APW Happy Hour

Heyyyyyy APW,

Whattaweek. Is anyone with me? It’s been the kind of week where I forgot to write this post until about two seconds ago. In my head, I was clearly hoping posts would write themselves, so I could go take a nap. Good thing it’s almost the baby’s (and hence our) summer vacation.

But enough about me, let’s talk about you for a minute. (Yes, I just made an Alanis reference). It’s your Friday open thread, hop on it.


Highlights of APW This Week

Should you tell your friend that if they want to call off the wedding and go to Mexico, you have their back no matter what? I vote yes.

A practical guide to breaking up with friends (plus the most interesting comments of 2013, if you ask me).

Super hot non-diamond engagement rings (for whatever your reasons are).

First dance JAMZ! For those of us who are not into the shuffle n’ sway.

Craving a super pretty wedding with matching bridesmaids’ dresses and the groom dancing to N’Sync? I thought so.

Speaking of tradition, I had no idea you could make an easy boutonnière that would last overnight. SURPRISES!

That thing where you tell yourself you don’t need to be social because you have the internet? Please question that assumption.

Link Roundup

As Friendship Month comes to an end, Demi Lovato’s feelings about Miley Cyrus seem extra relevant. That’s my kind of friendship.

“I do think, though, that some vaguely constructed concept of tradition is an easy, reductionist route to characterize ways of living, without acknowledging that people are driven by all kinds of reasons to live the way they do.” From this post on the “new domesticity,” which is great.

Anyone who has made a decision that other people disagreed with and, from time to time, found that life isn’t all sunshine and roses, will relate to this article on not being “allowed” to complain after becoming a single mom by choice.

The July Issue of The New Inquiry focuses on family planning and features an interesting article on The Motherhood Archives, a new documentary that looks at the history of maternal educational films and doctor training films.

Anna North argues in Salon that “women’s stories” (like the newest article on young women and “hookup culture” in the Times) do more harm than good.

The Atlantic tries to answer the question of how long can you wait to have a baby once and for all.

Emily Nussbaum breaks down the legacy of Sex and the City in the New Yorker.

Rape Joke,” a poem by Patricia Lockwood, is chilling.

Amber Tamblyn and David Cross have a question for you.

We got a really sweet email from a reader’s gentleman partner (possibly a first!) that included a link to their adorable engagement session in a TOY STORE.

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  • CDN

    Today was definitely one of those hitting-refresh-constantly waiting-for-this-post-to-go-up-days… And oh, so appropriate given the friendship theme going on this month: I’ve been having an issue or three with my BFF of late, and I need some smart-alec lady advice over here. Friendships naturally transition over the course of life events, and I feel like this one is in the ebbing part at the moment – said BFF just doesn’t seem to be that interested or invested in our friendship right now. And that fucking sucks. I suspect that part of this disconnect just happens because we’re now in different places in life than we used to be (she’s living at home while attending medical school and I’m in a four-year relationship moving towards marriage and kids in the next few years). I’m conscious of being supportive of what’s going on in her life and know that med school = crazy schedule, but even when she has much more time to be available it seems that each time I try and talk to her about something personal, she’s quite short and dismissive – I usually wind up feeling worse than I did previously. Unfortunately, this seems to be one of those intangibles (rather than a “you did this” or “I did this”) that make it that much more difficult to suss out where the issue is. Thoughts, ladies??

    • Meghan

      Hey CDN – I’m sorry you’re dealing with this right now. I know it’s tough and we’ve got some APW hugs here for ya!

      That being said…I WAS your friend about two years ago. I was in the middle of my undergrad, struggling with various health issues and frankly was being a pretty shitty friend to my BFF. She was getting married and looking forward to the husband/house/kids route. The only comfort I can offer you is that, after I graduated, I realized how awful I was treating my #1 gal and made a conscious effort to be a better friend. Our relationship has improved so, so much!

      In the meantime, what I’d recommend is being pretty obvious with your friend when you really need her. Literally say, “I am having a rough time with this personal thing and I really need your full attention to talk about it with you.” We-who-have-been-shitty-friends sometimes need tough love to make us realize we are not the center of the universe and friendship is a reciprocal deal.

      Best of luck!

    • When I was living at home after graduation, I was pretty depressed, and therefore convinced that I had nothing but negativity to bring to any friendships. Turns out, my best friend was really hurt because she had bad shit going on and needed me not to be AWOL.

      I also have a couple friends in med/vet/law school. That ish be crazy stressful, and I can’t always count on them for prompt responses to contact.

      I’d tell her honestly “I miss how close we used to be. These days, I feel like we can’t talk about personal stuff anymore. Is the stress getting to you? Is there anything I/we can do to connect better while you’re in school?” And then, even if it turns out she’s dismissive, or responds that she genuinely doesn’t have time, I’d suggest being kind, continue “talking into the void” with a note every so often when you’re thinking of her, and try to reconnect when she’s in a less stressful moment (which, considering residency req’s, may be just for a week after her graduation).

      Also, if this would work for both of you, do you know how she studies? Even if you’re not in school, maybe you could “study” together- bring snacks and a quiet activity to do in the same room. At least you maintain contact. Best of luck, and hope you two stay on good terms!

    • Not Sarah

      I would talk about your communication styles. What kind of communication can she respond to?

      One of my close friends has gone through a lot of life transitions in the last few years. Our primary way of communicating is via email. We both send long emails and respond to them when we have time. I don’t get upset if she doesn’t respond for a while and I don’t make her feel bad for that either. I know she reads my emails and just writing a long email can help me figure out my problem a bit sometimes.

      Sometimes we chat on the phone, but we always schedule it. We also live about a 2-4 hour drive away and alternate visits every few months.

      That said, there are things that you want an immediate answer to. For those, unfortunately, you might need to work on developing some different friendships. Journaling also really helped me with that.

      Your friend still cares about you. But she’s dealing with a ton of stuff. I think you might just need to find new communication channels that work for both of you. Maybe short text = I need an answer pronto, email = wanted to ramble and get my thoughts out and reply when you have a chance, and then schedule phone/Skype/coffee dates every few months? I know that answer sucks, but med school probably is really hard on her, emotionally too.

      And – if you were in med school, living at home, how would you want your closest friend to still keep in contact with you?

      • Copper

        +1 on the communication style question. I had a friendship fall out last year because we just couldn’t understand each other anymore. I felt like my friend was constantly criticizing me—no matter what I did, her response was to suggest I do it another way. She seemed to me like a broken record saying, “Why don’t you just…” and it seemed that anything I ever told her was fair game for her advice. At the same time she was going down a path in life that I didn’t think was very well thought out. However my communication style and my friendship style is to accept that people know what’s best for them better than I do. And so I questioned less and she questioned more until I exploded. Turned out she thought I wasn’t interested in her life when I was just trying to hold my tongue and not criticize. She constantly criticized, trying to express interest. I don’t think we’ll ever be what we were, but it helped once I understood what was going on.

  • Leila

    Just quit job so that I can move two hours south to live with my DH. Excited about leaving job that wasn’t right, but a little scared about the whole no job thing. And as a PhD. chemist, I just did the unthinkable. Ready for moving this weekend and drinking some quitting wine. :)

    • MarieKD

      Congrats on doing the unthinkable! I can appreciate the process you must have taken to get there, so go you. Good luck with your move, enjoy that wine, and all the best to you and your DH in the future.

    • Jenni

      Congratulations and good for you! I’m another PhD trying to work up the courage to do the ‘unthinkable’ and leave my job and finally live with my fiance. I just want to say how much I admire your strength and courage to do what’s right for you and your relationship!

    • I’m no sommelier, but I’m pretty sure “quitting wine” is one of the finer tasting fermentations out there.

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      Congrats from one PhD chemist to another! All the best for your move and your life with your DH.

  • ANON

    Just wanted to start out by saying I am loving friendship month exactly because of its difficulty and relevance to my life right now.

    My issue that I’m hoping to get some input into. I’m a bridesmaid in my brother’s wedding in 1 month. I am currenlty being treated for anxiety and depression which has been ongoing for a few years. I have no idea how I’m going to make it up the aisle and stand in front of everyone at the church without a panic attack. Everyone says I should suck it up and take a Xanax. Any advice?

    • Shiri

      That sucks, I’m so sorry. Does the “everyone” include your family and your brother? I can’t imagine putting a loved one through that if I truly understood what the experience would be like for them… Do they really get what it would mean for you to be up there?

      • ANON

        Honestly, I haven’t told my brother and my family because they don’t “believe” in mental illness and would be dismissive. They announced the wedding a year ago and I thought that I would be better by now, but I don’t know how that is going to happen. Plus, it’s too late for me to withdraw now.

        I’m in tears at my keyboard now. Crap.

        • Shiri

          Oh god, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to make it worse! Big, big, hugs to you. Is there any way out of it without telling them, or drugging yourself? (“stomach flu” day of for the win?) Are you in talk therapy? Are there any crisis situation CBT techniques you could prepare? I’m so, so sorry.

          • ANON

            You definitely did NOT make it worse! Just reading this and typing this is making shit real and I am freaking out.

            Yes, I am in talk therapy and not on any meds. My therapist (who specializes in CBT) has not been helpful. I have been honest with her about what a big deal this is to me and she is like, if you have a panic attack…you will just step out and leave. Not helpful at all.

          • Shiri

            Would you consider meds for this occasion, is that something you’re ok with ? I don’t think its “just sucking it up” to do it, if you’re ok with it and your therapist thinks it would help, too. And yeah.. your therapist doesn’t sound so helpful here!

          • if you are not generally on medication and do decide to go that route for the occasion, i would really recommend doing a…test run. the first time my wife took an anxiety med, it turned out to be a bigger dose than needed and she was ridiculously goofy and wobbly (though it also worked)…so you probably want to test that out before you need it.

        • Breck

          I’m so, so sorry you’re going through this, and if you really need to, I don’t think it’s too late to back out. Like Shiri said, you can come up with an excuse and walk away. Nothing is more important than your health (mental health, included) so do not feel bad about putting that first. Your family brother and his partner will get over it. I don’t know you, but I’m giving you the “Marriage or Mexico” out.

        • Samantha

          My two cents: It’s never to late to withdraw (well maybe after the fact)…

    • Meghan

      Hi Anon – I’m sorry you’re stressing about this. As Shiri said, I hope the folks who are asking you to undertake this really do understand what it means for you.

      When you say you’re being treated, are you being treated purely with medication? You don’t necessarily need to answer me, but the reason I ask is because I know treatment for anxiety and depression is so much more effective when combined with therapy. If you’re already in therapy, I’d recommend discussing the upcoming nuptials with your therapist – he or she might be able to help you prepare and teach you some techniques to cope with it.

      • ANON

        Thanks, Megan!

        I’m actually in talk therapy with a CBT therapist and not on any meds. Like, I said above, I’ve been talking about this constantly with my therapist and she has not been helpful. Unfortunately, with 1 month to go, it’s too late for me to switch therapists.

        • Kristen

          P.S. you’re allowed to tell your therapist she isn’t helping you as well. I definitely do when she’s on the wrong track or giving me advice I won’t take. If she’s any good at all, she’ll be absolutely able to handle it and should adjust her technique accordingly.

        • Switching therapists at this point may not give you time to be in a better place for the wedding, but if you’ve been in therapy for over a year with this one and don’t feel like you’ve made progress, it might be a good time to sit down and talk about that and what she thinks realistic goals are for you. If she seems off-base with what you feel, it may be time to look at other therapists in general so that you can get back to being you.

          It also may be worth talking about meds as a temporary bridge to help take the edge off while you make progress in therapy and then wean down the meds. Whatever you decide to do, hang in there, you can pull through.

    • Kristen

      I’m not sure why having anxiety and depression equals you not being able to walk down the aisle or stand at the front of the ceremony – but I’m going to assume your concerns are based on real world experience and answer according to that.

      You tell the bride and groom you need to be seated during the ceremony. If you truly don’t think you can even walk down the aisle, tell them that as well. It won’t ruin the wedding if one bridesmaid needs to take care of herself. And if people judge or poo poo your concerns, do yourself a favor and try to not get upset about it. Simply repeat your needs again and again until they are heard and respected. That’s what I would do. Anyone with an ounce of caring should be able to understand you just can’t do something.

    • Paranoid Libra

      Is it an anxiety about seeming like the center of attention? Or is it also the sheer size of their wedding and you being well paraded around? If it’s a center of attention situation remember everyone is really clamoring to see the bride the most. I do understand though that that might not be enough but my anxiety is much more mild as in I do not get to the fevered pitch level of anxiety attacks. Freak outs yes, but not the seriousness an actual anxiety attack can be.

      It sucks when family doesn’t recognize anxiety. My mom wouldn’t in me but will in my sister it doesn’t make any sense. It sucks when there isn’t anyone there to tall you down from a panic either or just let you use a shoulder to lean on. Maybe ask ypur soon to be sister in law of a way to cope unless she is in the same mental health problems don’t exist camp.

      It’s either find a compromise, get drugs or get out of the duties all together but still finding a way to show your support to them. Many hugs or fist bumps, whichever you prefer.

    • ANON

      I know you don’t have much time and I also don’t know your stance on medication, but I would suggest seeing a psychiatrist.

      I have pretty real anxiety and off and on anxiety. For a long time, I thought I could just “deal with it” through journaling, breathing, taking a bath, occasionally seeing a sometimes helpful therapist. However, once I realized that I was just overwhelmingly anxious and it wasn’t ok and it wasn’t my fault and the panic attacks were horrible, I decided to see a psychiatrist. Being on anti-anxiety meds makes a HUGE difference for me. Everything feels a whole lot more manageable.

      Also, on the Xanax–from how you phrased it, it sounds like you feel or are getting the feeling like taking a Xanax is a cop out/bad thing. I’m having trouble phrasing this is a way that doesn’t sound condescending or disapproving of your opinions, but if being in the wedding is important to you or to your family, taking a Xanax before you walk down the aisle is a really legitimate and probably very positive and helpful way to be there for your brother while also supporting yourself and looking out for your own needs.

      (I would just suggest trying a Xanax before the wedding because some people react strongly to certain dosages and you probably want to avoid a intoxicated-like appearance!)

      But other than that, lots of support and hugs because anxiety is not easy, ever.

      • Lauren

        My very bestest friend of all time took Xanax before my wedding. She doesn’t need it all the time, just high-stress situations where she’s in the spotlight. In the immortal words of Macklemore, we danced, we cried, we laughed, and had a really, really, really good time. Medication isn’t scary, it’s helpful!

      • meg

        I was just going to chime in and say you need to see a psychiatrist (or YOUR psychiatrist, if you’re in treatment). God bless Anon above me, who is bending over backwards being sensitive, but as someone who’s had ongoing depression and anxiety conditions for my whole adult life I’m not even really ok with the idea that there is some ok stance against medication (unless you don’t take meds for anything, then, sure). Mental health is health, and it has to be treated just like any other condition.

        So sure, if you have to take something to get down the aisle, do it, but that’s a short term fix. Anxiety and depression should of course be treated in therapy, but anxiety pretty much always needs to be treated with meds as well. So you need to get yourself on a good solid ongoing treatment plan with solid medical health professionals. And if you’re already on one, ask your doctor for advice.

    • Laura

      Panic and anxiety are so overwhelming and unpleasant. I am so sorry your therapist is not being helpful, especially since CBT seems like it should be ideal in terms of developing a practical plan. It is totally up to you whether you want to be up front or not. If it seems like too much stress, you can absolutely ask to be seated during the ceremony. If it’s important to you to be up there, then hopefully you can ask your therapist for some practical suggestions and also to work through your concerns about what will happen if you’re up there so you can better understand your anxiety and develop self-talk to manage it.

      Things that I find good for anxiety that aren’t super noticeable to people around you include mints (they produce saliva to relieve the dry mouth feeling of anxiety, which then helps you relax physically), tensing muscles for 5-10 seconds and then relaxing them, and medication, only if you want it. (If you do decide to go with meds, make sure to test them out beforehand, so you know what they feel like). Finally, and maybe this is what your therapist was trying to say, albeit in a clunky, unhelpful way, is that if you were up in front with your plan of how to relax and you started feeling panic, you could always quietly excuse yourself and I doubt many people would think twice about it (maybe having an arrangement with a friend or family member you trust not to be judge-y to meet you outside).

  • Kristen

    This week turned friendship month around for me. I decided to take the old bull by the horns and facilitate an Ohio based APW meet-up group on Facebook because gosh I am ready to actually start making friends and keeping them rather than just reading about it. For any NEO ladies – or Ohio in general, please feel free to join!


    • Yay! I created a Portland, Oregon one! We’ve had two meet-ups, and it’s been awesome! Good luck with your group!

    • WeddAsh

      Also, there is a St. Louis meet-up group so reply here if you want to be included in the email list!

    • KW

      oh cool! I am in Columbus, but if something gets going up in NE Ohio at a time I can attend, I may tag along. :)

      • Kristen

        I love Cincinnati and Columbus so if we want to take this group state wide – I’m IN!

      • Kaitlin

        I’m Columbus too! At the very least, we can totally have a 2 person APW group, right?

    • Molly

      I am new to Cleveland, so am very excited for this group! Yay for taking initiative.

  • Shiri

    Friendship month started a conversation with one of my closest friends about what we need from each other and why we’re not closer, so thank you for that.

    In Happy Hour news, my wedding got blogged by Ruffled. It was kind of a surprise when they emailed, and we realized we couldn’t stop them because we don’t own the pics (my husband didn’t want our faces on the internet, or at least his), and so he decided to be happy with it, which was thrilling for me. So, if you’re so inclined (and I’m allowed?), http://ruffledblog.com/massachusetts-backyard-wedding/.

    Which brings me to this: if you don’t want your photog to shop your wedding images to blogs, make sure you say so before you sign a contract. It never occurred to me that my husband wouldn’t find it as thrilling as I do, and so we didn’t bring it up before. Thankfully, he’s ok with it now (or ignoring it), but a note to others married to introverts or introverts themselves!

    • Emmers

      such good points! And OMG, I love your centerpieces/table runners/whole look for your tent wedding. Any advice on how you pulled this off?

      • Shiri

        Thank you thank you :). The tables became my mom’s domain (seriously, I don’t have those skills, and also am not a super visual person) but they got the fabric at a wholesale fabric store and hand edged it by pulling out the long threads (this was a Saturday evening activity for large groups of women for a few weeks). The books were a hodgepodge: some were thrift store and personal books, others were ones the florist had on hand. My mom had been planning on collecting all of them but then gave up when she realized even with books by the yard at the Strand, the cost of moving them all up to my aunt’s and trying to color coordinate was too high to do it all herself, and worth having the florist help.

        The tent itself I had more to do with. I got the paper lanterns at http://www.jadetime.com/paper-lanterns.html (best price the florist had ever seen – I doublechecked with her) and we hung them in between the twinkle lights, so that the little lights reflected onto them and not through.

      • Shiri

        Thank you thank you! I just wrote a whole long reply to you that got eaten, the jist of which was:

        Books – a combo of personal, thrifted, and florist provided. If you’re in the NYC area, The Strand sells books by the yard by color, but we realized it was just as cost effective to get the florist’s help.

        Plants – my mom is a genius and apparently, so is the florist :).

        Table runners – we got the fabric at a wholesale store, but there were lots of online options too, and we hand raw-edged it (pulled out the long threads to make the edges jagged). This did take a good deal of time, but we had three generations doing it and its a really fond memory now.

        Lanterns – from Jadetime.com, amazing price. We hung them in between the twinkle lights so that the light was on the lantern, not in it. I think we had three different shades of blue in the end, in two sizes.

      • Shiri

        Emmers, it won’t let me reply to you (it’s eaten this three times now!) so the long and short of it is – ask the florist for help if you can with the plants, get the cloth wholesale or on the internet and hand raw edge it, lanterns from jadetime.com (and put them between the lights, not over them), we tried to do all local flowers and plants outside the potted ones (and we kept those), and books – thrift, personal, florist’s, and The Strand books by the yard. If those goes through this time, I’m happy to give more detail on anything you want!

      • Shiri

        Hey, thank you thank you :) its eaten this a bunch of times not letting me comment (and now I just lost the copy/paste) so… long and short,
        – books: The Strand books by the yard, thrift stores, personal, and asking the florist to help (turned out that she had a lot of them.
        – plants: these were all from the florist, and we ended up keeping the potted ones. The non-potted were all locally grown or sourced.
        – runners: wholesale fabric store, or online, and then edged by hand (by pulling out the long threads), which was time consuming but really fun to do as a big group.
        – lanterns – my favorites, in three colors and two sizes from jadetime.com, which had the best prices, and hung between twinkle lights instead of over them.

        if this actually goes through, let me know if you need more specifics!

        • Shiri

          And wow, they all eventually came through… I rock at this.

          • Emmers

            hahahahah! Thank you for your perseverance despite the internets being wonky. You are amazing, and your wedding was beautiful! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Rachel

      Oh hiiiiiii pretty!

      • Shiri

        He he :) Me and my wedding thank you!

    • MarieKD

      Your wedding looks beautiful and the ceremony pictures look so happy. I’m sorry your husband wasn’t thrilled, but I’m glad that you are both ok with it enough that you shared it with us, thank you.

    • ART

      Good point@ This (not owning/controlling images) is one thing that is turning me off of the idea of having a professional photog, so I think we’re going the crowd-sourcing route (also: $$…small budget, we haz it). Of course, we won’t own or control those photos, either, but we’re a little more comfortable with the ways they’ll be shared by our close friends and family. Glad it worked out for you in the end (and lovely photos!)

      • meg

        Just a note: that shouldn’t turn people off from a pro. If you want privacy, anyone who’s a good fit for you is going to find a way to respect that. I should know, we had a privacy clause in our contract :)

        • ART

          Another good point. It’s definitely not my main reason, it’s jut yet another reason.

        • Shiri

          Agreed, totally. It didn’t even occur to us beforehand, and I’m sure our photographer would have worked with us on it if we’d been tuned in enough to ask!

        • Beth

          Indeed! My husband also was not thrilled about the idea of our pictures being paraded around online, so he asked our photographer to add a line into the contract stating that our images could not be used for marketing purposes. Our photographer agreed to it and even said that he probably wouldn’t want his wedding pictures used for marketing either.

    • Breck

      Your dress! So beautiful. And that flower girl is adorable. Congrats!

      • Shiri

        Thank you :) Isn’t she just the cutest? She told us all she was scattering “flowers and unicorn seeds”. I die.

    • At first, I was going to say something about that first picture, but–

      That Last Picture. Woah.

    • Absolutely gorgeous photos! I mean, really. The centerpieces! The books! We’re also rockin’ books. So lovely.

      And you make a great point re: photographers’ rights and blogs. Our team told us from the get-go — and had us initial in a contract — that we understand they may submit photos from our engagement/wedding to websites and blogs for their promotional purposes. My fiance was not super excited about that, so we had a discussion with them and ultimately gave them the OK, but added in a clause stating we would be notified if they were published (and have been so far). I realize that’s not a perfect solution, but it was something we were all (mostly) comfortable with.

      It’s kind of a tricky area . . . I’m used to “putting myself out there” online and don’t care at all, but my guy is not. I use photos of us on my own website, but he’s been antsy about them going up other places. It’s a work in progress, I think . . .

    • Brenda

      We had Here, There and Everywhere for our processional too! I love your Beatles trio :)

    • Your wedding is gorgeous, but my favorite part is how much the love you and your husband clearly share comes across in these photos. I also love that you infused some APW-ness into the post. So glad to see sensible, good advice show up on a blog that tends to focus mostly on wedding style. I also loved how you infused so much meaning into your wedding. Thank you for sharing (even if your husband isn’t totally thrilled about it).

      • Shiri

        Thanks :) It felt almost subversive to put the APW in – I was basically paraphrasing Meg’s “newly engaged?” advice, and would have cited APW if I could have! It actually meant a lot to me to be able to do that, you know?

  • Michelle

    Happy Friday!

    So I just pored over the APW archives (http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/08/ask-meg-why-is-the-wedding-party-so-fraught/ http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/05/apw-happy-hour-6/ etc)
    and I’m still feeling a bit stuck on this issue. Friends and family have been asking me how they can help with the wedding, and I do need help with things. But at the same time, I seem to be reading lots of comments in which people are suggesting that having roles for people on the wedding day is “putting them to work” and not fun. I guess I’m really glad I am reading these things and thinking about it, because I had completely never thought of it that way. So now I’m rethinking asking people to be greeters, ushers, guestbook attendants, etc. I know that people are adults and I need to remember that “my wedding is not an imposition.” Do you think these things can still be an honor?


    • Shiri

      I think there is a HUGE difference between an honor/role, giving people a task when they ask for one, and demanding your loved ones clean/craft/learn to drive stick shift for your wedding. Especially if you ask in a way that leaves room for someone to say no gracefully and you make it clear you won’t be hurt, an honor is a lovely inclusive thing. Asking someone to usher is very different than telling them to usher and make the programs and hand sew their own ties from yarn they grew themselves, you know?

      • Kristen

        “Learn to drive stick”

        Hahahahaha! Oh ESB readers…

    • Rachel

      I think if people are offering to help, it’s OK to take them up on that offer! It sounds like you’d be pretty conscientious of their feelings, so I can’t imagine you’d overwork them. I feel like as long as you keep in mind the other things they may want to do that day as a guest (do their hair, get a pedi, hang out with their date, hit the dance floor, etc.) and you feel like they will still reasonably have time to do most of those fun-wedding-guest things, you’re fine. I think it becomes more of an imposition is if you’re asking them to do more work than they do wedding, if that makes sense? (But at the same time, certain people, particularly family members, are going to insist on doing more work than wedding.)

    • What Shiri said. Also: 1. Your people are offering. 2. Most of the discussions in those archives come down to “Know your crowd.” You know your people better than we do, and as a smart, reasonable woman, you know where they’re coming from and what they’re up for. (the fact that you “never thought of it that way” indicates to me that maybe your crowd is one of helpers and like-to-be-busy-ers, since that’s likely where your mindset came from. That’s a wild assumption on my part, though)

    • I felt SO GUILTY for asking people to help on the wedding day, particularly for somewhat minor roles (Can you hand out programs and bike bells? Can you make sure the church kitchen is clean after the bridal party has lunch?) because it sounded to me like I was calling people and greeting them with a big, fat “Cinderelly!!” But when I did ask, people were completely honored. Even the person who is going to sweep shredded lettuce from the kitchen floor. It’s totally a love thing. The more I asked for help, the more special everyone else felt. And then I felt special that everyone wanted to help.

    • Samantha

      Um, I think what people are refering to as “putting them to work” is more like what my firance’ and I just experienced in a wedding in which he was the best man. Making the grooms men carry bags and bags of ice, move kegs, etc. Have the family set up tables, chairs, center pieces. Manual labor for wedding guests in my book = horrible. Having attendants, not so much. It’s more of an honor. So long as you don’t expect them to be your wedding day slaves.

      • Just curious, were these expectations expressed beforehand or was it a case of “Surprise! You get to do work!” I was in a wedding once where I was put to work. However, there was no mention of this expectation prior to the wedding. I feel like if there was told beforehand, I wouldn’t have minded as much.

        • Samantha

          It was “surprise get your a** to work in your wedding attire” as the work took place between the cermony and reception… awful

    • I think that if people offer, it’s because they mean it. I am always down to help someone with their wedding, even if I don’t know them that well because I want to bless them on their special day. I agree with Shiri that you can give them a clear out, but if people say they want to help try to let them. Ignore blogs that say putting people to work is a bad thing. Sometimes being involved with making something happen makes it more meaningful.

    • Caroline

      I always reflect on the few weddings I’ve been to where I didn’t really have a job, and I actually felt a tad left out. I am much more thrilled and excited when people ask me to help out a ton. It makes me feel a part of things and included. Which is not to say you have to ask everyone to help out, but if people offer and you could use the help, ask them! Ask in a way that let’s them say no if they want without it being uncomfortable, but ask away.

    • meg

      You guys. Do you get that it’s an honor to be asked to do an honor (or often help) with someone’s wedding?? Being an usher or a greater is a big deal. If I ask to help and people turn me down, I’m usually a little insulted, because what you’re messaging is “I don’t want your help” or “My wedding is important, and I don’t want to include you in that.”


      Helping out is NBD for most of us, being an user is a big deal. In a good way. BIG DEAL. HONOR. LET PEOPLE HELP. Kthankzbye.

  • MarieKD

    Happy Friday everyone! I managed to get two interviews for postdocs next week. Both of them are somewhat outside my field and both are good opportunities to learn new techniques so I am nervous and excited. Instead of worrying about the interviews, I am going to focus on keeping my professional black slacks away from my very light haired, very sheddy, and very loving pets.

    • Breck

      Congrats! Light hair on my dark clothes is the only good thing about being petless, if you ask me.

    • Jenni

      Awesome, and good luck!

    • LMN

      Congratulations, and good luck! And maybe keep a little lint roller in your purse just in case? ;)

  • Everyone should read Caitlin Moran’s posthumous advice to her daughter

    “…always remember that, nine times out of ten, you probably aren’t having a full-on nervous breakdown – you just need a cup of tea and a biscuit. You’d be amazed how easily and repeatedly you can confuse the two. Get a big biscuit tin. ”

    And because it’s friendship month:

    “…choose your friends because you feel most like yourself around them, because the jokes are easy and you feel like you’re in your best outfit when you’re with them, even though you’re just in a T-shirt. ”

    But really, read the whole thing.

    • MarieKD

      Oh that was nice. I should get the biscuit thing embroidered on a pillow

    • meg


      Very caps kind of afternoon.

  • Breck

    We (finally) got an email with some more information (and photos!) of our apartment in Caracas. I’ve been bothering my boyfriend daily for some specifics (what size bed will we have? do we need to bring sheets? towels? dishes? TELL ME) while he deals with all the people involved in getting our visas and medical clearance, so I baked him some donuts last night to say thanks and sorry :). Everything looks really nice, and now I’m actually worried we’re going to get a little spoiled there (in unit washer and dryer and balcony ahhhh).

    Also, just wanted to echo everyone in saying that I’m really pleased with friendship month. At first, I was a little nervous about the whole thing, but it’s proven to be really, really valuable in helping me see my friendships, and the idea of friendship in general, in a new way. Thanks, APW!

    • Not Sarah

      In-unit washer and dryer are THE BEST THING EVER. You (well I) can’t go back after having them. Enjoy!!!

      Friendship month has been amazing :)

  • next week! our babies are (pretty certainly) going home for good in one week. it’s exciting – things are going *really well* (they cried last week that they didn’t want ice cream after school because it was going to delay getting to see their family – hell yes.)

    it’s weird, though, because i’m not really sad – but i am *full of feelings* … i just don’t know what the feelings are. i can feel in my body that i am feeling something, but it doesn’t correspond to any of the names i have for feelings. it’s very strange. (maybe it is some kind of feelings long island iced tea – like there are so many different very small feelings that i can tell i have a cup *full* of feelings, but none of the feelings are strong enough to identify. or maybe not. i don’t know.)

    • “Feelings long island iced tea” is probably one of the best analogies I’ve ever seen. Because it probably knocks you on your ass before you realize what’s happening.

      • ha. good point – i’m kind of waiting for that moment.

    • KC

      I think the Long Island Iced Tea of feelings is the most disorienting – you know you’re full and you can’t explain it and it isn’t tidy (or particularly “cool”), but you’re trying to figure out what it is, and every time you catch a taste of something, you still know that there’s a bunch you haven’t identified.

      I hope it all goes well. And hope your feeling settle into tidy strata or something else that is more easily managed/communicated/understood soon.

    • meg

      <3 <3 <3

  • Rachel

    Just in case I missed anyone with my email earlier this week, I’m organizing Houston APW-ers for meetups! Feel free to friend me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rachel.wilkerson) and shoot me a message letting me know you’re a Houston APW reader and then I’ll add you to the private FB group!

    • I love that there are so many people organizing APW meet-up. As the organizer for the Portland APW meet-up, what’s the possibility of having somewhere on the site where people can post about the different groups and people can find them?

      • Abby Mae

        Yes! Great idea!

      • marbella

        yes please! I was going to ask this too. I set up an APW-AZ group on facebook and only have 2 ladies so far. come on AZ!

  • I just got a nastygram work email and said (under my breath), “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, is it APW Happy Hour yet?! Glory…” Turns out, it is!

    This week I quit a perfect job with terrible coworkers and nothing has every felt More Right. Though I have loved the work I have been doing, the thought of working with one coworker in particular was literally making me sick on Sunday evenings. Every Sunday evening. I don’t know about everyone else, but work-life balance is critical to me and when my work life is ruining walks around the lake, softball games, and drinking coffee/beer/cocktails on the patio… well, it’s time to get out.

    I struggled a bit– the last few years have been a lot of change for myself and my fiance and I kept thinking, “I don’t want to change jobs. AGAIN. I just want something stable.” But the truth is, I don’t want something stable if that something is craptastic (and micro-managey). I have happily accepted a new position in the same department, which is the least disruptive job change ever, I suppose.

    Cheers to changes for the better!

    • Margi

      Congrats! What an amazing feeling that must be! I am currently in a craptastic job that makes me sick to my stomach on Fridays because I know Monday is right around the corner.

    • Congrats on the job change, and for removing yourself from a toxic work environment. I had that same Sunday night sickness, but I needed the job so badly (this was after a year of unemployment, thanks economy!) that I stayed on and was miserable. I finally got laid off, and have never been so happy to leave a job in my life. Way to practice good self care and get yourself out of a bad situation.

    • Breck

      Congrats on leaving behind your soul-sucking coworkers! I also have one colleague in particular who is so passive aggressive that I dread even walking by her office. She’s going to be out of town for two weeks in August, then I’m quitting, and I cannot wait.

      Have an extra glass of celebratory champagne for me!

    • congratulations! and i’m so jealous =) i am having a bad case of work sickness with no alternatives that i can see. i pretty much dread going back to work any time i’m not there and spend all my time at work thinking about how badly i would rather be doing dishes. perhaps i need to start studying occlumency…keep work out of my mind when i am home.

      • Benefits of studying Occlumency:

        1. If Dumbledore teaches you, you learn well and can keep work out of your mind.

        2. If Snape teaches you, lessons make work seem not so bad.

    • jashshea

      Oh Kate! I feel your pain. So glad you made it to the other side. I emailed a coworker at 1 PM today saying that I was already dreading Monday.

    • Natasha

      I did the very same thing last year right about this time! Quit a job I loved because of one co-worker (who was my boss, actually). My stomach was always in knots. I literally cried myself to work and cried on my commute home. It. Was. The. Worst. I haven’t regretted my decision for a minute. Yay for you!!!!

  • Bonnie

    I have lots of wedding items I’d like to sell or at the very least find a second home for (yay recycling). Any thoughts on places other than craigslist(which while sometimes great also doesn’t have a wedding specific section which is annoying)/recycle your wedding (I’ve had mixed luck) I could use to sell wedding items? (napkins, decorations, signs etc)

    p.s. how awesome would it be if APW had a section where people could sell/buy/share/trade wedding items? HINT HINT HINT

    • Emily

      I’ve come across two on Pinterest that I think are quite popular:

      1. Ruffled
      2. Tradesy

    • Amy

      Check and see if there’s s bridal consignment store in the area – if you’re close to MN there’s one in the Twin Cities – and I think they’ll take stuff you ship to them…

    • meg

      100 Layer Cake.

  • Emily

    If the Wi-Fi connection at this cheap motel zips along during the day but slows down to a crawl at night, do you think that means that everybody’s streaming porn and that’s why I can’t check my e-mail?

    • No, I’m sure some people are uploading recently-made porn, too.

    • Breck

      Oh, absolutely. Is that not what those plastic comforters are for?

  • Yay for almost-weekend!

    We got our wedding photo disc on Monday, complete with everything from our photobooth, and all of the pictures of the ceremony and reception and we love all of the pictures. I can’t stop looking at them on FB in my FB albums.

    So now, we’re trying to decide which photos we want to print first, for framing. I already have a picture chosen for a gallery-wrap style print for in our dining room, and we want to do a photo wall in our bedroom, and possibly hang a couple pictures in our upstairs hallway, along with some fun pictures of industrial things.

    That being said, does anyone have any tips for how to narrow down prints for framing to make a cohesive photowall without too much repetition?

    • KC

      The home-decor-style I’m-not-sure-what-I’m-doing-but-I-want-things-to-be-visually-coherent method: If it’s a wall that’s going to be a decent distance from the average person, I’d suggest thinning the photos down to “acceptable photos” (based on how they look close-up and who you do or do not want on your walls) if necessary, then looking at them alllll in thumbnail (or whatever size they would look like they were if the printed-out ones were viewed at the farthest likely distance). That way you can get the “distance” and mix or match colors and subject sizes and that sort of thing (you can also “design your wall” this way in an image editing program, although remember that lighting will be different and your photos will not have a glowing screen behind them). If there are any non-negotiable photos, use those as the “base” and gear the other photos to “go with” those (either contrast-y or match-y).

      If you have any sequential photos (almost filmstrip-style), that can also be fun? (and, um, easier)

      Or you can just pick out your favorites (cull the worst, pick out the best, then pick your favorites from any photos that are effectively duplicates) and call it good. Or list the people/wedding-bits you want photos of, then pick out one photo for each.

      Hope you enjoy the process!

      • Ooh, I hadn’t thought about the thumbnail aspect – thank you! We have a lot of sequential-style photos from the ceremony and especially the father-daughter dance, which are some of the photos I love. We have more photos like that out of our photobooth, where people danced while taking pictures, which was hilarious.

        And um.. you totally summed up our home decor style in a nutshell.

        • KC

          Also, I’d note that depending on the size you print at, photos will be cropped, so keep an eye out for that (obvs., 4*6 does not show exactly the same part of the photo as 8*10, or it’d be 8*12). If your photos are high enough resolution, you can crop things to only be the bits you want, although with pro photographer photos, they’ve probably done the “framing” of the shot for you.

          Also-also, I’d note that if you’re on a serious budget crunch, printing photos at a color copy place or big-office-store-print-shop can work (no, seriously!) and is generally less than $1 per 8.5*11 page on cardstock. It’s neither matte nor glossy, and the colors won’t be as perfectly reproduced, but they get surprisingly close. It’s worth trying a few, anyway, if your “ideal” photo wall turns out to be out of financial range.

        • KC

          (also, that is totally our home decor style; I’m trying to learn how to do this, and this is as far as I’ve gotten so far. I hope your project comes out awesomely. :-) )

          • most of what we’re looking at framing is from our pro photog, but printing color copies is a really good idea – I hadn’t thought about it! When i finish this project (admittedly, it may take a month), I’ll try to share pictures! (is that meta? pictures of pictures?)

          • KC

            I’d love to see how it comes out/comes together!

    • Yay for printing and framing wedding photos! An easy way to make a cohesive photo wall is to stick with all one type or color of frame. I always encourage people to choose images/art that makes them feel something – that will bring you right back to the moment. To narrow it down, it’s just a process of picking your favorites, and then narrow that group down, then narrow that group down again. This is sometimes easier with a stack of 4x6s than on the computer. To get enough variety, think about mixing portraits and candids with more images that set the scene, that way you can really get the feel of the entire day. Don’t feel bound to arrange them in time order – look at what looks good next to the other.

      • Thank you! We were thinking of exploring IKEA for some of their all-black or all-white frames, depending on what would look best in our honeyed-woodwork-from-1908 house. I will have to keep in mind not worrying about time order, and definitely setting the scene. We had a unique (to us) wedding location and I want to highlight that as much as I can -our first look was outside of an old schoolhouse cabin, where we took a few of my bridal portraits in front of the old blackboard, and my husband and groomsmen had their group pictures in front of a spelling list and the blackboard (and this I think is awesome: there is a picture of Abraham Lincoln in one of the groomsmen pictures).

  • Our happy news this week is that the McPants family welcomed a new puppy! She is 5 months old, and wiggly and awesome. I had definitely forgotten how tiring puppy training is though. There’s a little tiny part of me that’s like “what if we aren’t dog people, and we’re bad at it and we’ve traumatized our cat and burdened ourselves with always being home to let the dog out forever blahhhh?” I’m pretty sure I can just chalk that up to lack of sleep, but big life changes are scary, even if they’re just a dog. The puppy has no input on my craziness, as she’s asleep at my feet. I think we’ll be okay.

    • Ooh, happy puppy training! (well, as happy as it can be, cuz you’re right- exhausting!)

      I want a dog so much and can’t have one at my apt. Things that make me happier are dog pictures on Instagram- everyone should follow Kirsty’s (of APK UK week) new Instagram for her greyhound: dailysmidgen. First off, Smidgen is the most adorable name for a dog, and secondly, Smidgen herself manages to convey a lot of personality in one mournful look. Lastly, Kirsty’s dry-humored captions are killer.

      • Smidgen is a super-cute dog name! Ours came as Lucy, and it just kind of stuck even though it seems like every dog ever is called Lucy. It’s going to be fun times at the dog park. :)

        • Moe

          I have a Lucy curled up here next to me. She has her own FB page and frequently changes her relationship status. :/

      • This may actually be the final push that gets me to sign up for instagram. Kirsty + what is bound to become a large dog named Smidgen, yeah I’m in.

        • Breck

          Ditto for me. I’ve been too lazy to set it up, but this whole thing sounds unbelievably adorbs.

    • Sabrina

      I did not think I was a dog person either, but now I have two great big dogs (120 lbs and 80 lbs) that are the sunshine of my life. Before you know it you will wonder how you lived with out her for so long!

  • Fun stuff after a few days of period awfulness:

    1. I’m going to my friend’s place tonight for her first “consultation” with me regarding her wedding hair. I’m reeeeallly excited a.) to do her hair for her wedding b.) to have fun doing hair tonight and other practice times and c.) that her bridesmaids will likely be there, so I can help them, too, meaning more girl-time and getting to know other people who will be at this wedding.

    2. I’m doing really well with saving money for my yoga instructor training that I plan to start this fall, and I’m on-target for the paying up-front discount.

    3. I’m 90% positive that I’m getting this dance instructor position, and even when frustrations crop up, they’re frustrations I’d much rather deal with than any that currently exist in my office job.

    4. The weather is going to be so mild and beautiful tomorrow, I can’t wait to be outside drinking a latte, reading my book, and people watching :-)

    • Breck

      Your #1 made me miss my BFF who always plays with/does crazy french braids to my hair. Sounds like it’s going to be a really fun girls night (something I’ve been craving since the beginning of friendship month)!

    • CDN

      You sound awesome, Sarah E.

      Just pointing out.

      • Come hang out! In Nebraska! It’s cooler than people think!

        (and thanks<3)

    • Michelle

      Yay for some wonderful things happening!

    • Brenda

      Good luck with the dance instructor position! That’s awesome!

    • meg

      I just want to highlight #1 here, for those of you worried about burdening people by asking them to help on your wedding COUGH COUGH COUGH.

      • To add to your point Meg, I’ve only been friends with the bride for less than a year. We’re pretty new and not terribly close on the friends scale. DON’T CARE. SUPER EXCITED. NEW FRIENDS!!

  • Sarah

    Having a “Feelings Long Island Iced Tea” here on this Friday (credit to Lady Brett in the comments above) . It’s three weeks to my wedding. I have NO regrets about any decisions we’ve made about the wedding but all of a sudden everything is hitting me. We are arguing about stupid things and being really mushily in love together and I’m off work trying to fill my days but also running around like mad doing errand after errand. I think I just delayed all of the weddingy-type emotions and now they are on a slow, ever increasing leak and I don’t think it will stop until after the wedding. I can’t do a good job of isolating the crazy right now but I’m afraid of where I might be come the day of. Looking for a little of that wedding zen everyone keeps talking about.

    • Hang in there! A lot of the stuff that seems SUPER important now will look different from the other side. It’s okay to feel however you’re feeling, and whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it right.

    • LMN

      You can do it! Sending hugs your way. I felt a whole lot of feelings and was busier than I thought I’d be in those last few weeks. I turned into a little bit of a shrew. My now-husband confirms this.

      For me, the wedding zen came in doses: a little when I finished the binder for the day-of coordinator; a little when I emailed itineraries to all the people involved in the wedding; and a whole lot when we actually waited to start walking down the aisle for our ceremony. Pure bliss from that point on. I hope that you can enjoy the good stuff over the next few weeks, and find your zen wherever you can.

      Also–naps. Lots of naps.

      • Sarah

        Thanks, guys!

  • Blair

    Has anyone else worked with a pre marital counselor? We just started seeing ours and already I’m like “shit, I need to go see my shrink again.”
    I still can’t figure what to make of him because it’s hard to avoid tripping over the fact that he’s not a licensed therapist. He made a couple of comments the other day that I was a little uncomfortable with but I decided to dismiss them to focus on the bigger things that he was successful at bringing up.

    His “findings” put me in a hell of a funk and it’s a bit unsettling.

    • Breck

      What kind of qualifications does he have to be a pre marital counselor? I always thought people (including me) would go see a licensed MFT or at least someone in training?

      • Blair

        A couple of good friends recommended him and they said they were very successful with it. Seemed pretty straightforward. But I guess since I’ve got some other stuff going on it might just make sense to go back to my regular therapist?

        • Breck

          I think if you’ve thought about what he’s saying and it’s not bothering you because you’re being defensive, then it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get a second opinion, especially from someone who knows the ins and outs of your situation like I imagine your regular therapist does.

    • KC

      Your shrink (or other people who know you guys properly and who you trust to tell you the truth) should be able to help out with whether the “findings” are at all legit or not (at least if your shrink is the helpful kind not just the “nod and smile and agree with everything you say” kind).

      I would note that things you learn now are things you have time to work on or find workarounds for rather than that will blindside you later, so while it *sucks* to find out potential rough places and differences in expectations, this gives you time to resolve them. But getting shot down from cloud 9 is never fun. You just have to figure out whether it’s a legitimate “here is a problem” (like finding out that the new house you bought that you were so excited about and that you can’t wait to paint and personalize… has a leak in the roof. Or termites. It’s reality; but it’s temporarily crushing.) or whether the relationship “termites” just discovered are actually just totally harmless ants.

      • Blair

        Thanks guys. Once I stepped back based on your suggestions I realized it might be a little ridiculous to expect that he is going to be able to take a chop at the whole emotional picture as far as my stuff goes (does that make sense?). I am definitely going to reach out to my regular therapist and see if we can tackle some of the more intense stuff separately.
        Thanks so much, I feel better already!

        • KC

          With editing writing, I’ve heard the advice to trust the people who say “there’s something askew in this paragraph/transition/conversation”, but generally not to trust what people say will “fix” things on a macro level. I’m guessing that premarital therapy is a bit the same – they’re there to point out the potential quagmires that they can spot from their different perspective but that the couple is too close to or not at the right angle to be able to see, maybe. But (and this is a big but!) they’re not working from as much knowledge as you are, so the “fix” (or the specific detail) most likely needs to come from someone closer to your situation (although the at-a-distance person might be able to say “some couples have addressed this in ways X, Y, and Z” and you might be able to pick one of those strategies, if applicable).

          I guess that’s a long-winded version of “Yes. Go get more specific issues wrangled by someone who knows that part of the situation better. And it’ll probably be totally okay, if not-fun for a while.” :-)

    • Samantha

      Counselor in training here. Just curious, what are is credentials. I’m wondering who practices counseling/ therapy without MFT of LPC credentials…

    • meg

      It makes me uncomfortable that he’s not a licensed therapist. Unless you’re doing pre-marital with a member of clergy (who is also trained, abet differently), they should definitely be trained and licensed. You’re basically doing couples counseling around a specific life event, and you should find a trained couples counselor.

      It also makes me super uncomfortable that there are “findings.” I’m not a trained therapist, but I’ve never worked with a trained therapist who had “findings.” Also, trained mental health professionals in our family have told me that those sorts of tests and quizzes that are sometimes given in pre-martial are bunk. Like, studied, researched, total garbage “science.”

      • KC

        Out of curiosity, did they specify which tests/quizzes? I’d be really curious, since our prepare/enrich results turned out to be spot-on in a lot of areas (and not in the “this horoscope can be applied to everyone” ways, but in the “spouse’s immediate family is waaay more hands-off than your family is” “really? Wait, how often does your family expect you to call? Seriously? They’re fine with hearing from you a couple times a year???” ways). But those were mostly questions of “who do you expect to do more housework” and “where does your family rank these things” and “how important are these things to you” independent tests where then the answers were compared. (and in one or two places the “results” were off, because each of us understood and hence answered a question differently, but more often they were remarkably accurate for us and pointed out either places where our assumptions were totally different and we worked on that then *or* pitfalls we later recognized as “that thing from premarital counseling”, like conflict avoidance vs. must-resolve-everything-immediately)

        Obviously, one remarkably good and useful and unexpectedly accurate result set does not save something from being bad pseudoscience (rolling dice can come up with the lottery numbers occasionally), but… it really was remarkably useful. So I’d be surprised if that particular one was total bunk? But it’d be good to know, so I can stop recommending it to people?

        • meg

          My understanding is that they are ALL bad pseudoscience, that the very concept is bad pseudoscience. This PHD, who was very adamant that they were all a scientific as a cosmo quiz. But please, actual specialists in the field, please weigh in!

          I’m sure anything that causes you to have discussions is a good thing, as long as you don’t take it as any more meaningful than that. And I mean, discussion starters are great. But I think it’s dangerous when things that are nothing more than that are framed as… you know… science… of any sort.

          • KC

            That’s interesting. The thing we did just pointed out where our answers or expectations diverged as places to discuss more; I didn’t notice any scientific claims (except for things like “person A expects a more even division of housework than person B”, which seemed to just be a consolidation of a range of “how even of a division of housework do you expect” questions?), but maybe the materials we didn’t read (since the premarital counselor only went over the relevant/interesting parts) had more “CURES CANCER” claims on them? Although, now that I think about it, it did give us a numbers ranking on “idealistic distortion”, which was based on your answers to questions like “will you ever disagree?”, “does your partner have any flaws”, and “do you expect your relationship to have ups and downs?”. But that seemed reasonable to me – if you think “we will never fight and my intended spouse is perfect and our relationship will always be shiny happy unicorns”, then yes, you’ve probably got some unrealistic thinking going on there? But reasonable is not equal to scientific, I suppose? I’ll have to see if we still have the “results” somewhere and see if there’s extra pseudoscience that escaped me at the time…

  • LMN

    Ugh… I have had such an up and down sort of week. Free artisan bread because the store was closing and didn’t want to waste it? Yay! Significantly less than free A/C repair for my car? So not cool. Wedding dress arrived 4 months earlier than the shop said? And it fits perfectly? OMG YAY!

    I can’t really gush on FB but, seriously I am beyond psyched. I was worried it would be too big (are wedding dresses designed to give women a complex about their weight? My dresses is *3* sizes bigger than my street size) but I don’t actually *need* any alterations done on it the way it fits now. I’m going to get straps added and I’m going to get it shortened from tea-length to just-below-knee length but thankfully nothing major is needed!

    • KC

      Congratulations! That is so exciting!

      (and no idea on why women’s sizing is so messed up. Men get actual measurement in inches. Women get… yeah. I grasp that we have more curves to deal with than men do, but seriously, could we get at least *one* of those measurements reflected in the actual sizing of items?)

      And I love that it already fits and all you have to do is get it shortened and strapped. Hooray!

      • Breck

        Ugh, sizing. I tried explaining it to my boyfriend once, and he said if men’s sizes were that confusing he’d be wearing elastic waist sweatpants to his office job everyday.

      • LMN

        What bugs me the most is the inconsistency of it all! I fit into sm/med/lg depending entirely on the brand. I have a deep distrust of size charts too since I once ordered a BM dress based on the size chart and it was at least 5″ too big. That’s why I’m so glad my dress fits as well as it does (although I did disregard the shop’s recommendation and go with my gut–good thing!).

        • Kat

          Yay on the dress!
          And ugh on the sizing. I don’t trust size charts either. I recently measured myself so I can dive into the world of online maternity clothes shopping and based on that the top I am currently wearing which fits perfectly should be around 6 cm too small in the bust. I am terrified nothing I order will fit!

      • K

        If it makes you feel any better, men’s sizing (with inches) is often just plain…wrong. As in not the number of inches it says it is. See this:


        Clothing sizing in generally is terrible.

        • KC

          Wow. Just… wow. I knew my husband fit into different waist-sized trousers from different original stores, although almost always within a range of 2-3 inches, but had been chalking that up to where on the waist each sits plus how much different kinds of fabric shrink in the wash. That graph is *nuts* for a measurement that’s supposed to be based on, y’know, actual inches.

          I don’t think dress shirts have the “vanity sizing” to the same degree, though, since my husband’s collar size has stayed the same among brands, I think? But it’d be interesting to go forth and measure…

  • Jenn

    This is my first ever APW comment, though I’ve been reading for quite awhile…

    I’ve never had a women’s studies class, or known any “feminists,” but I’d really like to educate myself on feminism… What books do you wise women recommend? I’ve read “How to be a Woman,” but that’s the only book I’ve ever read about the subject.


    • Blair

      Welcome to one of the most progressive websites out there, as feminism goes! You can get yourself down a rabbit hole very quickly with literature. I think one of the mantra’s here on APW is that feminism is kind of personal and personally defined by each individual.

      That said. Did you read this week’s post on the new domesticity? If not…read it! Read it now! Rachel listed a number of books that look really interesting and she packaged the feminist perspective with an ultra-contemporary approach that immediately distills out where we are in modern feminism.

      I try to limit my personal exposure to reading progressive work written by hyper-successful women where I can find reassuring nuggets on “how-to accomplish life and survive it,” so to speak. Some better than others but I’ve heard a lot of things (both good and bad) about Sheryl Sandbergs “Lean In.”

    • Paige

      Oh! Oh! Read “Feminism is for Everybody” by bell hooks. It’s kind of like Feminism 101 – small and accessible, easy to read with a lot of really great information.

      • meg

        I’ve heard great stuff about this book. (Spoiler alert) feminism month is coming up in the fall, but clearly we need to do an open thread on this, and a book roundup, because I’m not totally sure what to point to. I’m in my office right now, and my bookshelves are lined with feminist books (largely about marriage, surprise surprise) but I don’t know that any one of them is a good primer. I would caution that you should read everything with your thinking cap on. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a feminist book that I didn’t have disagreements with. Which is great. Yay feminism!

        Some of my personal favorites however, which are all pretty subject specific: Promiscuities: Naomi Wolf, Why Have Kids: Jessica Valenti, Strip City: Lily Burana, The Feminine Mystique: Betty Friedan, Cunt: Inga Muscio (this one is pretty angry), and of course How To Be A Woman.

    • Sabrina

      I enjoyed Enlightened Sexism by Susan J. Douglas, The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf , Vagina:a new biography also by Naomi Wolf, Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, and definitely The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.

    • mira

      Jenn, I have a question:

      Are you looking for an introduction to feminist critical thought, political theory, and/or history (ie, are you trying to get a grasp on what people mean when they call something “third wave” or talk about different kinds of feminism), or are you looking for books about other subjects written from a feminist perspective?

      • Jenn

        Mira, I think right now critical thought and political theory/history. I am from the Deep South (and therefore grew up with feminism as a dirty word) and just seriously need to educate myself!

        I’ve been meaning to ask this question for ages, but keep joining the open thread too late. Thanks to everyone who’s already given recommendations!

        • Some of the books that I turn to often are Pink Think and College Girls, which are both by Lynn Peril; Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History by David Allyn (this, I admit, is a remnant of my Sexual Revolutions course in college, but it’s really good); The Bust Guide; Manifesta; and it’s a recent read, but I really enjoyed Lean In – it spoke to me at this time in my life when I need that sort of career advice. There is an emphasis on working motherhood, but I found the first 5 chapters to be incredibly enlightening.

          I definitely second the recommendation for The Beauty Myth, and I just finished How to be a Woman and adored it :-).

    • To broaden the perspectives, I would highly, highly recommend “Whipping Girl” by Julia Serano. (I think it is a modern feminist’s must-read.)

      And a book that is on my own reading list: This Bridge Called My Back, edited by Cherríe L. Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa.

  • A. Nonny Mouse

    Tomorrow I will have been married for 4 weeks, and being married to my other half has been nothing but wonderful. Since getting back from our honeymoon, I’ve had a chance to give more thought to different areas of my life and what I’m doing with myself. I have been working at the same job since before I graduated college (1 summer of interning, a year of PT, and 3 years FT) and I’ve been unhappy here for at least the last 2 years. 2 Years! Why the hell am I still working at a job that’s been making me unhappy for two year. I’m pretty sure at least one of you APW’ers has shared excitedly that you’ve quit your job every happy hour. And every time, I feel so very jealous.

    And maybe a little whiny on the inside, “no fair, I want to quit MY job, why do I still have to work somewhere that makes me sad?”

    So I’ve decided that I need to stop being miserable and start doing something about it. Financially, I can’t just up and leave. I need to have another job making close to as much as I’m making now. But it’s not gonna get better if I don’t start trying to do something about it. So I’m taking step 1. I’ve decided to do something about it, and that I’m quitting this job by next summer.

    • Meghan

      Hi Mouse – first, hugs!! You are doing a good thing for yourself by even recognizing that you are unhappy and that it’s okay to move forward and change that. I feel like in this economy, we’re pressured not to let go of a job if we have one – even if it’s downright making us sick.

      Of course, we all got billz so I get that you can’t just walk out. However, you are so on the right track! A little unsolicited advice from watching my fiance go through this very thing the last two years; begin with your resume. Revamp it, update it, and get it ready for the spotlight again. Next thing; apply! Even if you only apply to one job in a week, your name is out there at least once! As cheesy as it is, we really do miss 100% of the shots we don’t take. (Gag, I know.)

      Best of luck!! :)

    • I recently left a panic-attack inducing job for a new one that even comes with a schedule that lets me go back to school for the certification I need to get the job that really would be a much better fit and I should have just gone for in the first place but I’m an idiot. Realizing that you need to get out is a huge first step and taking action toward that is scary but so totally worth it. Might I suggest Ask A Manager (www.askamanager.org) as a practical yet witty resource for your job search? She has tons of great tips from the perspective of someone who has done a ton of hiring, but also gets into other work-related topics (today involved an employee putting a curse on a coworker, yeah, you can’t make this up). Good luck!

    • LMN

      *hugs* It’s awesome that you decided to take the first steps to getting out of a job that makes you miserable! I was in my awful job for 5 frickin years (right smack during the worst of the recession so finding something new felt impossible). I finally got my new job because my fiance was a huge help with writing resumes and cover letters so if you know someone with mad writing skills enlist their help! No matter how awesome you are there’s a trick to resume writing (that I do not have).

      Good luck!

    • Another Kate

      I so hear you. I’ve been at a job for eight years that just isn’t right, but getting the motivation to make a move is so tough, especially when the money is good, tons of vacation time, etc. Like you, I see these posts every week of people just quitting and I’m so envious. My husband and I have talked about it, but its just not financially reasonable right now. But the last thing I want to do after 8 hours at a crappy job is to make myself sad and discouraged looking though listings for jobs I’m not qualified for all night. It’s tough, best of luck to you in buckling down and making moves!!

  • Lauren

    Thank you for everything this month, APW.

    On a downer note, thank you so much for the link to the poem. It is CRUCIAL that rape and sexual assault are talked about openly, and to have such a link on a wedding website? Unheard of, but so, so important.

    I haven’t told a lot of friends and family about my own sexual assault, but I feel comfortable sharing with you, APW. It was one of the first things my now-husband and I had to work through in our sexual relationship, dealing with lingering physical and psychological hang-ups. Talking about it with him has made it so much easier to talk about it with my parents, some of my friends, and such. And the poem really gave voice to a lot of my own thoughts, thoughts I was sure I alone had.

    I was recently wondering how many of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and other relatives have had to deal with assaults in their lifetimes, but in silent shame? Thanks for bringing it in to the light.

    • Meghan

      Hey Lauren – I just wanted to say I admire your strength and candor. You are awesome.

    • Kristen

      Ditto to Meghan’s words. I’m choking back tears right now. You’re amazing.

  • This week was awesome. I organized my second Portland APW meet-up, and tonight I’m going to hang out with a lovely woman I met through the first meet-up. Yay for new friends!

  • Getting ready to book accommodations for our honeymoon. Anyone have any recommendations for where to stay, eat or play in Montreal? I’m super excited!

    • Emmy

      Oh, I would also like this info! We’re honeymooning in Montreal in August. Last time I was there, I stayed in a wonderful B&B outside the city called Le Terra Nostra. It’s more modern than your typical BB, and the owner was absolutely lovely. This time, we’re staying in the city proper.

    • Not Sarah

      Oh my gosh. I went to Montreal last year and took the train to Quebec City for a couple days and absolutely LOVED it. So if you have some time, I would look into going there too :)

    • jashshea

      Got back a few weeks ago. We stayed in an Airbnb rental near old town and loved it! The food – I think we just drifted from one meal to another!

      *Checks yelp/foursquare for where we ate*

      We had amazing dumplings at Mai Xiang Yuan
      Check out the market at Marche Jean Talon*
      $$ Steak dinner at Gibby’s
      Brunch at Le Gros Jambon
      And the worlds best tapas at Pintxo*
      Resto LA Banquise for Poutine*

      * = Not walking distance, we had train passes.

      • I haven’t been to Montreal in ages so I don’t have much to add other than legit Canadian poutine is a thing of glory and you must have it.

    • AGrace

      Yay for Montreal! We honeymooned there last month and had a great time. Loved the city. We stayed in the Latin Quarter – very walkable area with lots of yummy places to eat. I don’t think we had a bad meal the whole time we were there. We loved visiting Notre Dame, visiting the market, and watching a fireworks show (you can buy tickets, but there are many places to watch for free in Old Montreal). Also, there was a little place near our inn called (I think) Juliet and Chocolate, which had many many kinds of hot chocolate (a personal favorite of mine). Have a great time!

    • I recommend Quebec City too. I live here and would be happy to provide recommendations if you decide to come here. :)

      Montreal….um…I lived there for about 10 months. My favorite places are not big tourist spots. My two favorite places are the coffee shops Myriade (1432 Rue Mackay) and Ahroma (5 Simon Valois Pl).

      I would also suggest you go to this museum: Pointe-à-Callière Montreal Museum of Archaelogy and History. Don’t miss the presentation they give (it’s well done and has hologram-like projections) and don’t miss the ancient ruins in the bottom level.

    • Anna

      I lived in Mtl for years and have a document I always forward with recommendations to friends visiting. I am travelling myself now but I will try and get it to you when I am home next week! It’s an incredible city!

      • That would be awesome! My email is hannahelainesmith at gmail dot com

    • Brenda

      We stayed in the Hotel Nelligan a couple of years ago, via a deal from Jetsetter.com. It was on a cute little cobbled street, and it was seriously the biggest hotel room I’ve ever been in, with the biggest bed ever. I’m usually a cute boutique-hotel-airbnb typer person, but if you’re looking for a little honeymoon luxury, it was great.

      And we had excellent breakfast at a place called Olive + Gourmando. They have a sandwich called “Poached Egg on Your Face.” It was amazing.

  • InTheBurbs

    I’ve been waiting for this!
    1. We’re getting married 8 weeks from today!!!!!
    2. We’ve invited more people than the reception venue holds – can someone please assure me that people will decline?
    3. The invitations were mailed yesterday!
    4. We’ve decided to make jam as favors – which may be a poor decision – but does anyone know if Costco/Sams carries jars?
    5. It’s my birthday – and I honestly didn’t know I could be this happy!

    • KC

      Statistically, it is almost certain that some/many people will not be able to make it. And besides, reception venues stretch. ;-)

      ACE Hardware carries jars (cheaper than any local store I could find, and they can usually order in as many as you need); not sure about Costco/Sams, but I bet you could call them. If you’re doing it in sufficient quantities, maybe order jars online?

      Happy birthday! And congratulations on getting the invitations out! And hooray!

      • KC

        Also: if you use the 4 oz teeny cute jars, and then decide that jam-as-favors is insane, you can use them as spice jars instead!

        Also-also: if you don’t have canning gear, do buy the jar lifter tong things and the funnel thing. Makes life *so* much easier for not much money.

        Also-also-also: if you have any batches of jam that don’t “set”, they are now jars of “ice cream topping”. Which also makes a great favor, hey!

    • Ellen

      The Costco I go to does not have jars- or if they did they would be waaaaaaaay too big for any amount of jam you wanted to give people. Bell makes a 4oz jar, which would be PERFECT for a favor-sized amount of jam. I actually found links to them all over the place on the interwebs at a pretty reasonable price (<$1/jar). Good luck!!!!!

    • Emmy

      We made jam in the 4 oz. Ball jars. They’re so damn adorable. We got ours at our local supermarket. Now is the time to check around for jars because summer is preserving season. They have them at Target, hardware stores, Walmart, the grocery, etc.


      • Margaret

        Shout out for Ball jars! But I’m biased because I went to Ball State University and that place would not exist without Ball jars. Seriously, Indiana was going to have to shut the school down when the Ball Brothers came in, bought the place, and gave it back to the state.

        • Brenda

          I’ve always wondered how Ball State University came to be called that. Thanks!

    • Breck

      I know I’ve gotten jars for super cheap at Smart & Final. Good luck!

      • Breck

        Missing the window for editing = replying to myself

        How many jars are you in the market for? I have a fair amount of experience sourcing large-ish quantities since my small business IS ketchup and jam.

    • Tess

      People will totally decline – if you’re us, a lot more will decline than you expect (we were 80% out of towners). Don’t worry!

  • Emma

    Hi ladies! Another week, another hope for advice. My fiance and I have been considering switching our venue wedding to a backyard wedding. We’re really excited about the feel of the wedding we’d be able to create in the backyard are totally stoked at the prospect.

    For those of you who have had backyard weddings: what detail did you end up planning that you didn’t think of originally? What should I wrap my brain around before making the switch?


    • Blair

      Hi Emma! We aren’t quite doing a backyard wedding but we did (mostly) drop our big plans for destination to move ours to a small venue here in the States.
      Our biggest issue is that we switched it to a hyper-intimate gathering. I am still struggling with all of the guilt over not inviting soooo many of our close friends and family. So if you’ll need to adjust your guest list that might be a bit of a shock.

      Otherwise…good on you! Im sure it will be much more straightforward than dealing with the WIC!

    • Maddie

      As a photographer, the only thing I recommend thinking about for backyard weddings (which are my FAVORITE) is lighting. A little bit of string lighting goes a long way in helping photos look great, and if you’re hiring a pro, will make their job a little easier (cameras don’t always like to see in the dark outside).

      Otherwise, bug spray and sunscreen. :)

    • Catherine McK

      I love love loved our back yard wedding, and it definitely allowed us to focus on the things we cared about. It did not save us money. At all. (Especially when the rented chairs were ruined, small aside.) So things we had to think about:
      Tent + other rentals, chairs, tables, linens, glasses, plates, etc.
      In hindsight I wish we’d gone with the caterer for the tables and chairs along with the linens and plates, as they needed to know all of the details about them anyway and were doing the set-up, this included things like keeping track of who needed a high chair vs. a booster, etc)
      Bathrooms – we ended up just using the four in the house, but talked about renting
      It might be obvious, but if it’s an ensuite bathroom, tell the people staying in the room that they needed to clean their room. This was, apparently, not obvious to my brother-in-law and his fiancee. Small sigh.
      Bar – we hired two bartenders through our fabulous caterer, but provided all of the alcohol
      We could get everything that we love! My husband found a CO2 rental place, so we have 2 kegs of beer on draft. Along with wine we picked during tasting dinners, normal hard liquor and fun whiskey. It was amazing. I loved having that amount of control.
      Decor – We didn’t fuss much
      It was a big pretty white tent, the flowers were amazing, people were happy. You can make yourself crazy tent decorating. Here’s what’s important: it covers you if it rains. And it did. A lot. And we were so very grateful that we’d rented an extra tent to cover the porch.
      The rest of the stuff – it’s the same as any old wedding, place cards, table numbers, vases, votives, but you can’t rely on the venue to provide anything!

      I’m not sure if this is helpful. It was a lot of work, dealing with different vendors. I’d do it again in a second, but would 100% hire a day-of coordinator, or find a… more focused… stage manager. Like, maybe someone who wouldn’t be coming to the wedding otherwise.

    • Emmy

      We’re having a backyard wedding. Honestly, it’s kind of a pain in the ass. Totally worth it to us, and maybe to you too. Here are the biggest headaches:

      1. Toilets. You’ll probably have to rent them. This can be surprisingly expensive.
      2. Lighting. You need it for photos! It needs electricity. How many lights are enough lights?
      3. Weather. You’ll want to rent a tent. You might have periodic freak-outs that Hurricane Sandy will come back for your wedding.
      4. Sound amplification. Sound dissipates quickly outside, making it a bit more difficult to DJ yourself, if that’s your bag.
      5. Parking.
      6. Catering. Our caterers do pig roasts. They just need a small tent, an outlet and a garden hose. But other caterers need more equipment.
      7. Rentals. You’ll need to get All The Things (tables, chairs, linens, dishes, glasses, etc.)

      Totally doable! Just a bit more of a headache than your typical all-inclusive hotel ballroom.

      • Emmy

        ETA: Like Catherine said, having a backyard wedding allows us to have the wedding we want. We’ve thrown away all the parts that aren’t us. Also, it’s a family backyard, so that helps! And ours is cheaper (so far at least) because we did the pig roast thing. But otherwise, yeah the costs can add up.

        • Catherine McK

          Haha ours was a pig roast too! Yay pork! So delicious. We ended up bringing in a 2nd caterer for the rest of the food though, so, there was that.

          Have so much fun!

      • Sara

        Yes, totally to everything everyone else said. Also to Maddie’s comment (which I still worry about even though /she’s/ shooting our wedding [and is clearly amazing and will make it awesome].

    • Emma

      Thank you all so much! This is beyond helpful :)

  • The conversation about models of friendship made me think of how on the Mindy Project this season Mindy said “Best friend isn’t a person, Danny, it’s a tier.”

    And this blog post from MWF seeking BFF http://mwfseekingbff.com/2013/02/04/best-friend-person-or-tier/

    • Maddie

      I loved that line. :)


      The Mindy Project is the best!!

  • Debra

    Just a big thanks for the link to the article on when to have a baby. I’m 36 3/4 and in a stable LTR, but marriage isn’t on the table for, say, tomorrow.

    I think it’s not just the media that buys into the myth of a woman’s expiration date. At last year’s gyn appt, my doc informed me that if I wanted children (ever), I needed to be in her office in six months trying to get pregnant. I had a breakdown. My boyfriend, God bless him, after many hugs and much waiting for me to frame sentences around my sobbing, pointed out that neither of us were ready to get married (true) and that we needed more information if we were going to make a decision that went against our inclintion (he’s a smart one). He suggested I e-mail the doc with some follow up questions he and I drafted together. She wound up scheduling a phone consult with me. I wouldn’t let her off the phone until she answered all of our questions. She kept trying to get me off the phone. What I eventually got out of her was similar to what was in the article (but with more doomsday thinking and guilt attached- grr).

    Cut to this year. I decided I’d had enough, so I switched gyns. My first appointment was last week. No lecture. No guilt trip. No doomsday. I couldn’t believe the difference.

    I guess whether we’re not-yet there, in the middle of planning, or so right there, it’s so important to be true to ourselves and stand up for our own needs. Also, the SNL skit with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph kicks ass, take some time to watch.

    • Marta

      I can’t find this article! Where did I miss it. Can someone link me?

      • Ruth

        It’s at the top – salon.com

    • Kristen

      To be honest, I didn’t find that article linked above to be all that helpful in calming my fears as a 36.5 year-old active trying to get pregnant for 10 months now, woman. My gyn gave me the same lecture when I broke down in her office at age 34.5, worried I’d already left it too late because I wasn’t even engaged yet.

      Perhaps the article didn’t soothe me because I fall into that 20% of women who would have always had a problem getting pregnant. So I’m facing an uphill battle based on my genetics and not my age. Either way, I have found it extremely useful to examine why I want to be a parent and have had multiple conversations with my husband about adoption, fostering, volunteer work with kids, etc. Knowing that I will be a parent in one form or fashion has helped me tremendously in calming my anxiety and trying to live in the moment and enjoy this process of trying to create life. I’ll still be devastated if eventually I find I can’t ever get pregnant, but I won’t have wasted the years before, worrying endlessly about something I can’t control.

      • That’s what irked me of the advice in the article. Sure, if you happen to be part of the 80 – 90% of lucky people who will not experience infertility, then hopefully you won’t have problems* before 38-40.

        But, if you are in that group (and there is nothing in my husbands’ and my health histories that would even make us imagine we would be struggling with this: perfect cycles, never used the pill, not exposed to toxics, no smoking, alcohol, drugs, thyroid problems, you name the risk factor, nothing)…. and you waited THAT long, then, as the article points out, you might be too late for the fertility treatment options to work optimally (after 35, the odds for IVF success decrease dramatically).

        And they also do not really talk about the fact that even if you do get pregnant later, your eggs are “aged” and there are many more risks of chromosomal defects, trisomies, high risk pregnancies or births etc…

        Overall, (as a biologist) I still believe that the younger you have kids the better, and if you are remotely in a place where it is possible, and you know it is something you (or you and your partner) want in your life(s), do not delay….

        • Because until you try, you don’t know on which boat you are in…. It is all so mysterious.

          • Kristen


    • Ruth

      While I understand and agree with the criticisms of the article mentioned here, I am so grateful to this piece for opening my eyes to just how outdated and scant the research on fertility is. I nearly fell out of my chair when I read her quote that some of the most common fertility statistics were derived from data dating from 1670 to 1830! Or from modern studies with less than 400 people! I think it’s a travesty that there isn’t better science available to us on this issue. The article served as a good reminder too for me of always questioning now, whenever I see a scary ‘statistic,’ where it’s coming from? Is it actually current, valid science?

  • Jo

    Wow, that Atlantic article is pretty amazing. (And comforting as someone who’s 33 and doesn’t plan to get pregnant until 34, and hopes to have another several years later).

  • Yay for happy hour! I’ve been ready for this since last weekend. C and I trekked up to our hometown to visit families/have a cake tasting/go to a show for his band last weekend and it was mostly good. (Yummy cake, nice weather, good times). But on three separate occasions my FMIL said a variation of “if there’s anything I can do for the wedding, let me know.” Which is great, right? The thing is, we’ve been asking her for over 6 months now for family addresses and a picture of C’s grandfather who passed away several years ago. We’d like to get our save the dates out within the next 6 weeks or less, and we’re still missing over half of the addresses we asked her for (making me very grateful we started early). C’s talked to her and reminded her multiple times now, but its a side of the family he’s not that close with, so she’s our best bet for getting them. If we don’t invite the people who’s addresses we’re missing, it will be WWIII. By the third time she offered to help with whatever she needed it took all I had to hold my tongue. I guess in a way I just needed to vent, but does anyone have any useful advice? I hate being able to almost cross something off the list and getting stuck.

    • KC

      AAARGH! Yes, that is definitely a frustrating situation. People who will “give you anything”… except the thing that you need. And who won’t acknowledge that.

      I’m wondering if she might be overwhelmed by compiling the addresses, so maybe asking for her list of Christmas card addresses (which you can then hopefully filter the correct relatives out of?), or asking for the addresses while at her place, or something, might work best? Noting to her that these people will be hurt if they don’t get their invitations might help, but you may have already tried that. Oh, help.

      Is there anyone else you can get the photo from?

      And then, if she offers again, only assign her things that can be dropped/cancelled from here on out, or that are definitely her cup of tea…

    • This is a treatment for the symptom, not the cause, but would http://www.postable.com help?

      • Unfortunately, we don’t have a way of getting a hold of the people we need directly or I would be all over that. C is not good at keeping in touch with family other than his dad’s side that we see all the time. We have addresses for about half of his mom’s side at this point, (no phone numbers or emails) but I’m half tempted to pick a couple random aunts and write them letters asking for addresses if we don’t make progress soon. His mom is, shall we say, creatively organized, so I really do believe that she can’t find the other addresses, but it makes a lot more sense for her to call her siblings that I’ve never met than for me to.


      You’re probably not there anymore but when you go back, I would just set up a time with her and the three of you get it done. It sounds like she needs someone to look over her shoulder for this task. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

  • Abby Mae

    This week was tough. My husband lost his job the week we came back from our honeymoon. So, when he filed for unemployment this week they denied it.

    Downside: Rent + other bills just cannot be covered by my paycheck alone.
    Brightside: He can snuggle with me a little more in the mornings! And be home in time for dinner. Also, he hated working there. So, really, they did us a favor in the long run. Kind of.

    I was prepared to fight over time in the bathroom, get adjusted to sleeping with him in my bed, etc. But not this. Our first year of marriage is going to be a doozy in the most happy/neurotic/crazy/difficult way.

    • Moe

      *hugs* It’s going to be ok. I married my husband when he had no job, and it took him almost a year to finaly find the job he just started. He was also denied unemployment. I can barely cover the rent and bills too.

      I’m proud to be his wife, I am loved, together we are getting through all this and that’s why I marreid him. So we can get through crap together.

  • Moe

    I’m reading over that Atlantic article on waiting too long to have children. I may forward it to the husband to get his thoughts. I’m almost 41 and honestly don’t know if I want to have children or not. I don’t feel a driving urgency to have one. I’m afraid to have one at my age. I’m afraid to try at my age and not be able to. I don’t like that there’s so much “fear” in my reasoning.

    If anyone has experiences on having children in their 40’s or choosing not have them at all I’d love to hear them.

    • KC

      I’m the baby of an over-40 (no medical intervention as far as I know, and I suspect, from the degree of “sharing” in my family, that I would know by now) – does that count? It worked okay, medically, as far as I’m aware. (one live child, one miscarriage, one live child, then they quit.)

      I did lose my grandparents earlier than my “peers”, and my parents are obviously older than the parents of my “peers”, but in general, this has not been a problem for any of us.

    • marbella

      Not personally, and not first time mothers, but my mother and step-mother both had children in their 40’s. My mother was a week away from her 47th birthday when she had my now 7 year old little sister. She and the father had tried for several years to get pregnant, including a period of using fertility drugs, to no avail. It finally happened naturally.

      My step-mum had her second child last year at 41, 9 years and 1 day apart from her first child. They had also been trying to have another for years, including going through very stressful medical interventions and fertility treatments. After they decided to let things be, she fell pregnant naturally to their surprise.

  • Kyle S.

    I am just about a month out from my wedding and all of the things I hadn’t thought about before are really hitting me. Now that I’m not stressing as much about the details I am starting to stress about other things, like family. Specifically my dad and my half sister. My dad has no money so we are having to fly him out on our dime, which wouldn’t be that bad except our dime is just about that, a dime. With everything going on we are much shorter on money than we would like to be and it is just incredibly frustrating to have to pay for his plane ticket out here. I love my dad, and he has to be here to see us get married, but it would be so nice if he could afford his own ticket/room.

    As for my sister… she is the more complicated one. She is five years older than me, and we have never been super close (she picked on me a lot when I was really young, then I moved away until just recently). She is trying to be close but I just can’t really gain the motivation to reciprocate. My main worry with her is that we are renting a really big house on the beach for all of us to stay in before the wedding. As large as it is, there are still going to be 9 people staying there which is going to be a little crazy. My sister also has schizophrenia and the age mentality of a teenager, even though she is nearing 30. So I am really stressing out about how it is going to affect her, how she is going to react to not being the center of attention, and how awkward it is going to be for my soon to be in-laws. I don’t hold it against her or anything, it is just adding up to be really stressful for me and my mom – who takes the most care of her.

    I just wanted to vent in a somewhat anonymous way because these are both sensitive topics in my family but are adding quite a bit of stress to everything. Thanks =]

    • marbella

      We also flew my mum to our wedding and paid for her accommodation. It was stressful and tight on the budget at the time, but I haven’t ever regretted it since and know I would have if she hadn’t been there. I was also stressed about her potential behaviour beforehand staying in a group situation similar to yours. She doesn’t have a (diagnosed) mental illness, but can be difficult and my parents had an awful divorce and hadn’t been near each other for years, and there is still a lot of bitterness on her part. It turned out I shouldn’t have worried – things were fine. The worst behaved person was actually on my fiance’s side of the family, which we could never have anticipated, as his family all get along swimmingly and are really laid back.

      I think the thing to remember is that you have little control over your sister’s behaviour, so there is not a lot of point stressing over it beforehand (oh how I wish I had internalised that before our wedding! Therapy ftw!) But what helped me was having people to run interference. We all stayed in a row of cottages, and I got my good friend and her mum, who know how to deal with my mum, to stay in her cottage and keep her out of my hair. It sounds like you have something similar with your mum being there, but I’m sure you’ll need her too – is there anyone else who knows your sister that can be around to take some pressure off?

  • Meghan

    I have been dying for this happy hour!! I’d like to announce that….

    I quit my job on Monday! I put in my two weeks’ and my last day is next Friday. I love love love my coworkers, so it’s bittersweet, but I’m happy to be leaving a job that held little future opportunities for me in favor of pursuing my writing career full time.

    It was a huge and terrifying step to take, but now I feel like I’m on the other side of the top of the roller coaster! Eek!

  • I just found out I got a training grant I applied for back in April! This means I’ll have my graduate student stipend and tuition covered (plus travel and supply allowances) for the next two years. The way the funding climate is now, that’s very relieving.

    Think I’m gonna have to pop some champagne tonight to celebrate!

    • MarieKD

      Congratulations! Enjoy your champagne!

  • Beth

    Guys, I think my biological clock just clicked on. I’ve never been one to be too enthusiastic about kids and babies. I’ve always thought that “someday” I’d have kids, but the idea of raising them terrifies me and I’ve always been solidly in the, “oh god no, not yet, no way am I ready” camp. But…wow, something has changed for me in the last 6 months. I’m still terrified, but there is this underlying…yearning. Which is kind of alarming.

    Maybe it’s the fact that like 5 of my friends are pregnant or just had a baby this year. A tad bit of feeling like I’m missing out on the experience? I don’t know. I’ve only been married two month (today! two months today!) and am already starting to get a bit of an “alright, when are we gonna get going on this” feeling, which is 100% unexpected for me. Eeeeeeeek! I can’t believe this biological clock is actually kind of true!

    • Beth

      Oops, double post and it won’t let me request deletion (or edit the post), so just ignore this one.

  • Beth

    Guys, I think my biological clock just clicked on. I’ve never been one to be too enthusiastic about kids and babies. I’ve always thought that “someday” I’d have kids, but the idea of raising them terrifies me and I’ve always been solidly in the, “oh god no, not yet, no way am I ready” camp. But…wow, something has changed for me in the last 6 months. I’m still terrified, but there is this underlying…yearning. Which is kind of alarming.

    Maybe it’s the fact that like 5 of my friends are pregnant or just had a baby this year. A tad bit of feeling like I’m missing out on the experience? I don’t know. I’ve only been married two month (today! two months today!) and am already starting to get a bit of an “alright, when are we gonna get going on this” feeling, which is 100% unexpected for me. Eeeeeeeek! I can’t believe this biological clock thing is actually kind of true!

    • Audrey

      I found that my biological clock totally clicked on when my friends started getting pregnant, and I had a year where I was freaked out and thinking that I might be changing my mind on whether to have kids.

      I found the “biological” clock was much more about my social group having kids. The real kicker was that in a few months or maybe a year it changed again, and now the clock isn’t ticking at all.

      So! Maybe this is totally the time and you want to have kids, but contrary to popular rumor the clock doesn’t just come on – I found it comes and goes.

    • Ruth

      I started to feel the “yearning” recently too (it’s our 3 month anniversary today – yay!) And none of my friends are pregnant, so for me it can’t be that. I think something shifted for me after the wedding. I think there’s a lot of cultural messages we get about this, like that we’re not supposed to get pregnant when we’re single but now that we’re married baby making is suddenly acceptable – and that turns on the ticking clock. Also, while I’m still scared about having kids, there’s a new little voice inside that says I will rise to the challenge – that was never there before, and I think it’s the product of our relationship thankfully feeling really rock solid, and thus more ready for parenthood


    Last week I was freaking out about how I was never going to find a wedding dress in time for my December wedding. I went shopping last Saturday with a close friend, and had some fun, but absolutely struck out, even at the indie-ish boutique I had the highest hopes for.

    THEN. I got a quote from a designer in Toronto who is going to make me a custom dress for under my budget, which also won’t require alterations, because it’s bespoke. Bespoke! (I can’t stop saying it.) I meet with her tomorrow to talk about the design and I could not possibly be more excited.

    Next question: tea length in December? Out of season, or a sensible way to keep my dress out of any possible slush or snow? We’re having a tea party, so I feel like it’s the best reason ever for a tea length dress.

    • Emmers

      Tea length– why not? It sounds like it’s something you’re excited about. F the seasons! Tea length, tea party, t-riffic!

    • Well, you could wear some cute or funky boots with it outside if it’s snowy and then switch to indoor shoes when inside. Sounds fun and practical!

    • Molly

      I got married in January and we took awesome, snowy pictures outside…except in all of them I am lifting up my dress to keep it out of the slush. There are so many beautiful sparkly closed-toe shoes that you can show off in a shorter dress, go for it!

    • Sarah

      I’m about to go dress shopping for the first time this week and am terrified about it. Just in case, I’m also looking for Toronto + tea length- what designer are you using?

      Tea party weddings ftw.

  • Apples

    I have read every single name change article on this site, and still want to know something….how do you respond to people? I plan to change my last name to our last name (several reasons involving us still living very close to my fam and hundreds of miles from his, tradition, love, etc…). But. I saw a piece of mail addressed to my mom and dad as Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast and I totally PANICKED! I will love to be Mrs. HisLast, even though I’ll pull an Alyssa and mourn for the loss of my current last name. But something about me being Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast really got to me, because he would never be addressed as Mr. Myfirst Mylast. I’ve brought this up to my parents and friends, and everyone basically says “it’s not a big deal, it won’t happen often, it’s just formal, why do you care so much?” or “well then don’t change your name at all” Is there any good way to explain this to them that I’m missing?

    And is there any good way to make it be known that I will be Mrs. Hislast, but NOT Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast. (I’ve told him I won’t open mail addressed this way.) Any help out there?

    • Honestly, I hyphenated and I still get mail from our relatives addressed to Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast. I would even kind of understand getting mail addressed to Heather Hislast, but I don’t really recall ever changing my first name to R’s.

      Even more confusing are his grandparents, who will address a card as such, but use my actual name on an enclosed check. On their part I think they’re just trying to be old-fashioned about etiquette.

      • Brenda

        I agree, my grandmother has started doing this since we got married. I think it’s just because that’s “how you address mail” for her generation. I think trying to think about the reasons people do it might help – either because it’s “etiquette” or because they’re excited about you joining the family. I went to a family gathering two weeks after our wedding and got a lot of “oh, you’re the new Mrs. Him!” Well, I haven’t changed my name yet, but I didn’t correct them because I could tell they were just excited about the wedding and new family members. Also they were mostly older, so again, I think it’s a generational thing. I would never call or refer to my friends with their husband’s last names unless I knew they wanted that, and no one my age has done it to me without asking if I’m changing it first.

        So, explain it to people, but also maybe cut them a little slack if they’re not coming from a place of misogyny.

        • Well, his sister and his sister’s friend (who addressed her shower invitations) have done it too, and that frustrates me more than our grandparents doing so.

          And for me, it’s less that I think they’re being intentionally misogynistic and more: that isn’t my name, and I feel they should respect my name choices. According to husband talking to his family about it might make me come off as bitchy, though.

    • Paranoid Libra

      That makes me see red too the Mrs. HISfirst HISlast. It makes me feel like property or not human anymore. I just want to be like hey I have a name here too! I still haven’t fully legally changed my name and on facebook I haven’t even added the hyphen yet I still get stuff addressed as mrs. hislast without him on the envelope from people who could easily see what name I am currently going by.

    • Margaret

      Maybe you could explain about wanting to have an identity beyond being his wife. I’d also say that you may just have to let it go with your grandparents and people of their generation. My grandmother has enough trouble spelling my name at this point; I don’t need to give her grief if she leaves off my first name on an envelope. That said, I won the lottery and my husband took my name so even if they address us as Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirst Ourlast, my name is still in there. But the first couple of things I got that were addressed as Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast made me crazy! One was from the hotel we stayed at on our wedding night.

      On a similar subject, does it make anyone else crazy angry when they get wedding invites addressed as Your Name and Guest? We got one a month before our wedding from his family addressed to B and Guest (we’d been dating 5 years at this point and they would have needed to call his mother to get his address anyway) and one yesterday from one of my high school friends addressed to Margaret and Guest. It makes me crazy because it just seems not that hard to find out the name of my SO.

      • KC

        One possibility (from one who has used this dodge) is that they know what Significant Other’s name is… but are just not sure enough on how to spell it? I’ve used “and family” for this on Christmas cards, when people spell their children’s names all sorts of ways and I can’t remember which ways their child’s name is changed to be “unique” and I feel too sheepish to actually call and ask anyone because I ought to know by now…

        (or, they know Significant Other doesn’t know them well, so if he wants to dodge the wedding [as some do, ahem], they want you to feel free to bring a wedding-loving friend instead as a guest. Or they just don’t want to hunt down *all* the correct-and-preferred forms of all the Significant Other names, so they’re sticking with “and Guest” for everyone… who knows?)

    • Kristen

      Here’s how I tend to look at this kind of dilemma: you can’t control this so stop trying. You’re feelings are 100% valid and you have every right to feel annoyed or even offended by the mail situation. But it’s an etiquette thing. A lot of people get etiquette books when they get engaged or pay more attention to that sort of thing, likely explains your SIL’s shower invite. Maybe she’d love to get mail addressed to HER like this someday and mistakenly thought you’d get a mick out of it. No matter what, no one does this sort of thing with the intention to hurt you.

      You’ll likely never be able to stop this from ever happening again, whether you take his name or not. You can try and educate those around you about being more mindful of the different life choices we make like name changes etc. But I think you should make your peace with this matter. Because then it doesn’t have to upset you anymore if you don’t want it to.

      Again, you’ve got every right to feel the way you want to feel and to want to vent about it. But you don’t have to keep letting it bug you if you don’t want to. Either way it sounds like you’ve got a great future hubby who cares an awful lot about hope you feel and that’s priceless.

    • it might not be an option for you (because i totally get the offense) – but what almost always helps me not be angry is deciding to laugh at things (notable, things you can’t actually change). i mean, you can try to be gracious and see where folks are coming from, but that is difficult and often infuriating – i find it easier to go “ha! hey, honey, look at *this* crazy envelope? i wonder who it’s for?”

      (easy for me to say, because as queers, there basically are no rules about how to address our envelopes, so we get all sorts of hilarious efforts to be polite.)

  • Amber

    I’m getting married tomorrow!!!! I have honestly spent most of the week totally stressed out, with the exception of when we went to get our marriage license (woot woot same-sex marriage in New York state for a couple living in Mississippi!!). But I think, maybe, just now, I have found wedding zen. I wish it came earlier.. But better late than never, right? There are so many things good and bad associated with the wedding, but I’m ready to focus in the good and enjoy the day. And now, sleep!

  • kh_tas

    Recieved notification of the death of a beloved childhood pet of cancer :'(

    • ART

      I’m so sorry :( We’ve had my now 15-year-old dog since I was 12. I don’t even know how I will deal…she’s such a constant. Huge hugs.

      • kh_tas

        Thanks for the hugs. I’m still a bit in shock, even though she was very old and frail. Been crying on-off all day

  • SarahJ

    Can anyone recommend hair/make-up options in Aberdeen, Scotland? I’m helping a very beloved friend plan a destination wedding in Scotland (with her living in England and me in Canada) and we just don’t know the area well. We were already able to find her photographer here on APW, so I thought that perhaps you ladies might have the answer?

    • KC

      If no one replies, you may be able to ask the photographer, since photographers are often very aware of local makeup artists and stylists (and who is good in what circumstances). I mean, they photograph people in the process of getting hair/makeup done at many, many weddings, so they’re likely to have some ambient knowledge of who’s around, and may have some specific people they rely on to do prep work for other kinds of photo shoots.

  • It’s Saturday morning at 6am and I’m wide awake because I’m getting married tomorrow at 4. My family is beginning to gather and its all finally here. I’m trying to finish my vows, which feels pretty damn close to impossible.

    I’ll see you on the other side apw.

    • Catherine McK

      Happy wedding day!!!!!!!!

      • Catherine McK

        And by that I meant wedding weekend! Hope it’s wonderful.

  • KINA

    Ugh. Late to happy hour but having an awful week – finally feeling like my amazing boyfriend of several years and I might actually have to split over the kids issue. We talked about it early on, and kept talking about it, but I’m more sure than ever I don’t want them and while he’s still thinking over what he wants more, me or kids, I can’t help but feel convinced that I’ll end up on the losing side. I also don’t know how much longer I can wait around for him to figure out what he wants. It’s horrifying and sad and I just feel like there’s not a lot of hope left…

    • oh. i’m so sorry. this was the single hardest thing in my relationship until i caved, so to speak…and i know that’s not going to work for everyone so, just, i’m so sorry.

      • KINA

        Thanks Lady Brett.

    • Not Sarah

      I am so sorry Kina :(

  • Hallo all! Having a great weekend so far, including a delightful trip to see a wonderful production of Hamlet at American Players Theater with my girlfriends.

    Current wedding soul-searching: dress plans.

    My original plan was to have a dress made for me by a local dressmaker that I know: Regency-style and in blue. Very much like style of dress Lizzie Bennet wore to the ball in the 2005 P&P film. It was a great plan. Until I came across a picture of the Wai-Ching Zolotova dress on this site. Unlike any other wedding dress, I keep thinking about it. And thinking about it.

    It is so opposite my original plan. It isn’t local. It is more expensive than my original plan. But I keep thinking about it. The idea of a calf-length Zolotova in a similar blue, with peacock tones for the skirt collage… wow. But yet… I keep weighing it vs. my orignal plan. It isn’t like I can go to a dress shop and try these on. Either way I’ll be having something made for me. But which one?

    So, I put together a Pinterest board with examples of both dress styles, and have been showing it to the ladies who would have been accompanying me to a dress shop, if I’d gone that way. http://pinterest.com/irvingplace/maybe/

    Results are split. My sister and my mom like the “elegant” and “timeless” Regency idea better. Well, the “timeless” comment made think of the July 9 post about that topic. It almost wants me to pick the Zolotova dress just to spite that…but rebellion is not the best reason, and every time I think I have my mind made up, I change it.

    • Alison

      I am really late to this so I don’t know if you’ll see it… but what do you like about those two dresses? Would it be possible to combine parts of both of them? Maybe the Regency gown with a surprise panel of ruffles in the back? Also, you could actually try on the Wai-Ching – a shop here in PA carries a few of her dresses, so there might be a small shop local to you that does carry the brand.

      • What I like about them is very different, and I wouldn’t want to combine them. Zolotova *or* Regency, not both.

        I’m not really sure how I’d find out if any local shops carried her dresses, other than some very labor intensive calling around. Could do that… I know there is no listing on her site of any other place that carries them.

  • AVA

    Just wanted to write a quick thankyou to the APW editorial team, and the APW commenting community. Ever since I found this site (just a few months ago), it has been my go to about so many things – and most especially, so many things beyond mere wedding planning.

    Thanks APW.

  • APracticalLaura

    Here’s a link for next week’s roundup: The American Mothers Around the World series.


    Really, really good stuff!

  • I like reading a post that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to