Ask Team Practical: Why You Should Write

by Alyssa Mooney, Emeritus Staff

To celebrate the changes on APW this week, along with our new submission forms, and our new Ask Team Practical logo, Alyssa decided to write about submissions and why you should write that thing you’ve really been meaning to write for APW, but haven’t quite gotten up the nerve to write or submit yet. On our wedding graduate submissions form, I link to a Feministing post called, She Should Write. It says:

I’ve written a lot about how I don’t think we can close the byline gap in journalism simply by broadly (ha ha!) encouraging women to write and pitch more. If we want more diversity in media, editors have to actively reach out to non-whitedudes in specific ways. But this solution can feel pretty narrow — after all, most of us are not editors. I’m here to tell you that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.

Ask a woman you know to write something today. Ask her to write a short essay instead of just reblogging some pretty photos on her tumblr. Ask her to spend 20 minutes journaling instead of watching DVR’d episodes of Jersey Shore after work. When she sends you a link to a great article, and it’s something she totally could have written herself, tell her that.

There’s a campaign to fix the gender gap in politics called She Should Run. I like call this personal crusade She Should Write.

I’m here to tell you that writing about your wedding and your marriage is a political act. It’s giving voice to the voiceless brides who we continually see Othered by the lens. It’s giving voice to what it means to be a wife, something we almost never read or even see. So, please write. I’ll let Alyssa tell you how and why in more (sassy) detail.

You think we don’t notice, but we hear it.  On Twitter, in emails, at bookclubs…we keep hearing it over and over.

“I want to send in a submission to APW, but…”

And what follows in those tiny little ellipses is a multitude of reasons that the bride (or groom?  Pretty please?) feels insecure about sending it in.  They’re afraid that it won’t be good, that it won’t be meaningful, that their pictures are crap, that they just don’t have anything to say.

And to that we say, “Horsesh*t.”

(Okay, fine, I say that.  The rest of the APW staff say their local colloquial equivalent.)

Submissions are a huge, massive, important part of APW.  They show the breadth of the community, they allow different viewpoints that you may not have considered and they offer up opinions and circumstances that you didn’t know you shared with anyone.  They’re enlightening, invigorating, and they are the backbone of what this site is all about.  So all that, “I want to, but…” noise?  Quit it.  That’s an order.

It would be nice if that’s all it took; me virtually semi-scolding you to send in the post you know you have in you.  Trust me, if I could cure writer’s block and boost creativity with a minor chiding and a half-a** pep talk, I’d be writing this missive from my villa in the hills of Tuscany.  But since I’m sitting on my couch in Texas, drinking a Coke Zero and not a crisp, full-bodied pinot grigio from my personal vines, obviously more needs to be said than, “DO IT!”  So let’s discuss.


Vintage Weddings*

Since you need your parents’ permission for vintage wedding posts, I’m going to direct this part to them.  Feel free to copy and paste into an email if you ask them for permission to do a post and they go, “Oh, nobody wants to see those old pictures or hear our boring story….”

Dear M’am and Sir,

I’m assuming your daughter has already talked to you about APW’s vintage weddings. But maybe you’re still on the fence.  And as an editor, can I say:

PLEASE let us run your wedding!!!  Please, please, puh-llllleeeeeaaaasssseeeee?

Vintage weddings are more than just pretty.  They are where we’re going; they are where you’ve been.  One day, we will sit around with a younger version of ourselves and tell the tale of how we felt on our wedding day.  We’ll talk about how we fought with our parents over centerpieces, how we prayed that we would not trip down the aisle, how our marriage wasn’t even legal in the state at the time, can you believe it?  We’ll point out long lost friends we forgot were there, we’ll talk about how wonderful our partner looked, and how we wouldn’t do a thing different but we’d do it over in a heartbeat. And we hope that those younger versions will want to hear our story as much as we want to hear yours.

Are you divorced?  Did you have a tough marriage?  That doesn’t mean we don’t want your wedding.  We’re smart ladies. We know that life is not wrapped in tulle, tied up in an organza bow. Regardless of how it turned out, we know the joy of the day isn’t erased just because you’re not with your partner any longer. We want to know what you wore, how you handled the process and what you learned from it and from life. We want you to join us around the fire and teach us what you know because we may really need to learn it.

So please, let your daughter write about your wedding (or write about it yourself).  It’d be an honor to have you.


Alyssa, A Practical Wedding

*(In this ONE situation, vintage can refer to something from the 70’s or 80’s.  BUT ONLY THIS TIME.)


Wedding Graduates

Wedding graduates are pretty much one of the best things about APW.  In my humble opinion, they outclass what’s being shown on more mainstream wedding sites because they are real.  You can fake lovely decor, gorgeous dresses and moustaches on sticks, but you can’t fake the real happiness that you see on the faces of the couples and their family and friends.  You can’t fake that in-the-moment joy that happens when anticipation, apprehension and expectation all collide, and you just hold for the ride.

We love wedding graduates with an unrivaled passion. But! Wedding grads are the posts people are the most intimidated to write. And we get that you’re worried that the story might not be posted. (And it’s true, we can’t run every one, even though we try. We run two wedding grad posts a week, so we do what we can!)  But what seems to be the most intimidating part is trying to impart wisdom upon the readers.   Some almost-grads want their post to be the one that a reader will invite into their heart and teach them a lesson that they never realized before and thus make their life just a little easier.

But darlin’, if that is your mission, you might fail.  Like pretty much anything, the only thing you can do is be honest and hope that someone takes your words to heart.  You will never know where someone finds comfort, solace or inspiration so just tell your story and stand back.  They have to take it from there.  And remember, these posts are archived and we get new readers every day.  What may not be the perfect post when it is run, but it might stop someone from sobbing their heart out a year later. All you can do is your best, and let go. (But you do actually have to do your best if you want to make a difference.)

But grad posts don’t have to be deep, seriously introspective or even serious at all.  They can take any form, and we encourage you to mix it up!  How about an interview with yourself or your partner about the experience?  A letter to yourself, right before you walk down the aisle?  A post written by a member of your bridal party about the experience?  Think about what you’d like to tell a good friend if she got engaged and went, “Okay.  Be honest.  What was it like?” You can read other grad posts to be inspired, but it’s best to let the prompts and your own thoughts inspire you.

And you know what? It’ll come to you when it comes to you.  You might not have something to say yet.  And that’s okay too.



These are tough, but if you’ve got a talent, we want it in a big, bad way.  There are tons of tutorials all over the internet and if we didn’t love you, we could just link away all day and be smug in our pseudo-helpfulness.  However, those tutorials—as lovely as they are—are often super involved.  And we know there readers  who look at an aspect of their wedding and go, “This would be so much easier/cheaper/better to do it ourselves, but how am I supposed to find the freakin’ time and even if I had the time, how do I do it and OH SWEET BABY [deity of choice] help me!!”

Hence, APW’s Lazy Girl How-To.  It’s not about being perfect, but about getting something as close to what you want as you can, without going into debt or the loony bin in order to get that way.  And the project can be anything: decor, attire, food…  If you don’t have progress pictures from when you actually created it, lazily recreate it!  We won’t mind. The only thing it needs to have is not a lot of instructions (lazy) and lots of pictures (pretty).


So, Team Practical, how did you find the inspiration for your post, if you’ve already written one?  If you don’t have a post in you just dying to get out, I bet you have an idea for a post that someone else needs to write.  What could how-to or dilemma could you have used help with?

And before anyone asks, if your question is, “Would anyone be interested in a post about _______?”, the answer is yes.  So SUBMIT, already!

Photo courtesy of Emily Takes Photos, from the APW Flickr Pool.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com.  If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted.  Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh).  We’re not kidding.  It brings us joy.  What, you don’t want to bring your editors JOY?!?

Alyssa Mooney

Alyssa received a BA in Theatre and a minor in Gender Studies from Stephen F. Austin State University. She lives in Dallas, Texas, with her adorably red-neck husband, Maggie the Wonder Dog, and sassy baby Tater.

Staff Picks

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  • I’m going home this weekend, and thinking of asking my totally internet-savvy grandma to write a vintage wedding post, or at least dictate one to me. She and my grandpa are coming up on their 66th anniversary next month! (Did I mention this awesome lady is 91??)

    ps. We should have an actual fire to sit around. Maybe someday there will be Camp APW, a sleepaway camp for practical people. :)

    • liz

      alyssa is already bedazzling camp apw t-shirts THIS SECOND. i have no doubt.

      • My glue gun is at the ready.

    • Consider me volunteered to bring s’more fixings!

      • Alice

        Oh, I love s’mores!

        Incidentally, one member of our Bridal Brigade is a friend who agreed to take on the challenging title of “S’moreMaster.”

        • Yeah, the s’mores at our wedding were pretty much one of my favorite things. And everyone else’s, I’m pretty sure.

          Fingers crossed for s’mores at APW sleep-away camp!

    • JEM

      Camp APW is like Girl Scout Camp but way more badass.

      • That sounds like the most fun you could possibly have. Sign me up!

        • Julia

          Umm, I would go to the ends of the earth for APW summer camp.

      • And with more alcohol?

    • meg

      Just wait.

      • Awwwwwwwww snap!

      • Oh! Don’t EVEN tempt us!

      • Just wait???!! Are there more tricks up your sleeve, meg??

        • meg


          • Tina

            I remember this conversation a while back. Sitting around the fire, how we’d all be willing to pay for camp. I’m tickled that something is brewing. Can’t wait.

      • I think I’d literally FLIP OUT if we had a huge APW meet-up/camp/hotel/I don’t care what it is – somewhere! Seriously!

    • Contessa

      Talking with smart women around a campfire with a bottle of wine sounds like a really great way to spend a weekend. Sign me up too :)

    • ElfPuddle

      Oh, this vision makes my little heart happy. If we have camp, we should have scholarships for the broke people like me who otherwise can’t join the fun.

      • So in. So, so, SO in. CAMP APW! I know an awesome place on Catalina Island….. Hehe

    • bec

      Count me in!! This makes me so excited I can hardly sit still!!!

  • Emily

    Love the 70s and 80s vintage disclaimer ‘ONLY THIS TIME’ !!!

  • Just sent an email to my mom asking her permission for vintage weddings! I want everyone on the internets to see her lovely smiling face next to my dad’s goofy smiling one :)

    • update: mom wants to write it out while shes on vacation in a week! I’m excited to share them with you guys :)

  • Man. That is one suh-weet banner.

    • meg


  • You’ve just inspired me to write up a how-to for you guys for our favors!

    • YAY! (I secretly am enamored with favors for wedding or parties. I never want to recieve them, but I ALWAYS want to give them.)

  • LPC

    Unfortunately, I can’t send you my wedding. My kids would object, which is a reason I think you’ll allow. But it would be, I promise you, the greatest possible example of how a beautiful, edgy wedding doesn’t guarantee a lasting marriage. 90 guests in the Madison Room ofThe Helmsley Palace, a form-fitting dress worn against the 80s foof trend, Canal Street cat’s eye sunglasses hand-dusted with glitter for favors, my own pair of bridal sunglasses with a little plastic bride and groom glued to the bridge of the nose. I could go on. There were oysters. Never mind.

    YOU should send in your wedding. And your posts. I loved writing everything I’ve ever had posted here. It’s so easy to write when the deep feeling is already there. Plus APW is one of my favorite blogs and I like to read your stories:).

    • liz


    • Would the kids object to the story without pictures too? If not, then please write it. We have good imaginations.

  • Abby C.

    Yay! I’m planning on working up a how-to article on how I got my $30 shoes to look like $300 shoes…just need to take the pictures as I do it.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately all my DIY projects are not at all lazy girl projects. Dyeing 3500 coffee filters over 7 weeks to make poofy cabbage roses to string along the ceiling of the reception? Doing it!! Sewing hundreds of beads on my 5 yard veil? Doing that too. Heat embossing 200 invitations? That’s in September. So I don’t think anything qualifies for the Lazy Girl DIY. :)

    • Julia W

      Don’t forget that we had a letter press how-to. Not exactly “lazy”, but the post wasn’t full of every detail that you ever need to know in order to letter-press your invites.

      • EX-zackery. Read through the guidelines on the submission page and then the previous how-to’s. I mean, we had a how-to homebrew your own beer. That’s super not lazy-girl, but the tutorial was.

        Also, having heat-embossed before, I salute you.

    • I would also suggest that while dyeing 3500 coffee filters is a lot of time spent, dyeing 50 or 100 to make just a few roses is probably not so bad? Share your skills, and then let others decide how they’re going to implement them :)

      Kudos to your dedication – my crafting stuff is starting to make me a little crazy. 2.5 months to go…breathe…

  • aww this is awesome. I sometimes have thoughts for posts rolling around in my head, but then hesitate because I’ve already had my moment(s!) in the APW sun! but really, you’re right, regardless of whether it ever goes up, I should write it out for myself. if it comes out as a comprehensible essay, bam, I’ll send it in. if not, well maybe I’ve helped myself think through something.

    writing my graduate post was hard, because you can’t write about Everything. I ended up with several different drafts that covered completely different things. I started out by sort of free-writing and seeing what themes were coming through, and which ones I could really write about on the internet. If I’m honest, I think I wrote my post too soon after the wedding. I was so excited to share the joy I was feeling, and give away my dress–! But maybe had I waited, I would have said different things. So just take your time, don’t rush it, just write early and often and if an essay comes out of it, awesome. If not, that’s ok too. I just can’t agree more that the most important thing is to write it for Yourself.

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      I know what you mean about saying different things as time passes. I submitted a half-grad post (that I’m hoping will run someday…) about coming to terms with getting and being married in light of our shotgun immigration elopement. My reactions have definitely changed dramatically in the past 7 months.

      • meg

        Oh, you guys know we’re usually at least 6 months behind right? Only running two WG posts a week and 1RW post means everything takes time and has to fit with the other content.

    • I, for one, can never have enough DDay in my life. :D

      (I like the “write early and often” suggestion, since I kinda think that no matter how much time you take to write your grad post, there will always be things that, x amount of months later, you go, “Oh! That was important too!” Like many other wedding grads, I’d probably write a different post now, at nearly a year out, than I did at several months out… but I’m glad I wrote the post I did, when I did. It helped cement certain memories/lessons in my head as important and worth remembering.)

      • I think it would be fun to rehear from some wedding grads at five years out or so, just to continually note the change.

        • I am nearing two years and still haven’t gotten around to finishing the wedding grad post I drafted and then re-drafted, and then, after a while, put on the back burner. Like DDayPorter above…I just had several different posts and never decided the direction that felt most right. Maybe I will finish it. That and the how-to tech your wedding I am actually almost finished with. :)

          • Edelweiss

            OMG – PLEASE finish a how-to tech your wedding post. I will heart and heart and heart you.

      • meg

        We did start a “wedding graduates return” feature, but thus far only ONE PERSON has ever written for it.

        • Haha, I think we just all worry that you’ll open up your email and go, “This person AGAIN?!!!” ;)

          • meg

            I pretty much never do that. I am just happy when I know readers by name, since I somehow can’t manage to know everyone by name… somehow…. So I like ongoing posts from people, and I think other people like it too.

        • That’s too bad. I’d love to write a “Wedding Grad” return-type post. I think it’s really neat to see where people are at now, their thoughts on their wedding, their post, etc. I’m coming up on my one-year wedding anniversary, but perhaps that’s too soon to write a follow-up post.

          Maybe though I’ll think about writing one, especially in relation to my feelings of feeling beautiful and how I struggled with that.. Things are changing on that front, and it might not be posted.. but it could be really awesome (and therapeutic) to write something like that! :)

          • Write it, write it! *enables* :D

    • Yeah – I started a grad post the week after the wedding… but I didn’t rewrite it and send it in until our 1 yr anniv. I’m glad I wrote something right after, because I didn’t want to lose those immediate thoughts… but it was also nice to wait and let things simmer.

      “I just can’t agree more that the most important thing is to write it for Yourself.”


  • Would it be possible to bump the number of wedding graduate posts up to three a week instead of two? I think it’s safe to say tons of us wedding undergraduates love reading them as much as y’all do…

    You’ve probably already about this option and decided against it, but I’m just askin’. With love!

    • meg

      Nope! I decided a long time ago that two is about right. We’ve got a lot of stuff to talk about, and besides, I want each one to feel special. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if you got it every day.

      Besides, you have one Wordless Wedding a week now too!

  • ElfPuddle

    My undergrad post is in Meg’s in-box, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever written. It doesn’t really matter if it ever gets posted, either. It was good for my soul to get it out of my system and send it to my good non-judgmental friend who loves me like I am. I think the rest of you should send her your posts, too!

    (And just because I’ve never met Meg, Alyssa, or Lauren in person does NOT mean that they aren’t my good friends. So there.)

    • Amanda

      I also sent mine, and I feel so silly now, I know it is not the point to see it up and online, and maybe my experience was not that particular though it was an international and mixed culture wedding. I am glad I just wrote everything down after it happened because I never want to forget the magic joyful floaty feeling of the day. I also feel like Meg Alyssa and Lauren are friends along with so many of the commenters, many of which I also did not meet, that´s how great this community is. Anyway, got that out of my system. Also vote for the more than 2 wedding grads a week idea someone suggested above, really love reading those and the reclaiming wife posts.

      • meg

        Why would you feel silly????? That’s the whole point of this post! The point is that you should write them, and you should stop thinking we’re secretly judging you. We’re not! We’re trying to dig through all the submissions and figure out an editorial calendar that makes sense.

        And think about it! You love Wedding Grad posts and RW posts. If you wanted more Wedding Grad Posts you’d have to give up Ask Team Practical, or Vintage Weddings, or my writing. And chances are you don’t want to do that ;) We’re just working out a balance. Wedding Grads are like pie. Delicious, but you’d be sick if you ate it three times a day.

        • Well there you go making sense again. It seemed worth asking :)

          But you’re right–I wouldn’t rather have more graduate posts if it meant fewer reclaiming wife posts. Life is so hard. *throw back head, back of hand to forehead*

          • Hahaha . . . you need a fainting couch.

        • carrie

          There is a flashy wedding blog that posts like 14 times a day and it drives me effing crazy. Why don’t I unsub? I have no idea. Because if I see one more pair of silver Jimmy Choo peeptoes…(no offense to Jimmy Choo. Or peeptoes.)

          So while I would love to read more APW, you are giving us the right amount to digest in a day at least in my opinion!

          • meg


        • :) Thanks. And you girls inspired me to FINALLY start a blog, I have so much inside, and I have been thinking about it, and husband has been encouraging me to….so there.

    • That’s how I’ve felt about the stuff I’ve sent in. So why am I still sitting on an idea?

      I’ve also felt that heck, I like what I wrote. If they don’t run it on their blog I’ll run it on mine but by golly the world will see what I have to say!

      • meg

        And we’ve run PLENTY of your stuff and everyone loved it!!! Mmmmm… now I’m thinking about your wedding. Mmmmm….

    • meg

      Well, it’s not in MY inbox (I checked), so I assume you mean it’s in the wedding graduate inbox, where it should be!

      • ElfPuddle

        Nope. I’m still an undergrad.

        You don’t suppose I went and mailed it to the wrong address and someone I’ve never heard of has my undergrad post?


        • meg

          Oh! Undergrad! Yes that’s in the right place, I forwarded it along :) We don’t publish a ton of undergrads, but you never knowwwwwww…..

    • We have it! We have a big database of posts that we have received, and it’s in there. It isn’t lost in the ether, promise. :)

      • ElfPuddle

        Oh, good.

        I was having visions of awfulness.

  • Contessa

    I am wading through my second wedding’s “How Big/What is Appropriate/What Do I Deserve” mental miasma right now. I plan to keep a journal, if for no other reason than to save my therapist some time in the retelling. The previously posted Second Wedding posts have been helpful though, to the point where I expect that someone will write, “Whatever you want is appropriate!” It just doesn’t feel that simple. There could be a post in there for you :)

    • meg

      Do it.

  • I love your She Should Write crusade! I don’t think any of my friends write anything. Ever. But they’re intelligent, hysterical women, and I’m sure they would have something to say. Thank you for encouraging me to write and to encourage my friends as well. :) I really really enjoy reading APW. I just got married last month so maybe I will dream something up someday soon! :)

  • I don’t think my Wedding Grad post was written from a point of inspiration, actually . . . in my particular case, it was that I had an experience that I couldn’t share with anyone in my life, and I was simply about to burst from not talking about it. (Okay, I could’ve shared it, but himself and I had agreed not to do so.) This forum was the one place I could comment on it freely, and for that, I’m incredibly grateful.

    If I could’ve shared my story around a campfire, I SO would have.

    Also, I will write today. One of my short stories was published recently and I’ve started another with potential . . . should probably work on it. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

  • “Are you divorced? Did you have a tough marriage? That doesn’t mean we don’t want your wedding.”

    I was wondering about this, actually – whether it mattered if vintage weddings = happy marriages. (I still don’t think my mom would be up for it, though :-/)

    “We’re smart ladies. We know that life is not wrapped in tulle, tied up in an organza bow.”

    Very true – I would definitely be interested in reading a vintage wedding post from someone whose marriage didn’t turn out as rosily as they hoped.

    • bec

      I, too, was wondering about that. My parents divorced after 34 years but I still love their goofy, shootgun wedding look with my mom in her 70s purple dress (and me in her tummy) and my dad in his wierd suit thing. I would love to share it, and am now inspired to dig through their photo albums and find the pics again. Could be fun!

      • As long as you ask them first, bring it!

    • APW is all about the real, and divorce is a reality. Anyone who is reading a Vintage Wedding, and ends up disappointed because the marriage ended up in divorce, probably isn’t getting out of the series what the intent is.
      Plus, the pictures are SO fun…. :-)

  • I don’t actually know much about my own parents’ wedding. They don’t always share much about themselves, emotionally. But my dad had a fro his parents hated and my mom was a twenty-something with braces, so I imagine there was some Practical thinking going on there. I’ll tell her she should submit something!

    The only question is how to explain to my mother that I stalk a wedding blog when I’m not even engaged yet?…

    • Hey Emily! I write for this wedding blog called, “A Practical Wedding.” You should go check it out and tell me what you think of my writing!!

      There. We’re internet buddies and I just asked you to read my stuff, even though it’s a wedding blog. Now you have an excuse to be reading and I can have my 20-something with braces vintage wedding!! :-)

  • My graduate post is done! I wanted to write it right after our wedding while everything is still raw. We got married less than 48 hours ago. I’m just having a hard time hitting that send button…

    • meg

      My advice? Hold it for at least two weeks. I always tell everyone you shouldn’t even PONDER submitting till you’d be back from a two week honeymoon. Trust me, I also wrote stuff right after the wedding. None of it ever was published on the site, because with a two week breather it turned out I wanted to say different things. So wait. And see. You’ll know when you’re ready to be brave and hit send.

    • ElfPuddle

      What are you doing here?
      Go be a newlywed!

      And congratulations!

      • meg

        Indeed! Go! We’ll see you in two (amazing) weeks.

  • I need to do some DIY stuff. Hmm, thinking about welcome folder, or boutineers, or your own cake topper. Let me dig around in my craft supplies and start putting some things together!

    • OH! i was just thinking that i didn’t have anything DIY to contribute (maybe i lean a little more towards the “lazy” in “lazy-girl”), but i DID make a pretty adorable cake topper. kinda seems to easy/obvious for a tutorial, though? hm.

  • I haven’t been on APW for a few weeks due to a busy summer schedule & I’ve missed it very much. Funny this is the first post I read because I’ve been lagging on writing my wedding grad post for seven months & counting. It’s my goal for next week :-)

    I hope this inspires everyone else too because I adore reading everyone’s stories!

  • “And remember, these posts are archived and we get new readers every day. What may not be the perfect post when it is run, but it might stop someone from sobbing their heart out a year later.”

    oh, FOR SURE. one of the first things i did after discovering APW was go back through the archives to read every single grad post. some of those things worked serious magic for me, but their authors will never know.

    • If you leave comments they might. ;)

      I check mine every so often to see if someone’s said something new about it. From the stats on my site I can tell when someone has read the post and clicked over to my site.

  • I’m emailing this page to myself right now, because it’s the only way I remember to do anything these days….

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