APW Happy Hour

Congrats to our hard-working team members!

Hey APW,

Did anyone catch the Daily Show episode this week where Jon Stewart opened with a really long not-at-all-satirical love song to the Daily Show staff after the Colbert Report broke their decade-long Emmy streak with a well-deserved win? That, but without the Emmys. APW has been a tornado of insanity this month as we get ready for the relaunch, and I’m so grateful to the entire team over here. Each one of them is ass-busting, kind, and funny. It’s such a joy and privilege to get to work with them every day.

And with some general cheers-ing, it’s your open thread. Hop on it.


Highlights of APW This Week

Elisabeth’s love letter to K made me sob. Sorry if it made you a weepy mess at work when you were pretending to do expense reports.

Emily’s fabulous post on how to get married at San Francisco City Hall makes me want to go get married there. Yes, I know, I’m already married. Details people. Details.

Jackie makes a strong, sweet case for getting married young and figuring it all out as you grow.

We asked you what you’re doing for the holidays, and almost two hundred comments later I have thirty new traditions I’d like to steal from you guys.

Reclaiming partner. Because sometimes the term “wife” comes with too much baggage.


Link Roundup

This letter from Erin to her daughter, Bee, is as important as it is beautiful. Because, as she puts it, “You’ll have your own dreams to chase someday, Bee. And it will be your time to type in a coffee shop or a courthouse or a classroom or a third world country. And I’ll be right there, ready to plant your tree with you, brushing your fine curls behind your ears with the same hands that reenact finger puppets time and time and time again.”

Here’s an article that uncovers a deep, dark hole in the world of parenting books: raising a kid without your family (or Meg translation: support of loved ones) is difficult.

What does manhood mean in 2013? “What’s striking isn’t the lack of consensus on what defines masculinity now, but the utter confusion about how to go about doing so. That’s because America is finally getting around to having the conversation about what it means to be a man that, decades ago, feminism forced us to have about womanhood.”

Related: as a dedicated Esquire subscriber, I particularly enjoyed “The Life of Man” project in their eightieth anniversary issue this month. Eighty men, aged one to eighty, photographed and interviewed.

Louis C.K. tells us why he hates cell phones, and at 1:30 you’ll learn how internet trolls are born. I started laughing to the point of almost crying, because it’s so…exactly right.

Speaking of, Popular Science is shutting down their comments section, because studies show that comments affect the way a reader views a story. I want to tell you that with generally awesome APW commenters I have an uncomplicated relationship with this, but I don’t. Comment moderation is the hardest thing I do.

This bride has gone around the world in her wedding dress, and the pictures are to die for.

After calling off their wedding, this couple decided to donate their reception to feed the hungry—they even brought in a clown for the kids. Talk about turning a negative into one awesome positive.

If you’re like me and enjoyed reading every single ending in a choose your own adventure novel, then You Chose Wrong is your new favorite single-serving Tumblr.

Some of Project Unbreakable’s photos have been lined up with lyrics from Blurred Lines, and the results are unsettling, scary, and enraging, to say the least. Also from Project Unbreakable, twenty-six male survivors of rape quoting those who attacked them.

The newsflash is that atheist churches are a thing now, though atheist shuls are a thing everyday, so nice catching up on that one, Christians.

We’re pretty sure that cooking isn’t going to automatically turn you into a 1950s housewife, but that doesn’t mean I do it (cough). This article coming to terms with said activity is worth a read.

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  • LondonSarah

    Friday! Finally!!! And my Masters dissertation is done and handed in! Finally!!! So happy!!!

    Having effectively completed it 2 weeks early in order that we could go away on holiday to celebrate our first wedding anniversary (yay!), at the same time as a major work deadline (not so yay), despite the holiday I now feel completely without energy. And it’s my boss’s 40th birthday party tomorrow, that I really should go to, but that I really don’t want to (people, conversations with people I only vaguely know, having to hire a car to get there (I live in London so I don’t need to own a car, it’s not that it’s a ridiculously located party or anything) and I want a weekend off from having to do stuff and having to be places). Someone tell me I don’t have to?!

    • Remy

      Congrats on getting your thesis turned in! You deserve a restful weekend.

      • Congratulations!

        • LondonSarah

          Thank you thank you! I’m about to advance to the second glass of wine, and a pizza.

    • You don’t have to. Maybe just give a card (or a small gift if appropriate)? That way you don’t look like you forgot.

      • LondonSarah

        I suspect I may have left it too late to not look like I forgot! Although, when he called the office on Monday I did remember to wish him a happy birthday then (on the actual day), so perhaps that cancels that out!

        • I’m sure a belated birthday card/gift would still be appreciated. I would take the time you need for yourself. :)

    • Stephanie

      You don’t have to go. :) Just let him know you won’t make it, and that something came up.

    • as far as hiring a car you might check out Uber: https://www.uber.com/about

  • LondonSarah

    Also, having spent the afternoon catching up on the Guardian:

    – an interesting article about women’s literature here.

    – and a frightening story about IVF here.
    I don’t mean frightening – scare stories frightening, but frightening – good grief, those odds are low, and where are all those people for whom it doesn’t work – that’s a lot of people suffering behind closed doors.

    Apologies if the above-mentioed tiredness means my first foray into html fails…

    • Emmy

      Thanks for sharing. Yes, it’s very, very frightening. We’re standing on the edge of it right now—my husband had a vasectomy reversal in May, We’re not sure yet whether it worked and beginning to explore other options. It’s such a gamble and the stakes are so high (it’s expensive, but if you “win,” you get a baby). It can be hard to take the right path because if this option fails, will you have money left for another option? Which option will give us that damn baby?? So yeah, kind of awful, and I wish it was something we talked about more openly, because folks could use some support.

  • Laura C

    Headed across the country this evening for what is I believe the fourth and final wedding I will attend this year. My fiance went to two without me, as well (one of the ones I went to was without him). Oh, and we went to an anniversary party where the couple exchanged rings for the first time, so it had a bit of a wedding-they-never-had feel.

    Already for next year we’re committed to three plus our own. So many weddings! Just figuring out what to wear that I haven’t worn to too many other weddings with the same people is a challenge. For this wedding, I’m taking a new dress I haven’t 100% decided on keeping and a very old dress (bought it my last month of college in 1998) that’s always just a little borderline on fit — if I’m having a skinny day, I’ll wear it, if I’m not, I guess I’ll wear the new one…

    • Stephanie

      This year was the year of the weddings, and I only have one more left! Thank goodness! I have a large wardrobe of dresses, but I still bought new outfits for a few of the weddings…. Oh well, what’s money for but to spend it? :)

      • Laura C

        This year and last year I just haven’t been finding wedding-appropriate dresses I’ve really liked enough to want to spend the money on. It’s really frustrating. I got one at Christmas that I actually wore to all three of the weddings so far, each of which was a very different crowd, and I’ll wear it to at least one of the ones next year. If I keep this new dress it can go to one of the ones next year, and the third one I know about next year will be yet another crowd such that I can wear any dress I’ve had forever.

        But ideally I’ll start finding some great deals on dresses I love…

  • I posted this on the holidays thread, but way late, once the conversation had already been had. I’d still love some advice, though, so I’m going to repost in case anyone has some insight on how to handle this upcoming holiday season:

    Our first married Christmas (2 years ago), we tried to split it, spending Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with his, even though our families live 5 hours apart and it meant getting up at the crack of dawn to drive to DC, not getting much of a Christmas morning anywhere, and being too exhausted to enjoy the rest of the day. We decided we could never do it again, and last year, after we found out my grandmother had terminal cancer, I pulled rank and said we were spending Christmas with my family. My grandma passed away this summer, and now I feel like I want to spend this Christmas with my family, too – like it’s just too much to ask my mom to spend Christmas without her mother OR her daughter. But I don’t think that’s going to look reasonable from my husband’s or my in-laws’ perspective – I mean, how long do you get to use dead/dying Grandmother as an excuse?

    I strongly suspect that the first year without my grandmother will be the year the changes everything in terms of our family celebration, and I just can’t imagine not being a part of it as my family navigates that. At the same time, I feel like I should just be grateful that I got to spend last Christmas with my grandmother before she got too sick to enjoy it, and that now’s the time to suck it up and spend the time with my husband’s family, no matter what’s going on at home.


    • Emmy

      My first thought is that you need to talk to your husband about this. Maybe he’ll understand your situation and you’ll both spend Christmas with your family. Maybe you’ll decide to compromise and split up for Christmas. Or maybe you’ll work something else out. But really, it needs to be decided between the two of you. I’m sorry about your grandma. :(

      • meg

        I agree. I also think (personally) that you guys may decide that you need to spend Christmas with your family this year, and that’s ok. I 110% agree with Laura C below on… pretty much everything. Marriage is long, two years in a row is not the end of the world. When, god forbid, there is a major loss in your husband’s family, you guys would do the same for him, I’m sure.

        I’d say think of it from his perspective, but like this: If his mom was dying one Christmas, and then had died the next, would you begrudge him two Christmases in a row? PROBABLY NOT. However, you still would probably want *something* nice for your family: New Years, a boxing day brunch, whatever. IE, loss can be the most important without making other things un-important.

        But more than anything talk to your partner and ask him how he feels. Make sure to ask him how he feels. Because he can be happy to do this for you, but still be sad not to have the holidays with his family, and that’s ok. The best thing you can do is validate that for him, and be grateful to his awesomeness.

        And you can show him our comments :)

    • Have you talked to your husband about it? I would think that your two opinions would count more than anyone else in the situation. Also, is anyone open to having Christmas on another date? For years, we’ve done Christmas with my parents in mid December or early January.

    • Laura C

      I guess my thought is that last year was about your grandmother and this year is about your mother and yourself. And you will be married for a long time, and his family should be able to understand that in another year, there will be special reasons for them to take precedence, and in the long years of a marriage, two Christmases in a row is actually not so much.

      Clearly you need to have your husband on board before you go to your in-laws about it. But hopefully, having been with you for your grandmother’s last Christmas and for the loss of her, he’ll understand.

      • I have not talked to my husband yet :-x I hadn’t started thinking about the holidays until last weekend, when my MIL asked if we had plans yet and we said, truthfully, that we hadn’t discussed it yet. That was when I realized that I wasn’t even sure how to bring up the subject of this year’s holidays with my parents, and started thinking more about the implications of the first Christmas without my grandmother.

        I suspect that if I insisted on spending the holiday with my family, my husband would stay with me rather than agree to split up. I’m not sure I want to ask that of him, though – I guess I’m trying to work out my own feelings before bringing it up, which may or may not be the appropriate course of action.

        • meg

          It’s ok to ask that of him. That’s what marriage is. This is me validating you. This shit is HARD, and lets not pretend it’s easy. And you know what? That’s what marriage is there for.

          Also. One more re-framing for you. The holidays are now about you guys as a married couple, not about one family or the other. You’re a family of your own now. So you have to do what’s right for YOUR family, which is not about being perfectly fair to each set of parents, always. If what’s right for your family this year is to work through the grief of loosing your grandmother, that’s an ok thing. It might be hard for your husband, but life is long. He’ll get his :)

    • Yeah, you may not like it but I am going to say that you need to do Christmas at your in-laws this year. You are probably right that this will be the year that everything changes in routines, and maybe you not being there is a good thing. That will mean you won’t set the expectation of always being there in the future.

      Can you go down and spend some time with your mom the weekend before? Christmas is on a Wednesday so can you do the 5 hour trip the Sat/Sun before or after?

      This is coming from someone who HATED not being with my family (of origin) for Christmas. My older sister worked it out so that she always does christmas with my family and thanksgiving with her in laws so I was the first to break our traditions. The first year was really hard and I was sad, really sad. But Christmas is also important to my inlaws and they are my family now too so I sucked it up. The next year it worked out that we needed to be home too b/c of work schedules so I did a second year in a row without my family and with my inlaws. That year was much easier. I am looking forward to this year when we go to my folks for the first time in three years.

      I’m glad you go your Christmas with your grandmother though.

      • LondonSarah

        Yep, I agree with all of this.

        Last year was my first Christmas ever not at home with my parents (and I’m about to turn 34). It was odd, quite as Christmassy as Christmas normally is, but good anyway. And we did end up spending longer with my parents after Christmas…

      • Laura C

        I really think it’s a mistake to fall into rigid patterns, like insisting on absolutely alternating years. Yeah, it’s lousy timing that something like this happened so early in their marriage such that it could feel to his family like they’re being set up to permanently take the back seat to her family, but as long as Kathleen and her husband are clear that that’s not what’s happening, there’s no reason they have to stick to some rigid schedule. But of course she should talk to him. Maybe he has an equally compelling reason she’s not aware of that it’s especially important to him to be with his family.

        • meg

          Laura C.
          You are my new best friend. I don’t have to type comments, because you type them for me. THANK YOUS!

          • Laura C

            My week is made. :)

          • meg

            I happened to see your email, and looked up your writing (BEFORE I saw these comments), and emailed them to David, who announced you had to be our new best friend. #politics

  • Rachel

    Hey, APW! If you missed my comment on this morning’s post, I’m working on a round-up of beautiful city halls and courthouses that are NOT San Francisco city hall! Feel free to leave the best hidden gems here (or there) for inclusion!

    • LondonSarah

      I’ve never actually been in, but Islington Town Hall is lovely outside, and seems to be great inside too…

      • Brenda

        Most of London’s registry offices are lovely. I had my civil ceremony in Camden Town Hall and it was really nice. It was in January and we had the run of the building for photographs, including a terrace overlooking St Pancras station. I’ve never been inside but the photos of Islington Town Hall, Hackney Town Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall and Old Marylebone Town Hall all look gorgeous.

        • LondonSarah

          A friend is getting married in Stoke Newington Town Hall in April, which should be lovely, it looks great.

    • Corrie

      Cleveland City Hall!! I have had the HARDEST time trying to find information and am not sure if you can actually do a true city hall wedding in the City Hall building without paying the big bucks for the private event stuff. I’ve also struggled to find info about whether the judges can marry you, and if so, if any judge can do it? One of my dad’s closest friends from high school is a common pleas judge and has known me my whole life, so it would be cool if he could officiate.

    • moe

      Pasadena! Which could easily be cousins with the gorgeous SF city hall building. http://cityofpasadena.net/City_Hall.aspx

      • ART

        and bonus, is a stand-in for Pawnee City Hall in parks and recreation :)

      • meg

        It’s super super pretty.

      • Abby Mae

        A couple of my childhood had their nuptials at Pasadena. I loved it. I second Pasadena City Hall!

    • Emmy

      We got our marriage license at the Chester County Courthouse in West Chester, PA, and it was gorgeous. But I’m not sure if you can actually get married there.

    • Yavapai County Courthouse (in Prescott, AZ) and Pima County Justice Court are both absolutely beautiful courthouse buildings.

    • St. Louis is beautiful. I didn’t get married there but the building is awesome.

    • April

      I think the Annapolis courthouse is actually really pretty, plus it’s in downtown annapolis which is really quaint and historic (lovely post-ceremony picture opportunities). Here are some photos:
      http://baysidebride.com/2012/06/annapolis-elopement-mb-photography/ (interior – love the “I love you” sign!)
      http://www.unitedwithlove.com/2012/10/30/intimate-annapolis-courthouse-wedding/ (exterior)

    • Stephanie

      The Old Orange County Courthouse is gorgeous on the outside. It’s in Santa Ana, California.

    • Julie

      San Diego County Administration Center! For such a boring name, it’s actually a lovely historic building right on the bayfront. Don’t know anything about the inside but there’s a beautifully landscaped wedding arbor outside. In San Diego, it’s never not outdoor ceremony weather! I’m seriously considering getting married there.

  • This is my first APW happy hour since getting married two weeks ago. I have never felt so surrounded by love in my entire life. I will admit it has been a bit hard to go back to real life, and I really miss the people who came from so far away to celebrate with us. I’ve been working hard to fill up my social calendar, which has been helping a bit.

    I also just submitted my wedding as a wordless wedding. Fingers crossed.

    A few more updates:
    * Thank you to fellow APW reader Anna for all of your recommendations on our Montreal honeymoon. Staying in The Plateau was amazing, and we really enjoyed using Bixi.
    * Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to let people bless me with a bachelorette party. I did, and it was one of the best nights of my life.
    * We’re having another Portland, Ore. APW meetup. Click the link on my name to join our FB group.

    • catherine

      awesome! congrats! hope they use your wedding soon, can’t wait to see :)

    • Seshat

      First of, CONGRATS!!!!

      Second, we’re strongly considering Montreal (probably with a couple days in Quebec City) for our honeymoon, so if you have any helpful suggestions/recommendations to pass on I’d love to hear them!

      • Montreal was fabulous! It is incredibly charming and everything is in French. However, if you look confused everyone just switches over to English. Plus everyone we encountered was super nice and friendly. I highly recommend Airbnb. It was so much nicer (and cheaper) to stay in a trendy loft apartment than in an downtown hotel. Here is the place we stayed: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/277821

        Also, a fellow APW member who lives in Montreal shared a google doc with me of recommendations. If you shoot me an email at hannahelainesmith at gmail dot com, I’d be happy to pass it along.

        • Thanks for the info! I’ll definitely be sending you an email.

      • Emmy

        We also just recently honeymooned in Montreal. We ended up staying in a B&B in the Plateau neighborhood called Casa Bianca. It was nice enough for the price, and right across the street from Mont Royal.

        We pretty much just ate and drank a ton. I highly recommend Le Cinquieme Peche if you want a nice dinner. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. And definitely grab a beer at Dieu de Ciel if you’re a beer fan.

        It’s really a splendid city, funky and chill and not too expensive. The Bixi bikes are awesome. If you’re staying in the Plateau, you can pretty much just coast down hill to Old Montreal or downtown and then take the subway back. :)

        • “funky and chill and not too expensive” That’s what I like to hear! Fiance isn’t really a beach person and Europe’s a little too pricey but we definitely want to something a with a little more oompf than a typical vacation we’d plan.

          We’ve something that looks basically identical to Bixi in the Twin Cities, but I’ve never actually used it since I have my own bike. People I’ve known visiting here have loved it though so it’d be cool to try it out as a proper tourist.

      • Québec City is beautiful and I highly recommend it. Montréal is nice too, and I’ve lived in both, but I am biased towards Québec City. :)

        • Caroline

          I LOVED Quebec city when I visited years ago. I have been wanting to go back ever since.

      • Not Sarah

        I went to Montreal and Quebec City last year. I was not a super huge fan of Montreal, but I absolutely LOVED Quebec City. I’m a huge fan of Europe minus the smoking though and Old Quebec is just a mini-replica of that with Canadian history thrown in. Absolutely perfect! And the train between the two was awesome.

  • Anonymous for today

    Been waiting all week for Open Thread. Still haven’t figured out how exactly to talk about this, though!

    I just got back from my wedding and honeymoon. The wedding was a wonderful, amazingly intense day, full of joy and a few ups and downs but with one incredibly sad streak in it. My mom, with whom I have a loving but difficult relationship, spent much of the lead-up trying really hard to be involved, and when she arrived (we live in a different country), I’d saved up a bunch of things for her to do. I had hoped that would make her happy. However, she found out that my dad is now engaged again (they had a reasonable divorce some years back that has soured since), she got very upset at my sister, she got upset with me for not including her in enough things (she was left on her own to find something to do the night of my bachelorette, for instance, and felt I handled that badly as she was surprised by it; she’s also got no family on her side apart from my grandma, who was too frail for the trip). She told me I wasn’t being considerate enough of her feelings on the day before my wedding, leading to me crying in the shower so my house-full of my husband’s family wouldn’t hear me. I also know that my dad spent a lot less time helping out in the pre-wedding and hanging out with me because she was there every minute of the run-up, so I barely got to see him between his arrival and the rehearsal dinner.

    On the day of my wedding, she left the reception (after the speeches but before the cake-cutting and dancing). She didn’t say good-bye to me or anything. She felt deeply hurt by something my sister said to her about her need to be involved in everything, and later told me she “didn’t think anyone would miss her” and “stayed as long as she could,” given how hurt she felt. Of course, I missed her, and spent a bunch of the reception worrying about her, texting her, and so on. My sister ended up crying because she felt she’d let me down in not keeping my mom happy; I wound up crying because what a mess, and so on. (I should note, my sister was a freaking rock of emotional support and an amazing maid of honor.)

    I’m trying to sort this out now by email and figure out what a healthy boundary looks like, but it’s very hard not to feel like I could have used this knowledge SIX MONTHS AGO. I’m mad at myself for not protecting my own experience enough (hardly at all!) and instead spending the whole run-up and much of the reception trying to make someone happy who seemed determined to be unhappy. Also, the whole thing has made stuff I would otherwise have glossed over (not 100% in love with the dress she helped me pick) into Big Epic Things emotionally, and I’ve been spending a lot of the last two weeks either crying or writing super-reasonable emails or both.

    How do I start to unpack this? I’d like to feel better about my wedding, which was, overall, a really good day! Help…

    • VIOLET

      Oh, AFT, this is so tough. When you said, “it’s very hard not to feel like I could have used this knowledge SIX MONTHS AGO,” that really struck me. I don’t know if this is you, but I usually try to manage things as well as I can. When things don’t go the way I want, I often look back and try to figure out how I could have done something differently to prevent it. But sometimes, we just don’t have any indicators. And it is so frustrating. Weddings are big, family-shifting events, so the shifting can occur right before or at the wedding. (For us it was an incident with my husband’s father just days before, which my husband responded to very differently than he otherwise would have because he knew had a new family to protect.) You did the best you could with the information you had at the time. Keep crying. Keep writing super-reasonable emails. Keep remembering the things you loved about your wedding.

    • This is a hard one and honestly it sounds like something you should work with a therapist on. I say that with no qualms about therapists at all – a really good one helped me deal with my family boundary issues and get over my eating disorder (they were tightly intertwined). Another therapist help me deal with my boundary challenged in laws and come to a place where I could live my life in peace, and not bend to their will.

      Sorry I don’t have more advice, this sounds really really hard.

    • April

      I don’t have any great advice on this, other than to maybe accept that you can’t necessarily fix it and – to the extent possible – to just let it go. My aunt, who raised me single-mother-style, and I have a similarly fraught relationship. I love her to pieces but she can drive me nuts and/or inspire guilt in me and/or hurt my feelings like no one else ( should say, this probably works in both directions). Over the years, I’ve really just come to terms with the fact that we’re never going to have a totally smoothe and friendly relationship, and that’s ok. Dwelling on the low points doesn’t really solve anything, it just makes us both feel worse.

      So I’d say, try not to expend any more mental and emotional energy on this! Re-focus on your new spouse and your new marriage and making those great, and trust that time will heal some of the wounds with your mom. And seriously – knock off the e-mails – I don’t think anything was ever solved in an e-mail. Ever.

    • p.

      Maybe one positive way to look at your wedding day is that it was the day you learned that you needed to protect your experiences and that you needed better boundaries with your mom. Maybe it’s the day that you really committed to focusing on your new baby-family with your spouse and not worrying so much about your mom’s well-being.

      I’m reminded of my very favorite APW-quote (from Meg): “When people say that weddings are transformative, they don’t mean it was 100% fun. In my experience changing is almost never fun, it’s just worth it and important.”

      It seems to me that your wedding fits this scenario: it may not have been 100% fun, but it sounds like it was worth it and important.

    • *hugs*

      My mom didn’t speak to me for roughly three months after my wedding, over a perceived slight that happened that day. It was incredibly painful and horrible, and like you I tried so hard to reach out and be reasonable and attempt to appease her.

      I, too, felt like the aftermath with my mother completely tainted all of my wonderful memories of that day. For a very long time looking at pictures of my wedding or remembering it or talking about it was so raw and upsetting.

      A year later (our anniversary was September 1st) I’m happy to say that my memories of my wedding are happier and more beautiful than they were in the immediate months afterward. My mother and I are speaking again. I wish I could tell you we resolved our issues, but truthfully, we didn’t. She is, I’m sure, still very hurt by her experience that day, and I am still very hurt that she chose to behave the way she did (refusing to tell me what I’d done wrong, refusing to speak to me at all, refusing to behave at all like an adult and attempt to meet me halfway on anything). We yelled, we cried, we didn’t speak. And in the end we just let it go, because in order to salvage anything of our relationship…we just had to.

      I don’t know what will happen with you and your mom, but I know that time more than anything else helped heal my experience, and my memories. The issues with my mom clouded over the beauty of my wedding for a long time, but in the end they didn’t marr or diminish it. I still get sad and upset if I think about what happened with my mom too much, but I’m in a place now where I can choose to set that aside.

      • Anonymous for today

        Thanks for this. It’s good to know that someone else has been through something similar and it didn’t mar your memories of the wedding.


    • anon-for-this

      I had a similar up-down-up wedding experience. Why I expected my (now) MIL to be anything but the self-centered antagonistic person she always is during our wedding festivities is beyond me, but somehow, I did. She is still guilting us (now 3 months later) about how much she had to spend on the rehearsal dinner (the only financial contribution she made to the wedding) (although all we asked for was a simple bbq with our wedding party and nuclear families–we even left the location up to her and she chose her house). It turns out it was so expensive because she HAD to replace her kitchen floor if she was going to have company (although her old floor was fine and she covered the new $6000 floor with carpets and we were mostly outside anyway). Our wedding gift was our hotel room the night of the wedding… and Hubby’s brother’s room the night of the wedding, because she had to “be fair.” The night before the wedding she threw a fit because Hubby’s brother and his girlfriend were in male/female bunk-bed-rooms because they didn’t want to pay for their own room (which I had made clear to them and MIL well in advance of the wedding), and instead gave up her room and purchased a new room the night of the wedding so brother-in-law and girlfriend could stay in one room. She also completely made up a confrontation with my parents where my parents were whispering (about the florist who was MIA), and MIL thought they were criticizing her for the lack of alcohol (there was plenty, plus my parents would never do that). MIL and I (and my mother) ended up getting in a somewhat public fight where I started sobbing (to be fair, I did not have enough sleep at that point to handle her drama), and Hubby had to drag me away and get the car and drive us back to our hotel because I couldn’t stop sobbing and hyperventilating. I then sobbed uncontrollably in the tub for 3 hrs the night before the wedding and barely got any sleep because I was so worried about what to say to her whether or not Hubby’s family would even be there (his father called Hubby and told him “nobody treats his wife that way” and threatened not to show up). The morning of our wedding I was nausious and shaky and had a civil “sorry” convo with MIL, but it was thoroughly unsatisfying. I was so stressed and sick to my stomach that my bridesmaids and I literally had to stop by a gas station and buy tums and a coke for me on the way to the wedding. The rest of the day was amazing and beautiful and all about now-Hubby and I, but that night before/morning of, were very painful. I’m still having difficulty forgiving my MIL for working so hard to make Hubby and I feel like our wedding was an inconvenience. I’m still having difficulty forgiving my MIL for pushing and prodding me into reacting in a way I didn’t want to, and becoming the “bridezilla” she was accusing me of being. Our wedding was lovely, and moving, but dealing with my MIL was, and still is a struggle. The only saving grace is that Hubby is a rock to me when dealing with his very difficult mother. I guess my point is, you aren’t alone. Here’s to letting time heal our wounds and only remembering the best parts of the day!

      • Anonymous for today

        Aiyiyiyi. This sounds so familiar — not the details, but the lack of sleep, the stomach upset, the tears. *HUGS*. And — thanks for sharing; it helps to know that someone else has been through something like this!

        Here’s to time indeed, and to the people who are rocks of emotional support in our lives. Hope we can both choose to focus on the better bits.

    • LSW

      I feel like you are me, writing from the future. I really feel for you and I want you to know you aren’t alone in having a (as you diplomatically put it) “loving but difficult relationship” with your mom, and divorced parents to boot. I too have a mother who is bent on being unhappy and feel like I spend all my time trying unsuccessfully to please her. My sister (and Maid of Honor) is also on “Protect Me from Mom!” duty for the wedding. We’re getting married next year, but the drama is already starting. My mother has a history of effectively ruining other important events for me (see: my graduation from college and grad school, my engagement party…), so I’m bracing for her to be upset at me for some reason at my wedding.

      Anyway, my point isn’t to tell my story; it’s to tell you that I’m sorry this happened. It sounds like you tried really hard to accommodate everyone, but to no avail (I can relate). What happened isn’t your fault. And it’s OK to be sad about it — it freaking sucks. I’ve tried to internalize the fact that I can’t control my mother’s actions; I can only control my response to her actions (I think this is related to setting boundaries). It’s not always easy to maintain this mentality, but it helps on the good days.

      • Anonymous for today

        This one is tough! Hang in there. My sister was also on duty, but in the end it wasn’t enough, and made things really hard for her too.

        I guess there’s only so much you can do. Hope yours goes better. *HUGS*.

      • Kats

        Should things deteriorate further, and if a point of comparison helps at all, my now MIL was so insistent she would be unhappy at our wedding that she declined to come…via text message.

        We’re actually pretty grateful, once we got over feeling guilty.

    • CII

      It sounds like you, understandably, still have a lot of very raw feelings from this, so my first suggestion would be to give yourself time to process those feelings. Time to be upset, frustrated, and even plain angry. I don’t mean to suggest you should dwell or let this sour all of your memories, but this was an important day and it sounds like an important person hurt you, and it’s okay take some time to process how you feel about that before moving forward. My second suggestion is to lean on your sister (who, based on your description, sounds like a rockstar), and not let your anger at your mom deflect onto her.

      Also, if you had a photographer at your wedding, I bet based on the timing you will get your photos back soon. If so, it may help to spend some time with your new spouse looking at those photos and rebuilding memories. I bet you will see a lot of happiness in those photos that you weren’t able to fully grasp because of all the drama on the day of.

      Good luck – you can get through this.

    • Anonforthis

      What a hard situation. I’d agree with the commenter above that therapy could be a helpful avenue for you to deal with this.

      But, also, if your relationship with your mom might allow you to convince HER to get professional help, it’s worth exploring.

      How one decides to cope with the situation is within one’s control, so I understand that that’s why people’s advice is usually limited to things one can do for oneself. Plus, often the very nature of the difficult relationship precludes one from being able to influence the other person to get help themselves. But, I’m struck by how rarely posters or commenters suggest that the difficult person in question has a serious (medical) problem rather than just being, simply, a difficult person.

      Clearly I have MINIMAL information about your mom and your relationship in general, but the level of dependency, self-centeredness, and oversensitivity you described suggests depression, substance abuse, BPD, or something similarly serious to me.

      You may very well have been down this road before to no avail… but if you haven’t, could be worth a try. (And if you’re seeing a professional, how to go about navigating this is something they could be a good resource for.)

      • Anonymous for today

        This is so right-on it hurts. My mom does suffer from serious depression and we nearly lost her this last year. Thus making everything both full of gratitude (thank God she’s still here, even if she’s making me miserable) and fraught (but she’s still unhappy!).

        She is in therapy. I have no idea how that’s going and haven’t seen any real change in her relationship to me, but at least she hasn’t abandoned it yet, which has been a real risk. She’s on meds, which are helping get her sort of stable at least. I am hopeful that at some point things will improve, but I have no idea how long that will take or what it will look like.

        It’s very very hard trying to figure out how to love and support a fragile person who seems determined to be unhappy, while not making myself miserable over her misery. I did focus my original question sort of around things I could do, because everything else seems so hard and so far out of my control, really. :(

        Thanks for the support. I’d been considering getting therapy myself before this thread, but it’s sounding like a better and better idea.

  • This was a good week!

    I went to “What If” daycamp in Brooklyn and met some internet friends in real life, which was RAD!

    I’ve been working on my “daily essentials for happiness” and busting ass in hot yoga every day, attacking my editing like a Lightroom wizard, and finding I have WAY more time in the day when I take care of myself, because I work better and faster. The Pomodora app is super helpful for this. Also, I made homemade meals every night this week, and they were delicious.

    We are about to catch a bus to visit in-laws in New England, and to take our comic to 2 conventions in New England to pitch, so we are nervous and excited.

    Plus, next week I’m shooting an elopement and immediately getting in the car to drive through the night to Ohio for one of my closest friend’s wedding. It was a wedding we almost weren’t able to go to, but we figured out a (slightly nuts) way to make it work, and I’m so happy!

  • I seem to be in a perpetual state of ‘ugh, this week.’ About work and school life, not home, but it bleeds in. I have a feeling the only fix will be potentially good news in a couple of weeks and/or graduation. And I graduate in 2 years. Trying to figure out how to be more graceful about this, failing.

    • meg


  • Rachel

    TGIF! It’s been a long week, but today marks 99 days until FH and I get married! Somehow it all seems more real now…I’m excited and nervous and stressed and ecstatic all at once. Now’s the time to start all those projects I said I’d take care of “a couple months before the wedding”; that always seemed so distant before!
    On a related note, does anyone have advice for less-expensive flowers in the winter? I want bright, cheery colors to counteract the January grossness…

    • Stephanie

      Where do you live? My first wedding was in December, and I used pink and purple roses for mostly everything. It shouldn’t be difficult to get bright flowers if you use roses.

  • Erin

    I need some advice, y’all, about a friend’s bachelorette party. Please!

    So! I just had my bachelorette party! It was nice and low-key (we had our nails done and then had a tea party and no one had to host it or have it at their house, which was important to me) BUT it was also stupid-expensive for people (like, 140 dollars, I think? All told? I mean, I tried not to pry but I sort of did the math.). Obviously I was over the moon at everyone who attended but also felt super guilty because that is a lot of money!

    My good friend is also getting married (a month after me!) and her party is in three weeks. And it’s a girls’ weekend out of town. And I had made plans to go and really WANT to go and have been looking forward to it . . . but I just don’t know if I can. My a/c just broke in my car. I just forked over an ungodly amount of money to the department of Homeland Security in visa applications for The British Gentleman. Wedding costs are hitting the “buy everything now” phase, and my (technically husband! but we’re still having a wedding!) dude’s inability to work is really making itself known in our finances.

    But the idea of pulling out of her party, especially after she came to mine, seems terrible. Have any of you been faced with a similar conundrum? Or had to sacrifice something important to you/someone you love close to the wedding? I just feel like I’d be a total shitheel if I bailed on her (not that I’m, like, integral to the success of the weekend, or anything! But you know, I do want to celebrate her!) and also like maybe I’m being a Bad Bride if I worry too much about my own wedding-related finances and that keeps me from being the best friend I can be.


    • Here is how I look at things like this – it took a change of perspective but it works. I will take on (for?) face value that when someone does something for me, she is doing it because she is comfortable doing it and truly wants to. Whether that is spending $140 to have a nice time with me and celebrate my milestone.

      On the other hand, I will not do something that will stretch me uncomfortably. I won’t go to an all weekend out of town party if I can’t afford to get my car fixed. I’ll find another way to show my friend that I love her and celebrate her milestone.

      Do you see that these are two sides of a coin? You have to trust that your friends would have declined if they hadn’t had the money/desire to come to your bachelorette. You wouldn’t have wanted them to stretch themselves and to spend the whole time thinking about how they really couldn’t afford this. And you have to trust that your friend will understand that you have to say no b/c you can’t afford hers. If she is a good friend, she won’t want you to stretch yourself so precariously.

      Does that help?

      • Erin

        Thank you. I have a very, very hard time doing that sort of thing in general. I am always assuming that I’m letting people down.

        I have been thinking that if I give the other girls my share to cover the cost of the house and then also take my friend out to a nice dinner with just the two of us (or maybe us and another friend who couldn’t make it!), that might be acceptable? It’d be saving me at least 600 dollars, and I would still be able to celebrate my awesome friend.

    • One thing to think about is whether you not coming will cause the other girls going to pay more. For example, if there were hotels booked that were going to be split four ways and now will are going to have to be split three ways. If that’s the case, I think it’s important to stick to your commitment. I’ve been at non-wedding related girls weekends before where one person dropped out at the last minute, and we all had to pay her way. It didn’t really seem fair. Not sure if this is the case for you, but it’s something you might want to consider.

      Also, is there any way that you could come to part of it, or go and not spend as much?

      • Erin

        Well, it’s really out of town, as in, I would have to fly to it, thus the cost.

        But if I didn’t go, I’d definitely pay for my share of the house we are renting. That is only fair and right! I had a family friend flake on my bachelorette party an hour before hand and I ended up picking up the costs of that because, like, I was NOT making my friends pay for her flakiness.

        • Aw, I see. A flight really does make it a particularly expensive proposition, and rules out the possibility of going for part of it. I feel like when your friend made the choice to have a destination bachelorette party, she must have known that would put it out of reach for several people.

          I think the most responsible thing to do is to tell her you can’t make it, and do it sooner rather than later. I know your first instinct is to wait as long as possible to figure out if there is any way to go, but I think it’s more considerate to give people as much notice as possible. I also would keep your specific money reasons to yourself, saying simply you are sorry you can’t make it, but you’re still going to pay your share of the house. Then offer to do something you can actually afford (such as take her out for dessert) at another time.

      • never.the.same

        In general I think that bailing on a friend when a) you’ve already confirmed/RSVPed for a b) once-in-a-lifetime event is going to be something you regret more than feeling cash strapped for a while.

        If you live in the northern hemisphere and fall/winter is approaching, maybe AC in your car isn’t vital to fix pre-wedding? (I’ve lived without it for YEARS in hot summers.) Maybe you can work out with a vendor or two to extend a deadline or pay in installments, to spread out payments. Maybe none of that is possible. But unless you’re risking real financial hardship (rent/food/health in jeopardy), then my guess is that a year from now you’ll be glad you went, but will regret it (especially if it ends up in hurt feelings from your friend) if you don’t.

        • Erin

          Ha! I live in Texas. If only it were fall here.

          No, I agree with you. I’m just having a hard time figuring out how to justify spending the 800 dollars on top of everything else.

          • 800 is not an insignificant amount of money. I don’t think you are off-base to really consider your financial priorities, and I don’t think anyone would hold it against you.

    • Amy March

      Go to her party. It’s in 3 weeks? You’ve already told her you’re going? Frankly I’m surprised you haven’t already bought a ticket. I’m not hearing you say you don’t have the money, just that you’d rather not spend it, so I think you need to suck it up and chalk this one up to not thinking through your budget before committing. I think she’d be very hurt, reasonably, by your backing out now.

  • Streamnerd

    I just wanted to share my frustration about how amazing/unfortunate what people say and/or ask you when you are visibly pregnant.

    I am a academic scientist and it seems like my pregnancy is making some sexism come out of the woodwork. One colleague in particular keeps asking me questions insinuating I am a less capable scientist now. I can’t stand it and it drives me crazy. Every time I tell myself I will confront him next time but the microagressions always catch me off guard and I wuss out on the confrontation. Any advice?

    • CW

      Even if you can’t or forget to in the moment, follow up with him within the week. You don’t want it to go too long, but at least in the beginning, come back to him so he know that you noticed his comments and that it isn’t ok with you.

    • KC

      I’m not sure if, being a scientist, you could inquire as to the citations behind his statements – something of the “What you said seemed to imply X, which I’m not familiar with – it would be interesting to me to know what research is behind that statement?”

      Depends on your general tone and relationship with this person, but it could be a way of pulling it out of the woodwork and/or gently poking fun at un-science-y conclusions.

      Of course, depending on the person, you might get some actual research papers on how hormones and whatnot affect different brain functions or fatigue in certain situations, too, which would require some sort of semi-gracious “well, I’m hoping to be below mean in fatigue [or whatever]; at any rate, unless something goes drastically wrong, I will still have more than enough cranial resources to do my job well” response from you.

    • M.

      I read recently, I believe in the APW comments somewhere, that when someone says something like that, to just sort of tilt your head a bit and ask, What makes you say that? It calls out the inappropriate nature of the statement without having to straight up confront them, and gives a chance for them to apologize or qualify.

    • Claire

      Something similar happened to a co-worker when she was pregnant and her (male) boss would make little jokes about her “pregnancy brain” or “hormones” or “delicate state” or being all “maternally emotional” (whatever that is) when, if fact, she was still behaving as normally as ever. She started responding with a simple, “why would you say that?”. The first couple of times he tried to play it off like he was just joking, and she was being overly sensitive. She stayed completely unemotional and was just, “Nope, nothing has changed with me in the workplace. I’m just trying to understand why you’d say that.” It was a little ackward, but did put a stop to the comments pretty quick.

    • Alison O

      Some other things I could imagine saying in response…

      “I don’t follow…”

      “You seem really interested in my pregnancy. Why is that?”

      “Your comments suggest that you are concerned that my pregnancy is undermining the quality of my work. Is that your intention?”

      “I appreciate your interest in my pregnancy, but I’d prefer not to discuss it with you/I’d like to keep it a private matter/your comments make me feel uncomfortable.”

      There are some good ones here about all kinds of rude pregnancy comments, with varied types of responses (humorous, direct, non-confrontational): http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-to-handle-rude-comments-from-strangers-during-pregnancy_10348593.bc?page=2

      But also, I think it’s perfectly appropriate for you to take this to his manager or human resources, particularly if you are too uncomfortable to address him directly. Depending on the severity of his comments and how much this behavior is impacting your ability to work in this environment, this could be legit sexual harassment. http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm

    • Does your department have any conflict resolution/discrimination/HR people? It might be worth having a quiet word, if you’re feeling up to it. You shouldn’t have to put up with that sort of stuff at work

    • Streamnerd

      Thank you all, you’ve given me courage and lots of great ideas.

  • catherine

    Hi everyone!

    So my partner and I are about 8 months away from our wedding. We’ve got the venue booked, the date set…now we are in that weird “ok now what”, what do we *do* stage. I know, I’ve read the APW book (many times before we got engaged, yes, i am *that* girl hehe) and I guess I need to go back to the beginning! Trying to figure out if we should/can afford to hire a wedding planner since we are doing it long distance. And like…how do you get your vision into action? Who does that? The decor and all that ahhhh. I’m so not crafty by the way. So I won’t be the girl spray painting things all year. And we’d have to take everything from LA to boulder, co so that would be a pain (for us at least). We’re pretty laid back but right now we’re both kind of like “um…we should be doing something now, right??” a little stuck over here! helpful little tips anyone?

    Hope you have all have a great week. Mine was pretty hard and scary and not-great, but definitely growth-inducing, so it’s okay!

    • moe

      Perhaps think about a dress? Plan a honeymoon?

      I had these grand ideas about all the crafting I thought I wanted to do. Then once I calcualted the time, effort, materials and money involved my list was slashed in half.

      Ultimately, you don’t need a lot of decoartions. Especially if your venue is already beautiful.

      • catherine

        thank you! Yeah, the dress thing seems to next for me…just kind of tricky and feels like a weird standstill because my partner and i dont have a community here. our people are all over, my best friends (bridesmaids) are in new york, north carolina, and canada…so were trying to figure out if some (or one) of them could fly out here to help me look at dresses and all that. i really want that experience.

        but yes, the dress is what i am most excited about!

    • One More Sara

      I think that time is perfect to start thinking about invites. It can be really overwhelming bc there are SO MANY CHOICES to make about them. Maybe pull out some of the invites you’ve received over the years (I’m not the only one who doesn’t have the heart to throw them away right??) and talk to your partner about different things that you like/don’t like about them. It’s also great to start on invites this early so you can experiment with printing at home if you’re trying to save some $$, without freaking out bc OMGTHEINVITESNEEDTOBEMAILEDYESTERDAYANDMYPRINTERHATESME and then paying an arm and a leg to rush order something.

      tl;dr: INVITES!

    • I was able to hire a day-of coordinator that also ran a vintage rental agency. I rented most of the decor from her, and she set it up and made it look fabulous. I got to look super stylish without doing much work. I wonder if there is something like that in Boulder. It was much less expensive than buying all the decor myself.

      And to be honest, all those details, while they look great in the photos, I didn’t even see any of them the day of. Wedding blogs make the decor seem so important, when really it’s not. Pick a venue that you really like, have some good food and drinks and invite the people you love. Everything else will come together beautifully.

      • Stephanie

        Absolutely. My best friend’s wedding was a month ago, and I can barely remember the decor details!! I just remember the awesome food (Wood Ranch!), the super amazing lemonade bar, and all the fun we had.

    • We’re about 8 months out too. Got engaged in March, got a venue booked, stumbled across a great dress and then had a very quiet summer. I’m just getting to the ohshit I should probably start doing stuff point. We’re trying to keep things pretty simple so my To Do list is currently:

      -Research officiants
      -Research florists
      -Research DJs/Muscians
      -Design invites/STDs (I’m a graphic design student so I’m doing that myself)
      -Figure out bridal party

      Once it gets a little closer I’m going to do a few crafty things–make a colored crinoline for my dress (I need to figure out where I want to get it hemmed to first), make jewelry for me and BM’s (they’ll need to select dresses first), and do any centerpiece craftiness (possibly make runners, unless I can find them cheap, and I’m thinking about doing a faux mercury glass treatment for the vases for the tables–venue provides flowers, but their vases are… not what I want to use).

    • christa

      You also have permission to NOT do anything, and just let things be for a while. Whatever makes you happy.

    • Caroline

      My fiance and I were just talking today about not being sure what is next in terms of planning. We’re 11 months out. We have a venue, officiant, photographer, and a sketch of a plan to self-cater. We decided the next things to focus on are:
      -taste-testing the food from the restaurant we will be buying half the food from (we are only cooking half). Yay! Date night at the place we had our first real date.
      -writing down recipes for the food we are cooking. It is mostly dishes we make all the time (without any recipes), but if we are going to have help, and know how much ingredients to buy, we must have recipes.
      -Writing our interfaith/non-halachic (jewish law) Ketubah. Why not start early?
      -Figuring out rentals (no caterer and at-home wedding means we are doing rentals ourselves and there will be a bunch of them.)
      -clothes??? He needs to figure out what he wants to wear, and I need to find a dress. Since I’m looking for something very specific, it may take a while.
      -rings. I know what I want, he mostly knows what he wants, so we might as well buy them.
      -honeymoon. This is on the to-do list, but I’m not quite sure how to deal with it. The budget we had planned for it (ie, the money we planned to earn to pay for it) isn’t there since we are now both in school (which is a good thing.) So we need to figure out other ways to pay for it, or find something less expensive to do.

  • lady brett

    guh. i had to say no to a baby last night, and it was terrible (i know that should be “we” but my wife would absolutely have said yes, so it was really me). i’m terribly confusing – i don’t like babies, i don’t want a baby, we aren’t set up for a baby (or signed up for a baby), but i’m so sad about it. i definitely think it was the right decision (and i’m not really worried about the kid, and that age and such, i’m sure it had a home before we could have called them back), but it’s got me feeling melancholy…

    • KINA

      Not wanting a baby doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with grieving! Just a reminder :) Thought I’d return the favor since you helped me out with my baby issues…which, by the way, boyfriend has said he puts me over the need to have a baby. I’m sure the issue will rear it’s head again, but it feels like we’ve cleared a hurdle…

    • Grieving is fair. It sucks, but saying no to things is hard, even if no is absolutely right. It’s a natural feeling to grieve the loss of an identity that other people want/celebrate, even if you feel 100% confident that you still don’t want it.

    • lady brett

      thanks, y’all.

    • meg

      Love to you. The fact that you are doing this at ALL is so huge, and you’re totally allowed to feel melancholy.

  • moe

    The article on having kids without family nearby is hitting home. Not because I have children but because if we do choose to have a family it will be with little involvement from my side of the family.

    Early in my wedding planning I kind of had to grieve that my mom (who is still living, but in assisted living and in early stages of dementia) would not be the super-mom that some of my friends had when they got married.

    The conversation surrounding whether or not to have a baby seem to keep coming back to all my issues with my own family and my own bad experiences that maybe I haven’t resolved yet.

    Oh AND what the heck is the deal with Human Resources asking me if I was trying to get pregnant yet? SO INAPPROPIATE!?!?! Any clever ideas on how to respond with a snarky comeback?

    • Catherine McK

      WHAT!? Sorry, my jaw just dropped. HR no no! Committed by HR! I was shocked when a coworker asked me yesterday if I was eating for two (I am… but not enough to be called out on, which I’m pretty sure should never happen ever.) No advice…unless you want to make innuendos about the practice you’re getting, including a big wink.

      • moe

        I.KNOW.RIGHT?!?!?! WHO DOES THAT?!?!?!

        My manager or other department members have not even mentioned the subject and I get along great with them!!!!

        I’ve known about two pregnancies here before they were formally announced and I was over-cautious to not say or do anything that would give them away. It’s such a sensitive issue, HR should know better than anyone!

        • Alison O

          SO inappropriate! A few more possible responses:

          “No. Are you?!” [with tilted head, raised eyebrows, and a smile]

          “Why do you need to know?”

          “Is it legal for you to ask me that?”

      • K2

        I can’t believe the gall of some people. The only person who has asked me so far if I’m pregnant was a cousin who noticed that I wasn’t drinking at a family wedding, and I have never been so annoyed with someone in my life. I lied, have avoided her ever since, and am considering giving her a serious talking to when I do share the news in the next couple of weeks – because you just don’t ask that question, because she put me into a really difficult situation, because I had very good reasons for not sharing as soon as we found out, and because SOMEONE apparently has to tell this grown woman that prying into other people’s personal lives is not appropriate. We’re generally quite close (even when I have to avoid her for an entire trimester), so if someone’s gotta teach her manners, it may as well be me.

        I’m not generally confrontational at all, but IMO she asked for it and depending on how affronted I’m feeling the next time we see each other, she may feel the full force of my indignation.

        • K2

          I was unable to give her the full talking-to I had imagined because she overwhelmed me with congratulations, but I think she got the point that I was less than pleased with her earlier prying.

    • Margi

      I feel the same way.

      I had the same realization when reading the article (and I don’t want children at the moment and don’t know if I ever will). My brother’s recent wedding made me realize the distance in my family is not only due to actual PHYSICAL distance but other emotional issues that have been ongoing for my whole life – nothing dramatic or sudden. And it made me realize that part of the reason I don’t want children is because of my lingering family issues – HUGE realization. This makes me even sadder.

    • Sometimes, I like to skip the snark (just in case I get guilt pangs later of: too harsh? was that immature?) and go straight for brutal honesty:

      “Wow, that’s a really inappropriate question about my family’s very intimate decisions.” Then, STOP TALKING and they will fall over themselves apologizing (or maybe defending themselves at first, but they’ll look like an idiot)

      • never.the.same

        Is it in an email? If so, I’d print and save a copy for the record.

        Then I’d send HR this link and say “No comment.”

    • meg

      I think fro many of this, our own family issues are THE thing we have to work out with having kids. It’s not just you, NOT JUST YOU. Go see a therapist now, you’ll be so glad you did.

      And you know what? I have ill family members as well, that can’t be as involved as anyone would like. But we’ve built a great community around us, and that’s what saves us with a baby, ever single week.

    • Rachel

      I feel like a, “Wait, did you just ask me about my sex life?!” with a sort of un-smiling/confused/”you’re an asshole” smirk works well here.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Not too good at snark myself, but maybe try: “Why do you need to know that?” or “How is that related to my job duties?” maybe in conjunction with “I’m not comfortable sharing that information.”

    • Copper

      I’d throw back in their face exactly why they should not ask that by saying, “Why, are you planning to fire me if we are?”

    • Remy

      Since it came up, what is the workplace etiquette/legal requirement for disclosing a pregnancy or impending adoption to HR and/or your boss? I’ve been thinking about this because I might be changing jobs around the same time that my wife and I will be starting adoption paperwork. I might not be at the new job for more than a year (FMLA) before a kid arrives (or I might hit the year mark when my wife’s paid leave runs out, or, or…). We might be in the process of being matched when I’m interviewing. I might be hired and get a call two weeks in with a match or an immediate placement. How does that work? Do I tell my supervisor first, or HR? What if the timeline is uncertain (like it might be with due date) — do I show my hand early, and what does that mean for my job?

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Whether to tell HR or your boss first depends on the attitude of your boss. Mine gets all grumpy when anyone is out sick. If that’s the case, you tell HR first and ask for help explaining to your boss. If you have a humane boss, you can tell your boss first and check in with HR.

        As for when to tell, you provide enough notice so that they can accommodate your absence or absences. For some jobs, that may be just a few weeks or a few months to find and train a temporary replacement. In my job, we set and assign projects sometimes 18 months out, and there are no temps, so I might give more notice so that assignments can be managed well.

        The federal laws regarding pregnancy-related disability and family medical leave only apply to employers with 50+ employees, and then they only apply to employees that have had the job for a certain amount of time. Some employers and some states who do not have to provide these protections provide them anyway. If these protections do not apply to you, you can be fired for taking the time off when you have a baby.

        • Copper

          Also, check your contract. I remember one I had recently spelled out that they required as much notice as possible, I think it may have even said that notice should be given no later than 14 weeks into pregnancy.

    • Claire

      “Whoa! Why? Is that a new HR question?”
      Then be quiet and let the person backpeddal all over him/herself.

  • CLee

    I’m getting married in two weeks (and about 23 hours)! Tonight I go on a much needed best friend date and to pick up my wedding dress, and tomorrow I’m going to pick out pumpkins for reception center pieces.

    Somewhere along the line I’ve lost my wedding zen tho. I’ve been pretty easy going throughout this entire process, but this week we hit a few bumps: my “florist”, a vendor I hired on etsy, went AWOL for about a week and wouldn’t respond to my emails until I threatened to cancel my order with her and make other arrangements, my pie vendor hasn’t been very communicative, so I’m still trying to figure out details, and I found out my DJ has dengue fever (thankfully he’s feeling better, so by the time the wedding rolls around things will be okay). So, somewhere in the process of hearing all of this news (in the span of a day and a half) I’ve sort of become a ball of anxiety.

    • Emily H

      I lost my zen around two weeks out too! It’s okay!

      1. Pumpkin centerpieces sound awesome!
      2. Stress is totally normal when planning a big event, especially one so personal, like a wedding. (My partner kept telling me that every time I would vent, then apologize to him for being a “bridezilla”.)
      3. As long as you try not to let your stress translate into lashing out on your loved ones, people are usually pretty understanding and want to help/listen, so don’t feel like you’re in it alone!

    • LondonSarah

      Pumpkins?! Oh, lovely! We had little orange squashes on our table in a beautiful restaurant on holiday, very lovely indeed on a plain white tablecloth.

    • Stephanie

      I love the pumpkin centerpieces! That sounds awesome!

    • First of all, *big hug* for everything feeling like it’s going wrong. Two weeks out, it can definitely feel like a mad dash to the finish line. I think the key with wedding zen is picking and day and choosing not to give a sh*t after that day. Although, it usually works best if that day is pretty close to the day-of. Two weeks before I was definitely still scrambling to get stuff done.

      Also, these types of things always seem huge the time before, but I swear the day of they won’t even be on your radar. I swear your wedding will be lovely no matter what the flower situation. I also had vendors (primarily ones that don’t usually do weddings like the farm I got the flowers from) that weren’t very communicative, and they still ended up being fine in the end. Also, while I’m sure your DJ will be fine, I swear you can have a great dance party with a laptop, spotify and one speaker. We did!

    • Ellen

      At my old job for events in the fall we would sometimes use pumpkins as the vases for flowers. It looked SUPER fab and really wasn’t much different in price than vases. The pumpkins also held up a lot better than you might think!

  • Stephanie

    So I got to the holidays thread WAY late, so I’ll post it here.

    How soon is too soon to spend the holidays together? My boyfriend is Hindu, so we don’t have the same holidays this year except Thanksgiving, so that would be the only split holiday.

    My family is VERY welcoming to new people at holidays. But I’m coming out of a nasty divorce (we split up in January). I’m afraid it’s too soon to introduce them to a new guy.

    Plus I think I need to come out as agnostic. If they think I’m still a Christian, they will seriously object to my boyfriend. But if they know I’m not religious anymore, they might not object as much.


    • catherine

      I don’t think it’s ever too soon, honestly. This is your life. You deserve to be happy and you shouldn’t have to act like this great part of your life isn’t there or isn’t of value. Life doesn’t happen on a perfect timeline. Do what feels right for you. (and your partner)

    • Emmy

      We were dating for two months when I went to Easter brunch with his parents. I was his first serious relationship after his divorce, and it wasn’t finalized yet. So I’d say whenever you both feel ready.

      I can’t really comment on the religious part, but do you think maybe it’d be better to wait till they raise it? Maybe they’ll surprise you and be okay.

      • Michelle

        It might be better to wait until they bring it up. I can see how this could go:

        MOM: So is he a Christian?
        ME: No, he isn’t. But I’m not a Christian anymore, so it’s not a big deal.
        MOM: *silence for the rest of my life*

        • Stephanie

          Why does this say “Michelle”? This is Stephanie. Weird.

    • Caroline

      I think it really depends on your family. In my family, the expectation is you only bring home really really serious partners to holidays. I have two cousins who each brought to the holidays one woman who they and everyone else thought they were probably going to marry before they brought their now-wives. I brought my now-fiance only after he and I had discussed that marriage was in the works for someday. My cousins who have not had partners they intend to marry have not brought anyone to the holidays.

      So in our family, bringing someone home for the holidays is seen as a very serious intent. I would expect that people might start bringing home partners as soon as they both knew they were serious, regardless of when in the relationship that happened. (My fiance came to 5 years of holidays before our engagement, when we were still teenagers. It was pretty clear to the family that we were serious and planned to marry someday, but not quite then, seeing as I was not of voting age and he was not of drinking age.)

      If your family is more relaxed about who comes to holidays, then if you want to bring your boyfriend, I say bring him. Just think about what it means in your family to bring someone home for the holidays, and make sure that message is in line with the message you mean to send.

    • CeeBeeUK

      Our second date was his family’s Christmas Eve dinner. I was spending Christmas on my own due to visa issues but seriously potentially awkward.

  • Kate

    I’m curious as to how other people handle it when their partner gets sick. I fall on the overbearing side of nurturing a lot of the time, but my guy and I have kind of different views about intimacy when sick. To sum it up, he had a fever and sore throat yesterday but still wanted to sneak in a make-out session before work. I was a little less enthusiastic, even though I’m pretty sure my immune system is a lot better than his (just saying). Do you guys keep to pecks on the cheek? Sleep in separate beds? I’ll clean up his puke and bring him tea till the end of time, but I’m not really feeling like tonsil hockey when he’s a walking Petri dish.

    • Stephanie

      With my ex husband, we slept in the same bed, but we did not kiss. Although he NEVER got sick, and it was always me that was sick.

    • LondonSarah

      Hmm, I keep my distance. Not separate beds, but no snogging. Some things just don’t need to be shared and known germs are included there.

    • catherine

      Ha, we had a really rough patch of Flu-World last winter, so after that, we really try to not get each other sick as best we can. We’ll do little pecks on the lips, or even just cheek (depending how sick and what sickness). It’s not worth it to us for us both to get sick, and extend the sick-time in our house :)

    • We figure we’re sharing the germs one way or another, considering hand contact to each other and surfaces around the apt, plus just the tiny size of our apt. So we kiss like normal, though probably don’t make out– mostly just due to the sick person feeling tired and icky, not due to germ-awareness. And if one person is sick, the other is on guard and popping those immune boosters.

    • We peck on lips but NO open-mouthed kissing when he’s the one who’s sick, because I do NOT want any of his germs. He doesn’t ever seem to care about catching what I have, plus he doesn’t get sick as easily as I do, so when I’m sick, if I’m up to it and he wants to, we do sometimes make-out like normal.

    • moe

      I couldn’t catch the flu if my life depended on it. When my husband got sick recently I hounded him for kisses in hopes that I could get a few sick days out of it. No luck.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      We don’t sleep in the same room even when we’re both disease-free, so that’s not an issue for us. When one of us has a viral infection, we limit contact to kisses on the forehead and cheeks.

    • I’ll admit for me, I’ve pretty much given up on not getting sick when my husband is sick. Trying to not kiss for more than a day just pretty much seems to be a lost cause, but that’s just us.

    • Caroline

      He is all “Don’t kiss me I’m sick” and I’m more like “I don’t care. We both know I’m getting whatever you have either way.” We sleep in the same bed, and mostly keep kisses to pecks. I mean, we mostly avoid full on making out when one of us is sick, but we don’t worry about kisses here and there. Mostly because any time he gets sick, I get sick too. (I can’t really recall a time when I got sick first, although it has likely happened.)

  • I just started an APW group for Nashville TN! Search for it on facebook if you’re in the area: “APW – Nashville.” I’d like to have a get-together the weekend of October 12, probably in the East Nashville area. What do you think would be the most fun: going out for beers/cocktails, coffee, or ice cream?

  • The “Coming to Terms with the Kitche” piece reminds me of this article that should up on my FB newsfeed this week:


    I’m still re-reading it, and trying to decide my thoughts on it, but I’d love to hear from y’all on it.

    • Stephanie

      Honestly, I would have been like, “So I have to make you 300 sandwiches?? You have to wash 300 loads of dishes in order for me to even deign to say yes to you!”

      Yeah I don’t deal well with the “Make me a sandwich!” jokes.

      • MK

        I think the sandwich thing is an inside couple joke/cutesy thing to do that translates really poorly to the rest of the world. In other words, I don’t think she’s really having to “earn” a ring.

    • meg

      You’re WELCOME.

      Staff favorite: Fuck You Make Your Own Sandwich You Overentitled Manchild with Basil Mayo #300feministsandwiches

      • Alison O

        by FAR the best of all those

    • It’s the dangling proposal part that bugs me (and the boyfriend seems like kind of a jerk in the interviews and stuff I’ve seen about this). If she just wanted to make 300 sandwiches for her bf and blog about it, then rock on! I love cooking! I love cooking for people I love! Awesome!
      But something about doing it to earn a proposal is off-putting to me. It wouldn’t matter if it was 300 sandwiches, or 300 oil changes or something. It makes me uncomfortable.

    • Michelle

      This site is hilarious:


    • lady brett

      i think it’s cute. i suppose it’s the way she writes about it (as compared to how the headlines sound, which is not cute).

    • Kestrel

      Ha! This just amuses me particularly because my older brother has bugged me for as long as I can remember to make him a sandwich. I have refused every single time, and will continue to refuse.

      I’ve even make him make his own grilled cheese when I was making them for everyone one lunch when we were all home for the holidays.

      He gets no sandwiches from me!

  • Mezza

    Last weekend I had an official meeting with my aunt and uncle (who are also my godparents) about how they and all of their children (my 3 cousins, all of whom have families of their own) are refusing to attend my wedding. It’s not like this was unexpected, as this side of my family is extremely conservative and religious, but somehow part of me kept thinking I’d be able to talk them around. Didn’t happen.

    They want us to continue to be on good terms, and they made a point to explain that my fiancee and I would always be welcome at family gatherings and holidays. I just…don’t really know how to deal with that. On the one hand, I’m not mad at them and I could probably feel perfectly normal about continuing as if nothing happened. But on the other, I kind of feel like that would be compromising my principles.

    And then there are my parents. My mother is FURIOUS, to the point of Facebook-unfriending and threatening never to speak to them again. My father was quietly on my side the whole time and hasn’t said much about his feelings now that it’s all decided. I keep wondering if he will be sad at the wedding, not to have his brother or nieces and nephews there, and I’m considering inviting some more distant but more liberal relatives from my father’s side. Does that even make sense?

    So, it’s been sort of an emotionally-confusing week. I don’t know how I’ll feel about all of this on the actual wedding day, or by Christmas, or even further down the road, but I’m much more bothered by the split I’ve inadvertently caused in my family. Sigh.

    • Jessica

      Do you mind giving a quick summary of what their objection is? It’d help clarify the question for advice-givers, I think.

      • Mezza

        Ah, I’m a woman marrying another woman. :) I definitely didn’t make that as clear as I thought I had.

        • Catherine McK

          Oh those subtle double ee’s ;)

    • Aw, that’s a bummer. Sorry about the family trouble. However, good that they are at least cordial about it, so it won’t be a rift.

    • Copper

      This is just me, but I think I’d probably wind up saying that I felt like it’d be really disingenuous to play nice from here on out when they object to you so strongly that they can’t be there to support you as you marry.

      Also, who calls an official meeting to express their disapproval instead of politely declining? What is that??

      • Rachel

        I agree…there’s something about the “you can still come to family functions” feels like they want to not feel guilty about this shitty thing they are doing. Like, if you feel so strongly opposed to someone’s relationship that you wouldn’t go to their wedding, why would you welcome them into your home for a party? Maybe to forget about that time you were kind of shitty to them and pretend you weren’t? I dunno, to me, playing nice is doing them a favor they don’t really deserve.

        • lady brett

          from my experience with my wife’s extended family, it was less that they didn’t want to feel guilty than an awkward way to reconcile the fact that they religiously object to us deigning to call our relationship a marriage (or, well, having it at all) but also genuinely like both of us and value family.

          not sure that makes it either better or worse, of course.

          • Mezza

            This is exactly the situation with my family. It’s less about guilt and more that they genuinely do want to keep me as a member of their family.

            And yes, it’s a mess either way.

      • Mezza

        I actually forced them into the meeting. They were sending all of their thoughts and arguments through my father, which a) wasn’t fair to him and b) was a much easier route for them to take than talking to me. I’m much more confrontational and argumentative than he is, and I wanted to make sure my points were heard, and I also didn’t want my father to carry the unpleasant job of dealing with them.

        And yeah, I don’t get how they can box things up so cleanly in their heads – like, this one thing you’re doing isn’t okay with us, but otherwise let’s just be normal! Then again, here’s me not feeling all that differently about them now either.

        • Copper

          Now seeing what their issue is, I can safely say there’s no way I’d go along with playing nice after the wedding. I wouldn’t boycott events they’re also invited to (because yeah, that just forces other people to take sides and increases the drama quotient), but I wouldn’t invite them into my home or go to theirs either.

          I’m getting all fired up on your behalf here, wanting to write a whole rant about how they’re treating you as less than, your relationship as illegitimate, just want to ignore your marriage, etc. but I’m sure that you have many more thoughts on that than I do so it’s pointless to say. But seriously, eff them. I don’t have room in my life for people who think that I’m some lesser category of person that they can just decide to treat like shit and act like because they’re not screaming about it and banning me from family events that makes it somehow ok. And I fully support it if you decide you don’t have room for that in your lives either.

          • catherine

            Copper- A-fucking-men to this comment!!! And yes, it makes me use the F word too. Seriously, there are no excuses. I know this from dealing with my own family. At the end of the day, grow the eff up, open your brain, and get over yourself. And if you can’t do that, then you aren’t my family. Eff them!

      • catherine

        God I gotta exactly that comment a million times. Sounds like some shit my mother would pull. Sorry, but this stuff makes my blood boil because it reminds me of my situation. And like ‘thank you oh so fucking much for allowing me to come to your famiyl gatherings’ seriously?? you know what family is? family loves and supports each other, that’s what. GEEZ.

        Ugh sorry, and i hope this comment shows up as replied to the original poster too, bc I just want to give you an internet hug…My grandpa (southern baptist preacher) doesn’t even know im engaged. my mom doesnt acknowledge it. its ridiculous. my family has loved me this whole time until whoops ! i wanna marry a woman!

        ok- sorry for the vent. i just want to say make sure you are taking care of YOU and nurturing YOU and what is in you and your partner’s highest good! Do not subject yourself to “less-than” treatment.

    • lady brett

      this stuff is so complicated.

      what we ended up with was basically the attitude that we didn’t want anyone at our wedding who wasn’t 100% supportive. on the one hand, it was a bit sad that there were all of 2 extended family members there, but i can guarantee it would have been more unpleasant to have the rest there, knowing that they thought it wasn’t a wedding (at best, or that it was an abomination, more likely). that perspective might be helpful to share with your mother, basically saying it’s really for the best, because the wedding will be more full of love this way.

      and, truly, our wedding was awesome and a) they missed out on that and b) i think it would have been less awesome with those family members there, not because we don’t like them, but because we may have felt some pressure to not “be alarming,” and instead we got to fully, truly 100% enjoy it. (like how we don’t kiss or usually even hold hands at family functions.)

      also, while my mother-in-law has not gotten over it (so, there’s that – mothers and friends are generally better at holding grudges than you are), it has been interesting to see my wife’s extended family think on our wedding in the long run. one aunt has told us she wishes she could have been there. another told someone (not us) that she is impressed at how “gracious” we have been at family functions (including weddings) in light of the fact that no one came to our wedding. it’s not some magic turn-around, and it doesn’t change that they weren’t there, but i think the wedding actually sparked some of this (slow and small) evolution in people who would have no other reason to bother.

      • Teafortwo

        I really appreciate how nuanced and sensitive your take on this is, Lady Brett.

        Another point to consider: the last decade or so has been a period of enormous change in social attitudes toward same sex relationships and the church is just starting to catch up. Indeed, lots of churches are at a crisis point right now about how they will proceed, and even though it is painfully slow, sanity is winning and inching forward.

        That said, I think that love is just about the only thing that ever changes anybody’s mind. So while it’s heartbreaking for loved ones not to come to a wedding because they are taking some kind of stance, years of Thanksgivings and Christmases and engaging with gay couples as real, whole people, and watching their real, whole, marriages unfold is what will eventually lead conservative relatives to loosen up in a way that retaliation never will.

    • “I’m much more bothered by the split I’ve inadvertently caused in my family.”

      Maybe I’m going to far here, but you didn’t cause anything. You’re getting married to someone you love, and they can’t support that because they’ve got whatever issues they’ve got. It sucks and I’m sorry you have to deal with this family drama, but you didn’t cause the problem. They did.

    • Remy

      I have empathy for you! My new in-laws are religious and really objected to their daughter marrying another woman (particularly a white woman who doesn’t live near them). Through some internal struggle and much discussion, my wife’s mother, sister, and brother eventually attended our wedding — at the last minute. I met them the night before. It was awkward, but I think everyone is glad they came rather than not. But her father stayed away and hasn’t spoken to my wife much in the interim (we’re coming up on a year). So when we discuss possibly spending time with her family (for a holiday or while we are visiting friends in their area of the state), it’s really awkward and confusing because I don’t know how they will treat me, or treat us together. There’s certainly been no invitation, but I asked my wife to float the idea of a visit next summer, and to start to do so SOON to allow for adjustment.

    • I agree with many of the other advice-givers. I wouldn’t boycott functions they will be at in the future, but I would not go to their home or invite them to mine. I think, if you take this advice from myself and others, that perhaps you should tell them you won’t be coming to their home anymore. Express to them that they can’t have it both ways – you’ll certainly be polite and cordial to them in mixed company, but by refusing to attend your wedding they are just being . . . well silly? I bet everything was fine and dandy when you were just a woman-loving-woman, but now that you’re a woman-marrying-woman everything’s a big deal. Now it’s “official,” whereas before they could brush it off (in their minds, not in reality).

      Kuddos to your Mom for being furious on your behalf.

      • catherine

        exactly. they can’t have it both ways.

    • Aw, I’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with such hate and awfulness on what should be such a wonderful time. At least it’s better for those people to not come than for them to come and be awful. The thing about deciding whether or not to continue to attend family functions and see them is that you don’t have to make one decision for the rest of your life. Wait and see how you feel after the wedding, and decide about attending each family gathering as they come up. It might take some time to heal after the way they are acting. Also, you might want to talk to your future wife and see how she feels. She might not want to attend gatherings with these people.

      I would talk to your dad about inviting the distant relatives. If you’re doing it for him, maybe see who he would like to have there. Perhaps he would rather have some of his friends there instead of distant family members?

      Also, remember that you didn’t do anything wrong. Your extended family is behaving very badly, and they are causing the split in your family, not you.

    • Hope

      Speaking as a Christian it is a complicated situation to be in where God calls us to love everyone including people we don’t agree with. At what point and how do we express our disagreement while continuing to love? The invitation to a wedding only gives you the option of replying yes or no.
      Your extended family seems to have tried to love you while expressing their disagreement. It sounds like they have tried to do this respectfully and privately. I imagine this is a painful choice for them. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to miss my nephew’s wedding to stay true to my beliefs.
      I apologize for the hurt this is causing you and I know you will make your own decision about how to interact with them in future.

    • I know I’m way late here but hopefully you still read this.

      I come from a strict Christian upbringing and my parents have done this. It was a cousin getting married and they very much took the same path. “We will not be attending the wedding as we do not support the marriage but you are always welcome at our house.”

      What I think some people may not understand is that this is a BIG deal for your family. My parents (after much discussion) were not willing to visibly show support for something that they didn’t believe was right and that part of your family sounds like they’re having the same issues. You can’t ask people to change their fundamental beliefs overnight even if you think they’re wrong.

      If you truly believe that they are not coming from a hateful place and that they are simply trying to do the best in what is a very confusing and difficult situation for them, then take it with grace. They may not be at your wedding but if you graciously attend the family gatherings with your lovely wife and show them that you are just two people very much in love (regardless of gender) you may make some headway with them. Which, as it sounds like you are still on mostly good terms with these people, may be more helpful in the long run rather than refusing to associate with them anymore.

  • Anonsies

    I keep forgetting to post this in happy hours, but I found out a couple weeks ago.. I’M PREGNANT (7 weeks-ish)!!!!!!! But now, I have no idea how to keep this a secret. I’m never one to turn down a glass of wine, and now it seems like I have an endless stream of birthday parties to go to before the “normal” “recommended” 12-week mark to tell. (One included my husband’s birthday, and I stealthily drank wine-colored juice out of a wine glass and carried it EVERYWHERE with me bc I was super paranoid someone would smell it or something). When did you guys start telling people? I already told my best friend from home (girlfriend knows how to keep a secret), but I have no idea how to move forward and tell people.

    *Bonus side problem* I know that my sister (who has had fertility issues, but does have a baby now) miscarried the weekend of my wedding, so I’m nervous about telling her as well, bc this pregnancy is only like a week off of her would-be pregnancy. Are there any emotional land mines here that I should watch out for?

    • Catherine McK


      I was terrible at trying to hide it, so I’m not much help. No one had ever seen me turn down a drink, so as soon as I did suspicions were raised. It was pretty easy for bigger events, Short glasses with club soda and a lime did the trick, solo cups (classy!) can hold all sorts of beverages without raising suspicions, and at one bar I ordered a can of beer and just pretended. But, really, one on one dinners, eh, when it was super early I let them wonder. After we’d had an ultrasound I was more likely to tell, especially close friends who I would turn to anyway.

      Timeline for telling people, my closest friend found out the next day, see above statement about drinking, we told our parents at 5ish weeks, some others along the way, and became more open with everyone at 12. It’s up to you guys though factoring in the risks.

      As for the emotional land mines, I think someone from the other side can be more helpful there.

      Good luck! Take lots of naps, and the 2nd tri is better (one week in I can sort of attest…)

      • Anonsies

        Thanks everyone for the congrats and advice! I’m going to talk to my partner about it, but I’m leaning towards telling our families next week (telling sis privately first) (after our first appt/ultrasound), and close friends next (so they can help me with my juice-in-the-wineglass trick at the next birthday) and then go super public around the standard 12 weeks.

    • Congratulations!

      We told family and close friends early, at 8 weeks, because we were visiting my family (who live halfway across the country) and it was my only chance to tell them the big news in person. I think after telling the close people, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, so we told everyone/social media/etc at like 9 or 10 weeks or something.

      I was nervous telling people so early because of the first trimester precaution, but I don’t regret telling early (of course, we were fortunate enough to have a healthy, viable pregnancy and no issues that would cause us to regret telling early–so far, knock on wood!)

      Ultimately, do what’s right for you. I got some pretty harsh judgement for telling at 8 weeks, but whatever. I had to tell my family I was engaged over the phone. I sure as hell was going to tell them about my pregnancy in person since I was given the chance.

    • K2

      We knew I had a high risk of miscarriage, plus there were some other family issues to deal with around the same time we found out, so we didn’t start sharing with anyone until 11 weeks, when we told my in-laws. We’ll tell my parents at 12 weeks (as soon as we see them tonight!) and then will start sharing with close friends and extended family as we see them once our parents all know. We would have told immediate MUCH family sooner if not for these complicating circumstances.

      I do think most of my family already suspects, due to the fact that they haven’t seen me take a drink in over 2 months.

      • K2

        Oh, and congratulations!

      • K2

        Regarding your sister, the one thing I’m making sure to do with my family – considering they’re going through other stuff right now – is to not make any emotional demands of them. For me, this meant telling later, when things were (relatively) “safe,” so that I didn’t have to give them good news and then take it back if I miscarried, and so that I didn’t put my mom in a position where she felt like SHE had to support ME, when in fact she needs a lot of support herself right now. I may not have been the greatest at providing that support over the last few weeks, but at least I’m not asking more of her.

        I’m also not doing anything cutesy or surprising to tell my parents, because that kind of thing demands a certain kind of response, and I want to make sure that I’m telling them in a way and an environment that allows them to be excited, if they’re so inclined, or just to cry, or not to respond very emotionally at all, depending on what works for them.

        • Anonsies

          That really helps. Thank you so much!!!

          • K2

            You’re welcome! I’m glad it was helpful. For the record, my parents were super-excited, only cried a little, wanted to tell the rest of the family right away, and my mom is only the *tiniest* bit miffed that I didn’t tell her right away regardless of what else she had going on. I appreciate that she wishes she knew earlier, but I was with her 6 weeks ago – there was no WAY I was going to give her anything else to deal with, good or bad, and I think she gets that.

    • CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!

      My sister was a steal trap! She told us at 11 weeks, I was super impressed because we are very close. She also stopped drinking booze (though she didn’t drink super regularly anyways) when she was trying to get pregnant, so you could just pass it off as that if anyone asks – do people know you’re trying to conceive?

      With regards to your sister, it really depends on your relationship with her and her personality in general. Obviously you have to tell her at some point – just be gentle and maybe let her reaction guide you, as opposed to bringing up why you’re hesitant to tell her. Having been through loss she will most likely be very happy and excited for you, even while it brings up that loss.

      • Emily H

        You’re a nicer sister than me :) You were “super impressed” while I was a bit sad inside that I didn’t hear about the pregnancy until so late. I know people have their reasons, and they are legitimate, but I thought being sisters meant I was inner circle! Like as in, if she did miscarry, I would want to know and support her through that.

        • Anonsies

          Yeah it really hurt when my sis didn’t tell me right away, and I actually found out when mom let it slip. Not exactly news my sis wanted to burden me with on my wedding day, but I was still sad that she didn’t tell me herself at some point. She is going back to her infertility docs and putting things in motion to start trying to conceive again. Silver lining! She conceived without ANY medical intervention, so hopefully the course she has to take for this baby won’t be as intense as it was with her first one.

    • KC

      Reasons people who normally drink are not drinking on this occasion:
      1. designated driver
      2. medications (lots of antibiotics, pain meds, and other things are No Alcohol Advised)
      3. pregnancy or potential pregnancy
      4. upcoming colonoscopy or similar
      5. medical condition, either short or long term
      6. they just don’t want to (or don’t really like the specific type of alcohol on offer, or *do* particularly like the non-alcoholic beverage options on offer)

      If you can make yourself the designated driver for the next however many birthday parties, that might give one truthful “out”. But you can also look in utter confusion at people who are insinuating things, or if asked why you’re not drinking say that it’s complicated/”personal”, although that may result in people coming to conclusions of recovering alcoholism/religious-conversion/STD-medications. “I’m being kind to my liver tonight” might work as a joke if you’re normally of the drinking-to-some-degree-of-excess kind? But AARGH on people trying to worm things out early.

      • Anonsies

        I’ve thought about most of these.. problem being that I’m in Europe, and the next parties I’m going to are either in walking or biking distance. And even if they weren’t, I don’t yet have a license here, so I can’t ever DD. Worst. At the family birthday last weekend I just said I was too tired. After most people left, they broke out homemade limoncello and I tried a sip (DELISH) (partner finished my shot when no one was looking. bwahaha), so hopefully I confused them.

        • KC

          Oh, gosh. Drinking in Europe is also potentially a more complicated ballgame. (England: I am waaay too much of a lightweight to be able to do sherry before the meal plus wine with each course plus a dessert wine, so please quit giving me really weird looks for choosing the proffered orange juice or whatever over a pre-dinner sherry-on-an-empty-stomach, m’kay? France: you have got to be kidding me, that wine glass is enormous and keeps getting refilled. Germany: no comment. And in various places: cobblestones/uneven sidewalks+night+heels+alcohol = problems. Okay, even minus alcohol, I find that combination challenging!)

          And homemade limoncello??? Aww. But glad that the rest of it went to a good home. :-)

          Sorry it’s such a challenge – I hope it all goes well!

      • Teafortwo

        Don’t forget: “On a cleanse. Have you read the new Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook?” Start talking about your weird diet and no one will ask again because they won’t want to hear about it.

    • anontoo

      First of all congratulations! What happy news! I don’t drink a lot of alcohol, but maybe you could have apple juice or ginger ale with ice on a short glass and pretend it’s whisky on the rocks?

      We told our both our sets of parents + brothers + sisters + some extremely close friends as well right away, but we also let them know that the risk period was the first 3 months and asked them to please not share it yet. If something had happened we would have shared it with them as well anyway. After that we started telling people at 14 weeks, when we felt comfortable.

      As for extremely public announcements (read facebook or similar), after going through infertility and being extremely aware of how hard and miraculous achieving a viable pregnancy can be (even if we have not had first hand experience with miscarriage, touch on wood, we have seen it happen to close ones), I get slightly annoyed when I see people announcing it super early, at 8 weeks, or pretty much anytime before 12 weeks or showing photos of their pregnancy sticks right after they peed on them. Of course I share their joy, and I understand the need to scream their happiness to the rooftops, but in my view (maybe I have knowledge I wish I did not have, coming from a medical background) it also shows a certain “smugness”, like pretending “no, that is not going to happen to us, we are safe”, an innocence or a naivete that rings just pretty close to insensitiveness to people who might be reading and who might have had losses or other struggles. Like taking for granted something that is so fragile and precious in every single case, even when things come easy. To me it is all just very close to bad taste.

      *(particularly with random acquaintances, I think this changes when it is your close friend telling you PERSONALLY / by email)

  • Oh, and an update on my shoe-quest. Having discovered flamenco shoes, which will be made to fit, are customizable in terms of leather colors, and and not even that expensive, I have narrowed it down to three pair and made (really, really terrible) color mock-ups in Photoshop. I am dorkily excited by this.


    (Seriously, I am not good at recoloring.)

    My thought is dark blue leather for the main, and turquoise suede for the trim. Now to narrow it down to one.

    More on the shoes here, if anyone else is interested: http://www.flamencista.com/gallardo-shoes-c-21_92_90.html?sort=3a

    • Ellen

      I kind of love the middle one.

    • Oh wow, I’m a dancer and I WANT.

  • Caitlin C

    I want to keep this short but sweet – but due to the floods in Colorado this month my wedding was sort of “ruined” (we had a ‘planned in an hour’ wedding because out of town guests were there). And I handled it fine then – but now is a different story. It’s causing me to be super short and not a nice person. Anyone any advice on how to deal when the wedding you’ve worked for get’s totaled and there isn’t anyone to blame? I need a good APW link like whoa.

    • Caitlin, I’m so sorry you had to deal with nature being shitty for your wedding. As someone who had a similar issue (Sandy wedding) , I feel your pain.

      It’s been almost a year, and I still catch myself getting wistful about the wedding we never had. It helped to write some of those feelings down, just to get them out of my head. And it’s helped to reframe my thoughts to how grateful I am at the wedding we DID have when that happens. But it still sucks.

      I don’t have any good advice for you, but I just wanted to chime in with some solidarity.

      • Caitlin C

        Thank you Sarah! That’s actually really helpful. It’s just the most lost feeling. There is NOTHING that anyone did to make my wedding the way it was, but I’m sad/mad about it. I can see the good – but I see so much more bad. Time I think will help. And more effort of “solidarity”. I really appreciate you response.

        I wish I could have been there a year ago to give you the same response!

        Quick question: No wedding at all then? Married the man, without the ceremony/party? Or delayed wedding?

  • The good news: This is my last day in the office for my soon-to-be old job! (One event to do tmrw then done-zo) As of Monday, I’m officially back to one job, and it’s instructing dance, and after an intense week of some special training, I’m feeling really excited about this life transition.

    The bad news: Considering that I mentally checked out of this job ages ago, I have a two or three projects to wrap up before walking away, and I’ve had a zero level of productivity in the past few weeks (today included). So I might have to work at home a bit this weekend or maybe even Monday morning. I feel pretty crummy for not having a better handle on my work. Also, I’m getting a better and better sense of my new boss, and she’s going to need special handling.

    More good news: Last weekend, I flew to Pittsburgh for the wedding of one of my college buddies and it was amazing to spend time with my closest friends. All the quality time with my bffs completely filled me up, and I’m glad our time together was as fantastic as I hoped.

    Last bit of whine: New job hours mean working most Fridays during APW Happy Hour, and definitely during any open threads during the week, so I will always be late to the party, desperately trying to still chat with everyone :-)

    • Caitlin C

      I’m about to be in that same boat! Yay new job (and boo it’s challenges)! But here’s to something new! Congrats!

    • Nicole

      I just left a soul-sucking job after eight years and the freedom feels beyond wonderful. Congrats!

  • Winter

    So…I just clicked a few buttons five minutes ago and bought my wedding dress online. It’s beautiful and THE ONE and I’m completely quiet on the outside but also BUGGIN’ OUT on the inside. I earned every last penny needed to buy it with tips and I’m proud of myself and thankful for the 45 day return policy in case it’s too short and can’t be altered (I’m 6’2 and happily curvy therefore almost everything is always too short for me). Ok, I had to share that; you all have a great weekend!

  • K.

    We have our wedding planned for October 2015 (I know, far away from now). We have already pushed the date back for personal reasons (grad school stress, mostly) and it seemed to be a good fit for us, in general. The 2015 summertime doesn’t work for us because we will be moving to a new state during that time, since it’s right after my FH’s grad school graduation.

    However, my FMIL (who is a teacher) is very wary and a little upset about the date because it falls during the school year. She is asking us to consider having the wedding during one of her breaks. Which, really, would mean that we would have to have it during the holidays which is basically a no-go for most people or push it to her 2016 spring break. And I really, really, really don’t want to push our date back. My FH is more on the fence about it, saying that it’s a difference of a few months and we’re going to be married for the rest of our lives. Which I get, but I also feel like there are plenty of people who have high-stress jobs who have to work around wedding dates, including us and both of my parents.

    Am I being unreasonable or one of “those” brides? It’s really important that our wedding is inclusive and respectful, as well as getting in-law relations off on the right step. And I also recognize that teachers have limited personal days (God forbid she gets the flu sometime in the next two years), tons of work and high levels of stress, a lot of times beyond what a normal 9-5’er has. And she would definitely end up hosting out-of-town family members, which I think is her true hesitation. But at the same time, I can’t help feeling like there would always be a reason to move the date. But is this one more valid? I’d especially appreciate teachers’ or teachers’ spouses/family members perspective! (As well as all of the lovely people who comment here.) Right now, I feel like if we keep our wedding month as-is, my wedding WILL be an imposition to my partner’s mother and that’s not a great feeling.

    Thank you!

    • K.

      Oh, and some extra info: the wedding will be local-ish to her (about a 2 hour drive) and we are planning on a Sunday wedding. But most likely not a brunch reception one, so the celebration would go into Monday (requiring a day off) — we chose this set up for various reasons. We could change that since it’s so early on, but most likely it would just mean people would be taking Friday off instead, since majority of our guests are traveling in. But if the ability to drive in on Friday night and leave Sunday would make a difference to her, we would absolutely 100% be willing to make that accommodation/change. But like I said, I think it’s the fact that several family members would take the time to stay for a few extra days that really has her stressing.

      • Remy

        That location/timing seems reasonable to me. She doesn’t have to stay late at the reception, and could either drive home that night or sleep at the wedding location and drive to work early the next morning. Slightly inconvenient, but not off the charts, even without a personal day. My mom’s a teacher, and a couple years ago had some difficulty with taking time off to fly to the east coast for my sister’s college graduation. Like you said — better hope she doesn’t get sick! My mom was close to retirement, so she basically said, “Screw it; I’m going, and if I don’t get paid for that day then that’s what happens.” Might not be an option for your FMIL, but maybe you can make a slight accommodation by having, say, a 6PM reception start instead of 8PM.

    • I would say if it was the mother-of-the-bride, you could pick something different. But how involved in the planning and orchestrating of the whole thing will your FMIL be? I am assuming your wedding is on a weekend since you didn’t specify otherwise.

      Also: October weddings are beautiful, don’t move it.

    • Rachel

      Well, my mom is a teacher. She is taking a few personal days to come in for our wedding. Her coworkers and boss all understand. I think she even has to get special permission to take a personal day the day before or after a holiday weekend (Presidents Day) but she has already looked into it and has been assured that it’s not a problem. She also said she’d take the day without pay if necessary, and my mom is not really someone who can afford that. I completely agree that everyone’s jobs are stressful and most everyone manages to find a way to get married without taking a ton of time off.

      I feel like Meg says a lot that your guests are grown-ups and they can figure it out. I kind of feel like she has to solve this problem on her own, by, say, not hosting out of town family members, or reducing her expectations of how wonderful of a hostess she needs to be. I don’t think you’re being That Bride at all.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Our wedding was Nov. 12, which was the Monday holiday for Veterans’ Day, and my father is a teacher. My mother’s relatives stayed at my parents’ vacation home an hour and a half from the wedding locations. I was there for 1 afternoon of the wedding weekend, and my parents were there for a couple nights. The wedding was half an hour from my parents’ primary home.

      We had our (long) ceremony at 2pm, and they started cleaning up our reception hall around 8pm, though we had planned to go until 10pm. We just didn’t have a late-night crowd, especially with people having to work the next day. Among our guests were several of my father’s co-workers and a handful of his former students.

      Your wedding date will always be an imperfect choice for someone you love. College-age cousins may not be able to fly during school breaks because of internship responsibilities, same with anyone in the tourism industry. Personally, I think it’s unfair to rule out 8 months or more of the year because one person is pre-stressed about a self-imposed obligation (to host relatives). Especially because having our wedding in the “off season” saved us so much stress. (October, however, is now a very popular time for weddings.)

    • Mezza

      Could you do Columbus Day weekend? I’m marrying a teacher on that Sunday this year, specifically because I wanted a fall wedding and she gets the Monday off.

    • MK

      My dad’s a middle school teacher and my FMIL is in administration: they can take days off if they want to. (My dad took three days off before spring break so he could hike the Grand Canyon, so it’s very doable) I say you don’t have to move it for her arbitrarily.

      • Hope

        At my school we are strongly encouraged not to take any days off during the first 6 weeks of the school year. I just went to a Sunday wedding out of state and had to leave the reception early to get home for school on Monday.
        I second the comment to check into Columbus Day. It’s a 3 day weekend that not many people besides teachers seem to get.

  • I’M AN AUNT!!!!!!!!!!

    My sister had a baby boy this week and while I am super excited (obviously) I am also sort of sad because I won’t get to meet him for four whole weeks. I live in the Midwest and she lives on the Eastcoast in our hometown :-( I am also, admittedly, jealous she has our Mom by her side at a time like this – so clearly the article about raising kids away from family is a real trigger for me because it’s likely I will be in that boat.

  • JC

    About a month ago I posted that my husband and I had gotten legally married a couple of weeks before our official wedding date (which was two weeks ago) in an attempt to relieve stress and sort of get back to basics, in a way. Anyway, I said I’d report back with my parents’ reactions to the news. We still haven’t told my dad and stepmom and don’t plan to for a while yet, but we ended up telling my mom and stepdad on the way to the ceremony. We’d initially planned to wait to tell them, but Mom was getting super stressed out, so we just went for it. She took it well–got momentarily weepy about not having been at the legal ceremony, but she got over it fast–and by the time we got to the venue, she was way more calm. Success!

  • ART

    mailed our save the dates this week! we are so happy with them. i designed them in inkscape and had them printed by catprint. i was definitely not a graphic designer before i started, and i’m still a far cry from one now, but learning to use inkscape has been really fun and easier than i had expected. it’s free and there are tons of tutorials online, so i would recommend giving it a shot if you want to design your own invite suite or other printable stuff. it can be a little glitchy but nothing too serious so far…knock on wood!

  • Stephanie B.

    We got married on Saturday (6 days ago)! We leave in a week for the honeymoon, and I’m actually grateful that we didn’t leave the day after the wedding, because I have been exhausted this week. (We did take Monday off together, though, which was lovely.)

    I’m trying VERY hard to work through a huge amount of anger I have at our venue. The short version of the story is this: they double-booked the venue, with a historical tour in the late morning/early afternoon and our wedding starting in the late afternoon. The owner didn’t tell us at all — I found out by chance, 10 days before the wedding. When I called, the owner assured me the wedding was the top priority.

    It definitely was NOT the top priority. When we arrived, there were 50 people touring the tiny B&B, and, although the owner told us everything would be set up for the wedding in the morning, nothing was set up. NOTHING. We couldn’t set up for 2 hours, which made us terribly late starting pictures, which meant we had to do a lot of pictures after the ceremony, which pushed dinner later, which annoyed several of the guests, and because we were taking pictures during the cocktail hour, we didn’t get to spend any time with the guests who left right after the cake-cutting.

    I had a sobbing meltdown when we arrived and I realized that the owner lied to us about setting up and about the wedding being the top priority. So much for wedding zen. (And I’m *really* angry with myself for getting so upset, and not protecting my experience better.)

    People have told us to request a partial refund from the B&B (and my parents, who paid for the venue, may still do that), but a refund doesn’t give us back the time we lost. It doesn’t undo the upset and stress we went through.

    I can say this: from the time I walked down the aisle until the time we went to bed, I was really, really happy. I thought I might cry from the emotion of the ceremony, but instead I was just bursting with joy.

    What I want is to be able to let go of my anger at our venue, because it’s done, and can’t be undone. I don’t want my anger at the way we were treated to overshadow the good parts (of which there were many).

    I just…don’t know how to do that. Any suggestions?

    • Copper

      I would probably seek remediation from them… check your contract, note the provisions that were not met, and contact them about it. Say that since it was not available to you at the contracted times and negatively impacted the experience in order for them to earn a greater profit by double-booking, you feel entitled to a refund of a portion of the rental fee. Not only would it be nice to get something for the trouble they put you to, it’d feel like you’d addressed it and it was resolved.

      • Stephanie B.

        As I said, my parents (who paid for the venue) may pursue a partial refund.

        But it doesn’t give us back the time we lost, and doesn’t undo the stress and upset.

        My greater concern is my feelings right now. I want to remember the wedding for the joyful parts, not for my huge anger at the venue. Right now I’m still so angry it’s coloring my memory of the wedding, and I don’t want that to happen.

        I was hoping for suggestions of how to work through the emotions, rather than contract resolution.

        • I would journal the shit out of it. Write down all your bad feelings and all your good feelings. It gets the bad ones out of your brain, and helps preserve the good ones. Or maybe host a “rant date” with one or two friends. Get together, rage and complain and go off the hook on this issue (maybe invite them to rant, too, on something) and then when you wake up the next morning, make the conscious choice to be done.

          The anger is something you will probably need to continue to acknowledge and set aside over and over again until it fades.

        • On our honeymoon, my husband and I bought a small journal. We wrote down all our happiest memories from the wedding. I would do this. Then every time you start to think about the venue, go back to your little book, and read it again.

          Ultimately, the bad memories of the venue will fade, and the good memories will be strengthened.

          While obviously what the venue did was really wrong, it’s also totally possible that if it wasn’t this, something else could have gone wrong and pushed the schedule back. Focus on the good, and the bad will fade.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I never set out to treasure my wedding day. I treasure the whole process of planning the wedding and marriage and beginning the marriage. Maybe I’m one of those cliches who says “the wedding day itself was a blur.” We were engaged for 15 months, and I can definitely say I think less about the wedding 10 months after the wedding than I was thinking about the wedding 10 months before it.

      I think getting your photos back will help you. That will give a happy-only view of the day.

      I’d also recommend figuring out what will make up for or replace what you feel you lost emotionally on your wedding day. You weren’t able to spend as much time with your guests as you wanted? Figure out what it will take to see those people soon. If you can’t see them soon, that’s OK. You’ve got a lifetime. People were annoyed dinner was late? Invite them over for an on-time dinner party. In short, focus on the additional happy memories you can make.

    • Alison O

      With this kind of thing I think all there is to be done is to just feel the feelings and let time do its thing. Let yourself cry, or scream, or punch a pillow, if it feels good. In some instances letting yourself really feel the feelings makes you feel worse in the short term, but it tends to quicken the healing.

      It’s tempting to think you’re processing the hurt by retelling the unfortunate details of the day, but usually it’s more productive to talk with loved ones about what you feel (e.g., sadness, frustration, embarrassment, anger, regret, fatigue) rather than what you think. (Literally, just saying, “I feel X” and leaving it at that can really take the oomph out of the X.)

      At the same time as letting yourself feel your feelings, it can be helpful to set limits on when or how much you’ll allow yourself to ruminate or talk about the incident. For example, you can decide ahead of time that you’re not going to discuss it during dinner, or for a day, etc. When it comes to mind, acknowledge and accept your feelings, tell yourself, compassionately, “that’s okay”, take a deep breath (or clench and unclench your fists, etc.), and then get back to whatever else you were doing. (If you have a lot of unstructured time it might be helpful to plan enjoyable activities that make you feel good in and of themselves and also distract you from what feels bad.) You could even throw in some kind of mantra (e.g., “I am so happy to be married. This frustration is temporary.”) you tell yourself, for good measure.

      Sometimes concrete actions could be warranted and help people move on, though. In this case, that might look like writing a letter to the venue expressing how the circumstances made you feel; leaving reasonable unfavorable reviews on websites; or reporting them to the Better Business Bureau. Make it short and sweet, and consider it done.

      My two (or twenty…) cents!

  • “After calling off their wedding, this couple decided to donate their reception to feed the hungry—they even brought in a clown for the kids. Talk about turning a negative into one awesome positive.”

    Wait…they brought in a clown? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!

  • Rebekah

    I know you’re trying to make a point with the language you chose, Meg, but I just want to say that I sincerely doubt that atheist “churches” have much to do with Christians any more than atheist shuls have anything to do with Judaism, aside from the name. So your comment kind of rubbed me the wrong way, especially because I feel like Christianity gets that attitude (whether yours was intentional or not) from a lot of people on a lot of topics, and in this case it is undeserved.

    • Alison O

      I don’t understand… what’s the attitude that Christianity gets that you think Meg is expressing?

      • Yeah, the snark really got to me too (although as an atheist, for different reasons). Christians didn’t drop the ball making “atheist churches” because atheists who come from a Christian background *don’t generally identify as Christian*, so it doesn’t make any sense to compare this movement (which, if you actually read the article, is not affiliated with Christianity in any way) to the fact that lots of Jewish people identify as atheists but continue to participate in Jewish religious community activities as a way to keep their heritage alive.

    • Amy March

      Exactly. This isn’t an atheist church in the Christian sense, it’s just meeting on Subdays. Very different from an atheist shul, which I understand is a legitimate part of Jewish faith. I found the flip attitude offensive.

  • Sam

    I have a question about pizza! And self-catering, more specifically…

    We recently decided to serve pizza from our favorite local place at our wedding. (Backstory: This decision came after meeting with dozens of caterers who charge SO MUCH MONEY for food that I realized no one likes anyway. Sorry, but I’m not paying $60-70/person so that we can eat chicken and asparagus. Not that chicken and asparagus can’t be good; I’m just on a tight budget and looking for something more unique.)

    The logistical part that I can’t quite figure out yet is who should be in charge of setting up the pizzas while everyone else is at the ceremony. This might involve keeping them warm in the industrial oven/kitchen at our reception venue, and setting out more pizza as we consume it. We’re expecting about 100-120 guests, so things could get a little crazy.

    Is it “a thing” to hire waitstaff (not a caterer, though) to handle something like this? Anyone have any self-catering words of wisdom or cautionary tales to share?

    • ElisabethJoanne

      You can definitely hire waitstaff without hiring a cook. Better might be to hire a few teens and a responsible adult to supervise, assuming your venue allows this. Is there a church group or sports team or school club that could use the money for a special project? My family has done this a few times, and I did it a few times when I was in high school, and it’s worked out well.

    • ART

      I am wondering the same thing. I have looked into “event staffing” that would basically do just this, since we’re planning to prepare all of the food, but I am stressing out about getting it from the fridge to the table while everyone is trying to enjoy themselves. Here is the company I’m planning to contact, not that it’s local to you (though wouldn’t that be handy!) but it might give you a sense of the possibilities and vocabulary/googling terms:


      hope that helps! pizza party FTW!

    • Del678

      It is a thing to just hire waitstaff. My cousin’s engagement party their mums made all the food before hand, then during party time hired staff heated and served eveything. Definitely a better idea than having your loved ones volunteer then not have a chance to enjoy themselves (my engagement party).

    • Love the pizza reception idea. I hope I get to go to a wedding that does this. If you can, I think hiring wait staff is a great idea. They usually aren’t that expensive (ours were $25 an hour per wait staff person), and they were worth every penny. Our staff also helped with refilling the water in the drink station, making coffee for dessert, serving dessert and cleaning up everything else. Granted we got our staff through our caterer, but our caterer was a local mediterranean restaurant. Maybe find out if there is a pizza place that you like that also has a catering service? For us, doing catering through a restaurant was still much much cheaper than a traditional caterer.

    • My dinner twin! We are also having a pizza reception. Our place will actually do the setting up for us. I just need to have people help keep things tidy at the buffet table, and I am hoping I might get some bridal brigade members to check on it a few times during the evening.

    • Caroline

      We’re planning to half self-cater and half-restaurant cater with curry from our favorite local indian restaurant (and the location of our first date!). We’re planning to hire waitstaff. I don’t quite know the logistics of it yet, but I have some friends who hired waitstaff for their wedding and got the food separately from the waitstaff and it went really well.

  • CherryBlossoms

    I was interested in the atheist shul comment. I’m agnostic and my fiancé is culturally Jewish (reform) though not religious. While I’m not converting, we plan to raise any children in the Jewish culture. What I’d love to learn more about but haven’t had much luck googling is how to reconcile my lack of belief in a higher power with cultural traditions that seem so rooted in religion (prayers, etc.). My fiancé is as he puts it a “bad explainer.” He says it’s just not a big deal to follow the traditions & not believe that the being your prayer is directed to is a real thing. What he can’t explain is why or how he arrived at that belief. Anyone out there have any words of wisdom or know of resources to explain how to think these topics through?

    • rys

      One way to think of religion is that it’s a mix of belief, behavior, and belonging. Different religions and denominations privilege these categories differently (as in, it’s not 1/3 each), and within these, individuals make their own judgments as to what they prioritize and why.

      So to use myself as an example, I’m a committed agnostic Jew, who pretty much sidelines belief and highlights behavior and belonging. Ritual, for me, is less about God and more about community. I’m not big into prayer per se, but I can appreciate services for their communal aspects, enjoy the attention to seasonal or lifecycle change, etc etc. I find this particularly resonant with Judaism which, as religions go and on the whole, is more invested in practice than faith.

      • cherryblossoms

        That’s a really helpful way to think of it with the 3Bs. I think my difficulty comes from the fact that my family of origin was (and is) extremely conservatively evangelical. In their culture, belief is the most important thing followed at a close second by behavior. And, if those two aren’t there, then there’s no chance at belonging. I really like this aspect of Judaism, it just takes a shift away from my prior experiences. Thanks for the response, I appreciated it!

        • Caroline

          I think that really is the key. In a lot of Christian churches, belief is absolutely central, and a requirement for belonging (at least, in my shaking understanding). It really really isn’t in Judaism.
          Belonging is the central focus, I would say, and behavior, as Rys said. Community. Tradition. While belief is very important for some people, it is never the make-or-break bit. My rabbi likes to joke (while really not joking at all) that when people hear him describe his understanding of G!d, they say he doesn’t believe in G!d. What the divine means to Jews is very diverse, and that is totally normalized. It doesn’t come up much. I have more discussions with my non-Jewish step-dad about Jewish theology than with friends at shul, because he is really curious about it. I have a lot more conversations about Jewish law than Jewish theology with friends.

          I think that there is a certain amount of understanding in Judaism that sometimes, you might feel the divine in the world very imminently, and sometimes, you might just be going through the motions, not believing in any divine at all, but it is still important to go through the motions, and remain in the community. Belief in the divine can ebb and flow, but practice keeps you connected to your community, and your community supports you through life.
          Also, I think there is the sense that belief may come out of practice, rather than practice coming out of belief. You take it on faith that the divine wants you to not eat pork, for no rational reason, and you discover that it leads you to being thoughtful about how you eat. Or you take it on faith that you are commanded to give thanks before eating, and you discover that the rote blessing before a meal makes you more aware that the earth’s resources are a gift (whether of the divine or the universe, or whatever), and not yours for abuse. Just my experience. (And sometimes, there are mitzvot which you really struggle with, which don’t make sense, which don’t give you benefits, and you struggle with them, and struggle with them. And that’s part of being a Jew.)

    • Alison O
      • cherryblossoms

        Great article! Thank you!

    • Alison O

      also, how LOTS of people celebrate Christmas. or Easter.

      yay candy and presents and decorations and good food and family togetherness and traditions and memories

  • CII

    Query: What is the proper protocol for acknowledging a gift sent to our home before the wedding? We are still a few weeks out from the wedding but received an advance gift. I don’t have my thank you cards yet but I imagine the sender would feel better knowing that it arrived safe. Is a quick “thank you / we received it” email acceptable if it is followed by a proper thank you card following the wedding?

    • ElisabethJoanne

      You can do the quick email, but, if my 1920s and 1950s and contemporary etiquette books are accurate, it is normal in the US for some wedding gifts to arrive before the wedding – as soon as wedding invitations go out. For these, you send the formal thank-you notes as soon as you can after they arrive.

      Your thank-you notes don’t all have to match each other or your other wedding stationery. Any chance you pick some up this weekend and get a head start?

    • RJ

      I’d add – you don’t need pretty thank-you notes – you can just write a note to say thank you. If you don’t have nice writing paper (which, in itself, is not necessary), then a sheet or card would do the trick just as well.

      For myself, I’d say a prompt but plan thanks beats a slow but pretty.

  • Kerry

    My fiance and I just found out that we got the rental house that we applied for! We’ll be moving from a condo to a two-bedroom with a YARD!

    Going to sign the lease in 15 minutes and feeling like I’m becoming more and more of a grown-up by the minute. It’s weird, and very exciting!

  • Mrs. L

    I think I’m late to the party but I have to put this out there.

    I got married last month, and it was wonderful. We loved every second of it. So here’s the problem: The photographer was great the whole time, communicative, got beautiful pictures, awesome guy everything. Before we hired him I asked about album prices and he sent an email where they started at $350 which we thought was a lot but I understand it’ll last forever it’s a lot of work etc. We said we’d decide after the wedding, fine.

    Now, after we’ve gotten the pictures we know we want an album so I asked again. He sent a PDF of the updated prices and they start at $800 for the same album that he said months earlier was $350 … At first I was just shocked, I mean we just got married and we were lucky enough that my parents paid for most of it, but I’m not going to ask them to pay for a photo album for us. And we certainly don’t have the money to drop 1000 for a photo album.

    Now a couple days later I’m kind of pissed. If I had known we would have to pay another thousand dollars for a photo album I’m not sure we would have gone with this photographer. Is that fair? I don’t think he’s trying to screw us over, I understand prices go up but this more than DOUBLED in 6 months.

    My husband thinks we should just get an album somewhere else but I was going to write him an awesome review and now it’s clouded by this. Should I mention the other email he sent? Or just get over it? Either way in 10 years I won’t remember it and I know that’s the important thing.

    • Mention the original quoted price to him. I think “you can get $350 from us for an album, or you can not get any money from us on this, since we won’t be buying one.” might be helpful.

      Otherwise, I’d say take your files and make your own album on some place like Lulu.

      • Just wanted to back this comment up, I think you should mention the original quoted price (include the date of the email so he knows it was in writing) and ask him to honor it, as that was part of your decision to hire him. I would be totally honest and say that you are thrilled with his services, you’ll simply be getting an album done elsewhere if he cannot honor that price (so he knows it’s about money). He might totally honor it and it’s not an issue at all. And if not? You can write a glowing review of his talent while also warning people to get a contract for all items in writing from the get go. That’s true and fair!

    • Caroline

      I would mention it to him, but also note there are awesome options for doing the album elsewhere. These folks http://www.alacartealbums.com/ are an apw sponsor, and while they have some expensive albums, they also have some affordable options. I’m really digging the 100-300 bucks for them to design the album then get it printed by shutterfly or blurb option.

      But by all means, mention to your photographer that he quoted you 350 for albums, and you wanted to buy an album from him at that price, but won’t be buying a more expensive album.

  • V

    Can I just say “Hooray for Rachel!”? I was just thinking this week how much I adore her writing. I find myself reading her entries even when the topic is something I have zero interest in just so I can read more of her stuff.

    • Ash

      Agreed! Rachel you are so incredibly talented and I am excited to watch your career sky rocket even further. Congrats on hauling your own star up. You deserve every success that comes your way.

      Thanks for sharing your talent here. Cheers to you!

  • I totally missed happy hour. I wanted to mention a few things though!

    First, we celebrated our second anniversary on Wednesday! HOORAY for making two years. There were some times when I thought I might kill him before we did.

    And then, the day before our anniversary, our house was broken into. They took a bunch of our favorite electronics. (BOTH cameras, an iPad, a Mac, an iPod stereo, and a Nook reader.) So now I’m really anxious and I never want to leave the house. The husband has been working at home since and we’re installing a lot more high security features on the house… but we’re stuck in our lease until December and it has me way out of sorts (and it sort of also ruined our actual anniversary). :(

    • Caroline

      Congrats on your anniversary! I’m so sorry that your house got broken into.

  • Ditto

    Just need a little support here. I married my wife in April. Yay! My family loves me, likes her, and really want to continue to have a relationship with me. However, they do not approve of our relationship (same sex) and she is not welcome at family events. In the past I’ve gone without her but now that we’re married that no longer feels right to me. Anyway, earlier this week my mom sent a group email to plan Christmas. There were a flurry of messages between everyone. I then sent a cordial, upbeat reply asking if my family was welcome and that I am going to pass if not. I’ve had this conversation individually so it shouldn’t be a surprise. Since then it’s been dead silence. I know I’m doing the right thing but I’m racked with guilt. Thoughts? Support?

    • Emmers

      That is hard. I don’t know about reaching out to your family, but maybe assume that you’ll have a Christmas away, and set about planning an awesome Christmas for the two of you? Things like decorating gingerbread houses and drinking cocoa and watching Elf (or whatever cuddly warm things that make you happy). You’ve put it out there, and hopefully they’ll include your wife. But if they are lame, then you will have some good plans in the works.

      • Emmers

        PS, I’m sorry that you have to go through this. It sucks!

    • Ann

      I think your response is totally reasonable, but others might have been made uncomfortable with the reminder that your wife is *your family.* And their discomfort is 100% their problem, not yours.

      I can see someone being upset by you essentially saying that not acknowledging your wife is not okay, because it calls them out on rude behavior. But again, that’s their problem, not yours.

      Given the radio silence, I think it’s likely that you and your wife should plan something with her family or for yourselves. You can build your own traditions together and that could be really wonderful.

      It’s okay to be upset and it’s okay to be sad about missing out on your family Christmas, but I agree refusing to go to events where your wife isn’t welcome is probably the best thing.

      (I declined holiday event plans when it was clear that my now husband, then boyfriend-of-five-years wasn’t invited. My aunt said it was because he “wasn’t family,” but my other aunt said it’s because aunt #1 didn’t want her younger children seeing a couple who lived in sin respected in the family. I (and actually my dad, as well) have way less of a relationship with that aunt now, and that makes it hard for me to have a relationship with her youngest daughter whom I absolutely adore. It’s sad, it hurts, but I needed to send the message that how my husband was treated was not okay. And that drama happened without the extra layer of homophobia.)

    • catherine

      Ugh, so sorry to hear that. It breaks my heart that people have to go through this. As woman engaged to a woman and dealing with a similar family situation, more than anything at this point it just makes me angry and furious. I can’t really act all forgiving and compassionate anymore, sorry – it’s their shit, their problem, and they are the ones missing out. It’s plain wrong is what it is.

      So go plan the most awesome loving magical Christmas with your wife!! :) :) xxxxx

    • Dodie

      Thank you! Thank you! These are exactly what I needed to hear. I’m sorry to those who are/have struggled with similar issues. It is hard. Hang in there!