New Sidebar & Submissions Request

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

Hello All!

First L’shana Tova, and Happy Rosh Hashanah to those of you who… are possibly not at your desks reading this. I myself am writing this in the past, so in the present, I can be celebrating happy birthday to the world. (Time warp!)

But! We wanted to take a moment to point your eyes to our brand new super shiny somewhat stripy sidebar. (Pretty, right?) Over the past year, APW has grown and changed (as it always grows and changes) and we felt like we’d outgrown our old sidebar a bit. First of all, the site feels very community and staff driven these days, and that giant picture of me was really starting to seem out of place. And by out of place, I mean “annoying the crap out of me.” So, as part of some crazed third trimester nesting instinct (that particular pregnancy myth is true times a thousand for me), we decided to do a flurry of tidying things up around here.

Here are some things you might want to check out, in the order they appear:

  • Letter From The Editor: We have plans for this feature in 2013, once I’m back from maternity leave (look out!) but for now, it’s just a nice welcome to APW.
  • New About Page: Yeah, yeah, we stuck my bio over there (yawn), but more to the point we finally put APW’s mission statement on paper. The staff is very excited about that.
  • New Advertising Page: If you’ve been thinking about advertising with APW, we’ll be offering a fall deal later this week (hint hint), but in the meantime you can poke around our advertising page. Funny story, I really meant to finish that page the week after I relaunched the site two and a half years ago, and last week… I did it. Yay? Whatever, YAY! The longer you wait, the more exciting it is to check it off your list.
  • New Vendor & Venue Directory Links: Big! Where you can find them! And see them on the iPad! You’re welcome!
  • Submit Your Story Button: Within the first six months of APW, reader submissions became an important part of this site. I loved writing about What I Thought About Weddings, but realizing that there were other people who wanted to talk about this stuff too made me feel so much less alone. These days, reader submissions are a huge part of APW, and make the site so much more rewarding to run. Sure, I can (and do) tell you what I think about weddings and marriage, but it’s so much nicer to be able to share tons of different perspectives on these issues. So thank you all for that.

Which brings us to…

A Call For Submissions

It’s fall, which means tons of you just got married, and it’s the traditional time to ask you to consider paying it forward by sending in the story of your wedding. This year there are two ways to do that:

  • Write A Wedding Graduate Post: If you have a story from your wedding that you think might help future graduates navigate their wedding planning, this is for you. And no fair taking the excuse that someone might have said it on APW before. First of all, there is nothing new under the sun, and second in direct contradiction, no one can tell your story but you. If you know you have something to say about your wedding, but are having a hard time figuring out where to start, ask yourself, What do I know now that I wish I’d known before my wedding, or what did I learn while planning my wedding that I think might be useful information for other people? And/or what adventure did I have in wedding land? Of course, you don’t have to answer these questions explicitly (otherwise the posts would all be the same!) but it’s a good place to start.
  • Submit a Wordless Wedding: You guys! We finally made a form so that you can submit Wordless Weddings. WE ARE SO EXCITED! If you think your wedding story is better told through pictures (professional or otherwise, we love us some DIY wedding photography) than words, submit already!
  • Everything Else: The rest of you, don’t forget to send us your wedding planning stories, your Reclaiming Wife stories, and anything that might fall in between. And if you’ve been sitting on a post surrounding one of the following topics, now is the time to send it in (these topics can be used for Wedding Graduate posts too!):
    • Work/Life: We still want to hear what you have to say about careers and relationships! How are you working through a tough time in your career, dealing with career changes, or helping each other realize your career goals? We want to know.
    • Tradition: Is tradition playing an important role in your wedding? Are you shirking certain traditions? What about the role tradition plays in our marriages? We’ve always been obsessed with the dance between traditional and non-traditional at APW, always.
    • Families: How did your family impact your wedding (positively or negatively). What role are your families playing in your marriage? This is a rich and deep topic, y’all.
    • Holidays: Last year we talked about carving out a place for your baby family around the holidays and how our holiday traditions impact our marriages. But it’s a new year! So send in your stories.
    • Rituals: Weddings are ritualistic in nature, and sometimes marriage can be too. (Sunday morning coffee anyone?) What are the important rituals in your life and how do they shape your relationship?
    • Heritage: Was your wedding steeped in cultural tradition? What about your marriage? Did you find yourself having to figure out a way to blend two cultures into your wedding? We want to hear how your heritage impacted your wedding and your marriage.
    • Kids: Deciding to have children? To not have children? Did your partner already have children when you got married? Maybe you both had kids and are learning how to blend your family while planning your wedding. Tell us about it! Also: SEND US WEDDINGS WITH KIDS. Sorry for the caps, but it’s been a huge deal for me for years, and we never have enough weddings where the couples have kids to share with y’all.
With that, cheers to you, and Happy New Year to those for whom it’s New Years. Thanks for being the best community on the internet, and allowing us to grow and change… in ephemeral ways, and brand new stripe-y sidebar ways. Here is hoping for a wonderful year ahead.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit #NASTY

Staff Picks

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  • Kamille

    I submitted during the last call for submissions but worry that it disappeared into the depths of internet oblivion (or something like that). With my wedding coming up in a month, I’m sure I might have something to say about it eventually…

    • KB

      Ditto! I did see a “Thanks For Submitting” page after I clicked on the button, but it would be cool to get an automatic email notice (kind of like the “Notify Me of Replies Via E-Mail” button on the comments) after a successful submission. And I’m sure it would be less annoying to wade through multiple submissions from anxious would-be posters.

      • Maddie

        Sometimes the internet does eat submissions (in which case, it’s totally fine to resubmit! We can just delete duplicates), but more likely than not we have received your post and are just waiting for the right time to use it (or until we have enough posts under that particular theme to create a whole week around it).

        And while we’d love to be able to send confirmation e-mails when your post comes through, the way submissions work through APW is that your post goes directly into our backend drafts (rather than going to an e-mail address) so there is actually no e-mail involved (until one of us lets you know that the post is going to run). But if you got the “thanks for submitting” page, then you’re usually good to go!

        • Kamille

          Cool! Thanks for the explanation! To be honest, I don’t remember if I got a “thanks for submitting” page, but I’m sure I probably did.

          Maybe I’m a little crazy wondering too much about where it went, but it took a lot of courage to hit that “submit” button!

      • meg

        In short, we wish we could both build a tool that sent you automatic emails, AND had the staff power to reply to each submission. But both of those things are far outside our budget. Blogging/ internet publishing is a weird growing industry, basically. Any major wedding blog has as many/ more readers as a major wedding magazine at this point (crazy, right?) but their budget PER ISSUE is 10X our buget PER YEAR. So yes indeedy. We’re trying to stretch our resources all over the place. It’s… nuts. So our apologies.

    • Sarah

      I too submitted a post after my wife and I got legally married in NYC exactly one year after our wedding. Which was actually about 1 year ago. But I have to assume it was rejected, since there have been so many calls for LGBTQ submissions since and ours hasn’t been posted.

      As a web developer, and blogger, I know there isn’t a good technical way to respond to everyone who submits, especially if the posts automatically go into a drafts section of the blog. So I’ve sat patiently, not wanting to submit multiple times, in case no one was interested in our story.

  • Thanks for the bullet points under Everything Else! I have not quite figured out the angle of a Wedding Graduate post, but suddenly I’ve realized that our baby family holiday plans this year are completely weird, but such a natural progression for us. And I can write about it!

  • Susan C

    I haven’t seen much on this site from people who are remarrying. Is the focus here only on the young, first-time bride or is there room for those of us who are giving the institution another go?

    • Maddie

      Quite the opposite! (Our focus is on the stories that aren’t being told on other sites, but we can only run what we receive, and those kinds of stories don’t come in nearly as much as we’d like). So needless to say, we would KILL for stories on remarrying! If that’s a topic you can speak to, please send it in!

      • Susan C

        I can certainly speak to it, once I’ve worked through it a bit myself. :) Even finding a date that will work with my work schedule, his (he’s an orchestral musician, so most weekends are busy) and his two daughters is a challenge.

        Remarrying at this time in our lives has brought unique complications but also confidence in knowing what and who are important to us as we plan the day.

  • The new sidebar and About look great!
    There is a whole folder in my Google Docs called “APW submission ideas” with half-written submissions. Isn’t that … sad? Awesome? A little of both? Time to get writing again.

    • You are not alone in your submission/idea hoarding. *side eyes her own folder*

      • meg

        Oh, LUCY. For shame. SEND THEM.

    • meg

      Send ’em in, ladies.

      If NOTHING else, it will get you writing, which is important for yourself, you know? Pretty much all of my writing is really for me, and at some point I started a blog to put it out there (here we are), but yeah. It’s still stuff I write for myself, and then sometimes I share it. If it helps someone, GREAT, but it’s still mostly written to help me work through things… you know?

      • So true – I’ve got the whole divorced/headed towards a remarriage/stepkid thing going on and writing about it helps sort through some of the “stuff” brought up by, well, divorce, a serious relationship after divorce, and helping raise my partner’s kid.

        Also, Meg, I use WP – based on what Maddie said above that submissions go into the backend drafts, would it be helpful to draft my submissions in the HTML editor in WP first, and plop them in that format into the submission form?

        • meg

          VERY interesting question. Why don’t you try it and put a note on top that it’s a little experiment. We might need to move it from “view” to “HTML” but I think it would work and now I’m really curious!!

          And EXACTLY about the writing. I think our best writing is writing we do for us, not when we write what we think other people want to here.