In 2013, as we move into having APW’s content built around monthly themes (this month: Beginnings!), we decided that each month should kick off with a letter from the editor (that’s me!). You’ll be able to find this letter every month in our handy “Letter From The Editor” button in the right column. This month I had plans to write you a long pithy letter about the nature of beginnings, but then I kept not writing it because I have a new baby and not very much sleep.
Which is really exactly what beginnings are like. In our heads, new starts are a little like New Year’s Eve (or our fantasy about New Years Eve): glittery, boozy, fun, and possibly includes a massive celebratory balloon drop. But the reality is always more complicated than the fantasy. Having a baby has been at times a bit like the glossy advertisements featuring babies (in that I actually managed to give birth to a child who could be a stand-in for the Gerber Baby. Less blond, but he literally came out with those cheeks and that perfectly round face). But of course the newness of parenthood is also nothing at all like that glossy image. It’s harder (screaming Gerber Baby, sleep deprivation, recovery pain), but it’s also more wonderful as I learn to love and be loved by another person in a whole new way.
There Is Power (And Some Tears) In Beginnings
I’ve been spending a lot of time of late thinking about the way we each emotionally process new starts. I started APW a few short weeks after I got engaged, and it seems that in the years since then, new starts have just not stopped coming. We got engaged, we got married, David graduated from law school, I sold a book, I quit my job, I wrote a book, David started his first law job, I became a published author, I did my first book tour, I got pregnant, I became a mom. And I think that’s why running APW is so interesting for me. A reader once commented that APW is really about the process of growing up, in a way that’s often kicked into high gear by deciding to get married. I think there is something about making a conscious choice to spend your life with another person that makes you want to get the rest of your ducks in a row as well. And what I’ve learned over the years is that this process is almost never easy.
Back when I was pregnant, I wrote about why wedding planning was worth it. I talked about how all the things I’d learned during planning (with no small amount of tears) stood me in good stead while going through the process of growing our family by one. But it turns out the real thing I learned was more overarching: I’m terrible at new things… until they actually happen, and then I’m great at them. Long story short: I was an emotional wreck during wedding planning, as I grappled with all the changes happening in my life. Then we got married, and I was on cloud nine. Turns out, that is my pattern. Pregnancy was one of the hardest times in my life, as I processed the way my life might change. And then literally starting the second I went into labor, everything was fine. Great, even. (And to say that about labor is borderline nuts).
Your process of starting new things might be totally different than mine. In fact, it’s probably totally different than mine. I hear that I do things the backwards way, front-loading my worry like that. But wedding planning gave me a chance to really learn how I work, and that turned out to be invaluable.
This Month on APW
All of that is why we’re diving into the idea of beginnings this month. There is power in fresh starts, but that power is not in the glitter of the balloon drop. It’s in the hard work that comes afterwards (or if you’re me, before). This month we’ll be exploring engagements and the beginning stages of wedding planning, to welcome all of you who got engaged over the last few months (congratulations!). We’ll also be talking about learning new ways to love, building lives together, and setting goals. We’ll be chatting about feminism (as always) with discussions of name changing, chores, and partnership. All that, and we’ll finally be sharing some DIY hair and makeup tutorials we shot last spring, teaching simple things like the cat eye (which I got to model, but really have to learn to do myself).
While we’re kicking off the new year, we thought we’d introduce some tiny structural changes in APW as well. First off Ask Team Practical, our weekly dose of advice from Liz, will now happen on Thursday afternoon, with regular APW programming on Friday. We figured Thursday afternoon is the dead perfect time to sit around and gossip and give advice. Second, sponsored posts will now happen on Wednesday (not Tuesday) and Friday. And finally, you’ll see shopping roundups as a new semi-regular feature (which the staff is super excited about putting together).
On the social media front: As always you can follow APW on Twitter at @PracticalWed, where we sass a bit about weddings and work, chat about marriage, and share interesting links. But I’ve moved my more personal banter to the brand-new @MegKeene. That’s where you can find my musings on say, politics, motherhood, feminism, and my incessant live blogging of award shows (’tis the season). So find me there, if you want to chat about… the stuff I chat about in real life. The magic (we hope) of APW continues on Facebook with links to interesting articles, and Pinterest, where we try to collect the most down-to-earth wedding inspiration out there.
And finally, a huge thank you to everyone who’s supported the APW book in the past year by buying it, telling your friends about it, coming out to the book tour, giving it as a gift for the holidays, or generally just being kind to me about it. As of today, the book has officially been out for one year and one day, and it has sold more copies already than I hoped for it to sell EVER. The book has held steady as one of the wedding best sellers since it came out (along with some books about over-the-top, million dollar weddings), and I’m so, so grateful. I’m even grateful for the review that says the book was helpful, but they “couldn’t get past the profanity,” Because one: that review cracks David up on the regular. And two: because, you guys, I got to write a wedding planning book with profanity!
And that, for me, is what beginnings feel like. A little bit like toasting during a balloon drop, and a little bit like I need to slam my head against a wall and curse.
Happy New Year y’all. Let’s do this thing!
P.S. Next month’s theme is “Not A Rom-Com.” We’ll be discussing all the ways that weddings, marriage, and—well—life are rarely like what you see in romantic comedies. (Trust me, I had one of those shiny creative rom-com jobs in NYC in my mid-twenties, and I was dead broke, with the wardrobe to prove it.) The staff is pretty crazy excited for this one, so if you want to join in the fun, submit your stories, weddings, and more here.