APW Happy Hour

Hey APW,

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that Meg has been quieter in the comments than usual this week. That’s because she’s on a much-deserved vacation! In her absence, the inmates have been running the asylum (head inmate here, pleased to know you). It was a quiet week here, and I spent most of it catching my breath before heading into part two of wedding season. (It’s heeeerrreee!)

Now, as I make the long trek from San Francisco to Bend, Oregon today, I have the pleasure of kicking off Happy Hour. It’s yours for the taking, so hop on it! I’ll be clinking my glass with every rest stop.



Highlights of APW This Week

Newlywed Julia responds to getting fired by planning a five-month trip around the world…without her new husband.

Moe eloped unexpectedly in Vegas because “it was more important that I didn’t spend another day waiting for my new life to begin.” Meanwhile, APW’s resident stylist, Yesenia, shared the lovely communal effort that was her Cigar Bar wedding and it made Meg cry.

In practical wedding news, Emily puts her degree to good use with round two of wedding poems (this time on Bounty and Permanence) and Maddie taught us how to make a corsage that won’t remind you of prom.

Cheese-free father-daughter dance songs might not be possible, but (almost) cheese-free father-daughter dance songs is a close second!

Prudence is back.

Liz’s post about when the five-year plan misses the point inspired an awesome conversation about planning for the future that has me simultaneously convinced this is the most ambitious and well-adjusted corner of the internet. Surprisingly (or maybe not?) in a related story, Rachel realized this week that…she does not have a five-year plan. But she does have a house so I guess that means she has a thirty-year plan. Brave lady, that one.

Link Roundup

Zooey Deschanel knocked it out of the fucking park with her thoughts on why smart women doing things dubbed to be traditionally feminine (say, running wedding websites) are so readily dismissed, and why she thinks that’s a mistake. (Plus, Meg reports that she literally brushed shoulders with Deschanel on vacation in LA this week. Small world, eh?)

“Trauma is not just the result of major disasters. It does not happen to only some people. An undercurrent of trauma runs through ordinary life, shot through as it is with the poignancy of impermanence.” Whew. From this powerful article on grieving.

Offbeat Bride asked why the internet loves snarking on weddings so much…while Jezebel snarked on weddings some more. (Actually, I’ve read every snarking wedding piece Jez has written over the past year and I actually found this one mostly funny. And establishing people as “wedding” or “not wedding” is damn good advice.)

Both Time’s child-free cover story and The New York Times Magazine’s follow-up on “the opt-out generation,” fail to get at the complexity of their respective cultural phenomena (that may be putting it nicely). But that’s why you’re here right? Let’s talk it out.

Mr. Beyonce Knowles gave us some epic performance art while a bunch of awesome people gave us this sweet Tumblr on getting through your awkward years.

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  • Ariel

    Big thanks to everyone last week who gave me DIY advice, especially Ali who told me about rubberstamps.net… my stamps came in the mail today and they are fantastic – I already stamped all of my favor tags :-)

    I also make 5 paper heart garlands to hang from the chuppah – I’ll make a bunch more this week.

    I’m going dress shopping for the first time next week! Aahhhhh!

    • Ariel

      Ugh, can’t edit this… “I also *made* …”

      • Caroline

        Enjoy dress shopping!
        Also, I’m having editing troubles too.

    • Jacquelyn

      Yay! We’re attempting the heart garland DIT too. Any advice on it??

      • Ariel

        It’s actually a lot easier than I thought!

        I used a heart paper punch to cut out a few hundred hearts out of cardstock (and some paint chips) and then sewed them together, making sure to pull on the one coming out of the back of the machine. I was really weirded out by sewing where there’s nothing there because I’m leaving spaces in between the hearts, but it worked out fine, as long as you’re pulling on the heart that already went through. Most of my hearts are 2D, but I made a few more 3D by using thinner paper and doubling them up… after sewing you can bend the hearts over the thread, so it ends up being like an X ( I hope that makes sense?).

        The paper punch I bought at Michael’s and it ended up being something like 4 or 5 bucks with a coupon. It’s a little less than 3 inches across. Good luck! Here’s a super messy picture of my desk and one paper heart garland hanging from the ceiling: http://pinterest.com/pin/271412315016414068/

        • Jacquelyn

          That’s so helpful! Thank you! I was planning to sew them as well. So you did pull on the heart as you were sewing the next one? It was looking weird without doing that but I haven’t tried again….. Also your finished garland is so pretty!!

          • Ariel

            Thanks! Yes, I pulled on the heart that came out the back as I was sewing the next one and as I was waiting for the next one… if you don’t pull when there’s nothing to sew the thread gets all messed up.

        • Heather

          Intruiging! I had planned on doing garlands by sewing by hand, but I like the idea of using my machine. Machine sewing is sooo much quicker than hand usually. Yours looks really great-we’re still at the over year mark, since we’re waiting for good weather and theses defenses, but maybe I’ll start garlanding since it’d also be cute home decor :D Also, out of curiosity- you mentioned that they’re for your chuppah- did you/are you making your own and if this is too personal, feel free to tell me to eff off, are you religious? I’d like to include one or something chuppah-like as well as other traditions in our ceremony, since I want to honor my Jewish heritage (mother and mother’s family) and I consider it a part of me, but we will be having a secular wedding and I don’t want to inappropriately appropriate something. If you or anyone else has insight, that’d be great!

          • Ariel

            I’m actually not really religious at all; my fiance is Jewish. We’re having a relatively secular wedding, but he wanted a chuppah and he wanted to break the glass. We’re not making the chuppah – we’re just using the wedding arch type thing that the venue already has – my fiance said it was good enough for the chuppah?

          • Heather

            Thanks! That makes me feel better since it sounds a lot like where I’m coming from. I’d totally use an in-house wedding arch if our venue had one, but it’s kind of a blank slate as far as that goes so I’m trying to figure out the least-stressful, least-expensive way to do something similar!

        • Heather

          Also, good luck with dress shopping and finishing up the rest of the projects!

    • KC

      Hooray! I’m so glad you’re having fun!

      Good luck dress shopping! :-) (and remember, if you aren’t having fun, you can just leave, it is okay. Like, get back into your own clothes and then leave, but no pressure. :-) )

    • STACIE

      I’m going dress shopping for the first time TOMORROW!!! Eeek! :)

      • Ariel

        Good luck!!!

    • Ali

      Yay! So happy that suggestion was helpful. Good luck finishing your projects and hunting for a dress!

      • Ariel

        Thank YOU! I may be slightly obsessed with buying stamps of things in my own handwriting now though…

  • Laura C

    I am getting married a year from today and I am freaking the F out. Not because I’m getting married a year from today, but because last night one of the groomsmen texted my fiance to double check our date, and it turns out that a friend of my fiance is getting married on the same day. And has two of the same groomsmen! And not that any of the groomsmen are dispensable, but these two would, for my fiance, be leading candidates for best man if he didn’t have a brother. It’s pretty much unthinkable that they not be there.

    The other guy told my fiance he was going to “check to see how set he is,” which I’m really, really hoping means there’s a chance he can move his wedding. Because not only do we have thousands of dollars in deposits made already, but I looked at the calendar and I don’t see another weekend we can possibly do it. Fiance is graduating from law school so it goes: finals, graduation, wedding of one of the groomsmen in question in which he is a groomsman, move 200+ miles, bar review for weeks and weeks, take the bar, then our wedding is 10 days later. The week after our wedding is a major professional event for: my parents, three of our closest family friends, one of my bridesmaids, two of my other friends. The following week is getting close enough to full-on election season that many of our political friends would be too busy with work and my honeymoon would be capped at a week max.

    Cannot say how I hope the other wedding can move, because it will be heartbreaking if these two people are not standing up there for my fiance, but it’s not like I want to steal someone else’s groomsmen.

    • Ariel

      Eek! Good luck!

    • never.the.same

      I don’t know how well you know the couple that is (potentially) getting married on the same day as you, but could you reach out to them? It’s such a big decision and stressful for all parties involved and a lot of hurt feelings or misunderstandings or guilt could (maybe) be spared if the double-booked groomsmen don’t have to be the go-betweens.

      Are you getting married in the same town? Is there any way the groomsmen could attend both for part of the time?

      I’m also curious: have these groomsmen already committed to both weddings, without knowing the dates? Because you worry about “stealing” someone else’s groomsmen, but presumably if you put down deposits your wedding party will have known for a while what the date is (and agreed to be there). (Or maybe not, if you hadn’t confirmed/asked?)

      I totally sympathize with your stress. Hopefully something will work out!

      • Laura C

        My fiance and the other groom have texted and are going to talk — they’re also friends. I don’t really know what conversations were had when between my fiance and his groomsmen, let alone between them and the other groom. I’m pretty sure these two guys in particular knew he would ask them to be groomsmen well before we were officially engaged, and we’ve definitely been discussing our plans with them for, gosh, close to four months. They came over for dinner the night the Boston Marathon bomber was caught, I remember, and we had recently signed the contract on the venue at that point. So I feel like our communication has been good, and I’m hoping that rather than these two guys having been hearing the same date from two couples for months and only now putting it together, it’s that the other couple more recently set their date and are a little less locked in. Fingers crossed, wood knocked, all that.

        • never.the.same

          Weird! Is this a guy thing? Because if two of my friends were engaged and I expected to be in each wedding, I’d for sure mention the date of whichever was nailed down first to the couple still deciding.

          Hoping for the best!

          • LILY

            Unfortunately, I am living proof that this is not a guy thing. Due to wanting the “will you be my MOH” to be a surprise for my best friend, and not communicating with her early enough, that lucky lady gets to be MOH in not one, but TWO weddings–within 24 hours of each other! Thank GOODNESS the weddings are within driving distance of one another (4 hours apart), but I was still pretty upset at first, realizing that my best friend couldn’t be present for anything other than day-of events. Still–not the end of the world!

      • Laura C

        Oh, and I think the weddings are in different states.

        • Laura,

          I really hope thing work out for you!!! I know how stressful planning a wedding can be. You guys sound incredibly busy on top of this snafu. I will be sending good thoughts/positive vibes/a little prayer your way!!!

    • Oh, holy man. That does sound stressful. Glad to hear that the guys are all in communication about it. I hope it all works out.

    • Sarah

      That sounds so stressful! One of the hardest parts of wedding planning is the accepting the difference between what you have in mind and what ends up happening. I know your fiance will work things out with his friends but know that when the decision is made and there’s nothing more you can do, accept it and move on. And if it works out in your favour, I hope the other couple can move on in their planning as well.

      My wedding was pretty much locked in on a certain weekend (next weekend!) as well and it meant that one of my best friends couldn’t come. I was very sad at first but once it was for sure, I got over it. I don’t mean to sound callous like, “Look, honey, just get over it!” I mean that you can’t let the reality cast a shadow over all the other wonderful things you’ll be doing for your day. A year from now, many of the things you have in mind at this moment will have changed and it will still be a wonderful day!

  • Kristen

    About to head out for the weekend (woot!) and wanted to once again invite any North East Ohio or Ohio APW fans to join our APW group and possibly meet up with some of us next Friday in Cleveland Heights!


    Have a great one!

    • Corrie

      Wait…WHAT!? I thought I was only one of 2 people in all of NEO that read APW, but then you mention Cleveland Heights…WHERE I LIVE! Best part of my week happening right now. I am so there next Friday!! (And thanks for organizing this!)

    • KW

      I can’t be there but I hope you all have fun!

    • Nikki

      Thanks for setting this up, Kristen! I am a (maybe too) practical bride from Cleveland and will be coming with another bride friend, and the non-bride friend we could never live without. I’m really looking forward to it, hopefully can share some ideas and get some feedback on our plans!

  • I love Zooey Deschanel. And I love that she answered the question about kids the same way Hilary Clinton answered some question about her outfit: I am no going to answer that because I don’t believe you would ask a man that question.


  • ART

    Ooh! Enjoy Bend! Try Cafe Sintra if you haven’t already (amazing salad). That is such a pretty drive.

    I went to try on a wedding dress I found on Craigslist last night (j crew sophia). A bit too small, a lot too short. There’s nothing like walking into a complete stranger’s bathroom, taking off all your clothes, and then being really disappointed to make you feel *even weirder* about an already frustrating dress search.

    I do have an etsy option I like but it’s very plain. I am hatching a plan with a good friend to add lace to it, but part of me thinks, is that insane/janky? We’re making/enhancing everything else for our wedding, why not this? Have any of you APWers modified yours?

    • I am super hippy (as in big hips) and I had a mermaid dress custom maid by a seller at DH Gate. It was made to measure and fits like a glove. Turn around time was only 13 days. I super, super love it. But when I got it we took some test photos to see how it *really* looked.

      Darn those hips!

      So I am adding a belt. I ordered a gorgeous broach off ebay and am just hand making the belt with a broach instead of buying an expensive bridal sash.

      I dunno. Maybe that will help? Or maybe check out the sellers at DH Gate if you want to keep looking.

      Best of luck!

    • KC

      Modifying the dress should totally be fine. And now I will terrify you with advice. But really, modifying is totally fine as long as you are capable of envisioning what you want and you don’t try to defy the laws of physics. :-)

      I’d note with adding lace and other materials:
      1. watch what your materials are (adding lace to super-lightweight stuff like chiffon will make it drape *very* differently and will probably cause it to pull in odd ways; if the material is more substantial or structured, this is probably not an issue)
      2. get samples of the lace and look at them and the dress in multiple different lights (wedding-comparable light, reception-comparable light, outdoor light, photos in all three, photos with flash in all three) before absolutely deciding on a lace. (not as much of an issue if you’re going for deliberate-contrast, like deep ivory lace on a light cream dress)
      3. baste things on (biiiig, far apart stitches) to check that positioning and drape are cooperating properly before sewing them on with tiny careful stitches.
      4. sometimes, interfacing is your friend when convincing materials to play nicely with each other. If something is rumpling up and you want it smooth, or is pulling in weird ways, or just needs a bit more body, add sew-in interfacing and see if that helps.

      • ART

        You did not terrify me – you made VERY helpful points! :) I’m going to email this list to myself for ease of reference. Thanks. I think I can, I think I can…

        • KC

          Hooray! I’m so glad. :-) Hope you have a ton of fun!

          (also: forgot to note, if the Etsy seller is making the dress, they may be able to pre-modify it in the direction you want or give advice on fabric weight, etc. [or possibly send samples of their fabrics for not-too-expensive, which you could then test out with your lace]. Not applicable if it’s a vintage dress, though.)

    • Heather

      I helped a friend modify her wedding dress earlier this summer, and it worked out! It is possible! It helps if you have sewing experience and know what you’re doing- I don’t have much and it was at times terrifying (cuz it’s an important thing to not screw up). We actually wound up pretty much building an entirely new dress around the existing dress, and it was at times challenging, but I loved being able to be part of it and support her in this way. It was a super short planning period (about a month), so my advice is- give yourself time! Like anything, it will probably take longer than you expect it to. Take the time to baste initially instead of thinking “this will totally work” and then needing an hour to carefully unpick it. When working with a friend- be up front about what you need from them-it worked out, but I was surprised by last minute design changes and how much she needed me to do, and would have done things differently had I known that earlier. Oh, and you might be able to get out blood and prevent it from staining with Crest whitening (yup, we found that out the hard way after a small cut I’d forgotten about unexpectedly opened up).

      • ART

        hah! more good points. we have till next June, but I am itching to get started because like you said, it will take more time than I am picturing.

        speaking of blood, i totally stabbed myself while washing the millionth (ok,more like 90th) thrift store fork collected for the wedding. i did not think our wedding would make me bleed so soon!

        • Heather

          haha! You’re totally ahead of us on this one! I totally get that feelings since I am also itching to get started on DIYing things even though we’re not getting hitched until next October, but I think I have more free time now than I will during most of the next year and I like like crafting. My blood was also in sacrifice to the wedding gods- I’ve been seriously considering DIYing my flowers, and since I like to geek out over things I’ve already started playing around with floral arrangements and had cut myself with floral shears while doing this earlier in the day.

  • Caroline

    Can we talk honeymoon planning? I’m in that budget-plan loop, where you don’t know how much you can afford, so you don’t know what you can spend, but you don’t know how much what you want to do costs, so you don’t know how much you would need to save for it.

    We had originally thought we could save $2000 in the course of a year for a honeymoon, and that felt like a big vacation (although no idea where we could go with that.) Now, my sweetie is going back to school, which is awesome, but means we will have 0 incomes this year instead of 1, so saving is not likely to be happening. I’d like to be daydreaming/planning our honeymoon, but I’m having a hard time getting started on knowing what we could afford.

    How do you start figuring out how much a trip costs? I mean, given the infinite universe of travel possibilities, how to do you say, okay, I have x amount to spend which means I can go here, or here, or here? I’ve never planned a vacation based on how much I could spend before. I always planned where I was going and then figured out how much that would cost.

    Even though we don’t quite know where the money is coming from, I’m still sort of assuming we can manage $2000. We’ll have a little savings from my summer work, and frequent flier miles, (from the credit card, not travel), and maybe a little poached from the wedding budget and possibly some gifts of money that might count towards a honeymoon. But I don’t really know how to figure out what a reasonably nice trip on that amount is.

    Where do you start?

    • Caroline

      Also, can’t edit it, but I’m getting married a year from tomorrow!!

    • Shiri

      This is such a complicated thing! The first thing I try to figure out is how many days I’ve got, and then the travel – how much of my budget am I willing to spend to get there? This will help you determine is you’re flying or driving two hours or willing to drive eight. If you’ve got two days, driving eight hours is different than if you’ve got seven. Then I try to go for goals – do I want a new city to explore? Do I want to sit somewhere quietly and read or watch pretty scenery?

      In most places, there are expensive housing and food options and cheaper ones. The food is where my budget always goes wonky, but housing at least the Internet can help with. TripAdvisor usually has good recommendations at a bunch of different budget levels, and I bet if you told us where you’re thinking of (when you get to that point), APWers might have some suggestions.

      But really, I suggest first starting with where you’re considering going. $2,000 for a road trip is totally different than $2,000 for a beach vacation, you know? Both are doable, but they look different.

      • ART

        jinx! :)

        • Shiri


      • Caroline

        We have about a week, and I do NOT want to road trip. Driving 6 or 8 hours to a destination would be tolerable, but not ideal. Driving more would, again, be tolerable, but not ideal, but road tripping as the body of the honeymoon is not good.

        We want to go somewhere by the ocean/a bay (does not have to be in the traditionally warm enough for beach-going regions), with amazing food (note, good food means both local, farm-fresh food we can cook and good restaurants, with a HEAVY preference for the former). We want to drive country lanes chasing signs that say “Fresh eggs for sale” (My lifelong passion. Few things give me as much joy as screaming “Stop! Turn the car around! They have eggs for sale at that random house’s front porch!”) and farmstands, sit by the water and read books, swim or kayak or boogie board or surf (my partner will happily swim in the ocean when the water is 50 degrees), hike, and eat. Small town or fairly rural is fine, we aren’t interested in a big city this trip. We want to relax where there aren’t a million people around, in nature. Also, my partner has never been outside the continental US, so if we can make it to another country, or the non-continental US, that would be a plus, although not required by any means.

        We live in the Bay Area. Our dream is to take the train up the coast to Seattle, rent a car, and go up to the San Juan Islands, (or I kind of really would love to go to Hawaii), but I feel like either of those things might be too expensive. I’m not really sure though. Any suggestions that might be more in line with our budget and goals? We’ll be going in August. Thank you.

        • Breck

          Dude and I were looking into a taking a mini vacay in the Seattle area this August/early September (didn’t work out), and flights/hotels/the whole trip seemed like it was going to be really reasonable. We were also going to rent a car and go backpacking nearby for a few days, then enjoy a hotel in the city for a couple days, which helped keep costs low. I would definitely investigate it more, especially if that your dream!

        • Casey

          The San Juan Islands are so beautiful! I went to Bainbridge Island a few summers ago and it sounds very much like what you’re hoping for. My fiancé and I are going to Hawaii and pretty much the only reason that it works budget-wise is because we are renting a house instead of staying in a hotel. Sooo much cheaper! I’d definitely look into VRBO or AirBnB for wherever you end up going.

        • ART

          Hmm, been to the San Luis Obispo area? They’ve got beaches and eggs and country roads for sure, and it’s not that far from you guys (I’m in the Bay, too, we just recently drove down there via the lovely Big Sur coast in about 4.5h). I would check out Pismo, Morro Bay, etc. for starters. Good food can be had at Big Sky Cafe and Vieni Vai (both in DT SLO), and there’s lots else around there to explore.

          • ART

            Correction, it took more like 6 hours that way – we broke it up, so I only remembered the first part :)

          • Caroline

            That’s a good idea. I had kind of written off the whole central coast, because my step-brother, who I can’t STAND, lives in morro bay, but just because we know people who live in the region (My cousin, and his wife, both of whom are lovely, live in Templeton) doesn’t mean we couldn’t go down there someplace else. On the other hand, the idea of honeymooning within 30 minutes of my step-brother’s house makes me vaguely queasy. I have to invite him to the wedding to avoid offending my step-dad, who I love. I do NOT want to run into him accidentally on the honeymoon.

          • ART

            ah, sorry, family weirdness is weird. but i guarantee you, the central coast is larger than your wedding venue will be. chances of running into anyone are probably slim (so maybe skip morro bay…) good luck!

        • Caroline, have you actually priced that out? Because that sounds pretty doable. You can priceline hotels, trainfares, etc… to have a decent idea of costs. The big variable is what you do with your time in between. You can keep your meals cheap by getting stuff from grocery stores and having a couple of special splurge meals when the time is right. Set some money aside for ‘ooooh, cool!’ splurges and figure out if your activities are costly, but I think you can.

          I didn’t do final expenses, but I believe we did a 10 day road trip from San Francisco to Seattle for about $2500-3000 total (in 2011 dollars), not including plane fare (which was a gift). We flew DC to SF and then Seattle to DC. Rental car (one way, more expensive) was about $900 and the rest was hotel, gas, food, tourist traps and OMG I HAVE TO BUY THAT. Things added up – we did a wine tour that led to us buying lots of wine and it’s amazing how good hotels charge for everything, but still.

          Also, whenever you book anything, tell them you’re on your honeymoon. You do get discounts / extras for that.

          • SOMETIMES you get discounts/extras. Sometimes you get nice welcome notes for Mr. and Mrs. McPants. :)

          • Caroline

            No, I haven’t totally priced it out. I’ve spent a little time looking at rental places, (about 1300 for a week at most of the VRBO/AirBnb places on orcas Island I found that are actually a separate unit not a room in someone’s house) adding that up with Hertz car rental estimate of 500, and 500 for the trainfare, it’s basically over our budget. But I think I need to keep looking and not get discouraged.

          • Meigh, we got chocolates with our heteronormative note. =P

        • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

          North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. With optional road trip to Canada. (Because that was my vacation last month and it was wonderful. Even though I didn’t hunt down farm-fresh eggs.)

        • KC

          With your list, seriously, hit one of San Juans other than Orcas (see if you can find lodging on glutenfreegirl’s island or somewhere similar – some of the islands are really tiny and I’m not sure how touristy others are). It might dimly be possible to arrange a housing swap (someone wants to visit the Bay Area at the same time?) to further reduce costs, but that may or may not be comfy for you. It’d also be possible to stay [possibly more cheaply] near the coast in that area and take day trips to the islands if you wanted to (ferries!) and drive around farmland and random places on the coast on other days.

          Depending on how high-adventure you want the first exposure to international travel to be, there are also sites that fish up rock-bottom airfares from location A to… random places, and some foreign locations have fairly inexpensive lodging, etc., albeit with some, er, digestive risks, etc.

          But I’m always a big fan of a low-key honeymoon – rest after the wedding is a wonderful, wonderful thing – so I’d head to the neighborhood of the San Juans and call it good. :-)

          • Caroline

            Can I ask why you suggest some of the other islands besides Orcas? I’m definitely open to the idea. I visited Orcas Island with my mom and loved it (so much that if it weren’t such a remote trip to visit grandparents when we have kids someday and lacking in a substantial Jewish community, at least that I saw, I would seriously consider moving there.). That said, I haven’t seen any of the other Islands, and don’t know their charms.

          • KC

            I guess, Orcas is the most touristy of them and the one most people go to, so I would expect the other islands to have 1. proportionally more farms and 2. fewer tourists, and 3. lower costs, potentially (given that August is an islands-fill-up kind of month).

            If you get current photos of Orcas and it is still somewhere you would want to go (it’s still pretty low on touristy-ness compared to probably almost everywhere – I just like my beaches utterly empty of all other human beings?), then absolutely go for it. It’s just that a lot of people don’t think of or go for the other islands because Orcas is the easiest/most known, and some of the other islands out there are certifiably awesome. :-)

          • KC

            To further flesh that out, a friend of mine’s grandparents live on An Anonymous San Juan Island [because seriously, when you’ve got a good thing, you don’t tell][as in, I have visited them on their island and I don’t know the name of it!] and the incredibly dinky ferry is awesome and the whole place is rambly and foresty and sea-grass-y and wonderful. I’ve also gone camping on one of the islands you can rent campsites at [it’s basically state park “rent an island”, I think?], but unless you’re interested in catching your own seafood and either getting a water taxi or renting a sailboat instead of a car, that is probably… not ideal… for your purposes.

            Honestly, thinking about it, it would probably be harder to organize long-distance for one of the smaller islands (fewer or no regular ferries, fewer resources for visitors in general), so you may be best off going with Orcas, which is still an excellent island. I just loooove the other islands, too, and people usually don’t even know they’re there except as a backdrop! :-)

        • Remy

          Find a B&B in Santa Cruz and alternate between day trips to the beach and local farms, staying tucked away, and exploring local attractions? That’s my suggestion for keeping the budget small. (We went to Knott’s Berry Farm, because of sentimental history, but I’m more looking forward to our Oregon-Seattle-Vancouver road trip next spring.)

        • Caroline

          Hawaii’s Big Island is what we did for our honeymoon and it was the greatest farm/food, nature, chilling-out, swimming, kayaking, hiking, etc. vacation ever. And it was a lot cheaper than you might think. We did it for about $3000 and about half of that was plane tickets — and we’re on the East Coast, so your plane tickets from the West Coast would be a lot cheaper.

          Go on VRBO.com and look for smaller apartments/condos to rent. That was the biggest way we kept it cheap — found a small apartment on VRBO that offered a really good deal if you booked for a whole week. I think we paid $500 for a week of lodging. That was in 2010, but I just checked and you can get studio apartments for under $100/night. Keep an eye out because you might score a really good deal. (Plus, apartments have kitchenettes, so you can eat in a lot.)

          And honestly — having a little apartment all to ourselves, halfway up the mountain? Was way more awesome for us than being at a resort. It was really quiet and private. We enjoyed just sitting out on the porch in the morning with a cup of coffee, or in the evening with a beer, and enjoying the peace and quiet and lack of anyone else around.

          Beaches are pretty much all public-access, and parking is usually free. There are tons of parks where you can go hike for free. Kayaking and snorkeling equipment is easily rented (and not insanely expensive). We paid for a guided kayaking/snorkeling tour, because we had no ocean kayaking experience, but if you already know what you’re doing you could avoid the tour guide cost and just rent the equipment.

          I really think you could do Hawaii.

          • Caroline

            Wow, I didn’t realize renting a condo could be so affordable. Also, you should have SEEN the look on my love’s face when I said “You know, if we can frequent flier mile the flights, Hawaii might be cheaper than Orcas Island.” It was like a 6 year old seeing the presents under the tree on Christmas morning. It was a look of sheer joy at a possibility that he had never imagined. I think I know where we’re trying to go. Thanks everyone. I think, since we’re putting all the wedding stuff on the airlines credit card, hawaii might be possible…

          • Laura C

            Ok, Caroline, we have a margin race going on so I couldn’t reply to your comment about thinking Hawaii might actually be cheaper, but check out this page: http://ipp.tradingplaces.com/inventory/default.aspx?dealerId=uplus

            Maybe not to your taste, but worth a look. Especially because it mentions a Union Plus discount, which, if you’re not a union member, you can probably get by joining Working America (http://workingamerica.org/membership/Why-Join), which is free.

        • Jeik

          Plan A is totally do-able! The only thing I would suggest is maybe stopping in Portland for a night because being on a train that long isn’t a super fun way to start your honeymoon. Luckily, Amtrak tickets don’t charge a premium for that kind of thing. Also, places to stay on the islands usually have a minimum 2-night stay, so plan on staying in one place for a while.

          It really doesn’t take much to price out either option. Find a ticket price, research a few places to stay, and think about what kind of meals you’ll have. Add it all up, and you’ve got a good baseline.

          I think it’s really important to consider the kind of vacation you want too. Will you want a little luxury? A lot? Or will you be just as happy sleeping in a tent because you are with your honey?

        • I love planning trips! It is hard to budget when you are starting from “no idea!”. BUT before I even knew where you would be driving/flying from, I was thinking the Pacific NW fits with many of your ideal honeymoon requirement.

          Here’s the process I usually use once I have a certain destination in mind:

          First, I’d figure out what the transportation cost would be (roundtrip train, rental car for a week). With $2K and a week, I’d saying driving is more feasible than flying somewhere. SFO-SEA flights may be cheaper than the train, even if that were your preferred method, so it’s worth checking if it means you can stay in budget!

          Then, look at vrbo, airbnb, etc., to rent an apt/cute little house for a week – definitely will save you money over hotel, and gives you a place to cook some meals at home. If the main tourist-y draws are too pricey, look for nearby places that should be just as nice but less expensive (and you’ll have a car to drive to the main draws anyway), or figure out when peak season is and go in the shoulder or off season for cheaper rates (although if you want to honeymoon right after the wedding, guess that doesn’t apply).

          Once you figure out how much of the budget lodging will take up, see if what you have left is reasonable for eating out/sightseeing/etc.. If it’s close, see where you can save a little more here or there or how you can make the budget stretch; if it’s not even close, time to pick another place and start the research again.

          I am sure you guys will end up with a GREAT trip!

    • ART

      Are there other variables to help set your parameters – Where do you live/where will you leave from/return to? How much time can you take? What kind of experience do you want (camping, road trip, sightseeing, beach+mai tais?) Will you be wiped out from your wedding, or is it going to be pretty easy (on your end)?

      We’ll probably be doing a mini-moon of sorts, less than a full week with at least two or three hotel nights and potentially some camping. We know we can’t handle or take the time off for a big international trip right after the wedding (which is going to be super DIT), so we’re thinking that can happen the following year (1st anniversary trip – woohoo!)

      • Caroline

        I mentioned a bit above. We’ll probably be pretty wiped out, as we’re self-catering, and DIT a lot. Also, we definitely don’t want to camp. While we both love camping, we are… not very compatible campers. We’re still working on our camping together style. His camping style is a tarp, a knife, a bag of trailmix, a fishing pole, and a jacket, and long hikes, minimalist/survivalist style. My camping style is more… let’s hike a few miles, then read for a hours by this lovely lake, then we’ll break out the fresh beef and grill steaks for dinner style.

    • Laura C

      That’s hard, especially not knowing where you are or what kind of people you are. Because I can think of several models for the limited-budget honeymoon — going to a relatively nearby city (low travel cost) and really doing it up with a nice hotel and food; spending most of your money on travel to get someplace new and exciting and then having a tight budget when you get there; renting a cabin on a lake or in the mountains, bringing enough great ingredients to fill the fridge, and just holing up, swimming or hiking or lazing around and then cooking great meals every night. But I’m having trouble getting more specific than that.

      • Caroline

        Basically, our dream would be to rent a cabin by the ocean for a week, somewhere where we can buy really good ingredients and cook a lot, and hike and swim. I’m just not sure where.

        • Lauren

          I love love love the vacations I have taken to Leelanau County in Michigan, near Traverse City. You can easily find a cabin near Lake Michigan, there are a million white sand beaches everywhere you turn, hiking trails, and a pretty great foodie scene. Traverse City has some great restaurants and in Leelanau County there are farmstands everywhere so you can do some cooking! Plus, being a Midwest gal, I tend to think the great lakes beat an ocean any day. ;)

          • Angie

            I’m definitely going to second the Traverse City area, it’s where I’m from and it’s lovely. I’ll also put in a plug for my current city, Charleston SC. Though it’s on the opposite side of the country and I haven’t heard you mention the east coast, I thought I’d throw it out there. It’s really a gorgeous place full of live oak trees, spanish moss, cobblestone streets, antebellum houses and a billion delicious places to eat. It’s also got a fairly nice farmer’s market most of the year every Saturday to get fresh produce. It’s right on the ocean and while the surf isn’t as good as the west coast by any means, people still seem to enjoy it a lot. The beaches are clean and beautiful. Also Savannah is only about 1.5-2 hours away if you wanted to take a little day trip, as it’s also a lovely city.

            I’ll also second the suggestion to look into a honeymoon registry. It was so super fun to set it all up and figure out what we wanted to do. We used wanderable.com and love it so far. People can pay right online and it goes directly into our account. They also have an app where you can take pictures of things (say you registered for a dinner out at the restaurant Husk) – you can take a pic of the two of you out to dinner through the app and it creates a thank you card with the pic and sends it to the person who purchased you the gift.

        • Emily

          I haven’t been, but I bookmarked this place a while back and sent it to my boyfriend (now fiance!) with this comment: “We can stay at these cottages and pick veggies from their garden! They even deliver eggs to your door!” If you research it further, let me know how it goes :)


    • lady brett

      i would start with the actual travel part. for us that was “we want to take the train!” which gave us a very limited selection of locations. but deciding you’re driving, but don’t want to spend more than x hours in the car would work – or that you’re flying, but only to places you can get to for $xxx (which would be a more difficult search, but also narrows it down, especially for two people).

      i would say, while we splurged in ways we usually do not on our honeymoon, almost nothing about it was traditionally “romantic” or “fancy” – which is *awesome* because it means we can revisit it (we haven’t had time yet, but by traveling somewhere fairly normal and close-ish we can go back and do that whole “ooh, remember on our honeymoon when…!” thing.)

      another place to start is a single thing you’d like to see/go to. not a whole destination like “london” or “maine” (because then you wnat to go *all the places*), but something specific like “the sistine chapel” or “the biggest ball of twine in the u.s.” (ours was the city museum in st louis).

    • Kirstin

      I am feeling that uncertainty too! One of the things that we are doing, which I am hoping will help us in the honeymoon budget department, is planning a later honeymoon. Right now it is looking like we will probably go about 4-6 months after our wedding. That gives me some piece of mind, because while we will be saving ahead of time and booking flights and such, we will have some wiggle room to adjust parts of the trip as needed if we don’t end up with as much as we thought, or if we go over on wedding expenses. We might do a weekend getaway or “mini-moon” closer to our wedding, but nothing big.

      I don’t know if you’ve considered this option, but I hope it will work for us.

    • Don’t Hassle the Haf

      I am actually sitting on a beach in Belize on our honeymoon and it is lovely. We really didn’t need to do a bunch of excursions or adventures so we saved a lot of money by opting out. Also, going in the off season makes it a lot cheaper as well. We decided to have meals included in our stay but there are a lot of couples and families who have kitchens in their units and the food here is very cheap so if you don’t mind cooking on your honeymoon a little, that saves money as well. Oh and groupons/living social always have great deals down here!

      • Don’t Hassle the Haf

        Oh! I would also maybe think about talking to a travel agent. Ours didn’t charge us for her advice and basically we just gave her our budget and things we liked and she gave us a ton of suggestions

        • Caroline

          Where do you find a travel agent? That sounds like a great idea. Do you have anyone you might recommend?

          • Don’t Hassle the Haf

            We live in Houston but we are originally from Eastern Washington, so we used this travel agency when we first started thinking about where we wanted to go

            They gave us a lot of suggestions andeven priced out hotels etc and although we didn’t book with them, they gave us a ton of ideas that we hadn’t even considered. It was all through email too and they were very responsive.

    • I would come up with a short list of destinations. You could either go somewhere relatively close (that doesn’t require a flight) and live it up for a short period of time (about a week) or go somewhere farther away and have a semi-budget honeymoon.

      Definitely start checking out Airbnb. We are renting an apartment for 5 nights for around $500 in one of Montreal’s best neighborhood. Also, because we will have an apartment, that also means we won’t have to eat EVERY meal out, which means we can splurge on dinner, but maybe eat bagels from the market for breakfast.

      Also, we used travel reward credit card to earn miles so our flights were free. Chase Sapphire preferred is a great card with a lot of flexibility on the miles (can also be used for hotels if you’re not flying). We reached the minimum spend requirements by putting all the wedding expenses on the card. If you don’t have to pay for flights, your $2000 will go much further.

      Hope this helps!

      • Caroline

        We’re putting everything for the wedding and all our regular expenses on an airline credit card also, for the honeymoon. I decided to go for the United Chase card, because you can spend the miles on stuff like hotels and car rentals, but mostly flights, but I figured since we see travel in our future, United was a good, all around, visits a lot of places way to go.

        • I actually also got the United Card (I just mentioned one to make it simpler). It’s a great card too!

    • marbella

      we didn’t need or want ‘stuff’, so we did a honeymoon registry instead of gift registry. It worked out really well. We used Honeyfund and people either donated through paypal or gave us checks for the ‘gift’ they chose. They let you break it up and people contribute to an actual thing, like a flight or dinner. I think some people feel better thinking of a specific thing they are getting the couple rather than just giving cash. I loved knowing our friends and family had sent us on a wonderful holiday. We didn’t go for 8 mths after the wedding so had lots of time to plan it out after, but you could always do it faster than that too.

  • Breck

    It has been a really rough week for a bunch of reasons, but mainly the fact that my (family) dog died suddenly a few days ago. I haven’t had a pet die in 10 years or so, and I forgot how terribly sad it is. I’ve been a lot more upset than I would have thought, so I feel a little silly. Sigh, glad it’s Friday.

    Completely unrelated (and an awful segue), does anyone know the best way to go about selling fine jewelry? I have a few things I’ve accumulated over the years that I never wear and would like to get rid of.

    Hope everyone has a nice weekend.

    • deva

      Oh, I am so so sorry to hear about your dog. There is nothing like losing a pet. It sucks, and I am sorry.

    • Ariel

      I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. They really are members of the family. My fiance commented last night about how spoiled our first (human) child is going to be, given how we treat our furbabies.

    • Shiri

      I’m so sorry about your dog! My family dog died in December and I still get teary thinking about her. They’re our family members, these wild little creatures who live with us.

      • Breck

        Thank you. I keep thinking about her last day/hours, and it makes me so sad and teary.

        The only silver lining I can think of is that now there is space in my family’s home to adopt another puppy and give it a good home.

    • Jen

      :( condolences on the loss of your dog. It’s such a hard, hard thing. I lost my childhood pets earlier this year, and the depth of the sadness also surprised me. There’s nothing silly about the sudden feeling of a void in your family and the accompanying grief. Allow yourself the sads! *hug*

      And (segue, readygo)

      I had luck selling my Tiffany jewelry on craigslist, of all places. eBay is also helpful, I’ve heard. Good luck!

      • Breck

        Thanks for your sweet words :).

        And, yes, Craigslist! That is a great idea. Thank you!

        • Jen

          Anytime! Craigslist is the bomb.

    • My sympathy on the loss of your dog!

      Continuing with your segue, I sold some fine jewelry at the beginning of summer, and having zero experience and doing no research, I just took them to a local jewelry store whose ads mentioned they also buy gold. They offered one price for cash, and a ton more if you want store credit (which I didn’t). It took them about a week or so to appraise it and get back to me. Just be aware you’re not going to get a great value from a lot of it, and know what pieces may be gold-plated, which is unlikely to sell.

      • Breck

        Thanks :).

        What kind of jewelry store did you go to? I took some things down to a place in Chinatown, and they did a super quick appraisal, but I just felt like it was *such* a low offer, considering that everything I had was gold, some with diamonds. Maybe I should try another place?

        • It’s local, with I think three locations in my mid-sized city and one in a nearby town. So not the smallest local retailer, but a a fairly generous-sized store. (Their in-town locations include the downtown shopping district, and a ritzy store in the high(er)-end outdoor mall in the richer part of town)

          I sold a tennis bracelet that was gold (I forget what carats) with diamond baguettes the whole way along it, plus a pair of tiny gold earrings, and I got a little over $200 for it.

    • While you can’t control how you feel (grief or silly), there is nothing “silly” about feeling upset at the loss of a being that has been in your life. Dogs touch us deeply.


  • Reader F

    I’m interested in hearing people’s thoughts about the NYT Opt Out Story. I enjoyed reading it. Some of the profiles described to the T what my mom went through (high achieving professional leaves work force to spend times with kids, happy for a moment but feels devalued in her marriage and life in general, and is unable to ever get back). We didn’t have the high powered connections, so she’s felt stuck for quite a few years.

    I’m so afraid that the same will happen to me, that I’m not sure I would ever consider leaving the workforce 100% for fear of the impact that it would have on me, my marriage, my perceived self worth, etc. That’s a lot to admit, but it’s true. I was happy to forward it to my SO and I’m looking forward to discussing it together.

    • Catherine McK

      I’m still working through how I felt about that article. It definitely shook me up a bit, as a newly pregnant person trying to figure out what the heck to do after my limited mat-leave is up. It led to an interesting conversation with my husband, where he talked about what his expectations for his role would be if he were the one to stay home, our perceptions of the value of the contributions each of us would be providing to our family, etc. So, not much to contribute, but interested to hear what others have to say, particularly those who have worked through it.

    • never.the.same

      I was struck, in that article, that the women who struggled the most were the ones who had husbands who said “I want you to stay home” and expected, as a result, that they had no obligation in the child rearing or housework. (I got the strong impression that these were the kind of men who “babysat” their own kids.) The one marriage that was still standing (of the profiled women) was the one in which the husband/father was an active and responsible parent. Even when that increased tensions with his wife and the idea that she was “giving away her time for free.”

      Also: CLASS. These are rich women who left high paying jobs at the height of a boom economy. Their marriages crumbled along with the economic prospects for a lot of people. This is more interesting to me, honestly, than much of the rest of the article. The mom who tells her 12-year-old daughter to keep working because you can’t rely on a man was interesting, but I also wondered what kind of financial future did she imagine her daughter will grow into? One where a one-income household is realistic? I kind of don’t think so.

      • SamanthaNichole

        Yes to class. I was really struck by how all the women were really well off. I guess maybe because they could afford to leave the work force where others could not? My mother left her barely developed career when she had me and stayed out for my three brothers. She never got her career back and now does something totally different, real estate – which she doesn’t love – and it is not the best time for economically. Anyway, we were not “well off” so I would like to see a story about middle class/ working class women who did this. The success rate at getting back into the work force would not be so high.

        Scary stuff. I think it is the reason so many people of my generation, myself included, would never consider being a stay-at-home-mom. In addition to other things of course . . .

    • It’s funny, in some ways I feel like I’m on the male side of this – I work at an office 40+ hours a week, while my wife works from home. Sometimes I come home and wonder what she did all day and why there isn’t more done and then I remember that a) she’s not accountable to me, b) she’s not sitting around eating ho hos dipped in fudge and watching her stories all day and c) you are being goddamn ridiculous, what the hell, self?

      Because sometimes it feels like that’s what she’s doing. Or that she’s “playing” while I’m working. I know that is unreasonable and stupid, but I wonder if men somehow don’t have that perspective, because men (as a whole) aren’t socialized to question themselves / gender norms in the ways that men are.

      Also, some of those guys seemed to be total A-holes. Mad that your wife is volunteering, doing something fulfilling part time instead of cleaning your house? Hire a freaking maid service.

      • lady brett

        (disclosure – i haven’t had a chance to read the article) i’m in the same position – i work in an office and my wife is in school. i think the hardest thing for me is not viewing a flexible schedule as just goofing off all day. like, the fact that she went out to lunch with a friend while i was stuck at work doesn’t negate the part where she also went to class and did homework and took the kids to the doctor (p.s. i hate going out to eat, and i don’t like hanging out with that friend of hers – so i am jealous of something that isn’t really true as well as of something i don’t even like. classy.)

        also i have to remember that the fact that i am doing something i don’t like has no bearing on what she is doing. her work is not easier because mine is crummy.

        • meg

          “also i have to remember that the fact that i am doing something i don’t like has no bearing on what she is doing. her work is not easier because mine is crummy.”

          This is just brilliant, period.

      • Reader F

        I agree with you that some of the guys in the story came off as jerks. BUT I think that its part of a larger discussion point in the story. I got the sense that none of the couples pictured themselves having these arguments 10-20 years down the line. Somewhere earlier in the article they discuss how many of these couples had a discussion at the beginning of their marriage where the husband was totally in agreement that the wife should pursue whatever made her happy, and was supportive when she quit her job, etc. Fantastic.

        And now its 10 years later and they are living that scenario. The volunteering is not bringing an income, and he is expecting her to make a ‘contribution to the household’ by keeping the house clean, shuttling the kids, etc. Hopefully I won’t get flamed for that last sentence – but that’s what his opinion seemed to be.

        And I have to be honest here, if I were the person that were slogging through work to get the paycheck every day, I would totally expect (/request?) my partner to pull their equal weight with household stuff. I hope I wouldn’t be a huge jerk about it, and hope that I would appreciate their contributions, but I honestly feel I would be OK asking for that.

        Which brings me to my earlier point where I think it’s in some ways easier to keep that level contribution by keeping my job (even if part time). Because as much as I love my partner and I think he’s progressive / do what makes you happy, etc. I’m not sure that in the long-term we wouldn’t have these same problems. Because like it or not, the stay at home contribution is not valued by our society in the same way as working outside the home. Does it make me a huge coward that I’d rather conform than try to break the mold? Maybe. But just being honest here.

        • Reader F

          Hmm I can’t seem to edit my comment, but I meant to say “I think it’s easier to conform that break the mold” … End rant

        • meg

          I agree with you 100%. I actually didn’t think the guys sounded like jerks. My mom stayed home (in a middle/working/there wasn’t a lot of money/ class kind of way), and I’d say one of the hardest parts was the way that it gave my dad fewer options. Men/ non male providers get trapped in this cycle of “go to work, pay the bills, can’t leave if you’re unhappy, go to work, pay the bills, the whole family eats because of you, go to work…” I probably don’t have the personality to stay home anyway (um, strike probably, I just don’t), but between knowing what it’s like to never quite have enough money, and seeing how hard it was for dad? I just wouldn’t be able to go down that path.

          I mean, YES, I don’t wanna have to depend on no man, for lack of a better phrase ;) But for me, working isn’t just for me. It’s also for David. And for keeping our relationship balanced. And hence for the kid. Which doesn’t make it the right choice for everyone, but does make me FEEL those guys in that story.

          And hell, I expect poor David to pull his weight when I’m breastfeeding. I’m SURE I’d expect him to pull his weight if he was home with the baby. That’s no necessarily the right way to look at things, but again, I can’t write off those guys as just jerks.

          • Marisa-Andrea

            I really DID think the guys sounded like jerks, but just in an ignorant, they don’t know any better kind of way. There seemed to be this assumption that if there was someone who was going to stay home, if the business of being a two career household was too taxing on the family, then obviously that the woman’s fault because she’s WORKING and not at home. Granted, I’m being presumptuous because obviously I have no fucking clue what went on in these people’s marriages, but some of the quotes from the husbands just made me enraged.

            BUT here is my bigger problem with this entire conversation. Well, I have multiple problems. I have problems with the fact that it’s classist in that we are only looking at wealthy women and the term “opt-out” is incredibly misleading. I’m a bit of a radical feminist in that I think that due the patriarchal status quo, institutional patriarchy and racism, bad economics etc, saying that women “opt-out” is being really generous. The point of view of this article ignores that fact that for so many women who “opt-out,” it isn’t really a CHOICE they are making freely as much as they are pushed into it (b/c their job penalizes them for having children, societal expectations, sexism in their male partners, economics — daycare is too expensive etc).

            BUT I also get that ok, this is THEIR story, this is a PARTICULAR point of view. But even still I have a problem because the fact that we are even HAVING this conversation in the first fucking place is that we are living under the patriarchal status quo. We’re not going to talk to about economic factors, we are not going to talk about how women continue to get screwed with equal pay, lack of healthcare, reproductive rights, etc.

            However, one point was made that second wave feminists tried to drive through our brains and maybe we’re finally getting: economic earning power DOES matter. For lots of reasons. But bottomline: it’s incredibly empowering to be able to earn money. Period.

        • Christina McPants

          So this is where I disagree. Productivity in the office iOS not 100% everyday. Some days you spend half the day on eBay, some days you work 12 hours. This doesn’t change when you are at home. Some days the kids are happy and the house is spotless, some days… Not so much. What I. Find myself doing (and what I think these men did) is applying a 100% standard. She’s home, everything should be fantastic forever because what else is she doing?

          Working outside the home also provides an outlet for social interaction that you don’t have at home. My extrovert wife has problems being at home all day because there’s not anyone she can chat with. Finding a place to get that benefit is really important. It also makes you feel purposeful, instead of the aimless self direction that can sometimes come from time at home. I think full time out of home people think being at home every day is like a weekend everyday and its not.

  • Kirstin

    So this month’s topic is risk. Well we just took what felt like the biggest risk yet – getting a joint bank account!

    I don’t know why, but that feels a whole lot more risky than deciding to get married. Any time money is involved, there is just that ick factor. Do others feel this way too? I know that he won’t, but in the back of my mind, I keep thinking, “wow, I just opened the door for someone to screw me over!”

    We are still going to keep our individual accounts, but we thought this would be the best way to manage our wedding and household expenses (rent, utilities, etc.).

    Baby steps.

    • Shiri

      Oh yes. Yes yes yes. I still have one separate account and he can’t understand why. The idea that a woman should always have some of her own money was drilled into me, and its something I never questioned, but he always asks “in case of what?” and it is a tough conversation! How do you tell someone it isn’t about them, or even about me, but about the possibilities of risk?

      • Kirstin

        I was taught the same thing. My parents had money that was each of theirs and that was the first thing my mom told me when we got engaged – “Always have some money that is just yours that you don’t have to account for (as in write down anywhere), not even to yourself.”

        I had to laugh at this because she thinks I must write all of my expenses down. “I thought you were just supposed to open your online checking account and make sure that you still had money in there? Doesn’t it record everything for you?”

        Perhaps it is really my partner who should be the one that’s worried.

        • Shiri

          Wait… I thought Al Gore invented the Internet so we no longe had to balance out checkbooks….

      • R

        My answer to “in case of what?” is: In case something happens to you and they lock up our joint account because (mystery legal reasons) and I need money. Because that could happen. So when we set up our joint and individual accounts we actually made it so that we had individual baby emergency funds. Which we are lucky enough to be able to do.

        Given how much autonomy banks have/ lack of recourse you have in some situations, spreading things out a bit isn’t a bad thing.

    • Emmy

      Yep! We just did this back in May. In some respects, it’s nerve-wracking, especially at the beginning. But it’s actually much better for me.

      I’m super-anxious about money and I didn’t like not knowing how he spent his. This sounds terribly controlling, except that we both have spending problems and he cannot say no to me. So if I ran out of money in a month but still wanted to go out, he’d pay for it. Wash rinse repeat and we’re spending waaaaay too much on going out!

      With the combined account, it’s much better. I can see what we’re spending and where we should cut back. We still have our own accounts and we get a monthly “mad money” allowance that we can each use however we please.

    • DrSmooch

      Definitely!! We still haven’t opened a joint account 4 months after the wedding and over a year owning a home together! We both know it’s the easiest and best thing, although the mortgage checks made out to me for “being sexy” are highly entertaining to me and the tellers. Actually making ourselves walk through the bank doors hasn’t happened yet. Maybe soon?

    • Jen

      We definitely had the “deep breath, let’s talk about what happens if we break up” convo before opening up a joint account (we are pre-engaged and just moved in together). We decided that we would figure out our monthly budget for shared expenses (rent, utilities, food, wine wine and more wine), and just input that amount into the joint account. We also set it up so that no one can *withdraw* from the account, only put in. That way if we split up and someone is feeling bitter, there won’t be much in there anyways.

      The rest of our income stays in our personal accounts to spend as we please, which is usually on prezzies for each other :) We also connected our accounts so he can transfer money to me or the joint account, and vice versa. Again, without withdrawal privileges.

      I hope that helps! It’s a scary thing but so much better to face up front than be unpleasantly surprised and caught off guard down the road.

    • Emily

      Women in my family have a bit of a history of getting screwed over by joint bank accounts, so when I went to the bank to open one I felt really, really gross and horrible. It lasted about a week. It’s an adjustment.

      Cheers to keeping your own bank accounts, too, though! You should always be able to splurge a little on yourself without having to tell anyone about it. :)

    • Heather

      I was kind of horrified the first time my now fiance brought up a joint account- it was about a year into living together (2.5 yrs dating) and we both knew we were in it for the long haul it just hadn’t been publicizing via engagement/marriage. The idea of sharing money felt super risky at the time- we kept talking about doing it but being too lazy to get to the bank during bank hours for the next year and a half, so by the time we got the joint account I had adjusted to the idea and was super excited since it felt like a very Grown-Up step towards our life together. We still have individual accounts and we’re still figuring out how to manage paying in, esp after finding out that our employer won’t split our paychecks into two accounts via direct deposit, and things like our philosophy towards money management (overall we’re compatible, but there are some things that we’re very different on- I like drawing up a budget and keeping track of my spending and setting goals for saving, which he doesn’t get at all, so when I’ve brought it up he’s gotten defensive). Like you said- baby steps. Good luck!

    • I am very glad to hear on this thread that people are keeping their individual accounts (along with the joint account). We did the one-pot approach, and because I had moved to his country, that is all I had…just the joint account. He also had a personal account though, from before, that he only kept a minimal amount in.

      And we were (and still are, even now) big fans of the one-pot approach. However, as of the last month or so, I now know why it is important to keep an individual account too, even if there is only the bare minimum in there.

      If something bad happens and everything falls apart….you really, really don’t want to have to deal with the logistics of having to–in the middle of everything– urgently open your own bank account so that you can re-direct your pay to it because you need that money to pay rent and eat and everything else and you no longer have access to the joint account.

      Plus, it’s not fun when, after opening your own account, you leave with a small feeling of success only to realize that your debit card won’t arrive for several days, and you only have a few dollars in cash to hold you over. While I am at it….I will also add it is important to have a credit card in only your name, so that you build your own credit history not tied to your spouse. I thankfully I had that. But yeah, I wish I had had a personal account too. My reasoning at the time was that it didn’t make sense to pay the monthly fees when I wouldn’t keep much money in it; I think I have changed my mind now though. The security is worth it to me.

    • Ann

      My husband and I got a joint account just for household expenses when we first moved in together–4 years ago. We agreed to only keep 2ish months of rent+food+utilities in there, and then we kept the rest of our money separate. It seemed like a super practical solution at the time, and I didn’t think much of it!

      Well, my mom FLIPPED OUT. She thought it was a TERRIBLE idea for her 21 year old daughter to have a joint account with her boyfriend. When I asked why she was so concerned given the very limited amount of money in there, the best reason she came up with was “Well, if you die, he gets all the money!”

      My response was: “Mom, if I die, I sincerely hope that you are more upset about my death than the loss of $2,000. And if he and I break up, I’ll be far more devastated by breaking up and losing the money.”

      She said I had a point. (Granted I also had the financial security to know that losing $2,000 would suck, but it wouldn’t be financially ruining. My parents are well off, so they’d hardly notice $2,000!)

      We’re slowly figuring out how we want to integrate our fiances more now that we’re married, but we’re always going to keep the bulk of our savings separately, I think. It works for us.

    • We did that last week. We are moving in together this next week, and we wanted a joint household account for rent, utilities, and groceries, so we could just transfer money into it from our personal, individual accounts and then either of us could write the rent check or pay the electric bill from it instead of paying those bills *and* remembering to write each other checks of our part of things.

      We are going 50/50 on the rent but I am not sure how we are going to split the grocery bill.

  • Blair

    Hi guys-
    Lost my job today due to sequestration in DoD. We were talking about it in the office and we think it’s funny there is so much discussion about furlough and very, very little on the impact to the massive number of contract support people in the department.
    It kind of sucks that we couldn’t do anything to control the bloated spending on the war, we just sort of…started working? And here we are. Shit canned.

    Wedding is in two months.

    so there’s that.

    ::spins noisemaker and shakes head::

    • Caroline

      I’m sorry.

    • I’m so sorry.

    • Blair, I am so sorry you’re going through this. Being an old hat at layoffs (three. seriously, THREE) I offer my support and encouragement that it will get better, no matter how bleak it seems now. Also, remember it has nothing do to with you or how good an employee you are; it’s easy to feel like there’s a mark on your record or something, but in this economy it has happened to LOTS of people. Also also, file for unemployment. It’s there for a reason. Also also also, good luck and so many good wishes for your future.

      • Blair

        Thank you so much, mcpants.

        Just…thank you.

      • em

        seconded on filing for unemployment. you’ve been paying unemployment taxes your whole working life!

    • Heather

      I’m so sorry. Hugs.

    • You have my sympathy. I’ve also been laid off a couple of times, and it was rough.

      Thirding the “file fo unemployment”. It doesn’t replace your paycheck, but it certainly takes the edge off.

  • LILY

    Question about tipping vendors: Is is the same as restaurant tipping? Our florist is delivering the flowers, so do we tip on the delivery charge or on the flowers? What about the band? I want to make sure we have enough cash on hand to take care of everybody.

    • Laura Lee

      I couldn’t find a straight answer to this question when I was dealing with it, so I ended up just trying to put myself in their shoes (the vendors) and think about what size tip would seem fair. Like, if I was the DJ, and I got paid $500 to do the wedding, what would seem like a good tip at the end of the night? In that case I decided getting $50 as a tip would seem about right.

      Was I right? Who knows! But I think this method should work out pretty well.

      • Mountaindoozy

        I have a question. If you are paying a vendor (DJ, florist, whatever), why are you also tipping them? I only have two vendors for my wedding, but I never considered tipping them as they are already being paid for their service.
        I’m so glad I read this! I would have never considered it before.

    • When all else fails, there is Martha Stewart.


    • Emily

      From the archives: Tipping Wedding Vendors :)

      • Lily

        ah-ha! Never doubt the wisdom of the APW archives :) Thanks!

  • Kait

    I just saw a calendar and realized our wedding is three months today. CRAZY!!! It seems like there are still all the things to do. But with any luck, they will come together in time to find some pre-wedding zen.

    In non-wedding related news, I”m playing hide and seek with a giant spider in my office this afternoon – downfall of working in a office full of books – there’s lots of spaces for it to hide.

    • Oh, gross. I hope you make it out of the office unscathed from battle.

    • Jacquelyn

      Yay! We’re three months from tomorrow :) Hoping to get things tied up before the end of August before we go apartment shopping…hope that goes more or less as planned lol and hopefully you win that game!

  • Anon

    I posted a few weeks when we were talking about bridal parties…so I am in the bridal party of my brother’s wedding which is in less than a month. I’m not friends with the bride but we are friendly. I have no idea if we are getting together before hand to get ready, I’ve emailed the bride and the other bridal party multiple times and no response. What do I do? Go ahead and book my own hair and make-up appointment? I have felt so excluded and out of the loop during this whole process that I wish I had said no when asked me to be a bridesmaid!

    • Quinners

      Maybe try going through your brother? Like, “hey, I know your fiancee must be super-busy with wedding planning, but I sent her an email awhile ago and didn’t get a response. Can you ask her if we’re getting together beforehand to get ready or if it would be easier for her if I handled it myself?” It’s not ideal, I know, but he’s probably the most likely to respond at this point.

    • Jeik

      When in doubt, pick up the phone.

  • Ok, the friendship month posts and comment discussions, and attending a friend’s bachelorette party got me thinking. I’d like to get an APW group started here in Nashville. Do I need any kind of official blessing from Meg & co, or can I just start contacting people and getting stuff going? Also, any Nashville/Middle Tennessee ladies want to join?

    PS. It would be great to have some kind of organized way to help these groups of ladies find each other. The discussions on the facebook page are very old, and not the most intuitive place to look for this info. Although I know APW is a website, not a social club…

    • I started a group in Portland, Oregon. I just went ahead and started it. I did send Meg & co a little note letting them know. I used a Facebook group, and it has worked out really well.

      • I guess I was overthinking it. Would you mind giving me some advice on starting a group or ideas on how to make it successful? How often do you meet?

        • I found members for the group by mentioning it regularly in the Happy Hour. Also, if anyone mentioned they lived in Portland I would comment and invite them. I also checked out the ‘how to make friends post.’ There might be some Nashville people on there.

          We’ve met twice. Both times I’ve started a discussion about a meetup and let the other members weigh in in the comments on what they think. I think making it collaborative probably helped with participation. I’ve also used the poll feature to find out what day would be best for group members. The last meet up I tried to schedule, only two people voted, so I decided not to have it. I figured it was just a busy week for everyone.

          Our first meetup was a happy hour, and the second was meeting at an ice cream place. Both were small-ish groups (4-6 people), which I thought was a perfect size. If you want, here is a link to our group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/179626212196077/

          I’d be happy to add you as a member so you can check it out, and see what works for us. :)

        • I don’t have any advice as I’m still working on getting the ATL group up off the ground, however, I did the same thing and just made a group on Facebook. We’ve got a good number of people and we try to meet monthly though it doesn’t always happen.

          • I’d love to find out if there is a group in Cincinnati/NKy, too.

  • lady brett

    almost vacation time! i need a break. although just knowing that i’m leaving for a week has made me so much more productive at work this week. i am so excited about spending a week with my honey and doing no work things. and no internet things. not checking my email is my *favorite* part of vacation, every time. not that i’m not looking forward to seeing good people and scoping what might be our hometown in a few years and beachy fanciness (actually, fanciness makes me a little uncomfortable, but my honey is excited enough for both of us about that part, so i’m good with it).

    in other news – the baby update: kiddos are home. it is good. i miss them, but i am not upset about them being home, and *oh my god so much free time!* the weeks leading up to it were much harder, emotionally (which, um, hi self, you’ve known yourself for a while now, anticipation and waiting are always the worst parts of change, always). my wife is sad, but also okay. the kids are so happy. and still having their room fully furnished and empty is *weird*.

    • Emily

      Sounds like a (mostly) happy ending. I bet your vacation will give you some much needed time to recharge from all the emotional stress.

  • He he. My elopement reception is in 30 days. Fun, fun, fun. I am going to eat until my dress pops. Man, I love yummy food.

    This weekend is the Denver County Fair. My family entered some of our squash for competition. I’m not sure if I’m more excited or my son.

    And I was just asked to perform my second marriage ceremony!

    On a side note: does anyone want some squash? It’s unbelievable how much we’re getting.

    • KC

      Squash production quantities baffle me. I had a community garden for a number of years, and the squash either a) did not produce enough even for us or b) produced so much more than we could possibly eat that we started leaving it on peoples’ porches. This had *nothing* to do with how many plants we had. (three plants: too much squash for us and palming it off to friends all summer long; eight plants: too little squash for us, had to supplement with squash from farmer’s market???)

      Anyway, all that is entirely irrelevant to the main thing I wanted to say: sometimes local food banks accept garden over-production, and squash is a pretty good candidate for that. :-) (or, you know, abandon it on porches.)

    • meg

      I WANNA COMMEEEEEEEEEEEE. Because, you know, it’s totally practical to travel with a baby. There in spirit!

      • Ooopsie! Meg I reported your comment. Damn us mobile phone users! :) your invite is in the mail. I know how you feel about at least getting the invite. Xoxo

  • DrSmooch

    This morning my husband told me the new youngin he’s training at his office noticed in some communication between us that I have a different last name. She inquired and he said I haven’t gotten around to it, yet. She apparently scrunched her face and starting giving the third degree about how long we’ve been married, etc. Love my husband for pointing out that I’ll get it done when I’m ready, and it isn’t changing professionally. Judgy McJudgerson is lucky I wasn’t there. *end rant and reaching for the wine*

    • Holy moly! What is it with people and their crap? I just “figured” out the process of getting mine changed. It may take me several years to get through it! Talk about a pain. He he he.

    • Breck

      BLEH. Who are these people who do this/care what anyone else’s name is???

      Also, I tip my hat to your husband :).

    • Kate

      My immediate reaction would be to tease him about his new secret admirer. Because why else would she be up in your business? Of course I’m probably underestimating people’s nosiness.

  • Claire

    Twin Cities readers: our next meet up is all set for 3:00 PM on Sunday, August 18 at Marin Restaurant & Bar (in Chambers Hotel in downtown Minneapolis). Hopefully, the weather cooperates this time and we can enjoy their awesome courtyard.

  • A non today

    Since this is an open thread, and I can’t be accused of derailing the conversation, can we talk about comments and the comment policy?

    It just seems like there are a lot of bruised egos and hurt feelings surrounding the comment sections.

    On the whole, I think it is good to have heavily moderated conversations, because even though it hurts the commenters feelings, it opens up the threads to more people.

    On the other hand, this is a community right? Not just an online magazine? So shouldn’t there be some consideration given to commenters?

    • I kept myself from continuing the thread previously this week, but this is what I think of the situation:

      APW looks like this big awesome party in the park, where everyone is invited to bring their own drums and add their beat to the groove and even if you don’t bring a drum, you can still enjoy the rad music.

      But it’s not. It’s actually a potluck party in Meg’s front yard. Everyone is invited to bring something to share, and we generally have really high quality stuff to devour. BUT. It’s still Meg’s front yard. She gets to decide whether we eat dessert first or whether it’s time to call a cab, because a guest needs to go home.

      Personally, I think the comment policy is so considerate and so well-stated that I sent it to my friend in law school after she discussed a new women’s group she was starting, where she wanted attendees to feel debate was welcome, but tear-downs were not. There’s plenty of disagreement in the comments. But this is a private business. APW has the right to refuse service if a comment or topic of conversation runs contrary to the (inclusive, articulate) mission. As you state, it’s the heavy moderation that allows discussion, debate, and the community to thrive. To think the staff _aren’t_ giving commenters consideration does a disservice to the effort and thought they put into creating and maintaining this community space.

      Also, I think this is also an instance of discussing the business decisions being made by Meg and the staff, which Meg has made clear in the past, such discussion is not welcome. So I doubt this topic, an both of our comments, will be allowed to continue to much more.

      • Catherine McK

        I really love this potluck comment. A lot. That’s all.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        Ditto Catherine McK.

      • This. This. This.

        The Internet can be wild west and full of trolls without a strong moderation policy. “Don’t read the comments” is the truth most of the time.

        The places that I read the comments are places with good moderation. Here, Making Light, Whatever, BoingBoing, Tor.com…

        The APW staff does a great job.

    • KC

      The only weird thing for me is expecting the APW comments to represent the range of opinions of the nice people here, and then realizing that what I was taking to be sort of a virtual poll or conversation amongst a diverse but generally good group of people actually has some of the opinions silently edited out.

      Obviously, comments sections are not a virtual poll, but I tend to expect them to represent the range of opinions of those who are part of the APW community (which feels like a very reasonable group of people in general, although… some of that might be moderation…) and who have chosen to comment on something, more or less, so I feel oddly cheated when views that conflict with mine vanish (not just-plain-trolls; feel free to silently squash the trolls). But opinions from APW community members, that disagree with my own views? I want to see those, or at least know that they exist/existed – it’s a good brain-stretching exercise. :-)

      • To me, it’s clear that diversity of opinion is NOT edited out, comments with judgmental language ARE edited out. My understanding is that if you’d like to express your view, make sure you do so in a way that doesn’t also rain judgment (implied or forthright) on those who have a different opinion/lifestyle/background.

        Again, I put my trust in the staff pretty deeply. I’m a fairly trusting person, but the staff here has proven themselves time and again to deserve it. I trust that they aren’t using a “Smite Commenter” button when someone disagrees with consideration. I trust they know the difference between “That’s a dumb decision!” and “I made a different decision that worked better for me” and the entire range of subtleties in between (with, you know, 2% human error on the side of safety). All of which results in brains stretched, rage and hurt contained.

        • anonymoose

          I agree for the most part.

          But, on last week’s friendors’ Bill of Rights post, I felt like most of the dissenting comments were considerate and non-judgmental, yet were still edited out. That entire comment section had a sledgehammer taken to it.

          • meg

            Last week we had a long time commenter email us, apologize for the tone of her comments, and ask that they be removed. That kind of email is damn hard to send, and damn well deserves staff respect, and we removed the thread out of respect to her.

            The best I can say is that we work insanely hard night and day (literally) to make the comment section of APW a good place to be. It’s the hardest part of this job (to the point that there are many many days I wish this was a commentless site). You’re never going to have the full picture of why specific decisions are made, unless you’re on the moderating team. We have made a specific decision to not have conversation become about the comment policy, because that’s not the mission, and that’s not the point of the site. If you have questions, feel free to email us. We can’t always answer them, because we want to respect commenters privacy, but we will when we feel it’s appropriate.

            Beyond that: APW is my site. I started it, I’ve given my life to it for five years, I pay every single expensive bill to run it. So I do make the decisions about what kinds of discussions I am and am not ok with hosting. Dissenting opinions are generally encouraged, as long as they are respectful of the other commenters, readers, and the general tone of the site. But I don’t want to hide the ball here. At the end of the day, I built the site, I pay it’s huge bills, and the buck stops with me.

      • Emily

        KC, are you thinking of comments on a particular post (or posts)? There seems to be a misconception that we’re deleting a ton of comments, and that’s just not the case. I’m curious where we’re all getting confused.

        Speaking as a reader, I’m all for a difference in opinion. It’s the name calling and mean-spiritness that bothers me. (And I’m sure you, too.)

        • KC

          The friendor post comment section last week basically… half-disappeared (including a number of very positive comments, one of which I wanted to re-read, as it was reassuring to me as we potentially move “up” a class)?

          I sort of understand why, in some ways, the “no, I would think it tacky to be asked” comments aren’t really wanted, exactly, (we don’t want to scare people away from asking for help!), but on the other hand, it’s really important to know that there are a range of opinions among reasonable peers so that when we ask for help on something, if we get a negative response, it doesn’t blow us out of the water, and so that we can be more careful about who we ask to do what, and how. So, that seemed like losing those voices was potentially a loss to those who see that post in future?

          It’s also really strange to have things de-threaded and out of order, since some things are out of context now.

          However, the thread was also a bit of a mess, emotions of various kinds seemed to be running high in a few spots (but definitely not in all the spots that summarily vanished!), it’s easier to delete a bunch than to pick and choose, and there may have been technical difficulties of some kind. :-) (deleting only parts of comment threads: I assume this is a challenge)

          So I get why, maybe, but it seems like an unsolved problem that would be worth solving: how to retain a record of diversity of opinion on a topic when things get messy. Or maybe: how to condense the viewpoints arrived at via a looong thread of messy comments, and hence save the clean version but not the rest of it?

          (I’d also be very interested in the staff results from “can we express a negative opinion about someone” and “can we express a negative opinion about someone’s specific behavior” from the Resigning Wife post this week, ’cause with Ask Team Practical and with Open Threads, the conversation seems to run more informally and it appears that we can say “yep, that behavior/person sounds completely out of line/crazy/insensitive, it’s not you, it’s them!” here (and also can say “maybe it’s both of you – it sounds like you’re asking for more than they’re willing to give, and what they want to give is ultimately up to them” or whatever) – but should the conversation be more formal on other posts? On only specific other posts?)

        • KC

          (and yes, I hate mean-spirited-ness, to the degree that I usually don’t like most snark [which I know different people have different tolerance levels for, and that’s fine with me as long as everything’s consensual, not bully-ish]. But sometimes it’s worth putting up with bits of stuff you don’t like to get a different perspective on things. Regarding name-calling – sometimes unprofessional behavior is unprofessional behavior, or rudeness is rudeness, or whatever, and I’m actually more in favor of calling things by what you honestly believe them to be, albeit with the best possible light shining on them and the greatest specificity about the situation, than in going “la la la” while friends (or APW “friends”) make bad choices or get duped into thinking something is okay that is not okay. So, I guess, it depends on whether the name calling serves any cautionary or explanatory purpose or not. :-) )

          • Kristen

            I guess as a sensitive and trying hard to be a generous person, name calling and judgementalness is NEVER necessary for intelligent debate. In fact it’s the opposite; it’s often immature and unintelligent. I agree that varied thought on topics is awesome (and I think prevalent here on APW) but I’m not interested in negative emotionally driven comments that show much more about how upset/angry/sad someone is rather than their well conceived thoughts on a matter. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, I’m not sure, but I think it’s ok to ask us all to act like adults here in the comments.

          • Anon today

            Look, I’m glad it’s not a free for all on apw. I’m glad that people are called out or deleted for mean-spirited posts. But, it is hard to moderate without personal bias. It’s a delicate balance between moderating how things are said and moderating what is said. Especially in the friendship posts it seemed like some people got less wiggle room when they disagreed with Meg. That sounds harsh, but it is totally natural to favor certain ideas.

            Also, on matters of taste it’s hard to draw the line between attacks and matters of disagreement. There is only so far you can get with ‘Well I wouldnt do that.’

            What’s more, I don’t want to talk about Meg’s business, I want to talk with how her policies affect me and people I like.

          • KC

            Obviously, when people get emotional, things get messier. They are still sometimes saying important things, but yes, that’s harder, and sometimes they are *not* saying anything useful.

            Name calling or judgmental-ness is sometimes a bit of a grey area, though. There’s obviously a difference somewhere between saying that someone is definitely a poopyhead vs. saying that you don’t think a bride should stick with that vendor who hasn’t returned their phone calls or emails for two months (or good heavens, that’s a lot of red flags for a potential roommate to exhibit before you’ve even picked an apartment, please do exit stage right, or no, if your mother/sister/cousin says that again, you have the right to tell her she’s not allowed to say things like that to you and hang up on her, or yes, it is rude to ask if the reason the wedding is going to be “so soon” is because the bride is pregnant, and even ruder if a “no” answer is followed up with significant glance at the tummy and a “well, you should definitely lose some weight, then”). Obviously, these are all judgements in some way, and are also opinions [and hence one-person-thinks-this], but I think things on the not-just-calling-a-person-a-poopyhead side can be potentially useful. (although that might not be what you’re calling judgmental, so… ignore if not applicable!) Also worth noting is that sometimes people take things Very Personally that were not intended that way (such as comments about a specific situation that bears resemblance, but only very slight resemblance, to a specific situation in the other person’s life; not sending a thank-you card for the cheese-grater you opened and thanked the giver for in person at the time is not exactly in the same thank-you-note league as not sending any sort of “yes, we got it” or thank-you to your aging grandma who mailed a quilt across the country to you; saying that the latter behavior might cause grandma to feel hurt or worried that the quilt got there successfully, and is probably inconsiderate behavior… has no relation to the cheese grater situation, which is not really a situation. And doing An Inconsiderate Thing also does not make you The Worst Person Ever, but many people, including me [I’m waaay too sensitive], often take that leap with surprising ease and get either super-defensive about the Thing [because clearly, having screwed up would mean we are The Worst Person Ever so we must never have screwed up; no, this does not make logical sense] or really really sad and shriveled-up [because: Worst Person Ever]).

            This comment is probably not particularly coherent (sorry, not enough sleep last night and I’m wiping out), but hopefully you can still get the general attempt at a point out of it anyway? My (not-sarcastic!) apologies if not. I suspect we agree more than we disagree, but I could be totally wrong on that.

          • Kristen

            KC, I too suspect we’re much closer together on this issue than comments may appear. I do, however, want to plead a case for the death or extreme reduction of judgementalness in general in the world. Because as an EXTREMELY judgementalness person myself, but also a person who works very hard to be self aware, every time my judgy voice speaks, I cringe. Who am I to judge anyone? Also, I freaking hate other peoples opinions on my stuff. I am almost never interested in what someone else thinks I should do. This is something km working on, but I don’t think I’m an anomoly. I don’t think most people want unsolicited advice or opinions. So the question is, short of someone endangering themselves or others with their behavior, who is served by someone making judgementalness comments about it? Certainly not the person on the receiving end of things.

            When someone posts a tough story here about say dealing with infidelity and folks think they have the “right” to make judgementalness comments about the poster deciding to stay with an unfaithful spouse, what good does that so the conversation? Does it really give anyone more insight into how different people feel about infidelity? No. That can be expressed by saying for example that their own personal beliefs would make it impossible to stay with an unfaithful spouse. You can express your personal feelings and opinions without attacking or even addressing someone else’s. And that’s what I think happens here on APW. Intelligent discussion without personal attacks.

            I have to get off my soapbox now and go do laundry. Thanks for having a great and respectful conversation with me!

          • Kristen

            Thank you iPhone autocorrect for making me look like I can’t tell the difference between judgemental and judgementalness – which I seriously don’t know if it’s even a real word. It looks weird.

        • BB

          Some sites use “This comment has been flagged pending review” or “This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy” to replace offending comments. Why not institute something like that? It’d keep the moderation in tact while being more open about the scale of the moderators’ activity.

          • meg

            The reason we don’t do this is that our mission (my mission) is to host thoughtful conversation, not conversation about the comment policy. In general, other than the thread last week removed at reader request, we remove about 4 comments a month… and that’s on a heavily moderated month. We sometimes will announce that we’re shutting down an off topic thread, and discourage further comments (that maybe happens twice a month), but that’s the only other issue. Whenever this conversation comes up, there is an idea that APW is a heavily moderated site. It isn’t, when it comes to removing comments. We simply encourage thoughtful debate, and our commenters step up and deliver that and more.

    • meg

      I also want to specifically answer the question asked: APW is an online magazine and a business. There are multiple, awesome communities that grow in the comment section, and often go on to thrive in real life in other places. But at the end of the day, our mission is to provide smart content on specific issues, and to encourage smart discussion about those topics. We’re an online magazine, not a community. Lots of you guys are a community, and we love that, but APW is a business.

      Specifically, we’re a for profit business, and the fact that this site makes money is what allows me to pay the site’s bills, pay the staff, pay me for my time so I can run the site. If it stops being a profitable business, it will go offline along with all it’s archives (and no one here wants that).

      I don’t want to hide the ball on any of this. Are we pro-communities that bloom around APW? Yup. Is that what APW is? No, it’s not.

  • Jen

    I had some feels about the Jezebel wedding post, and they were not really good feels. I felt there was some bride-shaming/weddings-are-an-imposition attitudes going on, a la:

    “But, listen, [your wedding] in the abstract it’s also an obligation that has to be scheduled, prepared for, traveled to, recovered from, paid for. Don’t force your friends to forgo a rare short holiday or a do-nothing-spectacular on their own turf by planting your wedding in the middle of a three-day weekend. It’s not “easier” for anyone; it’s “annoyinger” for everyone.”

    Biased because I’m planning a Sunday-of-Columbus-day wedding? Perhaps. But a 3-day weekend sounds like the BEST time for a wedding! Way better than a Friday night where folks have to take off work for the day if they’re traveling. Sheesh.

    Perhaps I will go back and re-read to find some of the humor, but it mostly just made me feel a little yucky.

    • Breck

      I don’t know about other people, but I usually find myself scrambling to figure out a BBQ or get-together on the Columbus day-type holidays–I’d much prefer to be at a loved one’s wedding! I think the only downside would be that plane flights can be more expensive on those 3-day weekends, but, from what I’ve noticed, only marginally so.

      And I mostly really hate those Jezebel wedding articles (can you really call them that?), except for the one when the bride totally bashed her guests for not giving her cash to cover their costs. That was a good one.

      • Jen

        This is the only Jezebel wedding article I’ve read, at least in a long while. I am otherwise a huge fan of Jezebel’s sassy, smart articles. This is the only one that’s rubbed me the wrong way at all and I was sorta bummed!

      • Breck

        ETA: I meant “good” as in, terrible, but an entertaining read that left me with my jaw on my desk.

        I think perhaps “good” was the wrong word?

    • Aw, I didn’t agree with that part of the article either. One of my good friends is getting married over labor day weekend. I’m really happy about it because it will give me travel time. I was considering the same weekend, and the feedback I got from people is positive, especially from out of town guests.

      IMO for the people you’re close to, going to your wedding is something spectacular and awesome. And for those people who you aren’t close to, they might decide not to go to your wedding no matter when it is, because honestly it just isn’t that important to them. (I hope this doesn’t come across as harsh. I know how much it can sting when you realize there are a lot of people who your wedding isn’t that important to, but it’s the people that it is important to that matter.)

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        I’m definitely a fan of the holiday wedding so I can travel to see you without spending bookoos of money to get to a place and turn-around immediately. So, yeah, not just you.

    • Emmy

      I thought it was funny! Her honest opinion, which you don’t have to agree with, but generally spot on. Plus, I like how it focused on making sure everyone has a good time and on highlighting love and commitment, instead of the Do This Because It Is How It Is Done tone that so many of those articles take on.

      Also, for the three-day weekends, I thought she was talking more about Memorial/Labor Days. I don’t think I’ve ever had Columbus Day off! I agree about the Friday thing though.

    • If someone I’m close with is getting married, it doesn’t matter what day the wedding is–a three-day weekend day, a holiday, my birthday, who cares? I want to be at their wedding because I love them and want to celebrate with them. You could run into the issue of people already having travel plans, but again, if they know and love you, they’re going to be excited about going to your wedding.

    • Calla

      As someone with very limited vacation time who seriously LOVES to travel I tend to use long weekends to take a quick trip (6 hour flight or less) to a new city or re-visit a place I love while usually only using one vacation day (or none at all if it’s fairly close).

      I also love attending the weddings of my family and friends and if a wedding falls on a long weekend I’m definitely there unless it’s short notice and I’ve already booked and paid for a trip, which has only happened once.

      This year I’m going to a wedding Labour Day weekend for the third year in a row. This one is Friday evening in my hometown which is almost at the border with the US, a drive that would usually take me two hours but on the Friday of a long weekend will probably take closer to four, which means I’m taking a vacation day on Friday to go. I’m both excited to be there and annoyed by the timing.

      I would love to be able to attend this wedding and still have my long weekend free to go to Reykjavik with a friend and it’s annoying/unfortunate that timing doesn’t allow that. But you can’t always have everything at once – being a grownup means I get to choose how to spend my time and in this case the wedding is more important to me than the trip, so I will happily be there and (somewhat reluctantly) take that trip another time. Maybe in the spring.

      So, not personally a fan of the holiday weekend wedding but would never try to make someone feel bad about the date – if it was more important to me to be elsewhere, I wouldn’t go.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        …if it was more important to me to be elsewhere, I wouldn’t go.

        This. Whether a holiday weekend or the middle of the work week. This.

    • Heather

      We’re planning on a Sunday wedding and have been seriously considering Columbus Day in an attempt to mediate the Monday post-wedding. It looks like the costs don’t go up much for hotel/airfare, so it seems like that might be a good option- I think a lot of the Jezebel article opinions are knowing your audience and what works for them- I probably wouldn’t go for Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend, but I don’t know anyone who has Columbus Day traditions- but I might know people who have the day off. We’ve been going back and forth on the Sunday/Saturday a lot- Sunday would most likely be much cheaper and almost all of our guests are either in academia like us, so they are just as likely to work on a Saturday as a weekday and they have flexibility for going in late on the Monday after, or are out of town-ers. From personal experience, I’ve always ended up taking off at least one workday for out of town weddings (and the expectations that I work most weekends of my own free will are high- yay grad school) and it’s usually easier for me to take off Monday than Friday. Plus Saturday to Monday flights are usually much cheaper than Friday to Sunday! so I feel pretty good about the Sunday wedding until I run into articles/comments like this and wonder if I don’t know my audience as well as I think I do.

      • Anonforthis

        As a note, Columbus Day is also Canadian Thanksgiving. This may not be a holiday celebrated by your particular guests. Even if it is, it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t get married that weekend. But since you mentioned you are considering various weekends / what traditions people have for those weekends, I just wanted to throw it out there. Signed, A Columbus Day Weekend Bride

    • Ellen

      Our wedding is Fourth-of-July weekend next year for the express reason that it is a holiday weekend! As a person with a teenyteenytiny amount of vacation time holding the wedding on a holiday weekend was the only way that it was even remotely feasible.

      My family tends to hold big parties on holiday weekends anyway, so I am envisioning our wedding as a slightly fancier version of what we would already be doing anyway. I have also already had people thank me for having our wedding on a holiday weekend because they won’t have to take a vacation day to travel!

    • I’m on the fence. The wedding roadtrip to Nova Scotia that was my first date with my now fiance was on a Labor Day weekend, and it was great.

      On the other hand, I have long-standing plans every year for Memorial Day weekend, which I would be heartbroken to have to skip. I’m waiting with a bit of dread for the year when I have to make the call between my beloved annual thing and some loved one’s wedding. It will involve a lot of soul-searching.

      The 4th of July weekend isn’t as annually committed for the year as Memorial Dat, but I would still be rather sad to have to choose between my own plans and a wedding.

      So I guess personally, would lean away from holiday weddings but I can understand why people have them. I don’t think they are a terrible idea full stop, but I do think that picking a holiday date does require a bit of thinking first.

    • Rachel

      I actually found it pretty good and not overly snarky (and typically I hate their snarky wedding articles)…and I’m planning a holiday weekend wedding too! (Presidents Day!) I fall into the “I never have three-day weekend plans” camp so I came at it from the POV of “I’d LOVE something to do on a holiday weekend.” So I didn’t pay much heed to that part because it was kinda, “Eh, I think we still made the right choice,” for me.

  • You guuuuuuys. I am so tired. Having a dog is harder than I remembered and Lucy loves to bark until you pay attention to her. And I’m limited caffeine right now which is NOT HELPING. Also my office has a mosquito infestation. Also, I forgot it was casual Friday, it is like eleventy billion percent humidity and these pants are wicked uncomfortable. Also, my foot has been hurting since mid-July and I really don’t want to go to the podiatrist, mainly because I’m tired of my body constantly breaking. Also, can I go home yet?

    • Ugh, that’s rough. Pouring you an internet drink. You wanted a double, right?

    • LMN

      Mosquito infestation? You should go home immediately. That sounds dangerous. Maybe your uncomfortable pants are saving you from a million itchy bites on your legs.

      Dogs are so much work! And so much love! And so much fur! Not sure if this is an option for you, but we found a trainer who came to our house for crazy cheap to work with us and our dog, specifically for her barking. We did about six hours of work with him. I communicate a lot better with our dog now (verbally and through body language), and her nuisance barking has gone way down. Still present, because she’s a sassy-pants, but bearable. I wish you lots of luck with your pup, and enjoy all the loving that comes along with the inconveniences.

      • Christina McPants

        She’s getting a lot better about all the barking, it’s just a learning curve. Sometimes you expect something to come awesome out of the box and its not and you have to work at the awesome, but that’s okay.

    • Kate

      So I just put together that you are the wife of Meigh, and that the two of you wrote those great wedding graduate posts, which made me want to hire Meigh to coordinate my wedding (which I did). From these comments, I just discovered that you have a blog, which is also awesome, and I will be reading it regularly in the future.

      I felt like I needed to tell you all of that to make me feel less creepy when I read your blog and possibly comment. Also, we’re planning to get a dog soon, also in a new house that we are fixing up, and also while we are both doing grad school. Tough times (but also great).

      • Catherine McK

        My personal fave is when they comment on each-other’s posts. So adorable!

        • Awkward, yay! I am always secretly worried it’s obnoxious PDA.

          • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

            The heteronormative chocolate way up today was my favorite.

            Also, I now want to use the phrase hetronormative chocolate in random conversation.

      • Christina McPants

        Hi Kate! I’m trying to remember which wedding you were, but it occurs to me that you may not ha got married yet? Have I met you? If yes, whoops. If not, hi! Looking to working with you! Also, you are totally not creepy and. Should have dog play dates. Because that’s a thing. Did you know that’s a thing?

  • Laura Lee

    I’m so excited for the weekend to start in 2 hours! Hubby and I have had only 1 weekend free of outside commitments since returning from our honeymoon (6 weeks married). When we realized this weekend was free, we decided to say no to anything anyone asked us to do so we can have the whole thing to ourselves.

    We’re planning to do some work on the house, write those pesky thank you notes (which I did get around to at least making yesterday, thankyouverymuch), and having some relaxation time.

    After this weekend it’s back to crazy weekends with 2 bachelorette parties for me (1 bachelor party for him) and 2 weddings for both of us (he’s in both, I’m in one) in the next 5 weekends. I love all the people these events are for, but it has been a bit of a drain. Between our wedding, renovating a house, moving and these two weddings, I feel like I’ve missed out on my whole summer. It’s been an amazing summer, I just haven’t had time to do the things I normally do over the summer.

    • lady brett

      “When we realized this weekend was free, we decided to say no to anything anyone asked us to do so we can have the whole thing to ourselves.”

      best plan ever.

  • Tess

    Happy happy hour all – just wanted to say that my wedding was last weekend, it was fan-f*ckin-tastic, and I largely have APW to thank for keeping me sane and grounded through the whole thing. Thanks to the folks behind the scenes and the community in the comments, you made the (pretty heinous) process a million times better!

    • Jen


  • Kess

    Oh happy hour, I’ve only barely started wedding planning and I am already so worn out and depressed by it that I want to give up. We’ve been looking for four months now and still can’t settle on a venue. Please help!

    We were originally booked to have it at a winery that’s about a 5 minute drive from my family cottage, which is the area where we really want to have the wedding. I found out a month ago they sold the winery and we can’t have it there anymore. There’s a chance we can get in touch with the new owners and renew our booking, but I can’t count on it.

    We have two other options. One is to set up a tent on a plot of grass at a motel near the cottage and do it all ourselves. This is appealing in a lot of ways, but I’m terrified of the weather. I live in an area where it rains a lot. Like, a lot a lot. A little sprinkle of rain wouldn’t be the end of the world, but we can’t afford to get flooring for the tent, so if it rains through the week before the wedding we’ll be setting up on soggy grass. Likewise, if we get a heavy rain on the wedding day, we can expect it to come seeping under the tent walls to an extent and again, soggy grass.

    The other option is a community centre nowhere near the cottage, but a 40 minute drive from the city where we live. It’s actually quite pretty for a community centre, it’s a former barn, and has nice grounds, and it’s the casual feel we want. It’s cheap too. But, the drive seems a bit far, and there are no hotels or anything near by for out of town guests to stay, so everyone would have to drive from the city or we’d have to arrange transport. There’s no view, few windows, and no AC, so if it’s a hot day it could be sweltering. They have a farmer’s market there on Saturday mornings, so we wouldn’t be allowed in until 2pm to do decorating, and it definitely needs a fair bit of decorating. Also, they won’t let us set off fireworks! That sounds minor, but my FI and I have been talking since we got engaged about the awesome fireworks display we wanted to set off at the wedding.

    So tell me APW, what would you do? Take the risk and do a tent, and pray for good weather? Or play it safe and go for the commuity centre that will still be nice, but has a few complications and disappointments? Or, wait and hope and pray that we might be able to renew our reservation at the winery that is the best of both worlds?

    • How soon can you find out about the winery? Since it sounds like that might be the best option, I think it would be worthwhile to at least find out if it’s an option.

      I remember my early venue search and how stressful it can be. (BTW, not sure if this helps, but I found our venue by looking through the archives of a photographer I liked. It wasn’t listed on any of the main wedding sites, and it was amazing.)

      In terms of the rain, check out the almanac. Find out how many times in the last ten years it has rained around your date. This at least will give you some sort of idea to go off of.

      As for the other place, will you have help the day of to do the decorating? Because that will probably be about the time you will be getting ready. If you have help to delegate to you could totally make the other venue work. It might even be worth it to hire help.

      Good luck! I know at this part of the process it seems so overwhelming. Once you do select a venue, the other pieces will start to come together.

      • Kess

        Thank you so much for your excellent advice!

        I am definitely still looking into the winery, but I’m having a lot of trouble contacting the future owners (the deal hasn’t actually gone through yet and isn’t entirely public either, so I’m relying on some connections I have in the wine industry to help me get in touch). I’m worried about letting other opportunities slip away while I try. Most places I’ve contacted only have one or two dates left next summer, if any.

        In terms of the almenac, it doesn’t seem to include information for particular dates, but it does say that on average in August it rains 10 out of the 31 days. So that gives an idea that the chance of it raining the day before or the day of the wedding is definitely not small.

        We would probably hire a decorator if we go for the barn. Luckily it is so much cheaper than renting a tent that we could afford it. But it does make me feel nervous to leave all that in a stranger’s hands!

        • Yeah, raining 10 out of 31 days is a very high chance. I’m not sure I would risk it, but that’s just me.

          Honestly, you will probably have to leave decorating in someone else’s hands. You will have other things to attend to like getting ready and enjoying your day. I recommend getting a day-of coordinator (or a really good friend) you trust. Then discuss your vision with her as much as possible. Then let it go. It might not be exactly how you would do it, but that’s okay.

          Like Meg says in the book, the details won’t even hit your radar screen the day of. You will remember how your wedding felt, not how it looked.

    • Lindsey d.

      I don’t think the distance of the community center should stop you… We are looking at venues 45 minutes from our hometown and may end up booking hotels in our hometown. There is no public transportation, so those flying in would have to rent cars anyway. If it’s in your budget, you could rent a coach to take people, especially the out-of-towners, to the venue and back. We are considering doing that, but haven’t looked at cost yet.

      But the other restrictions on the community center seem like a bummer. I’d say bug the new winery owners until you can get a definitive answer from them!

    • Nikki

      I TOTALLY can relate to this post. I feel ya, sister!

      We’re tentatively planning an all camping wedding, which means renting electricity, bathrooms, food, etc. AND counting on no rain.

      We have no backup plan, this is it.

      It’s nerve wrecking as HELL but it CAN be done. Agree with the advice to get some help – aunts, bridesmaids, etc. Plan the day so that they can be available to help decorate and take pictures at an earlier time if need be (lots of photographers can even do it on a different day, or give discounts for week days).

      I should mention that I’m still a year away so I have yet to nail down these details too, but having people support you and knowing that you’re plan has a lot of helping hands is really a relief. Can’t wait to hear how it turns out! Good luck!!


    Hey, wonderful APW people…I could use some of your virtual hugs today. We got married about a month and a half ago, and it was wonderful, but it was a ton of work/stress. I was so looking forward to life getting back to normal after the celebration so that I would have time to recuperate, but instead things have continued to be more crazy than is usual for us (Should we move? Why is my job giving me more stuff to do but not more money? The dog isn’t eating enough.). Or maybe I’m just still wound up from the wedding, so I’m oversensitive to the daily stuff right now. I have health issues that are aggravated by stress, so just getting through each day–sometimes through each minute–has been a challenge over the past few weeks. I’ve got my support people (including my wonderful new husband), I’ve got doctors/counselors/meds, but none of that makes it feel any easier that I’m feeling so crappy right now. I know that I will get it all under control, but for the moment, I could really use some commiseration and hugs from some of my favorite people on the internet! Thanks for listening.

    • *virtual hugs*

    • Catherine McK

      Hugs! Hope the weekend gives you a chance to breathe, enjoy your new husband, and get some sunshine (or whatever else would give you a lift). Here’s hoping things turn a calmer corner soon!

    • Virtual hugs for you! Everything will even back out, with time, promise.

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      *Lots of internet hugs*

    • april

      Virtual hugs and a plug for yoga classes. Find one that offers cheap community classes at a non-intimidating studio (stay away from Bikram and fancy health clubs), then spend an hour + listening to someone with a calming voice say empowering things to you while you clear your mind and “downward dog” your stress into submission.

      seriously, yoga = best thing I’ve ever done for my emotional and physical well-being

    • p.

      Sending you internet hugs! I My guess is that this period is part of how you’re transitioning from the wedding work/joy/stress back to your normal life work/joy/stress. Last year, I went through a remodel (which reminded me a lot of wedding planning) and it took me months to really be able to let go of it all, but eventually I got back to my normal life. This, too, will pass — and in the meantime, do what you can to be nice to yourself.

    • Kristen

      I apologize ahead of time if this isn’t helpful, but it truly helps me. When my anxiety or stress is running high for too long/too often but there’s no “fix” or end in sight, I tell myself it won’t last forever. I also pay close attention to things that make feel good and try to use those as spots of sunlight. I also take care of myself, something that is HARD for me but does help. Naps, massages, not doing the dishes because eff it I’d rather watch Project Runway – these are all things you can do to nurture yourself when you’re not feeling great. That goes for physical or emotional tough times. Learning to give myself permission to feel crappy or be lazy or whatever, makes it feel less like a panicked, “When am I going to feel good/happy again?!” and more like a, “This sucks but it won’t be forever.”


      Original commenter here–huge thanks to all of you! You totally helped me make it through my Friday afternoon at work, which was my goal for the day. I really appreciate the kind thoughts and helpful suggestions. Hope you all enjoy your weekends.

    • catherine

      Aw, breathe dear! Be sweet and compassionate to yourself. Marriage is a huge transition, and it has an underbelly, whether it is noticeable or not. Give yourself lots of breathing room. Try to connect to creative outlets or hobbies that help you tap into your essence- being in nature, reading, writing, arts and crafts- whatever makes you connect to YOU. Rest, take care of yourself. And be proud of yourself for embarking on an amazing journey- one of light and of shadow, one that is so rewarding.

  • I’d been thinking of sending this in to Ask Team Practical, but I’m too afraid that the person in question will find APW while wedding-planning and will see it. Hopefully she’s not already reading and won’t read through all the comments in old Happy Hour posts if and when she does find the site. I thought about posting anonymously, but anyone actually involved would easily recognize the situation if they saw it, I think.

    My cousin, who has long been one of my closest friends, and who was a bridesmaid in my wedding, recently sat my sister and I down for a talk. Apparently we’ve developed reputations as cheapskates. She said that she expects to be engaged soon, and that when the time comes, she wants to ask us to be bridesmaids, but she wants us to know ahead of time that it will be expensive, and she “won’t be offended” if we decline. She said that it’s important to her to have the support of her bridal party at all of her events, and that she would rather we not be bridesmaids than be bridesmaids who can’t make it to everything. “All of her events” will apparently include a multiple-day bachelorette party somewhere like Miami or Vegas (both a plane ride away), as well as at least one party, possibly more, (engagement or shower or both) with her boyfriend’s family (also a plane ride away), not to mention an engagement party and shower locally. She would also expect us to be present for dress shopping, fittings, etc.

    I can’t decide if I’m glad she was up front with us, or if I’m SO offended. Or both. Is there an income requirement to be in her wedding? What am I, trying to get a mortgage? Not to mention that I don’t get that it’s so important to her to have the support of her bridal party, and yet they are apparently no more than interchangeable bodies – she would ask someone else to take our places if we decline. We are divided in terms of what this means. My sister thinks she feels obligated to ask us, but is trying to get us to say no because there are people she’d rather have, instead. I think she’d like to have us there, she just wants carte blanche to do whatever she wants, no matter how extravagant or expensive, and not have to feel bad because she warned us, and gave us an out. She did not appear to be preparing to have a similar conversation with any of the other potential bridesmaids, probably because my sister and I have been the most vocal about our frugality, but I think it will be just as unreasonable for her to expect their attendance at all of these cross-country events as it would be for her to expect ours. She did mention that she feels like it’s “her turn” because of all the money she’s spent on other people’s weddings, and I think that might have something to do with it – her other bridesmaids “owe” her this sort of treatment because she had to spend a lot on them, but since she spent very little on my wedding and doesn’t expect to have to spend much on my sister’s, she doesn’t want to ask us for more than we “owe” her – but she also wouldn’t accept us as bridesmaids who can’t or won’t afford multiple cross-country flights during her engagement. I have no idea how to respond to this. Can anyone offer thoughts or perspective? I’m starting to feel rather resentful of this wedding already, and she doesn’t even have a ring on her finger!

    • Aw yikes. Honestly, if it were me, I would politely decline being in her wedding. Clearly, she has a very particular vision for her wedding planning experience, and it involves other people spending quite a bit of money to cater to it.

      Is she being a bit ridiculous? From my perspective, yes. The good news is, she gave you an out from this craziness. I would take it. Then try to move forward and not dwell on the hurt feelings.

      Also, I’ve had more fun at the weddings I just attended vs. the ones where I was a bridesmaid. If you can, go to her wedding and have a great time. It sounds like it will be a lavish affair, so go drink at the probably open bar, eat the $100 a plate dinner and have a blast.

    • So awkward, but I think it’s a blessing in disguise. I know I wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford multiple parties and a multiple-day bachelorette party to Miami or Vegas. I can understand feeling offended, but I think you’re better off saying, “Thanks for the heads up, we’re fine just going as guests,” and having fun at the wedding without regrets.

    • ART

      Do you want to be her bridesmaid? If it’s not that important to you, maybe the easy answer is, “I understand. I don’t expect that a trip to Vegas will be in my budget, so if that makes the decision for you – it’s yours to make. I’ll be happy to support you in other ways.”

      Then maybe you will have time to stop feeling resentful (though I don’t blame you, that’s a bit harsh) and she can do her own thing with other willing parties?

      This is coming from a proud frugal lady – one who would probably also be offended at someone sitting me down and telling me my choices make me a cheapskate/unworthy bridesmaid, but one who has also had to find a reason to bow out of a $400 per person bachelorette weekend at a time when I was quite broke. I’m not telling you to stop being resentful because you don’t have a reason to be, just because it takes up too much of your energy and is a sucky feeling :)

      • For what it’s worth, yes, I think I *do* want to be her bridesmaid. At least, I’m feeling pretty sad at the thought of not being in the wedding, though I don’t know if that’s specifically at not *being in* the wedding, or if it’s more at the thought that I’m expendable enough that she doesn’t care whether I’m in her wedding and could easily replace me.

        • KC

          By “be her bridesmaid”, do you mean “support her in a close role” or “stand up with her at the wedding” or “help her out as she works on wedding planning stuff” or “be recognized and continue in a close relationship with her as she makes this major transition” or “be one of the people whooping it up in The Whole Shebang of Multitudinous Planned Pre-Wedding And Wedding Activities” or “be listed as an official person on the wedding program” or something else? Definitions of what “bridesmaid” mean can be kind of far apart, and it sounds like that may be part of the… difficulty… here.

          • Exactly Exactly Exactly.

          • To some extent, all of the above, although I care less about whole shebangs and wedding programs. I would, honestly, love to attend her bachelorette party, and if I have to miss it, bridesmaid, or not, because of the cost, I will feel bad. I would love to meet her boyfriend’s family at the parties they throw – assuming flights and hotels were reasonable and fit in our budget at the time.

            I have half a mind to decline, but to sit her down and tell her that for the sake of her other bridesmaids, it is reasonable to EITHER have wedding events all over the country OR expect everyone to attend, but not both. But I’m not sure if that’s out of line.

          • KC

            I would be very upfront with her on what *you* are willing/able/want to do for/with her, and let her make her choice based on that. I think it would also be totally fair to say that you want to do whatever you can, but you may not be able to afford X, Y, or Z, and you wish she wouldn’t cut you off the list because of potentially missing X, Y, or Z party.

            But it is possible that what she thinks is “reasonable” is also what the other (not you and your sister) bridesmaids-elect think is “reasonable”, especially if she’s been in their weddings and is using them as a model, so I would hesitate to speak for them (or The World At Large) unless you know them or their financial situation.

            (The existence of people who demand that all bridesmaids attend Everything and pay for all events and who also make some of them multi-day in different locations kind of terrifies me personally, but more than one person like this exists, and odds are good that they cluster, so… yeah. “Financially reasonable” and “possible, given limited vacation days and other obligations” are often very much in the eye of the beholder, though, as can be seen in questions on reasonable bridesmaid dress costs and whatnot.)

          • I know them, and have a decent idea of most of their financial situations. Most of them would probably do it, especially if she insisted she needed everyone there, but it would, or at least easily could, be a burden. Additionally, I know for a fact that none of them required a plane ride to get ANYWHERE, much less for multiple events, and most had bachelorette parties that included overnight stays but were local enough to not require it. (That I opted out of the hotel rooms is, I believe, what gives me this reputation.) I actually attended all of their events, so it’s not like I’m some hermit who wouldn’t do anything – she is just asking a good deal more than anyone else in our family has, and I suspect I wouldn’t be alone in thinking it’s unreasonable. But I’m still not sure it’s my place to speak on anyone else’s behalf.

    • Laura Lee

      I would vote that you very kindly decline. If you can’t commit to all those events (and it sounds like you can’t, or at least that it would be difficult to do so), just tell her that. I would also offer to help out in other ways without the title. But, let’s be real sister. You haven’t event accepted (and as you point out she isn’t even engaged!) and your are already “starting to feel rather resentful of this wedding.” Talk about red flags. If you feel that way now, I promise it will only multiply when you’re actually booking that flight to miami. So be loving and supportive, but do it on your terms rather than as a bridesmaid.

      • I think I’m afraid that I will end up feeling some resentment no matter what, whether it’s resentment when I’m writing checks or resentment when I don’t get to hang out with the bridal party the morning of the wedding/am not in pictures/otherwise aren’t a bridesmaid.

        Anyone have any magic tips for getting over resentment?

        • Laura Lee

          Talk as much of it out with your cousin as you can. Clearing the air always helps. After that, do some introspection. Aka, why exactly do you feel the resentment? Is it her view of you, is the fact that you’re “replaceable” (which of course you aren’t really), is it her high expectations? Once you’ve defined the cause of the feelings you can start working on remedying those feelings. If it’s because you feel like she’s viewing you as replaceable, you might remind yourself that you guys aren’t as close as you used to be, so maybe that’s not that crazy. And then after that, there will still be pesky lingering feelings, but if you’ve properly dealt with the cause, they should fade over time. There’s my totally non-professional 3 steps to getting over resentment.

        • Judith

          I don’t have advice about getting over resentment, but I do think what you wrote above is exactly what you should say to your cousin. It would break my heart to hear someone I care about say “I love you and it makes me really sad to not be able to be included because I just can’t afford it.” Who knows, maybe she will rethink her strict rules.
          It is also possible that your previous opting-out of hotel rooms was perceived not just as frugal but maybe also as not wanting to be there for the late night craziness? So clearing up that could be helpful, too.

    • I think I’d have a similar reaction to yours: one part “Ok, I guess that’s how it is” and one part “Are you freakin’ kidding me?!”

      I’d say operate from the first reaction. Take her honesty and give her a heartfelt response- “I really value our relationship, but I’m afraid I can’t afford such extensive trips. If you’d prefer to choose bridesmaids who can, great! Just know that I’ll still be here when you need to talk and help support you emotionally as much as I can through the whole process.”

      And just take five giant steps back and let her make her own decision(s), and be there when she needs you. The resentment is easy, but it only makes YOU more stressed. Recently I found out one of my good college buddies, who is getting married next month, asked my bff to “babysit” our group of friends. Immediately I felt a medium-sized twinge of offense. Really? Babysit us? We’re all in professional or pre-professional positions right now, and live happy, healthy learning-to-be-adult lives. Even in carefree college days of yore, everybody in our group always Always stayed safe. Always. So the babysitting comment irked me. Until I realized you know what? It won’t even be a problem. No matter if someone is “on duty” or not, we can all take care of ourselves just fine and behave like rational adults, so it doesn’t even have to be a thing.

      Similarly, for you, I think you can be there for your cousin as you’d like to be (emotionally, locally when possible, phone calls, w/e), no matter the title she gives you. Then it doesn’t have to be a Thing. Good luck on everything <3

    • Remy

      In that situation, I would decline the offer to be a bridesmaid. I’d do what was comfortable for me and my baby family in regards to travel, gifts, and time/energy offered toward the wedding. If it all lined up — particularly since this is a close family member — I would attend the wedding, enjoy myself, and make sure my card said nice things. And I’d try like hell to keep the non-wedding side of our friendship sane.

    • Lindsey d.

      I don’t have any advice for you, but I hope this might make you laugh – http://gawker.com/5948725/reasons-why-you-cannot-be-a-bridesmaid

      • ART


      • I think my favorite line was: “You can still come, but. . .you can’t address any of the wedding party as familiars.”

      • Emily

        3. You surprise the bride outside of the strictly observed Week of Surprises.

        HA! Priceless.

    • KC

      If I were approached with that conversation and were not game for spending that much cash (that is kind of a lot of cash for non-necessities, to me?), I would thank her for being up-front and say that I’d rather support her wedding in a different way.

      Each person chooses bridesmaids based on different criteria and a different “expected experience” – it sounds like her expected experience is wildly at variance with what she thinks you’d be up for (and that she may not be wrong about what you’d be up for). Different “cultures”, different aesthetics, enjoying different kinds of experiences or whatever doesn’t necessarily make her a terrible person. (I say as I kind of feel judgy because I’m on team: you pick your bridesmaids based on relationship and support and awesomeness, then you scale your bridesmaiding costs to fit their budget and you help them out, cost-wise, with anything that you’re “requiring” that is outside their comfort zone. But! This is really not the only way to do it!)

      So, I guess, yay for getting to make the choice up-front rather than being progressively more bitter on both sides as “new” costs/requirements pop up after you’ve already committed? And boo for different priorities and relationship-hazards and being put in an awkward position and feeling kind of valued as an accessory to her romantic comedy wedding adventure movie rather than the way you would want to be valued (at least, this is how I would sort of feel, which is not necessarily fair exactly).

      I don’t know. I think, on balance, it’s good to know not-great things ahead of time. But not-great things are… not great. So it’s probably okay to be some weird mixture of offended (at the not-great) and appreciative (of the advance warning).

  • I’m 36 days out! We’re meeting with our officiant next weekend to plan our ceremony. She asked us to bring any readings we would like to incorporate, but encouraged us only to choose readings that are important to us.

    I’ve thought about this (and done some research) and I haven’t really found any readings I like. I’m not a big poetry person. Also, I’ve never actually been to a wedding that had readings, so it’s a tradition that is a bit foreign to me.

    Has anyone done a wedding without readings? Tips or advice?

    • never.the.same

      If I were you I would say (or maybe write):

      “Cousin, I love you and chose you to be a bridesmaid because I value our relationship. I had always hoped that I would be able to play that same role for you. I can’t promise that I can make every event because I still have financial obligations and priorities outside of your wedding. But I can promise to support you and do my best to attend as many events as is feasible for me.”

      And then let her ask you, or not ask you. But if she didn’t officially ask you in the previous conversation (and how could she have, since she is not even engaged yet?), I wouldn’t decline. Because, honestly, none of her behavior in that talk suggest she really deserves a respectful “easy out.”

      • CII

        I know that this placement was merely inadvertent but it should stay here because it had the unintentional side effect of giving me a big case of the giggles. I can’t stop envisioning a reading during a ceremony that starts with “Cousin, I love you, but…”

        • hahaha! I started reading this, and wondered if you were suggesting my cousin should do a reading at the wedding. Hilarious!

    • Catherine McK

      How do you see your ceremony? Short and sweet? I definitely don’t think you need readings. Sometimes they can add a bit of depth to the ceremony, extend it when you don’t have the traditional religious structure to go off of. Will your officiant give a homily? Sometimes readings can stand in for that if they’re not. We went to a wedding last summer with no readings officiated by a judge. It was really powerful despite its brevity and definitely moved us both. For our wedding this summer we had two non-poem readings, Goodrich and Union by Robert Fulghum; I loved them both, but I know our ceremony would have been wonderful without them too.

    • Tess

      We struggled with readings – we are both word nerds but it felt arbitrary to be picking readings just for the wedding that otherwise we didn’t have a connection to. We also wanted a lot of readings because we didn’t have a wedding party, but still wanted to honor as many friends as possible. So we took a modernized version of the 7 Blessings from the Jewish wedding ceremony, picked 7 friends, and had each of them choose one and rewrite it to make it personal to us. We were a bit nervous about how this would turn out (we didn’t monitor what they wrote before hand, it was a surprise to us) but we trusted our friends. We were absolutely floored by the results. Totally personalized and awesome, made us both cry!

      • This sounds really cool! Would you mind sharing the version of this you used for inspiration?

      • Breck

        Seconding Hannah. That sounds awesome! I’d love to hear more.

        • Tess

          Sure! It’s posted below – and really, it has nothing to do with the traditional Jewish version and comes from who-the-hell-knows-where, but it gave our speakers a jumping-off point and also, since they each picked one and rewrote it, kept things from getting too repetitive.

          1. May you be blessed with love. May your admiration, appreciation and understanding of each other foster a love that is passionate, tranquil and real. May this love between you be strong and enduring, and bring peace into your lives. 2. May you be blessed with a loving home filled with warmth, humor and compassion. May you create a family together that honors traditions old and new. May you teach your children to have equal respect for themselves and others, and instill in them the value of learning and tikkun olam (making the world a better place). 3. May you be best friends and work together to build a relationship of substance and quality. May your sense of humor and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship. May you respect each other’s individual personality and perspective, and give each other room to grow in fulfilling your dreams. 4. May you be blessed with wisdom. May you continually learn from one another and from the world. Together, may you grow, deepening your knowledge and understanding of each other and of your journey through life. 5. May you be blessed with health. May life bring you wholeness of mind, body and spirit. May you keep each other well-balanced and grounded, and live long that you may share many happy years together. 6. May your life be blessed with the art and beauty of this world. May your creative aspirations and experiences find expression, inspire you, and bring you joy and fulfillment. May you find happiness together in adventures big and small, and something to celebrate each day of your lives. 7. May you be blessed with community. May you always be blessed with the awareness that you are an essential part of a circle of family and friends. May there always be within this group love, trust, support and laughter, and may there be many future occasions for rejoicing in their company.

          • This is so cool! It’s the first reading that I’ve really connected with. I might use it. :) I also love the idea of having 7 different people stand up and each say one of these.

            Was that logistically difficult? Did it take awhile for each one to say their part?

          • Tess

            This is for Hannah below, but I can’t reply to it – it wasn’t logistically difficult at all. We asked everybody to keep it to 2-4 sentences, which kept it short, we had them write down what they were going to say and put a number on their paper so they knew what order to go in, and just had them come up at the same time and pass the mic. Worked out great!

    • KC

      Weddings without readings: shorter than weddings with readings. I think that is about it.

      Especially if you have a song in there or if the officiant is saying a thing or if you have at least one wedding “tradition” included [procession or ring exchange or unity candle/sand/tree-planting/whatever or extended vows or whatever], such that your wedding will be longer than, say, 10 minutes from its identifiable beginning, you really do not need readings. (and less-than-10-minute weddings could be fine, too; I’d just warn people in advance that no, really, the wedding will be Very Short because otherwise they might be a bit surprised?)

      Just my opinion. But don’t feel you need to include things just to include them (I mean, apart from legal requirements and stuff).

    • CII

      One, totally find if you don’t have readings. Two, if you actually want a reading but are struggling with finding one, may I suggest a letter or a passage from a favored book or play? We are struggling with finding readings that are authentic to us, too, and I think we’ve settled on excerpts from a letter written by an author that we both like.


    Thank you APW Happy Hour for a place to vent! I had *SUCH* an awkward phone conversation this week. We’re getting married in two months – it is pretty much a destination wedding for all our guests, although we live local. I had a friend call me up this week – someone who I used to be close to, but after they moved away a few years ago, haven’t really kept up with. This, among other factors, led to us not inviting them to the wedding. They called me to see if they should be making travel plans since our wedding was coming up… I didn’t know what to say! I grabbed a wine bottle immediately as I stammered through an explanation (although I don’t feel like it’s necessary to make excuses, it’s obviously a very personal decision). After we got off the phone I just felt so bad. Not because I felt I had made the ‘wrong choice’ on not inviting them, but that someone would put me in such a an awkward position! Oy vey. Not (by FAR) the worst thing I’ve read on APW about wedding awkwardness, but man that was rough.

    • Jen

      Ooh, my sympathies :( That sounds like a rough and awkward conversation to have.

    • Laura Lee

      Ew. I mean, I get she/he wanted to make sure and plan accordingly, but still. I think that’s a situation where an email or facebook message or something would be much more appropriate. If you don’t get an invitation for a wedding you have to assume that it’s most likely because You.Weren’t.Invited, and there’s only a small chance that your invitation got lost in the mail or something. So why would you call someone knowing there’s a 90% chance or whatever that it’s going to turn into the awkwardness that happened to you? Eek! But props to you on getting through it no matter how awkward.

      • MARIE T

        That was exactly my thought process afterwards. There’s so many better ways to approach it. And we have a number of mutual friends, I mean, they could have asked someone in our wedding party to ask us etc etc- It was just so like.. awkward turtle *makes hand motion*

  • You guys. So much good has been happening this week and if this isn’t an open place to rejoice, I don’t know where is.

    I submitted my thesis on Tuesday and today I found out that I earned a 5/5 on that sucker. So a 100%. On my grad school thesis. WHAT. I have my Master’s degree now and I’m only 22 and what up.

    My husband and I moved from NY to Dallas about 2 months ago and I promptly joined a kickboxing boot camp to a)get rid of that road-trip fast food weight, b) get strong, c)have an excuse to punch things, and d) meet new people. 7 weeks later and they asked me to be an instructor. This is so exciting because we were wondering how we’d afford to pay for a membership and now it’ll be me getting paid to do it, also because the other instructors and I are at an acquaintance level now and I feel like this will help me to actually become friends with some of them! Or at least feel less weird asking them on a lady date.

    Andddd after living in a temporary apartment here on campus (I work in Residence Life), we’re finally in the real, permanent place. My husband came home from a month away for the Air Force (boo) and we moved yesterday and I can finally settle! Nesting (no, I’m not pregnant, but this is the most appropriate word) is my JAM.

    So much good in the world, friends. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      Yay for awesome weeks! All three of those sound like month-making goodness.

    • KC

      Hooray! That is a large batch of awesome all at once! Congratulations!

    • Laura Lee

      that sounds like a truly amazing week. congrats on the good things that have come your way!

    • Huzzah! May your blessings attract more blessings. :)

  • So on Searching Sophia’s Pockets we started our month of posts on loss this week… And then several things happened almost simultaneously.
    1.) 6000or so miles from me, my grandmother became very ill…like death bed ill. I am hoping she survives until I can reach her n Monday.
    2.) I survived the one year anniversary of my divorce
    3.) I turned 28!
    4.) a woman from Syria sent in this post that reminded me how lucky I am tht my family and freidns aren’t in the middle of a war zone. http://sophiaspockets.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/a-crazy-world/

    We are still looking for a few more posts on loss, one of which will sure
    be mine, if you want to send them to SophiasPockets@gmail.com

  • Anon

    So based on the comments section for the 5 year plan – I KNOW a lot of you are graduate students. Anybody wanna give pot shot advice on how to make me more productive in lab? I’m trying to get a PhD, and it seems that I keep disappointing my boss – and I don’t know how to fix it. Help?

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single


      Which I am clearly not be disciplined enough on the breaks end this afternoon….

    • Caitlin

      I’m starting my third year, and although I by no means have it all figured out, I do have a few things that work for me. First, keep business hours. Second, work at work. These things are obviously easier said than done, but actually implementing them has been huge for me. I work 9-5, in the office, and while I’m at work I refuse to visit any websites or engage in anything distracting. I’ve convinced myself that I would be reprimanded if ‘caught’ doing anything other than research (which is totally untrue, nobody would notice, but the self-deception here is key).

      Also for days when I’m feeling overwhelmed or imposter syndrome-y (so, about once a week), I focus on tangible outputs. So instead of working on step 4a of a 300 step project, I focus on writing up what I’ve already done, or I put together some slides, or I produce publication-quality graphics. This helps me feel like I’ve done something real, and it will help when it’s time to share with your adviser too.

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      Making a daily to do list. At the end of the day, before I went home, I’d list the various tasks I wanted to accomplish the next day. It helped keep me on track and away from the pull of “eh, that’s enough for today”. Being able to check things off helped me feel like I’d accomplished something.

      It also helped me to recognize where my weak points were (i.e. getting sucked into the internet after chatting with my husband) so I could change the behavior around them — whether that meant using Pomodoro to track time at my computer and remind me to go back into the lab, or using a smartphone for email notifications so that I didn’t have to stalk my computer inbox. During my PhD, my (now-)husband and I were living in different time zones, so keeping strict work-only 9-5 business hours would have meant literally never talking to him.

    • Heather

      I am a grad student who works in a lab, and I recognize that not all grad student experiences are universal and I don’t know anything about you and yours (although I’m assuming you’re in science), but I can offer up some advice/perspective (which is advice you didn’t ask for) from my experience (almost done!). Things that work for me to increase my productivity:

      1) Setting discrete goals of things I want to get done during the day/week/month. Breaking things down into individual task and setting an end goal has helped for me. Making little tick boxes on my daily post it note and then crossing them off is very satisfying.
      2) Work smarter, not harder- your boss might be happy to see you in lab at 9pm on a Friday and then back at 6am on a Saturday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more accomplished. I try to cut myself off and go home before I start screwing things up since that can sometimes waste time and valuable resources and set me back.
      3) Do things aside from constantly work. This may already be true for you, but for me, making time for an outside hobby forces me to think more about what I’m doing with my time, which in turn helps motivate me to do more with my time. Sometimes even just breaking up the day for a walk to the nearby coffee shop or around the building or a funny youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl4L4M8m4d0) helps me to approach things with a fresher mind.
      4) For things that I just don’t want to start, like writing a grant, I trick myself by saying- I will work on this for thirty minutes and then reward myself by reading an interesting blog post- I generally don’t notice when the thirty minutes are up because forcing myself to start on something and struggling for a few minutes is usually enough to get me into it and I’ll continue working (and then not feel as bad about reading that post later).
      5) Try to organize your experiments so that you are making use of waiting steps if you have them (so you could probably both start a western blot and a PCR on the same day (if you do things like that) instead of waiting for stuff to finish. NOTE: this should only be done if these are things you are confident in doing and multi-tasking won’t lead to screwing something up.
      6) When possible, avoid situations that feel toxic and less excited about life, which can translate to less excited about getting ish done.
      7) Turning up the music (I recommend Kimbra) and dancing around during wait times when no one else is in lab: http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2003_12_19/nodoi.2624165795130785513
      8) This is probably the best way for me, but the hardest to control- find a way to work on/towards something you’re really excited about. It’s much easier to be ok with staying late/managing multiple experiments/skipping trivia night if you’re really interested in finding out what happens next. You probably started working on your Ph.D. because you were really excited about something, and grad school sometimes diminishes those feelings and distills into feeling like you’re constantly pipetting and getting nowhere. It is sometimes, although not always, possible to guide what you’re working on and what experiments you’re doing, even if this is a side project or something you decide to look at something you’re interested in that your boss isn’t super interested/ isn’t aware of. Take initiative and make the project your own. Your boss might not be into an abstract idea, but will probably be happy if you show saying, hey, I did this experiment and found this really neat thing (YMMV on whether you can use resources for side projects)

      Feel free to skip this if not relevant, but the perspective you didn’t ask for that might be helpful? I don’t know what you’re going through, but it is important to try to not define yourself and your worth through how your boss thinks of you/ how well things are going (This has been hard for me). Sometimes in science things just fail for no really good reason, or you put a lot of time and effort into something only to find that you were doing the wrong thing and it’s completely unpublishable. It seems common, if not typical, for bosses in academia to tend towards the kinda crazy end of the spectrum at some point during your time in the lab (mine definitely does), so it can be helpful to learn your boss and what makes them happy (I like to give mine data/ drafts of the discussion for my paper before telling her I’m going out of town).

      1. Sometimes you will disappoint your boss and you may not be able to fix it, no matter how hard you try or work. Sometimes he/she doesn’t like that your experiment isn’t producing the data they want to see, either due to a flaw in the experiment preventing from getting data or just that things don’t always end up the way you expect it (but they expect you to magically make it happen). Fortunately, a lot of times, even that result can be published although it might need some time to wrap your head around it and think about new directions/follow up experiments.

      2. Your boss is human, and may not be the best manager of people. Sometimes your boss is having a bad day/month/ year/is worried about funding and is trying to suck any value out of their grad minions so they can get papers and continue to fund the lab and may take it out on you. Academics often are self-selected as people who are very driven, have high expectations of themselves and others, and not necessarily the best with people. And then they often end in stressful situations and stress their employees out. I’m guessing this happens a lot in the rest of the world too, but I have a boss who has given me what I think are meant to be pep talks that make me feel incredibly insecure and like I shouldn’t be in science. I’ve heard stories from fellow students that their bosses have flat out told them this/ they will fail their qualifying exam days before it is scheduled to happen and that the boss will not be coming (- this person passed the exam with flying colors).

      Sorry! This kind of turned into a grad school manifesto and may be completely irrelevant, but hopefully helps. Good luck with grad school and I’m always up for grad school commiserating :D

    • Kat

      I love Heather’s advice.

      Things that helped me get through:
      – Making lots of to-do lists (for the day, week, month, longer term)
      – Allowing myself to go home once I’d done the day’s list of tasks (for me if I knew I was going to be there until a certain time I’d just while away the time on the internet. Knowing the sooner I got things done the sooner I could go home kept me motivated).
      – Accepting I could not control my experimental results (within reason). Often the times I worked all hours of the day to get things done did not advance my research much. Steadily working through experiments generally worked better.
      – Lots of planning (in conjunction with to-do lists above). Planning the day and weeks of experiments in advance meant when I did an experiment everything was ready to go and I didn’t waste time. Planning further ahead also meant I could order any reagents we needed well in advance (in New Zealand things could easily take 6 weeks plus to arrive so it can be a big time sink).
      – Taking breaks. The occasional “mental health day” when I felt I needed it (a guilt-free day off to do nothing in particular), or taking an afternoon of to shop with girlfriends (and fellow PhD students).

  • Okay guys and gals I need some advice.
    We’re self catering (kinda). I’m buying pulled pork from a grocery store that makes awesome pulled pork, we’re making a ton of baked beans, and I want baked potatoes too. Does that seem like enough or would you want another side? I am gonna have plenty of toppings. Maybe a veggie tray? I have veggies attending, if you were a veggie would you be content with a loaded baked potato and beans?

    • Breck

      Maybe a salad? I feel like one of those mixed greens with cranberries and pecans would be a great complement to BBQ, and I know they sell jumbo ones from Costco. Just throw a bunch in a bowl and put the dressing on the side with a ladle.

      If that adds a bunch more work to your plate, though, I think people will be fine with the pulled pork (YUM), beans, and potatoes.

    • ART

      I always want something green, but that’s just me. My fiance doesn’t eat vegetables and would be thrilled with your menu.

      We are also planning to do self-catering, and I would like to have something for our vegetarian and vegan guests that is kind of special for them as an entree in lieu of our meat option. But I’m not a vegetarian, so I can’t really answer that part of the question.

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      I second wanting a salad (though veggie tray + bowl of lettuce would do the trick). And a clear indication that the baked beans were veg-friendly. I’d assume they had bacon in them otherwise.

    • Emily

      How about a broccoli salad? I like those because they never get mushy the way lettuce can. Or perhaps corn on the cob? I know that’s a carb, but I still think of it as a veggie :)

    • KC

      Just a random note: a *lot* of baked beans aren’t vegetarian (for lo, they contain bits of pork or some lard or bacon or whatever), so it might be worth letting the vegetarians know that yours are. :-)

      I think having an extra vegetable (like the broccoli salad or corn salad, or honestly, bagged salad tossed up with vegetarian dressing in a punch bowl) would be nice, but that’s vegetable-loving me, and I honestly don’t know how many people grin when they see a green vegetable more than when they see a dessert table – I’m betting I’m kind of in a minority here. :-)

      (also: self-catering tip: spinach salad leftovers can be cooked and made into a quiche, or little beds for poached eggs, or a side dish a couple of days later, and spinach shrinks so much when you cook it that even the biggest pile gets more manageable. I have yet to find anything that you can do with lettuce salad other than eat it as-is, which is sometimes practically impossible to do within the lettuce-is-still-good timeframe, but you can also ship home heavy-duty ziploc bags of any leftovers with helpful college students/relatives. :-) )

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        The spinach salad to quiche or whatever is genius. Making mental note for the next time I might have more salad leftovers than is reasonable to consume in a day.

        • KC

          Seriously – sometimes you can even leave the dressing on it, but otherwise, toss that salad in a colander and rinse it off. Either way, cook it lightly, and bam! Wilted spinach with delicious accompaniments of whatever kind [that have already been judged to go well with spinach!], ready for frittata or quiche or a side dish or just plain lunch. :-)

          (brought to you today by the we-never-know-exactly-how-many-guests-we’ll-have-at-large-parties-but-we-hate-wasting-food brigade – never serve something you aren’t willing to eat as leftovers in some format…)

    • I would definitely try to have a more veg-friendly option. If you’re doing the pulled pork as sandwiches, maybe some veggie burgers or veggie sloppy joes? Definitely check to see if the beans are actually veg. Other than that, adding some more plants (salad, green beens, etc) is always a good bet.

  • Jessica

    I’m engaged!!!!! He surprised me last Saturday morning, showing up unexpectedly inNew York where I live (he is in DC). And we are so excited.

    • Breck

      Congrats! So exciting!

      • Jessica

        Thank you : ) just had to share that with the APW universe

        • Breck

          But, of course. Next year I’ll be doing the same :).

    • Woohoo! Try to enjoy it. I know it’s tempting to start planning the wedding, but take some time to soak it in. Also get the APW book if you haven’t already.

    • Congrats!

  • Rachel

    Does anyone in NYC have a seamstress recommendation for wedding dress alterations? I got my awesome dress online (thanks to an APW tip!) and realized my wedding is approaching quickly enough that I should probably make sure the dress fits in a few months…I don’t need anything complicated done; it just needs to be hemmed a bunch and taken in a bit. Thanks in advance!

  • CII

    Any suggestions for a designer / website to look for a fairly-casual dress for early fall outside engagement photos (think sunshine and fields and meadows)? I originally thought anthropologie (that’s the style I’m thinking of) but I didn’t love any of the ones I saw right now. Must photo well go to at least knee-length (preferably longer), and go with flat knee-high boots. I don’t mind selecting one for myself, but I’m having a hard time generating sources on which to look.

    • Emmy

      Have you checked ModCloth? A lot of their dresses are on the shorter side, but they do have longer ones. Also, Shabby Apple is great. They specialize in modest clothes for Mormon ladies, and their stuff is adorable.

    • Breck

      Some of the stuff on the Boden (bodenusa.com if you’re in the US) might match your description. And you can always find 10% off coupons!

    • Lily L

      Have you tried free people? They have some cute stuff. Specifically, I bought this one for my wedding. http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=221236115729&item=221236115729&lgeo=1&vectorid=229466

    • Have you checked out http://www.eshakti.com? They have custom dresses that are really cute.

    • Rachel

      I second Shabby Apple and ModCloth!

  • Copper

    so, I got mugged last night. A guy walking my way from the train stop just came up from behind me, started punching me, and took my bag. Suddenly all the wedding stress… just isn’t there.

    • Jo

      Wow. So sorry to hear that!
      But yeah, sometimes life puts things into different perspectives, eh?

    • Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope you’re okay!

    • meg

      Holy. Shit.

      It’s like when I was a kid and I would complain about something tiny, like my toe hurt, and my dad would offer to cut off my hand so my toe would stop bothering me ;) I always declined his offer…

      I’m so sorry….

    • I am really sorry this happened to you….

    • Copper

      Thanks guys. And I know, it’s not exactly APW stuff. It just sort of wiped everything else off the map for me. Like, ok, now I’m going to have a scarred up face in all my wedding photos, so I’ll be remembering this shithead forever. And it takes so much effort to just get today done (police reports, new cell phone, trauma counselor appointment, work stuff, oh and my parents got into town) that the idea of worrying about some day two months in the future doesn’t even compute. So I’ll let my mom try to distract me with pretty dresses tomorrow, and we’ll go from there.

      • ART

        I’m SO sorry. I hope you were able to enjoy some distraction. You *will* be beautiful at your wedding.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        I’m so sorry. I hope your parents and fiance were able to provide good care for you this weekend. *hugs*

    • Christina McPants

      Oh honey. I got mugged about 6 years ago – a guy stuck a gun in my back and took my purse on my street in. Y nice suburban neighborhood. They found the guys but since I wasn’t 100% positive on IDing them from my 30 interaction in the dark while terrified, they walked.. It’s really hard and it really sucks and is inconvenient and I am so sorry.

      For your face for the wedding, I don’t know how bad it is, but you could hire a makeup artist to cover up the scars?

    • (((Copper)))

  • Jo

    I just have to share:

    My husband and I eloped last year and are throwing a party on our anniversary. Our anniversary is the weekend before Halloween (we eloped on our relationship anniversary, and we originally got together at a Halloween party). We’re not having a Halloween-themed party, but it occurred to me it might be fun to really get into decorating our house since people will be coming by over the weekend.

    I just found these:

    Awesome, right?!
    So excited!

  • Anon

    I’m married y’all! My husband (SO happy I get to call him that) and I took our parents to city hall and signed the papers. Our formal wedding is next week out of town but we wanted to get the papers done in the city.

    I bought a coral-pink dress at Le Chateau, made my necklace myself, made my bouquet myself (not as easy as it looks but manageable with the APW tutorials!) and wore shoes I already had. I think the most expensive part of the whole deal was my haircut!

    We met at City Hall, vowed to be each other’s spouse (I did not cry, shockingly, as I’ve been crying at the drop of a hat lately) had a lovely photographer snap some shots outside, went out for dinner with our parents then spent our first night at home. Done and done.

    I can’t tell you how much relief I feel now. A lot of people, when they found out we were doing it this way, said that it would make our wedding day less special but I totally disagree. To me, it’s no different than the feeling of finishing your last exam vs. going to graduation, or having a giant birthday party after your actual birthday. It was so relaxed and lowkey. Now, no matter what hiccups happen on our planned wedding day, nothing affects us actually being married legally. We’ve saved our rings and personal vows for next week and seeing our friends and family will be so special. But the ginormous pressure is off. There will be no cold feet, no anxiety about any one of us showing up at the altar, no worries about the officiant bailing. It’s all party from here on in.

    So many brides and grooms say that their wedding day goes by in a blur and they don’t get a chance to let it sink in as a couple. I feel like we got that chance last night.

    • catherine

      Congrats!! That sound so wonderful. And I love coral-pink dresses. That sounds perfect. :)

  • Because someone asked a few weeks ago: in honor of the new Doctor being announced, we posted some sonic screwdriver cocktail recipes on our blog: http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/2013/08/04/doctor-who-cocktails-sonic-screwdriver/

    Also, had my first committee meeting for my dissertation research and was told I’m doing fairly well. So that’s good. I kind of feel like I need a vacation now, but the next few weeks are going to be filled with stuff for the incoming classes.

  • Hope you enjoyed Bend. From Cinne, in Bend.