Best Of APW 2016


What we're proudest of this year

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

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Hey APW!

Some of you (particularly long time readers) may have noticed that I haven’t been writing as much of late. No, that’s not because I’m writing another book (I’m still in recovery from writing this one while pregnant), or having another baby. Nor have I given up on y’all and all things weddings.

In fact, quite to the contrary. I’ve spent the last half of 2016 doubling down on work, and leaning the fuck in. The amount of saying yes I’ve done this year has been life changing (hell! we even bought a house!), but it does mean I’m really in the weeds right now with work. Exciting weeds they are though.

Last week—while I was dealing with two horrifically painful ruptured ovarian cysts—we signed a lease on a new office space in East Oakland (look at that prettyness). It’s huge, at just about 2,000 square feet, affordable (hey East Oakland), TWO minutes from my house, the investment property of a married couple who turned out to be long time APW fans (y’all, #sob), and raw space that we’ll get to build out with our landlord. It also gives us a dedicated photo studio for the first time ever. Add to that the fact that Stephanie decided on November 9th to get out of TN and head to CA and go full time in the APW office, the fact that we’re finalizing a new hire, the upcoming launch of our lifestyle brand The Compact…. oh and the fact that we’re rebranding the site again. (Long story. Catch me over drinks.) Oh, right, and we’re in the middle of rebuilding the site from scratch.

You guys, these are the very best sort of problems to have, but I need a very strong eggnog…. which I can’t have because of the pain meds, because having a uterus is like running a three ring circus out of your pants.

But the year is ending right, since yesterday I surprised the core APW staff at the last meeting of the year, and gave them $300 cash that they had to spend on themselves in an hour and a half…. with a donation made to charity in the name of the person who delighted us (and herself) the most. Najva won, and APW is about to donate to the International Rescue Committee in her name. (I’m also putting down some sizable family cash on this today, and we’re cutting back on holiday spending, because that’s what matters right now.)

And with that, we’re closing out our publishing year for 2016. Though it was fucking nightmare of a year, and 2017 is shaping up to be worse, I was honored to spend it with the APW team and y’all. Smart, caring, community minded women who are working hard to make the world a better place.

Peace, Love, and as much Hope as I can muster,

Meg

P.S. If you check back on Monday morning, we’ll be publishing our intro guide to wedding planning, for all of your newly engaged besties… or those of you who realized that you better start planning this 2017 wedding already. Till then, we bring you some of our favorite work from 2016.

a bride standing alone

feminism

this is one sentence i am sick and tired of hearing at work: I bet you already know what it might be.

6 steps that will help you conquer the gender pay gap: Men are still regularly paid more than women and we’re over it.

if you’re not behind amber heard, where the hell are you?: #DumpDepp

i learned how to have a feminist marriage from the most surprising place: It turns out you never can tell where your lessons will come from.

surprise: I’m muslim and in a feminist marriage: Betcha didn’t see that one coming.

28555669311_9a6aa6ad9d_k

wedding planning

Wedding music for when you want to get dooown: We have an awful lot of fun putting together our wedding playlists, but this one is it: the playlist you bust out if your wedding party is in danger of slowing down, or the one you use when you just want to party.

WEDDING INVITATION ETIQUETTE YOU CAN USE IN THE MODERN WORLD: Wondering how on Earth you can word your wedding invites in this day and age without sounding dated or stuffy?

DIY WEDDING FLOWERS: 10 SIMPLE TIPS THAT WILL SAVE YOU A MELTDOWN: DIYing your wedding flowers is absolutely a thing that you can do, and we’ll walk you through pulling it off without freaking out.

4 SUPER EASY WAYS TO WORD YOUR WEDDING THANK YOU CARDSIncludes bonus sample wedding thank you notes!

all the things you need to know about eloping: It turns out that there’s usually more to eloping than showing up at the courthouse and going for it.

how to plan a wedding as a white person without appropriating: Everyone has a culture. It’s up to you to figure out what yours is without taking someone else’s.

what you need to know about modern wedding etiquette: As with most things, weddings grow and shift with the times. Here’s what’s going on with twenty-first century weddings.

a couple laughing

engagements and wedding proposals

Engagement party 101: This is everything you need to knowLike, everything. When to have it, who to invite to it, and why you should resist picking your bridal party while you’re still at the party.

here’s your guide for announcing your engagement: Tip #1: Don’t put it on Facebook before you tell your mom.

10 proposal ideas that aren’t about the male ego: Have you ever realized how many common proposal ides are all about… dudes? That’s fine, I guess, except that half of us aren’t dudes at all.

proposing in public is the worst and you should never do it: What else do you need to know?

this is what you should say in your wedding proposalThere are no hard and fast rules about what exactly you should say, but we have plenty of ideas about what you might want to say.

4 things i desperately want to tell my newly engaged friendsHeed the word.

hair straightener and eyelashes

style and fashion

how to get dressed for a daytime wedding in the summerWhen you find yourself invited to half a dozen summer weddings and have no idea what daytime look to go for, we can help you out.

what makes a suit look good?It turns out that this is a whole Thing.

modcloth’s new swimsuit line will make you feel (and look) good: We’re still jazzed about these suits!

10 ways to style a suit that will make your partner look hot as hellWHEW WHERE’S THE FIRE.

kids blowing bubbles at a camera

kids/no kids

this is the conversation you need to have before becoming parents: Before you dive into parenthood, it’s time for Real Talk 101.

I’m pregnant (and I never wanted to be a mom)And… she’s excited about it.

i met the love of my life and then found out he’d had a vasectomyThis was one of our biggest “OOF” moments all year. What do you do when you meet the best person in the world, fall in love, and then find out kids aren’t an option?

what happens to a marriage when babies stop being babies?Some of us are just beginning to find out.

why raising my son finally made me a feministBecause really, again, now and forever: feminism is for everyone.

pink pig against a white background

money

5 reasons a budget can be good for your relationshipYou need this info.

the best business strategy is the one that makes you moneyIsn’t this the goal at the end of the day?

how you can solve your marriage’s most important money questions: First, do you know what those questions are?

the most important thing I learned in 2015: How to budget.

student debt is going to be a huge problem for millennial marriages: It already is, even.

 

flamingos walking on the beach

shit we’re just proud of

the 7 secrets i learned in 7 years of marriage: Every year came with a new lesson.

hillary clinton is actually tracy flick and we can’t handle it: This feels even more true after the election, tbh.

a muslim-raised queer responds to the orlando shooting: How to process, deal, and cope with tragedy and staggering loss.

is the new brand of body positivity actually hurting us?: Does it really do anything to combat our internalized programming? Because some days, we’re just aiming for body “I don’t hate you today.”

here is why women are terrified of getting older: Feeling invisible is the tip of the iceberg.

how beyoncé’s powerful new album “lemonade” speaks to the truth about marriage: When Lemonade dropped this year we just about lost our minds, so of course we had to write about it.

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

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  • Laura C

    Some appreciation for my husband: 1) Almost every day for the past two weeks he has visited the baby at daycare on his lunch break. And he’s the one who asks the staff all our stupid questions. 2) Last night he did an amazing job presenting a united front to his mom. We had set some limits on Christmas gifts for the baby, and she is trying to get around those — she sent her main present several weeks early and, when we said we’d set it aside until Christmas, she urged us to have him start using it. Now, of course, she wants to have that not count as a Christmas present. She’d already tried this on me once, and last night she asked my husband to ask me again, and he was so great. I could see him have that immediate impulse to just say yes to a direct request, then think about it and say “why would I ask her? it’s not her rule, it’s our rule,” and when his mother argued that it was really my rule, he didn’t waver.

    • Cellistec

      “It’s not her rule, it’s our rule.” Your husband wins.

      • toomanybooks

        Yesss

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  • ART

    House buying stress! My stomach is in knots right now because we fell in love with a 100-year-old serious fixer, but we’re in a market where I’m afraid there are cash fix-n-flip investors lurking about, planning to plunk down and scoop up MY HOUSE and put shitty, architecturally inappropriate tile all up in it. Deep breath. We’re making an offer, even though we think it’s kind of a long shot. We’re planning to go in with a respectful but reasonable number based on its condition, and the heartfelt letter about our family and dreams for this house that was in the same family for 50+ years. It needs a lot of work, so much that I’m hoping flippers might be scared off, but it would be an amazing investment in our family’s future. Or maybe it just won’t happen and we’ll move on. It will all be ok, right?

    • Emily

      Either way it’s definitely going to be ok! BUT I have mad love for my fixer-upper dream (nightmare) of a house and so I am sending a lot of positive vibes to your realtor, the current owners, and you!

      • ART

        Thank you! Dream/nightmare seems about right! It is owned by a trust, so I am hoping someone reviewing the offers has fond feelings toward the house and will appreciate a new owner that wants to restore its glory…I know it has some, deep down!

    • toomanybooks

      Is someone from the family the one selling it (or are they all gone)? I bet they’d appreciate it going to someone who really loved it and appreciated its architecture and history, over horrible flippers.

      • ART

        I haven’t been able to find out yet (if ever) who is reviewing offers, I just know it’s owned by a trust. So it could be family that cares about it, or they could have assigned someone and said “get as much as you can and call me when I get my money!” – who knows. We are crossing fingers for the former.

        • Nicole

          We bought a house that had obviously been well loved using a letter like this since we were in a crazy market. We got the house and later found out a developer had offered WAY more than us to buy the property so they could knock it down and put up 3 townhouses. They valued the family wanting to spend a lot of time living and loving in their house. Fingers crossed the same will work out for you!

          • ART

            Thanks! Great story <3

          • raccooncity

            The house I grew up in was a century home and my parents sold along the same thought lines as well, so i think it’s not uncommon. I’m glad they did! I can still drive by my childhood home and see how lovingly it’s been kept up.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      I hope it will all be ok for you! We were in a similar situation, and our agent told the seller’s agent that we were a young couple getting married, and that we fell in love with the house because we wanted to raise our future family there. The seller ended up going with our lower bid.

      Good luck! I’m crossing my fingers so hard for you.

    • woodbourne

      We are buying a 70 year old house from my great aunt (who I don’t know very well so we’re not close) and we STILL almost got the deal stolen from us by flippers! They did go with us – we close on Tuesday(!!) – but we had to match a lot of the flipper’s terms, like buying it on a crazy-fast timeline, buying as-is, and clearing out all the stuff that’s still inside. Some of her kids are more all about the money, but the sentimental aspect of keeping it in the family and us wanting to live there for a long time and raise a family there was a big influence for at least one of the kids so I’m glad it went to us in the end. Money vs. sentiment is always a toss up. I hope it works out for you!

    • suchbrightlights

      Fingers crossed for you! We bought in a market that was difficult for reasons other than yours, but I felt like our letter made a difference to sellers who had a strong emotional attachment to the house. I hope your long shot pays off in spades!

      If it doesn’t work out, it’s probably because the foundation needs $100k of work, and the universe is telling you it wasn’t meant to be.

  • flashphase

    Our wedding is in a month! Trying to figure out what I need to get done next week while I’m off (wedding program… oh boy), and 95% of the RSVPs are in. We are trying to determine how to manage the B list when we are this close, any advice? If we invite friends who live across the country at this point is it an “aww, so sweet of them to think of me!” or a “harumph, obviously a courtesy since there’s no way I can make it.” What did you do?

    • idkmybffjill

      We invited local B-listers and no one commented (I think it was liek 7 weeks out?), all attended!
      I’ve never received an out of town B-list invite that close – but a friend did, and she was a bit offended. That said, honestly I think it’s a nice gesture?

      • flashphase

        I have no doubt that in-town invitees will attend, I just have some out-of-town people who are a little further up the friendship list!

        • idkmybffjill

          In my opinion, it’s always an honor to be invited. When that happened to a friend of mine, she was sort of double edged hurt cause it was obvious she wasn’t on the A-list, but really wanted to attend and wasn’t able to because of the short notice.

      • Jane

        I feel like I’d rather get the chance to celebrate with my friend than care if I was a b-list guest or not. As long as my friend understood that I might not be able to just turn my schedule upside down to fly there.

        Maybe that’s just because I come from a huge family and so there are lots of people who probably won’t come but HAVE to be invited. And I can’t risk inviting too many extra people just in case all the family comes. Unfortunately it’s often friends who end up on the b-list in that situation. So I wouldn’t take it personally.

        • flashphase

          yes, this is us! Thank you.

        • idkmybffjill

          Yeah, me neither – definitely a know your people situation!

          • Jane

            Yeah – Our second wave of invites (if we get enough rsvp “no’s” to have a second wave) includes the adult children of some of our invited family and friends – so, if will be super obvious that they were second wave. But they are people we trust to take it in the right light. And we are sending out invites with enough time for even second round people to book flights.

        • Jess

          Yeah, the only time I was an obvious B-Lister, I was just so happy to be included. I was local and had just started becoming really good friends with them.

          • idkmybffjill

            I totally agree.

            I think those dynamics are important too. Our B-listers were other folks in our theatre company who we really liked alot, but weren’t our besties.

            In the situation where my friend was hurt, she’d been VERY close with this person at some point, and had drifted over the years – so I think the B-list invite maybe served as a reminder of that drift and perhaps that was why it was painful.

    • sofar

      Honestly? I’ve gotten a few B-list invites in the past (ie, i received them about 3 weeks out for an out-of-town wedding that I KNOW was not planned last-minute). My reaction wasn’t “harumph,” but more “Oh rly??” and a big eyeroll. Extra-big eyeroll if they were too lazy to re-print the invites and the printed “respond by” date was two weeks ago.

      Maybe play it safe and just invite local b-listers?

      The only real “b list” we had was super last-minute. We had about 10 guests tell me they weren’t coming AFTER we paid the caterer (grrrr), so I said to a few guests, “Hey if you want to bring your parents/some/rando/a cousin/anyone who’s fun at weddings, along, tell them there’s a free dinner and open bar in it for them.”

      • idkmybffjill

        Yes, that was our rule – we wouldn’t send any that were obvious by the “Respond By” date. They didn’t get a save the date, but they did get an invite within the standard invite time, so I don’t feel like it felt like slight. (At least I hope not….) They all came with bells on.

        • flashphase

          so, our invites went out late (thanksssssss Wedding Paper Divas) – we mailed them at Thanksgiving with a reply-by date of yesterday. But we thought it was likely we would be inviting people late (big family with a lot of older guests and no idea if they would come or not). We specifically printed the wedding details card to include online RSVP so we could leave out the reply cards if they got mailed late. Does that make it better? :)

          • idkmybffjill

            Hmm. Would they receive them closer to 4 weeks away or 3 weeks? If it’s 4, I could see myself getting it and thinking “Oh I bet the mail was delayed with holiday mail happening”, I think 3 is a little dicier.

          • flashphase

            Good point. 4 weeks if we mail them today/tomorrow. I would probably send an email to let them know it’s coming (and maybe say sorry we didn’t give them a head’s up before, working with a lot of family on the guest list)

          • idkmybffjill

            I’d leave out the “lot of family” part, because it draws attention to the their standing. But I’d maybe say, “Invite is on it’s way to you! So sorry, printer drama” and leave it at that!

          • flashphase

            perfect!!!

          • sofar

            I think you’re in the clear, especially if you pretty much JUST sent out everyone else’s invitations and there’s no reply-by date listed. If you had sent out your A list invites two months ago and it would be obvious to the B list (through the family grapevine) that they were getting theirs MONTHS later, that would be an issue.

            And yours didn’t go out *that* late. My in-laws kindly and generously planned a big reception for us in their city and my MIL casually called me a month before the reception and asked, “Do you think it’s still too early to send out the invitations?” They had a 500-person guest list.

          • flashphase

            OMG! I’m guessing that fewer than 500 showed up :)

          • sofar

            About 400 did. :) Most of them were local, though.

        • sofar

          Oh, that’s totally fine! Lots of our guest list didn’t get save-the-dates either (mostly because my husband’s family was tweaking their guest list up until the last. freaking. minute). But they still got their invitations in the standard invite window.

      • Katherine

        We had an incident occur where I genuinely forgot to send an invite someone and we realized it when RSVPs were due and I hope to this day she does not think it was a b-list situation, even though it seems like it. I can see how having it happen multiple times would be eyeroll-inducing, though.

    • Amy March

      Personally, I hate B list invites. Major eyeroll, especially if I’m across the country. It isn’t at all sweet to send me an invite as a second choice too late for me to realistically make it. Totally fine that I wasn’t your priority to include, but don’t make it obvious by now saying “well we thought of you, but then thought no, but now think yes” and then invite me to make you my priority.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      I would go for complete honesty- let them know that you had to limit your guest list at the outset, but it looks like you can fit more, and you’d love it if they could make it, but completely understand if they can’t!
      I’ve been on the receiving end of that invite, and I didn’t mind at all.

  • savannnah

    Our wedding photogs (APW vendor Two of Us) sent us an adorable little holiday present with a note that said we can’t wait to celebrate with you in 2017. It was just the thing needed after the recent wedding coordinator/catering drama and got me re-energized for the next few months of planning!

  • Brooke

    I caught myself today looking at the calendar and thinking “how the hell is December half over!?”…this has seriously been the fastest year ever. Our wedding is in just 2(!) months and after that, I’m hoping things settle down for a bit. This year I paid off my student loans, got engaged, bought some legitimate living room furniture, got my first raise, and so many firsts. I’ve started to realize as an adult that the holidays aren’t really that great all of the time. I work in private accounting, so it is the crazy busiest time of year at work. Money is tight. None of my family lives near me. I’m struggling a little bit with staying positive throughout the season, but on the other side of the holiday season, we have a vacation, our wedding, and (incredibly lucky for us), another vacation. Here we go, 2017.

    • toomanybooks

      December has flown by! I can’t believe how soon Christmas is. Gotta get some gifts together… but I love wrapping gifts, it is a true under-utilized talent of mine :)

  • AGCourtney

    I’m so tired. Day-to-day has been fine, but stress and lack of sleep are starting to pile up on me and I’m getting depressed.

    Third job is a go – or at least, it will be as soon as we can find the box that has my social security card and birth certificate in it. Sigh. I’ll be working nights in the local printing place. I’m sure it will suck, but we could really use the money. The kitchen is slowly but surely making progress. Our heater has started malfunctioning and will likely need to be replaced.

    On the bright side, I have an endgame plan for my dental work! I applied for a 15-months-0% APR credit card and will put my remaining dental work on there this month so we can get it all on the 2016 taxes. (I don’t have enough dental work left to be done to be able to write it off next year, and I was planning on paying for it all by April, when my state insurance runs out, anyway so I know I can pay for it easily within that window). The card might also give us some leeway on the kitchen and/or new furnace.

    Time is going by way too quickly. I can hardly wrap my head around the fact that it’s already almost Christmas. There were so many things I was going to do, and I’m pretty much out of time. Anyway, though I’m feeling a bit down at the moment, really everything will be fine. To end on a positive note: I’ve been reading a lot more lately, and it’s been lovely.

    Hope everyone has wonderful holidays!

    • Amy March

      You have a new discus picture! I had to double check it was still you :)

      • AGCourtney

        Haha, yes! I decided to change it up. It’s tripping me up a bit too, though, haha.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      I’m sorry you’re not feeling awesome. I hope it turns around! I always enjoy what you write on here, and hope the holidays go well.
      Are you reading anything great??

      • AGCourtney

        Aww, thanks. I’m doing much better now. It’s winter, it comes and goes. :)

        I’m in the middle of The Index Card -one of Meg’s financial suggestions- that I started yesterday, and I’m enjoying that. I also recently finished the APW rec You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain. And just for fun, I read a YA series, The Selection. It was a fun bit of fluff. I think the next pile of books I’ll tackle is the one dealing with Christianity and politics, staring with Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics. They should be interesting reads!

  • Emily

    2016 has been ugly but I just found out today I will be starting 2017 in a new job with REAL benefits (unlike the quasi-illegal scheme my current boss thought up). Feeling really grateful for this new opportunity, for my amazing support system, and that I am going to have dental insurance for the first time in like 5 years.

  • Morgan D

    As a reader going on 5+ years with APW, it’s been amazing to watch the team and site grow and change.

    We’ve known about The Compact launch for awhile now, and while that all by itself sounds like quite the undertaking, I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say: we couldn’t be more excited for y’all about the new space, new hire, and Stephanie’s move to CA!

    More personally, I’m sooo excited to hear about the site rebuild and rebranding! I’m guessing the change is also growth-oriented, but some of the features and aesthetic of the more recent changes have been driving me bonkers, and I cannot wait to see what APW in year 9 looks, feels, and sounds like!

  • Circling back in to say thank you to all the wonderful folks who provided broke-lady self care ideas for me a couple weeks back. I have survived the end-of-semester-grad-school-madness with lots of walks and tea and baths, and I am looking forward to getting to finally read for fun over the winter break. Only a thesis stands between me and masters degree that I will hopefully have in May!

    • Jess

      Hooray! Congrats on getting through and good luck on your winter break.

  • Olive

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, APW! I survived another semester of grad school! I’m wrapping up my last day of work before the holiday by going to commencement to celebrate my academic sister’s graduation! Monday morning we’ll be on our way to a week of Christmas in the Bahamas with my husband’s family.

    I’m grateful for this community that’s been here for me this year, and am wishing you all all the best things in 2017.

  • raccooncity

    I’m so glad I made it here for the last happy hour of 2016! I’ve been wrapped up a little in babyland. So far it’s been great for me aside from the usual c-section recovery nonsense. No lifting anything heavier than 15 pounds for 6 weeks is the worst BS for a winter mom, is what i’ve learned.

    Otherwise I’ve been blessed that Kit is nothing like a real baby racoon – he sleeps at night and happily eats human breastmik rather than garbage. He does have scratchy little paws though. The only major challenge for me so far, and it’s a HUGE one, is my in-laws.

    They booked two week-long trips to our city solely to visit the baby (they made that explicit) in Kit’s first 2 months of life – including one within the first 2 weeks. Which is ok, but Mr. RC has zero (ZERO) ability to make boundaries with them. Normally this doesn’t come up because the geographic boundary is enough, and they’re people who give us space anyway, but they lost their damn minds over the baby. The first visit involved hours-long visits with them in our tiny apartment where they didn’t bring food and stuck cameras in my exhausted face, and wanted to hold Kit when he was awake during a time when awake literally meant “upset and hungry”. This was every day for almost a week. On the last day I insisted I’d rather drag my one week postnatal postsurgical butt across town to a restaurant to keep the time limited than have another of those visits. Mr. RC insists he’ll prep them better for the next visit, but I have no confidence in this at all. I am dreading this so much I can feel it physically. They’re lovely people, but they are just WAY too enthusiastic for my introverted self right now.

    • AGCourtney

      Glad to hear you and Kit are doing well and that nursing is going well. Oof, solidarity on the in-laws. That sounds rough. Hope (against the odds, I know) that the next visit goes better! I will say that those first negative post-baby experiences with in-laws helped us form a united front and be much more prepared to create and enforce boundaries with them as she grew.

    • Laura C

      Dealing with baby fingernails is so nerve-wracking!

      So much sympathy on the in-laws. That sounds horrible. Mr. RC definitely needs to figure this one out FAST. But like AGCourtney, I found that having a baby really helped my husband learn to set boundaries and make them count. Fingers crossed the same is true in your case.

    • Ashlah

      Ugh, your in-laws. Just ugh. Boundaries, stat! I hope Mr. RC gets on that for real.

      Glad to hear things are otherwise going well with little Kit!

    • Anna

      Third-ing Laura C. and AGCourtney. I’ve also seen my husband establish way better boundaries with his mother since our child was born. It’s such an intense experience that I think we all start to see through whatever bullshit we let slide before.

    • solidarity on the in-laws, too. we similarly live travel-distance from my in-laws, and i was so stressed out about their visits and expectations those first weeks after birth, the effect was visceral. i resented mr. rhubarbrhubarbrhubarb so much for trying but failing to set those boundaries. all-in-all, it wasn’t pretty, and i have no words of advice — only sympathy.

    • Amy March

      You’re a new mom. So it’s totally not rude if you say “oh it’s so nice you are here, please go pick up lunch, here is my grocery list, and there’s a pile of laundry for you to fold.”

      • NolaJael

        I think it really helps to have a list before people come over of guest-friendly tasks. Anyone can fold towels. Not everyone knows how you put your dishes away or that the kitten needs a special mix of allergy free dry food with her wet food, etc.

        • I think a list is a great idea and I would like being able to help in that way for a friend. My friends haven’t so much let me do much, but one couple I knew years ago did let me do a pile of dishes in their kitchen and do a general tidying up in there. I was happy to make myself useful and do something I knew how to do, and hopefully it helped them out a little too. And I did get to hold the 6-day-old baby too. The mom put her on my chest before I could even protest and before I could say no I was holding a teeny little adorable baby. I would have never said yes to holding such a new baby because I would have been terrified. So it was nice she just gave her to me without asking. And, in case you haven’t guessed…this wasn’t their first. So I think they were pretty laid back about it all… :)

      • This is totally my plan. I’ve already warned my mom and mother-in-law that I’m putting them to work when I have BabyPi. I’m not entertaining or doing anything but resting and breastfeeding.

    • JSK

      Solidarity. The early months are so hard when you just want to feel normal/well rested/like a regular person. My parents are the ones who came to visit us during the early days and both visits were rough. I was an enormous jerk to everyone, but that’s sort of okay (right?) when it’s your family vs your in-laws.

      Do you have the kind of relationship with them where you can just put together a task list and put them to work? Are they able to navigate the town you live in (like, can you send them out on errands to get some peace and quiet for a bit)? Good luck (and congrats!)

    • JC

      I’m here to celebrate with you that your baby child is not a baby raccoon. Congratulations! :)

    • macrain

      I would focus on limiting the duration of their visits, and if you can use asking for help as an excuse, all the better.
      I agree that it helps to do something outside the house as a means of limiting the time (then you can be like, he’s getting fussy/tired/whatever- we should get him home!)
      For home visits, you can say this in advance: “When you come over, it is helpful to me to keep our visits short, around an hour.”
      I am an introvert too, and sometimes it helps to have boundaries in place beforehand. Also- the less you say, the better. It’s not your job to offer a lengthy explanation for why you can’t hang out with them for hours on end. “I just had a baby” is more than enough.

  • Alyssa

    I discovered APW this year and seriously, I could not be more grateful for this online community. Finding like-minded people is not always easy for me (yay for Introverts!) but it’s been such a joy to seek out this community over the last few months.

    Exciting things! I am surprising my finace with a trip to SF tonight to see the Messiah at the Davies Symphony Hall — He’s talked about it EVERY CHRISTMAS for the last 6 years and now that I get paid like a grown-up, I figured I’d treat him. We’re getting a hotel and living it up — I’m so excited (and he still doesn’t know yet!)

    Also, we are going to my family’s annual Christmas gift exchange, and this year the theme is our heritage. So I did some research, found some random vintage Irish ceramics on Etsy, and am so excited to gift it tomorrow. Plus, my aunt who’s hosting (who will also be our officiant) is artsy, quirky and built a rocket to light up at the party. I don’t even know the inspiration, but I’m stoked all the same!

    Thanks again to all of you for the money advice last week! I bought I Will Teach Your To Be Rich and am reading it every chance I get. I have a good feeling about my finances in 2017!

    Also, bon voyage, 2016! I can count the good things that happened to me this year on one hand, so here’s hoping that 2017 is better than I fear.

    • AP

      Can I just say that I love that your family has themed Christmas gift exchanges? Amazing.

    • Cellistec

      Ok, I have to ask…what Etsy shop has the vintage Irish ceramics? That’s a great gift idea for my mom!

    • I Will Teach You to Be Rich is the first finance book I read. It’s a great intro to personal finance! I’m currently reading Pound Foolish, based on multiple past recommendations from people on here, and just ordered The Simple Path to Wealth (based on Lisa’s recommendation, I think) and The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing.

      • Lisa

        I love JL Collins! I hope it helps you. :) I also liked Elizabeth Warren’s book All Your Worth if you need another one to add to the list. That was the first finance book I ever read!

  • Danielle

    We’re visiting my parents out of state next week and plan to tell them I’m pregnant. Which is exciting (we will surprise them with a picture of the ultrasound and “Congratulations, Grandparents!” card) but also nerve-wracking bc I’m 17 weeks pregnant and that’s kinda far into the pregnancy. My BFF can’t believe I waited so long to tell them, and tbh it was a conflict with my husband (I was ready to tell them earlier; he was legitimately concerned about their past controlling behavior).

    We do have other reasons for waiting, namely: wanting to tell them in person, wanting to receive genetic testing results first, and a complicated relationship with a very close family member for whom this will be bittersweet news – I guess I wanted to protect myself and be farther along in the pregnancy before opening up a potential can of worms with this person.

    Overall I know they’ll be really happy (first grandchild!) but as an anxious person I am anticipating some questions or conflict and kind of girding myself against that.

    • idkmybffjill

      Congratulations!!!

    • sofar

      Congrats!

      And fwiw, if I found myself pregnant tomorrow, we’d wait until about that far along to tell both our families, too. For various reasons.

      • NolaJael

        Yep. Reasons.

      • Danielle

        Thanks, sofar :)

        My family is Jewish and kinda close (frequent phone calls, updates etc), so I think there will be some surprise that I waited so long.

        (It’s part of a cultural difference I am navigating with my husband, who is not Jewish and has different family expectations. Setting boundaries with family has been/will be an ongoing process in our relationship.)

        Anyway, I will try to focus on the positive and deflect any complaints or questioning with, “yes and it’s sooo exciting!!!”

    • raccooncity

      Congrats! I’m sure they will be too happy to be upset about having waited to tell them – it just means less wait to see the real live baby!

      (prepare yourself for the potential weird q’s about your sex life though….what.)

      • Danielle

        OMG. We used a sperm donor (they know my husband is unable to have kids) so I am honestly kind of preparing for wierd questions….

        • raccooncity

          Oh so there will be a whole other VARIETY of intrusive q’s. We got “did you conceive the baby at xy event?” from the grandparents.

          …ok.

          • Danielle

            Oh dear lord ??

          • idkmybffjill

            How did you even respond?? I feel like I’d just pass out.

          • raccooncity

            I just shut down and was like “NO.” (because that was the truth – i still had my IUD in for all the dates in question.)

          • K.

            Someone figured out that we probably conceived on my husband’s birthday. Which was…true, but how f’ing weird is it that they actually did the math?!

          • raccooncity

            SO WEIRD.

          • Amy March

            Doesn’t everyone do that math? You’re just not supposed to let on that you’ve done it!

          • A.

            Ha! Of course. ;) Though asking if we conceived as a “special present”to my husband and also saying, “So then your last period must have started on the 13th right?” was particularly much.

          • K.

            K.! Not A. – I posted under A. once as an Anon for a sensitive issue. Stupid phone.

          • emmers

            OMG! People suck.

      • idkmybffjill

        OH god. Can I be nosy AF? What did people ask??

        • raccooncity

          where/when was the conception was the most egregious. people often asked about the trying for a baby process, and if it was because they were thinking about it and were my close friends I was happy to answer…if not…well then i just felt weird about it.

          • idkmybffjill

            God that is super bizarre.

          • Anna

            It’s bizarre and uncomfortable and just so weird. I can’t tell you how many friends would quickly think back in their head’s, then say “While you were on vacation?!?! In the yurt/tent/van??” Like…really?! Do we need to talk about my husband and I having sex in a van? REALLY?

          • idkmybffjill

            Barf!

          • laddibugg

            The weird thing is when you really don’t know..8 months after the baby is here.
            My cousins all asked me about ‘when’ it happened, and my answer was that I really don’t know because we screw a lot (hey, they asked)

        • Leah

          I found that a lot of people without kids asked some version of when-did-you-conceive before their brains could get around to remembering/figuring out that they were basically asking about sex. Lots of convos basically like
          me: “yay, I’m preggers, I’m due in August!”
          them: “yay, so hmm so when did…” (trail off)
          me: “Oh, you mean the sex?”
          them: “ummm…yeah, I guess, sorry?”

          People who had kids tended not to make this mistake :)

          • jspe

            I…made this mistake. A friend told me she was pregnant, I did the math, and I basically said “you got pregnant at my wedding!” and then it was awkward and I realized what was happening. am childless, fwiw. also will never do that again.

            FWIW, we’re close enough that I’d known they were trying, which is fairly personal information.

          • Leah

            nice. for what it’s worth:
            1) I was never offended by this, I just found it funny that people jumped in to asking about details about specific instances of sexual intercourse before realizing that’s what they were asking.
            2) Among my close friends, the baby-making attempts were well shared – for eg a friend and I both were trying to get pregnant last year, and we both happened to be in the having-sex part of the cycle at a third friend’s wedding. She was psyched that we were trying to make a baby at her wedding :) (spoiler: the other friend succeeded in getting knocked up at the wedding in question. it took us 4 more months.)

        • ML

          People asked me if it was planned… which is way personal and inappropriate in ANY scenario, but seemed really weird because I’m 30, hetero, and married. I thought that having babies was expected for that set? And yet…

          • idkmybffjill

            Man people are weird.

    • NolaJael

      I know that “when to tell” is a contentious subject…but really, it makes ZERO practical difference to your parents/in-laws. What were they going to do with that extra time? Start picking out baby names? They don’t have to do anything to prepare — except maybe schedule some time to visit you when the kid makes their debut, and 23 weeks is PLENTY of time to do that.

      • savannnah

        My twin sister and I, who are both about a year away from ttc, just sat down with our parents and discussed this issue. We are normally not that formal but I made an off-hand comment about how i’m not telling them until 20 weeks. My sister agreed, and my parents were rather horrified. We explained to them that we knew our mom could handle any miscarriages we might have but that it would be completely devastating for our dad. He told us that he would of course want to know what was going on and that of course he would be devastated. It was a good reminder about expectations and assumptions and also about miscarriage culture. I’m not sure we’ll totally follow their wishes but I’m glad we spoke.

        • Anon

          If you never see your parents during that time and rarely totally with them, keeping the secret will be easy enough. Considering how awful you might feel during the first trimester, though, prepare yourself to be asked if you’re OK and even possibly if you’re pregnant. For people who have been pregnant and sick, it could be obvious. With luck, they won’t say anything, but that didn’t mean they won’t know or strongly suspect.

    • emmers

      I had a friend (an OBGYN no less!) pregnant with twins (!) who I think waited until about that long, maybe even a bit longer, to tell her parents, mainly because they had planned an earlier trip that didn’t work out and they wanted to tell in person. So hang in there! It’s an exciting time, and I’m sure they’ll be excited (and if they aren’t, then boooooo!). And you can always tell them that you were looking forward to the in-person telling, even if that’s not the real reason!

    • gonzalesbeach

      telling in person is much more fun than phone, so maybe focus them on that piece if there is any questioning. good luck!

    • Jenny

      Just keep repeating, we just really wanted to share it with you in person/ It was so hard, but I was really looking forward to celebrating in person. etc etc. It’s hard to not seem like a jerk if you are being mean to the person who is expressing a desired to share a special thing with you in person!

    • macrain

      Omg, I was JUST talking about this in another thread recently!
      I waited until I was well out of my first trimester to tell my family. We were seeing them at Thanksgiving so it made sense to wait until then. (I think I was somewhere close to 15 weeks)
      Overall they were just happy, but there was a sense of disappointment that I didn’t tell them sooner. My cousin was like, “Wow! I can’t believe you waited so long to tell your family!” And then my mom was more passive aggressive- we would be talking about something completely unrelated and she’d be like “Oh, was that during the time when you were pregnant but you wouldn’t tell us?” Yea.
      It honestly was a bit uncomfortable, but the prevailing feeling was just happiness at first. It wasn’t until much later that the disappointment from them surfaced.
      I felt pretty vindicated recently when another family member shared her second pregnancy fairly early and of course it spread farther then she was comfortable with. It was like THIS! This is why I didn’t tell. I know it would have made me bonkers if that had happened to me, and it sort of reaffirmed my past decision.
      Pregnancy is such an intensely personal and vulnerable thing. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not cool to wait unti you and your partner are ready. That is exactly what you should be doing. If there are some raw and hurt feelings from your family, just remember you did what’s best for you. Good luck, mama!

      • Danielle

        I have a feeling there will be happiness first, then questions later too.

        You’re right, it is a very vulnerable and personal time, and this is just the beginning of me prioritizing my tiny new family over my family of origin. It’s good practice for what’s to come!

        • Morgan D

          *Raises a glass (of virgin hot cider) in toast to “prioritizing my tiny new family over my family of origin.” YES!

          So happy for you (and what seems like really authentic, honest practice) in the face of all of the physical and social complications! Congrats!

          Inspired :).

  • Today in Wedding Planning Land, I have been putting feelers out on approximate costs geographically, and I am already struggling. Specifically, caterers – a venue I am *so in love* with has 7 approved caterers… but of course they don’t give any indication of their costs on their websites. Therefore, I need to send 7 emails about a wedding at an indefinite date in an indefinite venue just to see if it’s a reasonable venture! I just want a starting point, maybe a couple of past client quotes. I don’t see why this is such a big deal. Food costs money, and caterers have operating costs and employees. I get it! I am just limited in my budget and need to decide whether doing something in the city is remotely feasible.

    Today in Real Life Land, I have had a cough all week that sounds like death, but other than one day where I was out for the count, feel pretty good. Because of this, I don’t get snuggles from my fiance or time with my friends, plus I’m behind on housework, Christmas decor, AND gift shopping. BUT my sister in law just finished her radiation treatments! She has an MRI in January to see if the cancer has been cleared up (? I don’t know if that’s the correct medical term…). Here’s hoping for our own Christmas miracle where she is one of those lucky souls who lives for decades after a brain cancer diagnosis.

    • sofar

      Ah, yes, the caterer calculations. So many calls. So many spreadsheets. So many calculations. I hated that part.

      When I did it, I was like, “Look I’m out of town, so I can’t come in for a consultation, and I don’t really have time for a call. Can you email me a sample menu with price breakdowns?” They all did! And I was able to review them at my leisure. Why they don’t put those sample menus on their damn websites is beyond me. I think they want to be able to get your email address before they send you anything, so they can then add you to their mailing list.

      And sending good vibes to your SIL.

    • idkmybffjill

      Can you ask the venue for a ballpark? I was so nervous to do that about some things (our venue was all inclusive so catering wasn’t one of those things), but they were really cool with being upfront about range of their recommended people, and had ideas for folks who were outside of that range.

    • Lisa

      Ugh, that was one of the worst parts of wedding planning! Like, please just put at the very top what the typical price per head is? We ended up eliminating pretty spaces with approved caterers and going with a restaurant for just this reason.

    • Katharine Parker

      SO MANY EMAILS. Wedding planning is all about sending 900 emails and sometimes still having to call to follow up with people and one vendor will get back to you 8 weeks later and you’re like, dude I’ve moved on, I don’t want to know what your rates are after I’ve booked someone else, why can’t you respond within 3 days like everyone else in the world.

      I’m tired.

  • Nikki

    I know 2016 had some truly terrible moments, but I feel like everywhere I look it’s all “2016 WAS THE WORST SO GLAD IT’S OVER BYE,” which I know is probably true for a lot of people, but I feel kind of bad for having an overall good year! I got married this year (yay!!), and I hate thinking of our wedding as happening in a “bad” year. I also got to travel a lot, we made a real decision to move out of state and started working towards that goal (which I am SO excited about!), I finally got the courage to start a side business that’s creative and fulfills me, my sort of estranged brother has been reaching out to me more than ever and I’ve actually been able to spend time with him and my nieces, I went to Italy! I took charge of my mental health! I got to see my family a lot! Obviously, it’s personal and different for everyone, but everyone griping about what a shit year this was is kind of a bummer. Anyone else have an actually pretty good year and feel like, weirdly bad about it?

    • idkmybffjill

      YES. Particularly this part:

      ” and I hate thinking of our wedding as happening in a “bad” year.”

      My stepmom has been joking that this was her year of, “4 funerals and a wedding”. Ours was the wedding. It makes me feel weird!

      • Jess

        Yeah, I feel real weird about having this one big great thing of a wedding in a year that has otherwise been real hard for a lot of people.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        YES. We got married and bought our first house, and it feel weird to have loved this year for that, when the rest of it was a dumpster fire.

    • Gaby

      I feel odd that I will look back at 2016 as a year that WAS very stressful and full of bad moments in general, but pretty dang good personally. I don’t feel guilty though! I’m kind of relieved I had the wedding to keep me busy and hopeful for so much of it and I have jokingly told my friends “you’re welcome” for providing a fun event to have good emotions about.

    • Alyssa

      Granted, I can only count the number of good things on one hand for me this year, but the things that happened were great (Got engaged! Got my master’s! Got a decent-paying job! Friends and family weddings! Decided to save for a house!). So I hear you! I say good riddance to 2016 in the general sense and with everything that’s happened in the world, but there were a lot of personal highs for me this year.

    • Anon for Good

      Same. We had some great things happen this year – like my husband getting his first post-grad school job that makes above poverty wages. And getting married.

      In the same vein, we’re thinking of trying for a baby in 2017, so every time someone bemoans that 2017 will be “much worse,” I smile to myself and think “maybe not!” I’ve even begun to think of it as a protest baby.

      • AP

        Lol we’re planning to try for a baby next year too, and I’m definitely thinking of it as my protest baby;) Good name for it!

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        Same! I want to raise a good little hippie liberal.

    • Katherine

      I’m on the “2016 Sucked” train, both for global and personal reasons, but I’ll always be glad to have my wedding to look back on and think “at least one awesome thing happened in 2016.”

      • Mary Jo TC

        Same here, except substitute baby for wedding.

    • Sarah

      My son was born 1.9.16 (3.5 weeks early) so while I agree 2016 was globally pretty awful it makes me sad given the timing.

    • Violet

      I’m not sure it’s always been this bad, but I feel like *every* year, people are like, “Good riddance! On to the New Year!” So I dunno. 2016 was obviously spectacularly bad for a lot of people in a lot of ways, but so was 08, etc.

  • idkmybffjill

    Recommendations for TTC online communities? We’re not actively trying yet (no tracking or anything), but would love to find a community like this one for that kind of thing!

    • K.

      I was/am a big fan of reddit.com/r/tryingforababy. I’m NOT typically a Redditor, but the women there are really great.

      • Ashlah

        I like this one too. I just lurk, but I appreciate the lack of judgement from the women there. Like you mention above, a lot of them (but not all) are pretty far into the process, which has its pros and cons when you’re just starting, but I like that it’s an overall positive, supportive community.

      • JSK

        Yup. All the reddit baby communities are excellent.

    • raccooncity

      Ok, so perhaps an unpopular opinion, but I’d say unless you realize you have a complicated time getting pregnant, steer clear of them. I found them to be super overwhelming, pretty judgemental and never did find a big forum like this. I did join a FB group once I was pregnant for people due my month and in my geographic area, and met a couple of the people in real life and made some real friends that way. I also spoke candidly with a couple of my pre-existing friends about the TTC stuff.

      But people stressing me out about my 2 coffees daily and my love of hot baths and the general potential for bad stuff to happen before i’m even pregnant? Hell no.

      That said, I didn’t try everything, including the reddit thread listed below. So, YMMV.

      • K.

        To add onto this, I’d say the issue (if there is one) with the Reddit group I posted isn’t so much that they’re judgmental (I never found that at all and I’m pretty sure is against the rules there) BUT if you’re a worrier, there are a LOT of women who have been trying for months/years. Obviously, it’s a great source of support for them and they have a lot of fantastic insight around temping and OPK usage, etc. But it can also potentially skew the perception of how difficult it typically is for women to get pregnant and possibly make you paranoid without reason to be.

        • raccooncity

          Yeah, I know from friends’ experience that the TTC community is SO supportive for those who have trouble getting pregnant and also just a great resource on information, but definitely would have stressed me out to read and do ALL THE THINGS when I didn’t need to, and many people don’t.

      • idkmybffjill

        That is supremely good advice. I’m in general really susceptible to feeling like a perfectionist. So maybe this is something I’ll just…. kind of not plan (unless things get complicated).

        Thank you!

      • Danielle

        I have never been on those boards. Instead I spoke with close friends who had gotten pregnant/had kids and asked them some questions.

        But now that I AM pregnant, everyone and their mama wants to tell me what I can and can’t eat, drink, do, and it is SO ANNOYING. Even wonderful, feminist friends who have children want to share recent reports about how bad [x thing] is. And it’s like, I’m an adult who is fairly informed and intelligent, I read books and know the risks of various behavior, thankyouverymuch.

        /rant

        • raccooncity

          Oh yeah, I sobbed every day for a while about how much ownership everyone suddenly felt they had over my body once i was pregnant.

          My inner feminist collided with my hormones and was like “IT’S *sob* NOT *sob* FAAAAAAAAIIIIRRRRRRRRR….no one asks my husband how he’s pooping these days!!!”

          • Danielle

            Yes. You become a weird sort of public property that is especially awkward if you are a private person.

            My BFF, a wonderful feminist with 2 young children, sent me a link early in my pregnancy about potential side effects of taking Tylenol when you are pregnant (I had asked for one when we were hanging out, had a headache). It just kinda grated on me. Like, yes, I’m aware of the risks and decided to take one anyway bc my head hurt.

            Yesterday my midwife said it was ok, for gosh sakes!

            I hate how everyone suddenly becomes an expert on your health, besides you :/

          • raccooncity

            it’s so hard. It ends eventually, and maybe this isn’t true (i’m new) but so far i haven’t found parenthood to be nearly as hard in terms of the judgements – probably because the attention is on my actions rather than my body and that’s easier for me to handle.

            You’re not wrong! It’s terrible! Solidarity.

          • idkmybffjill

            Ew that would’ve stressed me out way more than just saying, ‘just a heads up – did you know that can be a bit risky?” in the moment. I don’t like feeling like someone left our interaction and did research on me!

          • Danielle

            In fairness, when we were hanging out she didn’t know I was pregnant yet. Then a week or so later I told her, she was really happy, etc. Shortly after that a report came out on NPR about possible risks of taking Tylenol during pregnancy, and she sent me the link.

            Still annoying, but she wasn’t plotting or anything :)

          • NolaJael

            Thank you for that visual. Too funny.

        • Alexandra

          It’s weird how much that changed for me for kid #2. All of it changed. I’m at 39 weeks and having some rip-roaring contractions as I type this, and it’s just so weird how much I don’t give a crap about what people think about my parenting/pregnancy decisions anymore.

          You know, I actually think this might be one of my favorite parts of being a parent: how much confidence I’ve gained in my ability to make my own decisions. I feel like I judge other people way less because I know how dicey things get in “the real world” with pregnancy, nursing, work vs. SAHM-ing, all the typical things that people have a million opinions about. Yeah, I had opinions too until I had my first kid and realized so much of it is all a crap shoot and you just have to roll with what works.

          Pregnancy #2: totally drink coffee, would drink wine if it didn’t give me such horrific heartburn, plan on supplementing breastmilk with formula ASAP because pumping sucks and I’m not going through that again, give me my epidural as soon as I get to the hospital because “natural childbirth” wasn’t worth the pain to me for #1, ate all the cheese, ate all the lunchmeat…

          And nobody says boo to me because I already have a kid. So that’s the secret: smile, do what you want, and the commentary will die down once you’re not a rookie mom anymore.

    • flashphase

      Not TTC but I’ve heard not great things, like what raccooncity said. I’ve been listening to Matt and Doree’s eggsellent adventure IVF podcast and I know they just started a facebook group which seems like it would have a good group of people. It will skew towards IVF though.

      • raccooncity

        OMG love that podcast. they are so wonderful.

        • flashphase

          yes! I just love the way they interact and how she handles his ridiculousness… gave me some ideas to put into practice :)

    • I have found only 1 TTC & pregnancy community that is semi-sane, and it’s a FB group for plus size moms. I joined around the time I got pregnant and I’ve learned a lot and been able to ask my own questions without people freaking me out. Of course it’s got it’s occasional drama but nothing as bad as what I’ve heard on other boards.

  • K.

    Parents of APW, how did you start establishing your own holiday traditions when you had your kids? My preggo hormones are going wild today worrying about not being able to establish my own traditions with our child in the years to come because we typically visit my in-laws over Christmas.

    Now, my in-laws are great and I am genuinely excited to share their traditions with our kid, but I sometimes feel like there is no room for what I grew up with (cross-cultural family dynamic; so playing the Christmas movies and music I grew up with at my in-laws is seen as rude/disrespectful). This was fine when we were childfree and–to reiterate–I think my child’s cultural upbringing and traditions on their dad’s side is SO important. But I also want to be able to sing about Rudolph with them a little bit without feeling guilty, you know?

    I’m feeling weirdly melancholy about it today, so if anyone can share positive stories about how they found balance in traditions, it would help my weepy pregnant ass a lot! <3

    • idkmybffjill

      I’m a child of divorce and now married, so my holidays have always had alot of rotating in them. What ended up, was that I have different traditions for where I am (we don’t have kids yet)! I don’t know if you do Christmas with in laws every year, but if not – traditions can rotate!

      Also – traditions that aren’t the actual day! Like St. Nick’s day, etc.

      • K,

        Yeah, that’s what’s typically been difficult – with my husband’s work schedule, we end up spending the week before and the week after Christmas at their home since it’s the only time we can really see them each year (they don’t visit us, period, and I can’t expect that to change with the baby). Rotating traditions would be hard in this context. But St. Nick’s Day or coming up with a special Yuletide day or something could work. :)

        (I recognize this is silly to be thinking about, especially while only still pregnant!)

        • idkmybffjill

          I’m not pregnant and have been thinking about how we need to establish holiday rotations already. I don’t think it’s silly!

    • LT

      I think it can take time to figure out traditions, but the nice thing is that kids have no idea what holidays are for the first few years so there is time to see what works and what doesn’t. For us, my husband’s family doesn’t do Christmas, so it is figuring out how to incorporate the things I like about the holidays without overwhelming him (e.g. we have a tree, but avoid lots of red/green). Otherwise, kids will get used to whatever you present.

      As a kid, we visited my grandparents for Christmas so they had their own way of doing things, but we did our immediate family Christmas stuff and gift-ing at home the night before our flight out of town. I don’t think my mother was always crazy about that, but I never thought it was strange.

    • NolaJael

      I understand this, but Christmas is so ubiquitous in the Western world, most likely your kids’ll get PLENTY of Christmas. The songs and store decorations start a month early! It’s not a like a little known one-day only holiday. Your kid will know the Rudolph song, trust me.

      • K.

        Oh, I know that. It’s more about the actual specific rituals (e.g., watching one of the movies after playing the songs on the piano on Christmas Eve) that I worry will be completely lost. I know that my husband’s family’s traditions are more “at risk” so to speak, so I’d never, ever want to take that away. I’m just being a bit of a baby right now being faced with the prospect of some of my traditions never having a place.

    • Amy March

      If your childhood traditions aren’t welcome at your in-laws, I think the answer is obvious. You don’t celebrate with them every year, or you don’t celebrate the entire holiday with them. Spending the week before and after Christmas with them every year when they aren’t open to your experiences isn’t reasonably something that can happen every year, and I think you’ll find once your kids arrive that two weeks of being house guests is just not an option.

      • K.

        Oh yeah, I’m definitely nervous about the logistics of these expectations; that’s much more likely to be the reason for change. It’s just hard because my in-laws truly are wonderful and my husband loves them, but their one “flaw” is inflexibility, both in being open to my WASPy American Christmas traditions (which I get, because like NolaJael says below, it’s so ubiquitous that they feel like they need to preserve their country’s Christmas traditions) and also that it is the responsibility of the child to visit the parents (which I get less, but won’t change).

        So laying down the boundary of “we’re not coming for Christmas this year” more than likely becomes “we are not seeing you this year.” And that’s hard for my husband, who loves his family very much. But all part of the fun of changing family dynamics! And the kid will come first ultimately, especially in terms of comfort and logistical realities.

        • K.

          (Note: When I say “my husband loves them” I don’t mean that I don’t as well – I do! Just trying to convey that he’s very, very close with them. One time I wrote something like that here and people pounced on it as me subliminally saying that I don’t like my in-laws, when really I think they’re great but also recognize that it affects my husband way more than me if we don’t see them and I try to balance that as well.)

        • NolaJael

          That’s tough. I only get back to my home state every 2-3 years due to jobs/vacation/finances, etc. but I see my parents more frequently than that because we go visit relatives together. If the only chance to see them in a year is at Christmas, I can see where you all would want to do it every year. I can see why that would feel like you “never” get to do Christmas your way. Hopefully something will budge in years to come?

        • Amy March

          That’s just what happens though! And I don’t think it makes sense to try and make this plan is a “for life” way. Jobs change, circumstances change, there very well may be options between “2 weeks at Christmas” and “not seeing you at all this year.” And I bet those options will conveniently materialize once Christmas changes.

        • emilyg25

          Sounds like you need to have a conversation with your husband where you both lay out your priorities and try to find a compromise–visit earlier in the month, stay in a hotel so you can do some of your own thing, visit for shorter, alternate years, whatever. You have lots of options.

    • StevenPortland

      My parents had a rule about kids: once you have your own kids stay at home for Christmas. If any extended family wants to travel to your house then that’s great, but you aren’t required to drive anywhere. So growing up we had every Christmas at home and once we had kids ourselves we started staying at home for Christmas as well. It was just a simple rule but since I always heard about it growing up, it meant that there wasn’t any guilt when we adopted the rule ourselves.

      • Ditto on that rule – my parents had the same one. I fondly remember our childhood Christmases at home with my nuclear family, and then seeing extended family later in the week. Now that we’re having our own baby, both families are on notice that next Christmas will be spent in our own home so they should get used to booking flights or not seeing us at Christmas.

      • Alexandra

        We have that rule, too.

    • emilyg25

      Christmas is my favorite holiday. When our son was born, I declared that Christmas morning was always and forever going to be at our own home. So no traveling for Christmas. But a lot of our traditions also happen before Dec. 24-25, like picking and decorating a tree, doing an Advent calendar, and reading Christmas books.

  • C.

    I’m getting married in 22 days and 9 hours, and I have so much to do, but mostly I just want to celebrate with y’all and look forward to 2016 being over and fighting the good fight in 2017 with my wonderful supportive soon to be husband by my side.

    I’ve also officially identified myself as a bleeding heart commie liberal to my reluctantly Trump-voting soon-to-be In-laws because I 1) told them I was keeping my name and 2) asked for donations to the ACLU for Christmas. They still like me, so yay I guess? :D

    Happy Holidays!

    • Lisa

      Hey, you’re not the only one keeping your name! Technically you both are. ;)

    • Cellistec

      Your bleeding-heart commie liberal decisions are 100% rad, and I raise a glass to you for making them!

    • nutbrownrose

      I told my Evan McMullin voting almost-in-laws I’m actually just a socialist like a year ago, and nothing horrible has happened except my AFIL likes to start arguments, so more of those, but really, it would just be about something else if not that. Also, we were in their house when Comey made the “we’re not prosecuting her” speech back in July. So that was fun.

  • winter

    please throw me ALLLLL your thoughts on bouquets. Feminist, traditionalist, culture-specific-ist, whatever. I want em all. Currently my wedding will have none. I am fine with this. People incl. immediate family have expressed doubt. I want to make sure I’ve considered all sides and won’t regret stuff. There will still be corsages and boutonnieres. I just don’t see the point in holding something just for decoration that costs a bunch of cash just for it to be put down for the food and drink and forgotten about. I would rather have my hands free I think? Anyways would love to hear “wish I had them” or “didn’t have them and didn’t miss them” or “had and couldn’t imagine without” or anything on any side :)

    • flashphase

      Someone on APW mentioned that bouquets make your arms look really really buff and awesome, and I’m the kind of feminist who loves to look beautiful AND swole, so that tipped the balance for me :)

      Also we are having the bridesmaids bouquets go in vases as centerpieces and my bouquet go on the cake table as part of the decor, so they can be double duty and save on decor costs.

      • winter

        ohhhhh this IS good information! +1 for new angle I haven’t considered!

      • Jess

        We did the bouquet -> centerpiece transition. It worked fabulously.

    • idkmybffjill

      Had – we basically used our bouquets as the only flowers in the venue. We had greenery arranged on tables, and then my bouquet and the bridesmaids bouquets were repurposed after the ceremony as centerpieces. I really liked them! They packed a big punch in the decor department.

      That said, I think they’re far from necessary.

      • Jane

        Yeah – we will be doing something similar. There’s no way we will be carrying them around after reception and this way we can make them useful.

        I have a fantasy (that I don’t really want IRL but seems so fun to me) of all the bridesmaids and groomsmen carrying cakes instead of flowers. because there was a really lovely colorful cake parade in this ohhappyday post. http://ohhappyday.com/2016/11/cake-parade/

        Not saying you should do that exact thing, but you could carry something useful or meaningful if something about bouquets just doesn’t do it for you.

        • winter

          I just…. don’t feel the need to carry anything? I like flowers and will have flowers at the wedding, but I just don’t understand/relate to the wedding culture/WIC need to have something in womens hands for the entire wedding/photo op. I’m just trying to figure out it there’s some legitimate reason I’m missing.

          • Jane

            Oh – no legitimate reason that I can think of. They can actually get in the way during the ceremony. Like, the bride usually hands her bouquet to the best woman/MoH when she’s doing stuff with her hands, but then the bridesmaid has two bouquets – which can be hard to hold, especially if the bride has a really big bouquet.
            And if when you want some pictures with and some without the bouquets you have to put them on the ground. And we didn’t know what to do with them when we were all trying to fix my sister’s bustle. Not insurmountable issues, obviously, but a little annoying.

            I was just throwing out ideas in case it was flowers specifically that weren’t your thing.

          • winter

            Oh totally and they were great ideas :) and yeah, the convenience of not having to hand them off constantly will be nice. Also, I know lots of people in the photog industry so not worried about how the photos will look…. I have been a “lighting test” model often enough to feel comfortable posing without a prop.

          • Jane

            Yup! I will feel awkward with my hands because I’ll feel awkward being photographed in general. I’m glad for you that you’ll be comfortable!

            My dress has pockets – which is all kinds of exciting – but one thing I’m looking forward to is having a place to stash my hands.

          • idkmybffjill

            I liked having something to do with my hands – and I thought it looked pretty as a color pop with my white dress, but literally 0 other reason :).

          • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

            I stuffed my hankie into my bouquet, and it was very handy for that!

          • Having a prop when you feel awkward/nervous can be helpful for some people (like me), so that’s on pragmatic reason. But if you want your hands free don’t do one! There are soooo many other ways to incorporate flowers if you like them

        • idkmybffjill

          Ha! I love that.
          My girls and I are ALLL weepers. Those would’ve been some very wet cakes :)

      • Lisa

        Same here. We had simple centerpieces in glass jars we’d collected during out engagement on the other tables, and our bouquets functioned as the centerpieces for the head table.

        Plus, I like flowers and enjoyed having them with me all day. My MIL offered to let me carry the prayer book and handkerchief she had at her wedding if I’d decided not to have a bouquet.

    • Essssss

      When I grew up, my liberal, feminist, hippie wedding mom had her wedding day flower crown and bouquet, now dried, hanging on the wall of her bedroom by her dresser. I loved looking at them and sentimentally wanted a wedding bouquet to dry and hang of my own, more than for any other reason (besides pretty flowers). So, sentimentality for the win for me, but if you don’t have that, then yes, its pretty to look at and then gets put down for the party.

      • idkmybffjill

        Oh yes! That was a bonus for me, I dried my bouquet and put the buds in the bottom of this cool glass box we’d used for cards (from BHLDN). Looks pretty and I like imagining our kids seeing it!

      • winter

        oh that’s darling! Not my personal experience so less relevant for me but a really sweet thing for you!

    • Brooke

      We ordered bouquets from EcoFlower and they are the only flowers in our wedding! We live in the Midwest and we’re getting married in February, so I figured we could spend a fortune on live flowers if we went that route. So we simply found an alternate option. If they’re not a huge priority to you, I wouldn’t worry about flowers :)

    • raccooncity

      I had one that my mom bought at the last minute because she cared a lot and i caved in. I’m glad i had it though, otherwise I’d have been unsure of what to do with my hands, Ricky Bobby-style, all day.

      • winter

        I’ve had a really hard time with “but what will you do with your hands?!” (which is a predominate argument given to me by people surprised I am leaning away from bouquets)…. because I don’t see a problem with the answer “whatever the men are doing with theirs”/”whatever non smokers do all the time”……

      • NolaJael

        I had planned on not having a bouquet, but one “appeared” at the last minute. Some of the photos are awkward because I kind of just forgot about the bouquet and was just holding it sort of sideways absentmindedly. Also, we didn’t have a bridal party at our really small wedding and I realized during the middle of the service I didn’t have someone to hand it off to for the rings portion (I ended up giving it to my mother in the front row, but I had to step away and come back to do that). But, I will say that the groom’s boutonniere (something I also wasn’t sure about) was a lovely touch and looks great in the photos.

    • ART

      I had an extremely simple bouquet made from the same flowers we used everywhere (I ordered a giant box of orange roses, a giant box of baby’s breath, and a smallish box of filler greens from blooms by the box, and that was IT), I did not do a toss, and I am one of those “where do I put my hands during photos?” people so it was kind of helpful to have in that situation. But I would not have paid a ton for a pro bouquet, kind of for your same reasons.

    • emmers

      I liked our bouquets but in hindsight it’s something that I probably wouldn’t focus on again. We did our own flowers, and I was all about some bouquet-pinterest-obsession pre-wedding. They do look pretty in the photos, but honestly on the actual day having them there didn’t do that much for me. So if you skip them, I think that’s great!

    • Leah

      I decided I wanted my hands free, and went for a flower crown instead. Did not regret it once!

      • winter

        This may not be the answer I need, but it is the one I want ;) thank you! Hair flowers make me so happy.

      • Lawyerette510

        I was going to do a flower crown, and had so much fun working with a friend to make a bunch of options, but then the dress I ultimately chose didn’t look great with a crown, so we went with a couple of peonies and roses on a big comb that I put in my hair. Flowers on your head FTW!

    • Alyssa

      A friend of mine had a bouquet made for her wedding, and while it was beautiful, she felt guilty spending so much money on something that she held for a total of 5 minutes. Luckily she asked the florist to use some succulents from her garden in the bouquet so some things were able to be re-planted, but she otherwise felt like it wasn’t worth her time/money.

      My main plan is to go to a farmer’s market the day of and get a bouquet, and use one of the APW tutorials on making my own bouquet. Or, if I can find a lovely corsage that isn’t too Prom-like, I might go that route. The nice thing is, there are plenty of options, and no one right way to do things :)

      • emmers

        If you make your own bouquet, I definitely recommend a trial. We made our own, and a trial was key! I also recommend having a backup person to help, in case you’re too busy. We did our bouquets the afternoon before the wedding, and it was definitely work– and I ended up being sick, so family help was key. I don’t think I could have handled it on my actual wedding day– so have a backup plan may be helpful :).

        • Alyssa

          Thanks! Yes my friend (who ordered the boquet) and I did a trial run, because — as it turned out — she wanted me to make the bridesmaid bouquets and do all the table flowers for her wedding. Which I did, and it was awesome. I plan to keep practicing (maybe 1x/month until our wedding in June), but it definitely wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be (though I’m creative/crafty like that).

          • emmers

            If you’ve already practiced, you’re fine! We just did 1 run through. I just figure I’d throw that out there in case you were non-crafty like me, but it sounds like you’ve got it handled.

      • Laura C

        My plan was to make bouquets the day before the wedding. We did not have time or energy, so we had no bouquets, which was just fine by me.

        • Alyssa

          I might delegate it to the friend I mentioned in my response, as she and I are crafting buddies and we’ve practiced making bouquets before (and she has a great creative aesthetic). But I’m not panicking if it doesn’t happen! My entire goal is to stress as little as possible over this whole wedding business.

      • Essssss

        My friend in Seattle did small farmers market bouquets. We didn’t have to do any arranging or practicing. We just bought small bouquets and they were already beautifully arranged by the people at the market! I went as far as trimming the ends and wrapping the stems with ribbons. Didn’t move a single flower, though I was prepared to given that I’d helped other friends make bouquets with bulk loose flowers. Know thyself. If you think carrying a farmers market bouquet that’s already arranged will make you happy, might not need a practice run.

        • flashphase

          Oh, Whole Foods has super cute mini bouquets for like $5-10 that I was considering getting!

          • toomanybooks

            Same! One of the little things I’m excited about doing once my wedding day is arriving is going there and picking one out.

        • Jane

          Yay Seattle’s farmers markets! I’m planning on getting all my flower stuff from Pike Place Market because I get flowers there ALL the time and they are local! A lot of the sellers there (and at the markets all over the city – it’s a lot of the same people) will make plans with you in advance so you can have a bunch of similar ones!

          It was so fun getting myself flowers this summer because I kept imagining them as my wedding flowers. The ones attached were a $15 bouquet and a $5 dollar bouquet, can’t remember remember. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7ba9d93cfb983e7a719a5e2f60b94238b7b4ca30f38f0c3b0d4df0a6f1c98dcf.jpg

          • Danielle

            We visited Seattle this summer and couldn’t believe how gorgeous and cheap the flowers at Pike Place were! $15 for a gorgeous bouquet that would be like $60 at home? (We live in the Midwest.) Yes, please!

    • AGCourtney

      I made my bouquet out of paper. A copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and some purple paper, to be exact. I spent hardly any money, just time, but it was a DIY I enjoyed. I wrapped it in some ribbon I had on hand and put a small picture on the back of my best friend who had passed away. It was actually quite comforting to hold it as I walked down the aisle (my maid of honor was still there!) . I had it in a vase in front of me during the reception, and it’s currently on my dresser in our room.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b617513c02d09a80430d2b7fb27c1af9f34ffe977687c0242edaa8029e432d38.jpg

      • Wow, that’s really beautiful.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        I love it!!! I would absolutely been able to suss out HP&SS if you hadn’t named it. This is beautiful!

      • suchbrightlights

        Genius!

    • Lawyerette510

      I wasn’t going to have a bouquet, but a friend was making me some flowers on a comb to wear in my hair and a boutonniere for my groom. Then about an hour before the ceremony she walks with 4 different hair flowers for me to choose from, and the extra flowers all bunched together prettily in a glass just for us to have in our room for the next couple of days. Well those flowers looked so pretty together, I asked her to tie them into a bouquet for me. She was kind of annoyed because she felt the stems were too short and the scale too small and that she would have done it differently, but she also was laughing because it was such a typical thing for our friendship. It took her a few minutes to wrap it up, and it was fun to carry. I wouldn’t have missed it had I not had one, and I wouldn’t have thought about it had the flowers not looked like a bouquet in a glass when she brought them in.

      All of that said, I think we spent a total of $50 on pins, wire, combs, floral tape, and some peonies and roses from the grocery store, then my friend foraged some greenery from the gardens at the venue (with permission from the venue). It ended up making lots of hair flower options and multiple boutonnieres and we each chose one to wear. Here’s what it looked like https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ed470883752d3a8daad389415a428ef6b5c9932c24f5cd14d876ece81520a69b.jpg

    • Gaby

      I was going to make a bouquet from the bulk greenery and baby’s breath I bought, but I ended up winning a $75 gift card for a florist and used that instead. I had enough of the bulk stuff left after centerpieces to make small bouquets for my four bridesmaids and one bonus bouquet for the toss so that I could keep and dry my florist one. I love how it looks in my bedroom now, dried, but I definitely never thought it was a necessity.

    • Danielle

      Husband and his dad bought a bunch of supermarket flowers the day before, and made all the centerpieces and a huge, gorgeous bouquet for me. (They used to run a flower shop.)

      I ended up forgetting it in the excitement to go line up and get married :)

      It was one of the many imperfectly wonderful things that happened that day ?

    • It’s definitely in the “don’t need” category, like most things wedding, but I have to say that I actually really loved my bouquet – as in, I became somewhat weirdly obsessed with carrying a handful of pretty flowers around and turned some of the flowers from our wedding into a bouquet for the first day of honeymoon! I did my bouquet a little unusually, though, so it didn’t cost me anything – I asked a bunch of my lady friends to each bring a single stemmed flower to the wedding. We got married in a church, so when I arrived, I then stood at the bottom of the aisle and these ladies walked down the aisle towards me, carrying their flowers, and handing them to me one by one (music was playing). I just held them all together in my hands. It was a really special moment. Then the music changed, I walked down the aisle, and when I got to the front I handed the bunch of flowers off to my aunt. She taped them together, tied a ribbon around them, and handed them back to me. It was just a thrown together, wildflowers, unplanned looked. This idea was met with a LOT of scepticism about this working but I just laughed it off (“what’s the worst that could happen?!”) and actually it was an incredibly special moment, and a really simple and nice way to honour some of my friends. I did concede a little to the sceptics – I turned up carrying a single sunflower which reassured them that if it all “went wrong” (the mind boggles on how exactly this could become a disaster but hey, weddings freak people out…) I would at least have a sunflower in my hands. :) Anyway, I loved it. (PS I did a couple logistical things to make this work – like having a couple of friend coordinate it before I arrived). https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab49cbed7afd485b71524de10f9312da0e23bb189fe85cf0f08ec6224fa50bd3.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/863bd8aef94aa054aafdced8f727997d6da77791d71ee206a8a9947ff87aeac2.jpg

      • Nikki

        This is truly one of the loveliest wedding ideas I’ve ever heard — wish I’d thought of that! And your bouquet looks beautiful :)

      • Call Me Penny

        What a beautiful idea, it sounds like such a special part of your day.

      • suchbrightlights

        What a beautiful idea!

    • Rose

      I loved my bouquet, but I also really love flowers for their own sake. If you don’t particularly, I can totally see not carrying one. I ended up sticking mine in water and bringing it along on our honeymoon, since we were driving. The one thing that you might want to consider is that not only might you hold one during some/all of the ceremony, but traditionally the bouquet is in a lot of the photos too. If you’re happy envisioning portraits without it, that’s great, but it might be worth a thought.

      We did also arrange our own flowers. If it had been super expensive, it might have been hard for me to justify, although I probably still would have gotten one.

    • AP

      I used succulents that I grew myself for my bouquet. I had a great florist who worked with me on that- the price she was quoted for succulents from her supplier was nuts, like $25 per stem. So she said if I brought her some, she’d use them and not charge me. She used them in the boutonnieres, too. We didn’t have wedding party, so no other bouquets, but we did have boutonniere and corsages made for our families, but I don’t remember what we put in those. I really loved my bouquet and keeping the succulents alive all summer was a fun memory, but I think if we did it again I wouldn’t have bothered with the florals for the family members. (I’m not sure they were really appreciated, and it was money we could have spent elsewhere.) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e36c6e21421ceccd302e8f26df92e52e3fb14f2e236cf4f1f4108300ff3bc380.jpg

    • Call Me Penny

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1c315c10fd1b5e0f1577d091c3a3c8250478842fa9bcf45a7c7593d5a73c5c5a.png When we were planning, the idea of physically holding a bouquet wasn’t that important to me, but I knew that having greenery of some sort in the church and our venue was, and so it made sense to tie it in to what I was doing/wearing too. I didn’t want anything too ‘bridal’ so asked our florist for a lot of greenery and very few flowers which kept the cost down, and also didn’t feel too feminine. When we arrived at the restaurant for our reception my bouquet and my sisters’ ended up on our (cheese) cake table as a little decoration of sorts. I loved carrying mine, and they all looked so lovely on the table for the evening as well. I definitely don’t think they are a must have, but they can be a good way to tie in elements from your ceremony into your reception if they’re in different venues. And because we just got our photos back today, it would be rude not to include one!

      • Lawyerette510

        This is gorgeous!

        • Call Me Penny

          Thank you! I didn’t give the florist much guidance beyond including a lot of greenery so was really pleased with how it turned out

    • toomanybooks

      We’re going to have bouquets, we’ll be getting them from a grocery store so not tons of cash, idk about wedding party yet – like I doubt they’ll have full bouquets, maybe a single rose each or something like that would be nice.

      Not sure yet if we are throwing them. I always lived for the bouquet toss and spent a good amount of time practicing for future ones as a little girl. Then when I was planning my wedding I found out that the Internet hates them. Idk. If we do it won’t be for women only and we will under no circumstances play Single Ladies or whatever the other song people use is.

      • Booknerd

        I wasn’t aware it wasn’t really a fashionable thing to do anymore, I thought it was fun because one of the ladies at our wedding got really into it and I have some hilarious pictures. Just an extra memory for me that luckily nobody seemed too upset about.

      • lildutchgrrl

        No toss at mine – we asked anyone who felt like it (regardless of gender or relationship status) to form a circle around me and my wife, and she blindfolded me and twirled me around while they walked in the opposite direction. Then stopped the music and I stepped forward and handed it off to the person who was in front of me (happened to be a married, male non-relative).

      • suchbrightlights

        I think I read this idea in a past happy hour – replacing the bouquet toss with an Animal Toss. Everyone who feels inclined gets up, and the couple toss a stuffed animal. The person who catches it will be the next to get a pet.

        I remember thinking this was the best thing I’d ever read in an Internet comments thread, and have resolved that we will have one.

        If you want to throw your bouquet, YOU DO THAT THING. If you know all your friends would find it uncomfortable, or if there will be no single ladies at the party, maybe it would be fun for any kids in attendance.

    • emilyg25

      Had one and didn’t really care. And it was HEAVY. I love flowers so I adored our gorgeous centerpieces. My bouquet was pretty and stuff, but kinda useless. I don’t really see the point.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      My mom made mine out of fake flowers, and it cost probably $7 with coupons from Joann and Michael’s, plus some yard sale flowers. I love that I can keep it forever, and it’s currently in a vase on our mantel.

      I loved it, but it’s totally not necessary.

    • CommaChick

      I ordered my bouquet and that of my bridesmaid from the floral section of the local grocery store. I didn’t particularly care about flowers [except the ones in my hair], so I told them to make something happy. I got more compliments on those bouquets than on any other part of the wedding, including my dress. That said, I wouldn’t have missed them if we didn’t have them [but like I said, I don’t particularly care about flowers].

    • suchbrightlights

      I’m with you! I told my mother that I wasn’t planning to have flowers. I prefer flowers when they’re in the ground, and objected to carrying around a lot of money that was going to die in two days. I’d have been all right carrying a potted plant. :) Anyway, my mom is a gardener, so when we had this discussion it was like I told her we were giving up the dog. As it turns out, we will have flowers – it was important enough for her that she said she would pay for it – but she heard my objections. She assured me that at the end of the night I can have people take the bouquets and centerpieces home, which is apparently a very normal thing that people do with centerpieces although it hasn’t been a part of any wedding I’ve ever attended, but that makes me feel better about it not being wasteful.

      Also? One of my coworkers made herself and her bridesmaids bouquets out of recycled beer cans, which I thought was ABSOLUTELY GENIUS, so you could always do that if you thought perhaps you might want to have something decorative.

      • anachronismsarah

        Ya. The centerpieces and boquets at our wedding went to the dining room of a local nursing home, and the front desks for the library and the food bank. Second life!

    • Kelly

      I didn’t care about bouquets at all and wasn’t planning on having one. We ordered $40 worth of whatever wildflowers were in season from a local farm to decorate our tables with and after we were done decorating the day before, my sister tied together a handful of the leftovers and was like, “take this, it might be fun to have something to wave around”. She was right, it WAS fun to have something to wave around, but I wouldn’t have missed it had it not been there. I wasn’t carrying it during any of our “formal” photos together and those pictures are perfectly lovely. We had a pretty laid back reception and it was fun to have a festive prop to carry and wave around, and I didn’t care that it got a little raggedy by the end because it was just a handful of flowers that hardly cost anything, It’s also nice that when it pops up in photos I think of my sister.

      In conclusion, do whatever you want and it will be great!

    • anachronismsarah

      It gave me something to do with my hands in pictures… AND we used flowers with meaning, because I read Language of Flowers while planning.

    • Eenie

      We did no flowers of any kind and had no regrets. I had a drink or glass of water in my hand all night. I also look awkward as hell holding bouquets in other people’s weddings when I’ve done it.

  • kalsen

    Honestly, the tagline to Faz’s article in the list above really makes me cringe. Why would I ‘Betcha didn’t see that one coming?’ Because the idea of being Muslim and in a feminist marriage is somehow inherently surprising?

    The article itself is thoughtfully written and I remember enjoying it the first time around, but a tagline like that seems to just capitalize on the stereotypes about Muslim women and Muslim marriages by implying ‘Yes I know, this is such a surprising concept, WOW’. Maybe it was meant to be ironic but there are so many other ways in which irony could be communicated.

  • Lawyerette510

    Congratulations to Meg and all the members of the APW team on the success of this year, and I’m so looking forward to what is to come from y’all in 2017 (especially the Compact)! Having the great writing of this site, the dose of escapism in the wedding posts, and the community here in the comments certainly makes hard-times more navigable.

  • I’d love to know what all the staff picked out in that hour and a half!

    • stephanie

      OMG I WILL SHARE.

      First and foremost, let me tell you guys that someone saying “Here is $300, go spend it on YOURSELF AND ONLY YOURSELF” is kind of a nightmare for me. On the regular, I am a person who just buys whatever I want/need as I want/need it, so I don’t have working lists of things I’d love to buy. I’m also the type of person who buys a LOT of things (read: most things—furniture, home supplies, books, clothes, etc) secondhand, from eBay and local shops and vintage stores on instagram and etc. I also don’t regularly buy like… stuff. I buy stuff that is functional, I buy a ton of books, and I buy fun clothes, but I rarely spend a lot of money in one fell swoop (and $300 is a lot of money in my head). I also would happily use the $300 for like, food, or something practical, or to give a friend, so being told that it was all about me was a trip.

      SO: After initially buying metallic high tops , I then spent the first hour in a wild panic, staring at my computer and trying to figure it out. I finally ended up buying fancy (to me!) pajamas (they were $150 altogether and I’m still reeling), a bottle of wine (to drink at our new place), a book (Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald), and a vintage dress (from my fave Etsy shop, Freshandswanky: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Freshandswanky). At the end it was fun, but it was also really intense.

      • Meg Keene

        To be fair, the rules were it had to be for you, but it didn’t have to be stuff!! Like it could have been a massage or tickets to something.

        Stephanie’s PJs are real nice though and I think she’ll feel like a MILLION dollars when she wears them, not $300. Anthro gave me this $90 robe and I feel like the queen of the universe in it.

      • Danielle

        May I ask where the fancy pajamas are from? I love luxurious lounge wear :)

    • I went with a “Women supporting women” theme, and tried to get things that felt a like more than I’d generally spend on that category (FWIW I tend to spend on clothes and food, so those would have been bad categories for me) from places that

      1. Three silver chokers from a black woman owned e-store I’ve been looking at for months: https://www.fanmdjanm.com/new-products/luanda-silver
      2. a SUBSCRIPTION BOX for three months of curated books and tea from (woman owned) Muse Monthly: http://www.musemonthly.com/
      3. Fancy lube from babeland (women owned!)
      4. Three pairs of Thinx undies (I bought my first a year ago but never bit the bullet to buy more) (women owned)
      5. Two books: Shrill by Lindy West + You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson

      <3

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      So, funny story: a few days after this exercise, Keriann found a post I wrote last year where I said my favorite things to buy are both “practical and slightly off-putting” and I think my purchases fall neatly under that category?

      1. A bar cart, because I’ve been bitching about wanting one for a year, and can never bring myself to buy furniture with a LOT of hemming and hawing. http://www.hayneedle.com/product/holly-martin-zephs-bar-cart1.cfm

      2. This welcome mat, which I found while doing a roundup for APW last year. https://www.sportique.com/products/reed-wilson-design-welcome-to-the-jungle-doormat-flocked-lettering

      3. And this teakettle. Which may be the weirdest thing I’ve ever bought, but I love it so. I’d say it’s impractical, but I mean…you can boil water in it? http://www.shoptoiletpaper.com/product/teapot/

  • Gaby

    I’m gonna miss happy hours for the next two weeks! I just wanted to share that I had a nerdy freak out earlier today when I discovered my library card gets me access to Rosetta Stone, Gale Courses, and Lynda.com for free!! I already use my card a lot for free ebooks through Overdrive, but I’m so amazed at how much our library district offers.
    This excitement reminded me of how much I enjoyed volunteering at the library in middle school. I’ve been looking into volunteer opportunities recently but I want to start off small and most places I’ve seen require weekly commitments for 3 months or more. I’d love any recommendations for volunteer opportunities that allow a once-a-month type of commitment, if possible! I just want to be realistic and I know how hard it is for me to not sleep in or overbook on weekends as it is now.

    • sofar

      Dude, my library system rocks too. I get three free music downloads a month from a pretty big music catalog and access a language-learning program called Mango, which I have used several times before trips to navigate the language barrier. And there’s tons more stuff I’m not even using.

      And that’s not even counting the fact that I NEVER have to buy books and can still read all the books.

      It floors me how few people I know have library cards and I’m like “Why the eff NOT???”

      • Gaby

        Yes, that was the purpose of my post! Like “you all need to look into your libraries if you haven’t already!!!” I love them and immediately signed up for a personal finance class in January through the gale courses. I saw the offer for the free music downloads too but I never have space on my phone so I’m holding off on that until I can find my old ipod :D

    • JC

      Getting my library card for my new neighborhood library this weekend!!! It didn’t even occur to me that it might get me some language-learning programs too. Must look into this!

    • Hannah

      My mom and I used to volunteer shelving books once a month at our public library. I loved it, too! You could see if yours has a similar program. And if not, I can pretty much guarantee that there’s a school librarian near you who will take all the help they can get!

      • Gaby

        Yeah I’m going to ask because the listings I saw were all weekly, but I know I wasn’t there every week when I did it a decade+ ago!

    • Danielle

      My local library is also awesome. The books are in great condition and I believe we get access to lots of journals and databases too. In addition, in 2017 they are going to start waiving fines!

      • Gaby

        My mom has been wanting Rosetta Stone to improve her English and she was equally as excited as I was when I told her about my discovery. Waiving fees is so great! I really feel like I need to support my library district more now.

    • anachronismsarah

      LOVE Overdrive. I’ll havde to see if we do any of the extra stuff here… This is where a SIL who is a librarian comes in handy!

  • 2016 has been such a year – a lot of ups and downs but mostly ups, which I’m grateful for.

    I just want to say a heartfelt thanks to the APW team who took a chance on a former mad scientist who had dreams of writing, and gave me an opportunity to learn so much about writing for the web. I couldn’t have asked for a better internship and I feel like I’ve made some lifelong friends as well :-) Also thank you to the APW readers who took time to read anything I’ve written this year and given me your feedback, it’s been an honor to share this journey with yall :-)

    I’m still pregnant (seriously, this is my answer when people ask me how I’m feeling) but I feel like it’s gonna be any day now. Since we won’t have any more Happy Hours this year, I won’t be able to share with yall when BabyPi finally makes her debut, so I guess yall will just have to find me on Twitter or Instagram (Jubilance1922 on both)

    • Danielle

      I’ve really enjoyed reading your pieces this year!! Hope BabyPi comes soon and you enjoy your new, wonderful life together as a family :)

    • Lisa

      It was so wonderful to see you go from commenter to contributor this year! I really hope we’ll see more of your writing and thoughts on family and motherhood after BabyPi arrives. :)

      • Cathietsimons

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj217d:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        !mj217d:
        ➽➽
        ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash217DigitalDirectGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj217:….,….

    • Lawyerette510

      Thank you for writing, and good luck welcoming BabyPi!

    • AP

      Loved your writing so much! Sending happy thoughts to you and BabyPi!

    • JSK

      Best of luck to you and BabyPi!

    • Just followed so I can see those BabyPi updates! Will be sending all the good vibes for a smooth delivery!

    • Dess

      Thank you so much for writing, Jubilance! Hope to read more from you once you get settled with BabyPi!

    • JC

      I cracked up this morning when I saw your morning tweet, “Well, I’m still pregnant.”

      • That’s basically how I start every day. *sigh* I just wanna meet my baby!

  • Nic.

    Tomorrow the man I love will have a nice party for his 30th birthday. Party to which I was invited by his best friend. Because he knows that I love him and that his friend cares about me. Well except if you count this May event when he tried to make one of his coworker his girlfriend and then cried for three fucking months on my shoulder for her saying no. Yup. Didn’t told his friends about it. I cried for well, 2 months before that for “we can’t be together” reasons and the next 6 because of how humiliated I felt, so 8 months of crying for a guy I’ve known for 18 months, that’s a record.

    Because of this, as much as I love him and die to see him again (one last time, ya all know that one) and hold him close and show him how much I care about him… I am not going, respecting myself at last, and I just wait for a huge deadline of him to pass to tell him that this “friendship” that we (don’t) have can’t go any further, then take the time to heal for good. But man it hurts.

    • emmers

      From an outside perspective, you sound really brave. It’s hard to cut off toxic “could be” people. The guy I dated before my husband was a non-committer (so does it even count as dating? whatever), and it was so hard to let him go. You are definitely respecting yourself by not going to this party. I really like captain awkward– I don’t have time to search for relevant posts right now, but she has sooo many posts on cutting people like this out of your life and fighting for Team You. Hang in there. It’s sooo painful to love someone deeply and have them not treat you well.

      • Nic.

        You are really nice, it took me some time but I feel that I’m on the right path again.
        Thank you for the recommendation you made me discover captain awkward and it will certainly be helpful!

    • idkmybffjill

      Watch The Holiday. On repeat. Seriously.

      That movie came out when I was in a very similar situation, and basically cured me. Sending good vibes!

      • Nic.

        Thank you, I will certainly look at it, besides it’s the season :) (hey tomorrow night so I don’t spend the evening crying over the fact that I’m not meeting his family like I once hoped I would)

        • idkmybffjill

          Seriously seriously seriously. Kate Winslet is everything and you will feel EMPOWERED.

      • Ah! I should watch that movie soon! Thanks for the reminder… Good for New Year’s too…

    • toomanybooks

      Yes, good for you! I’ve been in a situation a bit like that and it was soooooo much better having her out of my life than keeping her as a “friend.”

      • Nic.

        Yeah “friend” is, well validation like the video explains, also it comforts the other one in the opinion that s.he hasn’t hurt you that much, because we’re still friends right? Right? Well I am not buying that anymore!

    • Fairy Godmother
      • Nic.

        Thank you, this is brilliant!
        Intellectually I knew this, I’ve seen it for other people and recognize it, but argh still fell for it.
        10 bonus points for “Dump, not murder” :)

      • This video is great!

    • Nic.

      Got slightly drunk with a friend, had a fight with ‘man-I-love’ and a joint decision not to speak to each other again.
      Well I thought I would be devastated, I just feel a tiny bit empty, unsettled, but mostly free. Thank you for your help dear APW team!

  • Katherine

    Y’all, this week has been a TRIP. We somehow went from zero social circles to around three, plus we ran out of food this week. Every night this week has been an outing, or shopping, or making food, and I’m skipping the office holiday party tonight because xmas gifts will not happen if I don’t stay home and get everything wrapped to ship. And this is on top of my work schedule, which has also blown up this past week.

    Also, thank you SO MUCH to whoever suggested compression gloves last week! I bought a pair and tested them on a run on a 25 degree day, so teens with the wind chill. They are fantastic.

    • lamarsh

      Can I ask which compression gloves? I need a new pair for running because this winter has already been way too freaking cold and my hands are not handling it well.

  • Rose

    AAaaah my inlaws are coming tomorrow and apparently they left/are leaving today and spending the night on the road, to avoid the ice storm, instead of doing the drive in one day. Of course, what that means is that there’s less time tomorrow to get ready than I was expecting. THEY really, truly, honestly won’t care if we’ve tidied, but I will.

    On the other (more important) hand, yay holiday celebrations with family!

    • Katherine

      Good luck! We’re driving down to see my family next weekend for a whirlwind trip and I’ve been watching the weather like a hawk.

  • toomanybooks

    This time last week I was stressing out about catering costs (the sticker shock is real…)
    We emailed both caterers we were looking at (asked the cheaper one for a full quote including a menu we listed, service, any other charges, and for the nicer one whose price I was freaking out about, we asked about if certain services required more labor and materials and asked to take out/change some things on our menu to reduce costs).

    The nicer career sent back a revised menu and quote, and our changes brought the price down by $1400! So, now I’m feeling a LOT more calm about the whole thing and I was going to wait and see what the other caterer writes back but we’ll likely just go with the nicer one. The food is pretty much “standard wedding food,” but I’ve heard great reviews (haven’t done a tasting yet – that will come next) and my understanding of them so far is that their food will taste good, they are full service and will take care of everything, and they’re very reliable and friendly. (Other caterer has been not so reliable and harder to reach, and I get the feeling that alone makes the nice one a a good choice.)

    I’ve also started crafting wedding stuff (favors, table numbers next) and it’s sooooo nice to have a project. This is going to get me through the winter!

    • Lisa

      I told my friend who was going through the same thing to stick with the caterer who got back to her. The last thing you want is to feel like you’re guessing with such a big element of the wedding day!

      Crafting is a perfect winter activity! I love popping in movies or re-watching favorite TV shows (see: Downton Abbey reference in my other comment) while working on a project.

      • Kaitlyn

        “I told my friend who was going through the same thing to stick with the caterer who got back to her. ”

        I’m feeling this way about photographers. There’s a photographer who’s photos I LOVE, but she’s terrible at answering emails and when I asked to set up a time to meet (I offered literally 5 different dates), she basically told me she was unavailable. I know it’s the holidays, but offering up something else would have been nice. This other photographer I forgot about emailed me out the blue to check in and then was super responsive to all my questions, that I think she might end up winning just based on that haha (and her photos were good and her prices included more, etc etc).

      • toomanybooks

        Same! I finished my binges of The Crown and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries doing this and now I have to figure out what to watch next.

        • Amy March

          The Durrels in Corfu, Foyle’s War, and Dancing on the Edge.

          • janie

            +1 for Foyle’s War

          • Dess

            +1 for The Durrells in Corfu! That book (My Family and Other Animals) is one of my favorites, and I was so happy when it got adapted!

        • nutbrownrose

          The Bletchley Circle. Best thing. Sadly only 2 seasons, but a wonderful 2 seasons they were.

    • idkmybffjill

      “they’re very reliable and friendly.”

      This is the BIGGEST thing. The unreliable people will NEVER be more reliable. It will always be a thing. (IMO)

  • Call Me Penny

    We got our wedding photos from our wonderful photographers this week, and love (all 900 of) them.
    My brain has now gone into overdrive on how to keep them safe forever – how many places should we be backing them up? They’re currently on our desktop and an external hard drive, and we’ve added them to google drive as well. Are we safe? Any advice appreciated!

    • Ashlah

      Prints?

      • Call Me Penny

        Yes! We have ordered a few favourites to have in the house and will sort a printed book in the new year when we have time to sit down and properly plan it out. My main concern is making sure we can access all of the digital versions in future no matter what happens.

        • Ashlah

          I think you’re probably safe, plus the photographer should still have them for a while :)

          • Call Me Penny

            That’s true. I think I’ve very clearly inherited my mother’s ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude!

    • CMT

      All of the backups! Seriously, you probably can’t really go overboard there. Put them on an external hard drive that lives with your parents/siblings/other place that’s not your home?

      • Call Me Penny

        Ooh that’s a good idea!

      • Yes to an offsite backup!

      • I am late to the party on this response but am similarly a worrier and wanted to chime in. We bought two flash drives and copied all our wedding pics onto them then mailed one to each set of parents. This served double for giving our parents the photos and also having backups at other locations.

        I also saved them on my computer’s hard drive, and keep the flash drive they came from the photographer on (save them to another flash drive if you didn’t get one) with our important papers (birth certificates, marriage license, etc) so when we evacuate for a hurricane I’ll grab the whole folder. I should keep that stuff in a waterproof fireproof safe but I haven’t gotten around to getting one yet.

        Flash drives are so cheap these days compared to the cost of a wedding photographer, that you might as well go a little wild with backups.

    • Kara

      Another option, if you make your own photo album (I can’t recommend Blurb enough), you’ll have a backup of your album for a very long time (like mine is still available to order 7 years later).

      • Call Me Penny

        That’s really good to know, I’ll look into Blurb. Thank you!

    • emilyg25

      I actually printed out every single one of our 800+ photos because I am a crazy person. I also made a nice album with a selection of my favorites.

      • Call Me Penny

        So glad I’m not the only one considering this!

      • Lisa

        Our photographer actually sent us a full set of 4×6 prints for all of the wedding and engagement photos. They’re still in their boxes somewhere, but I’m glad we have them in addition to the wedding flash drives!

    • Mary Jo TC

      I back up my photos on my computer, my husband’s computer, dropbox, and shutterfly. My phone has apps that automatically upload the photos from my phone to dropbox and shutterfly.

      • Call Me Penny

        I think my google drive is linked to my phone, I’ll check. Thank you!

    • Eenie

      We did the three you listed, and then had parents on both sides backup a copy as well on their computers. Which meant my dad saved it to a hardrive, his backup external, and his Google drive as well.

  • Lisa

    I’m sad this is the last happy hour of the year! We’re heading to visit some friends a few hours away this weekend and do our interviews for Global Entry. With any luck, we’ll be approved and able to use our traveler numbers to get TSA Pre-Check for our flights to Seattle for my best friend’s wedding.

    Also, I noticed some great husband bragging in @disqus_NvUtaFqm42:disqus ‘s post so can we do a thankfulness thread to close out the year?

    My husband has been amazing the past couple of weeks. I took on a cross-stitch project for said friend’s wedding, and it’s turned out to be bigger than I thought so I’ve been spending hours each day trying to get it done in time. Husband has done a great job taking care of pretty much everything else because he knows that it was important to me to make this for her. He’s been doing a lot of the cooking and cleaning, and the other day when I started crying because of my awful, IUD-induced cramps, he settled me on the couch with a fuzzy blanket, a mug of tea, some chocolate, and Downton Abbey while he made dinner. I’ve felt so fortunate to have such a giving person in my life and for how we’re lucky to each have someone who’s willing to pick things up when the other’s life is hectic.

    • idkmybffjill

      Yay I love husband bragging corners!!

      Our wedding was just before the election, so I felt like our “Honeymoon phase” ended QUICKLY. Especially because I entered, “well I guess I’m an activist now!” territory and started volunteering like mad and going to a lot of community meetings. My husband just got on board SO quick, and was really great about picking up the slack on days when I was having big time election blues. I really love him.

      Also his beard/hair situation is at the perfect length right now (he shaves his head so it’s always sort of a flow) and he’s so handsome!

    • Kaitlyn

      I love the thankfulness threads! I’m never home during the week in the evenings (dance rehearsals 3 nights/week and the other night, I’ve had work things, etc. (Friday doesn’t count in this haha)). Anyway, J has been pretty much feeding me for the last few weeks by making my lunch an making dinner. Last night, he made dinner in two rounds so that my meal would be fresh. AND he’s been doing the dishes, even though we’re supposed to switch (person who doesn’t cook, cleans). He never complains about it, especially since my schedule is basically my hobby taking up my free time/making me too tired to do anything productive at home. We’re going to be snowed in all weekend and I plan on paying him back by feeding him delicious food all weekend and doing the cleaning :)

    • JC

      My boyfriend now gets home from work before I do, and just about every day, I come home and find that one or more boxes have been unpacked from our move two weeks ago! So, so thankful.

    • Danielle

      My husband brag: Mr. Danielle has been so great about helping prepare for the baby. He came to my midwife appt yesterday (we got to hear the heartbeat!) and went to 3 daycare visits this week. He also cleaned up the extra room and got us to order a crib, while I had a minor freak out – buying baby furniture means this thing is real, y’all!!

      Yesterday he also got me marshmallows and Rice Krispies when I was *really* craving rice
      Krispy treats :)

      On a bigger note, he increased his work hours this year so we could both keep health insurance when I lost my job. I am so grateful for him.

    • toomanybooks

      Awww! Somehow the sweetest gesture ever is help with cramps

    • Gaby

      I love this! I am always extra grateful and extra sappy this time of year. My latest husband appreciation is his knack of knowing when I’m too groggy or tired to make coffee for myself. He doesn’t drink coffee at home but has been making many a cup for me on weekends or week days when I’m taking to long to get out of bed. It’s so simple but it feels like THE MOST romantic thing ever because I never have to ask for it.

      • StevenPortland

        My tired eyes read your post as “My latest-husband” and I had to do a double take.

        • Gaby

          Haha! As someone who often misreads things the first time around, I can see how I could have worded that better :)

    • Nikki

      Just chiming in with a lil husband brag: last night I was baking cookies for our Christmas party this weekend and was getting SO frustrated with the too sticky dough just not working. My husband came into the kitchen, poured me a glass of wine, and banished me to the couch with my kindle while he finished baking the cookies and then he made dinner. He’s the best :)

    • Katherine

      Husband brag: at our morning meeting, I realized I’d forgotten to get something for our white elephant, so I texted husband in a panic. Despite the fact that he was up late closing the night before, he found something (a wedding present that has now been hilariously rehomed), wrapped it, and brought it along will all of the food I had prepped to our office holiday party. Thankfully, everyone was nice enough to let him stay and have a plate!

    • AGCourtney

      I’ve got one now! Because of this remodel and whatnot, our house is an awful, awful mess and it’s driving me crazy and I’ve been trying to deal with it but it’s so overwhelming. While I was doing HH, unbeknownst to me, my husband was cleaning up the living room and cleared off the dining room table. He also cut cardboard to go on the base cabinets so we can use them as surfaces until the countertops arrive. I nearly knocked him over with my hug.

    • CP2011

      My spouse brag is a little different but my husband has lost 10lbs since thanksgiving and I’m so proud of him! He’s been trying so hard and I think he’s committed to losing more and keeping it off, which he’s been talking about for years.

    • anachronismsarah

      Oh yay husband brags!
      Mine went to a funeral I did with me this morning… and was in a suit. At 8:30am. On a SATURDAY!

      He also gets points for present wrapping, dish washing, and generally making me laugh like a crazy person. Plus I think we’re going out because it has been. a. WEEK. And I’m pretty sure I won’t have to drive.

  • nosio

    After a couple months of feeling a bit stalled in our planning process due to being long distance, I’m pumped to spend a week in Chicago after Christmas checking some stuff off my to-do list!
    – Wedding dress shopping with Mom? GONNA GET CHECKED.
    – Meeting with our potential photographer? GONNA GET CHECKED.
    – Signing a contract with our venue, and doing a walk-through with our set-designer friend who has graciously volunteered to do event design for us (so the VFW Hall feels a bit less, well VFW-Hall-y)? INCOMING CHECKS.
    – Ordering Save the Dates once the contract gets signed? ALL. THE. CHECKS.
    I might be a little TOO excited, you guys.

    • Lisa

      Chicago weddings are the best! *solidarity fistbump*

      If you’ve got any questions I can answer, I’d be happy to help!

      • nosio

        Aw thanks! I feel like I’m in a semi-okay place regarding the Big Things (venue, food, DJ), but I’m starting to do research now on the smaller vendors (hair and makeup people, florists, day-of-coordinators, etc.) and I feel like there are just SO MANY options, it can be a tad overwhelming. And Chicago is such an expensive wedding market, it’s hard to figure out what’s normal for people in the city to spend, and what’s actually doable within our budget.

        • Lisa

          Completely understand. We joked that we had a “budget” wedding by Chicago standards, and we still spent around $25k for our 85 people. If you need a make-up artist, I really loved Nikki at Hala Beauty, and our DOC Jack was the best. He even drove us home when our plan to get a taxi at the end of the night failed! (Seriously, who won’t stop for a woman in a wedding dress??)

          • nosio

            That’s exactly how I feel! We’re hoping to keep it under $25K, and only in Chicago could that be described as “budget.”

            I’m definitely going to check out Nikki and Jack, thank you for the recommendations!

          • Lisa

            You’re welcome! Tell them Lisa, their October 2014 bride, says hello. :)

          • idkmybffjill

            How funny – our ride at the end of the night was the one thing that went wrong. And we’d booked the fancy drivers I use at work! The guy wouldn’t pull around for some reason and we couldn’t find him.

            We WERE able to grab a cab but we were like excuse me?

          • Lisa

            That’s awful/so funny! We couldn’t get a cab to stop for us so it basically came down to either piling back into my parents’ mini-van or our DOC’s car. The best part was that Jack had put down the backseat to make room for the cake and decorations so my husband ended up laying down in the hatchback’s trunk space while I sat in the passenger seat.

        • idkmybffjill

          Girl, yes. We spent a fair bit of our engagement having BIG realizations about the reality of our friends’ wedding budgets. There were alot of, “Did you realize they were LOADED?!” conversations.

          • Lisa

            LOL, yes!! Some of the ubiquitous Chicago wedding locations were $$$$. (Cafe Brauer? Absolutely gorgeous, but I wasn’t willing to put down like $10k for 4 hours on Saturday night before we’d even looked at their approved catering list.)

          • idkmybffjill

            Yes!!! Our dream one was Ravenswood Event Center. We’d scoped out prices online and thought, “oh perfect” before we realized they DID NOT include catering.

          • Lisa

            It’s so beautiful! I remember being obsessed with Salvage One before I realized 1) my husband did not share my dream of a rustic vintage wedding and 2) they cost over half our wedding budget.

          • idkmybffjill

            Yes! Our friends got married there. It was GORGEOUS. It’s such a relaxed and cool vibe I would have NEVER guessed how much it costs just to rent.

          • nosio

            Oh my god, Salvage One is SO GORGEOUS and SO EXPENSIVE. I think they quoted us $10K for a Saturday night, which included tables/chairs, but NOTHING ELSE. Alas.

            Some of our friends have gotten married at Ravenswood, and it is also SO beautiful, but sooo pricey. I couldn’t believe when I looked into it how much it was, before catering.

          • idkmybffjill

            Yes!!
            When I first heard the 10K minimum spend at Revolution (where we got married) I was like, WHOA. But then after realizing that was for EVERYTHING (Food, drink, staff, furniture, coordinators), we couldn’t write the check fast enough.

          • Lisa

            That was us at Hubbard Inn. $10k food and beverage minimum for 4 hours on a Saturday night? That’s it? Where do I sign?

          • nosio

            Whoa, that is such a good deal! Plus, I’m sure your food and drinks (oh my god, the beer) were amazing.

          • idkmybffjill

            It really was. All told after tax and gratuity it was like 13K for like 95ish people. Full open bar, tamales & brisket & passed apps and a cake and late night snacks. It was delivuos.

          • toomanybooks

            This is me with engagement rings now. I’m like, a thousand times more in awe of a big diamond (which I probably wouldn’t even have thought of as big before I learned how much diamonds cost).

          • idkmybffjill

            Same. And I have a fairly big diamond.

          • Katharine Parker

            I was once in a conversation where one friend made a joke about how she was glad her husband got a family ring, because they already had joint bank accounts and if he had spent $1500 on a ring she would have noticed. Another friend looked at her own giant ring, said, “$1500? Try $15,000!” and laughed.

            Life is a rich tapestry.

          • idkmybffjill

            “Life is a rich tapestry.” just about spit out my water.

        • yofi’s human

          I also got married in Chicago and I’m super happy to give some suggestions. I loved LOVED my vendors. For makeup, I used Carly Pribich, hair was Amanda from Blohaute (she does amazing braids, very boho), florist was the Bread + Butterfly which was also very beautiful. Would be happy to send you a link to view photos! I was very happy with all of the vendors I mentioned!

          • nosio

            Ooh, thank you – I’m leaning towards a boho/braided style, so these suggestions are excellent!

      • idkmybffjill

        +1 for Lisa as a solid Chicago bride resource :).

        • nosio

          And you! That spreadsheet was SO helpful!

          • idkmybffjill

            Oh yay!
            So glad to hear that!!

        • Lisa

          Awwww, you are so sweet. You’re a great community resource now, too! :)

          • idkmybffjill

            This community is so so awesome. And something about the partial anonymity really helps to get 1) very honest answers 2) cut out that awkward money talk feeling with friends 3) prevent you from feeling weird about advice/friendships

          • nutbrownrose

            Lisa! My BFF just got engaged and is in Chicago. Did I see a google doc floating around with a list of venues, or did I dream that?

          • Lisa

            Hmmm, I don’t know if there’s a Google doc though I think @rachelbrownjohn:disqus might have mentioned having one the other week. I went through my Drive, and all I’ve got are my own venue contracts. However, I can give you an idea of prices as I remember them from 2014 for 4 hours on a Saturday night. The amount is for the room only (no rentals, caterer, etc.) unless indicated.

            Places we considered
            – Art Institute’s stock room (~$6-8k)
            – Salvage One (~$8-10k)
            – Cafe Brauer (~$8k)
            – Chicago Cultural Center (~$8k)
            – Symphony Center (Several different spaces ranging $1250-5k)
            – Kitchen Chicago ($2800, March-December. $2200, January-February. Friday/Sunday is $2300 and $1800 respectively)
            – Goose Island (I think it was like $3k for half the restaurant, but I can’t find my e-mails.)
            – Revolution Brewery ($8000 minimum for Saturday, full service. $6000 for Friday/Sunday.)
            – Volo ($9k food and beverage minimum, $1k shutdown fee for 120 full restaurant. Full service, including them choosing their weekly flowers to match your own decor and customized chalkboard art. $4500 min + $500 shutdown for 60 garden patio.)
            – Hubbard Inn ($10k food and beverage minimum for upstairs. Full service. This is the venue we used, and I would highly recommend them.)

            I hope this helps! I really loved our restaurant wedding and think that can be a great option. For even the cheaper blank spaces like Kitchen, once we added in the rentals and catering, we were already near the restaurant food and beverage minimums, and the restaurants were full service, meaning we didn’t have to worry about renting tables, chairs, cutlery, etc. or worry about set up/tear down.

            Volo was a very close second to Hubbard Inn, and we almost chose it because the people were SO nice. It’s set up more informally/cocktail style buffet, and since we would have needed the whole space, we were concerned about separating the dance floor on the patio from the food/bar/seating on the inside.

            If your friend has any other questions or needs any other vendor recommendations, I’d be happy to provide them. We absolutely loved every piece of our Chicago wedding, and I can’t recommend the people with whom we worked enough.

          • idkmybffjill

            Hi! Late to the party, but that was me! If you want to comment your email real quick I’ll send it over :).

          • nutbrownrose
    • idkmybffjill

      Ahhhh awesome!!!

      A friend of ours (in Chicago) had a huge birthday party (30th) at the VFW and my husband and I kept looking at each other and being like, we totally should’ve gotten married here. It was great!

      • nosio

        Ooh, that’s actually really cool to hear! We know it’s not a particularly fancy venue, but we’re going for a fancy-BBQ-meets-laid-back, get-drunk-and-party-with-everyone vibe and the VFW feels fairly conducive to that!

        • idkmybffjill

          From my experience, you will have EXACTLY that kind of party there.
          It was very warm and chill and fun.

  • AP

    Y’all, I’m starting a podcast with a colleague! It’s going to be the two of us talking about faith, feminism, pop culture and whatever’s on our minds, with some guest interviews with other awesome women. We recorded our first test conversation this week to make sure we have a handle on the tech, and it came out so well! Now we have to figure out the logistics of where we want to host it, how often we can record, etc, but I’m setting goal to record at least one episode a month next year! We’d been talking about doing this for a while, but the day after the election I felt a major pull to get started right now. We’re compiling a list of conversation topics now, but I’d love suggestions! Wishing everyone the best holiday and happiest of new years. This site makes my heart happy <3

    • Lisa

      I can’t wait to hear it! I’m a devoted podcast listener so you’ll have to give us the title once it’s live.

      • AP

        I totally will! I am so, so excited!

    • Call Me Penny

      How exciting! Be sure to share once you’re up and running, looking forward to listening :)

  • MayJune

    Got our engagement pics back last week, and while most of them are just fine there are some that are absolutely beautiful. BUT I’m worried about having this photographer at our wedding because we didn’t really “click.” And I don’t want to feel uncomfortable on our wedding day because there’s someone there I would probably never hang out with outside of this professional contract. Does it matter? Will I even notice the awkward vibe between us on our wedding day? Is it worth the hassle of finding a new photographer?

    • Ashlah

      I hardly noticed our photographer at all, to be honest.

    • idkmybffjill

      How do you mean you didn’t click? Were you just not super chatty with them? Or did they annoy you?

      Our photographer was relatively quiet and peaceful as a person, so we didn’t get that “click”ey vibe with him, but we LOVED him and his peaceful presence was a real real comfort on our wedding day.

      • MayJune

        More like I felt like she was judging my overly enthusiastic/talkative energy (which happens when I’m nervous because, hello this was my first photo shoot) and didn’t really put us at ease or give us any direction or feedback so we look clearly nervous/awkward/uncomfortable in some of the photos

        • idkmybffjill

          Man. That would definitely give me pause. I’m sorry!

        • I think if you were nervous and the photographer did not attempt to put you at ease or offer some direction during a photo shoot (and let you look nervous in some of the photos!), that this is a concern worth addressing. I think you can get some great pictures when the subject feels relaxed in the presence of the photographer (and can then feel free to express the emotions that happen, whatever they are), so if you feel you can’t do that, even after having that time to get to know the photographer in the couple’s session (because ideally towards the end of the session you would have gotten to know the photographer and felt more relaxed)….maybe you can address this with him/her? You have a contract, I assume. Does the photographer have any second shooters that you might feel more comfortable around? Do you know any other photographers? Perhaps there is time to come up with another plan? I hope you can find a solution you feel comfortable with!

    • Alexandra

      I didn’t really love my photographer; she wouldn’t be my friend. But she was extremely professional, super experienced, and knew what she was doing. The pictures were very good and the price was reasonable. She was mostly invisible the day of my wedding but she was working very hard the whole time. No complaints. There was a lot going on that day; it wasn’t that important for her and I to “click”.

  • JC

    Oh no, the last Happy Hour! Yet another reason why the end of the year can just hurry itself right up. Given that this year wasn’t everything that I hoped it would be, I’m so thankful to have been part of the community here (for a couple years now!). You all make the big and small hard things more bearable, and the big and small nice things that much nicer. I think 2017 is going to be difficult, but I also think it might be the year when I can separate the wheat from the chaff or, as the kids would say, get my shit together. I already know that it is going to include paying off the end of my student loan, finally beefing up my savings, a huge trip to Australia, and hopefully staying in our current beautiful apartment. It should also include some hefty volunteering and soul searching about how I’m going to contribute to the civic currents of my city, state, and country. It may even include a decision between us to get married! (Hey, it’s going to be a long year…)

    • Em

      Let me know if you need Australia travel tips! (I’m a Sydney native, but can provide recommendations for places like Melbourne and Adelaide too :))

      • JC

        Oh thank you, will do! It’s still a year away, so when our destinations and timing are more firmly planned, I will come ask for all the tips. We’ll probably start in Perth, where my aunt lives (first time seeing her in like 20 years!), and then go back east to at least Sydney and maybe a couple other cities too!

        • Em

          Sydney and Melbourne are both great destinations, and the Great Ocean Rd outside of Melbourne is a great way to spend a couple of days. But really, there’s so much to see and do! Time of year is also a big factor – some places are definitely a lot more fun at some times of year than others. I have heard amazing things about Perth (and the wineries just outside of it!), but never been!

          • JC

            I know very little about Perth except that my aunt’s farm is a few hours outside and she owns a couple hundred head of sheep. I admit to being a bit excited about spending Christmas/New Years on a sheep farm, for sheer variety, but heading to some wineries sounds even better! And thanks for the tip on the Great Ocean Rd; must check it out!

          • Em

            Hahaha, I’m an Australian off to my aunt’s Scottish sheep farm for Christmas this year – and I know what you mean! It’s a bit of a change. Great Ocean Road is a really beautiful drive, and you can easily do good chunks of it as a day trip from Melbourne. But really, everything at that time of year is just so beautiful and sunny and lovely. And there will be so much amazing good food to eat – Australia does awesome summer fruit and veg!

          • emmers

            Shear variety! Sheep! Lol:)

          • JC

            I knowwwwww I couldn’t help myself.

    • Louise

      Let me know if you want any tips for Brisbane/ Queensland I will be happy to help

    • Mrs H

      I’m a Perth girl, although I live in Sydney now. You’ll love it-beautiful beaches, great wineries, friendly people :)

      • JC

        This is so exciting to hear!

  • CharlotteJ

    I just wanted to say thank you to APW and this community! You make my Fridays (and every day of the week) great. I, too, am glad to see the end of 2016, for lots of reasons, but mostly because it means that our trip to Barcelona is happening in exactly one week! I’ve never been to Spain before, does anyone have any recommendations for things to do in/around Barcelona (especially at Christmast/New Years)? We will be there for 9 days!

    • Call Me Penny

      I’ve never been at Christmas time, but you can’t go wrong just eating your way through the city. Have an amazing trip!

      • CharlotteJ

        Thank you! There will be SO MUCH EATING. I can’t wait ;)

        • Danielle

          Paella! And Barcelona has a special noodle version of paella called fideau (wrong spelling) which I haven’t tried but seems just as delicious. Please try and eat everything :)

          • CharlotteJ

            Ooh I will definitely be eating those, thank you! Haha I will do my best to eat everything ;)

          • idkmybffjill

            Late to the party, Fideau is the most delicious thing.

    • Jess

      Barcelona! We spent only 3 days there, but it was so much fun.

      There’s a ton of Gaudi houses to go see if you’re into super weird, nature inspired architecture. There’s a museum near the Cathedral if you don’t buy tickets ahead of time/don’t feel like waiting in lines. If you like walking, I highly recommend going through the parks and fortress near the olympic village. Definitely go to one of the covered markets (you can buy paper cones full of meat or cheese!).

      We went into a few museums near the Cathedral, including an ancient history museum, that were really interesting. Walking the Rambla was good people watching.

      If you’re planning on doing the Familia Segreda, I highly recommend researching advance tickets – when we got there in the AM, they only had tickets for 7pm.

      I’m sure you’ve already heard this, but Barcelona is really awake at night. Like, it gets quiet in the evenings for a little bit, but around midnight, everybody is out in full force.

      • CharlotteJ

        Awesome, thank you so much for the great recommendations!! I so appreciate the tips! I will absolutely be doing all of this :) Those paper cones of meat and cheese sound especially intriguing, going to check that out. I definitely can’t wait to see Barcelona at night!

    • ldnexpat

      Late to this. Bar del pla for tapas in the Born area (I think that is what the neighbourhood is called); my friend lives near there and it’s so good I made her go twice in three days. Quimet & Quimet for conservas or tapas from canned or bottled foods (that’s a weird description; it’s supposed to be delicious and the only reason I missed it was because I forgot I read about it 10 years before visiting Barca).

  • Cellistec

    I almost missed Happy Hour because it didn’t show up in my RSS reader, so I’m glad I came over to the website to find it! May everyone have a relaxing last couple weeks of the year, may family drama be at a minimum, and may 2016 go straight to hell.

    • Lisa

      Amen.

  • Kate

    One of my 2017 goals: write something for The Compact.
    If this happens, apologies in advance to Meg and team for my complete lack of chill.

    • Mary Jo TC

      Ooooh, can I copy this goal?

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    This has been our first week with a shared checking account! Woo! Last week we took Friday off to set it up, then went out to lunch. He closed his account to move the funds into the new one. I will be closing mine at a different bank shortly, once I’ve made sure nothing else is attached to that account. Going forward, we’ll be living on his paychecks, and mine will be deposited directly into savings, where it will earn some interest. The savings will be our wedding and house project fund. It’s kinda weird to me, because it feels like I’m spending his money (which, I know, I know, it becomes *our* money), but I tend to spend more money on non-essential things than he does, and I make less than he does, so it’s a mental hurtle for me. And today I was able to deposit a paycheck, so I feel more like I’m contributing now. So far I’ve been a lot more thoughtful about how I’m spending money, knowing that I’m now accountable to someone else, which probably isn’t the worst thing to happen.

    • idkmybffjill

      We do the same! (Spend his, save mine) – I have been SHOCKED to see our savings accumulate so quickly. We don’t do our whole accounts yet, but it’s been cool to feel like a definite household team for our spending goals.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Yeah, I feel like barring any financial emergencies, we’re setting ourselves up to be in a really good position! My income doesn’t feel like much on its own, but it feels like a lot when it’s all savings.

        • idkmybffjill

          “My income doesn’t feel like much on its own, but it feels like a lot when it’s all savings.”

          THIS entirely. We also finally set it up so that we contribute proportionally instead of a 50/50 split. It’s been amazing what a relief on my bank account that has been!

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            I’ve always liked the idea of a proportional contribution, we just never got around to setting it up.

    • NolaJael

      There is an adjustment period for sure. I started spending slightly differently when we joined our Mint accounts. Just knowing that someone else might see that I ate at Subway three days in a row is a deterrent for me!

  • Natalie

    Here’s hoping that at the next happy hour I’ll be pregnant! Husband and I are getting serious about it this month, after a couple months of seeing what happens/traveling and being too busy to care.

    • BSM

      Same! Been ovulating this week and also, um, banging. Fingers crossed for us both!

      • idkmybffjill

        Fingers crossed for both of you!!!

  • Katharine Parker

    I’ve done a lot of wedding planning this week, and I am immensely grateful to whomever suggested a wedding-specific email address. It is amazing to have all those emails in one place, and I only log into that account from my computer, so I can contain when I want to do wedding stuff. It’s a life saver.

    I have a question for recent/semi-recent brides: how much did you spend on flowers? I’m meeting with florists soon, and I’ve been having a hard time figuring out my flower budget. Flowers are a priority to me, and I’m going to use a florist, but I would love to know how much other people spent on specific items–bouquet, bridesmaids, centerpieces, etc. Different wedding budget calculators give wildly different percentages on flowers/decor (varying from 5-20% of the total budget) and I’ve only found one detailed breakdown online of floral spending. So I would love some clear examples, if anyone is willing to share!

    • idkmybffjill

      We went through a freelance florist met through a friend, so these are probably lower than standard, but a frame of reference for lower end cost:

      Bride Bouquet: $80
      Bridesmaid Bouquet: $40
      Corsage: $45
      Boot: $15
      Votive table arrangements: $15 Each
      Bunches of Eucalyptus for signs/additional decor: $15
      Cake Flowers: $30
      Delivery & Styling: $50

      Total Cost: $865

      We used LOTS of greenery, and it saved us lots of money.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e3cf4b29ce018b89c63cff18ae3f3cbc8ca21d980de47539908e8bca02241fcf.gif

      • Katharine Parker

        Your flowers and your wedding party look gorgeous :) I love the combo of blush and wine–I’m thinking of the same for my wedding!

        • idkmybffjill

          Thank you!!! My girls really knocked it out of the park. Those colors also ended up being available in ABUNDANCE. Would definitely recommend.

          We did navy for the guys suits and it looked really pretty altogther IMO.

    • NolaJael

      $200 in materials (Costco & Safeway flowers). My brother’s partner did the arranging as a gift — she’s worked in a flower shop for about 5 years and did a great job casually arranging in her free time the day before and morning of.

    • flashphase

      Bride’s bouquet $125
      Bridesmaid bouquet: $75
      Boutounnieres: $15
      Chuppah: $750 (this was by far the low end, many places quoted me $1500-2500)
      Greens for tables: $300
      Delivery/setup/breakdown: $100

      We picked this florist in part cause she was way less than other florists, particularly on the chuppah.

      Rose petals from costco: $70

    • Call Me Penny

      Ours was in euro, but the exchange rate at the moment is almost 1 for 1 so it should be close enough! Our reception venue already had lots of trees and greenery inside, so we stuck with mainly eucalyptus and other greens, with a few berries and smaller flowers mixed in. This definitely helped keep the cost down, and a lovely unplanned bonus was that the eucalyptus made the church small amazing.

      My bouquet 75
      Bridesmaid bouquets 50 (x2)
      Boutounnieres 15 (x2)
      Eucalyptus garland for outside the church 150 (we re-used this as an entryway runner into the restaurant for our reception)
      Pew ends and window greenery for the church 200
      Long table runners for the reception 150 (10 tables)
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/578f18457f0ddb212812347861d5ae0c29c0ccb789eb680e1cb0d956943df7f2.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c30017e2cf19fe815dc7987ee0add839c95b14c1451e079c540368a861c5d76b.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1c315c10fd1b5e0f1577d091c3a3c8250478842fa9bcf45a7c7593d5a73c5c5a.png

      • Jane

        That eucalyptus garland is gorgeous!

        • Call Me Penny

          Thank you! Garland arches turned out to be a specialty of our florists’ that we didn’t know about when we booked them so it was a lovely surprise.

          • Jane

            That is definitely a lovely surprise.

    • emilyg25

      $1,000 for centerpieces and my bouquet (which was like $150). That was about 8% of my budget.

    • Essssss

      We just bought a la carte from a farmer’s market flower vendor, keeping it small and simple, so probably a really different budget and overall amount than you, but here’s our costs. We ordered bridal bouquet and groom’s boutonniere in advance and did the rest from their pre-made bouquets.

      Bridal bouquet: $120 (if we’d just bought one of the pre-made bouquets it would have been $15 but I had an irrational fear that they’d be out)
      Grooms boutonniere: $20
      Bridesmaid bouquet: $15 (re-purposed from pre-made bouquets at their stall)
      Table flowers: About $100, took apart pre-made bouquets and put a few flowers in old chemistry glassware gifted to us, bud-vase style, three containers per table, had people take them home.

      I also would have loved to do some big mason jars with bouquets lining the aisle, but, like I said it wasn’t a big priority.

    • Booknerd

      We went through a local grocery store floral dept.
      Bridal Bouquet- $150+ a freebie to toss
      3 BM Bouquets- $40 each
      Boutonnieres- $8/per
      $Table arrangements- I ordered the flowers and arrangemd them myself- $170 (10 tables)

      The 4 bouquets got plunked in giant mason jars on our head table as decor.

      Flowers were not the top priority for us but I still wanted it to look nice.. and I ended up loving my bouquet so much I dried the flowers in silica gel and they are in a shadowbox hanging in our home now :)

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd58de5c98e705fb6b4459fd46102338b65003ce4e38818d9a3288c766d50b0d.jpg

    • emmers

      I think ours was about $750- $800 for enough flowers/supplies for 10 diy bouquets, 10 bouts, and maybe 20+ jar centerpieces plus extras to fill jars around the venue. Flowers were mostly ordered from Costco, with some seeded eucalyptus & hypericum berries from fifty flowers.

    • Fushigidane

      I live in the tristate area. My friend went to a lot of florists and picked the cheapest of the bunch which happened to be the one appointment I went to. I recorded the prices for future reference. It was $200 for her bouquet which had roses queen Anne’s lace and a couple peonies. $70 for 6 rose bouquet for bridesmaids with tiny crystals in the middle of each rose. $12.50 for bouttoniere, $25 for 2 rose wristlet and $65 for altar basket. The bouquets had typical ribbon wrapped stems
      I went to 3 florists and and picked the one in the middle. I don’t remember how much each piece is. She quoted me tall arrangements that were $150- $200. I think it was $15 for bouttoniere and $30 for an orchid corsage. Aisle runners were about $100 at other places. Mine is more since the this florist uses a different one so it doesn’t snag and rip on heels.

    • Liz

      We spent $3000 on our flowers because they were a priority for my mom and we wanted a local florist who used sustainably grown stuff. Part of the reason the cost was so high was because we live in the Bay Area, got married in a remote area, we had a big bridal party, and we had a lot of tables so we had a lot of centerpieces. We had succulent planters made for half the tables and it’s really fun because people took them home and still have the plants! So that’s kind of neat. Here’s the per piece breakdown:

      $175 my bouquet
      $75 per bridesmaid bouquet
      $25 per boutonniere
      $35 for corsages
      $20 for ushers/ring bearers boutonniere
      $55 per centerpiece for reception tables
      $40 per piece for ceremony decor
      Plus delivery and set up

  • Dess

    Huge thanks to you, Meg, and the rest of the rad APW team for everything this year. I’ve been reading/lurking/occasionally commenting for about five years now, and it just keeps getting better!! The articles and community inspire me on a regular basis. Can’t wait to see what 2017 brings (here, anyway…I’m a bit scared about the rest of the world)!!

  • Bsquillo

    This year has been such a dichotomy of extreme suckage for the world at large, but lots of personal successes. In light of everything going on in the news, I’ve never been more thankful for the wonderful people in my life. Case in point: I just got done with a holiday cookie swap where all my coworkers brought treats, we sang songs, I played a miniature drumset, and also wore my Wookie onesie pajamas to the office. Pretty thrilled that I’m about to celebrate one year of employment in a place with great job security and benefits, but even better colleagues.

    Light and love to everyone in 2017!

    • Cellistec

      I love that someone out there has a Wookiee onesie AND plays a miniature drum set. You win at life.

  • E.

    This week I got a horrible score on my evaluation at work for a lesson that both myself and my aid in the class thought went pretty well. I scored well last year and my administration has a history of manipulating scores to push people out or get back at them. I already thought about leaving because I have a very different teaching philosophy from them, but now I’m definitely going to start looking elsewhere. They also freaked out this week and thought we were lying about making a youtube channel for our kids to watch at home because they couldn’t find it (we made it private). Ugh.

    • emilyg25

      Ugh, I’m sorry. That sounds deeply unpleasant.

    • Mary Jo TC

      Teacher solidarity. That’s tough. I hope you can find a school that is a better fit for you.

  • Mari

    Book Club Announcement!

    A group of Seattle APWers are starting a local APW book club! One of us posted interest last week in Happy Hour, and there’s now a group starting to plan for a mid-late January gathering. For any Seattle-area readers interested in joining, email apracticalbookclub AT gmail DOT com to get looped in!

  • lildutchgrrl

    I’m looking forward to this weekend! In 15 minutes my wife is picking me up from work and will drop me off at my sister’s place. We are going to tick off a bunch of things on my not-bucket list: make jam, visit kittens, practice hairstyles. We were going to see if I could jog a mile, but that was before my back went out last week; I’ve been on a cane since and even though I’m improving there will be no jogging. Emphatically not. Even more than before. But this will be fun, doesn’t cost much, and I don’t have to wear anything fancy. Plus it takes my mind off of baby rabies/adoption waiting. (A customer told me Wednesday, in the sweetest way, “Maybe Santa will bring you a baby for Christmas!” I chose to ignore all problematic overtones and agreed that I would love that.)

    • emmers

      Baby rabies! I love it! I hope your baby stuff happens swiftly.

    • Cellistec

      Visit kittens?? Where?

      • lildutchgrrl

        We went to a Petco she knows where the Humane Society shows cats and kittens who are ready to be adopted. Even if you don’t want to adopt that day, they let you come in and meet the cats; it’s good for their socialization. I’ve made kitten visits before at foster houses with a litter — have you ever been covered in kittens? I recommend it.

        • Cellistec

          I never thought to go play with the kittens (or puppies) on adoption days! What a fun idea!

  • hitam_manis

    We finally took our engagement photos!
    Our amazingly talented photographer friend gifted them to us and it was so special getting to spend the day with him before he relocates and take awesome photos and then go eat all the dumplings.

    Afro-futuristic bayou gothic the wedding them lives on

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9b51275bdc40a8f74115592dca5c61c382968a3622fad2e457a212bee5e5bf1d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6c1018a6a3c1650c4d900ec94f750852d7af8f163dee99e45fd5ab60bfbdc90e.jpg

    • Ah, so cool… Is that in a greenhouse?

      • hitam_manis

        it is! one of my favorite places in SF

        • Jane

          I love that place!

    • emmers

      I love your dress.

    • scw

      these are great!

    • Dess

      These are gorgeous!

    • BSM

      Uh, these are amazing. Insert flame emoji x100000.

      Can I ask where your dress is from?!

    • Lisa

      You guys are killing it. Love the photos!

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Gorgeous!

  • Fance

    Hi! Long time lurker, first time commenter (though very late to happy hour) – just wanted to share a huge thanks to APW and the commenting community! I’m newly engaged (as of 2.5 weeks ago) and as we embark on the planning process, things I’ve read here are truly helping me stay grounded and sane in dealing with family expectations. I was pre-engaged to someone else years ago, and even after that relationship ended, I kept reading APW the excellent life advice – I’m now excited to get to utilize the excellent wedding / marriage advice, too!

    • Call Me Penny

      Congratulations on your engagement!

    • Lisa

      Congratulations! Hopefully we’ll see you around. :)

  • Sarah

    I’ve been a reader (and a sometimes-poster) for the last two years. 2016 was a year with many highs (wedding!) and many lows (illness) for me, but I always enjoyed reading from the community here at APW. Very excited to read along on The Compact too!

    The ladies of APW helped inspired me to finally dive into blogging as well. I’m still learning a lot about blogging and it feels a little scary to post, but each time I feel better about it. (My small corner of the internet is here: cinemasouschef.wordpress.com)

    I want to give a shout out and thanks to everyone here for showing a special side of the internet, a side of encouragement, kindness and hope. We need more of it. Cheers to 2017.

    • Cellistec

      Count me subscribed! You had me at breakfast tacos.

  • Totch

    Hey, haven’t been around in a while. Life getting in the way. Was just missing you all, and realized it was Friday! Can’t wait to look through today’s thread and catch up.

    Btw, wedding is 3 months from tomorrow!!

    • Ashlah

      Totch! This thread is from a couple weeks ago, APW is on break until the New Year (I guess I showed up today hoping they were lying? Ha) so there won’t be much current activity. I hope you can make it to next Friday’s Happy Hour! And I hope the final months of wedding planning are going well!

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