did this! I did this last fall & it was so awesome. I did it for me, and the photobook I made for FH was just a bonus ;-) He will love them, don’t you worry!

  • Laura C

    Three things making me happy today:

    1) A thing I wrote was linked on Facebook by the Olympic figure skater it was partly about.

    2) I found a composting service for our rehearsal dinner and it’s only like $110.

    3) I read an incredible, incredible book by a grad school friend. If you read and appreciated The New Jim Crow, you might look at On the Run, by Alice Goffman, which is an incredible ethnographic look at the consequences of mass incarceration and intensive policing on a poor, black neighborhood in Philadelphia. I mean, it’s a sad book, but it’s making me happy that someone is telling this story, and that Alice’s years of really intense research turned into something this amazing. You’re going to be reading about it all over the place starting soon.

    On the down side, a week after two days after I wanted to have all the invitations out, we still don’t have my FMIL’s addresses. She keeps saying they’re coming…

    • Sarah E

      Please tell me more about this composting service! How did you find it? Do you live in a major metro area? (and congrats on the writing!)

      • Laura C

        It’s Boston metro area — I just googled “Newton Massachusetts compost” and the only place I found seemed to indicate they don’t do meat scraps etc, but I thought well, maybe they’ll know someone in the area who does, and emailed them, and it turns out it’s not part of their usual service but for an event, they can do it. They’ll bring bins and signage and stick around for a bit to make sure the signage seems to be clear to people, and then they come back to pick it up.

        Some of the caterers (and food trucks) we’re looking at provide compostable utensils etc, but if we settle on one that doesn’t we’ll have to buy that stuff. But then at the end, we’re just done. Basically everything gets thrown away without us having to feel bad about it.

        • Sarah E

          Meat usually isn’t composted. It takes extremely high temps (that most compost piles don’t reach) to make sure it doesn’t generate harmful bacteria, and decomposing meat attracts animal scavengers. Maybe there’s a farm that will take meat scraps? Pig slop is about the best I can think of, but there may be another option out there.

          • Laura C

            Right, a lot of services don’t do it, so finding one that can was where I was nervous. But I’ve been to big events where everything was composted, so I knew it was theoretically possible. Apparently the place I found will segregate what they get from us and bring it to a facility in a neighboring town.

          • ART

            definitely jealous! we tried to find something like this where we’re getting married and haven’t had any luck. our home county takes all food scraps, including meat/bones and compostable plastic, and we’re doing disposable plates/cups for the wedding, so i really wanted to be able to just compost *everything* like we could here, but the county we’re getting married in just doesn’t seem to have anyone set up for that.

        • Jen

          Hello from Newton! Storing the composting service idea in the back of my head. And isn’t it great how many more food trucks we have in the Boston area now?

          • Laura C

            Do you have a favorite food truck? We’re not living in the area yet, so our opportunities to try different ones have been limited so far. I really, really wanted to fall in love with the Taco Truck, but we were both pretty meh on the tacos when we actually ate them. My FMIL is very opposed to barbecue or we were going to do Blue Ribbon (I say it’s still in the running), so one way or another that rules out a few trucks, but we’re looking for chances to try more of them.

          • Jen

            There are some new ones that I haven’t tried that are getting great reviews, like Stoked Wood Fired Pizza. I like Mei Mei Street Kitchen (they have a restaurant in Fenway now too), Savory Food Truck (though I’ve only ever gotten their Yushang Eggplant cause it’s so good, I’m not sure if they do events, and their website plays a song which drives me nuts), Captain Marden’s food truck — The Cod Squad (the restaurant/store is in Wellesley, and it looks like the food truck can now be found in Boston and Cambridge), and Clover (but for me, they have a high minimum for events with food trucks, and they seem to be moving more towards brick-and-mortar restaurants).
            There are a few events with food trucks coming up if you’ll be in town and any of them interest you — SoWa market starts May 4th and there’ll be some at the Arnold Arboretum for Lilac Sunday on May 11th.

            Good luck finding something a truck you enjoy and/or your FMIL deciding that Blue Ribbon is a great choice.

    • lady brett

      ooh, thanks for the recommendation – that looks like a really interesting book.
      and congrats on your article!

  • Sarah E

    My fiance and I have finally chosen a venue! Now we have to pick a date, and I’m posing a question in hopes the continued debate helps me choose: It comes down to Memorial Day weekend and Not Memorial Day weekend (wedding would be on Fri or Sat, late evening, dessert only).

    I have read APW posts, comments, discussions re: accommodating guests/my wedding is not an imposition etc. I know them all. My fiance doesn’t have a strong opinion, and I don’t, either. It comes down to guest comfort. I know a lot of people have strong opinions about holiday weekend weddings (in both directions). So should we flip a coin already? The only costs that may possibly be affected are our photographers (top choice to date is a photojournalist friend of my mom’s who does weddings on the side) and possibly some chair rentals. Everything else is either not an issue, or covered by friend-ors. Many of our guests will need to travel from either the 2-hr drive range or inter-state flight range, but all have a high-show-up probability either way (that’s how our people roll).

    Please someone tell me to flip a coin. Actually, I think when my fiance gets home, we’ll just flip the coin. So let me know if I missed something important.

    • Emmers

      Ditto! We’re having a similar debate– only ours is around a wedding possibly right before or after Thanksgiving! And I’m feeling less chill about it. Anyone have advice about that?
      As far as Memorial Day, I say flip a coin!

      • Sarah E

        I’ve been to and stayed home from weddings the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In college, I was better able to take the time and carpool with friends a few states away. After moving halfway across the country, however, there was no way I had the financial resources for a flight T-day week to make it back to my relatives. If you have a large percentage of flyers or important people who will need to fly, I might consider right before T-day a better option.

        • Lawyerette510

          Yep, I think before Thanksgiving is a better option for people who need to fly, or drive long distances, as the roads and airports are really crowded during that time. That said, you know your guests, and your wedding is not an imposition, so do what works for you!

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

        My mom did that (YEARS ago) because it was the only time she had off to marry my dad. Her advice to me was not to get married right around a holiday like she did, ’cause you’ll spend every anniversary with your in-laws… (Of course, this might not be a issue for some people…)

    • SarahG

      I’m a fan of holiday weekend weddings, esp. weekends like Memorial Day when there’s not a big family expectation (for me). BUT, for example, my fiance’s friend is getting married the Monday *before* Memorial Day and we are still going, even though it requires more time off from work for us both, because he loves her and wants to be there for her big day. So, moral of the story is that your people will make it if they can. (I will admit I did have a wee grumble about why not Memorial Day, but really, I get it… weddings are expensive and challenging and you do what you can.). Not everybody will ever be happy with every choice, but they love you and will make time for your wedding, which is an amazing feeling (I am told, and hope for myself!).

    • Marcela

      Some people will appreciate having the extra non work day to make it out to your wedding, others may resent “being told what to do with their holiday”. Are flights particularly more expensive around the holiday because that could be an issue.
      Check with the people who you really really really want to be there and find out their thoughts. At the end of the day, someone will always have some sort of problem with the date you pick, so maybe just flipping a coin would work. :)

    • swarmofbees

      I am going to a wedding the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend this year and it is totally not a problem. We are making a weekend trip out of it. Fun! But, it could be a problem if it makes flights/car rentals/hotels more expensive for people.

    • Lawyerette510

      I think the coin flip works if you aren’t concerned about the travel logistics.

    • Liz

      I don’t mind summer holiday weekends, like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day. I get a little annoyed when it’s next to a family holiday (for me) like Thanksgiving or Christmas, and I get put in a position to choose friends over the limited family time I get. Given all the weddings we are going to this season, the holiday weekends take a little less pressure off of the vacation time situation, which is nice when we’re trying to save time for our own wedding and honeymoon. What I wouldn’t do is have the wedding on the last day of the holiday weekend (like Monday Memorial Day, Sunday of July 4 weekend, or Monday Labor Day) because it takes away the helpful part of the holiday weekend for people.

    • jashshea

      For me, N-M-D Friday would be harder than M-D either day. I’d have to take the whole day off during a regular week, but our office gets out early on holiday weekends, so Fri or Sat would be fine on a holiday.

      …That said, I love weddings and don’t love my job, so I’d be at the wedding no matter the day.

    • Kayjayoh

      I will cry a little bit when someone I love eventually plans a Memorial Day wedding, because I have a very special to me tradition every year that weekend, and a wedding will likely mean that I miss a year. YMMV, but that is my thoughts on holiday weekend weddings.

      • Sarah E

        I get that. Labor Day is a really important day to me, even though I generally don’t have the opportunity to continue the family tradition that made it so. I have definitely been there on the crying-in-bed the morning of Labor Day because my Grandpa was dead and Labor Day was not the same anymore.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      We did the Monday of a 3-day weekend. (Veterans Day) I thought people could leave the reception at 8-ish, which was reasonable for our timeline, and be home by 9 for locals and midnight for people with short flights, and all those people could be at work the next day. Our guests didn’t agree. Some left very early. People who had to fly took Tuesday off. Those who couldn’t take Tuesday off just didn’t come. And now my new job doesn’t even have Veterans Day off, so I don’t get a 3-day weekend for my anniversary every year.

      I still wouldn’t say I regret our wedding date. It was hugely convenient for us with respect to the honeymoon and arranging vendors. Every date is going to be a problem for someone.

    • enfp

      Truth be told I’d be a bit disappointed that a wedding was on a long weekend. I mean, I’m always happy to get a wedding invite and would attend a long weekend wedding with bells on, but my partner and I get so little time off, long weekends are precious. Obviously pick the date that works best for you, you’ll never please everyone, but all things being equal? As a guest, I personally prefer non-long weekend invites. That said, if I was an out of town guest, I’d probably prefer a long weekend wedding over a Friday evening wedding, as it’s not always easy for me to get time off from work (hence the reliance on long weekends).

    • scw

      we flipped a coin! do it!

  • Mary Jo TC

    I’ve really loved some of the recent conversations here about makeup and body image, and I thought the ladies here would have some good ideas about this very small issue I have that’s somewhat related to those topics. This is definitely a ‘first world problem’–only something I think about at all because my life is really pretty good. Also, sorry for writing you all a small novel.

    When I was shopping for wedding dresses 5 years ago, I realized that the reason I felt anxious about picking the very best dress ever was because it felt like my only opportunity in my entire life to really feel glamorous and dressed to the nines. I had the silly thought that I wouldn’t care so much about my wedding dress if, for example, I were a movie star who got to wear designer dresses to premiers and awards shows several times a year. The rarity of the event was what made it a unique opportunity that I was afraid to waste. That way of thinking is still with me in a way. I miss getting dressed up for prom and dances the way I did in high school. There are so few chances to dress formally in adult life. I’m an adult but I want to play dressup sometimes!

    Now, in my daily life, I’m not a person to put a ton of effort into my appearance. I don’t have the energy for it I guess. My personal style is pretty conservative; I’m the type who doesn’t try the latest styles because I’m too thrifty and because I’m always afraid I’m not cool enough to ‘pull it off.’ I wear sensible shoes and only shave my legs when I’m going to be baring them. I only bother blow-drying my hair for special occasions. I get frustrated easily with my hair, and am not skilled with it, so I don’t enjoy messing with it. I can only motivate myself to use about 2 or 3 make-up products on my ‘everyday face.’ I don’t see makeup as fun, creative self-expression because it always feels like the first priority is covering flaws, like my acne and acne scars. And I’m not very skilled with the makeup either; I never feel like my concealer is doing its job and my lips are usually chapped by the end of the day and my eyes never ‘pop.’ So I think my everyday routine is really about avoiding confronting these insecurities while making myself presentable. But I also wonder if the minimal effort I put into my daily appearance kind of fuels my longing to have an occasional outlet for beauty/fashion self-expression. The contrast between who I really am and the pretty pretty princess I wish I were sometimes is just too great. It’s like I’m only ok being the slob that I am if I can prove to myself every once in a while that I can be pretty too, if I try to be. But I almost never have any reason to put an effort into my appearance, so all I get to be is the slob.

    I notice that when I do get dressed up, the fact that it’s so rare means that I want to document how good I look, so I bug people to take pictures of me. Now that I have a baby, I want his adorable self in the pictures too, and he never ever cooperates, so I just get frustrated and feel unfulfilled.

    So I’d like to think of ways to take pressure off of the few times I do dress up and generally feel better about my appearance and have more fun with it.

    Ideas I’ve thought of:
    Step up my daily routine to feel better on a daily basis. This probably would take new makeup and hair products ($$$) and a better morning routine (costs: time, sleep, more help from husband with baby).
    Find an excuse to really dress up more regularly. I need ideas for this, ladies.
    Learn to master the selfie and take more pictures of myself when I like my outfit or have a good hair day. When it’s an everyday look, but maybe a particularly good one.
    Build my confidence and positive body image in some other way (?)

    Am I the only one who thinks about beauty and fashion this way? Or am I just childish with my desire to play dressup? What do you all think I could do to feel more secure about my looks and allow me to have more fun and be less annoying to others about taking my picture?

    Again, sorry so long. Happy Friday everybody!

    • a single sarah

      Dancing as hobby is awesome for regular excuses to dress up. Different communities have different dress norms (and differences in child friendly ease). Contra dance communities that I’ve seen are super welcoming for families. Less dressed to the nines excuse, more finding lots of swirly skirts.

    • Sarah E

      You are not childish. Definitely spend time thanking your body for what it does everyday. Spend time on each and every part that has served you well.

      As for places to go, the local symphony here has pretty cheap tickets, and my grad-student fiance can get student prices. That’s a great opportunity to get fancied up! I also like dressing up if we’re going to a bar specializing in liquor or cocktails vs. beers, because that’s just the vibe I feel when I’m sipping my gin.

      Otherwise, when I get hung up on similar things, I remind myself that I don’t have to wear/try everything just because it’s pretty or works for some people. Example: some of my favorite style experts praise the statement necklace for instantly jazzing up even casual outfits. I love looking at statement necklaces, find them bold and beautiful and just my taste.. . .except I don’t really like *wearing* necklaces often. They get in my way and I’ve broken too many. I’m much more a bracelet and earrings kind of girl. So I could get caught up in “I need more necklaces!” and “That necklace would be great on me!”, I choose instead to appreciate the artistry and then stop buying them and shopping for them. It’s one less thing I have to think about. Necklaces for sale? Ooh, pretty. No, thanks.

      • Jules

        OMG symphony. Also local plays and ballets.

        I think knowing yourself is a really important part of being confident about yourself.

      • Caroline

        Yes! We love to get dressed up and go to a local restaurant that has a nice quiet bar space (on their patio) and order fancy cocktails and chips and guacamole.

    • Marcela

      One thing that I’ve found helps me dress up more is having my husband dress up too. Even if we’re just running out to get a casual dinner from chili’s or whatever. It’s frustrating to put time and energy into a nice outfit and makeup/hair for a dinner date and find him ready to go in shorts and a tee shirt. When that happened I used to just go back in the bedroom and dress down to match him and it made me kinda sad. Now I’ve told him about this and he puts more effort into looking nice so I feel like I can too.

      • Sarah E

        Yeah, it definitely crushes a bit of my buzz when I dress up and then get to the place and.. .everyone else is casual. I have to expend a lot of mental effort not to feel like I stand out in a “try too hard” way rather than a fabulous way.

        • Marcela

          Oh my gosh I suffer… We’ve moved to a college town in the past year and it is truly a trial to my soul trying to look nice when all around me are wearing yoga pants and running shorts. It was better in the winter because I feel like winter clothes are inherently dressier, but now that it’s warming up? Goodness.

          • Kayjayoh

            But in the summer you can wear all kinds of dressy sundresses and you are still not overdressed because it’s “just a sundress”. I *love* that cheat code for life.

        • Jess

          As somebody who can only see myself as “me” when I am in running shorts and hoodies… Let me tell you I’m super jealous of people that can feel like themselves when dressed up. Don’t let people like me dampen your day.

          I’m trying these days, but I’m still very jealous because you all pull it off better than I do. Teach me your ways!

      • Caroline

        My partner and I have gotten to the point where we decided being the fanciest people in the room is the best. It just means we’re clearly the classiest/fanciest/most awesome people around. (Note, it’s not about eliteism, it’s about deciding to embrace being fancy when others aren’t, instead of being embarassed by it. Rather than standing out, we’re just being James Bond-y.)

        So we’ll go out to dinner where everyone else is casual, but he’s in a suit and tie and I’m in a LBD and heels. Because we want to be fancy who cares if everyone else is casual.

    • Jules

      For what it’s worth, I am THE SAME WAY!! (Mostly.) I don’t even wear makeup on a daily basis. When I do, it’s mineral foundation and the barest of eyeshadow and eyeliner, with maybe some really neutral lipstick. Now, I’m in my early 20’s and didn’t start messing around with makeup until 8th grade. Back then I just felt unnaturally madeup, and it’s taken me awhile to 1) feel comfortable with the idea of looking like I’m wearing makeup, and 2) find the techniques, products, and shades that work on me. I have medium-dark skin (Zoe Saldana-ish) and my mom doesn’t. I looooooove getting glammed up and wearing formal dresses, so picking one out tends to be dodgy.

      – You are NOT childish or vain in your desire to play dress-up. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be at your best for special occasions.

      – …Less annoying? Ha! Most girls I know like to take and be in photos particularly when dressed up. Also, before I read your post I REALLY LIKED your wedding dress just from its teeny-tiny thumbnail.

      As for feeling more secure about your looks….I’m going to mostly give makeup tips because that’s something you could wear every day, vs revamping your whole wardrobe. Although I keep my wardrobe very flexible and updated and that’s an art in itself that makes me feel confident and sexy.

      – Set a day to be a “do my makeup day”. Once a month, once a week, or something. Doesn’t even have to be in the morning. This will help you figure out what you like! If you only wear eyeliner every 6 months, you probably won’t progress quickly towards one you like. And if you don’t feel like you have an occasion, invent one. Have a candlelit pizza dinner with hubby. Do you have a set date night? That’s usually my chance to look like I give a shit.

      – For a morning routine, it could be a little as a 15-20min minute hair and makeup sesh. Some things take practice. When I first got my 1.5″ curling iron, I was awful at it and it took me 40 minutes to do. Practice and YouTube later, I’m down to 15 minutes or 10 for just a quick put-together look, plus 5-10 for daily makeup. The trick is finding your sweet spot – okay, if I sacrifice 20 minutes now, I’ll feel good about my looks all day, but it’s not worth 45.

      – Hit up the internet (SO many beauty blogs) and YouTube (the makeup chair, carlie bybel) for makeup tricks. Ask friends whose looks you like for their recommendations. Visit ULTA and Sephora if possible and ask for their recs too. That’s how I ended up with a concealer and foundation I love.

      – What’s your style? Feeling like “yourself” really helps you rock a look. Pinterest can be good for inspiration and celebrities to get an idea of whether you like Lady Gaga’s style or Kate Middleton’s. This is not to say that you should aim to look like one of them, but they come from different style camps. Also look at what you have in your wardrobe right now. It sounds like “classic”.

      – What kind of hair and skin tone do you have?

      – Make best friends with the mirror…and give yourself time.

      I have been working on my late-bloomer self this year and the things I think are worth quality/name brand: Chi straightener, Hot Tools curling iron, mineral foundation, Too Faced concealer, Naked eyeshadow palette, Benefit they’re real mascara (in the mini, $10, and I never use much so it’s worth getting the small one), Anastasia or Benefit brow products, OPI nail polish (I have ~3 colors). I did not start with name-brand ANYTHING; I’ve just found what I like and then liked it well enough to invest in a good tool/beauty product. Some of the stuff lasts a loooong time and is an up-front investment. That’s why I recommend going to a beauty store – they can point you towards something and if you don’t like it, many stores allow you to return stuff.

      I still use drugstore blush, lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, and don’t have pricey brushes yet. Getting into everything gradually is a good way to not feel like you’re wasting all your money and instead can help you find what you want and what you don’t care about!

    • jashshea

      I think the idea of spending a little extra time each day is good. I’m a bit like you, I think. 90% of the time, I shower then put my hair in a bun and throw on some powder. I can look good for fancy dressup parties, but most of the time I’m minimal (read: lazy)

      I have boatloads of wavy hair that, left untamed, looks like, as my loving mother called it, “a rat’s nest.” If I spend about 60 minutes on it, it can look fantastic. But, again, lazy. So I figured out how to tame/dry it in about 15 minutes. I can do a decent curly look in 5 mins (honestly, I hate the way it looks, but other people say it looks good). I’m getting better about doing the 15 minute hair lately.

      I’m trying to find a way to incorporate that mentality for makeup – an easy, medium, and hard look – and actually DO the medium way most days. I’m still mostly on powder only and need to just ramp up to primer/mascara/liner maybe.

      Oh shit, forgot this: well groomed eyebrows can make it look like you’re way more put together. I feel the same way about groomed nails (but only get mine done for special occasions).

      • Jules

        I have to second the eyebrows!!! It makes such a difference.

        Super jealous of Meg’s eyebrows since apparently they are fab all on their own. See pastel post.

        • Caroline

          Yes! Learning to comb my eyebrows was a revelation. I don’t pluck or wax them, I don’t fill them in with color, I just comb them into order, but oh my goodness the difference! My whole face looks totally put together with just combing my brows.

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

        I have been really into having my fingernails painted these last 10 months… Not sure why, but it makes me feel more put together and confident. So I go with it. :)

        • Jess

          YES. so true! the bright colors make me happy. :)

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

            I’ve been a lot into charcoal and black. Ha! But I am starting to feel like I can lighten up a bit… Besides, it’s spring! Maybe I will branch out and do a non-black/grey colour tonight…

          • Jess

            Oooo, charcoal! Yeah, I totally go dark in the winter months. But then about 6 weeks ago I got sick of the cold and started doing my nails teal and coral. :)

    • Shotgun Shirley

      Love this, as I feel like I went through something similar not too long ago. I’d say don’t go losing sleep over this – I mean, waking up early for a complex makeup routine – because better/more sleep will result in better skin and you’ll feel better which will the make you look better.
      For my own makeup routine, I just focus on the eyes, unless it is a very fancypants occasion and/or I’m having pictures taken. Covering my pimples in makeup everyday is just going to mess with my skin more – not that it’s super sensitive, either, but skin needs air. I use the Mac Paint Pot on my eyes (from an APW how-to), and then my eye shadow stays in place all day – none of that crease build up nonsense I used to have.
      You can absolutely find more excuses to dress up! Every weekend, dress up and take a walk in your city? (With cute flats, obvi.)
      And yeah, I see no reason not to master the art of the selfie. I need to get on that actually. :)

    • lady brett

      i guess it depends what you mean by “dress up” but i’ve found that by experimenting with what does and doesn’t matter to me, i feel a lot “fancier” in my everyday skin with pretty minimal effort…it’s like balancing the opportunity cost of “how hard/expensive is this” and “how awesome does it make me feel?”

      for me, that means nail polish is a priority – instant “put together femme” feels. also, if i feel like my hair is funky, *nothing* can make up for that, so keeping my hair in a cut that can be cute with little effort is a priority (short enough for a cute ‘fro or long enough for a nice bun…something i am smack in the grumpy, grumpy middle of right now). on the other hand, makeup is hard, confusing, and tends to just make me feel…like i’m not me, so it’s generally a waste of time for me.

      the other huge difference for me is that i’ve recently hit a point where my wardrobe doesn’t have anything i can wear out of the house that isn’t at least a little put-together/cute. not fashionable or super-fancy, but by virtue of having mostly dresses (what makes me feel best) and that even my jeans, t-shirts and hoodies fit well and match, it’s easy to feel like i look nice without trying, and even the “ugh, i just can’t” mornings don’t leave me feeling like i look *that* bad. this one has taken *years*, but it’s been really nice.

      • Nicole Cherae

        Agreed about the little things that make you feel fancy. For me it’s mascara and lip gloss.

      • Shotgun Shirley

        Nail polish, yes! I’ve actually gotten quite good at what I deem the commute manicure. It takes place over the course of a day or two and takes advantage of time where you’re keeping your hands pretty still anyway.
        Steps: Base clear coat before the drive to work (optional). First coat before driving home. Second coat before the drive to work the next day. Top coat before driving home (also optional). This is especially useful when your evenings/weekends involve a cute lil toddler who is not conducive to manicures, and always wants one of her own too.

    • KC

      Ideas for getting dressed All The Way Up:
      Opera (for Oscars-style fashion)
      Symphony/Dance/etc. performances
      Fancy Pastry Shops
      *or*
      Go somewhere – pretty much anywhere – in full regalia, and people will wonder “where is she going/where did she just come from?” and gaze at you in amazement as you hop on the bus/nibble at your ice cream cone/stride down the street.

      Also, odds are that you have friends who also would like to do this. Fancy-dress cocktail party, anyone?

      I think categorizing things-we-like-to-do as “childish” isn’t particularly helpful. Is it harmful to yourself or others? No? Not morally wrong? Then we’re probably good on it being fine as an activity. If you think about it, are most “childish” activities *really* any sillier than, say, golf, wherein you hit a little tiny ball around a huge amount of perfectly-manicured lawn with fake ponds and sand traps and whatnot? Anyway. My opinion is that if we’re the grown-ups, we can define what that means, and some people may thing we’re being silly, but whatever. I’d rather play with a slinky (childish) than do cocaine (adult).

      • jashshea

        LOL @ that last line.

      • laurabird

        Love love love your last suggestion! That’s how I try to live my life, I’d rather people just always be wondering what my deal is and where I’m going and being slightly jealous that they can’t come. And this includes going to the local dive bar, work, the grocery store, a random sort of fancy restaurant by myself where I can sit with a glass of wine and a book at the bar.

    • Kayjayoh

      A thing I have started to do it dress snazzy more often “just because”. And it really helps make it easier each time I do it, and helps with times when I *really* need to dress up. The more often I do it, the less awkward and out of my norm I feel. I still spend plenty of days in jeans and t-shirts with no make up (I don’t even do full make up when I am dressing up quite often) but the dressy me feels more comfortable than it used to.

    • http://batman-news.com Sonora Webster

      A makeup lesson can be really helpful! If there’s a cosmetics store near you, they will usually offer them, or just get in touch with a makeup artist. Ask them to show you an easy everyday look (it really doesn’t have to take more than 10 minutes) and maybe a more dressy look, and also help you pick out some products. They work with lots of brands, so can steer you toward what will be good for you. Buying a bunch of makeup can add up fast, so just go in with a budget, tell them what the budget is, and stick to it.
      As for where to show off your new look, I think it’s so great to invite people over! When they’re your friends, you can tell them it’s a fancy cocktail party. Girls love a reason to wear a dress! The guys might not play along, but whatever. This way, you can set the tone, so you know you won’t feel overdressed. It’s summer! Make some of those APW batch cocktails and have a party! :)

    • Alison O

      One thing I have found that helps me not feel like a slob, as opposed to just a very low-maintenance person (which I am and consider a good thing), is to pinpoint what makes the biggest difference in my appearance/how I feel on any given day and focus on that one or two things. For me, being quite fair and having eyelashes that are long but blonde/brown and hard to see, putting on mascara takes me from half-dead to somewhat-put-together, which is a step up from normal seeing as I’ve worked from home for the last three years. And it takes like 5 seconds. Also adding ‘statement’ earrings or a necklace or a pashmina to an otherwise very simple outfit (even like t-shirt & jeans) can take things up a notch without requiring a lot of expense, time, or complicated decision-making.

      I would also recommend getting a one-time makeup lesson from a professional if you can splurge. My mom, sister, and I had a lady give us a private lesson at our house for my mom’s birthday/Christmas present. It wasn’t cheap, but we learned about good techniques, recommended materials/colors, etc. and I learned about ‘tight-lining’ (a method for eye liner), which makes a huge difference all on its own and yet if done right someone else would not necessarily thing I was even wearing makeup. During the lesson I took a picture when one eye was done and one wasn’t and freaked my partner out with it because my eyes looked like different shapes altogether.

      Well, might as well post a picture a picture now…just did this in about 1 min. Tightline and mascara on one eye…other eye nothing. The difference isn’t as pronounced as the pic I sent to my bf during the lesson, but it gives you the idea. Sorry photo quality is pretty bad (iPhone).

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

        I agree that wearing jewlery makes me feel dressier and more “together.” And, well, I just enjoy it, so I have more fun with my necklace on or dangly earrings or rings or whatever… (Or all of the above, who am I kidding?)

      • Caroline

        I totally agree about finding a few things that make you feel good about your appearance. For me, I’ve found a few things where just one or two totally changes how I feel about how I look. Find a few things that help you pull your look together or kick it up a notch.

        For me they include:

        – Earrings. I just look more put together and more intentionally dressed with earrings and it takes 30 seconds. I wear earrings almost every day

        – Eyebrow brush. I wear makeup maybe 2x a month (and just lipstick and mascara when I do) but I was AMAZED at what a difference it made when I learned to comb/brush my eyebrows. It’s a huge difference! (And the brush cost 3.75 from the drugstore.)

        – Hair. I found a few low maintenance styles that make me feel like I look awesome. I like my hair to have a little volume. So on a day-to-day basis, I do either a flipped through ponytail (45 seconds and a hairtie) (http://www.wikihow.com/Make-an-Inverse-Ponytail) (I use a normal hairtie not a scrunchie like it shows), or a high ponytail where I sort of fluff up my hair, or I wear it down. All take less than 2 minutes and I can do them while walking out to the car.

        – When I want to kick it up a notch, I wear bright red lipstick. I ‘ve always loved bright red lipstick, and it’s still pretty easy as makeup goes. For a date night, I might also add mascara (but never more than that).

        – As I mentioned above, I splurged on one incredibly stunning on me LBD for date nights, dinner parties and more. (It cost about $135, so it was a splurge for me, but not incredibly expensive). I also found a fabulous pair of heels to wear with it. (I got them on sale, so they weren’t really a splurge.) I don’t have many fancy clothes, but I know I look drop dead gorgeous in my one date-night outfit.

        I’ve also been working on just trying on clothes that feel daring and not-quite-me-but-maybe-cute when I’m at the store. I rarely buy them, but it is part of expanding my idea of what I wear. Most days though, it’s just my little touches mentioned above that make a difference to my basic wardrobe of jeans and an old navy perfect tee.

    • Nicole Cherae

      Every time I get my hair done I use it as an excuse to get dressed up. As someone else pointed out, this is a great season to buy and wear skirts and dresses.

    • http://alifeworthwritingdown.blogspot.ca/ Jules

      Ooooo, dressing up! I’m a huge fan. HUGE. It makes me feel pretty and fabulous. Dress up to go out with friends, pretend you’re a socialite who has decided to mix with the peasants and buy her own groceries, have a photo session with the baby, go forth and do artsy things…
      As for makeup wise, a couple people mentioned a professional makeup lesson but my feeling is that all that makeup might be a bit overwhelming if you aren’t used to it and you’d end up just not wearing any of it (after spending $$$$ on it). Try looking for products that dress you up a little with minimal effort. I’m a big fan of Burt’s Bees tinted chapstick. Moisturizes your lips AND adds a pop of colour but without the effort and precision that lipstick requires. Some people swear by tinting their eyelashes for a “done” look all the time without having to put on mascara or get raccoon eyes. Perhaps a tinted moisturizer if you don’t usually wear foundation?
      Big change can feel healing but if it’s something you want to keep up, small changes may be the way to go. Good luck!

    • Caroline

      Nope, not childish! I struggled for a long time with wanting to dress fancier more. What I ended up doing was deciding that even if the culture is very casual here, I was going to ignore that.

      I bought myself a couple of cute accessories and a lipstick and one fancy dress. I rock that sexy, flattering, fancy-ish, grown-up little black dress with red heels and lipstick frequently on even the most casual of dates with my partner. I put on my pearls for synagogue. and when I’m feeling frumpy and tired, I put on my cute fedora and lipstick to wear to class with my jeans and a t-shirt.

      For me, having just a couple of fancy things made a HUGE difference. I have 1 LBD, 1 pair of cute fashion heels (red pumps), 2 shades of red lipstick, mascara, and an eyebrow comb, a pearl necklace and various earrings, most of them gifts from my mom. That’s my sum total of “fancy” stuff. I splurged big-time on the LBD (well, big time for my budget, as it was 2x what I would normally pay for a dress) but it was worth it. It will last, and I feel so much better about myself.

    • laurabird

      I wear a full face of makeup everyday (I work in the cosmetics industry so it’s kind of expected, but also, I truly love it and have fun with it) and am way more likely to overdress than under dress. That’s just how I’m most comfortable. But one of my biggest tips to you would be to keep part of your budget set aside for skincare. Skincare is crazy important to making even super easy, super minimal makeup look amazing.

      And keep this in mind – you do not always get what you pay for in cosmetics. Some of the drugstore stuff is amazing. Some of the really high end stuff is shit. One of my favorite sites for honest reviews and recommendations across a huge price range is Temptalia.

      As far as ideas for dressing up more regularly, just do it on random days. Wake up some Tuesday and decide, “I’m going to kill it at work today.” Going out for lunch or drinks with friends? Take what you were planning on wearing and add one fancier element (killer necklace, heels, a skirt that makes you want to swish it around, whatever your jam is).

      Do it for you. If it feels like drudgery, don’t bother. But if that little twinge of excitement pops up when you start thinking about it, go for it! (And don’t confuse nervousness about something new with drudgery. You can be nervous and anxious and hesitant while still being excited.)

  • MC

    Okay, cake question: What is a good price for wedding cakes?? We did a cake tasting yesterday and the quote for a wide, 2-tiered cake with frosting and filling was around $530. Obviously my fiance and I have never spent that much money on cake before, so we experienced some sticker shock. We really like the bakery – it’s local, woman owned, and they use great ingredients and they are right down the street from our house, so we go there a lot. And the cake is super delicious. The cake coordinator did say we have a lot of options about the size of the cake, and we can always get a smaller display cake with a big sheet cake to feed everyone else, which I think it what we’ll do. I guess I’m wondering how much other people have spent on cakes.

    • Lisa

      When I was pricing it out at a couple of bakeries in our large metro area, I ran across everything from $300-$600. The option we’ll probably go with is a small display cake that can fit on my great-grandmother’s cake stand and some sheet cakes in the back. I think it’ll end up costing ~$350 total.

      Did the $530 include delivery, set-up, or a cake stand? That would definitely inflate the price.

    • Marcela

      My publix cake from last year was $350 with delivery. This fed 75 people, but honestly more than half the cake was left over.

    • SarahG

      Tiered cake is definitely a little pricier than ordering a few regular cakes (what we are doing, mostly because we couldn’t decide on one flavor). I live in the Bay Area and have seen prices around $500 for 100 people for a fancier organic cake and also around $350-$400 for not-organic.I think small tiered cake for cutting, plus regular cakes, can definitely save you some change, but to be honest, our cake buffet (5 9 in layer cakes plus some flourless cupcakes for the gluten free folks) will be around $340 plus delivery. So, I guess the moral of the story is that cake is expensive if you want a bakery to make it and not get a bunch from Whole Foods. Good luck!

      • ART

        We are doing multiple regular cakes, too! But I’m finding that bakeries, even Whole Foods, are stuck in a bygone era when it comes to having order forms or menus that are remotely accessible/helpful. That’s been the most annoying part. We’re getting married a few hours north of the Bay Area and have to transport them to the site ourselves, so I’m not comfortable relying on “whatever the Santa Rosa Whole Foods happens to have the day we go there” because we won’t have any other time/options if they don’t have what we need!

        Planning to spend a total of less than $150 on cake for 75 people.

        • SarahG

          Hmmm. Dilemma! All I can tell you is we picked SuzieCakes (based on a friend’s delicious cake buffet) and their ordering is really easy and they do deliver, but I have no idea if they deliver that far. Probably not. Whole Foods doesn’t let you order cakes ahead of time? Are there any good bakeries in Santa Rosa? There must be… good luck :)

          • ART

            Yeah, we got a rec. for SuzieCakes as being really good, but we’re all the way up in Lake County so basically no one delivers. I think we’re going with a bakery from Ukiah that had to fax me their cake order form (ughh…) despite having a really nice website and pdf menu for everything else…but seems like the best option. Whole Foods is like “umm, just call us…” but I am so uncomfortable about not having it all written down or being able to actually look at a menu of options with my fiance. We don’t have the brain power left to ask the right questions over the phone :)

    • Meg Keene

      That’s actually a pretty damn good price, at least around here. We paid a little more than that and I thought I got the best deal ever, basically.

    • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

      Our cake was $440. It was thee tiers, two flavors I think, with sheet cakes to serve from too if I remember correctly. It fed 140, with 12 slices or so leftover. (wow, my cake memories are seriously lacking! ;) We’re from a smaller town and our bakery is local and owned by a couple.

      • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

        okay this makes me feel better about our cake price.

    • Katelyn

      Ours is $6 per slice plus a $50 delivery fee. We have the date reserved but are waiting for more solid attendance numbers before committing to a size. I have the feeling ours is a little on the expensive side but it is a HIGH priority for us and this place is over-the-top delicious.

      Oh, and it’s a Vegas wedding so prices do tend to be higher than average (although probably lower than anything we could get in downtown Chicago, where we live).

    • ElisabethJoanne

      When I priced wedding cake in San Francisco and southwards 2 years ago, $6/slice for wheaty (as opposed to gluten-free), tiered cake was about where everything came out from bakeries that do a lot of wedding business. There’s a APW sponsor who makes cakes, so you can start there to get a comparable.

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

      I ended up doing DIY cupcakes and buying or making other desserts (sheet cake, cheesecake, brownies, cookies, fruit, cheese and baguettes, etc. It was a dessert reception and catering anything ended up being out of budget. But it worked out well.

    • Caroline

      That was about the prices we were quoted for that type of cake. I didn’t want to pay that much, and so my mom offered to make it. I do think, however, that that is a reasonable price for a wedding cake after seeing how much work it is. (We’re probably not actually saving any money once you count all the costs, but it means a lot to have my mom make it now that she offered.)

  • Lawyerette510

    So we are 17 days away from the wedding, and I am kinda falling apart, or cracking open or something… I feel like one giant emotional bruise, I’m so tender at everything. I cry in the car, I cry at my desk, I cried the other day when my boss complimented me. Plus I’m worried our wedding will suck, that it’s going to be boring, that the playlist is going to not be good and no one will dance, that the DIY photo-booth won’t work, that my parents are each going to have a melt-down.

    This morning the FH pointed out I do this for every party we throw (seriously, we throw two big parties a year for each of our birthdays, and sometimes a summer solstice party too), and that all of our parties are success because they have great people, delicious food and good booze in a lovely space, and that our wedding has great people, delicious food and fantastic wine and we love the place, so it’s going to be great.

    I wrote about it a few months ago, about my feeling that people aren’t excited, and that I can trace it back to feeling that my family isn’t excited because of their own issues, but I’m still struggling to over come that issue, especially as my dad spirals towards a manic episode that involves him reconciling with the woman who he had been referring to as his ex-wife, but ends up they didn’t get divorced and distancing himself from my sister, with a lot of heavy drinking to go with it, and my mom is getting in fights with one of my “aunties” who is coming to the wedding and then telling me about it.

    I’ve got emotional body-guards/ buffers for the wedding weekend, but I’ve accepted that I also need to distance myself from them starting now, and only take their calls when the FH is around to jump in and help me end conversations about upsetting topics.

    In happy news, we ordered fun mexican blankets to keep guests who don’t bring appropriate layers warm, we’ve finalized the menu and it is going to be awesome, we’ve got a great seating chart, and we’re starting to plan a summer solstice picnic to continue the celebrating with our many friends who can’t make the wedding. Plus, we got an espresso machine from the FH’s work (no one was using it, so they gave it away) and have been loving that.

    On top of all of the good stuff, I come here to spill my guts and connect with others, and what do I see, but my comment being highlighted! Major fan-girl excitement!

    • Meg Keene

      Normal. This is normal. It gets better.

    • Nicole Cherae

      Congrats! I’m sure your day will be a beautiful moment.

    • Kelly

      “I am kinda falling apart, or cracking open or something… I feel like one giant emotional bruise, I’m so tender at everything.” Solidarity fist-bump to you. I’m not there yet, but that is always how I feel before big things and I know that is how I’m going to feel in the weeks before our wedding, and I’m dreading it. The good news is that what comes after that feeling is usually really awesome. It will be ok! You just have to put up with yourself for a bit.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    I have found the secret to marital happiness! It involves cake!

    I finally got to a new support group for family members of people with mental illness. (My husband suffers from severe depression and executive dysfunction.) I had to leave my old support group when I changed jobs. The new support group meets a few blocks away from the bakery that made our wedding cake and from our reception venue. I’d been meaning to get back to the neighborhood, but it just hadn’t worked out until Tuesday. So, finally, 18 months after the wedding, I got to eat a slice of my wedding cake – a freshly-made slice! By the time the cake was cut at our wedding, I was too busy and excited to enjoy it, even though the cake was the only thing we got compliments on. The people at support group were friendly, helpful, and well-spoken.

    As for the issues bringing me to support group, my husband and I have agreed to experiment with my taking on virtually all of the household tasks requiring executive function – including managing his medical bills – and his doing more of the hard cleaning I usually do, as a trade. His doctor is supposed to call in a prescription for just three $40 pills of Cialis. He had originally prescribed 30 at a time, which would have cost us $1,200. The Affordable Care Act made coverage for erectile dysfunction a choice for the states. Appealing the issue with our insurance company got us nowhere. We are also considering applying for Social Security disability.

    Meanwhile, I’m reading a book on sexual health, which itself recommends dozens of other books. Hopefully the answers to my problems are out there.

    Finally, I’ve decided that my own wedding need not be my last opportunity to fulfill silly childhood fantasies. Back story: My family used to vacation in Hawaii periodically. I always wanted a Hawaiian dress, but they were considered too expensive. I’ve decided to get 1 or 3 and wear it to my cousin’s wedding in June.

    • jashshea

      This all sounds very positive and I’m glad to hear you’re giving yourself permission to fulfill childhood fantasies!

      And CAKE!

    • scw

      I am really angry for you about that prescription cost, and I hope the trade works for your relationship. we’ve fallen into a similar pattern – I take care of bills and things and he does all of the cooking and grocery shopping. I love taking care of things and he hates it, he loves grocery shopping and I hate it. whatever works!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        I remember all these tropes in debates about healthcare policy about insurance covering erectile dysfunction medications, but not covering contraception, and then to find out that things have reversed was quite the surprise. I personally don’t take issue with drug companies’ profits, but finding a way forward after deciding we weren’t going to pay $1,200 just to try something that might help our sex life was strangely round-about. Try to find it cheaper? Ask for a different medication? Skip medication altogether? It made me sympathize more with people who don’t have our otherwise excellent insurance.

        • scw

          “I remember all these tropes in debates about healthcare policy about insurance covering erectile dysfunction medications, but not covering contraception, and then to find out that things have reversed was quite the surprise.”

          yes! that was my first thought!

    • taygete05

      If you find the book helpful, maybe share the title at a future APW happy hour? I know I’m curious!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        “Sex Made Easy” – I’m still on the first chapter, but I’ll provide an update. I fear it’s too basic for a lot of APWers, though. Even for me, I’m mostly nodding along, then noting the pages that refer to other books or helpful organizations to look up later.

    • Meg Keene

      Here I was thinking you found a mental health support group that served cake. COLOR ME DISAPPOINTED.

  • Sara

    That article about unplugged weddings was so incredibly rude and rage inducing that I was about to leave an angry comment – then I read the comments and was able to relax about it. Thank god for the sane readers/commenters. The woman that wrote it sounds a tiny bit addicted to her phone and also very self involved.

    • Lisa

      There was a featured discussion in The Kn*t’s newsletter recently where a bride asked about whether people would totally hate her if she put something in her programs about turning off phones and tablets, and you should have seen the nasty feedback she got. I couldn’t believe all of the (presumably) adult women were complaining about being treated like a child and telling this person they would vindictively use their phones if they were asked to turn them off.

      • Sara

        To quote one of my favorite shows: “People. What a bunch of bastards.”

    • Jules

      “…even if you had the best seat and could capture the first kiss at an angle worthy of 42 instagram likes and 482 pinterest pins?”

      “It’s the only proof we’ll have that we spent a Saturday night somewhere other than the couch.”

      WHAT the fuck. It’s too much to ask that people disconnect for a whole frickin’ thirty minutes? What is this woman like in church? Movies? AND YOU NEED PROOF?

      People like THAT are exactly the reason I’m not on Facebook or Instagram.

      • MC

        Yeah, definitely rolled my eyes MAJORLY at those lines.

      • Amy M.

        Those lines actually made me think that article was a joke!! But then I realized it wasn’t . . .

      • Sara

        I’m a legit social media junkie and yet if one of my friends ever voiced an opinion similar to this, I would explode. I overload my friends on the shelter dogs I work with and am the first in line to post a ‘throwback thursday’ photo, but a wedding is a whole ‘nother beast outside of that. The line that pissed me off was

        “But seriously, if you’re going to stop us from being snap-happy guests we’re only going to be sitting in those pews feeling vulnerable and depressed because of all the great photo moments we’re missing out on.”

        ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You’re depressed because I’m not letting you get in the way of the person I paid to take photos? Get over yourself.

        • scw

          me too re: social media junkie! I’m 100% addicted to my phone and won’t be doing an unplugged ceremony, and that article still made my skin crawl. I admit, I didn’t read the whole thing because I was getting visibly upset in a waiting room, but it seems like she really doesn’t get it. no one is asking their guests to leave their phones at home and not be available in case of emergency, just to keep their phones away for a little bit. geeze!

        • sara g

          I have a friend who does not ever put her phone/camera away and I know she will throw a fit if we have an unplugged ceremony (her husband is also a groomsman, which makes things tougher). I’m expecting her to just take the pictures anyways and plaster them all over Facebook and am not looking forward to having to deal with that.

          • YOQ

            That sounds awkward and unpleasant–I’m sorry. We put our social media policy (do not post anyone’s image or name on the internet without their permission) on an insert in our invitation. It is on our wedding website; it will go in the program. We also have guests who are social media junkies, but we figure that having made our wishes clear, we can now politely but firmly ask people to take stuff down if they do post it. Also, we are empowering our day-of coordinators to be enforcers (a role they will enjoy).

          • sara g

            Yeah, we certainly plan to make our “policy” very clear. I’m not worried about most of our guests, but the friend in question is one of those people who thinks rules don’t apply to her, so I foresee some kind of drama. :(

            My aunt is going to be my day of coordinator… I should ask her if she wouldn’t mind being our “enforcer.”

          • YOQ

            And if that’s not a role your aunt wants to take on, maybe you have someone else in your posse who would be good at and enjoy it? It could easily be its own separate role. I’m thinking you should give that person a sheriff’s badge… :)

      • Jess

        I don’t get that mentality at. all.

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

        I like Saturday nights on the couch….

    • Jess

      I must be missing the link somewhere…which article are you referring to? We’re thinking about doing an unplugged ceremony so now I’m concerned :/

      ETA: nevermind! found it!

  • Kayjayoh

    Happy Friday!

    For your reading pleasure, a Hugo-nominated short story by Rachel Swirky that is full of beauty and might just make you ugly-cry:

    If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love

    “If you were a dinosaur, my love, then you would be a T-Rex. You’d be a small one, only five feet, ten inches, the same height as human-you. You’d be fragile-boned and you’d walk with as delicate and polite a gait as you could manage on massive talons. Your eyes would gaze gently from beneath your bony brow-ridge. …”

    http://www.apex-magazine.com/if-you-were-a-dinosaur-my-love/

    • Jessica

      LOVE IT!

      • Kayjayoh

        I keep re-reading it.

  • Kelly

    Curious about people’s experiences with getting ordained online to officiate a wedding. We’ll be conducting most of our own ceremony but we’re asking a long time friend/mentor to officiate our legal vows and pronounce us married. She gave us an enthusiastic yes, but now I’m feeling weird about asking her to get ordained and deal with all of the legal stuff just for the process of saying a few sentences (which will be meaningful and wonderful)…Wondering if we should just get courthouse married for the legal part but keep our ceremony the same for meaning and emotional significance…Or maybe getting ordained is really no big deal? At this point in the process my brain is overthinking every.single.thing. so…

    • Laura C

      Check your state laws — we’re getting in Massachusetts, which has a state one-day marriage officiating license thing that we’re using. So our $25 or whatever it is goes to the state rather than Universal Life or whatever, and it’s a very simple form that you just fill out and send in with your fee.

      Another thing you can do is, I’ve been to a wedding where the person officiating in the sense of standing there doing the vows was not the legal person; someone else in the wedding party had some kind of online ordination thing, and he was the officiant of record even though to all appearances he was a groomsman who did a reading.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      My understanding is getting ordained online is no big deal. It’s not like you have to take classes or read books. Of course, for some people, anything online is a big deal, and there can be a fee.

      Our jurisdiction is like Laura C’s – the government can “deputize” a normal person to be a civil officiant. That involves the officiant going to the courthouse and filling out paperwork, which seems more of a hassle to me than an online process, but it’s something to look into.

    • ART

      I had similar worries, but our friend-o-fficiant got ordained online in about 2 minutes, for free, with American Marriage Ministries, rather than do our local $60, go to the clerk’s office on a weekday, deputy-for-a-day thing, which would have been super inconvenient for her and cost us the $60 that we were happy to save :)

      • Katherine

        We did this too. We got married in Illinois, where the rule is that you must be married by a judge or by someone who’s ordained. When we asked if a 5 second ordination on the internet counted as ordained, we were told that the state isn’t in the business of deciding who’s ordained.

        My other concern, for whatever it’s worth, is that my somewhat religious father (who married us) would object to being ordained in what is essentially a fake religion. His perspective, though, was that the fact that American Marriage Ministries is a religion at all is basically a bureaucratic hoop. Had they seemed anything like a real religion, he might have been less comfortable. I guess my point is that it may make sense to ask your officiant how he or she feels about whatever ordination method you choose. But it really was super easy. :)

        • ART

          Yes, I liked that they basically don’t even try or claim to be a religion, other than the “religion” of “people should be able to get married, yay!” – I’m not at all religious, so my discomfort with a religion-y online ordainment would have been about wanting a more secular process.

        • Kelly

          Ooh, thanks, this helped me articulate the other thing I feel weird about, which is the fact that we’re having a very secular ceremony and our friend is very secular. So saying, “please identify with this fake religion” feels weird. BUT to just re-frame it as a bureaucratic hoop feels better.

        • Mezza

          This is reminding me of the time my uncle and his wife got ordained online and dabbled with the idea of starting a wedding-officiant business on the side. They made the mistaking of telling my extremely cantankerous, conservative, religious grandfather about this plan and he basically spent all of lunch telling them they were going to hell. I (a non-religious person) thought it was hilarious, but I’m not sure my uncle did!

    • Annie

      Check your state laws – different states have different processes. Here’s a link: http://www.themonastery.org/wedding-laws/

      Depending on where you’re getting married, it can be as easy as signing the marriage license and providing a copy of the ordination certificate.

      I wasn’t willing to get ordained online (I’m part of a religious tradition that has specific rituals around ordination, but the couple knew that going in). The groom’s brother did the online ordination and we co-officiated, with him being the official celebrant according to the state. It was easy-peasey for him.

    • Lawyerette510

      Like others have said, depending on where you are, it can not be a big deal. In CA it’s not a big deal to either use one of the online ordinations, or in some counties to get a one day officiating license (although it costs more). Our friend was excited to do it, went the online route and said it took about 10 minutes.

    • Kelly

      Good points, everyone, thanks! I guess my hangup is not the actual process of getting ordained online (which does seem very easy), but the idea of asking someone to take on the legal responsibility for our marriage…it feels like it should be a big deal, but maybe it’s not really.

      • ART

        I looked into the officiant regs in CA and our state public health department had this to say: “The laws of the State of California make it unnecessary for persons performing marriages to file credentials with the clerk of the court or with anyone else. The county and state are removed from any responsibility for verification of credentials. The State does not maintain a central registry of members of the clergy. Any such concern for verification is totally at the discretion of the parties to the marriage.”

        That made me pretty confident that at least here, it’s not a big deal – no one is ever going to question the legality of our marriage because of our officiant’s credentials. As mentioned below, though, other states do it differently.

      • Annie

        Oh I hadn’t thought about it that way! In my experience, helping someone marry someone else *is* a big, wonderful, awesome Big Deal. When I agreed to officiate my friends’ wedding, I was agreeing to all the responsibility embedded within that role – spiritual, emotional, etc. I see the legal piece being a small slice of the overall responsibility they asked me to bear.

        It sounds like your friend is really enthusiastic to take on this role, and you and your beloved were drawn to her for a reason.

        I’m coming at it from the “your wedding is not an imposition” perspective, so I think it’s worth talking to your friend about it and not writing it off because it might be too much. If she’s not into it or it would reduce your stress level, you can still go to the courthouse. But she might be totally jazzed about the legal part!

        • Kelly

          Wise words, thank you!

    • jashshea

      Our “minister” researched it himself and got the certificate before I could do it for him. We’re in NC and it was a 1 day license only. If there was a fee, it wasn’t terribly expensive.

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

        Same for our officient. It was a one-time-only, one-day thing (in Québec).

  • Shotgun Shirley

    I am 36 weeks today and starting to come off bed rest! Stuff got scary just before 24 weeks, when I went from ‘stoopid MIL won’t let me birth at home’ to just hoping for a birth experience NOT involving the NICU. So…. yeah. After a nice relatively easy first pregnancy and birth, this second time around just goes to show how much this stuff is outside our control.
    And yeah, a great birth experience is nice, but a healthy mom & child come first. Yet another reason why I love my midwife and her approach to meds/technology. As of now I am okay to give birth in the birth center, and am preparing for a great out-of-hospital birth experience b/c that’s what you do, but if we have to transfer to the hospital that’s okay too.

    • Meg Keene

      Fuck the experience, get the baby ;)

      I actually feel like I had a great experience, even though everything went wrong AND we had NICU in the mix. But I felt educated, and like I had some control, and that was enough. That and a healthy me and healthy kiddo.

      • Shotgun Shirley

        Doesn’t hurt that your baby’s adorbz.
        I think a little education goes a loooong way. If you have no idea what you’re getting into, it’s kind of unreasonable to expect it all to just turn out magical, I think? You could get lucky, yeah, and some bodies are better at this birth thing than others, but if you’re well aware of the process, and what could go wrong and what counter-measures would then be taken, well – you’re way ahead of the game.

        • Shotgun Shirley

          Which is why I took my midwife’s (very thorough) birth class, again. I don’t know how many times I was asked, “but you did this already, why take it again?” Um, if I hadn’t, I dunno, played lacrosse in 3 years, and suddenly was going pro, I’d probably get some kind of training.

          I’ve never played lacrosse, but I have been watching Archer.

      • Caroline

        “But I felt educated, and like I had some control, and that was enough.” I think that’s key. I think a lot of times (myself included) focus on wanting a specific experience, but what I REALLY want when I have kids, is to feel educated and I like I have some control. Obviously, there’s a lot you don’t have control over (biology, pregnancy), but I want to feel like I have some control. I think, to a large extent, “the experience” is about feeling like I have some control. So many stories one hears about birth are about a total lack of control, and that terrifies me. And I realize that there are things I won’t have control over, and I have to work on that, but I also want to have control over things when possible.

  • Emily

    Last week, I wrote about our wedding bands being kind of not what we were expecting, and it seems that we’ve settled down with that and they’ll actually be okay! Yay!
    We had a bizarrely in-depth discussion about flowers this morning, including a trip to the grocery store to get a feel for the bouquets that are most readily available. That was followed up by a reality-check of running our numbers again, and I have no freaking idea how we’ll end up paying for all this! I felt good about the individual choices we made as they came up, but to look at the total and the 3.5 months we have left to come up with the money, it’s just hitting me. Yikes.

  • Kayjayoh

    I think I might start to apply for Boston area jobs soon. I’m worried about it, since I won’t be moving there until the end of August. But I’d be fooling myself if I thought I could find a job right away, and the worst that can happen is someone says, “Well, we like you but we want someone who can start sooner.”

    Still, a little anxious.

    • MC

      Before I moved last year, I started looking at jobs ~4 months ahead of time, and ended up getting an interview for my DREAM job and almost getting, but they wanted to hire someone 2 months before I could start and they found someone slightly more qualified than me that could start when they wanted her to. I cried my eyes out, even though I knew throughout the whole process that that was a likely result.

      BUT it was good because it got me in the swing of writing cover letters & resumes, and I really honed that skill by the time I applied for what was actually my dream job, AKA the job I still have & love a year later. (I ended up meeting the woman that got hired for the other job over me a few times, and turns out she’s leaving the position after only a year, partially because of feeling overworked.) So I would say prepare for some untimely opportunities, but it definitely can’t hurt to start looking and connecting.

    • Fiona

      I’ve already started applying for jobs in New York to move there in August. My last round of job searching led to some awesome jobs cropping up two months after I’d already accepted the one I have now…so I don’t htink it’s too early at all! Solidarity fist bump!

  • Amy M.

    Our wedding is two weeks from tomorrow and people (everyone from coworkers to my dad) have started asking me, “Are you getting nervous?” I’mnot nervous, I’m actually feeling very relaxed and happy, but I am kind of a worrywart and when people ask me this I start to think, “Ummmm, should I be nervous? Is there something I’m not worrying about that I should be? What am I forgetting?” I’m kind of tired of this question and I wish people would say something like, “Are you getting excited?” I hereby promise that that’s the question I’m going to ask any soon-to-be-married’s in my life from here on out :-) Happy Friday everyone!!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Mazel tov! But Please, just ask “How are you feeling?” I was neither nervous or excited. I’m just not that kind of person.

      • Amy M.

        Thank you! And thanks for the tip, that probably is better :-)

      • Lawyerette510

        I agree “how are you feeling?” is perfect for anyone going through a big life event, as is any other open-ended question compared to a y/n question.

        On Wednesday a woman I had known for about 30 minutes asked me “So are you a total bridezilla yet?”

        • ElisabethJoanne

          Oh, gosh. Here’s hoping she meant it ironically.

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

      I got really annoyed with the “Are you starting to get nervous?” questions too. As well as the “Are you starting to get excited?” ones. With the former I figured as long as we were married at the end of the day there wasn’t anything really worth getting nervous about, so I wasn’t nervous. And with the latter I’d started getting excited LONG before the asker thought to ask.

  • bummed (or not!)

    i just wanted to follow up on a post from a few weeks ago about my dad coming to visit (who is not invited to my wedding). It was as awkward as it usually is, but the wedding did not come up, which had been my big fear. I think he really does understand that he can’t come. What a relief. Thanks to those who said nice things as I was sweating bullets in anticipation of a big fight – it really helped.

    • Jess

      I’m glad you followed up! I’m very happy to hear that the worst didn’t happen!

    • Violet

      Oh, I am SO happy this was the conclusion! You were totally going to be able to handle any nonsense, but I’m glad you didn’t need to!

  • Lindsey d.

    I picked up our USB drive of photos from our photographer today! I’m so thrilled with them. She was totally worth the expense. Sneak peek with the fabulous chuppah my husband and his dad built. Working on my APW grad post now…

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Lovely!

    • Meg Keene

      Ooooooooo!!!

  • Christina McPants

    So, I feel really weird coming out like this, but in case any of y’all were invested – I’m Magical Unicorn Mama. I’m still blogging. And still pregnant (15 week!). And still not out at work for another month (eek!) assuming I don’t pop before then. The wife pointed out to me that I should do this a while ago, so… Hiiiiiiiiii.

    • lady brett

      congratulations, y’all!!

      sneaky. ;)

    • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

      you are magical unicorn mama?!?!?! oh my gosh that is so excited!! i have always liked you and the magical unicorn mama…and you are one, so cool ! :) congrats!

    • Kayjayoh

      Congrats!

    • Shotgun Shirley

      CONGRATULATIONS!! That is soo exciting. Yay you guys!

  • scw

    happy hour! I was always here for happy hour during the pre-engaged state and thought I’d appreciate it even more while I was engaged, but in fact I’ve been too busy wedding planning during the last few weeks to be here at all. I’ve still been reading all of the comments, but doing so on saturday when it feels less like I’m actually participating.

    next weekend will mark one year til our wedding, and I’m surprised by how busy I am already. in the last few weeks I’ve been dress shopping, booked a musician for our cocktail hour and a band for the dinner portion, introduced my parents to our food truck caterer, wrangled both sets of parents into having the budget conversation with each other (instead of them having it through us!), and started planning the rehearsal dinner. my mom has been making a lot of progress on the venue we’re restoring for the ceremony and reception, and FH and I have planned a trip home in two weekends to see how it is coming along. this is a great week for me, personally, because I found out this morning that I received one of the three funding lines available to students in my phd program beyond their fifth year (my program only guarantees funding through your fourth year, even though I don’t know anyone who has finished in less than seven years). this isn’t directly wedding related, but I am so glad that I’m not spending my summer stressing out about where the money (and health insurance) will be coming from in the months leading up to our wedding!

    a question for vendors out there, or people who are particularly good at communicating with vendors – we’ve been ready to commit to our caterer and photographer for awhile now, but my parents are planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to italy for most of the month of may and, for financial reasons, would prefer to pay the deposits when they get back. we should be getting a contract any day now from our caterer and the photographer I love agreed awhile ago to let us know if anyone tries to book our date (at which point it’s a matter of who gets her money first, which makes sense to me). I’d like to reach out to the photographer just to touch base, as it has been a few weeks since we’ve spoken, but I realize that, from her point of view, I won’t really be giving her any new information. our parents gave us the official go-ahead on her this week, so it’s new for us, but since my parents don’t want to pay deposits until they return at the end of may, I don’t want her to feel like I am bugging her for no reason. I guess my question – with both the photographer, and the caterer when the contract arrives – is, is it worth it to touch base and say we’re 100% on board but just would like to wait until after their trip, or should we just avoid communication until we have the money in hand? (OOF that question was long and hard to write, thanks for reading if you got this far!)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      You’re paying your vendors to work for you, and they’re professionals. Don’t worry about bugging them with extra emails. They can read it in a few seconds and decide what, if anything, to do with the info. I mean, how many of your work emails are stuff you actually have to deal with, and stuff that’s just an FYI?

      One of the photographers we met with, and our reception venue, both marked us on their calendars as soon as we contacted them, with no contract or deposit. They said they’d contact us if someone else contacted them about the same date, and asked that we contact them if we decided to hire someone else. I really appreciated that professionalism. I imagine that lots of vendors do this, but don’t tell all potential clients.

    • Lisa

      I think it’s worth it for you to sent them an e-mail letting them know the circumstances. A lot of times people just drop off the face of the earth if they decide to go with a different vendor instead of sending a courtesy e-mail saying they’ve chosen something else. If you’ve already been out of touch with them for a few weeks, it might not hurt to reiterate your interest and the fact that you can’t pay deposits until the end of May.

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

    It’s National Infertility Awareness Week. I always knew I’d share our story once I knew how that particular chapter of our story ended. But I never imagined I’d be as vocal as I have been. A friend said she had survivor’s guilt after getting pregnant after infertility and miscarriage. And I think that’s what it is for me too. Sharing my story, speaking out, being as vocal and involved as I am is my way of handling my survivor’s guilt, that I have a little miracle when so many others don’t.

    • Fiona

      I got pregnant years ago, so many years before being ready (I’m still years away), and when I miscarried, I had horrible guilt. I still do. I get sad around that time of year every year. I very rarely talk about it because of the direction my life has headed. My life would be SO different if that baby had made it…and as it stood, I never had to make a choice about whether or not to keep the pregnancy. Anyway, thank you for sharing and congratulations on your “miracle.”

  • moonlitfractal

    Today has been a bit of a roller-coaster. As I continue to recover from severe HG, I’m working on returning to the volunteer voice-over work I had been doing before I got sick (recording audiobooks for vision and reading impaired teens). I was on the phone with the volunteer coordinator (my boss) this morning to install and learn to use the software updates that went into effect while I was out of commission. He mentioned that he has a lot of new volunteers since we last spoke and that some of them are involved with outfits like SAG and Audible. Now, I’ve been looking for ways to move into more professional voice work for a while, and have even been planning to make a demo tape…not that I had anyone to send it to. So this morning my boss asks me if I’m interested in professional voice work, compares my work to that of the professional voice actors who volunteer for the organization, and mentions that he now has contacts in the industry! Suddenly the chance to get paid for the work I love and feel I’m good at seems like a real possibility!

    Then, this afternoon, I get a call from a doctor. Seems that based on a blood test I don’t recall asking for (and, in fact, believe I was led to believe was somehow ‘required’) my baby (due in October) has an increased risk of Downs Syndrome, about the same risk level as for an average mother of age 35 (I’m 29). I’ve chosen not to pursue further testing or anything because it’s not like it’s an order they can fix with an early intervention and I don’t see how knowing prior to delivery will be an advantage (apparently a big reason some people chose to find out is…let’s just say an option I’m not interested in). I figure there’s no reason to get upset: the risk is still pretty low in the greater scheme of things, and if my child is disabled my child is disabled. These things happen. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that my anxiety level is up since I got the call, which isn’t healthy for me or the baby. I really wish I hadn’t gotten that test done at all. And I was having such a good day! *And* I’m still kind of reeling from being risked out of giving birth at the only local birth center that takes my insurance based on factors that every other healthcare provider has said shouldn’t be a problem. I just feel like this whole pregnancy thing is spiraling out of my control.

    EDIT: Apparently the Downs test was sort of part of a different test we requested that looked for more serious chromosomal abnormalities, but was technically a separate test. I’m still not thrilled about it.

    • Kayjayoh

      ((hugs on your roller coaster ride))

      Good luck with the voice work!

    • Lisa

      Congrats on the voice over work! That’s something in which I’ve always been interested (I’m trained in classical voice) but have no idea how one gets started.

      *hugs* on the baby news.

    • Katherine

      Do you have the option of non-invasive further testing for Downs? As someone 35 or over, I had both an ultrasound & a blood test looking for evidence of various chromosomal disorders. My understanding is that these tests weren’t approved for people under the age of 35, but perhaps they are if other testing shows you to be at increased risk… The traditional amnio test for Downs Syndrome does pose some risks to the fetus, but the tests I had did not. Perhaps it would be worth further testing just to reduce your anxiety level? To be clear, I’m not saying that you should; just that it might be something to consider. And that I think that reducing your own anxiety for however many months is a perfectly valid reason to do more testing, even if there’s no direct action that would be taken.

    • fairytalesandmonsters

      When my mom was pregnant with me, the test also showed elevated risk for Down’s – the doctor actually asked her if she wanted to abort. Fortunately for me she thought he was crazy. You are quite right in your comment – an increased risk of something that’s really very low risk is still a very low risk. XKCD has a comic … http://xkcd.com/1252/.
      Obviously, though, anxiety doesn’t listen to the rational. Why don’t you do something nice and pampering for yourself? You might not be in control, but that doesn’t mean you’re not completely equipped to deal with what might come. But, yanno, it’s easier to feel equipped when you’re armed with chocolate, or cup of tea and a novel, or whatever constitutes pampering to you.

  • Jess

    I saw a therapist today! It was in many ways what I wanted – she was very easy to talk to, asked a lot of whys, listened to the words I was saying and asked if I identified with other statements, and basically looked at some of the layers beneath how I’ve been feeling lately.

    In one way it wasn’t what I expected – she does a lot of EMDR therapy. In my brief research start (which will get more in depth before decisions are made), I’m unsure about it.

    Does anyone have any experience surrounding EMDR and using it to treat depression/anxiety? I don’t have a specific trauma to speak of, but do have a lot of issues surrounding feeling unwanted/disliked as a child by friends and parental figures and expecting to feel the same way from people today.

    • MC

      Yes, I had a therapist ten years back who did some EMDR therapy with me – I had some general anxiety issues around body image/eating disorders and was almost put on anxiety meds, but the therapy helped so much that it didn’t feel necessary at the time. Although, it’s hard to know how much the EMDR helped vs. having an awesome therapist – but none of the stuff I worked through with her has resurfaced significantly! I think having a therapist that you connect with & that you feel like you can be open with is WAY more important that what specific methods they use. Good luck!

      • Jess

        Additional experience with ED treatment was part of why I chose her to begin with!

        I’m glad to hear that the process of therapy and EMDR helped you – it’s a relief to hear about some of the non-drug related techniques working too.

    • Laura

      I’m speaking as a Ph.D. student in clinical psychology, so although I don’t have any personal experience with EMDR, I know a lot about the scientific research in the area. In short, the repetitive eye movement part of EMDR doesn’t really seem to add anything “special” to the efficacy of the therapy. The cognitive processing of events, which is part of the general EMDR protocol, seems to be the part that’s actually aiding change.

      A lot of EMDR therapists are very passionate about EMDR, whereas people outside that school of thought have a lot of skepticism (particularly about why the eye movements would be able to help with symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc…..no clinical research to my knowledge has adequately answered that question). That being said, it’s not going to hurt you and many people benefit from and really enjoy EMDR-oriented therapy. It just hasn’t been shown to be quite as effective as some other empirically-supported interventions for depression and anxiety.

      If you decide that EMDR isn’t for you, I would suggest doing some research about behavioral activation or cognitive behavioral therapy. Both have a lot of empirical support for depression/anxiety concerns and can be very helpful.

      And let me know if you have any more questions. I’m taking a class in empirically-supported interventions for mental health problems right now, so I have waaaay too many research articles floating around my head about this stuff :)

      • Caroline

        Do you have advice on resources for finding a therapist who uses empirically supported methods for depression and anxiety? Not surprisingly given I’ve been sort of depressed, doing a ton of research into what works and calling 20 people is just WAY too much right now, but I’ve also have very bad, semi-emotionally abusive therapists in the past so while I could use some help to feel better, I’m super scared to. (My last therapist, I left after my partner pointed out that for a year and a half, I had been mostly fine and not very depressed, except for the two days after each meeting with her. And not in a “processing things is hard” way, but in a “she makes you feel terrible about yourself and you don’t get out of bed for two days afterwards even to go grocery shopping” way.) So I want to meet with a therapist but am nervous about it.

      • Jess

        So, I’ve done some CBT stuff in the past. The self-talk isn’t really cutting it for me anymore (Mental Me will say, “This is a reaction based on x past event in your life. There is no reason to react like this.” Emotional Me will say, “But everybody DOES actually hate me.”).

        Is there more to CBT than coping mechanisms (read: did I stop therapy too soon the first few times)?

  • Val

    Happy, happy hour! I never really join in, but I just can’t keep from shouting this everywhere I lurk. After 3 unsuccessful tries, 2 years, and 1 midnight sobbing session, I have FINALLY passed the NYS Bar exam! I received the results yesterday, almost threw up and settled for covering my mouth and screaming insanely at midnight (apartment living) while my fiancée frantically asked me if it “was something bad”. I am just SO. FRIGGIN’. HAPPY.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Mazel tov! Good for you for keeping at it! Welcome to the profession!

      Advice, if I may: Don’t know about NY, but in Cal., anyone who can administer an oath for testimony can administer the attorney’s oath. That’s court reporters, maybe bailiffs, etc. I was already working in a law office when I got my Bar results, and my boss’s favorite court reporter stopped by after work for my swearing-in. My parents, sister, and boyfriend were able to attend. I brought a cake. Lots of people remarked how it was much nicer than the huge swearings-in of full Bar exam classes.

      • Val

        Thank you! I’ll look into seeing if that’s a possibility in NY because it sure sounds lovely.

        • Mezza

          Sadly that doesn’t work in NY, though it does in NJ. NY requires you to actually go to the courthouse of your department. You may also have to attend an in-person character and fitness interview, depending on department. It’s a pain in the butt (I just did it in March).

          And congrats on passing the exam! I remember how horrifying and stressful the wait was (never mind the studying) even though it was almost 4 years ago. But now you never have to think about it again!

          • ElisabethJoanne

            Well, if you ever want to be admitted in another jurisdiction, it’s an excuse for cake at work.

      • GCDC

        The huge swearing in of full bar exam class that I attended in New York was impressively efficient. I was in and out of there in 30 minutes. Far cry from another state swearing in ceremony I had to attend (cough cough ends in -irginia) that took approximately 3.5 hours.

    • Caroline

      YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kat91314

      Congrats….NYS bar is insanely hard. So happy all your hard work paid off!!

  • macrain

    Happy Friday APW ladies! Anyone have success finding some good shapewear to wear underneath their dress? My gown is form fitting and gives a lovely hourglass shape, but still I’d like to wear something just to smooth everything out, particularly in the tummy/butt/hips area. It needs to be comfortable!
    I’m happy to report this is the last thing I need for my outfit- I have my dress, shoes, and accessories, and I’m so excited about everything!

    • Lindsey d.

      Some people think Spanx are evil, but I find that as long as you buy the right size, they can be a lovely support garment. And the split crotch on some varieties make those potty sessions in a gown a bit easier. I wore appropriately sized Spanx for 8 hours on my wedding day with no problems and it worked well under the gown.

      • Jess

        i have never been able to make the little slit thing work. i always just give up and take them off/put them back on. :/

        • Lindsey d.

          TMI, but you have to do some additional stretching of the fabric and sit with your hips really tilted forward to push yourself back to make sure you hit the hole. It’s weird, but once you “train” the Spanx, it works well.

          • Jess

            huh. that actually makes a lot of sense. haha. thanks!

      • Kat91314

        Another vote for Spanx here. As long as you don’t pay attention to the label sizes (they’re very small for some reason, I’m a size 10-11 in street clothes and felt comfortable in an XL slip) and just choose the piece that feels right to you, it’ll work. I bought a bunch of different versions at Kohl’s, tried them on at home with the dress, and just returned the ones that didn’t work out. Plus I got to re-try my wedding dress on, so that was a bonus too :-) Good luck!!

  • Pileofstix

    I don’t know who to brag to so I’ll brag to you guys. I made the last payment on a big chunk of debt today! 5 years and $35,000 later, I’m a little bit close to being debt free (and that’s some of the best kind of freedom there is!). I also got a promotion and raise. For the first time in a long time, I actually feel like financial freedom and even success are within my reach and I owe a lot of that to my amazing boyfriend. He helped me to gain the confidence I needed to get to this point. Now, we’re doing it together and I couldn’t be happier.

    • Jess

      congrats! paying off things feel so good!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Mazel tov! That’s a huge accomplishment

    • Jess

      Yaaaaaaay! Way to go!

    • Kendra D

      Congratulations!!! That’s a huge accomplishment!!

  • Natalie

    So, it’s Friday and I’m already ready for the weekend to be over. My fiance’s brother is getting married tomorrow. Long, and complicated story short, but his family has never really liked me (I am an engineer, with a master’s degree, Christian – but they don’t like my personality so these last few years have not been awesome). My fiance is the best man in the wedding, and I have been pointedly not invited to the rehearsal dinner, and to the wedding (though, my fiance is allowed to “bring a guest if he must”)…

    • Kayjayoh

      :(

    • Jess

      ugh. I’m so sorry.

    • Kendra D

      Wow. I’m surprised he didn’t insist on you being invited as part of it all. My twin BILs are married to women who don’t get along. When Thing One got married, Thing Two had to insist that his then girlfriend be invited. He calmly explained to Thing One that if she wasn’t invited that he wouldn’t be coming. And not just as his guest, but a named invite. This is something where you definitely want to have your partner on board, but he should be making it clear to his family that the two of you are a package deal. (((hugs))) and I hope the weekend goes better than expected.

      • Kayjayoh

        Completely off-topic side note: my sister nannies for twin boys, and she often also refers to them as Thing One and Things Two. As such, I am totally picturing this conversation happening between 3-year-olds.

    • ART

      I’m very sorry, too. My fiance recently received an invitation to a wedding that didn’t mention me or a guest anywhere, even though I’ve met the couple and they know we’re engaged. In that case, we figured it was an oversight, not intentional. But still, I told my fiance that under no circumstances are we going to accept invitations to things like weddings to which both of us are not invited, we come as a packaged deal or not at all, that’s how it is. I know precisely how sticky things can get when you’re talking about family, but you guys are a packaged deal now, end of story.

    • Winny the Elephant

      Lol what could possibly be that wrong with your personality that would drive them to not invite you to important family events? Sounds like these people are just totally unreasonable. F*ck em.

  • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

    okay i just want a personal stylist that “knows” these things. i need (i think) some type of jewelry to go with my wedding dress. and i would like to wear shoes to. and i have no idea how i want my hair done. i don’t wear jewelry regularly, only random fun pieces now and then but it’s not like i “know” jewelry. ughhh i just want the magical earrings or necklace to float to me. (and i know how silly this problem sounds…but its happy hour so hey)

    • Fiona

      Do you have a dress around which to style all these pieces? I love fashion nonsense. I need a pic!

      • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

        I do have a dress :) I am paranoid about posting it here though…only if you want, would you want me to email it to you? and i love your name – my email is catherineeure at gmail dot com

        • Fiona

          I would LOVE you to email it to me. This would be awesome to try to help you style something!!!!! I’m very excited right now.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      On hair, my bridesmaids/sisters just let our stylist do whatever she wanted, and everyone was really happy. Come to think of it, I basically let the stylist do what she wanted, except it had to be flowing and close to my natural texture. My husband was really happy with it.

      For jewelry, I had about 4 necklaces, and only 1 fit with the dress’s neckline. It was the same necklace my mother wore to her wedding, and worked as both my “something borrowed” and my “something old.” (a tradition I would have skipped otherwise)

      • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

        I’m only getting my hair done, the bridesmaids aren’t. It’s tricky cause we are planning from out of state so trying to find a hair girl without meeting them in person and all that is a little complicated…

        • ElisabethJoanne

          My wedding was the first time anyone in my family got our hair done professionally. I included my sisters as additional examples of just going with what the stylist recommends. Good luck!

        • Kendra D

          Do you know anyone in the area where you are getting married who can recommend stylists? We’re planning our wedding from out of state too and we’ve found a lot of vendors from asking people who have recently had weddings. Our photographer, caterer, and cake place came from recommendations from friends of my MIL who had recently had family weddings. It would at least be a starting point – though it could also work if anyone in the area had gone in for any formal up-do in a style that you know you would like.

    • Kendra D

      I would suggest looking at pictures of wedding hair/hair styles on Pinterest. It would help if you have a savvy friend or family member who can let you know what’s realistic to do with your hair. And to point out that 90% of the time the hair models have extensions, so no your hair won’t ever be that long or full without the aid of those.

      When thinking about picking shoes, I started with my venue – which is outdoors. For me, that ruled out heels as I didn’t want to be sinking in to the ground all day. I wasn’t fond of any of the wedding flats that I found, so I’m going with a pair of teal cowboy boots. My other accessories are based off of pulling in the teal color softly – my Aunt is making me a necklace and bracelet that will have it as an accent color and my Mom is knitting me a lace capelet that I will wear.

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

      I ended up getting my jewelry at a great little vintage store in Chicago because I couldn’t find any “traditional’ necklaces that I wanted to wear. I got a necklace and earrings from that store and ended up loving them. In fact, I have been back twice to get more jewlry from them (and I no longer even live in Chicago!) The people at the store were really helpful and I trusted them.

    • Violet

      And don’t discount the fact that you don’t *need* to wear “all the jewelry.” I wore beautiful dangly earrings that created enough visual interest, so I didn’t wear a necklace at all. If you want to and see a piece or pieces you love, do that. But because you said “I need (i think) some type of jewelry,” I just want to be someone who reassures you that you don’t “need” to do anything other than marry your SO!

  • Kendra D

    I’m sitting on my couch!!! After 107 days, plus a week of chaos, we are mostly unpacked here in our apartment! Besides the books/movies boxes, which I’m not counting, we only have two big boxes to go! I actually got art up on the walls today. It’s so nice to have things coming together after being in limbo since January.

    In other good news, my first week of work went really well. I enjoyed shadowing at my job, now I just have to survive the training. I have figured out that the upside to being faster than everyone else is being able to take bathroom breaks while they finish the exercise.

    As soon as I finish the evening unpacking sessions, I’m hoping to start getting our invitations ready to mail out! I can’t believe it’s that time already!!

  • Jessica Nelson

    Any ideas of how many “servings” of appetizers per person you need for cocktail hour? It will be from 4 – 5:30 after a 2 pm wedding, and followed by dinner. I was thinking of having a mix of cold and hot apps. Our caterer is recommending 5 per person but when you multiply that out times our guest list, the cost adds up quickly! Thoughts?

    • Kelly

      I think it would depend on the size, richness, and novelty factor of the appetizer. I’ll usually eat a few nibbles of a veggie tray, cuz I can have a carrot and ranch dip whenever, but if we’re talking crab stuffed mushroom caps, I will EAT ALL OF THEM…others, of course, might have a little more self control, knowing that dinner is coming.

      • Kelly

        *Note: I won’t actually eat all of them (that’s rude). But I would really want to and would convince my date to give me his portion.

        • Kendra D

          I’m with you. Crab stuffed mushrooms are in a league of their own. Luckily my partner does not eat them so I can have their portion for the rest of my life. I really am the luckiest!

    • Kendra D

      I’ve heard that you generally want 3-4 appetizers per person per hour if you’re serving dinner after. Part of it will depend on how long the wait for dinner will be – so if it’s cocktail hour ends, entrance of bridal party, food then you can probably get away with less appetizers. If you’re doing, cocktail hour ends, entrance of bridal party, speeches, dances, cake cutting, food then you might want more to help tide your guests over until they get their dinner.

    • ART

      I don’t have any numbers to share, but I’ve read and agree through personal experience that if you’re doing passed appetizers, you need less than buffet appetizers. When I see a buffet of tiny delicious stuff, I eat way more than if I have to wait for someone to walk by and offer it to me :

    • Amy March

      At least 5, unfortunately. Can you try bulking it up with cheese/veggie platters? Those are often cheaper than more assembled items.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      During cocktail hour, we had fruit and cheese trays, little salads in like taco cups, and chopped liver on crostini (family tradition). I was late (taking photos), and the bride, etc., and I still got 4 bites of fruit and 3 crostini. Now, those weren’t like chicken skewers or giant prawns, but 5 appetizers per person doesn’t sound out of line to me.

      What’s the risk with running out? As a guest, I’m ok with a break in food service between appetizers and dinner (lets me get hungry again), but if you’ve got a heavy-drinking crowd, or really want to have lots of food, that might not work for you.

  • Jess

    I’m gonna follow Catherine’s lead below and ask for jewelry advice! I’m wearing this dress to my wedding dress in 3 weeks in a dark, rich, teal blue color: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/amsale-crinkled-silk-chiffon-gown/3437426?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Mallard&resultback=768&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_3_A

    You might be able to tell from my picture, but I’m rather pale. That, plus the fact that I’m not a size zero like the model and have amble boobage means that that chest cut out is a lot more…large and prominent. Just a giant white diamond surrounded by dark teal. Haha. My current solutions are figure out how to be less pale or find a necklace that doesn’t look weird with those shoulders/neckline.

    Anyone have thoughts on jewelry?

    • aldeka

      Hm. My guess? Big bright statement pendant (preferably not white/clear) on a thin chain. :)

      • Jess

        you know, surprisingly, I had thought of statement necklace, or pendant, but not statement pendant. haha. I will have to investigate.

    • emilyg25

      I’m a big fan of statement earrings and a bracelet with a formal dress, no necklace.

  • http://innercupcake.blogspot.com innercupcake

    Last weekend was kind of a big one! I finally have something kinda sorta solid for after finishing up my thesis revisions and leaving my Ph.D. lab (will postdoc short term in a lab across the street that I’m excited about and will hopefully be able to get publications out of). We spoke last week, and whiiiiile I’ll feel even better after I have a contract signed, when I came in to speak with her about the possibility of working for her, her assumption coming into the meeting was that I would be working there (WHICH IS GREAT!). So, I’m continuing to trudge along the academic science path.

    In other news, my SIL and brother publicly announced her pregnancy, and her due date has been moved up since they last told us about it…..to 9 days before our wedding. I’m mostly overwhelming excited for them, and don’t expect other people to live their lives around them, but it’s still been hard to find out that there’s a really, really good chance that my SIL (one of my bridesmaids) won’t be at the wedding, and realistically, I’m thinking there’s a decent chance my brother won’t be either. Which I definitely threw a pity party for myself about, because family and having them there (and able to enjoy things) is really important to me. I don’t know…does anyone have experience with this kind of close timing of due dates and weddings? I’m going into this with no expectation or pressure on them to attend, but it’d be nice if it was a possibility.

    • KC

      Yeah, we set our wedding date so that all siblings could potentially attend, and then one of my husband’s brothers couldn’t come because: baby. Ultimately, if the wedding date isn’t movable, then what will be will be and you figure out how to work around that. I’d definitely not expect your sister-in-law to be in the wedding if she’s likely to be just-postpartum, which is sad, but if they end up not being able to come for reasons that are really out of anyone’s control, it really is not likely to matter for your relationship, and while you also carry wedding-day memories and have wedding-day photos, the people who stay in your life through your marriage end up being more significant, I think. I don’t know if that’s at all helpful, but that’s my take on it (mumble-mumble) years after our wedding. :-)

      (the non-immediate-family relative who was mad because we didn’t reschedule our wedding to fit around his vacation, when we picked quite literally the only weekend that year that we had a chance of collecting all our siblings for: that relationship got dented a bit. Not recommended.)

    • Katherine

      One of my closest friends made it to my wedding 9 days post-parturition, so there’ shoppe. (Note that she didn’t have to travel, and it was her third baby (which people tend to be more lax about than first.) I gave more specific timing info than most people so that she could a bit late & leave early. I also (obviously?) let her bring the baby. I just want you to know that there’s hope. :)

  • BoudoirChicago

    Anyone know of a good boudoir photographer in Chicago? I’ve been recently considering it, but not really liking the photographers I’m coming up with by googling. Thanks!

    • Crayfish Kate

      Emily Alt Emily Alt! You can find her info in the Vendor Directory. I did a boudoir shoot with her this past fall & it was AWESOME. So much fun, so relaxed and comfortable, and wine. Definitely worth checking out. :-D

  • aldeka

    Bay area folks: Does anyone have a recommendation for a restaurant in Oakland or Alameda, preferably near the ferry terminal(s), that would be good for a 40-50 person wedding reception (preferably buffet-style dinner, allows dancing/music)?

    My original set of venue research was going to be somewhere in nature with redwoods, but the expense and logistics involved with that are *already* stressing me out! So we might have to go with city hall + restaurant and have a ferry ride be the one dose of nature for the day…

    It turns out that the intersection of ease of access to non-car owners, proximity to big trees, and being indoors for both ceremony and reception (the one thing my mom has asked for/required) is very, very small–not just in the bay area, but seemingly everywhere else my fiance and I have a critical mass of family and friends.

    Also I went to a bridal boutique last week for my first dose of wedding dress shopping while my parents were in town, and…oy. What a piece of work. Never again. I think I’ll steal that idea for a massive buy-and-return dress try-on spree instead (though I don’t really have close female friends I’d want oohing and ahhing… but whatevs, I can pose and drink in my living room alone Miss Havisham-style).

    • Caroline

      What about Yoshi’s in Oakland? It’s right near the ferry terminal in Oakland. It’s a jazz club with a club part and restaurant part, and very good food. I bet they could do dancing.

      As for bridal shopping, the buy and return is definitely an option. If you’re interested in trying other places, I had very good experiences in the East Bay at Margene’s Bridal and in San Anselmo at Shadow Bridal (although I think she is closing in a few months).

  • Carly

    Sooo… I got laid off today.

    It is (I think) a good thing, and I felt nothing but relief when I first got the news – I’ve been there far too long, hated nearly every minute, and this place really did a number on my self-esteem. I saw this coming a mile away (these people are awful at operating their own business and cannot actually pay their bills, to say nothing of salaries) and was given severance and references, so all in all – as best an outcome as possible…

    I feel like this is the universe giving me a giant kick in the ass and making this decision for me.
    Still, I’m completely terrified.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Oh, so tough. Best of luck!

    • Anon

      Your last paragraph makes a ton of sense. Hang in there. Here’s looking to better and brighter opportunities!

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

      I am really impressed that you are choosing to see the positive in this. I wish you all the best as you figure out your next steps.

    • Kayjayoh

      The best thing about getting laid off from a place that you’ve been hating: since you didn’t quit and you weren’t fired for cause, unemployment should be relatively easy to get.

  • phd

    I have a unique registry question: have any of you or has anyone you know every registered for (household) stuff without a wedding to attach it to? I’m graduating with my PhD. in May, and I’m in my 30s and single. I’ve decided I’d like real kitchen stuff to mark this transition, and a few friends and family friends have either said they wanted to contribute or asked what I’d like as a gift. It seems to me a registry would be the easiest way to coordinate this, but I’m worried it’s weird and/or off-putting since registries are generally for weddings and babies. If I do it, do I send an email telling people (which feels really uncomfortable to me) or do something else? Any feedback would be welcome.

    • Kendra D

      I think you definitely should register for something as momentous as this (and huge congrats on the PhD!) especially when people have asked about giving you things. A registry is nothing more than a formalized wish list and I know plenty of people who give out wishlists for everything from graduations to birthdays.

      I would not just email people about it – unless they had mentioned interest in seeing the list before. I would give the registry information to people you know and trust (close friends, family members) who could then disseminate that information on your behalf to other curious people. And, if anyone asks you what you want or asks your for ideas, well that’s an open invitation to send them to your registry.

      Congrats again!!

      • phd

        Thank you! My family has never been big on wishlists (at my high school and college graduations, I totally froze when asked what I wanted), which may be why this all feels so foreign to me. But I’ll go ahead and register, and just give the info to those who ask. That makes perfect sense :)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I’d suggest creating a public Amazon wishlist. To me, it’s not as formal as a registry, but it meets your needs. If people ask what you’d like, you can point them there. My high school uses an Amazon wish list for book donations. My husband (and lots of people) uses it for a Christmas and birthdays wishlist. Someone just found innocent after 30 years of prison has used it for gifts from strangers to get back on his feet. It’s more all-purpose.

      • Jen

        I thought of an Amazon wish-list as well, or a SoKind registry. Both allow you to ask for items from any website, and on the SoKind registry you could also ask for secondhand/homemade/skill shares and the like. I’ve done both registries for my birthday and Christmas for my parents and siblings and in-laws, which makes things easier for us all around.

        • Jen

          And congratulations!

      • phd

        Amazon, so smart. I use it all the time and….yet I hadn’t thought of it. I wonder if I can mark the Crate and Barrel dishes I’ve been coveting on it. Off to check that out, thank you!

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

          You can do it on wishpot.

        • Emmers

          there’s some option where you can add other stores’ stuff to amazon (“universal registry”)– maybe it will work for your wishlist too?

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

      What about creating an amazon wishlist or a wishlist on wishpot and then you could use it if people asked….or when people ask what you want for your next birthday. :) I think those might be public and searchable by anyone, so that is something you might want to consider if you went that route.

  • celinad6

    Despite my apprehension about going into academia, I submitted an application for a faculty position almost two months ago. I got a phone call from the committee chair last Friday to have a phone interview this past Tuesday. It happened and I guess it went well because they want me to come in for an in-person interview next Friday. Wedding is a week later. Let’s see: travel, DIY projects, research, packing, impressing people, etc.

    I am excited about possibly having a job lined up but jeez, I am majorly stressed out! I am breaking out even though I am only drinking water and washing my face twice a day.

    Anyway, I’ll literally be in lab all weekend doing a few more experiments and preparing my job talk.

    Thanking God for the blessings.

    • YOQ

      From one academic to another–good luck! Remember that the academic job market is incredibly capricious, so whether or not you get the job at this point (assuming, as I am, that you prepare properly and you don’t say or do anything you know to be a Very Bad Idea) has almost nothing to do with you. It’s kind of depressing to know, but it can also be very freeing (which is how I hope you’ll take this). You’ll be great!

      • celinad6

        Thanks for the advice. I really want this particular position, partially because the location is ideal. But I’ll try not to put much pressure on myself.

        • Anon

          Just in case you”re following comments– good luck, and if this is one of your first academic interviews out of grad school, remember to be a professional not a grad student. You know your stuff. Make sure you know the priorities of the institution (may not the same as your grad institution), and don’t take it personally if you don’t get the job. It’s crazy competitive. Also- breathe.

          • celinad6

            “Also- breathe.”

            I need to remember this.

    • Kayjayoh

      As an administrative support person to academic departments (science and math) I say good luck to you! We just got done with a bunch of searches at my school, and wow, it is quite a process. Very exciting to have gotten to the in person stage.

      Seriously, we had about 75 people each apply for the two tenure-track spots that went up this past semester. About 6 were invited to phone interview for each, and 3 came to campus for each. If you’ve been invited to campus, you are likely at the top of a rather impressive heap (judging by the CVs I got to sift through for us.)

      • celinad6

        Thanks a bunch!

  • guest

    so is there anyone out there who’s partner has paid for both their’s and your rings? i feel guilty and hate that i am not able to pay for my partner’s wedding band. i don’t have an income right now (close to full-time student, actor, acting student, etc) so right now our money is the fiance’s money. i just hate that i didn’t have the savings or SOMETHING to pay for her wedding band. i’m really hoping i’m not the only person so i don’t feel like a horrible fiance.

    • YOQ

      My fiancee’s mother gave us a whole bunch of old jewelry, which covered the cost of both of our rings. It took me a while to wrap my head around that, but ultimately it came down to something like “she paid for this, we’ll pay for other things ourselves. If she hadn’t paid for this, she would have paid for something else”–in other words, money is fungible. We happened to apply her money (in the form of jewelry) to the rings.

      Regardless of who’s contributing what, the thing to keep in mind is that you are NOT a horrible partner–your partner is choosing you “for richer, for poorer.” You already recognize that your fiancee’s money has to be y’all’s money for now; you also know that likely won’t always be true, and she does too. It’s okay.

    • Winny the Elephant

      You would be equally married if you gave her a ring pop at the altar. The money invested in the ring (whoever’s it is) doesn’t make the marriage. Cut the guilt.

      • guesto

        I can SO afford a ring pop!! ;) !

    • Emmers

      your partner is choosing you for a reason! They know your financial situation, and that’s not what makes them love you. I sometimes worry that i’ll be the one who “contributes” less to the relationship, but that’s such bullshit! You are more than money– your partner doesn’t love you because of money, and it sounds like they’re happy to help. Maybe you’ll help with money in the future, or not, but you’re partners– for richer, or poorer. A team!

    • Kendra D

      My then-fiance-now-husband paid for all of our bands. I had spent every last penny relocating cross country and had none left to buy anything, much less wedding bands. Relationships are all about give and take. Sometimes you’re able to give more, sometimes you need to take more. It’s not so much about keeping score as each person giving to the best of their ability and being able to trust in the knowledge that their partner is doing the same.

    • allie

      We went back and forth with these feelings a lot, times 2 cause the hubby and I both have engagement rings too. Because of various income and tax things, I actually paid for my engagement ring and the then-bf paid for some other things later. I honestly don’t remember who ended up paying for the wedding bands. I might have boughten both of those too, or maybe he did. At the time it felt like a big deal, who was paying for what. Right around then, he was just coming off of starting a company that didn’t succeed, so he had no money…6 months later I started a grad program and stopped working so I had no money. It was all of a year ago ago, but at this point it’s such a blip in the pan, since our money is now…well, ours. So, I guess my point is, it felt like a big deal at the time, but ultimately everything will be shared, and I had to really rack my brain to even write this and remember who paid for what. :)

    • laurabird

      My fiance and I have been living together about a year and a half, and moved two states away from home together last summer. We’ve been lucky enough to always be able to afford what we need and some of what we want, but it’s never balanced. When we moved and he didn’t have a job, then had a job that paid nothing, I paid for 80% of our combined expenses. When the holiday season was over and I wasn’t working 60 hours a week with overtime, he had a better paying job and started paying for more stuff than me.

      You’re a team, and you take care of each other. Would you think this way if it were groceries, or the cable bill, or going out for drinks with friends? Or is the feeling just because it’s a wedding ring? The way I look at it, it’s a physical symbol of your marriage and commitment and will theoretically be worn for a very long time, but at the end of the day, it’s a household expense.

  • Winny the Elephant

    re: “the birth experience” I hate that bullshit too. My favourite part in knocked up is when the main character is adamant that she wants to stick to her birth plan because she wants it to be a special experience and the ob/gyn tells her “if you want a special experience, go to a jimmy buffet concert. My job is to get that baby out safely”

  • Carly

    I know I’m a little late to the party, but I successfully defended my thesis this afternoon! Graduation in 3 weeks, Ireland and engagement in 4, and a new job in a new city in 6! I can’t wait!

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

      Wow! Congrats! And all the best in the coming (eventful!) weeks!

    • Caroline

      YAY!!!

    • Kayjayoh

      Congrats!

  • Laura

    Two things:

    1) There is a 50% chance I can come to Love/Make! Fingers crossed, because there are few things I enjoy more than live-stalking Meg and Maddie at indie wedding expos.

    2) I SENT OUT MY INVITATIONS YESTERDAY. And locals already snapchatted me the ones they got in the mail today! SO. This is happening. Also, registry gifts started arriving (probs related to the shower I’m being thrown). So now I have a new vacuum, which ROCKS and is very necessary. Cat fur, you don’t stand a chance!

    PS, I totally thought Disqus was pronounced “discus” like the sport, but just learned (via NPR) that it’s “discuss” (like Coffee Talk-style – “Discuss!”) which makes so much more sense.

    So that was really 4 things.

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

      Oh…I totally thought it was pronounced like the sport too! Glad to know! And it does make more sense…

    • laurabird

      As a fellow Laura, who used to live in San Francisco, I am super jealous! I hope you’re having all sorts of fun today!

  • ktan

    Late again, happy Saturday APW! Just wanted to pop-in to say that I am officially student-loan-debt free as of last week! It has been such an exhilarating and freeing feeling, but a hard one to express without feeling braggy. Thankful to have APW to outlet these emotions, cheers!

    • Kayjayoh

      Woot!

    • Crayfish Kate

      Whoa, congratulations, way to go! Enjoy your newfound financial freedom! I have to admit, I’m totally jealous! ;-)

    • laurabird

      On behalf of all of us who are super jealous, please go right ahead and feel braggy! It’s a pretty astounding accomplishment, and you have every right to be all proud of yourself!

  • laurabird

    I’m hoping I’m not posting too late to get a few suggestions from you wise bunch of people. I’d like to introduce my fiance to APW in a “here are five links to specific posts that will give you a good sense of this site that has been so important to me for realistically longer than I’ve known you” kind of way.

    And I know I’ve read a dozen posts thinking how perfect it’d be as an introduction, but I can’t seem to remember any of them now! So, any suggestions? A kind of “Best of APW” collection?

    I could also swear that I’ve seen this list before. But I can’t find that either. :-)

    Love, the scatterbrain who needs to talk to her doctor about upping her dosage