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APW Happy Hour


Birthday edition!

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

HI APW!

It’s balance month at APW, which is  fitting, as I’ve been living a life of aggressive balance lately. My life consists of family time, kid time, workworkworkwork (you’re not done with work but now you’re out of time) time, kid time, family time, partner time, bed. It’s good, and I’m grateful for it, but man, could I use a little unfocused Meg time. Or maybe staring at the ceiling time? I’d like to write about how this all feels, if I can just find the… time.

At least, as of this weekend, it’s Maddie’s birthday time. Not quite the same as Meg time, but bound to be fun. (Actually, it’s Lucy and Maddie birthday time this weekend. I’m sure it would be one massive APW editor party, if Lucy didn’t live in Georgia, but happy birthday to them both just the same.)

With that, I’m kicking it to some excellent links and your open thread.

And while this isn’t the kind of death Twitter goes crazy over, RIP Elaine Stritch. I hope you’re having a smoke and a laugh with Judy Garland in heaven.

Cheers,
Meg

Highlights of APW This Week

“My past and my future, intertwined.”

So you want to make a wedding website that includes all those fancy engagement photos? Maddie shows you how (and how NOT to make your life hard).

Decisions don’t make themselves… but how to we make this one?”

How ethical and beautiful engagement rings are made.

How to plan wedding weekend activities without losing your mind.

Crying for my father, celebrating for us.”

A colorful museum wedding in Florida.

How to set up a DIY bar for your wedding. Don’t forget the bottle openers!

Life without checklists.

Link Roundup

SAN FRANCISCO: Fiat Lux is throwing their Annual Summer Party on July 25th! AND, they’re flying Claire Kinder out to join them for just one night. I wear one of her rings. Everything, including all of their latest and greatest engagement rings, 15% off. Make some plans, people.

How to breastfeed appropriately.

A working mom arrested for letting her daughter play at the park alone. A.K.A., my childhood all the time?

Bustle raises another $5 million in funding. Goodbye indie women’s web… not run by rich white men. It’s been nice knowing you.

The Russian flower queens of Instagram.

“What happened when we gave our daughter my last name.” (This? Story of my life, more or less.)

The state of the American dog. (Fun fact: the dogs photographed in this article are from the same shelter where Lucy adopted her dog, Topher.)

The G.O.P and a woman’s level.

For your weekend listening: Maddie’s newest summer jam.

Reclaiming “homemaker

“It’s such a comfortable pose, gathering around women and deciding what we think of them—hot or not, alluring or tragic, moral or immoral, responsible or irresponsible, capable of consent or incapable of consent, maternal or neglectful.”

The secret of effective motivation.

Steven Soderbergh, on why he really quit movies.

The case for female astronauts.

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 the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • meeliebee

    I got married a couple weeks ago! My favorite moments were our vows, my first dance with my dad (salsa), and just the unbridled joy that was emanating from us and everyone around us. We made some missteps, but all in all I wouldn’t take any of it back.

    I’ve mostly lurked around here, but APW and the community of commenters has been invaluable in our journey to the wedding, and there’s so much more here that will help us in marriage and beyond.

    • ART

      So cute! I want to see more of your dress – it looks amazing!

      • meeliebee

        Thank you! This is a little dark, but you can see more of the dress.

        • K.

          You look SO happy!! :D And gorgeous too, of course (LOVE the flower crown and that dress is perfect on you)…but the happiness is just radiant!!!

    • Em(ily)

      Gorgeous! Congratulations.

    • papel

      I love your address! it looks really good on you!

      • papel

        oops! I meant dress! Fai!l!!!!

    • River

      Gorgeous! Congratulations!!

    • SarahG

      Lovely!!! Random flower crown question, since I’m considering one: did you like wearing it or did it get annoying? Make your head too hot? Etc? They are so pretty but also seem like they could be trouble. Gorgeous shot! You look very happy :)

      • meeliebee

        Thank you! I ordered my haku lei from Hawaii, and I measured my head too big, so it kept falling a little bit. I didn’t find it hot or annoying though. My grandma is from Hawaii, and so I’ve worn a haku lei for every major life event so far, so I guess I’ve had some practice. There are so many kinds of flower crowns though, you could probably do one that is much less dense than mine. I also considered taking it off after the ceremony, but I loved it too much to take it off!

        • http://kara-tanoue.blogspot.com/ Kara T

          I wore a haku lei for my wedding as well! (We were married in Hawaii as that is where all of my partner’s family lives).

        • scw

          it’s seriously gorgeous. I was just going to comment and ask you all about it.

    • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

      That dress hugs you just perfectly!

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!!

    • Alison O

      serious sibling resemblance right there!

    • aldeka

      Congratulations! Also, aaaaa we are dress twins! (Or will be, once mine comes in.)

  • BeccaC

    Woohoo Happy Hour :D It’s my first time making it to one of these while they are running, instead of reading them with delight over the weekend!
    I just finished sending out my electronic Save the Dates. So far everyone loves them and my website, I had been worrying I was being too modern and would offend someone so this is a pleasant surprise! Hopefully my electronic invitation in a few months will go over just as well :) Just over 6 months out and I’m excited to start working on the decor – I’ve been engaged more then a year and a half and itching for the wedding to get closer so I could start crafting!

  • anonpsu

    It’s my birthday this weekend too! Wedding-wise I think we’re taking a break this weekend from planning and going to the beach for a day :) I’m so excited.

    • Kelly

      My birthday too! High five!

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

      Mine is the middle of next week. Yea!

  • emilyg25

    Ha, I love that song! It joins “Brick House” and “Fat Bottomed Girls” as songs that were written about me. :)

  • Guest

    test

  • Kelly

    Yay, I haven’t been able to be at happy hour for weeks! Wedding is 3 weeks away and were currently feeling a little bummed because finance’s family is flaking out all over the place for no apparent reason. They mostly live within 2 hours or even in the same town as our wedding but most won’t be coming and haven’t even said as much as ” we’re sorry to miss it”. Meanwhile almost all of my family, who live nowhere near, are flying from all over the country andc couldn’t be more excited. Trying not to read too much into the situation but the imbalance just feels… Like a bummer. His mom planned to host a big reunion welcome dinner the night before, but now she’ll mostly just be hosting my family. Everyone will love it and have a great time but, damn.

    • ART

      I really feel you on this. Some key people on my now-husband’s “side” flaked big time. However, it will still be amazing. 3 weeks!

    • Em(ily)

      Aw, sorry! All the right people will be there on the day though, and you’ll be so happy to see whoever does show up for you guys. It stings though, I know.

    • Ariel

      The people who need to be there will be there.

      None of my extended family came and it was still wonderful!

    • meeliebee

      Sorry to hear that – some of my cousins backed out the week of the wedding and I fought hard not to let it get to me. It still did, but everything was fabulous anyway :)

    • Ragnhild

      Our wedding was three weeks ago, and a lot of people we hoped would come didnt. Still, the joy of having those who came was overwhelming! It hurt mostly when they told us they couldnt come, but on the day we didnt think that much about it.

    • JSwen

      Uffff. I hear ya. Similar bummers on our end but we are getting married next weekend so I don’t want to rehash them. All I can say is… appreciate the ones who come and try to come to terms with the ones who don’t. You will have an amazing time with those who are present.

  • Em(ily)

    Tomorrow we are 3 weeks out.
    Yesterday, we both took a day off work and met with every vendor we could to finalize our plans and walk them through our venue. Everyone agreed it’s a beautiful place, our photographer is excited to shoot there! Our ceremony is pretty much written, and our officiant is excited too!

    Our day-of coordinator is … competent? oriented with the space and our expectations? For some reason she just did not “hit it off” with us. Our initial consult was stiff and felt so awkward, I had hoped that the second meeting would be different, but it was just the same. Somewhat disconcerting, but I’m feeling like we’re lucky we’re as comfortable with most of our vendors as we are. The DOC isn’t as emotionally connected to the day for me, so I’m hoping that it doesn’t matter too much that we haven’t meshed on the personal level we did with the minister and the photographer.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      We didn’t try to mesh with our vendors, and it was fine. We had this straight-forward German as our photographer, and he was my favorite vendor.

      • Em(ily)

        It wasn’t something we were requiring, it just didn’t make the meeting very pleasant with out any rapport with her!

    • macrain

      I don’t actually care that much for my venue coordinator or my caterer, if that makes you feel better! I didn’t have a lot of choice in both instances. I’m just kind of hoping it goes ok and trying to not worry.

      • Em(ily)

        Haha I guess it does, thanks :) Her business’s posts on facebook give me a very WIC vibe, so maybe she’s just not that into our laid-back low-fuss plans. Who knows? We were SO happy with everybody else so far, it was a pretty stark contrast to feel “meh” with someone we’re entrusting our wedding plans to, and paying hundreds of dollars for it.

        • MC

          I know how you feel – our DOC owns a planning company that is very WIC-y and sometimes she’s seemed a little taken aback by some of our choices (no first dances, walking ourselves down the aisle, etc.) Part of me does wish that I could’ve found a super-cool APW-esque DOC that would be my BFF afterward. BUT ours has worked in the field for a long time and is super knowledgeable, and is professional so I know that she will go along with our plans regardless of her personal preference. In the end all that stuff was worth choosing her, even though we definitely won’t be BFFs at the end.

    • NicoleT

      As long as the DOC isn’t super uptight and commanding, I would say you’re fine. I have been to two weddings recently-ish where the DOCs were awful. One was very competent and organized, but was almost *too* efficient and was very brusque with the bridal party. The other was competent and organized as well, but was rude to the guests (after she had an incident earlier where she wouldn’t allow the bridal party to get water during a 100 degree day). She blocked off the bar at the beginning of the reception and told guests to go sit down at their tables. When my fiancé wanted to get a drink to take with him to the table, she straight up yelled at him. Unfortunately, that is one of the things that I remember most from the wedding. So, as long as your DOC is polite, you’re fine.

    • Ann

      I did not personally mesh well with the coordinator at my venue, but she rocked at her job. Particularly when I made it clear what I did not care about and would trust her judgement (where to put the cake in the room? Uh, it’s your room….), she was magical. And yet if I had to have more interactions in person, rather than over email, I might have wanted to find another venue. So being in a similar situation worked fine for me.

  • Amanda

    Our proof book came today! Can’t wait to cuddle up with my husband (!!) and look through them all!

    • Ariel

      Yay! I’m so jealous! I can’t wait to get my pictures!

  • Ariel

    Happy Happy Hour!

    I’ve had surprisingly pleasant (and super speedy) interactions with government offices this week and already have my new social security card and drivers license in hand! New license picture is atrocious (it wouldn’t make me so upset if my old picture wasn’t such a fabulous glam shot and they wouldn’t let me keep it, bastards). I know it’s not for everyone, but changing my last name makes me giddy.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    • Jessica

      I HATE that they won’t let you keep your recent photo (like, less than a year). I had some amazing ID photos and then had a change of address and now my photo looks like I had a 3 day hangover and I’m trying to fool my boss into thinking I’m fine.

      • Ariel

        Hahaha, that’s such a good description!

        My state (NJ) generally allows you to keep your photo. My husband had the option of keeping his picture the last time he got a new license; no such luck for me.

        • Meghan

          NJ has started making everyone take a new photo as far as I understand it. I had been hanging on to a photo I liked for several iterations, but I was forced to take a new one last renewal. My husband also had to take a new photo when he last went. And you can’t smile (which is actually a requirement on most new photo IDs across the country, I think?).

          Another NJ licensing problem, this one specific to names – you can’t do two middle names at all in NJ on your license. You get one spot for one middle initial. Yuck. You also can’t even do two last names with a space between them. (I made the woman at the desk try.) You have to hyphenate if you want to put two last names. Not the best in terms of giving people choices about their names.

      • scw

        I am literally mid-sneeze in the picture on my school ID. I thought it was funny when I started my grad program in 2009, and now I just think it looks like a mugshot. my driver’s license photo, on the other hand, is GLORIOUS (if I do say so myself), and I’m so bummed that I’ll probably need to give it up when my ID expires next april.

        • Ariel

          I would’ve kept that license glam shot forever if they let me! It may or may not still be in my wallet, even though it has a hole punched in it now.

    • Amanda

      Ha, yeah my new one is awful too. In VA you aren’t allowed to smile showing teeth. But they never actually told me when they took the picture so I have a blank stare.

      • Ariel

        I took one decent picture and then the woman there told me I was “smiling too much” – my picture now looks like I’m a deer in headlights with my mouth half open.

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

      The government (federal) was super easy for me to change. Driver’s license took two tries (they gave me two last names instead of two middle names despite me trying to correct them the first time). The main headache for me was discovering that the university had at least 4 databases I was in and none of them were connected with any of the others so just when I thought I’d finally changed my name everywhere I needed to there I’d find another database.

    • Ragnhild

      I am trying to figure out when is a good time for the name change. I am not sure how long the whole process takes in Norway. Changing it on facebook took about a minute though ;)

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

      On another note, I used stage make-up to give myself a small black-eye for my driver’s license once. I figured they wouldn’t tell me to come back when I looked better because it’s a driver’s license photo. Some times I miss that license.

  • Lauren from NH

    So we are in the awkward position of needing to secure our venue before we have gotten (officially) engaged. That doesn’t worry me so much since we have been mentally preparing for all this weddingy stuff for a while. But in the contract there is a line that reads, “The College may terminate this contract, in whole or in part, without cause upon giving advance written notice to the Client.” which seems to imply they could cancel on us at anytime so long as they send us a letter. Not cool. I attempted to negotiate getting it reworded, but was told this portion of the contract was standard and the college’s lawyers would have to be consulted to have it changed. We haven’t signed anything yet, but I am intending to go ahead with it as is. Though I don’t like it, it sounds to me like they are unwilling to change it, and should something go wrong I think we will be able to work with the alumni association to raise a big enough stink in our small community to get it fixed. Thoughts anyone?

    • Rosie

      It sounds like they’re just covering themselves: the village hall where we had our reception had a similar clause. We questioned them and they said it was in case people started trashing the place etc. – just a cover all so they can get rid of people if needs be. I’d suggest you ask them under what circumstances they can imagine having to use that clause.

      • Sparkles

        And get those in writing (maybe an email). Just to cover yourself in case they don’t want to put it in the contract.

        • Lauren from NH

          Okay maybe some more specifics is the way to go. It is a very friendly and communal school, so I imagine kinda like when small town vendors say they don’t use contracts, in these type of communities “good faith” means something stronger. Another mini factor is I tend to get a little weird about questioning authority figures (no idea why, clearly did not get enough practice as a young person), but it never hurts to ask questions, so I am going to practice that. Thanks all!

    • DM

      They may not be able to remove that clause, but they could add something to the nature of “in the case this occurs, the university will assist you in securing a comparable venue”

    • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

      Yikes. I’d ask them how many times they’ve canceled an event in the past 3 years. I’d want a concrete number, as opposed to something vague like “Oh, it almost never happens.” Rhetorical question, but what is the point of having a contract if they essentially want to maintain the right to renege on the event itself?

    • JSwen

      I would strike it and write what you are comfortable with and offer it up for them to consider. Your venue seems like a really important part of your wedding right now but in reality, there are so many beautiful venues and the fact that you are getting married will make the venue amazing regardless of where it is. It would be awful to get screwed by this place as you get closer to your wedding. Then all the planning ahead will have been for naught.

  • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

    Help! We’re stuck on the last line of our wedding vows. We want to say something about being in our relationship for the long haul without saying “till death do us part”, but without sounding like we *expect* our marriage to fail (e.g., “for as long as our love shall last.”) Any ideas, people? I’ve seen a few options here and there, but none of them feel exactly right ….

    • Lauren from NH

      I don’t have any specifics but would the rest of our days suit you better? Or maybe using a metaphor like long journeys or long roads. Making on up on the spot, “and may we be partners in all of life’s adventure’s until journey’s end.” Not a bad moment for getting poetic if you ask me.

      • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

        See, in my mind, “till death do us part” and “for the rest of our days” means the same thing (i.e., for as long as our earthly life lasts). I like the journey metaphor idea a lot, though, since it’s more open-ended. Thx!

    • Amanda

      We did “for all the days of my life”

    • MC

      Oh! My friends used this: “promising to be to you a supportive and faithful companion and give you all the love I can give my whole life long.” I think we might use some variant of this as well.

    • emilyg25

      Ours ended with “as long as we both shall live.”

    • Ariel

      ours ended with “through all the trials and triumphs of our lives together”

      • Jess

        I think this is one of my favorites! It doesn’t say “for however long we last” but it also doesn’t say “Until we die.”

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

      we ended with “with my whole heart, I choose you for life”

      • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

        That’s close to what we are currently using as our last line: “I have seen the best of you and the worst of you, and today I choose it all” :)

        • Em(ily)

          “Come what may” ?

        • Delanie

          Is there something in ‘choosing again and again and again’?

    • http://www.wrightremedy.blogspot.com/ Addie

      We are using “till the end of our forever.” It sounds all permanent but gives some leeway. As a second time bride, any notion of “till death do us part” sounds like a crock since both my ex and I are alive and well.

    • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

      Just to clarify: we specifically don’t want to promise to be together FOREVER because we’re weird and don’t find it to be romantic or desirable. Meaning, in 50 years, we want to be together because we are still actively choosing each other everyday, and not just because we made a “promise” several decades ago.

      • Sparkles

        I think you should work that piece about ‘choosing each other everyday’ into it somehow. I really like it, but I don’t know how you would say it so it sounds more like vows.

      • Bindi

        Yes definitely. How about just “I promise to choose you, every day”… indicates that there is a decision, its not “everyday for the rest of my life”, just “everyday i will wake up and decide to make this work, even if it is really shit”

    • Jess

      we, too, were against the forever word/concept. we used “I will love you and trust in your love for me, through all that life may bring us.” but i still feel like that wasn’t a strong enough concluding sentence.

    • JSwen

      “for all of our days.” is how we are doing it. Found it on some feminist website. :)

  • Jessica

    I’m super happy to see the “I don’t fucking care if you like it,” Amy Poehler story from Bossy Pants going around. That, the Lord Give Me Strength when Dealing With A Teenage Daughter poem and some lines about learning how to read a situation and act appropriately were my favorite parts from the book. Seeing some badass women who are still caring and kind but just really don’t give a damn what men think is cute is inspiring–it shows you don’t have to be a soulless bitch to be successful.

    • macrain

      “I don’t fucking care if you like it” is the BEST mantra for planning a wedding.

    • River

      “I don’t fucking care if you like it” is an attitude I am actively working on embracing – I tend to care too damn much, and something about the way Tina Fey tells that story was really inspiring to me. :-)

      • La_Venus

        This is such a hard thing for me to embrace… like really I don’t think I am anywhere near being able to think that way. I so regularly care what people think that I find it really hard to make my own decisions about my own life. Ugh.

        • River

          Ugh, I feel you. For me, when I am able to embrace that attitude, it is almost always because *I* like whatever it is so fucking much. So for me the dovetailing issue I am working on is ownership of my own preferences ;-)

        • Jessica

          That’s really hard. I think a big part of it is knowing/realizing what you like and standing up for that. In that specific moment Poehler was making some crude jokes she thought were hilarious and (Fey interpreted) that a man was telling her to stop because it didn’t fit in line with what he thought women should do. That is a moment and reason not to care.

          If she were making jokes that offended him as a person because of his religious beliefs or own comfort level (for instance, if he was a survivor of rape and someone started making rape jokes. *ahem*male comedians) then she would probably most certainly give a fuck.

          It’s really hard though if you are naturally or were raised to be a people pleaser and want to make everyone feel comfortable all the time. It’s about learning when to put yourself first and people’s societal expectations last.

          • macrain

            For me, wedding planning has been an exercise in figuring out what I like and what I want. I’m a people pleaser by nature, so the second anyone expresses a preference I get a bit caught up in that. It takes practice, for sure!

          • Jessica

            i decided to take on that attitude while wedding planning and it super aggravated my mom (who was used to me rolling over for her wishes). She was upset at first and then got used to the idea that I wasn’t going to do anything for tradition’s sake unless J and I wanted it that way.

          • La_Venus

            Yes. I almost always use the opposite thinking (“I care what you think”) when making big life decisions: Well, I really want to do this thing or it’s time for us to make these changes but what will x person think? And how will it look to that whole group of people over there? My best friend and I refer to that as worrying about the audience. What will the audience think? Which really calls it out for what it is – self-centered and ridiculous. As if there is truly an audience monitoring each decision we make.

    • Meg Keene
      • Jessica

        Rachel hit the nail on the head

        • scw

          agreed. that post of rachel’s is one of my all time favorite apw pieces.

    • scw

      also that it’s… okay to be a bitch sometimes, and it doesn’t make you soulless.

      • Jessica

        true! Bitches get stuff done!

  • dearabbyp

    I’m finally here for happy hour not three days late! Hooray!

    50 days to go and last night I had serious crafty times fixing up some dollar store vases and candles with gold washi tape and attempting a blusher. Fiance came home and enjoying me prancing around in my first veil trial made of millions of layers of pink tulle.

    Now comes the verdict from mom if she’s into my “crafts.” (Sticking tape on glass = craft. Removing labels with goo gone = not craft). I’ve delegated flowers to her but we’re working together on the vessels.

    Happy friday!

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

    IVF this weekend. Fingers crossed.

    “Excited” still isn’t a word I’d use to describe my feelings although multiple people have responded to finding out what we’re doing by suggesting we are excited. But a peace settled into my bosom this week and things will be okay, whatever that means.

    • Jessica

      Fingers cross here too! Maybe “anticipating hopefully” would be a better description?

    • emilyg25

      Fingers crossed!!!

    • Ariel

      Best of luck!

    • Amanda L

      Fingers and toes crossed for you! When you get to the point of IVF, I’d imagine it’s more like ‘cautiously hopeful’ than excited. Wishing you ALL the luck!

    • Em(ily)

      Fingers crossed. Maybe in a few weeks you can be / get excited.

    • Meg Keene

      Awwwwwwww <3

      It's so weird, the idea they were all kind of… made at the same time. I know someone who calls hers babysicles.

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

        When people ask if we have more children I say “not unless you count the ones in the freezer.” Because I like watching people’s faces as they process that.

        Standing rule in our house – you can’t be in the freezer if you are more than 8 cells big. We’re anticipating her playing IVF when she gets bigger and wanting to put someone in the freezer. Trying to nip that one in the bud before it becomes a problem.

        And we’re going to reclaim “twin” if this works out. They were “conceived” at the same time after all.

        • scw

          “When people ask if we have more children I say ‘not unless you count the ones in the freezer.’ Because I like watching people’s faces as they process that.”

          a million high fives over the internet

        • Amy March

          I’m not sure if “reclaiming twin” is a joke or not, but I think it’s really problematic. Assuming you have more than one embryo on ice (because typically IVF generates more than 2) what does that make the additional ones? Her dead triplet? The quadruplets mommy and daddy threw away? My youngest sister still on ice?

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

            No joke. And not problematic at all. We transferred 17 embryos to get her over the course of 6 rounds of IVF. Two others implanted but miscarried. The other 13 did not grow enough to implant and died the way a lot of morulas and blastocycsts die without IVF (technically it’s not an embryo till it implants). The round we got her we transferred more than just the embryo that became her. I view the other embryos in her round as “helper” embryos to keep her company till she could implant and grow with me. We have embryos for 2 rounds left on ice (although at this point we imagine the embryos for today’s round are already off ice, we’re not sure what is involved in thawing embryos but plan to ask in a few hours at our appointment). Until we know otherwise, we do consider our frozen embryos her younger siblings.

            You might want to look in to twinless twins as well. Even when twins happen at the same time conceptually and implantation wise (ie, growing in the uterus at the exact same time the way most people think of twins), they aren’t always born at the same time and they don’t always both make it to birth.

      • StevenPortland

        Ours were made on the same day. One came out of the freezer 6 months later and the second one came out 4 years later. It is strange to think about. I’ve heard IVF siblings like this referred to as “twiblings”.

    • Carrie

      “Maybe she’ll be able to convince them to stick around and tell them what great parents we are.”

      I’m a TOM/6 weeks out from my wedding ball of hormones and stress right now, and this had me almost crying at my desk. (In a good way, I think?) Wishing so much luck in your direction.

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

    I just want to give a shout-out to the book Bringing Up Bebe http://www.amazon.com/Bringing-Up-B%C3%A9b%C3%A9-Discovers-Parenting/dp/1594203334. I read it this past week kind of on a whim. Husband and I plan to start TTC later this year, but I’ve got baby fever NOW, so I figured reading a parenting book might give me a good outlet for said fever.

    You guys, it’s such a good book. I wanted to be friends with the author by the end of the first chapter. For me, the book both scared and reassured me. I really liked that instead of dictating a step-by-step foolproof method to molding perfect children, it offered common-sense-ish, practical principles to guide actions that apply to more than just parenting.

    As a not-yet-parent, I might not be the most qualified to review, but I personally really enjoyed it, and if you haven’t read it, recommend that you do :)

    • Amy

      That was the first book I read when I got pregnant. Our baby is 6 months and I’m thinking I might reread it, I liked it so much. It’s already influenced how we think about parenting and interact with our baby. Who know babies could lay on the floor and play by themselves?? Mine does, while I make dinner. It’s great. So go you! You’re off to an awesome start.

    • Sparkles

      Adding it to my reading list! Just want to say, that it’s probably a good idea to start with the sane and keep coming back to it. I’ve been reading so many baby books and parenting websites, and it all gets so overwhelming that I need to remember the sane things.

    • Meg Keene

      Yeah, it’s great. It’s one of my favs. And I’m now pretty qualified to review ;)

      It’s basically how I was raised, but it’s also basically my parenting strategy. Firm “cadre”, lots of freedom within that box. It’s also, handily, pretty solid from a child development perspective.

    • emilyg25

      Loved it. I sometimes feel surrounded by a super-involved, uber-attached philosophy of parenting that isn’t compatible with either my beliefs or my abilities, so it was a wonderful wake-up call that yes, I can be a good parent. Like Meg, it’s very similar to how I was raised, and my brother and I turned out pretty damn awesome if I may say so myself. Free-range Parenting is also pretty groovy.

  • June

    Just dropping by to say that all of a sudden, wedding planning is making me have ALL THE FEELINGS. We got our engagement photos done two weeks ago- the previews we got are gorgeous, and I guess I’m all of a sudden like, holy grape nuts, this is really really happening! And all of the posts this week about saying vows and the ceremony itself are just rocking my world in a good way.

    • macrain

      We just finished writing our ceremony, which really made me focus on what’s important and why we are doing this! It seemed daunting at first but turned out to be so awesome.

  • Sparkles

    Meg, I love the new headshot! It turned out wonderfully.

    Re: the article about reclaiming homemaker. I’ve taken to calling myself a homemaker (sometimes stay-at-home-wife, but I prefer homemaker). I took a comparative lit class in university where the prof really stressed this theme of homemaking, and how it meant making a home, and what that represented. In “The Odyssey”, we talked a lot about Penelope as a homemaker. I don’t remember the particulars (and I’ll get them wrong if I try), but the idea of a homemaker as someone who works to create a welcome and safe space for a family has appealed to me ever since. Sure that might mean chores and cooking, changing diapers, but it might also mean making a space where people feel comfortable visiting (hospitality was definitely big in “The Odyssey”), where family feels ready to talk and exist and be. Which is so much more than just housekeeping.

    So yeah, I call myself a homemaker because I’m making a home (or trying at least).

    • La_Venus

      I love it. I find that I have to mentally fight to maintain that framework for staying at home, but it’s so lovely when I can hold onto it and integrate it.

    • macrain

      Agree about the headshot. So lovely.

    • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

      Can we be friends? If I’m reading your post correctly, you A) don’t have kids, and B) don’t have a job, and not just because you’re “currently unemployed” or something. I quit my job 3 months ago, don’t have kids, and have never been happier in my life. There’s a high likelihood that I’ll need to rejoin the workforce in a few months (after we get back from our honeymoon), but that’s just purely for financial reasons, and not because I enjoy working or because my identity is wrapped up in my career.

      • La_Venus

        Hmmm how wonderful. I am turning job and identity over and over in my mind as I find that I am not working for health reasons. I think I am getting to a point of accepting it, but I am not necessarily to the point of embracing it. I can recognize that it is the right thing for me right now, but I am still working out what it means for my identity and self-worth.

        • Sparkles

          I was working in rehab before I decided to stay home, and I have to say that I used to get so frustrated watching people who had to stay home because there aren’t jobs that take advantage of the skills people with health problems have while still being flexible enough to work with their limitations. That being said, there are so many ways of being a productive member of society while also having health problems. It might be helpful to consider what that might look like for you. Just because you’re not making money, doesn’t mean you can’t be contributing.

          • La_Venus

            Yes. For right now I am letting things play out for a while but I am already pondering something what would be more flexible that I could get excited about. A lot of it is just that my health is really hour-by-hour so I basically need to be my own boss in terms of time management. And if not for right now, in the long-term the feeling of productivity and contributing positively to society is very important to me and to my health as well. I am looking at this as a temporary reprieve in which I get to restructure my life around improving my health and also create a model of work-life that will be sustainable in the future. Of course, this makes me one of the privileged ones because my health concerns will improve with proper treatment so I can be looking forward to something, which is not the case for everyone.

      • Sparkles

        I quit my job a month ago. There are kids in the future, but I think it was high time to be at home whether or not that was the case. I was miserable working, and my partner has been totally willing to have me stay home for years. I insisted on getting a second (practical) degree and then working in my field for 6 months. You know, just in case. But these last three years have not shown my best side.

        My partner is, luckily, in the financial position to support us both, and it’s actually helpful to his business and life in general to have me home making meals and running errands, keeping things running. But if you ever want to talk about not working, I am totally game for it! I’ve been really struggling with how to have an identity without a “career” and am coming around to it slowly.

        • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

          “But if you ever want to talk about not working, I am totally game for it!”

          OK, just as an aside: When we applied for our marriage license, the clerk asked what we both did for a living and I replied that I was “gloriously job-free”, which is my standard response. The clerk goes “So, … unemployed?” In my mind, being unemployed is a distinctly different state of being than someone who is CHOOSING not to work. Alas, the clerk insisted on typing “unemployed” into the computer system. I do not consider myself “un” anything, as that connotes I’m lacking something that I desire.

          • Sparkles

            Same thing happened when I saw my new doctor for the first time. Now my record says unemployed, which I dislike.

          • Sarah E

            And technically speaking, for economic stats and the like, the definition of unemployed means you are actively job searching.

        • ruth

          Wow, are you my twin – I am in so in the same boat! I feel blessed to be able to live off of one income, and my husband’s support is helping me reach my creative goals, but I’m really struggling with that question of identity – I know what my own identity is, but I don’t know how to explain that to the world, because I don’t have a simple answer to, “so, what do you do?”

      • ruth

        I’m coming to this discussion late, but I read your comments and thought, wow, can we be friends too?! I’m in a similar boat. I feel lucky to be in a position where my husband is comfortably able to support us both, and quitting the corporate world has enabled me to pursue my dream of writing and finishing my first novel. So I’m actually working my butt off, just not getting paid for it…yet. But I’ve felt so much push back from the world – work seems like almost a religion in America – and people seem horrified by the choice to opt out. I’d been letting it get to me and feeling ashamed that I wasn’t “contributing” more (even though I’m actually contributing way more than I used to, in terms of writing) so your answer to the license clerk, “gloriously job free” was really inspiring! Own it! Inspires me to do the same :)

      • Leslie

        Also late on the discussion, but also thankful. I am currently making plans to quit my corporate marketing job in September to pursue, well, happiness. I also currently work a second job at a local restaurant, which I really enjoy. Once I quit, I’ll be doing more of that, along with maybe picking up a second restaurant job, and hoping to get some freelance writing/editing work. The idea is that my work will be more flexible (even though I won’t get paid vacation time, most restaurant jobs here are highly flexible) so my husband and I can travel more since he works remotely. Although I currently make more money than my husband, I’ve crunched the numbers a thousand times and they work fine thanks to the fact that we have almost finished paying all debt (including student loans) and live pretty minimalist. I started dropping hints of this plan to my husband’s family this weekend and although nobody criticized, it was clear that it was a foreign idea to quit a job and not be looking for a replacement. I know once we start traveling, people will see what we are going for, but it is difficult to explain now that I’m opting out of “traditional” work. The people I work with at the restaurant are brilliant (some with advanced degrees), but even they struggle with comments from people about when they are going to get a “real” job. I’m bracing myself now, but yeah, the identity piece of it is the hardest part.

        • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

          I love your plan! When I go back to work, I am hoping it will be as a low-level non-profit employee. Perhaps data entry or something. Part-time. The job I recently left was an office manager position at an international human rights nonprofit. In a nutshell, my next job will undoubtedly pay way less due to the decreased hours and responsibility that I desire. I pretty much want to work just enough to cover my health insurance premium and have a little extra money to save for our vacations. I am so lucky in that my mom (whose opinion I care a great deal about) doesn’t care what I do for a living as long as 1) I’m happy, and 2) I’m self-sufficient. My almost-husband, a public school teacher, has a tendency to care about my happiness to the detriment of our household responsibilities (e.g., he’d be fine with me not going back to work, ever, even if it meant never being able to save penny again). Fortunately, despite me being the one who quit the job, I extremely mindful about our financial situation, and will make myself go back to work if doing so is required for financial peace of mind, which will likely be the case. Anyway, thanks for chiming in! I love hearing about other women who make off-the-beaten-path choices in regards to work :)

          P.S. I used to work at a restaurants in my early twenties. One of the things I miss about restaurant work is that on busy nights at least, you are essentially getting paid to exercise! At least, my 20-year-old self never had to exercise outside of work. Although now that I think about it, it might have had more to do with being 20!

    • Meg Keene

      Thanks for noticing it! I just changed it yesterday. I have more, but this is the everyday one. Sarah is great, SF people: http://portraitstothepeople.com/

      • scw

        I noticed it too! right away! it’s great.

    • scw

      I love this definition.

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

      Sparkles, thanks for mentioning The Odyssey. I actually bought a copy in French because it had been mentioned a few times and I am in an inspiration-seeking artistic phase and I saw it at a bookstore on clearance for less than $3. But your mentioning Penelope as a homemaker is like another push in that direction…maybe I will read it this weekend and see what ideas come… Thanks! :)

    • Daisy6564

      I was a teacher and burned out after 4 years, quit and worked part-time in another job, went back to teaching and have now quit again due to burn out. At this point I guess I am technically on summer vacation but I have no placement for the fall and do not want one. I don’t know what I want to do for a job now but I am remarkably not stressed about it.

      Since I am newly married I am feeling a bit differently about quitting work this time then I did last time. Last time I moved in with my parents and was decidedly “unemployed.” This time I am living with my husband, on his health insurance, and doing things like running errands for him during the day. The thought has crossed my mind that I am, at least in my daily function, a homemaker at this point. I do know, however, that I want to work and am actively seeking work.

      I am going mental at home. I’ve DIYed a ton of shit and handled lots of things I let go when I was working the teaching job from hell this past year. Even so, I am itchy and antsy to get back to work. Staying home is not for me. I kinda knew that anyway. My mom was a “stay-at-home-mom” of the 1990s addressed in that article. She had an MBA but chose to stay home to raise the kids, not cook perfect meals or engage in other domestic arts. Her focus was her children. I am thankful to her for many reasons. I also saw first hand that she suffered for lack of adult interaction and formal feedback. I will admit too that I define myself largely by my job.

      At this point we are not able to live off of only my husband’s income so I do need to find work rather quickly. My husband kind of hates work would rather be working on his music full-time. I am hoping that in the future I may be able to get a job that pays well enough to let him stay home and be a musician/homemaker/childcare giver.

  • La_Venus

    Well I got a mixed bag of news this week. Started off by losing my job because of my health (basically they wanted me to work longer hours than I had been and I had to decline because of my health and they tried to work around it and then just decided to hire someone else instead). It was super unexpected and stressful, obviously. And then I went to a doctor that finally appears to be the right doctor. After 9 years of endless appointments and variable health, this guy was able to give me some answers in the form of an immediate, provable diagnosis that is treatable (as opposed to the favored lets-throw-meds-at-her-until-something-sticks method). So yay!!!! That is very exciting and wonderful. The catch is that pregnancy is out for the foreseeable future while I go through this treatment because it would be way to hard on my body (which is good to know) and would interfere with the treatment. So, yay health, but I am also processing that loss because we were just about to jump on board the pregnancy ship fully equipped with prenatal vitamins and midwife lined up.

    • Jessica

      I’m very sorry about losing your job, and am very happy that you are getting the treatment that will work for you! And that you weren’t pregnant when you found out about it — I (a childless person) always imagine pregnancy as really hard to start with, so adding on top of that a lot more difficulty would be frightening.

      • La_Venus

        Thank you! That is a great way to look at it. I had a miscarriage last month and it would have been brutal to have finally found someone who could help me right at the moment when they couldn’t and I really needed them to. I can definitely see how this will end up working out infinitely better and I am very grateful for that.

    • Em(ily)

      Sorry for the losses this week. Sounds like the time was right for things to change whether you were ready or not! I hope you are feeling better soon, and by the time you can revisit your journey toward parenthood, the road will seem a bit more smooth.

      • La_Venus

        Yes. The time was right. It took me about a day of panic to be able to actually see the context and feel grateful. But a few boosts from APW women always helps too ;)

        • Em(ily)

          Change can be so scary, especially when the way you were expecting to move forward is suddenly uprooted. Glad to hear you have taken a positive perspective on it all.

    • JSwen

      That sounds… illegal… to fire you for not being physically able to do a new task (longer hours) in your role. Litigation can be awful but you might find someone to look into it.

      • La_Venus

        Yes, I pondered that. The thing is I am just not up for that stress, and I am focusing on maintaining the good working relationship I had with all of my coworkers because that seems more important in the long-run. I was a teacher working in a Pre/K classroom and now I am going to be a sub instead. They had wanted to change my 5 hour morning shift to an 8 hour full day shift.

  • Ashleyn

    I am in the process of building a website for myself! I recently published a collection of poetry and am trying to market it and decided I should have an author website.

    APW has been on my wavelength, but I was too late for happy hour last week, so I’m asking for your suggestions this week! I need my picture taken. A portrait session? I need headshots. I feel silly calling them that though, but that’s what I need. Professional pictures of myself to put on my website.

    I am in the Los Angeles area in Sherman Oaks, so there are no shortage of people who do headshots, but I don’t want to spend a fortune and I’m not an aspiring actress or model, so I don’t want them to be too…I don’t even know. I realized I’ve never had my picture professionally taken as an adult. Basically, I don’t know how to go about this and I would love some suggestions, especially if you know of someone in the LA area you would recommend! Help me, APW. You’re my only hope.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      If you don’t get any recommendations here, ask any local professional people you know who took theirs. The doctors, lawyers, and judges I know all have had professional head shots taken at some time. As a lawyer, when I had mine, my firm sent me to a place downtown that just does head shots for people like us.

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

      Hi! I’m in LA too. I only know head-shot people…but just wanted to say Hi!

      Joanna Degeneres does my headshots- maybe look her up? Although I’m sure there are lots of business headshot places? and congrats on all of the above!

    • Jules

      Try looking at photographers that do headshots for actors and seeing if any of them have a social media special on. A lot of them will throw up a cheaper rate for less time and fewer pictures but that may be exactly what you need.

  • Mary Jo TC

    I’m going to Providence RI for a wedding next month and trying to get excited about it. I’d love some suggestions of things to do and places to go in the area. We’ll probably take a day trip to Boston while we’re so close, and we’re flying in and out of Boston. 5 day, 4 night trip. Ideas please?

    • Lauren from NH

      The Roger Williams Zoo is wonderful.

    • Amanda L

      Go to Martha’s Vineyard. Take the Ferry from Woods Hole. Rent bikes and ride them to Edgartown. Eat at the Seafood Shanty. Stop to do SUP on the way. Have a screwmosa (yes, a screwmosa). On your way back, jump off the bridge that the shark in ‘Jaws’ swam under. If you have time, go to a place called the Chart Room and have the Lobster Roll. Sit out on their patio and watch an amazing sunset.

      (I did all these things last weekend and it was ah-maz-ing).

    • LM

      Things to do in Providence — Walk around the East Side and look at beautiful buildings. Eat delicious Italian food on Federal Hill. Eat breakfast at Modern Diner in Pawtucket. Visit Slater Mill (first mill in America!). Go to a PawSox game. Drive to Newport and see the beach and crazy Gilded Age mansions…

    • Nell

      Providence is FUN! There are some great historic sites in the area, and I believe RISD has a cool art museum. Go to breakfast at Brickway on Wickenden, or at Nick’s on Broadway.

      If you have some time to kill, I’d also visit Newport and check out at least one historic mansion while you’re there. You can also walk the Cliff Walk, which is a beautiful seacoast walk.

      In Boston, I recommend going to the Aquarium in the morning, followed by a walk around Boston’s North End (basically our version of Little Italy). Get cannoli at Mike’s Pastry and check out the Old North Church (where they give you the scoop on Paul Revere’s midnight ride) and other gems of Revolutionary history.

      Plimouth Plantation is also an easy drive from Providence.

    • Alison O

      Newport! And Mystic Seaport in Connecticut isn’t too far.

    • scw

      this is only an idea for while you’re in providence, but… get an awful awful from newport creamery if you’re a milkshake person!

  • ElisabethJoanne

    This week in sometimes-marriage-is-like-this:

    Bad news: I found out about yet another financial secret my husband kept from me (after 2 prior equally-big ones).
    Good news: This one actually means he/we have more money than I thought. It also wasn’t a big deal to me, insofar as I agree with him that this money changes nothing for us right now. But definitely marching him to marriage counseling if he keeps this up.

    Bad news: His therapist has suggested he may never work again, due to his depression, ADHD, and history of abuse resulting in autism-spectrum-like behaviors. This is something I’ve been mulling for a couple of years, but it’s a big adjustment for him.
    Good news: His therapist suggested he may benefit from therapy for autism-spectrum, and I did a google search and found a local agency that specializes in career assessment, interviewing coaching, etc., for adults with ADHD and Autism. Why it took google and 4 years since his ADHD diagnosis and career trouble (and multiple doctors, therapists, support groups, and agencies) to find an agency that seems perfect for him, I do not know.

    • KC

      Augh and hooray, times two! (and it can be *really* psychologically challenging to not-work, esp. depending on your background, so I hope his adjustment to that concept is comparatively non-rocky.)

      Also, I hope the local agency proves to be super-helpful!

    • Emily

      I’m sorry it took so long to find the agency, but finding that agency seems huge! I hope it really is a good fit; that might make a huge difference!

    • JSwen

      On the second issue, my brother had a similar problem. Not the autism-spectrum but the depression and ADHD. What helped was to focus on the environments that kept him engaged. He had been working in lab environments doing support functions, alone, in his closet/office, all day. Now he does technical sales of a sort, which means constantly talking to and being accountable to PEOPLE. That was key for him.

      I hope your husband can find something that fits his work style, regardless of the type of work. Good luck and GO YOU for being such a supportive partner!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        He’s been working with an occupational therapist for a few years now, and she thinks she has a career path for him that will work with his disabilities and use his skills. (He has a MBA from a top-10 program, etc.) He’s had several interviews over the last 3 years but hasn’t landed a job. A couple years ago, I realized he can’t fake-smile. Like, his expression shaking hands with someone new is either obviously fake or stern. His therapist wouldn’t have known because she’s blind.

        Because his therapist can’t fully coach him for job interviews, and also because she hasn’t been able to come up with any Plan B after 3 years of trying the one path she suggested, I pushed him to find a new therapist, just for a second opinion. Maybe I’m imagining the smile thing. Maybe his career options are super-limited. Anyway, he finally made that appointment this week, and we’ll see how it goes.

        He talks lots with his present therapist about his parents’ abuse. I don’t know what exactly he reported to her made the therapist finally consider the abuse could be hurting his career. Maybe it was just, “My wife says I don’t smile normally and thinks it’s because my parents emotionally abused me as a child and are themselves emotionally stunted.”

        Anyway, I’m really lucky that he got his evaluations and primary treatments before we met. He takes all his meds. He recognizes how messed-up his family is. Etc.

    • Amy March

      How many times does he get to lie to you about finances before you feel like you are worth enough to deserve counseling?

  • Ragnhild

    Is honeymoon photographing a thing? By some crazy coincidence we ended up meeting our wedding photographers on our honeymoon, on tiny Santorini in Greece!! They are very good friends and we hung out with them for a day, but it was just so surreal to be there together. And yes, they took some silly pictures. Also, my new husband have moved in to my apartment and we are getting settled. Being married is great!

    • Jessica

      That’s awesome, and honeymoon photoshoots should totally be a thing so you can get the before (stressed, happy, preoccupied) shots and the after (relaxed, happy, totally into only each other) shots.

    • macrain

      That’s awesome! You’ll have those forever.
      I fantasized about honeymooning in Greece, but it won’t be super warm when we are going. Sounds amazing!

      • Ragnhild

        It was definitely not a romantic shoot, but we will have some good memories and fun pictures!

  • Hannah

    I recognize that you can only post what is submitted, but in the theme of balance I’d love to see more smaller-budget weddings represented in the” How We” posts. Aesthetically and emotionally I love what has been posted so far, but from a practical planning standpoint I have a hard time taking inspiration from people with 6x the budget I could ever hope to have!

    • Sparkles

      I’m not sure if you’ve checked out the archives? There’s a whole section under real weddings for “super budget weddings”. And there have been some “How We” posts for lower budget weddings: http://apracticalwedding.com/2014/05/destination-wedding-atlanta/
      http://apracticalwedding.com/2014/04/budget-queens-new-york-wedding/.

      • Hannah

        I will admit to having a difficult time navigating the archives to find what I want, which is possibly my own short coming. I have seen the two that you linked though and enjoyed both immensely (though 5k for 13 guests still gives me a panicky “this will never be feasible for me” feeling because that wouldn’t even cover our immediate families!)

        The big budget weddings so completely and totally have a place on this site and deserve to be seen and talked about, in my bumbling around internet wedding sites I’ve found places where people are treated really grossly if their wedding approaches even 10k but I leave them quickly because they don’t have the wonderful community and the blessed sanity that APW does! However, I’ve noticed that there is a slant towards higher priced weddings and, well, balance!

        • Meg Keene

          Oh! There isn’t a slant towards higher priced weddings (and honestly, we don’t edit our weddings around the monthly theme, we just run them as we get them). We’ve got tons of low (sometimes WAY LOW) wedding budgets around here. What are you looking for help on? IE, what budget, what numbers, what kind of party? I’m sure we’ve got it.

          Edited to say, How We Did It is a really new feature. It’s only been around at all for a year, and only been heavily used since January. So we might not have a How We Did It on any particular thing (yet, give us time), but for sure we have the weddings.

    • Bets

      Me, too, I’m always astonished that a five digit wedding budget is still considered economical. I get that weddings often cost a lot more than the ones posted, but they’re still way beyond what I want to spend.

      • hey anonny nonny

        I’m not sure that anyone thinks that a five digit wedding budget is “economical” per se. I have a much higher wedding budget than most of the people who post here and we didn’t choose it because it’s sensible (or dare I say, practical…ha) but rather because it is an experience we are fortunate enough to be able to afford and one on which we personally place a lot of value, for various reasons. It’s obviously totally reasonable *not* to value that or think that we’re being wasteful–in many ways, we know that we are, since we could donate to charity or save that money for the future, etc., etc., etc. But fully selfishly, that is not our priority right now, even though they will be in the future.

        (And again, we recognize that the ability to even *make* that choice is a huuuuuuge privilege of our socioeconomic status.)

        This stuff is tough to talk about, so apologies in advance if I said anything ridiculous. And I definitely understand how a wedding with my budget or any of the other “bigger” budgets might not be helpful to people looking to spend <$10k.

      • Meg Keene

        We definitely don’t editorially think about wedding budgets as economical or not, we just try to share a LOT of different kinds of weddings, so there is no shame for people whatever they are doing.

        Economical is a word that’s hard to throw around, because there are SO many factors in play with money. Is $20K a tight budget for 150 people in Kansas? Probably not. Is is tight in NYC? For effing sure. The better question is always, is XX amount what you have to spend on a wedding? Because you have to work with what you have, and what works for you. Our job is to help you make a kick ass wedding from what you’ve got. Also, if you haven’t started with the book, please start there! The chapter I wrote on budgets walks you through the basics in the way a website never can. Then when you’re done with the chapter, come back, and you’ll be able to use the tools here better. Book! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738215155/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=aprawed-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399349&creativeASIN=0738215155%22%3EA%20Practical%20Wedding:%20Creative%20Solutions%20for%20a%20Beautiful,%20Affordable,%20and%20Meaningful%20Celebration%3C/a%3E

        • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

          “The better question is always, is XX amount what you have to spend on a wedding?”

          Can we take it a step further and say, “The better questions is always, is XX amount what you WANT to spend on a wedding?” In my mind there’s a slight distinction. In several instances, I’ve technically had the money for something that I’ve wanted (*cough* PEONIES! *cough*), but when I saw the price tag, it just wasn’t worth it to me. I’d rather NOT have the peonies and keep my money. I think there’s a lot of power in walking away from something that you can technically afford.

          • Meg Keene

            A distinction I cover at length in the book ;) But which I mean I agree, when not writing on the fly between other tasks!

    • La_Venus

      I think at one point there was an open thread on budgeting and people shared what they actually ended up spending and broke it down. I remember there being more variety in there.

    • Amanda

      Hello! I got married in May on a whopping budget of $2500.00 and it was quite lovely and I wouldn’t have done things any other way. I am MORE than happy to send an email saying how we did it and some photos if you’d like to see :) I am with you – it’s so hard to find real life examples of people pulling this off on the cheap. I think about submitting my wedding to APW but still worry it’s not “enough” even though I was there and it was plenty!

      • Alison O

        I suspect many folks, myself included, would love to hear/see more about your wedding. I think a lot of people worry about their wedding being “enough” in the eyes of people on the internet looking at your photos, but unless one is using his/her wedding (photos) to promote their personal brand/business as a florist or something, how it looks to other people, particularly those who aren’t even there and don’t know you, is irrelevant! To be able to see what might seem less than enough in some way(s) to outsiders but which you can attest to us felt like more than enough would probably reassure others who are doing things on the simpler side!

      • Sarah McClelland

        Amanda, submit it! I’d love to hear about it too!

    • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

      By traditional wedding standards, I have a small-ish budget (10K), but I LOVE seeing the more expensive weddings because I find them validating in a weird way. 10K feels like SO. MUCH. MONEY. to me, and I periodically feel like a big, fat failure for not being able to find a way to throw a fancier wedding than the one we’re having, especially because we have a small guest list (65 people). It feels like I must just not be thinking creatively enough or something … because again, 10K just seems like an astronomical amount of money to me. But then I read about a wedding like this, or the New England church wedding that was featured a few days ago, and I think “OK, it’s not just me. It really *does* cost way more than 10K to have a full bar, guest transportation, peonies, a sit-down dinner, etc.” To me, it’s interesting how different people make different choices when faced with sticker-shock. Some of us are willing to walk away from things like a sit-down dinner …. and some of us aren’t. The way I see it, that’s the main difference between a $500 wedding and a $30K wedding (because let’s face it, I’m pretty sure *everyone* is faced with sticker shock regardless of their budget).

      • Emily

        This was how I felt (wedding with 45 guests for $6500). I can’t believe I spent that much money on one gathering for one day, but realizing that this stuff does cost money (big money) is helpful. I also get reassurance from reminding myself what a big moment this one day was in my life.

    • Alice

      We just got married in June on a SUPER tiny budget (vet student in cross-Atlantic relationship = broke beyond belief). Not sure exactly what the final number was, since my parents picked up a few things for us, but I’m guessing somewhere in the range of $1200. Granted, the wedding itself was only 13 people, but we had a wonderful party a week later with more of our people there, probably 40-50. I’ll work on a How We Did It, since I am back in Scotland now, away from the new hubby, and needing distraction from the loneliness…

    • Josie

      A little late to the party but I found this blog really helpful in helping me envision my wedding with my budget ($5000, 35-40 people) http://www.intimateweddings.com/blog/

  • NrgGrl

    Only a few weeks away. And I’m not freaking out at all (YES I AM). The one thing I’m suddenly worried about is our decision to DJ our own wedding with an iPod. I go through these cyclical stages where I worry immensely about it, then read through all the APW posts about how it will totally work and then feel great about it again (until someone asks me where we found our DJ and I have to explain that we don’t have one, and then the cycle of worry starts all over).

    We’ve meticulously crafted the playlist to move the night along with the right “energy”, and we aren’t having a bouquet toss, special dances, or anything else that would require an emcee. Still, I could use some reassurance from those who’ve done this that it will all work out! We LOVE dancing, so this is very important! :)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      My cousins did this, and it worked great.

    • macrain

      I was in a wedding where the couple DJ’d their own wedding, and it was one of the most raucous dance floors I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It worked out amazingly. One thing they did that might ease your fears and worries- hire someone to monitor the ipod for the entire evening (you could also ask a friend to be the point person). This will make sure that all the transitions (from cocktail hour, to dinner, to dancing) go smoothly and that if something goes wrong, it’s not the bride or groom to go rushing over to fix it.

    • River

      It will work out! I’ve posted before about my best friend doing this, and the most important take away: get someone else to actually “man” the ipod at the wedding (my friends use my fiance). If you want to dance the night away, you’ll want someone else to be in charge of pressing play, skipping ahead (if needed) and keeping the crowd from trying to insert unwanted music. ;-)

    • Lisa

      I can’t wait to hear how this works for you! We have some other friends who are getting married around the same time as us who keep insisting there is no possible way to make it work without a DJ, which is making me super nervous because we don’t really have the money in the budget for a DJ!

    • Meg Keene

      Just follow along with this one and it will be fine: http://apracticalwedding.com/2009/09/djing-your-wedding-with-ipod/ If you dance (and have good amplification) everyone will dance.

      • NrgGrl

        Thanks! That’s the post I re-read every time I start to worry. :) It’s really helpful.

    • emilyg25

      We did it and it was awesome! If you’re dancing, your guests will dance. We didn’t have anyone man the laptop after we started the dancing playlist, no one snuck new songs or anything, the energy was off the hook. At one point, our guests started doing a conga line around the dance floor! Which is so out of character with our group! Have faith, my friend.

    • Violet

      I remember being somewhat worried beforehand too. It turned out AWESOME! Have fun!

  • Sarah

    Ugh, can I complain for a minute about the worst week I’ve had in recent memory?

    It started last Wednesday when I was cooking pan-seared salmon with herb butter…I blended the herbs and butter together with a hand blender, but the butter was sticking so I got in there with one of my fingers, and I STUPIDLY left my other finger on the trigger, and it WENT OFF with my finger in there. Cue panicked cursing, BLOOD EVERYWHERE (omg the blood), and insane pain (never felt anything so painful, all of the nerve endings!!) and the pad of my left index finger required four stitches.

    Thank god for my fiance because I could not have done any of this without him…I’m a horrible hypochondriac and I always think I’m dying.

    The series of events this week have been ridiculous…Cleaning it that night was horrible and crazy painful, the bandages kept sticking and pulling, then I completely lost feeling in it, pins and needles all the time, then I accidentally got water on it and it swelled up and the skin turned white, so I had to dry it out with a blow dryer for two hours which absolutely set all my nerves on edge (mentally and physically), then the broad spectrum antibiotics have caused a yeast infection and other digestive issues, and NOW, one of the stitches is embedded in my skin and won’t come out :( :( :( THIS EFFING SUCKS but its all my fault.

    Then, I didn’t get my summer bonus. I’ve worked at this law firm for three years (this week actually). I’ve had a great relationship with three of my attorneys for two years, and the other two only for a couple months but I thought things were fine. Then because of bureaucracy I didn’t get to talk to my supervisor about it and any issues for two days during which I was panicking that I was a horrible employee. I had never not gotten a scheduled bonus before and its pretty unusual here for people not to get them if they are a good employee. Then I find out its because three of my attorneys, including the partner I work for just…didn’t submit a review for me. My other two reviews were stellar. Now I’m angry that they forgot about me and that there’s no mechanism in place from HR to make sure everyone gets their reviews in. I really need the money because of my stupid finger.

    My anxiety this week is insane. I think its because of the injury and my weird hypochondria, because I spent most of last Friday convinced my finger was necrotic or that I had tetanus and would imminently die from lockjaw…or something. And then I freaked about my job.

    Oh and the feeling in my finger may never come back, or will come back partially, but we have no idea really. And the numbness is so distracting.

    I am so thankful that I’m going on vacation next week with my fiance. We’ve never been on a vacation alone together, so this will be like our practice honeymoon. We’re going to his parent’s beach house on Fripp Island in SC!! I really need the break from life. Adulthood is hard guys.

    • Amanda

      That all sounds awful. I hope the vacation is great!

      • Sarah

        Thank you! I need all the well wishes I can get right now, haha :)

    • La_Venus

      Well, this all sounds incredibly stressful! I hope vacation helps with healing and de-stressing.

    • StevenPortland

      Go talk to the attorneys and have them submit the reviews now. HR may complain, but speaking as a former law firm partner, it is the partners who own the firm and they can do anything they want. So explain the situation and how it caused you to lose the bonus and ask if they can be a champion to fix the wrong. And sorry about the finger — YIKES!

      • Sarah

        Thanks! I actually did email my partner boss about it, but he has been out of pocket for over a week because he’s going through the senate confirmation process to be an ambassador…bleh. He is usually really great about this stuff, he even lobbied to get me a 12% raise earlier this year. I think he just has too much crap going on right now to be attentive.

    • scw

      omg, I’m so sorry about the blender (and everything). in case you’re a ‘misery loves company’ kind of person, my mom got her arm caught in her kitchen aid a few weeks ago, with it on, and couldn’t get it off. she, luckily, didn’t suffer more than bruises (she had the big porcelain dough attachment on) – and, extra luckily, my dad had only just left for his run so he heard her yelling and came back to save her!

      • Sarah

        Omg! That sounds painful and bad, glad she didn’t suffer any other damage but bruises can be a bitch if they are deep. The silver lining to my situation is that I didn’t lose my finger, hahaha.

    • Ann

      My parents got my husband and I a really nice set of knives as a housewarming present when we moved in together. Exactly one week later, I sneezed while cutting an onion, and opened my finger *all the way to the bone.* Like a good recent college graduate without health insurance (but certified in wilderness first aid!), I cleaned it well, went to the pharmacy and found some butterfly bandages, and other appropriate bandages. It look two or three days to stop bleeding and went through various stages of gnarly healing, but at no point showed signs of infection. Years later, I have only a small scar, but I do have limited feeling in that finger. I just say that that’s what the other nine are for! If the feeling doesn’t come back, you will get used to it, I promise. If the wound starts to itch that can actually be a good sign of nerves coming back to life.

      I hope you have a good vacation, and that the finger heals well.

      [And can I say that I am jealous that your fiance is the calm one? My husband FREAKS OUT whenever I am hurt and is always convinced I am dying. And I'm clumsy, so it happens a lot. But I have a lot of first aid training. The last time I cut myself badly--not to the bone badly--I actually had to yell "I can't fucking stop the bleeding and calm you down at the same time. So please, let me treat my wound. Then I will deal with your worry." It is SO STRESSFUL to deal with his stress over my medical problems. I am still very, very grateful that the one time I had a life threatening health problem--anaphylactic shock is no fun, ya'll--I was on another continent without him. Because that time I was like "OH SHIT I KNOW WHAT THIS IS AND I'M IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY AND MIGHT DIE!!" and I could not have dealt with him freaking out too. It makes me worried about future pregnancy/child birth...]

    • Amy March

      I think you’re giving yourself too hard of a time re: the hypochondria. You’re worried about your finger falling off and dying because earlier this week you nearly cut it off! That’s a pretty reasonable worry.

      And as an attorney, if one of my support staff didn’t get a bonus because I failed to complete her review I would be cutting her a personal check and taking it up with the firm myself.

  • Nell

    My mom is coming in from out of town and we are going DRESS SHOPPING for the first time! I’m pretty petrified. I know that dress shopping with me is something she has looked forward to ever since I was a little girl – and I want the experience to live up to her expectations. What if the salespeople are mean? What if everything is over priced? What if my mom and I just don’t agree on what looks good on me?

    I’m taking biiiig breaths and trying to remember that this day probably isn’t going to be about the dress, it’s going to be about bonding with my mom. Anyone have any advice for shopping with moms?

    • macrain

      The best advice I can give you: if you need a time out, TAKE A TIME OUT. :) If you don’t like something, say you need to think about it. Time is your friend. Good luck!

      • JSwen

        Yes! We did coffee, lunch, and then a beer between the appointments. Sustenance is essential when you can get hangry and fatigued, like myself.

    • Nicole

      I think it’s hard to give advice about moms since they are so variable. One of my best friends had a mom that was very critical so we did a lot of gameplanning. I shopped with my mom and FMIL together and they were both super supportive and sweet. I guess I would say generally, if you have a strong relationship, share with her the things you’re nervous about and any ideas you have about the dress. Then she can be helpful AND you can remind her if your visions start to stray, “remember, it was important to me to have a dress that….and it doesn’t feel like this one does that, even though you really like it.” And she can also help you say, “this is a beautiful dress and it….”

      • JSwen

        I did it with my mom and FMIL as well! I thought they would get all sappy but instead, they were making fun of all of the ugly gowns being tried on by other brides. Out of control.

    • anonpsu

      I had a lot of expectations about dress shopping, and I assure you, everything will go fine! Even if something does go wrong with the shopping part (pricey dresses, mean salesperson, just can’t find what you like), you and your mom can go get a cocktail and laugh about it. I was personally worried because my mom and I have different styles and she did fall in love with a dress that I liked, but wasn’t the one. But most mom’s know that it’s YOUR opinion that matters and they will not force the issue. It really is a fun bonding experience, so good luck!

    • JSwen

      I prepared my mom by sending lots of pictures of crazy things that I liked so she’d be ready for non-traditional dresses. Also, I was worried that she would want to see me in a princess gown and my fiance mentioned to her, “Don’t let J get a foofy dress!” That helped. My advice is to try on every kind of dress shape and discuss them until you narrow it down. If one that your mom loves doesn’t work for you, there will be other options. You’ll be saying “no” a lot!

      Sales people… some are helpful. Some are not. I suppose some can be mean but I didn’t run into any – I mean, they want to make a sale, right? There are good articles in the archive on this topic.

    • Megan

      Have fun! Dress shopping was so scary to me. It felt like a lot of pressure. We invited my FMIL and she was so thrilled to be invited but I think I would have felt less overwhelmed if it was just my mom and my sister (but I don’t regret asking her to come). Just know that you don’t have to rush into any decisions (unless you’re doing it at the last minute…). Everyone came in from out of town to shop with me for a weekend but I didn’t end up buying anything then. I ended up trying on my future dress on a follow up trip with a couple of friends and made the decision to buy it when I was all by myself (that was scary!).

    • Erin

      I spent a sleepless night on this issue and came up with this solution, which worked out well. I got my 2 most supportive friends and went on a stealth trip to David’s Bridal (at the time I was determined not to buy my dress there). This way,I was able to get comfortable with the wedding dress shopping experience without the added pressure of pleasing Mom on the first try. The sales associates were sweet and enthusiastic, and they have tricks for getting you enough of the way into dresses that aren’t your size (whether they are too big or too small) so you can see yourself in them and feel confident that it will look great if you order it in your real size. I felt a little bit guilty sneaking around, but in the end it was better for our relationship for me to go shopping with her with confidence instead of being on edge and at risk for fighting or crying. When I went with her, I knew what shapes looked good on me and asked the sales people to pull those first. And when I found the one, she, my best friend and I all knew it and had that great bonding moment. Good luck and try not to worry!

  • Anon

    Sort of an odd question: my fiancé and I met while working on our school newspaper in high school, and remained close throughout college – we wound up in the same city post-graduation and lo and behold are getting married. In college, every week we’d send the other a copy of our college paper with notes/stories written in the margins; we both kept the ones the other sent so have dozens of these papers (plus ones we worked on together in high school). Can any of you think of a way to incorporate the best of these into the wedding decor somehow? I was thinking of leaving some on the tables or hanging them somehow. They’re not particularly photogenic but are a pretty cute representation of our relationship. Thanks all!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      If you have a slideshow, you could scan several pages and display them. The problem with leaving them on tables is both indicating they’re precious and making them readable. Maybe you could have just certain stories copied and displayed on the tables? I’d be worried that any newspaper left on a banquet table will get trashed, but if you put it in a frame or something, people can’t read beyond the front page.

    • Nell

      Put in cheap Ikea frames (or scan and print) – then write table numbers on the frames.

    • Jess

      I would think you probably don’t want to put it on tables with food/drinks – unless you don’t mind people spilling on them or not getting them all back at the end of the night.

      If you’re doing a guest book / escort cards / other table with pictures that might be a safer bet! You could scatter them flat, get a couple of cardstock sheets to support them in plate stands/easels, and maybe get a couple risers to give it some height variation.

    • Lauren from NH

      Maybe if you have/find a coffee table with a glass top you could create a little sitting area with the pages safely beneath the glass. Or there could be some good options on etsy. Like this shop…

      https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSalvageSurprise?ref=l2-shopheader-name

      • La_Venus

        That’s cool! Or do something like laminated copies as coasters or as part of your centerpieces or something. If you do chose to incorporate them, mention it to people or have a few designated people explain it and point it out on the day of. We worked really hard on these really meaningful centerpieces and then didn’t actually tell anyone so to our guests it just looked like boxes. Lesson learned.

    • JSwen

      You could hang a string across a wall and clip pages to it with teeny tiny binder clips. It would look like paper bunting from far away but actually be interesting to look at.

    • Ariel

      What if you made copies of the pages and made them into a bunting or garlands? I made paper heart garlands to hang from the arch that we got married under – some of the hearts were from leftover scrapbooking paper that I used when I proposed to my husband. No pro pics of it yet, but this shows what I’m talking about.

  • K.

    We are doing our best to create an inclusive wedding menu with our venue, with a major focus on having lots of gluten free options (since I’m celiac and so is a lot of my family, as to be expected) as well as vegetarian options (FSIL, bridesmaid, lots of friends, etc). The GF stuff is actually pretty easy with our main entrees — lots of seafood and meat. And right now we have fresh vegetables, potato martinis, mixed salad, and mac and cheese stations, as well as caprese hors d’oeuvres for the vegetarians. Additionally, though, we’d also like to have stuff available for our vegan family members and friends (a very small number, but definitely there).

    Would it be okay if we just provided the fresh veggies, mixed salad, chocolate covered strawberries (maybe, if the chocolate is vegan), and a special hors d’oeuvre? Is that enough to make people feel like they were included and able to have a good meal? I know a big complaint with vegans is that they only ever get to have salads at weddings, but I don’t think we can budget special meals, especially since gluten free is a much bigger concern. Any vegans out there who can share their experience dealing with wedding buffets and what would have helped?

    • Sparkles

      One of my vegetarian friends made the point when we were deciding on meal options that when she goes to weddings there was never enough vegetarian/vegan protein options, so she always leaves hungry. A vegan protein option will also cover your vegetarian bases.

      • K.

        Unfortunately, cheese is the only veggie protein offered by my venue for stations. If they had more explicitly vegan options, I would definitely utilize them!

      • veg lady

        This. this, this. Vegetarians and vegans need protein too. There are a lot of options beyond tofu….edamame, eggs (for veggies, not vegans), seitan, tempeh, cheese, chickpeas, nuts, etc. There are also a ton of new veg proteins on the market (gardein, etc) that a caterer might not know about but could be open to using if told.

    • Meg

      Any chance you can make the stuff for the vegetarians vegan to kill two birds with one stone?

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

        YES! That’s what I’m saying! :) :) :) Right???

    • Bets

      instead of mac ‘n’ cheese, if you went with a tomato based sauce (maybe with cheese toppings on the side) you’d have vegan instead of vegetarian.

    • La_Venus

      We did a yam polenta rosemary side dish that was vegan and gluten free. It was also pretty filling, if I remember correctly. And who could turn down some fancy hummus? We also did a stuffed mushroom appetizer, which could probably be done veganly. Whether or not there is an outright protein option, I think variety helps a lot.

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

        HOLY SHIT THAT SOUNDS AMAZING. DROOLING RIGHT NOW. Those are like all my favorite things. YOU GO GIRL.

        • La_Venus

          Our food was pretty amazing. It was easily the most fun part for me to plan. I just had like a 20 minute phone conversation with our chef (who was also the farmer and owner of the farm that was our venue) and picked stuff the he suggested entirely based on whether or not I wanted to eat it at that moment. I was super hungry so we ended up with like 7 appetizers. It was perfect. And delicious. And gluten-free, fully vegetarian, and mostly vegan.

    • Nicole

      I think most people with restricted diets are used to it and expect it. That said, as a mostly vegetarian, I’m actually frequently disappointed that the veggie options are salad and a (often pretty bland and very rich) pasta dish. Are you excited about the Mac n Cheese? Because if not, I’d agree with a bunch of the other commenters who suggested an interesting veggie/vegan entree. Although mac n cheese stations sound better than what I usually end up having – if they’re stations, can there be any plain pasta without cheese?

      All that said, back to my first sentence…everyone there will be happy to be celebrating at your wedding, so don’t kill yourselves with stress over it!

      Also – did you know you can get gf/vegan cupcakes now!?

      • K.

        That’s helpful! I went with mac and cheese because we also have a lot of picky eaters who loooooove mac and cheese–but most of them would probably be happy with the meat option, so switching to a red sauce would be fine! And yes, I wish there was a protein option, but unfortunately my venue doesn’t offer any tofu based things.

        • Nicole

          We’re all working within the confines of our venues. That said – tofu isn’t the only option. Someone mentioned hummus, and other things with beans are good sources of hummus. It doesn’t have to be an “entree” either. At our venue, we’re able to choose from a number of salads and we’re doing extra salads because they have quinoa salads and pasta salads, and bean salads. I’ll often skip the creamy pasta dish at weddings when there’s enough salad that isn’t just lettuce.

          But – you might not have that option. And it sounds like you’re being really thoughtful and like your wedding will be wonderful!! I only bring it up because I’ve noticed people go right to tofu when you ask about veggie stuff and I sometimes find tofu-free is even better. I cook a lot and I never use tofu, but I think people who aren’t cooking vegetarian aren’t always sure what to do.

          Also, who is more difficult to please, your vegan guests, or the picky ones you know will like mac and cheese? Maybe it’s worth having the mac and cheese! Will your venue do a tray of pasta without cheese that your vegan friends could mix with veggies and enjoy?

    • StevenPortland

      We are doing stuffed bell peppers as one of our vegetable dishes so that should serve like a main dish for the vegetarians (myself included). I went to a bachelor party once at a nice sushi place and since I didn’t have any voice in the ordering, I ate exactly one piece of veggie sushi and then paid over $70. uggg.

      • ART

        i feel ya. i hate going for sushi as a non-sushi eater. i try to go along with it because i don’t want to be the stick in the mud that’s like “oh i don’t like it, let’s plan around me instead,” but i’ve had to get really good about saying “i’m ordering this tempura appetizer and that’s IT and that’s what i’m paying for” – except at a party where you’re pitching in for some honoree, that’s way harder to do :(

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

        Your sushi experience sounds like what would be my nightmare of a night out. :( I avoid tapas with groups for that same reason.

    • Kirstin

      I didn’t have to accommodate vegans, but similarly had a GF menu to plan for 3-4 people. I actually just sent the menu to my guests that I knew would need accommodations and enlisted their help directly. I let them know that I wanted to make sure they would have enough to eat but needed their help to know what to ask for. They appreciated the thoughtfulness and effort a lot, and knew that I was doing my best with limited options. I think it was also helpful for them to know what to expect ahead of time. One friend said it’s actually harder when she doesn’t know if she is going to be hungry because there aren’t enough choices, and that she doesn’t mind packing a snack or something of her own, if needed. I say ask ‘em!

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

      To me, if you are going to go vegetarian, you might as well go vegan – and I mean for menu items, not in life, ha. As a vegan, it’s personally frustrating (not that you are frustrated at the person or place, its just that it gets OLD) when things are vegetarian but THIS CLOSE to vegan. The thing is, anyone can eat food that is vegan (for the most part), so “vegan food” is really just….food. So if you are thinking of including menu items to cover those who have oppositions to eating animal products, why not just go the full yard and then you don’t have to worry? This is just my opinion here, but to me it’s just easier to go the whole way. Are you having the reception somewhere that is well versed in the veg world of food? The food at our wedding was all vegan except for a fish entree option (and only the fish part was not vegan, obviously) and there was cheese and shrimp skewers at cocktail hour. That’s just my two cents ;) Should I mention that I’m vegan? ;) good luck!

    • Kayjayoh

      We went all vegetarian (pizzas) with two vegan pizzas and four small (rather than large, as the rest were) GF pizzas. We also paid attention to the items that contained nuts (pesto) and labeled them. I think everyone was suitably fed. However, that was when everything was vegetarian. I can see the point that others are raising, that it might make sense to go vegan with the veg selections.

    • Amy March

      I think you need to call your venue back and tell them that you require a vegan entree. Vegetables and salad isn’t a meal.

  • River

    APWers, thank you so much for your very very helpful comments last week, regarding our engagement photos and maybe choosing a new photographer. We did end up speaking to the company directly instead of the photographer (in part because she didn’t respond to our emails, and in part because I was more comfortable this way). The company has been amazing. It’s peak wedding season (duh) so it took them a few days to get back to me after passing my situation up the chain, but I just got off of the phone with their manager. They will be helping us to pick a new photographer and including a trial shoot with whomever we select. I am cautiously optimistic!

    Also, we (finally!) purchased our S.T.D.s!! Really excited to see them next week :-) Now we just need track down addresses :-/

    • Em(ily)

      So glad to know you got some resolution to your problem! Hopefully the new photographer is a better fit for you both.

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

      Just a tip on the addresses part – I discovered Postable.com and we’re using that to gather and organize the addresses. You set up an account and then send your personalized link to everyone, and they fill in their info. I was able to send a couple mass emails/FB messages and get 90% of the addresses we needed. And best part, it’s free!

  • JSwen

    I got and accepted a job offer YESTERDAY. Vendor balances are paid TODAY. Family starts arriving TOMORROW. ,The dress will *hopefully* be done MONDAY (after needing further fixing to a gaping neckline)…

    Just a shout-out to the ladies who are dealing with so many little details! Oh and if anyone finds my wedding zen over the next week, please let me know because I can’t find it!

    • River

      CONGRATULATIONS on the job!! And good luck with the wedding zen ;-)

    • jashshea

      You got this!

    • Em(ily)

      Wow so exciting!! I too am (im)patiently awaiting this zen I hear talk of, hope you find yours soon!

    • scw

      I’m so excited to hear from you on the other side! hope it goes well and you find that zen.

    • Delanie

      Congratulations! It’s all falling into place. Maybe you don’t have the wedding zen (yet!) but you definitely have some good vibes working in your favour!

  • MC

    First: My fiance has a beard and a million people sent me this link this week: http://mic.com/articles/93600/this-is-the-latest-bizarre-viral-male-fashion-trend

    Second: We sent out invites about two weeks ago and we’ve steadily been getting responses in the mail since! It is the BEST because A) I am a huge lover of snail mail and I check the mail every day without fail, so actually getting a ton of mail that’s not junk is really great, and B) people are excited about our wedding and it’s making me excited!!!

    Now I’m trying to balance the excitement of having everyone come with the fear that EVERYONE will actually come and we will have to increase our budget and also trying not to be too pre-sad about our loved ones that probably can’t make it. And I’m not looking forward to contacting everyone that doesn’t RSVP by the deadline… but for now it is pretty fun.

    • scw

      someone just told me that 198 of her 200 invitees attended the wedding. the only couple that missed it did so because the wife was literally in the hospital giving birth. can you imagine! I’m sure that won’t happen to either of us, but I totally understand your fear!

      • Nicole

        Oh my gosh! That’s incredible! I was totally freaked out about numbers too. We have had a really great response and also, once people started RSVP’ing no, we decided we could invite a few more people that we had been on the fence about. I remember being so worried and I’m just here to say, for us, it totally worked out.

      • MC

        OMG. That is the kind of scenario that turns my fiance and I into major stressballs. Never mind that we have already had more than 2 people RSVP “no,” and will definitely have more. I guess it just comes down to knowing your people!

    • Em(ily)

      The flurry of prompt responses was my favorite part of wedding planning so far, each one felt like a hug!
      My deadline is 2 days away, so we’re getting to the less-fun part, in which I expectantly check the mail each day and try not to be too disappointed when there are no new cards to open.

    • Sparkles

      That beard link is amaze-balls! My partner has a beard; we’re doing a photo shoot this weekend for SURE!

    • Delanie

      We do have a shortlist of ‘couldn’t quite fit them in the original 70′ invitees, and I’m not sure if I want the original 70 to all come or have a few say no so I can send out a second round!

  • anon today

    I changed my name with social security this week, DMV is next week. I like having my husband’s name, and I know he is really touched (rather than just assuming I would change it), but part of me is sad EVEN THOUGH I did not like or feel family attachment to my maiden name. I sort of wish that I’d changed it to my mother’s maiden name, but that would have cost WAY more in time and money (per my state’s laws), and probably would have caused a rift with my dad that might be the nail in the coffin on our relationship that I’m not really ready for. I wish I’d had a maiden name I felt better about, as now I’m a bit jealous of all the cool ladies who have kept theirs. It’s a weird feeling.

    • JSwen

      A name change is going to be hard. As much as we don’t consider it to be part our identity, it’s what people have been calling us for our whole lives. I’m keeping my name… I don’t know if it is cool or not but I just couldn’t come up with a reason to change it (instead of asking why should I keep it). That said, our state’s laws are lax so we can create a family name in the future if we want to. I don’t have any advice for you on your feelings except that they are warranted and not weird!

      • genevathene

        Do you mind sharing what state that is? I live in California now, but we’re getting married in Michigan. We’re actually hoping to take on a new family name (just tack it on as a second last name for both of us) once we have kids, but it seems like such a daunting process legally!

        • anon

          I know several people who have done this in CA and it required several steps but wasn’t hard.

        • JSwen

          Oregon. It is pretty lax with name changes. Probably for all of the teenagers who want to change their name from Feather to Rachel. ;)

      • Delanie

        After reading the suggestion here at APW the other week, I’ve decided to take my maiden name as middle name and add my fiancees surname. It’s an important distinction to me that I’m adding a name, not changing it. I went round and about on the issue, but I want to have the same surname as any future kids, and that will be his. Personally, I feel like father’s rights still lag behind mother’s and a patriarchal surname is something I’m happy to give.

      • anon today

        yeah, in my case it’s more that I’ve never had a last name that was connected to my identity, but I wish I had, because then I’d have a reason to keep it, instead of a reason to (finally) ditch it.

    • La_Venus

      I have felt the same! Growing up I always wanted my Mom’s last name (she didn’t change hers), but I thought that would be too much of an insult to my Dad and would take too much explanation. I changed my name when we got married and I feel so liberated from my Dad’s name, it is wonderful. At the same time, reading that article about kid’s last names I was wishing I could do that. We had already planned to give them my Mom’s last name as their middle name (as it is for my brother and myself), which still feels really good.

  • scw

    picked my computer up at the genius bar yesterday after a complete overhaul, and am so excited that I can fully participate in happy hour this week (this time last week, my computer could barely be moved, let alone handle discus!). of course, we have friends coming over for dinner tonight, so I’m commenting between kitchen prep tasks.

    our invitation suite shipped this morning and will be here early next week. I’m nervous, but very excited, to see the final result. I designed the whole thing with vintage postcards from my hometown and wedding location, delaware water gap. in addition to postcards of the gap itself, I used one of our venue and another of the building where the after party is being held (a little inn/jazz club that we’re renting out for the weekend for the bridal party). the majority of the guests are coming from out of town, so we’re using the invitation suite as a way to introduce our guests to the area. if anyone used vistaprint for matte postcards/invitations and they turned out wonderfully, speak up and ease my mind! the good news is that we spent less than half of what we budgeted, so it’s not the end of the world if something needs to be redone.

    what I’m having trouble with right now is finding dresses for my flower girl (will be eight when the wedding happens) and junior bridesmaid (will be eleven). where are all the hip clothes for kids that age?

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

      awww kitchen prep tasks? How fun! Sounds like a fun evening ahead :)
      and holy shit look at you go on the invites.
      we randomly found our flower girl’s dress at target for 16 dollars like two weeks before the wedding. But, she was 2, so it was a bit easier and cheaper ;)

      • scw

        I totally just want to take my nieces (and nephews) to target a few weeks before the wedding and let them buy whatever makes them feel awesome, but no one else in the family is ok with the kids being dressed like superheroes.

    • Lindsey d.

      I got my dresses for my flower girls (7 & 5.5) on Zara.com. Bonus that they were $20/each. I really wanted simple and I felt they fit the bill, but Zara definitely has some cooler stuff. Warning, Zara runs small. My girls are on the sturdy side. I think the 7-year-old ended up in an 11-12 and the 5-year-old in a 9-10.

      • scw

        those are so sweet. love them. thanks for the tip on sizing!

      • Sparkles

        I adore their sparkle flats! My niece has a similar pair and I get all mushy when I see her tiny feet running around in them.

    • Delanie

      Your invitation suite sounds incredible! I’m in the waiting for delivery phase too and it’s the worst. I sent them my precious designed invitation and I want to see they did it justice! ;)

  • laurasmash

    Officially starting to freak out about wedding planning. We are planning to get married in February (we don’t want a super long engagement, we’ve been together for 7 years already so we wanna tie the knot soon!) and I was just ready to call the venue to secure the date. But then I heard that their food is… meh. I can’t go there to try it because we are having the wedding in our hometown on the other side of the country from where we live. I love this venue and it is beautiful and historic and meaningful. But now I’m going into that worry spiral where I think our wedding will be terrible and the food will be bad and our guests will be bored, etc etc

    • Em(ily)

      Consider the source? Who’s saying the food sucks? It might be perfectly adequate, if less than spectacular. Is culinary delight really high on your priorities? No place will be perfect, while I’m not suggesting decent food is unimportant, there likely will be a compromise in ideals whichever venue you end up with.

    • scw

      welcome to freak out #1! it will be ok. beautiful and historical and meaningful trumps a not-so-great meal, in my opinion (honestly, I have never had fabulous food at a wedding. no one is attending your wedding for the food).

      fwiw, we were together almost seven years when we got engaged and at first I felt a lot of pressure to get married right away. we opted for a seventeen month engagement instead, for a number of reasons, and I’m SO glad we did. I’m not saying push your date back, but if you’re that worried about the food it might be an option.

    • Nell

      I am writing this as a person who LOVES food, and who decided to make food the #1 most important thing at her wedding. . .

      The food doesn’t matter.

      It’ll be fine! As long as these guys don’t have a reputation for poisoning guests, it’ll probably totally work out. I’m always pleasantly surprised when the food at my friends’ weddings is really good – but I don’t ever expect it to be a gourmet experience to write home about. You could make food the focus of the rehearsal dinner or the breakfast the next day. No big deal!

    • Ellen

      Before starting planning, someone advised me that guests will remember the food if, on a ten point scale, they’d rate it a 1 or a 10. Otherwise, it’ll be fine and regardless of its quality, it’s not what anyone will remember from your wedding. To me that meant, in a wedding-planning process where I had limited time to devote to things and needed to prioritize, once I found food that was going to be fine, I stopped worrying about it and spent my time on other things that will hopefully make more of a difference to and impression on guests. Unless 10/10 food is important to you for some reason (and it’s achievable, within budget, etc), don’t worry about it–people will eat what they’re served, feel fine about it, and come away remembering all of the other wonderful parts of your wedding.

    • anon

      I’m a serious foodie and our venue’s food was meh. The setting was perfect in every other way, though. In the end it was worth the compromise. We had an amazing experience.

  • Alyssa M

    So that article in the atlantic has TOTALLY freaked me out about raising a child in this world… How much of my childhood was spent running off to the neighborhood park with my friends??? And now that’s grounds for ARREST!?!?!? That’s insane… completely insane… Are kids allowed to go ride bikes anymore?

    Apparently things that make total parenting sense to me would risk losing my kids…

    • Jessica

      I understand the concern of the other parents, but so not enough to call the cops. That’s one of those situations where I would have waited until the mother got there and talked with her about my concerns and probably would have offered to look after the girl while she was at the park. There is no reason that I know of that the family should have been broken up.

    • Jess

      We had a park 2 blocks from my house growing up – we would head over there and play in the sandlot after we were like 10. There was a ditch that ran behind my day care that we would “explore” (Walk along all the way down to the main road and back, like a mile) after like 5. Running around the neighborhood moderately unsupervised? Standard.

      I can’t imagine what we would have done if we couldn’t do those things – I guess I get why kids play video games so much now.

      • Alyssa M

        SO MUCH THIS

        We had our boundaries (no further than the firehouse in the north, the park in the south, the main road to the west, or the drainage ditch to the east), and Mom had to be told before we entered anybodies house, but beyond that all the neighborhood kids ran around in packs building forts and putting on plays in drainage ditches. And we lived in the dessert… with cacti and snakes.

      • Ann

        Without realizing it, I managed to buy a house in a neighborhood where this still happens. On one of my post signing papers, pre closing visits, there were a ton of kids kicking a ball around on the street (blocking in my car). A woman across the street introduced herself and told the kids to get out of the road for a minute. I asked if any of them were hers. She said “Nope. No kids here. But I recognize… most of them.” Being in a neighborhood with free roaming kids (of different backgrounds/races) is really awesome (and I don’t even have kids myself) and sadly rare.

    • http://kara-tanoue.blogspot.com/ Kara T

      My cousins and I used to run off into the woods together in the summers. One time we got so lost we had to hitch a ride back to our neighborhood with a friendly college students. No police were called at any time. I really think that exploring on one’s own (in a relatively safe area) is a formative part of childhood.

    • Tweedle-Dee

      I second this. So many things freak me out – kids getting their home packed lunches taken away from them because they didn’t meet the federal guidelines, the current hysteria over leaving kids in the car for two minutes, and now, getting effing arrested for your kid free-ranging it in the park? It’s a damn miracle CPS wasn’t called during my childhood…

    • Jenn

      Agreed. I started walking home from school and being alone in the house in 3rd grade, though my older brothers were home soon after, and we called my mom at work when we got home. I learned in college that being a latchkey kid was a thing, that I was one, and it’s apparently controversial.

  • NicoleT

    Just finished reading the article about having the mother’s last name. I have my mom’s last name, and half of the stuff the author said friends and family were concerned about (like getting teased on the playground) never happened to me. Most of my conversations went like this (when I was younger and older): “You have your mom’s last name?” “Yeah, my parents thought it sounded better.” “Oh, cool.” And that was the extent of it. My kids unfortunately will not have my last name. My FH is not down with that and it makes me a little sad, but I’m not changing my name. My name is going to be associated with Doctor and I’m just going to try and be a kickass one.

    Does anyone else feel sometimes like their identity is going to get swallowed up in marriage and your kids are going to get more of your husband’s traditions and not enough of yours?

    • Lauren from NH

      What is right for your family and your marriage is never wrong, but I would personally go to war over this. If we have kids the first one out is having my name. If there is a next one and he wants it to have his name we can discuss it and that’s probably what we will do. Like the article says, I would be the one giving birth and I want a whole lot of credit for that. And starting a matrilineage is something I would be happy to go all radical for.

      • Jessica

        agreed x10,000

    • emilyg25

      We both kept our last names and are hyphenating for our kid. That way, s/he gets both! If anything, our kid might get more of my traditions because I care a lot more about tradition than my husband and we’re closer to my family (though geographically closer to his). Is your FH at least open to giving kids your name as a middle name?

      • NicoleT

        Yeah, he’s agreed that we can give our kids my last name as one of their middle names (he’s Jewish, so he wants them to have a Jewish middle name as well). He’s promised me that the kids will have a lot of my traditions and he’s very willing to make sure that they do, but I still get worried. This probably stems from me agreeing to convert. He’s agreed to still do Easter and Christmas. He wants us to be a unified family and to use his name in some way. Some days, I’m okay with it, and some days, I just freak the hell out.

        • enfp

          This is a hard issue because it’s so emotional for everyone involved. It was very important to my partner that we (and hypothetical future children) all share the same family name. I was also adamant that I have the opportunity to pass my last name on to our hypothetical future children. Like Lauren from NH this was an issue I was prepared to fight for, I feel strongly that the assumption that children take the father’s name is based on male privilege and needs to be challenged, but happily I didn’t have to. We agreed that we would both hyphenate our names. That way, we all have the same family name, and we both get to pass our names to any children. A lot of people seem to hate on hyphenation, it’s certainly not for everyone, but for us it resolved this emotional dilemma nicely. The fact that he was willing to hyphenate his name was such a game changer for me, it made me feel great about our unified family and secure that we’d both be passing on our traditions to any children.

          • ASH

            We’re both going to hyphenate our names too! Hoping it’s not too hard to do.

          • Emma

            I would love to have an option like this, but I’m already hyphenated! You really can’t add a third name to a hyphen or use a hyphenated name for a middle name. And my last name already doesn’t include my stepmom! At this point, I think I’ll probably change my name because it’s just easiest (and my partner also feels strongly about continuing his family name, and I feel strongly about our family having the same last name). I wish I could find a way to incorporate my family’s names, but I just can’t see how. At least we have plenty of time to figure out!

          • enfp

            Yeah, that’s a tough one. Our plan is to encourage our kids to keep my name if they are female and my partner’s name if they are male, and consider hyphenating with their partner (a tradition borrowed from cultures where kids usually have two last names, one from each parent). We hope that this strategy will keep hyphenation as an option for our future children to consider, but we’ll see! It’s not perfect, and ultimately you are right that one person just can’t carry on ALL the names. Good luck with your decision, I hope you find a solution you and your partner both feel good about!

    • Bets

      “Does anyone else feel sometimes like their identity is going to get
      swallowed up in marriage and your kids are going to get more of your
      husband’s traditions and not enough of yours?”

      yes, totally. i’m keeping my last name, and my fiance says he’s okay with that but i think a part of him is disappointed that i’m not taking his. our kids will have his as a concession to that, and to not being totally unconventional. it does bother me that we (women) are the ones who have to make that concession as opposed to it being an open conversation for all couples.

      but ultimately i’m more concerned about cultural traditions than surnames, since i’m from an ethnic minority and we’re from different countries. there are actually a ton of cultural differences when i begin to imagine life as a family, traditions that didn’t matter when it was just us as vagabond twenty-somethings, but that have become increasingly important to me as i fear that they might be lost in a mixed-race family.

      • Jade

        ” traditions that didn’t matter when it was just us as vagabond
        twenty-somethings, but that have become increasingly important to me as i
        fear that they might be lost in a mixed-race family.”

        THIS, so hard. I’m not particularly religious or in touch with my culture of origin, but I’m marrying into a family that has sucked me into their world (in a good way) but it makes me wonder how hard I will have to work to teach my potential future children about my roots, which are their roots.

    • Caroline

      I don’t feel like my identity is being swallowed, and honestly, we’re going to end up passing on more of my traditions. We agreed to raise our kids Jewish (with no other religions in the home), and my family is near while his is far, so they will get my traditions. We’re both keeping our names but the name(s) for the kids is REALLY hard. I just don’t know. All the options suck so much.
      -hyphenating: our names are WAY too long to hyphenate, and too hard to spell. If we give the kids the types of Hebrew, non-angelicised names I would like, I think hyphenating would be cruelty. (To have a foreign first name, and a 16 letter hyphenated name
      composed of two difficult names is just too much.)
      -my name: he is the last last boy of his name who might have kids. And although it’s sexist, it is also true that that mostly likely means if our kids don’t have his name, it probably dies. And it is a cool weird name, and one he takes a lot of pride in. Although, the big thing is I feel like he wouldn’t even consider it.
      -his name: there’s the patriarchal thing. Plus, honestly, his family is so dysfunctional and his extended family’s dynamics are awful, and it’s not a legacy that I feel good about passing on to our kids. We’ve had some real troubles with them in regards to the wedding. Not because they don’t care, they love us dearly, but they also are a mess, in ways that lead them to really let us down, time and again, and there are a lot of really awful family dynamics. Right now, I’m so mad I’m in a “No way are they getting my kids named after them!”, but realistically, probably at least some kids will be named after them.
      -alternate, one kid his name, one kid my name: Quite probably the solution we will choose. That said, I LOVE having the same name as my sister, and it’s kind of sad that our kids might not get to have that shared name.

      I don’t really see other options besides that, and those feel really subpar. We’ll probably end up either giving the kids his name, or alternating. The one thing that makes me feel a little better about maybe giving them his name is that our kids will also have hebrew names, which list your parentage. But since we’re interfaith, I’m not really sure how it works, but I’m guessing their hebrew names will only incorporate my name. (Since he doesn’t have a hebrew name, and hebrew names trace Jewish lineages, and all). Not sure yet. But if their hebrew names are only my name, I will probably give in and give this kids his name as a last name and mine as a middle name.

      Of course, if he phrased it as “let’s discuss whose name the kids are getting” rather than assuming that they are either hyphenated or get his name but just mine is out of the picture, I’d be a lot happier about it.

    • Ann

      Not long after my husband and I started dating, we had a last name conversation. Given that his mom kept her name and he has his dads, he always assumed it was a given that 1) a future wife of his would keep her name and 2) any future children would have his name. Both 1 and 2 were presented as NON-NEGOTIABLE. I got all indignant at him about 1 being a choice and 2 being totally patriarchal. Cue first big fight. He did not budge. For years, I worked to resign myself to the fact that I wouldn’t pass on my name to kids.

      We *finally* talked about it again right before the wedding. Seven years later, he is 100% open to kids having my last name, provided they get an unusual first name (he has very unusual first and last names, my last name is super common). So positions can change and soften over time. If you’re planning on waiting a while before having kids, you can table the conversation for now. You may find that you don’t have the same position in a few years.

      (Disclaimer: we were in college during the epic fight, and I completely recognize that not all couples will have 10 years between having the first conversation about kids last names and actually having kids).

    • Daisy6564

      I kept my last name. This was really a non-negotiable for me and a decision I made for myself long before I met my husband. His name is just fine and I love his family, they are a lot easier to deal with then my family and more welcoming but I am a part of their family whether I share their name or not. The decision has really only been an issue for my mom (!) and my husband’s mom. My mom keeps pulling the “you’ll seeeee” crap and insisting that I will eventually want to change it and that people will call me Mrs. _____ anyway (hasn’t happened once in two months). Not only that but I have her maiden name as a middle name so I asked her whose name she wanted me to drop to take his. His mom keeps telling people I haven’t decided yet (nope, I’ve decided). Interestingly neither dad has weighed in at all.

      I broached the subject with him about giving the kids my last name as well. I had no reason other than the fact I think it should be a discussion and not assumed that children will have the father’s name. His response really surprised me. He said he felt that it would be totally emasculating. Since we got married he has expressed that he is a little sad that I don’t have his last name. I only feel bad because I am the more outspoken, forceful partner and I don’t want to disregard his feelings. So our kids will have his last name. (I’m still keeping mine). I have insisted though that they all have my last name as a middle name.

      Even giving our children my last name would be contributing to patrilineal heritage since it is my father’s name. Giving our children my mother’s maiden name would be passing on my maternal grandfather’s name, etc. The fact is that none of the names in our families have been passed down by women.

      As far as families all having the same last name: I don’t think it is as important as everyone makes it out to be. I taught in the inner city for five years. Nearly all of the families I worked with had multiple last names. I even had brothers who came from a family with 4 different last names. No body questioned that these people were family members.

  • Alyssa M

    Ok so I’m reposting this here, cause I’m still pretty upset about it and unsure what to do…

    My best friend for 15 years is my MOH. She’s unemployed and super
    stressed at the moment, so I said I’d be cool with a bachelorette party
    that was just, like, a boozy slumber party. Cheap, easy to plan,
    probably even hosted at my place. BUT she never planned it. At all…
    like, we’ve got two months and she never even contacted the other BM
    about dates. So I decided that if it was important to me, I would just
    go ahead and plan/pay for it myself, because I understand she’s got a
    LOT going on. So I planned a weekend away that I and the other BM would
    pay for and all she had to do was just BE THERE for me. But when the
    other BM contacted her and asked her about the plans, she flipped out
    and said she doesn’t want to go because I’m not inviting her (gender
    shifting) partner. I really desperately do not want a couple at my
    bachelorette party. I explained months ago that it had NOTHING to do
    with gender politics and everything to do with them being in a
    relationship, but apparently she (they) don’t believe me. I’m really not
    sure what to do at this point, and feelings are hurt all over. The
    other BM is planning on just doing the weekend the two of us, but I
    really don’t know how to go forward with my MOH without damaging our
    relationship further.

    • Em(ily)

      I don’t have any advice, just sympathy that you’re dealing with this stress instead of just looking forward to a fun weekend with your girlfriends. Hope you can figure it out and everyone enjoys the weekend away!

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

      Oh, I am so sorry – as if you don’t have enough going on. I totally understand not wanting couples there and to me, if I was your maid of honor, no matter what I “wanted” I would set it aside since this is YOUR day, your party. Sending hugs..

    • MC

      So it sounds like your MOH is going through a lot of tough stuff – unemployment, stress, transitioning partner – and some symptoms of extreme stress/trauma exposure are inflexibility and self-centeredness (thinking everything relates to them/their stressful situations). I’ve worked with some really rude/not personable people in the past and thinking about it is terms of trauma/stress exposure and response helps me understand their side, if not exactly empathize with it. Since it seems like she has this tunnel vision with her life, it might help to try and have a frank conversation with her about why it’s important to YOU that she is your MOH, supporting you through your relationship, there for the bachelorette sleepover. Might shift some stuff emotionally for her.

      • Alyssa M

        Definitely a lot of stuff going on for her right now… my biggest worry is that frank conversation would just hurt her feelings/damage our relationship further…

        • MC

          To be fair, it sounds like she’s already doing some damage to your relationship. There’s always the chance that she just *can’t* be there for you emotionally right now, which I think happens for friends at some point… but there’s also a chance that she could pull it together between now and your wedding. I think no matter the end result, you may feel slightly better at the end of the day knowing that you said your piece – compassionately, of course.

    • Lauren from NH

      I was lurking when you posted before and I think someone mentioned going out with your friend and her partner, which I think is good advice to soothe the situation. Let your friend know you accept them as a valid couple. Hopefully that will help her to come down from her ultimatum and the bachlorette will continue as planned.

      • Alyssa M

        Perhaps I should clarify one thing, this is not a new partner. They’ve been together 5 years. We have hung out regularly and were this not a no-significant-others event I would have automatically included the partner…

        • Lauren from NH

          I wondered if that might be the case. Does she think her partner should be in the wedding party? Is that where this is coming from?

          • Alyssa M

            Funny thing, when the groomsman were upped to 4 (I have two friends and my sister) I asked if she would like her partner to be included, on the condition that the bachelorette party was still to be no-significant others. This is when I explained that it had nothing to do with gender politics, especially because at that time her partner identified as male.

            So I assume her assumption that her partner be included stems from this… only… I explained my feelings about it already…

            Is my stance unfair? If I’m willing to have a couple stand up with me, do I have to have a couple (in all their super couple-y glory) at the bachelorette party?

            ETA: especially when the partner was only included as a gesture to her in the first place?

          • Lauren from NH

            Hmm, hmm, hmm, it sounds to me like this is the root reason on her side and on your side I think I am hearing your issue as that they are not very good at toning down the lovey-dovey and just hanging platonic like in group situations. If that sounds accurate, maybe talk her through, what your are hoping for with your bachlorette (dynamic and feeling-wise) and say why you have concerns about incorporation them as a couple being couply clashing with that chill dynamic.

          • Alyssa M

            Definitely my issue. Especially since other BM and I get de facto coupled because of it. Suddenly we’re two and two instead of a group… and they’ll randomly go off by themselves to talk etcetc

            All the things that are pretty standard of a couple… and really not fitting of bachelorette debauchery…

          • Delanie

            Would it help to identify the weekend less as a bachelorette and more a simple weekend away with your two closest friends? As I understand it, the partner is a member of the bridal party, so you are excluding that person. Not for reasons of gender politics, and not unreasonably it seems, but that is the choice you’re making.

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

    So I finally heard back on that job I was waiting for and found out I got it! It’s at a dream organization of mine, where I get to work towards things I am so passionate about..I was reading the mission statement last night and was like holy cow how is this real life. That a company has a mission statement that is all I want to work for in this life! I’m so used to not getting to be my full self and having to play down certain parts and this job is ALL I BELIEVE. And in my neighborhood, across from my favorite restaurant. My 12 year old self would be so proud. It’s so good (and new to me) to feel in the flow of who you are. Also, being married is so cool so far! We are going to San Diego for the weekend and I can’t wait for a mini vacation and some relaxing and fresh air. I hope everyone is doing well!

    OH and MEG- nice new headshot ;) ;)

    • Erin

      What, What!! Congrats!

    • Aj

      YAY! congratulations! celebrate BIG TIME in SD this weekend. any plans for stopping at breweries? I’m dying to go to Modern Times.

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

        awwww I WISH. we are actually going to see J’s family – her dad’s wife is throwing us a post wedding shower, then we are going to her high school reunion, and on sunday another party at her dad’s. I keep forgetting it’s pride there this weekend! HAVE FUN :)

        • Aj

          I’ve heard SD pride is really awesome. I’ve never been :( too bad it sounds like you’ll be super busy!

    • JSwen

      High Five for new jobs! Mine isn’t a dream but it’s pretty close!

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

        oh! congrats on yours!

  • Beth

    Alright Bay Area ladies (if anyone gets this far down), does anyone have a recommendation for a good gynecologist? Ideally, it would be someone who has dealt with pelvic pain, ovarian cysts, painful sex, potential endometriosis, etc. I just got back from yet another dr.’s appt where the words “A lot of time pain during sex is psychological” came out of the doctor’s mouth and I wanted to kick her in the shin. Right, so the pain I’m feeling at this very moment while I sit in your office not having sex is because…..?
    This has been ongoing for the last two years and despite seeing multiple doctors I have never once felt like I was being taken seriously. I need someone who will actually listen to me and help find a solution. Any recommendations?

    • scw

      you should have kicked her, and then said “a lot of time pain in the shin is psychological”

      • Alyssa M

        I’m seconding this!!!!

      • genevathene

        I’ve actually done this once (accidentally, I swear!) to a particularly awful (and scarring) GYN in the middle of her attempt to examine me. Wish I had your snarky comeback, though.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Women’s Health Group, 650-756-4663. It’s a solo practice at Seton Medical Center in Daly City. The doctor has dealt with lots of ovarian cysts and endometriosis.

      • Beth

        Thank you, I will check them out!

    • Alyssa M

      I really desperately hope you find someone good. Luckily your chances in a larger city are better than elsewhere. *crosses fingers*

    • genevathene

      YES! As a fellow Bay Area lady with pelvic pain (sometimes I wish there was a Meetup group for this), I highly recommend Dr. Heidi Wittenberg in SF. She is super sensitive to our needs. I actually found her through my GI, who was telling me about one of her other patients. This woman needed both a vaginal ultrasound and a colonoscopy, so my GI and Dr. W coordinated schedules and did both procedures while she was already under anesthesia. Definitely see her if she’s not too far from you. I have many other recommendations for therapists (both physical therapy + counseling) if you (or any other readers) need them! Email me at genevathene at gmail dot com.

      • Beth

        Thank you! I will definitely look into her. I work in San Francisco, so it wouldn’t be too hard to go see her.

    • Kate

      I’m not in the Bay Area, but recently went through physical therapy for pelvic pain. It turns out that strained and weak hip muscles were causing my severe vaginal pain. Because it was a problem with the muscles and soft tissue, the ultrasounds and other diagnostics didn’t reveal what was causing the pain. So, your situation might be 100% different from mine, but it might be worth googling “physical therapy pelvic pain” and your area – at least a practice group that offers that type of PT will know of doctors who will work with you to figure out what’s going on. Good luck! (And sorry if this is way too much information about a stranger’s vagina.)

      • Beth

        No, not too much info. Really, thank you, any info that might help lead me to a solution is much appreciated.

    • Tennymo

      Don’t know what your health coverage is, but I love by ob, and she has a sub-speciality in pelvic pain. Her name is Erika Deraleau and she is with Oakland Kaiser.

    • Caroline

      Oh boy, I so need a good gyn. I’ve had so many awful ones, and I am SO sick of hearing that my issues are all in my head or not actually problems. No, no they are not.

    • snarkyteacher

      Not Bay Area, but I went through something similar. Through Kaiser I got hooked up with essentially a physical therapist who helped me learn how to relax the muscles and work through muscle spams that were causing painful sex. She was awesome. It was a regular gyn who finally took me seriously and got the process started. It is so frustrating being told to “just relax” by doctors! I needed a referral but it was fairly easy. She worked in the ob/gyn dept so maybe if you call that department they can refer you to someone? I found in a case like this, a “big box” medical facility was better than a stand alone doctor and small facilities just because they had more resources.

  • Bsquillo

    So, tax question for those better at adulthood than me…now that my husband and I are filing taxes as married, how many allowances should each of us claim on our W-4’s to get the most accurate tax with-holding?

    Neither of us make a ton of money- our total combined income will probably be between $35,000 and $38,000 for the year- but I do make significantly more than him because I’m working full time and he is in graduate school. I also work multiple jobs, though my full-time gig pays significantly more than my adjunct teaching gig and freelance work. So I’m wondering if I should claim 2 allowances on my full-time job’s W-4, or just one? And should my husband claim 1, or 0?

    I’m not looking to have a huge refund after taxes- I’d rather have more take-home pay month to month and just not owe anything extra when April comes around.

    …Taxes are hard.

    • jashshea

      IRS site has a calculator (here: http://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/). It’s not super easy to use (because of stupid tax language), but it’ll give you a general idea.

      We got tripped up by the filing married/withholding thing this year and had to pay an ugly bill, so run the calculator a couple times to make sure your results are consistent.

  • KA

    Just. Needing to raise a glass [of whiskey] to Elaine Stritch.

  • Stacey H.

    omg THAT SONG! I’m jamming at my desk right now. LOVE!

  • AM

    I bought a dress this week! Not necessarily, THE dress, but A dress. I had been thinking I wanted a long dress, but I was having a hard time getting this one shorter dress out of my head. And then yesterday when I went to go visit it online, it was on sale! And my size was one of the last ones in stock! I figure maybe the universe is trying to tell me something, and if not, BHLDN lets you return dresses for 30 days.

    • Bindi

      It is definitely a sign from the universe!!! You’ll have to let us know what its like when it arrives :)

  • Kendra D

    We’re a month out!! We just came back from my BIL’s wedding and it was beautiful and just made us that much more excited for ours. The only things I’m worrying about are 1) getting the bridesmaids gifts on time and 2) getting my new ring reset.

    I ordered the bridesmaid’s gifts via Etsy back in June and every time I query the seller for a ship date I get the standard response about turn around time. I’ve decided that I’m letting that one go and if I have to mail them to them afterward, so be it. Stressing about it now won’t change anything.

    My darling bought me a new ring as my anniversary/wedding present and it doesn’t sit right with my wedding bands, so we’re looking to get it reset. We talk to the jeweler this weekend to see what they can do. I just hope they can do it for a good price and quickly enough that it’s ready in time for the big day.

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

    I’m dress shopping with my mom this weekend, and so far its been…interesting, mostly because I’m a plus size bride. We hit 2 bridal shops so far, with 2 more scheduled. At the first shop there was another bride there who was much smaller and was clipped into everything to fit her, and I felt a bit of jealousy that were gowns I couldn’t get into because of my size/body shape. But the consultant was great and never made me feel less than or anything, it was just own insecurities.

    I haven’t had a “OMG this is THE DRESS” moment and I wonder if I ever will. But I have some contenders that I really like a lot – 2 have the lace that I was going for, while 1 is satin with ruching but I actually like how it looks on me. Would any of you ladies mind weighing in and letting me know what you think? Thanks!

    • Beth

      I love that last one on you, especially, but they are all lovely!

    • JSwen

      Yep – the last one! I’m a sucker for the defined empire waist though. So flattering.

      I was in the same boat. Didn’t fall in love with a dress and didn’t expect to. Finally went with something that was va-va-voom flattering that I would feel good wearing. You can’t argue with feeling good! Maybe try some more dresses to see if there is something (fabric, shape, etc) that you like better?

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

        I agree about factoring in how you feel in them and choosing the one you feel best in! (And I particularly like the middle one, but agree that all are great options!)

    • Delanie

      The second or the third gets my vote. :)

    • K.

      I’m personally loving #2! They all look beautiful and incredibly flattering, but I think #2 is elegant and classic, with a pop of fun. You’re gorgeous!

    • Hannah B

      beautiful! What’s the easiest to dance in (assuming you are going to have dancing). Which was the most comfortable? I think number 2 is my fav, but whatever you feel best in is the one for you!

    • emmers

      I like #1 & #3! Yay dresses!

    • Amy March

      I vote dress number 2, and think you look beautiful in all of them.

    • Em(ily)

      I really like #1.

    • Ragnhild

      Number three is my favorite. Good luck!

    • Ellen

      I feel like you look the most happy and confident in #3 (and the dress is fabulous), so that gets my vote!

    • Kara E

      I’d vote for a properly fitting #1 to really love your curves. I’m also Plus-sized and wore something similar because it was just so darn flattering on my figure. I added straps to an otherwise strapless dress that gave it a little more softness too.

    • Meg

      I love #1

  • Kayjayoh

    Just got word that our rental application in Boston has been accepted. Yay! We will have a place to live! And next Monday I have a 30 minute phone screening for one job and on Thursday I have a Skype interview for another. So maybe I’ll have a place to work.

    Meanwhile, my sister has gotten a (3rd) job and is now working 5 days a week and my (long unemployed, dealing-with-cancer) mom has just gotten a new job. So I feel a little better about leaving my family to move out of state.

  • erin

    So this week it sunk in pretty hard that on top of getting married, finding a new place and changing my last name, my company is merging within the next 120 days. That is too much change for me. I chose the other changes under the belief this job I love and am good at would still be there. I have been told the new overlords want to keep me but no promises yet. And I hate job searching. I am fucking pissed.

    • Delanie

      Oh, my sympathies! Hopefully you’ll have an official answer soon, and gain more certainty.

  • Delanie

    I’ve been reading for a while now, but first time poster. As of Thursday, I hit one hundred days til my wedding. I’m started to get really excited! All our plans aren’t seeming so theoretical now. :) We are getting married in an upmarket bar/restaurant, where we used to go every week before we started dating. (I’ve knew my guy for over 20 years! But only been romantic for 2.) The venue has never done a wedding before, which has thrown up all sorts of issues, but have been very accommodating.

  • lady brett

    okay, so i pretty much missed happy hour…because i thought it was saturday. welcome to part-time work(!) i feel like i should be excited, but the feeling is more like relief.

    and, to keep my nerd theme up, did y’all see the new news from marvel that thor is a woman now? fuck yes.

    • Erin

      My fiance shared a great Tweet with me, where some worked out that since Thor is a Marvel property and Marvel is now owned by Disney ….Thor is now a Disney princess. This will keep me amused all day.

  • ruth

    Thank you for including the article about giving a child their mother’s last name. This is something my husband and I have talked a lot about – unfortunately, we’ve gotten so much hostility about it from friends and family – we’d already gotten enough irrational, inaprapropiate furror over the fact that I didn’t take his name. My husband asked if I could not pick this battle, since he’ll face more derision than I will. Of course it’s wrong of other people to be behaving this way, but what do you do when staying true to your values is going to create suffering for your partner? I find myself acquiessing to tradition, because I’m just tired of fighting about it – would love to hear other feminists on apw’s thoughts

    • Eh

      We are telling people our plan for our future children’s last name. The children will be born and we will announce the baby’s full name. We don’t plan on discussing names with family before hand at all. In my experience people generally react negatively to names suggested before the baby is born but not after the baby is born (my MIL reacted strongly against Cordelia for my niece before she was born but it my BIL named her that my MIL probably would have been all oohing and awing and wouldn’t have said a word about it Neither of is changed our last names and we have decided to hyphenate which we know will not be warmly welcomed but other people won’t get to vote if we register the child’s name before we tell people the name.

      • Meg

        Something I’ve heard is to not tell people the child’s name until they are born and you’ve given them that name. People will give you their opinions on something rather openly and try to make you change your mine (or steal the name for their own kid!) but once you’ve named the kid that they will accept it and shut up about it. (well most people, some people are just jerks)

  • Megan

    I have missed the last two happy hours but I am glad to have time to catch up this weekend. We are officially 3 months out as of yesterday!! This week was tough emotionally–lots of things are just piling up. Our officiant (a close friend) talked to us and suggested we come up with a Plan B for an officiant–his wife is pregnant and due with their first a couple weeks after our wedding, and they don’t live locally. We’ve sort of expected this since they shared the news about the baby and have a good Plan B but I’m still a little bummed! We asked our Plan B friend and are just waiting to hear that he can get to town on Friday rather than Saturday as he was planning….fingers crossed.

    Wins for the week:
    -I finally pulled the trigger on invitations and am waiting for a proof from my fiance’s graphic designer work colleague. We’re spending a little more on invites to have her custom design them, but I learned that if we don’t use inner envelopes our invitations will get away with a forever stamp!
    -We have almost decided our Costa Rica honeymoon so that will likely be booked this week!
    -My friend sent me a veil that she had bought for her wedding and didn’t end up using and it is totally perfect for my dress!

    This weekend will be spent trying to line up any possible wedding projects I can do in the next week. I have to get a tonsillectomy (for a SECOND TIME) on Tuesday and will be home recovering for awhile. Last time I had this surgery I felt so crappy I couldn’t do anything, but I’m optimistic I might be able to get something crafty accomplished. And my little sister booked a plane ticket at the last minute to come take care of me because fiance’s bachelor party out of state is next weekend and has been planned for awhile. She’s so sweet.

  • Hannah B

    three weeks away and my mom is now raising doubts about our DIY flower plans. It’s gonna be fine, right? right?

    • Caitlin_DD

      RIGHT.

      • Hannah B

        Thank you! :-)

        • Caitlin_DD

          Any time!

    • Meg

      We did DIY (DIT!) flowers and my advice is just be prepared for the work involved in preparing them and storing them in the few days prior to the wedding. I thankfully had my newly immigrated then fiancé to accept the deliveries and cut the flowers and put them in water. Read up on the instructions for the flowers and have the containers all ready. Forty Flowers didn’t send flower food so I had to pick some up from Stop and Shop (which they just kindly gave to me for free). It was a lot of work but it was worth it. Saved a ton of money and got to say “We did it all ourselves!”

      • Hannah B

        I’m pretty sure we’re going to buy them in person from a cut flower market. Which means they won’t need re-hydrating, right? Of course I can put them in water, but I can’t nurse them into bloom like blooms by the box indicates I’d have to. I’ve tried to call the flower market but that will definitely be on my list for when I actually get a hold of someone there. Otherwise I’m gonna go the rearrange grocery store flower route. i just know I am not equipped to do what you had to do (or rather, my mom flat out said, no, we cannot do that) lol. I’m glad that worked out for you!!!

    • enfp

      It is going to be fine!! There’s no cut flower market where I live, but we ordered some basic cut flowers from the flower store on the corner of my parent’s street the week before the wedding. We picked them up the day before the wedding, they were stored in water in an air conditioned room and it was totally fine. No cutting, no flower food, no special care, and they looked great!

    • Em(ily)

      It is gonna be fine. You (or your trusty minions, should you have appointed any) can do it!