APW Happy Hour

Rosh Hashanah edition

Hey APW!

Maddie here! It’s Rosh Hashanah as I’m writing this (though not as you’re reading this. Well it is the second day to get technical, well, never mind), which means I have the pleasure of taking over Happy Hour while Meg observes the holiday with her family. As for me, this week went by super fast, and I look forward to spending my weekend (well, Sunday. Hey APW wedding tomorrow!) catching up on Pretty Little Liars and Project Runway (which is wicked dramatic this season, right?) with a glass of wine. I hope you get to do a little of the same yourselves.

But for now, it’s your open thread. So hop on it!



Highlights of APW This Week

Motherhood has taught Meg that life is short, so you may as well make it good for yourself and look cute doing it.

Some amazing readers helped us get pumped for National Donate Your Hair Day which is this Saturday! If you’re taking part by filming your donation, don’t forget to upload your video to Twitter and Vine tagging @Pantene and @PracticalWed, using the hashtag #BeautifulLengths!

This post about how a marriage can benefit from both parties thinking the other’s job is more difficult totally blew my mind and made me excited for our one-day plan of having Michael stay at home with our kids.

Rachel examines the teamification of women and why it’s total bullshit.

We don’t talk often enough about the ways to honor our moms at our weddings. But this Ask Team Practical is chock full of good ideas.

Around The Web

The Toast had a great conversation about Twenties, a new show written by Lena Waithe which is hilarious but has yet to find a network, and why we need to see our own reflections in popular culture.

The New York Times talks situational name users (those who take their partners’ last names but still use their birth names professionally).

There have been a lot of “Blurred Lines” parodies floating around, but this sex-positive take by Seattle boylesque group Mod Carousel is easily the best I’ve seen yet. (Associate Editor Emily ended up Googling boylesque as a result, and found an article in the NYT that had the greatest two sentences ever: “Audiences go crazy for glittered nipples,” he told them. “The hipsters can’t handle it.”)

Elisabeth submitted this article from Salon about a woman who felt ready to be married but not quite ready to take on the four-letter word. (Wife, that is.) Rachel countered with an article later in the week promising that the word “wife” won’t bite. (Our staff emails are the bestest.)

From Lucy: on the nerd circuit, XOJane gets down to the controversy about the Penny Arcade Expo by explaining what Dickwolves are and how it plays into rape culture while Elizabeth Sampart urges everyone to quit going to PAX already. The controversy, as well as Penny Arcade’s eventual apology, bring up lots of the issues surrounding feminism and gaming culture.

A post on The Billfold this week asked people what they spent on the last wedding gift they gave, and some of the comments are so sweet they very nearly make up for last week’s Times article about people who are still angry about the wedding gifts they never received. Like this one: “My friend’s little brother gives everyone an ice cream scoop as a wedding present, regardless of whether or not it’s on their registry. His line of thinking is that people are usually happy and celebrating when they eat ice cream, and he wants to be a part of these happy moments and milestones.” BRILLIANT. File away for your next registry shopping occasion.

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  • Also on the nerd circuit: Batwoman’s Lesbian Marriage Problem


    “Unfortunately, there seems to be a general consensus among the editorial departments at DC and Marvel that ‘marriage’ is synonymous with ‘ending.'”

    I thought this was pretty relevant.

    • lady brett

      thanks for sharing – great article!

    • Oooh, I missed this one! Very relevant indeed.

    • Thank you for sharing! That was an excellent article.

      • Oooh! Thanks for sharing!

        I also heard an interview with Grant Morison recently, and he talked about the origins of wonder woman. She was originally created by a professor and his wife, and her look and attitude was based on the woman the couple had a poly relationship with, who was the professor’s student. The whole thing was really interesting.

    • Is it bad that I’m in a public place pouting like a spoiled toddler at the news JH Williams III is leaving Batwoman? Because I am deeply upset! It’s been such a great series!

  • Clee

    Second bridal shower this weekend! Woo! 32 days til my wedding! Woo! And it’s Friday! Woo!

  • I just found out the sex of our baby this morning! I’m having a girl! I’m really excited, as we have a girl’s name pretty much decided on, but were struggling much more with landing on a name for a boy. Ultrasounds continue to be the one bright spot in an otherwise hellacious pregnancy for me.

    Also took the glucose test. Yeesh!

    • On a side note: what’s an easy, polite way to request that people to to stick to gender neutral baby stuff? I know I can control what I register for, but I really, really want to limit the Pink Explosion.

      • Anka

        I’ve been to showers where the parents’ didn’t tell everyone the gender (only close friends/fam), so that kept everything gender neutral. Of course, for all the extended family, just let your parents and siblings know to spread the word that you’re having a girl but you’d like gender neutral stuff.

        If you’re having a shower, ask the organizer(s) to add a note on the invitation that you’d like gender neutral stuff, or to theme the invitations as jungle or duckies or robots or whatever. If I get a cutesy pink invitation, I usually assume the parents want cutesy pink stuff.

      • YEA!!

        We said we were going a more purple route for our girl. We got a few pink things, but for the most part we got a broad range. A lot of registries let you put a note at the top, so that’s what we did.

        We also suggested people get her clothes she could wear to their birthday, so we got a whole year’s worth of sizes. That worked great.

        • Sarah

          Clothes to their birthday is a fabulous idea!

      • Paranoid Libra

        This is why I don’t want to know the gender until birth to avoid that.

    • Streamnerd

      Congratulations! How exciting.
      We should be finding out the sex of our little one on Tuesday and I’ve been counting down the days until then. I just can’t wait to finally see him/her.

      We currently have a list of about 10 names for each boys and girls. I think it’ll be hard to pick just one but being able to focus on just one list should help.

      • K2

        My husband and I have had names picked out for our first daughter and first son since before we were married. Now that I’m pregnant, it’s SO disappointing, because what’s the fun of being pregnant if you don’t get to talk about names for 9 months?!

        • L

          Uh oh. Your disappointment doesn’t bode well for me. I looooove to talk about names and we have had 2 girl and 2 boy names picked out for years.

    • Oh how exciting! Congrats. I hope the second trimester is treating you better and that you overall notice a difference…

      I am with you, neutral, or more like colorful and striped and full of stars stuff for girls (even trucks) can be fun!

      • Ana

        Make the shower one of those gender reveal dealies they have on pinterest (and, I’m assuming, in real life)? So you can tell everyone, in one place, after they’ve already bought gifts.

        If you’re planning for a second child, do like my friend and make the point to ask to keep the big stuff neutral so they can use it even if the second child is the opposite. Even great-aunties complied, so happy that there would hopefully eventually be more than one baby to squeeze.

        • KC

          I am pretending that those are *only* on Pinterest and in magazines and do not actually exist in real life. Please do not burst my happy little bubble. ;-)

  • Jacquelyn

    Just received an email from our venue for the remaining balance since our wedding is 60 days away. Woah. Any final advice for navigating the time between now and then?

    • Bip

      Get a rewards credit card!

    • We are 4 weeks out (holyshitwemusthavetrippedandfellinatimemachine), so I am in a similar place but I have discovered that surprises are a lot less fun in this time window than they once were, so always take some time before you react to things, good or bad.

      And enjoy it!

    • Ana

      Look at the master to-do list, and do the things that must be done or else the wedding wouldn’t happen (marriage license, pay the food people, etc). Then prioritize, delegate, and/or slash the rest.

    • Darcy

      Set up appointments for a massage therapist for bi weekly appointments. And then go to all the appointments regardless of what seems like an emergency.

      • L

        Yes and do this at a spa where you can use the steam room and sauna. Seriously it stopped time for my Mom and I the morning before the wedding. We had so much to do but we just lounged for a good two hours. It was amazing. And I am pretty sure it saved my sanity.

    • Jacquelyn

      Thank you ladies!! Massage booked, oh and paying vendor balances :)

    • Kcaudad

      At this point, it will feel like you are hemorrhaging money.., just embrace it!

    • Amber

      Keep updating your to do list. Keep checking things off the to do lists. Take deep breathes. Have fun with it! Trust that everything that’s meant to be there will come together. I’m sure it’ll all turn out great! Good luck!!

  • I can finally spill the beans… our IVF (actually ICSI) in June worked, and I am now 14 weeks and 4 days pregnant.
    We are so unbelievably happy, after almost 3 years of trying and endless tests and uncertainty.
    It has been so exciting… hopefully everything will continue to go well.

    • Congratulations!

    • Laura C


    • eao

      So amazing! Congratulations.

      Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    • Congratulations!!!!

    • Breck


    • Thanks so so much :) This makes me smile!

    • SQUEEEE!!! Celebratory hugs!

    • Congrats!

    • Yea!!!

      I’m nursing our IVF/ICSI baby right now. We always looked at ICSI as a blind date on the gamete level. So happy yours worked out for you.

    • Congratulations!!!!

    • Jen

      Congratulations!! Definitely used “Exactly!” as a “like” button :)

    • Congrats! So exciting!

  • Breck

    I’m currently writing this from our apartment in Caracas! Aside from the fact that my Spanish is beyooond rusty and there was a country-wide power outage earlier this week, Venezuela has been great. We have a pretty busy weekend planned with a couple expat get-togethers and some hiking in El Avila Nat’l Park. Hope everyone else has a wonderful weekend, as well!

    • Breck

      Also, any suggestions on great trips people have taken around Latin America and the Caribbean? We’re trying to figure out our New Year’s plans and can’t seem to narrow it down!

      • Belize! We loved it. The first place we stayed was an incredible eco-resort inland and is basically my favorite place in the world: http://www.blackrocklodge.com

      • Ali

        Colombia! Cartagena, Santa Marta, Medellin, Bogota!! (But I am biased!)

    • Paranoid Libra

      Costa Rica specifically Monte Verde and also Arenal Volcano area.

      Congrats on the move!

      • Yes! Costa Rica. We stayed in Manuel Antonio but I am dying to get back to the Arenal Volcano.

  • Libby

    Okay, guys I need your help! I am fairly certain that the father-daughter dance is filling my wonderful father with a slight sense of dread. As a more introverted guy, dancing for four full minutes in front of about 150 people is really not his cup of tea. A long slow dance also doesn’t feel very meaningful/reflective of our relationship. The whole cuddly “baby girl” thing, just not us.

    That being said, there is some part of me that knows I’d still like to have that “moment” even if it is on a much smaller scale. I’d like to come up with something that keeps it comfortable for my Dad and takes off some of the pressure possibly by involving the rest of my family. I’ve heard mention of “family dances” here. I love the sound of this, but have never seen anyone break down the logistics of how they did this. My thoughts were ramblings around a very short part of a slower song being my Dad and I, transitioning into a fun fast paced song where my family joins. But then what happens after the mother-son dance? Same thing? Who dances together or is it just a free for all? So many questions. I’d love to hear how you did it or have seen it done.

    So please: family dances! How did you do them??

    • Sara

      I’ve seen a couple version where the father-daughter/mother-son dances start together or the father/mother cut in halfway through the first dance. Then at some point, the in-laws cut in (father-in-law/daughter, etc) and the father/mother-in-law dance together. Then they either cut again with siblings or just cut back to bride/groom and parent couples.

      Reading back, that sounds confusing. I hope that makes sense.

      • A single Sarah for certain values of single

        A different variation is, instead of having people cut-in, explain that you’re having people cut-out.

        My friends used this for their first dance–they were by themselves for a bit, then split up and each brought another guest to the floor. Probably a parent? Again, each couple danced as long as they like, then split and brought new partners. Repeat until song’s end. The band played until everyone was on the dance floor and had switched partners a few times.

        Make sure someone explains the plan before the dance begins so that people bring more people to the dance floor instead of sitting out.

        • Libby

          Great ideas! Thanks guys!

    • Turned out my dad was really into the father-daughter dance, so we went traditional, but this was my original plan: Have a song picked out for me and my dad, but just play it during the general dancing, so we would know to spend that song with one another, but we wouldn’t be the center of attention.

      • This is what we did, too!

      • Libby

        I was considering this! In the end, I think I do want it to be something that “involves” the guests as I’ve always enjoyed watching father/daughter and mother/son dances at weddings and we’re not doing a lot of other things (no bouquet toss or garter, etc etc). I think this is a wonderful idea though.

    • Ashley P

      At my wedding we had the DJ invite other father/daughter duos to join us after the first minute of the song. Same for the mother/son dance. We got to have a special “moment” but didn’t have to be the center of attention for ages.

      • Another Kate

        We did the same, it worked out pretty well. There were quite a few other father daughter duos, and people seemed to really like it. I’d advise just making sure you give a heads up to a few friends/cousins/sisters who will be involved beforehand, so they know to be prepared to grab their dads and head out to the dance floor. I did inform some people beforehand, but there was still some confusion and it took awhile to get people out there.

    • Lauren

      Here is how we did a family dance to 1 song.

      My husband’s parents are still married: Couple 1

      My mom and her fiance: Couple 2

      My dad and his wife: Couple 3

      My husband and I: Couple 4

      I started with my dad, rotated to my father-in-law, and then stepdad-to-be, back to dad. 30-45 seconds or so with each?

      Chris started with his mom, then his mother-in-law, then my dad’s wife, back to mom.

      • Lauren

        P.S. When my mom wasn’t dancing with my husband, she was with her fiance, and when C’s mom wasn’t with C she was with her husband. It was nice to honor the parent marriages (or soon-to-be) as well.

        It sounds confusing, but we didn’t even plan it out other than the gist, and it went off without a hitch.

    • anon

      My dad hates dancing and being the center of attention. He asked my husband to cut in when he gave him the signal.

    • Sarah

      For my dance with my Dad I picked a song from an album we both liked and remembered singing togthether. It had nothing to do with a father/daughter relationship. I cut it off at the 2 min mark because the last half wasn’t really wedding appropriate. You could do something like that or have it fade into a faster paced song for everyone to join in.

    • JessPeebs

      Would you be comfortable with inviting all other fathers/daughters there to also join you? So, like dance for 30 seconds just with your dad, and then have the DJ announce for all other fathers and daughters to join you on the dance floor.

    • K. E.D. Silver

      My dad is also of the non-dancing type, but my future mother-in-law REALLY wanted to do the mother-son dance, so the father-daughter dance was going to happen for parallelism’s sake. We considered a father-daughters dance (I have four sisters) to that “Istanbul is Constantinople” song by There Might Be Giants because we had some silly choreography to it (thanks to hours playing Just Dance 4 on the Wii), but the sisters got shy about the idea about a week out from the wedding.

      I didn’t really want a mushy father-daughter swaying song. I have a pretty good relationship with my dad, but it DEFINITELY doesn’t look/sound like “Butterfly Kisses”…so we chose “The Twist” by Chubby Checker, twisted on our own for about a minute, then invited anyone who wanted to dance onto the floor. I’d told my sisters to tell their friends about the signal, so it worked well. :) What was funny is that my dad tried to give the signal early(!), but it didn’t work since that was my job. It was really fun, and then our song just segued into the rest of the dance party. Because of that, we changed the order of the dances — first dance, groom-mother dance, bride-father dance — so that FH and his mom could have their (very mushy and heartfelt) song without a crowd coming onto the floor for my+dad’s song and then all those people having to exit the floor again.

      Hope you find something that works for you and yours!

  • Is it just me, or did this week feel endless, even though here in the States, we had Monday off?! I am so glad it’s Friday.

    It’s been a roller coaster week here. Trying to get back into the swing of things at work and school (hello, night class) while simultaneously trying to write this personal statement for med school is making my head spin. I was really looking forward to going to MD this weekend to see one of my best friend’s and my aunt, but a close friend of mine had family tragedy so I am subbing in an orchestra pit gig for her. I’m happy to help her, but wish I didn’t have to, because it would mean she wouldn’t be going through this rough time. I also felt terrible having to cancel my plans with my friend and aunt (although they both understood).

    But hey, the weather is great and I’m going to an artsinal pie shop on Sunday! (http://www.iluvmagpie.com) I’m super excited to try their Bourbon Caramel Peach pie! With ice cream!

    • Kirsten

      YES. This week has been so long and so busy. In some ways I can’t believe it’s already Friday, and in other ways it feels like Monday was ages ago. This coupled with the fact that it’s 5:00 and I’m still working… granted, from Starbucks with a pumpkin spice latte in hand, but still…

      Also, orchestra gig? Symphony violist here (a small-but-paying symphony, so only a secondary job), so I’m curious. :)

    • Daisy6564

      I am back in the classroom teaching third graders after a 3-year hiatus in a desk job. I initially left teaching because I could see I was burning out. The last thing kids need is another mean, jaded teacher.

      Yes, this has been an incredibly long week. I made it through my first day without crying but bawled like a baby (x2) on my second day. I can see that it is going to be a very long year.

  • How do people deal with life post-wedding? I’m having a hard time.

    Our wedding was so lovely and sweet and full of love. I’ve never felt that loved in my entire life, and it was so very special and now I just deeply miss that intense emotional high. I wish I could go back to the moment before it ended and just roll around in everything for a little longer, but I know that I can’t. And I’m having a hard time with that.

    My husband is having some serious work-related stress, which in turn has put a lot of pressure on our finances. We’ve done an amazing job taking care of each other through it, I think, but it is just reinforcing, for me, how far away the wedding is.

    • I have had that feeling, too. We were married on a Sunday last October, took Monday off, and then went right back to reality on Tuesday. It was intensely difficult for me to make the mental shift from “I’m so joyful and happy and I feel so loved” to well, life.

      My husband and I try to carve out time just for the two of us, and since finances are tight, we try to make it as inexpensive as possible! We do a lot of cooking together, and we’ll pick out a movie to rent from the $1 kiosk near our house, or one that is streaming on Netflix. As far as what I do for myself on a more private, mental, level, I try to focus on the fact that the wedding was just a day in our lives and the real “good stuff” is what we’re doing every day. It’s definitely harder when money is tight or one of us is sick or we’re both stressed out, though.

      I also lean pretty heavily on my non-husband support system of friends and family. They remind me how loved I truly am, even when I’m not wearing my gorgeous gown and drinking champagne. While there’s nothing like a wedding to make you feel special, I try to remind myself that everyday, there is something to be made special.

      Be kind to yourself, take care of yourself, and I hope that things get easier for you both soon!

    • Ana

      I took a total break from all wedding-related things (even thank you notes – gasp!) for a few weeks. The dress in the closet, decorations under a table, wedding playlist deleted from phone.

      Then I asked myself what I’d been neglecting in the final months of planning/at the wedding. For instance, there were some friends that we weren’t close enough to at invitation time to invite to the wedding, and as a result we didn’t discuss the wedding much with them. We threw a party, specifically for those friends, and tried to limit our wedding talk and ask about THEM.

      I also bought a lot of nail polish? And change my nail polish a lot?

    • jashshea

      Can you have a stay-at-home honeymoon one weekend or night to recapture the glory? Champagne, take-out, and netflix (or Miller High Life, hotdogs and football)? Might take the edge off the stress and give you time to be silly and gushy.

      BTW – this is the best description ever: “I wish I could go back to the moment before it ended and just roll around in everything for a little longer”

  • Sara

    PRETTY LITTLE LIARS! Ah! Maddie, if you haven’t seen the finale, prepare yourself. My friend and I squealed.

    The registry article is good, and I love the ice cream scoop idea. I try to make a point of buying the random spatulas, wooden spoons, whisks, etc, and the jar to put them in (because those are on almost every registry I’ve seen) because I think having good quality kitchen utensils are worth the money and I love how random it must seem to the person opening it on the other end. “What the hell did Sara…oh, right we registered for these…”

    Got a wedding this weekend and hot new dress to wear plus a concert tonight at the HOB for LBC (chicagoland band), so I wish this work day would end already!!

    • Meghan

      I do that, too! I love buying couples a collection of all the little utensils and stuff that other folks shy away from because it’s too small individually. Together, those things make a really nice gift. When I’m feeling really creative (okay, it was once) I write out recipes that use each utensil and tie them to the utensils.

      But basically – exactly! to this gift idea.

      • emma

        I’d love an open thread on wedding gifts/registry purchasing/attending wedding budgeting. My husband and I have different views on an appropriate dollar amount for gifts and it’s hard to know what’s socially “right” vs. feels “right” vs. bank account practical. The article referenced actually had lower amounts than I expected.

        We laid out our wedding-attending budget for next year and are around $5k between travel, eats, hotels, gifts, wedding party requirements for 5 weddings, none are even destination! It’s a lot to wrap your head around!

  • Megan

    Shot in the dark here – my mom is a florist and has A WEDDING’S WORTH OF WHITE FLOWERS for sale from a gig that fell through. Anyone in Southern California getting married this weekend and need some flowers? Bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, flower girl halo, and more available! Let me know if you’re interested! (Free delivery within 30 miles of Rowland Heights)

    • Abby Mae

      I don’t need flowers but I just wanted to say HI! I’m sure I don’t know you but I used to live in Hacienda Heights growing up.

      It’s nice to hear/read of people that are nearby my hometown. =)

      • Moe

        San Gabriel Valley over here!! SGV! SGV!

  • Christina

    Just read the NYT piece about situational name users. I was married a bit over a year ago and have changed my name nowhere except my passport (which almost meant I didn’t make it on my honeymoon). I’ve been putting it off mostly because i find the paperwork daunting and also because a little bit I feel like I don’t want to link myself in name to my in-laws (personal issues, I know). However, a sudden death of my husband’s brother this week made everything crystal clear – like those world-rocking events tend to do.

    In an attempt to make my husbands life easier, I called his company’s travel agency to try and change a business trip flight to get him home for the memorial. I explained the situation and that I was his wife, and they took my name and put me on hold for a LONG time. I can’t help but wonder if when I was ultimately denied the ability to try and manage my husband’s travel it was because our last names are not the same. This week I realized that while I have been putting off the name change until children are part of the picture (this is my self-imposed deadline), I would like to do it sooner because I believe it gives me greater ability to be of assistance and service to the man I love.

    • KC

      The same-name thing works both ways: husband is less likely to be given the side-eye by pharmacists or customer service people or whatever when he’s helping me out with something and has the same last name. :-)

      Of course, being able to produce SSN, birthdate, mother’s maiden name, etc. also helps in those circumstances. :-)

    • LikelyLaura

      It irritates me that they treated you like that. I’ve called airlines, hotels, restaurants, you name it, to make changes or cancellations for my boss. I say I’m their assistant, and no other questions are asked. I bet if you had done the same, they wouldn’t have batted an eye. (Not that you should have had to.) Ugh.

      • KC

        This is true. And baffling. I suppose con artists don’t usually think of just claiming to be so-and-so’s assistant?

    • Kate

      So glad someone else is speaking up about feeling uncomfortable being linked to their in-laws by name. It is a hard thing to admit. My future in-laws are usually very nice to me but tend to be very verbally and emotionally abusive towards each other. Even without that, their family dynamic and culture is radically different from my family of origin. For example, beliefs about when violence is appropriate. I don’t really want to be “one of the Smiths” in name. I know my partner thinks of his last name as his alone, but it’s hard for me not to see all the other people who share it when I think about adopting it.

      • Christina

        Thanks ladies!
        And Kate – thanks for chiming in. I try to separate my new last name from my in-laws, but it’s a big hurdle for me. I agree that it is so hard to separate all of the other people in his family from his name, but logically, I know that the people who will know me as “Mrs. HisName” won’t know the special kind of crazy that I associate with the familial name. They’ll just know me and my husband as the couple that we are.

      • Samantha

        I’m also not wanting to be linked to my future in-laws by name. We don’t have a good relationship. They’ve never been warm towards me so why should I give up the name of my family who loves me to take the name of people who wish I wasn’t joining their family? It sucks. I want him to take my name, but that’s not going to happen.

    • MK

      I don’t have a problem with hypothetically taking my in-law’ name, but I have the same anxiety about the choice as that author did. I mean, I have 8 years of work history–a lot of it online–under my name. I am so anxious about changing it and having to start all over. On the other hand, I really like being able to have a “work name” and a “author name”–maybe it’s an illusion of grandeur, but I like to think maybe one day celebrity will be a problem for me, and I’d be grateful to have days when I could be “Mrs. Husband’s Name” instead of my name.

      I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.

      • I write for a newspaper and have been struggling with this same issue. I’m known as Megan XYZ and, though it’s probably just my own narcissism, I’m hesitant to give up my community recognition and body of work by taking my husband’s (nice, but very popular) last name. I like it fine, but I’ve loved being Megan XYZ and . . . well, I just feel really sad giving that up.

        I’m thinking about hyphenating purely at work while legally changing my name, but I still haven’t decided. And I’m two months out. Ack.

        • Rebecca

          I really liked being myfirst mylast, so I just kept it. We haven’t really had any problems with the different last names thing- a few weird looks from the pharmacy people, but the doctor’s office didn’t bat an eyelash. It was really less of a deal than I expected.

          To be honest, changing my name never really felt like something I wanted to do, so I didn’t have a lot of internal conflict about my choice (and pretty minimal external confict as well). I also have to admit that I took a not insignificant amount of joy in not doing the paperwork associated with a name change, too.

    • jashshea

      So sorry to hear about your loss. We lost my husband’s brother a few months before the wedding and it really did knock many things into perspective.

      I changed my name on everything except my passport – I’m still fuming that it costs as much to change the name as it does to renew an expired one. I still use both names interchangeably – Never intended to change it at work, but the HR system pushed the change into other systems and, well, it’s a giant hassle and now I go by FirstMaidenLast at work – and I typically go by my maiden when introducing myself to new people out of habit.

    • Daisy6564

      I was a bit disheartened by that article. What the author describes is her own lack of commitment to a name change and disorganization of paperwork, not an actual problem with situational name switching.

      I am planning to be a situational name user. I do not plan to legally change my name. I have a professional network (that could be rebuilt if I had to), I do not have any works published, I do associate my name with my identity, my name contains both of my parents’ family names. Also, changing all of the paperwork seems daunting so I would love to not do that.

      I do love my fiance, and his family, immensely. My future in laws treat me like their own child and are often more calming and welcoming than my own parents. I want to love and honor them, but I don’t see changing my name as the only way to do that. This may be naive, but I also don’t see why the name on my credit cards and passport has any bearing on my relationship with my new family.

      I see no reason why I can’t keep my birth name legally and at work and use my fiancé’s last name socially and with my kids’ schools. I am a teacher and I know that children’s emergency forms come in written any way the parent chooses, no license or pass port required.

      Ultimately though, the article wasn’t really about the name change. The author was too lazy to do a full name change. She has legally changed her last name to her husband’s, she never bothered to finish changing the paperwork. The fact her paper work doesn’t match is the source of her problems, not that she is a situational name user.

      • Amie

        I plan on doing the same thing. I am the holder of a professional degree (DVM) and I have publications, and I have been teaching/working as a veterinarian under my name for over a year now. Also, it means a lot to me to be Dr. Mylast. I earned that degree mostly before we even knew each other!
        I don’t see a lot of writing about keeping your name legally, but using his socially/for kids’ school things and so on, so I didn’t know if that was even done. You usually see people changing it legally and using their maiden name professionally, which actually requires all the worst parts of the name change thing for me (changing the name on degrees, licenses, publications, and so on) and leaves alone the part that I’m ok with changing (being called Mrs. hislast socially or by people who just assume).

      • Splendid

        Hello all,

        I’m a little late to Friday Happy Hour but thought I would chime in anyway.

        I plan on changing my last name when we’re married legally and everywhere except where I am currently attending graduate school. It feels strange for me to have a row of diplomas and for the last one to have our married name when most of the program I was still under my maiden name.

        In defense of changing it, I have an extremely common last name and I constantly get other people’s emails (I mean super personal ones) to my gmail account. I always reply nicely but they just keep coming several times a week. I also am easily identified as culturally Jewish by by last name (although I have never practiced) which gets a lot of annoying and intrusive comments from total strangers. (Seriously, on the phone with the credit card company and they say “Oh LastName? Are you Jewish?” I’m like, “uh, kinda, not your business.”)

        I’m looking forward to my future husband’s super unusual last name where I am certain I am the only person in the whole world with this first and last name (well at least in the US and according to gmail and facebook – that’s all that counts right?)

        I ams somewhat stressed about the process of changing it everywhere all over the place, anyone have a handy lists to use? I’m sensing that a spreadsheet will need to be made…

        Oh, and the wedding website is up and invitations went out this week, hooray! It’s like I feel newly engaged all over again.

      • Hope

        I agree. If she had shown the ID that matched the name on her ticket she would have been fine.

        In the UK you can have two names put on your passport. Mine says “First Middle Maiden also know as First Middle Married”. It makes me feel like a rockstar.

      • For years I have been sure that I was going to change my name. People always get my last name wrong and some things have happened that have resulted in my dad taking himself out of my life and that whole side of the family went with him. But now, 9 months out from my wedding, I’m settling myself into a job with potential and where the vast majority of communication is by email. People are just starting to learn that Megan CurrentName is someone reliable who gets answers and only sends requests for things that actually need to be done. I’m afraid of losing that. I also know that my email (first.last@company) isn’t going to change even though I can change how my name displays, so I don’t want to cause confusion and have people trying to email an account that doesn’t exist. If I had more face to face communication with people I may not be as worried, but I interact primarily with people in our other offices or from other companies. So now I’m thinking I’ll legally change my name and use it socially but either use my current name professionally or use Megan CurrentName NewName.

  • Jo

    Sent out our invitations via Paperless Post yesterday. It’s been less than 24 hours and already 25% of our guests have officially RSVP’d!
    *This doesn’t even count the people who have casually clued us in before the invitations even went out.

    Some unfortunate declines but some wonderful surprise attendees. This thing is really happening.


      LOVE paperless post!!

  • Beth

    A friend of mine is starting a book club and I am SO EXCITED for it. It’s with a bunch of ladies who I don’t know, but must be awesome because she is awesome. Ladies and books and food and wine. Looking forward to expanding my lady-friend circle.

    • scw

      this sounds great! what are you reading first?

      • Beth

        Not sure yet! We’re each going to bring a somewhat short novel to start with a pick from those. I’m thinking of bringing “Franny and Zooey.”

  • We’re taking the little one to her first football game tonight!

    The last two seasons my husband and I have worked the chains for all the home games at a local high school (life-list item of mine, and my husband came along for the ride). I’m “red-shirting” this year but my husband will still be on the sidelines. So the little one and I will go and cheer for the officiating team.

    • A single Sarah for certain values of single

      Squee! So excited for her! And you!

      High school is still the only level of football I can get excited about, because it was such a social event when I was growing up. (And people at my college barely knew when games were and I didn’t have early attachment to pros.)

  • Jo

    APW staff –
    What happened to that elopement story from earlier this week?
    directs to “Page Not Found”?

    • Hi Jo. I’m the author of that post and can explain this mystery. Back in June I submitted the story of our wedding to both APW and OffBeatBride almost concurrently, as I love both blogs and thought I’d be immensely lucky if even one of them wanted to run the post. Offbeat bride published the post shortly thereafter.

      Given that there’s quite a bit of crossover between readers of both blogs, there’s something akin to a non-compete agreement in place between them, which is understandable and completely fair (I just wasn’t aware of it when drafting the submission). So, long story short, APW took the post down to honor that mutual exclusivity arrangement.

      You can read the post here if you’d like though: http://offbeatbride.com/2013/06/hawaii-elopement

      If anyone has questions about eloping though, I’ll happily answer them!

      • Jo

        Thanks so much for the explanation. Makes sense.

  • Hey nonny nonymous

    I need to be talked down from a ledge about my relationship with my future mother-in-law. She has worked hard to accept my relationship with her son after an extremely rocky period around the time she realized we were serious (when we were long distance and she’d try to engineer it so he had little time to visit me, then yell at him “for being irresponsible with his time” when he visited me for longer than she thought he should). It’s not exactly easy for me to forget that and move past, but she’s trying to do better so I’m trying to get over it. But part of her way of trying is to be super high pressure. Like, calling me ALL THE TIME just to chat, except that of course our chats somehow always end up on wedding decisions that are not hers to make. And despite the fact that I have repeatedly said I prefer to communicate by email and hardly ever talk on the phone. When she’s worried she’s upset me, her answer is to call me, which I’ve told her makes me tense! If I don’t answer her call and email her to say we’re fine, I’m just not up for a phone conversation, she’ll respond by saying great, we don’t have to discuss it on the phone, but how about she calls just to chat.

    Obviously the answer is boundaries. We’re working on it. Three years ago, even two, I never thought I’d see my now-fiance set boundaries with her to the degree he has. But she is effing relentless. (See above re: making me tense by calling me with the intent of finding out if I’m upset with her.) While my fiance is more able to set boundaries than he was, he’s definitely not up for open conflict, and I’d really rather avoid that myself because I have the kind of temper where when I lose it, it can be epic. This week I’m just feeling particularly worn down and worried that it will never stop, that she will always be this demanding of our time and attention and then, when she has it, take the opportunity to try to boss us around, and, I don’t know, I guess I just need some support or reassurance.

    • p.

      Ugh. My sympathies. Its tricky to deal with inlaws. One idea I had for setting boundaries with her was to have a scheduled check-in with her, maybe a call every week. (I know you don’t want to talk on the phone, but maybe one calla week would be an improvement over getting calls all the time?) Or perhaps you and your fiance could set up a group call or skype with her once a week so it doesn’t have to be just you on the phone?

      It seemed to me like you could pitch this to her as a benefit, a way to have quality time with her, and it also gives you a little more control because if she calls you outside the scheduled time, you can say, “I’m in the middle of something now. Why don’t we talk about this on our call later this week?”

    • KC

      1. She sounds super-insecure/controlling. This is legitimately really hard to deal with. My guess would be that either she’s specifically afraid of not being #1 in her son’s life (and, by extension, now that you’re going to be permanently attached to him, she’d better be close to you, or you’ll shut her out, etc.), or that she generally wants to be #1 in everyone’s life (and now you’re on the list, bwahahaha).
      2. No matter what’s going on in her head, she is not dealing with things well. Yes, it is important to work with people, especially when they’re hurting or adjusting to change, but that does not give them a license to harm you. Boundaries are good. Really good.
      3. People often freak out when boundaries are set. (out of curiosity, did her contacting you ramp up when your fiance started setting boundaries? ‘Cause I would be totally Not Surprised.)
      4. Honesty is good. If you continue to be honest with her when you are upset and when you are not upset, then she will hopefully calm down about whether or not she has upset you at any given time. (as long as this isn’t just a weird, dysfunctional power play)

      So… practically. What do you want out of this situation? (her not calling you; you not spending more than X minutes on the phone with her per week/day/month; you being able to choose times to talk with her where you’re not already used up) What does she appear to want out of this situation? Are there physical/practical ways around that? A phone with fewer minutes (yes, this sounds crazy, but it works for some people if they really don’t want to talk on the phone that much)? Including some “chatty” stuff in emails? Instant messaging/texting? Sometimes there are ways around parts of things. I say this partly because I once partitioned a family member off into a separate email address, because the emails received were often volatile and I only wanted to deal with them when I had the time/emotional energy to deal with them. I would now use filtering to achieve the same purpose, probably, but you get the general idea. These solutions will not make everyone perfectly happy, but creative/odd solutions can sometimes get all parties a bit closer to satisfied-and-not-drained.

      • Hey nonny nonymous

        You nailed it–more or less as soon as he forced her to hear that he was serious about me, which was the first giant boundary he set, she started calling me. Part of the problem of figuring out what I want and enforcing it is that when it comes to the big questions, my fiance has to be on board, and there are some of those he’s not ready for, not even quite ready to admit need to happen (and since he is making progress, I’m not trying to force the issue; if he stopped making progress, we’d have a serious talk). Unfortunately I think a lot of it is as you put it, “a weird, dysfunctional power play” (I could give you soooo many exmaples), so it’s always going to be one thing or another barring a dramatic showdown or–I’m hoping–her figuring out that even if I’m quiet and polite about it, I’m stubborn and will not be worn down.

        • KC

          I’m sorry I was right. That sucks. :-(

          Slow progress is definitely progress, and is often more effective/sustainable than radical changes, if you’re going to keep the relationship at all; think dieting, where you’re making slow changes to get to a sustainable position. Hooray for your fiance continuing to move in good directions! :-)

          Two notes on weird-dysfunctional-power-play people:
          1. Stick with the stubborn-as-bedrock-but-quiet-and-polite. It will serve you well. Let things roll off you as much as possible (obvs., keep your boundaries intact, but don’t let stuff get to you, insofar as you can prevent it).
          2. Long-term, the things going on in the rest of her life will probably influence how she interacts with you. I’ve observed this over and over again with screwed up family members/friends – generally, if they’re doing okay (good levels of validation and occupation; lower stress levels; less fear; more contentment), they’re less toxic; if they’re stressed or afraid, they’re more toxic. So… keep in mind that if something is coming at her life-wise (divorce, financial stress, having her son get married, etc.), you’ll probably want to have a bit more armor on (heeeey email filters), and in general, remember that fluctuations will often be not “you”, but her life expressing itself as dysfunction (or improvement! that happens too, sometimes! really!) in your relationship.

          Also, improvement is possible even in yes-they-know-what-they’re-doing situations. People can truly reform, or even if they don’t internally reform, can sometimes learn that if they want to have contact with you, they cannot do X, Y, or Z. So there’s that, too. Obviously… don’t have super-high expectations. But there is hope for improvement in the relationship. :-) (honestly, it may even be just plain better after the wedding. Or not. Each person is different.)

    • Samantha

      I have a very hard time with my FMIL too. Over the years she has tried to drive me out of his life and when we got engaged she told him not to get married. Totally one of those crazy, clingy moms who are obsessed with their sons. It’s awful and so so hard to deal with. I have never dealt with anyone like her before, and it’s extremely difficult. The beginning of our engagement was filled with scream fights between my fiance’ and I about her behavior. We finally started seeing a counselor which empowered him to establish boundaries. We are still working on it, but it has helped a lot. Also, seeing the counselor has helped me to learn how to cope with her strange way of being. Keep your chin up. I’m sorry you are having a hard time.

  • Fermi

    I’m a week and one day away from our wedding. Question…what do you do while the minister is speaking…I’m afraid to stand up there – what do I do with my hands?? Hold my fiance’s hands, hold…???

    • I held David’s hands though our entire ceremony. It really helped me feel present and grounded. If it’s something you’re comfortable with, I recommend it.

      • ART

        I love that! We hold hands all the time already, so I think that would feel nice…must remember that!

    • Brenda

      Will you be positioned so you can look at each other? I found looking into my husband’s eyes a lot helped ground me during the ceremony and keep me present.

      • Fermi

        Yeah, we’ll be looking at each other, literally a foot away. Small intimate ceremony. In another of our friends ceremonie’s they held hand (both hands) while standing across from each other, kind of looked awkward. We have our rehearsal next week, so we’ll see how it goes! Thanks guys!

    • Beth

      I held my bouquet until it was time to say my vows but, oh man, I wish I had thought about this at all beforehand! I got up there and suddenly was like, “Wait, do I look out at the guests? Do I only look at my fiance? Do I look at the ground?” I felt weird and look totally fidgety in the video. It all worked out, but I feel like that’s something I had never seen mentioned anywhere. Maybe most people don’t have an issue with it?

      • I wished I’d held onto my bouquet until the vows. I handed it off right away and then wasn’t ever sure what to do with my left hand.

    • Hannah L

      I felt like I might cry if I looked at my husband too much, or laugh because we can rarely look at each other without making funny faces, so instead i looked a little under his left shoulder at the ring bearer who was being adorable in his little outfit and helped me get through the “help everyone I have ever cared about are all looking at me at the same time” feelings.

    • Sarah

      We stood on one side. I had my bouquet in my left hand that faced the crowd and I held my fiance’s left hand with my right. It’s the way we normal hold hands ( minus the bouquet of course) so it felt very natural. I handed off the bouquet when we went to say our vows.

  • ART

    Ordered a hard proof of our save the date last night! And found a 15% off coupon for the printer! We are feeling so motivated to get things done after seeing how tired and stressed our friends were the week before their wedding :/ I just hope they’ve had time to relax since then.

    That wedding gift article is great. I just bought some sort of random things off a registry and while it works for that couple, a registry truly will not work for us. We have every kitchen item we need or can accommodate. All we could want would be down payment help, but I’m thinking of saying we’d love that or a donation to their local food bank or something…that way people have an out (I mean hopefully they WOULD donate, but we wouldn’t know one way or another) and don’t feel like they need to write us a check.

  • Mezza

    So I guess I got married yesterday! Even though my wedding isn’t until next month.

    We had to do the legal hoopla in the state where we live because it’s not legal in the state where the wedding is happening, and yesterday was pretty much the only weekday between now and the wedding that we could both get to the city clerk. So we showed up at the crack of dawn, one witness and her 2-year-old in tow, waited forever, said I do, and left with a certificate!

    I ended up having to tell the folks at my job why I was running late, which led to some really confused people in my office. They did seem to understand why we weren’t celebrating when I explained how we really want our WEDDING day to feel like the day we got married.

    But yikes – I’m married.

    • ART


    • Congrats!!

    • Copper


    • Jen

      So awesome. Congrats!!

      • Jen

        Actually, it is distinctly Not Awesome that you cannot get married in the state where you are holding your wedding. But awesome that you are officially/legally married to your love. I hope you have a kick-ass wedding!

    • Sarah

      Congratulations! We did the same thing for a similar reason and I have to say that it did not take anything away from our wedding day. It seems like two completely different things, the legal paper signing and the wedding. All it did was take all the pressure off the wedding day in terms of if something went wrong with the wedding plans, it didn’t affect the fact that we were married. Neither of us were nervous or worried on the day of because the whole point of the day was to share our love and joy with our friends and family, not sign some documents. I hope you feel the same on your day because it’s an amazing feeling.

  • Emmy

    We got married two weeks ago! That is all. :)

  • Hmmmm. This week I mailed a wedding shower gift to a friend, kept reading and blogging, and twiddled my thumbs waiting for my sister to give birth (still waiting too).

    I also recommended APW to one of my dear friends, so if you see a Lisa B in the comments, welcome her to our crowd!

  • 4 weeks until our wedding and I am feeling both totally ready and yet a bit overwhelmed. And I will admit to having gotten cold feet yesterday while I was riding my bike, but then it passed. I think I will need a lot of tissues for the next 28 days…

  • May

    Can I please vent for a moment? Not wedding related, just life related. This past week has been…. so, so hard. My father is in hospital after a routine heart procedure that went awfully wrong. My mother is in a panic and just wants me available 24/7. I have caught some horrible bug that makes me want to vomit and sleep simultaneously. Work has been absolutely relentless – I’ve worked until midnight twice this week. Our wedding is 28 days away and there are a bunch of details that still need to be confirmed. I also need to find time to fly interstate to meet with a lawyer and discuss a prenup that I can’t even start to get into right now. I feel like I’m barely keeping my shit together and I don’t know when it will ease up, especially as the wedding creeps closer. I want to tell the whole world to go fuck themselves – including my fiancé and my family :( I am not coping. Faking my own death or developing a cocaine habit seem like pretty good options right now.

    • eao

      So so sorry about your father. And while your mom’s codependence at this time seems normal, I can’t fathom dealing with that.

      I can only make some small suggestions –
      1. Can you skype with the prenup attorney? Seems like traveling right now is just not smart, and entirely unneccessary.
      2. You rock. You’re handling this all incredibly well. You got this.

      • May

        Thanks for the support :) Yes good idea re skyping with the lawyer, usually it’s no problem for me to hop on a flight and do a day trip and I’ve been behaving like things are business as usual when they clearly are not. Thank god for technology, right??

    • Emmy

      Can your fiance confirm the details on the wedding planning side of things?

      • May

        He is – he’s just flown back home to deal with our wedding rings this weekend. But we can only ask so much our of equally time poor partners, right? Or they too lose it.

    • So sorry you’re going through this and can definitely relate (especially regarding the mom situation). My sister is getting married in three weeks and my own wedding is in eight, and we just found out that my grandfather’s cancer has returned and a bunch of other miscellaneous relatives are dealing with health issues right now (on top of unemployment and a mess of other problems large and small).

      Selfishly, my sis and I both want to shout at everyone to please keep it together because we can’t deal with any more chaos right now, but life can be unfair sometimes, hm? Thinking of you, your dad and your family, May, and wishing you strength. Hang in there and know we’re all here with you.

      • May

        “Please keep it together” – yes exactly this, only it’s me shouting it at myself in the mirror. So sorry to hear about your grandfather and I hope he (and you) make it through this difficult time. On the other hand – two sisters marrying within a month of each other – amazing!

      • KC

        Argh, cancer and unemployment and stuff really needs to learn to wait until a convenient time (like, y’know, never).

        So sorry that things are dogpiling. :-(

    • Sounds like you need a nap, a margarita, a counselor, and another nap.

  • InTheBurbs

    Getting married 2 week from today – rocking a short haircut that looks like ME – and started a “to-do” list of everything that needs to happen between now and the wedding and about lost it. Trying to balance the “to-do’s” with wanting to spend good time with folks – ugg!

  • Darcy

    I just want to send out a solidarity fist bump to all other nursing mothers out there who are having a tough time. Wait, not just to them, to all moms trying to do the right thing for their wee human. This shit is hard. And rewarding. And frustrating. And hilarious. Oh Georg Hegal, who knew your philosophies could be so widely applied?

    • Fist bump right back at you. The first month SUCKED!! (no pun intended). We’re approaching three months and it still has its moments. Just last week she pulled off just right so I got squirted in the face twice with my own milk, and she sneezed milk up my nose. Nobody ever mentioned those as possibilities.

  • Stephanie

    My wedding is 2 weeks from tomorrow, and things just keep going wrong. Is the 2-weeks-away period the Everything Goes Horribly Wrong period? Our cupcake place called to confirm our order — which was wrong. Fortunately there’s time to fix that. My brother, who is officiating at the wedding, didn’t realize until this week that he needed to be registered with our state (he lives in another state) to officiate…but everything should be taken care of by the wedding day. I hope.

    And less than an hour ago I found out that my longtime hair stylist, who had a hip replacement in early July and thought she would be back by my wedding, has to stay out of work until October.

    I know that people have much bigger problems, and I’m trying to keep it in perspective, but…I just didn’t want to deal with this, you know? Finding a new stylist at the last minute — one whose schedule is free — and hoping that we communicate well enough to come up with something that’s flattering.

    (I’m also out of work — my company was sold in July — and I found out yesterday that I did not get a job I tested for.)

    My dress is at the seamstress’ shop while she’s on vacation (will be back Monday), and I’m at the point of paranoia that I’m positive her shop will burn down — with my dress in it — while she’s gone.

    Is this normal? Does everything go crazy as the wedding gets closer? (And with 2 weeks to go, I don’t want any MORE crazy on top of all of this!)

    • Emmy

      My stylist skipped town two weeks before the wedding, so I’d say yes. We were getting married out of town, so I checked on Google for salons near the wedding site, checked online reviews, and called someone. They were able to book me for a hair trial on Tuesday before my Saturday wedding. Everything actually worked great! I’m not sure where you live, but your best bet is probably a large salon with a lot of stylists. More chances someone will be free! Good luck!

    • Steph

      I’m one week away (!) but last week definitely seemed like the week of things going wrong. We got a spat of last minute cancellations, drama with our hotel and worst of all my Dad and Stepmother announcing their separation. Last week I hated my wedding so much, but now at 7 days out I’m feeling much calmer and excited! Just remember no matter what happens you’ll be MARRIED in 2 weeks and most of the BS won’t matter anymore.

  • CoastalCreature

    I’m currently lost in a quagmire of Pinterest and ideas, with 10 different Google Docs floating around in my “P + A 4EVA” folder. But we don’t yet have a venue or a date so I feel stuck floating around in a world of ideas with no place to put them (except my Pinterest board and Google Docs!). How have you all coped with this? Is this just me or did other people feel this way? After diving into the planning world, coming up with a budget and doing a lot of research I’m left yearning to fix a venue and a date so I can actually plan this thing!

    • Copper

      Honestly, everything got much more focused once we had a venue. I was able to put a lot of ideas away as, that’s pretty but it’s not the wedding we’re having.

      What’s the holdup keeping the date & venue from getting nailed down?

    • Moe

      I think I had 4-5 Pinterest boards for my wedding. My original hopes of a minimal ultra modern indie vibe wedding in a stark white art gallery never came to pass. But from continually pinning things that I liked over and over again it was very easy to come up with a solid plan when the outdoor backyard venue became available.

      Then I went back over everything and began to edit out things that could not/would not work.

      When you decide on a venue things will begin to fall into place.

  • Ariel

    This was such a great week for me! I am now officially a tenured teacher (!!!), I handed in the first draft of my thesis, my fiance got a job offer, and I found out I’m going to be able to go to Hawaii for free through my job!

    Also, it was the first week of school, and I heart (most of) my kids although I don’t really know any of their names yet. :D

    • KC

      Congratulations! Yay, tenure!

      • Ariel

        Thanks! I’m so excited!

    • That is a good week indeed. Here’s hoping it brings its friends.

  • Copper

    I mailed our invites this week! And submitted my passport application! And future husband’s suit came in the mail (from Indochino, which I can definitely recommend). And now I’m trying to figure out all the other crap we have to buy—cups and napkins and tealights, oh my.

    Oh, and I officially got told by my therapist that I have PTSD. Certain very common conditions are causing me to flash back to my attack about once or twice a day, which my therapist looked visibly horrified about. I know I’m venting, but I’m pretty sure it’s in the therapy job description that looking horrified when your patient admits something like that isn’t really the best way to go.

    So the upshot is, we’re five weeks away from our wedding, have tons of things to do, am under some major work stress, and the sound of running feet behind me makes me flip my shit. I think I need to figure out tasks I can hand off to people so that I can get a bit of the weight off of my own shoulders.

    • Laura C


      I had a Yugoslavian friend who was in grad school in the US and got to this point where her country was at war and she didn’t even know where her brother, who had been drafted into the war, was, her father was in poor health, she was broke, and she went to campus mental health. As she told her story, she started crying. And the therapist started crying. Years later, telling me about it, she was like “I just needed him to tell me to deal with it, and he started crying!”

      • Copper

        Maybe they’re trying to validate our feelings or something? Too much empathy.

        • Kirsten

          As a therapist, I’d just like to comment that your instincts are correct. Therapists should be able to listen to your story and validate your feelings without an emotional response of their own. I’m a bit shocked at the responses (both of) you described, as that’s highly inappropriate for a therapist, and I’d seriously suggest considering looking for another therapist. Of course, that may not be something you want to go through this close to your wedding with so many things already on your plate– but on the other hand, it might also take a bit of a load off if you find someone you have a better feeling about. Sorry you are going through all of that. :(

          • Copper

            yeah I’m probably not going on a hunt for a new therapist, because despite that gaffe, she seems to get me much better than the last one I tried. She seems to have a good feel for how much weight to give to each issue, while the last one seemed to overblow some stuff in an attempt to validate my feelings and it just felt condescending. This reaction while unprofessional, just made me think “oh. Well maybe that’s even a bit worse than I realized.”

          • Kirsten

            Ah, ok. Therapists are humans too and sometimes mess up. :) It sounds like she has a lot of qualities that you’re looking for in a therapist, and of course there’s nothing to stop you from bringing it up if it continues to bother you- she may not even be aware that she does it. I hope she can help you get some relief from the flashbacks and lift a little more of that weight from your shoulders.

    • KC

      I have the preference that if I have to go through or am going through something horrible, that the professional people (police, doctors, etc.) 1. acknowledge that it’s horrible and then immediately 2. move on to dealing with it and helping me deal with it and get on with the rest of life.

      So, I guess, I’m good with horrified facial expressions (it makes me feel like they understand, that my reactions are reasonable, etc.), but they gotta be brief, and then we can both move on to Getting Things Done. :-)

  • Remy

    This week I started planning date nights (and solo social events) for the next couple of months. It’s a big change from my usual hibernate-in-the-house ways. Apparently I find it very satisfying to locate fun free or cheap outings/activities that fit into my calendar. (HowAboutWe?, SFFunCheap, and Meetup have yielded many ideas.) I think I’m coming out of a bit of a post-graduation slump and am more interested in hanging out with people again, and I’ve taken the tactic of declaring “I am going to be here doing this at such-and-such a time — are you interested in joining me?” After a couple declines in a row from individuals made me a little shaky, I opened the invitation up to everyone on my FB list, and now I’m just being comfortable with planning to enjoy a nice thing by myself, with a bonus companion or two if that happens.

  • Moe

    Live from jury duty! If I was wedding planning I would be getting major ish done today!!

  • Laura

    Yesterday I had an informational phone call that led to the scheduling of a face-to-face interview for my *dream* postdoctoral position! I have over a year until the position would start, so it’s conceivable that all of this anxiety and fear over What The Hell Is Next and Where Will We Live After The Wedding will be gone before the end of fall! It will be great to have lots of extra time to make moving plans and let B start a job hunt and – most importantly – have one less effing thing to stress about while I try to simultaneously finish my PhD and plan our July 2014 wedding. Fingers crossed!!

  • Dom

    General question – which this might be a regional thing so I’m interested in the different views and opinions on this!

    Situation is this:

    We were originally planning a full open bar, but looking at the calculations of how much to expect each person to drink (5 drinks) and the cost of the alcohol the venue provides ($6 for a highball, beer or house wine) and the fact that we have 120 people coming, it has skyrocketed our budget. It is still manageable, but way more than what we had originally thought.

    Now, we still want to be able to provide the option to our guests to party hard without worrying about their own finances. So far, I’ve thought of 3 different ways and I want to know the experiences people have had with it:

    Toonie bar: fairly common in our area, guest pay $2 per drink rather than full price
    Drink tickets: pre-pay for a set number of drinks per person
    Donation bar: No obligation to pay, but if they want to help keep the cost down, they can pay us whatever they feel comfortable with per drink

    Now, what does APW think? Should I say screw the budget and let the guests go wild?

    • Ali

      A few weddings I’ve been to have had open bars for just a limited time to keep costs down (ex. cocktail hour, then only beer and wine the rest of the night). Seemed to work well for them. Might be something to consider!

    • Darcy

      What will YOUR people drink? Our crowd was made up of slightly older people with young kids with some teetotallers thrown into the mix. We kept on reducing the drink estimates with our disbelieving venue and were still under the estimate for the open bar.

      My sister’s wedding had a younger crowd that drinking was their thing. They did a toonie bar and handed out drink tickets to the bridal party and immediate family.

    • Daisy6564

      We’re getting married in a park building and have to bring in a caterer. Every caterer we contact has a flat, per person charge for alcohol, ranging from $15-$25 a head. My parents are paying and can afford to pay for that (thankfully).

      The thing is, there are a number of guests we are inviting who don’t drink at all. That would be fine if there were enough people who drink heavily that it would balance out but I can think of less than 5 guests we are inviting who will drink more than 4 drinks. His family doesn’t drink for the most part, most of my friends who were heavy drinkers back in college have slowed way down (having kids and turning 30 will do that to you I guess). So we are going to be forced to pay for a lot of booze we probably won’t use.

      None of the caterers we have talked to seem to be willing to charge us based on consumption or only charge us for the people who drink. I am trying to find a way to negotiate this. I don’t want to do without booze altogether because I think that ruins the party atmosphere a bit. I like to drink at a party and would be pretty disappointed if I showed up at a dry wedding. I also can’t abide by paying for things we don’t need.


      Hello (waves)

      We’re doing an open bar on beer and wine only, up to a maximum $$ then it’s every man for himself (or more likely knowing my friends, every woman for herself!). I’ve never heard the phrase ‘townie bar’ before but I am British! It sounds like a great idea to me, less potential for confusion but maybe you’d want to do drinks tickets for the fam/close friends.

  • Katelyn

    First, any ATP question-askers out there: what was the process of your submission? I sent something in this week – should I expect a accept or decline if they want to use it or not? How long should I expect, if they do select it, to wait for a response? Has anyone submitted an ATP and gotten an e-mail advice response that wasn’t run on the site? If you had a question run, was anything edited for brevity and/or clarity?

    Secondly, PAX. Ugh. I don’t know. I have been to PAX twice and have been more than a little bit ignorant about the Dickwolves thing. I’m a feminist who spends most of her online time gaming, on Pinterest, or here on APW. I think the Dickwolves situation is a really huge error for the Penny Arcade guys. I think they’re very very wrong.

    I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that just because you do a shitty thing it doesn’t make you a shitty person. But I just now read about the covered-up sexual assault in the Enforcers and it really stopped me in my tracks. PAX holds so many awesome and dear memories and I really *want* to excuse all these mistakes away, but it’s pretty much impossible at this point.

    Have any of you made the decision to no longer attend PAX after previously attending as a direct result of any of the multiple controversies? Have any of you decided to keep going? Maybe we can switch to DragonCon instead, but it really disappoints me about PAX.

    • Liz

      “First, any ATP question-askers out there: what was the process of your submission? I sent something in this week – should I expect a accept or decline if they want to use it or not? How long should I expect, if they do select it, to wait for a response? Has anyone submitted an ATP and gotten an e-mail advice response that wasn’t run on the site? If you had a question run, was anything edited for brevity and/or clarity?”

      Hey, I can answer this part!

      Unfortunately, no, I don’t respond to every single email we get. I actually tried to back when I first took over! Alyssa warned me I would burnout, and don’t you know, I burned out quickly.

      If I use your question, I try to do so within a few weeks. I generally assume you probably don’t need an answer after that. If I choose it, I’ll email you a few days before it airs to let you know. If it’s a really truly burning question that strikes something in my soul, I’ll shoot you a personal answer (I wish I could do this every time, honest I do!), or if you ask a question we’ve already answered, I’ll email you the links to where it was handled before.

      I do rarely edit questions for brevity. If I edit, I only take away details to shorten or to anonymize, or I’ll fix like punctuation and spelling type things.

      • Katelyn

        Thanks Liz for the timeframe! I’ll keep my eye on my inbox for a few weeks and then pursue other avenues if necessary. My question was possibly a bit too different to really speak to a wide audience, so I understand if it’s not selected.

    • Totally with you on both the frustration and the uncomfortable “I enjoyed this experience but this news casts a pall on those memories and I can’t support future trips to this con” situation. It was one thing when the Dickwolves bruhaha broke originally, but the issue now is that we’ve seen multiple instances wherein the Penny Arcade guys have either turned a blind eye at best or, at worst, actively embraced a rape-is-ok narrative.

      It sucks, because the guys at Penny Arcade do a LOT of philanthropic work and I’ve met so many awesome people at PAX. I’m honestly torn between boycotting entirely or showing up next year (I get a press badge, so it’s free for me) and making an active stand for female gamers with my presence.

    • moonitfractal

      I’d like to encourage everyone with feelings about the controversy to read MC Frontalot’s compassionate, nuanced take on Penny Arcade’s many public relations scandals. Compassion and nuance are terribly lacking in online discourse. His position is refreshing and thought provoking. I strongly recommend reading the entire post, found at https://plus.google.com/+MCFrontalot/posts/94KfgrA75JH.

      Personally, I have attended PAX East for the past several years, and tend to agree with his position that “If progressive artists, devs, and gamers generally – cut and run from PAX over Mike’s stubborn resistance to the learning curve on the rape culture issue – that’s when the convention will become a safe place only for the shitty, spiteful children who understand that Team Dickwolves means FUCK YOU and want to wear it anyway. I can’t stand to see that happen. So I’ll stick around.”

    • I have never attended a PAX because it’s the same weekend as Dragon Con (and I live in Atlanta so that’s just so much easier to attend), but I had an interest in trying to go to PAX East in the near future. Unfortunately, the more I started reading about Penny Arcade and PAX (they have always been on the edge of my radar, rather than something I follow closely) and the issues at hand, the less I wanted to attend.

      I read MC Frontalot’s post about it, and I think his point is one that’s often lost: there’s a learning curve, and I certainly believe that Krahulik can grow from this and that his opinions can change over time. However, I am cautious because the apologies he’s posted tend to read as very carefully worded PR statements, compared to the tone of his other writing. So I fear it’s lip service, rather than true change of heart. There’s an article about his more recent conversations on Twitter about transgendered people that I think illustrates why I’m hesitant to accept the apologies being given.

      Does this mean I’m boycotting PAX? Honestly, I don’t really know. Up until this year, there had always been a large group of people pushing for a boycott of Dragon Con because they were unable to break ties to one of their original founders, Ed Kramer, who’s now on trial for child molestation charges. I completely understand why someone would want to boycott an event that still gave profits to that kind of person, but I continued to attend. The other founders of Dragon Con were actively doing everything in their power to try and sever ties with the man, so I attended and hoped for the best. So I think that when it comes to PAX I am going to watch carefully, but I don’t know that I’ll be pushing my budget to attend within this year.

    • Ok guys, I’ve decided to attend PAX East 2014. I say this as a female gamer, nerd, and survivor of sexual assault and here’s why:


  • NTB

    I wish I had better news to report for APW HH. Man…it was a rough day. Pap smear, and if this one comes back abnormal, I’ll probably need surgery (LEEP.) Been dealing with this stuff for close to 7 years…normal, then abonormal…WTF? Have any of you lovely women had a LEEP? Have any of you had it and had complications with subsequent pregnancies? I hope everyone had a better Friday than I did. :-/ Wishing everyone a safe and fun weekend. xo

    • I’ve had a LEEP. It’s not a good time or anything, but also not a terribly big deal. They suggested I might need someone to drive me home, so I had a friend on call, but I was fine to drive and even went to a retirement party straight from it. I was happy that I’d worn a skirt (I went there from work) because they gave me a HUGE maxi-pad to wear home and I’m not sure it would have been very compatible with jeans.

    • Ann

      I haven’t had LEEP done, but do I know a few women who have. Only one of them had a complication in a subsequent pregnancy (her cervix soften early, she had have some procedure done, was on bed rest, and she delivered via c-section at 36 or 37 weeks. So early, but not dangerously early. I was born at 36 weeks and turned out fine myself!). I knew one woman who was referred to have LEEP while she was trying to get pregnant. She declined to have it done and planned to wait until after the baby was born. The abnormalities resolved themselves on their own in the meantime. While that’s a somewhat risky decision, most all cervical cancers grow very slowly and waiting 6 months/a year isn’t going to be a life or death decision.

      (Working in a nearly all female environment had serious benefits. I learned WAY more about pregnancy/birth/general gynecological stuff as a result.)

      I also know that the birth center were I used to get my well woman care wouldn’t accept women who had had LEEP done as patients to birth at the center (they would accept them as patients with the plan to deliver at the nearby hospital if they still wanted midwife care).

      So in the experience of people I know, there is a risk of pregnancy complications that’s not negligible. But my sample size is relatively large (see note about the workplace above–at least 10 of the 40 women I used to work with had a LEEP procedure done). I know that’s not reassuring…. but have you talked to your doctor about your concerns? It’s also my understanding that one LEEP procedure is not necessarily like another–so maybe they can give you an idea of the scope and how that impacts the possibility for complications?

      • NTB

        Thanks for your reply. Mine have been low-grade for about 6 years; I’ve had a few normal paps but my doctor told me that after having it for so long, it probably will not go away on its own. Another cervical biopsy would have to happen for them to consider a LEEP–while it’s still low-grade, they don’t want to do anything if they don’t have to, so I might not need a LEEP unless things start to look worse in the future. I am just afraid that I will not be able to have kids. I am only 27 years old and I have always wanted them. :-/

        My doctor said that most of her patients who have had LEEPs go on to have uncomplicated pregnancies. I have a hard time believing it; I am so skeptical and doubtful and I just feel like giving up. Hopefully, if I do have the LEEP, they won’t have to take too much tissue and I will heal quickly.

        Thank you again for your kind response. It is reassuring to know there are women out there who don’t judge–and who care.

  • B

    I’m getting married one year from today! YAY!

  • Thinking about the name change thing a lot lately, and I am considering (at least for the first year or so) keeping my name legally and taking his name socially. Have any of you done this? How has it worked for you, and what are the pros and cons?

  • Steph

    My wedding is in exactly one week and for the first time in this year long stressful process I’m actually feeling happy and excited about it!
    I’ve discovered that I don’t really like event planning and for a long time I felt kind of bad about it- like I was failing as a bride, which is silly I know, but there is so much pressure involved that the expectations kind of took over. Our budget has been tiny as well which has been difficult in our pricey area, but it looks like somehow we’re actually going to pull this 40 person downtown wedding off for under 10K!
    Anyways I’m just really excited that I’m excited now, and not stressed about chairs and guest lists and menu costs. Going to try to enjoy the next week and then be REALLY happy when it’s all over!

    • Ariel

      Woohoo! Enjoy!

  • Vyvyan

    One week to go! I am currently…. handstitching a cravat. *Headdesk.* When I started this project months ago, I didn’t know what I was doing. I’ve learned a lot about tie-making, but I’d really meant to have this done by now.

    At least I can do it while listening to music so I can build my playlists…

    Man there is so much left to do!!!! Send wine!

  • Last week I posted about a promotion that I was thinking about applying for but wasn’t sure about. I submitted my application Sunday, had Monday and Tuesday off, sat down with my boss Wednesday, and signed an offer letter Thursday for it to take effect on Monday! I’ve basically fallen into the role already and once my old position is filled I’ll have somewhat normal hours again!


      Yay! Well done you :-)


    Ok, I think this is one of those random, weird things I should know the answer to but I don’t and you guys will so…

    Is it ok to wear real, vintage fur?

    I’m getting married 30th November (I’m in the uk), it WILL be cold and I want a furry shrug type thing over my dress. There are tons on eBay but lots more real than I expected. Is this a thing now?

    I’m perplexed, please help!

    • You are going to get a lot of different opinions on this. Some people would say that it is never ok to wear fur, under any circumstances.

      Personally, I think vintage is just fine.

    • Emily

      Eh. If you have no personal convictions re:fur, then why not? I know it’s one of those hot-button issues for many, but it comes down to what you think personally. There are lots of ways to keep warm besides wearing fur.


      Thanks both. I kept wondering if it was one of those things that I’ve somehow missed the newsletter on!

      • catherine

        I’m one of the no-fur people, but it’s not my wedding, is it? I agree with what the above two said. It’s up to you. And yes, there are other ways to stay warm :) But it is up to you!

        • Ali

          Also consider that guests won’t know it’s vintage and may be offended (until they find out, or even after). In general you shouldn’t care what your guests think of what you’re wearing, but in this case I think you should.

  • I had what would normally be considered a wedding stress dream last night. I dreamt that we were getting married and kept discovering things we had forgotten to do (like forgetting to actually take pictures with the photographer we hired) and things other people had forgotten to do (my sister was sitting in the crowd, rather than standing at the front like M’s guys were).

    However, as messy and chaotic and non-as-planned as the dream wedding was, I felt calm and happy. “Oh. Hmm. That isn’t what was suposed to happen. Ah well, we’re still getting married.”

    I take this as a good sign.

    • Emily

      Sounds like a good sign to me!


      Sounds cool to me!

      Up until last week, I was dreaming that it was the morning of the wedding and I didn’t have anything to wear. Might have been something to do with the fact I didn’t choose my dress til yesterday :-)

    • M.

      I think that’s pretty good as stress dreams go!

      I had 2 this week. The first was, we forgot to write a ceremony and then I kept forgetting each part of the wedding as it happened. As in, “OMG we had the ceremony? How was it? Did I cry?” and “Did we have our portrait session? Did we do a first look? Was it good?”

      Weird, right?

  • Emily

    I don’t know how to ask for help!

    I am planning on asking an old, but not-very-close friend to be my day-of coordinator, since she is a phenomenal party planner. I kind of hate asking for help ever, so this is a big deal for me, and I”m super-anxious about doing it! It seems like a lot to ask, but I think she’d enjoy the job, which is why I thought of asking her. (I’m not having a bridal party, since I don’t really have any people close enough to me to fill that role. This has been a source of sadness, and I’ve been mourning the “loss” of this part of the shiny pretty wedding picture. I digress.)

    I have been texting with her lately, that I’ve got something on my mind and want to talk in person about it. We are 11 months out, so it’s not a big rush thing. When I finally meet up with her, should I offer to pay her? Invite her family along to the wedding?

    How do you ask family members to pitch in with a task, such that it doesn’t interfere too much with their enjoyment as guests?

    • Emmers

      Maybe offer to pay her and see what she says?

      Not sure about the whole having people pitch in for just the right amount– this makes me nervous too.

      I’m also thinking of hiring a non-professional (ie acquaintance) day of coordinator, and offering to pay them somewhere in the $200-$300 range.

      I’m trying to figure out if there’s a way I can hire additional hands to help with the wedding (like local college kids or something), since I’m mainly nervous about the cleanup aspect of things, and don’t want to stick family members with this.

      Definitely something I’m thinking about too, such I’m not sure I can afford the $1500 or so that it seems like most pro day of coordinators charge (& I’m unclear if I hired them if they’d actually handle cleanup– or if they’d supervise people I’d already secured– which would seem kind of silly).

    • LMN

      I hired a friend-of-a-friend to be our Day of Coordinator, and it worked out really well. When we first met about a year out, I brought a list of responsibilities to the meeting so that we could talk through whether she was comfortable with them, and I offered to pay her $200. She accepted. I was already planning to invite our mutual friend to the wedding, so I seated the two of them together for dinner, just as a thank-you to both of them for helping make this awesome day happen. Our DOC was a lifesaver.

      She and I met a few other times much closer to the date–to go over logistics in The Binder, and then again at the venue so that she could see the space and meet the key people there. Then, I gave her The Binder the day before the wedding, and she was in charge of everything, and I was officially done planning. That felt awesome.

      I did line up three groups of helpers in advance. We had a Set Up crew (I asked friends/family from out of town who were staying near the venue, so it would be easy for them to walk over and set up for a couple of hours during the day of the wedding, and they’d still have time to go back to the hotel to get ready). We had a During Event crew (I asked friends/family who were really good at specific tasks, like our friend with a band who managed our sound stuff). And we had a Clean Up crew (I asked friends who I knew wouldn’t be too tired or tipsy at the end of the night; family ended up pitching in, too, because I think family does that at the end of the night, but we didn’t specifically ask them to because they had already done a lot that day).

      Our Day of Coordinator had the list of all these volunteers, along with their cell numbers, and she wrangled all the groups throughout the day. It worked out great…or, if anything went wrong, I didn’t hear about it, which is the same as it working out great in my book. ;-) Best of luck to you!

      • Emily

        Thanks for the detailed response, I so appreciate it! This gives me a great framework to understand how I could delegate, divide and conquer.

        • LMN

          You’re very welcome, Emily! We got married this past June, so I’m still at the point where I have lots of wedding stuff stuck in my brain but not much to do with it, so I’m really happy when I can share anything useful.

          In case this is helpful at all: I wasn’t sure what to bring with me to my initial meeting with my DOC, as far as a list of responsibilities, so I found a wedding coordinator’s website that I liked. Then I copied the text under their “services offered” website into a Word doc and hacked it up until it was a one-page-or-less bulleted list of what we were looking for in a DOC. That really helped me firm up my ideas before the first meeting. I think it made it easier for our DOC to say yes (or no, if that had been the right answer for her), because she knew what I was looking for.

          BTW, your phrase “delegate, divide and conquer” made me snort. I think that’s a great attitude for wedding planning in general. :)