APW Happy Hour

Happy first day of fall!

Dear APW,

I live in the space between business owner and writer. Normally I’m bouncing back and forth between the two: taking on a business project when I need to think critically and strategically, taking on a writing project when my driving creative force gets so strong I just have to make something. But the thing about re-launching APW is that it’s such a huge undertaking that I have no time to write, and it’s killing me. I can’t wait to roll out the new beautiful website (next month) and then get back to creative work. (Not to mention taking a damn nap.) I hope you’re excited about what’s coming up, because you really really should be. All this stress and hard work? Worth it.

And this morning, for the first time, the leaves are turning outside my window, signaling that Sunday really is the first day of fall. So here is to new things, and the changing of the leaves. It’s been a hard week for our household, and I need a reminder to celebrate the small things.

And for now, it’s your Friday open thread, hop on it!


Highlights of APW This Week

Quitting smoking while planning a wedding. Because, why not take it all on at once?

If you’ve been thinking of doing the city hall route followed by a bigger wedding, Lily & John’s post (though there’s was unplanned!) makes a lovely case for it.


There are a ton of great ideas for honoring loved ones with disabilities in the comments of week’s Ask Team Practical.

Hair donation Vines! And the hottest bob haircut you’ve ever seen. Seriously.

And since it’s happy hour…two easy fall cocktails made with whisky and cider. I’ll take one of each this weekend.

Link Roundup

Post-pregnancy bodies are such a fascinating (and taboo) topic. My body decided to put on way more weight than average, while growing a huge baby. This week, I celebrated getting back to my original size, but I’ll never have my pre-baby body back. (Even my feet are half a size smaller? Insane.) This topic is so rarely honestly discussed, and the Fourth Trimester Bodies Project is breaking important ground.

For Colorado couples whose venues may be flooded or badly damaged, check out Save My Colorado Wedding for help. (These stories of couples who got married despite the floods are pretty touching.)

A wedding officiant stops the ceremony to tell the photographer and videographer to go away. I know I was supposed to be horrified, but I was so, so amused. I can’t be the only one who’s been at weddings where the photographers appeared to think the whole thing was a photo-shoot staged for their sole benefit?

This story by the BBC about a woman fighting to have her name recognized by the government brings a new twist to the ongoing APW discussion of names.

I liked that this New York Times story was pretty queer-focused and didn’t just treat gay couples as carbon copies of straight couples when marrying. (I also liked that it didn’t quote any experts, which seemed pretty perfect.)

“To me, loving a child who is different, a target and seen as vulnerable is my role as a father and decent human being.” From Matt Duron in The Atlantic, writing about having a son who happens to like wearing dresses.

Featured Sponsored Content

  • Kristen

    The North East Ohio APW Meet Up Group is meeting again today. If we have any other North East Ohio ladies who would like to join, please stop by our facebook page!


    Have a great weekend!

  • So, I got a generic form letter this week, letting me know that my therapist is resigning and that I’ll only have one more session with her. The letter says we’ll discuss the future of my care at this last session, but also says, basically, to call the clinic and sort it out for myself with no real referral. I really clicked with this woman (I’ve seen six therapist in my life and only ever felt comfortable with two, including her) and am overwhelmed at the thought of having to find someone else and start all over. I know it’s important that I force myself to do it, though, because my concerns about PPD are real, and it’s important to be an established client now so that I have no trouble getting appointments post-partum if things get really grim. My midwife has told me that the waiting lists can be brutal for non-established patients. Ugh.

    In good baby news, David felt our little girl move for the first time last night! It was a really happy emotional moment that I wasn’t really prepared for (the emotional wallop of it, I mean).

    • Katelyn

      Is it possible your therapist is moving to another location in town? You could follow her to the new practice. Hope everything works out, I know how hard it is to find the right professionals for you.

      • I definitely plan to ask. The form letter just covered the basics, and didn’t say why she was leaving or where she might go. If she’s setting up shop elsewhere and is taking clients and my insurance is still compatible, I’ll definitely express an interest in going with her. But that’s a lot of Ifs.

        • em

          sometimes, if someone is leaving a practice, they’re not allowed to officially let people know (poach their own patients) while they’re still employed by the original practice. It’s definitely worth asking directly!

    • LBD

      I just wanted to express my empathy, as I’m dealing with a somewhat similar situation. My therapist suffered an injury that has made her unable to see clients, the timing of which aligned exactly with my finding out I was pregnant. She has me set up with a temporary therapist, but I am not clicking nearly as well with this one, and am feeling very lost and frustrated, as her recovery time continues to be extended. I’ve got all kinds of family of origin issues, so pregnancy, and starting my own mother-child relationship has stirred up all kinds of issues. Oh were I omniscient, there is no way I’d have decided to try the whole, “let’s stop trying to NOT have a baby” thing. Part of my reasoning for that decision was that I finally had a good support network established of mental health professionals.

      I can say, at least, that my therapist has been really accommodating in gearing up new therapist for treating me, so at least it didn’t feel like I was needing to completely start over. Maybe your therapist would be willing to do so as well? That said, therapy working for me is based on a trusting relationship that is developed, so that aspect of things has been very hard to reestablish.

      Hang in there, fellow discontinuation-of-care-with-finally-clicking-therapist-while-pregnant sufferer!

      • Anonymous

        I just wanted to express my empathy to you LBD. Though I’m not yet pregnant, I’m dealing with problematic fertility issues while also struggling with my own family of origin issues. Just trying to get pregnant and anticipating motherhood has kicked my own fears regarding a mother child relationship, especially the potential of a mother daughter relationship into high gear. I can’t imagine being here without my own therapist of many years and I so feel for you! I wish I had good advice for how to handle your current situation but I’m not sure I do. All I would say is know its 100% acceptable to tell your therapist what specifically you need from them and/or what they’re doing that isn’t working for you. If they’re any good at all, they’ll want to help you and will welcome feedback on how to improve your sessions. Good luck! I’m pulling for you!

        • LBD

          Thanks! I’d thought the wedding had dredged up issues, but apparently that’s nothing in comparison to impending motherhood. Unfortunately, for me, part of my issues makes talking about what is and isn’t working very difficult for me. We did have a conversation, and things were good for that session, but I didn’t see any changes on consequent sessions. The main problem likely is that it is very difficult for me to trust people, and it has taken many years of work for me to get to that point with primary therapist, whose ability to read me is uncanny. I shall probably have to try again out of desperation, but it is exhausting and difficult.

      • Mellie

        I hope this isn’t too off topic, but do any of you have advice on how to find a good therapist? I went to one a few years ago and wasn’t impressed so I stopped going, and then recently a friend recommended someone but she has a waiting list. All of them have tiny blurbs on their websites that don’t give a lot of insight and there aren’t many reviews online in my town. It is a really grey area as to whether my insurance will pay for it, so how do I find someone I click with without paying $100’s on first meetings?

        • LBD

          It does suck!

          I found the therapist I liked a lot through the recommendation of a friend. It seems that is what has also worked best for people I know. Unfortunately, a whole other big part of it is just plain luck. Just like friendships, therapists have all different ways of operating and being, and some will work and some won’t. I’d had unsuccessful attempts at therapy prior to my finding the “right one” as well.

          That is a bummer that you are being charged for an initial session. In my search, it seemed therapists were mostly willing to do a free session or half-session to see if you clicked before pursuing treatment with them. Call and ask, maybe?

          And insurance plus therapy is a NIGHTMARE. Neither of the people I’ve been seeing does direct billing, and every time I submit claims it is a giant hassle with the insurance company. However, that’s a lot of money to not pursue, so I suck it up. I tend to submit in big batches much to my insurance’s chagrin, but that’s because they are such a pain in the ass to work with, I can only deal with it like every other month (or three).

          Good luck!

        • anon

          I’m not sure where you live, but in Seattle we have a women’s therapy referral network that is a group of female therapists in the area. You pay a flat fee ($100?) to see a coordinator who will discuss what you’re looking for in a therapist, insurance coverage, location, etc. They then give you 3 therapist who they feel might be a good match for you, and you get an initial hour visit with each therapist. This is all covered by the initial flat fee, so it can be a good way to at least test out a few different therapists. I don’t know how common it is, but maybe there’s something similar where you live? It seems like a really excellent system. I hope that helps!

          • Mellie

            Haha, I’m just a bit too far north of Seattle (Bellingham!) but that is really interesting about the referral network. I’ll look into something like that here if it exists. Thanks for the idea.

    • Claire

      Oh that’s hard. If you do end up having to look for a new therapist, I can recommend Karen Fink. Good luck to you.

  • 1. I’d like to give a strong recommendation to Alyssa Harad’s new book, “Coming to my Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride.” Seriously, you want to read this book.


    2. Still almost a year out, don’t even have my dress, and I’m already doing online searches for interesting blue dress shoes. (Maybe TARDIS blue, but not necessarily). Sturdy heels or flats, so long as they are comfy and have character. I keep seeing gorgeous shoes with the wobbly sort of heel that will make me twist an ankle, then I sigh and move on. I keep wishing some of my favorite Fluevogs came in the right color for me.

    So, and blue shoe suggestions?

    • Ellen

      No shoe suggestions at the moment but I would highly encourage you to wait until you have your dress to get the shoes. The style of your dress might not make sense with the style of the shoes, and in my oh-so-vast experience on this, it is easier to find shoes than wedding dresses!

      I thought I’d do something similar to you, except in gray, and then I found the PERFECT shoes on sale at DSW and snapped them up. Now those shoes are in my work rotation, since they don’t work at all with my dress, and a nice pair of light gold ballet flats are sitting in a box waiting for the big day. :)

      • I’m having my dress made, so in my case it might make more sense to find the shoes first, if possible. Then the color of the fabric can be chosen to work with the the shoes.

        Also, I am both lazy and picky, so I know it is going to take me a while. :)

    • My sis bought this shoe — Jellypop, style Foy — and has been singing its praises for months! She bought blue for her own wedding and ordered an additional pair in silver for mine. She has lots of problems with her feet and swears they’re the most comfortable shoes ever.

    • AmandaS

      I almost bought this pair, http://www.modcloth.com/shop/shoes-heels/top-knot-condition-wedge-in-blue

      Until I found a different pair on the same website that apparently isn’t available. I still heart them, and they are close to tardis blue.

    • I will note that I also generally need a strap on my shoe, or I will walk out of it.

      If Fluevog still made the Renata and it came in blue, it would be perfect:


    • meg

      1. Oh! I have a review copy of that book, and I’ve been totally swamped. I’ll get on it for the team :)

      • It is so good. You will (to use your own frequent phrase) probably want to put it in your mouth.

        I’m also excited because it means I’ve found my perfume-blogging sister her Christmas present already.

    • Kater

      I’m probably wearing these shoes in a different (still undetermined) color. I like that they have a heel, but it’s sturdy, and I can (hopefully!) dance the night away comfortably!

      • Very cute. Definitely dancecable.

    • Last night, while M and I were watching “Strictly Ballroom” (again) it occurred to me: flamenco shoes might be exactly what I’m looking for.


    • Rachel

      I have just ordered a pair of hey lady shoes which I have heard great things about. They are very pricey but I emailed asking if text had a sample pair in my size for a discount which they did! Definitely worth a try.

  • Haven’t watched the video on the photography article yet, so not sure how inappropriately he actually handled it, but I have to say that last weekend I was at a wedding and totally distracted by the photographers! There were two (and one was wearing jeans and a black t-shirt – it was a casual-ish wedding, but he was the only person wearing denim! The other photographer was in colored pants and a tee – still casual, but much more appropriate.) and they both were completely circling the wedding party throughout the ceremony.

    I would understand some movement, up and down the aisle, and back and forth across the front (if crouching to stay out of people’s view), to get shots from different angles, but the movement behind and around the wedding party really seemed like too much

    I wouldn’t blame the photographers themselves, though, clearly they thought this was necessary to get the shots that were expected. I’d pin the fault of this on the WIC placing certain expectations on the bride and groom and their vendors. But I think it was totally demeaning to the significance of the ceremony.

    • Emmy

      I was very clear in interviewing my photographer that I wanted her to be as unobtrusive as possible during the ceremony, and she was perfect (APW Sponsor Kelly Prizel, holla!!). I didn’t notice her at all, except when she brought us a glass of water (our ceremony was in direct sunlight). I didn’t notice her during the reception either! So good photographers are out there if you’re upfront about your expectations.

      • Copper

        I wonder if this is something that most people don’t think to ask/say? After all, if you haven’t seen it done wrong, it might not even occur that it’s a possibility.

        • Emmy

          Yeah, I only thought to ask this because I work with photographers a lot in my job, and because I went to a wedding with a terrible embarrassing in-your-face photog. It should definitely be on those lists of what to ask though.

      • Another Kate

        Woohoo! I love Kelly. She was our photog too and I barely noticed her during the ceremony, and didn’t notice her whatsoever at the reception. She’s the best.

      • Kelly Prizel is THE BEST!

        I watched the video, and I was annoyed with everyone. The photographers were being obtrusive, and that could have been because they thought that’s what the couple wanted, because there wasn’t communication beforehand with the couple AND the officiant (as there always should be), or because they went rouge and were doing whatever they wanted. (My bets are on the first two options.)

        But those two people were GETTING MARRIED. And after that display, they were EMBARRASSED. It was really, really unnecessary and inconsiderate. Everyone lost in that situation.

        Good photographers are definitely out there, and many of them know to be unobtrusive whether you say so or not. But to anyone who worries about this, make sure you are really clear with your photographer/s in advance.

        • Emily H

          It wasn’t very apparent to me how intrusive the photographer was. Was he just getting too close to the officiant? The outburst seemed out of the blue to me, given where the video started. No one even asked the bride and groom how they felt! How mortifying for them.

          • Ack! I wrote this quickly and didn’t check what I typed!

            I meant to say that it MAY HAVE BEEN the photographers were being intrusive. (Because the clip is so short, so we can’t really tell. The only thing I could guess is that the officiant had issues with how close the photographer/videographer were, and maybe the rapid firing of the shutter?)

            But, yeah. No matter who was at fault here, that couple was embarrassed, and that’s terrible to happen in the middle of someone’s wedding.

      • Senorita

        Alternatively, your expectations may also include doing the chicken dance with you at your reception rather than invisibility. Also an awesome option.

    • Laura C

      I’ve definitely been to a wedding where the photographers treated it as a big photo session more than a real-life event — but I was pretty sure that in that case the bride’s parents wanted it that way, and they were paying for it, so…

      But yeah, there’s got to be a better way to deal with an annoying photographer than being an annoying officiant.

    • meg

      OMG, crazy inappropriately, to a hilarious extent. I just kind of felt him on that. I’ve seen people like, lying down under the couple when they say their vows (and again, I guess that’s what they couples asked for) but OH MY GOD. As a guest when it gets that bad I feel like, “Should we leave and give y’all a moment of privacy? I feel like I’m intruding…”

      • I once watched a photographer block the family rows’ view of the ring exchange to get a shot (and I saw the photos later and the shot in question was …ok)

  • Soooo, my sister is getting married next Saturday and we went out to her venue last weekend to meet with her coordinator one last time. At this meeting, we learned two traumatic things . . .

    1. Her “coordinator” is not actually a coordinator, apparently, but someone who simply schedules events and makes note of details. That’s it. Despite emails saying otherwise, this woman will not even be present the day of the wedding. The reception will be turned over to a catering manager. And as such . . .

    2. My sister has no day-of coordinator or stage manager. She has an officiant who will help us line up, get ready, etc., but said officiant will understandably not be assisting with any other aspect of the reception. That’s on us.

    This is the dark side of two sisters planning two weddings six weeks apart: things slip through the cracks. As someone who has spent months on APW, I am freaking out and feeling sick with guilt that I never even thought to ask her about a coordinator (or what this “coordinator” at the venue would actually be doing). Honestly, I feel like this was either a serious miscommunication or she flat-out lied to my sis, but I’m super confused and haven’t been privy to the details . . .

    . . . and anyway, it probably doesn’t matter now. We’re eight days out and things still need to get done. I guess I’m coming here to vent and/or get talked down off a cliff? Because I want my sis to have a fantastic day and not worry, of course, I’ve jumped in as her maid of honor/partner in crime and insisted I will “take care of everything.”

    But how am I going to take care of everything?

    I’m thinking I need a comprehensive timeline for the day and some serious chats with her bridal party to enlist everyone’s help next Saturday? In addition to everything else, we’re now setting up decor, keeping the flow moving, wrangling guests, etc.

    Anyone had to step in last-minute to stage manage? Should I send emails to her vendors and enlist their assistance? They’ll already know what’s going on, right? SIGH. Her DJ will play a large role in keeping the reception moving and her photographers are great (and should also have a timeline), but I still feel really worried that the day will fall apart from disorganization . . . and I will feel at fault. :( I know I’m probably being too hard on myself, but I’m just feeling ack.

    • USE THE APW SPREADSHEETS. And get help. Family, friends, whoever. This is totally doable and your sister’s wedding will be fine. But use those spreadsheets! (Or make your own). Fill ’em out and give copies to EVERYONE. Stick ’em in a binder that you can stash somewhere day of in case you need to check anything. I had a friend coordinate with me, and if things were bumbled or disorganized I either a) didn’t know or b) didn’t care. Enough people knew what was going on that things worked themselves out. Vendors are professional and awesome. Friends and family are awesome. Spread sheets are awesome.

      Deep breaths!

      • kate

        yes! I love my APW spreadsheets. I have 6 copies sitting in the printer right now for our, probably final, meeting with our venue and their coordinator. I love them.

        Do the two of you have a friend that maybe you weren’t able to invite to the wedding (or even if you did invite them) but would be good at keeping everything moving and a face of sanity for the two of you that day? Don’t be afraid to ask.

        • Exactly! Or what about a good friend’s younger sister or bossy mom? I’ve seen both types work really well in this kind of situation. Worth an ask!

        • I wish we did, but I don’t think that’s in the cards. I appreciate the suggestion all the same! Between all the bridesmaids and the vendors with timelines, I’m hoping all will be well?

          I keep telling myself — and my sister, and basically anyone who will listen — that we’ve all attended weddings before and have a general idea of what “should” be happening and when . . . and I will just use the aforementioned spreadsheets like crazy. And we will make it happen. Eek!

      • Thank you — off to get my spreadsheet on! I see one rollicking, highlighter-filled Friday night in my future . . .

  • Anon for this

    I didn’t watch the video of the priest telling off the photog (work), but while it seems his reaction may have been quite strong, ooooh boy I went to a wedding once where I wish someone would’ve had the nerve to say something to the photographer. So intrusive, so loud. Like, I’m still mortified and will be….forever? And it wasn’t even my wedding! My blood pressure is rising as I type this.

  • Katelyn

    Has anyone successfully printed on cotton cardstock (or similar) at home? I am finding that inexpensive print shops in my area are hesitant to work with the paper I want to use (118# cover weight, 100% cotton) and I am considering just buying a printer and doing it at home – the cost difference is pretty negligible.

    I’d love to hear what thickness of paper you’ve used in home printers and the model of printer! I’ve been thinking of buying a large-format Canon inkjet photo printer that supports up to 13 x 19 so I can use it for printing large art prints/photos for hanging in the future.

    • I don’t know how close it is to cotton card stock, but a graphic designer friend designed our paper suite (invites, programs, menus, etc) as her wedding gift to us, and then gave us awesome art school tips to print them out at home. Instead of buying cardstock, we bought artist sketch pads for much cheaper, and cut them to size ourselves and printed at home. Everything came out beautifully and was super affordable (although time consuming). If you have your heart set on a specific paper that tip won’t work for you, but I printed ALL of our stuff at home with virtually no issues.

      • Katelyn

        Thanks so much! I haven’t bought anything yet (trigger shy) so I’ll look into the artist sketch pads tip!

    • ART

      hmmm, i’m trying to “exactly” you because i want to know, too, and it’s being odd, might have accidentally reported you, sorry!

      also, have you looked at catprint? i got my save the dates printed there on 118lb cotton paper and they did a great job at a good price (and they foster cats…so that’s neat). i have smaller items i may want to print at home, though, so i may buy some paper and try running it through my printer to see how well that works but haven’t done so yet.

      • Katelyn

        The only information I’ve gleaned regarding home printing is that inkjet works a little bit better than laser on cotton (but only noticeable on really fine lines) and that a rear feed is the best for thick paper to minimize jamming since it feeds straight through instead of up and around like bottom feeds do.

        I’ll look into Catprint! I’m getting a pretty good deal on bulk cotton paper from Paper-Papers but this printing component has been a bit of a wrench thrown in my way – finding an online printer that stocks the paper I want might be better.

    • Copper

      I haven’t printed on cotton at home, but I have definitely run as high as #140C paper through my printer, as well as 2-ply wood veneer for my own invitations. I work with an Epson 1400 Photo Stylus (which is a 13″x19″ printer). My biggest advice would be, test test test. Most paper companies will send you samples, often for free or just for the shipping costs. So get samples, try a few different types of papers, and try different settings. The concern that would jump out at me with cotton in an inkjet would be the high potential for absorption that cotton has, that the ink could bleed too much and become illegible. Something that helps for me is printing some things at “draft” quality, or even just with speed selected over quality in the advanced print settings. This way, less ink comes out and it doesn’t create that blurry edge. Also, buy extra paper. When I feed something that thick through the printer, it works but tends to get a little cranky at me, i.e. periodically has feed problems, needs a little more babysitting than for a typical print job, and I wind up with a lot of waste because something got chewed up or only fed halfway through. For example, printing my 77 invites, I ordered 90 pieces of the material I was using.

    • tiffany

      I didn’t use cotton cardstock, but we used wood veneer sheets. I tried a bunch of different place to see if they would print on it with little luck or horribly expensive pricing, until in an act of deseperation, the soon to be mister went to a big box (think office max and the like) office supply store and the kid behind the counter wasn’t sure but was willing to do a trial run. Print came out great and in the end, only cost us $10 for 45 doubled up invites (we cut the veneer in half so as to have two invites per sheet). They were amazing and I couln’t have been happier.
      So maybe just take a sample to a copier and see how it prints?

    • Paranoid Libra

      I had Staples print my invites and went “That was easy” it cost like $50 for everything including the nicer paper for 130 invites I think.

      • Copper

        That’s a good point—the guys at Staples simply don’t care enough to challenge the type of paper you bring in, so they’ll do pretty much whatever you want.

        • Katelyn

          Actually, that’s exactly where I got turned down. The Staples near me is near an art school though so I think they got burned one too many times.

          • KC

            Wondering if there’s a place you can test *printers*, since you don’t really want to buy a printer that’s not going to work well for this.

            (probably a place *not* near an art school; your conclusions about why they’re picky now are most likely correct…)

    • Morningglory

      I printed my invites at home on heavier paper (not 100% cotton) and used a Canon PIXMA MG5320 http://www.amazon.com/Canon-MG5320-Wireless-Printer-5291B019/dp/B005D5M12M. It worked great! The back-feed option is key for heavier papers.

  • Stephanie

    After the months of planning and work and some tears and some fun, we are getting married TOMORROW! Right now I’m finishing lunch and then going to make my bouquet (thank you, APW tutorial!).

    My brain is spinning with all kinds of last-minute things, but I’m hoping the wedding zen will kick in soon.

    I’m so grateful for APW and Team Practical for getting me through planning the wedding and helping me to look toward building my *marriage.* Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Now to go make that bouquet…

    • scw

      hooray! congratulations!

    • Best wishes!

    • Congratulations! Revel in all the love and reap the fruits of your labours! Best wishes for a phenomenal wedding and marriage!

    • ART

      yay! would love to see bouquet photos – i’m planning to make all mine as well (with some help from flower arranging friends and family) HAVE FUN!

    • kate

      yay! massive jumps for joy for you!!!<3

    • Amber P

      Congratulations! I’m sure you will have a beautiful day! Remember to breathe and stay in the moment as best you can. And, have fun!! The wedding zen will come when it’s ready to. Hopefully sooner rather than later! :-)

  • elle

    Lots of complicated emotions over the past two weeks.

    Got married (YAY); hated my wedding (BOO); withdrew into myself on our honeymoon; bounced back once our regular schedules resumed, and am now in a pretty good place.

    Except that after our first day back to work on Tuesday, my fia-…husband…looks at me and says, “So, believe me when I say this is 100% hypothetical at this point. And in no way a definite. It’s basically an incredibly remote possibility. Maybe.”

    Me: …?

    Him: How would you feel about moving?

    Me: Like…where?

    Him: Like…far.

    Me: As in, what, like, Pittsburgh? (We’re outside of Philly now)

    Him: As in, like, California.

    I’m THRILLED. And I need to stop. Because we’re months away from any concrete details about this opportunity, and I feel like I’ve already gotten my hopes way, way up that this is a Sure Thing. And I know it’s not, it’s far from it, it’s the exact opposite. But guys – I’ve spent the past year and a half watching scenarios like this unfold for YOU, pining for an opportunity for me, and it feels like this is it…except it’s entirely beyond my control.

    Obviously, intellectually I keep telling myself “forget about it forget about it forget about it forget about it” but I’m just SO DAMN EXCITED at the very thought that it’s hard putting it out of my head.

    I just wish he knew SOMETHING to help harsh my mellow. Because it’s hard not being absurdly optimistic and hopeful when you have zero facts to go on! (also, I hate hate HATE being in limbo, and it feels like that’s how we’ll be spending the rest of the year!)

    • M.

      I know it can be hard, and I do the exact same thing! And obvs limbo is The Worst. But, at the same time, I think it’s okay to be thrilled! Especially after the ambivalence of the last couple weeks (congrats, btw!). It’s okay to dream, and sometimes I think having really positive feelings about something can help you make choices day-to-day that will help you on your way to what you want. Not manifesting it, really, but it just influences you and your habits. Maybe it will get you in the mindset of (just an example) downsizing, and if this move doesn’t happen it will set you up for another move in the future…etc. It could even be unconscious.

      My fiance and I currently have a 2 year dream goal plan for him to advance a bit in his company and then propose to work from home most of the time/go freelance so we can move out into a house in the woods in our home state 700 miles away. It’s so NOT a sure thing, but the thought of it makes us so giddy that we’re starting to work a savings plan into our budget after the wedding (replacing wedding fund with house fund), and just generally preparing ourselves.

      Fingers crossed for sunny CA!

      • elle

        Thanks for the affirmation, and the congrats :)

        The situation definitely brought into sharp focus the fact that I HATE PHILADELPHIA. I can’t say I’ve tried to make the best of my location. It was actually a New Year’s goal for this year, to explore my community and WORK at loving it here (which failed spectacularly in light of, you know, planning a wedding). So I’ll have to examine the fact that the excitement is probably generating more from getting away from here than it is from going out there, and proceed accordingly :)

        Love your dream goal! Good luck :D

    • “So, believe me when I say this is 100% hypothetical at this point. And in no way a definite. It’s basically an incredibly remote possibility. Maybe.”

      LOL. I *hate* it when people start a topic like this…granted, I’m guilty of it myself.

      • elle


        I was like, WHY WHY WHY did you have to mention this to me NOOOOOOW. And of course, he mentioned it to me because he loves and respects me and didn’t want to look into it or keep an eye on it if it was something I was against, and also didn’t want to spring it on me last minute.


    • I’m sorry you hated your wedding, although the bright spot is that you wrote “yay!” after getting married.

      For 3 years we were looking to buy a vet clinic for my husband and looking to go anywhere. We literally looked across the country from Juneau, AK to Portsmouth NH. Every time we were investigating a clinic my hopes got way up – I imagined our life there and got really attached to it. I think you have to, in order to really know whether you would like it. And every time it fell through (each one did for a variety of reasons) I was heart broken. For awhile. I had to let go of the version of that life I was imagining and it was hard and took awhile. But eventually I got over it and moved on.

      What I’m trying to say is you can get excited and your hopes up, even if they are dashed you will bounce back. And something will work out, it always does. Even if you are like me, it ends up working out that you stay where you are. I was really opposed to staying where we are for a long time (all during those 3 years) and now I am loving it.

      Good luck!

      • elle

        It’s ok. It’s a weird reconciliation process, that’s for sure, and it’s not one I expected to grapple with, not in a million years.

        And it is wonderful – a relief even – to be married. I didn’t realize how transitional being engaged felt to me until the final weeks leading up to the wedding itself.

        Thank you :)

        • Elle, I know that APW has talked about it before-but it’s so rare to hear anyone say that they hated their wedding, and I did too! At the time…and I was right there, retreating into our honeymoon. I think I slept 14 hours every night of it. And then, my father-in-law got diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma in his brain a month later, and slowly our wedding took on a whole other light. I don’t wish anything like that on you, but I just wanted to offer a beacon of hope and say that I now love parts of our wedding-and maybe it will be that way for you, too?

          • elle

            It was SO HARD to not sleep through the honeymoon, I’m so glad you mentioned experiencing that too!

            My…struggle comes with the fact that I planned every single detail. I mean, my husband had input. Our parents had input. But I did all the planning, so…it didn’t even occur to me that disappointment was a possibility, given that everything was perfect, insomuch as it could be with humans running the show, you know what I mean? Everything WAS as I had planned it to be…and yet.

            It’s because there was little to no dancing. And I (belatedly) realized that I had built up all my expectations around a fabulous dance party. I didn’t care what else went wrong, so long as we got married (YAY) and had a rad dance party. But only a few people danced. There were longer stretches of time when no one was dancing, than there were of people dancing. And I guess I had so centered my vision around this one little thing (thinking I was being smart, instead of needing EVERYTHING to be perfect, my small concession was that all I wanted was dancing) that when it didn’t AT ALL turn out the way I had hoped and even anticipated, I was left totally lost.

            Thanks for this, Ella :) I know I’ll come around – I’m already so much better off than I was last week – it’s just a weird process getting there.

          • Elle, I don’t know why there wasn’t dancing at yours, but: We had dancing at ours. However, when we got to sort of the pinnacle of the evening, when we popped in Stop Making Sense, which was an old college standby and everyone was supposed to love, people danced for maybe, eh, three songs. And then left the dance floor. Something inside me flipped out, like “Maybe these people are not having a good time WHY AREN’T THEY DANCING DO THEY HATE MY WEDDING???” It took me a little while (ok, most of the honeymoon) to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t because people hated our choices, but because they were enjoying talking with one another so much, they didn’t have time to dance any more. It was a really good thing to finally put it together that a lack of dancing was not a reflection of my ability to put on a damn enjoyable wedding.

          • No one really danced at my wedding either. It was really hot – unusual for Vermont in September (unusual meaning no A/C). No one wanted to (including me) and I was really nervous that meant no one was having a good time. People took advantage of the outdoor areas to mingle and chat and sit by a campfire. So many people have told me it was the best wedding they had been to in a long time that I got over the fear that dancing = sucky time. Hopefully you’ll come out the same way too!

    • Breck

      I strongly second what Rowan said about letting yourself imagine a could-be life in your new location–it’s basically impossible to prevent, and if things don’t work out the way you dreamed of, you will still be at least OK.

      We have been in Limbo-ville for about a year, ever since my boyfriend found out he was accepted into an 18 month-long rotational program with his company. Each time we’ve moved (twice now; LA to the Bay Area, then the Bay to Caracas, Venezuela), we’ve had 5-6 weeks notice, and the same will be true with our next two moves. Before this last assignment, they told us we were going somewhere international maybe 10 weeks before we left, but not where exactly, so we had an ENTIRE month to imagine our lives in a bunch of different places. We were hoping to be sent to Thailand, which obviously didn’t happen, but we are very, very happy in Venezuela so far :), just like I’m sure you will be, too, in Philly, CA, or wherever you end up!

      But, I hate limbo, so I hope you get some news soon!!

      • replying here because I can’t upthread – but the only folks who danced at my wedding were me, my bridesmaids, my best guy friend, and a couple friends to a few slow dances. It took me a couple weeks to come to term with that, but looking back, we needed a few more group dances and… we were in a group of folks in which the only real dancers were.. me and my bridesmaids.

        Limbo also royally sucks. My husband may have a change at his workplace that is different from what we originally expected and the waiting to hear more is SO HARD.

  • Rebekah

    Hooray for happy hour!

    I love that this has become a regular feature, so thanks!

    I read this article yesterday with the excerpts of a bride’s emails to her bridesmaids and could not pick up my jaw from the floor. Some of the comments made me laugh out loud as well.

    Anyone else seen this?

    • Catherine McK

      My friend just sent me this. My jaw dropped too, so awful. I sent her the Atlantic article to make up for the soul-sucking-ness WICness of that one. (Don’t read it unless you want to cry a bit for humanity)

    • LMN

      Did anyone else see/hear Regina from “Mean Girls” as they read the bride’s emails? Now I really want Rachel McAdams to do a skit reading these in character as Regina. Oh, wow. Just…wow.

    • My thought process upon reading that was “Oh God, this can’t be real.” Which slowly, horrifyingly transitioned into “This can’t be real. Can it?” So many shudders.

    • I had to read it through 3 times. Almost fell out of my chair and everything. Thank you for sharing :)

    • Heather

      My friend who’s getting married soon sent that around to all of the bridesmaids yesterday and it made me cringe while laughing hysterically.

      • MK

        I sent it to my bridesmaids and one has declared she’ll be wearing an impossibly small gold bikini for the ceremony.

  • I meant to share in last week’s Happy Hour, but last Friday ended up being something of a whirlwind.

    Anyhow…I successfully defended my master’s thesis!

    After more than a year of research, writing, and administrative shenanigans I am a free woman (and a Master of Science)!

    • congrats!

    • Kira

      So cool! Congrats!

    • Woooo! I have never been sucked into a Master’s Thesis myself, but my mister is going through this process, so I know it’s been a lot of hard work for you! High five!

    • Congrats!

    • Amber P

      Awesome! Many congratulations!!

    • Yea for being free of administrative shenanigans! They can be more wily than ducks sometimes those administrators.

      • Casey

        I wished I had made more copies of my APW spreadsheets and passed them out to more people, because I didn’t have a day-of coordinator/planner. The day before the wedding was organized because I was running the show, but the day OF the wedding had some hiccups – my MIL forgot to go get my bouquet, and my brother went for a hike instead of bringing my mom over to the house to help me get into my dress.

    • Thanks guys! Much obliged for all the kind wishes! Hope you all have a great weekend.

    • Ariel


  • Mrs. Lee

    Only 21 (and a few hours) days left until I’m marrying the most amazing person in the world! As I type this, little butterflies of excitement/nervousness are flying around in my tum. I thought that this whole process was going to be a lot more stressful than it was. I may still freak out at some point in the next three weeks, but overall, I’ve enjoyed the process.

    That said, does anyone have any last minute things they wished they remembered to do toward the end of planning?

    • LMN

      Congratulations, Mrs. Lee! It’s awesome that you’re feeling so good. The only thing I wish we had done differently? We didn’t have a bridal party (no regrets on that front), so my husband was alone at our apartment getting into his suit. It ended up taking him a lot longer than he expected, and he was late for photos on our wedding day (and this this a man who is NEVER late, so it was a little alarming for me). I had three helpers getting me dressed, and of course I knew exactly how long it would take to get my dress on because of multiple fittings, but he had only tried his suit on once. If we could go back and do it again, he’d allow more time to get dressed and/or have a friend there to help him. If your guy has groomsmen, this is probably all taken care of. :) Hope you have a wonderful next three weeks and wedding!

    • Emily H

      Most of my stress hit within the 2 weeks before the big day, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be hit with a freak out. :)

      If you are planning your own wedding, my biggest advice is to fill as many people in as you can on the schedule and flow of things to reduce confusion on the day-of. It might all flow perfectly in your head, but make sure you dump that info on your mom, cousins, BFFs, etc. as early and often as possible (in writing, like the APW spreadsheet, AND verbally) so everyone is on the same page, even if they aren’t directing the day.

      My other advice is just to try your very best to get centered and present that day. For me that meant having as much alone time with my husband as possible (car ride to the ceremony, sitting at our own table at the wedding). If for you that means brunch with your girlfriends that morning, or doing yoga alone, DO IT!

      Congrats, and good luck!

    • I wished I would’ve specifically told a few people I wanted photos with them rather than assuming they’d know I would.


    Hi, APW community–I’ve been gathering my courage to post about this during a Happy Hour for the past few months, and I think today is the today. I’m really nervous about posting this, but you all are the most supportive and understanding group of people I’ve ever encountered, so here goes.

    Can anyone recommend particular types of doctors (Eastern or Western, of any kind) who specialize in working with women with mental health issues during pregnancy? Specifically, I need to find someone who is very knowledgeable about and able to prescribe medications as needed and will help with medication management. My goal is to find someone to work with as I get ready to try to conceive, during the pregnancy, and for post-partum support. I’m also open to recommendations of good books or well-researched websites on this subject. I would like to have some knowledge under my belt before I go back to my primary care physician for recommendations (it’s not her area of expertise, and she’s been very open about that).

    Usually the internet is my go-to place for such research, but it’s a black hole of terrifying stories whenever you look up a) pregnancy, or b) mental health stuff, especially when it comes to medication. And looking up medication during pregnancy? I will never do that again. Not a good experience, especially not for someone with anxiety/panic/depression issues. I’m glad that blogs and chat rooms exist for people to be able to share their stories, but I can’t read the traumatic stories (or some of the intensely judgmental attitudes) without stoking my panic.

    Thanks for your recommendations of doctors, experts, books, and other sources of good information. Solid information is the best way for me to fight anxiety. However, these subjects are so touchy for many people (and are so very important to me) that it’s hard for me to find info without the info search process triggering my anxiety. A tricky cycle, huh? Thanks for helping me find my way out of it. You all are the best.

    • I don’t have any specifics to offer you, I just have so many hugs.

      • Lisha

        Likewise! I don’t know of any resources to share but I think you are courageous! Not only for asking for help but also for recognizing that you will need assistance for this very important journey in your life. It’s wonderful that you’re being proactive and exploring all of your options in advance…that’s a wonderful trait to have! Best wishes :)

    • Jessica Grouse over at Slate did a series on prenatal depression. http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/features/2012/why_isn_t_anyone_talking_about_prenatal_depression_/pregnancy_and_prenatal_depression_why_didn_t_anyone_warn_me_i_would_feel_so_bad_.html

      I would start with your OB/gyn, if you have one yet. And if they shut you down, I would find another. How about a midwife? Keep looking until you find someone who takes you seriously. A. you are not just a vessel for this baby and you need to take care of yourself as well. B. your baby needs you to be healthy more than anything else.

      Good luck and you are being brave posting/getting the help you need, that will make you a great mom

    • Emmy

      Good for you for seeking help. That first step is so important, but it can be so hard. Would you be willing to tell us more about where you live? If not, I think your best bet is to call some mental health providers in your area and ask them directly. It’s probably easiest if you start with the large practices that have psychiatrists as well as psychologists/social workers/etc. If you don’t feel able to call, your significant other or a close friend can do it for you, since they’re asking general treatment questions, not specifically about you as a patient.

      In addition, some organizations that help with post-partum depression also handle prenatal depression and other mood disorders. I recently saw this one mentioned on a reputable blog: http://www.postpartum-depression.net/Pecindman.com/Resources_for_Perinatal_Depression_Anxiety.html

      I hope this is some help to you. Hang in there!

      • Emmy

        Here’s that blog post. It has lots of other links: http://alphamom.com/pregnancy/prenatal-depression/


        Thanks very much for your ideas, Emmy. I’m in Portland, Oregon. Recommendations of specific doctors would be awesome if anyone has any, but mostly I’m looking for any types of doctors I should be checking out. OB/GYN who has experience in psychiatry? Psychiatrists who focus on pregnancy? Do either of these even exist? Just looking for some of the right words to use when I start researching and making phone calls, since this is all totally new to me. Thanks again.

        • meg

          What you’ll see is a psychiatrist (any of them can prescribe for pregnancy, and most if not all of them have). And then you just need a supportive OB/GYN, they are ALL familiar with the issue. That’s it. You don’t need specialist in either field. Depression during pregnancy is very common (stats are usually quoted at around 15%, I think) not to mention people with existing mental health issues getting pregnant. It’s a taboo topic, but it’s a really common medical issue that any good health system should handle with relative ease. (Not that it’s not stressful for you, just that it’s not a situation where you need any sort of rare specialist.)

          I’d love for medical health professionals to chime in if they have more/ better info, but this is experienced info, at least.

    • meg

      The Slate feature is good. I used acupuncture (which is good during pregnancy in general, but lets be honest, it’s not really going to touch mental health issues), and drugs. My advice: don’t use books, don’t use the internet, don’t do your own research. Go to your primary and ask them for a referral to a knowledgeable prescribing doctor. They are good at what they do, and they’ll walk you through it, and you’ll be fine. It SEEMS scary, but what is way way scarier is not having the medication you need during pregnancy (it’s also worse for the fetus, medically).

      Anyway, this is the kind of thing where it’s *not your job* to do the research, and you’ll just confuse and scare yourself, and make it harder for the expert to give you good treatment.

      AND, therapy and group therapy.

      You’re going to be FINE. I have a very hilarious, very happy, exceptionally chill, decidedly healthy baby. Sometimes we joke that’s why ;)

      • Acupuncture’s actually been pretty useful for my own mental health issues. I use it to manage a pretty severe anxiety disorder and mild/moderate obsessive compulsive disorder, and six months in, it’s been better for me than meds were.

    • Paranoid Libra

      I just want to say good luck with it all as having a support system in place before hand is much easier than in the middle of turbulance. I hope you get the right drug cocktail to keep you levelled through out. Don’t let anyone guilt you about needing meds during it either, it’s none of their damn business!

    • Fully Fertile is a great start for anyone considering getting pregnant-and especially those of us with anxiety issues and for whom online research makes it even WORSE!


    • marie

      In case you want to supplement your OB’s advice with some reassuring background knowledge, Emily Oster’s pregnancy new book “Expecting Better” has a straightforward section on drug safety; among other things, it explains and discusses the FDAs “A,B,C,D, X” classification of prescription drugs during pregnancy. Given that most doctors will base their recommendations on the FDAs classifications, it can be helpful to know what those underlying classifications really signify.

      Oster also provides more specific summaries and research citations for particular types of drugs (antidepressants, blood pressure meds, etc) in her appendix, in case you want more detail than your Dr is able to provide during a consultation.

      • marie

        Just wanted to add that if “solid information” is your thing, then Oster’s pregnancy book may be a god-send for more than just drug safety info! It just came out last month. She is a health economist, and thus highly adept at explaining, interpreting, and critiquing statistical research. Each chapter of her book is essentially a thoughtful, rigorous (and entertaining!) literature review on the pregnancy topic in question, complete with helpful graphs and citations. It’s a pregnancy book for people who are reassured by data, data, and more data :)

        • meg

          I really enjoyed a lot of her recent writing on pregnancy, but I do have to say that every single medical professional in my life was very clear that she didn’t know what the hell she was talking about, and her conclusions were deeply flawed.

          I mean viva the coffee and all that, but, the book is apparently more about sales than about science. Alas.

          • marie

            Yeah, I think the marketing + media coverage (drink wine!!) are detrimental and extremely discordant with the message of actual book (get good data! combine data with preferences to make informed choices!), which is real shame, since it’s chock full of valuable, nuanced info on everything from the basis for prenatal testing guidelines, to randomized controlled trials on the benefits of having a doula (who knew!).

            The (admittedly few) docs I’ve heard from are pretty positive about it, but as you note, plenty aren’t– which to me just underscores the importance of understanding both medical theories and most up-to-date empirical literature at hand (both of which are often passed on past their shelf life!).

          • Stacey

            Really? I just bought this book. I was disappointed with the chapter on genetic testing, but I flipped to it first since I’m 9 weeks and have decisions to make – haven’t had a chance to read the whole thing yet. I was mostly disappointed because it’s hard to find info about cffDNA and the difference between testing placental cells and fetal cells. I was hoping the rest of the book was better. I did think the chapter on charting and fertility prediction was good, and very much in line with my experiences.

            On the other hand, I’ve been VERY pleased with the answers I’ve gotten from the Kaiser genetics department here in Colorado. I was really nervous about my company switching us to Kaiser right at the start of my pregnancy, but so far I’ve been impressed with my care.

          • rys

            So many exactlys to Marie’s point: the actual book and the marketing of the book don’t align. The docs I’ve spoken to about it have been ok with the actual message (get data, know how to assess it, weigh risks, and make informed decisions part) but concerned with 1) her antagonistic tone toward health care practitioners and 2) the way the micro-focos on issues that obscures the macro-state of medical care (eg., hospital rules, insurance protocols, etc) that affect how doctors can practice.

    • LBD

      I have a mess of things, mainly PTSD and the associated anxiety and depression. I established a good relationship with a therapist and a psychiatrist prior to becoming pregnant. I ended up getting pregnant a lot sooner than I anticipated I would, and was in the middle of trying to find a drug cocktail that worked for me (my brain chemistry is apparently uncooperative). As we hadn’t really found anything I was really happy with, we decided to try being off drugs when I found out I was pregnant, to see how manageable it was. The first trimester was manageable, but I’ve been struggling more in the second trimester. However, from this experience I would recommend you give yourself some time to figure out what meds work for you before you start throwing baby-making caution to the wind, as we did! I hope you find your brain chemicals more pliant than mine have been. Also, going into it up front about your intentions to become pregnant soon, the psychiatrist can err toward the side of the ones that require less caution during pregnancy. I’ve mentioned this here before, but I can’t recommend this site my psychiatrist gave me enough: http://www.mothertobaby.org/otis-fact-sheets-s13037 It summarizes the research on various common drugs (prescription as well as over the counter, and additionally info on vaccines, some herbs, maternal health conditions, illicit drugs, and a variety of other things) into fact sheets so that you can read and make a decision for yourself. I found the FDA’s letter rating system impenetrable.

      If you have especially challenging mental health issues that require medication, there are psychiatrists that specialize in perinatal psychiatry.

      When I became pregnant and was interviewing midwives, I was very upfront about my mental health issues and challenges and potential interactions with my stuff from my past. I imagine more on top of things people could do this before they were pregnant. I chose my midwives group based on the comfort I felt after discussing these things for a meet-and-greet. So far they’ve been great.

      As far as the internet has gone, it’s nice to know there are other people who’ve gone through this stuff, even if the details of their stories can be scary to know, I’ve been often relieved to know I’m not alone. I think support, rather than information, is the internet’s strength.

    • I’m putting my pharmacist hat on and going to suggest that after you find an psychiatrist that you like and an OB/GYN that you love, please please find a pharmacy that has good, caring pharmacists. We (obviously) know our drugs like the back of our hand, but we also see more real life medication/life consequences than even your doctors. We’ve literally seen it all- pregnant with mental health issues isn’t even remotely the most difficult thing I’ve worked with patients on. We are usually in the best position to navigate the treacherous waters of doctors, medication and insurance. And our hours are better than a doctors. I know that, especially with mental health, having a good pharmacist has really helped many of my patients.

      ::takes off RPh hat::

  • It’s been a week of ups and downs for me. Last weekend was the last wedding my husband and I are involved with for the year, and between our wedding, 2 other weddings (including all the standard pre-wedding activities) and a niece or nephew on the way very very soon, it’s been an absolutely crazy but wonderful summer. So we’re excited to have weekends free again for awhile :)

    Work has been rough recently, and this week was just more of the same, BUT I opened an Etsy shop a little over a month ago and made my first sale yesterday! And now that the wedding craziness is over, I’m planning to put some real time and effort into stocking the shop and making something out of it. If I could just turn it into a part-time gig and switch to part-time at my current job (or a different job), that would be a huge improvement.

    I had a fender bender on my way to work this morning. It was my first ever accident involving another vehicle (1 snow-related accident previously), and it was not a good way to start the morning. To add to that, my car seems to be getting ready to up and die. So I have my fingers crossed that the damage will cost more than the thing’s worth, insurance will call it totaled, and I can just start over. Although even if it’s not totaled, I don’t think it will be worth paying the deductible to fix it when I’m trying to get rid of it in 3-4 months.

    Oh, and I got a call from my gyno that my pap smear came back abnormal and have to go in for a colposcopy in 2 weeks (sorry if that’s TMI). Has anyone else had one of those done? Is it terrible/meh/ok? Google is giving me mixed feedback.

    • STACIE

      I had a colposcopy a few years ago. It wasn’t *terrible*, but it wasn’t very fun, either. The procedure involves a lot of probing and some snipping, which can create significant cramping and pressure, and the cramping continues for a few hours. I’d take the rest of the day off if I were you. Wear comfy undies and a sani pad home to catch any spotting from the place they take the biopsy.

      Do you remember Gilda Radner’s Nadia Comaneci sketch? ( I can’t find it on YouTube!) She talks about how lots of young girls in Romania first lose their “chicnos” to the parallel bars, and then she has to get taken off of the balance beam because she gets stuck in a split? As she’s running offstage, she yells “Oh, my chichnos!”

      I was saying that all day. Fine by the next day, though!

    • Ali

      I had a colposcopy last year. It was obviously not pleasant, but it was quick and only a bit painful. Was pretty crampy afterward but went to a dinner party a few hours later and remember being fine.

    • HeatherS

      I have not had a colposcopy, but my doctor recommended I get one after my first abnormal pap (HPV). I didn’t get one and the HPV cleared up on it’s own. You might want to ask your doctor if the colposcopy is really necessary (if you haven’t already) before proceeding.

    • Stacey

      I had a colpo. I took the rest of the day off and was glad I did, as my doc had given me some drugs for pain. I’m not sure they were necessary, but I couldn’t have functioned at work on them. I passed a HUGE clot of blood several hours later, which I was glad to have happened at home.
      BUT my doc got all the bad cells with the one colpo, my HPV cleared up, and I’ve had normal paps for 8 years now. So it was worth it. And my boyfriend (now husband) was super-supportive.
      You’ll do great.

    • Crayfish Kate

      Hey Laura!

      Hoo boy, I can talk about this for hours. Long story short – I had an abnormal pap several years ago, and since then I’ve had 3 colposcopies, a LEEP, and more info on all that than I ever thought possible. Colps aren’t too bad, I’d recommend popping some Advil beforehand, just in case. They’re used to get a better look at what’s going on, and you may not even need the biopsy part. Feel free to email me with any questions or if you just need some reassurance :-) I was scared as shit when I had to get my first one, b/c I didn’t even know what it was, and didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it. Don’t be like me ;-) Shoot me an email at kpc4s [at] yahoo [dot] com

  • tiffany

    Wow, I just started reading some catch-up here and I have to say that the article about the name change couldn’t have come at a better time. It actually brought some tears to my eyes. We have been going back and forth about my last name and have decided that I will be tacking his last name to the end of my name, no hyphen. He completly supported me in keeping my last name, but I knew deep down that he really wanted me to take his last name, and well hyphenating it just didn’t seem right either. A lot of people have a hard time understanding my attachment to my last name, its long (though not as long as the one listed in the BBC article), its very clearly German, its a little unwieldy, and I don’t associate with my paternal side of my family any longer, but it is still a part of who I am and part of what makes me me. I know that it’s still at the end of the day just a name, but it is my name. Applying for the marriage license online really kind of hit me hard that my name was changing and that I would no longer be known as Tiffany Lastname, but now Tiffany Newlastname. I know when we pick up our license in two days time, its going to be hard seeing my new name (and I will be double checking to make sure my maiden name was spelled correctly each time), but I am excited for what the future holds, and two weeks time, I will become Mrs. Tiffany Middlename Lastname Newlastname. Its scary, but its nice to know that others have felt this way and that, even though we may change our name and have to think about ourselves in a new identity, we are never going to lose who we are underneath. It is only a name after all and “what is in a name?”

    • Amber P

      I pretty much did the same thing. I didn’t want to get rid of my maiden name because I’ve started making professional contacts with it, and I like it! But my husband and I were both very clear that when we have kids we wanted us to all have the same last name, with no hyphens. So, my name reads like yours…Amber Middle Name Maiden Name New Last Name. It’s a little long, but I don’t care. I’m still adjusting to my new last name (we’ve only been married for 3 weeks), but I spent a lot of time mentally preparing for the change. Still dealing with all the name changing paperwork, but it’s coming along…

      • Rebekah

        This is what I’m planning on doing too, so it’s so nice to hear from others who have made the same choice.

        If you don’t mind me asking, is your maiden name legally a second middle name or can you legally have 2 last names, unhyphenated? (Clearly I have research to do)

        • lisa

          It is two last names. The lady at the courthouse argued with me that I had to have a hyphen and thatthe Social Security people wouldn’t allow it. So I called them up and they could not have cared less. So I have a first, middle, and two last names. No one has cared legally, and after three years I still havent updated two bank accounts.

        • Tiffany

          You know, that’s a really great question! I just put all of them on the online form (ok, actually the mister filled it out), and truth be told, it kind of surprised me how “easy” it seemed, especially for what felt like such a big decision.
          Best of luck and congrats!

        • Amber

          Sorry for the delayed response. I decided to legally put my maiden name as a second middle name. I figure that way once I do update things with my bank and other stuff I’ll only have to sign one last name. And, my intention is to mostly use my new last name for the day to day stuff, and use my maiden name with my new last name for professional reasons. But now that I have two middle names, I wonder on forms that ask for a middle initial, which one do I put? It probably doesn’t really matter. Just wondered.

  • Kristin

    Folks who aren’t having a wedding party – how are you doing the processional? Music starts and you walk down the aisle, end of story? I like my processional music, and I don’t want to have 30 seconds and it’s over. Any ideas?

    • Kira

      Our officiant walked in first, and then my husband and I came after her (simultaneously, from different aisles). The musician had asked us to take our time, and he kept playing for a little bit after we arrived. It worked fine! Great, actually. Remember to slow down and look around–that was one of the highlights of the day for me. But I always prefer the moments of anticipation, I suppose.

    • p.

      We didn’t have wedding parties but we had our families walk down as our processional.

    • Would you consider allowing family members to be part of your processional? Instead of seating them before the ceremony starts, let them walk down the aisle to your awesome music.

    • You can include parents and grandparents in your processional to lengthen it. We had a wedding party, but included the seating of the grandparents/parents in the processional as a way of honoring them.

    • LMN

      No wedding party for us, and I also wanted to make sure as much of our processional song played as possible. Our Day of Coordinator started the processional song when we were all good to go. We had our officiant walk in first. Then the groom seated his mom (his dad didn’t want to walk down with him). Then I walked in with my parents, gave them hugs and kisses before they sat, and got myself settled across from my soon-to-be husband. My best friend hopped up from her seat to fix the back of my dress. By the time that all finished going down, I think we must have used up a good minute or two of the song. We all tried to walk slowly, but it was a really short aisle. :) I wish we could have played the whole thing, but the first couple of minutes worked well for us. Best of luck!

    • jashshea

      Had grandmothers walk in (his grandma w/his dad and mine w/my aunt? I think), then the mothers (My mom and bro, his mom and his dad), then me & my dad.

      We had a relatively long aisle and it wasn’t straight, so the process took awhile. I, uh, don’t remember much of the ceremony.

    • My husband walked in with his mom and his grandmother, and then my mother was escorted by her two nephews. We also had a full wedding party before I walked down with my dad, but I think doing the parents/grandparents could be a good way to go for you!

    • Casey

      We just had our brothers standing up with us – so, sort of a wedding party but not really. It was brothers (separately), officiant and groom, then me and my dad. We all walked in to “The Ecstasy of Gold” from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. It was epic :) My dad and I threw the door open right at one of the really dramatic crashes in the music.

  • This week was hard, guys! (I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot around here.)

    A month ago, the morning after my honeymoon, I was offered the dream job at my current company. Then they “decided to go in another direction” a few days later, which so far involves me doing 2x the work without recognition or pay. I’ve spoken up multiple times to the powers that be (That’s my bag: standing up for myself in an articulate, non-threatening but firm way) and I think change is coming…slower than I’d like.

    Add a brand-new boss into the mix who is the polar opposite of my old boss (who was the best I’d ever worked for). Aaand my husband will not have a paycheck after the end of this month. He’s only had one interview since we found that out.

    I’m completely crumbling under the pressure. I’m exhausted all the time. Last weekend I had a legit panic attack where I had trouble breathing. I’m snippy with my husband, who is dealing with his own very significant stresses. I’m stress-eating like no one’s business, I desperately need to burn off some anxiety at the gym but I feel perpetually too-tired to get myself there, and by Thursday every day of the week I feel convinced it’s Friday because I’m so drained

    Does anyone out there have stress-management advice or resources? This situation coupled with my poor handling of some wedding-related stress, has made it apparent that I internalize stress too much and I generally don’t think I handle it particularly well.

    • “Then they “decided to go in another direction” a few days later, which so far involves me doing 2x the work without recognition or pay”

      My jaw=dropped on you behalf. That’s completely awful!

      • Thanks! It has been pretty ridiculous, especially since they offered it to me; I didn’t apply for anything. Sigh.

        I’ve decided that I’m giving them a few months to fix the situation, but if that doesn’t happen I’ll probably have to move on.

    • Kira

      What a crummy situation! I’m sorry. It sounds like you’re doing a great job of standing up for yourself at work, so that’s something to be proud of. In terms of stress, this is maybe too obvious, but do you meditate at all? It can be surprisingly effective and needn’t be too hippy-dippy if that’s not your style. There are guided meditations at http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22 and elsewhere that are specifically geared toward reducing stress. Best wishes!

      • You know, I really love the effects meditating has on my mental state, and it is not something I’ve done for a very long time! This is a really great suggestion. Thank you! I’m excited about checking out those guided meditations. I’m going to start right away.

    • Kirsten

      Any chance you and your husband could set times to go to the gym together? It seems like it’s always more likely to happen when there’s someone else helping to motivate, and maybe it would help his stress/anxiety too. Sorry that things have been so rough. Hope everything falls into place soon.

      • Thankfully my husband has recognized that I have been struggling to make time to go to the gym. He’s meeting me at the gym after work, and even bringing my gym bag for me because I forgot it at home. I was feeling a bit resentful about this (wanting to be lazy after a hard week) but the truth is this is a very tangible way he’s supporting me! You’re right: going together is probably going to bet he key while I’m feeling so busy and tired. Thanks for the helpful perspective!

  • OMG, you guys. I just realized that I start my flying trapeze class *this* Sunday! Eeek!

    I am both excited and terrified. I’m glad I’m doing it before any dress stuff, because between this, rock climbing, and archery, I am getting some arms on me. No more noodle arms.

    Now to stop mourning the fact that I went in for a proper bra fitting at a real, high-quality lingerie store (the kind where you make an appointment) and was expecting to be told that I had moved from 34D to 36D (due to muscles) only to be declared 32F. 32F?? How? How? What? Needless to say, I am never going to be able to find inexpensive bras again. Hardly anyone even makes that size.

    • Oh wow! Trapeze sounds amazing.

      They’re meant for use with formal wear, but these guys make INCREDIBLE sports bras for the well-endowed chica: http://www.enell.com/

      They’re a bit on the pricey side, but they’re durable and last quite a bit longer than your average sports bra.

      • The funny thing is I don’t feel like I have *that* big of a chest.

        The biggest difficulty is finding large cups and a small band.

        • Rebecca

          Bare Necessities is a pretty good bet for non-department store sizes (there are 370 different bras in your size!). They do free shipping for orders over $70, and returns are like $7 and super easy. Bras are still probably going to cost you at least $60 a lot of the time, though. I’d order a pile and only keep the ones you really, really love- I’ve gotten a lot more discerning in my bra shopping since they’ve gotten so much spendier now that I’m wearing the right size.

          I’ve also found that cup shape is so variable by brand that there are basically only 2-3 brands that look the way I want them to on my body. But I can buy a b’Tempted and my boobs look awesome. So if you haven’t nailed down a brand, definitely try a few as they’re all super different.

          True & Co has a different setup (you give them $45 as a deposit and they send you five bras to try on). I haven’t tried them, but they also have a wide range of sizes and it might be a good option if you don’t want to carry $$$s on your credit card while you try to find the right bra.

          • Thanks for the tip.

          • Bare Necessities is having a 25% off sale through tomorrow! Thanks for mentioning them! I just bought two bras for good deals (for my size anyways).

          • Wow, looking further at Bare Necessities’ site, I’m in love!

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      That’s my current size! Chantelle is my favorite brand, but there are others out there.

      Choices for you at Nordstrom (I got the Merci this week and LOVE IT.) and Butterfly Collection (Which I still haven’t ordered from, but have kinda wanted to try since the bra posts in spring.).

      • Chantelle is one of the brands I got. I also totally kept misreading it as “Chanterelle” and wondered why you would want to name your bra line after a mushroom.

    • Kayjayoh, wow….trapeze, rock climbing and archery??! I am super impressed. Good luck with the trapeze.

      And yes on finding out you wear a bra size that is super hard to find. I did that this summer. And I tried to find inexpensive bras in my size yesterday only to give up and buy a beautiful one that was $$$. I had bought one $$$ bra in June, but was hoping to find less expensive ones online after that, but…yeah, I bought a gorgeous one yesterday. It’s been a hard summer, and it was needed… But I am going to check out the bare necessities site.

      • I’m just lucky to have so many cool opportunities to try these things. The Life List concept has been pushing me to actually *take* the opportunities that come my way.

        (Though we have been joking that, at some point, I will have no choice other than to become a super hero.)

        The first trapeze class went really well, btw.

  • I don’t know, that officiant was a jerk if you ask me. Right before I shoot weddings I ALWAYS ask the officiant if I am allowed to stand certain places, use flash, ect. but he could have been more discreet about it telling them to move. I’m sorry but weddings are photographed for the couple to remember, I’m sure God would understand…


      That officiant was so livid that I can only assume that the photographer was breaking some rule he had already set out. Every church wedding I have ever been to has included the instruction not to photograph the ceremony, usually with some exceptions for the signing of the register and the processional. And it makes sense to me…religious weddings are sacred ceremonies/worship services. And since you could see the congregation in the video, the photographer was clearly behind the officiant where the altar would be. He would have been distracting and obtrusive, and so…I kind of get it.

  • Emily H

    Just got married a few weeks ago and everything went so smoothly and I am just SO FREAKIN relieved. I have to say this on APW because there is no humble way to announce to your friends, I AM SO IN LOVE WITH MY WEDDING! But it was wonderful, beautiful, so full of love, and authentic to us as a couple. One of the best days of my life. There, I said it. :)

    • LMN

      Brag it up! Tell us more! I’m so happy to hear when everything goes well and people are in love with their weddings. Your post totally made me smile.

      • STACIE

        Seriously, I want to know details too!! :)

        • elle

          ME TOO ME TOO!!!

      • Emily H

        Thank you all for permission to brag! :) I don’t really know what details to share, but definitely hope to submit a wedding graduate post soon! In short, we had a weekday wedding at city hall, then rode public transit to a lush lunch reception at a restaurant afterwards. It was very simple, with no bridal party, no dancing, no bouquet toss, etc. I’m not opposed to those things, but not having them meant very little coordination after the ceremony was over, which I liked. It felt like a very intimate wedding even though we had over 100 guests. Everyone seemed relaxed and happy, which made me relaxed and happy!

        Again, thanks for the encouragement and support! I am so thankful I found APW at the start of my planning because it thoughtfully addressed so many logistical and emotional concerns I had!

    • Amber P

      I’m right there with you Emily H. Ours was a few weeks ago as well, and I feel the same way! We actually received a thank you note from one of our guests for throwing such a great party!! Aren’t we the ones that are supposed to be sending out the thank you notes?!? Congratulations on your wedding. I am so excited for you that it went so smoothly and was such a reflection of you and your now husband (wife? I didn’t want to assume…)!!

  • 1) I just watched the video with the priest who stopped the ceremony and I honestly feel ill. I would be mortified both for myself and for my couple if something like that ever happened. Oy.

    2) I have been thinking of doing an APW Michigan meet up soon, but maybe there is already a Michigan group? If so, holler at me, cause I want to hang with you cool cats–if not, anyone else out there interested in getting this off the group with me? I’m leaving on a 5 month road trip soon, so I might not be the best person to be in charge of it, but I still think it would be great to hang out with other APWers in the Mitten state.

    Busy week–was in Chicago shooting for most of it, but I have the weekend off, which is lovely, and just came up from surfing pretty big Lake Michigan waves and am planning to drink wine tonight and watch Friday Night Lights, so it seems like all is right in the world.

    Happy weekend, all!!

    • Crayfish Kate

      EMILY IS AWESOME, you guys! You definitely want to hang out with her (and I’d be game for meeting some more awesome folks!) :-D

      • It should be noted that KATE is also equally awesome!! :)

    • Irene

      Yes to Michigan! Count me in!

    • E

      Ok, I’m a day late but I would love and APW Michigan meet up! Although judging by your post, I think we may be on opposite sides if the state (Detroit area here) :(

  • ART

    I just emailed someone on craigslist about a dress form. I may be going insane. But on the other hand, I am learning to do so many new things lately. I’ve got my ombre dye technique DOWN after 4 batches of hankies and napkins, I’m going to re-learn to sew in order to hem my runners, and now that I have fabric on the way for a (very simple) dress…well, I guess I will learn about that as well. I got some really good advice here a few weeks ago that I saved and will read again soon!

    Also, this weekend I am planning to open up the hood of my car and start learning more about it. I am so sick and tired of the mansplaining and upselling I get when I have my car serviced. Today I asked for a quote for routine maintenance (because they never give you one otherwise until they ask you to sign when you drop it off) and they wanted SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS for a service. Granted it’s the first higher mileage one BUT STILL. My fiance looked at the list of services (which I also had to ask for specifically…otherwise they just say “it’s a major service!” as if that explains it all) and thinks most of it is not needed. I’m going to spend some quality time with youtube, my owner’s manual, and online forums and get to the bottom of all these fluids and gaskets, dammit.

    I’d really like to be the kind of person that can both check her car fluids and sew a wedding dress, and I know that’s a realistic goal if I work hard enough at it!

    • M.

      Go you! Love this so much!

    • Kira

      That is an awesome goal!

    • lady brett

      oh god car maintenance is my nightmare. car repair is the first (only?) place in my life where i’ve felt totally unable to defend myself from sexist assholes. because, unlike physicists or construction workers, the car repair guys are *right* when they assume that i don’t know what the hell i’m talking about. usually i can cut that shit off by being really competent, but not with cars and it is utterly infuriating.

      so, best of luck on the car fluids and the wedding dress!

    • Paranoid Libra

      Out of curiousity what did they say needed to be done. I am married to a gear up and my dad was a mechanic at one point and well I like cars too so I know a few things.

      If you are near 100,000 miles and they are saying water pump or timing belt get those done as it’s something a lot of people tend to neglect. Granted plenty of people can go to 200K and not have issues but if your timing belt/chain goes it usually means a new engine and well you get the most value out of a car when you really keep repairing and run it to the ground. Also if timing belt/chain(most cars its a belt, I have learned I have a chain) goes while driving it could lead to a horrendous accident.

      • ART

        thanks! it’s not the timing belt or chain, it’s really just a wholesale replacement of filters, fluids, spark plugs, etc without even inspecting them to determine if they need replacement, and way (like 40k miles) earlier than the mfr recommendation. i’ve definitely had the experience of being told an air filter needed replacement based on mileage, and when i asked them to look at it first, they said “actually it looks great, no need to do that yet I guess.” i would certainly spend the money to do the important and necessary things, it’s just hard for me to tell at a glance what’s in or out of that category! so that’s what i need to learn, and also what the right questions to ask are. that is, if my tiny woman brain can hang onto them long enough to get to the service place.

    • Laura C

      If you’re anywhere near western Massachusetts I can recommend a mechanic who will actually try to save you money…

      Seriously, I got so spoiled when I was still living close to home and could go to this guy, it was a major adjustment when I moved too far away to just get regular maintenance done when I was visiting my parents.

      • ART

        darn it, i’m not – i’m in the SF Bay Area. i need to find one of those mechanics! that knows hybrids! i’m a little afraid to take mine anywhere that doesn’t have specific good hybrid cred. i know that shouldn’t be hard to find around here…maybe once i do my car recon i can do some mechanic recon :)

        • Breck

          Oh! I don’t have a hybrid, and it’s kind of a trek for you if you’re in SF, but Quality Tune-Up in Walnut Creek (http://bit.ly/1dwqJtI) has been really good to me. The mechanics there are helpful and thorough and don’t try to upsell! I had been putting off an oil change and tune-up for awhiiiile, and it turned out I had worn through my brake pads and was ruining… whatever is underneath them (I’m also a car novice). They quoted me like $300 + $24 for the oil change (which seemed to be the going rate when I price-checked with another place in the area) but gave me a solid discount (I think I paid $280) just because.

          • ART

            good to know – I’m on the peninsula but maybe they can recommend someone over here!

        • Stacey

          Check the Car Talk website. They have a page where people leave recommendations for honest, competent mechanics.


    Well, I’ve woken up from my “Sure, my parents are divorced, but it’s been so long that everything will be peachy keen at the wedding!” dream.

    My parents divorced when I was four. Mom raised me, and Dad was a Weekend Parent. Dad and I have had our differences over the years, but have found a good relationship as adults. Being Jewish, I thought the correct (and simplest) thing would be for both of them to walk me down the aisle. It’s traditional, it’s appropriate, how could there be any problem?

    Last weekend, I learned from my Stepmom that Dad expects to walk me down the aisle alone, and doesn’t want mom to be a part of it (her exact words were: “It would break his heart”). To complicate matters, Dad is quite ill with cancer (I am hoping he will be around next spring, or else this is all hypothetical). Mom hasn’t had an easy road of it herself. She also desperately wants things to be easy for me. I don’t even know if she was expecting to walk me down the aisle, but I don’t even know how to bring it up without her acquiescing just to take the bumps out of my road. Whichever way I go with this, my gut says that one of them is going to be majorly hurt.

    I know there was just a post on this, but my mom is cognitively impaired due to a minor stroke a few years back, and doesn’t like being the center of attention, so the recent suggestions of a reading, toast, or dance are probably out. Any other brilliant ideas? How can I say no to either of them?

    • ART

      ugh. I hate divorced parent issues, and I also know how illnesses in the family tend to complicate matters. Sorry that you have to deal with that, and I sincerely hope your dad’s health allows him to be at and participate in your wedding. My own experience, and YMMV of course, is that our parents are adults (and have been for longer than we have), and sometimes if they decide to be hurt by something that is only meant to be more inclusive, there’s not much you can do, nor is it necessarily your responsibility to make a different choice. I mean, of course you wouldn’t intentionally do something that you know would (reasonably) hurt someone’s feelings, but do you see it as reasonable that he expects you to buck your own cultural tradition of both parents walking for his sake? Since that is one important thing that your mom can do based on her abilities and comfort, and many other options are out, is that a compromise you’d be willing to make or is that a reasonable “no”? I don’t mean this to come off as leading the witness, just a series of questions I would try to ask myself in your shoes (and possibly come up with different answers, because we have different families!)

    • SarahG

      Oh man, that sucks! I’m so sorry. Internet hugs.

      On a more practical note, two things come up from reading your question: 1. what do YOU actually want for walking down the aisle, if you could have anything you want? Seems like having that answer clear (even if in the end you don’t get exactly what you want) would help create some emotional clarity in a turbulent situation. At least you’re clear on your wants/needs/priorities. 2. Have you actually talked to your dad about it or is his wife doing the interpreting? I ask because my folks do this a lot – my mom kind of runs ahead and “explains” how my dad is supposedly really feeling. The problem is, she’s anxious and oversensitive, so a lot of times she reads a situation as worse than it actually is. (Not always, but many times.) When I actually talk to him, he’s like “um what?” half the time. Sigh.

      Good luck!

      • STACIE

        I want them both to walk me down the aisle. Period. They both raised me (in very different ways, but they did).

        I should clarify by saying that earlier in the day, my Dad and I had touched on the subject: He said he couldn’t wait to walk me down the aisle, and I mentioned that I hoped he and mom could both do that. He got visibly uncomfortable, and said something like “Well, maybe she could walk you halfway down, and I could do the other half, or something.”. We didn’t get to finish the conversation (we were interrupted by my Stepmom. Maybe he said something to her, which is why she brought it up later that night when Dad was asleep.)

        Guys, they’ve been divorced for OVER THIRTY YEARS.

        Also, Dad is paying for the shindig, and it’s not below him to bring that up.

        • SarahG

          Oh yuck! I’m even more sorry. But it sounds like you are really clear on what you want, which is a good step anyway. Maybe just be really firm about that with him in a super direct conversation, and see how that goes? Give him a day or week (however much time you have) to chew on it, explain what your mom means to you, explain what Jewish tradition means to you… it does seem like he should probably already know that stuff, but then again sometimes people need to hear things said aloud, clearly. Good luck!

        • Amber P

          Have you tried talking with your dad about why it”s so important for you to have both of your parents walk you down the aisle? He might be more understanding if you explain to him why that’s so important to you and what it means for you. My parents divorced when I was young as well, and I chose to have them both walk me down the aisle. It felt like the right thing to do, to honor both of them for raising me and helping to influence who I am today. I’m lucky in that my parents all get along really well, so I don’t have advice in that regard. But, I’d say, talk with your dad and let him know where you’re coming from, but also be sure to listen to where he’s coming from. And then, at the end of the day, it’s your wedding and if you want both of your parents walking you down the aisle, I hope they will both respect that desire and rise to the occasion. Wishing you the best of luck!!

        • rys

          I wonder if you could use the rabbi (if that’s who is officiating) as the authority here — sometimes it can help to rely on an “expert” as a mode of argument even if the real reason is emotional or your preference.

          I also wonder what his concern is? Perhaps figuring out why this is so uncomfortable (perception by others? wanting certain pictures? concern about interacting w/your mom?), as the nature of the discomfort may be the key to the resolution.

    • stealinghoney

      I would check with your Dad about how he feels. Something could have got lost in translation via your stepmother. You can push the “tradition” card if he doesn’t want to walk with your mother.

      If he really will be upset, and you don’t think it is worth trying to get your mother to walk you down the aisle as well, you could go the Christian route and have your mother be the last to be escorted down the aisle before the wedding party.

  • lady brett

    the nytimes article makes a really good point – i think one of the primary reasons our wedding was *the best* was because we felt a great deal of freedom to do whatever seemed like a good idea. most of our queer friends didn’t know much about weddings, and our straight folks (and straight-laced gays) didn’t know what a gay wedding would look like, so we were very free from expectation.

    which is how we ended up with a wedding that i think of as either very traditional or totally off-the-wall, depending on my memory at the moment.

  • C

    Hi, APW!

    Today is my 30th birthday, and it feels incredibly symbolic to be entering into this new phase of my life. This is the year I marry the love of my life, we create a home together, I run a marathon for the first time, and who knows what else?

    Even though I know I am still the same person I was yesterday at 29, I really believe that this new decade is the start of a new and hopefully awesome chapter in my life. I can’t wait.

    • STACIE

      Happy birthday!

    • ART

      DUDE! Happy birthday and happy marathon training! (and happy engagement!) I ran a half last year, first race ever, and felt like such a ridiculous badass!

      • C

        LOL, I totally relate! Right now I’m definitely in, “What was I *thinking* mode?” but I’m also really excited to be accomplishing something so huge. Congrats on your half!

    • Happy birthday!!

    • Yea!! The thirties are awesome! I love being in my thirties so much more than I did my twenties!

      Watch out, marathons can be addicting.

  • Copper

    3 weeks out! I’m doing flower trial tomorrow, and have about 5 million things left to accomplish, don’t know how it’s all going to happen… the part I’m most scared about? Signs. I make signs for a living! So I a) know how much work actually goes into making good ones, and know I don’t have the time or budget for it, and b) know expectations will be high in this regard. I hate that aspect of weddings, how expectations skyrocket if you’re a design professional. Just because I do this for other people does NOT mean I have time to do it for me.

  • Ok, guys. I think this is one of my first posts on Happy Hour. Kind of nervous, but taking the plunge.

    It’s been a horribly stressful month. But I think we’re ok now. My job search continues, but I think I might have an internship in the bag (knock on wood). Wedding planning is going well enough, and my health scare from early this month turned out to be a false alarm (yay!)

    However, I am seriously considering doing our own flowers. For both bouquets and reception. But doing boutonnieres and corsages professionally. We have a super simple design and will be using mostly mums and daisies. The fiance and my sister are all for it, but I am worried I’m going to drive myself insane 3 days before the wedding trying to get it done. Thoughts? Advice?

    • I think it’s a good idea to have a contingency plan. I really wanted to do my own flowers. I had visions of it being this relaxing, lady-bonding experience. But then when the time came I didn’t want to have to worry about it at all and I didn’t even have the time, what with greeting people and running around and generally having a fabulous time. So I asked my cousin to step in and take care of it, and she did, and it was awesome! Beyond awesome, actually.

      This worked because I had a limited number of flowers that felt really important. I wanted a bouquet, and I wanted 4 vases to scatter about, but I was willing to let go of everything else. This way I wasn’t asking a huge burden of my cousin, either.

      • A few weeks ago I did flowers with a friend who was getting married, using the APW tutorials. She bought the flowers at Costco and we did them all the day before, in the afternoon. So 24 hours before the wedding. She did her own bouquet and we both did the 3 bridesmaids ones and the 4 or 5 boutonnières. I thought the boutonnières might be hard, but they weren’t at all. And the bouquets weren’t scary either. But we were both laid back about it all and went into it with the view that flowers are pretty by themselves, so of course whatever we end up making will be pretty. And they really were. I was actually impressed with how they turned out and I have pretty high artistic/visual standards (and so does she). We both have a good eye for visual composition, so that probably helps. But recruiting a friend with a good eye for that would be the only thing necessary if one didn’t feel particularly confident in that area.

        All that to say….I thought it was do-able when she asked for my help, and after doing it….I would totally do it again for someone else’s wedding or my own, if I were to ever marry again. We didn’t do any arrangements, but I would feel fine about doing about doing a small amount like you are thinking about. So….I just want to encourage you that if you want to do it (and keep your expectations reasonable), it is totally possible! And I even enjoyed it and the bride did too.

    • Rachel

      One of my best friends just did her own flowers and they were gorgeous! I was so impressed and kinda wished I was doing my own too, but I think I’ll DIY some other things to keep me busy. :)

    • Jessica B

      My mom’s best friends went down to the Farmer’s Market with me early the day of the wedding, I picked out the colors I liked, and they spent the morning gabbing and doing it all–bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces. We did a practice run about a month beforehand so they could get the feel for it, and planned out how many bouquets we’d need. All in all we spent $55 on flowers, and the “Aunts” as I call them had a great time. They now get to point at our pictures and say “That boutonniere was a son-of-a-bitch, but it was one of the best!” Or how they bedazzled my bouquet. It was great, and I highly encourage you to ask a couple of crafty friends/family to do it!

    • Amber P

      Advice I got from the florist that we actually ended up hiring…We met with him to discuss purchasing flowers from him to DIY… Since I hadn’t (and still haven’t really) done floral arrangements he suggested practicing, and then practicing some more. And, if it at all felt stressful or like too much, hire him.

      So, I went to the craft store and picked up some flower tape and wire, floral scissors, some ribbon, and boutonniere pins. I then picked up a bunch of flowers from Trader Joe’s and put together a sample bridal bouquet. In all it took me about an hour and a half. I followed some tutorials on APW and Blooms By the Box. It was fun and relaxing, but I like crafting, so it tapped into that part of my brain. But then I got to thinking about where we were getting married and how we’d be staying in a hotel and not really have a place to set up, and just because I practiced putting together flower arrangements, that didn’t mean that the people helping would have practice, and then the bouquets and such might not be consistent, and, and, and…

      I think if you’re up for it and you have the time and space and the helping hands, go for it! But, if it feels like it’s going to be stressful at all, pay someone else. I know it’s expensive, but flowers in general tend to be expensive. Depending on the look you’re going for, I think flower arranging also take longer than you think. The day before the wedding, we had to drive to the wedding location (about an hour from where we live), drop off decorations at our venue, get lunch, prep for the rehearsal dinner, etc., etc. We really wouldn’t have had time to prepare our flowers, which were just for the ceremony (bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, and flowers for the cake) with everything else going on. And the day of…ceremony rehearsal, hair and makeup, pre-ceremony photos, and so on.

      I’m not trying to discourage you from doing your own flowers if that’s what you really want to do and it feels manageable, just wanted to point out some things to consider. I hope this is helpful, and all the bet to you in your planning process!!

    • Stacey

      Does your groom want to wear a bout? What about his wedding party? Those are the ones that have to be made closest to the event, so eliminating them could relieve some stress.

      We had a rose ceremony and I made ribbon roses for our moms. My groom’s grandma got a handmade chiffon corsage for her dress. This was good because I did these weeks in advance.

      I didn’t have bridesmaids, so the only fresh flowers I had were my bouquet and some flowers that lined the aisle first and then got moved to the tables (this all happened in my in-laws’ backyard). I had my calla lily bouquet made at the local small-town grocery store florist department, and I ordered baby’s breath from Sam’s Club for the table/aisle décor (mason jars, heh). The BB arrived in a box via UPS or FedEx on Thursday, and we trimmed them and stuffed vases on Friday (wedding was Saturday). It was easy-peasy and inexpensive.

      Daisies stay fresh for a long time, so that’s a good choice if you want to DIY in advance. Dunno about mums. Baby’s breath and calla lilies have good duration.

    • Oops, accidentally replied to the comment before yours! But what I would add to what I said there is that if the whole idea stresses you out…. sometimes it is worth it to just let someone else take care of it! That is a great solution too! (And is what I did for our wedding. I had been thinking of doing it myself and then hired Marie-Eve from Montreal to do them for us. And she did a beautiful job and I loved them and didn’t have to think about flowers at all. Which was wonderful.)

    • Stella

      So, I did my own flowers..I say “I”… My mother, my cousin and I did the flowers (12 centerpieces, 2 larger vases for the reception, bouquets, bouttonieres) and it wasn’t all that relaxing but it certainly wasn’t the nightmare people made it seem like it would be and it really looked good. We also saved an absolute TON of cash.

      We had a *very* simple idea though and I’d practiced really a bunch of times (i.e., every time we had flowers in the house for the last few months before the wedding I did them the way I wanted the centerpieces).

      We went to a flower market on the Thursday before a Saturday wedding, got all the flowers, kept them in a cool dark room and then did the bouquets/centerpieces on the Friday — took them over to the venue on Saturday morning (we live in a not too hot country). If I had the option I would definitely have got the flowers on the Friday morning (I think the flowers would have looked fresher — I did have a few dodgy looking roses that had to be chucked morning of) instead but that wasn’t an option….

      All that aside, I think the most important thing was having HELP– I think I would have really struggled without my mum and cousin — we got a nice production line going and it worked out really well… in the end I think they ended up doing quite a bit more than I did because I was quite busy with other wedding stuff — so I’d say make sure your volunteers are really on board and you’re prepared to let go a bit and be happy with what they manage to come up with :)

      All that to say — it’s totally possible, was actually quite fun, and I’d definitely help a friend do the same thing in the future without any worries!

  • Anonny-non

    My car got stolen last week (right after a neg pregnancy test) and I found out I’m preggers on Sunday. I’m super excited, but it was a long shot and we didn’t think it would work, but obvi it did, and now my due date is 6 days after my BFF’s wedding which is like 8 hours away and I haven’t told her yet but I’m sure she’ll understand and of course we’ll play it by ear – who knows, baby could be 2 weeks late! But auuuugh…. the joy but I really really really don’t want to miss her wedding!

    And I have to buy a car this weekend, ugh. Anyone in LA selling a decent sized used vehicle? Must fit 2 car seats and a MIL in the back. ;-)

    • ART

      wow, what a week! congratulations, but sorry about your car!

    • catherine

      So sorry about your car :(

      But.. I’m in LA too so I got excited :) I’m in Silverlake. So cool to see other LA people on here woo hoo :)

      oh and congrats!!

      • Copper

        I’m in Culver, dreaming of Silverlake when our lease is up!

        And Annony-non, congrats on the pregnancy!

  • Jessica B

    Last weekend I got married to the best guy I know, had a couple of awesome parties (including pizza a 2am with all my super close friends the night of the wedding), got our shit together, and now I’m browsing the internet while he takes a nap after Costa Rica exhausted us this morning! We are happily going to be here for another week.

    I would just like to shout out my thanks to the Community-At-Large and to the staff of APW for helping plan our wedding and making it the most meaningful, special, fun celebration I have ever been a part of (much less planned!). We had an amazing network of people on the ground, but it was APW that inspired me to make sure we made this wedding Ours and not “Traditional” or “Commonplace.” We received many compliments that the wedding was truly J&J, through and through, and that it was amazing amounts of fun!

    While we have a few issues to sort out about the venue not being stellar, the best part was seeing our friends and family dancing their faces off. The photographers even stayed an extra half hour because they were having such a good time. I take that as a major win!

    Thanks again! I’m going to go back to reading my 4th book in 4 days, but I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

  • catherine

    hi everyone – i need some help!

    does anyone have experience with Xanax?? (im sure a lot of you do) I have always suffered off and on from anxiety – my body is very very sensitive and i can get panic attacks especially at times when my anxiety in general is high (right now im engaged, mom is unsupportive because im marrying a woman, dealing with transition of letting go of family of origin, etc -lots going on emotionally) and ive been in therapy since march. ive developed a mindfulness practice and am trying to tend to my feelings and pain as best i can. i was feeling fine (in my head at least) and then this week my body went into total fucking panic – i was convinced i was having a rare heart attack i heard about (symptoms were the same – my heart and chest hurt!!) and finally wednesday i went to my doctor sobbing (trying not to pass out while driving) and got an EKG and a heart ultrasound thing. she told me it seems like just anxiety and panic and gave me xanax. a 0.5 dosage which she says is low? said just to take as needed – like in a panic attack or for airplane rides. i am terrified- the thought of taking the pill makes me a billion times more panicky and anxious. first of all, i cant even swallow pills , i crush them. and i never take meds except for advil on my period. i cant even smoke pot- it has never had an effect on me except one time and it was the worst fucking experience of my life- i thought i was dying. i HATE it. the groundless feeling terrfirfies me and is what causes my panic and anxiety o begin with, so i dont want to take a pill thats going to make me feel more groundless and out of control and like im on drugs. i dont want to be on drugs. i just want to be Catherine again. im so scared. and then i stupidly read side effects of it online…bad idea. i so wish i could be one of those people that doesn’t worry about this stuff and would think nothing of taking this pill. sorry to vent i just hate this space im in right now and im terrified of taking this pill. TERRIFIED. i know meg has talked about her anxiety medication before…was wondering if theres anything anyone could tell me? im like on the verge of tears, so scared of everything right now. (of course my therapist is out of town for two weeks!) i hate feeling unsafe in my own freaking body!!

    (side note: my APW mug came in the mail last night and I had my coffee in it this morning!!!)

    • Catherine McK

      No words of experience or wisdom, sorry! Just a big internet hug and a deep breath from one Catherine to another.

      • catherine

        thank you Catherine :)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      My doctor prescribed a different anti-anxiety medication (ativan) to help with my vaginismus. All it does is make me feel kind of comfy – like the feeling from still being in your PJs late Saturday morning – and then sleepy.

      I think it’s good that you read the side effects – if you mean just the fine print from the pharmacy. Too often people don’t, and then they’re not making informed decisions about their health.

      I recommend you get in touch with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org). They have free classes and materials and support groups, some focused on mood disorders like anxiety. They also have mentoring programs. The people are kind, friendly, and knowledgeable (at least in this area), and it’s a good backstop to what your therapist provides.

      • catherine

        wow, thank you for the reccomendation! I will def look it up!

        I also just went to the natural foods store and bought some chewable GAMA supplements – supposedly they are supposed to relieve anxiety as well (it said menstrual cramps too yay!) and its all natural, i dont have to worry about side effects and can drive and all that..so I think I will try those first. but pjs on saturday morning does sound awesome!

    • Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, this is just my personal experience etc, etc

      I was trapped in an utterly horrific job for 4 years. I was getting chest-crushing panic attacks, shaking uncontrollably, and sobbing hysterically multiple times a day. In short: not cool. It took me longer than was probably good for me to get treated (it’s all in my head, I should be able to cope without drugs, I don’t want to pump myself full of drugs, etc). Ultimately I was put on an anti-depressant, but was also prescribed Xanax because the anti-depressant would take a few weeks to kick in and also because even on the anti-depressants panic attacks could still happen.

      Honestly, it worked really well for me and I didn’t feel noticeably different (other than significantly calmer and better able to cope with pretty much everything) when I was taking it (no icky drugged feeling). I really didn’t have any side effects to it or my antidepressant and the combination made a hugehuge difference in my life. If your doctor has prescribed it, then I’d say try it. If you don’t like how you feel on it, talk to your doctor again, I’m guessing there are a bunch of anti-anxiety options out there. My doctor recommended seeing a therapist, but my job paid crap and my insurance sucked so it really wasn’t a option for me.

      Either way, *internet hugs* I know it sucks, I really do. Best of luck!

      • catherine

        thanks so much for the reply and internet hug!

        that was really reassuring to read. im hoping thats the case for me. i just want to be me minus the panic. and my doctor knows i was already freaking out about it and prescribed it anyway – i guess i need to remember that medicine is there to help you, not hurt you, but for some reason its so scary to me!

  • Ariel

    Nice! One of my very close friends (and her adorable baby girl) modeled for the fourth trimester project!

  • jo

    If you like that one, another similar book is coming out with the same message : abeautifulbodyproject.com.
    Clearly there cannot be too many things celebrating womens bodies and the miracles they perform!

  • All this talk of the relaunch makes me want to revamp my own website, something I haven’t really done in 3 years (not counting the constant tweaking I’m always doing).

    Also, according to the internet forum powers that be, I have “bronze boobies” now as we made it three months breastfeeding this week. That first month was horrid but I’m really glad we stuck it out, even if the bulk of my reasons were purely selfish ones.

  • Jenni

    I have to squee somewhere … we are officially on the books with our venue and date! I’m so excited to have those big things done, and nervous and scared, but mostly excited!

    And after a debate, we’re going to hire the photographer whose work and demeanor I absolutely love. Soooooo excited >.<

    • Casey

      Yay! Everything stops swirling so much after you get those major details settled. Congrats!

    • This post mademe smile! So happy to hear you are happy in this wedding process. Enjoy all this excitement and love!

  • mm

    We got married two weeks ago tomorrow! It was wonderful and small and imperfect and over before we knew it. I’m a teacher so I hopped immediately into the school year with a new last name and now the wedding feels like a warm and fuzzy memory. Heading off for a quick honeymoon in a couple of weeks. Love.

    I’ve been around the blogosphere for long enough now to watch people I don’t know go through some major life moments. Some good (babies! weddings! new houses! book deals!), but I have to say that the blogger divorces continue to hit me in a very weird place. Maybe it’s because these are lives that I relate to (You live in Brooklyn? I live in Brooklyn!), or because years ago, as a single twenty-something, I would look at their lives, or what they shared of them online–husband! kids! new house! happiness!–and hope that I, too, would have a life like that someday. Long before I found APW, I remember anticipating the arrival of Heather Armstrong’s (dooce) second baby, and following Grace Bonney (design*sponge) along her wedding planning journey, and loving how she talked about her cool, supportive husband on her website. Most of all, I remember thinking, “I hope, someday, I’m as happy as they are.”

    I haven’t been able to read dooce since I found out about their separation. My marriage is just beginning and I just really don’t want to hear about others ending right now.

    We had some time this before the wedding to accomplish some DIT and we ended up incorporating a few ideas from Grace’s wedding (hankie invitations, fabric buttons, etc.) into our own. Now, those elements could have been from anybody’s wedding, but hers were the photos I would show people to when they asked about my silly wedding details (P.S. Isn’t being married just so much better than planning a wedding? Like so much better.). So, today I received a Brooklyn e-newsletter and it just happened to have an interview in it with Grace Bonney who mentioned her new apartment and her fiancé (she was married in 2009). A couple minutes later thanks to Mr. Google and I find out that she and her meticulously-blogged-for-Martha-Stewart-wedding-to-her-best-friend is now also kaput (This is apparently old new. Where have I been?).

    And it just feels a little weird. I liked her life, I liked her style, I liked her apartment, I liked her wedding, I thought her relationship with her husband sounded really cool, and when I was young and single I hoped that one day my life and apartment and husband and relationship would be as cool as hers. And they are. Or maybe they aren’t. But it doesn’t matter. My husband is wonderful and my wedding was a good day. My job and apartment are pretty cool, too. But I really don’t want my marriage to end like Grace’s or Heather’s. My husband and I are just getting started. And we’re happy and solid and on the same team. And so maybe it’s not all about the perfect weddings on the internet and the perfect lives that people tell the world about from their blogs. But maybe it has more to do with the fact that “my marriage is for today” (thanks, Meg!), and though we’re joining a very old institution, and not all marriages last, it’s up to us to chart our way through it together, and stay true to who we are and what we know to be good about each other and this sexy marriage thing we’ve got going for us and the can’t-keep-us-apart best-friendship that started it all.

    • ART

      you have probably already figured this out, but if it helps at all, grace bonney may have had a reason for ending her marriage that may never be applicable to yours (though not making any assumptions!) and perhaps it needn’t bum you out too much (marriage ending, boo – being yourself, yay! http://www.designsponge.com/2013/06/on-turning-32.html).

      though, i totally hear you. my formerly favorite personal finance blogger blogged a bit about his divorce and subsequent dating and i just had to stop reading because it made me have a sad every time. even though i knew next to nothing about their marriage.

    • I don’t really have anything useful to say, but I understand how it feels to see somebody divorcing whose marriage and life you had respected or admired. I have felt that way looking at others, and now I find myself on the other side of it. My husband left me this summer for another woman. Friends have said they have been freaked out by this because they thought we were so in love. And we were. Until he very suddenly wasn’t. It’s been such a shocking thing to me and our entire community.

      But….I just wanted to say that just because a marriage ends, doesn’t mean that the whole marriage was a waste. My husband (we’re still married at the moment) and I both agree that we loved our relationship and don’t regret anything. For me this is perhaps what will be most difficult….to recognize the beauty of the love we had and also integrate the fact that it ended so….painfully. I guess I am reconciling that two incredibly different things can co-exist.

      All that to say that…just because a marriage ends I now realize that I don’t have to decide the whole thing has no value or is a complete failure. But yes…….hearing these stories is scary.

      Vulnerability is terrifying. And I didn’t even realize it how risky it was. I trusted without reservation or any real fear that it could go bad. Now I know it can….BUT I still believe it is worth it.

      This week I just started reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly and I am already underlining a number of things. It’s about how vulnerability is the key to everything. And how vulnerability comes with heartbreak and pain sometimes….but how you can’t experience love and joy without being vulnerable… Very very tough life stuff. Incredibly. But…..I think Brene Brown is right. And I hope to have the courage to be vulnerable in love again.

  • KimBee

    Someone may have already posted this link, but I know some are looking for more positive media about relationships so I wanted to share: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/sabrina-thompson-marriage-is-project_n_3942190.html.

  • Milka

    Whhoooops! Major grammatic error in the round-up text: (though there’s was unplanned!) should be “theirs was unplanned”. There’s = there is.

  • Liz

    I don’t know if this is the right place to post, but this feels like the right place on the internet.

    I have worked in non-profits for the duration of my 4-year career, and I am beginning to notice a trend in the women I meet. Nearly all of the women I meet in this line of work who are in a management or otherwise long-term position are married to someone who earns much, much, more and who provides the couple’s health insurance. Even the HR manager at my non-profit gets her benefits from her husband. In fact, often when these women mention their husband’s (so far, its always been a man) career, they’ll say some version of, “I’m lucky that hubby’s law/medicine/engineering/software/other high-paid career supports us and allows me to do what I love.”

    That’s GREAT, but does that mean that non-profit work is a privilege for those who can afford to do it? Right now, I’m the bread winner between the two of us, and my health insurance is still better than his, even though I still pay 25% of the premium for us both. My starting offer at my current job was pitiful, and I had to work hard to negotiate a livable salary for the large metro area the job is based in. Perhaps I’m naive. Its dawning on me that non-profits’ salary and benefit packages aren’t calculated for workers to make a living on, and the expectation is that someone else is subsidizing the work.

    • ella

      “Does that mean that non-profit work is a privilege for those who can afford to do it?”

      Anecdotally, yes. Every woman I know in non-profit work is in the same situation, including myself. Not to mention to break into non-profit work you are pretty much required to do a long stint of either unpaid or barely paid internship or volunteer work, which is only possible if you have a supportive partner, still live with your parents, or happened to stumble into large sums of money somehow. I am looking for a job currently and I’m finding it very discouraging, honestly.

      • Liz

        You’re absolutely right – I did an AmeriCorps year (2009 recession graduate, here) right out of college. Sad to say, I was doing much better financially/career-wise than many of my peers.

    • Marcela

      You hit the nail on the head especially for why there is so much burnout in the non-profit world. My husband is in school right now and will be for the next 4 years, so my measly non-profit salary is what we are living on. Luckily his parents are helping us with our rent and both of our cars are paid off, but things are REALLY tight. The only reason I can even stay on at the job is because we are looking forward to the day he graduates and starts making the (relatively) big bucks. There is no way we can afford to live like this long-term, much less think about adding kids to the mix…etc.
      Also Obamacare. Hubs is covered through his school for health insurance and I can stay on my parent’s for a few more months, but we are looking into the exchanges for the next year.
      Working in non-profits is very much privileged work and the whole “overhead is bad” myth just makes it impossible for things to get better.

    • lady brett

      i think maybe the idea of “the non-profit world” is too broad to answer that question. in my experience working at a non-profit (and with many others), almost everyone i know is either a primary breadwinner (or single, clearly) or equal partner.

      my inclination is to say that this is in part because the nonprofits i work with are primarily fairly (or very!) small, which leads to a much less corporate setup in both compensation and expectation (maybe?). i think some of it may have to do with location – i live in a relatively poor and low cost-of-living state, which probably has an effect on folks’ views of salaries, proportionately.

      but i think maybe the biggest difference between what we are viewing is that, working in social justice, most of the groups i am close to work “on the ground” and in low-income, rural, and marginalized communities, and in order for that to be successful, they hire primarily from those communities (and tend to have leaders who moved up in the organization this way, as well), which means that their low non-profit salary provides upward mobility for most of their employees (often including their founders).

      from a more technical point of view, i don’t think it is that “non-profits’ salary and benefit packages aren’t calculated for workers to make a living on, and the expectation is that someone else is subsidizing the work.” i think i’s rather more technical. of the nonprofits i’m privy to the budgeting of, all of them have their employees’ compensation at the very top of their priorities. but, for small organizations, providing healthcare and other benefits is amazingly difficult/expensive (as it is for small businesses). then there is the “overhead is bad” thing that marcela mentioned – when this is coming from your funders and donors, you almost have to subscribe to it.

      i think the biggest part, though, is the instability that is inherent in the process of being foundation funded (especially true for small orgs) – when there is a constant fear that we may not be around next year, it is hard to justify raising any part of the budget. lastly, there is the fact that nonprofits are generally run by folks who sincerely believe in their cause – which leads to two things: one, if we have extra money, we should put it towards being able to expand our reach/work, and two, if your boss is totally happy working for $$ because it is her calling, it will be hard to convince her that everyone she employs shouldn’t feel the same way.

      of course, none of this actually addresses your concerns at all, but i hope it maybe provides some perspective. sorry it’s so very long!

      • Liz

        It’s good to hear from a different perspective – I’ve never worked with a small non-profit in a rural setting (low-income: yes.). The ones I have worked for are very large (400+ staff members).

        And others are larger and more corporate still: hospitals and higher education, both of which have come under fire for operating like for-profit companies rather than non-profits.

        I’d like to see non-profits stand up for employees’ fair compensation and work to create more acceptance for paying a livable wage to their workers by helping their audiences understand the correlation between fair pay and experienced, happy workers who stay with the organization and contribute. I love my work and don’t expect to get rich, but I do need to get by.