Best of APW 2017

And here is to 2018!

Normally, when I sit down to round up our best posts of the year, I get to spend a few hours really delightfully romping down memory lane, remembering what we were up to at work over the last year. To be totally honest, nothing about 2017 feels anything like that.

It starts, of course, with politics. Looking back at our work this year, it’s clear that our staff spent the first months of the year in a kind of deep emotional trauma that I’m still not sure I have words for. The awfulness that has enveloped our country is just the same as it was back in January, of course. But these days, we seem to have developed of emotional resilience—which is both necessary and terrifying. Beyond that, I’ve written about how the first few months of the year we were in the middle of a business crisis. Looking back, when you stack everything up, it feels like a wonder we published at all.

All of which is to say, a huge heartfelt thank you for sticking with us this year. A commenter recently said:

I just wanted to say thank you to all the folks at APW for providing what I’ve found to be one of the safest spaces on the Internet, which as been a big source of help, hope, and comfort to me just getting on day to day in the Trump era. When I go to this site, I find thoughtful, engaged, and kind people, which has become an increasingly rare quality to find online these days. As I continue to do what I can to stay informed, take political action, be involved in my community, and write more books (because that’s what I do), it’s really wonderful to have this community too. It makes me feel less alone in a lot of the feelings I’ve been having. So thank you <3

That meant the world to me. Not just because it was so goddamn nice, but also because so much of this year felt like we were professionally floundering, desperately trying to get our feet under us, even as the world seemed sometimes unrecognizable.

All that said, we published a lot this year that I’m really proud of. We were lucky enough to get Amy March (a pen name by any other name is still a pen name) to join our staff as an advice columnist this year. And editing her cutting advice, along with continuing my many delightful years of editing Liz’s tough love, was a professional highlight. We also published some amazing weddings, that have caught in my heart forever, some great essays… and oh yeah, we got to dress up (and wayyy down) sometimes too.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I’ve learned so much from 2017, and I can’t wait to put it all to use in 2018, making the best kind of magic we know how. (That is, the confetti and gaff tape kind, of course.)

And now, without further ado, here is some of the work we published on APW this year that I’m the most proud of:

Advice

No, you can’t quit as MOH eight weeks before the wedding without making it all about you.

I still do not know where to file in my brain the fact that a bridesmaid was asked to pay for a catered bridal shower for a hundred people. Someone file that request in the trash.

This year is the year I learned that if you have someone kinda racist in your family (and who doesn’t), you can’t just let it slide because it’s a wedding.

Then, there was the time that someone suggested that after a terrible divorce, her friend should just sell her house to be able to afford to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.

And at long last, we got an update on the woman asked to buy a $15K bridesmaid dress. (Yes, that question was real. They all are.)

But ending the year on a high note, remember that couple who we told to live it up at their drag wedding and tell their hateful family to go jump in a lake? GUYS THEY INVITED US TO THEIR WEDDING NEXT AUGUST, AND WE ARE GOING.

Style

This was the year that I taped my boobs up with gaffer tape and showed the Internet how to make your boobs defy gravity. It ranks as one of the best things I’ve learned in a decade in this job.

After five years straight of nursing (RIP nursing, SOB), I take my job of providing hot nursing party dresses to the Internet very seriously. This year’s batch did not disappoint.

For the first time ever we went to Bridal Fashion Week, and OMG THE FEATHERS. And the capes. And the sparkles. And the feathers.

While I might be lame all day, I love that some of you just want a good suit. And our masculine of center attire roundup was on point this year.

And it may be shallow, but the day we got to dress up in BHLDN wedding dresses like it was our job (it is our job) was one of my favorites of the whole year.

Real Weddings

I might never get over this black queer (drop-dead gorgeous) $90,000 wedding at the Bently Reserve. It was the cure to all that ailed me this year.

But this $1,500 wedding under a waterfall in Georgia with a pregnant bride? It is somehow also everything in this world.

If you add together everything I love, you get this Jewish Brooklyn wedding, with a Reformation dress (with sleeves!), where they spent just $15,000 for 110 people.

Take me to Hawai’i, give me a boozy shave ice, a bride with a cape, and saber some champagne… and then let’s ride off into the sunset.

This tiny blended family wedding, on white sands, under a supermoon? It’s like a shower of magic from the skies.

Jumping the broom, and a vibrant celebration of black heritage? Everything 2017 needs.

Marriage

We asked, you answered. How often are y’all having sex?

The three things Maddie did to totally change her marriage, before having a baby.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen to me.” After 103 days of marriage, realizing you’re married to an alcoholic and compulsive spender who drained your bank account and racked up $20,000 in debt.

What it was like to divorce a man, come out at twenty-eight, and marry a woman.

Learning to talk about money after eight whole years together.

Remember how we asked you how often you had sex? Then we asked some sexperts how to have sex more.

Wedding Planning

For years, I’ve wanted to publish a Bridesmaid’s Bill of Rights. And 2017 was the year. Treat it as gospel.

When your family makes up issues: I’ve got 99 wedding problems, but yours is not one.

You know how you should feel about your wedding budget? Not guilty, that is for damn sure.

Why it’s perfect that your crop-top wedding dress is going to be dated in five minutes.

We polled you for your best wedding planning hacks, and as always, you delivered.

Picking out a wedding dress the day after Trump was elected, as an immigrant and a feminist.

And while not technically published on APW, the most viral thing I’ve ever written (and a piece I’m damn proud of): What my parents’ 1974 wedding would cost in 2017.

What about you? Let us know what your favorite posts were from this year, and what you want more of in 2018. Let’s do this thing!

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  • Jenny

    Thank APW for a great year. I’ve been very grateful to have this space (all years, but this year specifically). Here’s to more magic in 2018!

  • Jess

    THE DRAG WEDDING INVITED YOU!?!?! I am so excited for them to be having the wedding they want.

    APW, thank you for everything. Not only for the content, which has been boss this year as always and gave me a safe space when I am surrounded by 45 supporters all day, but the comments have gotten me through some rough personal stuff in the last 12 months, including perpetual parent emotional issues, convincing me that taking antidepressants was going to be ok back in June (they are! they help!), and recently supporting me through R’s sudden job loss and giving me the best tips to make sure we came through it together.

  • PAJane

    OMG THAT DRAG WEDDING IS GONNA BE AMAZEBALLS I AM SO EXCITED FOR EVERYONE. I hope this means there will be a write-up with a bajillion pretty photos!The whole emotional mindfuckery that the staff experienced was exactly what I and my real life people were experiencing. While I’m not glad by any means that any of us had to experience that, it was incredibly validating to hear other people, especially the wise and wonderful writers and commenters here, talking about the same struggles and frustrations.

    • Anne

      Validating is exactly the right word! My husband and I struggled a lot with how to move forward with our career goals and how to plan a wedding in light of everything that has happened in the world since November 2016. Sometimes it was easy to wonder if we were alone in our confusion and depression and dysfunction. APW made me feel so much less alone in wrestling with those feelings, convinced me that it is possible to be part of the #resistance and still care about having kickass wedding decor, and provided a bunch of helpful ideas for incorporating feminist and environmental values into our wedding celebration. So, thank you Meg & APW!

  • Amy March

    Aww thanks Meg! I’ve loved being Amy March officially this year.

    My personal favorite is this, from Liz:

    https://apracticalwedding.com/supporting-my-partner-financially/

    • suchbrightlights

      That was great work from Liz- and I also think that it’s some incredible work from the commentariat about mutual prioritization and give and take, with contributions from each side. My favorite part of these retrospectives is usually re-reading the comments.

  • I’d forgotten that thing where Discus ate all the comments for a while, and it makes me sad. Like, I’m pretty sure the drag wedding had people sharing links on where to rent a wedding falcon. I mean, I don’t need a wedding falcon right now, but i sure do need to know how to acquire one still. For… research.

    I also can’t see any on the wedding planning hacks, which was kinda the point of that post. Is it just me? Does Discus hate me personally?

    • Zoya

      Yeah, the Disqus comment-eating thing is a giant bummer, since the comments are some of the best parts of APW. I can still access the threads where I commented within the Disqus dashboard itself, but yeah.

      • Oh, good shout! If you go to discus and browse APW there, all the comments are still there. They’ve just become detached from original posts here somehow.

    • L.

      I’ve had my comments marked as spam, somehow, a few times, and it’s very frustrating. It’s always happened when I’ve been trying to seek others’ advice or when I really wanted to join in a conversation! It’s never when it’s something like…oh hey, I have a random thought on that. Ugh.

    • Megan

      Would the wayback machine help in this case? Or comments aren’t captured?

    • Oh, we’ve spent… um… a lot of money and a lot of development hours trying to get them back. They will eventually be back, they still exist. But it’s been a full on nightmare.

  • Shannon C.

    I can’t wait to see what you can share from the drag wedding!! I’ve loved following along with the great feminist writing here this year. Keep it up!

  • Zoya

    I’ve been reading APW for years, but this was the year I stopped lurking and joined the commentariat. Really echo the kudos to you all for creating this community—it’s one of the things that kept me going this year, no joke. (Fellow commenters, y’all are awesome.)

  • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

    Thank you all so much for all your hard work. This is one of the safest places on the internet, and I appreciate the time I get to spend in this mutually respectful community!

    Also, I am SO GLAD you’re going to the drag wedding! My heart hurt for that couple, and I’m glad there’s going to be that much extra love there for them.