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APW Happy Hour


It's a tidal wave of work! Surf's up!

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

HI APW!

We continue to be insanely busy behind the scenes here, and we continue to be overwhelmingly grateful for that. In this month that we’re focusing on balance, I think the whole APW staff is working on balancing a tidal wave of work with summer and our families. Maddie and I did get to take a serious time out on Wednesday though, to take headshots with Sarah Deragon of Portraits To The People (totally gratuitous outtake above, because WE’RE ALLOWED. I think.). She’s such a pro, you guys, that she made taking headshots… relaxing? If you’re in the Bay Area and need a professional headshot (regardless of what the New York Times says, if you’re a business owner, please don’t use a selfie) she is for real your girl. During the shoot, she was telling us how she’d taken online dating photos for a guy, and six months later he was engaged. I joked that was pretty much the best endorsement ever, and then she told us he told her they were off to APW to start planning (awwww).

Happy weekend. Let’s pour a beer and finish up the World Cup! Till then, your open thread.

Cheers,
Meg

Highlights of APW This Week

Saying yes, in parenting and in life.

Everything you need to know about navigating wedding contracts.

Non-cheesy boleros for your wedding day cover-up needs.

A feminist homemaker. Full stop. Our favorite comment of the week came from this thread, from Lady Brett.

I think for a long time I was confused about cause and effect with regard to choice feminism: no, being able to choose doesn’t automatically make it a feminist choice, but it is often a damn success of feminism that I have the opportunity to make a choice at all. I think sometimes we get mixed up about whether we are celebrating past progress or contributing to current progress.

Probably our funniest open thread to date: wedding nightmares. Try to read it without snarfing your drink, I dare you.

Finally! Photos for the mitten state!

Lessons learned while bridesmaiding.

Planning a New England church wedding. White hot Adele style hot. With budgeting stuff too.

The most hilarious photographer we know with free travel all over the US.

Geek chic in to steps or less. Plus, we’re giving our floppy disk heart away! Go get it.

How do you handle parents who want to invite their friends to your wedding?

Link Roundup

Apparently Maddie and I are uppity girls who don’t know our place, getting professional headshots. The New York Times most recent article in pure, mean-spirited sexism explains.

Lily Allen is opening up for Miley Cyrus in August. Someone needs to go and report back to Maddie.

I love my dog, but I am not his mother.

Coffee and Crumbs is a new blog about motherhood, created for the storytelling side of parenting.

JeongMee Yoon’s new photo series “Pink and Blue Project” examines gendered color coding.

If real men posed for underwear ads.

How did Amy Poehler and Tina Fey meet? The envy inducing story of their friendship.

Two interviews from Caitlin Moran, on how to deal with life when you’re still figuring it out, and how the world would work if she ruled it.

That’s the funny thing about being poor. Everyone has an opinion on it, and everyone feels entitled to share.

APW’s 2014 Happy Hours are sponsored by Monogamy Wine. Thank you Monogamy 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 Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • sarah l

    Hi everyone! So my husband and I are about to “pull the goalie” and I am wondering if any of you mamas or mamas to be have recommendations of any blogs/communities for conception and pregnancy that feel like APW? This blog was (and remains) such a useful and accepting and calming resource during my wedding planning – I would love to be able to have a practical pregnancy as well (god willing!) I am nervous that if I go to forums I’ve discovered through google I might get sucked down a panic spiral of like “oh, I got a cramp? I’m definitely having an octopus baby instead of a human baby because i heard that happened once and I just touched some lunch meat”

    any ideas?

    • anonforthis

      I would love to hear recommendations as well!

    • ART

      yeah just did a spit take over “pull the goalie” – that’s a new one to me. no ideas, that just cracked me up.

    • M

      I have read great things on the Offbeat Families site. There’s no new content, but it’s fully archived with all comments. The little reading I’ve done there has been great!

    • Granola

      I don’t have any community recommendations, but I just read “Expecting Better” which is a funny review of the medical literature behind pregnancy recommendations, and loved it. It made me way more relaxed about the whole idea, when it finally happens.

      • Meghan

        Another vote for reading “Expecting Better”! It’s a great literature review that cuts through a lot of the old wive’s tales and faulty conclusions. It’s also a really fast read, written in a narrative style.

    • emilyg25

      I actually don’t hate The Bump. You have to sift through some crap and ignore some snark, but the ladies there are generally reasonable and helpful. I did find that while we were still trying to conceive, forums were not helpful. Some of those ladies get super serious about temping, charting, testing, etc. I did temp and chart, but I couldn’t handle being part of a community focused on it.

      Whether you plan to temp or not, Taking Charge of Your Fertility is an excellent book. It taught me so much about my body! I used to think I got yeast infections every month, but turns out it was totally normal discharge.

      (Oh, and if you haven’t gotten totally immersed in the lingo and acronyms yet—which omg are so extensive—temping is taking your temperature first thing every morning. You track it and can see shifts that indicate phases of your cycle.)

      ETA: It’s not a community, but I LOVE the website Pregnant Chicken. Very funny, informed, and useful.

      • Meg

        too bad that book isn’t on kindle. I don’t want it on the bedside table…would strike the fear of god in my husband of one month.

        • emilyg25

          To be fair, most of the book is actually about how to use the Fertility Awareness Method as birth control.

        • ElisabethJoanne

          I have a list of books I have to hide before anyone comes over. That’s one of them.

          But I also have a list of books my husband has to read before we become parents, to try to even out the knowledge inequality. (Me, younger siblings, extensive professional background in women’s health; him, only child, 0 healthcare knowledge).

          • anon for this

            I would love this list of books!

        • Sparkles

          Check out the Justisse Method. It’s not as thoroughly explained as TCoYF, but it’s available on Kindle and I like their tracking method better than TCoYF’s.

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

        That book is awesome!!

        Sex doesn’t make babies at our house. But I still take my temperature every morning because I want to know when I need to start packing each month. There’s a version out for teenagers that explains everything in a less make/prevent babies way that I’ll be getting for my daughter when the time comes so she’ll understand how to understand her body from the start.

      • Jane

        Hahahahaha that book is a huge joke in our circle of friends, because both I and another couple used the methods in it as our only form of birth control…and I’m now 8 months pregnant. And the other couple has had three girls, none planned.

        • emilyg25

          Yeah, it’s not a very reliable form of birth control. But the book is still a great resource for learning about your body.

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

      The only communities I enjoyed while pregnant where the pregnant after infertility ones. Because they weren’t full of octopus babies and people who had no idea how babies were made. It’s a sucky community to be part of, but it does have its benefits.

    • KN

      Ha! Hilarious – my husband and I joke about the “goalie” as well! So exciting and best of luck to you! Stay away from lunch meat!!

    • Meg Keene

      I don’t know of any. I used The Bump quietly for info when I was pregnant. It’s not my scene, but you can follow along with people at the same week or whatever, which is sometimes nice. I’m not really a parenting forum person, at all, so I don’t have much to offer. I used Ask Moxie for sleep regression info, and otherwise just read Peonies & Polaroids and Girls Gone Child for essays on what it feels like to be a mother, which is really mostly all I’m interested in.

    • Anon

      You have good timing: http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2014/07/introducing-i-hear-ya-sister.html
      Also, I am currently pregnant and find Baby and Bump forums a bit more interesting than The Bump forums. That said, I would not characterize either website as particularly practical.

    • Jennie

      I’m at the half-way point of my pregnancy and feeling like I could use some more practical blogs. I haven’t found anything that compares to this community for pregnancy/parenting though.

    • KP

      We just pulled the goalie last night! We had planned on doing it right after our wedding anyway (two weeks!) but I decided to do it yesterday after talking to my doc in order to try to avoid getting my per for the big day.

      Anywho, I had begun to scout out the various forums (fora, I guess…for the Latin inclined) and what gets me are the acronyms. The threads are unintelligible. How can I get a foothold when there is not actually one real word in your post?!?!

    • Sparkles

      I don’t have any recommendations for the trying to conceive camp (somehow we got a hole in one on the first try), but for pregnancy and parenting, check out Alpha Mom (the pregnancy calendar is fabulous).

  • Elizabeth

    This isn’t wedding related, but my mind is reeling from this interview with WOMEN WHO ARE MENS RIGHTS ACTIVISTS. Whaaaaaaaaaa? The scary thing is, these are clearly very smart, strong women who are much better at articulating what the MRA movement thinks than most of the men I’ve heard. But still, it does not sit right with me at all. Anyway. Just thought I’d share.

    http://fusion.net/Culture/video/meet-women-mens-rights-activist-movement-855297

  • Ariel

    Does anyone have any interest in ivory and gold glitter paper lanterns? I bought the gold glitter ones from someone else on APW and would love to sell them to another APWer :-)

    • Erin

      I love your face in this photo – hilarious! And probably the same I would make in the same position. :)

      • Ariel

        It was horrifying and awesome! One of our friends (guy in coral shirt) had arms on both of our chairs and was lifting them at different rates.

      • Laura C

        I was just thinking that! My fiance actually warned his friends that they could pick him up, but not me. (They always pick everyone up at their weddings, not just Jewish people.) I didn’t want to come across as a killjoy, but 1) my capacity for being touched will be maxed out and 2) I’m afraid of heights and that looks genuinely terrifying to me. Like, as much as I enjoy her expression, it also feels really, really real and scary to me looking at the picture.

        • Kayjayoh

          My husbands friends also like to do that, Jewish or not, but I vetoed it for a bunhc of reasons. Aside from neither of us being Jewish, I’m scared of heights and don’t relish the thought of our drunk friends picking us up. As a side bonus, the area of our venue with the dance floor had a very low ceiling.

    • River

      I love this photo, Ariel!!

      • Ariel

        Thanks!

    • Sarah McClelland

      Email me about them? Slmcclelland10 at gmail

      • Ariel

        emailed :-)

    • J

      Are these still available? I’m looking for some gold lanterns (and maybe some blue ones, if anyone has any of those.).

      • Ariel

        I’m waiting to hear back from Sarah. What is your email? I will contact you if she does not want them.

  • Lawyerette510

    That Bustle article and the 2011 Emmys gag it linked to made me smile so hard.

  • Meigh McPants

    My happy thing this week is that I now own a nail gun. Mwahahahaha. Watch out, things that need attaching to other things! Also, only like 3.25 more months until I’m a parent, which is super cool. I put my hand on X’s belly last night to say hi to the baby, and she basically headbutted my hand. It was awesome (for me, X said it hurt like a b.) Oh, AND I’m getting geared up for my August weddingstravaganza which will take me all over the damn place: Charlottesville, VA, St. Mary’s, MD, somewhere up by Baltimore-ish that I’ve never even been to, plus one here at home. I am psyched.

    • Lauren from NH

      St. Mary’s? Small world. Enjoy! To me it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

    • Kathleen

      Cracking up here at the juxtaposition of babies and nail guns.

    • Kayjayoh

      At first I did not correctly read “she” in “she basically headbutted my hand” as being the baby, and I though you put your hand on X’s belly and *she* (X) practically headbutted your hand. It was quite the mental image.

  • R.

    Forgive me for asking a question I’m sure has been answered on this site, but it’s not turning up in a search—are there some posts on the nuts and bolts of creating a wedding budget? We have a total number figured out, and a list of what matters more and less to us, but haven’t a clue how to allot amounts for each category. Am I supposed to call vendors and get quotes, and allot amounts based on that? For example, I currently have no idea if we can afford a $2,000 venue if our total budget is $10k and we’re inviting 60 people.

    • anonpsu

      I actually don’t know if APW has a budget breakdown. Other popular wedding sites do, with breakdown by percentage of budget. I adjusted to my own needs (like no I’m not going to spend 10% of my budget on my dress). Usually your reception costs are 50-60% of your budget (including venue, food, table linens, table/chair rentals, dinnerware, staff costs, etc….). In my opinion, a $2,000 venue fee would eat up a LOT of a 10k wedding budget.

      • Anon

        It depends on what’s included. Our budget is around $13K, and I believe our venue rental is around $2K, but it includes a lot of that stuff (no rentals needed at all!). Sometimes a more expensive, but all inclusive venue is cheaper than a “cheap” one where you rent everything.

        I had heard people say this, but when we ran the numbers, it really was true!

        • anonpsu

          Yeh there’s a lot of variables. We’re having a 170 person wedding with no venue fee and no rentals. No venue fee was at the top of my list when looking for a reception site, and we were able to find quite a few. They aren’t the most “unique” places but they suit the purpose!

        • ElisabethJoanne

          This is where percentages were helpful, because you don’t hire all your vendors at once. So, if you choose a venue early in planning that will require rentals, you can consider whether you’re still on-track in terms of percentages without having also signed a rental contract. Or maybe you realize that now your catering budget will have to include rentals, so you might have to have just appetizers instead of a full meal.

          Conversely, you can comfortably select an “over-budget” vendor early in planning if the vendor actually covers a lot of categories.

          FWIW, we looked seriously at an all-inclusive country-club-type venue where we could buy a package and then just choose colors, cake flavors, etc. We ended up going with a different venue and doing things more a la carte, but the final costs were almost equal.

    • Elizabeth

      I think the problem is that there are so many variables, it’s hard to say. Are you having a sit down meal for all 60? Will you have to rent tables, chairs, etc. in this venue? Are there areas where you think you will definitely save on (decorations and the like)? But in general, I think $2,000 is a good deal .

    • emilyg25

      When we were first budgeting, I used the budget calculator on The Knot to see how we might divvy up our money. You input your budget and guest count and they spit out recommended percentages based on how people generally allocate their budgets. Then I got quotes from the big vendors (catering, rentals, photog, florist) and dropped them in the budget to see how things shifted around. We did end up straying pretty significantly from the “averages” (way less on catering and my dress, way more on photography and his suit), but it was nice to get an idea first.

      • Sarah McClelland

        Wedding Wire has a great budget tool that allows you to track payments… We like it a lot!

    • Lindsey d.

      Try http://apracticalwedding.com/?s=budgets… The first six will probably be the most helpful.

    • notquitecece

      The book has some nice breakdowns, and these posts are great: http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/01/real-sample-wedding-budgets/ & http://apracticalwedding.com/2014/01/wedding-budgets/. The open thread is extra-handy because you can look for folks in your area.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      My husband and I both work in finance, so you don’t have to put quite the effort into it we did, but here’s how we did ours:
      1. Figure out what we wanted (kind of venue, meal, number of people, etc.).
      2. Get comparables. Basically, we researched how much each type of vendor typically charges, either nationally or in our area. We did this by going to their websites. At this stage, we didn’t consider whether we wanted to hire THIS photographer, just “here’s a few photographers in our area. What’s the average charge?” APW vendors are a great source for this info, ’cause (almost?) all have their prices online.
      3. From this, we had an approximate round number for our total budget – your $10,000. Then we used other websites’ percentage budgets to fill in any blanks. E.g., transportation costs were hard to estimate/find comparables for. But if they’re usually 5% of the overall budget, then that was how much we assigned that expense.
      4. Tweak the budget. E.g., a lot of online advice allots 15% of the budget for the bride’s clothes. I knew I couldn’t spend that much, so that was money/a percentage that was reassigned to other budget items or to a surplus fund.
      5. The second vendor we hired was way under-budget. This made for smooth budget sailing from there on out. If you can start out ahead, I highly recommend it.

      We found considering both dollar and percentage amounts helpful. YMMV.

    • jashshea

      We worked backwards, somewhat, but I think it is a good way to go. We made a list of what was important (for us): food, outfits, booze, lots of people, pictures. I knew which items I wanted to pay for ourselves (vs parental contributions) and a rough number for a total amount.

      Then I got to project managing:

      -Is 60 the final list for headcount? Really dig into that now. You don’t want to be surprised like I was – I thought my husband would invite just his grandparent level family (~16 people), but his family wanted to invite a level above that (grandfather’s siblings & all their kids & their kids ~80 additional people). We had a huge wedding (invited ~300), so it wasn’t a huge deal, I just honestly thought we’d invite 150 and had that number in my head during initial catering/location meetings.

      -Took 10% of the total budget off the top and kept it out of planning. It was used by the end, but on crunch-time time savers.

      -Make a spreadsheet – I stole percentages from thekn*t’s budget tool, but pulled it into my own google doc. Some of their items are ridiculous, but it’s not a terrible guideline to think that 30 or 40% of the budget will be food.

      -Figure out what you’re including in the budget. We didn’t include his outfit or our rings (or honeymoon) which was an arbitrary distinction, but make sure you account for whatever needs to be accounted for.

      -Estimate a high and low number, especially on variable items like catering that typically represent per person charges.*

      *Real talk here: I think many of the caterers we auditioned were deliberately obfuscating their prices – Apps are 3 PP, Ice is $.75/bag, entrees are 12.50 PP, service is x/hour – WTF does any of that mean. I had to spend HOURS going through catering proposals to boil the stuff down to a close representation of per person cost much of the time. Quite a headache and we ended up going with the person who gave us a single $X per person number anyway.

      Good luck!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Yes, catering comparables and eventual proposals were the hardest to crunch because of precisely the issues jashshea raises. One had a per-person charge, one had a single charge for a buffet of 100-150 people, and then others had separate charges for each tablecloth, fork, entree, etc.

        We also ended up hiring the caterer with the simplest proposal, which was probably also the lowest. I go back and forth about whether that was the best decision. They weren’t great to deal with and made some mistakes, but I imagine that a proposal that’s hard to read doesn’t signal great customer service, either.

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

      I used The Knot’s estimator to start – you put in the total number of your budget and the number of attendants, and it breaks things down for you. Then I was able to play with eliminating some categories and adjusting. And it can keep track of your deposits/payments as well.

    • Brooke

      What everyone else has said, and also, be prepared for some of the items on the “budget calculators” to be waaaay off. For example, most of them only budget 10-15% of the total cost for photography and videography combined. HA. Maybe for those whose budget is $40,000+!

    • Jenni

      costofwedding.com was helpful for me to see what the average wedding cost was in our planned location. They break it down by category and into smaller pieces within that category. They use the average, not the median, so remember that expensive weddings will drag up the average. But it was so helpful to see if I was on track with my ideas of how much flowers would cost (I wasn’t) or if cutting out favors makes any difference (it does).

  • Laura C

    Less than a month until our wedding! And just about two weeks after our move, and I’m starting to be convinced there are still going to be boxes everywhere when we get back from our honeymoon. So I’m trying to pull together my thoughts for the wedding and figure out what we really need to do, and … living in chaos is not helping. Oh, and I’m going to be out of town for almost the entire next week!

    Here’s a question for experienced Etsy shoppers. We are in love with these headpieces for our flower girls, but they’re coming from Ukraine and as mentioned we have just under a month. Would you risk it? The shipping info suggests they’d probably arrive in time, but do we need the extra stress? Then again, how much stress is it really if the option is something amazing or else…just putting them in ordinary barrettes or headbands? (Answer, I guess: As much stress as you make it.)

    • emilyg25

      I’d message the seller, explain the situation, and see what she says.

      • Laura C

        Um. Yeah. Why didn’t I think of that? Done, and we shall see what she says. Clearly my brain is fried.

    • Meg

      If you were looking at this seller too https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArcturusJewellery I ordered my tiara from her and it came very quickly from England and it was lovely. She was great.

  • ART

    So we got married on June 28th. It was freaking magical. My zen arrived right on time, and even through exploding drink dispensers, disappearing wedding party members, shriveled-up bio-plastic cups (!), the caterer mistaking my brother for the groom (hey, he wasn’t going to question someone bringing him more food), and forgetting lots of little things, I felt like we were pretty chill and mostly just so happy to get and be married! A friend stepped in to take some of the more official photos when our Plan A friendor wasn’t able to make it, and we’re thrilled with the results. We also got lots of fun Instagram and other photos from guests. Everything looked and felt exactly the way we’d hoped, and if anything didn’t, we just totally didn’t notice. I felt so present the whole time, like “this isn’t flying by at all! I’m going to remember everything!” and of course some of it is a blur now, but it was really the most awesome party I’ve ever been to. And my giant coffee filter tent jellyfish and ombre table runners made me sooo happy.

    Thanks to the APW community for the inspiration, wedding zen bestowal, place to vent, etc.

    • emilyg25

      CUTE

    • Ariel

      Love the coffee filters!!!

      • ART

        Thanks – they were actually super easy, especially the garland part (it just doesn’t travel THAT well so we made most of it on site, but I do have tips if anyone’s interested).

        • Jules

          So pretty!

    • KC

      Congratulations! (also, gorgeous and happy!)

    • River

      GAH so beautiful!!! How-to post?? And also a wedding post please ;-)

      • ART

        OMG. our how we did it would be…i don’t know. maybe helpful, maybe not. i’m toying with submitting and what format. but anyway, thanks!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Just GORGEOUS, Art!! Many congrats!

      (Your filter chandelier is too cool for School!)

    • Lawyerette510

      So very very very lovely and happy and joyus!!!!! Love it love it love it!!!!

    • Em(ily)

      Beautiful, just everything! Congratulations!

    • Jenni

      Soooooo pretty. Congratulations!

  • Lila

    This is my self-declared year of courage, and today I learned that I got the raise I have been negotiating for!!! This was the first time for me asking for more than I was given at work, and it went really well. Huge appreciation to my hubby, mom, and bffs for their encouragement to go for it, but in the end, it’s really mine to be proud of. YAY!!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Congratulations! Way to stick to your goals!

    • emilyg25

      Get it, girl!

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

    Tonight I will nurse our baby for the last time. The last week has been intensely emotional as we’ve wound down to this at least 4 times faster than I would’ve liked. But we’re in a race against the endometriosis clock to do our next round of IVF and stopping nursing ups our odds of giving her a sibling enough to do it. Neither of us are emotionally ready for this and there’s been a lot of tears from both of us this week. Given how our first month nursing went it’s amazing we’ve made it past a year, and for that I’m extremely grateful.

    In another week or two we’ll be back at the scary, anxiety ridden uncertainty of IVF again. We only have two more chances for this to work and want more thananything for another child. We’d appreciate any prayers, happy thoughts, good voodoo, whatever you have, in our direction over the next few weeks.

    • emilyg25

      All the vibes.

    • jashshea

      Sending the good kind of internet vibes!

    • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Amanda – Poppies and Ice Cream

      All the good vibes, love, thoughts and prayers. Also, hugs. I can only imagine stopping with nursing to be very hard, you are a great mom.

    • Meg

      *wiggles arms* internet good vibes

    • Meg Keene

      Oh no. I’m so sad for you two. Hugs, good job, hang in there.

  • anonpsu

    99 days until my wedding! I can’t wait until it’s here and everyone returns to their normal selves again.

  • Jessica

    Ok, shameless plug for a former coworker, but related to that “real men underwear” link (which is fantastic). My friend and his fiance are starting a men’s underwear line for “men of size.” Apparently they just couldn’t find comfortable underwear modeled by guys that look like them (sound familiar?) So they decided to make some themselves. Their project is already funded, but they have some stretch goals. I bought a 2 pack for my husband that will make an excellent Christmas present, and if any of you have a man of size in your life I highly suggest taking a look. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/378583567/bear-skn-comfortable-underwear-for-men-of-size

    • lady brett

      ooh, that’s a great idea. i’ll have to check out all of these underwear photos after i get home, but this could be a lovely gift for the honey.

  • emilyg25

    Because I am secretly very vain and have excellent photographer friends, I get a new head shot done every time I change my hair, which is at least once a year. Nice head shots are wonderful!

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

      They are GREAT! But f someone takes your picture, that’s a portrait, not a selfie, so those aren’t “professional selfies.” No idea why they chose that phrase, because it’s nonsense. That article is so silly

      • ART

        How about “youies…that’s what I call selfies of other people.” – Tom Haverford

        • emilyg25

          <3 Tom Haverford

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

          Parks and Rec knows what’s what!

      • laurasmash

        They want to call it a selfie so they can imply that its vain and narcissistic to want a nice photo of yourself, ugh. I’m not even sure why the internet is so mad about selfies lately. I saw a natgeo blog post called “take back the self portrait” as if the existence of the self facing cell phone camera somehow took something away from a totally different genre of photography. More selfies, and portraits, and self-portraits for everyone, please! I would like to show my future grandchildren that I was hot once ;)

    • laurasmash

      This is an excellent idea! For when you want to go back and show people how cool that one hairstyle you had was, and then realize there are no photos of it!

  • Learning

    So I walked into the bathroom yesterday…and found a used piece of TP in the middle of the floor. WTH??? I have never lived with a guy before…does this kind of thing just happen? How?! Is this what my married future will involve? And do I mention it to him or not?

    • Erin

      Ugh! That’s horrifying – mention it!

    • JDrives

      It’s totally possible that it was an unnoticed accident (still, ICK!). I’m sure that your married future will NOT involve poo-paper on a regular basis. Still, my feeling is that you’d be well within your rights to use your words here. “Honey/boobear/schnookums, the other day I noticed a used piece of TP on the floor and it totally squicked me out. I’m sure it was an accident on your part, but for future bathroom visits could you pretty please double check to make sure all used bits end up in their proper receptacles?”

    • KC

      My usual “policy” is, for undesirable-but-not-totally-horrific things, mention on second occurrence, not in a “you do this ALL the time” way but a “I’ve noticed this happen twice, and I’d prefer it not to happen if we can figure out a way to make it not happen” sort of thing. This has served me well; it means that irritants get dealt with before I’ve got a lot of bottled-up resentment behind them and it also means that once-off things don’t waste resources.

      (but no, I have never had a used piece of TP in the middle of the bathroom floor from spouse. But that would definitely go for the two-occurrences rule for me, with me using another piece of TP to transfer it to the toilet in the first instance.)

    • Wondering123

      Um, no. This doesn’t just happen. I’ve lived with my boyfriend for three years and this has never happened. I also have a brother that I shared a bathroom with growing up and several male roommates I’ve shared bathroom space with as an adult and it never happened in those cases either. This is easily worth a discussion and possibly even a good-natured “WTF?” (a valuable tool in any relationship).

      • Sarah

        Totally agree with the good-natured WTF. So useful. And its nice to be able to laugh about such things while also laying down the law ;)

    • Meg

      Yeah. I would mention it. :I yuck

    • Laura

      Ew!!!
      Not to generalize, but men do often seem to not notice things like messes, open cabinets, etc. – things that women might think are obvious. This is just my own experience and what I’ve heard in talking with female friends. However….this does not seem like one of those kinds of things! I would optimistically assume it was an accidental one-time mistake. But if it happens again, it will definitely be a “we need to talk” kind of moment!

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

      Not something that just happens.

      It took over 4.5 years of marriage for him to leave the toilet seat up, and that was only because he got distracted by the baby and moved to the other bathroom before he got down to business in our bathroom and it disrupted his routine.

  • JSwen

    Any guidance on remaining emotionally present for the wedding? I vacillate between getting all project-managerly about the wedding and being a teary eyed emotional wreck. I’d like to be somewhere in the middle on the wedding day but I know my default is to pack the emotions away until I’m removed from the situation.

    Wah two weeks from today I’ll be reeling from my bachelorette-ish party hangover, while getting ready for the rehearsal. Oh man. ANGZ-EI-ET-TEEEE. Oh and I need to negotiate a job offer to start the week after our honeymoon. Oh and I need to finish the Research section of my thesis by the end of next week…

    So yeah. Luckily I already made the escort card table stuff because I’m officially to the Fuck the Details stage. Meeting with vendors at the venue tomorrow for the plan and *hopefully* everything will be set by early next week. Wish me luck!

    • ART

      “I vacillate between getting all project-managerly about the wedding and being a teary eyed emotional wreck.” – that was me as well. I was actually fine during the wedding. I did burst into tears the morning of because I came around a corner and saw my sister and like 7 cousins around a table putting flower arrangements together and lost my shit (in a happy way), and got some nerves between the time I had my dress on/ready to go and when it was time to walk out for the ceremony, but the rest of the time (even the vows) I was just smiley (and I’m a HUGE emotional crier). I don’t know how I did it, other than to just let it all go and trust that it would be fine (see: wedding zen). Good luck!

    • anonpsu

      I would love advice on this too. I’m afraid I’m going to emotionally shut myself down so that I can deal with the logistics of the day and so I don’t cry. I would like to allow myself to feel all the happiness that is going on.

      • Lawyerette510

        To second Meg above, have a “stage manager” for the day. Have someone you know you can count on to look out for the details and move things along so you don’t have to. A great example of this is friend A was my stage manager and we had been through details, timelines, what was important to me etc. Friend B was who was going to help me take off my shape-wear if needed and get back into my dress at whatever point I couldn’t stand it any longer. After dinner (before the first dance or anything) I slipped off with friend B to un-layer. We got up to her room, and I was in my slip and bra and I laid down on her bed to have some water and peek out the window at all the guests and my husband on the patio below. I was so happy laying there, having some space and watching everyone that I was up there longer than I realized, but Friend A (stage manager) tracked me down and (lovingly) coaxed me along to get the dance party started because I had told her it was important to me to do the dances and cake earlier out of consideration for the people with kids who would want to leave earlier but without missing that stuff.

    • sarah l

      2 things I did that really helped me stay present:
      1. wait to start drinking until later – I had a glass of champagne for toasts but otherwise didn’t really start drinking until the after party
      2. appoint someone else in charge of decisions (wedding planner, aggressive friend, aunt…) and hand the reins over day of. I left my cell phone at the hotel – everyone in the world I wanted to talk to was with me, my transportation was prearranged, and someone else was managing the timeline. It was amazing to not have anything in my pocket to check on.

      also, welcome to the fuck the details stage! it’s the best!

    • emilyg25

      I don’t know, it was unavoidable for me. I was just totally consumed by emotions the day before, day of, and several days after. I think one thing that helped was that I planned to not plan. I drew up detailed instructions and spreadsheets and handed everything off to our very capable families the day before the wedding. Because I knew I had been as specific as I possibly could be, and because I trusted them to handle it, I was able to let go.

      There were a few moments where I was like, “Omigod, the tablecloths aren’t ironed! I told you to iron the tablecloths!!” But then I took myself aside and said, “CHILL THE FUCK OUT. IT DOES NOT MATTER.” And sure enough, matter it did not.

      • ART

        haha, our tablecloths also weren’t ironed…it did give me a few pangs of disappointment but you’re right, DID NOT MATTER!

      • Natalie Wright

        We’re supposed to get the tablecloths ironed before we put them on the tables and our relatives spill enchilada sauce and red wine all over them???!! It makes sense, but it seriously never crossed my mind before reading your post. And I’m pretty sure it’s not on any of the APW “How-to” table settings/decorations/etc. posts.

        Crap. One more thing I need to put on the never-ending wedding to-do list.

        Or maybe…. I’ll just have a glass of wine and not iron the tablecloths. Please don’t tell my mother.

        • Em(ily)

          My DOC told me that fold-marks are fine, and any wrinkles can be taken care of with the dryer! No ironing!

          • Natalie Wright

            When you rent them from event rental places, do they often come wrinkled? Shouldn’t that be something the event rental company takes care of?

            Also, I read your post and thought, “phew! I don’t have an iron, so that’s good…. wait, I don’t have a dryer, either. crap.”

          • Em(ily)

            I don’t know about rental places, we bought ours. I imagine the rental tablecloths would have fold lines too though.Ours are quite creased right out of the package but we’re not going to stress over it. It will be fine.

          • Natalie Wright

            Ok. Yeah, they must all have fold lines.

            The weirdest thing to me about wedding planning is worrying about things that I hadn’t ever thought of (or cared about) before. Like ironing (or not) tablecloths.

            And yes, my style is “Lazy Bride,” thank you for asking.

          • Lawyerette510

            If you’re buying them online they might come wrinkled, but you could either not worry about it (this would be me, because wrinkles are just not something I’ve ever cared about), steam them out (this was my bestie in November, she bought some really cheap but right size and color ones on amazon, they came super wrinkled, so we (her, I and her Aunts) steamed 20 table clothes in the days leading up to her wedding, then folded them nicely and took them to the reception site. Another option if she would’ve planned for it time and budget wise was to take them to be pressed at a cleaners.

            But if you don’t care about the wrinkles, then don’t worry about it!

          • emmers

            When you rent them from event rental places, typically they’re folded and kind of saran wrapped. They shouldn’t be wrinkled. That’s one of the pluses of renting– you don’t have to worry about ironing!

        • emilyg25

          Have your wine and skip it. :)

        • Kayjayoh

          We also had fold line even after washing and drying, and we knew there would be new lines even though I was having them carefully stacked in groups of three and rolled up, and I purposely did not care. We were not going to have time during our fast turnover set up to iron or steam anything. Instead, I got sheets of kraft paper to go on top of the tables and left it at that. I highly doubt anyone at the reception noticed or cared about the wrinkles.

    • Meg Keene

      Have a wedding stage manager. The day before you have to peace out and just get married.

      • Lawyerette510

        This x100! One of my close friends did this for us. We sat down before hand and walked through a detailed timeline where we talked both logistics and my fear/excitement/anxiety related to each piece, as well as who else was involved (including showing pictures as necessary). Then at the rehearsal she went up to everyone she didn’t know who she needed to touch base with for the following day, and she took it from there. It was great to have someone to worry about the details because it allowed me to be more present.

    • Ann

      I’m late to the party, but in addition to the have a stage manager advice, I want to add in one bit:

      Plan in at least some short stretches of quiet time into the day. Right before and right after our ceremony, my husband and I had 10ish minutes just to ourselves (and before there were some passers-by. It’s what happens if you get married in a public park). For me, that was really, really helpful.

      Also, sleep the night before the wedding! And resist the temptation to drink with in town friends the night before the wedding (two nights before is probably fine… the night before… not so much). It’s really hard to be present if your head is hurting.

  • Sara

    I LOVE Amy and Tina. Everything I read about their friendship is magic to me. I’m having some serious girl friend drama right now and I love reading about friends that met through places other than school or childhood. Though I guess improv class is technically school, but I digress.

    I am a huge offender of the ‘call yourself your pet’s parents’. I know it squicks people out, its super weird, and I understand that view, but its how we look at it in my family. I ask my parents’ dogs ‘where’s mama’ and they find my mother. I find it adorable.
    But this line: “Still I know that the biggest difference between a baby and a dog is that, one day, the baby will talk back.” reminds me of Scrubs:
    “Dr. Cox said [having a baby is] like having a dog that slowly learns how to talk”
    “Awesome”
    “I know right?”

    • River

      I love Amy and Tina too. I just posted that link to my bestie’s facebook b/c the way they met is eerily similar to how we met (I’m the Amy, she’s the Tina).

  • notquitecece

    Okay, question: We got an engagement ring custom-made and LOVED it…until, a month later, I lost it. I’m super mad at myself, our renter’s insurance won’t cover loss, and I hate talking about it because it makes me feel like a terrible person/fiance.

    It would be expensive to replace — but we could do it. FH has been great about it. But a part of me thinks I just don’t deserve it. I can live with not having a ring; it doesn’t constantly torture me or anything. Should I just go bare-fingered until it’s wedding-ring time, or suck it up, email the artist, and get a new one?

    • emilyg25

      You loved it, you’re sad you lost it, and you can afford to replace it. Stop beating yourself up and get a new one!

      • Emmers

        Agree! Replace it. You may feel sheepish for a bit, but then you’ll have your ring again! Shit happens, and it sucks that you lost something so special, but you are human and it happens!

        And maybe then look into a jewelry rider for your renter’s insurance.

      • Lawyerette510

        Double-agree, replace it, and get insurance on it that will cover loss.

    • Caitlin

      Life is short and sometimes we need beautiful things that make us happy and can be reminders of all the joy and luckiness in our lives. I vote for suck it up and get a new one. Not because it’s necessary but because it sounds like it matters to you, and sometimes that is reason enough.

    • JDrives

      You are human, and part of being human is that we lose stuff. It was obviously precious to you, and you are feeling sad and guilty and missing it – but let not your jerkbrain convince you that you are in some way a bad person, and don’t deserve to have another ring you treasure! If you can make it work financially, this internet stranger fully supports you getting a new one.

      • notquitecece

        thank you, internet stranger! these little pep talks are exactly what I needed. I had someone give me a hard time about not having it for the first time yesterday (even though it wasn’t a person whose opinion should matter), and it bugged me out a little.

        • JDrives

          Those sorts of people can just take a hike. It’s hard enough feeling sad about losing something you love! Why do peeps gotta make you more miserable?! You say your FH has been awesome – lean into that. And forget the haters.

    • Erin

      Ohh- don’t torture yourself, things get lost. It does not make you a terrible person/fiance, it merely makes you human. If it means something to you and the means exist to replace what was lost, don’t waste another moment being sad, but get a new one. Don’t put yourself in the category of “undeserving,” it’s token with as much meaning as you instill upon it. Be kind, be forgiving, and do what you need to do to move on (wouldn’t you do the same for your partner?).

    • KC

      Deserve is a really strange word and probably not one that’s going to be helpful here. Do you want the ring more than you want the money [or, perhaps more concretely, than other things that money could buy]? And does it seem likely that you’ll enjoy the new one (or will it be a physical reminder of you feeling stupid)?

      (for me, this “how much do I want it” would also include the “am I likely to enjoy this ring a lot *after* the wedding as well as until the wedding” esp. if time-until-wedding is not long, but other computation methods are also valid! The “guilt” factor for me [and hence whether I’d kick myself every time I saw the replacement ring] would depend on *how* I’d lost the ring, since some accidents are “wow, that was really stupid of me” and others are “wow, that was a freak accident that I couldn’t have foreseen”. The latter, obviously, one shouldn’t feel guilt over, but might anyway.)

      • notquitecece

        Agreed; I know deserve is a terrible word, but it doesn’t keep it from popping up. The ring was really important to me early on, and we went through a valuable process to make it, so the things it stood for were worth a lot. Plus, we haven’t even set a date yet but it’s likely to be 6-8 months away — and I’d planned on wearing it some post-wedding.

        • KC

          In that case, I vote that if you can afford it and if the things it stands for are important and are still important, then make it exist again!

          (but if it would just be a physical “I Looooooost the ‘reaaaal’ rinnnnng and-I’m-a-horrible-person” irrational kick to the gut every day, then no. That would not be a healthy way to think about losing the ring At All [because even if you lost it by the stupidest or most careless of all possible methods of losing a ring, it still doesn’t mean anything about your relationship, unless you, like, deliberately flung it in the ocean after a long night’s thought or something, which probably wouldn’t count as “lost”?]; but I could understand some people being stuck in the land of reminder-misery, and in that case, the physical object would not be gaining them anything)

          So, um, get the ring, quit beating yourself up (to the degree that it’s possible, and don’t beat yourself up for whatever you can’t stop), and move right along. :-)

    • Mezza

      From the other side of the situation – my wife lost her custom wedding ring about two months after we got married. She reacted similarly to you, not wanting to talk about it, avoiding dealing with it, etc. But that actually made it worse for me, because I just wanted her to have that ring. Even if it meant paying for a replacement and finding a way to even get the replacement (very complicated), I just wanted to do it already. Maybe your fiance doesn’t feel this way, but I would still vote for replacing it. Mistakes happen, but dwelling on them doesn’t make it easier.

      • notquitecece

        that’s actually really helpful — thank you. I started the ball rolling, and we’ll see what the artist says!

        • Lindsey d.

          And once you have it, get a rider attached to your renter’s insurance just for the ring… That reminds me, I need to see if my husband sent in the paperwork on mine.

          • notquitecece

            OMG believe me WE WILL.

      • leafygreen

        Oh gosh, I am feeling the same way about picking the wrong size for my beautiful custom-made engagement ring. I went to a jeweler to figure out the size ahead of time but still got it horribly wrong, somehow.

        It didn’t click that I’m behaving the same way about it until you said that, so thank you…I really just need to figure out my actual size so we can get it fixed.

    • leafygreen

      That you are thinking seriously about it and upset over losing it means you do “deserve” a new one, if you’re going to apply that word here at all, I think. It’s not as though you intentionally lost it. It happens.

      And like others said, dwelling on the guilt isn’t going to help anything. Definitely replace it.

    • Jess

      I get the guilty “I don’t deserve to replace this” thing whenever I lose anything. I don’t have a solution… just wanted to let you know that I feel the same.

    • notquitecece

      You guys are the best; this was all exactly what I needed to hear. I finally bit the bullet and emailed the artist, and she was super great about it. Ring take 2, here we come…

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

      get a new one. now. :) my brand new spouse (married a month) lost her gorgeous custom wedding band yesterday at the beach. it fucking sucks….so you get a new one.

      • notquitecece

        ugh that SUCKS I’m so sorry to hear that. And yes, that’s the right mantra for this kind of thing: it fucking sucks…so you move on.

  • River

    First off, today is SIX MONTHS EXACTLY until I wed the love of my life. :-D and today we’re going up to Boston to stay with my best friend and her new husband so I can finish my part of a webseries that’s coming out in September! Hooray!!

    Now for the bad news: You guys, we got the (unedited) pictures back from our engagement session and all of the indoor ones are AWFUL. A lot of the outdoor ones make my slightly too short dress seem pornographic (!!) but at least composition and color are okay – our photog said something weird about preferring natural light when we left our indoor location (Natural History Museum, awesome!) for our outdoor location (Central Park, lovelybutboring). Thankfully there are like 6 that usable for S.T.D.s but…they are all from outside in the natural light.

    A few qs: Our wedding is in January! Pretty much entirely indoors! Are our wedding photos going to be this awful???
    Even if the editors make the photos look okay, this is a BAD SIGN right? Should we ask the company to assign us another photographer?
    Or, should we try to talk to our photographer directly about our concerns?

    • Sara

      I would ask for another photographer if you’re that unhappy. My friends did this with their company, and got much much better engagement photos out of it that made them excited again.

      • River

        Wow, super relieved to hear that someone else has been through this with a happy ending!! Thanks, Sara!

    • Natalie Wright

      If you don’t like any of your indoor photographs, you should request a different photographer. A good photographer should NOT have trouble taking decent photos indoors. She should know what kinds of supplemental lighting she’ll need for good indoor shots, and be prepared. Also, your photographer should take photos that don’t make you look pornographic (unless that’s what you told her you want, in which case, great!). I would insist on a different photographer for the wedding, and a test run with this new photographer (e.g., another short engagement photos session) to be sure you like her work.

      • River

        HAH definitely NOT what I told her.

        This is a good idea, I think it is what I am leaning towards doing. It just makes me feel bad as an artist (actress) to judge and summarily dismiss another artist’s working after hiring them. But also, this is the most I’ve ever spent on art, and also, it’s our wedding. I want the art that comes from it to be beautiful.

        • ART

          It’s art OF YOU, commissioned by you – I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to have strong feelings about how it portrays you (clothes, light, etc).

        • Natalie Wright

          She is an artist, and I generally agree with you about criticizing artists’ work. However, you hired her to make the kind of art that you want from your wedding day. You’re not being unreasonable to expect certain types of photographs from your wedding photographer (read: in focus, don’t make you look jaundiced).

        • emilyg25

          Except that the ability to take a photo indoors is a basic photography skill. It’s not a matter of her style differing or artistic license or something. Definitely get a different photographer.

        • KC

          The thing about art is that not everything is everyone’s style, and some people are legit better at certain things than others – if you wanted an oil painting for your living room and someone said “I can do that! Here’s a trial piece!” and it was a watercolor sketch, then… you wouldn’t hire them for the oil painting (although you might recommend them to a friend who wanted watercolors done for invitations, maybe, or something?). So, yes, one wants to encourage all artists and such, but keep reality in the mix, too. :-)

          • River

            The worst thing is we both LOVED her portfolio, which included great indoor shots. So we are…confused, to say the least.

          • Ellen

            Given this, maybe have a conversation with her about it. It’s possible that there’s no explanation she can provide that will make you feel good about keeping her on, but you may also feel more comfortable about a request for someone else if she doesn’t explain well. I think I might.

            Also, in the event there was a mis-communication or something (it sounds like you may have hired via an agency or group?), even if you elect to go with someone else, you’ll know what kinds of things to be aware of with the new person and may be able to head problems off before they occur (arrange an advance walkthrough of a venue, for example).

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

            That’s weird that her portfolio had great indoor shots. Were those shots all from the same shoot or from different shoots in different locations? Perhaps there
            was natural light indoors (windows, skylights, etc.) in those shots, and
            more like fluorescent lights at the museum? Do you know what
            type/quality of light you have at your venue? That could be helpful in the decision making. But, I would just try to get a photographer who is skilled at dealing with difficult indoor lighting. Shooting dark receptions (and even low-light ceremonies) is not easy… And part of it might be equipment…maybe in one situation she had a fast, high-quality lens and maybe she did not have that lens for your shoot? Good luck with that conversation and your decision!

        • Granola

          Just going to “fourth” or whatever number we’re on: Get a different photographer. All of the indoor shots from our wedding are disappointing/a bit terrible, and they’re the only family shots I have. We didn’t do engagements, and I kick myself in case that would have brought it to light (ha!) earlier. To paraphrase Maddie, now when I see that someone is a “natural light photographer,” I think it just means that they don’t know how to properly use a flash. It’s a kind of lucky blessing to have found out about this now before it’s the actual day. I totally understand your desire to be fair and artistically courteous to this person, HOWEVER, you have been — by giving him/her the “audition” of the engagement photos, which they failed. That’s on them, not on you. Good luck!!!

    • Natalie Wright

      Also, engagement photos at the Natural History Museum???!!! So cool!

      • River

        Thanks!! Right? They totally should have been cool :-/

    • YetAnotherMegan

      I vote new photographer. I got guilt-tripped into having one I wasn’t fully sure about and got rather crappy pictures. Her edits were so bad on the preview images that we ended up getting the raw files and I’ll be editing them myself. It’s not like there are hundreds upon hundreds since she left an hour into our reception (?!?!?!), but it’s more work than we were planning on and well we (ok my parents) PAID HER TO DO IT.

      So yes, if you’re not convinced, check out other options.

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

      Have fun with the webseries filming!

  • lady brett

    have y’all seen the batgirl redesign? it looks pretty badass (by which i mostly mean no boob-spandex, but the docs and thigh holster help, too).

    • Lauren from NH

      Ooo nice! Huge improvement. I would want to be friends with her!

    • emilyg25

      I legitimately want that motorcycle jacket. Hawt. (But not in a gross way.)

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

        I saw the jacket and there are some details that remind me of my leather jacket (the cut, the neck collar and closure specifically, though mine has a diagonal zipper…and no bat motif) but it made me happy! I am always game for adding a little more super hero in my life. Some days just need a little extra oomp to make it through…

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

      YES YES YES YES YESSSSSS!

    • Fiona

      THE BOOTS!

    • Sarah McClelland

      What a confidence boost for women of all ages… But especially for young girls who read comic books.

  • Lisa

    This weekend my fiancé and I have lots going on. Tomorrow is our PreCana in the city, and then we’re immediately driving to Badtown afterwards to look for houses/apartments on Sunday and Monday!

    I also spent some time googling non-profits in which I have some interest in the Badtown area this week and found an open position for an organization about which I’m pretty passionate. I called them up and scheduled a “meet and greet”/interview (maybe?) thing for Monday morning so I could use all of the prayers/thoughts people would like to throw my way!

    • emilyg25

      Good luck!!

    • KC

      Hooray for open position and informational interview! Hope the housing hunt and PreCana go well, too! (really, wow, that’s quite a weekend altogether.)

    • jashshea

      So excited you still call it Badtown!

      Good luck! Knock their socks off!

  • E

    Feeling guilty about changing my name – I know it’s not really a feminist choice, but I just can’t make myself care and then I feel guilty about not caring. Blerg.

    • notquitecece

      I mean, most people got their last names from their dads, right — so that name is also theoretically bestowed by a patriarchal system? …I think it’s possible to overthink this one; choosing the name you want that will work for your baby-family and your life is fine. You do you.

    • ART

      I feel slightly guilty for taking my husband’s last name even though I’ve been thinking of ditching my dad’s last name for about 10 years anyway (and I don’t want to go around explaining that to the world). But in the end it’s the right thing for me. I’ve made a commitment to talk about it as openly as I can with people and never assume anyone else will do the same, slash support other women’s decisions to keep theirs or hyphenate or whatever, since I know it was a tough choice to have to make.

    • Erin

      I don’t see why that’s not ok. I don’t feel guilty about changing either, I’m actually looking forward to it. But I do want to keep all my names for some reason. Like a name hoarder. I don’t know what that says about me.

    • E

      Thank you all! I feel better already. I’m also a name hoarder and am thinking about adding my maiden name as a middle name…. lots to think about.

      • KayBee

        I am super late for Happy Hour but I feel compelled to respond anyway because I feel 100% in the same boat as you. I am going to take my fiance’s last name, which was decided early on because for some reason I just didn’t really care what name I had, but it’s something he felt strongly about. But now I keep having all this guilt about not being feminist or rebellious enough…which is silly because taking his name in our case is just the more logical choice. I want us (and potential future kids) to all have the same last name, hyphenating is too cumbersome for my preferences, I am not super attached to my name (very common last name) and his is very unique with only a handful of people in the world sharing it. Boom, easy decision. But I hate the thought of people assuming that I am changing mine just because that’s what is expected. I’m also a name hoarder and considering keeping mine as a middle name. Give me all the names!

      • Kelly

        My maiden name will always be mine, as will my husband’s name. I ended up dropping my maiden name legally, which I probably wouldn’t have done in hindsight, but it is still mine. It felt like adding extra pages to a journal, not ripping out all of the beginning pages.

        Considering getting a small tattoo of my maiden name. Has anyone done that?

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

      I didn’t feel guilty about it. But I didn’t lose anything either. I now have two middle names which has only been confusing when people see all four of my names and assume I have two last names.

    • Erin

      Right there with you. I love the name I was given and hate that I am expected to give it up. I also hate hyphens, and confusion at the bank/post office/DMV. But I still think I hate the idea of one day sending out a family Christmas card where my name is different than my husband and children’s. I’m going to add my maiden name as a second middle name. I like the initials EJNP. I like how happy it makes my FH to see Mr. and Mrs. LastName written down. And, on a completely silly level, I like that I will have the same last name as one of the lead actors in Newsies.

    • Pileofstix

      The feminist choice is the choice you make for yourself that will make you happy. If changing your name will, ultimately, make YOU happy, then you are absolutely making a feminist choice. :-)

    • YetAnotherMegan

      I’m halfway through changing my name and it still feels weird. I decided long ago that I was changing it because I’d like one less tie to my father thankyouverymuch, but at the same time, it felt like people were assuming I’d change it, which isn’t fair to people who don’t, and well, I’ve had my old name for all of my life besides the past month.

  • Meg

    There are so many places in our “online presence” where you need to have a photo. Good for you and the women in the article for putting a few bucks in the pocket of a hard working photographer! WE ARE WORTH IT.

  • Ellen

    You guys, we got married on Saturday! It was glorious and everything I had hoped for and more. Wedding zen the whole time- I realized that wedding zen comes from the love that people show when things might not go 100% according to plan (see: parents of a bridesmaid who drove 600 miles on their 4th of July to deliver her bridesmaid dress that she forgot).

    So much love. So much awesome. Thank you all for keeping my sanity through this!

    Now back to my hubby!!

    • ART

      Yay! (and 600 miles, that’s DEDICATION! holy crap!)

    • emilyg25

      “wedding zen comes from the love that people show when things might not go 100% according to plan”

      That’s an excellent description!

    • Ariel

      Woo! Congratulations!!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      YEAH! CONGRATS, LADY!

      (Forgotten bridesmaid dress?! Ha! Glad that one worked out!)

  • Mary

    My husband and I had a very fast engagement and skipped over any sort of premarital counseling. We have been married for a few months now, and everything is great, but I would love to meet with someone so that 1) we have the experience of going together to counseling in case we ever need it and 2) there are a few communication differences we have that I think could be improved upon. However, I am at a complete loss as to how to sign up for couples counseling, or where to even look to find what I need. If anyone has any suggestions on how to get started, or even better someone they could recommend in the DC area, I would be super grateful!

    • Lauren from NH

      I would also be interested. I have done some Googling and found one that looked good, but was 2 or 3x what I heard is reasonable. Peeked at a couple others but their sites were rather impersonal and gave no hint as to cost.

    • anonpsu

      Are you religious at all? (or loosely affiliated with any religion). We’re doing our counseling through our church and it’s awesome. Some of it is faith-based, but a lot of it is diving deep int our relationship. We’ve been together 5 years and we’re still discovering a lot of new things throughout the process. We don’t have any “issues” to work on right now, but it’s really interesting and helpful. Otherwise, you could probably look up couples counselors and call the therapist to explain what you are interested in.

    • Emily

      When we decided to get engaged we both spoke with our regular physicians for a therapist/social worker/counselor referral because we both have some baggage coming into this commitment and wanted to face it head on. The lady my doc gave us was….not for us, but Joe’s doc referred us to a WONDERFUL counselor who has helped a ton on all fronts.

    • Ellen

      Is either of you Catholic? If so, my fiance and I did Engaged Encounter outside of DC as our premarital counseling and were very pleased. The same entity has a program called Married Encounter (we actually picked Engaged Encounter because of positive things we’d heard about Married Encounter) that would be the first place I’d look if I wanted to do a counseling-esque thing.

      That said, it’s more of a one-shot, weekend-long retreat than ongoing counseling (though in Engaged Encounter, we covered essentially the same topics you’d cover in counseling), which may not be what you want. I’ll also say that while I’m not religious and found it to be a valuable program, it certainly comes from a Catholic point of view and I might have been less comfortable about that if neither my fiance nor I was Catholic (he is, faith is important to him, and we actively work on its place in our relationship).

    • macrain

      I think churches do this stuff really well, but if you are not religious (we are not), any couples therapist will do as long as you like them and they are willing to be flexible. We took a few times to find the right fit, and since things are generally good with us, we’ve had to guide the sessions a bit (we are using the “Things to talk about before getting married” list in the APW book.)
      The first therapist we went to made us feel like we didn’t belong in couples counseling because we didn’t have big issues to work out- don’t let anyone make you feel like that, that is bs. Any work you do now will only serve to strengthen your bond. Good luck!

  • Bsquillo

    Ever feel like ALL THE THINGS happen at once? After only being in my new job for a month (an arts admin gig), I got asked to interview for an adjunct teaching position at a local university this week. The SAME DAY as that interview, I got asked to teach adjunct at a DIFFERENT university. What?!

    I am super grateful for all the opportunities, especially considering that 6 months ago I had no idea what I would be doing when I finished my master’s degree in May. But I’m still suffering a severe case of impostor syndrome, thinking, “Wait, are they sure they want me?”

    • JSwen

      Own it like a boss.

      Then, evaluate your current and future career goals and move on if that is the best option. Stay if you’re already in the best option. No wrong answer. Just don’t tell your current job anything until a deal is sealed.

      • Bsquillo

        Fortunately I can do one of the adjunct gigs while still working my current job (yay job flexibility in the arts!), so that’s awesome. And I found out I didn’t get chosen for the one I interviewed for, but I was a close finalist. Which is really just fine because it was a very positive experience, especially considering it was my first time interviewing for a college teaching position.

        Throughout all these things, I have to keep reminding myself that this is what I TRAINED to do and I AM qualified. It’s just surreal jumping from being a graduate student one month, and then someone who’s interviewing to teach college students the next. (Even though I taught college students as part of my TA, but somehow a faculty job feels…different.)

  • AnonForThis

    WARNING: EXTREME SERIOUSNESS and NAVEL GAZING WITHIN.

    My husband and I got married on May 3, and exactly a month later I buried my father. I had gone to be by his bedside five days after returning from the honeymoon, and was with him until the end.

    Approximately a month after that (which would bring us to this week), I discovered that my father was cheating on my stepmother for practically their entire marriage (11 years). Now, he had cheated on wives (5 of them) before. But I believed, as did everyone else, that this relationship was it for him. And now to learn that he snowed us all… I’m still mourning him, but add intense anger, confusion and hurt to the mix, and you’ll have a small idea how I feel. There has been a lot of yelling at the sky, and many glasses of vodka involved.

    The biggest thing I’m feeling now: their relationship was the only one I’d ever seen that “worked”. Until I saw how my dad thrived within this relationship, I had absolutely no wish to ever get married myself. When I saw that even HE could find a place for himself, I figured I had nothing to worry about– and I feel betrayed that this wasn’t the case (To be clear- I know my sense of betrayal is NOTHING to my stepmother’s. But I still feel it.) Of course, I also had never fallen in love with anyone until I met my husband, but now I don’t know how to trust this institution that I am now legally in, or trust myself that I haven’t inherited… something from my dad. I love my husband, and want to be with him. I guess I’m just getting the jitters a little late. WTF.

    • Em(ily)

      Wow! Your feelings are valid, of course, learning about being deceived is hurtful no matter who’s been doing it. Trust yourself and your love for your husband. The story that you can find a place for yourself is still true. There you are, after all.

    • anon today

      I’m so sorry. Having been through some pretty intense infidelity stuff myself, I can relate to the feeling of betrayal. Don’t discount your feelings as his daughter (vs. his wife) – they are just as valid, though obviously of a different nature.

      Have you spoken to a counselor? I found that really, really helpful to work through my WTF!?!?! feelings.

    • KC

      That sucks amazingly.

      That said, cheating is a choice (or a series of choices) you *don’t have to make*. That baggage was your father’s, not yours. Infidelity is not like breast cancer or male pattern baldness, where it’s just, yep, might happen, might not, out of your control, partly genetic. And there are tons of happy, long-term monogamous relationships out there that are not hiding something like this under the covers. It can work. (also: if you can afford it, counseling or couples’ counseling to help get some of the screeching lies out of your head might be worth it. But you love your husband, and want to be with him, and that’s what’s going on in *your* relatinonship, not that other external story that happened to someone else, even though you’re related to him.)

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

        So right about it being a choice. I think this kind of thing comes from a sense of entitlement, and certain people tend to pursue their own happiness at all costs. This is not something that is inevitable.

        And the pain left in the wake of learning about this kind of betrayal is traumatic. Please take good care of yourself in whatever ways are best for you (relying on partner/friends/family, individual and/or couples therapy, long walks, massages, etc…).

    • jashshea

      OMDG. WTF indeed.

      Take it slow. You’re allowed to be in mourning over the loss of someone and be utterly pissed at them at the same time. Vodka is good, counseling is better.

      You found a place for yourself in your life w/your husband in spite of your dad having several bad marriages. You aren’t the broken one. Trust yourself and your husband to figure out the next steps. I’m so very sorry for your loss and the betrayal.

  • Em(ily)

    This week, we dipped under the 1-month-out mark. I am so anxious. I am so SCARED!
    Scared my dress won’t look good: I tried on my dress, and it’s tight. Ugh. I’m a stress-binger I guess, does not bode well for being able to get any weight off in the next few weeks. I’m definitely working on it though, and will maybe shop for some shapewear.
    Scared this guy won’t come through: I emailed my acquaintance who has agreed to rent his audio equipment to us for the wedding to confirm our plans. He had a calendar hiccup after switching phones and accidentally double-booked on our wedding day. He says the times don’t conflict and he can pick up his gear and have time to get to his other gig though. This guy is generally not on time, and somewhat flaky also. I’m suddenly kicking myself for thinking working with him was a good idea. Do we hope for the best and stick with him, or cut him loose and figure out something else? His rental price is half the price of the big box rental outlet around here. Nooot too sure the uncertainty may be worth the savings.

    Also, I’m just generally anxious that we’re actually going to pull this off and people will enjoy themselves!

    • ART

      I might look for another option. Depending on the complexity of the gear he’s planning to bring, it can require some not insignificant set-up and tear down time. Is it a morning wedding? Where are you located? (my husband is a sound guy…)

      • Em(ily)

        Ceremony starts at noon, we’re planning on moving the audio setup to the reception spot ( at the same venue) afterwards. He told me it is a fairly simple system and that would be feasible to do. We are in central NH, having a garden wedding. :) I really want to trust him, just not so sure I do!

        • ART

          Ah, well not in our neck of the woods, bummer :) Are you going to be mic’ed for the ceremony (or is anyone?) For us, using wireless mics, that took some last-minute shimmying and clipping that we sort of forgot about. But if you’re just using it for music or something, then that won’t be an issue. I might give the guy a generous amount of set-up time if he tends to be late. But hopefully he is bringing a really portable setup with minimal cabling and stuff – does he have info about how far away each site is from a power hookup? I’ve seen one garden setup that worked fine but they had juuuuust enough cable to get where we needed because the power was tucked away in a corner (and thought they were bringing way more than enough)!

          • ART

            Just re-read that, I am NOT trying to stress you out…just trying to think up what could go wrong (other than him just flaking) so you can hopefully get it ironed out when he emails you back! It will be fine :)

    • JSwen

      I was really worried about my dress as well. I vote for shapewear and supportive friends at the next fitting – they do wonders and I probably would have started crying over the length of my dress if my friends weren’t there to tell me it looked great.

    • macrain

      If it were me, I would absolutely throw money at the problem and pay extra for the rentals you know will actually be there on time. Even if the flakester doesn’t flake, you will be worried up until the last minute that he will, so you are essentially paying for sanity. Worth it.
      Also, try a bunch of shapewear- I had to try on lots before I found something that was breathable and comfortable. You don’t want to be suffocated by your spanx.

      Good luck, you can do it!

  • DM

    Hi all – I’m hosting my sister’s bridal shower on Sunday! That said, a lot has been going on (moving to a new house, a death in the family, planning my own wedding, and sheer exhaustion) – all I’ve got planned is eat & open gifts (I’ve rented out a restaurant, so this part should go smoothly). Is it fine if this is the full extent of the event? Should I try to add in a game? Ideas, suggestions, etc are helpful. This is the first shower I’ve hosted, and it’s been ages since I’ve been to a wedding shower. All I can really think of is the last baby shower I went to, which was pretty much eat & open gifts. Almost everyone will be 30+, the bride-to-be is 32.

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

      The only “game” that was played at my shower was guests trying to see how well they knew our relationship (the host had asked me and my husband questions previously). And we had a belly dance class. Otherwise it was munchies and open gifts. I requested no games because I have yet to see any that don’t annoy me. :) Eat and open gifts sounds like a great idea.

      • DM

        Thanks for the reassurance. Google gives me all the awful advice like having a framed pic of the couple with room for everyone to sign – got to say I’ve never seen anyone hang this in their house. I doubt anyone would ever look at a guestbook again, either. Feeling delinquent and lazy, but I’m thinking people will enjoy eating (I’ve gone a bit overboard here – 4 course Italian lunch) and catching up with friends & family.

        • Sarah McClelland

          Maybe a more practical guest book? Date night ideas or advice cards or recipes? Cards a d a box from Michaels or Target… Bam.

    • Erin

      Super easy game from the last shower I attended: Set a timer for a random amount of time. When the timer goes off, if the bride is opening your gift, you get a small prize (a nail polish, hand sanitizer, votive candle, etc.) Set timer again and repeat. It adds a layer of fun and suspense to the gift opening

      • DM

        oh – that is a good one, and works with the space! I may go with that!

    • Ariel

      I much prefer eat and open gifts over games!

    • Lindsey d.

      One I enjoyed at my shower was a trivia game about us. I ended up calling on people I knew would know certain answers (for instance, we met at a friend’s party, so I called on her to answer the “where we met” question.) Make sure to throw in a couple of groom specific questions if his mom/grandmother/cousins/whomever will be there.

    • Hannah B

      we had a fun and easy one where you give everyone one clothespin and every time anyone says the words “bride,” “wedding” or version of “marry” you get to take their clothespin. Most clothespins at the end of the day wins. it’s a nice ice breaker if there is mingling, though maybe it wouldn’t work as well all seated.

    • macrain

      At my bridal shower we played wedding trivia, with questions like, “Which designer most recently did a capsule collection at David’s Bridal?” And there were also questions about celebs and stuff, it was stupidly fun, and I didn’t think I necessarily wanted games!

    • Natalie Wright

      For my sister’s bridal shower, I had everyone bring their favorite recipe(s). I bought a nice recipe book to organize all the recipes into. It was fun, and a nice gift for the bride. We did play some games (suggested by my mother, as I had never been to a bridal shower before). They were cheesy and kinda fun, but I think the best part aside from the food was the recipe book.

  • moonlitfractal

    Moving into the third trimester and things are getting rough again. Just 14 more weeks. Survive it and we get XP.

    • Sparkles

      I am not looking forward to this! I’m 19 weeks and cruising along through the second. I was starting to feel a little off balance the other day and know that’s going for a flush once the belly gets even bigger.

      Good luck. Hang in there! Give yourself lots of love and take it easy if you can.

  • http://www.explorethiscity.com/ Maria

    Today I am happy because we just signed a new lease! We are moving for my job! We’re staying in the same city, but we rotated around it which cuts off my new commute by at least 30 minutes each way, which is awesome (makes it 45-50 min each way, much more doable than 1:15-1:30). So far we have only ever moved for my fiance’s jobs/school, so it has been so great to think about how we’re doing this for me (!).

    The new place seems awesome. (We don’t move in until late July.) We are getting almost 800 more sq ft and a million windows, and a second shower, which I really wanted the first time around since we have so, so many guests stay with us. The price is a lot higher (we’re essentially using my new salary to cover the difference) but I think it will be worth it. Now I just want to move in!

  • Grace from England

    Hey APW. Advice please?!! So things haven’t exactly gone to plan lately – I didn’t pass med school finals and won’t be a doctor until next year now. That in itself is crappy enough, but my graduation was supposed to signal the start of our plan – For health reasons (endometriosis), we need to start trying to get pregnant at the start of 2016 and so our plan was to get married next year. Money has been really tight during my degree and my parents have had to help a lot financially to keep me going.

    So my question is this. How do we go about getting engaged and planning a wedding while I am still so financially dependent on my parents? Despite my crappy med school situation, endo isn’t giving us any more time. I’m worried the wedding will feel like an unnecessary burden to my parents that they would have preferred to have more time to prepare for (after graduation!!). I know my wedding is not an imposition but right one, for money reasons, it feels like one.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      I think so much of this depends on what your wedding priorities are… If you want to get married now, and can’t afford to pay for it, why not get married in a park with your families watching and then go out for dinner together somewhere reasonable?

      If you feel like you want to have a more formal/large/expensive wedding than you can have it later.

    • Lawyerette510

      Just brainstorming here, but what about planning for the later part of 2015? You can start talking now about what your budget will be, setting your priorities, and estimating the guest list size. Then you can start getting a feel for what you can accomplish with the budget and estimated guest-list size.

      As for the budget, if your family (or your partner’s) are helping to pay for it, talk to them clearly and frankly not only about the total budget, but when money will be available. You’ll need money for a deposit on the venue earliest and if the catering is separate from the venue that as well, also if photography is important to you you’ll likely need a deposit for that as well, depending on what route you take for your dress that might come next.

      If you’re planning ahead of time well in advance, make sure that you get things in writing, work with well established and reputable vendors, and consider insurance incase one of the vendors closes down or takes off. Talk to whoever will be paying and find out when certain amounts of money are expected to be available and work backwards, also get an idea of how sure it is that those amounts will be available (there’s a big difference between the money being paid out in a structured deal with a well established entity that comes in once a year and the discretionary bonus that is usually received at work).

      That way you can thoughtfully start choosing venues and vendors late this year/ early 2015 and proceed with a plan that is based on a clear understanding of everyone involved about costs and when those costs will be owed.

      Good luck!

    • DM

      My general feeling is that if you start with the standardized wedding model (100+ guests in banquet hall or ballroom for dinner & dancing), you start with a pretty pricey party. My wedding will probably come in at 1/2 the cost of my sister’s since I started with figuring out what I really enjoyed (a small guest list – I’m not good in crowds) and great food (we went all out, renting out a really great Boston area restaurant for a night). We’re also saving money by booking a Sunday evening, but choosing a holiday weekend, so it wouldn’t run into the work tomorrow issues many dislike about Sunday weddings.

      • Grace from England

        Your wedding sounds perfect!

    • KitBee

      I’m so sorry you’re going through such rough stuff right now. :( I think, if you’re worried about your wedding’s potential burden on your parents, you should talk to them! It’s entirely possible that the burden is only in your head. But either way, at least you’ll have a clearer idea of what you can expect from them financially. And also talk to your fiance about what you both want. It sounds like being married next year is important to you — if so, do it! You could always do a tiny legal (and/or religious) ceremony on your original timetable, then have a big celebration later on.

    • Grace from England

      Thanks all replies so far, I know you’re right about a lot of things. We’re already thinking we want a very intimate day – around 30 of our closest family and friends at a registry office, then a nice dinner, maybe a few extras for drinks later on. I know we can make this happen for around £3000 ($5,000 ish), but we would definitely need some family help.

      I have tried to explain our situation with endometriosis but I know until we announce we’re getting married they won’t quite understand the urgency. I’ve been studying for 6 years and I know that has put a strain on them. None of my money is my money, so anything we could save would basically be their money. I just wondered if there was some magic way I could make this easier before all the cards are on the table but that’s probably asking to much!

      • DM

        The plans sound pretty reasonable to me, and if your parents are anything like mine, the idea of grandchildren sooner rather than later will excite them. I think all you can do is discuss these plans with your family (and your fiance’s – his family may surprise you). If nobody can help you out, then back to the drawing board for a more modest celebration, but I doubt anyone who cares about you would turn their noses up at afternoon cocktails and cake.

        • Grace from England

          I think you’re right. Thanks all! I clearly need some practical information so I just finally bit the bullet and bought Meg’s book from the apple store. Woop! It feels like a big step haha

      • Lawyerette510

        If you need to be engaged for your parents to talk about the reality, I get that, so get engaged. There is no statute of limitations on how long you can be engaged for, and if it will facilitate a meaningful discussion about the wedding, then you’re accomplishing the goal– to get married and start your family. I know despite my now husband and I having been together for 5+ years (and living together nearly the entire time) my mom was able to make a big shift in her relationship with him once we were engaged, that she just couldn’t/ wouldn’t allow herself to make before the engagement.

        Being engaged isn’t just planning the wedding, it can also be planning for marriage, and marriage is a community thing, so have a long engagement and use your engagement to facilitate the discussion with your parents about why time is of the essence and the wedding and the budget and all the rest.

        Also, it’s ok if the money you are saving is money they gave you. It will probably be meaningful to them that you were being so goal-oriented.

        • Grace from England

          Oh yeah, my parents are pretty traditional. They won’t discuss anything wedding related properly until we make a very official engagement announcement. It’s a little frustrating for us because we’ve ended up making engagement plans that are very traditional just to avoid family confusion.

      • Caroline

        I agree with other posters.
        If you need to be engaged to have a real discussion around it, and it also sounds like you want to be engaged now/soon anyways, then get engaged.
        It is not impossible to get married while still in school and still partially (or significantly) supported by parents for said education. I have one more year (fully supported by parents) and we’re getting married in a month. Neither the wedding nor my educational expenses are “my money”.

        You’ll have to plan a wedding on your parents’, partner’s and partner’s family’s budgets, but everyone planning a wedding has to do that.
        And like other posters said, if your parents want grandbabies, that gives them extra incentive to make it happen.

        • Grace from England

          This made me feel a lot better, thank you. I guess I’m still dealing with some guilt around how dependent on them I still am

  • Lis

    Professional photos are awesome. I had some taken 6 years ago for online dating, and since then I have also used them for all kinds of random “hey can we have a photo of you” things, where ordinarily I’d have had to sift through hundreds of poorly lit, “not quite right” snapshots to find something decent.
    My secret to not looking posed: take them outdoors in natural light and go easy on the bokeh. Nobody will guess it’s anything more than a really lucky snapshot.

  • Sarah

    I’ve made it to the other side! We had our wedding on the 4th of July. Everything went wrong including me getting red lipstick on my dress, everyone cutting into the wedding deserts before I even saw my cake, his sister inviting her friends as guests to our purposely tiny wedding (and they didn’t even bring a gift haha!) and my husband’s family being horribly rude to me all day but it’s over! We’re married and he’s great and it was SO PRETTY, so whatever. I’m going to try not to hold a grudge against his family for the rest of my life and just think about how stinkin cute my dog was walking me down the aisle amen.

    • Erin

      Big congratulations! I’ll never understand the rudeness that presents itself on wedding days. Wishing you peace in your marriage as you all move forward. :)

  • Erin

    I have an aunt who survived a brain aneurysm about 15 years ago, and over time her personality and sense of empathy has really deteriorated. Since her husband died and her son graduated college and moved hours away she’s lived alone (our family is scattered over the Northeast) in a semi-assisted living facility. She is alone a lot and spends too much time online sending endless emails to people. She also really knows how to hold a grudge and lashes out at people who don’t give her what she wants. Recently she’s become obsessed with my wedding and is harassing me, my father and my brother’s wife over email, demanding for copies of the guest list so she can ask people for rides (we have told her we will find a ride for her), and ordering me to ask her son to be a groomsman (we have told her that the bridal party has already been chosen and we plan to ask him to do a reading once we meet with the church to plan the ceremony in a few weeks). She says hurtful things to everyone, but we all feel ashamed of letting her anger get to us because we know this isn’t the person she used to be. It’s extremely sad and frustrating. Any advice on how to deal with this?

    • Moe

      “we all feel ashamed of letting her anger get to us because we know this isn’t the person she used to be.” This. I completely understand this shame and anger.
      I want to tell you to un-invite her, but I know that ‘s an easy out. Is there someone in your family who is experienced and tactful enough to have the job of ‘wrangling’ her? Some of her behavior reminds me a little of my mom who is also in assisted living and in early stages of dementia, but also has a very stubborn and controlling personailty. When she has a tantrum she goes to this other place and is nearly impossible to handle. I’m sorry, I know this is not easy. I just wanted to sympathize with you a little bit.

      • JSwen

        I’d add to be firm with her and realize that your family probably expects some level of absurd reactions from her at the wedding. Her behavior isn’t a reflection of you, though I’m sure it’s frustrating as hell.

        • Erin

          Thanks to you both! Uninviting her is on our list of ideas but we agree it’s the last resort. Except for her son, who would be offended, the rest of the family would be relieved not to have to deal with her and would enjoy the wedding more without her, but uninviting a close family member is such a big potential grudge creator. I think what might end up happening is she’ll get too frustrated with us for not giving her what she wants and decide not to come. That will be sad, but it will be her decision.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      At my support group for families dealing with mental illness, we often say “Remember that it’s the illness, not the loved one speaking.”

      I’d also recommend having a kind of team meeting (can be by e-mail) of the family to address how this behavior is affecting wedding planning. What information does she get? what should be kept private? Is she expressing anyone else’s actual hurt feelings, or are these her individual gripes? Can you forward emails to her son instead of dealing with everything yourselves?

      • Erin

        Asking her son to help out would unfortunately lead to a larger fight. My other aunts still treat him like a child (he’s 25) and get mad if anyone interferes with their sheltering of him. We’re involving her as little as possible and have repeatedly denied her demands for copies of the guest list, but we sent her a save the date so she knows the time and location of the wedding. She’s also taken it upon herself to extend invitations to distant relatives I’ve never met who she feels deserve to be invited. She will be seated with my parents and other aunts at the reception, so I worry they won’t have the best time during the meal, but I’m hoping after dinner they’ll get up and dance and be able to enjoy the rest of the night and we’ll have someone drive her back to the hotel (she is very particular about her sleep schedule).

    • jashshea

      Sympathy part: I have an uncle who has been managing MS for 25+ years. About 15 years ago the medication (or the stress, I’m not 100% sure) turned him from a fun-loving guy into an utter jerk. He’s a nightmare to be around and has mostly cut himself off from family functions. This was extremely hard on my grandparents during their final years, especially because his children cut off the remainder of the family as well.

      Advice part: Cut yourself some slack here! You’re allowed to feel hurt/resentful when someone close to you is being difficult. That said, she isn’t who she used to be & she’s probably struggling with that as well. Is there something you can do to avoid the communications? I’ve read other places where people tell Difficult Relative With Opposing Political Views that they will not respond to any emails that contain incendiary speech. Maybe you could filter emails from her containing the word wedding or out of your inbox as well.

      For the wedding day, are you able to assign another relative as Aunt-patrol? Good luck!

      • Erin

        Filtering the emails is a good idea. I have answered all the questions I need to about her son’s role in the ceremony, and the next time she writes, I will remind her of this and say I will not answer any more emails on that subject. I already advised my dad to have her messages sent to spam. He has the hardest time with taking it personally and engaging with her too much.

    • http://mnnjcooks.blogspot.com/ Jessica Nelson

      Late response, but I’m hoping you’re following this thread via e-mail! :)
      You said she lives in a semi-assisted living facility. Is there anyone you could speak with there who could offer you advice on how to deal with her (or with elderly/difficult patients in general)? Maybe they have some strategies for how to redirect her when she gets on one of these negative trains of thought? For example, I’m sure finding a ride for her is way down your priority list/time schedule (as in, it’s not something you really have to figure out until a week or two before the wedding). But is that something worth doing right now? Maybe it would be really reassuring to her to get a phone call from someone she knows being like, “Erin and her family have spoken to me, and I’d be happy to offer you a ride to the wedding! What time would you like to leave?” Same thing with her son — I know you said he’s not the most mature person to get involved, but I think when you ask him to do the reading, you can also say, “Your mom has been asking us what your role in the wedding is going to be. Could you please call her and tell her that you’re going to be a reader, and also that you’re very happy/honored to have this role? It seems like it’s important for her to know that you feel included in the wedding.”
      Now, maybe she’ll just find a baziillon other things to worry about, and she’ll keep up the e-mailing storm and you’ll have to start blocking her, etc. But I think that if these questions are coming from an underlying anxiety — that she won’t be able to find a ride to the wedding, and that her son will be excluded — it’d be worth settling those anxieties as quickly as possible, and in a way that sort of nips them in the bud.

  • Molly P. Kopuru

    Job starts Monday! Happy thoughts/good vibes/prayers appreciated. I am excited but pretty nervous, too! Never heard back from the other interview, but oh well. My husband is going out of town for a week-long conference on Sunday night, which is a bit scary. I am sure it will be fine though, and it might be good for me to do this “on my own,” in a sense.

    In other news, I’ve spent my last day of unemployment reading, and it doesn’t get much better than that. Kind of missing my family, though. I didn’t miss them near as much when I still lived in Alabama, because at least I guess I figured I was only a few hours’ drive away, but now they’re all getting together in my hometown to boil shrimp and I won’t be there. It’s a bit sad. Looks like I’ll be cuddling with my husband and puppies tonight and counting my blessings. :) I’ll see them soon enough.

    • Bsquillo

      You’re in Denver, right? (Sorry, comment stalker…). Fist bumps to you from another Coloradan who’s a transplant from Alabama! (I’ve been here 2 years now.) Small world.

      • Molly P. Kopuru

        *fist bump* m/ Yep, Denver area. Small world indeed!

    • Jenni

      Me too, new job on Monday as well! Sorry your husband won’t be there. :-( That’s no fun. I’m sure he’ll give you an extra big hug at the end of the week. Good luck on Monday!!! You’ll do great!!!

  • Moe

    It is of the utmost importance that I know where Maddie got that floral skirt. Actually, I think I like the top too. I need to know. Thanks. :)

    • Meg Keene

      I know the top is Target, and I think the skirt might be too.

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

        It is also of utmost importance that I know where Meg got her skirt. I’ve been drooling over it since I saw it on the Alt Summit IG a few weeks ago.
        My last name is Alt. Ha!

  • Sarah McClelland

    Woohoo Friday! Yaaaay happy hour, which falls on my birthday this week! FH is in town and after I shower we are going to a chill dinner to celebrate… And then we do some wedding stuff that really just needs to be done, like thank yous and maybe some menus/lists! I’m hoping that having some boxes Che ked will make me feel more like I deserve the chill time ahead… Heading to Florida to see my Godmother and hoping to get some work done on my wedding dress while I’m there.

    Invites are set to have proofs coming soon… Crossing fingers!

    • KC

      Happy birthday! And hooray for celebration and then some progress and then more celebration! :-)

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

      My birthday was yesterday (Fri) too! Happy birthday!

      • Sarah McClelland

        Haha if you’re getting married in November I’m gonna wonder if you’re me.

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

          Not even currently dating anyone… :) Good luck with the rest of your planning process!

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

    Well…my spouse lost her wedding band at the beach yesterday. :( We got married a month ago, and it took three tries with the jewelers to get her ring right…it was perfect and now its gone. She took it off to put sunscreen on and put it in the cup holder of the beach chair…and then forgot about it – closed up the chair when we left (dumping it into sand) and headed back to car. She is obviously so upset and so mad at herself because all of the above is so unlike her. AND she didn’t buy insurance for it. We’re so upset..and the added money-stress is not what we need right now. I mean, I’m just thankful we are both healthy and have each other -it could be worse, but it … SUCKS.

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

      I should also add that we hired a “ring finder” metal detector guy to search for the ring last night and early this morning. :(

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

        That stinks. :( I hope you find it…

    • JSwen

      Ooof. Sorry and thanks for the tale of warning. Contacting our home insurance to add the rings this afternoon…

  • Jenni

    I need some Happy Hour Help!

    On a day of boating, I didn’t fully cover myself in sunscreen, and this crescent around my armpits burned. Now it’s healed, but it’s significantly darker than the rest of my skin, and it looks HORRIBLE. Like pit stains ON MY SKIN. Wedding is in three months–should I wait and hope it fades faster? Try to lighten the skin …. somehow? Go out and get burned on the rest of my shoulders/chest to match?

    ;_;

    (In better news, I start my new job on Monday, and living together is AWESOME!)

    • ART

      Blerg. I totally got a stupid tan line yesterday so I feel you. I think you’re probably mostly kidding, but I would say no more burny for Jenni! But you can make sure to reapply sunscreen to that area in particular more frequently from now till the wedding so that you might even out a little more gradually and less skin-damagingly. You might also exfoliate that area well between now and the wedding (but again…don’t hurt yourself!) and see if that helps it fade a bit. One of my bridesmaids had an intense racerback tan line at my wedding, and another helped her cover it up with bronzer (powder…i bet there are creams though per Maddie’s post on Bri’s makeup trial) and that helped AMAZINGLY, like almost couldn’t notice it. I’m not sure if that’s something that might rub off on your clothing in a weird way, but something to check into?

    • JSwen

      Eh…. as a very fair skinned lady, I will say that moisturizer with some type of Vit E will help your skin recover and I’d limit sun. Good idea to put higher SPF on the *pit stains* than the rest of your body as well. Goodluck! Time is on your side.

    • Em(ily)

      3 months sounds like plenty of time for your skin tone to even out. When I have “farmer’s tan” lines on my arms I want to get rid of, I’ll apply sunblock to the already tanned, lower part of my arms so the upper part and shoulder can catch up, tan-wise.

    • notquitecece

      With three months, you have some time! I second (third?) the moisturize-n-exfoliate tip.

  • EF

    I bought a dress! Off ebay! For only $100!!! (the jcrew gracie, never worn but used obvs)

    BUT THEN THE SELLER SAID IT WAS STAINED. but she hadn’t noticed until she was going to back it, said ‘small stains on the back’. I have no idea what that means. I live in the UK and she’s in the USA, so it’s being shipped to my aunt in the USA. But get this! She was happy to still ship it, but refunded me everything!! I was sort of wanting to dye it anyway, so this could work out just great. Crossing my fingers that it fits and looks good…and maybe it’s just water stains on the bottom, which I can just hem off anyway (I’m not that tall). here’s hoping.

    • ART

      crossing my fingers for you. i dyed my silk sash for my dress and it was kind of a pain but totally worth it!

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

      Maybe some sort of stain remover could remove the stains? I got prominent grass stains out of my friend’s light cream wedding dress, on her wedding day, using Tide To Go. I was pretty stunned it worked on those…

      • Sarah McClelland

        Putting a tide to go pen on the oh sh*t kit list. Right now.

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

          Yep. Life-saver. I had it in my purse because I was a bridesmaid and the only bridesmaid that had ever planned a wedding (or possibly the only one who had ever been a bridesmaid too because very few people get married here). Though one of the other bridesmaids told me a few days ago that since she saw what the Tide To Go could do at that wedding, she always carries one with her in her purse. I totally should go stick mine in my purse too. Even if it never gets used, the relief of knowing it is there Just In Case is worth more than the cost of the pen. :)

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

          ps. I like the name of your kit. :)

  • MC

    Laaaast hour before work! Tonight we are going to the OPERA, for the first time ever, and for free thanks to Fiance’s job! And tomorrow we are going to a lavender festival! Bring it on weekend!

    • Hannah B

      oooooooh where and what show and how was it? I LOVE hearing stories of first time opera goers, being a lover of the art form and a singer. And it’s ok, you won’t offend me if you don’t like it, but I’d love to hear what you think!

      • MC

        We saw Carmen at the Santa Fe Opera and I loved it! The venue is BEAUTIFUL and amazing and it’s rainy season here so throughout the show there was crazy awesome lightning behind the stage, and it’s such an impressive art form – I couldn’t believe how much and for how long everyone was singing! And the cast and music was really great. I just had trouble staying awake until the end – we didn’t leave until 11:30 at night and that is way past when I normally start to nod off. But overall it was wonderful!

  • http://peckishadventurer.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    Ladies, I’m on a 30 day Whole Food cleanse, Day 11. All I want is some whiskey and a cookie, but I’m too stubborn to quit. I am starting to feel better, the sugar/cheese/grain withdrawal was a doozy! Now I’m finding other ways to relax besides food, but that’s a challenge for a new food blogger (and lifelong eater). Hope you all have a glass of wine for me this evening!

    • Jenni

      That’s awesome!!! I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while now, keep putting it off. (Wait no wine?? Uggggh.) Does your partner support you? I don’t know how it will be trying to stick to the plan for 30 days while he’s eating stuff I can’t …

      • http://peckishadventurer.blogspot.com/ Amanda

        I’m doing it on my own, but based in the intense dream I had about a DQ Blizzard last night, it would not be wise to attempt without your partner on board.

        • scw

          have you discovered banana whip yet? I’m on day six of a similar eating plan and it’s not cookies or whiskey I miss (though bourbon is definitely my drink of choice) but ice cream. last night FH whipped up some frozen bananas, added sunflower seeds until they made sunflower seed butter, and then added raspberries from our garden. it tasted like a pb&j and felt like ice cream and was a great treat to celebrate five days of seventeen(+) different fresh fruits and veggies daily under my belt!

          • http://peckishadventurer.blogspot.com/ Amanda

            I haven’t! Sounds heavenly! Thanks!

          • http://peckishadventurer.blogspot.com/ Amanda

            Sounds amazing! Maybe I’ll give it a try this week! I’m mostly jazzed about the really beautiful pineapple I got from the farmer’s market this morning.

      • scw

        it’s a lot easier with a support system! my neighbor/friend/bridesmaid is participating in my current project eat well. FH is eating stuff that’s not on my plan when he is at work, but only keeping the house stocked and making meals with fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.

  • ktan

    Happy Hour! I’ve been waiting to announce this for two weeks now but kept missing the HH.
    WE’RE ENGAGED!!!!!!
    My fiance proposed over the loudspeaker on our flight to New York to visit family. I didn’t think that I would like a big public proposal, but it was completely perfect. Passengers on the plane swooned and clapped, our pilot request pictures with us, and a flight attendant captured the whole thing on video (much to our surprise!) Then, later in the weekend, we surprised my entire family with our engagement announcement at my mom’s 60th birthday party. I really could not have imagined things going more smoothly or perfectly. LIFE IS AWESOME! BEING ENGAGED IS AWESOME!
    We’re visiting a venue hopeful next week, our good friend agreed to officiate, and one of my closest friends is gifting us our wedding photography. Cheers to all of this and everything else that everyone is celebrating, it is one happy hour (day, week, month, year) for this gal!

    • KC

      Congratulations! Hooray!

    • macrain

      This part is awesome, enjoy it.:)
      And congrats!

  • stumped!

    you guys can a boutonniere go on a plain button down shirt? Or does it only work if there’s a jacket or a vest?

    • KC

      Usually/traditionally, you stick boutonnieres in a particular spot on the lapel of a jacket, *but* my vote is that they can go on a plain button-down shirt just fine as long as they’re not too heavy for the fabric. (jacket fabric can hold up more weight without buckling than thin dress shirt fabric can, so you’d want to stick with flowers that aren’t too heavy)

      Other options for adding flowers might include “tie clip” flowers, a tiny pocket arrangement (like pens in the pocket of the shirt), or flowers added to the center of the bow tie. But obviously keep an eye to proportion in all those…

      • JessPeebs

        My Brother-in-law and Grandfather-in-law both wore boutonnieres on dress shirts, sans coats. I thought they looked nice anyway :)

        • KC

          I think that looks great!

    • emilyg25

      Technically, it’s supposed to go in the buttonhole of a vest, but who cares? Do what makes you happy! (Also technically, a vest isn’t supposed to be worn alone. But again, who cares? Fashion is all about risks!)

  • A.

    Any advice for how to handle a planned bachelorette party that has a heavy focus on drinking when it comes out that your cousin–who you recently reconnected with and is a bridesmaid–is apparently severely morally opposed to drinking (no addiction issues)? This is totally new and unexpected. The rest of my party is very excited about a night out on the town.

    I should clarify that no one is planning to get sloppy drunk, but my cousin is opposed to even a glass of red wine with dinner; it’s the fact of alcohol in and of itself, not the quantity. She claims that she will be fine to go, but right now I can tell she is upset that I’m making plans that involve some level of alcohol and I don’t want to deal with a pouty bridesmaid, especially when it’s only four girls heading out. I’ve tried giving her an out, but I think that made her even more offended. Other than this, we get along really, really well and she wants to be there for me.

    On the one hand, I feel like maybe I should make it a dry event (hardly the end of the world). On the other hand, my wedding is certainly not going to be a dry event and the world at large is not a dry event. If she were a recovering alcoholic, that would be one thing (and yes, she is definitely 100% not), but it feels a bit controlling to dictate the terms of my bachelorette party based on a preference. But on the other-other hand, if she were a vegan, I wouldn’t have a steakhouse bachelorette party. So maybe it’s the same thing? Thoughts?

    • emilyg25

      That’s a tricky situation. I think I’d let her manage herself. I wouldn’t change plans and I’d try not to let her bother me at the event. You’ve already given her an out, so she’s responsible for her own choices now.

    • Caroline

      What about if you ask your bridesmaids to do a two part thing? Something with non-drinking first she can join for, and the night out on the town without her after. You could do a nice dinner or something and then go out on the town.

      (And if she’s upset with you guys having wine with dinner, honestly, she’ll just have to learn to be more flexible. Seeing other people sometimes drink is a part of life. But that way you get a chance to spend time with ALL your bridesmaids in a way that doesn’t put focus on her not drinking and might be more comfortable)

    • KayBee

      My friend had a similar situation with her bachelorette party. Her (now) sister-in-law is anti-alcohol, but the bride and other bridesmaids wanted a night on the town with lots of drinks all around. She had two events. For the alcohol-free one, the bride and all bridesmaids went to a local minor league baseball game (bride is a huge baseball fan). Then she also had a drink-heavy night on the town which the SIL did not attend. It worked out well for my friend because she got to have quality time involving all the bridesmaids together, and the FSIL did not have to be in a situation in which she was not comfortable. Could something like that work for you?

    • macrain

      This is a hard situation, and I know you want everyone to be comfortable, but- I wouldn’t change my plans to accommodate one person if it were me. She is an adult and can opt out of anything she is not comfortable with. If she is pouty, let her be pouty. You go enjoy yourself. It’s not your problem.
      Certainly be up front with her that there will be drinking, so she is not surprised but- this is your bachelorette party, not hers.

  • lizperk23

    Late to the party, but I stood up in my friend’s wedding last weekend, and it was such an honor. the whole day/weekend was so special. were there small little things that didn’t go quite right? sure. did it matter? not at all. it was awesome, and it was their wedding,

    I’m realizing that there’s no perfect wedding….I mean, our wedding in Sept will be perfect, because it’s our wedding, but it will be imperfect too, because something will go wrong, someone’s feelings will be hurt because they do or say something (or don’t do or say something) etc. or someone has to travel, or someone can’t make it because of the travel. or because our dear grandparents passed before we met each other. and yet – our wedding will be our wedding, so perfect in a different way. not sure if that makes sense, but been thinking about that a lot this week.

  • Silva Beckham

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    • Kayjayoh

      I see a spam comment.

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

    I threw myself a potluck birthday party, and it went well. I guess it probably broke multiple etiquette rules to do that (I didn’t even bother to do the research), but I really mostly wanted to celebrate having survived the last year of my life, and at some point, you just gotta do what you gotta do. More people came than I expected, and it was moving to look around the room and realize they were there because they care about me.

    • Jess

      The nice part about throwing yourself a party is that you get to make the rules. Congrats!

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

    As per usual, late to the party, but just had to share–

    It’s our anniversary today! 6 years married (14 years together!) and we’re still together, so I say that’s pretty fantastic. AND, I just drove out to go to a garage sale and what did I see along the route–a DRUM SET FOR SALE!
    Guys. I’ve been wanting to buy Ian a drum set…oh forever (I was planning to get him one for the anniversary, but just felt I couldn’t afford it right now, so I was thinking of getting him drum sticks and then saying “When we have more money, I can do a set for you)–but this one was only $50!!! SCORE!

    Loaded it into the truck, and when he came home a few minutes ago and opened the garage door, I swear to all that is holy, he teared up. Best ever.
    Happy weekend!!

    • scw

      happy anniversary! that drum set sounds like a present from the universe.
      we’ll have been together for just shy of eight years when we get married, and it’s always nice to see other couples who took their time!

    • Crayfish Kate

      Happy Anniversary to you & Ian! Fist bumps from us, who are also (still!) taking their time, 5.5 years now. One of these days…. ;-)

  • macrain

    This picture! You ladies are straight up killing it in the style department. Nicely done.

  • Nell

    Just had my -1st anniversary! Getting married July, 2015!

    My mom is coming from out of state this month to go dress shopping with me. I’m getting anxious about this – because I keep seeing dresses I like (and can afford!) on the internet going on sale and then disappearing (I’m going the BHLDN/JCrew/Dept store route). I really want the experience of going dress shopping – but am afraid that if I don’t pounce on sales while they’re happening, I’ll miss my chance to get THE dress.

    I’m torn between the wedding dress shopping being a process that I’d like to celebrate and honor, and just wanting to check things off of that million-line-long to-do list.

    • Marcela

      Pounce, lady! You could always do a fancy afternoon where you try on a bunch of dresses at home (check your return policies) with your mom.