APW Happy Hour!

We’re here! Friday open thread. For me, this week lives in my mind in a string of pictures: taking the baby to his first wedding, my first Mother’s Day, and our first APW shoot in almost a year. (I’m not pregnant any more! I don’t have a teeny tiny baby! I can work a long intense day on location!) The week was a work full of business stuff, good and stressful, but it included a work day like this, so I consider myself lucky as hell:

Meg Keene

(That magic coming to the blog soon.)

How was your week? It’s your open thread! Hop on it!



Highlights of APW this week

Being Black, Feminist, Throughly Girly, and Conflicted.” On sorting out symbols and why they matter during wedding planning.

My manafesta (as a commenter called it) on women and work. This is a big one.

It Stands Alone.” What a wedding can mean, even when the marriage is disolved. This re-framed weddings for me, and I write about them for a living.

Rachel on the modern reality of planning a wedding far from friends and family (movie montages be damned).

Photo taken by Natalie at belle-flower

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  • Kris

    This week I hit the “one month away” mark, and with it flooded in all of this panic! There’s not even that much left to do and things are pretty organized… but it seems overwhelming just the same :(

    • Leila

      My one month mark is next week so I completely understand. We too don’t have that much left to do, but it is still inexplicably overwhelming. I have been trying to focus on other things. His family is coming in from overseas, so I’m helping his sister with her travel plan (she will also be visiting DC and Chicago). I’m also an intorvert so all this focus on me and “our day” can be a bit exhausting.

      • LMN

        My one-month mark is next week, too. Just wanted to express some solidarity about it seeming overwhelming even when there isn’t too much left to do. Maybe it’s all the emotions? I’m an introvert, too, so I’m planning a morning to myself on our wedding day. I have it written in on the schedule–“sleep late, eat breakfast, lounge, read, nap if possible”–so that makes it official. I want to charge my batteries as much as possible before the long day begins. Best of luck finding your wedding zen or whatever helps you take deep breaths and enjoy the countdown.

        • Emily

          High five June 15 weddings! ONE MONTH incited panic in myself and my mom. We started weekly to-do lists instead of montly ones. So far, that seems to help.

          • StillSmiling

            Oh, I love that idea! “Less than a month” feels so different from all the other markers we’ve hit. But, breaking it down by week helps! We also just bought a house, so our “-to-do” list feels crazy. But a weekly to-do list might be that much more do-able! Thanks for that!

  • Meghan

    We booked our honeymoon!! Our first international trip together – we couldn’t be more excited! I think we might be more jazzed for the trip than the wedding right now. :)

    • californienne

      Where are you going?!

      • Meghan

        A gorgeous all-inclusive in Puerto Morelos, Mexico! We’re so. stoked.

        • AIH

          My husband and I were there earlier this week! It’s beautiful. Plan nothing and do next to nothing. (Except for a day trip to Isla Mujeres to drive golf carts around the island :))

    • Kris

      Fun! We booked to go to San Francisco, so that should be fun :) (Canadian here)

      • Sarah

        If you want to see Alcatraz book it now! It fill up really fast. I’ve missed it twice :(

        • Kris

          Already done :)

      • Oakland Sarah

        I highly recommend doing one of the open-top bus tours. We just did it with both my fiance’s mom and then again yesterday with my mom. It’s super easy, fun, and stress-free! You see a pretty big chunk of the city and ride over the golden gate bridge. Plus, you can hop-on hop-off and explore any of the areas you’re extra interested in. We never had to wait very long for the next bus, either.

        I would also recommend taking the ferry from SF to Oakland and back. It’s significantly cheaper than doing one of the boat tours, but about the same experience and it takes you under the bay bridge.

    • SamiSidewinder

      We booked ours too! I danced in my chair all day yesterday! I am with you, I am waaay more excited for the trip. For me the wedding is something to get through at this point. Which makes me a bit sad, but then I think about our honeymoon and get happy!

      • Meghan

        Exactly!! Our has sort of…mushroomed. It has totally become something extremely different from what we used to envision while pre-engaged, so we’re kinda just rolling with it now! Not that I’m ungrateful – my parents are graciously hosting. However, that means relinquishing a certain amount of control, which can lead to stress. The honeymoon is all us, though! :)

        Where are you and your partner going for your honeymoon?

        • SamiSidewinder

          Oh yea, ours mushroomed like a nuke. It doesn’t feel like something I could recover if I wanted to, so rolling with it too. But I’d be lying if I said I haven’t considered just going to Vegas and saying the hell with this! But I keep being told ‘it will be worth it’. So rolling. check.

        • SamiSidewinder

          Oh yea, ours mushroomed like a nuke. It doesn’t feel like something I could recover if I wanted to, so rolling with it too. But I’d be lying if I said I haven’t considered just going to Vegas and saying the hell with this! But I keep being told ‘it will be worth it’. So rolling. check. Until the honeymoon!

    • Copper

      I was just thinking the other day, without a wedding happening the honeymoon trip would be something that got SO much more attention, planning, etc. We (ok, I) would be researching every little thing, thinking about it all the time, etc. But somehow a major trip is getting totally hidden behind the wedding day.

      • H

        We just got back from our honeymoon (YESTERDAY! OMG!) and let me assure you that said major trip was amazing and wonderful, and it’s part of the reason you will love your partner by the end, because you both will come up with great things to do during it, you will have a blast, and guess what?! YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THE WHOLE THING and you still get the amazing trip. So, yeah. Honeymoon. Do it.

  • Moe

    Still a nerd, waiting for open thread time!

    I really love my photos that I got back from my wedding a month ago. I keep looking at them and loving them. But now I have questions

    Does anyone know of a DIY site for creating my own quality albums?

    I need to find a way to share the photos taken in the photo booth area. It wasn’t one of those package deals where folks walked away with a strip of photos and a website to download them. I have the originals. Idon’t want to post them to FB.

    Speaking of FB, I don’t want to post my wedding photos on FB!! I’m normally a photobug on FB. Snapping pictures of everything I see,eat, and do on a daily basis. But this is different! It feels too personal to share!! I know I’m not the only one to feel this way. If you decided not to share photos on social networking, did you get any backlash?
    (I want to show them to family and to people who were at the wedding, but my former high school classmates? not so much)

    Oh, and I drafted a wedding grad post but I don’t know if I did right. How do I know if I did it correctly?

    • Brenda

      I’ve used Shutterfly before to do photobooks, it was fun and not too expensive, and it made a lovely book. In searching for printable invitation and photo stuff recently I’ve come across loads of other places. I’d also appreciate some recommendations for particular ones since I’m sure I’ll make my own album too after the wedding.

      • I can second (or third?) Shutterfly — I’ve made dozens of books there over the years, and the hardcovers are very durable and high-quality. I made a hardcover book for my friend’s wedding and think it turned out positively lovely, if I do say so myself. :) They’re also fully customizable with tons of layout options. I’d recommend splurging for the lay-flat pages — I just ordered my first book that opens completely flat, and it makes a huge difference. And that’s the end of my spiel!

      • Shutterfly is awesome. One of the best things, is you can invite others to see the book online, so it’s a great way to share!

    • meg

      I am IN LOVE with Artifact Uprising right now.

      • YES. I did little yearbook-ish photo albums for our friends for Christmas last year. They came out amazingly!

      • Brenda

        Must order beautiful Instagram book right now!

      • Copper

        ohmygod, that is PERFECT Meg! I hadn’t heard about them yet. I know two sets of parents who are getting those beautiful wood boxes for Christmas next year…

    • My photographer (Katie Jane Goulah, of http://www.katiejanephoto.com/) suggested Mpix, which is the consumer division of the site that she uses for album creation and prints. The prints from there come out beautifully; I haven’t created an album through them, but I figure it my photographer recommends it, it must be good!

      • Martha

        My engagement photographer suggested Mpix too! I just ordered from there last night :-) I will probably use them for our wedding pictures too, which are being taken by a family friend who I would deem a “semi-pro.”

      • I used Mpix to print my entire portfolio in college, and I recommend it to all my clients. Their prints are really high quality.

    • SamiSidewinder

      I did my thesis book (for architecture, so lots of photos and graphics) with Blurb. It has ways to simply upload or to do a more in depth design process and lots of different paper, cover style options. Enjoy!

      • Jen

        I used Blurb for our wedding album (one for us, one for my mother, one for his parents) and all the books came out great! I spent a long time setting up each of the pages and getting everything just right so it was really gratifying when it came in the mail and looked so good!!!

        Re: photos on FB…it took me a really long time to put some up there, but as soon as we got the pictures I did put a selection together on shutterfly and send these to the wedding party and any immediate family that had been HOUNDING me for photos…so that’s an option too!

      • Jessica

        I used Blurb for our wedding albums – I’ve been really happy with both the experience and the outcome.

    • Oh, and I drafted a wedding grad post but I don’t know if I did right. How do I know if I did it correctly?

      Does it feel like your wedding? Then you’re good.

      (I mean, I’m not an official APW employee or anything, but still…)

      • Shiri

        Does it feel honest? Do you feel finished looking at it? Does it tell a/your story? Have you shown your partner?

        Have you spent 20 minutes zipping the pictures and then not knowing where they go on your desktop when they’re zipped?

      • meg

        I don’t think there is a way to do it correctly, so I think that’s the wrong question. Did you write something that you want to print out and put in a box somewhere to remember your wedding by when the feelings have faded somewhat? That’s pretty much all that matters, not the day it’s front and center on the internet :) {Then, edit for the public as needed, but keep the original printed for that box.}

        • Moe


      • Moe

        aww thank you! I think it’s pretty damn awesome. you should read it!

    • Jennie

      We used shutterfly to do our wedding album, lots of options from small hard cover or paper back books as gifts to bigger with linen covers to keep for us.

      Also, an option for FB – you can make an album that you limit who can see it. I have past clients, colleagues, etc. I didn’t want to share our wedding photos with, but did want to share with closer friends & family – so I made an album and chose who could see it.

    • Jashshea

      I never posted mine to FB – we went away for a long honeymoon, then had holidays and got pictures back in January. I sent around a link to the people that I wanted to and left it at that. I post on FB a few times a week, so I’m not an avid user. But I just didn’t really want to share w/everyone.

    • Kara E

      We used mypublisher.com. Good software, higher quality paper and book options.

    • Rebecca

      I’m looking at Kolo for mine- I like the simplicity of their layouts, their paper quality, and that they’re expandable- but I’m definitely still looking for recommendations, too!

    • We’re working with Jane of A La Carte Albums and I love her and think she is well worth the expense of the design fees, etc.; I used blurb and snapfish for other albums and they were okay but not fabulous (fine for parents, but not what we wanted.) My sister used Picaboo and they do some really gorgeous albums, including flush mount style albums.

      • Jane is AMAZING. We used her for our wedding album and for client’s albums, and she is worth every cent. I’ve used shutterfly and snapfish for smaller projects, but we wanted something really well made for our wedding album, and her prices are totally reasonable.

      • Teresa

        Jane was fabulous. We purchased our album and two for our parents and they all came out so beautiful! She is also incredibly quick to respond to email questions, even though she and I were in different time zones. We had our proofs so quickly and any changes were made immediately. I can’t recommend her highly enough. She has loads of options and really worked with our budget. And, they came beautifully packaged! She rocks!

    • Mer

      I have used Photobook America several times and have been pleased with the books. I’m using them four our weeding guest book and wedding pictures when we are done. The covers aren’t as bright as they look on the computer screen so I just know to accommodate that now. They pages in the book are pretty spot on.

      I recommend checking out Photobook Girl, http://www.photobookgirl.com/. She tests out and reviews different photobook companies and provides links for coupons and other discount. One of her key phrases is “never buy a photobook full price.”

      Have fun making your book!

    • Mary

      We used Bridebox. I ordered parent and grandparent albums as Christmas presents, and they were amazing. I’m still working on our album…finished a draft last night! They’re a bit on the pricey side, but professional high quality albums. They have lots of layout options and you can also use their pre-formated styles.

    • Brytani

      RE: Backlash on keeping pictures off Facebook. I had a small amount of drama with this…and almost every other wedding-related personal decision too, honestly. I made plans to publicly ask people not to share photos of our wedding ceremony on the internet but wound up forgetting to on the wedding day. A lot of friends and family members posted photographs and my cousin, apparently, recorded our whole ceremony and posted that as well on his facebook profile. I just untagged myself and my husband so that, say, prospective employers couldn’t see my personal moments by looking me up. (I have a private profile as well so not so many problems with that.) Really I got the most backlash from family members who noticed my un-tagging and felt slighted somehow but once I explained, I think they understood.

      But…I think the combination of all my personal choices (having a small wedding, trying to control photos, and publicly defending my choice not to take my husband’s last name) gave me a little bit of a reputation for being…uppity? At family reunions I tend to get treated as “that tempermental, vegan, feminist, liberal that will soapbox if we don’t tread lightly.” Really, I’m just the only person like this in my family so they’re still trying to figure out how to handle me. The answer, of course, is to let me read a book while you talk politics and cook my own meals. Perfectly happy Brytani.

      • Megan

        I’m not married yet, so clearly I haven’t made my wedding album, but I’ve found iPhoto to be extremely easy for other photo album gifts that I’ve done for family.

    • I used Blurb to make our wedding book this spring (which was 3.5 years after the fact…oops), and I was really pleased. I would definitely go with them again if I made another book.

  • Not Sarah

    If you live in Seattle and are interested in joining us for an APW real-life happy hour in June, fill out this poll and email me at notsarah at comcast dot net.


    We had a great one in early May and we’d love to meet some more APW ladies!

    • Amy Hawkins

      St. Louis is doing similar meetups! We already selected the date of our next one (May 28) – email me if anyone wants the details or if you’d like to be invited to our next doodle poll! lightistoobright (gmail)

      How cool is it that so many cities are starting to do regular meetups? I am still stunned and thrilled at how many APWers are in St Louis, I really thought I must be the only one!

      • Martha

        There’s one in St. Louis!? Ahhhh, while I am on my honeymoon!

        • Amy Hawkins

          It will be our second one and we’re planning to keep doing them – email me and I’ll keep you in the loop!

      • Have one in June! I will be back in saint Louis for my first visit since moving to Germany!

    • There’s an NYC one happening June 14 at a TBD location. (But quite possibly the High Dive in Brooklyn.)

      Join NYC APW facebook or email me at studio(at)sarahhoppes(dot)come for details, if you’re interested in joining us.

    • Hannah Smith

      Any Portland Oregon ladies interested in doing this?

    • Hannah Smith

      Any Portland Oregon people interested in doing this?

      • Hannah Smith

        I didn’t want to exclude anyone with the term ‘ladies.’ Anyone would be welcome of course!

        • LMN

          Ooh, yes! I just requested to join the FB group. I’m Rachel IRL. Thanks for setting it up! :)

      • MM

        This Portland lady (or person) would be!

      • SamiSidewinder

        I’m in Bend, but with enough notice and on a weekend, I may be game! I don’t make it to Portland nearly enough. spohler(at)gmail(dot)com.

      • Meghan

        Me me me!! I’m in the ‘Couve but I’d happily join!

      • Elena

        Me too! I’m joining that FB group…

    • I might be up for doing one in the Houston area, though my schedule and transportation is totally unpredictable. Yay grad school and sharing 1 car.

      • Ashley

        Yay for Houston! I’d be down for a Houston get together as well. :)

  • I look forward to this every week and hoped this week I would have good news to share. Instead, I’m coming to all of you in a totally different mood. I’ve been unemployed for about a month and a half and had an interview at the beginning of the week. While it maybe wasn’t the job I set out looking for, it had potential, each day would be a little different, and it would pay the bills. Well, I got an email about an hour ago that I didn’t get the job. So now I’m back to square one. And while I love being able to spend more time cooking and making our apartment a home, I’m going stir-crazy and my savings won’t last forever. But I need to keep pushing forward. In the meantime though, anyone near Allentown, PA want to get a drink? :-)

    • I work in Philly… we could meet halfway!?

    • Laura C

      I’m sorry. Not near Allentown, but just wanted to send sympathy. I’ve been pretty lucky as far as avoiding unemployment, but I remember my periods of being in limbo that way and … not fun.

    • Slade

      Oh, that really sucks the big one. Unemployment is horribly stressful, and when you find out you didn’t get a job? It blows. My friend, I have been there. Ain’t nobody excited about it. [hugs]

      It helped me a lot to get out of the house whenever I could. Money’s always a little tight when you don’t know when you’ll get paid next, but there are plenty of free or supercheap things you can do to make yourself feel a little more connected. I was a big fan of walks in the park, free/donations-only museums, picnic lunches, evenings with friends (in somebody’s house? Free!), and Pandora music. Remember that you’re still worthwhile, and if you start feeling like you’re not, go do something in your community. Volunteer for an event or a committee or whatever speaks to you. (This is also networking, so heyyyy winning at the jobsearch.) (I’m weird, so my volunteering is at a local worker-collective-owned anarchist bookstore. Your mileage may vary, but clearly there is no wrong answer.)

      And good luck. Don’t forget that you’re awesome. And your apartment sounds adorable. :)

    • Amber

      Virtual hugs to you–I know exactly how you feel (sadly). I’ve been trying to find a job for the past three months (I’m in the middle of writing my dissertation and my grad student stipend ended unexpectedly at the end of Jan., and was pretty meager to begin with so we basically had nothing saved up and it’s getting incredibly tight financially around here.) I had two really promising interviews for a job that I had started to get excited about–not my dream job or a job in my field, but a job nonetheless–and the manager had really gotten my hopes up about it but I just found out last night that they are hiring the other person. :( So it’s back to the drawing board…

    • I am so sorry. Unemployment sucks! Keep your head up. At least you got an interview.

    • april

      Ugh. This pretty much describes my life last summer… Hang in there and try not to get discouraged!

    • Sandy

      I graduated from my master’s program this week and I’m in exactly the same position. We’ve got money covered for a while but like you said, it won’t last forever.

      I’m sorry for the interview. I know that since it was a job you didn’t really want it both feels worse and feels like you shouldn’t be upset about it.

      Good luck to you.

  • I quit my job yesterday! My last day is May 31st! I am terrified!

    However, I know we’ll be fine. I wish the knowing made me feel more settled, but I’m a high anxiety person and it just doesn’t happen that way. Baby steps though.

    • CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!

      Fist-bump from a fellow high anxiety creative who ditched the day job!!!!!!!!

    • jess


    • Joanna

      Yay congrats Lucy!

    • Breck

      APWers accomplishing my goals left and right! Last week: paying off student loans! This week: job-quitting!

      Congrats to you!

    • Londonsarah

      Well done!!! Just ignore the fear…!

  • Yay, it’s Friday! This week was super exciting because our Wordless Wedding and our Wedding Playlist posts were up on the site. I felt like an internet celebrity for about 3 seconds. The comments were all so lovely; they made my heart smile. So much APW love!

    In other news, it only took us seven months, but my husband and I finally sent our photo picks to Katie Jane so she could put our album together. Looking through all the pictures again made me so happy. It also made me wish that I had more (or any, really) excuses to wear my wedding gown. I miss it!

    Also, has anyone ever used http://www.eshakti.com/ ? It seems like a pretty great site for clothes, and you can put in your measurements and for $7.50, they’ll tailor your pieces for you! I was thinking about ordering a few things… anyone else used it? They also have a section for bridesmaids’ dresses on the site!

    Hope everyone has a great weekend!

    • californienne

      I’ve used it. I’m close to a standard size so I only changed the length (I’m tall). The result (a skirt) was really cute and fit really well. It’s certainly not a super high quality garment, but it’s a good deal for the price. (I feel the fabric is cheap but the construction is good). I also feel like, for the price, the seamstresses are probably underpaid Indian women. So, I have mixed feelings about using them again.

    • What about wedding accessories? I feel like there are many more excuses to pull those out. I had a fairly un wedding-y wedding dress that I thought I’d wear again, and wear all the time, but have yet to find anywhere remotely appropriate to pull it out. However, I wear the f*ck out of my wedding cardigan and wedding earings. Plus, I look less crazypants wearing either to go do laundry on a Wednesday than I would in my dress or veil.

      • So far, I haven’t had an excuse to wear my wedding jewelry again (pearls and diamonds from my Grandma, haha). They’re so expensive/dressy that I am afraid to wear them! The veil and the dress are definitely out, and I haven’t had an excuse to rewear my shoes either. My MOH and I think we should have a party where we wear our gowns and drink champagne on her sofa…

        • This sounds like the best party.

          Plus, cake, right?

          • Always. Or pie. OR BOTH. We live life on the edge.

        • Like that episode of friends where all the girls are in wedding gowns, and Rachel answers the door “I DOOOOOOOOO”!

        • In high school a friend through a party where we all wore prom/formal dresses again and it was super fun. I’d totally go to a wedding dress party!

    • LMN

      I ordered a dress through eShakti last summer in hopes of wearing it to my brother’s wedding and had to return it. I’m not a standard size, so I sent in all my measurements, and the resulting dress didn’t fit at all. It would have needed to be completely altered for me to wear it, and for $80 (which was supposed to include tailoring), it wasn’t worth it for me.

    • eShakti dresses shrink. Which I discovered when I put my wife’s bridesmaid dress in the dryer two days before the wedding. I had a separate dress shrink in the dryer that then had a super awkward pucker at the hemline. That said, I tend to like their clothes and they have constant sales. Just be generous with your measurements.

    • Michelle

      I only know about dresses, not jewelry. I think their dresses are gorgeous online and I was really excited to try it! I ordered 2 dresses and was not pleased in real life, unfortunately. Maybe I’m just really bad at taking my own measurements? I agree with Californienne that the material is not too great. The fit was strange on me and then I was pretty bummed that I ended up paying so much in shipping and return shipping ($27.85! ouch!). In retrospect I probably should have sold them to a consignment store instead of paying for all that shipping. Hope you have better luck!

    • Hannah Smith

      I had a friend recommend it and was considering it for bridesmaid dresses. She said it can take a little bit of time to get your order, so you might want to make sure you aren’t ordering something for an event in the near future.

    • Meghan

      I’m fixing to order a dress or two off eShakti – not wedding stuff, just summer dresses. As a tall girl, I’m excited at the prospect of the customizing! I had a coworker who is petite and plus-sized who highly recommends them.

      FYI, they’ve got a 40% sale running until 5/19!

    • Sandy

      I love eshakti. Like other commentors have said, the fabric is not that high end, at least for most of their dresses. But I bought a dandelion wrap dress that I LOVE! It is a cotton knit and I had my husband measure me. It fits well and looks beautiful.

      I’ve always loved modcloth but being plus sized I couldn’t ever buy anything from there. eshakti was like a blessing. 50s style dresses for super cheap available in my size.

      Also, if you order from the regular website (not clearance) and don’t like it, they give you 10% credit when you return. So you get the price you paid, plus 10%, to spend on something else. But I haven’t had to send anything back.

  • LMN

    Hello, all…I’ve got a question for the APW community in San Francisco (whether you live there or love to visit). We’re road tripping down the West Coast from Portland to SF for our honeymoon. We’ve never been to SF before, and we’re so excited! We’ll be there about 5 days at the end of June, beginning of July.

    What would you do for 5 days in SF? Should we stay in a different area each night so we can walk around each day? Or will we pretty much need to drive everywhere anyway, so we might as well stay in just one spot?

    Would appreciate suggestions of reasonable hotels ($100ish nightly would be awesome) in fun neighborhoods & places to go in those neighborhoods. We love good food of the vegetarian variety, bakeries, bookstores, open air markets, things that sparkle, gardens, parks, museums (of art, of mustaches, of whatever), and science & technology stuff.

    If we could spend the whole time with the Myth Busters, we totally would. Since that geek fantasy may not magically come true, I’m hoping y’all can help me formulate a back-up plan. Thanks! I love these open threads. :)

    • As a follow-up to this question, my husband and I are thinking of taking of trip to the West Coast in August to drive the PCH. Our plan is to fly into San Francisco, do a day or two in Napa, and then head back to San Francisco and down the coast. What do we absolutely have to do while we’re there? We’ll have a week to travel, and our must-do’s thus far are Napa Valley, the Monterey Aquarium, and hopefully, the San Diego zoo if we have time at the end of the trip. What else do we need to do!?

      • SamiSidewinder

        Down the coast, I suggest you stop in Cambria. It’s a lovely beach town full of adorable shops filled with local artists wares. Make sure you stop at Lynn’s and get some olalaberry pie filling and then cover your bodies in it and lick it off… Or just put it on ice cream, your choice ;)

        Santa Barbara is also really great, Carpenteria too. And you can drive on the beach, camp and have a bonfire there! Oh and Santa Cruz too!

        In the wine country, some of the off the beaten path spots are really awesome. Alexander Valley, Sonoma, St. Helena.

        In SF, don’t try to drive unless you are leaving the city. Though it’s not the most awesome transit system, it’s workable and better than spending half your vacation time looking for parking or spending half your budget on garages. Go to the park, enjoy the Japanese Tea garden (and see if you can get in for a tea service), go to the de Young and the California Academy of Sciences (designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Renzo Piano, respectively). Go to China town, North Beach (Italian part of town, right next to China Town). The MOMA is great too. As is the Legion of Honor, on top of a hill overlooking the Pacific. The Haight is fun for a stroll, stop in Amoebae Music and get some food or a beer at Magnolia gastropub. Alamo Square is where you will find the houses from Full House (remember those?!) called the Painted Ladies and are really nice examples of the Victorian houses SF is famous for. Walk to the top of Russian Hill and climb the Coit Tower (or just enjoy the view from the base). Then go to Ghirardelli Square and reward your hill climb with a hot fudge sundae. The High Dive on the Embarcadero has great Bloody Mary’s.

        If you cross the bridge over to Marin (where the weather is always warmer. Also, my stomping grounds), Sausalito is beautiful and about as far as most tourists make it, but everything will be over priced. The Spinnaker has a great view and is a good place to get a drink and a bite (the bar food is much cheaper). Tiburon has a cute little downtown and make sure you stop on the deck at Sam’s (also from there you can catch a ferry back to the city). If you want to make a trip much deeper into Marin, my heart will always be in Fairfax, the last hippie holdout in yuppie Marin. But San Anselmo is also lovely.

        Jeez word vomit…

        • SamiSidewinder

          Oh and Alcatraz! How did I miss that one!? It’s a really great audio tour with recordings from inmates and guards and such. It’s fascinating. And it fills FAST esp in the summer. So book it now.

        • We LOVE Cambria. That’s where we had our post-bar exam honeymoon!

      • AIH

        While in San Diego spend a day on Coronado and another around Point Loma/OB.

    • Annoymous

      Do you guys want to JUST stay in San Francisco? San Francisco is a pretty compact city, so it’s easy to get around if you stay in one hotel. However, there are a lot of places to visit near San Francisco that are 1.5 hours away, like Carmel/Big Sur or Sonoma or Napa that would make sense to stay in a hotel in that city.

      • LMN

        Yes, I think we’d like to stay in SF for the whole time. We really enjoy exploring a city by foot and finding the fun weird little things you miss if you’re trapped in a car (and it sounds like we’re going to want to miss out on the traffic described below). Plus, we’ll be doing plenty of scenic driving for the rest of the trip, so it would be nice to take a driving break for those 5 days. Where in SF would be a good central place to stay?

        • Eille

          Have an amazing trip! Here are some recommendations based on the things you said you’re interested in doing:

          -For a delicious vegan meal in a great location, check out Gracias Madre in the Mission.
          -For a lower-key Mexican meal, get a burrito at Papalote, also in the Mission (try the salsa).
          -There are strong opinions on the best ice cream in SF. For my 2 cents, check out Secret Breakfast ice cream (bourbon and cornflakes) at Humphry Solcombe (24th and Harrison in the Mission)
          -Wait in an absurdly long line for a morning bun at Tartine in the Mission
          -Perilla in the Inner Sunset has amazing vegetarian pho; it feels like your whole body is getting a giant hug! Head there before going to Golden Gate Park a block away
          -For a splurge, try a Turkish coffee with mint at Philz, an SF chain that makes each cup one-by-one

          -Go to Golden Gate Park where you can see buffalo, rose gardens, a model yacht club, and 2 wonderful museums – the de Young art museum and Cal Academy of Sciences. The Girl with the Pearl Earring may still be at the de Young
          -Dolores Park in the Mission has people watching that could rival any place
          -SF Moma often has fantastic exhibits
          -The Exploratorium is a really fun interactive science museum. Haven’t been to the new location yet, but the old museum was really great
          -Go on a hike while still in the city. Head far west to Land’s End, where you can see the Golden Gate Bridge.
          -Also on the western side of the city, go to the beach (just to look, will be cold), and check out Outerlands, a delicious brunch spot, and the General Store, a really beautiful shop
          -Green Apple books in the Haight is a really nice bookshop. You could go to Alembic or Marigold afterward for a fun dinner
          -Go to an improv show at BATS in Fort Mason

          There’s probably a lot more, but hopefully that helps. Seconding others – you can just stay in one spot the whole time and get around on foot and by MUNI/BART; SF is very walkable, and it’s such a nice way to see the city. It tends to be chilly in SF in June/July, so definitely bring pants and sweaters. Have a great time!

      • Casey

        For Napa Valley, I recommend checking out St. Helena – it’s a bit more laid back than Napa which I really like. I highly recommend Frog’s Leap winery (great wine, gorgeous property with acres of gardens) and Farmstead Restaurant if you want a little splurge.

        For LMN, you guys should check out the Exploratorium in San Francisco – they just moved into a new space on the waterfront and have all kinds of science-y exhibits that are really cool (yes, even for adults)!

        • SamiSidewinder

          Oh I totally second the Exploratorium!! I used to try to find excuses to take the kids I babysat there when I was younger. It’s AWESOME.

        • Jessica

          I LOVE Frog’s Leap – they have the best tasting/tour!

        • Sara

          I second Farmstead for a splurge. Also Goose & Gander for cocktails (we enjoyed the food too) and French Blue for brunch.

          My favorite wineries offer more of the tour + seated tasting experience which is 1) not free (though the tasting fee always goes towards a purchase) and 2) not for everyone if you’re not that into wine or new to it and just want to get your feet wet. A day of tours and tastings of this type can be exhausting if it’s not what you want.

          Terra Valentine and Smith-Madrone (both up on Spring Mountain) offer amazing views, but totally different experiences. Terra is quirky, but refined, Smith-Madrone is run by brothers who could be your hippie uncles. At Terra, you taste in the library around a huge carved wood table with a printed order form. At Smith-Madrone, Charlie will wash out glasses just for you and you’ll stand in the old barn that doubles as their tank storage and office or walk up to the clearing for the view. I LOVE both of these places and they make an excellent pairing for an afternoon of tasting when you want to get above the heat of the valley floor.

        • Audrey

          Definitely a second for St. Helena and the places north of Napa.

          Anyone who goes to St. Helena MUST visit Woodhouse Chocolate – pricy and fancy and tasty chocolate laid out under glass like fine jewelry.

    • californienne

      Agreed that if you’re staying in SF the whole time, one hotel is fine (the city is only 7miles by 7 miles). You won’t want to drive. Parking is awful. Get a public transport pass for the duration of your stay.

      Check out the Mission for fun shopping, great food, and hipsters.
      Walk along the embarcadero at night and check out the new lights on the bay bridge.
      Go the the Ferry Building Farmer’s market on Saturday.
      Pacific Heights/Russian Hill/Sea Cliff are great for the big beautiful homes.
      Make time for Golden Gate Park, the windmills, the buffalo, the museums.

      SO much to do!

      • LMN

        Awesome! Thank you! I’m taking notes. :)

      • Breck

        Second the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market (and the regular vendors, too–love that place).

        Also, I haven’t been, but I’ve heard it’s awesome: the Academy of Sciences has this thing called NightLife (http://www.calacademy.org/events/nightlife/) every Thursday night where you go in the evening and can check out different exhibits while they host a cocktail hour IN THE MUSEUM.

        • p.

          One suggestion (as a long-time Ferry Building farmers market shopper): come to the market early. Ideally, before 10am. The market gets really crowded later in the day, especially in the summer, to the point where you can’t really move. Also it’s a plastic-bag-free market so expect to pay for bags (usually 10-25 cents) or bring your own.

          I recommend going to Primavera (a food stand in the back) for what I believe is some of the best Mexican food in the city.

    • Laura C

      We recently went to San Francisco/Sonoma, and in San Francisco we stayed at the Hotel Carlton, which is a Joie de Vivre hotel and was offbeat, nice, and reasonably priced. More than $100/night, but not a lot more, at least in March when we went. Don’t know how much season affects it. And they had a free wine happy hour where one of the desk staff put on tie dye and played synth-pop and it was kind of hilarious.

      I’d also recommend checking out LivingSocial Escapes. Some of their deals aren’t huge discounts, but some are. We got an amazing bed and breakfast deal in Sonoma (Healdsburg specifically) and I remember seeing a lot of other possibilities when I was researching.

    • Oh we were just in San Francisco, we stayed there 7 days, but 5 actual days in San Francisco because we went on a mini-road trip to Yosemite, Carmel, Monterey, Pescadero, Pigeon Point, SantaCruz during 2 of the 7 days.

      I actually wrote a whole post on our walking routes each day (we saw most of the city). I have also been writing every day on our experiences, and I still have some of my impressions coming up.

      We stayed in an apartment in the Mission (we found it through AirBNB, highly recommended). * We took the BART to centric locations every day, then walked and walked and walked, and when we were too tired we just took a Muni bus back. A bus ride is only 2 USD per person no matter how far you go. You can totally walk all over the city, you just need good shoes.

      *If you like email me for questions (not that I am an expert) : poppiesandicecream@gmail.com

      If you love books don’t miss Green Apple Books and if you are into cooking Omnivore books is just paradise.

      The Farmer’s market is at the Ferry building on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I loved the Embarcadero area, and as touristy as it is, the sea lions in Pier 39.

      I fell in love with the Rainbow Grocery, a worker owned cooperative that is paradise if you have vegetarian tendencies, you will find everything there ( I came back with some maca powder that I could not find over here).

      I also absolutely loved the Miette bakery, it is so cute! (And I was drooling and jumping up and down as I soon realized it was the place where these wedding graduates took their beautiful photos). That photoshoot is just magic (colors! bakery!) and when I saw it and recognized the place I was just so happy.

    • Martha

      We are spending part of our honeymoon in SF as well! And we’ve also never been . . . we’ll be there the last week of May, so I’ll check back in with a full report! Definitely start making restaurant reservations NOW! Almost every local place we’ve checked used OpenTable to do them online. Super easy and super necessary in such a foodie town!

      • LMN

        I will definitely look into restaurant reservations now. I hadn’t even thought of needing to do that so far in advance…great advice. Thank you. Have tons of fun on your trip!

    • rys

      Go to Greens for an amazing veggie meal!

      • Jessica

        Or Herbivore – is that place still around?

    • Hannah Smith

      In terms of accommodations, definitely check out AirBnb. You should be able to find something great in the $100 range.

      • Amy

        Yup, AirBnb for the win in SF. And definitely don’t drive around- try to get an airbnb with a parking spot and leave your car. The transit is super easy to use. I love the Mission, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Ferry Building, the sea lions (I don’t care if they’re cheesy), Mission Dolores Park, Noe Valley neighborhood.

        If you’re going to use your car, go up to Marin County and Sausalito for a day. It’s nice.

        • LMN

          Thanks to everyone for reminding me about AirBnb. I was getting pretty depressed looking at hotel prices ($200+ for a tiny place with terrible reviews?) and then I got cheerful again looking at AirBnB listings ($150 for a whole apartment that is clean, cheerful & quiet?). Hooray for crowd-sourced honeymoon brainstorming! You all are the best!

    • Sara

      I second the recommendation that you stay in one place for all five nights. It’s an extremely walkable city despite the hills. Plus there’s always a cab or Uber to get home at the end of your day/evening.

      SFMOMA will be closed by then, otherwise I’d strongly recommend it. The California Academy of Sciences is expensive, but fantastic. The deYoung and the Botanical Garden are very much nearby and could be a great day in Golden Gate Park. For a totally different “museum” experience, check out Pier 24, which is only open during the week by appointment (but don’t let that intimidate you–their photography installations are worth the effort).

      I still love old stand-bys like Bourbon and Branch (and their many off-shoots) and Bin 38 for drinks. AQ is one of the best meals I’ve had in the last two years. The Chocolate Lab probably won’t be convenient for you, but is great for brunch or lunch or just dessert. And if you’re walking around Hayes Valley (fun people watching and little shops), Two Sisters is a great stop for cocktail hour or their incredibly generous cheese plate.

      Walk the Golden Gate Bridge! If you’re up for it, start at Fort Point (interesting 19th-century fort right below the GGB) and walk all the way across and down to Sausolito, then have a beer, then take the Ferry back. I have a bunch of Napa recommendations too, but I’ll save them for another comment as this is getting out of hand.

    • Beth

      If you do end up with a car, might I recommend a half-day trip to Berkeley/Oakland? Lots going on on this side of the bay, too! I love taking out of town guests for a hike up in the Oakland hills/Tilden RP. Lovely redwood forests and the best view of San Francisco and the rest of the bay.

      If you haven’t already, I would recommend checking out airbnb for places to stay.

      Besides what’s already been mentioned, I’d recommend Land’s End and Fort Point for great Golden Gate Bridge views. Doing the walk across the bridge is worthwhile assuming it doesn’t get socked in with fog (although that’s kind of part of the experience, too!). If you want really good Chinese food, avoid the restaurants in Chinatown (just my experience) and go out to the outer Richmond, not too far from Golden Gate Park.

    • The mission for Mexican food. Taqueria Vallarta is awesome try elote… It sounds gross but tis amazing. The food truck court near Potrero hill is always fun. If you want a really expensive, but superb meal try range. I really hate fisherman’s wharf, but I guess some people like it. I also love walking the hills in the job hill area, chilling at Delores park and zeitgeist .

    • Emily

      I’d second many of the comments about what to see, and to not drive in the city, but make sure you BRING WARM CLOTHES. Like possibly a light down jacket/sweater, fleece, hat, and scarf for nighttime. It’s hard to underestimate how freezing SF feels when you’re coming from summer.

      • LMN

        Thanks, Emily! I’m looking forward to the chilly nights. FH & I are not hot weather people, so climate is one of the reasons we picked SF for a destination. As I sweat through my dress fittings–we’re having a freakishly warm spring–I keep thinking about how I get to go buy new hoodies for our honeymoon rather than bikinis, and that makes me happy. :D

    • A

      As a heads up, the pride weekend is June 29th-30th. That could explain some of your cost of hotel woes, and you should be aware that various events can disrupt some of the above ground muni services.

      Pride is AWESOME, but a bit chaotic. I grew up in the area, and taking BART into the city for the parade was always fun, but I wouldn’t have wanted to stay anywhere near the center of the action! So keep that in mind as you’re looking for places.

  • This past week was full of awesome because WE SHOT OUR FIRST APW WEDDING on Friday, and it was absolute magic!

  • Hi! I have a fairly specific question for the APW community. My fiance and I are interested in Brent and Jess’ gorgeous fingerprint wedding bands, but before we buy them, we’d really like to see/feel what these look like in person. Only problem: they’re in Maine, we’re in the Bay Area. Any chance there are happy Brent and Jess ring wearers in the Bay Area who would want to meet up and talk about rings? We have over a year til our wedding day but it would be fun to meet other APW-ers in our area, too!

    • Ellen

      I don’t have a Brent and Jess ring but I DO live the town over from them in Maine and had the chance to check out their rings in person when they had a retail storefront for a while.

      Their rings are GORGEOUS in person. I mean seriously spectacular. I am so in love with them. I wish that somehow I could convince my guy that he needs to have my fingerprint on the inside of his ring for all of eternity, but he isn’t nearly as into it as me. Curses. I am probably going to get something fantastic from them later on in my life though, that is how much I love their stuff.

      • Oh, great! Thanks for your feedback! I’m sure they are amazing and I have no doubt we’ll love them. :)

    • Jessica B

      I’m in MN so I can’t really make it to the Bay area to show off my ring, but I can tell you that it is high quality, pretty quick service, and amazingly special. They are really good about communication, and will work with you no matter what size/metal you want.

    • KM

      I’m not any closer to you (as I live in NYC) but my wife and I ordered Brent & Jess rings and have been really happy with them. My wife works internationally in emergency conflicts so was a little nervous about how well the silver ring would hold up but she has been really pleased – it has not scratched or dented like some soft silver can.

      • Oh! That’s great news. Normally I wouldn’t worry about ordering things online, but we want to be sure that these rings last f-o-r-e-v-e-r! :) So glad to hear you guys in MN and NY are loving them!

  • Margi

    My twin brother, and only sibling, is getting married in August. I want to get him and his fiancee a special gift and not just something off the registry. However, I don’t know them well enough as a couple to get them a specific gift that would work…does anyone have any ideas?

    • I might be biased, but I love my Le Creuset dutch oven, you can even bake bread in them. And those really last for life. They will think of you every time they use it.

      But I guess, it’s not personal enough. Maybe you could add an album? Something with details that only you could make…

      • Anna

        I made my brother a photo album / scrapbook kit to be filled in during their first year of marriage. It had some scrapbooking decoration things, but also some gift cards for date ideas (stubhub, movies, favorite restaurants). It felt personal, but didn’t require too much artistry on my part. I hope they do fill it in! (It made me want to make one also for my husband and me!)

    • Row

      I would say get something big off the registry. Go in on it with a family member if you need to. If you hadn’t said “I don’t know them well enough as a couple” I’d encourage going off registry but it is hard if you don’t know what they like. Art would be fantastic, but what if they hate it? Same goes for appliances/other home goods. What you don’t want is for them to feel like they need to keep it b/c you bought it for them but think “Ugh, why?” every time they see it.

      I put a few big ticket items on my registry and am humbled and awed that someone got them for me every time I look at them. I also always go in with friends/family members on other people’s weddings/showers so I can get something bigger off the list.

    • LMN

      Depending on your brother’s interests, I think that something off the registry could work as a special gift. My only brother got married last summer. My FH and I got him and his wife a KitchenAid stand mixer, and he loves it it. He and I both adore baking, so getting that gift for him felt very special to me. Is there anything on your brother’s registry that reminds you of a shared interest or a specific aspect of growing up together? Even an inside joke can make for a good gift.

      • Depending on how much they put on their registry, you might be able to find something really meaningful on there. We registered from some somewhat standard but totally useful kitchen things, because we cook all the time. It’s nice to have little reminders from the people you love that you use every day. We also registered for an art print that my sister ended up getting us, and it looks beautiful in our apartment and is a sweet reminder of her every time we see it.

        You know your brother well though, so if there’s nothing on their registry that feels personal, then you could get them an experience they’d enjoy together, or something you make yourself. Another option is something that has significance in your family. I didn’t do it for our wedding, but at some point I want to make a shutterfly book of family photos from both families, because all the albums are in our hometowns where we never see them. I also wanted to round up family recipes and put them in a book, because we have a huge swatch of culinary cultures in our two families. Those are kind of big projects that ended up not happening because they are a LOT of work, but if someone had just done that for me, I would have been over the moon.

    • Ellen

      Get something food/cooking related off the registry for them, and then add to it with something special. For instance- get them the wine glasses, as well as a bottle of wine that has special significance. Get them the KitchenAid mixer, and give them your super-secret recipe for the scones that you ate all the time as a kid.

      I am sure this could work with something non-cooking related as well, but I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head. In any case, the math goes: Registry + Special Thing = Super Special Thing. :)

    • Shiri

      I agree with the others that something major off the registry is good, but I also think that if you don’t want it to be special because it’s expensive, can you do anything that will create memories? Whether it’s JetBlue vouchers or a weekend away somewhere, or tickets to anything you know of that they like to do together (even eat/drink, a sport, anything)? Since you probably know him well, even if you don’t know them together well, is there something you could get them related to him or to your joint childhood that you could bring her in on through a present?

      • Laura Lee

        I’m chiming in in favor of the registry. I know it’s not the same for everyone, but when FH and I put together our registry, everything we added was stuff we really need/want. We got a good chunk of gifts at our engagement party and my bridal shower that weren’t on the registry. A few were really thoughtful and special, but there were other things that I was just like “we registered for a reason, so that if you want to buy us a gift you can get us something we want!” My birthday is in 2 weeks and family keeps asking what I want and I’m telling everyone “just buy stuff from the registry, that is the stuff that I want and need.” The few off the registry gifts that were really special were either handmade or family heirlooms.

        • Katy

          I totally agree that I made my registry for a reason, and am actually a bit apprehensive about gifts bought off the registry. Why not get them something from the registry, and then write a heartfelt letter/card to go along with it? Then they will know how much you care, how much thought you put into it, and still get something they want and need?

    • Kara E

      You can also -supplement- something from the registry with something personal. Heck, one of my brothers gave us a blanket from lydali.com (a fair trade site one of his friends runs). I never would have picked it, but it’s awesome.

    • Hannah Smith

      Personally, I’m always a fan of fancy booze as a gift. If they drink, a nice bottle of their preferred beverage will probably be very appreciated.

    • emma

      For my sister’s shower the 3 bridesmaids went in on a nice gift certificate for a spa & restaurant where they were honeymooning in napa. They LOVED it! Esp my sister’s husband who had never had a massage. It gave them access to the location all day and allowed them to pick the service they’d prefer. It was a nice way to say, relax, enjoy your married selves!

    • Everyone here has great idea, especially the registry + supplemental route.

      A couple suggestions: If they travel (or plan to) a map on a corkboard + pins, or like Kara E suggested, a nice blanket from a favorite store (blankets are always useful! Netflix nights! Guests staying over! Forts!)

      What makes a gift special is the thought- so, going with the blanket example, include a note about why you picked that particular store. Tell them about why you shopped where you did or how you imagine them using it in the future (I hope when you wrap up in this throw, the warmth of each other will remind of the warmth in your hearts on your wedding day. . .). Or just a nice note with the gift saying you look forward to getting to know them better throughout their marital journey, etc. etc.

    • Casey

      I got my brother and only sibling a nice Weber gas grill. It was about $900. It was not on their registry but I found out that their grill had broken a couple of months before the wedding. They’ve been doing a lot of entertaining and LOVE the grill! It also enables my brother to do the meal cooking. His wife is a great cook but I figured this would give her a break from doing all the cooking.
      I think as long as you know they’re not vegetarian, a high-end grill is a spectacular gift.
      However I notice you say “special” and not necessarily “expensive”, so this may not work for everyone…

      • alyssa

        just want to jump in and say that even if the couple is vegetarian, having a really nice grill is still spectacular. my fiance and i are vegetarians and nothing is more delicious than grilled corn on the cob with grilled homemade veggie burgers and grilled burger buns and onion rings and and and and… lord, i’m salivating at the mere thought of summer.

        anyway, grills are great for everyone, imo!

    • Jenny

      So my aunt gave me a recipe from my dad’s mom (who died before I was born), it was a copy of the recipe card that she wrote, my mom gave me a recipe card that her mother wrote. We plan to get two from his grandmothers and frame them and add them to our kitchen. Even if you can’t get something like that, maybe a recipe from when you were growing up on a nice recipe card and then a kitchen item off the recipe (bonus if it can be used for the recipe). It’s thoughtful and useful.

  • This week… we had an intake appointment at the hospital where they do IVF. They are pioneers (as in the first to do this in the country I am). We are happy and scared at the same time, but hopeful, we had samples taken and bloodwork done on Monday (all well) and an appointment for next week again.

    I read at Slate a couple of articles by Nicholas Day on parental ethnotheories, that is, how parenting differs among countries, which patterns prevail, what each culture “values” and I find the subject very interesting.

    I met friends, one who’s moving abroad, finally (it took a while to organize) and I went to an event on gender violence (different aspects) and how to prevent it.

    And, I am looking forward to the long weekend (Monday is a holiday).

    • Paranoid Libra

      Good luck with your IVF!

      • Thanks so much :) Crossing our fingers :)

    • Best of luck! :) :)

    • Fingers crossed for you!

      I read those same articles this week and they had my brain spinning. It’s interesting how much of what we think of as our own uniqueness is really coming from our collective, cultural mind and that conditioning.

  • Lauren

    Ooh ooh! Happy Hour Time!

    So me and some other Triangle Area APWers are planning on doing a meetup this weekend. Super short notice, I’m sorry! But the current plan is sometime this upcoming Sunday evening near Southpoint Mall, which seems to be a good, central meeting space.

    Here’s a Doodle – if you can’t make it this weekend, put down a date that you can! http://doodle.com/rpxct8hn2g72agde

    Also email me: lauren dot ramsdell at gmail dot com for additional details. Facebook Group forthcoming, as well.

    • LILY

      Yay! I’m so excited…I definitely haven’t been checking back all day long to see when the thread would be posted…that would have been ridiculous.

      • Lauren

        … me either… no….

      • That’s what I’ve been doing! Of course it posts while I’m in a meeting! But yay for Triangle Area APWs!

    • Triangle FOREVER. If people are in downtown Durham tonight come out to Third Friday and see ALL THE ART.

      I’ll be at a wedding this weekend, so have fun ladies.

      • Catherine

        Wait Im jealous of all of you!! I live in LA now but am from NC (New Bern if you know where that is!) and reading all of you being in the traingle area is making me nostalgic!!

  • C

    I need a little planning advice: I’m really on the fence about having a sweetheart table. It might be good to avoid having to decide who’s table we’d sit at (divorced parents make things complicated, our whole wedding party has significant others we want to seat them with so we wont all fit at one table if we opted to sit with them rather than our parents etc) and I’ve heard it might be nice to have a little alone time and a chance to eat. But I’m worried that I might feel like we’re “on show” if everyone else is at round tables and we’re just sitting the two of us alone. I’m not particularly introverted but I am still a little concerned about feeling like the center of attention for the entire day.

    Does anyone have any advice?

    • We had a sweetheart table, but the way we our room was set up was that half of the tables were one side of the dance floor and half were on their other. We put our sweetheart table in the first row of tables facing the dance floor, so our backs were to some people, but we felt less like we were on display. Everyone could still see us, and we could be a part of everything, but we didn’t have to navigate the muddy waters of divorced parents, head tables, and who knows what else. I’m a HUGE introvert, and I thought it was a nice compromise.

    • jess

      I went to a wedding last year that had a sweetheart table, but it wasn’t set apart or away from the other tables. Just the same distance that any two other tables were set apart. So it was just like they happened to be sitting at the next table over, and that table just happened to be adorable and tiny.

    • Row

      We didn’t do a sweetheart table but sat with our “strays.” The people who were coming who didn’t necessarily know anyone else. We figured we would have a ton of time with our families and wedding party (and we did) and wouldn’t necessarily spend much time with these particular friends. It was a bit unusual but worked great for us. Our friends felt honored and all seemed to hit it off with each other.

      • Margi

        I love this idea! I’ve been to a wedding as a stray and it would have been so special to sit with the bride and groom!

    • Sarah

      We plan on having a sweetheart table and putting a few extra chairs at our tables (it’s a small wedding) so we can make the rounds and sit at different tables. It just worked out for the numbers since we don’t have attendants there’s no need to have anyone else at our table.

    • Slade

      I went to a friend’s wedding that had no seating plan, and the couple just kind of sat wherever, roughly in the middle of the room. (They planned the whole wedding in a month, and didn’t have time for seating plans.) The open seating worked really well for them, and let guests choose whether to sit with new people or people they knew or with that cute cousin from the bride’s side. It sounds like you’re working with a seating plan, so I don’t know how helpful this is for you, but nobody seemed to care where the couple sat, as long as they could come over and congratulate them.

    • Amy

      I also didn’t want to feel like the center of attention, especially over dinner. We put our families at different tables, and sat with our entire wedding party and their dates/so. So the way this worked was everyone sat at round tables and we had a big head table with people sitting on both sides. It fit the 14 or so of us with room to spare. Plus, it didn’t feel like I was eating “on display” because I had friends still all around me, including across from me.

    • Everyone will be too busy eating to look at you. I don’t think I’ve ever sat a reception and stared at the bride and groom while I had a drink/plate in front of me, unless a specific thing was going on.

  • jess

    Yesterday marked one year until our wedding. Which doesn’t even seem like a thing, cause that’s soooooo far away. Why should anyone care that it is a year away. But DUDE. It’s a year away!

    So, that’s where I’m at. :)

    • Catherine B

      Happy -1 anniversary! Hope you celebrated :)

      • jess

        We did! Ramen date where we had our first Valentine’s Day together.

        So -1 AND Ramen? Best ever.

    • Ellen

      I’m fully planning to celebrate our -1 anniversary in July. Maybe I should tell my fiance so he is not surprised!

      • Sara

        Definitely celebrate it! We had ice cream cake for our -1 :)

    • KEA1

      happy “inverse-ary,” as I described it once to friends of mine on theirs. %)

  • It’s been a tough week only exacerbated by the PMS hormones rushing through my blood stream, reminding me that I’m not pregnant AND get to cry constantly at work.

    But then my husband listened to me and gave me some great advice. He spent the last two days sending me sweet text messages to keep me laughing and less stressed. I’m learning or I guess believing more and more lately that this is what husbands do. This is just a start to how awesome life can be with someone who is a true partner. I couldn’t be more blown away nor feel more lucky.

  • We are 8 days away. I get married in just – and I do mean just – over a week. A week ago I was fist-bumping folks here, and now I have to pay for everything which is scary but okay, and I get to get married IN ONE WEEK.

    Am I allowed to be excited and anxious right now?

    • As my MOH said to me when I asked her this, “You’re getting married in like, a minute. I think you’re allowed to feel however you want.”

      But yes, anxious and excited? Totally normal.

      I hope that you have a lovely 8 days before your wedding. Hope to see a wedding grad post! Congrats!! :)

    • Shiri

      Yes, totally :) I think they’re actually really similar feelings. Congrats and yay, so close! Enjoy what you can of this week!

    • I’m pretty sure you’re allowed to be however the hell you want right now.

      It’s EXCITING! AND ALSO SCARY! And then exciting again! And 8 million other things that are totally different for everyone probably.

      Congrats! You’re getting married!

      • You guys are awesome. thsi planning process has been hard, y’all. It was good thing followed by bad thing followed by cat needing surgery followed by one month of three week-long business trips by Allen (so, 3/4 of the past month my fiance has not been here), followed by OMG WE ARE GETTING MARRIED!!

        It’s been seven years (as of Tuesday) since we started dating. I am just so excited to be able to publicly declare that he is mine and I am his and we are each other’s now and forever..

    • Martha

      I don’t know how long you’ve been planning Deva, but I can’t even believe the past 16 months are gone. Just gone! I remember thinking “OMG WE’RE GOING TO BE ENGAGED FOREVER, HOW WILL I EVER HANDLE THE WAIT?” But holy crap, it’s gone in the blink of an eye!

      Don’t know if you’ll be cruising the blog next week or not, but good luck to you!!!!! Have a wonderful, wonderful day!

      • I will be for sure – probably from my sweet sweet sanctuary before bed (IE: bedroom!). I’ve been planning for 14.5 months. We got engaged on March 10th last year (really, March 3rd but he wanted to get me a ring before we were officially engaged). I will look for you. I hope your wedding goes very well!! If you’re not cruising the blog next week I will be thinking of you while toasting with mimosas on OUR wedding day :-)!!!!

        • Martha

          I’ll be cruising the blog for sure – I’m working until Wednesday and then rushing halfway across the country for the wedding!

          Also – anxious is the name of the game! J is leaving tomorrow to head home (his job is far more flexible and he hasn’t been home since Christmas) so then I will be left to my own devices. I plan on vegging out, pouring over my itinerary, and watching any movie-related wedding I can get my hands on.

          • Sweet! I will see you at happy hour next week then, but probably after dinnertime :-)

          • Get it, girl!!

            Also: The Wedding Date is one of my faves :-)

    • Paranoid Libra

      You are doing something BIG and BIG things are scary and exciting at the same time which is why they are such a BIG thing. Committing the rest of your life to someone is BIG just like new parenthood is BIG or quitting your job to work for yourself is BIG. They are BIG things because it’s not a simple thing like what are you eating for dinner tonight (ok somenights actually making that decision feels big, but you know in the grand scheme of things it isn’t)

      Fist bumps to next week for you!

      • I love this so much. It is a BIG thing. and I am exctied.

  • Paige

    We are THREE WEEKS away from our wedding and…I’m starting to find (or force?) that Wedding Zen. It’s mostly out of survival – I’m trying to finish my Master’s Thesis, find and move to an apartment in Chicago from Minneapolis, and put the finishing touches on this wedding without melting into a puddle of Ugly Crying. I actually feel kind of good about crossing extraneous things off our list (printing menus for the reception? ain’t nobody got time or money for that). Every morning I wake up and think “I finally get to be married! Who cares what kind of appetizers we serve during cocktail hour!” and it’s been helping – a lot.

    Also, my best friend and bridesmaid is coming back to America in TWO WEEKS from Morocco, where she’s volunteering in the Peace Corps. I could not be more excited to spend some much needed girl time together before I get married! (I might be more excited about seeing her than trying to coordinate the next few weeks of my life!

    On a scholarly note, all of my statistical analyses for my Master’s Thesis are NOT SIGNIFICANT (which is not what we expected). Which means this project that I’ve been working on forever is making me very sad and frustrated. End nerd rage.

    • Kara E

      On a scholarly note, all of my statistical analyses for my Master’s Thesis are NOT SIGNIFICANT (which is not what we expected).

      Sucky. But at least interesting? Good luck with everything!!

    • Sandy

      I just finished mine! I defended on Tuesday last week and graduated on Saturday! Now, I’m feeling a little deflated. The horror of unemployment is starting to weigh down on me and I’m feeling to so weird having nothing to do.

      To make matters worse, my parents didn’t come to my graduation. My mom worked late the night before and I told her to stay at my house and sleep instead of coming to the ceremony. My dad didn’t even come with her because he “would definitely feel negative vibes” if he drove over to my house.

      I remember when I graduated from my undergrad and I was struck by how many people in my family didn’t care. But at least my parents did, you know? Now, I’ve finished something that I’m extremely proud of and now they don’t.

      The silver lining on all of this is that my husband is awesome and sweet and supportive. And so incredibly proud of me. I just wish he wasn’t the only one.

      • KC

        If it makes you feel better, a *lot* of parents don’t come to grad degree graduations/commencements, but there will be many relatives/friends who will be bragging about their daughter/niece/friend/etc. who just got her [insert degree, albeit often slightly incorrect] from [insert school, also sometimes incorrect].

        For whatever reason, it seems like there’s less of a culture of “you must attend the ceremony” for grad degrees (yes, there are families there, but there are also lots of families not there, which are less visible). And a lot of people getting grad degrees also opt to not attend graduation (sometimes because they’d have to travel for it, sometimes because they feel like the important part is elsewhere [the work they put into the degree; the defense itself; the submission of the bound dissertation; wherever]). This isn’t *at all* to say that it shouldn’t have been important to *you*, just that the cultural messaging your parents might be working from might equate it more to “birthday party”-level event than “wedding”-level event. (your dad’s statement is bizarre and I have no way of accounting for that, however. It is also possible your family is weird and unsupportive with no excuse. Just throwing out the other ways I’ve seen families of graduates respond, and noting that behind your back, many people are probably as proud as peacocks of you.)

    • Michelle

      So busy!! You will make it. Just keep breathing. And as a fellow nerd, I’m sorry to hear about your thesis. Just remember that most studies done result in non-statistically-significant findings, soooo it sucks but you’re not alone. But it sucks for sure. Hang in there!

  • Aimee Foy

    This week was amazing because WE GOT MARRIED!!! May 11th! It was awesome, with slight hiccups and all -my two aunts fell on the dance floor and my DJ got really drunk! But that all just serve for funny stories after the fact. It was still a perfect day, I’m obsessed with looking at my pictures from our day and more than a little sad it’s all over….

    • jess

      Hahaha. I just got a duplicate comment error cause I tried to congratulate you with the same words I congratulated someone else with.


      Yay!!! Congrats!!

    • Liz

      Congratulations, that’s amazing! What was your favorite part of the day?

      (Another May 11th bride here and I feel the same way, RE:obsessed with pictures/slightly sad. But also stoked!)

  • Shiri

    This has nothing to do with my wedding, except that she was my matron of honor, but I want to shout it from the rooftops anyway: my 85 year-old Holocaust survivor grandmother’s cancer is gone. This week, they did a scan, and it’s gone. Chemo worked. It’s a bleeping miracle!

    • jess

      Amazing! That truly is great!! Sending happy thoughts her way.

    • Sending good thoughts your way! That’s the best news!

    • That is the best news. I am so happy for you, your grandmother, and your whole family.

    • Shiri

      Thanks, ladies :) Each and every comment update email made me teary. Thanks for being so happy for us.

  • Breck

    This week has been pretty great. My boyfriend and I have been talking for forever about our end goal of working for ourselves doing a handful of different things that we love. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but over the past couple of weeks we’ve really begun to see the payoff. We revamped our Etsy shop (we sell artisanal ketchup and jam) and had two large ish sales this week! And next Saturday, we’re going to be selling at the Bay Area Homemade Market (http://bayareahomemademarket.com/ if you’re interested)! It just feels so awesome to finally see a little glimmer of hope that, one day, we’ll be able to quit our desk jobs and work on our business full time.

    Also, we’re running Bay to Breakers on Sunday! Any other APWers gonna be there??

  • Jenny

    Hi all, any North Carolinians interested in doing an in person happy hour in June email me at jennifercmorgan at gmail dot com. It’ll likely take place around the triangle area since there are a few of us in raleigh/durham/chap hill.

    I’ll collect emails and send something out after my May 26th wedding! Wheee!

    • Lauren

      Hey Jenny, see up thread. I started a Doodle (http://doodle.com/rpxct8hn2g72agde) for a meet-up within the very near future – as in this weekend or next. You are super busy, so another in person Happy Hour seems logical.. and double the fun!

      Perhaps you can make it to a very spontaneous one this weekend?

      • Jenny

        Ooh yay, I’ll send you an email!

  • Liz

    “It Stands Alone” was a beautiful piece! I love the way it articulated how memories are important on their own, independent of what happens in the future.

    I got some very comforting words in a previous Happy Hour from some ladies here and I just wanted to thank you all! Still sad about the friends who couldn’t be there, but the day was beautiful and perfect for us (we got married on Saturday…anyone else???)

    • Crap! I suck and accidentally reported instead of exactly-ing. I suck at touch screens.

      • Rebecca

        I think it is more fair to say that touch screens suck at us. When in doubt, blame the inanimate object.

  • this has been the most intensely emotional week i can remember. i can’t even process it.

    last weekend was pretty intense anyway (wonderful, terrible, fun, difficult), but it also sparked something that i might actually call a fight (and in our five years, there is nothing else i would even sort of name that), which led to my realizing that i have some major anxiety problems. this should have been obvious, but at the moment that things go wrong it is very easy (for both of us) to view as “being stupid” “going crazy” “is an asshole” “sucks at this” or any number of specific, individual mistakes/faults. the problem is, viewing them that way made them impossible to fix (we’ve been trying for five years). within the context of an anxiety problem, we’ve made more progress in our relationship this week than in the last few years together, i think.

    but. it also means i had my second ever full-on panic attack (first since i’ve been with my wife). and that i spent all day at work monday trying to swallow it and look like a human. which totally made it worse (that shit is not supposed to last 8 hours). and thinking about it all week has had me on some kind of anxiety code-red, which is exhausting. as are all of the conversations it has sparked. that part is at least good, but i feel like i’ve got emotional road rash; any slight emotion (i like you. that’s loud. i’m hungry. i’m not hungry. hi.) just starts everything bleeding again.

    oh, and i cried in front of someone new this week. which brings my lifetime total (excusing the parts of childhood i don’t remember) up to six people who have seen me cry. i am surprisingly okay with that part.

    i was really intending to leave it at that first sentence.

    • Shiri

      I’m glad you didn’t stop at just that first sentence. I think this is the first Happy Hour thread where I’ve realized how safe we all feel with each other and it is totally making me teary.

      It sounds like a really hard, truly important, and super intense week. Hearing that you’ve made so much progress in a week is amazing, and it sounds like the panic, as terrible as it was/is (and man, do I empathize with you on that) is kind of a breakthrough for you both and for knowing how to deal with what you have going on inside. I hope the work forward continues, and that you’ve got someone to help you through this who isn’t affected by it.

    • Breck

      Sorry this week isn’t going well for you. I’ve dealt with some mild anxiety issues the past couple years, and I know exactly what you mean about trying to swallow when it feels like something is wringing out your insides. For me, some talk therapy to figure out a few strategies to prevent and combat the attacks helped so much. Sending a virtual hug your way.

    • There is nothing quite like a major breakthrough – even when it means lots more work and tears and stress and heartache. Because (for me at least) breakthroughs mean a light at the end of a long tunnel of suffering. Congratulations and good luck working on this!

    • thanks y’all. it’s pretty amazing what a difference it makes to actually know what the problem is.

      and, if i can add a marriage-related note – it’s also kind of amazing to realize that at some point the “big fear” in all this went from being afraid i’d get so crazy she’d leave to being afraid of putting her through this forever. not sure when that happened, but of all the things i’m afraid of right now, being alone is not even on the list. which is reassuring, of sorts.

    • Oh man, that’s rough. Hopefully having identified parts of the problem allow you to work steadily towards getting things where you need them to be. Emotional road rash is brutal.

  • You guys, we went to the beach for a 5 day vacation and got back Wednesday night and OMG CAN I GO BACK I HATE HAVING RESPONSIBILITIES AND MY CAT IS A JERK AND THE HOUSE IS FILTHY.

    Ahem. Sorry.

    Does someone want to come unpack my house for me?

    • Row

      the “my cat is a jerk” part made me laugh out loud. I’ve had cats like that.

      Just do one little thing at a time, it feels less overwhelming that way. good luck!

      • Bless him, it’s not his fault. We left him alone for 5 days on vacation, so now he’s running around the house meowing constantly to let us know he still exists. Which is really sweet, except when it’s 4am.

        • my ex’s cat went hoarse once when we got back from a vacation.

        • Shiri

          He’s singing the song of his people: Sad Cat Diary – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKffm2uI4dk

        • When we leave for too long, our cat Pip starts removing all our books from the shelves. For some reason, he hates Franz Kafka, so that’s the first book to get tossed. And sometimes, if we’re gone a LONG time, he climbs into our cabinets and opens boxes of pasta, which he then throws on the floor. He’s also a fan of climbing on the bed and biting my nose and/or smacking me in the forehead to wake me up if I sleep in on the weekend.

          • When we go out of town for more than two days, we get woken up by what we’ve lovingly dubbed “the kitty mafia” staring at us in bed. It’s freaky to have four sets of cat-eyes glowing at you in the dark.

        • Eenie

          Oh your cat only does that after vacation? Mine does that all the time. He forgets where we are in the house and will meow until he finds us. Even at 2 am. When we haven’t moved from sleeping.

    • Mer

      You guys just made my afternoon. I’m glad I’m not the only one with crazy/possessive cats.

  • Sarah

    My beloved homestate passed marriage equality! So it was a great week!

    From Minnesota, with so much love!

    • LILY

      way to go, Minnesota!!

    • So, so awesome. I’m proud to live here!

  • All of the happy hour mentions have reminded me – any new APW DC folks should join our facebook group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/apw.dc/

    We started a book club a few months ago and it’s pretty awesome. Sometimes even discuss the books.

  • tess

    78 days out and starting to feel a lot of anxiety…I think it’s in part because even though it’s still fairly far away, there’s so much going on in our lives between now and the wedding. Bachlor/ette weekends away, two research trips for the Husband elect (love that phrase, read it on APW!), major work deadlines for both of us, and a close friend’s wedding halfway around the world for me (a month before our own no less).

    I think it’s also that I’m having a hard time finding the Wedding Zen. I LOVE to throw big and complicated parties, always have, but I am also that person who spends the day before fretting about who will show up, how it will all come together, cooking overly ambitious food, and overspending on food/decorations/whatever will give me comfort. It’s hard not to let the wedding expand into two and a half months of that feeling.

    • Amber

      We’re 78 days out, and invites just went out last week. It seems like all of the sudden we’ve gone from “we’re getting married next summer” to “WE’RE GETTING MARRIED BASICALLY TOMORROW!” There is so much going on between now and then, and we’re getting married 1000 miles away from where we live and DIY’ing pretty much everything (and I’m too much of a control freak/also love planning parties to easily delegate out tasks…this is something that I’m working on) (including cheesecakes!), so it’s turned into a ‘do as much as humanly possible plus more right this second!” I’m normally a professional procrastinator, so getting motivated to do stuff ahead of time has been a challenge, but the goal is to have absolutely everything done that can be done from out of town by the beginning of July so that we have a whole month to relax and settle into Wedding Zen.

  • rys

    I’m almost finished making the chuppah for my friends’ wedding (in 2 weeks, but they need it by Thursday). On Monday, I was looking at 168 pieced blocks, wondering how the hell it would get done, and today, I’m looking at an almost finished quilt. Sweet.

  • Emmy

    This was a very exciting week for us. On Wednesday, my fiancé had his vasectomy reversed! It was very stressful for me, worrying about him (he had to have general anesthesia) and hoping the operation would work. Definitely cried a lot in the waiting room! But the doctor is optimistic and we’ll know for sure if it worked in six weeks. Oh, and as of today, we have 99 days till our wedding! It definitely feels like I’m standing on the precipice of something totally crazy and amazing. A whole new way of life. So exciting! And a little scary!

  • Paranoid Libra

    I am proud of myself. I ran every day this week outside during my lunch breaks. Weds was fantastic in a light rain in a very deep sense of feeling fantastically refreshed and today I actually never stopped on the route I have been running the past few days.

    In other news, I know we have had a post on painful sex before. If I am fairly positive I am having some pelvic floor issues should I go gyno first or just skip that to a physical therapist that specializes in ouching lady bits. I dealt with minor pain for so long that the past few months I actually had a few times of just leaking happy tears because sex finally didn’t hurt an ounce. Then the stupid GI seemed to have thrown everything out of wack last month and it hurts down there really badly again.

    • Shiri

      Will your insurance pay for PT without a referral? Because that might be a determining factor. I’d go to the gyno first, to rule out anything else and because s/he might be able to recommend a PT they’ve worked with before who is good with pelvic floor issues. And working with a PT who knows their stuff makes all the difference. Good luck!

      • Paranoid Libra

        I guess I need to call them on Monday. Just tired of gynos saying just use more lube. At least this time around I can be all just no its not a lube issue EVERYthing just feels off down there even without sex.

  • AnotherHeather

    I’m in pre-engaged land right now, and I’m going bonkers. We picked out and ordered the ring together, but D wants to propose, so I’m trying to wait patiently. Last weekend I found out from a mutual friend that he has the ring! Now he’s out of town and I’m trying to find the strength to not rip the house apart trying to find it.

    • Laura Lee

      Hooray! but stay strong and don’t go snooping :) I was solidly in pre-engaged land for about 8 months, but it felt like a lifetime waiting for circumstances to iron out so everything could come together and we could make it official. The hardest part for me was the long period when I had no idea when it was actually going to happen. So at least you know your waiting is nearly over. Congrats in advance and enjoy the moment when it does come!

    • Hannah Smith

      We did something similar. Picked out the ring together with the designer, and then he got it after she finished it. Although after a month of waiting not so patiently, I finally asked him if he just wanted to pick a day together and decide that was the day we’re going to get engaged. Then he planned the whole day. It worked for us because it felt collaborative, and it took a little bit of the pressure off him to make it romantic and a surprise.

      • AnotherHeather

        That’s a great idea! I think there might be a miscommunication about a expectations where I just want something thoughtful, but he wants to create a Perfect Proposal™. I thought that I made it clear, but now that I think about it I probably did not use my words as well as I could have. The more we talk about wedding stuff, the clearer it is that WIC has really gotten into his brain. Ex: You mean I don’t have to wear a tux??

        • Hannah Smith

          Do you think he really wants to do the Perfect Proposal™or does he feel like he has to? For my guy, he felt like he had to and that pressure was crushing him. (Although, the proposal I got from our arrangement ended up being pretty darn perfect). I would say if it’s important to him to do a Perfect Proposal™then let him. Just be clear that you’re not expecting it.

          In terms of the WIC stuff, I just think most people don’t realize how much weddings have changed in the last few years. Once you guys get engaged, I recommend buying the A Practical Wedding book, and maybe bookmark a few sections for him to read? I also read a few excerpts to my guy. There is an exercise in there where you talk about how you want your wedding to feel. It’s a great exercise to do before you really get started in the planning process. It helps keep you grounded.

  • SamiSidewinder

    I spent most of my week being stressed instead of excited, which I am working on. Mental note: must re-read wedding zen articles. We passed the three month mark on the 10th which makes me want to hyperventilate. It FEELS like there is so much to do. But I never can quite articulate allthethingsthatmustbedone. It’s just this amporphis ball of OH SHIT!

    But I don’t want to be all doom and gloom, I am pretty stinkin’ happy. I’m going on Jam Cruise for our honeymoon! And I get to get fitted for the dress my mom is MAKING from scratch for the wedding next weekend! And I started no-poo-ing/shamphree-ing my hair and it feels great! I feel silly saying that last one. But sometimes, it’s the little things…

    • Catherine B

      I don’t know if it will work for you, but about 3 months I started freaking out. I made a list of EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING I could think of that had to be done, and assigned dates. It calmed me down to be able to quantify it, and I’ve been checking things off ever since. This week: marriage license (!), final fitting, order wine, finalize guest count. Two weeks out and it still calms me to work the list…

  • I’ve been spreadsheet-ing like a crazy person. As someone who barely passed math classes in high school, my new obsession with numbers would make me laugh . . . if I wasn’t crying. Apparently my dodgy arithmetic skills and the late-additions to the list led me to underestimate our guest count by more than a dozen people, which puts our total invited guests at 221.

    Two hundred. Twenty one. People.

    To be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t think my fiance and I even knew 221 people. I can immediately say I know a good 15-20 people we’re inviting will not attend (they’ve told us after receiving save-the-dates), but that still leaves 200-ish guests. I was budgeting about 180. And needless to say, from a financial perspective, I’m freaking out a bit.

    It’ll be okay, I know. And if the worst thing that happens is everyone we care about shows up to wish us well on our wedding day, then . . . um, definitely not a big deal. I don’t have any real point here, I’m just feeling . . . overwhelmed. And kind of scared to tell S., who has been encouraging and supportive of the “big wedding” idea until we hit 200 guests and growing.

    And now it’s 221. Good googly moogly.

    • tess

      I had a similar freak out. Ok, to be honest, I am still sort of having that freak out….we invited a lot more guests than we are budgeted for (like, a much more off ratio than yours). The vast majority of our guests will be from out of town, and I was assured by my future-in-laws that only around 15 of the 60 family members they wanted to invite would actually come (we’ll see about that), but it’s still scary. On the plus side, when I find out people can’t come, it helps mitigate the sadness of that news to know it helps the budget.

      But, really, I don’t know how people predict these things. There’s an accepted wisdom that 70% people will come, but it seems like a total crapshoot to me.

    • Katie

      I can sympathize! When we were first tossing around a guest count, I thought, “80, max. Probably around 50. We don’t know that many people, right? We’re both introverts.”

      Hah. I think our list is now pushing 180. It’s a wonderful feeling to look at all these people who love us and want to support our marriage, but at the same time…auuuugh. Kind of overwhelming!

    • Yay for big weddings! Totally understand the overwhelmed feeling. Our guest list is over 150 and growing! And my fiance’s mother hasn’t sent me her guest list yet… There will be a lot of overlap (my fiance already added most of the people) but it still freaks me out that it’s getting bigger.

      So far the most terrifying thing is finding a venue and caterer (which still hasn’t been done yet). I’m sending good wishes your way!

    • jess

      I capped ours near 150ish, but I have a feeling my fiance will try to put in some more distant family invites in soon.

      Talking with caterers, most so far have seemed to say that the bigger the guest list, the smaller the percentage can actually make it. Her example was, if you invite 20, pretty much everyone will attend, if you invite 250, 200 will. She then threw in all the normal caveats about “you know your people better than I do” etc…but she was guessing our 150 would become more like 120. Which, I found reassuring for when my other half DOES want to invite those extras.

    • SamiSidewinder

      I can sympathize too. I’ve been totally freaking about our 250+ (!!!!!!!ahhhhhh!!!!!!!) guest list that just keeps getting added to. Given that 90% are 7 hours or more away, I am desperately hoping that most don’t show. But then I worry that keeping the idea of a 170ish wedding is setting myself up for panic and failure. So I’m trying to be positive about being surrounded by ALL these people that love us. But the anxiety about being the center of attention for 6 hours makes that challenging. Still, that’s a lot of love!

    • Michelle

      I think the theme to my responses today is that I am a nerd. Here goes! We are both such nerds that we made a mega spreadsheet of wedding guest probability of attending. Next to each person (including dates and children), we have columns of a high and low estimate of how likely they are to attend. Then we summed it up at the bottom for our high and low estimates of guests. For example, we think it’s about 60-70% likely that Uncle So-And-So from out of state attends. It could be completely off still, but it somehow made us feel a little better than just completely not knowing how many people will actually attend. We’ll see how it goes!

      • Emily

        I am a math teacher and I nerded out on calculating probability. To simplify it, I did one column for yes, one for maybe, and one for no. I had an honest conversation with parents about what they thought people would do and made estimates. Then, I decided that around 90% of in town maybes would show and 50% of out of town maybes would show. So far, my calculations are perfect.

        We invited 212 and are expecting right around 100. These estimates helped me invite more people than I would have, thus happiness for feeling invited, while still maintaining sanity that we will not go over budget.

        Good luck!

        • tess

          Oh man, you just gave me huge comfort, as our numbers are very similar. I am going to try your system for figuring probability, thank you!!!

  • april

    On a whim I tried on a white gown at TJ Maxx yesterday, and I actually totally loved (!) it. It has a sweetheart neckline and a flowy floor-length skirt. It’s much prettier than any of the actual wedding gowns I’ve tried on so far, so I went ahead and bought it.

    But here’s what I’m struggling with: it’s really flattering, and I feel like it’s the sort of thing I could really have some fun accessorizing (statement necklace, bolero, fun shoes, etc.). I just can’t decide if it looks too cheap for our midday church wedding. It’s the Ralph Lauren “Emmie” gown, if anyone wants to take a look and give me some feedback …

    • Found it! I think it’s lovely. I have hard time deciding what is “church appropriate,” given what a wayward religious attendee I am, but it’s very pretty and could definitely be something fun to accessorize and dress up in alternate ways. I could see one gorgeous glitzy necklace with that sweetheart neckline.

    • AnotherHeather

      That’s beautiful! I love the little details, and I don’t think it looks cheap at all!

    • Hannah Smith

      I think it looks very classy, and I think it looks very bridal. It actually reminds me of the J CREW wedding dresses. Modern and sleek! I think accessorizing is a great idea too. Nice find. Yay for making decisions.

    • Jashshea

      That dress is gorgeous. Rock it.

      ETA: If you’re concerned about bare shoulders, do a lace cover-up or a cardigan.

    • jess

      I think it’s awesome! Cover the shoulders to make it more conservative for the church part and then bare shouldered for the partay after? I think that would be perfect!

    • Kara E

      Cheap, absolutely not. It’s very pretty. You likely have a better sense of the formality you’d like for “church wedding” that any of us will have, but I think it’s lovely and “flowy.”

    • april

      yay! thanks for all the support — I’m going to run it by my mom and see what she thinks too … I’ll update in another open thread :)

  • Kara E

    Nothing to really contribute, but does anyone want to come help me unpack the 9000 lbs of random crap that’s coming on a truck this weekend to our new house? I had planned to have it all cleaned before the truck came, but I’m not sure I/we have enough time to even do that — and it’s too late to hire cleaners.

    I have so much to celebrate: new city, new house, awesome husband (of 14 months!) and baby on the way in less than 2 months, but wow am I feeling overwhelmed!

    • Yes, where are you?

    • haha if you’re going to recruit APW helpers, you have to give us a general idea of where you live ;) That being said, congratulations on all those super awesome things and good luck!

    • Rebecca

      Hey, I love unpacking…so you know, if you really did want help, and we by chance were in something like a similar geographic location…

      You’ll be living there presumably for a while- if it’s not clean on day one, it’ll get there.

      • Kara E

        Denver, CO. 2nd interstate move in 13 months. It’s all good. I have my vacuum cleaner now. ;)

  • Jashshea

    This week has been unreal.

    My mom has been going through a health scare and was supposed to have major surgery next week to help that out, but it’s been cancelled/postponed. I’m not sure if that’s good/bad/indifferent news. She’s in good spirits generally speaking, but all the appointments and lack of clarity are tough on her.

    Then last night we got some other bad news on her side of the family – my cousin (Mom’s younger brother’s son) died in somewhat mysterious circumstances. He had some demons, but had apparently been doing better. Very tragic situation and we’re obviously just starting to get details.

    This morning my husband and I put an offer in on a house in our ideal neighborhood. Now we wait.

    I’m quite looking forward to not having to appear professional for a couple days and being able to lose my shit if needed.

    • KC

      I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m especially sorry you’re having to deal with this all at the same time.

      Hope your weekend is refreshing!

  • Laura

    Oh hey you guys!

    Spurred largely by Meg’s daycare manifesta this week (and the ensuing comments), I had a great conversation with a coworker about the paradox that is childcare: It’s such a fundamental need and has a huge impact on parents’ (especially mothers’) ability to go back to work that access (or lack thereof) to affordable quality childcare is a massive barrier to all kinds of social equity. But! As Meg described so well, the act of childcare providing is totally undervalued in society already – so, it’s obviously important that people who take care of others’ miniature people for a living should be well-compensated. How can these two problems ever be balanced??

    • Meghan

      Spurred by the very excellent daycare manifesta, I indoctrinated a new APW/Reclaiming Wife reader. Muahahaha! She’s my MoH (I was hers, we’ve been BFFs since we were 12) and she and her hubby are looking to reproduce in the next few years. Meg’s awesome post + the smart and thoughtful commentary seemed just perfect! She loved it and is now a reader too. :)

  • It’s been an interesting week. We had our first venue tour- loved the space, hated the location, and no vegetarian options… We scheduled several more venue tours and catering meetings, and this is beginning to feel real! Also went dress shopping last weekend. I think I found the dress- classic A-Line in satin with a natural waist and sweetheart neckline that makes me feel bridal and pretty while letting me dance. I’m putting off purchasing it because it isn’t what I thought I’d like so I’m freaked out that I’ll hate it in a couple months. LMN- I could totally use that list of dress finding tips :)

    Other than that, I’ve had a couple depressive days because no one asks about my wedding. Ugh, I feel like an angsty high-schooler. Reaching out to awesome Triangle Area APW ladies has definitely helped, but I can’t help wishing that my mother or friends were more interested/involved.

    Still- fiance made me breakfast the other day, and has been awesome about trying to make me feel better, so I guess I’m really pretty lucky. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

    • LMN

      Ooh! Do you really want it? Because I totally wrote it right after we exchanged those comments on here, but then never submitted it to APW. It’s just a document sitting in Google Drive right now, all lonely. Let me know where you send it if you want to read. :)

      Congrats on your first venue tour and on your dress shopping! Those are big landmarks in planning. And so sorry to hear that the ladies in your life aren’t living up to your expectations in terms of excitement. Are they the type of folks you can communicate with openly? Sometimes I just say, “I need a little more enthusiasm here!” or “I’m really hoping that you’ll be involved in my wedding planning–it would me an a lot to me.”

      • I really do! I’ve been looking forward to it! My email is cornelison (dot) linda (at) gmail (dot) com. You can send it there or just share it with me in Drive (I’m in drive all the time anyways. So many spreadsheets!)

        I think I’m really hobbling myself in my relationships, actually. I really don’t want to be the bride who talks about her wedding all the time, so I promised I wouldn’t bring it up unless people asked. And no one seems to be asking! We’re still early in our planning, so that’s probably a part of it. I’m still trying to figure out how to fix this, so any advice would be helpful. So far I’ve got “Hey! I’m getting married and I want to talk about my wedding. Could we do that now? And could you be really excited? Cause this is really exciting!” but I haven’t been able to figure out a way to say that without sounding needy, imperious, or annoying yet!

        • KC

          This is probably a completely insane idea, but… do you have any crafts? I say this, because when I see someone (either one on one or in a group setting) and they pull out a knitting/crocheting/quilting project to work on while talking, I basically always ask them what is it/what is it for/it looks so cool etc. Which, if it was for your *wedding*, would be a potentially natural intro to saying “oh, it’s this for my wedding – I’ve been so excited to be planning and looking forward to it! I just wish more people would ask about the details!”.

          Plus, hey, wedding scarf?

          But, as stated, this may be a completely insane idea; I am not representative of the general public; and even if they asked the initial question, they might not “bite” in terms of asking followup questions, which might be even more disappointing.

          But it might be worth a shot, if you do want to craft a portable something for your wedding? Possibly?

  • FloridaBride

    This week has been kind of awesome for me. (In grad school, many weeks have been horrible/depressing so I’m excited about the change.)
    It started last week, actually, while I was preparing for a meeting with my advisors. Even though it was my night to cook dinner, manfriend swooped in and took over so I could focus on my work. As a result, the meeting was what I am have been describing as ‘the best meeting ever.’ I got loads of praise about my work and how I have been evolving over the past few years. Yay me!

    That set the tone, I think, for the weekend with my family. My older sister graduated from undergrad. I’m so proud of her! As a result, I got to spend time with my family and wasn’t annoyed as I sometimes get when being around them for a long period of time…well, except for my oldest sister who decided to go to the movies instead of come to mother’s day brunch. But that’s a different story for a different time.

    Also, I found my reception venue. It is gorgeous- lots of Spanish Moss on the trees. It’s at a reasonable price and allows outside catering and no alcohol restrictions. Those were must-haves for me. Therefore, we are able to officially schedule our wedding. Yay us! I can tell manfriend is excited. I think he’s told more people than I have and he already has his mother working on the catering.

    I went to the bridal shop that had the dress that I fell in love with and tried it on again. I’m still in love with it. I ordered it online for a much cheaper price and it arrived today. Score!

    And last but not least, manfriend and I celebrated our 9-year anniversary on Monday. Time goes by quickly when you’re having fun. We did something low-key this year (two years ago, we celebrated by him proposing)- dinner and a movie. But it was awesome because we just sat and reminisced about our lives together thus far and how our future would look.

    • A H

      I’m a FL bride too! What part of FL are you getting married in? Your venue actually kind of sounds like where we’re getting married in Tampa.

      (And congrats on getting good feedback from your advisors! I remember that awful grad school feeling :( )

      • FloridaBride

        I’m in the Jacksonville area. Those ‘we allow outside catering’ venues are few and far between so congrats on finding yours. I’m actually hoping to move to the Tampa area when I finish school.

        • A H

          I know! I just couldn’t stomach the idea of paying for food or alcohol and not being able to take home the leftovers at the end of the night. Finding a venue that allowed us to bring everything in was a big priority for me and my fiance is actually the one who found it.

          Tampa’s great! I grew up in the ‘burbs (Brandon) and there are so many great areas to live and things to do. Good luck with the end of your Master’s!

          • FLORIDABRIDE

            It’s actually PhD (so much more depressing times than you first suspected. lol), but thanks!

  • Beth

    Wedding is next Sunday and I have been all out of excitement the last couple of weeks. I am not a fan of planning small parties even, so this has been a struggle and a lesson in decision making and pushing through tasks I hate, and I’m mostly just ready to be married already.
    But! Yesterday and today I’ve been working on our playlist and it is making me genuinely excited because I can imagine myself having an awesome time to this music! So, I’m trying trying trying to let go of the anxiety that things won’t go smoothly and just keep these songs circling in my head to help me embrace the joy!

    • Joanna

      Yes! I’m one week away, wedding is next Saturday! The one thing that pumps me up more than anything is the music. I can be stressed as all hell, but as soon as I start listening to the enormous mega dance party playlist, I feel super happy. This is going to be an insane week, too. My full-time work is extra busy, I have a freelance client who is requiring a lot of work from me right now, my bachelorette/birthday party is 2 days before the wedding… It’s hard to stay calm and relaxed while I’m so busy and excited!

  • Super week of ups and downs for me this week. First…I GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL and then found out it will be TUITON FREE! Sometimes Europe is totally awesome! I also found out that a scholarly publication will likely be publishing something I wrote as an undergraduate student SIX YEARS AGO!

    On the downside, a combination of talks with my boyfriend, too many friends announcing marriages, engagements and babies, the totally awesome show Parenthood, and other random factors, I had a total meltdown about the “family” I lost when my ex-wife left me. The “It Stands Alone” post totally saved me.

    • Awesome news about grad school and publications! WOOO!

    • Cool, what are you studying?

      • I will be studying Literature with a focus on transatlantic influences on modern American lit. One year in Germany then hopefully one year in Paris.

        • Wow. That sounds incredibly cool.

  • A H

    What website-creation sites have people been happy with for their wedding websites? I’d like to give The Kn*t as little information about our wedding as possible but the easiness of their templates is very tempting. Any suggestions?

    • Meghan

      I used mywedding.com. Happy with it so far, and lots of template choices + matching invitations from Minted (if you are into that).


      They were really easy, well-designed, and helped us keep track of invites for multiple events. (And didn’t give me hives like the knot.)

    • SamiSidewinder

      Yep, I used mywedding.com too. No complaints.

    • Hannah Smith

      I used wordpress.com, but I wanted everything custom.

    • Lauren

      I made a simple WordPress blog and it’s worked out well. It’s way more customizable than your standard wedding template (which I wanted) and you can also disable it from showing up in Google. I’m also a WordPress nerd, so I’m a smidge biased.

      • A H

        I’m interested in this disabling Google search results business! We aren’t really publicizing our wedding (it’s not even Facebook Official!) and I’d love it if internet stalkers weren’t all up in our business. (Glosite has a password option that is appealing as well.)

    • I LOVED wix.com. Not specifically a wedding website, but has that option..

      • Laura

        The best thing about Wix is that it’s totally customizable. You can create a unique and high-quality looking website without needing to know a thing about graphic design software. And they have some really cool templates – just look outside of the ones labelled “weddings.” Ours is based on one for a book release! (But of course you wouldn’t recognize it at all because we changed almost everything about it except the basic layout and fonts.) There’s a little bit of a learning curve but I found it to be very intuitive and straightforward.

    • Ashley

      We’re using weddingwindow.com (with our own domain name purchased from GoDaddy) and have been super happy with it for looks, privacy and ease of use. We haven’t gotten into using the RSVP features yet since we haven’t even chosen invitations, but appreciated how customizable the RSVP part of it looks to be as well. And we found a $10 off coupon on RetailMeNot. :)

    • Amber

      We’re using weddingwire and it’s been great for us. We are doing online RSVP’s and it’s been working out pretty well so far (we wanted a site that could do online RSVP’s and prevent people from adding on uninvited +1’s). It’s free, highly customizable, password-protected, has the online rsvp option, and was pretty easy to set up, so no complaints here.

    • Rachel Wilkerson

      We used Squarespace! Not wedding specific but I liked it. I also like Wedding Woo a lot, it’s a new one and the company seems really great!

  • Samantha

    I just got engaged two weeks ago to the love of my life. We’ve been together for over 4 years. I was so happy about the engagement until it became clear his mother was treating the news like a death announcement. I’ve always known she couldn’t stand for her favorite son to be in a relationship and things have really started to blow up this week. I’m absolutly devastated that this happy time has been so painful. It’s to the point that I’m about to walk away from the engagement. How do I cope with a future mother-in-law that can’t stand for her son to be married? She told him she doesn’t want him to get married. And the worst part is, his parents are coming from out of town to visit this weekend to celebrate their marriage anniversary. I’m really at a breaking point.

    • Jashshea

      I’m sorry to hear that, sounds like a horrible situation to be in.

      How well do you know her? Has she taken any time to get to know you? What’s his dad think of you and the marriage?

      She’s in your life if you marry him, so you have to either make it work or decide it can’t work.

    • Meghan

      I’m sorry for you Sarah – it is so hurtful when people, especially close family members, cannot treat your good news with grace and joy. My best advice would be to enjoy your engagement anyway and try your best not to let her negativity get in the way of your life together. This might mean distancing yourself, or not talking about it with her much – any way you can keep her out of it until she can readjust her attitude or learn not to be negative. The unfortunate truth is that she may never do this; it will hurt, but you should be prepared for the possibility.

      What my fiance is always telling me is that we can only control our own actions, not the actions of others. All you can do is continue to be gracious and forgiving if you can, and live your life with or without her blessing.

      PS: It’s okay to be upset about it, and it’s okay to cry if you have to. Just don’t let those emotions dominate this joyful time in your life.

    • Not Sarah

      I’m so sorry that you’re going through that. That must be devastating.

      I don’t know much about future mother-in-laws, but has your fiancé talked to his mom about her concerns? If she is treating the announcement this strongly, she probably has some pretty strong concerns and was hoping he would break up with you rather than propose marriage to you. This feels like something that is an issue between him and her and that you are unfortunately stuck in the middle of it. Are the concerns about him getting married in general or about the person he has chosen to marry (you)? Are you guys really young? Getting her to spell out those concerns might help because then your fiancé can counteract them and explain his standpoint.

      I hope this gets better, for your sake. Sending you lots of hugs from this side of the internet.

      • Samantha

        He has talked to her about our concerns. Thats when she finally confessed to not wanting either of her sons to get married. She said some things about the divorce rate and her sister’s divorce as her reasons. She’s been very passive aggressive to me our entire relationship. When I was first coming around the family, I was so excited and tried really hard to establish a relationship with her. Her son went to college out of state, where he met me, and I knew the distance was hard for her. I started sending her friendly emails and pictures and got very cold, one sentence responses. After two years she finally admitted that she didn’t want me coming to Christmas because in her eyes, the only reason I would come to town with him is to block him from spending time with his family. The total opposite was true. I wanted to get to know them, and I always encouraged him to try to be closer with his family. He had a talk with her then about how she needed to accept me and be nicer to me. It was clear nothing had changed after that.

        I love that you said it seems like it’s between him and her and that I’m stuck in the middle. That gives me something new to think about. He has been complaining about feeling caught in the middle, but I think what you are saying is true. She doesn’t want to give up her son to anyone, so I am stuck in the crossfire.

        I am 24 and he is 26. He has a great job. I’m starting school to get my Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling (go figure!) next week. So I don’t think age is a factor. Her other son is 34.

        Thanks for the support from everyone. It truly means so much.

        • Emmers

          I am really sorry to hear that. I had problems with my guy’s mom for awhile, and it is really painful! I hope your fiance is sweet to you about it, because that really really sucks. Do you live near her? If it’s something where you’ll just be around her occasionally, that’s something to keep in mind, though I know how painful it is to want to have a good relationship, and for it to not be something you can control. Many hugs to you!

        • Not Sarah has it right on- and I think you can find some archived Ask Team Practical posts to corroborate. This is a situation where you decide on a strategy with your fiance, but your fiance has to be the Point Person to handle any further issues. Boundaries, yo. You need ’em, go get ’em.

          And don’t let her steal your joy! You can’t control her, so keep her negativity at arm’s length (or the length of a 10 1/2 foot pole? Since she’s being a grinch. . .)

        • Best of luck with grad school. Sounds like it will be useful on a personal level as well as professionally, so talk about more bang for your tuition buck.

          Sorry that you are going through this, though. I hope your fiance takes point on dealing with her and running interference.

  • Meghan

    Alright APWers…I’ve got a beef with registries.

    I’ve been struggling with our registries – on the one hand, I KNOW our friends/families want a registry because they will get us gifts and it will make their lives so much easier. On the other hand, it’s hard to reconcile what we want/could actually use with cost (as in nobody is gonna buy us this $20/place setting flatware but I LOVE it and we’d use it for the nest 40 years and then some!) and tradition (we don’t want/need china, we want beautiful, durable stoneware). To further the problem, I walked into Homegoods today and kind of had a “what the hell are we doing this for??” moment. If I want a cake plate, I’m going to march my ass down to Homegoods and buy one for $16, not Macy’s and get one for $40! It seems silly to register for stuff I’d never buy for myself. I also think it’s silly to pick out EVERYTHING for our household now based only on what’s available – I like to pick and choose things I come across over time, curating our stuff so it is all stuff we love.

    To be clear, we must still have some kind of gift registry – as much as I love the idea of doing charity gifts only, I’d hear about it for the next 30 years and I’m not down for that.

    Anybody have a fave store that seemed to do a good job with cost + quality + uniqueness? And am I asking the impossible? If it helps, we’re located in the Pacific Northwest but some guests will be coming from the East and South. If you don’t have suggestions and just wanna commiserate, I’d love to hear that too!

    • Amazon is great for registries. You can literally add anything, from anywhere. Granted, or tech-illiterate family members had some issues with it but for the most part it worked out well.

      Also, if there are any costly items I could recommend as worth the money spent, very high quality knives and pots are totally worth it if you cook often.

      • seconding the use of amazon!

      • Hannah Smith

        I’m thinking about using Amazon.com too. I really liked that you could pick products with the highest reviews. I also find Amazon usually has the best price on many things, so I didn’t need to feel bad about people spending more than they should have to on items.

      • Laura

        [Guttural excitement sound!] I just added Amazon’s universal registry button to my browser and I am so pumped! I always knew they had a meta-registry option… I just didn’t realize it would be in the form of an awesome button!!! And yeah, I guess I’ll just have to put a blurb on our website about how it’s a one-stop-shop.

    • Kara E

      You can always tell let the folks who ask about the registry know that the registry is a list of ideas/inspiration – and that you’re perfectly happy to have them buy something different.

    • SamiSidewinder

      Amazon! You can choose from a billion versions of the same thing, the price is usually pretty good and you can add stuff from ANY website that sells things. It’s called a universal registry. We have a ton of non ‘traditional’ stuff on our Amazon registry like stereo equipment, garden gnomes, tools, a ton of cookbooks, games, camping gear, etc.

      I also put a note on our website that says things like, handmade stuff from the artistic peeps is great! Gift Cards are great! No gift is totally acceptable! Charities are great and here are some we like!

      Also Etsy does registries. That one was lots of fun for me!

    • Jessica B

      Amazon is good, of course.

      What my dude and I decided is that if we only get one place setting of the china, or decide we really don’t need something, we would return it for store credit and save up a bit to buy something we actually want/need. So we registered at Target and Macy’s figuring everyone could get to one of those places if they wanted to buy off our registry, and then we’re also putting a charity down that we chose together and want to start supporting annually. I’m also letting my craftier friends know I would love some homemade goodness if they want to go that route.

      I thought registering at two places was excessive, but when I tell people the two places and the charity I still get “and where else? Bed Bath and Beyond? Crate and Barrel? What do you mean you’re only registered at two places?!” It’s a little frustrating, considering registries haven’t been around that long.

    • Meghan

      Amazon! Don’t know why I didn’t think of it before! Thank you everybody!

      • Also think about more niche stores if you have hobbies, we registered at REI and our outdoorsy friends loved it!

    • Casey

      Why must you have a registry? We don’t. We specifically said “No gifts, please” on our invite…

      Just wondering if you explained why you *must* have one – if that would focus the comments better on where you should register.

    • Amber

      We felt the same way–we don’t really NEED anything, and have told people that them showing up at our wedding is more than enough gift for us. But, several family members and friends have insisted that we need a registry because they are going to buy us a gift and would really appreciate knowing what we want/could use. So we set up a small registry at myregistry.com with a few items from several different stores and a general honeymoon fund. We’ve been living together for 8 years, so we have most household stuff we need already, and opted to put stuff we’ve thought about buying before but haven’t yet (eg a new backpacking tent because ours has been leaky the past couple of seasons, a few power tools so we don’t need to always borrow everything whenever we have a project to do, a new skillet to replace the old scratched up one that is horrible, extra wine glasses for when we have friends over because we never have enough…that sort of thing).

    • Wishpot.com worked out well for us. That and Crate and Barrel.

  • I *finally* managed to find a copy of the no-longer-in-circulation Luke Skywalker “A New Hope” poster that’s a parody of the Obama “Hope” poster and I have them both displayed in my room. So happy.

    • Hannah Smith

      Didn’t even know this was a thing. Sounds awesome!

  • I heard an awesome quote today, variably attributed to Thomas More, Benjamin Franklin, or Gustav Mahler, and perfect for this month’s theme!

    Tradition is not to preserve the ashes but to pass on the flame.

  • Megan

    I have a question for all you lovely ladies! I’m planning to do my own makeup for my August wedding, but in the meantime I’d kind of like to do an inexpensive makeup lesson or consultation, just to have some tips for stepping it up a notch on my wedding day.

    Any experiences doing a makeup lesson and then using it on your wedding day? General advice or tips to make the most of the experience?

    I’ve heard that going to a department store makeup counter can be reasonable. But how exactly does that work? Do you make an appointment? Do you pay? Do you buy products?

    More specifically, can anyone recommend someone in the East Bay or San Francisco to see for my makeup lesson?

    Thanks all! Happy weekend!

    • Hannah Smith

      In high school a few times I went to a makeup counter. At that time, most department stores (such as clinique) will do it for free if you make an appointment. However, it is considered polite to make at least one purchase. I looked into Sephora recently, and I believe it was free if you made a $50 purchase. This would be probably easy to do with how expensive their stuff is.

    • You can try Sephora. They offer free basic tutorials in their stores and more personalized ones if you spend a certain amount. See here for more info: http://www.sephora.com/contentStore/mediaContentTemplateNoNav.jsp?mediaId=12600022

    • You could do a consultation with a Mary Kay consultant (you can look them up on the website). Technically it’s a free tutorial, but the consultant will want you to invite a few friends and will want you and guests to buy skin care and makeup, as that’s how her business grows. Sometimes it’s fun girlfriend time, sometimes its a bit intense. It depends on what you’re looking for and who your consultant is. Sephora or a dept store might give you more options (outside one particular brand) and (possibly) a less one-on-one intense retail experience.

    • Ashley

      Yep, I went to Sephora to figure out makeup for our engagement photos. I have very reactive, sensitive skin and they’re great about letting you take home samples of products before you buy to see if you like how it wears and make sure it doesn’t react with your skin. I went in one weekend and got several samples of different foundations (that were recommended online for photos – not stuff I’d wear every day) and then, once I knew which foundation and color I liked, went back a couple of weeks later for one of their full application lessons. It required an appointment and, yes, a $50 min. purchase. I ended up spending more than that on the foundation, primer and blotting sheets. Once I saw what colors they recommended, I got most of the rest (blush, eye shadow, mascara, etc.) at the drugstore or used what I already had.

      Other tips – for the best color matching if you can, find a store that has natural light or light that will be as close as possible to the lighting at your wedding. I have never liked what department store counters have done on my face inside dark stores, but found a Sephora that has giant windows and loved what they did in the daylight. Also, practice! Practice applying it yourself so you know how much time you need and take photos so you can see how it looks in pictures and decide if you want to change anything for the camera.

    • Amy March

      I think there’s a Nordstrom in/near San Fran? If so, call their personal shopper number. They can set up an appointment with a personal beauty consultant, who will work with you to try on makeup from multiple brands, instead of just one specific counter, and the one’s I’ve used have been really excited about education as well. I went in looking for a more fun evening look, and got lots of fantastic tips and some great new products. Ask when you call if they have a minimum spend, sometimes they do, sometimes not, but as a general rule of thumb I plan to buy 3 products.

  • Catherine

    Anyone in LA want to do a meetup?? I’ve seen people throw out cities but don’t think I’ve seen LA anywhere??? :)

    • Margaret

      Me! Assuming you mean Los Angeles and not Louisiana because I had a friend on Facebook think I was in Louisiana when I posted about LA.

      • Catherine

        Yes los angeles :) cool! I’m in Silverlake/ echo park, where are you? Ahhh this is so cool! there HAVE to be more of us on here, im sure of it!! When is your wedding? Or are you not engaged or already married ?

        • Margaret

          No way! I’m in Los feliz. We’re practically neighbors! I’m engaged and two weeks away from my wedding. You? Email me at maruling [at] gmail [dot] com. We can try and set something up. Maybe a Facebook group too? Anyway I’m off work until at least Thursday, courtesy of a broken cooler door dropping on my foot. So I’ve got lots of extra time this weekend.

  • Rachel

    I’m having a totally awesome day. We’ve been engaged for exactly 6 months, which might be a kind of weird thing to keep track of but makes me feel really warm and fuzzy inside. On top of that, I just got a job offer for a job I’m absurdly excited about and thought I had no chance of getting!!!!! The weekend’s off to a great start. :)

  • This has been a weird week. There’s some really crummy stuff going on and some really awesome stuff going on and the resulting emotional states feel very conflicting and are resulting in odd behaviour on my part.

    Today is one year since my father in law died, which feels … odd?

    My sister in law is also about to have a baby. Like bags-packed-in-the-car-could-be-today about to have a baby.

  • Kate

    I feel emotionally exhausted and I can’t even give you a single, solid, tangible reason why. There’s lots of potential change afoot, or not. I could be moving up jobwise, or not. I could be being pushed out of the job I like, or not. We could buy a house this year, or not. We could move abroad this year, or not. I might want a baby, or not.

    I want the maybes to stop!

    Also, have a good weekend, ya’ll

    • “or not” is a pretty damn solid tangible reason to be emotionally exhausted.

      • Emmers

        Yes! That sounds emotionally exhausting to me too! I hope you have a good, restful weekend, and that one by one things get resolved.

        • Kate

          thank you!

      • Kate

        thanks. It’s good to hear I’m not crazy ;)

  • ali s

    I know this is late, but if anyone is perusing the open thread this weekend: I’m meeting with photographers this week. I’ve narrowed it down to 4 based on website info and cost. Any advice for questions to ask/choosing/etc.?

    Secondly, the movers are coming one week from today!! And I have absolutely zero packed. Like, I don’t even have boxes. This is my first big move (aside from leaving my parents house), so I was wondering if anyone had some sage advice on how to pack. I’ll take anything, but what should I take in the car vs give to the movers? Its a 3 hour move, I have a little 2 door car and fiancé has a large jeep.

    • Rowany

      That sounds like you have a big week ahead!

      First, do you have any special considerations or priorities (like location, hours, date, etc)? Check if they can accommodate those.
      Are there any major differences in their packages, such as hours, second shooter, prints? Pick which package you like the best and see if other photographers can provide something similar, particularly regarding digital files.
      And finally, I would ask about shooting styles, references and sample galleries. APW has a great series on choosing a photographer so I won’t repeat that, but you can ask the photographer their philosophy on directing and composing shots – do they like to pose, give orders vs be in the background, etc? Ask for a sample gallery of a wedding that is a similar style to yours, and if you can, also for a recent wedding to see if their overall style has changed.
      I wouldn’t worry about turn-around time – it’s going to be long no matter what.
      But really, I would focus on just how well you get along and how well their shooting style fits your wedding.

      Well first, get boxes. Alcohol stores are great for free ones, but you might want some really big sturdy ones you can buy from Home Depot/Lowes.
      Offbeathome has great advice, can’t add much more to that: http://offbeathome.com/2012/11/how-to-move-like-a-pro

      Good luck!

    • Can’t give you anything good on photographers but a little bit of moving advice…

      Stuff to put in your car – anything that you would absolutely be crushed if it were to get broken and is irreplaceable (heirlooms, mementos, etc.), any small valuables (laptop, iPod, cash) and make sure to take in your car or clearly label a box to have the first things you’ll need in your new house. Think about stuff like bedding (do not want to be searching for that late at night), a few garbage bags, toilet paper, phone charger, maybe a bottle of wine. You know, the important stuff.

    • Amber

      When we were choosing photographers we looked at ton through the internets (we’re planning from out-of-town so couldn’t meet anyone in person) to get an idea of the style we liked and what the costs were (we had no concept of what it was going to cost). Then we figured out how much we wanted to spend on photography. Then we figured out that we were not at all impressed with any of the photogs we found in that price range. Not impressed as in, we thought our friends could take better, less-cheesy, pictures for free. But we really wanted some high-quality, artsy photography, so we reworked our budget to spend less elsewhere, came up with a new number for what we were willing to spend, and narrowed it down to three photogs in that price range. We looked at full online wedding shoots from each, emailed back and forth with each, and ended up going with the one whose photos were really unique and the ‘most-amazing’ of the three. They all were super nice and had great personalities, so it was a tough choice for sure!

      Specifics that we considered: Make sure you really do like their style–look at alot of their pics–do they tend to have the same shots in every wedding they shoot? Do they shoot indoors and out? Do they use alot of artistic editing or filters to give different effects? Do you get one or two photogs? Do they charge hourly, or give you a flat fee for a certain number of hours? What is included-prints, albums, digital copies? What is the payment schedule? How long does it take to get the photos? Do they act like professionals, or will they make you feel awkward? And most importantly, which of these things do you actually care about? Go with your gut!

      Regarding the moving, as someone who recently went through a cross-country move, I recommend sending as much as possible with the movers. Keep out enough clothes, bedding, and whatever limited amount of kitchen and bathroom stuff you will need to hold you over until your stuff is delivered (and try to get a good estimate of when that will happen–in my experience it’s taken as little as a week and as long as a month to get my stuff from movers!). Also, anything that is valuable to you (monetary or emotionally), keep out and move yourself. If you would be devastated if it were broken or went missing and it can fit in your car, then don’t have the movers take it. And always pack books and heavy things in small boxes, or moving them will be torturous. Paper boxes are amazing for packing–they’re sturdy, a good size, and have lids! I always get them from offices around the university, but you could probably get some from an office supply store.

      • Jenny

        My moving advice is to make a camp in your house box. I did two moves where I packed everything according to room and there for the first couple days I was digging through trying to find a towel, a pot to boil water, sheets, the cleaning supplies. Now when I move (I completed my 6th move last aug) I make 1 or 2 boxes that are stuff I’ll need in the first few days. I put cleaning supplies, toilet paper, 2 towels, toiletries, few pairs of clean clothes, a pot for boiling water, 2 plates, 2 bowls, french press, dish soap, dish rag, 2 sets of cutlery, a skillet and a spatula, 2 cups, sheets and blankets. If you are like me it’ll take you a while before you get really un packed and it’s nice not to have to go through all the kitchen boxes just to get a bowl and spoon for some cereal. As far as what to take with you, I’d take those two boxes, expensive small things (laptops/jewelry). Also it depends, if you are paying movers by the pound (I assume you’re not for a 3 hour move) then take the books with you, if you are paying for time, take the light stuff with you.
        Good luck!

    • Everyone’s moving advice is great. When I moved cross-country, what I was happy to have immediately was shower stuff (we moved in in the middle of a heat wave). So, wash cloth, toiletries, shower curtain and rod if you need them, and definitely some basic cleaning supplies (couple of rags, all purpose stuff should be enough). Have your bedding easily acquired.

      Put water in the fridge immediately upon arriving, you’ll need it and you’ll want it cold. Pack snacks, too. It’ll be a long day.

      Other than that, I moved into a tiny apt so we were unpacked within a day or so. You may not want to spend any more time in the car, but you can always have a large pizza delivered (or go get it and grab beer on the way). Then you have dinner and leftover slices for breakfast, and you only need paper towels as utensils.

      Good luck!! When we moved, I felt so proud for having the shower curtain and hooks for it packed, then arrived to find I needed a shower rod too. We took cold baths that night- a funny story to tell now, though :-)

    • Emmers

      I love the advice everyone’s already given (like packing stuff you’ll need immediately in your car, like shower stuff, and things you value).

      My main moving advice is to label everything (even stuff in trashbags), and if possible group like things together. So many times I’ve packed something away and then had no idea where it was when I needed it. If you have (even generic) labels (like “kitchen,” “living room”, etc), that can help some. If you’re feeling really fancy, you can color code room labels by using colored paper, a sharpie, and clear packing tape (all kitchen labels are on green paper, living room on yellow paper, etc). This makes it a touch easier to find things quickly (since you’ll just be searching for green vs. a specific written label).

      Also, if there’s anything that may melt if the moving van or car is hot, make sure you sequester it. I packed candles that dripped and melted on some of my framed photos (but made the car smell amazing!).

      I second the box ideas from liquor stores and paper boxes with lids. Big gallon-sized ziploc bags can be good for jewelry. And ziploc sell realllly big ziploc bags (think clothing sized) that can work for soft stuff– they’re called big bags and you can probably get them at Target or Walmart: http://www.ziploc.com/Products/Pages/BigBags.aspx?SizeName=Large. I also sometimes use towels and sheets to wrap breakables, since they all need to be moved anyway. And you’ve probably thought of this, but filling any backpacks/luggage that you have, since that stuff takes up space so you might as well fill it. You can also stuff things inside your shoes if needed (socks would make sense).

      Places in your car that you can stash stuff in a pinch: underneath seats and in seat pockets and in the sides of doors (those plastic compartments). And if you have room in your car, you may want to just keep clothing still on hangers and stash it in there so when you arrive, you can immediately hang it up.

      Good luck! Moving is lame, but at least you and your guy are doing it together. And definitely don’t forget to eat and drink– pizza is always good!

      • I second keeping clothes on hangers if possible. Rubber band or twist tie the hangers together and throw a bag over them or check to see if your movers have garment boxes that you can hang your clothes in during the move and unpack right into the closet. Both methods save A TON of time. In addition to making sure you have water to stick in the fridge the night before, you can freeze a not quite full bottle of water the night before for each person and by the time you reach your destination it will be at least partially melted, giving you ice water while you unload and the rest of the water chills. But most of all, get boxes, any rubbermaid containers or luggage you might have laying around, and get organized packing.

    • Caroline

      When we met with a photographer, we mostly chatted and got to know them. No specific questions other than “tell us a bit about your approach to weddings”, but you’ll be hanging out all day with them so you want to know if they are fun to be around. We had been to a wedding they photographed, and seen the photos. If we hadn’t, I would hve wanted to see even more photos than the three albums they brought, and I would have asked what their style is (umm not so much like are they phoojournalistic, but are they yet and unobtrusive, or do they get on the dance floor and dance with your guests toget the best in-the-party photos or do they like to pose people or what?) I think admin about how they do portraits can be revealing. Some people are more or less focused on that.

    • Kara E

      Re the move: Get boxes ASAP (liquor stores have great ones for books) and check out freecycle and craigslist for other free box options. Get LOTS of newspaper or packing paper too. Enlist as many friends as you can to help with the packing–then just let them do it. Then, I’d ditto Juel – she has great advice:. Laptop, critical papers, a change of clothes, musical instruments, clean sheets for the bed, and your toothbrush all go in the car (along with anything you’d be heartbroken to lose). You can buy a hanging “stick” for the back of your car for all the “hanging stuff” from your closet, which saves lots of ironing and dry cleaning in the end. Finally, if you have to clean the house first, BRING CLEANING SUPPLIES with you. It stinks if they’re on the truck, believe me. Everything else goes to the movers.

  • I’m so late to this thread! Which is good because I have been SO busy with wedding meetings. This week I had 3 meetings with APW couples and last week I had 2–I know I sound like a broken record, but these APW couples are so, so, so, so much better in real life than anyone else. Seriously–fun, creative, silly, and totally all about planning a rock star marriage. My husband and I had a great time with each couple and we are so stoked to shoot their upcoming weddings.
    In my other life, I am mentally preparing myself to be a full-time photographer next year and to leave the classroom (where I have been happily for the past 10 years). I am having some major feelings of sadness and guilt when I think about not teaching, but I also am so excited to see what being a full-time photographer feels like too. We also are getting ready to pack up our Chicago life and relocate for a few months to the Airstream and to Grand Haven, Michigan–the Airstream for our Rolling Elopements and Grand Haven because we have a free place to crash. All of these changes are amazing and great, but also so damn scary! Anyway, it’s the weekend and the sun is out, so that’s fab–off to do some gardening and decompress for a bit. Happy Saturday all!

    • Happy Saturday to you, too, Em! And don’t worry- it sounds like passion for teaching runs deep in you, which means you’ll still be teaching people your whole life, just maybe not in a classroom. Those kind of interactions happen on the daily. Your adventure is coming, and that’s great!

  • Question: from bride we have bridal. Is there an equivalent adjective for groom? It seems that there is not. Groomal. Groomular. Groomy. There *should* be.

    • There may not be, considering groom comes from “bridegroom.” I vote Groomy, Groomular as runner-up.

    • Martha

      Obviously the term “bridezilla” sucks, but during my sisters engagement I referred to her guy as a “groomzilla” because HE was horrible.

      I like your suggestion of “groomy” because it kind of sounds like like “groovy.”