The Best of APW 2014


Our favorite posts from the past year

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

Dear APW,

As usual, the whole APW staff is taking a (well deserved) holiday break! There are some wise souls who publish during the two-week Christmas to New Years downtime, but then there are other wise souls (um, us) who have cocktails and naps on the brain. Naps we haven’t gotten in all year, because 2014 was a doozy for work (a good doozy, but a doozy). For you regular readers, this is where we leave you. We’ll meet again on Monday, January 5th, when we have the best line up of January and Febuary content that we’ve EVER had. But don’t worry, there is a open thread below, and if you want to revisit it on the next two Fridays to hang, well, you know the drill.

In the meantime…

If You’re Brand New Here…

May I suggest our pre-engagedengaged, and married pages. And our pages on City Hall WeddingsAt-Home Weddings, and Elopements will help you think outside of the wedding industry box. Plus, The APW book is just waiting for you to write in margins and hand off to your mama. In January, we’ll be back to delight with you over your engagements.

Best Of 2014

For those you wanting a walk down the memory lane of 2014, those of you looking for good stuff to read and reread over the holidays, and for those of you who just got engaged (Squeeee! Congrats!) and want to get started, here is the best of APW in the last year. We think so at least. Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments.

Till January 5th, cheers! Wishing you naps, long quiet walks, cozy time with the ones you love, and some mulled wine and cookies. We can’t wait for the New Year. Till then, our love.

xo,
Meg & The APW Team

Best of 2014 Rev

Wedding Planning

Happy Engagement! (It’s Okay To Freak Out): To send to all your newly engaged friends.

Engagement Ring (Again): When you have to replace your engagement ring five years later, it turns out you’ve figured out what you wished you’d known the first time around.

What To Do When You’ve Got Wedding Sticker Shock: For when you realize you can’t afford that Pinterest wedding.

You Could Buy A Car With That Wedding: Don’t let anyone shame you, your wedding, or your wedding budget. Turns out, cars are not as emotionally fulfilling as advertised.

What My Second Wedding Taught Me: The things you do differently, when you get a second chance.

Elisabeth: Body Politics: Love your body on your wedding day.

Fuck You And The WIC Too: For when you care about the flowers, damnit!

Planning A Wedding When A Loved One Is Dying: You’re not alone, when it comes to making tough decisions.

Why I’m Having A Wedding: “It’s been a rough year for our family. Well, a rough several generations, but things have been especially hard for my mom for the last couple of years.”

Best of 2014 Logistics

HOW-TOS, Logistics, & Details

SPF & Weddings Makeup: Myth or Reality?: We bust the myths of SPF in wedding makeup, so you don’t have to.

10 Tips For Plus Size Wedding Dress Shopping: Practical advice for dress shopping, without the body shaming.

How To Prepare Big-Batch Cocktails For Your Wedding: No bartender can muddle a hundred drinks in an hour, so here are some shortcuts.

Putting Together A Couture Potluck Wedding Reception: How one couple did it, with everything from setup to cleanup.

How To Buy Alcohol For Your Wedding: The DIT guide to having enough booze on your wedding day.

How To Have A Parent-Friendly Wedding: Because the kids take care of their own entertainment.

How To DIY A Surreal Cloud Backdrop: Who says you have to get your head out of the clouds?

How To Make A No-Sew Wedding Backdrop: Make a bold statement with a big backdrop!

Best of 2014 Marriage

 

Marriage & More

APW Basics: The Self-Full Wife: The things we’ve learned on APW about being a wife, and so much more.

Five Tips For Couples Counseling: The who, when, why, and how of pursuing therapy together.

Personal Budgeting When You’re No Longer Broke: Real-life money management, from real-life people.

Losing The Key To Marriage: On fighting, and knowing that you’re fighting on the same team (even when you’re not).

Marrying Up: They tell you to marry rich. They don’t tell you that causes as many problems as it solves.

On Having Sex With Other People: An interview explains why, and how, one couple decided to pursue sex with other people.

Coming To The End Of Our Triumph: “I thought divorce only happened to people who were… not us.”

7 Tricks That Helped Our Interfaith Family Sort Out The Holidays: Ten years of lessons, applicable to any couple with two sets of December traditions. (Um, all couples?)

Best of 2014 Rev KIds

Kids/No Kids

Motherhood: Year One: It may not be the coolest to you, but it’s the coolest to me.

Waiting For The Stork: Lesbian conception, by way of FedEx.

Becoming A Mother By Marriage: Life as the third parent.

Do We Want Kids?: Decisions don’t make themselves.

Capitulation: Babies: Your partner wants kids, and you do it for them. Turns out, it’s great. Also: fostering.

proud of

Shit We’re Just Proud Of

Student Loan Debts And A Mortgaged Future: For richer, for poorer, and everything in between.

No Homo: Teenagers, gay weddings, and dog custody.

Letters To My Maid of Honor: “To my sister, who needed to leave, so I could become me.”

Letter From The Editor: Hungry (For It): “I could see that part of her performance came from a well of pure rage. It was a well I could identify, because it’s in me too.”

Proud Of Myself: When you can’t put “got gay married before it was cool” on your resume, sometimes you just have to learn from a three-year-old.

Nude Wedding Shoes: The task of finding nude shoes when you’re biracial.

Is That What I Really Look Like?: Reflections on joy and body image.

A Day In The Life: Twelve hours with APW’s Editor-In-Chief.

The Lena Dunham Special Report: We are those kinds of girls.

My First Call With A Psychic: Maddie test drives California Psychics.

Holidays When Your Family Isn’t Picture Perfect: Managing family conflict and drama during the holidays.

On Loss, Self, and Sequins: “Now, if we were married and something horrible happened to me, he’d be a young, gorgeous, and haunted widower, instead of a messed up guy who’s basically-what-amounted-to-a-live-in-girlfriend died. That was my generosity of thought in a very dark week.”

The Magic We Lost When My Father Died: “Our hero, the bell still rings for you.”

Goodnight Noises Everywhere: “Your task is to comfort the only survivor, who is four years old.”

Happy Holidays, y’all. We’ll miss you.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com. #NASTY

Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Anon for this

    Yay open thread, because I have some first-married-Christmas venting to do. We spent Thanksgiving with my husband’s extended family. Which means Christmas with my family, who were nice enough to invite my husband’s immediate family for Christmas dinner. Also we are having a his-extended-family dinner this weekend, and a his-immediate-family brunch next weekend, and last weekend he and his mom went shopping for me on Saturday and he went with her to buy a Christmas tree on Sunday. It’s a lot of togetherness! But every single time we talk to her, she wants something else. We put the lights on her tree on Tuesday. She wants us to come decorate it tomorrow. On and on. And on.

    We are definitely going to end up spending more time with his family Christmas week than with mine, and…I don’t want to be counting the hours and comparing them, that feels really petty, but at the same time, I resent that the person who makes demands ends up getting more than the people who give us space and are gracious about working within our schedules. Plus, it’s just too much. With the exception of Christmas Eve, which we spend at my parents’ house and she is not invited for, my MIL has literally gone through every single day starting tomorrow and ending a week from Monday and tried to pin us down for some kind of plans. Every time we say we can’t do something, I can see her recalculating to figure out the next thing to ask for.

    I do feel bad that she is a widow who is dealing with the child she had a closer relationship with having married someone who is having trouble warming up to her (that’s me). I get that she’s lonely and worried about losing her relationship with my husband, and I wish there was a way to reassure her that I am not going to present him with any me-or-her ultimatum. But she’s been a widow for more than 10 years and her children are in their 30s — it’s not like she couldn’t have foreseen some of this and tried to get herself right with it in advance. And making a lot of demands on my time and failing to respect my boundaries is not the way to a better relationship with me. Argh. Argh argh argh.

    • Pileofstix

      Ugh, this is so frustrating and I’m sorry you have to deal with it. I think you have two steps to do here.
      Step 1: Talk with your husband about boundries. Family (both of your familes!) are important. However, you guys are a family too, and that needs to be respected. It might be too late for this year, but as soon as you can, sit down and talk about what boundries mean for both of you, and what is appropriate. You need time with both of your families, but the most alarming thing to me is that it seems like his mom is having a hard time letting go of traditions she may have held with him as a child that he should now be sharing/developing with you.
      Step 2: Your husband then needs to talk with his mom. This is his relationship to manage and he needs to let her know in a loving and kind way that you two are developing your own family traditions that may in some way mean winding down on some of those he shares with her. It’s important that she still feel involved, so you two may need to have created some compromises (maybe you help buy and decorate her tree, but you two then do your own tree togetherr; you make sure to have one meal or event during Christmas week, but the rest of the week is for yourselves). However, he needs to stress that you two are building a family also and it’s important he is fully available to do that.
      This is a tough situation to handle, but it’s so fundamental to creating a baby family that can survive. If you two are talking about having children, then it’s crucial you start creating those boundries now to ensure that you have the space to do that for your children. Communication, compromise, and flexibility are the keys here .Good luck!

      • Kayjayoh

        This. What she said. Talk to your husband and ask him to set the boundaries with his mother.

      • Lawyerette510

        Yep, she said it better than I did, so go with this!

    • Violet

      Argh, argh, argh. This is totally one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. She’s worried you’ll take away time with her son from her, so she panics and acts demanding, which makes you want to withdraw, thereby taking time with her son from her.

      As for unreasonable demands- it is so frustrating when the squeaky wheel gets the grease. It totally reinforces the bad behavior and makes it more likely that person will be demanding again in the future. I totally get where you’re coming from to be concerned about this being a pattern.

      Of course everyone’s going to suggest your husband have this conversation with her instead of you, so this is gonna require a huddle between you and your husband first. But the conversation needs to be, “Mom, we love you and are excited to spend time with you. Our time with you will be X event, Y event, and Z event.” And that’s it. Draw the line. Any other invites you politely decline, until she *eventually* (maybe?) gets it. (She might never stop asking, that’s okay, just keep politely declining.)

      I think it’s totally valid to acknowledge that this is going to be a loss for her. Trying to make it seem like you guys drawing healthy boundaries is not going to come at the cost of some discomfort to her is going to backfire. This will be uncomfortable for her. But that’s her issue to manage, not yours to dance around.

      • Anon for this

        We’re definitely working on it. I won’t say our last conversation was quite a huddle, more me talking in circles for 20 minutes to get him to understand why I was so upset. He gets it, but he also is so worried about her, and then, because she’s afraid to have a fight with me, she keeps lashing out at him, which makes him more worried about her at the same time as it makes him less look forward to seeing her.

        She’ll never stop asking. She won’t take no for an answer ever, on anything, even the small stuff, never mind the big stuff.

        • Lawyerette510

          “She’ll never stop asking. She won’t take no for an answer ever, on anything, even the small stuff, never mind the big stuff.”

          What about cutting her off at the pass on some things? Like you and your husband planning out holiday week(s) ahead of time and blocking out how many hours/ what days are for your-new-little-family (and friends if you want), what is for your family and what is for his family. And then, proactively invite her for things and say no to the other things, it can be a polite no as in “We’ve got other plans and commitments for Sunday and Monday, but we’re so excited to see you on Tuesday to light and decorate your tree, and then again for Christmas dinner on Thursday.”

          It’s reasonable and healthy for your husband to set boundaries and devote time to building your own little family together.

        • Violet

          Yeah, there are definitely going to be people who never stop asking. My sympathies, seriously. I actually don’t know what it means to not take no as an answer. Presumably she doesn’t kidnap you at gunpoint if you say no. Is what you mean that when someone tells her “no,” she pouts or makes them feel miserable enough until they give in and cave? Especially if there’s the grief stuff going on that makes it uncomfortable for your husband, I can see why he gives in to this. And that’s probably the bit he’s trying to avoid?

          • Anon for this

            She argues. To say no to her, at least without saying it and then immediately cutting off the conversation by physically leaving and then doing the same every time she brings is up again, means saying no in a series of different ways in response to an increasingly aggressive insistence, over an extended period of time. Then she gets my husband alone and bullies him — yells and screams and guilt trips about how he’s letting down not just her but other people in the family. Or once, 36 hours after I disagreed with her on something, she went through six months of text messages to prove that I was wrong about how a specific event went down. (It went down largely in phone conversations, but she took the text confirming the outcome of the phone conversations as evidence for the whole event.) So far it hasn’t come to this over us not wanting to attend some specific event, but we went through it repeatedly during wedding planning over things like the guest list and my failure to get her approval for my dress.

            Thinking back, the way she got us to attend a wedding event we didn’t want to was she told us she was having a dinner for her extended family two nights before the wedding. We told her we had other plans that night. (In my case, sitting home alone and decompressing, but still.) She went ahead with her plans for the dinner, making clear she assumed we’d be there. In the end, my choice was to go to an event I’d explicitly said I could not attend or to have the entire family, many of whom I hadn’t met, think I was unfriendly/weird when I didn’t show up to an event they obviously would not have known I’d said months in advance I wasn’t going to.

          • Violet

            Okee doke, gotcha. In light of this, I first want to give you huge props for dealing with her thus far. And for having enough compassion to even write the last paragraph of your original question.Woah. You are more generous than I could be.
            This is some toxic stuff. Very. It’s manipulative and damaging. I can see why your husband doesn’t want to do all the follow through necessary for the “no,” because she’s made it pretty clear that it would mean they can’t have any relationship at all. (Because you’re right, the physically leaving the room, ending the phone call, ignoring texts is the only real way to shut it down, but that effectively ends the relationship if she can’t adjust to be more appropriate.)
            This is not just a huddle, and not in time for this year’s holidays, but clearly this is going to be an ongoing discussion with your husband. I’m guessing things will eventually come to a head, but he’s clearly not there yet. Thinking of a toxic person in my partner’s family, it took years to finally come to a head and get sorted. Hugs from an internet stranger, if you’d like them.

          • Lauren from NH

            You may not be ready to hear this, but it’s therapy time and past. Talk to a professional about how to deal with this behavior. This is way way WAY to much for you and your husband to handle on your own. You are not at fault, you should not be embarrassed and you should not have to deal with this. Best wishes! I know it’s hard to make that first step and therapy may feel like crap at first, but in my experience it helps HUGE!

          • Anon for this

            I’m ready, it’s getting him ready…

            But he may be there by the end of these holidays.

          • Natalie

            Your failure to get HER approval on YOUR wedding dress? That’s just insane.

            Props for not completely losing your cool with her. That sounds very difficult to deal with. It’s especially hard that she’s making your husband feel guilty, so he likely feels torn between the two of you, which sucks. Can you talk with him about setting aside certain days for time without her that you two will not budge on? Then he can (sounds like he already has) give in to some of her demands, allowing him to feel like he’s being a dutiful son, but you still get some time away from her.

          • p.

            I’m a few days late, but I had another thought that may help, and that is to keep in mind that if this is your MIL’s personality, then others — especially those in her extended family– already know it. She’s probably bullied/guilted them into things, too, over the years. My aunt can be a bit like your MIL, and having seen that side of her repeatedly over the years, I’m not surprised when my cousin and his wife aren’t at family events, even at events my aunt is hosting. Everyone knows my aunt is a piece of work, and understands that her son and his family have to set boundaries with her.

    • laurasmash

      That is really difficult. Would it be possible for him to have some time with his mom while you spend time with your family? When my fiance and I go home for Christmas we always end up with a few days where he hangs out with his parents or his brothers and I hang out with my family. Because neither of us can be expected to enjoy hanging out with the other’s family ALL THE TIME. So we do the major events together with alternating families (xmas eve, xmas day, etc), and we assume that for the rest of our trip we don’t have to be together all the time, because we are together all the time for the rest of the year.

    • Lauren from NH

      This was totally my mom after my dad died. She got very possessive of us right when we were all headed off to college, making new friends, finding new loves and adventures. Smothering causes A LOT of resentment and as others have said, just perpetuates the problem. It was/is a shitty circumstance no doubt, but you (your husband) get to have a life of your own and every time you choose to do something separate from MOM it isn’t a rejection of her. 10 years after though? I don’t mean to put a time table on grief, but she should have somewhat adjusted her expectations/attachment in this time. I hope she still can, but it may take a counselor for her to get there. Lay down some boundaries and don’t feel too bad, you get to want balance in your life, you absolutely do!

      • Anon for this

        It’s not even mostly about grief. It’s about control. Since her kids were teenagers when her husband died, she was the only one in charge, and she has not let go of that even now that they’re in their 30s. Them having grownup lives is very threatening to her.

        But of course the grief and the being alone are always there in the background making it hard for my husband to set boundaries.

        • Lawyerette510

          As someone who has family members who operate based on a desire and pattern of exercising control over the rest of the family, the only way to solve that is for the person she’s trying to control to not let her. It’s family, it’s his mom, it’s a pattern he’s lived with for sounds like over a decade, so that’s easy to type and hard to do, but it is possible. Good luck and big hugs in the meantime.

          • Lauren from NH

            Lawyerette is absolutely right. The tough part about that is that is may mean you need to “care” a little less. By that I mean, with all the emotions and emotional arguemtns flying through the air it can be hard to remember/defend that your position is reasonable and fair, so you need to for you, for your conversations with your husband, and for how you both deal with your MIL take 95% of the emotions out of the equation. You are adults, you get to do whatever you want with your time and she can choose to be offended and miserable about that or she can do something about it, such as find other activities, make other friends, enjoy some quiet time. She doesn’t get to depend her whole world and happiness on your husband, it’s not fair and it’s not healthy, period, grief or no grief. It may take some emotional practice and if it were me the first couple times I said NO would be pretty stressful and I would be very very worried about what was going to happen next (would she leave us endless voice mails, give us the cold shoulder next visit), but it will be worth it.

      • lottie

        It sounds like a very challenging situation. But I want to suggest that while a decade is a long time, one of the biggest challenges of grieving is not knowing or being able to anticipate how situations make you feel. So to be charitable to the MIL, I think it’s important to approach conversations with the awareness that she may feel unsettled or feel her husband’s loss more acutely now than before and in ways she didn’t expect.

    • Sarah

      Pile of stix is dead on….you may also want to reiterate to your husband how important setting a precedent is with this kind of thing.

    • honeycomehome

      She is asking for a lot, and you deserve time with your husband and time with your family, absolutely. But she is only asking. You can say no. You say she “won’t take no for an answer” but that’s not entirely the case, is it? She can ask you to come decorate, but you can say no and then… not show up to decorate, right? It may be that your husband needs to work on saying no. It’s a process. It’s not just your MIL with a changing relationship. You husband, too, in the process of redefining himself and reordering the roles he plays in his life. He’s had 30 years where he’s been a son, first and foremost. Probably especially for the last ten. It sounds like your relationship/marriage is still a little new. You have to give him some time to instinctually feel that he is “husband” as equally (and more, someday) than he is “son.” Learning to say no is a part of that, and you should be communicating with him about it. When he does say no, acknowledge it and say thank you. It’s probably too late to start crossing out plans for this year, but this is the year to start having a discussion.

      • p.

        I definitely had to learn to set boundaries with my mom, and it did take time, and it was hard at times. Two things that worked for me:

        (1) Set expectations in advance – My mom tends to ask (or expect) me to be involved in all of the usual family holiday events unless I tell her differently. This year, for example, it was that we’ll be staying at my in-laws on Christmas Eve night and coming to my parents house for Christmas morning. In your case, it may mean, as someone else suggested, preempting her requests with something like: “We’re devoting one night to each family to help decorate the tree. Which night would you like?”

        (2) Make it about your marriage (because it is) – When my mom made requests, I repeatedly reminded her that I’m balancing the needs of many families around the holidays, as well as my own need to have time with my spouse. This worked as a way to gently remind her that she’s not the only person I have to consider. And It also worked because my mom is someone who really wants to be helpful, so if she thinks that I’m stressed about making time for everyone, her impulse is to relieve that stress.

        • Anon for this

          This is important: we need to do better about setting expectations in advance. She’ll still ask for more, but if we’re proactive about defining things ahead of time, it gives us an answer each time she asks — rather than “uh, we’ll have to discuss that with each other” it’s some gentle version of “we’ll do the thing we said we’d do.”

  • lady brett

    happy 6th day of solstice y’all! at least, that’s where we’re at at my house. our made-up holiday has been a blast (and a bit of a mess…they are animals, after all).

    • Manda9339

      I know I’m supposed to be seeing the stuff on the floor, but all I see is ooooh pretty exposed brick! :-)

    • M.

      This is just the happy-makingest thing I can imagine right now <3 <3 <3

    • Michelle Van Engen

      Can you share more about your made-up holiday? I’d love to find a way to mark the solstice.

      • lady brett

        sure! it’s a week-long celebration leading up to the solstice (or, 8 days in this case, in the interest of starting it on a weekend).

        the mythology behind it is that we create a cozy space in our home to welcome the animals who are looking for a place to spend the darkest days of the year and wait out the return of longer days.

        the actual execution has been reminiscent of dinovember (with a dash of hanukkah). each day of solstice an animal comes in to stay by our lit and wooded fireplace, bringing with them a smallish gift (some for each of us, some for everyone, some to give to other people) and a contribution to our solstice feast.

        on the actual solstice, we invite our friends and family for the solstice feast (vegetarian, because animals), and the animals will leave the ‘main’ present for the kids, before departing (of course, the stuffed ones will probably be claimed and not allowed to leave…i imagine the nick-knacks will make it out, though). that’s also when the spouse and i are exchanging gifts, and when we’re giving any friend-gifts we have.

        it’s been great fun to set up. the kids are totally distressed by the behavior of the animals (especially the eating of the gingerbread houses, but they also have a tendency to messily help themselves to their feast contributions). the kids also decided of their own volition that the particularly messy scene in the picture was probably because the skunk wasn’t finished when they got home early and surprised him, so he turned into a stuffed animal.

        • cbee

          I love this!

        • Lauren from NH

          That last part just melted my heart! Kids can make anything magical :)

        • Em

          This is amazing.

        • Emily

          I have a friend who does something similar and on the solstice (the 21st) they use no electric lights , so that they are very aware of what a short day it is.

  • Kate

    Yay! Open thread! My week off for Christmas is so close I can almost taste it.

    In other great news, we got our engagement pictures, courtesy of Linda Abbott Photography (found her on APW and ADORE HER). Just in time to order big prints of my face for all my family members.

    I just love how well they turned out! We’re dancers, silly, and camera shy, and she captured us perfectly. Looking at these, I felt beautiful for the first time in years. What a wonderful gift for her to give us. :)

    • Natalie

      wow! That last one especially – so romantic and dramatic! You are gorgeous.

    • jashshea

      Both outfits are fab, but that green one looks SMOKING on you!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Lovely photos. Your dresses are DA BEST!

      • honeycomehome

        GORGEOUS. Where did you get that green dress? It’s perfection on you.

        • Kate

          I got them both at Boston Store the night before. I had the hardest time finding something I felt confident in, but I love both of them!

    • M.

      GIRL. Yes.

    • Lawyerette510

      Stunning!!!!!!!!!!

    • jspe

      that green dress, and that last shot in particular, is perfect.

  • Pileofstix

    Um…so we got married yesterday! I left the office early and we went down the county clerk’s office with our immediate families and MOH/BM and their spouses. It was lovely and exhausting and immense. I can’t believe I get to call this man my husband. Once I get pictures of my full outfit, I’ll post here since I think you guys will like it (it involves gold sequins and a gold shirt!). So happy!

    • Manda9339

      Congratulations! That is so awesome. I love that you worked in the morning. So very practical. :-)

    • laurasmash

      Congrats!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Gold sequins?!?! HURRY!!!!!

      Big congrats too, obvz, Pileofstix. xoxox

    • Lawyerette510

      Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • River

      YAYYYY congratulations!!!

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!! That’s so exciting!

      And gold sequins are always the best idea. Can’t wait to see. :)

    • Yay! Congrats. We expect lots and lots of pics. Obvs.

  • laurasmash

    Oh I need the open thread today. APW, what do you do when your fiance is NOT the ideal guy who participates equally in all the wedding planning stuff? I hate that we are totally the stereotype of woman cares about all the wedding stuff and man who couldn’t care less?

    I mentioned to him yesterday that the luggage on our registry is discontinued and we need to replace it with something different. As with a lot of other wedding stuff, he just asked why we even need that in the first place because our current luggage is just fine. Thing is, I reaaallly would love to have the new luggage. And now I feel terrible about it.

    It’s like it was the one little thing that triggered bigger emotions about bigger things. And now I’m really upset about the general trend of “I would like to have that for our wedding” vs “what do we need that for?”. Sigh.

    • Violet

      No real solutions, but I got empathy for ya! We were talking (last Happy Hour?) about spreadsheets. We’re a spreadsheet couple. At the very beginning of planning, I made a spreadsheet of all the wedding “things” I could think of in one column. Next column was Violet, then Violet’s partner. I typed in my thoughts, from “I don’t want this thing at all,” to “I don’t care about this either way,” to “I really want this to be XYZ.” And then I asked my partner to fill in his column. And we went through row by row and chatted. Honestly, I cared about a lot more things than he did (in both directions: some things I didn’t want and he didn’t care, other things I did want and he didn’t care). But we totally fit that stereotype of overall the woman having more opinions. Us fitting the stereotype bothered me more than him not having an opinion. When he didn’t have an opinion it actually made things easier: when he didn’t and I did, awesome, one less thing to hash out. When he didn’t and I didn’t either, we chucked it. When he did, we tended to go with his opinion since he cared about so little of the details.

      The fact that we fit this stereotype bothered me, but in the end, that’s as far as it went. It didn’t have any broader implications like I had to do more work on the wedding than I wanted to, or that he didn’t love the wedding when it happened.

      • laurasmash

        Thank you! I wish I had thought of the spreadsheet idea sooner. I think that is what I’m most afraid of, that he will hate the wedding, or resent me for the registry gifts I picked out. Glad to know I’m not alone in my frustration with fitting the stereotype.

        • Violet

          Yeah, and it can be hard to tell when “What do we need that for?” means “I don’t get it, but I also don’t care,” versus another concern, like “Can we afford that?” or “Where is that luggage gonna go in our tiny apartment?” If it’s a specific concern he has, totally valid to discuss. But for the times when all the question meant was my partner didn’t care either way, I just kind had to let it go. Tough, though. I hate any time I think we’re veering into “Sitcom Couple”-territory level of stereotype. It freaks me out.

    • Nell

      On the registry thing. . . my fiancee was not excited about registering for things. This upset me until we talked about it, and she explained that (a) she really wants people to donate to a honeyfund instead, and (b) she felt like we already had enough “stuff.” I explained that I felt like having a few home goods on the registry would make me feel like we’re really starting a new life together, and that to me it’s symbolic and important. So now we’re focusing on those.

      I think that one person’s “stuff” is another person’s important symbolic gesture, and you might need to clue him in on which is which for you.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      I did about 90% of our wedding planning. I often felt resentful about it, but on the other hand I planned all the stuff that I *cared* about. Husband would have been happy just to have done it in jeans and a t-shirt, with solo cups and picnic blankets at the park while I wanted ceremony! tradition! stuff! Husband is just not a *planner* whereas I am an administrative assistant by trade and have many years of experience of planning the shit out of events.

      It sounds like your husband-to-be is less than excited about the registry. I can identify with him because I just never found the registry exciting (so we didn’t have one). I don’t think it’s so terrible to take over aspects of the planning he doesn’t care about (in this case, adding luggage to your registry). I hear what you mean about it ‘triggering’ some panic about you being a stereotypical wifey who has to do all the logistics and sandwich making while he does all the beer drinking and football watching. (Or whatever.)

      To play devil’s advocate for a second, I’m sure your husband didn’t want to make you feel bad for *wanting* new luggage. But I’d say it’s actually practical to stop and think about what you actually need on your registry. Maybe he feels like he’d rather have more items that you could both don’t have yet, rather than clutter up the list with things you already have which are in good working order…

      • Violet

        All of your words.

      • laurasmash

        “wifey who has to do all the logistics and sandwich making while he does all the beer drinking and football watching” that made me laugh so hard! Thankfully my fiance hates beer and football, haha.

        I’ve had a really hard time with the registry too, like feeling guilty about asking for gifts, so our registry is actually pretty minimal. My dad asked me to add more expensive-ish things for his family to buy for us because they like to give gifts not money. We don’t have china or flatware or anything like that on the registry. So it’s hard for him to be doing the we-don’t-need-that thing when I’ve really restricted the list to only things I want and things that we would really use. And the funny part is that my luggage is totally broken and he insists on packing in his backpack which is too small and then asking to put stuff in my bags whenever we travel! So I feel like it’s something we actually do need and I don’t know why he’s punishing himself/us over his desire to be a minimalist.

        Anyway, sorry for the long post. I appreciate your insight :)

        • vegankitchendiaries

          Well, in the most practical sense, it totally sounds like you need new luggage! :)

    • Lauren from NH

      In the begin my fiance liked to say and I paraphase, “what a lucky girl you are that you get whatever you want with the wedding cause I am staying out of it!” I nipped that in the bud pretty quick! I am still taking the lead on things, but when he acts like I am bothering him with the wedding I just bring up whatever recent item WAS important to him and say “oh you don’t care? so it’s fine if we do X (I like) instead of Y (you like)? No? Okay then, I am going to need some input!”

      It’s also cool to be pretty pissed about it. I am feeling rather zen today, but I have been there too ;)

      • laurasmash

        I definitely have zen days and un-zen days. Today is an un-zen day, but it’s good to keep it in perspective

    • emilyg25

      Reframe it? You can register for whatever luggage you want!

    • Sarah

      Honestly, my fiance is an ardent feminist…but he does not do wedding planning. Most of the stuff I give a crap about regarding the wedding, he doesn’t. The only thing he’s really in charge of is the music, because he cares more than I do. Luckily, he goes along with my decisions, trusts my judgment. And when we need to talk things out, we do, usually he’ll just agree with whatever I laid out :P

      I would just replace the luggage yourself. I actually did our registry all on my own, it would have been almost impossible to do it together. He doesn’t care about the quality of items like I do, we have the same stylistic taste and so trusts me to handle it, etc.

      I get frustrated sometimes too, but he’s gotten better about listening to me when I need a sounding board or opinions, and sometimes I just do it myself and its really, just sooo much easier. Too many cooks, ya know?

    • Caroline

      I definitely planned most of the wedding, up until the end when he did a lot. My husband only cared about a few things about the wedding, and the main one was that we were legally married at the end of the day. On top of that, if we were having a todo, he wanted good food, no waiters passing food, and a wedding that made me happy. He didn’t have many opinions, and since I had been thinking about the wedding for years (a long “pre-engagement”), he left it basically all to me. Which was okay but a tad frustrating for a while as I tried to get him to take interest. Mostly, I just planned the wedding with myself, my mom and my sister, and involved him when he cared. Until the day about two weeks from the wedding, when I was done. I was finishing up an amazing, slightly stressful internship, was getting 30-40 wedding emails a day, and was just done. I didn’t want to make another wedding decision, or think about the wedding at all, except enjoying it the day of. And when I told my husband I needed help, he was awesome. My husband and parents and the day of coordinator did ALL of the last minute planning, of which there is a lot. All that crazy week before the wedding stuff? Nope, I wrote a drash (sermon) for my synagogue for the day before the wedding, went to the ritual bath with girlfriends and had a party, and sat back, fairly relaxed. I planned the shit out of our wedding but he carried it through to reality.

      The truth is, people have different levels of interest in weddings. Because of socialization, it is true that more women are interested than men. That is perhaps a result of our patriarchal society, but it’s also true for many couples. If your fiancé isn’t as interested in planning the wedding, that’s okay. It doesn’t have to mean everything else in life will follow gender stereotypes. (I planned the wedding, but he does almost all the chores.) That said, if you need your partner’s help, ask. I think when there is a gender imbalance in interest in the wedding, the person who isn’t as interested, leaves the planning to the one who is interested, not realizing that might be too big a burden. So, you’re husband doesn’t care about the wedding or registry much. That’s okay. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re conforming to stereotypes, just do what’s right for the two of you. And when you need help, tell him so. Not all of planning a wedding is fun (a lot of it is not fun), so ask for help with the work of it.

      And as for the registry, talk with your husband about it. Maybe you don’t need new luggage, but if you travel a lot and it would make you happy, it’s okay to ask for new luggage. People want to get you gifts that delight you and you will use throughout your new married life.

    • LM

      I definitely did about 70% of the wedding planning which partially reflects our personalities (I am usually the trip planner as well). At one point we had some tension because he didn’t realize how much time I was spending on looking up different options for things, etc and so if he responded in a non-committal or negative way to the options I was telling him about then it really upset me. I finally laid out how much time I was spending on things and then made a point of asking for help with specific things which made things way better. I still did most of the planning but I delegated anything that was more important to him or that I just didn’t want to do.

      And my husband was not really excited about registering at all but ended up being weirdly excited about picking out silverware and admits that it’s nice to have a suitcase that isn’t broken in several places.

      • Jules

        Totally this. Communicating is key. I think sometimes partners (men or women), especially ones who aren’t natural planners, don’t realize just how much work it is to find, price, interview, and book vendors…especially if you only see the final result. And so you definitely need to speak up in a specific way about how they can help.

    • Lawyerette510

      Much like Sarah and VeganKitchenDiaries, there certainly wasn’t an even divide between my time and effort spent on the registry and Mr. Lawyerette’s. Largely because for the most part the stuff wasn’t really important to him. While we had a very short engagement and wedding planning period (5 months from engagement to wedding, 76 days from signing contract on the venue to the wedding day), very early on I realized it didn’t feel good that I was all geared up and he was more “meh”. Some of the “meh” was related to having a wedding and we talked through that, also we talked through the standard of what was registry worthy and what was me just getting click-happy after a few glasses of wine and his concern about filling our home up with stuff just because we could. Then, we worked out the thing that helped the most during planning: a code word/ system. We settled on a process that went something like this:
      1. I’d raise a topic/ decision e.g. cakes
      2. He would either say “what about cakes?” or otherwise indicate he had an opinion or “que bueno” (which is a term we’ve used over the years that makes us both smile and can mean a variety of things) to mean “not important to me”
      3. If he cared, we’d talk it through, if he said “que bueno” then I would either choose whatever I wanted, or if I felt overwhelmed by the choice or like I needed his opinion or confirmation, I’d proceed to step 4
      4. I’d say “no bueno, I need your help” and then he’d engage.

      We really did talk out that he could say que bueno, and I could say no bueno to override. I didn’t override often, and sometimes when I’d did I would say a quick something about why I cared for his opinion.

      Hope that helps!

      • laurasmash

        Yes! It sounds like I’m having a very similar experience to yours. Our engagement was/is 9 months but we picked a date about 5 months out, and my dude was also pretty “meh” about the idea of a wedding. I love your “que bueno” system!

    • Rose

      I don’t know if it will help, but I’m also doing/will be doing a significant majority of our wedding planning. Even though we’re both women, so it’s not really a gender thing. It’s just that I do care more, and am also the planner/organizer in the family. I don’t really have any advice to offer, though, just some sympathy. It’s one of those things where if we were a straight couple it would make me screaming mad, but somehow it’s easier to take this way.

    • Jules

      Assuming that you’ve jointly discussed the budget, guest list, and what’s important to us topics, one solution might be to designate specific tasks/areas. This actually works beautifully if you have a pretty comprehensive budget since you can 1) give the person a target figure to stay under and 2) see the natural categories and form a sort of checklist from there. Plus, if someone is really excited about something, then obviously they can be the lead on that area.

      We didn’t set out for “equal” in the 50/50 sense (though it would have been nice if it had been achievable). It’s more like 75/25, and I feel like he is so involved!
      That’s partly due to me having more free time and being really motivated and just being more knowledgeable about wedding-y things (the look of shock when I told him how far in advance you need to book things…!), but it has helped hugely because I know he’s doing as much as he can, even if it’s just responding to a vendor via email a few times and mailing off a check.

      I think for women getting married you naturally have MORE stuff to deal
      with – bridesmaids/showers, perhaps mothers who care a lot about floral
      arrangements, a potentially long lead time on a dress, etc. It’s not just any major event, where maybe things would shake out a little more equally without the whole “bride/groom” stuff. So…it can
      always feel a little whacky even when you try really hard to divide it
      right down the middle. (His attire is SO EASY!! Mine requires shopping,
      ordering, and 3 fittings!)

      TL;DR: I’m our designated Wedding Project Manager, and I have learned to be very specific about where and what I need help with, and by when (can you confirm ____ with the caterer and make a deposit by ____?) since that works for us.

    • anon

      Yep, I definitely feel you here. My fiancé has been pretty helpful in some things, but definitely a lot less so in others. I feel like I look at a lot of wedding planning – looking at photographers’ portfolios, picking out invites, talking about different caterers – as something kind of fun, while he sees it as work. He definitely has opinions about a lot of things, but he acts like it’s really onerous to actually sit down and talk about it. I think part of it is that he finds the idea of the wedding and all the details stressful (which I get), but sometimes it’s like pulling teeth. I want to make sure that he’s involved in all of the major decisions,
      and I’m happy to do the majority of the research (I am in front of a
      computer all day anyway, while he is not). He also often tells me to
      just do whatever I want, which is sweet in theory, but in reality I’m
      usually presenting him with a few options that I’ve already decided that
      I like. There are two people involved in this wedding – I don’t want it
      to be all about me! The worst part is that he often expresses the fact that he finds wedding planning to be terrible to other people. While I recognize that it’s not an irrational feeling, it makes me uncomfortable just because of the gender stereotypes (disinterested groom, overly obsessed bridezilla). I did ask him not to do it anymore and he hasn’t, but I don’t think he really understands why it bothers me. Anyway, I don’t feel like I really need advice, just space to vent about it.

    • jspe

      I’ve found the need for a hard reset a few times in this process, where we’ve backed up and said “ok, are we having this wedding we are planning? OK, yes? Then, do we want aunt hilda to buy us weird things? No? Ok, then what things do we need around the house?” or “hrm, I could be flexible and not register for new napkins.” which, if I’m being honest about my flexibility on the napkins, instead of passive aggressive, gives my partner the chance to have the ball in her court about what she really wants. As it turns out, she cares about dishes and flatware after not caring. I think I’d be fussier about this if we were hetero, but I really am fighting the narrative that she’s the “boy” in the relationship who doesn’t care, while I’m the “girl’ who just cares too much. It’s so so hard. If he’d respond well to political framing, maybe try that? Like, if the personal is political (which it is for us) than her active participation is an active rebuttal of the patriarchy. Even if your partner doesn’t really care about tablecloths. sorry if I’m totally off the mark.

  • Kayjayoh

    I have to remind myself that Christmas is not about gifts, and that no one I really care about is going to judge me based on whether I get them anything or what the price tag is. But still…with my expanded family, I now have so many people to buy presents for. My immediate family (four adults, one child, plus the significant others), his immediate family (four adults, two children), and my godchildren (two of them). In addition, it is dawning on me that since we will be spending Christmas with them, I am likely to be getting gifts from his extended family (about seven more adults). And then there are the friends I want to get gifts for, people who have been special to me for a long time and who were involved in the wedding. And man, that is a lot of gifts.

    When it was just me and my family, I would get small, edible presents for the adults and something nifty for the children in my life. I think I will be extending that now that I have so many more people to buy for, but I feel a little bit awkward about “here’s your Christmas chocolate bar!” for this group of people who don’t know me very well yet. I’m not going to let it change anything for me, but the thought is still there.

    However, I have an awesome pile of books for all of the kids. And frankly, the kids are the ones I really want to be there for, gift-wise.

    • Kayjayoh

      His family tradition usually involves buying each other bottles of really nice alcohol, so I’m not too far off the mark. I’m just keeping my price point lower.

      • Whitney S.

        Chocolate and a cocktail is the perfect pairing. You are on the nose with your gift idea. I totally wouldn’t worry.

    • Lauren from NH

      It might be a little late on the shipping, but maybe something very small but unique and high quality, nicely wrapped with a nice card could work for the extended family members, like the cord taco’s from once of the gift round ups. I think they are $5 a piece, nice leather, unique, useful, communicates the impression of a luxe item, thoughtfully wrapped presented, (maybe with a nifty little story or description) shows you care. It’s kind of a high bar to get everyone a individual super thoughtful, moderate to expensive gift, it’s a lot of money, a lot of shopping, and a lot of brain power.

      • Kayjayoh

        Which is why I go with edibles. A $5 knick knack of some kind usually just ends up taking space. But a $5 bar of nice chocolate is usually some rather nice chocolate.

        http://www.somervillechocolate.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/IMGP9781-brightened.jpg

        • Kayjayoh

          Or truffles. Or caramels.

        • Lauren from NH

          True, even with the chocolate though it can be hard to win, sometimes you just receive too much and it’s not quite the variety you like so in the trash it goes. Not that your gesture is at all a bad idea, but sometimes I wish our culture was less gift oriented in these situations.

          • Kayjayoh

            Word.

            I do try to make sure that, when I am giving food, it is a reasonable quantity of something *really* nice. And I try to find out about preferences or allergies. But I get what you mean.

          • Sarah

            Ha, this is my first Xmas at my new job and lots of folks have gotten my chocolate, $5 gift cards, etc. Is it wrong to re-gift this stuff to my husband’s family as stocking stuffers? They all have plenty of “real” presents as his family is over the top with gifts.

          • Lauren from NH

            DO IT!

        • Nina

          There is a Somerville Chocolate CSA???? Where do I sign up for this?

    • Juliet

      Amen sister, I feel your Christmas gift stress. My new husband’s family goes HAM for Christmas even with no children in the group, and I always feel lots of pressure and stress about it- shopping for adults is tough. Now that my younger sister-in-law is out of college and in a very well paying first year job while also living at home, everyone in the group is in a place in where he/she just go out and buy anything they really want/need, yet the Christmas lists from these folks this year were mostly requesting different types of gift cards. This always makes me feel like, “Can’t we just all stand in a circle, pass a $50 to the left, and call it done?”

      Anyone else have experience transitioning from a homemade scarf and CD family to big present family? Any way to reign it in?

      • Kayjayoh

        “Can’t we just all stand in a circle, pass a $50 to the left, and call it done?”

        LOL!!

        • vegankitchendiaries

          This is EXACTLY how I feel about Xmas gift exchanges (for adults). That line made me crack up too.

      • Is there anyway that your husband could suggest something like a secret-santa style gift exchange? Now that my siblings, cousins, and I are older, we do this on both sides of our family. That way you buy a really nice gift for one person, so it doesn’t break your bank, and everyone gets a nice gift. We usually figure out who gets whom by pulling in an aunt or uncle to draw names and informing everyone of their assignments.

        • Stacey Cuddhy

          We did this growing up for our entire lives. We had 4 kids and 2 parents, so around Thanksgiving we all drew names. The price limit has been raised from $20 to $50, but the idea is the same. When we were younger our parents would still buy us extra toys, but now that we’re adults the SO’s have been included and it’s a lot more personal.

          Unfortunately, my husband’s family doesn’t do things the same way so we are still buying presents for everyone on his side. I think once families start growing though that it could get out of control. Just boundaries man… so many discussions on boundaries…

  • Manda9339

    Hey Gang,

    I’m wondering if anyone has had experience moving in with a partner who is a bit allergic to your cat/ thinks cats are messy. It’s the one sticking point to my boyfriend and I moving in together, and I’d really like to not have my commitment to my kitty hold back my life.

    We are very clear that if he gets a job in another city, I will go with him. But now that we have hit a logical moving crossroads in our current city, he is averse to living with kitty, while also acknowledging kitty is mine for keeps.

    On the other hand, when we talked about it, he was genuinely interested in my plan for my lease and actively discussed the possibilities with me.

    I feel like if I could offer some options to deal, it would help.

    Anyone have advice?

    • Kayjayoh

      Oh man. I wish I had some advice. I am personally just very, very glad that my cat-loving husband did not own one when we met. I am allergic and only fond of cats from a distance and in the abstract. I really don’t like living with them, but I couldn’t imaging telling him “it’s the cat or me.”

      As it was, when he moved to my city and had a roommate with cats, I didn’t ever spend the night at his place, because he ended up with a bed full of dander.

      So, you have all my feels.

    • MC

      I haven’t experienced that exact situation, but: one of my friends met her now-husband when he had a dog and she din’t have any pets and never had any growing up. She thought dogs were super messy and wasn’t really into the idea of them. Then she spent time with her partner’s dog and REALLY warmed up to the idea – and now they have THREE dogs together!

      When my husband and I adopted a cat together I volunteered to do all the litterbox cleaning because I was more into the cat idea than he was and I would’ve done ANYTHING to have a cat in my life. Now he loves our cat maybe more than I do and even cleans the litterbox sometimes!

      Not pertinent to the allergy issue, but! Getting used to pets in your life/house is possible.

      • Manda9339

        Thanks! Cat or me is not really on the table. I mean, I just think there’s a way to make it all work, especially since my cat is a teenager and I have agreed he is my last.

        • Kayjayoh

          Teenager as in cat-teen? Or teenager as in elderly cat?

          • Manda9339

            As in elderly. That comment was supposed to be a reply to yours btw. Iphone got confused.

            I think he’s about fourteen, but very healthy.

          • Kayjayoh

            On the one hand, that makes it a shorter term deal. On the other hand, elderly cats come with their own set of challenges. (And heartbreak.)

          • Manda9339

            Yes, very true. I’m actually resigned to sending him to hospice care at my parents’ when it comes to that. They believe in keeping cats alive longer than most would. But he hates their cats, so that plan is for when he’s not so active.

          • Kayjayoh

            This is part of the reason why I still don’t’ have a dog yet. Part of it is that I am still a renter, but a big part is that I don’t know if I can deal with the part where you have to start making hard choices about their health and life quality. If only they could talk to us and give us their end-of-life plans.

          • Manda9339

            Yes, it can be hard. I have had pets my whole life, and since my parent do believe in the sort of end of life care I mentioned, I’ve gotten used to the various stages. This is why I’ve had a plan for him all along. The plan used to include adopting another adult cat. Instead I adopted an adult man, and there we have the problem.

          • Violet

            Yeah, my friend’s cat who was very well-trained forgot all she knew as she entered old age. No way would you be able to contain her to one room at that point, get her to stop yowling at 5:00 AM, etc. Her boyfriend loves cats too, so it was okay, but for someone who doesn’t, that could get dicey.

          • Kayjayoh

            One of the two cats in the house where my husband stayed when he first moved to my town was an 18-y/o who was starting to get incontinent. There were some accidents on husband’s bed, from time to time.

      • Manda9339

        PS. Thanks, too to MC for you input. It’s good to hear it’s possible!

    • Sarah E

      I’m the dog-lover in our relationship and my partner is the cat-lover. However, I’m definitely much more of an animal person in general. Also, I’ve known some partnerships (parents included) where there was unequal animal-love (or cat-specific allergies).

      First, he absolutely needs to understand that you and your cat are a unit, full stop. There are a few strategies that might help. Maybe you designate a cat-free room like an office or bedroom, where he knows he won’t be bothered by the feline. The bedroom might be an important space for this, depending on his allergies and how they might affect his sleep. Also, agreeing on rules for cat care might help. For example, one of the reasons I don’t like cats is that I can’t stand litter boxes. I’ve already expressed this to my partner, and I know he disagrees with me, so before we ever get a cat, we’ll need to agree on where the litter box is located and how often it gets cleaned. Cats might be harder to keep off certain surfaces, but with constant redirection (unceremoniously dropped onto the floor), they can learn– my vet bff has her cat trained not to step on the keyboard with this tactic.

      I know couples who have survived allergies and living with a cat. Vacuuming regularly (perhaps daily) and employing some high quality air filters could really help, but also keep medication on hand. If the allergies are severe, confining the cat to one room/basement might be one option (vs. only keeping one room cat-free), or looking into allergy shots, which help long-term. Again, it’s up to your comfort level and your bf’s allergy level.

    • Lauren from NH

      I think you would need to be very diligent about keeping your place clean of cat fuzz and the litter box and be sure your cat is keeping itself clean or helping it (brushing, cat wipes, etc.). Your bf attitude could come around, the allergies though, hard to say.

    • Michelle Van Engen

      I am not a cat person (although not allergic). When my husband finally talked me into getting a cat, we we set very clear responsibilities. Namely, my husband must do all cat-related chores – litter box, buying food. The cat’s not allowed in our bedroom or on my favorite blanket.

      Definitely set boundaries – rooms that are off limits, for instance. Get a HEPA filter and vacuum regularly. It can be done.

    • Kate

      One of my friends dealt with the same issue. She agreed to cleaning up constantly, setting boundaries for where the cat was allowed (not in the bedroom) and got a Neat-o. I think the last was what actually made it work – constant vacuuming without the resentment!

      • Manda9339

        A Neat-o is a great idea! Man, he loves his floors.

    • Bethany

      Look into allergy shots. Two of my friends (one male, one female) started allergy shots when they moved in with partners who had cats and they’ve worked out really well.

      Also, cats are many things but not inherently messy. They bury their own waste, you just have to scoop it! So much less messy than babies!

      • scw

        I was also going to recommend allergy shots. I found out after we’d had our cat for a few years that I have a pretty serious cat allergy. at first I tried to deal with it by doing things like setting cat free areas, but not letting the cat in the bed with me was worse than being sick. now I’m a year and a half into allergy shots (for a bunch of stuff in addition to cat) and they’ve changed my life. it might be hard to sell a non-cat person on getting shots every week, though.

    • I’m the one who didn’t like cats and was kinda allergic. My partner has two and loves them tons. I wanted to move in together and brought up my concern about the cats. He made it clear that the cats would come with him. I just sucked it up.

      And now? I love the cats. They are so cute and cuddly. I clean their litterboxes daily (because it’s important to me that the house not smell like cat too much) and we use those tape-roller things like crazy, to keep the pet hair off of the couch and bed and stuff. We also clean and sweep pretty regularly, to keep the cat hair off the floors.

      And somehow my allergies aren’t actually all that bad. It may not work out like this for everybody, though. It helps that we both like to clean and I’m not actually all that allergic. Also, that the cats are cute :)

      • Manda9339

        That is the dream.

        I want to leave Boyfriend room to feel however he feels. Though I do love it when he calls Wendell (the cat) “Wendelheimer” rather than “the beast.”

        Right now we are in a place where Boyfriend appreciates how much joy the cat brings me.

        • That’s a pretty good place to be :)

    • I have heard it said a few times that you develop “immunity” (or less allergies) to your own cat. I know that my co-worker said that her partner has allergies but has gotten used to her cats. My parents also have allergies, but have less trouble now with my cat when they visit, than they did 5 years ago. But, I don’t know how much this is a real thing and how much this is optimism fuleled by cat-love. My personal story is that I used to not even like cats at all but now I absolutely adore my cat (who came as a package deal with my now-ex) and am a fan of cats in general. I used to be a “dog person” but now I am definitely a “cat person.” So people can convert. :) Good luck figuring it all out!

  • Not Sarah

    My boyfriend moved in last Friday! We signed our cohabitation agreement a few days earlier, which was a huge relief for me. We now have a two couch living room and I love it! We also have a gazillion of all the kitchen things and I have a feeling we’re going to be hauling a TON of stuff to donate soon :) It’s totally starting to feel more like OUR place rather than MY place and that’s a pretty awesome feeling.

    The really expensive bachelorette party I went to this fall? I’m finally coming to terms with it. Yes, it was a bit more money than I wanted to spend, but I am glad I went to support my friend because she really enjoyed it and was really glad we were all there. So no regrets on going.

    I’m also starting to feel like we’re probably pre-engaged, which is pretty cool, minus the friends that are starting to guess when we will get engaged. (WTF?) “12-18 months and here try on my classic [really expensive] ring.” I don’t want a $20k ring! I’d rather have a gazillion other things than that, like a big trip, more in savings, or pretty much anything.

    • Kayjayoh

      Congrats!

      • Not Sarah

        Thanks! So much excitement! It’s hard to go to sleep because I’m too excited some nights :)

    • laurasmash

      Congrats!
      And also,yikes, I’m with you re: super expensive rings and people guessing when you’ll get engaged, that’s always awkward. Pro tip for possible future engagement whenever it may happen: If you have judgey friends with expensive taste, you can’t go wrong with a family ring if either of you has one. I have my great-grandmothers ring which is VERY dainty, but no one has ever given me the “your ring is so small” bit when I tell them its history. Also it was free :)

      • Not Sarah

        The judgey friends already think I bought a cheap condo. So phooey on the judgey friends ;) BUT yes that is a good idea.

        • I’m impressed you bought a condo (of any kind)! I’m not sure I will ever own a home/condo/anything.

          • Not Sarah

            Thanks! Don’t rule it out completely – you still have decades ahead of you :)

      • Natalie

        This. +1 for free. My engagement ring was my grandmother’s, so even though the diamonds are fairly tiny, I tell people it’s vintage Art Deco, which sounds fancy and shuts snobby people up.

    • M.

      Congrats!!!! Moving in together also gave us a lot to donate but it was a really great process/project too, because we really got to consider what we wanted in OUR home. I loved it so much.

      Also, when we were pre-engaged talking about rings, etc. (he wanted to propose with a ring he picked), we agreed to not take on any debt for the ring, as many friends of ours have done, which just makes me shudder (YMMV). He saved for a few months, I got a gorgeous, perfect, modest ring that I just love, and the right financial and timeline terms for us. It sometimes felt weird to talk about this thing that society has built up to be an ultimate secret, but that just didn’t work for us at all. We talked it all out, timing, expectations, cost, and it was awesome :)

      • Not Sarah

        Yes! I’m really enjoying re-organizing the place to have both of our stuff and use space more efficiently. It’s definitely going to be a bit of a process though.

        We’re not quite there to getting rings yet, but I did tell him a while back that if we don’t talk about rings before he proposes, I will flat out say no and he said that he would have expected no less from me :P

        • M.

          Haha good for you! Have fun!!! (We’ve been married 8mos and another huge trip to Goodwill this weekend.. Takes awhile ;-])

          • Not Sarah

            Yeah I think it’s going to take us a while too and some of the extra kitchen stuff we’re going to put in the storage unit until the other stuff wears out…

    • Jules

      Hooray! Congrats! I’m super excited to be moving in with my fiance in a month and to DECORATE.

      Also, venting: I freaking HATED when my friends would sit around and gossip about who would be next (and by the way, we were twenty-freaking-two when this conversation occurred, with 1/10 engaged). I voiced my discomfort and later got approached/confronted about it, which then ruffled me even more. But I just felt that it was…not so harmless, and sort of none of our business, even though my friend who confronted me later said it was “just a fun thing”. It felt so judge-y and engagement pressure is real. Sigh.

      • Not Sarah

        Hooray! Moving in is exciting and stressful and all the feels, but EXCITING most of all! And yay for you getting to decorate!

        Good vent:) I am just, ugh about the gossiping about who’s going to get married when. I’m of the mind that so long as I’m with the person I want to marry (that’s enough of a hurdle to find that person, right??) that I’m not concerned with when we get married. Engagement pressure is totally real and I don’t get it at all. Thankfully, the engagement pressure my boyfriend gets just rolls off of him and I feel so much better that it’s not just me getting it. I’m 26 and my boyfriend is 27. We seem to be in some strange pattern of friends getting engaged at the two-years-dating marker?? which scares the bananas off of me (and him!). I’m not really concerned about all this pressure starting, more just annoyed with the why? Why is this necessary? Why don’t people think it’s better for us to get engaged on OUR timeline?

        • Jules

          YES. I got too frustrated for words. Yes, I know you think it’s “harmless”, but it represented a lot of lose-lose situations. What you get is a bunch of people essentially judging others’ relationships, which they may know no intimate details about (even if they’ve known the couple for a substantial amount of time). Either you say so-and-so is next, and then that person feels kind of pressured to live up to it…or you leave someone out who is in a serious relationship and about to get engaged (unbeknownst to you) and then that person feels a little shitty too. Or (especially as you get older, I would guess) some who would desperately love to be getting married, but for some reason that isn’t on their horizon, and that feels crappy too.

          Everybody knows who is seeing someone and approximately how long they have been together. There’s no reason for us to sit around and speculate when/if they will “make it”.

          • Not Sarah

            It is most definitely NOT harmless. Or what about if you are hypothesizing about someone who is in a serious relationship who is debating ending it?! I’d rather let people make their own decisions. It’s also stressful if you’re not ready for it or having a hard time figuring it out and marriage is a BIG deal.

            It’s like people who are like “I hope the bride and groom have tons of children!!!!” at their wedding. I don’t like that because a) what about the people who don’t want children and b) what about the people who absolutely want them and turn out to be infertile and that is stressful enough on its own without also having people asking you when you’re going to have kids.

            Sigh.

            tldr: Big life changes are stressful enough on their own without other people asking you when they’re happening.

    • Manda9339

      Ooooh, congratulations! What’s a cohabitation agreement?

      Also, engagement pressure is really annoying. At my holiday party, a dear friend of mine whispered to me that she was disappointed when she came in and looked at my left hand. I didn’t want to make her feel bad that the statement annoyed me, but not only is the pressure difficult, but I’m not a girl who wants an engagement ring. So, I’d prefer my dear friends get their information from my words rather than my left hand.

      So, I hear you!

      • Not Sarah

        It’s like a pre-nup for living together. I wanted it because I own the place that we live in.

        I’m sorry you’re also having engagement pressure! My boyfriend’s grandma asked him if he had bought me a ring yet when he talked to her on Christmas Day.

  • River

    GUYS. The next Happy Hour — the first of 2015 — will be two days before my wedding.

    WOAH WOAH WOAH.

    So let me say THANK YOU times a million to this wonderful community. You have given me so much support, encouragement, and excellent ideas during this whirlwind of a year. I cannot imagine wedding planning without you.

    I wanted to share a couple shots from our engagement session, because I finally shared them on Facebook and I think you guys will enjoy them.

    Xoxo,
    River

    • Violet

      MORGAN LIBRARY I’m DYINGGGGGGGGGG.

      • River

        LOVE that you knew where we were <3 the second photo is at the Bookmarks Lounge – the rooftop bar of the nearby Library Hotel ;-) if you love the Morgan, you will LOVE bookmarks

        • Violet

          Oooo, thanks for the tip, I have not been there! Also thanks for sharing your photos- you’re a gorgeous couple! (I kinda wondered if you’d do them in GCT, cause isn’t that where he proposed? But these are So, So Good.)

          • River

            Thanks, Violet! And good memory! We didn’t do them there because he had his best friend hide in the crowd and take photos when he proposed ;-) So here’s two o’ those:

          • Violet

            GAH! Thanks for indulging me, these are so cute!!! Sittin here grinning at my computer.

          • River

            You’re too cute! Thank YOU for indulging ME haha <3 happy to share the love!

            Of course now I'm gonna be a creeper and ask for photos of YOU…

          • Violet

            Oh no, I’m so busted! I’m a privacy nut who loves other people’s wedding stuff but won’t show mine!!

          • River

            Hahaha I busted you cuz I tried to look at your past comments to see if you’d shared anything (total snoop, over here) and those are private too ;-)

            Not to worry, love! To each their own ;-)

          • Violet

            Thanks for understanding! You can read a fairly vague description of what my dress looked like here (https://apracticalwedding.com/2014/02/body-issues-and-dress-shopping/) but that’s all I got.

          • River

            AHHHHHH I forgot that was yours!!! Thanks for the link, it was well worth the re-read. I bet you were stunning in your dress (lowered back/crisscrossed straps? HOT). Moreover, thank you for the reminder to listen to the grown-up new voice over the decades old one ;-)

          • vegankitchendiaries

            OMG. NYC magic is REAL! Too gorgeous…

          • River

            That’s why you have to come and VISIT, Vee!

          • vegankitchendiaries
          • River

            STOP (don’t stop)

          • vegankitchendiaries

            Aw, bless. I have such fun w/ you at happy hour, Rivs. Totally looking you up if I ever make it to NYC. :)

    • laurasmash

      Congrats!
      And OMG those photos are AMAZING!

      • River

        Thanks, lady!

    • Ragnhild

      Wow!! Amazing photos! Where is that library?

      • River

        Thanks! It’s the Pierpont Morgan library in NYC — it’s an historic mansion that’s been turned into a library. <3 My fiance suggested it — he grew up a few blocks away.

        • Amy March

          It’s actually even cooler than that- it was mostly purpose built to be a library not a mansion. One of my all time favorite places!

          • River

            Amy, that’s awesome! From what I read/heard while we were there, I thought they lived there at one point…But it turns out you are right and it was built as a PRIVATE library. Geez, JP Morgan, way to show off, amirite? Haha but still really cool, ESPECIALLY since it’s been public for almost a century.

    • Not Sarah

      oh my gosh the double engagement ring shot is amazing!!!

      • River

        Yayyyy ;-) I insisted on it, I was so proud of getting him a ring

        • Not Sarah

          Yay!!!! :D Congrats!

          • River

            Thanks, love! :-)

        • KJS

          Is it a sign I’ve been spending too much time on APW that I didn’t even look twice at the double engagement rings, other than to think “Nice photo”?

          • River

            #APWprogress

        • BettyGemma

          Me too! One of my favourite engagement photos is the semi-close up of both of our rings :)

          Your photos are so, so lovely!

          • River

            Thanks, BettyGemma!! Oooo, please share :-) I love seeing other paired engagement rings!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      holy SHIT, R! amazing pictures. like, AMAZING-AMAZING! Your dress is beautiful. It’s ALL beautiful.

      this made me happy. :)

      • River

        :-) Thanks, Vee!! :-) These photos make me happy we had the whole debacle with the other photographer, because we never would’ve found our guy if it hadn’t happened — and I think the pictures show a) how good he is and b) how comfortable we felt to be ourselves in front of him. Makes me really excited for the wedding, haha!!

        • vegankitchendiaries

          It’s honestly making ME excited for your wedding. Those pics are some voodoo Condé Nast craziness!

          • River

            I <3 you, lady. That may be my favorite description ever.

    • GORGEOUS! Love that you went to Morgan Library!

      • River

        Thanks, Kara!!

    • I hope everything goes smoothly between now and then! Good luck with everything and enjoy! And your photos are spectacular! I’d love to see wedding ones later on too, if you decide to share!

      • River

        Thanks, Jenny!! I think I’m finding — if not wedding zen, then some Christmukkah zen, this week. Things keep cropping up to be dealt with and I keep knocking ’em down ;-) Thanks for the good wishes!

  • Ragnhild

    I am leaving in just a few hours to celebrate my very first American Christmas! My husband left a week ago, but I had to stay here and work longer than him. It is our first time of really being apart since we got married this summer, but phone calls every day and lots of texts have made it manageable (plus being busy with knitting gifts and going to tons of holiday parties!) Any advice on how to celebrate your first Christmas with the in-laws when you have totally different traditions, including language…?

    • Lian

      Enjoy! I have been navigating a lot of joining-traditions-different-than-my-own and I wish I could have told myself this when I first moved to the US: when you compare traditions, it can come across as if you are saying the US ones are ‘wrong’. Try to avoid that. Sure you can say “Oh, in my country we do this-and-that”, but not too often, you know?
      Just take things as they come, accept them as they are, see the good in them, and possibly privately mourn (too heavy a word, but hopefully you know what I mean) the traditions from your home country you are not celebrating.

      Anyway, you mention no in-laws-issues, so hopefully this advice is accurate: they are happy you’ll be there to celebrate with them, and possibly they are excited to show you their traditions, and hopefully they will understand if any language issues come up, so enjoy!

      • Ragnhild

        Thank you. The word mourning might not be completely off… I have realized it will completely different from how I am used to celebrating it, and hope it wont be too sad to miss all those Christmas smells and sounds and feelings. My MIL has been asking if there is anything Norwegian we could incorporate, but I think it might be better to just skip it and let whatever happens happen. I dont think there will be too many issues, possibly my MIL trying very hard to impress me or something (according to my husband), but I think I can deal with that.

        • Lian

          Fellow north-west Europeans unite! (Dutch here :) ) It really did feel a bit like mourning – things are just different, and sometimes it’s the little things that are different that are more difficult to deal with than the big things (different language? Sure. Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day? WHAT IS THIS HELL THIS IS NOT HOW YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO THINGS?!?!!??! ;) ).

          Your MIL sounds sweet (if potentially overbearing but I think that often coincides, haha). They’ll just be happy to have you there. Think about traditions that are important to you and see if you can maybe incorporate them next year. Or maybe skype with someone back home and just share that feeling of loss. Sure, it’s loss you chose, and it’s loss that’s worth it to be with your husband / have this adventure / get this awesome job / whatever reason people decide to move. And sure, you get awesome things in return (a whole new set of traditions to experience!). But it is still a loss, and it is fine to acknowledge that.

          • Ragnhild

            Yeah, I cant believe there wont be any dried sheep ribs for dinner ;) We are actually just visiting, and next year will be celebrated here at home. It will certainly be interesting to learn more about my husband, and maybe incorporate some American traditions next year!

          • Lian

            Haha, yeah, those little things…

            Oh so you live in Norway? Then this is definitely just a great way to learn about American traditions and get some new experiences! You’ll be fine!

    • Ragnhild, I found that Christmas in a different language and culture with a new-to-me family can be hard. Good, but also sad, especially the first one where I missed my parents and the normal things I was used to. I felt far away from a lot of loved ones and a little melancholy too. I think I might have cried in the car on Christmas Eve.

      Perhaps you could share something from your culture with them? Pepperkaker? Kakemenn/jødekaker? I find making things like that that I miss (and other recipes from my actual country/region of origin, where I no longer live) helps when I live in a different culture. I started celebrating (US) Thanksgiving here…even though at my celebration I am the only person from the US. But for me, it helps me when I invite people to join me in my traditions too. It didn’t happen immediately and it grew over time, but I get a kick out of my Québécois people who now love Southern-style biscuits and grits, I love sitting down every year to Thanksgiving and eating the foods my family awlays ate with a whole group of people who didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving before I got to know them. Now my ex-mother-in-law brings the sweet potato casserole every year…

      Good luck with your first US Christmas! I hope that it is great and that you all enjoy the cultural exchange. On a side note, if you ever make it to Quebec one day, I’d love to meet you for coffee! Jeg ville gjerne snakker mer om kulturer/språk/livet mellom kulturer…og snakker lite norske med deg. :) (Sorry, I’m really rusty!)

      • Ragnhild

        Hey!

        I didnt notice this until now! It went pretty well, but none of it felt like real Christmas. I was kind of prepared for it, but I was on the verge of tears at least once, cause it didnt feel special enough to me. Biscuits and shrimp and fondue on Christmas Eve on paper plates – one of the strangest meals Ive ever had… Next time we will definitely celebrate here in Norway, which is comforting. I did bake a couple of things, and it helped a little.

        I have also grown really fond of Thanksgiving, and have hosted it at my house twice, inviting the Americans we know.

        I think I will email you with a more extensive reply :)

  • Lian

    This happy hour feels special to me. We got engaged one year and two days ago, and got married in November, so this was the-year-of-the-wedding(s). Of the wedding media out there, APW was by far the most helpful and influential for me this year. We had two cultures to navigate, and a lot of other things, and APW was always there with great advice and reassurance. So thank you, APW staff, for helping me navigate this year. I really appreciate it.

  • Nell

    Guys, I found a dress! And we sent Save the Dates! So many wedding achievements unlocked!

    We’re doing online Save the Dates, and I can see when everyone opens the email. Is there etiquette regarding how you follow up if it seems that someone has not opened their Save the Date? I’m worried that it’s going to spam folders/old email addresses. At the same time, I don’t want to be rude with a “why haven’t you opened this thing yet???” Obviously, people are busy, and this is not our actual invitation.

    • Lauren from NH

      I don’t have any advice I am afraid, but what e-service did you use?

      • Nell

        Paperless Post, which I LOVE.

        We’re getting a few save the dates printed for non-email savvy relatives – but that’s not what is at issue here. These are people who are DEFINITELY on email all day, but they haven’t opened this particular email.

        • Juliet

          I used Paperless Post for our save the dates as well as COUNTLESS other wedding related events, and my experience is that they don’t end up in spam folders. Some people just take WAY longer to get to their email than others, like WEEKS longer, even friends on gchat all day, and some others just read the subject line and feel like they get the gist. I totally felt compelled to follow up with people who didn’t open the email, but I guarantee you do not need to- they have seen it or know about it or will find out from a friend very soon. If you happen to see somebody you know hasn’t opened it, go ahead a ask if you have the right email, but you don’t need to go out of your way to follow up with people. I know it doesn’t feel this way, but I promise this is something you can put in the “don’t worry about and move on” column.

        • Amy March

          I find that happens often with paperless post. Some people just don’t like clicking on things. Honestly though no one needs this info. I don’t think you need to follow up at all- they know it’s there, they’ll read it if they want to. Back away from checking to see who has read it!

        • Teresa

          I just did this for a friends cocktail party (not quite as important an RSVP, but still!)…the initial email itself is really pretty and has the details so I actually didn’t even realize that I was supposed to click and open it. And, a save the date doesn’t necessarily require an RSVP, so I bet it’s just that people saw the email and were like “lovely, date saved” and didn’t realize there was something else they were supposed to do. I will say that when I didn’t realize I hadn’t opened it, my friend emailed me and just said, hey, it shows me you haven’t opened it, are you coming? And I didn’t find it off-putting or anything. People will probably just think that you’re really excited!

    • Lian

      How long has it been? If it’s been more than a week, find one of those people that you talk to regularly anyway, and then ask them if they’ve seen it. Should be fine, etiquette wise, if it’s part of a conversation you’re having anyway.

    • Emma

      I would wait a little bit and then check in to make sure they got it because they are important to you, rather than in a “why haven’t you opened the email way?”

    • SuperDaintyKate

      I went through this, too. So exciting watching them get opened! So frustrating that some people don’t open them!

      I think some people don’t “click through”, and therefore don’t trigger the notification to you. Also, my sister reported hers was automatically sorted into a folder for her newsletters (not a spam folder), so it took her awhile to see it. With my sister, I hassled her almost immediately, but more along the lines of “I’m excited and want you to be excited with me”, than “WFT, Sister”.

      I can’t believe how much fun it was watching the paperless post invites be opened, and having friends and family leave us excited notes. That’s when it all started to feel real. I’m thrilled for you that you get to do the same. Squeeeee!!!

    • Kelly

      We used glo, and some of the save the dates did end up in people’s spam folder (and many others hadn’t been opened). I sent an email from my personal address to our entire guest list saying something along the lines of “we want to be sure you got our save the date, which may have tragically been filtered into your spam..,” along with a few other pleasantries and general shared excitement. We also wanted to be sure folks were directed to our website, so I included the link for that, too. It went over just fine, and all of the save the dates got opened. :)

  • Grace from England

    Just came to say how awesome Rachel’s Buzzfeed post about living according to Pinterest’s Popular feed was. So completely on it. Can’t wait to see what she has for us in 2015!

    Have an awesome Christmas and new year everyone. Other than getting engaged 2014 has kind of sucked for us so we can’t wait to see in a new (hopefully better) year. Cheers! Xx

    • Not Sarah

      I hope your 2015 is better! Moving in is really the main good thing that happened to us this year and we both had crappy years in 2013 (mostly from work) other than starting to date. I’m totally believing in 2015 though!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      thanks for the heads up, grace! reading it now and laughing my bum bum off.

      “happy xmas” in jolly old! x

    • Alex

      Haha I feel the same way about 2014, fingers crossed for a fabulous 2015! (and ditto Rachel’s buzzfeed post too)

  • Morning sickness has set in this week for me, and as unpleasant as it is, I’m actually very grateful to be feeling this way. Feeling the symptoms I’m supposed to be having gives me reassurance that everything really is most likely going the way it should, and Tiny (baby nickname) is doing just fine. :) Still can’t wait for my first OB appt 1/31 a to finally have someone confirm everything’s good.

    • Bethany

      Good luck with the nausea and yay for Tiny!

    • emilyg25

      Head’s up: There may be days when you feel less sick. You’ll probably freak out that it means something is wrong, but it most likely doesn’t! Early pregnancy is the only time in my life where I actually -wanted- to feel icky. Hang in there!

    • Sparkles

      Waiting for that first appointment is ridiculous. I remember finishing the appointment and turning to the doctor and asking if I was really pregnant. He’d done the whole thing without confirming my pee stick was right.

  • Kayjayoh

    BTW, in what I feel is a stroke of genius (for values of genius), we are making use of both our wedding invite mailing list and the design work I did for all the wedding stationery for our holiday cards. I used the same font (Solstice) and design feel and made postcards that say “Best Wishes to You in 2015!”. We used another Vistaprint Groupon to get them printed. Since they are New Year’s cards, everyone on our list will be celebrating that *and* we figure that we have until about Twelfth Night to get them all sent out.

    • Ragnhild

      Very smart! I used leftover wedding pictures I got printed for thank you cards as holiday cards and felt very resourceful as well :)

      • Kayjayoh

        I seriously thought about including a wedding photo in the design, but ultimately decided against it, since this way we can also give them to co-workers.

    • Ha, we totally repurposed our wedding invite list for our holiday cards too!

  • Ragnhild

    I dont think I have mentioned that our wedding was featured on a wedding blog! Our photographer was amazing, the wedding site picked it up on her webpage. Its in Norwegian, but I think the pictures speak for themselves :) http://nordiskebryllup.no/2014/11/et-norsk-amerikansk-lavebryllup/

    • vegankitchendiaries

      They certainly DO!

      • Ragnhild

        Thank you!!

    • River

      Ragnhild, these are SCRUMPTIOUS. You are so stunning together, and there is such light radiating from these photos. Thanks for sharing!!! I love the dress and the literary themed tables <3 <3 <3

      • Ragnhild

        Thank you so much! It was such an amazing day, and I actually cant believe all the pictures look so good!

    • Lian

      Oh man, I love them! So beautiful! Did you do a wedding in Norway? Did you also do one in the US? We did a wedding in the US and then a party in the Netherlands.

      • Ragnhild

        Thank you! Yes, it is in Norway. We are going to the US now, and there will be a dinner in the honor of the new Mr and Mrs, but nothing like a normal wedding. I have nothing to do with the planning of it, but believe it will be a more casual affair.

        • Lian

          Oh now I get the logistics of your travels, haha. We tried to keep things kind of part of the same wedding – we wore our wedding clothes, had the same guestbook, same pictures of parents/grandparents, had pictures of the wedding up as a slideshow during the party, etc. It was nice. I bet people there would love to see these pictures, they’re gorgeous!

          • Ragnhild

            I wouldnt mind wearing the dress again actually, but he would much prefer a casual party. We will have a video and/or slideshow. If I was planning it there would certainly be a common theme, but I am not, and glad to not be very involved!

          • Lian

            My husband definitely took a hands-off approach to the Dutch party. Some people asked me “Is this your wedding dress?!” which, I mean, there -are- stupid questions… My dress was clearly a wedding dress. I guess maybe they thought I bought two dresses, one for the US and one for the Netherlands. I don’t know. But it was funny. And showed that they weren’t expecting me to wear the dress so you’ll be fine not wearing it!

          • Ragnhild

            I have actually had a lot of friends here at home ask if I will use my wedding dress! I think everyone over there would be quite surprised if I did. I guess when you mix cultures people dont know what to expect!

    • Lawyerette510

      So gorgeous and amazing!!!!

      • Ragnhild

        Thank you so much :)

    • Stacey Cuddhy

      Gorgeous!! I’ve been trying to achieve your hair color for years… Beautiful.

      • Ragnhild

        Thanks! I am very happy to be born with it :)

    • Gina

      This is stunning, you’re stunning, everything’s stunning.

      And we had the same reading from C.S. Lewis at our wedding :)

      • Ragnhild

        Wow! Thank you!
        I was reading the whole book, and when I came to that paragraph I had to share with my fiancee, and we both loved it so much we included it in our ceremony.

    • Your dress is so lovely! And I love the author-themed tables!

      • Ragnhild

        Thanks! The author-theme was a last minute idea, and I liked it a lot. But I got asked by a guest if it was people who couldnt make it. Clearly we did not have the same literary taste…

    • C_Gold

      You look gorgeous! So elegant! I love your dress!

      • Ragnhild

        Thank you so much!

    • Meg Keene

      SUBMIT. In, you know, english :) Just as a favor to me.

      • Ragnhild

        Thank you Meg! I might be able to soon :)

    • Beautiful!

    • Charley

      Your pictures are STUNNING, just wow! It looks like it was an amazing day. I would also love to see it on APW and hear more about it all.

      • Ragnhild

        Thank you! Now that Christmas is over, I might have time to do it.

  • Stacey Cuddhy

    Hi APW!! I just came back from a rather interesting lunch today and I thought this would be the perfect place to pose this question.

    I went out to lunch today with my 2 male coworkers and my male boss. We were talking about weddings since I was married recently and my coworker is engaged. He and my boss were both in the military and they started talking about a specific wedding tradition for military weddings. How it works is during the recessional from the ceremony, a line of men in uniform will form an arch with their sabers for the couple as they walk back down the aisle. After they get through the archway, the last man in line will take his saber, lightly tap the women on the tush and say something to welcome her into the military. Most of the time, the woman should not be “in” on this tradition. My boss said that his wife knew it was coming, but my coworker plans to surprise his fiance with it.

    When I heard this, my jaw dropped. Just the thought of having a man tap my ass with a sword– prior knowledge or not– makes me want to punch something. My gut reaction is disdain and that it’s disrespectful and embarrassing. I told them that at lunch and they laughed and said that it’s just a tradition and that’s just the way it is, but I’m still seething thinking about this.

    Has anyone heard of this before? (I haven’t googled it yet). Would you have the same reaction as I did?

    • vegankitchendiaries

      I would have the EXACT same reaction. Fuck. That. Shit. I actually feel sorry for this woman because just hearing that description was pretty gross.

      • Stacey Cuddhy

        I’m glad that you guys are validating me on this. What really blew me away (and made me even more angry) was how they thought it was funny and it didn’t cross their minds that it would be inappropriate. Now it looks like I’m overreacting and being silly to care about someone disrespecting my body.

        To be fair I guess, the other guy that was their said that his wife wouldn’t let it fly either.

        • vegankitchendiaries

          You mean you still thought it was offensive after they mansplained it to you?

          • Lauren from NH

            Just getting tapped on the ass by the symbolic dick of the US military, nothing to see here!

          • C_Gold

            You say it so well.

    • Lauren from NH

      Cuz that’s not phallic AT ALL!

    • Allison

      I am sort of horrified. It would be one thing if it just happened (still a terrible thing, but a different thing), but if the husband gives permission?! Ew.

      • vegankitchendiaries

        “Permission.” Exactly. Ew, indeed.

        • Allison

          Yeah permission was probably not the right word. But even being in on it is… blergh.

          • vegankitchendiaries

            No, I thought you had the right idea using that word. This guy is giving permission to slap an ass that’s not his own! :(

    • Lawyerette510

      I’ve heard about it/ seen it. I too think it’s gross and really gets into subliminal messages about male force and perceived ownership/ possession of female bodies etc. Every woman I’ve known that it’s happened to knew it was coming, because they had been to other military weddings. One friend of mine had a bunch of discussions with her then-fiance and the skipped the whole thing.

      • Stacey Cuddhy

        And I think that’s completely ok for them to agree to it once they’ve had the chance to talk about it (to each their own) but to surprise someone? Thats fucked up.

        • vegankitchendiaries

          THIS.

    • Nell

      I actually saw this on some wedding show several years ago – and I just thought that this one particular guy was hamming it up for the cameras – I didn’t know it was an actual tradition!

      It seems REALLY retro. Do they do this with men who marry women in the military?

      • Stacey Cuddhy

        You know I didn’t ask that, but I totally should have. I highly doubt it though.

    • Amy March

      So, I would be delighted with this surprise. I get all of the arguments against it but I love little traditions like this and it’s just the kind of surprise I like.

      What I’m not getting is why you feel so strongly that you know better than coworker what his fiancée would or would not appreciate? Because I think it’s entirely possible that he knows her really well and is making a good call in his own relationship. I’m reluctant to assume people aren’t thoughtful and understanding of their partners. And it sounds like you gave him something to think about which is good. But a blanket judgment that this is fucked up goes too far for me.

      • Nell

        To me, this is similar to the groom having to remove the bride’s garter or any of the other traditions that are about making socially-acceptable sexual passes at the bride on the wedding day.

        For some women, it’s all in good fun. For others, it would feel really violating. I agree that it’s really a couple-by-couple thing. The problem is when someone presents it as a requirement.

        • vegankitchendiaries

          I think the problem is also when NOBODY IS EVEN RUNNING IT PAST THE WIFE.

          • Lauren from NH

            Your wedding day, (usually) super public and super sacred and so much focus on the bride and you throw in this “little tradition” without talking to her about it? HO No nonononoNO!

          • Amy March

            But that’s actually what I think might be okay. It’s fine to be in a relationship where you trust each other to do surprising things because they know you and they know your boundaries. And I think it’s an unkind assumption that this co-worker hasn’t made this decision in that context.

            ETA- I think this is really quite like defining sexual boundaries. If your relationship requires affirmative consent, this is clearly a no go. If you’ve talked things through and decided general boundaries and flexibility to try things within that realm, I’m not comfortable calling that relationship unhealthy, or assuming that people aren’t being thoughtful of their partners. Particularly with coworkers because I have no clue how they’ve structured their intimate relationships. Thank goodness.

          • Lauren from NH

            I mean this isn’t like a surprise dove release after you say I do or something. It’s a physical touch to a usually private area of the body. They aren’t just tapping her shoulder/hand/head, they are tapping her ass. I can’t really split hairs on that having sexual overtones and therefore requiring permission of the recipient.

          • Amy March

            For you. But she might have established within the context of her relationship that ass-tapping is not a big deal, that she’s gung-Ho about dated traditions, and that surprises are 100% the bestest thing ever. I don’t think any of us get to make a call on what appropriate sexual boundaries are for another couple- as long as both parties agree to and respect those boundaries there are lots of different ways to draw them.

          • SoontobeNatalieN

            But, consider that men tap/smack each other on the ass all the time, and it isn’t an overtly sexual gesture. I think it important to consider where the men are coming from in this scenario, and not just view it from our perspective (hopefully the men are able to view it from another perspective as well, but you can’t really control what another person does)

        • Stacey Cuddhy

          I like the way you said that. It’s different for each couple and they can feel about it the way they want to feel about it. Maybe he does know her and she’d love it. Maybe they’re not thinking about it the way that I am– and to each their own.

          I think the bigger issue though it that it’s symptomatic of a larger, cultural issue. It’s a representation of male dominance over women (or as they mansplained it, the military over women) and it’s the little traditions like this that continue the problem. It just makes me sad that they don’t see the issue in the first place.

          • Emma

            Second paragraph is what I just tried to say, but better. :)

          • Nell

            Oh yeah! I think that the fact that this tradition exists is messed up! It reminds me of all the times I’ve been told I couldn’t be in the boys’ club unless I did something degrading, sexually or otherwise, to prove I was a “cool girl” who didn’t get uptight about that sort of thing. Like the garter game, it’s a play on a bride’s role as a virginal thing about to be deflowered.

            I’m guessing your coworkers don’t give it a second thought because most people don’t think about where traditions come from and why we do them. This happens to be an extremely rare community on APW – where people take a lot of time to think about the bigger implications of why we do what we do at weddings. Not everyone has a desire to critique the thing that “everybody does.” I hope that if I leave their sexist butt-tapping traditions alone, they’ll leave my intercultural, lesbian, atheist wedding alone, too.

          • Stacey Cuddhy

            YES. My husband has to remind me of this exact thing all the time.

          • Not Sarah

            Agreed! I am not going to have a garter when I get married. Just not. Not cool.

      • Stacey Cuddhy

        I think that’s a fair point– it’s highly possible that she would be perfectly fine with it and would think it’s funny. I guess I’m thinking more about my reaction- and I would be upset with it mostly because I would think about the meaning behind an action like that.

        I do understand that not everyone thinks the same way about traditions in general– for some, they’re just fun things to do and I think that’s ok.

      • vegankitchendiaries

        This is the first time I disagree with Amy. (And sometimes I change my mind after the fact to agree with Amy!)

        This still gets my back up… I think it’s weird that a these dudes are all having a chuckle about what’s going to happen to this woman’s butt and she has NO IDEA about it. It seems like nobody is even considering what the wife will think about it because the husband has greenlighted the “surprise”.

        Feel free to slap my wife’s ass with a sword! He can’t exactly give ‘permission’ for this on her behalf.

        • Allison

          And also, permission or not, how is she going to know it’s a surprise tradition? I was just relaying this part of the thread to my engaged coworker and she responded with “someone would get slapped.” Maybe once it was explained she would be comfortable with the tradition, but I feel like whether or not it would normally cross her boundaries, she may end up feeling violated in the moment by being left in the dark.

          • Lauren from NH

            Yup if I got that surprise it would be me or the military that would have to go. Don’t violate my personal space the minute before I walk down the isle, it’s not that fucking hard.

          • Amy March

            Right, but that’s exactly my point. Lauren, we will probably never meet IRL. I know you in only the most superficial of ways. And without your saying anything I would 100% know you would hate everything about this tradition just because of the context of you.

            I just want to leave open the possibility that co-worker actually knows his fiancée very well indeed, and knows she’ll think this is adorable. I would. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there, and I trust my intimate partners to make those kinds of calls because they know me.

          • Emma

            I think it’s bigger than this particular couple though, and the fact that this is a tradition in and of itself is what raises my hackles. Since it is such an engrained tradition there are probably also couples where the husband doesn’t realize the implications to stop and think, “how would my partner feel about this?”

          • Amy March

            I agree. This is a tradition that on a broad scale I have huge issues with but that personally would be fine with me. Kinda like name changing. Globally big feminist issue, doesn’t personally bother me.

          • Lauren from NH

            True there probably are relationships out there in which this surprise would be 100%, not a doubt in sight, fine, but I would highly HIGHLY doubt there are very many. 99 times out of 100 I think Stacey’s response would be on point in bringing up an alternative negative more complex view/response to this tradition.

          • Amy March

            I just couldn’t disagree with this more. 99 out of 100 couples on APW sure, but there is a huge presence in this country of the man is the head of the household and the woman is his submissive help met philosophy. In my circle everyone I come into contact with is absolutely a committed feminist looking for an equal partner but I think it’s dangerous to ignore that this simply isn’t 99% of people, not even close.

          • Lauren from NH

            Meh, it’s probably more than 1% of women that have no problem with catcalling and even think it’s a compliment, but I can hope and know that presenting an alternative view doesn’t really hurt anyone.

      • SoontobeNatalieN

        I kinda agree with you here Amy. On one hand respecting *anyones* body is incredibly important. However, when I think about it this way – what if, in my girl group of friends it was a joke for one of those girls to smack my fiance’s butt after we got married, and say something welcoming him into the group. Would I be offended at that happening to a guy? No.

        Similarly, I think it’s important to realize that guys smack each other on the butt All. the. time. just look at sporting events. Does it make sense to me? Not particularly, but do I believe that these men mean it in a genuine way and want to welcome her by it – yeah, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

    • Noelle

      Google it.

      Very old military wedding tradition that has been going on continuously right up to the present day.

    • Juliet

      I was familiar with this tradition as a person who simply watches a lot of TV and movies, and I would bet that a person marrying into the military who has probably attended other military weddings is familiar with this tradition- I doubt it will be the surprise the groom thinks it will be. I’m with you that it’s dated and pretty gross, but I think she probably knows it is coming, and will let the groom know if she is not okay with it.

    • Natalie

      My dad is retired Navy, and they totally did this at my parents’ wedding. My mom knew it was coming, because you can’t be engaged to a Naval officer long without learning the traditions. They have a lovely framed wedding photo of my parents in the saber arch. No photos of the ass-sacking afterwards. I remember my mom mentioning that she was not thrilled with the saber ass-smacking, but that in the scheme of all the awful-for-wives traditions in the military, this was low on her list of complaints (she did not particularly like being a Navy wife and was thrilled when Dad retired early). She viewed it as a kind of litmus test. You’ve got to be able to put up with worse than that to be helpful to your husband’s military career.

      I, too, would want to punch someone if it were me and my wedding. I, too, think it’s disrespectful and embarrassing. BUT I am in no way cut out to be a military wife.

      • Noelle

        Agree. It’s such an old tradition and it’s always mentioned if you look up military weddings. I don’t know how any fiancee of a military person couldn’t know about it since the tradition never stopped.

        Also agree with, EF, that it’s done in jest. I don’t think it means anything about male dominance. The guy who taps the bride says “Welcome to the air force” or whatever branch. I think it’s a way of saying “Look what you’ve gotten into.”

        Nothing but pure silliness.

        • Noelle

          Kind of like hazing if you think about it.

    • EF

      So I am pretty comfortable with this tradition, but have 2 brothers in the military and a large extended network of military friends and family. I can *definitely* see people not being okay with it (that’s how I feel about the garter to be fair).
      But it’s done in jest, and IF you know about the tradition, I think it’d be harmful to not to it (i.e. ‘you’re not really one of us!) but forewarning is probably important.

      I will say that my younger brother just got married and my older brother was there in his dress blues to to the sword-tap to the newly wed bride…and I dunno how she reacted, I wasn’t there. But I was crushed when he opted to go to younger-brother’s wedding over mine (in 3 weeks, date was set before younger brother even met his now-wife, to give you an idea of timelines), and I’m bummed that she got this welcome-thing and I’m constantly on the fringes of the family. So. I don’t think it’s inherently offensive, but yeah, consent is important.

    • Emily

      Yes, I have the same reaction as you! I would punch the guy holding the sword! Okay, I might not actually punch him, but I would be pissed and likely say something to him and glare hard core at him.

  • cbee

    Guys help. I am getting SO antsy! We bought the ring a month and a half ago, and BF says he still doesn’t have a plan! I know he wanted to wait until busy season for me was over (I work in a retail-related field), but I am getting so impatient now that things are starting to slow down again. Any advice?

    • Juliet

      This is going to sound TOTALLY unhelpful, but I think it’s the best plan of action- Don’t worry about it, sister. He’s got the ring, it’s going to happen, sit back, relax, enjoy the ride.

    • Lauren from NH

      Netflix, yoga, cookie dough, trying to talk with your partner, talking with your girl friends (hi!), cleaning, reading the APW archive (angrily), punishing yourself with pretty things on pinterest…

      (None of these actually work in my experience, but a girl can try!)

      • Stacey Cuddhy

        I actually did all of these exact things. Didn’t work, but sure kept me distracted!

        What actually worked for me was when i talked to him about it. I told him that I felt like I was getting ready to run a relay race (plan the wedding) and to get started all he needed to do was pass me the baton (GIVE ME THE DAMN RING ALREADY).

      • cbee

        This weekend was cookie baking and lots of episodes of Property Brothers. Now to get through this week, when I know DOZENS of people will be getting engaged. If I can get through this week, I can get through anything!!

    • Bethany

      I’d talk to him about it and keep the communication lines open. Good luck!

    • Nell

      Are you hoping for a big proposal, or would you be happy with something super simple, at home or in your neighborhood? Dudes get so many messages about what women want in a proposal (horse-drawn carriage! skydiving! 300 piece orchestra!) that he might be a little overwhelmed.

      If at this point, you just wanna get proposed to – let him know that you don’t need anything fancy! I got proposed to at home, on a weeknight, over a homemade dinner for two. It was PERFECT.

      • cbee

        I am not really hoping for a big proposal. Maybe just a nice dinner or something to celebrate. He knows this, as we’ve talked. We talked about it a little more over the weekend and he seems to have freaked himself out (he’s very nervous by nature) now that my busy season is over. I’m going to try to talk about a timeline after the gym tonight.

    • Jules

      I…uh…ended up getting us half-engaged one night after we finished pizza and Netflix. We’d just finished the HIMYM finale, and I was all like WTF and sort of teary. I knew he’d ordered a ring some time ago (we got serious about the ring about 2 months prior), but didn’t think it was quite here yet…and I was just sort of done waiting. I took him for a walk and ended up giving him the ring I was saving for his proposal, and made a sort of small speech, and gave him his ring and we both cried a little bit.

      The next day I started contacting venues. He proposed to me 2 weeks later.

      I mean, I know that’s not terribly helpful, but I totally relate to the stress of waiting (while at the same time telling yourself to enjoy it and not ruin the moment!), the anticipation, even sometimes the sadness…even when you he loves you and bought the ring and all the good stuff.

    • River

      cbee, love! Talk to him again and suggest setting a time-line: i.e., we will be engaged by x date. Since it sounds like he wants to surprise you with a proposal, as my guy did, a mutually-agreed on end-date to the limbo will give you peace of mind and him, time in which to properly surprise you to his heart’s content. Make sure it’s a timeline you are truly okay with: my love waited until the DAY before our set expiration date and I was in hysterics thinking I would have to break up with the love of my life because didn’t want the same things.

      On the plus side, I was truly surprised ;-) if you scroll down you can even see pics ;-)

      HUGS HUGS HUGS

      • cbee

        We did a little bit of talking this weekend. We’re both anxious by nature and he’s gotten himself all freaked out since he originally told me that it would happen after busy season at my work and SURPRISE! Busy season is just about over. So now he’s freaking out and it will probably be a bit more time. I may bring up a timeline if I have no word by mid-January. :/

    • jspe

      Once we bought rings I set a deadline because I’m a pretty anxious person, and I didn’t want to feel anxious for a long time. But I made it clear to my partner that it wasn’t a “must be by x date or I’m leaving” (the rings were bought/therapy bills long paid, so I was pretty confident this was happening). I basically said “I’m glad you want to surprise me, but I’d like for this to happen in the next two months so that I don’t go nuts.” Also, she didn’t have a plan until 10 minutes before it happened, and it was magical and the stars totally aligned for it to be perfect. So, feel free to set a broad deadline, but also take some deep breaths. :-)

      • jspe

        no judgement on the people with much firmer deadlines, just giving context for my particular choice. YMMV, everyone needs to set their own boundaries, etc. :-)

  • Rose

    It’s been a very wedding-y day, after a couple of weeks of not thinking about it all that much. I set up a cake tasting for while we’re in town over the holidays, I’ve been talking to the photographers, and I just got a call that my dress came in to the shop (A & Be bridal in Denver, and I can’t say it enough, I love them)! I’m not going to get it until January, because I asked them to wait to ship it until I was going to be back home, but still, exciting!

    In the meantime, trying to figure out where to do the engagement pictures; turns out we’d need a permit for the park I’d kind of been thinking of. A few other options range from county open space to downtown; I can imagine all of them being nice, I guess it mostly depends on what style we think we want. But I like both the more urban and the more naturalistic settings. I guess it’s time to remind myself that if all the options are good, none of the choices can be really bad. And that I should just get around to sending the Save the Dates already, now that it’s been over a month of me planning to send them any day now.

    I’m also planning on working on finding musicians while I’m in town over the holidays. My dad’s friends with a number of musicians, I was just going to ask around, but of course the first question is what kind of music we want. And I don’t totally know? We’re more folk/swing/bluegrass people than anything else, but I don’t really know what exactly we want. Something people will dance to. I’m also just weirdly insecure about my musical knowledge and inability to really define genres, which makes figuring it out harder. Any suggestions?

    • Juliet

      Sounds like you’re open to lots of music options, so I think this may be a good occasion to let the band pick you! Tell your dad your are looking for something crowd pleasing and danceable, and see if any of his friends fit the bill or if they know any bands- I bet you’ll stumble across something really fun and different this way. A tip from experience- a band that comes with their own PA and sound set up is a real perk! One less vendor to deal with. Knowing what kind of music you’ll have may help you narrow down a venue, as some may be more amenable to amplified music or a large group, etc.

    • Jules

      We started with a band I’d seen in person at a local bar. They were $6000, so way out of range. Then I asked a cousin who had 8 close friends married in the last 3 years. This cousin has great taste in music and I danced a ton at her wedding, so I trusted her judgment, listened to some of the clips on Youtube, decided we liked most of the songs on their set list, and hired them!

      I take comfort in that they are professional performers who are well-versed in getting people off their feet. Also, people may dance to stuff they don’t normally listen to out of sheer joy or band’s awesomeness. I listen to mostly top 40 and country and a little alt, but our band is like….Motown and funk type stuff with a horn section. So.

  • Bethany

    I love this roundup from the year. So last Friday I mentioned that my boyfriend and I had been having lots of discussions in circles about how we wanted to get engaged before Christmas but the timing kept not being right. We ended up having a massive argument when I got home (30 min late because of traffic) from work and was, to put it mildly, “hangry,” and he had promised dinner would be ready but instead was just starting to chop vegetable because he’d lost track of time. When I asked what more needed to be done, we realized that he didn’t have one of the most important ingredients in the dinner and I kind of flipped out.

    After both of us realizing that we were arguing more because we were stressed and hungry, we ordered pizza and I walked out our apartment door, then back in as though I’d just gotten home, causing both of us to laugh and our cat to run to greet me (which he hadn’t done the first time I’d come home). We ate dinner and watched tv and just enjoyed ignoring all of the outside stress. Then, after an episode of something finished he said that he hoped we were still doing this in 60 years, I joked about how much I argue and the temper I have when hungry, and he said that there was no one he wanted to argue with for the rest of his life, and pulled out an old wooden ring box and asked me to marry him. He told me later that he realized we were never going to have perfect timing, we were going to have our timing and that he didn’t want to not be engaged to me for another day waiting for things to be perfect by some outside standard. I actually love that we got engaged 2 hours after I was yelling about egg noodles.

    So yeah, I’m engaged and keep staring at the ring (it belonged to his grandmother and I absolutely adore it. Somehow it even fits which is so strange since he didn’t get it resized).

    • Lauren from NH

      That has to be one of my favorite engagement stories!

      • Bethany

        Thank you, from one DC-area bride to another! (I think you said you were DC-based)

    • Erin J.

      Amazing! What an excellent, real-life engagement story. Congratulations.

      • Bethany

        Thank you :) It felt very us.

    • Sarah

      I love the story! Sounds like some evenings we’ve had…haha. Congrats :)

      • Bethany

        Thanks! I doubt it’ll be the last time I come home hangry…

    • Allison

      This is wonderful. Love happens in real life.

      • Bethany

        Thank you :) I really like that way of stating it.

    • Lian

      Love it, congratulations!

      • Bethany

        Thank you!

    • Natalie

      congrats! I love this engagement story. So sweet!

    • Ragnhild

      This is wonderful! Congratulations :)

      • Bethany

        Thank you!

    • C_Gold

      Yay!! Congratulations!

      • Bethany

        Thanks!

    • Random internet stranger here who just teared up at your story. Sounds pretty perfect to me! Congratulations!

      • Bethany

        Thank you :) It was rather perfectly us.

    • SuperDaintyKate

      Tears tears tears tears!! So happy for you.

      • Bethany

        Thanks! I teared up when it happened and again yesterday when his dad sent me a personalized Christmas stocking with presents in it because I’m part of the family now.

    • emilyg25

      Yay!!! Congrats!

      • Bethany

        Thank you :)

    • River

      Congratulations!!! This story is so so so touching <3 and the ring fits?? Beshert!

    • Ashley Peterson

      Yaaayyyy!!! Congrats!!!

    • cbee

      I love everything about this. Congratulations!!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Freaking LOVELY! What a perfect ‘proposal story’ – no Bruno Mars choreographed flash mob req’d here….

  • Emma

    I just want to share a few moments from the past few weeks we’ve had of continuing to merge our homes and holiday traditions. We both always celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas growing up, but the traditions mean way more to me than to him. We got our first Christmas tree this year and I was really stressing because I have a bunch of special ornaments from throughout my childhood and he has 5 and I didn’t want the tree to be all about me! I contacted a close family friend who felts ornaments and other amazing things for a living and asked if she could make a baseball ornament for $20 or less. She responded she would be happy to do it and it would be our gift for the holidays! This was the first time I have ever asked specifically for help from our community with our relationship and I felt so supported (and admittedly a little silly because an ornament is such a small thing).
    We also just did a big update to our apartment, including taking the bed frame that was in his sister’s old room. We went to his parents’ house Friday night after work, I was tired and grumpy and very decidedly NOT pulling my weight as we took the bed apart and loaded it in the car. At one point we passed in the kitchen and he mouthed “I love you”. It totally reset my attitude and reminded me why I moved in with this guy in the first place when his response to my being a grumpy downer of a partner is to express his love.

    • Bethany

      An ornament sounds very meaningful which is not a small thing. That’s really wonderful.

  • Alice

    My husband is going to make it to Glasgow for Christmas! We finally bought his flight, shelled out an absurd amount of money to fly the dog and cat, and now he’s finishing up at his job, clearing the house, and getting ready to fly out. He’ll be here the morning of the 24th, so it will be a sleepy, jet-lagged Christmas for him, but we couldn’t care less. He’ll finally be here to stay. It feels like real life (whatever that means) is starting.

    • Lian

      Congratulations!

    • Bethany

      Yay! Congratulations! Good luck with the pets!

  • joanna b.n.

    YOU GUYS!! I am about to burst and this is the perfect time/place to shout my excitement!! I managed to wrangle my hubby an amazing Christmas present that I am both super excited and super nervous about!

    I have a work trip to Florida materiailzing in the spring. And I have been playing with the idea (with my mom’s support) of setting aside some money to pay for his plane ticket to Florida so we could have a long weekend vacation after my work stuff wraps up… but couldn’t quite get enough together with my few airline miles, her contribution, and some gift cards I scrounged up to cover his whole flight. AND THEN I got my first ever (small but satisfying and total surprise) holiday bonus yesterday! And Voila! Tickets are covered!

    Now I have to keep the secrets from him for two days that 1) I GOT A BONUS!!!, 2) I GOT HIM AN AWESOME PRESENT, and 3) WE’RE GOING TO FLORIDA IN FEBRUARY. Thank the lord we’re doing our Christmas on Sunday, so I don’t have to wait most of a week. That would be pure torture.

    And I’m a teensy bit nervous that he won’t be into it or will second guess my choice for use of cash… but hoping that he’ll just be super thrilled and go with it. Fingers crossed!

    And Happiest of Holiday wishes to all!

    • C_Gold

      That’s awesome! Have fun! How could anyone not be into the idea of Florida in February? I’m sure it’ll be great!

  • So I found out in an awkward and roundabout way that my relationship with my mother-in-law may be a bit more troubled than I realized. While helping my parents move last weekend, my mother commented to me that I might want to be less outspoken about my politics with my in-laws (both my partner and I hold fairly liberal political views while both coming from very conservative families). I was confused, as I do generally try to stay away from controversial topics with my in-laws. It turns out that my mother and mother-in-law had a telephone conversation where it came up that my mother-in-law feels that I must be pulling their son away from his faith and “proper” beliefs and his family. It stung. I had been under the impression that we were actually getting along okay despite our differences. We are still of the same faith (just belong to a more progressive congregation now). But it seems that his parents are convinced that any changes in my partner’s views are because of me (when really, we were on the same page when we met). And it turns out that my mother-in-law has apparently been judging the quality of my faith by how much time she observes me reading religious texts at their house.

    We’re going to be staying with them for a week over the New Year’s Holiday. Any tips on how to best manage my interactions?

    (For the record, I get along great with my partner’s siblings and his dad and grandfather. I’m just in hot water with his mother apparently. And my partner will back me up– his relationship with his mother has been challenging at times.)

    • joanna b.n.

      Oof. Tough! So tough. Although, bright spot to me is, wow, amazing communication lines open between you and your mom and your mom and the mother in law! So that’s a blessing. Here’s hoping you can hang together with your partner and help her see (perhaps over time) that being with you is just a first step in him sharing his real self with them. Which, can be tough for people to realize they haven’t had the whole picture the whole time. Talk to your partner about how he’d prefer to handle it, as a team. That’s my thought. Good luck!!!!

    • Amy March

      Is one option doing nothing different? Carrying on as though you didn’t know, addressing anything she brings to you directly, and anything that’s just gossip gets ignored because it mustn’t really matter to her if she’s not addressing it directly?

      It sounds like you are doing what you and your husband are comfortable doing, so carrying on with that and letting her get there on her own schedule is a huge gift.

      • joanna b.n.

        I second this as well.

      • macrain

        YES. This is how I try to deal with family drama- gossip is just gossip, and if two people have issues, those to people should talk directly.
        By bringing it up with her, you are indicating that it’s totally cool for her raise issues with you via your mom, which, uh- it’s not.

        • Yes, yes. I didn’t plan to raise this at all directly. It’s more that I feel very uncomfortable going to their home now. I had been under the impression that even though we weren’t exactly that close, she still liked me. It was a bit painful to discover that she thinks that most of her issues with her son are because of me (not their own differences). Any tips on how to survive and make the best of it without losing my mind?

          • Violet

            Honestly, with people who don’t like me for reasons that aren’t valid (trust me, I got plenty of VALID reasons to dislike me), I just decide to kind of pity them for their misconception. I know it’s not terribly productive, but you can smugly sit there and think about how she just doesn’t get it. If someone has a more evolved Good Person way to handle it, I’d love to hear so I can use it instead of my childish one.

          • joanna b.n.

            Just would add that (I’m an optimist about people) she’s still learning about her son as an adult, so it’s a step in the process towards them having a more authentic relationship. So, thinking that – boy I hope she gets there soon, might be a little more evolved… ha ha!

          • Allison

            She probably *does* like you, because even though you just found out about these particular feelings, she has probably had them all along. If you thought your relationship was in a good place before you learned of this, it probably still is. I would try to focus on things you do agree on while you are there. For instance, my husband and stepdad disagree greatly on religion, but they could (and do) talk baseball for days. I think finding a safe space for your conversations to exist is a good place to start to keep your sanity.

          • macrain

            Okay, well, I think it’s important to remember that there is a distinction between “she doesn’t like xyz thing about me” and “she doesn’t like ME.” If you’ve been under the impression that she likes you, she probably does! Those words do sound harsh, but remember you heard them second hand. The problem with heresay is that things can really get misconstrued, and it might not be as bad as you are thinking.
            If things do become uncomfortable during your visit, I would recommend that you just do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Take breaks if you have to. Go for a walk. Excuse yourself, even for a minute, if things get tense. Time outs can work wonders, and you don’t have to make a huge thing of it. Good luck!

          • Thanks. I can always retreat to drink with Grandpa in the basement (which, of course, might be part of the reason why she thinks I’m a heathen- but at least Grandpa loves me). Oh the complications of multi-cultural families

    • Violet

      I can’t believe, I, Miss Polite Confrontation, am going to suggest this: I would leave it alone. Talk to your partner and if he has something he wants to do, he can go for it. But if she really has this idea you changed him, I don’t see her changing her mind on that, especially since she’s probably invested in that belief in some way. Also, won’t it then reveal that your mom told you what MIL told her, which might strain things there?

    • Gina

      Oooof. That is rough. I had a similar-but-different situation recently while talking to my mom when she said, “I figured out why [my mother-in-law] isn’t very excited about the baby” and my first reaction was “wait. My MIL isn’t excited about the baby?” Because my MIL had made some comments to my mom about how she was worried we were too young (we’re late 20s) and unstable (we own a house, have jobs, money in the bank, etc).

      All that to say, I second the advice of other commenters who are saying maybe the best thing to do is just let it be. It sounds like you have been more than gracious and careful about contentious topics around the in-laws. It also sounds like you may be the easy one to blame if they are concerned about their son’s beliefs. If anything, I’d ask your husband to explain to them that his beliefs are his own. But I figure that, whatever the in-laws want to believe, they’ll believe, no matter what anyone tells them– so best to take the high road and just do you, know what I mean?

      • Thanks for the advice. It’s funny because part of this is that we find ourselves in the opposite situation. My mother-in-law is quite disappointed that we haven’t given her any grandchildren yet (we’re in our mid-20s), as she seems to view marriage and children as the God-given purpose of all women. We’ve tried to inform her, politely and firmly, that we will be having children when we are ready (which is probably not for another 5-10 years).

        • Gina

          Ha! Sometimes there is no winning. I’m sorry, that has got to be really frustrating. I does sound like killing her with kindness (while firmly establishing boundaries, as you’ve done) may soften her over time. I hope she will think of you less and less as “that liberal daughter in law” and more and more as a beloved member of the family. It’s so unfair to be stereotyped before she gets to know you, and I would be hurt too.

          • Thanks! That’s what I’m hoping for too. (And hopefully sooner rather than later)

    • Sarah

      Yiiiikes. This is all sort of odd. Also I feel you (my partner’s family is conservative and religious and I’m the opposite of all of that, so is my fiance but his parents only know that he’s a democrat, but not about the atheism). Why would your mother and his mother be talking about this? It sort of sounds like this is something you probably shouldn’t know about. And personally, I would proceed as if I didn’t know about it. But I’m really conflict-averse :)

      • I’m planning to keep mum about knowing what I know. My mother and his mother ended up talking about this months ago because my mother called to check up on them after Hawaii had all the hurricane excitement (which turned out to be nothing). She talked to me because she knows we’re going back soon, and she was under the impression that I was talking politics all the time when I’m over there. The truth is that it’s my partner who’s more outspoken (which is his prerogative with his family), but it seems that what he says gets attributed to me in her mind because I must somehow be controlling all of his political beliefs. My partner and I have chatted a bit about having him try to more intentionally avoid the political discussions this year.

        • Sarah

          Oh dude, we have the *same* issue. My fiance loves talking politics, to anyone and everyone, and looooves to argue. He goads his grandmother, who is a fox news addict. I mostly stay quiet because I get emotional about some political issues (but its also really hard for me not to voice my opinions), and don’t want to burn bridges with his family by accident. Last time we were visiting he got into it with his grandparents, and I ended up getting visibly upset by some of the stuff they said (re Ferguson). They don’t think badly of me *that I know of* but I could be you, too, I don’t really know. Soon enough my fiance will have to come out as an atheist, probably when we have kids…not looking forward to that. I worry that it will be attributed to me.

          So we talked about it and came to the same conclusion. My dude needs to keep away from the arguments so that I don’t end up having an accidental conflict with his family, lol.

          • Fortunately my partner isn’t so much the instigator as his family– his dad really likes having conversations about current events where these things end up coming out. But yes, we’re going to try to more intentionally redirect conversations away from politics.

    • Whitney S.

      Daaaaaaarling, I’d kill her with kindness. ☺
      Step 1: Cat is out of the bag, so I’d talk to your husband about all this. You’re gonna feel weird about all this, so he might as well know what’s up. Forewarned is forearmed.
      Step 2: Be your wonderful self. You are a duck and her prefence to never interact with someone with different view from her own world view is water. I mean, lezzzzz be honest. You might have not picked her out of the heap either.

  • C_Gold

    So I’m about to experience my first Christmas with my step-kids. (Well, they’ll be my step-kids in three months, after the wedding, though my step-daughter has opted to already call me her step-mom to make the explanation shorter. :) )

    I’m nervous. We’re going to see their paternal grandparents tomorrow, and spending Christmas itself at my parents’ house. Then on the 26th they’re going with their mom to their maternal grandparents house.

    They know my parents and like them and have been there before. They seem excited about everything. I think we bought them awesome gifts. But I’m still scared. I don’t want to screw it up. And the 8-year-old still believes in Santa (we think so, anyway), so I don’t want to screw that up, additionally. I just want them to have a good Christmas.

    There have been a lot of rather hostile texts from my fiancé’s ex-wife to my fiancé regarding gifts, money, etc. that have been very not-Christmasy, when he’s been trying to be friendly and non-hostile. And it stresses me out. I don’t care that she doesn’t like me (it’s very obvious), but I am scared she’ll poison the kids against me somehow.

    So, yipes. By the time the next happy hour occurs, the holidays will be over and I will have gotten through it.

    • Lian

      Good luck. Clearly you want to do right by them, so you will. Yes, the situation (especially with ex-wife) is not ideal, but the kids are excited, you are excited… so it will be good :)

      • C_Gold

        Thank you. Yes. Thanks. I will keep thinking this. And will report back in January. :)

    • macrain

      This is all so new, so try to not put a lot of pressure on yourself to make it 100% perfect. It’s not going to be perfect, and there will most likely be some bumps in the road as you all figure all of this out. BUT- it’s not going to ruin anyone’s Christmas, and you aren’t going to screw it up. You are doing the best you can. Good luck!

    • Natalie

      I understand wanting everything to go well with your future stepkids. That speaks well for you and the type of relationship you want to have with them. I’d like to point out that kids generally enjoy Christmas, and it’s hard to screw up Christmas from a kid’s perspective. If there are candy canes and presents and playtime and happiness, they’re going to love it. I remember Christmas being amazing for me as a kid, every year, even the ones that involved family yelling-matches and extended family stewing in corners. I remember those things, and can imagine the negative emotions of them with my adult hindsight, but as a kid, the magic and being spoiled by grandparents and candy filled my emotional response. Those Christmases were awesome to me, even if the adults present didn’t think they were so great.

      So. Go forth and make your stepkids’ Christmas awesome by being your wonderful self and giving them some Christmas magic and sugar highs.

    • StevenPortland

      BTW, don’t try to assess how well the Christmas went by how well the gifts go over with the kids. Every Christmas and birthday I try my best to buy great gifts for our two kids and am always surprised by which ones never catch their attention, or which other gifts do. Just last night, our older son pulled out his big gift from Christmas 2014 and it is only the third time I’ve seen him play with it this entire year. So do not judge yourself by that criteria. Just have a good time with them and let them experience the magic of Christmas.

    • Alison O

      I’ve heard Dan Savage give advice to a few callers on his show who are in a similar position as a step-parent whose ex-counterpart is……not contributing to making it a great situation for everyone involved…and maybe doing exactly the opposite. His advice, which seems right based on my own understanding of the experiences of my friends who were children of divorce and remarriage, is that even if the ex-wife were able to poison the kids for now (which doesn’t sound like it has happened in this case), if you keep being reasonable, loving, sincere you, and not getting too caught up in it or stooping to that level or resenting the kids, etc., they’ll realize with time and age what’s what and how they were being manipulated (intentionally or not).

    • Emily

      From one step parent to another, you are in this for the long haul now. There will be other Christmases. Know that you will get a groove and figure out what your (new) family’s traditions are. I understand wanting this Christmas to be good (and I hope it is!). But don’t feel like this holiday will define everything to come.

      As for potential poisoning, my husband’s ex tells the kids terrible things about me. I’ve dealt with it by encouraging them to ask me about anything they want (and to give you an idea, one asked me if I have an STD). I answer their concerns honestly (no, I do not have an STD) and I continue to say hey, you can ask me about anything you want. They’ve never asked me why Mom says these things (I think they kind of get it). Others with grown stepchildren say that they kids get it after awhile and can tell when someone cares for them – I’m banking on that!

      Hang in there – they holidays have gotten easier for us (this is our 5th one). Take care of yourself in all this.

    • C_Gold

      Thank you all for your messages! I keep re-reading them, and I will continue to re-read them until the 26th. :) I really appreciate having this community to talk to about things like this.

  • Lisa

    We leave for our honeymoon/first married Christmas together in Germany on Sunday!!! Any restaurant suggestions for Christmas dinner in Munich (or just dinner in general) would be greatly appreciated!

    • macrain

      Wooooo!!! Have so much fun!

    • Mezza

      I just got back from Germany on Sunday! (And I think I encouraged your idea of a German Christmas honeymoon in a previous happy hour at some point, so please don’t be mad at me if it is still really freaking cold over there like it was last week…)

      Drink ALL the glühwein! And if you eat meat, there will be no shortage of options in fun traditional German restaurants. I also recommend Käsespätzle (…German mac & cheese, kinda?) whether or not you eat meat – it’s warm and filling and perfect for cold weather. Have fun!

      • Lisa

        That’s right!! Did you guys have an amazing time?? I’m so excited for all of the food. German mac and cheese sounds like THE BEST. If there’s one thing Germans cook well, it’s carbs.

        And how cold is cold exactly? It’s 30-40 currently where we live, and after tackling Chicago’s Christmas market last year during the polar vortex, I’m pretty unflappable.

        • Mezza

          Mine was just a relatively boring trip to visit my dad who works in Germany, so not nearly as fun as a honeymoon. But it was good to see family and figure out how to speak German again!

          It’s 30-40 over there also, but (at least in the Frankfurt area where I was) it rained almost constantly, which was awful and made it feel colder. I hike around NYC all winter usually, so I didn’t expect to be so unhappy about the weather, but there were days when even Christmas markets didn’t make me want to go outside. Hoping you have a better experience!

        • Miriam

          Seconding Käsespätzle and also Kaiserschmarrn for the Bavarian/Austrian area :) But yeah, the wheather is kind of nasty right now, more rain than snow. Next week is supposed to be in the 40-50 range, but after Christmas we should be back to around 30 and maaaybe see some snow.
          Have fun and enjoy your honeymoon!!

    • M.

      Check out the Viktualienmarkt if you’re doing any self catering, it’s so great! Beautiful outdoor market. Also behind the Frauenkirche there was an adorable tea house (in 2007), dunno if still there.

      Ill come back if I remember anything else!

    • My favorite meals in Munich were at Andescher am Dom and the full-service restaurant inside the Paulaner Keller beer garden. Good food, service, and atmosphere/ambiance!

  • Katie

    If anyone is feeling a bit down and out about the holiday season, I highly recommend heading over to The Bloggess’ site and taking a gander at her annual post about giving.

    http://thebloggess.com/2014/12/if-you-need-help-or-if-you-want-to-help/

    There are over 2000 comments of readers who are in need this Christmas asking for help, and other readers responding. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. Weddings are big, and stressful, and expensive, but reading what some people are going through really puts life in perspective. And getting to see the love and kindness that we can have for each other, not because we’re related, but because we are human, is incredibly moving.

    Happy Holidays!

  • I got a call that my dress arrived early! Like two months early! Part of me is really excited because it will not have been 6-8 months or whatever of not remembering what the dress looked like, but part of me is really stressed about having to keep it stored until the wedding (6 months away). Either way, yay pretty dress!

    • Sparkles

      Have someone else store it for you? I think it’s actually “traditional” to have your parents store the dress. That way you don’t have to stare at it in your closet for all that extra time. Which I know would drive me nuts. If I had had the dress at home I would have tried it on once a week or something ridiculous and then accidentally spilled salsa on it.

      • Oh it’s staying at my fiance’s grandma’s house. We’ve already discussed it and she’s already banned him from the laundry room for the next six months.

  • June

    Hey people! I have a question that part of thinks is not a big deal, and the other part of me does think is a big deal: what do you do about changing your email address when you get married and you change your last name? My current email is [my first and last name}@domain.com….when I get married, my last name will be different! What do you do? Do you keep your old email and just change the display name? Do you get an entirely new email and have all your old email forwarded to your new email?

    It’s just that so much of our lives are on the internet these days….part of me doesn’t want to bother changing anything because I can’t even fathom how much account information I’ll have to change all over the place if I switch my email address……

    Thanks! Happy Holidays! :)

    • Not Sarah

      I’ve seen all of the above. One friend kept the same email and just changed the name. Another friend had rando@domain.com [basically, not her name] and so she just also got an email with the new name to forward there and continued using her rando@domain.com after changing the name on it. Another friend went all out and got a fully new gmail address, forwarded the maiden one, and just went to using the married one full-time.

      The friend who changed everything…it seemed super weird at the time (> 6 years ago), but now it’s just normal. I almost forget that she used to have a different email.

      So basically, whatever you think will work best for you :)

    • Ashley

      I use Gmail, and I created a new one based on our new last name name (no numbers this time!). I’ll be honest, Gmail makes it kind of painful just because EVERYTHING is connected now. YouTube, Google Play, Google Docs, etc. And some of it is easy to transfer to your new account, and some isn’t. BUT you’re also able to be logged into two accounts at once. So I use my new address for almost everything, but my old one for Google Play (because you can’t move your music over easily).

      Obviously that’s all Gmail-specific. Other than that, I didn’t find changing emails that difficult. Disclaimer: The only people I email regularly are my husband and my mom, so there weren’t too many people to confuse. I sent an email to a few people letting them know it changed, and that was that. I still have both email addresses attached to my phone, so even if something goes to the wrong account, I still see it. Yeah, there were online accounts and newsletters that I had to update (although it was nice getting a fresh start with newsletters!), but it didn’t take long to change it all.

      Work email, on the other hand, I kept the same, and changed just the display name and signature. My new last name is hyphenated, so it would have been way clunkier to spell over the phone, it would be hard to update all of our clients, and it would have just looked really stupid with our email convention. Plus, half my name is still there anyway, so it works.

      If you’re interested in my thoughts on why I chose to change my personal email (this has gotten long, why not keep it going??), it was/is important to me that I start to feel like my new hyphenated name IS my name. Not His Name – My Name. I thought having it in one place where I see and type it multiple times a day would help me embrace the whole name as part of my identity. Also, assuming I did one day feel like that whole name was MY name, I wouldn’t want just half of my name as my email address. On the other hand! My husband, who also changed his name, did not change his personal email address. So it’s really a you do you situation :)

      • MTM

        If it’s Gmail, you can also just have all the mail (or mail from select addresses) forwarded from the old email address to the new email address.

      • anona

        I also am changing emails, even though it’s a royal pain, for much the same reasons. The more I use this name, the more I am getting used to it!

    • Jen

      My best friend changed her email and then had everything forwarded from the old gmail acct to the new one- she didn’t even make a formal announcement to folks that she changed it, she just started replying with the new address and folks got the change without even realizing it. I know the account stuff was a gradual change and I think she found that stuff way less annoying that the offline name changing stuff (dmv, social security office, and all the following).

    • Danielle Antosz

      Agree with below – create a new one (if that is what you want) and just forward your old mail to the new address.

  • AGCourtney

    Well, I went for a second visit to A &Be Bridal and I am just in love with the Nicole Miller Laurel. They put a veil on me and it was like magic. AND they’re selling the sample, so it was $650 off. (Of course, you put alterations in, and we’re back up there again, but hey, it’s like free alterations.) But auugh, that’s still nearly two grand. I’m such a cheapskate and I can’t even fathom spending that much money on a dress I’ll wear one time. But they are just wonderful people and I would love to support them. Ahhhh.
    And my joy is tempered by the fact that I am completely and utterly nauseous and in pain from the tiny complimentary cup of champagne from the boutique. Happy hour indeed. x_x
    Well, at least I know not to have it at the wedding now!

  • Pingback: The Best of APW 2014 | weddingcarshiregeelong()

  • Emily

    I know I’m late, but does anyone else have the problem with Disqus that when you attempt to reply to someone else it scrolls away from the reply box? I can type, but I can’t see what I type and I constantly have to scroll back, read what I typed, fix it blind, scroll again… it’s happened right after I updated to Yosemite, so I’m wondering if there is a connection. It makes it WAY harder to reply! Help?

    • Sparkles

      I’d suggest google. My computer did some strange stuff with apostrophes on the site when I updated and I mentioned it to the staff because they had just updated the site too. Google told me it was a browser issue and not a site issue.

  • Sparkles

    So much happy news I’ve read already. Sounds like people are having a great end to the year. I know I am. I had my baby!! He’s 8 days old and absolutely perfect.

    Labour was an epic. Three days of early labojr, slow progress at home, two hours of pushing, and finally a c-section. I’m still coming to terms with our birth story, but mostly that’s outweighed by the fact that I have this tiny perfect human snuffling at my boob right now.

    • Lawyerette510

      Congratulations Sparkles and welcome to the world SparklesBaby! Sending you thoughts of healing and good luck with the newborn.

  • nancy Alfred

    My name is Nancy Alfred from USA My boyfriend and I were happy as far as I could tell and I never thought that we would break up. When his cousin died in a tragic car accident he went back to Philippine for a week to be with his family. I could not go because I was in the middle of entertaining out of town clients for work. He did not seem to be upset that I could not go so I let him be. The next thing that I know, he reconnected with an old friend from high school that he had a crush on years ago and they started to have an affair! I had no clue what was going on until a month after he came back from Philippine.He proceeded to see both her and I until I caught him testing her one night. I confronted him and he told me the truth about what happened. We broke up and went our separate ways. Neither of us fought for our relationship. I was angry and decided not to be upset about it and just keep it moving. Then after about a month of not speaking to him I became sad. I wanted him to tell me that he wanted to be with me and not her. I contacted Esango Priest for a love spell and he totally helped me! he was able to get him to miss me to where he wanted to get back together again. He had a lot of regrets and felt bad for not fighting to keep me and for cheating in general. He values our relationship so much more now and we are together now! You can also get your lover back with the help of Esango Priest contact him through his email:esangopriest@gmail.com.THANKS.

  • laurabird

    We got married!!

    The fella and I flew home to San Francisco on Tuesday and went to City Hall to get married. We’re still doing the wedding next year, but we’ve got it all legalled now. It was pouring rain, and even though it’s blurry, the outside picture is one of my favorites. You can see just how damn happy we are.

    It was perfect. I am so happy with how we’ve done everything so far, even if they aren’t the decisions our families expect us to make, they’ve been supportive, and they really are the best decisions for us.

    Oh, and I just got a text from my husband (*squeee*), he sent me a screenshot of his phone, showing that he’d changed my name in his phone to Laura OurNewLastName. I just about died.

    • yay! congrats!

    • Danielle Antosz

      Cute! We did the legal bit six months before our wedding, too. Made the wedding day so not stressful at all. Good luck!!

    • River

      Congratulations AND best wishes! You guys are so cute! What a spectacular City Hall <3

  • Kayjayoh

    Hey, and APWers stuck at work today? I am, and it’s a ghost town.

    • I’m currently the only person working on my part of the floor. Part of me loves the dark and quiet, the other part of me is just counting the hours till I’m off for the holiday.

      • Kayjayoh

        I should start singing Beyonce songs at my desk.

    • joanna b.n.

      And, exhausting…

    • Stacey Cuddhy

      Yep. And it’s been pretty much been a Murphy’s law day of course. Making it through with candy and Christmas jams.

  • Kayjayoh

    In other news, yesterday was 6 months to the day since we got married…and then I went out and got into a car accident in my husband’s car. I mistakenly thought an intersection was a four-way stop when it wasn’t, and realized the mistake seconds too late. I was fine and the car I was driving was just dinged, but the car I t-boned (at low speed) then crashed into a wall and was pretty much totaled. The driver, who was understandably extremely upset, hurt her knees (likely on the dash and/or the airbag) and was taken to the hospital.

    Needless to say, I felt like a complete asshole. Ruined some lady’s day right after church (and right before Christmas) and vehicle. Had an accident in someone else’s car (my husband gets to deal with the repair now.) Oddly, the police on the scene did not give me a citation, for which I am confused but grateful. And the many people who showed up on the scene in the neighborhood (quite a few of whom were also leaving church and knew the other driver) where very helpful to her *and* spent a bit of time comforting me. Seriously, I got two hugs from strangers before I left.

    All in all, it could have been worse but I’d rather not repeat that again ever.

    • Sorry to hear that! Glad you are okay. Also glad the other driver was taken to the hospital right away.

      Things like that just remind me how precious life is!

  • FancyPants

    Anyone still poking around here during the APW holiday time? Yes? Me too! If you are here, you might care for a reminder of this APW 2014 post: https://apracticalwedding.com/2014/10/ten-fall-cocktails/ ; We are bringing Lion’s Tails to Potluck tonight. [Here’s another holiday cocktail contender: (http://smittenkitchen.com/) Old Fashioneds]. Sooooo psyched. Cheers, y’all!

    • Jess

      I have still not gone on a hunt for Allspice Dram. Should I do so for the rest of this probably long winter?

      • FancyPants

        Me thinks….Yes!!! If only for the Lion’s Tails. They were a hit. However, the Allspice Dram is not something I see us using regularly (unlike, say the bitters we got or perhaps a more versatile liqueur)- and it is QUITE spicy and oh-so-winter-y. If you’re into that. My SO just said it is his new winter Jam. The other cocktail I posted from Smitten Kitchen- ALSO a hit! (Yes, lots of cocktails this week). Doesn’t require special ingredients (besides bitters) but it takes more WORK for the special Winter Simple Syrup you make from pears, apples, spices, sugar, etc. Lion’s Tails were so easy to make. Happy winter drinking- Cheers!

        • Jess

          Ooh thanks! I’m going to go on the hunt, if only to go with a wintery and easy-to-mix drink. Right around now, I start getting really sick of beer and searching for something else.

  • April Thompson

    Great stuff here! I love it! The only thing that would make it more perfect is if someone fixed the graphic so we can pin, because it’s pretty sweet! (The SH*T WE’RE JUST PROUD OF one; it has a typo.) :)

  • I figure most people won’t be on here, but you people are the only ones I know to ask. I’m thinking of starting a website, pretty much a blog but I want it to be a bit more official than that. Anyway I’ve made blogs before and know how to make those but for this I want some type of original artwork made to go with the site. Does anyone have experience with this? How did you hire the artist and go about putting the site together?

    • Eenie

      It depends on how much you want to spend. Lots of graphic designers freelance. You could call up a local college and see if any students would want to do it for a fee and to boost their portfolio. Do you know what the graphic is going to look like already?

      • I have an idea, or I know what type of aura I want it to have, ha….but I feel like I need to collaborate and talk with someone instead of just telling them exactly what I want. thank you!!

    • Lian

      We hired a friend who designs stuff to make some things for our wedding. So I’ve never had to find an artist, but I have hired one. We paid her an hourly fee, explained what we wanted, and she really did a great job. I think if you find someone you trust, it’s best to just let them do their magic. I like the suggestion of looking at a local college. Or maybe craigslist or something? Or ask around if anyone has had a good experience with someone with the style of artwork you’re looking for. Just remember that this is people’s actual job, and thus they will need to charge money, and it may be more than you’re able to spend. That’s just like shopping – if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it and you look for something cheaper (someone with less experience, etc.).

      As for websites, I’ve heard good things about Squarespace ;) (Winky smiley because APW is sponsored by Squarespace!) I’ve never used it but if you’re looking for something official looking, it seems like a good bet.

      What kind of website are you wanting to start? Good luck!

      • Wow, I’m glad I asked APW. I got so much help, thank you!! I’m not exactly sure, but I currently have a blog but I realized it’s not going anywhere cause it’s based on me writing about my life..which I don’t like because I’d rather be more anonymous – and I feel silly and pointless writing about myself – the whole who cares about my journals anyway and my actual journals would be way better cause no one could read them type thing. But I realized the three things that I am most passionate about are all related, and in my opinion, strongly depend on each other and there aren’t a lot of blogs that put them together. I wanted to do a website/blog bridging psychology/animal rights/ feminism. I work for a therapist, I work for PETA, I’m an actress and a girl and I want to be able to bring all of them together somehow. With some type of feature where people can interact on it as well. Still braindstorming but I figured I need to just go where my heart naturally wants to write and feels the need to get the message out there.

        Thanks for all of your help!!!

        • Lian

          That does sound interesting and like a combination of things I’m interested in. I think the best approach now would be to just start writing articles! You can have the prettiest blog in the world but without content it won’t go anywhere. I think it’s better to create content first, and then when you see this is a project you can stick with to invest a bit in prettiness.
          Good luck!

    • Danielle Antosz

      Def depends on what you are looking for. Odesk and elancer are a great place to find freelancers. Or Fivver, depending upon your budget. You might also look local.

      • Wow, thank you so much!! I’ve never heard of either of those sites! :)

  • anon

    Hello APW… holiday screaming match with my Mom where she threw painful (verbal) barbs at me in front of my husband tonight. Infuriating and embarrassing. I hope all of you are faring better with the holiday ridiculousness. I wish I could figure out a way not to come home without feeling incredibly guilty. Ugh.

    • Manda9339

      :-(. Hugs

    • Jess

      I hope you survived. I made it through 1 week with my family and only felt bad about my body, my personality, and my life choices a handful of times from the million subtle hints my mom threw at me. I call that improvement!

    • Oh my, I am so sorry. Ugh, that’s the worst. That was pretty much our family last year. I hope you both find healing.

    • BSM

      This was us this past weekend. Ugh, I just can’t even. I’m so sorry about your holiday.

      • anon

        I’m sorry about yours! It’s almost over. I hope yours improved.

    • anon

      I’m the OP – we’ve made up, although it is one of those instances where I’m not sure what we were REALLY fighting about. Possibly it is related to my getting married in June? She fine seems to understand that in the middle of winter is a difficult time for me to travel 1500 miles and, even though I do want to see her, I’d rather it wasn’t at Christmas. Hopefully progress is slowly being made – in 2015 perhaps I’ll come home for her bday instead. But at least it isn’t as uncomfortable as it was a few days ago! Thanks for the love. Happy New Year YALL!

  • Y’all I finally finished my bouquet. And it looks hella pretty if I do say so myself. It took for-damn-ever to learn to make but it was worth it.

    • Kayjayoh

      Very nice!

    • ASH

      Wow! So gorgeous!

    • Lawyerette510

      GORGEOUS!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Magjic, Addie! This looks amazing!

    • FancyPants

      That looks so rad! Had to look multiple times, thinking…”wait, if her wedding is in 26 days, they can’t be real. Because flowers don’t last that long.But how can they be paper?! They are so FLOWER-like!”
      Must be magic. OK- hard work+magic.

  • C_Gold

    You all, I got thru Christmas with my step-kids! And it went well! They liked their gifts! They had fun! I was nervous a lot, but checked in often with my fiancé (Me: Kids still having fun? All okay? Him: Yes, sweetie, can’t you tell? Me: Wellll… yes but I feel it’s best to check.) I also made sure to not stop my meditation or tai chi, figuring that Christmas, more than anytime, was when I needed it.

    So, it went fine. As everyone on here predicted. Deep breath out. :)

    Just want to say thanks to this wonderful community of people who’ve helped calm me down and keep me sane!

    And now, only a week and a half till my book-and-tea-themed wedding shower! Yay!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Hooray! Another nervy step-parent here… Was watching this discussion before, and glad it went well for you guys, CG!

      • C_Gold

        Thanks! Am I remembering correctly that you were the person going to Amsterdam recently?

        • vegankitchendiaries

          Yes, bonus points! We’re doing a Euro-moon in 2 weeks, with 3 days in Amsterdam right before we come home. :)

          • C_Gold

            That sounds awesome! We’re doing an all-Netherlands honeymoon in May, two months after our wedding, since we have to be in Europe for work anyway (saves us on the airfare! :) )

          • vegankitchendiaries

            Woo hoo! Mega stoked… for all of us!

  • Happy New Year APW! To those who got engaged over the holidays-Congrats! To those who are getting married in 2015-WooHoo!! Remember to breathe and repeat after me: Your wedding is not an imposition. See you on the other side.