APW Happy Hour


The weirdest work week ever.

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

HI APW!

I had the weirdest week ever, when it came to work. Good weird, but weird.

There is a perception that women who write online spend their lives buying clothes and getting their nails painted and fluffy fun stuff that’s not REAL work (though obviously all those cocktail meetings men have are serious business). I happen to know for a fact that work is work, no matter the form. There is nothing like seeing a lot of awful free Broadway shows for work in your twenties to make you realize that free does not make something worth your time… or even fun. But my life as an online writer has never involved reviewing nail polish (SADLY). Building a brand that told you that you didn’t, in fact, have to buy all the things meant that, for years, I actually had a really regular job on the day to day. If you tell people they don’t have to buy the most expensive nail polish for their wedding, people can assume you’re anti-cute-things. (AS IF.) But this week? Suddenly all of that stuff happened at once. So I got to do bizarre things for work, like have my picture taken, and get invited strange places. And while work is still work, having my photo taken is WAY more fun then that time I had to sit through the WORST EVER musical about Johnny Cash, that you have never heard of, because it was SERIOUSLY THAT BAD.

The photo above is an outtake from my week, more of that on the APW Instagram feed, along with your #APWweddings. Follow us over there, we’re having the most fun.

So cheers to weird but awesome weeks, and cheers to summer. (Muddle free) Mint Julep break! Open thread! Go!

Cheers,
Meg

Highlights of APW This Week

Coming to terms with the first dance.

Coping with a family member’s mental illness during wedding planning.

A chic Oregon wedding at the Jupiter Hotel.

Free anniversary sessions from Matoli Keely Photography. To hell with engagement sessions and yes please!

“This would be easier if you’d just want what I want.”

How to have a parent-friendly wedding. Because kids make their own fun.

Honeymoon reads, from Oyster Books. Plus the best-ever comment recommendations.

A&bé Bridal Shop in Denver is expanding to Minneapolis. The hottest indie dress store ever, basically.

“My mom doesn’t approve of our marriage. Do I invite her to the wedding?”

Link Roundup

YES.

“Why I’m taking my husband’s last name.”

Things we’re fascinated by: making your own commune. I think I just want friends next door.

A journey through Blake Lively’s new lifestyle website, Preserve.

Summertime in Norway.

Rosie’s Girls summer camp teaches girls to weld, fight fire, and generally be awesome.

Things I learned from #womenagainstfeminism.

Hillary Clinton, secretary of sass.

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.

read the comment policy before you post

  • Sara

    My sister-in-law just gave birth to my first nephew/first grandbaby in our family! Eeek! Now I have to suffer through the rest of the work day before I hop on a train to STL and thank her for giving birth on a Friday :)

    • Em(ily)

      Congratulations!! Baby’s got good timing.

      • Sara

        Baby Brooks has fantastic timing – he politely waited for my parents to arrive (we live in Chicagoland, they drove) before making his grand entrance.

    • River

      Congratulations! It’s a singular joy to be an aunt :-)

  • Lauren from NH

    May I ask why the plantation wedding thread question was taken down? I didn’t post it, but I am surpised since APW doesn’t tend to shy away from these issues and the wording seemed okay to me.

    • Nell

      I’d like to second that.

      I struggled early on in wedding planning because there was this super cool venue (a hotel actually) that was previously a jail. I couldn’t decide if having my wedding there was okay with me or not. In the end we went with a different historic venue.

      As a former history student, re-using historic spaces for modern purposes is something I think about ALL the time! I think this is definitely an APW-worthy topic.

      • Meg Keene

        You know, I’ve seen a few wedding photos in jails on IG lately (apparently it’s suddenly hip?) Not even hotels that once were jails, just historic jails. I haven’t wrapped my head around how I feel about the concept in general (obviously the specific weddings were lovely). It just seems odd to me. I get stylistically juxtaposing something pretty on something gritty, but historic jails are sites of so much horror. Plus, it seems like playing into the metaphor that a marriage is like a jail.

        Anyway, it’s interesting. I mostly look at the pictures and wonder what the guests, who hadn’t thought through it the way the couple might have, must have thought.

      • Laura

        Not directly related, but one of my husband’s childhood friends has a dad who is a bit of a collector. In addition to a whole bunch of other crazy stuff in his basement, he has a jail cell with beds, a prisoner log from the 1800s, and (I kid you not) an electric chair. He somehow got all of it when a state penitentiary was closing down.

        Now, I understand the historical value of these objects and, to some extent, get his fascination with them. But having an electric chair in my basement? That’s an object that was used to kill people very deliberately and intentionally. Not the sort of thing you can reclaim as a basement oddity, in my book.

        • KC

          I’ve got a military history buff in the family. I get it (there’s an element of making history real in actually seeing, like, a canteen or a rifle that was actually there and used in a particular war) and don’t get it (because it is really weird/awkward and ghastly things are not something to celebrate, although I do think they are worth tangibly remembering and there’s something gut-punching about realizing that this item was deliberately used to kill people and maybe we should work harder at not being at war because wow).

          I don’t think one can reclaim an electric chair as a “fun” thing, but as a “this is a page out of our history” thing, potentially. Not sure. Things that make people make connections are good, maybe; things that distance people (because it’s just play or whatever) are bad?

    • Lauren from NH

      And personally it got me thinking in a valuable way so I am going to reply as I had intended here…

      At most very old sites it is highly likely that actions of questionable morality took place in the past. Come to think of it, there was probably slavery at the site where we are planning to be married. Why does this not concern me? In the meantime a college and a museum were built on the site that preserve the history (ugly bits included) and stand for new values of diversity and inclusiveness.

      The issue with plantation weddings as has been raised here previously, I think comes from celebrating a culture that fully supported slavery. Glorifing the southern plantation lifestyle, while pretending that the enslavement of Africans was not essential to these grand beautiful houses and their peaceful surrounding fields, is abhorent. Maybe in spaces (like my college) that have been transformed or changed in use since their dark past then celebrating a wedding there is okay or even not a problem

      • vegankitchendiaries

        I was also wondering where that thread went…

        My thinking is a lot has to do with how the site is currently being used. It’s being used as an educational site, right? I guess it depends if that education being provided is all “rah! rah! the glory of the south!” and entirely glosses over the sad history of plantations/slavery… I don’t know much about current attitudes in the South about this, so I’m genuinely curious.

        I think if a site like this is at least acknowledging and educating people about the details of it’s past then it’s really no bad thing.

        That Paula Deen plantation wedding on the other hand…

        • Lauren from NH

          Yes! I hear too much Southern pride and I always think of the Paula Deen wedding out of hell.

          • http://andshelovesyou.com/ Lucy

            No thank you. Definitely not the kind of “southern pride” I’d promote. :P

        • http://andshelovesyou.com/ Lucy

          Last year, Atlanta Magazine did a really great issue essentially about “being Southern.” It may not be the barometer for the attitude of the mainstream south but the articles are really good, if you’re curious and enjoy long reads (which I think is most of APW commenters). http://www.atlantamagazine.com/southern/

          I don’t have an opinion on plantations themselves that I can give anyone in sound-bite, short comment form, so I’m going to quote from one of the articles. http://www.atlantamagazine.com/southern/2012/11/01/my-haunted-south

          “The Battlefield—Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park, sprawling green and wide twenty-five miles from where I grew up—was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, second only to Gettysburg; there I flew kites and crawled on cannons welded in media memoriam like immobile bronze seesaws. I played tag on land once purged of all Cherokee, learned Algebra down the block from an accidentally exhumed burial ground. At a Charleston marketplace where human beings were once bought and sold, I paid for T-shirts and tchotchkes.

          What I feel is not guilt, at least not primarily. The heavy truths of this place were not ground into me; I think they were always there. I know war and systemic hate happened elsewhere too—indeed, still happen—but in the South, they linger like the curdled stench of a burned-out fire. (“The past is never dead. It’s not even past”—Faulkner said that too.) Living here is not so much like seeing a ghost but rather perpetually apprehending an endless cavalcade of them, always slinking, silvery, just beyond the next dark doorway. By now I feel no alarm, just a certain haunted sense of knowing. I’m not sure what they want from me, but they are here, have always and will always be—me following them and them following me.”

          • Meg Keene

            <3

          • Sarah McClelland

            This. It’s the kind of Southern everyone in my growing-up-life raised me to be. Proud of who we are, but cognizant of how the Southern heritage that I so treasure came at a high price for a lot of people- acknowledging and learning of the atrocities, and remembering that heavy weight and all the people who have borne it are the cradle for a whole hell of a lot of change, to be sure, but also a weight and grace that cannot be achieved without this deep history.

      • Meg Keene

        Yes, that’s how I think about it. People have been oppressed everywhere, but there are some sites, like plantations or death camps (plantations were, of course death camps) that are different. The doubly troubling thing about plantations is that they’re glorifying and justifying what happened there. IE, no one would think about throwing a wedding at Auschwitz (for… MANY reasons, I would hope) because it’s not pretty. There wasn’t a pretty facade to justify the horror happening inside. And that’s what Plantations were, and really still are.

        And just because a death camp might now be a museum doesn’t exempt it from it’s history, I don’t think.

        That said, people haven’t been asked to think critically about this issue. So in no way am I judging people who have had (LOVELY) weddings on plantations. I just would like the conversation to change going forward.

        • Lauren from NH

          If I can engage with you and get a clearer understanding of how you see this issue…
          To boil down, transforming a death camp (plantation) into a museum does not make it an okay place to celebrate a wedding, in your view.
          The issue I have there with such a long history of injustice whether it be the genocide of Native Americans or the enslavement of African Americans, in many cases I think you would be hard pressed to know what took place on the particular ground you are standing on centuries before. When you do know, can that space never be used again? I guess I am saying if applied broadly it would initially seem like the problem mostly lies in the south, but if you venture further back the north and middle america has the same issue, with the difference that many of these sites have disappeared over time. If we were really thinking, we might also include the Mexican American War as severly problematic. Maybe I am interpreting your intent too broadly. Can you say more? Do you think sites cannot be reclaimed for future uses?

          • Meg Keene

            I think there are some spaces that can’t be reclaimed, probably ever. But the only people who have the right to try to reclaim them are the people that were victimized. IE, if a decedent of slaves wants to work to reclaim a plantation, that’s theres to do. As a decedent of white southerners, it’s not mine to reclaim.

            Yes, bad things happen everywhere. But we dismiss the systematic and institutional murder and torture and rape and that happened in places like plantations or death camps when we say, “Well bad things might have happened everywhere.” They might have. But we know that these sites were built TO systematically rape, kill, and torture. That’s a different thing. And it’s at a different level than say, “People had servants in this big historic house that they probably didn’t pay very well.”

          • Lauren from NH

            This is now seeming a bit clearer and I think we agree. While we can’t be aware of every site of past atrocities we can respect sites where the primary purpose was oppression and pure evil and not celebrate in these places that as Lucy referenced belong to ghosts.

          • http://andshelovesyou.com/ Lucy

            It’s very easy to say that the purpose of a plantation was pure evil. It’s very easy to think of Civil War-era Southerners as barbarians, or somehow twisted or stunted in their humanity. But it’s an over simplification.

            These were ordinary people, whose worldview made them believe that their oppression of another race was perfectly fine. It’s harder to rationalize than, “oh, they were just horrible people” but also a lot scarier.

            And I think casting historical events as “things done by evil people” (not that you’re meaning to do that at all) can blind us to how people today are reenacting the same crimes, over and over again, because they just believe that it’s perfectly fine.

          • Lauren from NH

            You are absuolutely right. I try not write too much in the comment boxes if you know what I mean, I used that phrasing more as a language shortcut, but you are right these issues are not simple. We need to be willing to unpack the messiness if we want to understand them better. I am very much looking forward to the topic post in the coming weeks!

          • Alison O

            YES to the last part. The oppression of slavery has basically just been recast into different, more ‘sneaky’–and thus perhaps even more troubling–laws and institutions.

            I strongly recommend the book, The New Jim Crow to everyone. Starting on pg. 48 there is a good discussion of how “Reagan mastered the ‘excision of the language of race from conservative public discourse’ and thus built on the success of earlier conservatives who developed a strategy of exploiting racial hostility or resentment for political gain without making explicit reference to race… His ‘color-blind’ rhetoric on crime, welfare, taxes, and states’ rights was clearly understood by white (and black) voters as having a racial dimension, though claims to that effect were impossible to prove.”

            War on drugs, y’all. Guess who is targeted in the war on drugs even though they are no more likely than other people to actually do them. And once you are a felon (possible just by nonviolent drug addiction/possession) you are basically a permanent second-class citizen. Discrimination against you is perfectly legal in many areas, including voting and jury service. HOW CONVENIENT to prevent those victimized from addressing this injustice.

          • http://andshelovesyou.com/ Lucy

            I kind of agree and disagree. It depends on what is meant by reclaiming. The idea of any one party (victim, or otherwise) having sole, rightful claim over a historical site and its use feels disingenuous. The majority plantations in and around Atlanta are now owned by the city they’re located in, or by historical foundations. They upkeep these places as historical and educational monuments, and I think that’s useful.

            But I think whether it’s appropriate to hold weddings at these historical locations is a different argument, and one where I’d say no, I don’t find that appropriate.

          • Meg Keene

            Oh yeah. Yes. I think a city or a government can upkeep something. By reclaim I mean more, take something from it’s historical usage and redefine it as a joyful space, a space that is now GOOD. Like: weddings, or (cough) GOP conferences on diversity, or folk singing workshops. If a decedent of slaves wants to have a folk music workshop in the home of the white owners of her forbearers, YOU FUCKING GO. But If *I* want to do it, to “reclaim” a space that din’t hurt me (and in fact, my history has to do with oppressors) then… no. I don’t think that’s ok. I’m not reclaiming, in a re-shaping way. Instead I’m more reCLAIMING, IE, claiming again a thing that was already claimed by my ancestors to put them in power. That’s… not so good.

          • http://andshelovesyou.com/ Lucy

            Oh, yes. That makes perfect sense. :)

      • Lindsey d.

        “Glorifying the southern plantation lifestyle, while pretending that the
        enslavement of Africans was not essential to these grand beautiful
        houses and their peaceful surrounding fields, is abhorrent.”

        But the other frequently tossed around options of burning them to the ground or turning them over to the descendants of former slaves don’t seem like a good solution either. Whether or not someone should get married at a location that was the site of something horrible at any point in history is a very tough question. This couple took wedding photos at the Pennsylvania State Memorial, a memorial at the Gettysburg Battlefield, a site where tens of thousands of soldiers died. Is that okay? It seems to me that only the couple can answer that question, whether it’s a battlefield or a plantation or the site of tragic accident/natural disaster.

        • Gina

          Yes, this is exactly what I was thinking. What about Mount Vernon? There were certainly slaves there. And every other home owned by our first 15 presidents, I would assume. Do we raze that portion of our history? Do we not visit those places? Or is the objection just to having celebratory events there? I’ve been on the tour of Mount Vernon and it’s certainly not focused on, “this is where the slaves slept and worked and died”, it’s focused on the Washington’s legacy.

          I guess my point is, our history is inextricably entwined with slavery. How do we recognize and respect that without celebrating it? Is a wedding at a former president’s home a celebration of slavery?

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

            “Do we raze that portion of our history? Do we not visit those places? Or is the objection just to having celebratory events there?”

            That’s a good question. In my opinion, the biggest problem about plantation weddings is that presumably someone is profiting off of the venue fees, and thus, continuing to profit from slavery. The issue of whether or not it’s appropriate to hold a celebratory event at a plantation, to me, is a secondary concern. You mentioned Mount Vernon as an example. If it’s a now non-profit organization that uses revenue to to promote historical education, etc. AND it doesn’t minimize the whole issue of slavery, then I suppose it’s doing as much as it can to redeem itself. I still wouldn’t’ want to have a wedding at a plantation though, as pretty and “historical” as they might be, because to me they are intrinsically somber places.

        • ElisabethJoanne

          We didn’t deal with slavery explicitly, but we did look at a lot of historic and religious venues. Between the two of us, we were dealing with three religions. What I said was our venue couldn’t confuse our guests. So, I nixed the Buddhist temple because I didn’t want people thinking we had some connection to Buddhism, but I was ok with synagogue social halls because we are Jewish in a way. Likewise, I nixed many church social halls because I didn’t want guests to be confused (or offended) about our alliances within Christianity.

          But we had a lot of deeply religious guests who would read into such things. If religion were less important to us or our guests, we might have been more open to any pretty space, regardless of its affiliation, or we might have rejected all religiously-affiliated spaces. I can see a venue being acceptable for one couple to use, but not another.

          Similarly, I had a fascinating discussion recently about “Deutschland Uber Alles” / “Austria” / “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken” / the present German national anthem. Can the tune be separated from the words? After how long? Who makes that call? Though I associate the tune chiefly with the hymn, I knew the hymn was out for our wedding because we were inviting the children of Holocaust survivors who wouldn’t understand the use of the tune.

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

        My beef with plantation weddings is that couples are presumably paying thousands of dollars for use of the venues. Thus, plantation owners are continuing to profit off the backs of the slaves that built and maintained the plantations so long ago. It’s truly mind-boggling to me that so many people are OK glossing over this. I feel the same way when I see, say, a mammy cookie jar in an antique shop. I don’t think these awful artifacts should be hidden away in attics, and I actually think they serve as useful reminders of such a dark chapter in our nation’s history, but I do find people continuing to *profit* off of these offensive items (in 2014!) to be distasteful.

        • Natalie

          Um, each and every person in America who is not Native American (and some who are – there was lots of inter-tribal unpleasantness) is currently profiting off of historical abuses and injustices. None of us would live where we do, work where we work, own what we own, if our ancestors and government hadn’t systematically massacred, abused, lied to, and forced off their land Native Americans throughout this country. Every moment of each of our lives as Americans glosses over historical abuses. Any place a non-Native American has a wedding in this country represents a piece of land that was stolen from its original inhabitants. I think you can celebrate the good parts of history without forgetting the injustices. But to dwell on the historical injustices ALL the time would drive one insane, and would prevent one from trying to right the current injustices.

          Also, very few of the old plantation homes are still owned by descendents of the original plantation owner family. Most that are still intact are owned by historical trusts. Does that make a difference how you view profiting from events held there?

          All that being said, I’m not how I would feel about having my own wedding on a plantation. Some of my ancestors owned large plantations and fought for the confederacy (and another in that same family was a spy for the north, passing on information stolen from her husband, a general for the south). So southern culture is a big part of my family heritage, but so is southern slavery guilt. It’s much easier for me to have my wedding on a pretty but not overtly historical site and forget about any possible abuses and injustices involved with that site than to have the wedding someplace that seems to celebrate historical injustices or where the historical injustices are just more obvious and overt.

          I’ve really enjoyed reading the entire conversation here and thinking about these issues.

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

            Hi! I’ve been meaning to reply to this forever.

            The Native American argument doesn’t resonate with me. I mean, I get what you’re pointing out, but the reality is that we have to put our physical bodies *somewhere*, and for and for a lot of us that place is the United States. It’s not like the majority of us could just decide one day to just pick up and move to another country. There’s the pesky matter of citizenship at play. You made the good point that no matter WHERE anybody gets married in the U.S., they are doing it on a piece of stolen land. By why anyone would want to get married on a historical HOT SPOT of violence and exploitation is beyond me. Somebody here (or somebody somewhere) compared getting married on a plantation to getting married at a concentration camp … and I think that’s a good analogy. In answer your question: no, the fact that most plantations are no longer owned by the descendants of slave owners doesn’t change my opinion of it being immoral (or at least incredibly distasteful) to profit off of plantations and/or to hold weddings at them. Just like I still wouldn’t get married at Auschwitz in 50 years, even after all of the original Nazis are dead.

            Damn you, Godwin’s law.

    • Jess

      I feel like there was a plantation wedding discussion a few months ago. I didn’t see the thread posted here, so I can’t speak to what happened, but I do remember that coming up in the Happy Hour comments (maybe prompted by the Ani DiFranco thing in December?) a while back.

      So previously, that topic hasn’t been avoided.

      • Lauren from NH

        Right which is why it seemed odd now. But maybe it seemed to directly critical of the posted wedding? I didn’t read it that way though.

        • SarahG

          I didn’t read it as intending to be critical of the wedding, but if it had been my wedding, I would still feel a little hurt. Just because… what, I should go back and redo it? The choice has been made. So, a broader discussion that doesn’t pick on one individual’s choice (even unintentionally) seems less… mean. To me.

          • Meg Keene

            Exactly! No one wants to look back at their wedding and feel like, “I guess I should have fixed X.” And goodness knows we all make a ton of decisions in weddings (and everyday life) that could be ethically second guessed. Like I’m sure these clothes I’m wearing were made in terrible conditions, which I don’t think is ok, and yet… I’m wearing them. Anyway! We’re always up for those discussions, but not when they’re about why a particular person where a dress made in terrible conditions on her wedding day (or what have you). It just needs to be the right time and place for a non-personal discussion.

      • Meg Keene

        It’s not being avoided, but see below. We have a strict rule (and always have) that the comments on a real live persons wedding are not the place to have an intellectual debate about the rightness or wrongness of any particular idea.

        • Nell

          Ok, that makes sense. I’d very much appreciate a post about how to mesh your ethics with your vendors (I was re-reading a post that touched on this from a while ago where a bride said she wanted to have her dress reflect her culture and heritage. . . but ended up with a budget-friendly David’s Bridal gown).

          • Meg Keene

            Sorry, I had to re-read this forty times. I was like, “MY ethics with my vendors? Our advertisers are really lovely people!” OHHHHHH. This post is actually a great place to start, I think, per the David’s Bridal conversation: http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/01/davids-bridal-wedding-dresses-are-ok/ I’m struggling at what post to send you to other than the whole archives, because this is a conversation I’ve been having since I started the site.

            But. I will say. I think it’s mostly about figuring out what matters to you, and standing firm on that, because you can’t win every ethical battle without going mad. I also think we tend to OVERVALUE these choices in wedding planning and UNDERVALUE them in real life. Like, yes, not buying a wedding dress mass produced in China is nice, because it feels symbolic. But if that issue matters to us (I mean, it should) we’d actually do a lot more good changing what we wear everyday. I think we get really caught up in what wedding decisions MEAN, without looking at them within the context of our lives. If we buy mass produced clothes everyday, a wedding dress is no different. And changing our everyday consumption patterns would do more good than anything.

          • Nell

            Ha! Sorry for the confusion. Yes, I think in this context I’m most interested in how people deal with specific issues around venues (I think I read every post about rings and ethics before getting my engagement ring, and am currently crawling through the posts about dresses).

          • Guest

            “But if that issue matters to us (I mean, it should) we’d actually do a lot more good changing what we wear everyday.”

            The best part about that is that if you’re already buying indie fair trade organic cotton clothing in everyday life, you’ll probably know of a few independent designers or boutiques that sell that type of clothing, which could lead you to wedding boutiques

          • Bets

            “But if that issue matters to us (I mean, it should) we’d actually do a lot more good changing what we wear everyday.”

            The best part about that is that if you’re already buying indie fair trade organic cotton clothing in everyday life, you’ll probably know of a few independent designers or boutiques that sell that type of clothing, who might then be able to direct you to vendors with similar ethics for wedding dresses.

            I think the discussion around vendor ethics is a great topic, too!

          • Aj

            That’s a great topic. In our wedding planning our ethics were definitely forefront of our minds and shaped our wedding entirely. However, living in a large city and being friends with some of vendors really helped this. As did not having any strong cultural background that we wanted to integrate.

        • Jess

          I didn’t see the actual thread (I had assumed it was on the Happy Hour post) – I do know that it wasn’t avoided before so I figured there must have been another reason!

          I’m in full support of not having comments of a real live person’s wedding be the place for right/wrong.

    • Meg Keene

      It’s an issue we’d love to talk about, but it’s STRICTLY against our comment policy to have those conversations on someone’s real wedding post. I’ll quote, but this is the first comment policy we ever had, “Don’t leave critical comments on reader wedding posts. This is not the place to start a critical discussion. People who are being brave enough to share one of the most important and emotional moments of their lives deserve your respect. A mean (or even intellectually critical) comment on a Wedding Graduate post is like peeing in their guest book.” And it’s one I’ll stand by forever.

      HOWEVER! If you guys wanna talk about it respectfully here, go crazy. We’re working on a post on the subject. As you guys know, the staff feels pretty strongly about it. But how we feel about ANY issue as no impact on how awesome any individual reader’s wedding is, and the comments on their wedding are not the place to debate things.

      Full comment policy is here: http://apracticalwedding.com/comment-policy/

      • Becca

        I’m so proud to be part of this community! I received such a nice follow-up note from Lucy this morning (thank youuu) after asking the same question, Lauren. I’m excited to see how the conversation evolves here in this (more appropriate) space.

        • Lauren from NH

          I know, I am actually rather pleased that this little look behind the scenes is showing just how thoughtful the staff is about cultivating a positive community.

      • River

        Thank you for explaining this so clearly and compassionately. I’m really looking forward to your staff post on the subject!

  • Dom

    Wow, first time in a while I’ve been around for this! So, good and bad.

    Bad: one of my closest friends up and left being my bridesmaid because the bacherlorette party the other girls were planning was too expensive (I still have no idea what they are planning.) I feel like I’m being punished because she can’t say no to them (but she can say no to supporting me). It is really hurtful, and I feel like she just didn’t try to put any effort into resolving it. There were many different options she could have gone with, and the one she chose is the one that hurts me the most. Because of this, my fiance got really upset because I was really upset, and has told me that he doesn’t want her to come to the wedding at all.

    Sadly, I agree. I don’t want to be sad or angry or upset on my wedding day. I know that if I see her in the crowd and not by my side, I will be. So – down a bridesmaid, guest and friend.

    Good: wedding planning is 80% done. All we need is to confirm the ceremony readings, finish the play list, add a bustle to my dress, and the seating chart. There is still 85 days left till the wedding! Feeling really excited now and I’m getting to the giddy omg-I-get-to-marry-this-person-holy-crap-yay stage.

    • Jess

      Wow, I can’t imagine being able to bail on supporting you because what other people wanted (not what you wanted necessarily, since you don’t know what it is) wasn’t possible for me.

      I’m really sorry that this happened.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      I would try to talk to your friend first though… If she means enough to you to be asked to be a bridesmaid, it must be hard to imagine her not being there at all.

      Sometimes bridesmaids to get ‘trapped’ in wedding parties that are more expensive than they could have anticipated or accomodated and that’s a hard place to be in. She might have opted to not be a bridesmaid because she thought that would be an easier option than disagreeing with the rest of the girls.

      And, of course, some people really want to be your friend, but not necessarily your bridesmaid. I’m not sure how long she was going along with that plan for and if it was a few months than, of course, that totally sucks… But also I feel like if you ask them to do it, they should be able to opt out but still celebrate with you in a way that makes them happy. I know, I know… I’m playing devil’s advocate! Just sad to think about a close friend being uninvited to your wedding and her not being there might cause more sadness than the sting of not having her there as a maid.

      • Dom

        Yeah, I don’t know what her thought process was. The wedding is less than 3 months away, and the bridesmaids dresses (which she put the deposit on) are arriving next month.

        I think the reason why I’m so hurt is because she was in another wedding this summer (it was last friday actually) and after she told me she didn’t want to be a bridesmaid any more, she started talking about how she was helping out in this other wedding. Illogical for me to be upset at her staying it that wedding (UMM, because seriously? I would be so pissed on behalf of the other girl if she told her a week before her wedding she can’t be in it/help out) but the illogical feeling side of me is like – you put in effort and money into her wedding, and you wont accept my offer of purchasing the rest of the dress for you to help with the financial burden so you can still be in my wedding?

        I can see both sides. I don’t begrudge her for not being able to afford it. I would rather find out when I did, then find out she went needlessly into debt for my wedding. It just upsets me that she wouldn’t open herself up to any other solution other than just dropping out completely.

        Humans are complicated. We should’ve just planned the wedding with family and my pets :D

        • vegankitchendiaries

          I tried to be super chill with my ‘best sisters’ but shit, I would obviously be hugely upset if I had a dropout too. No matter WHAT happens, I hope you work it out with your friend and you have a happy day that doesn’t involve any bad feelings.

          • Dom

            Thank you! It is hard, but there are still 3 months to go. Who knows what will change between now and then. Either way, I’m going to be marrying an awesome man and I know my friend and I can always become better friends/people to each other once the high emotions of weddings are out of the way.

        • KC

          It can be hard to figure out how to ask about possible solutions without involving the bride in Drama, so this may have looked like the politest way out? Or she may have realized that the total mounting costs were also too high (because sometimes you think about the dress and say, okay, I can juuuust do that; plane fare, I can manage that; shower gift, sure; but when you add it all up, it can be a *lot* [which being invited to a clearly-too-expensive-for-her-budget bachelorette party may have prompted her to realize, as might the potentially-mounting costs from the other wedding she's in - if for other-wedding she's been told late in the game that she'll be paying this much for hair and this much for makeup and this much for her share of the already-booked bachelorette and whatnot, and she doesn't feel that she can get out of it at this point, then she may not want to be put in that position again!]).

          You can potentially test the waters to see if her dropping out was what she assumed would be easiest for you given everything – because if so, that’s very sweet of her, albeit terribly inconvenient and misunderstanding-y.

          It’s also possible that this other wedding has used up her resources in general, both financial and emotional (esp. if she’s single, it can be hard) and she doesn’t want to be a less-than-spectacularly-enthusiastic bridesmaid for you, even though she wants to support your marriage. Which is not her fault, or your fault, or the other bride’s fault, but would be hard to emotionally deal with.

          But yes. Humans are complicated.

        • JP

          This post was just “me, me, me”.

          “Hurt ME the most…” I doubt she was thinking of it that way since it seems to be based on the fact that she thinks she can’t AFFORD to support you.
          “I’m being punished…” <– And you're uninviting her to the wedding. Who feels punished now?
          "I have no idea what they're planning.."
          "She didn't put any effort into resolving it.."

          Wait a second. How much of that do you know? If you don't even know what they're planning, how could you know the conversations she's [probably] had with the other maids about it and how much effort has gone into resolving it?

          I've seen things go REALLY SOUR between maids (usually planning the shower or bachelorette), but the bride was so out of the loop that she had no idea.

          Don't pat yourself on the back for being the "better person" unless you've actually told her that she doesn't need to come to the bachelorette to be your maid if she can't afford it. (Paying for a $200 dress may not offset a $500 weekend in Vegas, so…) OR, until you step in and tell the other maids to plan something affordable like Amy said. Also, don't compare yourself to another wedding. You aren't entitled to a certain amount of her time or money just because she gave some to someone else. You also don't know the finer details of just HOW much she put into that…Maybe she actually allotted more to you. Who knows. It was insensitive of her to talk about it, but that's it.

          It boils down to you uninviting a close friend to your wedding because she couldn't afford your bachelorette. Yikes.

    • april

      Is the bridesmaid thing a done deal? Have you tried reassuring her that having her by your side at your wedding is more important to you than having her there at your bachelorette party (or participating in whatever other activities she feels like she can’t afford)?

      Try to give your friend the benefit of the doubt. You can never really know why she decided to back out of being a bridesmaid – maybe there are things happening in her life that you don’t know about, or maybe she was just really worried that she couldn’t live up to your expectations of what it means to be a bridesmaid. So think twice before you scratch her off the guest list. If she really is one of your closest friends, I think it would be a lot sadder in the long run to uninvited her from your wedding than to have a twinge of sadness because she was there but not in the role you had hoped she would be …

    • Amy March

      WHAT? You are uninviting one of your closest friends from your wedding because she bowed out of being a bridesmaid because the other girls didn’t plan an affordable bachelorette party? Why on earth didn’t you call them and say “Hey, Susie can’t afford this. Do something cheaper?” Or consider that, actually, she realized that since you weren’t going to do that maybe she just can’t afford to be a bridesmaid and would be more comfortable being a guest.

      This seems so mean. And over the top. It’s unfortunate she can’t handle her budget in a way that you approve of, but going from “closest friend” to “out of my sight” over a bachelorette party dispute seems like the kind of thing you’ll being kicking yourself for years to come about.

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

      Is there more to the story? Someone having to drop out of being a bridesmaid because of an expensive bachelorette party—and then that same person ultimately being uninvited to the wedding—seems like an unnecessary level of drama.

  • vegankitchendiaries

    So… the dead is DONE! We freakin’ got MARRIED last Saturday!

    [img src=http://media.virbcdn.com/cdn_images/resize_1024x1365/28/64d416bd271c3660-GM_4264S.jpg]

    It was meant to rain all day and I’d just posted on Happy Hour a few weeks ago about how we had NO rain backup plan and hopefully that would be fine…. Queue the 3 day long WEEPING that the wedding was ruined!! By some miracle, the rain was off just in time for us to do some quick couple pics at the local skatepark before we hurried home to do I DO’s in the front yard in front of 80 of our nearest and dearest. Lots of stuff went wrong. I forgot about putting certain things out until halfway through the night including the guestbook, card box and favours. I also forgot about the hair flower which sat on my dresser unused all night. The marriage commisioner (*not* the officiant) came up and made weird speech even though we’d asked her not to say anything. I tripped on my dress (which was only half-bustled) basically during our whole first dance. And, sure some other imperfections but NONE of it mattered and the night was awesome. The best part was the totally unplanned speeches (open mic, come up if you like, style). We had so many people come up and say a few touching, funny, unexpected words which we didn’t see coming at all. The DIY stuff I’d worked on all looked totally rad. We just felt so much LOVE. The love was the main thing, really. The thing I’d forgotten to worry about even! So much overwhelming love and happiness and caring from everyone we knew… there’s no way to expect or prepare for it, I guess.

    APW was my number one source of stress-busting and I really feel like the wedding wouldn’t have been anything close to the same without it (especially the crowd-sourced solutions I came up with during the Happy Hours). The stress was insane but we gave nearly 80 people a great night, fed them well, kept it under $7-8k, and had a very meaningful, very joyous wedding. I’m going to be recommending APW to everyone I know who gets engaged – I’ve actually already started!

    • River

      Congratulations, dear!!! You two look SO BEAUTIFUL together. Also, #goldsparklesforthewin!

      And YOUR HAIR. I know we’ve taken over threads before to talk mixed curls, but HOT DAMN. What did you do??

      I hope you share more with us, it sounds like it was a wonderful and practical wedding. Best wishes for a happy wedded life! xoxo

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Cheers, River! x

        The suburbs of Vancouver are NOT the place to find black-friendly hair stylists. In the end, I just finger-curled in the morning when I woke up (not unlike this APW tutorial: http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/08/how-to-smooth-curls-on-naturally-curly-hair-2/) with some leave in conditioner and a bit of setting lotion. Then I just went to my local white lady salon and asked them to pull it into an updo. I did have to get a bit bark-y when she tried to comb it (WITH A FINE TOOTH COMB! I KNOW!) but she did a pretty good job and it stayed PUT all night. :)

        • River

          ugh fine tooth comb!

          But wow, way to conquer the suburbs of Vancouver, friend-o ;-)

        • Meg Keene

          My local white lady salon <3

          (Funny story, I've spent my adult life living places where the local salons were… not designed for me. But I always kinda want to go hang out, because they make me feel like I'm missing out.)

          • vegankitchendiaries

            Girl, get some cornrows for your vow renewal! ;)

          • Meg Keene

            I always try to get David to go to barber shops around here where I’m like “Everyone’s so nice there. It’s so well reviewed!” And he’s like “Oh honey. They don’t do my hair.” OH.

          • River

            Then PLEASE show us ;-)

    • ART

      OH MY GOD, gorgeousness. What. I freaking LOVE that photo and I’m so happy for you! AHHH!

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Shoot! I should credit our photog… She’s a (pretty celebrated) birth photographer, but this was her first wedding. She’s actually my oldest friend (we met in Kindergarten) and she offered to do them as a wedding gift basically the second we got engaged. This is the rest of the ‘sneak peek’ (which I stare at several times a day) http://jackiedives.com/blog/14044356 – totally desperate to see the ones from the party but good things come to those who wait, I hear…

        • ART

          eee that first one is amazing!

          • vegankitchendiaries

            Aw, cheers ART. You’ve been cheering me on for weeks now! :D

          • ART

            I just feel like you’re someone I would like IRL :)

          • Guest

            I am, ART. I totally, totally am.

            ;)

          • vegankitchendiaries

            I am. I totally, totally am.

            ;)

        • Meg Keene

          HER BIRTH WORK IS LEGIT. Mind blown.

          • vegankitchendiaries

            YOU’RE NOT WRONG.

    • Lauren from NH

      Hot dayum! I want to steal your dress!

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

      Happy!! And so sparkly!! CONGRATS!!

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Thanks, Rachel. While singing APW’s praises I feel like I should have mentioned you specifically. Your articles around biracial wedding politics (I can’t think of a better way to phrase it, but you know what I mean) were my favourites of my year reading APW. They always resonated with me and I got especially stoked to see your articles go up… so CHEERS!

    • emilyg25

      I LOVE YOUR DRESS

      • vegankitchendiaries

        No, I LOVED **YOUR** DRESS! ;)

    • MC

      AMAZING DRESS!!! Congrats!!!

    • Aj

      GORGEOUS!! that dress. I love love love it!

      • vegankitchendiaries

        FANKS. Custom made. $100. I shit you not.

        • Lauren from NH

          MINDBLOWN!

          • vegankitchendiaries

            The braggart in me really shouldn’t be let anywhere near Happy Hour…

          • Lauren from NH

            Haha I think we all have our moments and that its almost allowed and encouraged here? Like a lot of us are here for similar reasons so I don’t find that I get the green monster with the ladies here, I can just be stoked for you if you know what I mean? :D

          • vegankitchendiaries

            I do because I do too :)

          • River

            Just. This. Exactly :-)

        • Aj

          AH! that makes it all the better! mine was <$100 (not custom alas). yay for inexpensive and beautiful wedding dresses!

    • laurasmash

      That dress! Those gold sequins!!! YES.

    • Lindsey d.

      Your dress and your hair and your husband… all equally adorable!

    • sara g

      LOVE

    • Sara P

      Congratulations!! (that dress!!)

    • Lawyerette510

      Yay!!!! Congratulations! I just came here during my lunch break to see if you’d posted and update and pic. This pic is awesome, the day sounds like it was perfect in its imperfection and your whole look is perfection! Sending you all the congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!

      • vegankitchendiaries

        With many thanks, Lawyerette! <3 <3 This is such a great community of awesome, positive people. I was so excited for today's Happy Hour. :)

    • Meg Keene

      WHEN ARE WE GETTING THOSE FUCKING PICTURES. #hott #hott #hott

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Meg Keene just said my wedding pictures were hot. I can die happy now.

    • JDrives

      HOLY GOLD SEQUINED BUSTIER TOP, BATMAN

    • Ariel

      Holy crap, I’m in love with your dress! Congratulations!!

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

      omg you did???? I didn’t realize you were so close!! CONGRATS! and awesome pic!!

    • Sarah McClelland

      This makes my heart happy. So beautiful and glowing and legitimately… You. I mean not like I’ve met you but from how you write I can tell it’s all y’all!

      How we did it post??? And more pictures?????!!!??

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Such sweetness. Thank you x

  • Meg

    That article about communes was just people in NY going in on real estate together. Those aren’t really communes. I wanna hear about people getting a farm in the country and MAKING STUFF.

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

    In last week’s happy hour I was in the middle of a marathon wedding dress shopping weekend, and I had 3 dresses that I liked but hadn’t had that “OMG I love it” feeling. The next day I went to Luxe Bridal Boutique in the Twin Cities and had such an awesome, amazing experience. My consultant was the best I worked with out of all the shops – she took the time to really consult with me about what I liked/didn’t like, how I wanted to look & feel on my wedding day, my price point, etc. I tried on several dresses, but the second dress she pulled was the one that not only I loved, but so did my mom, and my two friends. Once I put it on with a veil, I had that “OMG I found my dress!” moment & I started crying (which I didn’t expect). The icing on my cake was my mom surprising me by announcing she was buying my dress! I totally didn’t expect it and I burst out in tears when she told me. It was such a sweet surprise.

    Anyway, thank you to all the ladies who responded to my question for feedback last week! And now, a pic of the dress I picked – it’s a Stella York & I absolutely love it.

    • Jess

      It’s an amazing dress! I love it!!

    • KM

      congrats! you look beautiful!

    • Lawyerette510

      Gorgeous dress that looks fantastic on you, and look how happy you look in it!!!!!!

    • Megan

      gorgeous!! yay!! My sister is coming in tonight and I’m excited to try on my full look with her this weekend!

    • JDrives

      Lovely!!

    • ASH

      You look gorgeous! Love the dress!

    • River

      LOVELY :-) The best part is the dress highlights YOU – your smile is just stunning in this photo.

    • macrain

      You look lovely!! Congrats on finding the dress!

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

      You look great!!

    • Cleo

      I got chills. You are WEARING that dress. Gorgeous

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

      I think the scalloping on the bottom is my favorite part :)

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

      Wow- you look radiant- SO beautiful and looks like it was made for you!! Congrats!!!

    • Natalie

      Oh, so lovely! I’m glad you found a dress that makes you feel magical. I love the lace on it, and the way you look so happy and pretty in it.

      I, too, did not expect to tear up when I found my dress, but I did. My friend and my mom both kinda looked like they were tearing up, and then I started tearing up, and we barely averted a mascara-running cry session. I kept thinking, “I get to marry the man I love in this dress!”

  • Jessica

    I’m going on an apartment therapy binge right now–we just signed a lease on a house built before 1900 and get to start moving our stuff in throughout August. The pros: It’s a whole freaking house! And it’s not..horribly decorated. The cons: I now have to figure out what I want to change and move my husband’s stuff, my stuff and our room mate’s stuff in a few trips at a time.

    Also, if anyone knows other good design blogs for redoing old houses and painting ideas for kitchens please tell me them! we have sloped ceiling closets that I’m utterly baffled by.

    • emilyg25

      This Old House and Young House Love are also awesome. I love Apartment Therapy though because it focuses on small-space living.

      • KM

        I second Emily’s suggestions. Also check out Yellow Brick Home and Bower Power (though their aesthetic is not my own, they do a lot of similar projects). Little Green Notebook is always beautiful though her huge house in Arizona is now way different than when she had a loft then townhouse in Brooklyn.

    • Caitlin_DD

      Design*Sponge, and Design Milk may be worth a look, depending on your taste. (No idea what’s up with the names hehe)

    • http://www.nthdegreedesigns.com/blog Seshat

      Apartment Therapy is one of my favorite sites ever! Design*Sponger and Young House are both great ones, and Manhattan Nest is always entertaining (plus they just bought an old house that they’re pretty much gutting and redoing). Little Green Notebook has some great stuff in it too.

    • Ilora

      Live, Love, DIY is good because she redoes her place several times over and it’s great to see the different things she does with one room.

  • emilyg25

    Re: Communes: As part of my freelance work, I once proofread a directory of intentional communities (apparently, that’s the preferred term). It was FASCINATING. Everything from super hippy communities still thriving since the 60s to survivalist groups looking for “high ground” to fairly mainstream groups of people who decided to live together and pool resources. I’m way too independent and anti-social to really enjoy communal living (I can hardly tolerate living with my husband), but some of the communities sounded really appealing. Especially those that pooled child care.

    • lady brett

      i adore these sort of ideas – i just feel like pooled resources make *so much sense,* because we waste so many resources in small family units. plus – the more people involved, the more you can focus the division of labor around people’s strengths and interests rather than “well, this has to happen even though no one here likes to do it.”

      of course, you pay for that convenience with the (sometimes steep) price of complex interpersonal relationships, but that at least has the potential to be superbly rewarding also.

      but, then, the small version of communal living is my dream life (something like two-family, or multi-parent family, or extended family households).

      • KC

        This is why I loved being part of a specific grad student community: because basically no one ever goes through a full bottle of nutmeg (and because really, how often do you use your electric drill?). We shared rides, kitchen items, rare-use-stuff [like electric drills or guest air mattresses or camping gear], physical help [moving/pet sitting/bringing in mail/furniture assembly], leftovers from recipes that were good but made a bit too much, bulk groceries, etc. Yes, it’s more complicated and sometimes things fall through or people aren’t home exactly when you’re in the middle of making cupcakes and realized you’re one egg short, but it’s glorious being able to help other people and also know they’ve got your back as well. Also, cheaper. :-)

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

          Ooh! current grad student here, about to get married, but would still love to hear more about what this grad student community was like. How did it get started? Who was included?

          • KC

            We sort of bootstrapped off an existing group, with extra tentacles? Things were pretty loose, organizationally and logistically. But whatever mutual friends/acquaintances you have, who might also be interested in sharing what you’re interested in (or a subset thereof – you might have people who want to share tools but not spices, or vice versa, or some who are interested in knowledge-swapping), are candidates. :-)

            One note is that if you’re the one “building” a commune/community, you’ll probably put more into it than you get out of it, in terms of time/resources/communication (but if you’re into it, you’ll also net returns of gratification and enjoyment!); if you’re not okay with that and want everything to be an equal trade, and want Lots of Credit For Your Work and also for Everyone To Know They’re Getting More Than They’re Giving, then it’s probably not a good fit. But if you are fine with things being not-equal but still a net positive compared to not having the community in place, then think about what you’d specifically like to share/split with people (carpooling? food? etc.), and as you meet people or know people who seem like likely prospects, then ask if they want to be added to your list (for, say, spice cupboard sharing, in which case you can have an email list which people can post to and ask for tarragon or cumin or whatever, and other people respond; or an online spreadsheet where people post what they have available so other people can request it [more for things like tools/BBQs/camping gear/a truck/whatever, that someone might not know is even “in” the community and up for borrowing). Sometimes things already exist – our grad student housing had a pet-sitting-swap board – and it’s worth taking a look around to see what there is. :-)

            Also, no request or offer gets laughed at, ever (or people become afraid of actually *using* the system). Doesn’t mean you have to always accept Mildred’s soggy pasta salad leftovers, but you take the offer graciously and do not make them a joke.

            The other note is that it’s generally best to ask for things of a group, not a particular person, so that if no one is available or finds it convenient or is happy to, then no one feels specifically obligated.

            But in general, offer things and keep offering things (“hey, I made too much chili – anyone want some?” “by the way, if you ever wants some weird spice, you should ask, and I’ll see if I have it in my cupboard”), ask, and host, and encourage other people to do the same, and don’t bite people’s heads off if they overstep – indicate that no, you’re not willing to loan them your jeans, but there’s a thrift store over there, or whatever. If you want to formalize something, great; if you want to set up an email list or a few email lists or Facebook groups, great. People knowing each other is good, too, so holding a few potlucks (even things like “I bring the baked potatoes; everyone else bring toppings”) or low-key parties can be helpful.

          • Bets

            This happens at my grad school in a very informal way. We’re in a small town so all the students live really close to each other, which makes it really easy to borrow a muffin tin or a hammer when you need it. Carpools are pretty much a given. Leftovers from a potluck usually go in the school fridge the next day for all to consume. Most students are not married, though, so it’s more like dorm life off-campus with homemade food, than nuclear families pooling resources.

          • KC

            I’m so glad to hear this is normal at your grad school! I think it’s a pretty fantastic way to live, personally. :-)

            Anyway, sometimes this “sharing resources more effectively” stuff just happens… but other times, someone giving it a shove or two can get the ball rolling (or keep it rolling). :-)

      • Caroline

        I love the idea of small communal living too! I think larger intentional communities might be just too much, but I love the idea of smaller communal living. Some friends have a duplex, and one sister and her family has the upper unit and the other sister and her family have the downstairs unit. Their kids get to grow up together, they have their own spaces, but also get a lot of the benefits of communal living. It sounds awesome!

  • laurasmash

    That Rosie’s camp for girls sounds rad! But the opening of that article bothered me a lot “Back in the old days, men did woodshop while women did home ec. Men learned practical skills while women learned how to maintain a house.” So maintaining a house is not a practical skill? Seriously? Maintaining a house is pretty important, and a set of very practical skills that everyone should have regardless of gender. And really, probably more practical than welding. Because you know, everyone has welding equipment at home and needs to weld stuff on a daily basis. I learned how to weld and have used it in real life exactly 0 times.
    Ok. Rant done. Can I go to camp now? Because it sounds awesome.

    • Rachel

      K, I didn’t even pick that up when I read it but thank you :) Agree totally!

    • Alison O

      And anyway, if anyone who is not a welder by trade actually did need to weld something, it would probably be in the service of ‘maintaining a house’.

  • Nell

    First dress shopping trip is happening TOMORROW! Aaaah!

    Also, a question for all the foodies: We are starting to get back catering proposals. They’re fine, but. . . institutional.

    We’re foodies. REALLY big foodies. We want to share that with our guests in a budget-friendly way. We don’t have any cultural cuisines to fall back on, and we don’t have a huge budget. I’m looking for inspiration to bring back to the caterers and try and get some creative food. What did you guys serve at your weddings that was completely amazing? What do you wish you’d served at your wedding? This is going to be summer in New England, btw.

    • Ellen

      Check with restaurants in the area that you love! Our caterer was the catering branch of an amaaaaaazing restaurant (in Burlington, VT) and not only were the quotes the best we found, the food was too :) We received really good feedback on all of our food but the show-stopper was the BBQ pulled pork slider appetizer!

      • Nell

        We’re possibly going the BBQ route. Budget friendly, tasty, and makes sense in the summer.

        • Ellen

          No matter what, if you don’t feel comfortable with everything about your caterer and the package they offer you, bring it up with them! And if they can’t remedy it, find someone else. The first quote we got for the food we were interested in was going to blow our budget, and with a bit of creative finagling we were able to make it into something we were both excited about in the budget we had.

        • enfp

          We did BBQ foods, it worked great! Keeps the food simple and affordable, but delicious and appealing to a wide range of tastes. There’s still room to add some creative touches to the food. Plus, if you’re into local, in season food, that will work well for a BBQ.

        • Caroline

          We’re doing BBQ from our favorite BBQ place for a party the night before, and I’m so excited. We’re getting stuff like smoked brisket, creamed corn, baked beans, corn bread, salad, etc. It’s very affordable compared to a traditional caterer.

    • SarahG

      One thing that friends did, which I loved, was collect favorite family recipes and have the caterers make them. You may not feel connected to a particular part of your ethnic heritage, but we all come from our own family culture and families of origin often have things that everybody in the family thinks are YUM! Just an idea :)

      • Nell

        That’s a great idea. . . Will caterers do that? Is there an insane upcharge?

        • SarahG

          I have NO idea, but the folks who did it at their wedding were pretty conservative with their cash, so I can’t imagine they would have done anything too crazy expensive. I mean, depending on your family, the food might end up being cheaper than what they were going to make, so it’s worth asking (My Nonna’s pasta fagioli literally costs… like $3 to feed 6).

          • Nell

            Nothing like an old world recipe to stretch the budget! Grandmas have the best recipes.

        • april

          Our caterer actually suggested this to us – although we went a different route (see above). I think it totally depends on the caterer. Some will only want to produce items already on their menu and some will be more open to producing dishes just for you. You’ll just have to ask around.

    • ART

      We found a local grocery/deli/butcher that does on-site BBQ-style catering. Their menus were a little meh, but we knew their BBQ meats were delicious, so we asked if they could swap out their usual sides for 3-4 sides that we would provide recipes for. They happily made the cheese grits, lemon basil slaw, bean salad, and tomato artichoke salad we asked for. It was really affordable (maybe $25/plate?), totally delicious, and we can re-create our wedding menu any time we want. It’s worth asking if they’ll make your recipes (or a version of them).

    • emilyg25

      Pig roast! We are also super duper food lovers and there’s no way we could have afforded a traditional caterer at the quality we wanted. Fortunately, we live in the pork capital of America, so it was easy to find a phenomenal pig roaster. People still talk about our wedding food a year later. It was pulled pork, potato salad, cole slaw, grilled veggies, and bean salad, served on paper plates (gasp!).

    • april

      In part for cost reasons (no real kitchen at our venue) we wound up going with an “upscale cookout” theme – and it was fantastic! The caterers grilled meat (from a local supplier), fish, and veggies (also mostly local) on site, and served them with a variety of sauce/salsa/tapenade options and some sides. Because they didn’t have to rent portable fridges or ovens for the event, the cost was really reasonable. And people are still telling us how great the food was :)

      Edit: Another thought – consider using a smaller scale caterer. They may be more likely to work with you to build a menu you really love and to think creatively about where they’re sourcing food or how they’re preparing it.

    • jashshea

      I’m from New England, but have lived in NC for ~9 years. My husband is from here and we got married here (fall 2012). When we met with caterers, we brought up my roots, his roots, our love of food, and our most and least favorite foods. Our food vision (if such a thing exists) was: super fancy comfort food. We met with 5 or 6 catering companies and most just tried to sell us whatever was IN that year. The person we ended up working with was not only the most budget friendly, but the person who totally *got* what we were trying to do with food.

      I just looked back at our menu and it’s insane. Lobster Bisque as a topping on Mac&Cheese. The woman was a genius.

      • Nell

        Super fancy comfort food is a great way to phrase it! I think that a lot of the caterers are trying to do things that look fancy, but aren’t necessarily tasty.

        • jashshea

          YES! We had so much trouble getting them to understand that we didn’t want the food to LOOK nice, we wanted it to BE DELICIOUS.

          Here’s our whole menu in case you want to use parts of it. It’s pretty southern, of course and fall focused, but maybe it’ll jog an idea:

          Apps:
          Cheese/Fruit display
          Prailine/Pecan muffins
          Mini Chicken tarts (it’s a family recipe that the caterer modified)
          Tomato Soup shooters (which were sort of hip in 2012, not sure if that’s a thing anymore. These were really good, even though I’m not a tomato fan generally)
          Honey/Walnut/Goat Cheese Crostini
          Meatballs of some sort

          Mains:
          Beef tenderloin
          Shrimp & Grits
          Pecan Crusted Salmon
          Butternut Squash Ravioli w/Brown Butter sauce
          Mashed Potato & Mac & Cheese with fixin’s (including the aforementioned Lobster bisque)
          Cranberry Feta Salad

          • Nell

            Nice!

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

            NC? Where?? I’m from New Bern, but live in California now. :)

          • jashshea

            Charlotte, but my niece & nephew are out near New Bern! And my brother is in CA.

    • LM

      This may not be appropriate for you if you are big meat eaters, but my now-husband is a vegetarian/pescatarian. We wanted a family style meal where he could eat everything (we had some sausages and things during the cocktail hour because I love them), and we wanted it to feel like a really fun but simple dinner party. We ended up going with the person who had interesting things to do with vegetables, rather than typical “vegetarian option” things. I spent a lot of time looking at sample menus online on various caterers’ sites (and caterers often have even more recipes that you can look through if you meet in person), and our caterer was also able to tweak recipes that sounded “almost right” to us (e.g. omitting dried fruit from a salad). Given that it’ll be summer in New England, there’s so much great produce that you could enjoy. Also, when I mentioned a cake I liked, our caterer offered to use the recipe and made us our own extra cake to take home. It was great!

    • NrgGrl

      We just booked someone who makes traditional Spanish paella on a huge wok, cooked over an open fire. Very affordable, unique, and fun! It seems like paella catering is becoming “a thing”, so it might be worth looking into in your area!

    • sara g

      We are having different kinds of tortas, a bunch of yummy salads, roasted veggies, fruit, and some appetizers. I’m in Washington state, so unfortunately can’t recommend a caterer to you, but I could send you our menu if you want to take a look. :) Food-wise it’s about $16/person I think?

    • Allie Moore

      you already have lots of great suggestions but have you looked into a food truck? We’re doing really delicious new york-style pizza off a food truck because it’s both tasty and affordable which is really hard to find! Generally, though, when I price checked food trucks they were cheaper than caterers because they have all of their supplies contained/don’t need as much staff. Otherwise, we’re doing a reception not at a meal time so you can have great food but you don’t have to serve a full meal’s worth (our pizza is part of a late-night snack & dessert wedding).

    • Leslie

      Not sure if you have looked into it, but a full-on lobster bake is a lot cheaper than you would think. When we were looking at various (casual) catering options, it was actually cheaper than many. Also, I talked to a couple places that bring a mobile pizza oven to locations and that was also really inexpensive. In fact, I kind of want to do it for a party sometime. Also, it’s been said before, but food trucks. Especially if you are doing an outdoor wedding where there is not a kitchen available. I found the cost of kitchen rentals to be the biggest expense. It’s actually what we planned to do, and then we changed our wedding and had it in December at a restaurant instead. Not sure where in New England you are, but we were going to hire The Kitchen from Portsmouth, NH and they created an awesome, foodie-centric menu for us (chicken and waffle boats, korean pork tacos, big pot of paella…) and were reasonably priced. The Kitchen is the name of their brick and mortar restaurant, but I think their catering company is Portsmouth Catering Company or something like that.

    • Caroline

      We’re doing Mediterranean inspired. We’re SO excited about the menu:

      Pomegranate glazed duck with chili mango chutney on a wonton
      rosemary grilled peaches with chevre and basil on crustini
      3 dips with pita (up to the caterer, vegetarian, but stuff like hummus, baba ganoush, the most amazing weird red turnip dip)
      olives with thyme and orange

      Summer platter of eggplant, peppers, mushrooms and other summer veggies
      Fattoush salad (most amazing fattoush salad)
      Couscous
      Grilled Flat iron steak with chimichurri sauce
      Grilled Salmon with a cherry tomato and pistachio tapanade
      3 bean salad: green beans, yellow wax beans and I think purple beans
      Challah and butter

      Banana cake
      Fresh seasonal fruit (I told my friend I would give her cash and she should spend all of it on whatever looks best and doesn’t need to be cut. Ie, peaches and berries yes, melons, no)

      • Ragnhild

        Sounds delicious! So many great flavors.

  • Margi

    Any tips on job searching? Things I haven’t tried? I feel like I’ve exhausted all my networks – in real life and on linked in and friends of friends of friends?

    • Jess

      What kind of job are you looking for?

    • Lauren from NH

      This may seem obvious but have you had someone review your matierials and give you feedback? We recently tweaked my partner’s materials and he’s getting lots of calls now. I am kind of the master of the short confident email, which I think works well when people are super rushed instead of a thorough cover letter. Though I am sure this varyies widely by field.

      • emilyg25

        As far as resources for that sort of thing, I recently started reading the blog Ask a Manager and she has fabulous advice about cover letters, resumes, interviews, etc. And also a pleasant writing voice.

      • Alison

        I have been involved in the interviewing process at my company for two positions recently, and I’m always appalled by how many people have errors or weird things in their resume. Have someone else look at it! Multiple people, ideally! If it’s just in the CL I tend to let it slide a bit, but then I generally ask how you’d rate your writing skills in the interview and you had better not give yourself a 10!

    • KC

      A lot of universities/community colleges/etc. have job centers where you can get things like cover letter advice and which also have job posting boards. Even if you’re not an alum, if you ask during a not-too-busy time, sometimes they’ll be able to help you (and it gets you a toe into a different network, potentially). It’d also be worth looking at community centers for this sort of service or for local business meetups or job fairs. Hope it goes well!

    • StevenPortland

      One idea is to volunteer or join activities related to your field. I agreed to write (for free) a journal article right after law school and 6 months later one of the attorneys I met while working on that article offered me my first attorney job. Plus the community work looks really good on a resume in my opinion.

    • Emily

      No tips… I’m right there with you. But I’m giving you a massive hug! Job searching is weighing on me.

  • Becca

    I learned today that Claire Pettibone is releasing a budget-friendlier collection in November and wanted to share! It’s called Romantique (I’m having link troubles! But Google if interested!), and it looks lovely. And all dresses will retail for under $3,000! As someone who loves Claire Pettibone but couldn’t quite get comfortable with the $7,000 price tag of the world’s most beautiful CP dress she tried on, I’m REALLY excited.

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

      that sounds amazing! I am so in love with her work. I was sure I would end up getting a dress from her for my wedding – it turned out that the ones I tried on were gorgeous (and expensive) but didn’t feel quite right for that day, but I am still a huge fan and she’s my dream designer!! That’s wonderful news!!

  • K

    The beautiful venue that we have been eyeing for our wedding contracts with an outside caterer that you MUST use–I’m really struggling with it because it seems like they’re really taking advantage of not having competition. So, I’m wondering what are “typical” charges for caterers? They have a china fee($5/person), catering fee (8%), server fee ($17/hr/server–which they DO NOT have for weddings held at their own space), a fee for having more than 1 entree ($1 extra/plate), and a few others. Is this normal? And relatedly, can I try to negotiate with them at all… or is that rude? I love the venue, but this caterer just reeeaaallly is bothering us and keeping us from booking. Thoughts?

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Catering proposals were the mentally hardest part of wedding planning for us. We got some straight-forward proposals that were $xx/person or $xxxx for up yyy people, and then we got some like yours. So, those fees are common but not standard, ’cause there’s no standard way of setting up a catering contract.

      You should definitely try to negotiate, but be aware that wedding vendors generally prefer to add extras rather than cut fees. So you might be offered extra appetizers instead of cutting the second entree fee, for example.

    • Ellen

      My experience has been similar to Elisabeth Joanne’s. To give you a little bit more specific information, we’re holding our reception at a local college that has been great and very straightforward to work with. We’re certainly paying more for extra entrees ($4/person; unusually, it would have been even more per person to do the same number of entrees as a buffet), and would have encountered a china fee if we wanted to have the event at an outdoor space on campus (risk of breakage in transportation from storage location to the reception spot/generally higher risk of breakage outside based on uneven ground, less good lighting, whatever else; and it sounds like this caterer may encounter at least transportation breakage issue with your wedding) or use anything other than the basic china. So on those two counts, at least, I can tell you that a vendor who I like and who has generally been very reasonable price-wise is also charging those fees.

    • Lawyerette510

      In business it’s never rude to negotiate (although you can negotiate rudely) but yes you should absolutely negotiate the contract and if you can’t get comfortable with it, consider other venues where you have choices instead of a monopolistic set up of only 1 caterer.

      To be fair, I don’t have a problem with not having a choice with the catering (we had a 1-stop shop hotel with a restaurant that was awesome) but if we wouldn’t have been able to have a price, menu and related charges that worked for us, then we would have walked on the venue.

      • K

        Yes, I think negotiation, and their response to it, will ultimately be the deciding factor. But I have such a hard time as a conflict-averse nice girl form the midwest actually opening up that conversation. Any tips for how I can do it without immediately crying at the first sign of rejection on their part (unfortunately, I do tend to cry when I’m stressed and speaking with someone who I feel has power over me…)?

        • Violet

          Since you directly asked for tips, I’d say 1. Read Getting to Yes. Totally reframes how you think about negotiation (hint: it ISN’T conflict). As Lawyerette points out, it’s not rude. It’s not mean. 2. Practice first! Role play with a friend pretending to be the vendor.
          That can help get over some of the jitters, which otherwise lead to
          tears. 3. Research some costs of other caterers so you can point to those and say you were expecting something in line with those prices; ask why the caterer they require has higher prices. They might have a good answer. 4. Ask what they’d like to do.
          Also side note: I get how it feels that way, but they don’t have any power over you. They’re a vendor, you’re a potential customer. That’s it.

          • Lawyerette510

            Getting to Yes is so good! As are Violet’s other tips. I’d add repeating to yourself a reminder that you are the potential customer, and if anything you are the one in the position of power. You get to choose where to have your wedding and who caters it and you can choose to counter/ negotiate their terms, find new terms that work for you and them, or find another option.

            It’s hard with weddings (and other personal events) because they are personal and emotional for those of us hosting them, but it’s not generally for most vendors (yes vendors want to do a good job, yes they might be moved by your love, etc, but if they don’t know you then it’s not personal for them in that same emotional way), so while for you this is A HUGE DECISION for them it is just a potential business deal.

            My final tip is, imagine you’re advocating for someone else that you really really love or that you feel very responsible for. Lots of times that makes it easier, especially for women because we’re conditioned to value standing up for other people over standing up for ourselves.

          • K

            You’re sooo right about advocating for self vs others! Thank you both for your tips- that book is definitely on my reading list!!

        • ElisabethJoanne

          Try to do it by email. Start with, “We had hoped for an event with a,b,c at a cost of $x. We don’t see your proposal as in line with that. Is there anything you can do to still make this work?” a,b,c would include “chicken and vegetarian entree choices” or “sit-down dinner” etc.

          If they won’t work with email, practice lines like those for in person or on the phone. Know that it’s ok to say “OK. We’ll think about it and get back to you.”

        • Granola

          You may have already done your negotiating, but I’ve had a lot of success when I just keep asking questions (i’m also a nice girl from the Midwest). Learning the back story of things and why they are what they say they are has gone a long way for me because it almost makes the negotiation take care of itself, in that people are more likely to say “Oh well this isn’t entirely necessary, maybe we could change it.”

    • Nell

      The fee for having an extra entree seems insane, but otherwise that sounds pretty normal to me for a venue where they have to truck in all the actual catering supplies. For example, servers are at $25/hr with one of the caterers we’re looking at, and china is probably close to $5/person. Ask the caterer for a line-by-line breakdown of what exactly they are renting.

      The china rental and the server fees are actually the things that you will probably not be able to negotiate about. The china probably costs them the same every time, and their employees are getting paid whatever they get paid. BUT, if you did a buffet, or fewer courses, then you wouldn’t need the servers for as many hours. I would definitely try to negotiate – but just be prepared that it might not work.

      • K

        I guess my issue with the china fee is that the caterer already owns the china, and uses it every time this venue has an event, meaning they just need to transport it…which is what I’m paying a delivery fee for, right? I also understand the employee cost, but I wouldn’t have to pay that hourly server fee if I had had the wedding at the caterer’s own venue. Maybe I’m just salty over feeling like this is a monopoly :/

        • Nell

          The caterers we’re looking at rent the china from a third party. I think that’s pretty common. But someone else can weigh in here!

          • Ellen

            I can’t speak to whether or not that’s common, but I’ll offer that you should be cautious of getting upset over what a fee is called rather than it’s ultimate contribution towards cost per person. In the end, it’s just a difference in *how* they bill, not *what* your overall bill is (which I imagine is the real concern).

            They could, for example, eliminate the china fee entirely by simply raising the delivery feel to be (current delivery fee + current china fee) and calling it all the delivery fee. It’s all the same to you, in terms of the money. The ultimate example of this is just giving you an overall per-person cost for the event (or simply a total event cost, which you can divide by attendees to get a per-person). That eliminates the feeling of nickel-and-diming and also makes it easier to compare proposals, but also means less transparent billing, which may be something you actually like. Conversely, they could break out the delivery fee in a hugely granular way (fee for loading china, fee for driving china, fee for unloading china, etc). Again, assuming it all adds up to the current “delivery fee”, it’s all the same to you.

            All of that is to say: every bill or proposal you get will make choices about what to break out and what to consolidate. It’s easy to get hung up on those line items and whether they’re really already covered elsewhere, but in the end, if adding it all up at Catering Company A is less per person than adding it all up at Catering Company B (which can be difficult to figure out, as covered elsewhere in the thread–I don’t mean to gloss over it!), who cares how they split it out when they gave it to you in the first place?

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

      I’m in the midwest, and I think prices can vary WILDLY depending on your geographic location. So, for what it’s worth, every catering contract I saw tacked on an extra 18% gratuity/server fee. I’m having a buffet and they charged us an extra $1/person for having two entrées as an option (I’m guessing that since people eat more when there’s more variety, they have to provide more food than exactly half a portion of each entrée.) We’re also doing the salads family style at the tables, and they’re charging an extra $1/plate for having salad plates at the table.
      I think the buffet $21/person if I remember correctly, so with all our extra charges, it’ll be more like $24 (for gratuity and the salad plates). Again, your prices might be totally different – I’m pretty happy with the low cost of catering even in the outer suburbs of a mid-sized city in the midwest. But you might want to compare with one or two other caterers in your area and see if this caterer is really charging more, or if they’re just giving more detail with their line-item budget then a caterer who just charges a flat $40/person, no extra fees.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        It was the comparisons that made reviewing catering proposals so mentally challenging – seriously – especially because our head count was very rough. Ultimately, I had to calculate each proposal as a per-person charge, which meant, for the complicated proposals, dividing the cost of renting each table cloth by 8 or 10, various add-ons by the total headcount, etc. In retrospect, I could probably have insisted each caterer tell me a total estimate, and then just divided that by the estimated headcount. But I also found caterers hard to communicate with. There were also things, like coffee service, which we weren’t sure we wanted, that some included and others didn’t. Anyway, it was quite the headache!

        We found caterers in our area were tiered in price. There was what we paid, which was lowest or second-lowest tier. Our caterers didn’t have their own space and likely had some sort of flexible day-job. There were a few other caterers that were within 15% of what we paid. The next tier was twice as much. And the third tier was maybe twice that.

        tldr: The best way to compare catering proposals is to figure out the per-person cost when everything is added up and divided again. Catering prices can vary widely without it being clear what value is added with the higher-priced caterers.

  • Laura C

    Holy week of meltdowns. Wedding is two weeks from tomorrow and I’m not sure I’m going to make it, guys. Every day, I think tonight is going to be the night I get to work on unpacking our stupid (beautiful, but hatefully full of boxes) apartment. And every night, by the time I’m off work, there are like five wedding-related things I need to do, and I don’t get anything done on the apartment, and I have a high tolerance for mess but it’s just adding to my general tension and misery. Last week, July 12-20, I was only home for 43 hours and I had three early flights in eight days. Still exhausted, but I’m on a cycle where I get so exhausted I basically pass out, but as soon as I’m within about 15% of being not sleep deprived, I stop being able to sleep again. Meanwhile, it’s like 4 days until A takes the bar, and I get maybe, maybe 20 minutes of his attention a day to answer wedding-related stuff (and anything else going on). And we owe the DJ a ton of information, and the timeline I sent the venue is full of gaps, and generally speaking I Do Not Have Things Under Control, in part because I Did Not Expect To Be This Much On My Own. Also, too, the fact that he has a clerkship interview in San Francisco, a city I loathe, in the 10 days between the bar and our wedding is making me crazy, because if he gets an appellate clerkship, he really has to take it, but thinking about spending a year in San Francisco puts me right on the edge of a breakdown, which is not helpful for either of us.

    AND THEN I inadvertently spark a big fight with his mother, where we are partly in the wrong (did not send her some info we should have done) but it blew up into this whole thing about how excluded she feels from the wedding planning, with examples including that we didn’t consult her about the invitations (my favorite thing about the wedding, by the way, and not up for debate with anyone but my fiance and if he’d objected I would have been so sad) and apparently the expectation that we’re going to show her the program before it goes to the printer in like two days, but the problem with her feelings of exclusion is twofold. One, he’s just not the kind of person who tells his mother details about his life much. He feels close to her, but that’s not how he mostly communicates. So either he changes his communication style (not going to happen overnight) or I take on the work of communicating with her, which I object to strongly on gender grounds. Two, the fact is that when we tell his mother things for her information, she believes that means she gets to not just express an opinion but exercise veto power. Which is not acceptable to me or really to him. Apparently she’s also still upset I went with the dress that everyone but her loved? So, yeah, problems there, and 4-5 days before he takes the bar is not really the time to be hashing it all out. So now I guess there’s a marker: either we show her the program knowing that it’s going to entail a lot of back and forth with her wanting to change stuff that isn’t really her call, or we don’t show it to her and her resentment over being excluded builds.

    One of my bridesmaids told me she’d bring Xanax to the wedding, but I sort of thing I need it now…trainer session at the gym last night did make me feel a lot better, though. As did the fact that when I started getting worried about when we’d go apply for our marriage license, A said “this is one of those things that’s even more important than passing the bar.”

    • emmers

      I am sorry you are having such a hard time. It sounds like there are a lot of challenges here, both with it being very soon until your wedding & the various insane details that go along with that, and a lot of other potential cnages (like where to live) on the horizon, and the whole mother in law thing.

      I would say, make a list of the top, most important things that have to be done over the next few days. Then, do whatever is most important (and/or most likely to cause angst, such as deciding whether or not to show your mother in law the program).

      But recogize that you do have a lot on your plate. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed. You have a lot going on, lady!

      Since doing your trainer session helped, maybe schedule some more of that. And do at least a few other things that make you feel good (I like baths and tea and cheese and wine, maybe not all together).

      As far as your mother in law goes, I would do whatever you feel is best (show her the program or don’t), and recognize that you are doing your best, and you can’t control how she responds. It’s her choice to get in a tizzy or not. Just make whatever intelligent, adult, decisions you can about how to handle it, and know that that is your best!

      I’m rooting for you. And I’m sorry things are so crazy right now! But congratulations on being married soon!

    • NewHere

      I am currently living in the bay area (not SF itself, but down the peninsula a ways) and I have never loved it. BUT it’s not forever and there are some things that ‘don’t suck’ about it so I’m choosing to focus on those while I am here. A clerkship is not forever, right?

    • jashshea

      Oh sister! I remember the feeling. One day at a time & one decision at a time. Focus on the big stuff (marriage license for example) and try to let some things go (worry about the clerkship and unpacking later).

      I’m sorry your MIL is being unreasonable. It doesn’t sound like you’re going to please her with the programs, so my advice would be to send them to the printer and then say oh, here’s what’s being printed.

      I hope you reach your zen soon.

    • KC

      Auuugh that is not okay and not good timing.

      Wondering if you can do a “here’s a pdf of the program that we just sent to the printer!” you’re-included-on-the-info-but-behold-it-is-too-late-to-change-anything thing?

      • Laura C

        Interesting thought, since (per Caitlin_DD’s suggestion) we can’t say someone else is doing the program as she already knows we are. I’m just never sure what’s going to be the biggest hassle, and which hassle is going to turn out to have been worth it.

    • Caitlin_DD

      Mayhaps pretend you had a lovely bridesmaid/friend step in and do the program for you because of the chaos, and it’s out of your hands. It’s a little late for her to be complaining about involvement. I suspect she’s also having nerves, though not to your extent. Honestly if you need to, it’s okay to shut down communications until after the wedding. Take care of you first.

    • Lawyerette510

      I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with so much right now. But you will get through it. As for San Francisco, it’s a maybe not a yes, and your feelings of not wanting to live in the city are valid, but there are lots of great places near SF that are alternatives if you do end up needing to live here for a year (depending on what kind of vibe you like there’s lots of different places in Marin, Berkeley, Oakland, Orinda, Moraga, Piedmont, Mont Clair, San Mateo, etc. But it’s not happening yet.

      I think that it might be time for someone (maybe not even you or your FH, but perhaps another family member or a close friend?) to talk to your FMIL and tell her that “we care about your feelings and we don’t want you to feel this way, but given that the bar exam is in X days and the wedding is in 3 weeks, decisions are no longer up for discussion. So, we are going to do our best to keep you in the loop while our lives shoot forward at 100 mph, but please know that it is not a personal slight that we are making executive decisions or that we may inadvertently forget to relay information to you during this time. We want to work on having a good relationship with you, but right now is not the time for us to emotionally deep-dive into it. Please know that we love you, none of our decisions have been done to hurt you or insult you, and we want to talk it through, but we just can’t now because the bar needs to be passed, the apartment needs to be unpacked and the wedding needs to be executed.”

      • Nicole

        First, my wedding is two weeks from yesterday and I feel like this week everything got crazy and more stressful as well. I wonder if there is something about the two weeks?

        Second, last week, my fiance had to have a similar conversation with his mother. We asked them to help with something, they wanted to negotiate and change the way things were going, he finally said, “We have too many decisions we are having to make and there is too much going on for you to question every single one of these. This is how we are doing it. Can you help or do we need to ask someone else?” It helped A LOT. I think they didn’t realize the greater context of how much was going on and how much could be thrown off by these requests for changes. It’s a different situation for sure, but I was worried about being so direct with them and then it helped more than I could have imagined.

        I hope everything calms down for you and works out alright! putting out good vibes…

      • jashshea

        ^^Lawyerette: FTW yet again.

        • Lawyerette510

          oh shucks, thanks

      • Laura C

        The maybe not a yes thing … comforts me in the big picture but is also an added dread, because he will be, maybe not disappointed, since he knows it would be a problem for us to live there, but dispirited, and of course I don’t want that. But mostly I just try to put it aside as something that’s not in my control.

        And all that is exactly what I’d like to say, if given the chance. Which, we’ll see. Gonna try to memorize it just in case.

        • Lawyerette510

          The whole finding a job while dealing with the bar exam thing is hard enough to go through and I think in someways even harder to be going through as the partner of recent law grad. I can’t really fathom what layering a wedding on top of that would be like. Sending you so much fortitude and peace right now. And in 3 weeks you’re going to be feeling great and you’ll get to the wedding zen and you’ll have an amazing time.

    • Amanda

      Oh wow. This certainly is a lot to take in…I’m not really sure how to respond except to tell you that I think the unpacked boxes should and can wait. Your sanity is much more important than the boxes, I understand the clutter adds to the anxiety but maybe you can clear just one space and make that your wedding and living zone and try to not see the boxes anywhere else. Perhaps just allowing yourself to accept that you can’t finalize the wedding and unpack an apartment will give you some piece with that.

      Also, are the any wedding items you can totally just veto at this point? If so, DO IT! Seriously, your sanity is the most important part of this whole equation.

      Finally, let your fiance go on the interview, support him, see how it goes and then vow not to even broach the conversation of what will we do if you get this job until after he gets the offer, or at least until after the wedding. You have enough emotions to process and things to do right now and I’m sure it’s completely unlikely that he’ll get an offer before the wedding, so just set it aside for now and then hopefully you guys can revisit it from a calmer place after the wedding!

      GOOD LUCK with everything! I’m so sorry it’s all so stressful.

    • Emily

      All the positive vibes dude. You got a lot on your plate: unpacking, wedding, BAR exam, Mother in law drama. You can get through this, just take it one step at a time… and make a lot of lists.

      • Sarah McClelland

        Make the lists and give copies of them to other people. Winning.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Girl, I was SO YOU two weeks ago and YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT. I promise.

      1) Ask for help.
      2) Delegate
      3) Keep the faith

      I stayed up til the wee hours the day before the wedding making boutonierres on the edge of the bed (all other rooms had guests sleeping in them) while the groom to be slept next to me. In retrospect, I should have let the gents had naked lapels and just SLEPT. My timeline was STILL full of holes on W-day and even still… it was all OK.

      Take some shit off the to do list and you will feel better. Give the DJ 10-20 songs and tell him to play “music like this”. Really. Relinquish control to others – next best thing to Xanex. I was also considering asking my family doc for a few pills to get me through the last couple of weeks – only a lack of time stopped me, to be honest. I know it’s hard because you don’t want someone else making decisions about one of the biggest day of your life but sometimes it just has to be done… Praying for you! :)

      • ART

        honestly, some of the best moments of the wedding day (and weirdly, the most warm-fuzzy memories) are closely associated with giving no more fucks and delegating decisions to other people. it’s that feeling of realizing it’s all going to be stupendously great no matter what.

        • Lawyerette510

          This is the TRUTH!

    • Emily

      Hang in there! Two days before my wedding I drove a hundred and fifty miles (in about 5 different short trips) for various wedding-related errands, almost stepped on a rattlesnake at my venue, missed the phone call from family saying there were getting on a plane after being delayed (voice mail didn’t work), got a phone call from them saying they were at the airport now (50 miles away!), and worried nonstop about all of it (what if there was a rattlesnake AT my wedding?). The wedding day was wonderful.

  • http://innercupcake.blogspot.com innercupcake

    When I came home from my bestie’s wedding last Sat my wedding dress and invitations were waiting in our apt office! (except the office was closed, so couldn’t get em until Monday). The majority of our invites are now addressed and mailed, and the dress is hopefully going to be tried on today- I went the inexpensive etsy route since I wasn’t thrilled with anything I saw here that fit my body (plus-sized, love the BHDLN dresses and having something lightweight, but not the pricetags or sizing). All that to say, I’m pretty nervous about the dress, especially since it has more layers than I expected- did NOT think to ask about lining and underlayers when I bought it (tulle outer), and the crinoline I asked the seller to not include was included (bah).

    So here’s my question to the practical crowd- I’m taking the dress to an alterations place to see if most of the dress underlayers and crinoline can be removed as I do not want a heavy layer of satin underneath my floaty lightweight tulle- Is taking out the underlayers and lining of a wedding dress something I can make happen, or am I going to have to buy a whole new dress since this was made much much heavier than I expected?

    • KC

      Totally something you can make happen.

      You’ll need something to make the dress opaque enough that it won’t shock your granny if the overlayers are sheer, but you can literally just trim out a crinoline with scissors if you get desperate, ditto for the satin underlayer, and if all else fails, wear a half-slip [or a white maxi-skirt or white gauchos, whatever works]. Note that the crinoline should be removed before the dress is hemmed, if it’s being hemmed, since the length of the dress when poufed out is different from the length of a dress when it’s not poufed out (geometrically speaking, the length of the exterior of a cone is longer than the height of the cone). Also, removing any of the underlayer may also subtly change how the dress behaves above that level as well (because you’re removing weight that pulls on the fabric) – you may get more horizontal lines, etc., although you can always compensate for that by re-adding weight.

      If an alterations place does this, they’ll probably do it properly by unpicking the seams, removing layers, and re-stitching things together, which will make it more “finished”-looking on the inside than the snip-snip-snip-and-we’re-done method, but do be clear about what you want to happen and get a quote beforehand.

      Good luck!

    • Sarah McClelland

      Kind of same advice as KC, except I’m gonna put more emphasis on the make sure you don’t end up with a see-through gown thing, and point out that linings are the thing that protect your skin from all the itchy dress guts. Take the dress to someone trustworthy and express your concerns- popping out a crinoline is no big deal, but removing the lining or underlining layers could mess with how polished all of your bodice edges look and how the dress lays on your body. That tuelle is likely being supported and shaped by the satin, so you probably kinda want it there. And trying it on may make it feel different… The weight in your arms is dispersed differently once it’s on your body.
      I worked for an alterations place for a long time, and there’s plenty they should be able to do to help, but you’ve gotta listen and answer questions as specifically as you can.

      Good luck!

  • Caitlin_DD

    I finally made it to Happy Hour! And my news is that we found a gorgeous venue for $500.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Now, THAT’S news!

      • Caitlin_DD

        Right? Made my life about $1000 easier ;)

    • MC

      Is it in New Mexico by any chance?? I only ask because our gorgeous venue is only $500 and it was definitely the cheapest place we found by far in multiple states…

      • Caitlin_DD

        Josefina’s Old Gate?

        • MC

          Oh how funny! Ours is in Santa Fe, but I just googled Josefina’s and it is LOVELY. I guess NM has the best venue options all across the state! Yay NM!

          • Caitlin_DD

            Thank you, I’m quite pleased with it. No decorating on my part required. Wow, in Santa Fe! I’d have expected things to be pricier there (every looked at Albuquerque’s choices? The Balloon Museum!) New Mexico is definitely an under appreciated, lovely state.

  • enfp

    Thanks to whoever recommended Bringing up Bébé at last week’s Happy Hour, I am halfway through and loving it. It’s really easing a lot of my anxieties about having kids!

  • MC

    Oh, just saw this and it made my long, stressful week so much better – Confused Cats Against Feminism: http://confusedcatsagainstfeminism.tumblr.com/

  • Kate

    We sent our save the dates! I’m so thrilled to get little messages about people receiving them, but am already dreading the declines. I got a few “we probably can’t make it” messages and they already hurt. I don’t deal with rejection well.

    On the other hand, I had my first wedding nightmare-turned-triumph. A bear was terrorizing our guests. Like a really really large polar bear. But I summoned my army of cats and vanquished it. Then we partied. With the cats. I woke up convinced that if that really happened, it’d be a pretty awesome wedding.

    • emilyg25

      I missed the part where you wrote “dream” and I was like, “Wait, what? A polar bear?? Did they get married at a zoo? Cats!? Cats can’t stop a polar bear!” Ah, Friday…

  • Laura

    I passed the oral defense of my dissertation proposal! I’m now authorized to do alllll kinds of fun stuff looking at how brain network connections might be indicators of Alzheimer’s risk.

    • http://innercupcake.blogspot.com innercupcake

      Congratulations! That sounds like a really fascinating line of work- I just finished my PhD on a project that looked at seizures/epileptiform activity in Alzheimer’s disease, so that sounds up my alley. Good luck with moving forward with the rest of your stuff!

  • River

    So…my awesome long-term temp gig ends today. :-( I really love everyone here and part of me would LOVE to work here for real…But I know that would derail my pursuit of my big Broadway dreams. They all gave me a card and we had a celebratory pizza party, so I know I’m going out on a good note.

    At least our Save-the-Dates are here! :-) And they look splendid! So now i just have to send them out. Thanks to the person who recommended postable to me last week – super useful!!

    • River

      YOU GUYS. Literally 5 minutes after I posted this, the whole EA team came up and asked me to stay another three months!!!!!!

      AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH so happy I am actually crying at my desk :-) So much financial pressure LIFTED!!! And I get to keep my new friends! And when it would end will actually be when there are auditions for me to go to!!

      • Lawyerette510

        YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • River

          Thanks Lawyerette!!! :-)

      • Erin

        Yay for Broadway dreams and gainful employment! …Just curious since I sense you are an NYC bride …are you getting married in the city? I am in Queens but getting married in Long Island

        • River

          UGH I accidentally downvoted this!!!

          • River

            Yay wait are you also a Broadway dreamer???
            And yes, city bride, getting married in Long Island – the all-inclusive venue we chose is saving us approximately $15,000-20,000 compared to a similar amount of food, booze, time, and prettiness in the city.
            Worth the trek.

          • Erin

            Yes the savings are so worth it! Which venue are you at? …I am not exactly a Broadway dreamer but a comedy writer. I am in an all female comedy group. All the girls are coming to my wedding and I secretly wish we could sit at their table.

          • River

            Our wedding will be in a lovely little cross-shaped (!!) Catholic church called St. Aidan’s and then the reception is in a Victorian mansion called Westbury Manor. What about you guys?

            Also, you write comedy?! How awesome! I’m looking to do improv again (it’s been…five years? or more, and I am RUSTY), got any suggestions?

          • Erin

            I do not do improv but the team I write for does sketch and improv and I know they all train through The PIT or UCB and a few have taken classes at Magnet. If classes aren’t in your budget I would just suggest going to lots of shows to get back in the scene and you will meet people who can point you towards opportunities. My group is The Pin Up Squirrels and we are doing a lot of shows this summer. ….Westbury Manor is beautiful! We are at Our Lady of Lourdes Church and The Riviera in Massapequa

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Holy crap!!! Ha ha ha! That’s awesome!

        • River

          Thanks buddy :-) holy crap indeed!!!

      • Alison O

        Little do they know you are just playing on the internet while at work! Obviously just kidding – that is awesome. I would’ve loved for my temp job that just ended to be extended.

        • River

          HAH! yeah, one of the things that makes this place so special is that they are fine with me using the internet and like, working on my real career while I answer phones – as long as I make the office run smoothly, they want me to be happy and productive. It’s for real a shiny unicorn of a temp gig.

          Good luck finding your next temp job! :-)

      • Emma

        Congrats!! That is awesome!

        • River

          Thanks :-)

  • Anon

    We got our wedding videos (full-length and trailer) this week. You guys, can I just say – money. well. spent. Took me back to that day in a way that pictures cannot. Very happy we made the decision to make room in the budget for the videographer. Even my mother, who originally thought hiring a videographer was quite WIC and extravagant given our budget, now admits it was a good call.

  • ART

    So, I’ve been struggling with how/whether to mention this at happy hour since our wedding a month ago. Our two friends, at whose wedding last year we were happy to work our butts off to help make it happen the way they wanted, were supposed to be a groomsman and a photographer at ours. The week before, they had a health crisis in their family and I told my then-fiance we should prepare ourselves for them not being able to attend – for totally legitimate reasons. I made sure to let them know we were aware how serious it was and were thinking of them.

    Rather than not attend, they: came all the way up, but missed the rehearsal completely and never called or texted either of us; showed up late on the wedding day again after not calling or texting and were thus out of the loop and didn’t know where I was or what to do; arrived to take getting-ready photos after we had already gotten ready and needed to pack up and get to the venue asap; returned to the venue (in-laws’ home) and had a hysterical meltdown an hour before the wedding, necessitating in-laws’ attention to whisk them out of eyesight/earshot of my fiance during his pre-ceremony scotch toast; groomsman stood up in ceremony while photographer friend waited – somewhere? in the car maybe?; left within 5 minutes of ceremony ending; un-friended us on Facebook,

    I’m sort of stumped. I interacted with them for all of 30 seconds in all of this. I didn’t realize I’d been un-friended until I went to send her a nice note on FB saying all was well with us and their family member was still in our thoughts. I mean, we’re (or we were) friends – we never expected some return on investment for our help at their wedding, and we would have totally understood if they could not make it. But instead they came and behaved in a way that’s just inexplicable to me. Is it just like…weddings bringing out the weirdest/worst in people? My husband is really hurt…I’d extend them the benefit of the doubt, but for that. I’m just like….what. the. hell?!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      If I were your friends, I’d be deeply embarrassed, and that could definitely lead me to cut off all contact.

      As I’ve matured, I’ve tried to learn that sometimes I’m too out of sorts to attend big social events, even if I’m physically able to and really wanted to be present, but it was a hard lesson to learn. In the moment, a very sick family member can seem like a bigger deal than a wedding, and I can see that playing out with behavior like your friends’. Not that it’s ok or anything, just that when we’re in crisis mode, becoming self-centered can be par for the course.

      I’d send the message you we’re going to send through FB some other way, but don’t press beyond that.

      [I also have to do FB purges periodically for my own privacy or for work. So there's a tiny likelihood that had 0 to do with you.]

      • ART

        Thanks, I think you’re probably right, and I think the embarrassment part is what’s making me feel pretty sympathetic and want to reach out and say it’s all OK, but then the whole un-friending thing made me think, what, is she MAD at ME or something? well screw that, I’m gonna be mad at HER! Which of course is silly, full of assumptions, and non-constructive.

        I may wait a little longer to collect my thoughts and send an email just saying hey, it was an emotional week all around, water under the bridge, etc. and if they aren’t interested, that will be that I guess. But I feel like I have to do that with my husband’s blessing, because they’re originally friends from his “side” and he’s just pissed off right now :/

        • Lawyerette510

          Hopefully your husband can get through those feelings, because ultimately they are just going to be a blemish (albeit a small one) on his memories of the event and won’t hurt the people he’s mad at. I think you have the right approach, mostly because it helps you move through it and focus on the positive and let that water pass under the bridge. It sounds like you’re on your way to the very healthy place of forgiving someone without feeling obligated to continue that friendship.

    • River

      Oof. My heart goes out to everyone in this story. Especially you and your husband – it’s a terrible feeling when you try to be understanding and give someone an out, and they don’t take it – and then seemingly blame you for it. But I second ElizabethJoanne – it could be a deep embarrassment causing the subsequent de-friending. In case it’s this, I second the reaching out with that message elsewhere advice. If you get no response, just know you did everything you could to be a gracious friend.

      HUGS TO YOU!!

    • ART

      omg you guys. i just drafted an email to see what it would sound like, and i’m not kidding, my computer just freaked out and backspaced the entire thing and I can’t retrieve it. ghost in the machine says not now, apparently.

      • Em(ily)

        Electronics are helpful like that, sometimes. Wasn’t a good time for that. Watch her reach out to you, now.

      • StevenPortland

        I agree with your ghost. Sit on it awhile. Then my suggestion is do not send an email! Buy a nice card and write a simple message: “Hey, I know you were going through some tough times with the family crisis. Sorry that things were a disaster when you arrived at our wedding. Please call me when you have some breathing room. I want to make sure you know that the wedding stuff was just bad juju and shouldn’t hurt our friendship.” Something like that. It is always good to take the high road and personal letters are received (IMHO) much more seriously and positively.

        • ART

          Thank you, Steven, that is the tone I am going for, and I think a card is a great idea.

    • macrain

      Oh goodness, this sounds beyond difficult and I’m so sorry.
      I think you are handling this incredibly well, and trying to be as gracious as possible despite that you are no doubt frustrated, confused, and sad.
      Big hugs! I hope this is able to be worked out.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      What the ACTUAL hell? They didn’t just take a Facebook vacay?

      So weird and mysterious. I’m sorry, ART! :(

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

    Today is my last day of work at my current job! Bucket list: Quit A Job – item complete! I’m about to head out ;)

    • Sparkles

      Wooohooo!!! It’s like the beginning of summer vacay! School’s out for summer! (Or for however long you have before you start something else, I guess).

  • Molly P. Kopuru

    Week 2 at job is almost complete!! It is one gazillion times better th
    Working here only further solidifies the fact that everything about the last job was just wrong, on so many levels. Glad I finally seem to have found a good place!

    • KC

      Congratulations!

  • Megan

    I just signed off on our invitations! I was wishy washy about these for so long and finally decided to get them custom designed by my fiance’s graphic designer coworker. I didn’t want to spend much more to have them custom made, but now we’re breaking even since she was able to incorporate what we would have put on a reception/info card on the back of the invite, so we don’t have to pay for a reception card, or extra postage above a forever stamp! win!

  • lady brett

    happy happy hour! how is it that i’ve never had a mint julep before? thanks for the push, y’all – it’s a damn fine drink (i went traditional with it, but ya’ll get credit for the inspiration). plus, i got to make crushed ice with a knife honer – whack!

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

      Oh god they are so good!! When I saw the post on it, it really made me want to make some this week..

  • Caitlin_DD

    Also, Secretary of Sass made my day.

  • Erin

    Tonight my MOH is coming over to help me attempt to make my veil using the APW tutorial! I am so excited/hopeful/nervous! Has anyone else tried it?

    • River

      Nope, but I’m planning to do this with my FMIL sometime in the next few months :-) Good luck tonight! And please share your results with us!

      • Erin

        River! I was commenting on your post while you were commenting on mine. …You are a fellow New Yorker, correct?

        • River

          HAH! Hooray! Yes, indeedy, born and bred :-)

    • KC

      I was pre-APW-tutorial, but my veil was homemade. Ditto for my sister’s. Tulle is hard to ruin and cheap to replace, so have a ball and just play with it until it looks right! :-)

      • Sarah McClelland

        I combined my grandmother’s with more tuelle for a blusher and some length with the help of my other grandmother. Yours is so pretty,

    • Erin

      WE DID IT!!

      • River

        WOW!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this right away :-) Made my morning! It’s stunning!!

        • Erin

          Thanks! It was fun and stress free since tulle is so cheap. I have at least reached veil zen :)

  • macrain

    I had been feeling really stressed this week, and then the wedding gods decided to throw me a bone.So- we invited my mentor from college to our wedding, which was a no brainer since she is everything. BUT- I was thinking that due to her busy schedule and the fact that she is raising two kids under the age of three, and would have to travel, it wasn’t likely that she would be able to make it. Well, she IS COMING! I am over the moon. This is someone who helped shape who I am in ways I can’t describe. (In fact, there is no appropriate word to describe what she is to me. I usually default to “mentor” but it’s simply not enough!) To have her there means the world, and somehow her saying yes has helped me refocus on what this is all about.
    She is flying solo, but since everyone who is anything to me knows her, if not knows damn well who she is, I’m not worried!
    THIS IS SO SPECIAL. I just can’t. I needed this for sure!

    • Nicole

      YAYAYAYAY! How wonderful :)

  • genevathene

    Adult child of a narcissist here. Yesterday, I got a flurry of, “Why would anybody want to come to your wedding?” “What do you mean [fiance] isn’t converting to Catholicism?” “How can you do this to me, this marriage is a farce, you will have bastard children and your actions will only lead to a painful end in hell!” Nevermind that we actually *are* getting married in the church, just without communion (as the Catholic church requires in our case).

    But you know what? I finally found the strength to defend my soon-to-be baby family, and confidently drew clear boundaries. This is something I’ve never been able to do before, and I was just over. the. moon. with pride, relief, and joyful freedom after I hung up the phone. My therapist deserves some credit, but I would have never gotten to this point without the amazing, kickass, genuine APW community. So, thank you! And to others with similar family backgrounds, have faith that you can get to this point, too. :)

    • Jess

      I am SO proud of you! I understand that flurry of those kind of me-centered questions and what it can do to you, and so for you to SET A BOUNDARY?!?! YES!!!!!

      Congratulations.

    • Lawyerette510

      High five for your successful handling of this. It’s hard to get a flurry of questions like that and to have a narcissist involved in the wedding because they’re a parent, as the whole event is hard for them to wrap their head around except for how it related to them. The narcissist closely connected with our wedding sent a list of song requests that he wanted to be played because it would be meaningful to him which included Positively 4th Street and some other similarly not wedding-ok songs related to people letting other people down and betrayal.

    • Alison O

      Obviously I don’t know you, but I just got goosebumps reading this. That is a lot of strength.

    • Nell

      Rock on. I’m gonna quibble with you on one thing – your new family doesn’t have to be a baby family! Even if it’s just 2 of you for now – that’s a full-size, awesome, grown-up family. I have to remind myself of this all the time.

  • Bsquillo

    Did anyone else notice that besides Hillary’s twitter bio saying she is a pantsuit aficionado, it also says she’s a hair icon?

    I’m dead.

    • lady brett

      i really thought “tbd…” was actually the sassiest part of that twitter bio.

  • Ilora

    We have a venue! Which means we have a date! August 22, 2015 :) now off to find a photographer, any recommendations for a photographer on Vancouver Island (BC) preferably the Nanaimo area?

    • Libby

      No recommendations for photographer unfortunately, but just had to pop in here and say that we just got back two days ago from our honeymoon on Vancouver Island and it was amazing! Beautiful place to have a wedding :)

  • Em(ily)

    Tomorrow marks 2 weeks out. I am so tired of planning this thing. My man is supposedly in charge of the food and logistics thereof, but he’s kind of sucking at it it. This morning he tells me hey, we have a big logistical hurdle! We’ll figure it out though, even if it costs us an extra hundred bucks, yeah nbd. Wtf. I was hoping at this point, there wouldn’t still be shit to figure out! All my over-thinking has been for nothing.

    Our rsvp deadline has come and gone, and we are missing only one response. We have one “maybe,”
    and one totally incommunicado party. It’s so freaking strange! I addressed the invites that went to homes of families to “The Smith Family,” and the one who hasn’t responded went out of their way to clarify what that meant. I was glad to answer their questions. Then they just didn’t send their card in, 3 weeks now since they talked it over with me. I don’t even want to call them and find out what’s up, can’t we just wait and see if they either rsvp or show up?

    In happy news, after the first-dance article on APW, I had a change of heart on that front and decided if my man brought it up, it was because it was something he wanted to do and I can go along with it. That line, “We won’t get this back!” Really dug its way into my brain.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Depending on what “the Smith family” meant, it doesn’t surprise me they dropped the ball. They’re coordinating multiple schedules and inclinations, and there’s lots of pass-the-buck potential in terms of who actually completes the RSVP.

      Depending on how your reception is arranged, you could just leave them as a question mark. But if that’s not a practical option (caterer needs a more precise headcount, escort cards), call the family “social secretary” (usually the matriarch).

      • Em(ily)

        That makes sense.
        My thought was that Family = Mom + Dad + kids. Those are the households I addressed invites to in that manner. I was unaware that their household isn’t exactly formatted like that anymore. Considering we have gotten zero “no” responses thus far, I am reluctant to find out for sure if the trend is going to continue or not.

  • Eh

    I am having an emotionally draining week so I am very happy it is the weekend (though that doesn’t remove my stressors – but at least I don’t have to go to work).

    My mother passed away 12 years ago tomorrow, so this time of year is always hard on me. I miss her and I wish she could have met my husband, my brother’s wife and my sister’s fiancé, and all of her grandchildren. This year is particularly difficult (the last couple of years have been) because my husband and I have decided to start trying to get pregnant after my sister’s wedding.

    My sister is getting married in two weeks (yay!) but my mom’s family is causing drama (boo!). Two of our aunts who don’t get along came to my wedding last year (first time they had been in the same room in four years – unfortunately they also had hotel rooms right next to each other). Now one of them is not going to my sister’s wedding because my wedding was too awkward and stressful, and she refuses to be in the same room as two of my cousins (who were unable to attend my wedding). It’s complicated. To make things worse at least one of the parties involved in the feud has told me that if my mother was alive that she would not have let it go on this long or get out of control (now, doesn’t that make me feel awesome).

    If that wasn’t enough, my husband’s aunt passed away five years ago today (I never met her since my husband and I went on our first date on three years ago yesterday). I was having a bonding moment with his cousin (his aunt’s only child) today (funny story – her mom and my sister have the same name and my sister is getting married on her mom’s birthday). Anyways, my husband family also has a lot of drama and his cousin said that her mother would never have let it get this way either. Since we have improved our relationship with my BIL and SIL (after they didn’t attend our wedding) we were hoping that the family would give my BIL and SIL a second chance (as some of them didn’t really give my SIL a first chance); however most people are still excluding them and there is still a lot of bad blood (I know these things take time and effort but their has been no effort from anyone other than us and my BIL/SIL). I was talking to one of the family members I am close with (we are friends and we went to high school together and she set me up with my husband) and I mentioned that it would be nice if we all (the three couples) could get along enough to hang out (her husband is another one of my husband’s cousins and he is also trying to improve his relationship with my BIL and SIL). Her response was that she would act civil in around them but she had no interest in working things out with them. I have seen her “act civil” and it’s pretty rude (she will not acknowledge my SIL or talk to her, she pretty much just ignores her and acts like my SIL is not there). She has not seen my SIL in over a year (they ran into each other when they were shopping and she was trying to avoid my SIL that day). I told her that my SIL has changed (she is way less aggressive than she was) and the response I got back was that in her experience people don’t change and she’s just waiting for my SIL to go back to her old ways. So she has no interest in working anything out so we continue to be stuck between her and my BIL/SIL.

    So anyways, that’s been my week. I need a major distraction this weekend.

    • Hannah B

      https://twitter.com/EmergencyPuppy hope this helps! it’s hard to be in the middle of feuds…but maybe your future hypothetical kids can do it. I seem to be doing it for my mom and her brother…slowly. :-)

  • YetAnotherMegan

    Somehow, I think this is my first Happy Hour since getting married over a month ago! Gah life has been crazy. I’m still working out how I feel about the wedding (yes, at the end of the day we were married, but….). In the meantime, my niece has sent her Save the Dates. And I don’t mean to be rude, but apparently my husband and I aren’t invited? We’re seriously the only two on this side of the family that didn’t get one. All of the aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-aunts, great uncles are talking about how excited they are and I’m just here. I know that a guest list is a personal decision and no one is entitled to an invite. I’m just having a hard time understanding this, especially since I often feel like the forgotten family member (I’m a good 10-20 years younger than the rest of my generation in the family). Am I totally out of line to be upset?

    • Ellen

      I mean, in the end, you feel how you feel. Don’t let yourself stew in unhappiness for a long time, but if you’re hurt, acknowledge it and then work on moving on.

      That said, we sent invites probably 3 weeks ago and are still getting returned mail/finding out that people never received them (sometimes in cases where we absolutely for sure did use the correct address). Is it possible that there was just a postal error of some sort? Maybe feel around the family grapevine and try to figure out what’s going on. For me, a particularly good data point there would be if your folks are invited. Or, if I’m reading correctly, this person must be your sibling’s daughter, right? Do you have the kind of relationship where you can ask your sibling, making sure to be clear that you’re not demanding an invite, etc?

    • KC

      I’m also “between generations” on one side of my family. The short answer is, unfortunately, no, not entitled to an invitation; they may have space/introversion/whatever limitations and decided to only extend invitations to family members who, say, the fiance can identify in photos or who are within X miles of the wedding (we didn’t send invitations to most family members overseas, because there was no way they were coming and I didn’t want them to feel obligated to send a gift and, at the time, I didn’t realize that any of them except for one [who I did send an invitation to, so she could show it off to her nursing home friends, because that stuff is gold] might feel touched by getting a mostly-futile invitation).

      However, I would say that, if you’re excited about her getting married and willing to help out, letting her know that would probably not be out of line (aka “let me know if you need crafting/invitation assembly/etc. help!”)… but that also might not translate into an invitation.

      It’s also possible that they just plain don’t have your address or that the save-the-date went astray, although I wouldn’t bet on that.

      I’m sorry you feel hurt; it’s almost certainly not personal (unless she was the only niece not invited to your wedding, ha); it may even be based off a mistaken impression that since you so recently went through the wedding wringer, you’re more likely to recognize how hard it is to prune down guest lists and be more forgiving/on her side than Ancient Aunt Zephredia or whatever.

    • Caitlin_DD

      I’d agree it could be a plain old mistake. In putting together my guest list, I managed to forget people such as… my mother’s best friend of 20+ years, and the spouse of an uncle. Not intentional, but until someone pointed it out, I kept on reading through the list like it was all set. I second the vote for approaching your sibling to see what’s up.

    • Nicole

      I second the suggestions to see if there’s a way to ask around without seeming nosy. We’re invited to a wedding this September that came up in conversation and a member of the same friend group mentioned he must not be invited. Fast-forward a couple weeks and an email goes out to the whole friend group saying, “some of our save the dates when astray – did you get yours?” and we see that the friend was intended to be invited. So I guess I’m saying, they’re not required to invite you, but maybe don’t assume you’re out yet?

    • Caroline

      Ask around. We had some save the dates that didn’t arrive at their destinations.

  • ktan

    Just popping in to say that we booked our venue yesterday, hooray! We’ve been engaged for about a month and already have most (all?) of the major things done – date, venue, food, photographer, dress, officiant. I know that the nitty gritty details will eventually stress me out, but so far everything has been simple and easy. Not all wedding planning needs to be crazy and overwhelming!

    • Nell

      That’s amazing! Congrats!

  • Emma

    My boyfriend and I signed a lease for our first apartment today! We’ve spent the past year living half the week in my crappy house with racist roommates I met online, and half with his parents (so I could get a break) so we are SO excited to have a place of our own! (and also freaking out about living together/adulthood)

    • Caroline

      Wow, so exciting! Congrats.

      • Emma

        Thank you! I have to say, I’ve been reading apw for over a year, but this is my first time commenting during an active discussion so you were my first response! :)

  • notquitecece

    I went preliminary-dress shopping last weekend with a friend, and she was a CHAMP about it — and we found a lovely dress under $500 with an amazing return policy. I’m still going to go shopping with my mom, but now I have an [excellent, lovely] option in my closet. It’s so calming!

    I didn’t expect to have any “dress moments”, but both my friend and I kind of teared up when I put the dress on — and suddenly I care about not having my fiance see it beforehand. Somehow, finding it made things more real, and I feel waaaay more energetic about moving forward on other stuff (like venue-hunting, for instance). It was just such a nice little victory.

    • Caitlin_DD

      That second paragraph is my same experience. The dress somehow changes the game.

  • Caroline

    I’m a little late today, but since we try to share the good as well here, things are pretty awesome right now. I just got back from the company picnic for the company my summer internship is at. It was really fun. I really enjoy my coworkers and my job, and I really like my company. And I’m (realistically) hopeful there may be a possibility of being hired for good after I graduate next year which would be so awesome! (Think good thoughts for that, please!)

    And then, on the way home, I stopped and bought my first stack of books for the honeymoon which is in 17 days. Because our wedding is in 16 days!!! (For those curious, the first stack of books is: Mercedes Lackey’s Home from the Sea, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, Elisabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Lyn Sherr’s biography of Sally Ride, and John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge’s The Fourth Revolution). The Lies of Locke Lamora will definitely be in the second stack, although I haven’t totally decided what else. Also, if you haven’t read Code Name Verity, I highly recommend it. I’ve actually read it before, but decided I wanted to own a copy for frequent re-reading, since I was in “It’s my honeymoon, screw it, I’m buying all the books.” Code Name Verity is incredible.

    Speaking of the in-16-days wedding, we’re pretty prepared. This week, I was up until 3 almost every night doing wedding prep, but I think I got most of the big stuff done, or delegated it. (A lot of delegating). I’m so excited! I get to take home my dress this weekend. And everything’s almost done. I can’t wait to be done planning.

    • Hannah B

      YAY! August 9? I feel like I have done lots of things but am avoiding the last hard/annoying thing (the seating chart). Now it’s 11!

      • Caroline

        We’re the 10th. ( Did I count wrong? I don’t want to know how many days anymore). Yeah, I’m ostriching. I am avoiding things like the seating chart. Too overwhelming.

  • Emma Klues

    The commentary on Blake Lively’s Preserve made me laugh so hard I cried. Thank you.

  • http://www.fromtheretoheretheblog.com/ Jay

    Thank you for sharing my Summertime in Norway post!

  • Em(ily)

    If anybody is still poking through these comments, especially anyone who has experience dealing with ye olde narcissist, I’d appreciate some input!
    My BIL to-be is a narcissist, and he is in our bridal party. The only thing he’s responsible for is dressing up and showing up. Months ago, we asked that if he had a suit, to wear it to our wedding, or you know, wear something comparably dressy. Today, he asked my fiance if it would be okay for him to wear khaki shorts and a polo?!
    I told my fiance to tell him khakis and a dress shirt, no shorts. Initially, I shrugged and said I don’t care. But, apparently I do. It’s been bugging me all day. Why would he not dress appropriately with respect for the occasion? We made it pretty clear that it’s a formal thing, I thought. My brothers will be wearing suits.
    The more I think about it, the more I worry that he’s trying to pick a fight and then he’ll have an excuse to throw some kind of hissy fit and not show up. If he isn’t dressed appropriately, it will reflect poorly on him and he’ll look slovenly in our family photos, I think. Do I let it go, or try and address it?

    • Sarah McClelland

      Sounds like something you may want to put on your fiance’s list of conversations to have. He knows his brother and should know how to talk to him after all these years. And ya. Totally an appropriate thing to get upset about.

    • Eh

      If this is bothering you, your fiancé needs to talk to him. Or is there someone else in the family that he will listen to? (His mother? – My MIL had to tell my BIL a couple times that he needed to act appropriately before our wedding.)
      My brother-in-law was supposed to be our best man (however he decided he couldn’t over a family feud) also asked if he could wear something else to our wedding. I suggested that my husband and his brother could wear suits that they owned but neither of them owned suits that fit (my husband had one that didn’t fit and his brother didn’t even have one). So they bought suits. My husband went first to pick out the style and colour. He talked to his brother about the details and his brother agreed to go to the store. Five minutes later he called back asking if he could wear black pants, a royal blue shirt and a black vest (an outfit he has worn on many occasions including his cousin’s wedding, his graduation and date nights with his wife). My husband said he’d talk to me, but then didn’t talk to me and called his brother back and said that we’d prefer him in the suit. When my husband told me I was pretty livid since we weren’t asking that much of him (he was supposed to plan the bachelor party which was another fight and he ended up not doing that either, and he was supposed to show up at the ceremony wearing a suit). In the end, since he wasn’t best man he wore what he wanted (which looked fine in the pictures for what it was, though he was the only guy not in formal attire in the pictures).

  • Katie

    I saw that same Johnny Cash show… I agree, HORRIBLE!

  • MoxietheMaven

    “There is nothing like seeing a lot of awful free Broadway shows for work in your twenties to make you realize that free does not make something worth your time… or even fun.” OH MY GOD, Meg… are you ME? Seriously. We will never get that time back. (I’m talking to you, Million Dollar Quartet.)