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APW Happy Hour


Show us your shoes!

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

APW Happy Hour | A Practical WeddingHEY, APW!

After a month that’s been… rocky, it was a seriously good week around here. Maddie and I took a super fun Instagram class at San Francisco’s Makeshift Society, which we then found out was being co-taught by Sarah Deragon, the woman behind The Identity Project (which you might remember from happy hour a few weeks back). Then we took a work road trip to Sonoma for a really exciting future project and cleared a Target out of crop tops and maxi dresses in the process (the crop tops and future project are, sadly, unrelated).

Plus, we’re sharing #APWshoes on Instagram. We obviously broke open the soul of APW with this one and it’s very, very glittery in there.

Great links, open thread, let’s do it.

XO,
MEG

Highlights of APW This Week

All the settling down with none of the mortgage.

I don’t wanna be your bridesmaid.

Five tips your wedding photographer forgot to tell you.

The lead up to the little wedding that could. ALSO, intern Hayley’s getting married tomorrow! Follow us on Instagram to see the first pictures this weekend, SQUEEE!

Blue Ridge Mountains wedding. So. Damn. Pretty.

The non-wicked, non-replacement stepmother.

High-fashion flower girls, because we can.

Sing it with us! “Let it go, let it goooo…” Let your timeline go.

Link Roundup

Recently, while discussing crop tops, David said, “God. When will normal clothes be in fashion so you’ll just wear those?” Joke’s on you, David: Normcore.

In defense of Girls, which I will defend till… forever: Since when do people act like this? … Since always?

Kids these days… are so inspiring. #GodBlessTeenageGirls

We do not need to make our children’s childhood magical. Childhood is inherently magical.” Also file under: I’m way too lazy for that shit.

Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian, and a discussion of the labor it takes to create celebrity. Love, hard.

NPR’s perfectly executed April Fools’ Day joke.

My theory as to why entrepreneurs fetishize failure—in some small way, we like it. If you’re not dancing ever so slightly on the edge, it’s not very interesting, is it?

In “of course creatives are still working, they have bills to pay” news.

A simple typeface change could save the government millions.

Photographing the butch women of San Francisco.

Being a crazy cat lady is now cool.

Inside the fridges of eleven top New York chefs.

And the only thing that should be done with hateful tweets/ comments/ and forums. Make something from 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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  • emilyg25

    Okay, guys, I have kind of a crazy question. My husband and I are considering moving from the United States to Australia to live and work for a few years. I’d be following him—he worked for a drilling manufacturer and has some connections in the mining industry. My skills (writing, mostly) are slightly less desirable. Is this crazy? Has anybody moved to a different country at mid-career? Seems like most ex-pats are younger students. Is Australia a nice place to live? I know it has a much higher cost of living than the U.S., but what else should I know?

    • KC

      What Australia is like depends a lot on whether you’re urban or smaller-town or rural, so that would be useful data. :-) But generally, people are friendly, the wildlife is basically all some combination of absolutely adorable, incredibly weird, or trying to kill you, and the scenery/fresh tropical fruit/flowers/everything-else is amaaaaazing.

      But if you’re a high-class-city girl and moving to not-a-capital-city, then… it might not be very fun, honestly. Places are kind of a long way apart.

      Hope things go well!

      • emilyg25

        We’d probably move to a mid-sized to major city. Most of my husband’s contacts are in Brisbane and Perth (which I know are on opposite sides of the country). Preferrably Brisbane, I think. We’re just starting the thought process!

        • KC

          It’s worth taking cost of living but also count in airfare-to-home/friends/family (although: when we moved to a “destination” city, not in Australia, we did have a trickle of friends/family visiting because visiting us + always-wanting-to-see-that-place meant that it tipped the scales into finally jumping on that vacation for them. But generally, it’s a pretty big commitment.).

          The big cities are kind of a lot like big cities in the US (I mean, in sort of similar ways to how Chicago is “like” NY and both are sort of “like” Boston and bear some faint resemblance to Philly and such; there are a lot of people. There are different areas of town, there are universities, there are more “culture”-y parts, there are hole-in-the-wall bits, etc.). Yeah, there would be culture shock-y things, but probably not a really big deal unless you are extremely attached to tex-mex food or similar? (Although: watch out on the not-getting-run-over thing, because it’s surprisingly hard to retrain yourself to look the opposite way first when crossing the street.)

        • vegankitchendiaries

          I just visited Sydney, expecting to hate it… and LOVED it!

          Something to consider: I was visiting friends (including one friend who’s not Australian) when I was there. Maybe I personally would want to live in a bigger city because the politics in Australia can be pretty conservative. One of my friends who I was visiting is gay and him and his partner aren’t expecting to be able to legally marry ANY TIME SOON. There’s also tonnes of dodgy views regarding aboriginal australians, immigration (“boat people”) and the PM is basically an out and proud MRA. (Tony Abbott aside, you may also remember the disgusting misogyny Gillard had to put up with when she was in office…) So, maybe that’s something to consider… especially, if you’re thinking of ending up in a smaller city (like Perth). In Sydney people seem pretty cosmopolitan and forward thinking. It may or may not matter to you, of course… I was visiting two couples. One set of pals, a straight couple, are so dissatisfied with the Australian political situation they’ve vowed to never live there again. On the other hand, my other friends (gay couple) love the shit out of Sydney – they’ve both lived elsewhere previously – and they want to live there forever.

          I mean, there’s TONNES of bad politics in the US, UK and Canada right now too, but it’s something to consider if you think that kind of thing could end up driving you nuts. Like I said, I loved my 2 weeks in Sydney. If I’d visited five years ago I’m nearly positive I would have returned ASAP with a working holiday visa in hand…

        • Another Laura

          I live in Brisbane! We have good weather, there are tonnes of beaches nearby (Sunshine Coast + Gold Coast), and we have a big outdoors lifestyle/culture…umm that probably sums us up. Brisbane has been growing rapidly over the past few years so it’s not as small as it used to be, though still small by most US city standards. We are a long way away from everyone though.

          • Jess

            I miss Brisbane! I really enjoyed it there.

        • Jess

          I lived in Brisbane for about 6 months for study abroad. It was an awesome city, lots of things going on, lots of places to see, eat, and explore. Public transit was interesting depending on where you lived/were trying to go, but mostly pretty easy to figure out. Definitely not easy to get back to the States, but I loved living there for the short while I did.

          One thing to realize is that the country is huge, so traveling somewhere for sightseeing will take a while.

        • KH_Tas

          If you move to Brisbane, look out for the flood history of your accommodation. Hills are good, anything that’s a reclaimed marshland can get extremely ‘interesting’ in the wet season

          • H

            Lived in a rather smaller city (Townsville) for 6 weeks on a study abroad, and Australia is gorgeous. I would go back tomorrow, if I could.

    • swarmofbees

      What an awesome opportunity! My Mom followed my Dad to the US, at the ripe old age of 26/27. She already had a career in meteorology, but she took a leave of absence for the two year trip. 30+ years, and three kids, later she is retiring this year from a career as a community college professor. So, it very much changed her career path from working in a weather office to working her way up from adjunct to tenured community college professor. She saw it as a chance to go to the US, which she had always wanted to do, and to have a kid during her sabbatical. She then moved into part time work and eventually a full time job. But, given her science background, her skills may be more marketable than your clearly amazingly awesome writing talents. I think whether or not this would work for you depends on whether or not you are willing to give up the career you have now, completely, for something different which may be more or less fulfilling but will certainly be different. It is not crazy at all.

      In terms of Australia, if we are to generalize about a massive continent, I have traveled around there a bit and my impression is that it is a great place to live. There is a whole different breed of racism down there and a constant stream of droughts, floods and fires. But, that is something I feel you would face anywhere. The West coast, Perth, is even more isolated than the East Coast, but has a phenomenal coastline. Sydney and Brisbane area super fun cities and you are generally fairly close to exciting Pacific/Asian travel destinations. The landscapes are gorgeous and the beaches are amazing. They have penguins!! Little blue fairy penguins! The biggest draw back, for me anyway, is that It is a LONG way from home. Sure, you can be home, wherever that is, in 24 hours, but that means you will NOT go home for Thanksgiving, or a long weekend. You may get people coming out to mooch on the free accommodations, but you will not see elderly relatives who can’t travel. I wouldn’t say it is more expensive than the US, but I haven’t really looked at housing prices, and I live in NYC so my frame of reference is skewed.

    • Jules

      I loved being in Perth. Wasn’t working so that is definitely different. YES, everything in WA (and actually, Sydney and Melbourne weren’t cheap…) is expensive, but it seemed that the wages were keeping up with that. WA (Perth is in wa) is super isolated and it’s a flight to the other side of the continent, but there’s some GORGEOUS stuff there. Plus, Bali is like the Mexico of Australia so that’s pretty awesome…

      My dad was the one there full time while I was in college and it was definitely tough to not be able to see him as often. He had about a 3-4 year stint before retiring and I’m glad he’s back now.

    • http://www.lateralmovements.com/ Lauren Fitzpatrick

      Definitely NOT crazy (I will always be pro-pick up your life and try it somewhere new). It is more expensive, but the wages are proportional. For example, a server would earn around $18/hour, maybe a bit more, no tips. House prices feel obscene, but that’s because I am still making the mistake of comparing them to Fishers, Indiana…which you can’t do. Different place, different rules. I’d imagine you’d find an expat community in most major cities but in saying that, you may find that you don’t crave one the way you might in a place where you aren’t familiar with the local language. It’s hard to predict how you’ll react to living in a new country, but it does have a huge impact on your perspective. Good luck with whatever you guys decide!

  • M.

    Any tips from experienced 1000-paper-crane folders on hanging the birds? Three weeks til the wedding and just realized we’ve gotta figure out the nitty gritty of stringing. I have the general idea (clear line or string, beads or hot glue drops, needle) but I would love to hear specific recommendations for supplies, brands, pro tips etc from anyone who’s done the senbazuru. Eee! (and thanks!)

    • http://www.etsy.com/shop/DIYIDo Laura

      I used fishing line and small beads to string mine up. Basically, 1) cut fishing line to length you want (plus a little extra) 2) tie bead to one end, needle goes at other end 3) use needle to thread the fishing line up through the bottom center of a crane, bringing it out the the center of its back/top 4) tie on another bead however far up the line you want the next crane to hang.

      So the beads are what’s keeping the cranes from just piling up on top of each other (which is a nice look too, just not the look I wanted). Photo shows how the bead is completely hidden, just supporting the bird from inside its back.

    • Cat

      I’m using embroidery thread & a needle to string… My assembly order is like this:
      Knot- Bead (to weigh it down) -knot-bird- knot-bird, etc, spacing the birds out however much I think is good. Hope that helps!

      • M.

        Thanks :)

  • Laura C

    After an uncharacteristic flirtation with burnout, I’m working on really picking myself up. Even going to the gym, which is usually like clockwork for me, had been feeling like a chore for several weeks. In getting over it, the best thing, the thing I couldn’t have made happen but that magically did happen and that I think has given me the energy to work on myself more, is that my best friend was in town (well, an hour away) last weekend and we got to hang out and oh, wow, I have missed her. And then coincidentally I had to go to DC for work (to meet with a Cabinet member, because I’m fancy like that [eye roll]), and saw several friends then, and tomorrow some friends from DC are in town and we’re getting dinner. I do feel so isolated in New York, so this little stretch of seeing friends from elsewhere is really helping, I think. And tonight A and I are going to the little neighborhood place that serves gluten-free pasta, and we realized that tomorrow’s dinner is just a mile from a cocktail bar that’s on our New York bucket list, so we’re going there. I still feel a little like I’m clinging to these nice things that are happening, feeling like I have to cling because otherwise things aren’t going to be great for a while, but I can’t even tell you how much better I feel today than a week ago.

    Also, our invitations are supposed to arrive today or tomorrow, and I’m so excited. I keep coming up with excuses to go down to the lobby and casually check out the package notification board…

    • Lindsay Rae

      Congratulations on getting back out there! Which cocktail bar are you checking out? (Sooo many good ones!) Springtime in New York City is amazing.. I think now that it’s in the air you might have an easier time. I for one am already starting to feel revived!

      Also, did you just move to NYC? This is why APW needs some sort of a locals group!

      • Laura C

        No, I’ve been here, mostly disliking it, for about 18 months. We are going to Clover Club tomorrow, or at least trying to. The hope is to get there after the brunch rush and before the dinner rush.

        • Lindsay Rae

          Sorry to hear that! Hope things turn around. Sending an NYC hug. Enjoy your dinner & cocktails!

        • M.

          Just want to give you a little “disliking NYC solidarity fist bump.” 22 months for me.

      • Jennifer

        There usually is a locals group. Check Facebook. I know Atlanta has an Atlanta APW Facebook page.

        • Lisa

          I had no idea that local APW groups were a thing!! Just submitted my request to join the Chicago branch.

          • lizperk23

            did you just search “APW chicago?” my search fu is bad. but I would join!

          • Lisa
          • lizperk23

            thanks! :)

          • a single sarah

            Hi lizperk23, I don’t know if the FB group is active, but we
            have a spin-off feminist book club. E-mail cannonsr at gmail and I’ll add you to
            the mailing list.

          • a single sarah

            Hey Lisa and lizperk23 I don’t know if the FB group is active, but we have a spin off bookclub. E-mail cannonsr at gmail and I’ll add you to the mailing list.

        • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

          We have an NYC one. We had a meetup in park slope last summer, so we’re due for a new one!

          • Ally

            Do you know if there’s an SF/Bay Area group?

          • Lindsay Rae

            Lets do it!!!

      • Jess

        yeah, there was one meetup for the nyc group in brooklyn a year or so ago…nothing else. we should revive it!

        • Lindsay Rae

          I would love that! When I search APW NYC on facebook… some guy’s profile comes up!! haha if there is a group would you mind sharing?

  • Mary Jo TC

    After months of waking 6-8 times a night to breastfeed, my 10-month-old has slept for 6-8 straight hours in his crib the last 3 nights in a row! I’m starting to feel human again! But I’m also kind of afraid to hope that this continues…

    • lady brett

      ooh, congratulations! and good luck!

    • Meg Keene

      I CAN’T EVEN.

      You lucky lucky bastard. Enjoy it, though!

  • carolynprobably

    Did we all see this already on the Hairpin? It combines things I love, feminism, weddings, and Anne Helen Petersen’s writing (plus she nods to APW).

    http://thehairpin.com/2014/04/the-engagement-phone-cover-and-the-wedding-industrial-complex/

    • Laura C

      Oh, that’s good. Thanks! I especially like this:

      The “He asked; I said yes” suggests just how little agency the (presumably female) partner has in engagement scenario. She may get to plan the wedding, but she has little control over whether or not it’ll happen in the first place. She has decorating power, in other words, but no actual power.

      • KH_Tas

        Exactly* x100000000

    • jashshea

      Holy shit, this is a THING?

    • twofishgirl14

      Oh my god who BUYS this? Who gets engaged and immediately says “OMG now I can FINALLY get that iPhone case I’ve been dreaming of!”

      • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

        I don’t know that anyone actually does? Like, I apologize if any APWers snapped one of these up, but I cannot imagine there’s a huge market for these. I think maybe it’s something that someone slightly out of touch decided would be a great thing you could totally sell to brides…but I just can’t imagine these are THAT big of a seller. Maybe with very young/excited brides?

        • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck

          Or as a gift from a well-meaning yet out-of-touch relative? That was all I could think of.

          • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

            Yup EXACTLY.

        • twofishgirl14

          True, and I think the only reason they can be produced at all is because these sellers are set up to create custom orders as they come in, so it’s not necessarily a mass-market trend that I can justify being horrified by. Also I really shouldn’t snark because maybe someone really really loves this idea.

          • KC

            I’m realizing that this would be one way to Shut Up the “are you engaged yet?” people. I told the daily-asking people that when they saw a ring, then they’d know I was engaged, but to Shut Up until then… but a phone case would also work if you didn’t want a ring. :-)

        • Meg Keene

          The young. I know people that would have bought these. Hell, I know people that might buy these. The young, and the less affluent. That’s the market, if I had to guess. It’s a market I know pretty well.

          • H

            I think Meg has a point here. A lot of women look at marriage (particularly in the less affluent classes) as the biggest accomplishment of their lives because for many reasons, weddings and marriages are their entrance into adulthood, and a symbol of “making it” to a higher class.

        • Carly

          I know someone, recently engaged, who may well have already ordered this.

          That line on passivity and lack of power – I feel like that sums up the WIC’s expectations of women as brides to a T.

        • JDrives

          I’ve never even heard of such things!

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck

      This is the most insane thing I’ve ever seen. Also, hilarious.

    • kcaudad

      worth reading ’til the end:
      “get on Etsy and start designing the feminist phone case of your choice: you may have to put “I asked, He Said Yes: Soon to Be Life Partners in the Eyes of the State” in smaller print to get it to fit on the case, but just think how loudly it would speak.”
      Someone please do that!!

      • carolynprobably

        Right? She’s our people.

  • Brooke

    Thoughts on whether this will work?
    I’m thinking about having our receiving line and greeting our guests as they come into the ceremony–BEFORE the wedding.
    Pros:
    1. It frees us to really enjoy our whole cocktail hour and meal
    2. It sets the tone for a casual event where we don’t want to be set apart from our guests
    3. It takes the pressure off the walk down the aisle. I don’t want my appearance to be a big deal. If I’m just by the door when they come in saying “Hey guys, thanks for comin’!” it takes the mystery out of the whole “what will the bride look like?” thing.

    Cons:
    1. Timing. I’m worried it will cause a massive backup and a seriously late ceremony. I’m hoping that the 10-15 minute difference between invite time and the actual ceremony start will alleviate that, but…maybe not.
    2. Stamina. If we do pictures and greet guests before the ceremony, will we be out of energy for the main event?
    3. My mother seriously freaked out at the idea. She couldn’t really explain what it was about it that bothered her, but insisted she didn’t need a reason.

    I should add that my fiance’s happy either way.

    • KC

      I’d add as a con that unless guests know that this is what is coming, your receiving line is probably going to take longer as people figure out what to say. Most people have some sort of post-wedding receiving-line congratulatory social script set up, and this may mess with peoples’ heads to an unpredictable degree (can I say congratulations yet? but they’re not married yet. but they’re getting married, so it’s still congratulations, right? but it’s a different *sort* of congratulations than the “you just did this” congratulations, maybe? *head explodes*)

      • Brooke

        I hadn’t thought about that! I did go to a wedding last fall where the bride and groom had cocktail hour before the ceremony and were both out mingling during that time…I’ll admit I was a little surprised at first, did a double-take when I saw the bride, but in the end it wasn’t a big deal. I think I said something along the lines of “Congratulations, you must be so excited!” and it was fine.

    • SarahG

      I love the idea of welcoming folks. I think it depends on the size of the event. 10-15 min is probably not enough time to say hi to 100 people, maybe? But I like the idea. Does it have to be a formal line? I don’t know the room setup. Maybe you could just move around and welcome people as they come in, so there’s less backup? Anyway, I’m in. I’ve never liked the “big reveal” for myself (don’t mind for others) and would be much happier not hiding away.

      • Brooke

        It’s a big event (tough to judge RSVP yield, but probably around 150), but I’m hoping there would be some natural staggering–some people would arrive as early as 15 min. before invite time, some as late as 5-10 min. after invite time…and that’s not including the family that would already be there for pictures anyway (probably 1/3 of the guest list), whom we would’ve presumably already greeted. It might be possible to do it informally…I was thinking of just planting ourselves right at the door of the sanctuary so everyone would have to talk to us in order to get in (lol), but there is also a large, beautiful narthex between the church doors and the sanctuary doors, so a “mingling” feel might not be out of the question.

        • Sarah E

          Wow, I really love your idea of greeting everyone before. In thinking about timing, you may want to enlist some folks to push the minglers into actually going in the church and taking their seats when necessary. When greeted with a social opportunity immediately upon arrival, they may not notice they’ve spend fifteen minutes chatting with you, then Aunt Sue, then Cousin Jake. (pro: it’s better than fifteen minutes sitting bored in a pew. con: they eaten up their finding a seat and getting settled time with chatting)

    • Jess

      We’re doing this too!!! We’re a bit worried about freaking people out and making them think they’re late, but we also think it ties in with our relaxed, “this isn’t your standard wedding” vibe.

      We’re not planning on doing an official receiving line…just being about to mingle and greet somewhere nearish to the door. Our caterer will be there too with non-alcoholic drinks. A friend of ours did something similar at their wedding and it was lovely.

      • Jess

        Also, we’re building in extra time from our invitation start time assuming everyone will underestimate traffic, so we’ll probably have 30ish minutes or so.

      • Sonora Webster

        I was just thinking, I would totally walk in and think I had missed the wedding!

    • InTheBurbs

      We did this – it was only the 2 of us – and we stood on the sidewalk outside of the church. It worked perfectly – we were out there by the time guests were starting to arrive and managed to welcome everyone but those who arrived late. My mom freaked out initially – but when I explained that we only built in travel time between the ending of the ceremony and the reception she warmed up, and afterward commented on how much she liked the approach. Good luck!

      • Brooke

        I’m glad to hear it worked for you! We couldn’t do outside because it’s a winter wedding, but it’s encouraging to hear that both the logistics and the mom-pleasing factor can work. :)

    • NrgGrl

      Something we’re doing that may or may not work for you and may or may not represent a compromise (and may or may not be remotely helpful) is having a “welcome dinner” instead of a rehearsal dinner (nothing fancy: literally catered tacos) the night before the wedding. Most guests will already be in town by that point, and the plan is to greet and hang out with them then to take some of the pressure off of us to greet everyone during the cocktail hour and reception.

      • Brooke

        That sounds nice, but it won’t work for our situation. The rehearsal dinner is at my future in-laws’ restaurant, and it doesn’t have enough seating for our whole guest list.

      • Dawn

        This worked well for us. I would have found it very stressful to spend the time leading up to the ceremony treating people, especially people I rarely have the chance to see.

  • Ellen

    Half-practical, half-frivolous hair-and-makeup question: my plan all along has been to have a friend do my wedding hair and makeup. This is a friend who’s done these things for me for a number of formal dances in the past, always makes me look good, and is *not* a professional–just the friend who knows lots about getting all done up, and was always doing 6 different people’s hair on high school prom night. She actually offered to do it (so I’m not worried I’d be strong-arming her into something she’d be uncomfortable with), and I’m confident I would be very happy with the results.

    In thinking more about that plan, I realized that one big way this wedding will differ from past fancy events is that it’s much longer. We’ll have a 2pm ceremony, and the night will likely run until midnight at least. I’m now wondering whether the staying power of amateur hair-and-makeup will go until then. As I said, I’m confident I’d be beautiful right off the bat, and I’m not trying to end the night looking precisely as fresh as when I started the day–things look different over the course of hours. That said, I suspect that a professional would (or at least could) offer more assurance that my hair was totally locked down and will have more products and experience to help make sure my my makeup won’t start running/wearing off/getting crummy looking.

    So, finally, the actual question: is my concern misplaced? Is it well-founded, but the small bit of “insurance” offered by a professional comes at such a high price it’s not worth it (I’ve not even looked into prices yet. We’re on a budget, but I suspect we could find room)? Are there easy ways to take care of this myself/with a friend? Are there other things I should be considering regarding either of these options or hair/makeup in general? This is all well outside of my areas of expertise, so thank you in advance for any thoughts!

    • Brooke

      Prom was probably a fairly long night, too, right? (When you factor in pictures, dinner, the dance itself, and possibly some kind of after-party…) Do you have any pictures of you and your friends from the end of prom night?

      • Ellen

        This is an excellent point. I don’t have any memory of how I looked at the end of the night, though I suspect I could find a photo, but that probably also says something about how much I’ll care by then! Thank you!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I had a professional make-up trial. I didn’t go with a professional precisely because her products were not as good as my own. In the months before the wedding, I experimented with what primer+foundation+concealer+powder process worked best for long days. (Can’t really advise you on what process to use, just to do the experiments) I’m happy with my choice.

      • Ellen

        Thanks for the tip. If you don’t mind my asking, was your experimenting process just sort of leaping in and trying things out, or did you use folks somewhere like Sephora for advice as you were working on it?

        • ElisabethJoanne

          A combination of both. When I decided to do my own make-up, I went to Sephora, and they helped me choose products (primer, foundation, concealer, eye shadow). I didn’t like how they applied the make-up, but I was happy with the colors they selected.

          The real experimenting for me was how long to wait between primer and foundation, whether to put foundation on over or under concealer, whether to use both powdered AND liquid foundation, etc. I just did it a little bit differently each time I got made up in the weeks before the wedding, and noted what worked in terms of how I looked in photos and how long things lasted.

          3 more things:

          1) I first bought a full set of make-up from Sephora when I got my first lawyer job in 2008. I used these products for my engagement photos, and, while most were great, in some I had yellow raccoon eyes from the concealer, so don’t blindly trust their choices.

          2) Also, they definitely up-sold me, when I said that these awful photos were my “engagement photos” [$$$$] and that I couldn’t have that for pre-wedding [$$$$] events. (Though they don’t work on commission.) I went back a couple weeks later, and just said I needed a primer, and they suggested a whole other price range.

          3) I packed an emergency kit with all my make-up, etc., for touch-ups. I never used it. My lipstick has worn off in photos from the end of the night, but that’s about the only difference I can detect.

          • Ellen

            That’s all very helpful. Thank you!

    • lolauren

      Every time I’ve had my hair done professionally I’ve sort of hated it. So I’ll be doing my own hair for my wedding in 4 weeks. But if you’re worried and you’re having hair nightmares than go to a professional! Although I really think weather (humidity, rain, wind) has the biggest impact on how long lasting your hair will be.

      • Ellen

        I’ve actually never had my hair done professionally, and I initially was worried that I’d get it done and hate it–that’s really why I’d just planned on a friend. However, my future mother-in-law had a hair trial done a couple of weeks ago by the guy who’d likely do mine, and it was really nicer than I thought it would be (less overly fancy, essentially), so this idea got planted in my head. At any rate, thanks for your reply and for your weather point especially! I’m anticipating humidity but not necessarily wind or rain, and will figure out how to adjust my concerns according.

      • twofishgirl14

        Maybe do a trial with your friend and then hold an impromptu dance party with the heat on to test it?

    • Jess

      I’d personally be more worried about hair lasting than makeup. makeup seems easier to touch up, so maybe split the difference and go pro hair and friend makeup? Then, she’ll even be there to touch it up for you all day!

      • Ellen

        That’s a great point, thank you! Considering things more, my makeup concern is based largely on the fact that the wedding will be in August, and while the ceremony/reception will be air conditioned, I’d love to walk the several blocks to the ceremony and we’ll almost certainly do photos outside in the interim. I think I’m worried that I’ll be sweaty/shiny. That said, you’re right: I can absolutely take time to cool down after being outside, use oil-absorbing sheets to deal with any issues, and then touch-up the makeup.

      • sarah l

        agree on lasting pro hair. My hair person was amazing and really considered structure and angles so that my hair would photograph well from different angles. She also built in a bobby pin structure that allowed my veil to clip in and out really securely. I have no idea how that piece worked but since I wore a really long veil just for the ceremony, it was great that putting it in and taking it out again was so straightforward

    • KC

      I would very much go with your friend (who knows your hair and face and who knows what you like) over a new pro. But you could potentially do a trial run beforehand and wear it alllll day and see how different aspects last. Generally you’ll either need *some* touchup at various points even with professional makeup or be willing to say “yeah, my hair and makeup looks a bit different after I’ve cried, eaten, hugged tons of people, and danced, and that’s okay”, unless you go for the “don’t smudge me!” line.

      • Ellen

        Yes, knowing me and what I like is huge (and the trial run is a great suggestion, thank you)! I’m totally okay with looking somewhat different by the end of the night (and am pretty confident that trying to not get smuged would be a terrible and losing battle): I was just having visions of being sort of a sweaty-faced, makeup-running, bedragled mess, and these comments are largely reassuring me that that’s unlikely to happen.

        • KC

          Yeah, even if you’re having an outdoor beach wedding and reception and it surprise-rains buckets and then it’s 100 degrees out… it’ll be okay, and also kind of fun and awesome. Also, in that unlikely event, there are such things as makeup remover wipes. :-) 5 minutes laughing maniacally with bridal posse in a bathroom to get face stuff off and your hair shoved in a claw clip or something, and you’d be good to go for more reception dancing. :-)

    • Laura C

      Maybe you could also research and buy some top-of-the-line hair products that will stand up to the whole shebang? And then be ready to touch up your makeup as needed.

      • Ellen

        That’s a good thought, and something I’ll look into. Thank you!

    • carolynprobably

      I had a friend do my makeup since I’m normally a low to no makeup person. What worked for us was doing 3 or 4 trials on Saturdays before the wedding (easy since we were also neighbors!) Then I just kind of paid attention to things that didn’t work throughout the trial days so we could course correct (sticky lipstick, too dark eyes, too light of foundation, etc.). Also I loved having her there in the morning while I got ready- way more fun than a stranger.

      • Ellen

        Yes! I really like the idea of it being just friends/family there in the morning, and also of not having to worry about getting to and from a salon.

    • Sarah E

      Definitely stick with your friend. I’ve been that friend (both for brides and for friends as guests), and there are several great things the other commenters below have mentioned.

      A. Even professional hair/makeup is going to need touched up or look different over the long night. With a friend (especially as a guest), you have a built in toucher-upper who already knows where all the bobby-pins are and has the exact make-up along that’s already on your face. I’ve also been able to change the hairstyle completely if it gets uncomfortable (as even the best up-dos can), to a half-up, half-down, or fancy ponytail or whatever for the end of the evening.

      B. As far as staying power, along with quality products, consider weather. If you’re changing your hair’s texture (straightening or curling), look at the weather. If it’s a truly muggy day and your hair already struggles to hold a curl, expecting long, soft bo-ho curls to stay all evening is an exercise in futility. Same if you expect your naturally wavy hair to be perfectly sleek on a rainy day when you already know moisture means frizz for you.

      C. If you’re going to have any loose curls, be sure to set them as well as use products (meaning curl, pin the hair in a curl, and allow to cool) to get them to last longer.

      D. Like others say, trial run, trial run, trial run. Your friend will appreciate the practice, and it makes for a fun Saturday morning. Then go about your whole day and just see how it feels/what it needs to stay. Do more trial runs if necessary.

      I’m mostly repeating what everyone else has already suggested, so hopefully you find some good tips that work for you! Best of luck!

      • Ellen

        Thank you! I’m glad to hear it can work, and these tips are great!

    • Ally

      Just make sure to get long-wear makeup! IMHO – “professional” makeup artists are totally not worth the cost unless you’re doing multiple people and would otherwise be buying all of that makeup on your own.

      I did my own makeup and used all Bobbi Brown long-wear stuff and it worked out perfectly. I looked like me and am still using up the stuff I bought 6 months later. It actually did cost a small fortune but I went all out and bought the brushes, etc. and figured it was worth it to own everything and to feel comfortable in my wedding day look.

      • Ellen

        Thanks for the tips!

  • Jess

    We’re 6 weeks out and I’m looking for a someone in Brooklyn to do alterations for my dress (awesome teal bridesmaid dress, so its chiffony but not zillions of layers). Anyone have any suggestions??

    Also, yay for 6 weeks out!

    • M.

      Sandra Usherov! She hemmed my silk chiffon wedding gown and was so nice and cool and did great work! She has a website and FB for contacting.

      • Jess

        Awesome! I’ll check her out! Thanks so much!!

        • M.

          Oh good :) She’s wonderful. And a person of the APW spirit.

  • http://twitter.com/mollyepollard Molly Pollard

    I’m starting to put together our day-of timeline and kind of worried that I’m not giving myself enough time for hair and makeup for myself and my sister.

    Do y’all think ~2 hours is enough time for both of us to get hair/makeup done? Our venue only allows us access at 10 a.m. and we planned to have the ceremony at 1. I need to put a few minutes before the ceremony (~30 maybe) for family pictures). We need to rehearse from 10-10:15 (only 1 bridesmaid/groomsman so I’m thinking it won’t be that bad).

    Should I get my twin to get her hair done at the salon instead of at the venue? Hmm…

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I think my stylist booked 90 minutes for my hair as the bride, and my bridesmaids were an hour each. They had professional make-up, so I think they spent two hours at the salon, one getting her hair done while the other had her make-up, and vice versa. I did my own make-up later and that took me 30 minutes. (It took Meg 10 minutes, though; I’m unpracticed.)

      I think it worked out to 5 or 6 hours of getting ready time from my hair appointment first thing to leaving for the church, but that left me a relaxed hour or two to eat, watch my sisters freak out, watch Dad fix their issues, send some random emails, etc. I’m totally NOT a morning person and was bummed when the stylist told me when I’d have to get up the morning of my wedding, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.

      • http://twitter.com/mollyepollard Molly Pollard

        I might just need to see if we can get it done at the salon. That way we can go super early and not feel rushed. But we have to rehearse that morning, at 10 a.m. I’m not worried about being stressed out or busy the morning of, I just want everything to be done and ready to go on time… so I worry. :)

    • NrgGrl

      The person I asked to do my makeup said she’ll need about 20-30 minutes for makeup and 30 minutes for an updo (more like 20 for a down-style). Hope that helps! I’m sure it depends on what you want and the person doing your hair and makeup, so make sure to ask — they should be able to give you a ballpark timeframe.

      • Winny the Elephant

        Ooo danger! danger! I would be careful about only allowing 30 minutes for an updo! No matter how simple!

    • Winny the Elephant

      I think you should get your hair done at the salon before 10 am too if it’s feasible. Give yourself lots and lots of time before the ceremony cause some officiants have other weddings to go to and won’t wait if you’re late.

      You could also try asking the venue if you could get access to a room (or heck set up a tent outside) before 10 am just to do your hair without having access to the mainspace

      • http://twitter.com/mollyepollard Molly Pollard

        My officiant is flying in specifically to do our wedding so I’m not worried about her getting there late… We are reserving her hotel room Friday night and the wedding is Saturday. The venue won’t let us go early for any reason, sadly. I think the best alternative is for either 1) my twin to go get her hair & makeup done at the salon or 2) both of us to do that.

        We’re rehearsing first thing and I don”t want my fiance to see me with my hair and makeup done before the ceremony, so I’m hoping we can go with option 1. I’m going to the salon to sign our contract today so hopefully we can arrange that.

  • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubi The Great

    I swear I feel like I come in here every week with a different non-problem!

    My latest one – choosing a day of coordinator. I’ve met with 2 and I like them both. Both are relatively new to owning their own businesses, but have worked in the wedding industry previously. I love the idea of supporting new entrepreneurs since I’m trying to do the same thing myself. Both of them are in my budget and only differ in pricing by about $200. One does have a few more years of experience in the wedding industry overall, but she’s also very chatty & bubbly – which is fine but I wonder if it would be better to have a DOC that I can be more “business” with. I also have a good rapport with the 2nd DOC, though she doesn’t have quite as much experience. I think either of them will do a fantastic job but I really have no idea how to make the decision. Any ideas?

    • Jess

      We went with an acquaintance who also doesn’t have much pro-experience, but she’s organized and will get things done and, since on the actual day she’ll mostly be working with the vendors while we’re off getting ready and doing photos, i think her personality will mesh well with everyone else’s. So maybe think about how this person will interact with both your families and vendors?

    • Winny the Elephant

      Ya I agree with the comment below, I personally would go with chatty and bubbly because I like chatty and bubbly and because chatty and bubbly will MC the wedding in a pinch whereas reserved yet well organized won’t

  • lady brett

    ““We do not need to make our children’s childhood magical. Childhood is inherently magical.” Also file under: I’m way too lazy for that shit.”

    <3 on both counts.

    • lady brett

      okay, and now that i’m reading down the list – holy butch eye candy. oh dear ;)

      • Meg Keene

        The roundup was dedicated to you :)

        • lady brett

          <3

  • celinad6

    I decided after a few weeks of being on the fence about it, which came after years of saying ‘absolutely not’, that I would allow my father to walk me down the aisle. In my mind, it was just going to be me and my mom or me by myself. He was absent for my life for the bulk of my childhood due to a drug addiction and tried to reconnect with me and my two sisters when I was about 16 y.o. I won’t get into the details but let’s just say we’re developing a better relationship. I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point of calling him ‘Dad’, but I think he understands that. Since I’m the youngest of his three daughters and they’ve been married (without a wedding), this will likely be his last chance to do this. Well, I called my mother first to ask her if she wanted to walk me down the aisle. Thought she would be honored. Her responses were: “Is this a new thing- mothers walking down the aisle?”…”I don’t want to step on your dress.” Honestly, I was a little pissed that she was responding this way so I finally said “you can say no.” She finally said ‘yes’. Done! Now, out of respect to her being a single mother, I wanted to ask her how she felt about walking me down the aisle with my father/her ex-husband. Her response: “Is the aisle going to be wide enough?” Ah!! Anyway, she said she would think about it and finally said it was okay 3 days later.

    Wednesday, his birthday, I called my dad and asked him to walk me down the aisle. I’m pretty sure he was crying.

    Has anyone placed tables on the dance floor and then removed them when it was time to dance? I’m thinking of doing this, but I’m concerned it will look tacky. The venue has an attached patio that we are covering with a tent and we were going to place a few guests (mostly kids) out there, along with the bar. There are french doors to see inside but I’m thinking people will feel like wedding reception rejects if they’re not inside with the rest of the guests. There’s also a stage inside, but we weren’t going to put anyone up there.

    (We’re 36 days away and I’m kind of freaking out a little)

    • Guest

      Awww what a great way to reconnect with your Dad. I’m sure it means the world to him!

    • LM

      I’ve been at weddings where some tables were moved off the dance floor and it was fine. I think the bride and groom had arranged it so younger people were sitting at those tables, so anyone less mobile could keep sitting. It was not a big deal at all.

    • lolauren

      I don’t think its tacky at all. Just make sure you have people designated ahead of time to move them so guests aren’t confused or suddenly asked to drag around furniture or fold up tables.

      • KC

        Also, maybe note on the tables that these specific tables will be moved (so drinks, scarves, whatever aren’t left there by guests)

        (but totally not tacky!)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      We had a lot of older people at our wedding, who left right after dinner. I kind of wish we could have removed some seating so things didn’t feel so empty.

      I’ve also been stuck, as a guest, at an assigned table with just 1 other couple and their pre-verbal children. I would have appreciated a signal it was OK to get up and move around the room (also, suggesting others come to our table).

    • sarah l

      we removed tables. we seated people we knew would dance at those tables and warned them ahead of time – parents, etc, got seated at tables that stayed up.

    • Aurora Parlin

      I just tried to link to a great Offbeat Bride post about the word “tacky”, but my antivirus is telling me that the article is temporarily bugged up! Try looking it up later.

    • YetAntherMegan

      Our venue has a little side room right off the dance floor (weird quirk of doubling as a conference center) so they suggested that what they do with bigger weddings is put the head table(s) on the dance floor and then after dinner pick them straight up and carry them into the side room. That way glasses, bags, etc are all still accessible and the people who lose their seats aren’t likely to want them back anyway.

    • Jenny

      I don’t think it’s tacky, especially if you set people at the tables who are likely to want to dance anyway and just provide information about where the table (or things on the table) will be moved and at what time.

  • Lisa

    We’re struggling a bit this week with my fiancé’s doctoral prospects. He just found out that the universities to which he applied that were in cities where we would actually like to live aren’t going to be offering the financial aid he was promised at his interviews. The only one that’s offering anything would be in a small town where neither of us particularly want to live for the next 3-4 years. This area also wouldn’t be a good move for the career I’m working towards right now.

    So basically our options are: take out a ton of loans for him to study at a university he actually wants to go to or move to an area we’re not crazy about just for him to get his doctorate.

    We’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I’m not sure what to do.

    • Vivian

      Oh man. That is tough. I was warned off taking loans for grad school when I started, and after coming out and looking for work and meeting the incredibly horribly miserable academic and post-academic job market, I was grateful that I’d had a stipend and only needed to take out one major loan to cover my last year. But if getting him a stipend torpedoes your actual existing career progression, leaving both of you on shaky ground at the end of it, that is also awful.

      I am not sure what I’d do in this situation. I might look at a second round of applications, miserable as it is. Those are hard, hard options. You’ve got my sympathy.

      • Lisa

        The problem is this is his second round of applications. He had a similar experience last year and deferred one of his acceptances on the basis that he was told he’d receive an assistantship this year. However, there was a change of administration within the department, and the new head decided to offer that position to a new applicant instead of my fiancé.

        • carolynprobably

          Welcome to the hell of graduate education. :-/

          • Lisa

            We’ve both been pretty lucky so far, but this one really has me stumped. It’s really frustrating to have him be told one thing (“You get in here, and we’ll give you X money and Y assistantship that will cover your tuition and most living expenses.”) only to have that flipped on its head when he gets his official acceptance (“Oh, that financial aid is no longer available, but you’re still welcome to come to our school as long as you take out $1029488547 in student loans.”).

          • Dawn

            I have a humanities PhD, and I am very glad I did it without loans in a cheap city. My sense from my musician friends is that music degrees– including DMAs, and even if the program is excellent– aren’t something to take out loans for.

            Tough situation. Good luck.

        • YOQ

          Do you mind telling us (generally) what kind of grad school? I have a PhD, and I always tell students in my humanities field that they should never go to a PhD program that doesn’t give them full funding. But if they’re going into a more lucrative field, that’s a different story.

          • Lisa

            He’s looking at a DMA in music performance.

          • YOQ

            Hmm. That’s totally outside my expertise, but my guess is that his field is more like mine than it is like (say) law/business/medicine. I would be reluctant to take out loans. Can his professors/mentors offer any useful advice here?

          • SarahG

            Agreed — advice from folks in the field is priceless in this situation.

          • Lisa

            He’s having difficulty getting anyone to answer his e-mails/phone calls. The professor at the university he was really hoping for took two e-mails and one phone call over a week to finally tell my fiancé that he was in fact not being offered the financial aid package he was told about at his audition.

            The professor he knows at the university where he deferred isn’t being much help either.

          • YOQ

            I would look to those who have taught him previously–in undergrad or wherever–and especially those who wrote recommendation letters for him.

    • jashshea

      This won’t help emotionally, but…

      I would compare your (potential) lower salary with the cost of 3 years of loans. It can get massively complicated and I’m sure someone could build a better model averaging things out over the next 35 years, but that’s where I’d start.

      If your salary will drop 10k for 4 years in badtown but you have to take out 200k to live in goodtown…probably a bad financial move. If your career would be entirely derailed (like you’re in entertainment, FinServ, or Oil & Gas, etc and it’s location specific) and you’re talking about much lower loan amounts, maybe that changes the story. Are all other criterion equal? Are the programs the same quality, etc?

      • Lisa

        The program he’s now left considering was the lowest on his list, and he applied to it primarily because he was certain he would get in, and the program (though it’s not that great) is known for offering very large scholarships. The other programs he liked a lot more than this one.

        And I work in an entertainment profession where being connected to a large city is important for opportunities, auditions, etc.

        • jashshea

          Zoinks. That’s a rough decision. How far away is Badtown from a larger city?

          • Lisa

            Badtown would be about 1-1.5 hour drive from the nearest mid-size city, which isn’t awful, but I know I wouldn’t be able to convince him to look for a living situation even semi-midway so that I wouldn’t have to drive as far if I happened to get a gig in mid-size city.

          • jashshea

            If it were a shorter program, I’d totally say suck it up and move, but 3-4 years is A Long Time (TM) to be somewhere neither of you want to be. Especially given the impact to your career. I second having him talk to someone at the Uni or an alum.

          • april

            I know a really wonderful married couple that managed a similar situation by keeping separate apartments in their respective cities and just living together on weekends while one was doing her phd. It’s not ideal, but they made it work. I think most people will tell you that a phd is not worth going into debt over, unless it’s phd in a field with a lot of well-paid job prospects.

          • Lisa

            How far apart were the cities? Looking for some encouragement because we would be looking at a 7 hour drive between the two, and I know that would be really tough on us.

            Oh, you definitely don’t have to tell me about the music thing! We both have degrees in classical performance, but my fiancé has dreams of teaching at a university some day so he really needs the DMA or a good orchestra gig.

          • april

            That’s rough. They were only about 3.5 hours apart (Ann Arbor and Columbus), so they could reasonably do the drive Friday and Sunday evenings. My husband and I did the really long distance thing while he was doing his masters (midwest and east coast – about an 8 hour drive), and I will say that even once a month was difficult for in-person visits.

            I don’t know what else I can say but to wish you luck. This is a really tough decision. I will encourage you to give “Badtown” a chance though – maybe make an extended visit before you decide. I know my husband wasn’t thrilled by his middle-of-nowhere grad school at first, but it was a great community with a surprisingly vibrant arts scene. By the end, we both sort of came to love it. And you may be surprised by the opportunities you find there. Big fish in a small pond, and all that.

          • Lisa

            Also I have to say that I lol’ed at “Badtown.”

        • KH_Tas

          What I was told was the most important thing to consider was a Phd that I cared about, to help power through the bad bits, and that an ill-suited program was the biggest cause of PhD overtime/failure.
          Important note: Australian PhDs are run differently to ones in the US, and in my case it was an issue of when I started, rather than whether I got funding or not.

    • carolynprobably

      If the quality of the education is the same (a big if!) then I would seriously consider small-town living for a few years as long as it doesn’t totally derail your career. My husband and I chose to live apart for 4 years during grad school so that we could start our married life debt-free. This was important to us to achieve financial freedom quickly, but everyone has their own priorities.

    • SimpleMarine

      If you were my best friend, and we were the kind of friends that spoke frankly to one another, I would say: taking out loans is a huge, huge nope. Please don’t pay for an academic doctorate. It could take 3-4 years, or it could take 7+. Grad school (at least in my field) is not just tuition and cost of living, it’s conferences and getting posters printed and software and health insurance etc etc. Even with funding, the wallet does not runneth over. A funded program in a (cheap) small town is totally, totally worth the less-than-idealness.

    • http://iamdinarik.blogspot.com/ dinarik

      So I read through all of the comments – I’m sorry the two of you are dealing with such a hard situation. My 2 cents: he shouldn’t attend a PhD program that he has to pay for, perhaps a PhD isn’t in the cards at this point. That sounds terrible, but here’s where I’m coming from: I’m currently in my first year of a PhD (finance — fully funded), so I had to go through the soul-destroying application process last year. I applied to about 15 schools, got into one without funding, wait-listed in another (and ultimately accepted & funded, that’s where I am now), and rejected from all the others. And the school I am ultimately attending is one of the best-ranked. Go figure – I get rejected from schools ranked 30-50 and end up attending a top 10 program. Grad school applications are wack, super noisy, and a bit random. I have so much sympathy for how much you two have been jerked around & misled by the administration about funding.

      But it’s important to say: grad school is really, really hard. Even if you have ‘good/right’ reasons for attending, a passion for the subject area, and funding, it’s really hard. And more importantly (and I’ll admit I don’t think I really understood this before, when I was applying) – everything will be fine if you (your husband, in this case) don’t go to grad school. There are so many paths in life that smart & thoughtful people can take. PhD is a big choice — you’re choosing one path over others, and it’s a big sacrifice of time, foregone earnings, etc. Ultimately it’s my belief that if you can’t get funding (or at least, the assurance that after 1 year, he will have funding), it’s a mistake to do a PhD.

      So I think you two need to decide — does he ultimately want to do a PhD? If so, you need to figure out what he can reasonably do to change his application and chances of getting in. I know nothing about his field, but this could be: taking a certain class and getting an A, doing some sort of research for a prof to get a good letter of recommendation, retaking GREs/exams if his score is a detriment to the applications, all of the above, or something else more fitting. I’d recommend talking to the schools and getting feedback on the application, what was missing or not great in it, talking to people in said field from his alma mater to get their take on this as well.

      Maybe I sound like a horrible person saying all this — I’m not trying to be, it’s great to be motivated and pursue things that may be out of reach or hard to reach. But by not giving your husband funding, the schools are basically saying they don’t think he’s good enough for their program (or good enough relative to his admitted peers) to get funding. They could be totally wrong, see above noise about grad school admissions – it’s not always easy to evaluate someone’s potential off a measly application/essay. So you guys need to decide whether he’s committed enough to pursue further, build up/improve his application and go at it again, or whether it’s time to look at the many, many other possible life paths he has. I wouldn’t wish the stress of grad school & poverty & possible unemployment on anyone, and you DO have other options. Best of luck!

  • twofishgirl14

    I have my first dress fitting tomorrow. I’m a little nervous. I keep imagining that the seamstress will turn out to be a fraud and destroy the dress, or she’ll say that the alteration I need (tightening up the shoulders of the sleeves) is impossible, or I will discover that I’ve gained 20 pounds since I tried on the dress at the store. The dress is basically the one really splurgy, expensive item we got for the whole wedding, so I’m uber-anxious that somehow the money will be wasted.

    • lolauren

      I had my first fitting yesterday and was also super nervous! But everything went smoothly. The dress zipped, the seamstress was calm and very nice. I’m sure your experience will also be great :)

      • twofishgirl14

        Thanks! I’m glad to hear that yours went well!

    • Amanda

      I just went for my first one last Friday. I just need it to be taken in at the bust and bustled. It went a lot faster than I thought it would and the quote was much lower than I’d thought. Good luck with yours I’m sure it will go great!

    • Kristen

      My dress fitting is tomorrow too, and I’m having the exact same fears!!!

      • YetAntherMegan

        Mine is next Friday and the only one I schedule in. I’m freaking out because I know I’ve gained some weight since I ordered the dress, but it has a corset back so I’m hoping that (and Jillian Michaels) will do it.

  • SarahG

    I got engaged this week! We are getting married this September. Woot! The one thing I have already noticed is something I read on APW ages ago — that people will not stop being themselves because you are getting married (including yourself). True to form, my cousin (who I’m extremely close with) instantly vetoed half my ideas in her blunt, overopinionated way; my mom started stressing; and my partner/fiance gently pointed out that I was diving headfirst into listmaking without actually bringing him into the process. That last one really bothered me, since I like to think of us as a team in all things. I struggle a lot with anxiety, which makes me want to get everything organized *immediately*. Any suggestions from other anxious folks on how to calm down, enjoy the ride, and not try to get everything planned in a week?

    • AG

      Congratulations! I’m a bit type A myself, and my fiance is a bit more laid back. What worked for us is for me to do a lot of research on different venues, photographers, caterers, etc. and then for us to go over the different options together over a glass of wine at night. The research was a good outlet for my anxieties, but we still discussed everything and made our decisions together.

      Also, don’t try to get everything planned in a week. You probably could if you wanted to, but it’s not very fun. Instead, get some of the big things done now, and then enjoy thinking about things like decor details once you know what your venue looks like. And PLEASE save your sanity by avoiding non-APW wedding blogs for the time being.

      • SarahG

        Excellent advice :) I actually started reading APW because a friend was writing for it, and I liked the articles (but wasn’t even in a relationship at the time). Three years later, I’ve never actually tried to find another wedding blog. So I decided I’m not starting now :) But I like the idea of being research girl. He is way more laid back than me (a good balance) and does not enjoy thorough research nearly as much :) so that would probably be a good division of labor for us. Thanks!

        • JSwen

          Seriously, this is the only blog you need. The rest are just B.S.

          • Ally

            YEP!!

          • Fiona

            This is not actually a wedding blog. It’s a life blog for people who happen to be planning their weddings.
            Hi, my name is Fiona and I’m a wedding blog addict. NOT ANYMORE. This is the only one!

        • AG

          I spent some time looking at other blogs and magazines when I was a bridesmaid in friends’ weddings, and they can be lovely, but also silly and dumb. Once I got engaged though, they suddenly felt super judge-y and cookie cutter. “You mean your parents didn’t surprise you with a fireworks show at the wedding? You haven’t known which wedding planner you wanted to hire since childhood? How sad for you.”

        • Dawn

          I think it’s important to recognize these things– that you plan ahead more, you do more extensive research– and be ok with them. There can be a lot of pressure to “plan it together” in more progressive contexts, and all kinds of people have ideas about what that should mean for you. But it is also ok if your partner is less involved in the research and planning, if that is what works for you.

          For example: My now-husband did not want to plan ahead and got stressed about it when he got involved with certain things. He ended up being happier focusing on a few issues of interest to him that did not have to be finalized until the last minute (table arrangements for different weather situations, the technical aspects of decorating for the reception, picking people up from the airport for example). We talked about other stuff, but these things were his responsibility, and he didn’t have to make reservations, research tablecloths or order invitations. I was worried at times that he was not involved enough. Was I ignoring him? Did he not care? In retrospect, though, this was just our way of working together, and I no longer feel like we did it wrong.

          All if that to say–good luck!

      • Lindsay Rae

        I’m in the same boat as both of you ladies! Super type A, and I’m a production coordinator by trade, which translates 100% into wedding planning. Yours is the approach I took too. I read books and magazines and blogs cover to cover, and then made notes of things I liked and wanted to go over with him. I also suggested that if he ever came across anything that he liked or there was something he definitely had a strong opinion on (as I suspected it was the music) that we would do that together.

      • Amanda

        We did the same thing! Or if it was something I knew he’d be better at, I’d ask him to do the research a bit ahead of when I’d like it to be done, for example the boutonierres. I had my sample bouquets picked out already and sent them to him a few weeks before the florist appointment to look into how he wanted to coordinate.

    • MC

      Fiance & I both had mega-realizations about our wedding planning conflicts this past week: I am a slightly anxious, type-A planner, and an introvert that tends to think about my ideas a lot before I share them with people. Fiance (and my MIL) is the kind of person that just throws out ideas as soon as they pop into his head, and is also much more laid-back. So I would present my ideas that I had thought through already, and he would say, “How about this idea that I just thought of two seconds ago?” and then I would ask him about all the details that he of course hadn’t thought about yet. And then he would say he feels left out of planning, which was hard for me because I wasn’t intentionally leaving him out, but since my thought process (in all walk of life) is so internalized, it felt unbalanced to him. And, conversely, he seemed crazy to me.

      SO what helped us was to explain those things to each other and keep those things in mind when we talk. I try to explain my thought process more, and he doesn’t take it personally when I ask him to think through his ideas more. And we make dinner dates or happy hour dates to discuss planning, to keep it (mostly) fun.

      • SarahG

        Good point — I have already thought through my opinions on most wedding decisions (having been through so many with family and friends now and, ya know, being raised female) and I think he is sometimes surprised and slightly… scared? by how much I’ve already thought about. It makes for an unbalanced dynamic. I’m glad to hear your ideas for what helps. Thanks!

    • JSwen

      Advice: Breathe for a moment to enjoy this big decision and then acknowledging that you are a planner, set your venue and date. The rest of it will start to fall into place and let me tell you as a fellow list-maker: once each vendor is booked, you will feel amazing. We did things in this order: venue, caterer, invites, officiant, music. Now the rest that we need to do is outfits, decorations, and cake and I am finally in that “yay, engagement is awesome” phase I kept hearing so much about.

      • Emmers

        love this advice!!! I too am in the just-engaged, getting married in September. I still have most of these things to do, but I love the heirarchy!

      • SarahG

        Yes! Great advice. I think I will be able to chill the F out a bit once we have a venue and date. Thanks :)

      • Ally

        100% backed

        I’m a very anxious-planner-list maker-“it has to be settled NOW” person and followed the same route!

      • JDrives

        Exactly!! The venue was the biggest stressor because it determines SO MUCH of what follows. (My second biggest stressor: what shoes to wear? Best problem to have, ever.)

        I would also add that we pinned a calendar up in our hallway with important dates: when we need to make this or that decision, when to book our honeymoon, when $$ is due to vendors, etc. It helps having a visual reminder of our to-do list, plus whenever I look at it, I think “YAY WEDDING!!”

        I’m also an anxious planner so SarahG, I can relate.

    • Jess

      Something that was interesting for me was that it took my fiance longer to shed some of his WIC thoughts than it did for me. I had done a lot of research before we decided to get married to decide if I even wanted to get married (that’s how i found APW. and Meg’s book. and for a long time we thought our marriage/wedding might be like the one mentioned in the book that was a signing power of attorney paperwork, not actually a marriage. that was Meg’s book, right?). Anyway, point is, it was easier for me to be at peace with being “different” than it was for some of those around me, and that resulted in different reactions to different people (aka, blunt opinions, fiance rejecting venues for random reasons, including the one we ended up going with because he loved it so much once we were there, fiance feeling left out cause i knew what I wanted cause I had done research and he hadn’t). Good luck!

      • twofishgirl14

        I was really surprised by this too. I read so much alternative/feminist/practical wedding stuff when we were getting engaged and it resonated so strongly with me. Then it turned out that most people in my life weren’t QUITE so excited about the whole thing. My mom has been the one who surprised me the most. I’ll say “Mom, so long as it’s fun, comfortable, people get fed, and we’re married at the end — it was a successful wedding! It doesn’t matter what colors people wear or what the details are!” and then she gets really sad because she thinks I’m saying “I hate all wedding ideas and won’t do anything nice or special!” She’s the one who made a feminist, frugal person out of me, but she hasn’t applied those concepts to weddings before, and we have some real miscommunication because of it.

        • Jess

          Yeah! This phenomenon has reared its head in non wedding areas too, as I and my best friend tend to stay REALLY up on feminist/related topics, and I’d get really mad at my fiance for saying something dopey about any topics I might have brought up. But he’s taken it on himself to start reading and learning more too now…not just absorbing information from the things i tell him. :)

          Tho my mom has started to feel some weird guilt about us not having a shower, and I have to keep reminding her that, among all the philosophical reasons I wasn’t into one, I also live in a NYC apartment and no thank you please.

          • twofishgirl14

            Funny, I’m definitely having the same conversation with my fiance too. He really wasn’t exposed to a lot of feminist/LGBTQ/alternative dialogue in his life, and mostly learned about it through me. Lately he’s taken to reading up on it on his own and it’s completely amazing. The other day he got mad at a friend of his for “mansplaining” to a female friend and it was SO COOL.

          • Jess

            ahh! and about mansplaining too! so great!!

    • Sonora Webster

      Congratulations! I just keep saying, we are going to eat this apple one bite at a time. It’s hard at first because the decisions that you make in the beginning sort of influence a lot of other things, so you feel like you have to game out every possible option. But it will not go on like that forever! You will get the big things out of the way (one bite at a time!), and then it’s easy. Like in the past two weeks, our big task was picking cake! Not hard. Good luck!

    • Rachel

      I got engaged in early march and getting married in September. It’s a lot to do quickly, so I agree with the hierarchy method. I did venue, caterer, save the dates first. Now I’m on to florist, invites, dress. Decor and other details to fill in as we go!

    • Sarah

      Yay congrats!!

    • Fiona

      Ha! That sounds like no fun at all and COMPLETELY familiar. Well, mostly completely familiar. When I first got engaged, I was in another country (my fiance’s home country), and my mother was the only one who had met him. I was going to be outside US borders (with the exception of a layover in New York) for over a month, so I kept it secret from EVERYBODY at home for a whole month. This was kind of insane, but the point of all of this was that my fiance and I had a whole month to enjoy the heck out of each other and our new status before insanity happened. I might suggest taking some time out of wedding planning (unless your’e getting married like tomorrow) and enjoy the heck out of each other before you make any more lists!

      Take the lists you made, put them away (they aren’t going anywhere), and take a pre-wedding planning wedding-planning-sabbatical.

  • http://magicalunicorngestates.wordpress.com/ Magical Unicorn Lady

    12 weeks. Still knocked up. Still blogging about it (occasionally). Still in grad school. Still so. tired. Found a midwife, had an appointment, yays. Stressful week at work, continuing through all day tomorrow. Good news is that I will be taking many sanity days over the next three months, as I have 8 days of vacation to burn. Yay. There are not a lot of exclamation points today.

    • swarmofbees

      Congratulations. I had been wondering how you were doing. I hope everything settles down soon and you get a chance to relax and enjoy life a bit.

      • http://magicalunicorngestates.wordpress.com/ Magical Unicorn Lady

        Thanks! Alas, probably not. I’m doubling up on grad courses with the thought that I will not want to go as much once I have a tiny pooping tyrant in our house, but I’m doing my darnedest!

        • swarmofbees

          Smart move. I did the same, and was so glad to have fewer classes after the hurricane arrived. Though, I was amazed at my ability to write (short) papers with a screaming infant on my lap. Sometimes you learn to just do what you have to do.

    • Mezza

      I have been reading your blog! I hope you stick with it, because my partner and I want to be starting the whole baby process within two years, and I am super interested to read about how the whole thing actually works for two women. And also, congratulations!

      • http://magicalunicorngestates.wordpress.com/ Magical Unicorn Lady

        Aww, thanks! I haven’t really written about that yet, mostly because I’m self centered. =) But I should at some point soon! I am planning on writing more of a ‘how we got here’ piece because it was way harder than I thought it’d be.

    • Meg Keene

      Second trimester is the easiest. Well, physically at least. So you’ll start to enjoy it more I betcha.

    • Dawn

      Almost right there with you (but 11 weeks and out of grad school and teaching a 4/4 instead). Constantly afraid I wont be able to make it through class! Enjoy your break.

  • Katarina

    Flying to California this evening to look at venues for the weekend, and couldn’t be happier to leave the ick weather in Wisconsin. I’m so excited to see my family for the first time for the engagement! We’re trying to figure out how frequently we’ll need to be in California. Other planning-from-afar brides, how did you deal with this?

    • Kayjayoh

      Just in time for us to get better weather here in WI.

      • Jess

        ugh… I am losing faith that it will ever happen.

        • Kayjayoh

          It’s supposed to be fairly nice this weekend.

          • Jess

            You mean when it stops snowing? Although they say Sunday will be good. Only time will tell.

    • Sarah E

      I’m currently trying to plan a wedding in PA from NE. We decided to start planning in Oct, then were in PA over Christmas, and went to two places and talked about a couple others. Since then, we’ve sent the Mom Squad to visit a couple more places. They go, with a list of questions/info I’d like, get all the details, take a bunch of pictures, then send everything to us, with their opinions. I’m frustrated because we don’t have a venue picked yet (aiming to get married May 2015), but we do have two top contenders.

      Like you, I’m not sure if/when I’ll need to be in PA before the wedding. Since we’re nixing a lot of stuff (no meal, just dessert, no flowers, no decorations, no officiant, no chair/table/tablewear rentals), I really plan to do most stuff by phone or via Mom Squad. We really can’t afford to go back and forth too much, both time and money-wise. My partner is taking comp exams this summer and next January, so he won’t be able to travel over Christmas like we usually do. I’m still debating whether to plan a trip this summer, whether I should go without him, and if I do go without him, whether I should go summer, fall, or holidays.

      So, mostly commiseration here. If you have people who have the time and willingness to go places for you, use them. Right now, I’m figuring on one more trip to PA before wedding time, and play it by ear when I’ll need to be there at wedding time (a week before? a day before? a month before?).

    • Mezza

      Let’s see – I live in NYC and got married in Indiana, and we started planning in April for an October wedding. I actually only went out there twice before the wedding, and one of those was only because my mother was making my dress and needed to do a fitting. The venue was chosen sight-unseen after my parents sent me photos of it, and all other vendors were set up online. I was there for a week in August (happily coinciding with a huge game convention…) and then for a weekend in mid-September. We also arrived 4 days before the wedding, which I highly recommend – it was great to have those days for last-minute tasks.

    • swarmofbees

      Somewhat out of necessity, we had one visit to look at venues and won’t be back until a few days before the wedding. We have an all inclusive venue, but my mom/sister are doing the cake and a friend is doing the flowers. So, everything has been planned via email or phone call. So far it seems to be going fine. But, I am pretty open to how the cake/flowers look, so I have not been very involved on that front. It would be nice to be able to go over the ceremony and the music with our officiant and our musician in person, though. We will have to do that over the phone, which sort of sucks.

    • YetAntherMegan

      We’re in PA planning a wedding in NY (about a 6 hour drive).We’ve been engaged for about 18 months and actually planning for a year or so with another 2 months to go. We really stretched out the timeline knowing we wouldn’t be able to get up there often (combined with an area notorious for bad winters lasting October-April) and have been up maybe 4-5 times, but not all trips had much to do with the wedding. My mom has been a huge help with physically meeting with people and checking things out in person. Next weekend should be our final trip up and we plan to knock out final meetings with everyone – photographer, minister, florist, baker, reception venue, DJ, hair trial, dress fitting – and my cousin is throwing me a shower. BUT, once that weekend is over, we will be done other than tracking RSVPs, programs, and the seating chart.

  • Kayjayoh

    Mom seems to be doing well in the rehab facility. I’ve been to see her a couple of times, since it is conveniently on my way home from work. Tomorrow, two of her sisters are coming to town to visit and I am going to bring my nephew by to say hi for a bit. So continuing thanks for all the words of help and support these last few weeks.

    • swarmofbees

      Yay! glad to hear your mom is doing well :)

  • NrgGrl

    I had a near-panic attack this week over the cost of dress alterations that was way over my budget. I got an estimate yesterday that was more than half of what I paid for the dress itself! (I walked out of the shop feeling utterly defeated and frustrated — one of those moments where you cry and feel sorry for yourself and ALMOST text your best friend but decide it’s too complicated to explain.)

    I purchased a (flowy!) sample size gown online for pretty cheap several months ago and was so proud of my budget-savvy self. Unfortunately, I know nothing about sewing and didn’t realize that four layers of chiffon/delicate fabric is expensive to hem. I also need a bit of a bustle and the waist to be taken out. The quote was for $375! I’d budgeted for a maximum of $200. :/

    So now I’m left with two options: (1) shop around and try to find something closer to my budget, if that’s even possible or (2) just pay the nice lady the $375 because I like her and cut corners elsewhere in my budget (if I can find any more corners to cut, that is…). Do these alterations sound like they should be this expensive to you?

    • Shauna

      Yes – I had a similar, multi-layer dress, and it cost around $500 to fix. (In my case there was lace that had to be removed and resewn.)

      • NrgGrl

        DARN. Ok. Thanks! :)

    • lolauren

      Hemming 4 layers and taking the waist out would be pretty labor intensive, so it seems to make sense. You could try negotiating. I didn’t for my wedding dress but I have for bridesmaids dresses and sometimes they can take a little off the estimate if you’re nice…

    • AG

      My first round of alterations cost about that. FORTUNATELY the second round (I have three fittings total), was way less, in the $40 range.

    • NrgGrl

      Can I just add that I really, really, really, really wish I had thought about this part of dress shopping sooner (mostly on principle). I’ll add this to my list of advice for friends/sisters who get married in the future, I suppose: keep potential alterations and costs in mind when you choose a dress!

    • KC

      I’d just note that Hemming Chiffon Is The Worst And I Hate It. So, unfortunately, for someone to do a good job traditional-hemming four fluffy layers of chiffon, yes, that’s probably a reasonable price, esp. when you add in removing a bustle/waist.

      As a remote possibility, though: if your dress style is one that could go for a “deconstructed” or similar look, and if the fabric near the hemline is oriented correctly for the technique (some require on the bias, some basically require not-on-the-bias), there may be non-traditional hem options (i.e. just cut it off and let it fray a bit at the edge; run it through a serger; zig-zag a line of thin ribbon along where the hem will go and then cut the fabric at the ribbon [warning: will make the dress more fluffy]; etc.). Make sure that any trailing threads won’t “loop” on you, though (rub the eventual deconstructed-y hem with your hand all the way along and make sure that nothing is produced that you can trip on).

      • lolauren

        Brilliant!

    • april

      It might be worth getting a second opinion. I got two quotes – one of about $200 from a “bridal tailor” and one that was nearly half that from my friendly neighborhood tailor. It sounds like your alterations are more complex than mine, but you still may be able to find someone who will take it on for less.

    • ASH

      My dress sounds similar and my estimate is $375 (alterations in progress).

  • Pippa

    Well, it’s now 9 days until our wedding day. Nine! And I’m freaking out really (in a good way, I think). But I’m finding this sense of mild panic rising as the day approaches, not because I don’t want to get married, but because it’s such a hugely significant emotional event, that only happens once, and despite having had 5 years of engagement to prepare myself for this, it still seems to be really only sinking in now, and the days seem to be flying by much too quickly for me to catch my breath.
    Just a slightly breathless ramble, I suppose, but I figured APW would be my best bet of finding someone to tell me this is somewhat normal..?

    • lolauren

      I have 28 days so you’re closer but for the first time I’m suddenly nervous/excited, just as you describe and I’m sure it will just increase. I’m not worried about something going wrong…there’s just something really BIG and AWESOME that’s about to happen! And that makes my stomach flip. Congrats on almost being married!!! (also, we’ve been engaged for 2.5 years and its just starting to feel real, but I also don’t have any advice on how to slow down time…)

      • Pippa

        Oh wow, only 4 weeks left for you! Congratulations! And yes, haha, in my glorious lack of insight, it took me reading your comment to realise I’m really looking for a way to slow down time, and that ain’t gonna happen no matter how hard I wish for it!

    • AG

      I’m 3 weeks out and totally there. Not stressed exactly (pretty much everything is done), not nervous (I know I want to marry this man), just a very strong, almost physical feeling of “this is a big effing deal”. Fiance seems to be having it too, and I’m sure it will get stronger as we get closer.

      • Pippa

        Yes! Totally a palpable emotion hey! It’s surreal!

      • Jennifer

        THIS. I’ve made myself reread the part in the APW book about how it’s ok to freak out about the foreverness of it all. Because I’m finding myself freaking a bit. Not about him. Just about the whole “holy shit, I’m getting married in 3 weeks and this is ACTUALLY HAPPENING”. That’s normal, right?

      • ASH

        3 weeks too! I think once we got under 4 weeks, I started to feel this too.

    • M.

      Three weeks here, and it feels REAL to me for the first time, just this week. Not nervous, a little stressed, but mostly butterflies and WHOA BIG DEAL.

    • emilyg25

      Totally normal. I kind of just went into a shell the week before my wedding. I was totally happy to be getting married, just completely overwhelmed by the momentousness of it. My best advice is to just give in and ride this wave. Whatever you feel, feel it. It’s all okay. Good luck and congrats!!

  • Lindsay Rae

    6 months away today! Starting to feel a little pressure and anxiety… not exactly sure why, since I’m very on top of planning and actually enjoying it! Haven’t even had any major issues (yet?) aside from those pesky wedding dream/nightmares ;) I guess it’s just that everything I’ve been looking forward to for 8 years (seriously… that long) will actually happen. and. soon. Time is flying by quicker and quicker it seems!

    • Rora

      Hello, wedding date twin! I have the feeling this summer is going to fly by for us!

      • Lindsay Rae

        Hi, Rora!! I think it will too! Happy to find another October 4 bride :)

    • twofishgirl14

      I keep having a recurring stress dream that I walk up the aisle not realizing that I’m wearing an enormous green sweater over my gown.

    • AG

      I managed to stress myself out because I figured, if I’m not stressed I must be forgetting something. I’ve asked a lot of recently-married friends what they wished they had done and were glad they did for their weddings, and I’ve (mostly) convinced myself I’m all set. Now stress has given way to a kind of scary excitement.

  • lizperk23

    Shout out to APW for all the fantastic articles & grounded levelheadedness during crazy times!

    I’m leaving next week to be out of the country for a few weeks (yay for art and travel and super supportive partner! stress for being away from the full time job!). I dropped the save the dates in the mail this morning, which was the final big thing on the personal to-do list before leaving (except for, you know, laundry and packing). But I have literally 17 things on the to-do post it at work, am working straight through the weekend, and not sure it’ll all get done.

    anyway- my daily routine of checking out the smart stuff here is keeping me sane. so yay & thank you!

  • JSwen

    DRESS IS ORDERED! My non-bridal, non-crinoline, non-train’d, under $300 dress: http://www.jlmcouture.com/Jim-Hjelm-Occasions/Bridesmaid/Additional/Style-5125

    Ordering it in Ivory and SO HAPPY TO BE DONE WITH THAT! Now on to the sash… Anyone DIY your sash? Have tips or resources to share?

    • lolauren

      Congrats! The dress is gorgeous! I was on Rent the Runway looking at big, colorful bridal jewelry and was surprised to see bridal sashes. It might be a fun option. Otherwise etsy is a good spot too.

      https://www.renttherunway.com/accessory/search/categories-bridal_accessories

      • Jess

        I was going to suggested Rent the Runway’s new bridal section too. Also, did you find any cool jewelry! I tried looking and got overwhelmed! :/

        • lolauren

          I saw some big, fun earrings but ended up buying a super colorful $30 pair at a place called Lou Lou. I don’t see them online, but they are pretty much a Jcrew dupe. I’ll wear little ones for the ceremony and then punch it up for the reception. That website is a bit overwhelming though!

    • carolynprobably

      My friend totally used plain old 3″ floral ribbon in a soft gray and it looked great. I think she got the ribbon on sale from Jo-Ann’s for like, $10.

      Similar: http://www.joann.com/offray-single-face-satin-ribbon-3in-wide-10-yards/2887081.html

      • JessPeebs

        Along the same lines, I used 2 inch ivory ribbon with a old family broach pinned to the center.

    • Sarah

      I thought about DIYing my sash since I’m generally pretty crafty, but I couldn’t find much out there and didn’t trust my beading skills. Let us know if you find a good tutorial!

      • JSwen

        I’m thinking about using fabric glue to adhere an applique onto a ribbon. That way I can pick out something that is already beaded… just looking for advice from others who have made their sash!

    • JDrives

      Swooning over that open back! Good grief that is a gorgeous dress!

    • Fiona

      omg are you wearing a red dress?!?!?! Holy f*ck that is sexy.

      • JSwen

        No, though it did look good when I tried it on in red! I’m ordering in Ivory so, you know, my mom doesn’t have a hissy fit.

        • Fiona

          Still gorgeous. You’ll look beautiful…

  • MisterEHolmes

    I’m struggling with friendship issues this week. It turns out a friend/bridesmaid is going through some kind of a rough time, but since the bridesmaid drama was so intense, we have only spoken once, so unless I read between the lines of her vaguebooking, there was no way I would have known (fiance found out when she hadn’t RSVP’d to our birthday party after 3 weeks and he asked her if she would be coming).

    On the one hand, I want to be a good friend, so I did email her to check up on her (wasn’t able to call), and part of me wants to tell her to just forget about the bachelorette whatever she was planning if it is adding too much stress to her life.

    On the other hand, I don’t know why she is planning the bachelorette in the first place, as that is typically a MOH job, and that girl is apparently blissfully free of responsibilities right now–leading me to assume said MOH is still mad at me and abdicated bachelorette responsibilities. Between the two of them, this just makes me mad: I am really, really tired of being the responsible, friendly, helpful one all the time. Yes, I should check on my friends and take care of them–but they have never done that for me. If I didn’t throw myself (and my fiance) a birthday party, it wouldn’t happen; no one has inquired about my life in months, so no one knows that my grandfather is doing poorly right now and how much that is weighing on my heart; no one has offered to help with wedding crafts in all the time I’ve been engaged. I don’t know how many birthday parties I can organize, dinners I can coordinate, gifts I can buy, cards or emails I can send, before I decide it just isn’t worth it and give up on them entirely. And if I did that, I don’t know if I believe that they would even wonder what had happened.

    Sorry for the rant. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Amanda

      Ugh. That just sucks. Internet hugs

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I’m sorry for your troubles.

      One of the things I’ve learned in my few years of adulthood, is that different people place different importance on different things. You can think of it as “love languages,” if that helps you. But I do know that some people think friendship means planning the birthday party, etc., while some would prefer to ignore their birthdays. Some friendships are maintained with periodic facebook chat sessions, and some only with periodic gab fests over peppermint tea. It can take years to figure out what kind of friend you are, and your friends are, and people change, too.

      • MisterEHolmes

        Thanks for the reality check. I’m sure it is something of a personality thing…I’d just like to get to be the “lazy” one for a change. I feel like I’m the one always building the friendship sandcastle, and they’re just sitting there watching it wash away. And it hurts and makes me feel lonely, you know?

        • ElisabethJoanne

          I know. And as a super-organized person who likes to plan parties, etc., I’ve been there. But I’ve realized I can skip a low tide or 2, and my best friends are still there. They’re just at the beach to get a tan.

          In other words, if they’re not sending cards, making follow-up calls, etc., it’s because that’s not what’s important to them in a friendship. Not that the friendship isn’t important, but they live that out differently.

          • Jess

            Isn’t it kind of healthy to feel important though? I mean, I couldn’t say I’ve ever really felt important to a friend, or had someone get my back, although I know that I’ve done a lot of taking care of/partying with/trying to be there for people.

            At what point is it really that you’re actually not valued, rather than them just showing it differently?

          • MisterEHolmes

            Words right outta my mouth, lady.

          • Dawn

            Sorry to hear about the bridesmaid drama and all-around lack of support.

            A few potential options:
            1. Tell one or more people involved how you’re feeling. You need to talk things through with your MoH. Things can’t continue as they are. Meet the struggling friend for a comfortable chat first and avoid wedding talk. Then have a wedding chat later.
            2. Get an outside point of view from someone who knows the people involved. Are you stressed and over-reacting? Are your friends selfish and uncaring?
            3. Consider: How long have you been friends with these people? Is this behavior normal?
            4. Ask for the support you want in a straightforward way.
            5. Cancel the wedding party (say it’s for philosophical or ecological reasons if you want to).

            Good luck.

        • lady brett

          but you can. you can be lazy too, if you want. or more importantly, if you need. the problem is, that’s going to be hard too.

          my honey is the same way you are: always the builder of relationships (and parties). a few years ago they just decided to stop, for the most part. at least for the people who always took and took and were never ever there to lean on. which isn’t the same as “cut off all ties,” but it has seriously re-defined their friendship (much more “fun to hang with” and much less “close friends”). losing that closeness is *hard*. the other thing that is hard is simply the *not doing* all of those things that you’re used to doing (because, probably they are things you *like* doing…just, maybe with some reciprocation to make it healthy). and it’s going to be hard because the folks who have come to expect you to build their sandcastle are going to be pissed/hurt when you don’t. but it’s also given us (me, by proxy) a lot of emotional freedom.

          which is *not* to say that’s what you need to do in this instance. everyone else has said really smart, true things too, that might be more apropos to your situation. but i thought i’d throw this part out too, from personal experience. (and, also, just sorry that you’re dealing with this – and the wedding-related timing makes it so much harder. sorry.)

          • MisterEHolmes

            Thanks for your thoughts, Lady B. I have thought about stopping (in fact, pre-engagement, I was on a “strike” of sorts, but then wanted the happy fun times I felt were part of the engagement “package” and picked back up again) but… it most definitely means having 0.0 friends as the net result. …I think I need to join a book club or something, but that ain’t happenin’ 2 months before the wedding.

          • ap

            I’m totally with Lady Brett here – the same thing happened during my wedding, and almost 2 years down the road, one of my friendships has completely changed to the “fun to hang out with” but not “close friends” and the other is completely non-existent. I know highsight is 20/20, but I really wish I would have addressed the problems and issues as they came up and done what I really wanted to do (asking my two lifelong friends that I didn’t ask because one of them was also planning a wedding and hello, I didn’t learn ‘my wedding is not an inconvenience’ early enough) and called it a day. It would have been much less dramatic and had more champagne and less headaches.

            Hanging around happy hour and reading about the great dress debacle – I was totally thinking of you and hoping everything was a big misunderstanding and it would get better, but maybe it’s time to reevaluate and, while it might be extreme, it might be easier to get those things out in the open and deal with them now rather than wait just to have them stand up there in the dresses you’ve had WWIII over, you know? I kept telling myself that the only thing important about our wedding was that we were getting married. Anything that takes away from that isn’t worth it.

    • Lisa

      I understand the feeling that your friends aren’t reciprocating the treatment you are giving them, and it really sucks. *hugs*

    • Sara

      I can completely relate. My one of my best friends and I are going through similar pains.
      So…I have no advice because it sucks, but here : **hug** I hope it gets better!

    • jashshea

      Friends can be such assholes sometimes. I’m sorry you’re dealing with friend drama on top of family and wedding as well.

      One thing I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older is that we need to be conscious of treating people who matter to us the way they treat us (because that’s often how that person defines love/care/friendship). For the friend who is always super thoughtful and sends cards on birthdays/holiday? Make the time in the 30 days around their birthday to send them a card with a personal message. Take something off the plate of the friend who always does the party or group-outing planning or be the one that harnesses their “people” to a dinner celebrating something in their life. I’m sort of flaky and always leave things to the last minute, so I have to put in some effort to make sure my more on-top-of-things friends know that I love them to pieces.

      My Husband and I had some super shitty family shit happen a few months before our wedding. My friends were super good about making sure Bridal-Me was supported and felt fancy/special/loved. I cherish them for that. But I felt really lonely at the time because they sort of glossed over the tragedy portion of that year, which is not something they normally do. I think they just didn’t really know how to address the hole, so they tried to be extra chipper to make up for it.

      • MisterEHolmes

        Thanks. I’m sorry for your situation, too. I like to think I’d be grateful of the efforts shown…but right now, it feels like there are no efforts at all!

        • jashshea

          I get the impression from your first comment that you don’t know if this is reversible /worth the effort to fix. I’m absolutely putting words in your mouth there, so tell me if I’m wrong. Do you think a heart to heart with one or both of them would turn the tide?

          Note: I hate hate hate conflict with people I love. I do conflict 9-5 and that’s enough for me. But sometimes you have to have a Camp David-type meeting with friends to see what the real issues are plan on how to fix them.

          • MisterEHolmes

            Your impression is right. But at the same time, these girls are my bridesmaids–picked because they *were,* at least, the woman I was closest to. We had some completely inexplicable and confusing dress drama, and that may have just pushed things apart farther. On the surface, we’ve all made up, but I’m afraid it’s just papered over. If my life were a movie, we would absolutely have that heart-to-heart talk and things would be all better in the end. But in real life? I think talking about it might just make things worse right now, at least until we can get some distance past the wedding.

    • Jess

      “Yes, I should check on my friends and take care of them–but they have never done that for me.”

      Erg… So very much the history of my friendships. It’s exhausting constantly giving and never receiving the same kind of support/celebrations/reciprocation at all.

  • Liz

    I’m thankful this week for APW’s tips on wedding toasts! I need to write my sister’s this weekend for her wedding next week (shouldn’t have procrastinated, though it’s been on my mind since she’s been engaged!). Would love to hear any other tips you might have for toasts! Thinking about it kept me wide awake last night! I can’t believe we’re a week away from her wedding, and mine will only be 6 months behind.

    Also, I posted several weeks ago about my ideas for her bachelorette party, and I’m pleased to say that the penis pinata was a hilarious success!

  • Kirstin

    Earlier today, a supervisor told me “Forgive yourself for this a little faster than I know you would.” I screwed up on something, and he knows me well enough to know that I am my own worst critic. No one needs to point out when I’ve messed up – I do that all on my own. It was the best advice that I’ve gotten in awhile, as I learn to practice more self-forgiveness. I was certainly beating myself up at the time and still sort of am.

    It was also timely advice as we are 50 days out from our wedding and I’ve been carrying the weight of some of the issues from our last pre-marital counseling session with me for the last week. I left the session thinking the counselor was going to tell us we shouldn’t be getting married. It is a fear I have carried since we first walked in – that she would identify something that shows we are headed to divorce. That I’m not a good partner. That I don’t communicate enough, etc. I told my fiance, and he asked back “Do you think we shouldn’t get married?” I responded without hesitation, “Of course, I think we should.” He told me that’s all that matters. That while she is here to help us, she isn’t likely going to tell us we shouldn’t get married. And that maybe I’m beating myself up about something that isn’t actually an issue.

    I think everyone needs to do pre-marital counseling. We are talking about those things that are tough and icky. Those conversations that are easy to avoid through an entire relationship. The point is that we are having them.

    • JSwen

      We are going to do premarital counseling and I’m a little worried about having feelings like yours. I think that ultimately, if you care about someone and have shared trust, things end up well. I wouldn’t go into it with the end in mind – all marriages end one way or another so maybe try to focus on why this is the person you want to be with. And trust him when he says that he wants to be with you!

    • Crayfish Kate

      YES YES on premarital counseling! We did it too, and I’m not going to lie, sometimes it was really, really hard. There were tears. There were hurt feelings. There were old, old family-of-origin issues dug up from the deepest darkest places. There were some sucky weeks. But you know what? It’s helped us. We have a better understanding of our quirks and dysfunctions, and knowing most (all?) of it is NOT intentional. My bestest friend found this article & linked me to it. Take a look. My most favorite, mind-blowing part? “…marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is
      designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire
      and help us grow.”

      http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/3-things-i-wish-i-knew-we-got-married

      Your counselor is there to help you grow, not sabotage your relationship. Hang in there!

  • Sara

    Things I learned about Chef’s fridges – they drink a lot of champagne.

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck

      If this is the main requirement for chefdom, I think I would succeed at it tremendously.

      • Sara

        I think I’ve been going about cooking all wrong! More champagne!

        • lolauren

          I always cook with wine and a white wine like champagne or vihno verde is preferred so I don’t get too tanked before dinner is ready :)

          • Sara

            I swear, I’m going to start incorporating that. I love to cook, but sometimes you need a little extra motivation amiright?

      • Jess

        Quite so! Wine should always have a place in the kitchen. It’s place is right next to me.

    • joanna b.n.

      AND all swear by EGGS

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck

      Also, I loved how one of them is saving an old school Four Loko for a really bad day. I wish I’d had the foresight to do that because those things are INSANE.

      • Laura C

        The day they said Four Loko was going off the market, my now-fiance went out and bought like 12. I think he ended up selling them to a friend at some stupid markup.

        • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck

          You are marrying a gem of a human being, minus the selling them off part.

  • Kayjayoh

    Thoughts on Sephora consultations? Are they worth the $50 minimum purchase?

    I’m planning on doing my own makeup for the wedding, and I have been a big fan of Carmindy’s Five-Minute Face (which I have adapted for my own needs and wants to eliminate eyeliner, mascara, and foundation) and I want to look like *me* on my wedding day…which means doing my usual minimal makeup look. I just think it might be nice to have someone helping me pick really good colors for me for lips, cheeks, and eyes, instead of just the stuff I pick up at Walgreen’s. (They never even have highlighter, so I always make do with opalescent eyeshadow for my cheeks and browbone.) Does this seems like a thing I could get from Sephora’s makeover consults?

    • lolauren

      I’m doing my own makeup and went to Sephora. It went really well and I learned a few great tricks, like your foundation can’t have any SPF in it (it looks white in photos!) and how to highlight well. In the end its sometimes cheaper to go to Sephora to avoid buying colors that don’t work on my face. I’ve wasted a lot of money on wrong color foundations at CVS. Sephora also has a great return policy so I’m returning one thing I used but didn’t like and they’ll give you samples of face masks and other fun-but-not-necessary things. I did end up spending about $100 though so be prepared.

      For tutorials I’ve also liked Lisa Eldridge’s videos. She has a bridal one, as well as 4 videos dedicated to finding your perfect foundation. If you’re going to get splurgy with makeup I’d recommend watching these first

      http://www.lisaeldridge.com/video/7532/a-classic-bridal-look/#.Uz8MCvldWuo

      and good luck! have fun!

    • MisterEHolmes

      I hadn’t done Sephora, but I found the Ulta one completely not worth the price. I’ve learned much more (and much more that flatters MY face, not Generic Face #2) online and through some careful experimentation.

    • JSwen

      Just wander in when they aren’t busy and they will do your whole face without a minimum purchase. Say you need help picking colors for your wedding and before you know it, you will have a mountain of samples in your bag. Have fun!

      Oh and if you find that you don’t like something you bought (like the liquid foundation that made my skin flake after 4 hours) then take it back. They give you no guff.

      • Kayjayoh

        Ooo, schahmt! I can always do that first, and if I want more, I can make an appointment.

        • Jess

          Definitely do it. When they’re not busy, the staff get super excited to help with just about anything. I’m probably going in a couple of weeks to find some new eye make-up.

          • Kayjayoh

            So, maybe a weeknight kind of thing.

          • Jess

            Yup. I went in once on a Friday evening for some new foundation/color matching and they had like three people buzzing around my face. It was pretty hilarious, but they didn’t try to push me to anything I hadn’t requested. I walked out with primer, foundation, bronzer (because my skin tone is weirdly yellow and pale, so matching was actually a mess), and a brush.

      • lolauren

        I should mention that I also just wandered in during the day on a Wednesday and started looking at makeup. I didn’t arrange an appointment but they still sat me down and demonstrated how to apply everything. And no one made sure I bought anything…

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Two times, I’ve gone to Sephora with no appointment, but have showed the first person who offered to help an actual list of 4+ things I was looking for. Both times, they tried several products on me. The second time, it was a Saturday, but I said “wedding,” and the sales associate did up my whole face.

      Now, the first time, as detailed in response to someone else, the concealer offered turned out all wrong, and the second time, they suggested higher-end products than I think they would have otherwise.

    • Ally

      I did a consultation at Bobbi Brown – just walked up/no min. purchase requirement. Her foundation colors all photograph really well because of a slight yellow undertone. They were great, no pressure and did my whole face. They drew up a whole face map listing out the things they put on in case I wanted to sit with it before committing to purchase anything.

    • Meg Keene

      That’s how I did my wedding makeup! Loved it.

      And I just walked in mid day no minimum purchase required, though I for sure bought that much. And they take ALL returns.

      • Kayjayoh

        As Lawrence Welk would say, wunnerful.

    • Winny the Elephant

      If you buy anything, you’re pretty much guaranteed to spend $50

  • Kayjayoh

    Counterpoint on the typeface article: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/mar/31/ask-a-designer-switching-fonts-save-us-government-millions

    Granted, I love Garamond and I think this kid has great potential. It’s probably just better to not print as much.

  • joanna b.n.

    THE CHEFS AND THEIR EGGS. Oh my goodness, that was a surprise!

    Also a good week here. Also much needed after a slew of rough ones. Yay for Friday! YAYYYY.

    • lolauren

      Its funny because the eggs didn’t even stand out to me. But that’s probably because I constantly have two cartons in my fridge and eat them daily. Just interesting to see what stands out to others.

  • Amy March

    Is a responsive version of the site coming? It’s a struggle to read the site on my phone because all the print is so tiny. Or is there some clever way to increase that size that I’m just missing?

    • Jess

      omg yes. please.

    • Meg Keene

      Of APW? It is responsive! It’s got a whole bunch of different levels of responsiveness and size, in fact.

      That’s all that’s coming. Anything fancier would be building a separate mobile site which is beyond expensive. Possibly your phone is somehow deciding to pull the web site? I have no idea why that would be.

      • M.

        Just chiming in to say my phone does not pull a responsive site (iPhone 5S with whatever the iOS is..7?), in case there’s a bug that needs fixin’.

        ETA it does, I think it was just the disqus being screwy. Ok!

        • Jess

          iphone 5s too…mine seems responsive-ish. some things change and flow, but the text doesn’t change size/layout accordingly. :)

        • Meg Keene

          That’s my phone, it pulls responsively.

          What you guys are asking for is actually not a responsive site, you’re asking for a mobile site. First person to give me upwards of $20K gets it! In short, mobile only sites are incredibly expensive, and we are not a backed or otherwise funded media company, so that’s just not something that’s going to happen any time in the near future.

      • Amy March

        Sad face. I can’t figure out how to view the comments without so much white space in a decent sized font. I can basically read one at a time. I wonder if I can get the IT guy at work to fix it . . .

        • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

          I swear when the new site first launched, the Disqus comments would load as a somewhat separated mobile experience that made things really easy to read and reply to…but now I can’t get it to do that on Chrome or Safari. Here’s what it looked like: http://help.disqus.com/customer/portal/articles/1142685 Am I making this up? Is there a way to toggle to that view or something?

          • KC

            Disqus does have a mobile option, so, not crazy, but I’m not clear on what “layer” that choice is made at. (and, relatedly, how one would go about fixing it and/or what other things that might break!)

          • Alyssa M

            toootally side issue, but every time I open something with disqus on a mobile device running pandora, it crashes pandora… I wonder if the mobile disqus option would fix that… hmmmmmm

          • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

            There’s a mobile discus?? I am typing on my iphone right now. Everythingis very tiny and I’m. It sure I’m actually going be able to post this…

          • Jess

            yeah, i think i remember that too.

      • Jess

        Some unsolicited user testing for you: the content does flow as I my browser window size, but I still find it incredibly tiny to read on my iPhone. Looking at one of the articles from this week, it seems to be about 65ish characters per line. In terms of user experience, the rule of thumb I’ve heard for mobile is 30-40ish characters per line.

        Hope that helps explain what I think both Amy and I are reacting too!

        • Meg Keene

          Solicited answer: you’re asking for a mobile site, not a responsive site, which as I mentioned in another comment is a $20K++++ endeavor. It’s not going to happen, I’m afraid, not any time soon.

          So many of the things we take for granted are incredibly expensive to actually build. For those of us not running on other people’s VC money, we have to get by on still pricey, but somewhat more human scaled, alternatives.

          • Jess

            No, I meant a responsive site. I was mostly just suggesting upping the font size at the mobile breakpoint. Your font sizes are coded to use rems, so headers and things should scale accordingly, no?

          • ItsyBit

            If you’re using an iPhone, using the “reader” icon in your URL bar (the three horizontal lines) might help. I know what you mean about tiny text on iPhones & it’s what I use for most sites. Hope that helps!

        • Meg Keene

          Actually, let me clarify. Mobile sites are ANOTHER $20K+. I don’t want to give the impression that a site like this doesn’t’ cost a small fortune to build (it does). But we’d have to build an entirely different mobile site as well, to do the kinds of things you guys are asking for. That, my friends, is not realistic for companies of our size.

  • Jess

    Oh! Another question! We’re doing a cocktail party reception/dance party. All passed tiny foods, open bar, and a night of dancing.

    Has anyone done this? Tips? Tricks? We’re finalizing our plans now (date is May 16th).

    One interesting thing we’ve heard so far is to have a purse table for ladies to put their bags down since there’s not a seat for each person to camp out with their stuff at.

    • Brooke

      Love the purse table idea!

    • AG

      We are doing this! A mix of passed hors d’oeuvres and attended stations. I like the purse table idea. I’m guessing you know this, but you won’t need seating for everyone. We’ll have a mix of seated tables and cocktail tables, with seating for about 50%. We’re still trying to figure out the best timeline for the reception. I’m considering starting with the first dance, then having the food service start afterwards, so people can eat/ dance whenever they want.

      I think this style of reception is more common in the South. I’ve certainly seen many weddings like this, and they’re my favorite!

      • Jess

        Yes! We’re doing seating for 50-60%ish, probably a bit on the higher side since we’re keeping our reception the length of a typical reception, instead of making it shorter like some cocktail receptions seem to do.

        For our timeline, we’re designating the first hour/hr and a half as the “cocktail hour” portion, even tho the whole thing is really cocktail hours. But we’re gonna use this as mingle and chat time, where the music is more chill and some of the lighter snacks will be passed. Then, do toasts and a dance right before we transition to full on dance party and some of the heavier foods will come out. Our caterer seems on board with this idea, so maybe it’s also helpful to you!

        • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck

          This set up sounds really awesome!! I’m totes filing it away for future use.

          • Jess

            Thanks! It’s good to hear positive reactions before we test it out on our guests :)

        • AG

          Very helpful, thanks! We’re doing a similar style cocktail hour inside the venue to allow the rental company to transition the furniture from ceremony to reception out in the courtyard. Basically, our band is awesome and I want them to play as long as possible.

          • Jess

            Awesome! So then it seems like you’ll end up with a very similar sort of timeline with dances kicking off the full on reception part. I’ll report back in a month and a half and let you know how it went! haha.

          • AG

            We’re in three weeks! Eee!

          • Jess

            haha. well nevermind! *you* can let *me* know how it goes then.

            good luck!!

        • M.

          We are having cocktail style – caterer suggested 60%!

          • Jess

            it seems we are wedding twins! nyc based, iphone 5-owning, cocktail style. are you getting married at the green building by any chance? :)

          • M.

            haha nope all the way out in Michigan :) green building looks awesome btw!!!

          • Jess

            yay! enjoy!! and thanks! :)

    • twofishgirl14

      Purse table is SUCH a good idea. I wonder though if there’s a way to double-ensure that people feel safe parking their personal belongings there. Maybe a sort of coat check situation where you have tags with a number so people can make sure they leave with the correct black purse?

      • Jess

        There’s an actual coat check if people want to use that, pretty close to where we’re thinking of putting a purse table, and we’re thinking this will supplement for anyone who just wants to throw a bag or sweater down (I personally, don’t bring a lot to weddings cause i know I’ll likely leave my purse unattended, but I know I’m not everyone). But good call on making sure people feel secure. :)

    • Amanda

      That sounds awesome! And we’re date-twins! Have an awesome day :)

      • Jess

        yay! you too!

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

    This week we celebrated the 8th anniversary of the day we first saw each other and had our first date (it was a big day). It’s incredible to look around at our lives now and see all that has happened since then.

    • carolynprobably

      We just passed 9 (probably closer to 10 now!) and we have the same feeling of overwhelming gratefulness for our lives. Congrats.

  • Alyssa M

    So, this is rather irrelevant to APW, but I need somewhere to ramble about it, and I see plenty of others doing the same thing in Happy Hour…
    Even though I read and comment on APW daily, I’m never able to participate in Happy Hour(it’s a struggle to do so even now). I’ve been taking methotrexate for my RA for the past few months every Friday morning and it has me WRECKED every weekend. I have an appointment Tuesday to check in with my nurse practitioner, and I just found out from my nurse friend that I’m on more than twice the dose they might have started me on. I’m going to discuss with the NP taking me off such a high dose, because I just can’t do it anymore. I’m stuck weighing the benefit of preventing degenerative pain, so I’m functioning in the future, against the ability to live my life now…. /sigh… Wish me luck?

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Good luck. I’m famously an awful self-advocate for my medical care, but rationally I recognize that we need to express our priorities to our providers. “I’m having these side effects, and they’re bad enough I’m not sure this medication is worth it. Is there an alternative treatment? Can we go back over the benefits?” is totally valid to say.

      • Alyssa M

        Thankyou. I’m trying to make sure I go into the appointment with the nerve built up to say just exactly that… and it’s easir to build up the nerve now… when I took the pills an hour ago and can baely type because my hands are shaking, than when I’m feeling mostly fine in the doctors office 4 days from now.

        • ElisabethJoanne

          It helps me to make notes. I’ve also made flow charts, “If the doctor suggests x treatment, I’ll raise y concern or ask z question.”

          It’s also totally OK to go to the appointment, leave with a prescription, and call back with additional questions before you take that prescription, as long as the condition can manage the day-long or so delay in medication. If delay is a concern, just ask that question: “What if I go home and feel this isn’t right for me? Can you give me 2 prescriptions so I can decide later? Can I ask the pharmacy to request something different? Will you respond the same day?”

        • Anon

          You should speak up. Since that’s easier said than done for some of us, maybe you could try asking questions like : “what side effects should I be expecting? Is it normal for me to be barely able to type on Fridays?” Etc. good luck .

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

      Good luck! I’m sorry I can’t offer advice, but this happyhour is the place to ramble, always :)

    • http://www.emilyaltphotography.com/ emily alt

      Not sure if this is any help, but I have a really good friend who suffers from RA as well. She had a super rough year last year and she started a blog about it–she was in her late 20s at the time and felt there wasn’t a place out there for folks with RA who were young to really deal with it–and she felt tired of dwelling on it–It’s called Year of Fun and she made it a point to do 1 fun thing every day for 365 days, even if her RA was flaring up. She finished her year on September–but she is still blogging occasionally on the same website. I know she also struggled with the methotrexate medication and it’s effects. Not totally sure what she’s taking now, but I know she says she is in the best health of her life and feeling better–you could also email her through her blog, I’m sure she would love to talk with you–at any rate, check it out and I’m sending you good hugs and vibes. I wish you the best of luck dealing with this frustrating illness. xoxo.
      http://www.yearoffun.com

      • Alyssa M

        Thank you for the link! It’s always interesting to read about RA from people closer to my situation. I read through some of her posts about methotrexate, and it’s actually redoubled my eagerness to talk to my doctor. I’m on almost twice the weekly dose she takes… perhaps if I can get on a smaller dose I can learn to adjust to the side effects like she has.

    • moonlitfractal

      Good luck! Chronic pain disorders are no joke, and the balancing living life and the possibility of greater pain in the future is a stress that never goes away. Finding the right health care provider and treatment plan can take time. I hope everything comes together and you start feeling as well as can be expected.

  • bummed

    anon today. This week I’ve been so stressed I just want to cry. My dad is flying into town tonight for the weekend along with his girlfriend. I haven’t seen him in over two years, she is nearly a complete stranger to me (met her once, for a day, ages ago). My dad and I aren’t close and in the twenty years my parents have been divorced, he hasn’t attended any graduations, etc., because he HATES (hated?) my mom and stepdad and anyone connected with them. So after a lot of thought, I did not invite him to my wedding, but we haven’t discussed it (actually we haven’t talked in months).

    I’ll see him tomorrow and Sunday and while I don’t think he would bring up the wedding, I’m pretty sure his girlfriend will, and be totally *shocked* that they aren’t invited, because she apparently thinks he’s a great dad or something. I’ve been going over possible conversations in my mind and can’t think of any way of saying it that won’t cause a scene. I just wish they weren’t coming.

    • Violet

      Oh man, my sympathies. This is exactly like my partner’s dad, although we invited him and of course he no-showed in a dramatic way. He told his wife he put my husband through college (*snort* yeah right, partner financed the entire thing himself), and that he is SUCH a good dad. Seriously, my sympathy and support, whatever that will do for you. You’re gonna get through this. You’ve been dealing with him for this many years, you will survive this weekend, I promise. Cry if you need to!

      • bummed

        Thank you :) If it were just me, I probably would have told him not to come, but I have a (wonderful) brother and half the stress is putting him in the middle of any of it! But he gets it, he’s been dad-less at graduations, too. I would try to get out ahead of it but then I’d basically be saying “hey, you KNOW you’re not invited, right?” which just seems like the wrong way to go…blerg. so many feels.

        • Violet

          Ugh, yep, so hard. My partner often had to worry about his sister being put in the middle (she would take a lot of abuse from their dad, whereas my partner found ways to shut it down in their conversations). Ultimately, his dad’s behavior around the wedding clinched it, and my husband no longer speaks to him. In a weird way, the wedding was a big “THIS is my family now, I need to protect it” moment for my husband, and it prompted him to shut down the negativity. There is no right or wrong answer here; your feelings are totally valid. I’ll be thinking of you this weekend!

          • bummed

            Thanks again – really. I’m totally having that feeling of circling the wagons for my baby family, and also feeling kind of sorry for myself that my dad is such a tool when I think about what a GREAT dad my fiance will be – of course I’m happy for our future kids but I’m also feeling extra eff-you-ish toward my dad as I get closer to being married and hopefully someday being a parent.

    • Jess

      Sending you internet strength for the weekend. Good luck.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    It’s been a very “real” week of marriage, starting with my catching my husband’s cold after that worse than useless doctor’s appointment and blow-up last week. My husband took good care of me, but messed up the laundry and the grocery shopping, which I only discovered after he was asleep last night, and woke him up in my surprise at finding the clean and dirty laundry mixed together on my bed. There are a few chores that I decided early in our marriage he just couldn’t do because of his ADD, so I get really discouraged every time he “fails” at something else, because I feel it’s more I HAVE to do. I’m trying to rethink this, and he agreed to take over the bill paying for a month.

    Meanwhile, the IRS sent our refund to the Dept. of Ed. to pay down my husband’s student loans, which are his separate obligation. The notice said I could challenge this as an “injured spouse.” The loans are supposed to be in forbearance while he’s unemployed (which he’s been as long as I’ve known him), and all the income reported on our joint return was from my work, but we’re in a community property state. Does anyone have any experience with being an “injured spouse”?

    I think last week’s tears and the IRS notice really woke him up to the fact that his delaying various household management tasks (eg, disputing medical bills) really weighs on me, even if we don’t need the money. It’s just having the loose ends.

    • KC

      I think I’d challenge the student loan thing on the unemployment status before going the injured spouse route, since if they’re supposed to be in forbearance, then… they’re supposed to be in forbearance? I would assume? (no experience with either)

      And yes, understanding that loose ends “cost” something is good!

      I’m wondering if there are ADD resources that might help him to learn techniques so he *can* do more of the chore-ish things? Failing at something once does not mean that it’s a permanent no-go, especially with adjustment.

      (and sorry this week has been… that kind of real. internet hugs to you.)

      • ElisabethJoanne

        The “injured spouse” thing is to challenge it based on the unemployment. That’s the name of the IRS form.

        He sees an occupational therapist twice a month, and he’s made leaps and bounds since his diagnosis before we met. I’m looking for a support group for spouses in my situation. It’s just none of that is the best help when you find your favorite sweater ruined at 11pm.

        • ART

          my fiance turned a wool sweater of mine that we both really liked into a tiny baby sweater by washing and drying it. it did really suck.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            And then I remember that my father did this several times, to both Mom and me, and my parents are still together (though I started doing my own laundry at age 9 as a result).

          • Eh

            I do the laundry too. I have been working with my husband on various household chores. He moved in with me when I injured my back and couldn’t do anything. At that time he did things like carrying the laundry and groceries and he did the dishes and some cooking. I was in a lot of pain and frustrated that I couldn’t do things for myself. After I was feeling better I taught him how to clean the apartment (and now we are working on him cleaning our new house). I am going to teach him how to do laundry and some other things. I am starting slowly though. The first thing we did when we moved to the house was worked on our finances (he is responsible for paying more bills now – in the apartment I paid them all because they were in my name). Next we worked on cleaning (he now realizes that he needs to stick with his cleaning schedule because it impacts me). He is also responsible for the garbage and recycling. Maybe I will teach him laundry next. I am always worried that I will be hurt or sick again and he will be responsible for running the house (something his parents never taught him anything about).

          • ElisabethJoanne

            Yeah, as I calmed down last night, I realized I had been a poor teacher. Like with the bill paying – He pays his medical bills just fine, but I pay everything that’s joint because the 1 time he did it, there was a problem. Looking back, that could have been the bank’s fault more than his, and I haven’t given him the chance to step up.

            He moved in suddenly, before I had a chance to think about expectations, and we’ve just been making do for almost 2 years. He really does pull his weight, and does tons of stuff without being asked, but I share Eh’s feelings about wanting us to be cross-trained in just about every household task in case of illness or injury (and for reasons of fairness and feeling like I’m married to an adult).

          • Eh

            I am getting better at expectations (eg if I didn’t show him how then how can I expect him to do it to my expectations) but also with letting go and letting him do it (he doesn’t clean when I am home because I will start doing it for him). I am also getting better at explaining why things need to be done. He is used to his mother telling him to do a task. Then her reviewing his work and not approving so she would redo it. So he never learned why or when things need to be done (they were done when she told him to do them) and he didn’t learn how to do the task properly because she redid them.

        • KC

          Aw, favorite sweater ruined? At 11pm? Especially when you’re already sick/tired? That… would be a bad time.

          I guess I was thinking that, primarily, the student loans *need to not be trying to collect* if they’re not eligible to be trying to collect, if that makes sense? But yes, you’d also need to “fix” things with the IRS; I hadn’t thought of the fact that bureaucracy rarely “cascades” in useful manners.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            Since you seem to be another tax/finance nerd and I don’t mind sharing: It’s his separate debt, but all my income is our income, so I think he should be paying, since he has income. We didn’t make those arrangements for his loans in the first year because we couldn’t afford to service both his loans and my loans. We didn’t see any point in playing the go-between between the two banks saying, “By your own ability-to-pay standards, both our loans should be in forbearance, but we’re comfortable paying $600/month. We don’t care how you split it up.” We just saved ourselves the headaches and paid the $600 towards my loans.

            Now, we aren’t servicing his loans because financially it’s better to invest the cash, and also because my husband doesn’t feel I should have to pay them. I agree on the dollars-and-cents aspects, but I also don’t like having this unknown out there. (Is the balance closer to $X0,000 now or $Y0,000 with interest? How long before they realize you have community property income and my credit score takes a hit too?) I’m sure I’ll feel better after I see a statement, but meanwhile I’m also sorting out not just what I want to do, but how to express to him my frustration that it took this for him to be up-front about this issue he’s dodged for years, that he’s going against all conventional wisdom about marriage and discussing finances, and making me feel like a fool for letting him.

          • KC

            That makes sense. But yeah, if he has income (although he may not feel like it’s “properly his” in various senses), then paying off loans with that income would be good…

            Personally, I hated having stuff “out there” enough that even though it was a dollars-and-cents better-to-invest thing, I’m on team pay-the-student-loans-off asap [I mean, when one has an "emergency fund" in savings and stuff]. (see: I’m not a *real* taxes/finances nerd. :-) )

            Yours/mine/ours money gets especially complicated when you have a) capital or debt coming into the relationship, b) unemployment (self-worth seems to usually take a serious and usually undeserved hit; from friends with mental health issues who have been unemployed [so, highly anecdotal], undesired unemployment also usually compounds/worsens mental health issues), c) gender issues (after raising me to be financially independent, my parents asked my now-husband “how he would provide for me” while we were engaged, which was pretty hilarious at the time to me, but is apparently fairly thoroughly rooted in peoples’ psyches), and d) different perspectives on how to use the money. Toss a conflict-avoidant and/or procrastination-style personality into the mix and Fun Times. (or, rather, not) But you totally can get through it. Keep in mind when discussing, though, that there are decent odds that he is very ashamed about some of this stuff at some level (potentially hiding under a lot of bravado/who-cares/armor, however). Yes, he needs to take responsibility, but that is subtly different from “blame”, maybe? (and yes, feeling like a fool sucks, too. that is pretty horrible. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this particular mess. most humans do come with some sort of messes, though, so there’s that?)

            Note: You could probably use your free annual credit report thing to figure out if his student loans are affecting your rating, since the collecting-your-refund-to-pay-loans has now happened, although you may want to wait a month to make sure it’s had whatever effect it would have; that might be a “we do really need to have this conversation” sort of thing, if so.

            But it’s also important to keep the “these are the reasons I’m glad I’m in a relationship with you; these are the things that are sparkly about you” things at the top of the list and also remind him of those or reassure him of those. (this is partly just pragmatic, because the less people are feeling defensive/attacked/alone, the more constructive hard conversations can be. but also, not ending up accidentally shredding one’s spouse is great. :-) )

          • ElisabethJoanne

            Thanks, all. Like last week, the validation is really valuable.

            To KC’s comments: I was just able to get my credit score for free a few months back as a perk with one of my credit cards, and it was excellent. We had hoped to move this summer, so I’ll definitely be running my credit report again in a couple months. Before the IRS notice, I was thinking it was time we got a credit card in his name to bring his score up, because I don’t want to be the first or only person on the lease and loan applications forever.

            We’ve definitely dealt with all those psychological issues, or we’re dealing with them. In addition, his parents were abusive, so he registers every time I’m upset really strongly, and shuts down. I had this idea this morning that rather than talking about such feelings, I should write him a note. His parents never wrote him, so maybe it won’t be as much of a trigger, and it’d be there in black-and-white how to make me happy again. It was a whim, but he actually thought it was worth a try.

            I hope I’ve been able to keep things in perspective and remember that working through such day-to-day struggles is what marriage IS.

          • Em

            I don’t know if this is something you’d be open to, but I highly recommend Stosny & Love’s “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It.” I’m not a self-help book kind of person, but this one has really helped pull me and my husband back from a bad, bad place. He has that same reflex to shut down, and the book helped me recognize how the dynamic between us can exacerbate it. At first, I had this nagging feeling that the book was turn all antifeminist, but it always stayed pretty balanced. We haven’t started going through it together yet, but even just reading a few chapters by myself has really started to make a difference for us. (Note: I skimmed the slightly obnoxious “evolutionary” passages…and you might also want to do that)

    • Amy March

      Please don’t read this as snarky, but the IRS publications are really helpful. Even tax professionals use them. If you google IRS injured spouse it will show you their FAQ, which refers you to the community property section for more info. (You may have already done this, but I find the IRS publications are an underutilized resource).

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Yeah, I’ve pulled them but haven’t read them. I’m curious if this is like applying for SDI, never works on the first try, or if it’s straight-forward, or just always a no-go in community property states, or what.

        • Amy March

          It’s fairly straight forward, and in your situation I would absolutely file it and expect at least a partial refund. Also you could and should have filed the form with your taxes to prevent this- I mention because if you used HR Block or similar I think you’re perfectly entitled to go back in and make them fix it.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            I did our taxes. How were we to know the diversion of the refund was a possibility? Would there have been a special notice from the loan administrator (How would the loan administrator know my husband had community property income?)? Or is it just buried in the fine print explaining how the loans are managed? This didn’t happen last year (our first year filing jointly, otherwise same situation).

            Another frustration has been my husband, while generally good with money, has just blocked his student loans from his mind, but I don’t think he would have not told me if there was a special notice. He’s told me the approximate balance and interest rate, but never showed me a statement. The IRS notice was a real wake-up call that loose strings in his finances can affect me.

          • Amy March

            If you aren’t current on a federal loan, it’s always a possibility. I didn’t mean to be criticizing you, but this is the type of thing a pro should/would have asked about. And for next year you can file it proactively just in case.

            And he’s not “generally good with money” if he has blocked attention to this from his mind. Ignoring your student loans means you are bad with money. (Because now you have to deal with it! Don’t give him a mental pass on being good with money whild cleaning up his mess!)

          • ElisabethJoanne

            I didn’t realize it was a federal loan until I got the notice from the IRS. I thought it was an Illinois program.

            I’m tempted to make him do the paperwork, but it’d be purely punitive and ineffective. Tax forms are the incarnation of everything that’s hard for people with ADD, and consequently the kind of thing he drags his feet on, leading to blow-ups on my part and mistakes on his.

            I am making him dispute charges for his medical care as a matter of principle – but it’s like the preschooler dressing himself. I spend more time supervising than I would if I just took 20 minutes and wrote the necessary letters.

          • Sarah

            Sorry if this isn’t the case, but you might want to check if his loans are actually in forbearance still. I currently have one loan in forbearance and it has been for the last three years, and I’ve never had my tax returns collected by my loan company.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            The IRS notice got him to check his credit report, like I asked him to do in January because of another issue. The loans were reflected there as current and in forbearance (as opposed to past-due or in collections). Obviously, the changes in status could be crossing in the mail and banking and tax processes and not properly reflected on everything we can access. We’ll both be paying attention going forward.

            To be fair, there are things he asks me to do periodically that I drag my feet on, for no good reason but that’s it’s entirely unpleasant to me and takes concentration.

    • Em

      Oh man. I don’t have any advice about those logistics, but I just want to send you some hugs, ElisabethJoanne. I notice your comments each week. Your honesty has made me feel so much less alone with the pieces of my marriage that feel almost impossibly hard right now. I mostly just want to tell you that you’re not the only one fighting it out in that place of strong love and total frustration.

    • april

      Not that this will help you this time, but next year consider going the “married filing separately” route. You’ll miss out on some of the marriage deductions, but you won’t have to worry about your refund going to pay your husband’s debts.

  • Sarah E

    Hey, if any other APWers are attending the Omaha pop-up shop of A and Be Bridal, let me know! A friend and I are planning to go to the Monday night cocktail party just to look at all the pretty. We could come up with a secret APW head-nod or something to find each other. Or look for the blonde chick with red square glasses and bangs.

    • MagNCheese

      Not going to be able to go, unfortunately, but so glad to hear they are coming to Omaha. And even more excited to see another Nebraskan bride on here! I thought I was the only one. Are you getting married in Omaha or elsewhere?

      • Sarah E

        I live in Lincoln, but I’ll be getting married in my native Pennsylvania next year, as that’s where all our families live. Good to see another Nebraskan on APW, too! Are you in Omaha or elsewhere?

  • AK

    Has anyone else decided to not do a dance as part of the reception and gotten really weird reactions from friends (surprisingly, family is all on board, as both my parents and B’s parents didn’t have dances)? I’m also worried that everyone is going to leave immediately after dinner if we don’t have a dance, but B and I are both not really feeling having a dance. I’d like to just be able to talk to all of our guests and have time to relax and enjoy everyone being in one place (versus feeling like I can’t hear anything over loud dance music).

    • InTheBurbs

      We didn’t plan on having one – and it worked fine. There were a couple of folks that plugged in their own ipod and started dancing – and it was fun – but it was not part of the plan and everyone was ok with it.

    • Alyssa M

      TOTALLY not having dancing, and I was pretty stressed over it… actually submitted an Ask Team Practical about it. I think a lot of people’s responses on that might help you too?

      • Alyssa M

        http://apracticalwedding.com/2014/01/ask-team-practical-party-people/

        It’s not exactly the same issues obviously… but still, a lot of the responses people gave may help with your concerns.

        • AK

          Thanks! I’ll check it out.

      • StevenPortland

        We aren’t having dancing either and I’ve also be pretty stressed over it. I’m still trying to think of some event/entertainment/thingy that people can focus on instead of just sitting there.

    • ART

      My sister didn’t have dancing, and it was fine, everyone just hung out, but her venue (her back/front yard) did kind of facilitate that. We are having dancing as one possible activity, but we’re also having a campfire and at least for our crowd, we know they just want to be together – does your venue have the possibility of a little fire pit or some other gathering type of activity?

      • AK

        We’re in a pretty standard hotel reception setup, so no fire pit (although that would be great, and if we were having a smaller wedding, would totally be happening). It will be the first time in a couple years that we’re seeing a lot of these people, so I think there will be lots of conversation and catching up. We’re also planning on having background music, since the room is wired for an iPod sound system.

        • KH_Tas

          We went to a formal reception recently with no dancing and just background music, and it was fine. The adults talked and walked around, and the children climbed on things. I vote it’ll be fine

    • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

      I really did not see the point of having a dance party because Eric and I don’t dance and it just seemed like an unnecessary expense. And I HATE screaming over loud dance music. We ended up having a DJ but skipping any formal dances/slow dances. I figured people could dance if they wanted and if not, the DJ would just provide good party music. It worked out really well…Eric and I ended up dancing more than anyone (I have no idea why we were so moved to dance haha) and some people joined us…but on the whole, it felt like the DJ was just there to provide great background music.

      We also had custom crossword puzzles made for non-dancing types (which is…all of our families), and those were a big hit!

    • Rebekah

      We’re just having music, but music we like, which doesn’t happen to really be dance music. Also, almost all the relatives do not have genetic predispositions for dancing. I’m collecting pieces of trivia on my guests and putting together cards with the trivia on it, inviting people to seek out the guests to whom each one applies. My theory is, “I think you’re cool, and now other people can know how cool you are. Plus then maybe you can talk about it.”

  • Winny the Elephant

    Dealing with money and balancing bank accounts with someone that you love but who is really stupid with money, sucks. The end.

    • KC

      Auuugh. Hope it improves. (people really truly can get better at things) (also, they can get worse at things, too. But hopefully not in this case!)

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      I feel your pain.

      • JDrives

        As do I.

    • Nina

      Good luck but tread carefully!!! My father’s habit of spending far more money than he has was a major major factor in my parent’s divorce. Make sure you have your own individual rainy day fund. And make sure your SO can’t take out credit cards with your name on them.

      • Winny the Elephant

        He doesn’t spend recklessly, he’s just completely disorganized.

        Plus where I live, once you’re married, doesn’t matter who’s name is on those credit cards-you’re responsible.

  • Jackie

    Does anyone have job leads on cool, creative job openings in Austin?

    I have a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Higher Ed, Student Personnel Administration. I’m currently working in, and interviewing for, the student housing field. Res Life and all that. HOWEVER, my husband applied to school in Austin and no Res Life jobs in Austin said yes to me. If he gets in to UT, we want to move, Res Life job or no Res Life job, so I’m looking at alternatives for work.

    I really love interacting with people. Forming relationships, helping people, making their day, all that good stuff. I love making things with my hands, but also planning things. I really love pretty things [who doesn't??]. I’m good at getting shit done and I’m good at people. I’m also a fairly good writer, but I hate writing under deadlines, so that’s out. I feel like this could be the opportunity to jump into a more creative field [which is where my heart really is], but I’m not sure where to look.

    Any help from you wonderful people here?

    • MisterEHolmes

      Austin is chock-full of creative types, which may be both good and bad for you. A former coworker with a similar background as yours (also a friendly planner-type) now works for a gaming company. Not sure that’s helpful, but maybe broaden outside of education?

    • Jess

      yeah, if you’re into planning, maybe some sort of producer role at a design or animation studio?

    • NicoleT

      I don’t live in Austin, but thought I’d put this out there in any case. Have you considered a management position for some kind of therapy job (eg. music therapy, art therapy, etc.)? Or, as a volunteer coordinator for a hospital?

    • macrain

      I have my master’s in higher ed too!
      Are there any good community colleges in Austin? Usually those don’t have housing but your student affair background could work well. Keep plugging- I usually find that a lot of student affairs openings happen over the summer- every job I’ve gotten has happened in like, July.
      Good luck!

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

      best of luck and im totally jealous of your degree in psychology. im just now starting down that road ;)

    • InTheBurbs

      Don’t be afraid to explore the for-profit higher ed world. I transitioned from a res life role to an administrative role at a for-profit institution 6 years ago and love what I do.

  • MC

    We took the first steps to combining finances last week (added him to my account, he still has to transfer all his stuff over but it is happening slowly but surely) which was actually really exciting!! I have realized lately how insecure I feel about our financial state all the time because I can’t SEE the big picture of both of our accounts. So I am excited for less financial stress and more joining our lives together!

    Fiance also pushed me into buying plane tickets to visit one of my best friends in Colombia this June!!! She is my one best friend that won’t be able to make it to our wedding this year and I’ve been entertaining the possibility of going for awhile, but I always dismissed it by thinking to myself that we couldn’t afford it. On Monday I finally did some research, found some cheap tickets, and told Fiance… and before I could even lay my argument out he said, “Do it!” !!!! And he gave me a speech about how I deserve to spend money on myself and have a vacation before the wedding and see my friend, and assured me that we can afford it. I’m feeling so, so grateful that this is the person I’m going to marry in less than 6 months!!

    • NicoleT

      Yay!! That sounds awesome! It’s so wonderful when things that could potentially be horrible (ie. finances) work out. Have fun on your trip!

    • emilyg25

      Yes, I find combined finances to be So. Much. Less. Stressful. I just can’t describe how much easier I find it.

    • Kat91314

      We’re in the middle of combining finances too. Scary stuff, but the end result will mean much less stress for me once we’ve got the whole thing up & running. Good luck, and enjoy your trip!!

  • StevenPortland

    I’d like to give a shout of thanks to Meg here. I read her “Just Do the Work” article and the quote “my always and forever roadblock is websites. It’s embarrassing to admit…” hit home with me. I’ve always wanted a tiny web site where I can post some of my DIY projects (to then post onto Pinterest). Here I am with a degree in Computer Science and yet my roadblock has been just getting that web site up. The article pushed me to just do the work. I am pleased that after a few glitches I have a functional WordPress site up now! Now I just need to add content to it. Thanks a bunch, Meg for the inspiration!

    • YOQ

      You’ll give us the link once it’s ready to share, right? Right??? :) Congrats on getting that done!

      • StevenPortland

        It is at http://bennettplanet.com . Don’t laugh at the lame postings. But I was even able to get it to redirect to our blog, which I was surprised that I figured out successfully.

        • http://andshelovesyou.com/ Lucy

          Love! From one Bennett to another. :D

        • YOQ

          Love it! We’re using wordpress for our wedding website, too. Your kids are really truly super cute, and the garbage truck book is an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing!

        • EF

          love that cake! am definitely handing the nutella cloud recipe to my fiance to try out. :-)

    • Jess

      Way to go!

  • ART

    My coworker said something that I can’t shake yesterday. We had a little meet-and-greet at the office for new folks, and we always have wine and beer at those. I had to drive right after, though, so I just got a dinky cup of water. I’m standing by the water/soda side of the drink table, and she comes over and points to those drinks and goes “it’s NICE that they have THESE for all the PREGGOS, right? [huge eye roll].” I haven’t been able to shrug it off. It seemed more oblivious than malicious, but this is someone who I’ve overheard things about already re: her thoughts on women with kids.

    • macrain

      Ugh. So, so rude.

      • ART

        yeah and like, i would not want to be reporting to her if i were pregnant, if that would be all she saw me as? it’s hard to put my finger on why this is bugging me so much, it’s just…yeah, really rude and inappropriate.

    • emilyg25

      I prolly would have said something sarcastic like, “Or people who don’t like to drink before driving.” But I’m a pretty sarcastic asshole.

      • ART

        see, I don’t think that’s sarcastic or assholish! i was about to sputter something about “wait a minute, i’m not pregnant” but decided it was nobody’s business anyway until I make it their business, so i just walked away going, what?

  • NicoleT

    Happy Friday! Has anyone ever had their wedding with a tiny reception on one weekend and then a bigger “reception” on another weekend? If so, how did you handle that?? (Such as, do you have a second “first dance”?)

    • Kay

      I went to a wedding for a couple that did this. It was tiny wedding in a sorta remote place. They just had close friends and family and a few weeks later had a bigger “reception” in the form of a casual-ish barbecue. The bride wore a sweet white dress but there was no dancing or anything. I say, do what feels right to you. As a guest, it was just fun to be part of it all.

      • NicoleT

        Thanks! Good to know. There’s most likely going to be dancing at our second event (out of my control) since my FMIL would be organizing it, but I’ll see if we can do something a little more casual.

  • http://readingandthensome.blogspot.com/ Martha Smith

    First things first: Did anyone else read about all the flack NY Mets’ secondbaseman has received from the male-dominated sports media for missing opening day because oh you know, HIS CHILD WAS BEING BORN??? Ridiculous. This Glamour post sums up what happened pretty well: http://www.glamour.com/inspired/blogs/the-conversation/2014/04/ny-mets-daniel-murphy-is-getti.html?mbid=social_fb_fanpage

    Second things: um, any pregnant girls out there getting skin tags in not-so-fun places? Not pretty. Not comfortable. Not cute. Up until now I’ve felt fine with the weight gain and all-around-strangeness that is pregnancy. The bigger boobs are a nice perk and I’ve maintained what is seen as the “healthy” weight. But skin tags? Uggggggggggh.

    • carolynprobably

      That article! Seriously! Ahhhh!!!!

    • moonlitfractal

      My skin’s been really dry and flaky and sort of…grainy? No skin tags, though. At least not yet.

    • Jess

      Oh. My god. I wanted to flip all the tables when I heard about this.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I talked about the baseball thing with my husband. There were quotes about how the delivery was “the family’s” decision. I told him if I’m ever giving birth, these things will be MY decision.

  • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck

    Just got a job offer at a place I’m super psyched about! It’s a good day!!

    • MC

      Woohoo!!! Congrats!

  • Eh

    This has been an exciting week. I met my adorable niece (she’s two weeks old today) and I started my new job. Last weekend we also finished our family picture wall and I created our wedding album (considering we have only had pictures since the end of December and we moved in January I think we made good time – I already made albums for our parents back in January).

    My husband and I have also taken a huge step in improving our relationship with his brother and SIL. Last week we added her back to Facebook (she had dropped us last summer). Then this week we went out on a double date with them. It seemed to go well. She seems more open to having a positive relationship with us.

    • macrain

      I have a new niece as well, born a week ago! I can’t wait to meet her. Congrats!

  • macrain

    I wanted to share this beautiful post from Kendi Skeen of Kendi Everyday (I know there are some fans here on APW) about coming to terms with her business closing. She owns an adorable shop called bloom where my parents live and I know the community there is sad to lose it.

    Read on: http://www.kendieveryday.com/2014/03/all-good-things.html#more

    • Kelly

      I’m so glad you shared this. I heart Kendi, and that post was sad and inspiring, which is such a lovely if unexpected combo.

  • YetAntherMegan

    I decided last night that anyone who thinks changing as a person while in a relationship is always a 100% BAD THING needs to read this.

    “Every day that the wedding gets closer, I feel more sure. And grateful. I don’t know how I got so lucky to have met someone who makes my life so much better than it was. I mean that. I know you’re supposed to say that you can make it by yourself, that you don’t need someone else to make you happy, but that’s not true in my case. Caleb makes me happier. He makes me a better person.”

    http://abriegrowsinbrooklyn.com/post/81581184162/my-wedding-diary-a-time-of-purity

    • emilyg25

      Hmm, a lot of food for thought. First, I think everyone changes in a relationship, just because people grow and develop over time and as a reflection of the people they surround themselves with. It’s a given. The problem is when one person tries to change another, or marries them hoping they’ll change. That’s much less likely to happen.

      My husband definitely makes me a better person: calmer, more open, less judgmental, more patient, more excited about stuff, more creative, braver. And he would say the same about me, just with different adjectives. I loved who I was before I met him, and I love myself now too.

      I like Carolyn Hax’s argument that you’re with the right person when that person makes you feel like the best possible version of you. And when both partners feel like they got the better deal.

      • JDrives

        You’re in my head! I tell D that he brings out my best self. Not that my single self was bad, or unhappy, but because of him/with his help I strive to be my best.

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

      I prefer my partner “inspires” me to grow, be a better person, connect to my own happiness and self, etc as opposed to “makes” me. My partner is the trigger for my growth, but it’s my responsibility at the end of the day ;)

  • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

    Today is my third day in he floral dept. I have made three small arrangements and wrapped tons of tulips. So far I love it. But I will miss my Friday APW happy hour. I guess I’ll just have to continue to live on Instagram. Tomorrow I’m posting my wedding shoes because they are hot! And living in a box. Boo.
    Happy weekend lovelies!

  • Bsquillo

    So a concert event I’ve been planning for 6 months is happening this Sunday, and I could not be HAPPIER that it’s almost done.

    Between this and wedding planning, I’m pining for a time in my life when I can just show up to events blissfully unaware of how everything came together…

  • Brooke

    So…how do you go about finding a premarital counselor? I’m worried about the idea of forking over a boatload of cash and trusting the development of my relationship to someone with just a pretty website, y’know?

    • Crayfish Kate

      Recommendations from people you know are generally my favorite place to start. If that’s not a good option, this website has been posted on APW before. http://www.goodtherapy.org/

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

    We got our marriage license yesterday!! So surreal. We also got a vest and pants that we think will be what my partner wears on the wedding day – she’s going to keep looking and return it if need be. And we ordered shoes for her wedding outfit! And we’re starting to get lots of RSVPs back :)

  • Caitlin_DD

    I’m late to the party, but I’m hoping someone here is an unusual jewelry expert. I have searched high and low and cannot figure out a name for a ring setting like this: http://apracticalwedding.com/2011/05/weston-fine-estate-jewelry—antique-engagement-rings/westonjewelry_3/ or this: http://www.writtenbyforest.com/Growing_Tree_Ring_p/grw-r1.htm ie: flat band on one side, jewels/metal/etc. sticking out on the other. Any help would be much appreciated!

    • Laura

      I’ve got nothing, but those are lovely!

  • Valerie

    Dress question! Has anyone had success dyeing their wedding dress, either before or after the wedding? I would really prefer to wear a non-white or partially non-white dress (and I don’t mean ivory/champagne/bisque/cream!), but I’ve had trouble finding a dress I like. I somewhat reluctantly tried on a couple white dresses at J Crew today, and was kind of shocked to discover that I really liked this dress (pic also below): https://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/weddingsandparties/forthebride/PRDOVR~A2881/A2881.jsp

    In general, I found that the feel of the bridal gowns was just more substantial and special, even though this one is poly and most of the ‘maids dresses are silk. The thought occurred to me to have it dip-dyed to create an ombre effect at the bottom, but I’m not sure I have the nerve. Is it doable? Ridiculous? Brilliant? I was thinking something like this blue shirt, color-wise.

    • KC

      Two notes:
      1. materials dye differently (as do threads); you usually have fewer options with poly than with “natural fibers”, just because it doesn’t integrate dye as well
      2. dying a strip of fabric is a very different experience from dying something that’s flared and gathered; the dye will tend to want to “wick” differently at the seams and anywhere there are folds. This isn’t necessarily a problem (esp. if you do the “get the whole thing wet first” dye method), but may affect what the exact look of your end result is.

      A crazy option (and one that’d only work if you’re doing an indoor ceremony or similar “no water will get on this dress” sort of thing) might be to find a water-soluble pigment and use that. While it’d be unlikely to wash *all* the way out, if things turned out non-optimally, you could at least take it down a number of notches, and potentially try, try again. :-)

      And the third note: you’ll have to figure out how to iron it such that the part you’ve gotten wet/dyed goes with any fabric you haven’t. This can be complicated.

      That said, good luck with whatever you choose!

    • Kelly

      Sorry for late reply, but here’s a link to the blog of a friend who dyed her polyester reception dress blue. It turned out great! http://bonnieprojects.blogspot.com/2013/02/i-dyed-my-wedding-reception-dress.html

  • http://www.emilyaltphotography.com/ emily alt

    Late to the party–wah wah. But I’ll still post–

    Have had a great week. We are in the last leg of our Rolling Elopements/Pop Up tour and are currently in Santa Fe, where our last Pop Up happened yesterday afternoon (which is why I was late to Happy Hour)–we had an AMAZING couple come in from Albuquerque to get married on top of a hill outside of Santa Fe at 5pm–it was awesome. About 20 of their friends and family came, the bride and groom cried massively huge tears during their vows, the guests cried, I cried, I swear I saw Ian (my husband and assistant) cry–it was so emotionally beautiful. Now we are done with Pop Ups until June and while I absolutely love them, I am so beat–7 weddings (all APW, though! Yeah!!!) in 4 weeks is tough let me tell ya. Tomorrow we’ll pack up the Airstream and start heading back to Michigan where I’m told the temperature is 43 and raining. It’s been a fantastic 6 weeks on the road, but truthfully I am missing our friends and family and the Lake back in Grand Haven.

    Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is if I want to go back to teaching next year. This year I took away from teaching (high school English) to focus on photography and travel and refresh. It’s been a great year, I’ve had a chance to do a lot more than I would if I were tied to a school year schedule and such, but I also really, really miss students and also, truthfully, the stability of a steady paycheck and health care. So I’m at a bit of a loss–if I didn’t find a teaching job for next year, that would be fine….I’m pretty booked for 2014 and can definitely “make it”, but I also go through moments where I think “I have 2 degrees and a masters in Education, it’s a shame I’m ignoring this.” or “I really, really miss students and talking about books on a daily basis….”–so I’m a bit lost. I have a couple upcoming interview for teaching jobs (YAH!) but they are outside of Michigan (Hmm….my mom isn’t super well…should I consider moving across the country away from her?). So that’s another factor–taking my mom’s health into consideration as I plan the next phase of life.

    At any rate, just sort of thinking aloud here. I know there are lots of APWers in similar situations of changing careers, finding jobs, taking family into consideration in life, etc–I’d love to hear some advice and thoughts on this–at what point do I put aside my own life to ensure my mom’s life is as full as it can be? I know she would do anything for me if the tables were turned….so, then, is it unfair to think of moving to say South Carolina for a teaching job? But what if i can’t find a teaching job in (unfriendly to education currently) Michigan? Do I do another year as a photographer full-time just to stay close by? Or do I teaching another state and cross my fingers that mom’s ok? Ahhhh, deep questions for a Saturday morning, I know.
    xoxo APW–you’ve been amazing.

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck

      I’m a huge proponent of letting the universe make some decisions for you, so I say go through with the interviews for jobs in far-off places, see who offers you a spot, then go from there. Also, maybe talk with your mom about this a bit? Perhaps she’s the kind of lady who wouldn’t hear of you turning down a job in another state to stay near her. Or maybe she really needs you right now. I’m sure whatever you choose will be lovely, and if it’s not you can always change your mind :).

      • Emmers

        I agree with Breck– it sounds to me like you’re missing teaching a bit, so it doesn’t hurt to apply. You can always say no to a job offer if it ends up being not what you want. But if you apply, then perhaps you’ll have more options.

        As far as balancing your life and your mom’s, that’s a tough one. Again, maybe just apply to teaching jobs both in MI and around the US, see what happens, and go from there.

        Good luck! It can be so stressful searching for jobs/making decisions like this, so my heart goes out to you.

        And as a former teacher, the fact that you’re actually thinking about teaching again with wistfulness is probably a good sign that it’s at least something to explore. After I stopped teaching, I never had any pulls back to teach, so the fact that you do says something- maybe you’re not finished yet. And maybe it doesn’t need to even be full time teaching– maybe you could find a teaching job share, or an educationy job that isn’t a traditional classroom. Something else to think about!

  • BeccaC

    I just finished reading through all the APW archives right now and I’m so sad – it’s like the end of the Harry Potter books…now I will have to sit and wait for new content on weekdays instead of greedily reading post after post :(
    But it was truly amazing to read APW from the beginning – I am in awe of the community created here!

  • Laura

    Anyone know where I can find a Navy Blue, Crinkle Chiffon dress for 10-year girl? (Preferably $100 or less.)

  • http://www.fallsannie.com AnnieP

    just wanted to say a belated thank you for the Squarespace posts! The first one was just the kick in the pants I needed to start up the new blog I’d been considering for a while. The technical elements of starting a new site were my roadblocks, and I love how Squarespace is a one-stop shop with beautiful design and support! Hooray!