A Call For Wedding Graduates (Yes, You)

So, I know you guys are getting married like crazy these days – I’m getting all the comments and the lovely thank you emails (sniff). But, oddly, I haven’t gotten a wedding graduate post in a month. It’s interesting, as the blog grows, I hear longer and longer lists from people about why they can’t send their wedding in: it’s too traditional, it’s not traditional enough, they are too old, they are too young, they spent too much, they spent too little. These are, of course, all just justifications. They are all the left over ways that we’ve internalized all the judgments of the wedding industry, ways that you are judging your own beautiful, honest, thoughtful, heartfelt and joyful celebrations.

So send me your wedding graduate posts already. You can find all the details over here. Because as Liz so wisely said, “Every time a bride says, ‘A think my wedding is TOO___ for APW…’ the WIC wins, people.”

For those of you who wonder how I pick wedding graduates (because yup, I can’t run them all), it’s really simple. I pick them on writing. If you say something really gutsy and honest, something raw and true? It’s going to go up. If you had a wedding that’s underrepresented here (meaning it is more traditional, or older, or younger, or of color, or LGBTQ), I’m also going to do my best to put it up.

And if you have sent me your wedding ages ago (achem, pre site re-launch) and haven’t seen it go up, PLEASE re-send it to weddinggraduates at apracticalwedding dot com. Because, yup, there are still plenty more weddings to come.

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  • Jessie

    I love reading wedding graduate posts. There are so many articles about planning everywhere you look but not enough articles about reflection. Great job, Meg.

  • Wondering if you’d be interested in a wedding graduate post from someone who’s been married over two years now. It’s not a subject covered in your submissions area.

    • I’m rather new to APW. (My lovely cousin who lives in San Fran so kindly showed it to me a few months back and ever since I can’t stop reading!) :) Anyway – I have the same question as Emily… We just celebrated our 1-year anniversary, and I’m not sure I qualify since I haven’t been reading this blog for quite some time, like most of you, but thought I’d ask anyways… How does one become a wedding graduate? And how many years out is it too late to submit? :)

      • liz

        i like this idea! but almost feel it should be a different category. because i feel like these ladies would have a lot to say about marriage as well as weddings. sort of like “how the wedding feeds the marriage” type things.

        • Moz

          I agree. I’d love to read wedding grad posts that are more like reclaiming wife posts. As well as the non typical wedding grad post we’ve come to expect. I love them all!

      • Marina

        I hope it counts… I’m coming up on my one year anniversary, and honestly it’s only now that I’m starting to feel capable of putting into words what the engagement/wedding/marriage process was like. I wasn’t even able to look through my photos with any sort of discernment beyond “oo, pretty” for the first six months or so, so picking out 10 to send in felt impossible. :) I’m hoping to send in a wedding graduate post real, real soon now…

        • Just want to “exactly” the ideas above. A category devoted to reflection on how weddings feed marriages would be such a terrific response to the comment fiasco last week.

          • I agree! After I get married next month I plan to continue reading APW and Reclaiming Wife, especially if there are wedding grad posts about the wedding feeding the marriage. Meg, would you consider creating writing prompts for those who have been married at least a year and want to submit their wedding? Just a thought.

          • meg

            Sure ladies. Submit away. The prompt is, of course, how did (or didn’t) your wedding feed your marriage. If it sticks, I’ll put a formal section up on the site. I never can tell what will stick and what won’t in advance….

            And Kim, I hope you’d keep reading RW even if no one submits these posts :/

          • Yes, I’d keep reading RW. Heck, I’ll probably be submitting stuff to you. ;)

  • lisa

    We’re getting married in less than three weeks. I’m currently at the “omgoodness how much needs to get done before I can leave work/have this many out of town guests/get legally wed” stage. And apparently that panic is manifesting in an urgent search for a hair flower.

    Surely pearls of wisdom can’t be far behind! ;-)

    • Meg P

      Dear Lisa,

      I’m getting married in just under two weeks so I feel your pain/excitement/anxiety…

      Breathe, it’ll all be over soon – that’s what I keep telling myself! Get as organised as you possibly can, even if it seems like you’re way ahead of yourself (I printed my books about a month ago and everyone was like “Wha…?” and I just knew it would help me to be calm right about now!) and delegate if you can bear to (I can’t!)


      • I’m getting married three weeks from yesterday. I keep thinking of wedding graduate posts and muttering to myself about ‘when that f*ing zen is going to appear’ and I am crying and I am scared and I am a little too invested and I am scared to death. I keep looking at my favourite graduate wedding ( http://apracticalwedding.com/2009/07/clara-sams-recession-wedding/ ) and hoping I’ll have something equally helpful to say.

        • jolynn

          “When that f*cking zen is going to appear”…I love you!!

        • meg

          Oh, three WEEKS? Yeah, you’re way too early for wedding zen I think, you’re more at wedding PANIC.

        • Marina

          My wedding zen hit 5 days before my wedding, if that helps. Which was good timing, considering that 7 days before my wedding was the only time I told my then-fiance that I wanted to elope, and 6 days before my wedding was when I hung up on my best friend because she made a suggestion about who should give toasts at the reception. But 5 days and in I was totally zen. Most of the time. 99% of the time. Ok, maybe 90% of the time. But that’s still pretty zen.

    • If this is the Lisa whose wedding I’m attending in 3 weeks (and who sent me APW links in the first place), it will be wonderful and lovely and you’ll find a flower piece or I can bring mine for you that I didn’t use at my park wedding.

      But you should submit your wedding once it happens! I want to see how nerdy it will be!

      • Jennifer

        I can’t exactly “exactly” this, but this comment made me grin, so I wanted to go on record with that grin.

        • lisa

          HA! It IS me! What a small, warm internet it is. And with such encouraging people in it!

          (and lindsay, good to know about the emergency-back-up flower *finger-on-nose)

          • I almost bought The Sting the other day just for the merry-go-round scene!

            Anyway, ahem, to get back to wedding grad stuff – I’ll send mine in after my party in August! Plus I’m not sure if I’ve quite distilled my thoughts yet.

    • caitlin

      weird… less than 5 weeks out and i’m urgently searching for a hair flower, too! i’m definitely hoping that is a sign of impending wisdom… :)

  • Amanda

    Ok, at the risk of sounding like an idiot … or just someone who isn’t on the up-and-up with the current text-speak/acronyms … what does WIC mean??? And I cannot submit yet, becuase I am not yet a graduate. Good excuse, no? :)

  • Lauren

    I’m not sure if I’m most excited about the fact that I am getting married in 9.5 weeks, or that just a few short weeks after that I will be able to submit a wedding graduate post to Meg @ APW. I read this blog religiously – and I swear it keeps me sane when I get caught up in the ‘little things’ like freeze dried petals vs silk, chair covers vs no chair covers, veil pulled back vs veil over face. Keep up the good work (and great posts) Meg, cos you’re helping to keep the bridezilla inside.

    NB: I hate the term bridezilla, but am willing to embrace it :)

  • Nataliah

    I’m getting married in 3 months and I’d love to be a wedding graduate… but I’m worried my wedding isn’t well… practical enough. My FH and I are not very good with money, and we’re not very good with saying no to ourselves. We’ve both gone from growing up very poor to both having well paying jobs and we kind of spoil ourselves… alot.

    I think I am very practical about our marriage though, so maybe that counts.

    • ddayporter

      lol do we need to quote Liz again?? I think, if you read this blog and feel an affinity with what Meg’s saying and what commenters are saying.. you’re probably having a wedding that counts. I just bet, after your wedding three months from now, after you’ve had some time to decompress and think about it a bit, you will have something to say that will be very relevant for this community.

      • Katelyn

        I think that we “spoil” ourselves too, having a similar background and similar success. But a lot of that term is relative, and it’s only “spoiled” if you manage to not have a good time as a result of your spending (and it doesn’t sound like this is the situation). So as long as your wedding is full of joy and happiness and love and awesome, it’s very practical!

  • agb

    Throughout my engagement, this blog was nothing short of a sanity-saver. The wedding was 6 weeks ago and it was nothing short of joyful and celebratory, thanks to our incredible families and to our own personal wedding elves. I cannot wait to write a wedding graduate post, but unfortunately my post-graduate studies have to come first. THE MINUTE I’m through my summer finals, I’ll get straight to work! (and hopefully have pictures by then too!)

  • Noelle

    Hi Meg!
    Long time follower…
    We are getting married in September, down the Cape(Cape Cod MA that is)and I can say I’m in full panic mode right now. We’re paying for this ourselves, being a mature 43 and 47, and I am definitely feeling the time crunch right now. We still don’t have a plan for flowers, music (diy),suits for the guys, no idea what I’m doing with my hair…etc etc. We’re trying to stay on a very low budget (whaaaa? on Cape Cod? roll the hysterical laughter) . So far we haven’t done too badly…I will do my hardest to gather my thoughts together after the dust has settled and send you some photos/thoughts!

  • Eat Broccoli

    Meg, I have a question. What if our wedding was totally powerful and meaningful to us as a new mini family, but we just haven’t been given the gift to put it in words? Science degrees unfortunately mean I can name every muscle in my body, and interpret lab results like no one’s business but dissecting and articulating defiantly isn’t my strong suit! (I have time to work on that since our wedding isn’t until march)
    I would also love to hear more engagement stories!! We haven’t had one in awhile.

    • Well, I have to say… I loved the way you wrote that, so I think you’ve got something good up your sleeve! I want to hear what you have to say.

    • meg

      Indeed. Clearly you can write. I think the point is you need to try to communicate like you communicate, about what you think is important… not to try to write like I do, or other ladies on this site do. Just be yourself, that’s all.

    • I have a chemist friend who once had to share in front of a group about a meaningful experience in his life, and he wrote the entire story as a lab report. It was a HUGE hit because it was *him*. (So I say go ahead and say it the way that’s authentic for you. I’m a big believer that even if wedding grad posts never make it to the website for whatever reason, the writer gets so much out of just the reflection/writing experience.)

  • Vmed

    I’ve only posted twice (as V but then realized there’s another V so…. I’ll be Vmed) but since reading APW has kept me grounded in the waiting months, I have to tell you. I just got engaged this weekend. It was a practical proposal. Ringless at our first date site, on a day I was being kind of picky/overly analytical. He wanted to make sure I was in a discerning state of mind, not too lovey he said. The conversation started with hypothetical elopement, because Meg and APW made that discussion space a few weeks ago. Seriously.

    Then he told me a story which had a funny ending and I laughed real hard and then he asked me to marry him.

    I reacted by blinking a lot and (according to him) at one pointing looking like I was about to bolt, but I kept remembering to accept my emotions (shock, elation, skepticism, dismay, amusement, a strange yearning, and a few other things that I haven’t found the words for but it kind of made my eyes water) as they come (thanks APW!), and eventually I managed to say Yes (after saying other things like are you serious and you’re not kneeling – which he changed – and what). And then I did cry. Cause I love this guy so much.

    So I’m a newly minted wedding undergraduate eager to tackle this thing right, with an adult attitude, and my feet firmly on the ground.

    Thank you, Team Practical, and keep the inspiration coming.

    • jolynn

      Yay! Congratulations! I want to hear what your elopement decision was!

      • Amandover

        Congratulations! I envy the fact that you read this blog before you were even engaged. Your description of a real, love-filled proposal made me feel all warm and feathery, so thanks! And good vibes for your engagement!

        • Vmed

          Oh thank you all, yay! Yay!

          We kept it to ourselves for a day and a half just to savor the possibility of eloping.

          But I’m definitely the type to dread the fallout too much to actually do it. It’s a nice fantasy but I am waaaay too anxious to fully enjoy a real elopement. Kudos to those who can. And thanks again to Team Practical for pointing out the pros and cons. We made an informed decision. We want to share the day, we want our communities to meet, we want our families there. A wedding it is.

          Furthermore, my older sister got married last year (small-ish destination-ish wedding) and it was kind of a bumpy ride. She’s already expressed to me that “we can do better with this wedding” which I take to mean that she’d like to heal the hurts that happened within the family by facilitating my process. I think that’s going to be important for all of us. And I will try to be conscious of how it feels on the other end- it is hard when your sister is becoming a part of a new family.

          But yay, I’m happy to share my happy news! :D

  • My wedding hasn’t happened yet, but when it does I’m not sure how I feel about sending it out anywhere: is it too horrible to admit that it feels almost like college admissions? Did I get in, or not? Did it pass muster, or not? I hated it when I was applying to colleges and don’t really want to go through it again now, so I’m of two minds about even going down that road over an event that means a lot to me.

    (But if I do decide to send it out, it’ll be here!)

    • Ooh, ooh, I feel the same way! But I fight off that feeling with the constant reminder that APW is very popular site, and like many other wedding-related sites, realistically speaking not everything can be posted. And whether it is or isn’t doesn’t say much about the quality and importance of MY THOUGHTS. Because they’re all mine and no one else’s, and never again in the history of mankind will there be another ME. So I think my wedding (and your wedding), and my thoughts (and your thoughts) are pretty damn important in this world, whether or not our lovely, kick-ass Meg is able to post them.

      One concrete thing I started doing was start my own wedding blog. It really is super fun and just as helpful (in a different way) as APW has been. And it makes me feel less eager to be “on someone’s else’s blog”. Writing isn’t for everyone, but I think there are lots of ways to reflect on your day and get feedback and affirmation from others. :)

      • Considered my own wedding blog, but…I already have my expat blog and I have far more to say on that subject than I do on weddings, so that’s where my writing energy goes. Of course I have every intention of writing about our wedding on my own blog: that’s another reason why I’m ambivalent to sending it anywhere else. If I want to write about it just to reflect or just to share, that’s where it’s going.

        So why send it to Offbeat Bride or APW or wherever? Well, because I’d like to, but why would I like to? That’s the question I can’t answer without coming dangerously close to a “stamp of approval”, and I agree with Meg that that is not a very good reason at all.

        Maybe someday I’ll get to the Zen-like state where I send our wedding out to another website “just to share”, but to be honest, I’ve always been a bit of an attention wh*re. No – really. I teach presentation skills for a living. I’ve long since accepted this facet of my personality – which is why I have the job that I do – but it does come with a certain set of feelings about submitting things, whether to a university, a website or a publication.

        • I hear you on the “Meg’s stamp of approval” thing. And when I sensed myself feeling that way I had to step back and ask myself why.

          I realized that I LOVE this site– it’s helped me feel PROUD of and EXCITED about my creative, thrifty, and sane wedding plans. I wanted the stamp of approval because I look up to Meg, almost like a mentor (for my wedding AND my wedding blog). And when I look up to a person I have this BAD habit of wanting to be their chosen golden child or whatever. (Silly, I know. But just being honest. And currently working on my issue.) Upon realizing this, I had to re-evaluate my motivation for sending in my wedding to APW.

          So here I am, post-evaluation, and I’d STILL like to send in my wedding at some point. But now I’m in no rush to do it like I was before. (It was a writing-a-rough-draft-on-the-flight-back-from-the-honeymoon kinda rush). And whether or not it goes up on APW is less important to me now. I’m happy simply knowing that Meg will read my wedding grad submission (or Reclaiming Wife submission) when I send it in. No stamp of approval. Just sharing to share. And also to show her the kind of wedding I was brave enough to have thanks to APW. I tell myself that my submission will be a kind of thank you card of sorts. And that’s how I’m choosing to stay, umm, SANE about the whole wedding graduate post thing.

          • Eek, just read that over. Hope I didn’t come off preachy or anything. Just talkin’.

          • meg

            You know, that’s the only reason I shared our wedding. I seriously would have put NONE of it on the internet (and I obviously was pretty protective with what I did put up). But I felt like I wanted to share the wedding I was brave enough to have thanks to APW. In fact, I ended up feeling a responsibility to share. Not in a bad way, just in a pay it forward way. I was glad I did, and also glad that I didn’t share lots and lots…

          • No worries!

            I’ve been thinking stuff like that through too (with two months to go until our big party where we formalize what’s already true) but haven’t gotten to that stage (yet, if I will at all). Partly it’s that I’m somewhat new to APW – used to hang out almost exclusively on OBB and while I still love it there, it felt right to branch out and explore a little more. It’s likely that after 2 more months I’ll feel more of a “I should send this in as a thank-you” pull.

            I don’t even think it’s a “wanting to be a golden child” thing – I’ve never rolled that way. Loving the spotlight and wanting to be a golden child are two entirely different things. (I can assure you that while I love my job and career, my boss and I have our share of disagreements). But because of that, I know if I do submit that I’ll just check the site over and over to see if it went up and…hey, can we say “not healthy!” I don’t see myself changing because I don’t think this is an entirely bad trait, so yeah…still on the Maybe Train.

          • meg

            Achem. People do get emails when their wedding wen’t up ;) Yeah, I also really don’t think being a wedding grad should be about the spotlight… I think it should be about solidarity/ paying it forward.

          • Margaret

            That’s a good point. Someone asked me (our photographer, maybe? Because it turned out she’s a big APW fan, too :)), if I was going to submit a wedding graduate post. And I hemmed and hawed… because I loved our wedding, and I felt like I learned a lot (especially *because* I had read all those other wedding grad posts by the time ours rolled around).

            But I was (am?) worried that I could never be as profound as the other APW writers. Or that my experience is too… common? (being white, middle-class, agnostic, heterosexual, and 27 yrs. old. Ho hum, LOL). But maybe you aren’t as inundated as I imagine by wedding grad-hopefuls… ? So I’m going to reflect a bit and write about it for myself first… but I do like the idea of paying it forward.

    • One more thing…just checked out your blog and I dig it. ;) I’d love to read about your wedding on YOUR blog.

      Also, I recently started following the blog of another woman who is planning her wedding from abroad– perhaps you’d find it helpful given your situation? Not sure if I should post the link here but click on my name and e-mail me if you’d like to learn more. ;)

    • meg

      Ok ladies, here is the thing: you should NEVER EVER EVER EVER send in your wedding to me for some kind of stamp of approval. I don’t actually have that stamp. And weddings go up that seem like they need to go up at that minute. Sometimes I’ll hold on to something for six months, waiting for the right time, and BAM, one week it will just really fit the rhythm.

      But, that said, like I say over in the submissions part, I try to encourage people to think of it as just sharing their wedding with me. I mean, I write for y’all five days a week, and you know lots about me, but I know very little/ nothing about you. So I really depend on getting emails with folks telling me about their wedding, and how it went, and if APW helped, and all the bad ass stuff they did. That’s what the fun part is for me… so I actually get really sad when people don’t send in little emails about their weddings (especially regular commenters, sigh). Because I get to know you, and get to know you, tiny comment at a time, and then…. nothing. Sighhhhhh. And frankly, because that is the way things always work, the emails I get that are clearly people who just want to share, and could give two sh*ts about being on the site are INVARIABLY the ones that go up. If I get a feeling someone does sort of want a stamp of approval, I get very uncomfortable. Because, you know, the whole point is that you don’t NEED approval.

      So. That’s sort of how I think of it. I wish I could email everyone back and post everything. But I can’t. Not and stay sane. So I just read and enjoy everything instead. It’s the best I can do.

    • Cat

      I very nearly didn’t send mine to Meg for similar reasons. I wrote a post-wedding post on my honeymoon for my own livejournal because I wanted to debrief and have a record of how amazing the whole day was. I had my arm twisted by one of my very good friends who also reads here, tweaked a few things for public consumption… And then got cold feet.

      I wasn’t too concerned about it not being accepted (I was kind of expecting it not to!), I was more worried about how vain it felt! I’m not shy by any means but I do have a hard time talking myself up and an even harder time admitting that I have emotions ;) As I said when I finally had a glass of wine and hit ‘send’ on the email, it felt a bit like shameless self-promotion. I was reminded by my friends that the wedding grad posts kept me sane while I was planning, and to think of it like paying it forward. Also, Meg is super nice, and I had something to show my overseas relatives who couldn’t make it on the day.

      In conclusion, send it! I’m glad I did :)

      • Cat, do you mean that you e-mailed your overseas relatives your wedding grad submission? Because I that’s a great idea!

        • Cat

          I made them a CD with a video of the ceremony, our favourite photos and a link to the grad post so they got the 3D effect, so to speak :)

          • Cool! They must have loved it.

          • Cool!

            We’re trying to set up a Skyping of the Ceremony, but running into trouble as the venue has no wireless. We can do it anyway as we have a friend who can get us a cheap 3G mobile router ($8-$30) but it hasn’t been tested yet…and we’re abroad so we can’t test it and we can’t spring for a new 3G card ($189) – we’d never use it!

  • kat

    I have months to go till I graduate, so to speak, but you can bet I’ll be submitting my wedding! We may be having a pretty traditional affair, with parents paying and a church and a priest, but I’m also learning tons of stuff about the value of compromising, how much you can compromise to please your parents, where you draw the line and how it can actually make your wedding *more* meaningfull and life actually richer.

    Wedding graduates are one of my very favorite things about A Practical Wedding; what if the other girls were thought their weddings were too [fill in the blank] to submit?

    • meg


  • Elizabeth

    I just graduated on Saturday. Still glowing and basking in the love of it all. APW was my rock during the past three months (yes, planned it in 3 months), so I’ll write a post about my at-home wedding and send it in–even if it doesn’t get published it would be nice to reflect and write about it, so I’m glad you asked!

    • liz

      get off of the computer, girl, and go have sex.

      • Amandover

        Awesome, Liz, awesome. : )

    • meg

      Oh RIGHT! And that’s the real reason to write about it. Write it for yourself, to reflect. And then send it to me if you feel like sharing what you wrote at least with me. Never write it for someone else. If you learn something while you write it, then we’ll learn something while we read it.

      Congratulations, YAYYYY!!!

  • Sarah M

    I am getting married in just under three months. I think I fall into that “under-represented” category of church weddings…and not just a wham-bam 15 minute church wedding but a full on service with communion and music and a choir.

    Part of me is beyond excited at the prospect of sending in a wedding graduate post, while part of me is not. I’m excited because church weddings ARE kind of under-represented these days and I look forward to the opportunity to give some other brides inspiration or just to remind them that it’s ok to not have your wedding in a backyard or in a barn or a field or a garden or a forest. I remember when I first got engaged and was perusing websites I started wishing that I had a family vineyard or a barn to get married in because I didn’t think my wedding would be “cool” enough if it was in a boring old church. Thank goodness I found this place and came to my senses.

    The part of me that isn’t excited doubts that I will have anything new or interesting to say about weddings that hasn’t been said already. There have already been so many intelligent and thoughtful wedding graduate posts, I just don’t know that I’ll have anything new to add to the discussion.

    • Amandover

      I know what you mean about worrying about originality. Obviously, you know that having a full church service is underrepresented, so you’ve already got that. But beyond that, I’ll just share what my dad, a writer, is always telling me: Good writing is specific enough to make it universal, and specific makes it unique. Meaning that if you have one story of a part of your day that gave you giggles or chills or tears, that’s all we want to read about. One specific detail (or more if you want to share more). And I bet the way your brain processes it will be just original enough to enthrall us all.

    • liz

      you will. :) after.

    • meg

      Exactly. You’ll have something to say afterwards.

      And this is exactly right, “Good writing is specific enough to make it universal, and specific makes it unique.” That’s probably the key thing I learned in my BFA program. If you write something about how you broke up with your boyfriend and you’re sad, whatever, I’m over it. But if you write something about how you and your boyfriend used to make these spinach cheese omelets together, and now whenever you make them, you have this panic attack where you have this really particular physical symptom, and you start worrying about how your mom never really felt loved by your dad, and maybe that’s going to happen to you, and you don’t like spinach in the first place, and what the f*ck are you even doing? Then I’m totally RIVETED, and probably sobbing. Because I’ll be like OH MY GOD ME TOO I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT FELT THAT WAY.

      Really particular, really honest moments are the most universal kind of writing, period.

      Man, we’re having a wedding grad writers workshop today, huh?

  • I am determined to be your first plus sized, regular old black folks getting married cause the media says we don’t wedding graduate.

    • Shelly

      Yay! Can’t wait to see it!

    • meg

      Now THAT sounds like the kind of wedding I grew up around.

    • The WIC says we Asian ladies don’t get married either. I love getting to prove ’em wrong! *high-fives Tiffany*

  • Rianne

    I’ll be a wedding graduate in a little over a month, and now that I think about it, my fiance and I may qualify for the underrepresented weddings – CANADIAN WEDDINGS! :) GO CANADA!

    Add to that the fact that we live in the Bay Area and are planning a wedding in Toronto – we had to be practical about our wedding planning, or we wouldn’t have survived!

    I don’t comment often, but I feel very lucky to have found APW at such an early stage in my wedding planning – so much groundwork and knowledge right at my fingertips. I’ll do my best to put my own wedding results, due so much in part to Meg and other smart writers, into a submission that may help others.

    • Olivia

      Go Canada indeed!

      I’m another Torontonian living in SF. :)

    • Sarah M

      Yes! I always get so excited when I see Canadian weddings on here. I will attempt to represent the prairie girls when my times comes.

      • Morgan

        I’m going to a small town Alberta wedding next weekend and could NOT be more excited. My Calgary wedding was lovely and family filled and all, but I am so excited for the beef-on-a-bun and country dance wedding! The invitation had a cow cut out from the envelope. The ceremony is on the family farm. The between ceremony and dance time will be spent at the Legion. This is going to be total Prairies, and I’m so, so excited.

        (It’s also the first wedding that my husband and I will attend as married people, and that’s pretty great too.)

  • This post & the comments makes me very excited about the fact that in less than 5 months I will be a wedding graduate and will hopefully have something to share with Team Practical about what planning the wedding (and marriage!) and the wedding itself taught me. I learn so much from Meg and the other members of Team Practical that I really want to be able to share something with you all, when I’m on the other side of all of this :)

  • Can I give some wedding graduate graduate advice?

    Before I ever wrote anything about being a wedding graduate, I wrote about our wedding (weekend) in my personal journal that so far only myself and my husband have read. That took at least two months and ended up being over 20 pages hand written. (Ha! Aren’t you glad the post I wrote wasn’t that long?!)

    That gave me time to process it for myself. Weddings are HUGE!! Writing allows my thinking to gel and it gave me a chance to really discover what was important to me and all the moments that stood out to me. And it made sure that I had all the small details recorded that I wanted before I distilled it out to what I wanted to share.

    Then it took probably 10 drafts before I finally just put it all in an email and sent it in because I knew I could easily edit it at least another 10 times if I kept sitting on it. Two of my posse are regular readers so I had them read it. And of course the husband read it since I was talking about him and I wanted to make sure he approved.

    But really. Write your wedding for yourself. Take the days/weeks/months that you need to fully process and make sure you have it recorded for yourself first. Then you’ll know better what you feel comfortable sharing with the world.

    • Oh, and I used the feathered pens from our reception to write about our wedding in my journal. Because what else am I going to use them for?

      (Just watch, I’m going to break them out in a stats class to take notes one of these days. That would make the class much more enjoyable.)

    • Cat

      Exactly this. Exactly.

      Except buying feather pens was one of those things we just ran out of time to do, so I used one of the free hotel pens in the room on our honeymoon.

    • That’s what I’m doing! (Writing about my wedding on my blog just to reflect, then seeing later if there’s any piece of it that I’d like to share with Meg.)

      By the way, Giggles, always loving your comments on here.

    • meg

      Very very good advice. I took a few months to figure exactly what snippets I wanted to share. And then what 90% of it I wanted to keep for myself.

  • We are one week away. Will definitely get a grad post (and a lesbian one at that!) your way shortly thereafter. Final edit on ceremony done this morning. Sewing hems on our dresses tonight. Throwing a welcome BBQ in our totally not yet clean condo on Saturday, at which our parents will meet each other for the first time. Baking cake on Sunday. Dealing with mom who has gone from “I’ll never come to your not-a-real-wedding” to “Let me address the invitations” to “Yes I can do calligraphy on your license/contract thing that every guest is signing” to “Oh, I don’t have time to do that” to “Well, ok yes I can” to “I just don’t feel comfortable with that” to “I think I can squeeze it into the three days right before your wedding.” And will the rings be done in time? Oh boy. Enough to make anyone panic, no? But here I am, calm.

    To you panic-ers: the wedding zen doesn’t just come. You have to make it. Just keep saying to yourself: If we’re married at the end of the day, the wedding was perfect. Everything else is just details. Don’t let yourself get upset about sh*t that doesn’t matter. Just be there, and marry the one you love. The rest will work itself out.*

    *Assuming, of course, that you have a stage manager. And a rain plan. And a lot of good lists. You really, really should.

    • meg


      • Jennifer

        I see this suggestion a lot, but without any sort of theatrical background, I confess to being a little unclear on what exactly being a stage manager would involve, and thus am not sure whether I have anyone who would be both well-suited to the task and happy to do it. (I have people who fit one of those categories, but am hard-pressed to think of any who fit both.) Did your stage managers just tell people where to be when? Is “stage manager” the same idea as “day-of coordinator”?

        • meg

          Yes, but without the BS. Ours managed our huge team of helpers and a few elves. You can’t be in charge on the day, and neither can your family… but someone needs to.

          • Jennifer

            Hmm. Yeah, I don’t know who among our friends fits the bill (other than a couple of marvelous souls who already have their hands full due to lovely new babies and such). We have a fairly full-service venue so fewer helpers and elves to coordinate, at least…. Is stage management necessary for the whole event, did you find, or just for set-up and ceremony? The other ones I can think of who would be willing to do this are also the ones most likely to be getting their drink on once we’ve got the party started.

          • Here’s my simple definition of a stage manager that I give when someone asks me, “So, what exactly do you do?” – A stage manager is the person who makes sure everyone involved in the show is where they are supposed to be, on time, doing what they are supposed to do, the way they are supposed to do it, and taking any and all necessary action to problem solve whatever goes wrong – because something *always* goes wrong – with the least damage to the artistry of the production. And then documenting everything. Stage managers have many additional duties, but that’s the gist of it.

            Meg is correct that it’s basically like a day-of-coordinator but without the BS. If you don’t have a friend like that, I would suggest you maybe look into your local theatre community and see if you can find an actual stage manager to do it for a small fee. I know I personally that the experience of planning this wedding makes me (and our wedding SM) want to start doing more weddings. We actually decided we should start our own (very gay) wedding planning biz when this is done.

        • Marina

          I think the main thing for me was having someone who knew the answer to all the “Where’s the…?” questions, so people stopped asking me about it.

          • Jennifer

            Oooooh. *lightbulb* All I could think was “I’ve been in several weddings and don’t recall anyone who would fit the stage manager description, except the occasional church with a designated church lady to boss us around.” But a designated question person, that I can get my head around.

          • liz

            what she said.

            but also, someone who maybe just has a brief run-down of the day- knows what’s supposed to happen next, etc. so that if something is not going according to plan, they can redirect (ie, the band starts playing the wrong song or something)

            you said your venue is sorta all-inclusive, though. and they usually come with a “day of corrdinator” type person who just keeps an eye on things, to make sure it’s all going smoothly- noones running out of water, etc.

    • I would hardly say I’m panicking about our wedding (not nervous, excited in a good way, no panic) but I do feel that while it’s fine as long as we end up marrying, that considering the money we’re sinking into this party, if it’s a true disaster (as in the venue catches fire or someone goes to the ER or I am mortified to tears by a menagerie of difficult relatives or the DJ equipment explodes or the food makes everyone start vomiting an hour in to the reception), the “Oh it’s OK if you end up married” isn’t going to make me feel better about how much we paid for that party.

      Still worth the risk, though…

      • ddayporter

        I have to agree that sometimes “as long as you end up married at the end of the day” doesn’t exactly help, when you know, come hell or high water, you are marrying that person, so ideally you’d like to do it without hell or high water. and sometimes it seems like you’re not allowed to say “yeah but,” so I’ll give you that. BUT.

        I think the whole concept of “something is going to go terribly wrong” is an idea promoted by the wedding crazy, to scare you into putting more money into it (example someone already mentioned, booking a back-up venue??). guess what! millions of events are pulled off every day and rarely does a venue catch fire or the entire guest list get sent to the ER with food poisoning.. I understand you were probably exaggerating those potential disasters. but nothing actually has to go wrong – of course that might depend on your definition of “wrong.”

        my prediction is that your wedding is going to be awesome. and I really hope you come back and tell us all about it! :)

        • Of course these things are unlikely to happen and of course we’re not booking a “back up venue” – haha. No. We can just about afford our regular venue! I was using hyperbole.

          We’re all contributing (both families as well as ourselves) and altogether, the entire wedding is probably going to cost enough to buy a car. We’re OK with this – it’s worth it to create the memories and see the loved ones. Point is that after we spend that more-than-ten-thousand-dollars…”oh, but you ended up married” isn’t going to assuage my unhappiness if there is a true disaster, because of the amount of money poured into an event that was a disaster. If it were really just about getting married, we’d go to the courthouse. We already feel married in our hearts, so this is, in truth, an excuse to throw a party. In truth, it doesn’t even matter if we end up married, because we already feel married: we can make it legal whenever we want. It DOES matter if we spend thousands of dollars for a crappy party. “It’s OK, you got married and that’s all that matters!” is great when it’s not the speaker who’s lost all the cash poured into the event.

          So that’s where I’m coming from here…I’ve heard this advice before and I just don’t totally agree with it. I’m OK with that too – just feel that the other side needs to be represented.

          And I’m not saying this to be bitter or cynical – not at all! Just trying to state my truth. It’s OK if others disagree, and it’s OK for others to keep giving out that advice. It’s just…I feel I should speak up and be honest, as hard as it is to say.

          • liz

            i hear ya.

            as someone who (gasp) took out a small loan to cover some of the wedding thousands (oh, the indie-wedding-planning-heresy!), i can say i would have hated for it to be a disaster.

            but i can also say that some of it WAS a disaster. once, josh and i sat and made a list of all of the horrible things that went wrong during the day (small things like the wedding cake melting and leaning to one side and my dress have black stains up the front as i walked down the aisle from leaning against a car, to the big things like the wrong band showing up and grandmom walking out).

            and that- oh, and when i’m wedding blogging- is the only time i’ve really thought about those bad things. the day of, i knew they were bad things. but that thought was small in the face of “I’M EFFING GETTING MARRIED holy crap.”

            …as far as venue fires and food-poisoning, at least you’d get your money back. ;)

          • meg

            TRUST me, unless you’re marrying the wrong person or are just totally stressed and scream-y on the day of (one is often the result of the other)* it’s NOT going to be a disaster. That said, when I said PANIC, that’s because it’s totally ok to stress right now, as long as you relax more or less before it starts.

            * I know, I know. Some of you think all weddings are beautiful no matter what. But I think maybe you haven’t been at the weddings where everyone knew they shouldn’t be getting married, totally including the couple, and they screamed at each other the whole time? No? Haven’t been? THOSE weddings are not beautiful, and can be disasters.

          • Maybe not “disaster” but…OK. We’re spending about $10,000 on food, labor, rentals to serve food etc. because food is important to us so we budgeted a lot for it.

            If the food is really awful, as in, nobody gets sick but it’s just *bad* (and we’ve all been to weddings where the food was not good, as well as other events), I’m going to feel like we wasted our and our parents’ $10,000. That’s not a feeling that would just go away even if the marriage part went smoothly, since, really, that we could just do at the courthouse.

            My own personal pragmatic: I’d almost rather that there be a problem with the ceremony and we have to go to the JP on Monday, because what we’re paying our officiant (which is essentially a church donation: we’re not religious but my parents’ minister is officiating) is piddles compared to what we’re paying for catering…I know I’m marrying the right guy. Not even a question. I know I’m *with* and already *emotionally married to* the right guy – the actual marriage is really and honestly just a piece of paper to me.

            But $10,000? Man that’s a lot of money. I would be really upset if it went down the drain.

          • meg

            Ok, I know, because trust me I’ve been there… but nooooooo you would NOT rather have a problem with the ceremony. Money or no money, that really is what matters. By the time you get to the food it’s just, extra. It’s the topping on the cake, but nothing else (for you, not that you want it to be bad. Ours was GREAT, actually).

            But here is my real life mom-type advice: stop borrowing trouble, girlfriend. The food is paid for. You paid for someone else to worry about it, you have no real control over it. Let it go. If it’s bad, you’ll work it out afterwards. But you don’t need to let that stress you out now. That’s the thing with big events (having done many of them), once a problem is solved and paid for, let it go and move on. Especially if you need to have fun at said event.

            Of COURSE you want it to be good. But it’s thankfully out of your hands now.

          • No really:

            The ceremony is really not all that important: we actually contemplated not having a ceremony at all. We seriously considered not getting married, because we don’t feel we need to, and just throwing a party “because”. We only decided to go ahead and do it because we’ know we’re committed for life and, as frequent travelers, it’s good to have the right next of kin on record, and it’d make our folks happy. As for us – I can’t remember if it was Joni Mitchell or Joan Baez who said it, but “We don’t need a piece of paper from the city hall keepin’ us tied and true”. Really! I can’t pretend any other way and yes, I’ve thought about it quite a lot.

            Don’t get me wrong: I’m not panicked about food right now. Honestly – not worried about it. Our caterer is a very highly regarded professional and we know the food she (and he – he runs the office stuff, she cooks the delicious treats) makes is astounding. I do think it will be great.

            My point is: after the wedding. If the food is horrible or something similar (food was just an example, really – I picked it because it’s the most expensive part of the day but it stands as “n” for anything pricey) that’s $10,000 down the drain with us on a plane to Guatemala and then Taipei and no real way to handle it in person. Were that to happen, no advice along the lines of “let it go” or “but at least you got married!” is going to help.

          • meg

            I’m fascinated to hear if you think the ceremony is not important afterwards….

            We’d been together a long ass time, and oh sh*t did the ceremony humble me. Really, that was WHY the party was so great for me.

          • meg

            Oh, and if that happens, just make a phone call. We got a partal refund from our sound people the next day. They had TOTALLY effed up. But yeah, that didn’t take away from any of it, and no way was I going to pay them in full either.

      • Well it’s a good point that you want to get what you’re paying for – I will absolutely concede that. For us – we have been married in our hearts already for a while, and since we’re lesbians, our wedding won’t be legally binding (we’re doing that on our Boston honeymoon) — so I understand that vantage point. It’s helped me immensely that we’ve chosen our vendors carefully – as I’m sure you have – so that we can trust them completely to do their job well and not have to worry about it. Of course there will be things that don’t go according to plan, it’s inevitable (and the reason you should have a stage manager/day-of-coordinator!) — but when I think about our whole day, the most important part of it, to my heart, is the ceremony. Maybe it’s because I wrote it and have spent the past two months editing it to really reflect us at this moment, but for me, that’s where the emotional center of the wedding is; the reception is a great party thrown to celebrate those core feelings.

  • Sarah Beth

    I, for one, cannot WAIT to write a wedding graduate post, but I’m nowhere near the wedding. (in some lights; in others, it’s coming up too fast) I really just want to be on the other side of this thing.

  • lana

    I’ve started writing a grad post a few times now but I keep stopping because my English just isn’t up to it. I think and speak the language fluently but when it comes to writing, I just am not up to par.

    After reading your call and all the comments I’ll try again and try harder. But only if you promise me that if you think my submission about getting married in Holland, where everyone ask you “WHY??”when you tell them you’re married, has something to add, you’ll correct my grammar and spelling so I won’t come off like some stupid European…..

    • Jennifer

      I for one would really love to read about getting married in a country where everyone asks why you would get married!

    • meg

      Awww… of course.

  • caitlin

    just need to add to this dicussion: speaking for the wedding-undergrads-who-are-soon-to-be-grads, we need these wedding graduate posts. seriously NEED them. or at least I do! I read back through them when I start worrying about some crazy detail, and pretty soon I’m caught up in how beautiful this couple’s day was, and how shiny their love is, and the insanity starts to recede. APW is keeping me sane at this point. Literally. thankyouthankyouthankyou.

  • Just wanted to chime in and say that the wedding graduate posts are one of my favorite things about this site, and I’m looking forward to reading more of them in the (two) months left before my own wedding. Keep them coming ladies (and gents, have we had any gents?)

    I get the sense that the process of writing and revising a wedding graduate post, even if just for your own eyes, would be very healthy. Sorting through all of those feelings and decisions and crystallizing what it meant to you, figuring out where that day fits into the story of yourself sounds like a good thing.

    • meg

      Exactly. That’s the real point, I think. The sharing is just a way to try to help others a little, after you’ve helped yourself.

  • merryf

    I wrote Meg a few months ago, maybe 2, about a major freakout I was having about being an older bride (45) and what it was going to do to my sense of self and sovereignty. She emailed back and said basically that I will be ok. And I was. I’ve been reading APW for months and months, maybe a year already, and I never comment because all I do after reading posts is sit and think and meditate and mull everything over. Sometimes i read the same post 2 or 3 times just to make sure i got everything. I have loved every post, I have loved every wedding graduate because everyone has something to say that is valuable from their own experience that maybe I can take into myself while I think about what just happened to me.

    Meg and APW kept me from going off the deep end so many times because I really needed something more intellectual to address what was going to happen to me. I didn’t know any older brides, at least not this age, and I still couldn’t come to grips with why I was doing this at such a late age.

    And now I got married 2 weeks ago in a practical, pragmatic, casual, laid-back, Jewish, 40-something wedding. I’m not completely through the freakouts (standing under the chuppah I got frozen and couldn’t put the ring on his finger for more than a few long heartbeats, until I REALLY felt like I could get married that moment) but I feel better. I’ve thought about maybe my experiences as a 40+ bride might be useful to someone else, but then I think, what do I have to say that’s so important that someone else would find it useful? Which is of course the wrong attitude since I’ve gotten so much help and support from all of the brave people who have been wedding graduates here. Maybe I will get up the courage.

    • meg

      Get up the courage, lady! And who DOESN’T feel a little frozen under the huppah? Mannnn….

  • I graduated almost a month ago… and I’m still distilling everything I have to say into something coherent and helpful. But I’ve got to say, just writing about it has been its own reward. Even if you don’t plan to share*, please, please write! It’s amazing how much writing helped solidify all of the fleeting feelings and thoughts that have been buzzing around in my head. It helped me get quiet, and settle. I really recommend it.

    *(You should consider it though! Imagine if all of these ladies kept their knowledge to themselves! I don’t know about you, but I would have been lost.)

  • I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blog is really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back in the future. Many thanks

  • Fairly insightful submit. Never thought that it was this simple after all. I had spent a good deal of my time looking for someone to explain this topic clearly and you’re the only 1 that ever did that. Kudos to you! Keep it up