APW Happy Hour


Come hang out with us in SF on 9/13!

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

mbe_8462

Hey APW,

Maddie here with some fun news! Meg and I are going to be hanging out at the Minted popup shop in San Francisco in a few weeks. Meg will be doling out free advice (much like in the above photo, but probably minus the sequins) and I’ll most likely be walking around giving out free hugs, because #weddingplanning, right? So if you’ll be in the Bay Area on Tuesday, September 13, swing by and say hi. There will be free champagne, plus Minted’s design staff will be on call to help you out with anything you need (side note: the popup shop has all the cute stuff I’m always trying to convince myself I need, so consider your wallet forewarned). Make sure to RSVP right here to snag a spot, and let us know in the comments if you’ll be coming.

And with that, it’s your long weekend, so get to happy hour-ing!

Cheers,

Maddie

Link Roundup

Um, this story is wild.

How to talk to a woman even though she is a ghost.

File under: things I am here for.

Pretty much the only version of The Bachelor I would watch.

There’s Never Been a Better Time to Watch the Beguiling Anthony Weiner Documentary Weiner.”

A woman’s IUD was stuck for two weeks because her Catholic hospital refused to take it out. I can’t even.

The cast of Stranger Things couldn’t be cuter if they tried.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • LJ

    Hi,

    Long LONG longlonglong post. People may have had similar paths to wedding planning as me and I wanted to offer an alternate journey, also I would love advice (last paragraph).

    First of all, thank you everyone for being the sanest wedding website out there. I discovered APW through the Fuck Weddings tumblr and I remain a loyal fan of both because both keep it real.

    I’ve had a hard time planning my fiancé and my wedding because, despite having a middle class upbringing and being fortunate in many ways, I had no adult marriage-relationship role models. My parents were barely business partners and my mom was (and still can be) emotionally abusive and I developed anxiety that required years of therapy after I moved out. Aunts and Uncles are all divorced, on second (or third) marriages, or common law with a generally negative perception of marriage. I was given a feminist “you don’t need no man” upbringing, which has had so many benefits, but also resulted in giving zeros effs about my wedding day. My inner thougts were: “Marriage could be good, sure-I guess, but weddings? Meh, what a hassle for an overpriced party.” I am one of (I am now learning) very few hetero-cis women who literally gave no thoughts to her wedding day until there was a ring on her finger… and was subsequently overwhelmed by all the pressure.

    The first half of my engagement was me being anti-wedding-planning. I found, got my fiancé to agree to, and booked a venue. Then I started to learn all that was involved in the proceeding 78 steps towards a finished wedding product, and it culminated in my telling my fiancé that if he wants a wedding, he can plan it because I don’t see all the fuss and I hate the pressure and AGHHHHH I DO NOT LIKE THIS.

    He agreed that he could plan it, if only to get me to calm down. We agreed to not talk about weddings all summer. This was an EXCELLENT choice for us (me).

    A month ago, he started to look at the pre-emptive notes I took about wedding planning from months ago. He realized just how much was involved in planning a wedding. He realized maybe he also doesn’t care about chair covers and centrepieces and table runners. We both know we can’t afford to throw $10,000 at someone to design a wedding that we just show up to. Though at different times, we both realize a big white wedding is not in the cards for us.

    We finally restarted talking about the wedding together last week, since our wedding is proposed for 5 months from now and we have literally nothing planned (although I have a dress). Stymied in part by starting pre-marital counselling (I wasn’t sure, but honestly it was such a good choice – I am so glad we’re doing it), we are finally talking about what we want out of our wedding. We’ve realized that my ideal wedding of “small, no fuss, nice fancy dinner and family and a short JP ceremony beforehand” seems, to him, to be minimizing a very important event – and he was hurt that I didn’t seem to want to make it special. This was a huge moment for me, as I thought getting married would make it special unto itself and wasn’t into stressing out over colour themes or napkin colours. I didn’t realize “effort” was something he needed to make it feel special. The stupid WIC pressure on the bride had gotten me under its thumb, and I wasn’t even considering the values my fiancé might have in our wedding. I feel so much guilt about this. My love for him has made me want to make the wedding special. I’m doing it for him, not me now – this is a huge change in thinking. Suddenly I want to help plan something – the reluctance is gone. We’re in this as a team.

    After much talk about what wedding we would both want, we’ve since found a [new] venue, shortlisted officiants, and created a guestlist –and the mutual understanding now is that small is good* and a choice**. Hopefully we’ll send invitations in a couple weeks :)

    *intimate! Only people we give fucks about! No weird cousins!
    **financially, if we went full-blown DIY, we could do the whole church-ceremony-banquet-hall-reception thing…. But we’ve both seen people lose their minds attempting it and have no urge to ruin our mental health doing that like they did…. So this is truly a choice to minimize stress around an important life milestone, not to just cheap out.

    As it now stands, we’re renting the corporate events/private group room of a fancy restaurant and paying for a plated meal for 30-40 people we hold near and dear. The ceremony will hopefully be a loose group on the beach around us as we say 5min of JP vows, or if it is pouring rain, inside the private events room as everyone is seated and watches.

    So now, being someone who actually wants to plan a wedding I ask you…how do you make your wedding “special”? To me, just getting a $300 hair and makeup package will do the trick when combined with saying the vows. But for him, he wants the day to really stand out. What specific things would you do?

    Thanks so much APW…. What a journey……You’ve all been a solid community.

    • Alanna Cartier

      I think it’s unique to you as a couple. The husband elect and I are having a rather similar wedding. Small restaurant. For us, what is making it special is fancy clothes, profoundly fancy food, and the hours and hours I spent crafting a ceremony that doesn’t sound like a bunch of nonsense.

      • LJ

        re ceremony

        UGH so much trepidation. Meeting with a JP in two weeks to suss it out. Tips?

        • Alanna Cartier

          Our officiant gave us full control. She sent us the script, told us we could change anything we wanted, and I went to town with resources from APW and the rest of the internet.

      • LittleOwl

        Husband elect!! Perfect.

    • Brynna

      We aren’t counting on making our ceremony unique – the whole fact that we will have all of our favorite people in one room supporting us and the time we will spend with them before and after the event make it special enough for us. When else would that happen? We aren’t doing much beyond the whole wedding thing :)

      • LJ

        Unique and special are not the same… we’re not looking for the differentest wedding ever. Just… little touches in decoration details, or maybe rituals, that helped “up” the ante of the day…. of course having those people there makes it special, but I want to do more by my fiancé.

        • Ashlah

          Ask him! Special is such a broad, personal term! Does he want a specific-to-you unity ceremony in addition to the regular ceremony? Does he want special pictures? Does he want to go all out on his outfit? Does he want to exchange love letters or gifts before the ceremony? Does he want to not see you until the ceremony? Or do private a first look?

          FWIW, I tried to wrack my brain for what little touches upped the ante of our wedding, and it really, honestly was just all the people sharing their love for us that made our wedding day special. Good luck! It sounds like you’ve both gotten to a really great place as a team, and I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous wedding!

          • LJ

            He’s thinking on it, and still slowly wading into the “oh fack I’m planning a wedding” mentality so I’m not pressuring him as these things can be wrangled in the last few weeks if needed. He just wants to feel like we tried to make it special, and I agree with everyone who replied saying “weddings are intrinsically special” but he wants to push a bit further… so I’m just looking for carrying on that thought train….

          • Cellistec

            I totally get that. This may sound too obvious, but photos can go a long way toward making a wedding (mainly the reception) feel more personal. My husband got crafty with photo bouquets for our reception. At a friend’s wedding this summer, the couple made personalized photo coasters for every table, and they’re frickin’ fantastic. Another friend’s wedding included wedding photos from the bride’s and groom’s respective parents and grandparents. It’s a neat way to mark a milestone while honoring your past selves and past relationships, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

          • LJ

            Fiancé works in commercial photography… this is actually perfect. It’ll make it feel special, use his skills (I’m getting him to design invites as well), give him something to do that he feels “weddingy” about….. love this!!

          • Gaby

            My fiancé designed the invitations with me and my cousin/wedding planner providing input and he loved being able to contribute to something so big! I keep one on the fridge for both of us to admire.

        • JR

          A few things that, to me, made our wedding feel “special” included: 1) Writing notes to our guests on the back of escort cards, 2) attaching my grandfather’s ring to my bouquet, 3) selecting a venue we both loveloveloved and were excited to share with our friends and family (we didn’t have any prior connection to it, we just thought it was gorgeous), 4) picking readings and music that resonated with us (we were married by a judge and had free reign in creating the ceremony), 5) selecting clothing (and hair/makeup) we felt really great in, 6) making sure we had time to celebrate with the people closest to us (for me, that included our rehearsal dinner the night before and getting ready with close family/friends, which in my case was mostly my bridesmaids), and 7) having photographers that we really liked document it. I’m also someone who is pretty sentimental, pretty traditional, and care a lot about feeling connected to my community, so a lot of the preceding examples flow from those attributes – what matters to you and your fiance will of course come out of who you two are.

    • Michela

      Our wedding felt special to us in lots of ways that probably weren’t obvious to other people. I had lockets with photos of my grandparents who have passed wrapped discretely around my bouquet; I wore my great-grandmother’s ring; Tommy wore socks with a soccer ball print (that no one could see); my bridesmaids put a fake shamrock tattoo on my ass because we met at the St. Brigid Irish elementary school (there’s a hilarious picture of me bent over a bed in full wedding regalia while one of my bridesmaids applied the tattoo to my ass with a wet washcloth!); I filled the tent with my favorite flowers; I danced with my dad to a song we picked while washing dishes when I was 12; my sister and her boyfriend raised the Netherlands flag on the flagpole; Tommy’s mom brought 500 stroopwafels from home and we handed them out as favors at the rehearsal dinner; etc. Unless people were aware of all those details of our lives, they wouldn’t notice why we chose what we did, but seeing all our favorite things in one place alongside all our favorite people made the day feel so special and specific to us. Sometimes the Pinterest-type trend is to pressure people into buying or crafting things to make a wedding special in obvious ways- calligraphied signs and special drinks, etc.-, but it’s not totally necessary because your wedding will be special if you just pick all your favorite things. It will feel just like you, and that is special. Do that and you’ll be golden! Your plan sounds beautiful already.xo

      • LJ

        These are great specific examples. Thanks!

    • Olive

      Fancy clothes, things that make you both happy (for me it was baby’s breath everywhere & our/my favorite songs). We put a lot of work into our ceremony and love the words so much still, so that made the day (and the days we worked on it) really meaningful to us. I’ll never forget laying in bed with our laptops reading each other words that resonated about love and the life we wanted together, and then sharing those with our nearest & dearest months later and having the same feels.

      If you have the time/funds, I think hiring a photographer also made the day feel more special, and the photos will be a great memento.

      • LJ

        Oh yeah we’ve got a photog for sure, my $300 hair and makeup needs to be preserved in memory hahahha :P thanks

        • Olive

          seriously! I’m with you.

    • Lawyerette510

      Like Alanna said, it depends on y’all what makes it special. For my husband and I that meant spending the night before together, practicing yoga together just the two of us in the morning (using a flow lovingly written for us by a friend) before breakfasting with whoever was around when we got out to the breakfast area, using a ceremony we assembled ourselves with the help of the friend who officiated, and having personalized notes to each of our 50-something guest (couples/ families had one) that acted as the seating chart. Spending time together and Writing the notes in the days before the wedding was one of my favorite parts.

      • Lawyerette510

        Also, I bought myself a new robe that I loved to wear to get ready in. I still wear it nearly every day 2 plus years later.

      • LJ

        Great examples, thanks!!

    • reller

      Meaningful choices is my best advice. That is going to look different for everyone, but, for an example, I’ve listed some of our choices below.
      We had a short, non religious ceremony and asked a dear friend to serve as our officiant. The only reading we had was a Navajo blessing/ poem which was a favorite of my mother (who passed when I was young). We also wrote our in vows. My husband loves crazy socks, so my dad and all of the groomsmen wore wacky socks. We picked our own ceremony music (Vitamin String Quartet’s “Yellow” gave me chills and I immediately knew that I wanted to walk down the aisle to it). We also gifted hair/ make-up to my sister and my husband’s mother to help them feel part of the wedding. Also, I’m a life-long vegetarian, and after decades of never knowing what dishes I can eat, I decided I wanted to be able to eat everything at my wedding! We worked with our caterer to come up with appetizers and a dinner which fit us as a couple and would be an enjoyable to our guests – vegetarian and meat-eating alike. For place-cards, I used eucalyptus leaves which I harvested from the tree of my childhood home. Our music selections throughout the night were extremely diverse, but also very true to us as a couple.

    • Jess

      Hello previously ambivalent wedding planner! I am a currently ambivalent wedding planner three weeks away from her wedding.

      When it comes to making something “special” I just asked the people involved what that would be. For me, your wedding was my ideal, but everybody else wanted Big. So, I said, “Fine, if you want this, you have to give me an idea of what that looks like”

      For us, that meant the following:
      1) Dance Party
      2) Toasts
      3) Wedding Party to Prep With That Day
      4) Customized Ceremony

      I think you could say, “Looking fancy and the vows are special for me, what are you most looking forward to?”

      I did this with our parents and R, and it’s really helped me to look forward to their happiness.

      • LJ

        That’s what I’ve said to him, and he’s thinking on it now. Definitely a good way to get the ball rolling :)

        I love your approach. The thing that made me less ambivalent was learning how much the people I love care about it. I can tell how happy my fiancé gets when he talks about how he wants to feel that day and how excited he is to be married… I want him to have that :) awww shucks.

        It helps to know I’m not the only one who missed the “wedding planning is the best!” gene. My perspective has definitely hurt fiancé’s feelings and we’ve had to have talks about how not wanting to plan a party doesn’t mean I’m not invested in our future.

        • Jess

          yeah, it definitely hurt R’s feelings (and continues to hurt my mom’s and his mom’s). At least for R, I could say, “Look, I am really excited to be married to you. I am really excited to say words that mean something to me, and really excited to mark that moment between us.”

          For the little details, R and I agreed together that we are not tiny detail people, which helped when his mom expected them based on his sister’s wedding. I think she’s still disappointed, but we are united in dealing with that. We are doing a few things, like good flower arrangements and welcome baskets at hotels, because our moms wanted them.

          We focused on the big things that we love and that make us feel celebratory (him – being with people to get ready, dance party with friends, me – the actual ceremony portion of the day) and providing people with the space to do what they needed (toasts for my dad, hosting a large rehearsal dinner for R’s parents).

          Asking our people to be specific was really helpful, and delegating tiny detail tasks to people who are good at them helped.

          • LJ

            Your saying this and knowing someone else has felt like this helps so much. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your experiences.

          • Jess

            For sure! I’m glad it helped! :D

    • Amy March

      Flowers, live music, champagne.

      • LJ

        Check, not permitted at the venue, and OH THAT IS CHECKED brut for daysssss hahah thanks

    • Emily

      I had a similar experience, especially the part about never having thought about my wedding until a good year after we got engaged (I avoided thinking about the wedding for a long time).

      What made our wedding special: we created our own “we will share each others joy and burdens” ceremony that we symbolized by taking turns carrying a pack up a hill in our backyard. The pack contained a rock we had engraved symbols on. We “planted” the rock with our friends and family around–now we can go see it. Also, spur of the moment, we rode bikes on our wedding day and have great pictures of us in our wedding clothes on our bikes.

      For us the day was so full of incredible emotion that it will always stand out. That wasn’t something we created intentionally; it happened on its own.

    • JLily

      We also tried to limit the amount of DIY, which was a good choice, and one that I think I could have taken even further! However, some of them did end up making the day special. For example:

      1. One of his priorities was “good drinks”. So we toiled over the wine and beer choices, came up with custom signature cocktails, and make our own brandied cherries for a garnish. It was fun (for obvious reasons!) and even though I thought I was putting too much thought into it, it was fun on the day to see everyone enjoying the drinks! And now we can make “our” cocktails or drink our “wedding wine” whenever we are feeling nostalgic.

      2. Photos! (Not diy, but still an effort!) One of my priorities, and I think even a normal day that you can re-live through photos is a special one.

      3. We both picked out a perfume/cologne for the other person to wear as a special wedding-day scent. The hope is that because scent is tied to memory, it will be a reminder of the day for years to come.

      4. Ceremony. Also spent a lot of time and had many discussions about this. It was a pain in the ass, but for us, it was worth it. We aren’t religious, so it was important to come up with something that was more than just the traditional format with the god part removed. I loved how it turned out, and it made our wedding feel unique and personal to us.

      • Ashlah

        I love your wedding-day scent idea!

      • LJ

        #1 may be hard to make work due to working within the constraints of a functioning restaurant, but I love it so much!

    • Jessica

      Hmm. This sounds kinda like us, except we both wanted a city hall wedding from the start. It still felt very special & very us. Things that made it feel special:
      1. We had family inside city hall, and friends met us outside city hall, and then we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge with everyone then took a snack break & caught a ferry ride on the East River (bonus was we spent more time with people)
      2. My stepmom makes the world’s best chocolate chip cookies, so we made them together as favors for our guests
      3. My grandma couldn’t travel to be there, but we took pictures of us in our wedding garb holding her wedding picture
      4. We wrote cards to each other, that we opened after the ceremony when we were alone together
      5. Our dads gave the sweetest wedding toasts ever (and my sister and 2 friends spoke as well)
      6. We shared some remarks with our guests & thanked them
      7. We actually said thank you to people a bunch – everyone (~60 people, so not a big wedding) received a postcard from us in their welcome card with a few words and the back of the table card assignment thing-ies for people also had 1 sentence (a favorite memory etc.)
      8. Re #7 just making these notes made us grateful for everyone we love
      9. We had photos of each person for our table card assignment thing-ies – it was fun & special & not overly crafty – we found the idea on APW

      I also think in general, it will be special because it’s your wedding day.

    • Jessica

      Also yeah, not so many happy marriages in my family either (seating chart was painful) but in the end that did not make it any less special for my husband & me! Also – we recorded the toasts. We still watch them (& get teary-eyed every time).

      • LJ

        Great idea!!

    • LittleOwl

      Like Michela said, so many things that are special to you are somewhat hidden throughout the day.

      Things that made our wedding special:
      1) picking all the music for our ceremony. I was so focused on vows but every so often I would have a moment of “I love this song!”
      2) I’m a font geek- all the fonts for the printed materials matched and looked great. I made all of the materials, I knew that it was such an unimportant detail and almost No One would notice but it made me happy all the same :)
      3) my grandmother’s cross on my bouquet.
      4) my flower girl/ring bearer. So much joy. And my bridal party in general. I rarely see everyone at the same time and it was such a gift.
      5) my husband and I had an unplanned special moment after the ceremony where he switched my engagement ring back to my ring finger (I had put it on my right hand for the ceremony, something I didn’t know until 30 seconds before I walked down the aisle- thanks, church helper lady!)
      6) the toasts!! As a side note, if toasts are important to you, have someone record them, even if it’s just on a phone camera. I love rewatching our toasts.
      7) I picked a “last song” for the wedding reception, which was great, because it allowed me to stay in the moment- when I heard the first few notes I really just stopped and took in the whole day- all the people around me, my new spouse, all the love :)

      Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reminisce! Your wedding will be so special in so many different and unexpected ways.

      • LJ

        That sounds so wonderful. So wonderful.

      • JLily

        ooh yes seconding the font thing!! I made all of our paper stuff and loved using those specific fonts on everything.

        • LJ

          sooooo what paper stuff? For a 30 people at a restaurant we won’t need labels for what dishes are what. The restaurant will provide the menu. There won’t be a program because I don’t see the need for something like what we’re doing (“sit, watch us say words, eat, drink, say drunk happy words at us and hit your drink with your cutlery”?). I wasn’t planning on a seating chart as I haven’t yet found a good reason to enforce where people sit. Other than invitations…..Idk?

          • LJ

            Actually as soon as I typed that, I decided that I may make a mocking-traditional-programs tongue-in-cheek posterboard to display that says roughly exactly that.

          • Kat

            I read that and was immediately like WHY NOT THAT SEEMS COOL.

          • Amy March

            A menu- they don’t have to provide it! You can make a decorative one.

          • A little framed sign with a favorite quote that means something to you two as a couple? A note explaining the guestbook or cards to write notes to you or whatever (if you have that kind of thing)?

          • JLily

            Save the dates, envelopes, invitation with rsvp card, and welcome party/rehearsal invitation. For the day-of I did a menu on one side and a thank you note to all the guests on the other. This was tied to the napkin with string and left at each place setting. The napkins, plates, and table cloths were all white so it helped bring color to the table. We didn’t do programs either, but we did do escort cards (so assigned tables but not assigned seats). Most of it we didn’t really need, but if you design it your self it’s a cheap way to make everything seem cohesive.

          • LJ

            electronic, n/a, electronic, not having one… menu sure, like the double-hit with TY note….. no escort cards as only 2 tables. Cool!

    • Gaby

      Off the top of my head, the “special” details for our wedding are going to be:
      1. Ceremony and first dance songs that are important to us both
      2. Getting ready with our best friends and closest family the morning of
      3. Food that is casual, cheap, and reflects our tastes (and love of tacos)
      4. An emphasis on dancing and fun with good music and a few lawn games (which admittedly, is very pinterest.)

    • “am one of (I am now learning) very few hetero-cis women who literally gave no thoughts to her wedding day until there was a ring on her finger… and was subsequently overwhelmed by all the pressure.”
      Oh, there’s so, so many of us. Most of my friends are this way, but APW is absolutely drenched with us ;)

      • LJ

        Everyone I know seems to have been planning, and/or had a rough idea of, their wedding since high school. It was actually really annoying that everyone assumed I had been as well and built up a loooot of animosity inside me. It’s good to know there are more….

    • Laura

      we wrote our ceremony together, and if i think about it too long, even now, i cry. it was SO meaningful to us, and encapsulated everything we wanted. we used apw resources, and they were so helpful. it doesn’t have to be long, ours topped out at 15/20 minutes i think.

      one night, we sat down with wine and just talked…what did we want to promise each other? what felt right? what felt weird? were there any traditions we really wanted? for him, it was to smash the glass and have a chuppah but not to have any other jewish traditions – fair. for me, i felt very strongly about having people stand when i walked in – and i loved meeting their gaze on an equal level walking down the aisle.

      we came up with theme type words to guide us. some of ours were ‘secular, equality, travel, us as a team’. then we talked about how we wanted to show each of those things. our ceremoney started with a reading by the dalai lama and we used ‘union’ by robert fulgham. we are both lawyers (crim for me!) and we used a poem that starts with ‘love is an outlaw..’ and all our law school friends chuckled and it was perfect. our vows were a stanza of a walt whitman poem about travel and being by each other’s side always – we were together 8.5 years then, 10 now and if i could write poetry, those are the vows i would have written.

      we also each wrote short ‘promises’ to one another that we hadn’t shown each other and right before our vows, our judge (female judge – another special choice to two lawyers getting married :) ) said ‘the couple would like to share a few words. that let us have our walt whitman vows, and still surprise each other with a few lines the day of.

      for us – that was the effort, and to make those promises and hear those words in front of everyone was the ultimate gift to one another. so i vote that effort is best spent on the ceremony (and i say that as someone who had all the bells and whistles.) <– not trying to be a braggy jerk, but just pointing out that yes, i loved the cake, but the ceremony was everything, and set the tone for the day with all our guests.

      also, we wrote a handwritten note to every guest at our wedding, which was their place card. that one brought the house down, as it was a secret from everyone, even our parents. our wedding planner placed them out while we were all at the ceremony :)

      ps – close third was my husband and i making welcome packs for our out of town guests that had my maternal grandmother's famous caramel corn, and my paternal's grandmothers famous spicy snack mix. we packaged them up with a note about each grandmother :)

      …and i just realised that none of things were expensive.

      WOW sorry for the novel!

      • LJ

        Thanks!

    • Kelly

      Are you talking about making your wedding personally “special” for you and your partner, or special for your guests? For example, someone might have their mom and best friend do their hair/makeup and have a piece of their grandmother’s wedding dress included in their bouquet and those things might make them feel really special and loved and connected to a strong group of women on her wedding day. That is wonderful on a personal level, but the rest of the guests wouldn’t be sharing in those getting ready memories or notice the piece of grandma’s dress, unless there’s a note in a program or something to draw people’s attention to it. Maybe the bride doesn’t need people to know about the piece of dress–she just likes having something that’s special to her/a close group of people. If that’s up your alley there are endless ways to include little touches like that according whatever you find meaningful.

      If you’re looking for ways to up the “specialness” factor for your guests, I think creating shared emotional investment goes a REALLY long way. Readings, vows, rituals, toasts, etc…things that are emotionally touching are what bring people together in ways that elevate the energy from “this is a nice party” to “I’m so thrilled to be here sharing in X and Y’s happiness”. At our wedding, for example, we “MC’d” our own ceremony and each gave a reading about what marriage meant to us. Addressing our guests ourselves and speaking about marriage on our own terms was really meaningful to us and seemed to encase everyone in an emotional love bubble that floated along through the rest of the wedding. We also did a pre-ceremony ring warming as well as a receiving line into the reception, so we got a chance to hug everyone as they lined up for the buffet. All of these things upped the emotional level and “specialness” for our particular wedding. Again, there are lots of ways to go about this, depending on what will be meaningful for you and your partner.

    • idkmybffjill

      I’ve found a lot of “special” in pre-wedding things. We designed our invitations together (I hand lettered our names and he then uploaded/designed in photoshop), and I hand painted the addresses with water color calligraphy – these happen to be my hobbies so YMMV. But just generally spending some time on small things has made them feel really important. And so far lots of people have noticed the invitations and it has meant so much! I’m hand lettering signage for the wedding which maybe no one will notice but feels special to me. My brother is making us a guest book (he’s 16 and does leather working!).

  • Brynna

    Happy things – we booked our venue! We were deciding between two spots: a hip art gallery and a local hotel. We ended up choosing the hotel because of the price (way less expensive) and full-service-ness (they already have forks there, no need to RENT them).

    I was a little sad we didn’t go with the “cool” Pinterest-worthy option, but I won’t regret it because we are sticking with our budget, right?

    • emmers

      No! You won’t regret it! Pinterest crap matters way more before the wedding than during. Full serviceness is so awesome!!! That will make your day (and the days leading up) be so much calmer, and it probably will be calmer for your people. Not-full-service can be OK, but it sounds stressful to me!

      • Brynna

        Thanks! That’s kinda how we felt – for whatever reason, it felt like full-service would allow us to have more fun and that’s what we really need, not oohs and ahhs over the venue.

        • Jess

          That’s exactly how we ended up at our venue. Three weeks to go, and I can say I have not regretted it for a second.

    • janie

      Can we talk about how hard it is to find a venue? I feel like I’ve spent HOURS trying to find a place that is “indoors, let’s me bring my own food, close to airport, not hideous”. I NEVER would have thought that was too specific, but boy was I wrong! Fortunately my friends across the country have stepped in as “venue researchers” and even made a google doc <3

      • Brynna

        It’s probably even harder if you live in a big city! We only had like 9 venues to choose from total, so that helped, in a way.

      • Lisa

        I’m there with you. Days wasted. Ugh.

      • Brynna

        Not to mention that it’s almost impossible to do an apples-to-apples comparison between venues: one offers linens included in their rental price and another doesn’t, one offers a day-of coordinator, but only if you book on Fridays during certain months and another doesn’t offer any coordination at all. It’s maddening!

      • Her Lindsayship

        Solidarity. Been searching for a venue for over three months. Trying to remain patient with people who say, “have you looked into [insert place I found during first Google search of like seven hundred]??” It is invariably a place that is absolutely laughably too expensive but this person doesn’t know because they aren’t planning a wedding. But the thing I hate about this is people really want to be helpful in this conversation, and I just don’t think they can be unless they’ve also done about a semester’s worth of venue research or happen to know someone with a good amount of property at my disposal.

        Anyway, the venue search is rough, but lately I’ve been trying to remind myself that we can work with a space that doesn’t check off all the boxes as long as it’s within our budget. Good luck with it and keep us posted!

        • LittleOwl

          Ahh! I feel you on the questions. I was telling a friend (who has never planned a wedding) about a venue we looked at, but eventually didn’t book because all of the extra expenses were out of our budget.

          Me: by the end, the venue alone would’ve been $30,000, before food, decor/flowers and music!

          Friend: oh, is that a lot of money for a wedding?

          *face palm*

          • Her Lindsayship

            DAMN.

          • Ashlah

            o_o

        • My mom pulled the have-you-looked-at-_____ on me, after I spent weeks investigating (and rank ordering) every photographer in the region (~120 photogs). I contacted my top ~15 choices, and all but 2 were booked. I just wanted positive opinions on these two choices I had available, instead I got “Oh, maybe this person at the top of the google search is better?”. Yes. No duh. Thanks and no.

          So, yeah, I feel ya on the people-trying-to-be-helpful-with-a-stupid-google-search. It can happen for all vendors!

          • Her Lindsayship

            Oh good, something else to look forward to. :P Your photographer research sounds like my kind of research, and I think this works against us where innocent bystanders are concerned. Their questions seem to insinuate that we just haven’t looked hard enough, and maybe they didn’t mean that, but FFS if we haven’t looked hard enough it’s only because we couldn’t see into our own future weddings and make choices from there. Poor well-intentioned friends.

          • Yes, this is exactly the problem. The questions come out of love, and out of an assumption that we’re not intensely-thorough researchers of this nonsense. It’s not what they mean, but it’s certainly how it comes off.

        • toomanybooks

          Hah, yep. My sister and dad kept saying, “Well, what about this farm we go to” probably thinking there’s no way it could cost too much. The farm was waaaay more expensive as a wedding venue than I wanted to spend.

      • LJ

        This is something that doesn’t always occur to people who haven’t worked in Parks before… have you looked at heritage buildings in or around city/state/provincial/federal parks? Government-subsidized pricing so very affordable, and often you can bring whatever you want food-wise. Close to the airport maybe not though. You can find them by searching the government-parks websites…. they’re not often on regular wedding websites in my area.

        Otherwise, that is so hard and much good luck to you.

      • Claire

        Amen. It is the worst. It takes hours of research. If any Sydney brides have suggestions for non-traditional reception venues (restaurants, bars etc!), please send them my way.

      • heyqueen

        Girl I know how you feeeeeel

    • NotMarried!

      absolutely. Day of my wedding, the florist delivery was late …. things I cared about – not being bothered about the flowers. Didn’t care if they showed up or not … just that noone asked me questions about them.

      Full-service-ness for the win!

    • sofar

      I went with the full-service event hall, too. The outdoor areas were beautiful, indoors was hideous. No matter, we took all our photos outdoors. I was so glad the day of that we went with the “easy” option.

      Also, I’ve been a guest at some really cool, alternative venues (art gallery, warehouse, barn, museum, rose garden). And, honestly, venues that really know what they’re doing and churn out tons of weddings can make a more comfortable experience for your guests. The “coolest” wedding I went to (rose garden in a park that did NOT usually host weddings) was also one where I was hot, got sunburned (no shelter), had nowhere to sit, had to wait hours for food, couldn’t get a damn drink for the life of me (they had a single friend acting as “bartender”), was eaten alive by bugs, and nearly ruined my shoes on the gravel. Was happy to be there for the couple, but guests’ comfort is an issue I think lots of people sacrifice for some cool pictures.

    • Lolauren

      Honestly, I find myself rarely regretting staying within a budget. If I stretch beyond that I get super anxious. So good choice!

    • AmandaBee

      The week of the wedding, you will be SO glad you don’t have to worry about forks. Trust me on this one. DIY options are great if that’s your thing but there’s a lot to be said for the options that allow you to really relax and focus on what’s important to you.

    • toomanybooks

      Yes. You will not regret sticking to the budget (& practicality) when it comes to the venue.

  • LydiaB

    Finally got my new tattoo after a lot of fear and deliberation! Couldn’t be more pleased with it!

    Also attended a wedding in the south of Italy this week and it was just beautiful and funny to see the different traditions play out! What a few weeks it’s been!

    • Kayjayoh

      Oh my, that is beautiful.

    • Kayjayoh

      May I ask about the symbols?

      • LydiaB

        The tattoo style is geometric based on nordic runes! I wanted something that showed a sense of travelling and continuation.

    • Lawyerette510

      Gorgeous!!!!

  • Kayjayoh

    Also, I don’t tend to share stuff like this, but I’m trying to help my sister keep her home and get her depression meds while trying to find a new job.

    http://gofund.me/2mse92rg

    Even just helping get it widely shared will be a help and a blessing.

  • emmers

    I’ve just been a ball of rage this past week. I think it is maybe part of my miscarriage recovery? Maybe? My granddad also died this week (he was 95), which I’m ok with, and we also have a family member who is moving in for (more than a few?) months. I guess there’s been a lot going on, but here’s to hoping things will settle eventually!

    • gonzalesbeach

      sorry for your loss of your granddad, take extra good care of yourself today.

      • emmers

        Thank you!

  • Alanna Cartier

    After weeks of practicing and worrying, I finally sent out my invites, with Calligraphy I did myself. I practiced my but off, and I’m really proud of what I accomplished. Now to keep practicing so that the placecards will be even better :)

    • Ashlah

      They look lovely!!

    • emmers

      Beautiful! I again think you could start an etsy business– this would be a good shot for that!

    • Rebekah Abeja

      Gorgeous! And such a big task to take on, you should be so proud!

    • Cellistec

      That is some dang pretty calligraphy! Nicely done!

    • Olive

      Great job! I’ve been practicing calligraphy! It’s so hard to write pretty, but the practice paid off this week when I showed my husband a card I made and he asked “Did you write that?!”

    • NotMarried!

      these look amazing!

    • rg223

      Beautiful work!!!

    • Brynna

      These are amazing! Wow! Did you use a kit? Online class? Tell me everything!

      • Alanna Cartier

        I bought supplies from Paperink Arts, and watched all the available classes on skillshare (you can subscribe for $3 for 3 months). Then, I practised for about 6 hours a day for three weeks. Letters of Note has great resources of letters. I just spent day after day writing them out.

        • 6 hours a day for three weeks!! Hand cramps?

          • Alanna Cartier

            Yup. Definitely hand cramps, but I just powered through. And be ready for your calligraphy to look like garbage for the first while. I just kept repeating to myself that at least I couldn’t get worse… hahaha.

    • Jessica

      Aww they are beautiful!

    • Gaby

      We’re mailing out invitations over the next week too and this will be my inspiration! Well, kind of. I have cute stamps but I just asked two bridesmaids to write the addresses for me in their plain handwriting because mine is atrocious.

      • Alanna Cartier

        That awesome! I had a hodge podge of stamps, because I managed to use a local trading resource to get them all.

        Also- if you are interested in Calligraphy, don’t rule it out just because your handwriting is bad. My regular printing is TERRIBLE. I think a different part of my brain excels at Calligraphy because it is slow, and meditative.

        • Gaby

          I hear that! I’m definitely interested in trying it out one day, I just won’t use my invitations to experiment with it. :) kudos though, it’s encouraging to hear that you can have bad handwriting and do beautiful calligraphy.

    • Her Lindsayship

      BEAUTIFUL and also wanted to comment for to appreciate your stamp game. Those are cats yeah? A+.

      • Alanna Cartier

        Yeah, they’re special animal welfare ones, that say things like take your dog for a walk and get your pets spayed/neutered. They are also bonkers adorable. I wish I had more of them.

  • Ashlah

    In raging news (TW for sexual assault): I went to a concert with my husband last weekend, and sat in the balcony for the first time. I was having a blast, until I witnessed a guy below “accidentally” walk too close to a woman standing alone and slide his hand across her ass as he passed by. It was fucking gross, and completely took me out of the show (I can’t imagine how that poor woman felt). I was seething. I felt awful that I wasn’t close enough to do or say anything, either to him or the woman. I wrote a not-super-eloquent post on Craigslist about it, mostly to make myself feel better, I guess, but fantasizing that she, he, or his friends would see it. It was just so unexpected in the moment, and really disturbing. I couldn’t help but think about how often that must happen, and that it was just the first time I’d witnessed it.

    • flashphase

      This happened to me once at a concert. I turned around and went HAM on the dude – I started punching him really hard in the shoulder. It didn’t take away from how truly awful it was but I slept well knowing he would never, ever do that again.

      • Ashlah

        I’m sorry that happened, but good for you! I hope he learned his damn lesson.

    • Emily

      I’m sorry you (and she) had this experience.

      This week it’s become clear to me the (high) level of street harassment my 15yo is experiencing. I’ve been trying to have conversations with her about it and it’s difficult. She doesn’t want to talk with stepMom about this stuff and I can tell she already feels a ton of confusion around it. I shared this link with her: http://www.ihollaback.org/resources/vlog/. Do you all have other good links/info for teens?

      • Jess

        I wish I could offer your resources. Instead, all I have is solidarity with your 15yo. I have had a really rough past two weeks with street harassers and I’m just… annoyed and sad and frustrated.

        • Emily

          I’m really sorry that you have had a rough few weeks. I hear that you are annoyed and sad and frustrated… I’m furious!

          The questions she does ask me lean towards the underlying idea that it is her fault. I thought I had accepted that culture is stronger than parenting, but this teen has heard feminist language for almost half her life… and still I feel I’m losing the battle.

          I totally enjoyed watching Amy Schumer respond to this sexist heckler; you might too: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/sep/02/amy-schumer-throws-sexist-heckler-out-of-stockholm-show

          • Jess

            Ugh, I remember feeling like I was doing something wrong to encourage harassment. I hope you find something good to show her what I should have learned way earlier – there is nothing she is doing to cause this and it shouldn’t be happening to her.

            You’re right, I did enjoy watching Amy Schumer. Thank you for that!

          • Ashlah

            I’m so sorry your daughter is going through that, how awful. You mentioned in your first comment that she doesn’t really want to talk with you about it much, but it sounds like you’re doing your best to dispel the misconceptions she might have, and making sure she knows the lines of communication are open if she wants to talk about it more. I wish I had resources or advice, but it sounds like you’re doing your best in a crappy world.

      • My mom has recently expressed to me that she wishes she had been more aggressive in response to any street harassment my sister and I had experienced (after reading an article that suggested such tactics). The article basically recommended that the parent of the girl(s) start yelling at the harassers when they see it (rather than ignore it or pretend it didn’t happen). This was supposed to show that it really is the man’s fault, and not the girls’. If you act ashamed about it and/or try to ignore it, the girl will absorb that internally. ‘Probably applies to when the adult female is street harassed in front of her daughters as well.

        Sadly, I don’t have the article…and I also don’t remember seeing much sexual harassment when I was with my mom.

        • Emily

          I think this is really good advice (as long as the parent feels they are in a safe enough space to cause conflict). I am willing to do that–it’s how I respond to street harassment myself. Unfortunately, as you said, it doesn’t happen (or maybe I’m missing it) when I’m walking with her. I’m afraid the harassment she’s experiencing is taking advantage of the power dynamic… she is not comfortable causing conflict or drawing attention to herself. I understand that… it took me years.

      • CommaChick

        On a tangential note, the best things parents can do [obviously] is teach their sons not to do it. Have you seen the videos of Peruvian mothers calling out their catcalling sons?
        http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f89_1422046791

      • MC

        This doesn’t stop the problem, but there is a newly-launched national street harassment hotline, if she or anyone she knows needs additional support: http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/our-work/nationalshhotline/

        • Emily

          I didn’t know about this! Thank you!

    • Jess

      I cannot even remember how many times that has happened to me. I have all the rage at men right now. Just all of them.

      Warning: More ranting ahead.

      I am so sick of being yelled at when a friend and I are walking to dinner. What on earth made you think I give a shit if you think we’re beautiful or that you’re pissed we didn’t respond? I am sick of not being able to go for a run without being honked and yelled at. I am exhausted by holding myself back from getting in some assholes face about his behavior because I am afraid of what he’ll do to me, looking back over my shoulder every time I’m a safe enough distance away to make sure I’m not being followed. I’m sad that the only response I have left in me is to pathetically flip someone off after he yells multiple times at me and my 7mo pregnant friend running together, because there’s I know there’s nothing I can do to make this stop.

      I’m tired of being ready to fight when somebody accidentally runs into me in a crowd because of the number of times it’s happened not-so-accidentally. The times someone has grabbed the inside of my thigh as they walk past me on a dance floor, swiped their hand or arm across my chest, or brushed their hand across my ass EXACTLY as you describe just about anywhere (seriously – a farmers market).

      I don’t know where men learn that this is acceptable behavior, but I am just tired of it.

  • Lawyerette510

    I’ve missed the last few happy hours because of life, so a little update: my last day at the old job was August 19; August 20 we left for5 days visiting friends in Colorado. All I can say is the Front Range is amazing! Came home and have enjoyed a week of nothing planned. Heading to the Sierras now for 4 nights off the grid with dear friends. I am so thankful for YNAB and the planning we were able to do with it so I felt comfortable taking a longish break before my new job.

    Getting really excited for my cousin’s wedding in a few weeks. I’m officiating and it has been such a joy to FaceTime with her and the groom to plan the ceremony. Plus I found a dress that I love and is perfect and reasonable (Asos FTW)! On top of all that goodness, my sister has decided to marry in October, so the family wedding train will keep rolling.

    • Kalë

      Sounds like you’ve missed Happy Hours, because you’ve been having happy hours! Seems like you’ve had a beautiful end of summer time.

    • Lulu

      I officiated my first wedding this summer, and, while I was honored from the moment they asked, I had no idea how much joy I would derive from the experience or what a gift it would be to play that role. Enjoy it, and all the other good stuff!

  • Anontoday

    So some org changes are going to be announced in the next couple weeks at my firm. I have no idea what they are but they will definitely affect my team. My body and brain are in complete panic mode imagining layoffs. Like, my stomach is hurting all the time from stress and it’s hard to focus on anything else.

    I hate this- I keep telling myself that even if I lose my job, I’ll be okay, and we have savings. But my anxiety isn’t rational. I keep freaking out about the wedding and how much everything costs. I was laid off before and it was emotionally crushing and my self-confidence took a blow. Now I think about how awful it would be to get up in front of people as an unemployed bride and it just makes my anxiety worse! Not sure how I’ll get through the next few weeks, except for starting to job search…

    • Jess

      If you’re anything like me, updating my resume and generally just looking around would help feel like I was at least taking the steps I could to be prepared.

      I hope it doesn’t come to layoffs for you.

    • Eadaoin

      I’m never sure whether it’s better to know these things are coming or to be hit with it out of nowhere. I was in a similar situation a year ago and don’t have many words of wisdom beyond taking extra care of yourself. I found that working through the absolute worst case scenario in my head and out loud with my person helped, but I know that’s not everyone’s jam. Hugs to you!

    • Cellistec

      Ugh, how stressful. Fingers crossed for you and your team.

  • Rebekah Abeja

    Yay happy hour! I’m currently avoiding a messy kitchen and living room, so this is the perfect excuse.
    I have good work news! I got a promotion and a (small, honestly smaller than I should have negotiated for) raise! I’ll be the assistant teacher in my classroom, working with (imo) the best lead teacher in the school! I was previously a floater for 30 hours a week and sub as needed, but this will be full time. I’m very excited, but nervous too! But yeah, I am a bit bothered by the fact that I didn’t negotiate the raise better. My boss was in quite a dilemma and really needed me, and I should have leveraged the situation a bit better. Ugh. Thinking about it now bums me out a bit. I’m coming up on my one year anniversary with the company in 2 months and I will attempt to negotiate then, because the raise I got was for my promotion, and unrelated to my time with the company. I’ll need to really psych myself up, because if I couldn’t push for more when I had the real upper hand, who knows if I’ll be able to now :/

  • rg223

    Hi all! I’ve commented before but never introduced myself or taken the plunge to get disqus. So hello! I’m married but still frequent and love this site. I have a nearly one year old son. And, the reason I’m posting – we closed on an apartment in Queens NYC and just moved in this week! It was the MOST difficult process and many tears were shed. But we gained a lot of knowledge, haha! Now we are swamped with putting together furniture and buying all the things. So if anyone has questions about buying a co-op in New York, ask away!

    • Rebekah Abeja

      I’m a married reader as well :) Congrats on the move! That’s such a big step.

      • rg223

        Thank you!

    • Cellistec

      Aw, congrats! I have real estate on the brain myself (though not a co-op, and not in NY) and I love hearing that other people are having homebuying successes. Anything particular you learned from the process that you wish you had known earlier, or that everyone else knew?

      • rg223

        Thanks! Well I think the main thing I learned is to advocate for yourself. We got stuck with a real estate agent who was pretty awful at her job, and one of the big reasons she was awful was that she really wasn’t looking out for our best interest at all. There were several times in the process where we had to dig our heels in and refuse to move forward until she addressed the problems we were dealing with, that she would have rather glossed over. I also should have trusted my gut in the first place, because she wanted us to sign a contract saying we wouldn’t work with any other agents (which in my state is not required). I wasn’t into that, but the real estate agency was highly recommended by a friend and she was the expert in the area we wanted to buy, so we went with her. Sadly, people in this process sometimes want to make money and close the deal more than helping you. Not the most positive advice, but real, haha!

        • LJ

          Have you considered looking into reporting her? People in legal transactions (of which property transfer is one) have a duty of care to act in the best interest of their client. That’s why conflict of interests exist. If she wasn’t, there should be some solid regulatory or legal penalty.

          • rg223

            We have, actually. We’re too deep into the process of unpacking and setting up the house to look into it more at the moment, but it’s on our minds for sure. In the meantime I am telling everyone I know NOT to use that agency.

        • Laura

          so sorry to hear that! my husband is a lawyer and does lots of real estate transactions – and unfortunately, agents are often the weak link. he regularly comes home after deals blow up/melt down/delay over poorly written agreements, straight up bad/erroneous advice, or just general shenanigans that agents pull to get the ‘yes’. then, 30 days, 60 days later at closing time (after their commission is safe because the buyer signed on the dotted line) they are nowhere to be found. it’s terrible, and it leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths, he really sympathizes with those clients.

          • rg223

            I mentioned upthread, our lawyer was the most helpful and trustworthy of anyone we dealt with! Ours actually saved us in the closing when the bank (on the seller’s end) made a major mistake. It’s not nice to know that many agents aren’t great, but at least we are in good company.

          • Laura

            glad you had a good one on your side! real estate is so emotional – congrats on your new place :)

      • Lolauren

        We just closed on a house Tuesday! (In Minneapolis, MN) Regarding the other comment, we interviewed a few realtors. It’s a MASSIVE purchase and our first time home-buying so we really wanted to find a good fit. We asked friends for recommendations and met with three of them. We chose the third. Even though they all came recommended by people we trust, everyone has different priorities, so definitely take the time to interview your realtor. They will be a huge advocate and its really important that you both vibe well. So worth the effort of meeting with a few.

    • Jessica

      Aw, congrats! That is awesome news. We live in Queens too (but rent). I’d love advice on buying co-ops in Queens. I guess my first question is – where do you even start? What are the trade offs for co-op vs. condo? How much time should you allow for the search? How much should you save in advance (as a % of total price)?

      • flashphase

        I would also love to hear about closing costs and other co-op fees in NYC! I see estimates for closing costs of 3-5% but wonder if that holds true in NYC…

        • rg223

          So, my understanding is, “closing costs” as you think of them for houses are always the same for a co-op. I forget whether it’s 3k or 3k and some change, but it’s not over 4k. But, when a bank looks at your savings to determine how much you need to close, they might factor in 2-6 months of mortgage payments, a lawyer’s fee*, etc. By my calculation, we did pay in the 3-5% range, but I’m not mathematically minded enough to know if that would hold true for someone buying a million dollar place.

          *hiring a lawyer is pretty standard here, and some co-ops require or strongly recommend it. This is totally specific to our situation, but our lawyer was the only person who a) was competent at his job, b) seemed to be looking out for us and c) we trusted. So I recommend getting a lawyer!

      • rg223

        Thanks! Gosh, your questions are reminding me how much goes into this process, haha!

        So first, traditionally, co-ops are less expensive (in price and maintenance fees) and therefore easier to get into than condos. These days, maintenance fees are going up, so you’re probably paying the same in maintenance as you would spend in taxes on a condo or house (you don’t pay those taxes on a co-op). We found that co-ops ARE still less expensive than condos though. Another thing is, there are more co-op buildings in NYC than condos. I think I saw one condo in our price range during the entire search. So, that decided that for us! For that reason, I don’t know much about condos, because there just wasn’t a reason to research it. Another thing to think about: some banks don’t often lend to co-op buyers, so I would ask up front if your preferred lender has experience with co-op lending.

        As for timing, the market moves extremely fast, BUT everything else takes much longer than most other places. Bare minium, I would say two weeks to get the mortgage preapproval, a month to look and put down an offer, another two weeks to a month for the mortgage to get approved and to get the co-op paperwork in, one month for the co-op board to approve you, and another two weeks to close. That adds up to around 4 months, and I would try to do more like 6, to have a buffer. It took us 5-ish months, and we pushed to get in our co-op paperwork and met with the board a week after we turned everything in, which is not normal (it usually takes at least a month, because they only meet once a month, and sometimes the spots fill up with other buyers).

        How much to save in advance is tricky. Some co-ops have requirements about how much they want you to put down as a downpayment. To be safe, I would say 20%, with the knowledge that it might limit your search – some places want as high as 30% down. But other places only want 10%.

        To get started, I think I’d research where you want to buy. A real estate agent can look at your basic financials and tell you if they think you can get into a place in the area you want. If you know like a specific co-op, you can ask them for their financial requirements in advance – they should have paperwork about that. Ideally, a real estate agent should do that for you, but like I said elsewhere, ours was not very good and couldn’t communicate the requirements to us, so I had to contact the co-op myself.

        Good luck!!! I hope that’s helpful and not stress-inducing!

        • rg223

          Oh, a note about co-op finacial requirements: they really vary. Some places have income requirements you have to pass to be able to buy there. Some places have rules about the debt to income ratio that you need to have. So you might be looking at a co-op with no income requirement, but they also have a low debt to income ratio. My advice on that is, if you have any small loans you can pay off before looking, do it. We ended up paying off some of my student loans rather than putting more down upfront, and it helped us meet the debt to income ratio here.

        • Jessica

          Thanks so much! Original question-asker here. That is really helpful to know about co-ops. I didn’t realize you do not pay taxes on a co-op. It also confirms my suspicions on allowing about 6 months and saving 20%. No not at all (re: stress-inducing), this is helpful with planning. We are at least a year or two out from actually trying to buy.

          • rg223

            Sure! I’m glad to confirm suspicions! Good luck!

  • louise danger

    i paid the first half of our photographer deposit, y’all! this is real now! money is involved! [screaming internally]

    we’re hoping to spend a little time this holiday weekend checking out the venue – measuring, taking photos, all that good logistical stuff.

    food is the big question mark right now; i’ve been able to scrimp and cut budgetary corners on pretty much everything (and usually winding up with something more meaningful or more special in the process, heyyy), but it seems like even if i want to have party trays from the local supermarket, i’m looking at about a grand for our party of 50 once i figure in drinks and plasticware/napkins. : i guess the silver lining is that the local supermarket where we’d get the trays is wegman’s, king of grocery stores? the rest of this has been so easy, food is kind of becoming a bummer.

    • Rose

      I felt the same way about food. We ended up with a relatively inexpensive caterer, and while everything worked out, I’m still not totally convinced that it was worth it? Like, it was still more than I’d hoped to spend, and we could have spent less money on grocery store trays. And the point of paying for a caterer was to make less work for us, but she turned out to be weird, and hard to contact, and then 45 minutes late on the day. Anyway. I feel your pain. It seemed like a lot of money for food, but I really just had to accept that feeding that many people a solid meal was going to be expensive. I had exactly the same feelings, though, that everything else managed to be reasonable (or a splurge that was totally worth it, like my dress and the band) but the food felt like a lot for food that was fine but not amazing.

    • KPM

      Wegmans is so good, I miss that store!

      • louise danger

        fiance is thrilled that wegman’s is down here, too, he moved to MD from Binghamton so it’s like a slice of home :)

        there are two catering things on their menu that i want very badly and would happily spend all the food budget on just them and damn the people who would not want them, but i am being a Good Hostess™ and not doing this, lol:

        tandoori chicken satays (little tandoori chicken skewers)
        cannoli chip and dip – smashed bits of cannoli pastry served with cannoli cheese ‘dip’ topped with chocolate shavings

        • KPM

          Those sound so good! I hope even if they aren’t *all* the budget you still include them because this is an instance where “you are the bride, you do you” definitely applies!

          • louise danger

            haha the reception might end in new husband and i hissing at each other, huddled over the cannolis :D

        • emmers

          This food sounds amazeballs! I want to eat it right now.

    • Brynna

      Food was a sticker-shock moment for us, definitely. If you’re open to it, my fiance’s sister had a FANTASTIC potluck wedding. She and many of her friends are vegan, so catering wasn’t really ever an option. I kinda wish we had gone that route – maybe providing a main dish and asking people to bring sides, desserts, and recipes as their gifts.

      • louise danger

        i’m open to it, i think – we have a small enough group that it wouldn’t be too herculean an undertaking – but fiance has nixed it. he says he doesn’t want to work on his wedding day/wedding day eve. and since he doesn’t have many opinions so far, i’m happy to go along with this one :)

    • Amy March

      $1000 for a party of 50 is a fantastic deal. That’s only $20 a person!

      • louise danger

        i guess so. still more than we were looking to spend – and when everything else has a “do it for less” option (heirloom rings = just pay to have them resized; bouquets = go to Trader Joe’s, etc), i feel like there has to be some solution to food short of potlucking it (not out of the realm of possibility, most of our folks are local, but it’s not something that’s familiar to my community) that gets me closer to where we were hoping to be, budget-wise.

        back to ye olde drawing board. :)

        • emmers

          I mean– I guess if you just did cake and punch, then that’s cheaper. Or Dominos pizza ($6/pizza for the win!). But real food just costs money, though I wish there were a magic hack!

          • flashphase

            We might do a rehearsal ice cream party which is like $10/person.. for unlimited ice cream AND sprinkles!

          • emmers

            That sounds like so much fun!

          • Yum! That does sound fun!

          • LJ

            Yeah, cake and punch was plan A for awhile….. just have your wedding midafternoon or late at night so it’s reasonable to eat before/after.

        • Ashlah

          We had a really hard time paying $15/person (both financially and psychologically), so I totally get where you’re coming from! Food was definitely one of the more stressful parts of planning. The Tandoori/canoli options you mentioned sound incredible to me ;)

        • Gaby

          This might not be helpful but, we’re doing a taco cart that sets up in the yard and brings enough food for 100 people with 3 hours of serving for $650 total. We picked four types of meat, and it includes guac, salsas, and horchate + lemonade as well as quesadillas or just rice and bean tacos for vegetarians and vegans. It helps that our city has a large Hispanic population, but these are easy to find in Mexican market ads or even Hispanic exchange groups on facebook for your city. This isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth looking into if it fits your tastes! They bring the disposable plates and forks so it takes a lot of responsibility off of us.

          • louise danger

            that sounds amazing! I had been in touch with a local food truck (we are blessed to have a reasonable assortment here), but the lady went on vacation. maybe I can pick those conversations back up… :a

          • Gaby

            It’s worth a try :)

          • toomanybooks

            Aaaahhhh $650 for 100 noooooo whaaaat (dying of jealousy)
            You’re not based anywhere near Maryland, are you?

          • Gaby

            No, very far away over here in Las Vegas unfortunately! But really I encourage everyone to look into their Hispanic forums! My rental for chairs and tables is also through a Hispanic friend of a friend and about half the price of the lowest nonhispanic opened business I had found.

        • This is where the Olive Garden Rule starts to come in. I mean, what restaurant would normally feed someone for less than $15/person (that also involves delivering large quantities of it, equipment to keep it warm, etc. etc.). Subway? Sandwiches or Pizza? If you have the wedding in a restaurant, sometimes the food is cheaper…

    • JLily

      Right? the catering part was like that for me too. SO. Expensive. Like, can we just all collectively decide already that everyone eats before the wedding like, idk, every other freakin party?!

    • Rebekah

      Not sure what kind of food you’re hoping to have, but we spent <$1000 on our party of 85 by ordering from a favorite local restaurant and borrowing chafing dishes/renting glassware and plates. We had a non-alcoholic venue, which helped.

      Can you hand some of the food planning off to your betrothed?

      • louise danger

        i’ve been looping him in, and this is apparently one of a few things he has an opinion about (thank goodness, it’s been like pulling teeth sometimes) so we’ve been talking about it.

        most of our fave local restaurants just got wiped out by a major flood earlier this summer :( there’s one that didn’t, but i’m not sure how things would work logistically for them.

        hmm.

        i’ll explore that more in-depth – perhaps a research trip is in order >:D

        • Rebekah

          That was my favorite part. Both sets of parents and siblings were together for Christmas before we got married, so I required a large family menu testing before we chose our final dishes :)

    • 00kate

      Ooh I think we are wedding planning iin the same flooded town! Sorry you’re having trouble with food. I have heard Royal Taj does an amazing job of catering weddings (great Indian food). It’s our favorite local restaurant and we are hoping to have our rehearsal dinner there.

      • 00kate

        Not sure what price would be, though…

      • louise danger

        mmmmm Indian food :)

  • Cellistec

    I finally had a talk with my husband about the problems I’ve been having recently with my periods, the new birth control making them worse, etc. (I normally try to keep OB-GYN stuff to myself, just out of dumb stoicism; however, these problems have been getting me down.) He’s endlessly supportive but it was a reminder of the crappy unfairness of birth control being mostly a woman’s responsibility (in a hetero relationship). I spend a lot of time stressing about it, and he doesn’t, and we don’t even want biological kids. Where’s the male birth control pill, science?

    • Ashlah

      Seriously, science, get on it.

      • Ashlah

        And I’m sorry you’re having trouble :( I hope you can figure out a better solution.

        • Cellistec

          Thanks. I’m so spoiled on my BC working perfectly with almost no side effects that these changes are really throwing me. I know a lot of women deal with worse.

          • Ugh. And when you find one that works, but insurance keeps trying to give you the generic version which turns you into a rage-y nest of rage rage hormones. Even when you find one that works, it’s an ongoing struggle!

      • lildutchgrrl

        Science is totally on it (I’m been following Vasalgel for a couple years now, even though I am not in a potential-babymaking relationship). It’s just those pesky trial stages. And funding!

    • Lawyerette510

      As someone else who is part of a couple that doesn’t want biological kids, I feel you on the frustration of feeling like the burden is on me to keep that from happening. I’m about 3 years into a Mirena, which I really like, but my husband and I are starting to talk about a vasectomy for him, because if we don’t want bio kids, why do I have to keep being responsible???

      • Cellistec

        AMEN SISTA.

      • EF

        riiiiiiight!

        i’m on my second mirena (about 8 years total!) and still love it. but it’s to the point where even if partner had a vasectomy, i’d keep the mirena. 8 years without a period is pretty great.

      • Cdn icecube

        So jealous. I’m on year 4 of the Mirena and I STILL get my period every damn month. I’m so over this shit.

        • Booknerd

          I had one glorious year without a period and now they’ve come back with worse cramps then ever :( I’m seriously considering having it out and going back on b/c because it’s not doing my any good, and once in a blue moon I think it’s causing pain during sex (verified it’s in the right spot with ultrasounds) but it’s such a hassle to get into my obgyn I’m just putting it off :(

          • Cdn icecube

            Ugh that’s terrible. Sometimes being a woman sucks.

    • KK

      This is exactly why I have already begun floating the idea of a vasectomy to my husband after we are done having kids.

      • Cellistec

        RIGHT. I did mention to my husband that vasectomies are way less invasive than most long-term BC for women, and he didn’t seem enthused. It may be worth looking into, though.

        • Eenie

          In a hetero relationship, if there are no future kids desired, vasectomy has to be on the table. I’m not enthused with my mirena, but I’d be less enthused with a kid right now!!

          • Cellistec

            I may print out your comment and show it to him as a last-ditch effort at peer pressure. #noshame

      • emilyg25

        My hubs had a vasectomy, a reversal (more invasive, longer recovery), and another vas! It’s awesome. And still all easier than childbirth, to say nothing of pregnancy or breastfeeding. Men need to suck it up.

    • LittleOwl

      Preach!!

  • Laura C

    I remain not a fan of San Francisco and my life here is exhausting, but one nice thing is, all those weddings we’ve seen pictures of from SF city hall? I live right by city hall and if I walk out to do an errand in the middle of the day, I will usually see 2-3 couples on their way to or from getting married. Which is kind of fun.

    • Lawyerette510

      I’m sorry you’re not liking SF. if part of it is lack of community and you want to get tea, coffee, or booze, or go for a walk or something. Let me know.

      • Laura C

        Part of it is lack of community, and that would be lovely, if you have time. Thank you.

        • Lawyerette510

          I’m at panebianco [at] gmail.com. Shoot me an email (then I’ll pull my address down) and we can coordinate.

          • Laura C

            Got your address, so go ahead and pull it down. :)

          • LJ

            This is giving me warm fuzzies <3

    • Alynae

      It took me a good long while to like SF. The lack of community was really hard. I have just actually moved away from SF after 8 years there, but big hug of commiseration. I hope you find your group and your people soon

    • Yeah…I’m finding the Bay Area rough to transition to as well. But getting out of town and spending time in the parks/beaches is really nice.

      • Laura C

        Yeah, since we’re just here for a year, we’re trying to do weekend trips to all the places we might ever want to go, places that normally we’d have to carefully plan into a longer trip. Las Vegas this weekend, a weekend in wine country in October, tentatively Christmas with his family in a VRBO in Mendocino, trying to decide about Thanksgiving (I think Tahoe or going down highway 1 a bit are the two leading options). And we need to do the closer-in day trips — Muir Woods as soon as the baby is old enough to go into his frame backpack, for sure.

        • Muir Woods is super easy. A paved loop, with dirt trails off-shooting around it. You might be able to get away with a stroller.

          Even just a day trip to Stinson Beach or Half Moon Bay (we watched whales from the shore!) is really nice. Also YOSEMITE in the off season. The blog ‘Hither & Thither’ has some nice photos of doing Yosemite, Tahoe, almond orchards, etc. with kiddos.

          We’ve been here ~1 year, and have ~1 more to go, so it’s a similar-ish situation. Just no bebe.

          • JR

            Yeah, you could easily do Muir Woods with an Ergo or similar – no need for a hiking backpack. Also, <3 for Hither and Thither. :)

        • Alyssa Andrews

          Come to Santa Cruz! Redwood trees, ocean, hiking (Nisene Marks and Henry Cowell), good food and drinks, etc. Good for a day trip (or overnight).

          Sounds like you have some great trips planned!

          • Laura C

            Santa Cruz would be a definite part of the highway 1 Thanksgiving option. In fact, I was just checking to see if the baby is allowed on the carousel. My grandmother lived in SF when I was little, and her mobility wasn’t great so we’d take her on driving trips — usually Santa Cruz, which I really liked, and Monterey and Big Sur, which bored me then but I suspect I’d like more now.

          • Alyssa Andrews

            In terms of Monterey and Big Sur, I definitely recommend the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but other than that we haven’t found too much to do in Monterey and usually only stay long enough to grab a drink at the local tiki bar then go to the Aquarium. Big Sur is divine, but I’m not sure how it’s doing these days since the wildfire is only 60% contained down there…

            West Cliff drive and East Cliff drive (on the West and East sides of SC) are both great ocean-side walks that go for maybe a half mile. I’m partial to East Cliff because I live right next to it and there are slightly fewer people on it (and there are always whales, dolphins, sea lions and otters to spot in the water), but West Cliff is beautiful and goes to Natural Bridges, which is where the Monarchs migrate through at certain times of the year. Lots of options for you!

          • Speaking of tiki bars, have you been to Pagan Idol in SF?

            Once the Big Sur wildfires die down, we’ll begin watching Tree Bones Resort’s twitter feed for any yurts that become available, lol.

        • Rebekah

          I am in a similar position, but for slightly longer and without a baby. I made a Bay Area Bucket list (that I’m happy to share, if you want, via google docs) of things to do, see, and eat.
          I love Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz as far as day trips go. Sometimes I check out groupon or sf.funcheap.com to see what’s happening that I might miss otherwise.

          • Laura C

            Ooh, thanks for the suggestions. And I’d love a look at that bucket list.

          • Rebekah

            Hm. I don’t have a discus account and can’t edit/remove comments I make. What’s the best way to connect off-thread?

          • Laura C

            My email is laura.clawson@gmail.com — let me know when you’ve seen this comment and I’ll edit it out.

          • Rebekah

            Seen and sent. Thanks (and welcome to the Bay Area)!

        • ML

          I’ve loved my 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of San Francisco book. If you want to explore the outdoors without going too far from the city, I’d recommend it!

    • Alyssa Andrews

      I’m a Bay Area native and dreamed of living in SF in my early twenties. After living there for 6 months, I too experienced the lack of community and felt so lonely and isolated and high-tailed it to other parts of the bay (currently in Santa Cruz and LOVE it). I hope it gets better for you!

      • AP

        I’m heading to Santa Cruz next week for a training! It’s my first time there- any suggestions for places to eat/things to do in my downtime?

        • Rebekah

          The Boardwalk, Marianne’s ice cream, the Mystery Spot (super hokey but fun), hiking at Nisene Marks State Park, Pizza My Heart, St Adarius Brewing, Natural Bridges State Beach, see the colorful houses at Capitola State Beach…

          • AP

            Natural Bridges looks awesome.

        • Hayley

          I went to school at UCSC so I can throw out a few suggestions.
          Eating – Pizza My Heart is great for good cheap food. There is a ice cream shop called Marianne’s that is super good. If you want to spend some $$ but want to eat the best chocolates you’ve ever had in your life, hit up donnelly chocolates. (They give you a free sample when you go in). If you are looking for a good place for dinner, Sushi Totoro. Weird (like all of SC) but good.

          Things to do – Def go walk around the campus (it’s not weird there are a million non-students wandering around) it’s beautiful, in the redwoods and has some great views. Catch an indie film at The Nickelodeon (cheapest concessions ever with stuff from a local bakery so you can buy a slice of german chocolate cake to take in with you)

          OMG, I forgot my favorite place to go ever, The Seymour Center. It’s an aquarium on a cliff over the sea and they have petting tidepool tanks and it’s fab. They are known for the life size whale skeleton in the back lawn.

          • AP

            OMG cake at the movies?! That’s my jam.

        • Alyssa Andrews

          Yay, yes! OH I’m super excited for you!
          – Cremer House (Felton) for Food, drink, etc. (worth the out of the way drive, this place is my FAVE)
          – Companion Bakeshop for Almondmilk Lattes and ANY of their pastries
          – Cafe Brazil for their Acai bowls (on Mission on West side)
          – West End Tap & Kitchen for flatbread/pizza and drinks
          – Pono Hawaiian Grill for drinks (and poke bowl) — Downtown SC. Good happy hour.
          – Discretion Brewery for beer (and their food is good too), off 41st Ave (east side)
          – Point Market (on East Cliff Drive) for breakfast burritos (cash only and kinda overpriced but burritos are amazing)
          – The Palomar downtown (mexican food) — go to the back of the restaurant for the bar — faster service and happy hours are great
          – Charlie Hong Kong in Midtown for affordable Veg/Vegan pad thai, etc.

          – Nisene Marks (Aptos) for hiking
          – Henry Cowell (in Felton) for hiking (or even just driving Highway 9 because it’s beautiful)
          – Land of Medicine Buddha (in Soquel) for hiking (closed on weekends)
          – Any of the following beaches: Manresa, Natural Bridges, Sunny Cove, New Brighton or Downtown Capitola.

          Have a GREAT time!

          • AP

            Thanks!!!

          • the cupboard under the stairs

            I’m a Santa Cruz native, and these are all fantastic suggestions! I’m so jealous of you BOTH; I could never afford to live there now and I barely ever get to visit anymore!

          • Alyssa Andrews

            So glad to have a local’s endorsement :)

    • toomanybooks

      Yeah, all the photos I’ve seen are so beautiful that I could totally see getting married there despite never particularly wanting a “city hall wedding.”

  • JLily

    Welp, I am married!

    We had record heat, I stress-cried the night before, we walked too fast so the singer couldn’t get both of the processional songs in, my brother gave a cringe-worthy speech… i could go on and on!

    BUT it was also a beautiful conglomeration of the love that our family and friends have for us, my husband (!) and I were giddy the whole night, and everyone in attendance had so much fun!!

    Thank you so much to all of you on this site for all the kind words, commiserating, and HELP! This is such a fab community and I will be here forever to discuss marriage, feminism, and real, imperfect, beautiful weddings!!!

    • Ashlah

      Congratulations!!

    • Lawyerette510

      Yay!!!!!

    • flashphase

      Congrats!!!!

  • Lolauren

    Oh. MY. That first link IS a wild story! What an entertaining way to spend this Friday afternoon before Labor Day at work.

    • Cellistec

      I know, I started reading it yesterday and practically had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

    • Ashlah

      I’m so glad they linked it here because I forgot to seek out the rest after reading the first chapter! Time to catch up.

    • Kalë

      I’ve been reading it instead of working! Or commenting on HH!

    • Right??? It just got crazier and crazier!

      • Lolauren

        When the firefighter came into the story I did a double take to see if I was actually reading fiction!

    • Rose

      So weird! I’m supposed to be working, but I want to know what happens. . . Also, having gotten to the point of the trial, I’m wildly curious about the relationship between the accused couple. Like, are they actually acting in the other one’s best interest because they care? Are they still effectively a couple anymore, after the weird affair story and all? As he’s presenting it all as her fault, was that a strategy that they came up with and signed off on together, or are each of them just trying to claw themselves up by blaming the other one? So weird!

      • Kalë

        THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW!!!!

    • Jess

      I am into the second chapter and just… WHAT!?

  • Eadaoin

    We are thirteen days out, which feels like a good time to finally comment on here! I’ve taken myself out for a solo date with a book and happy hour, and man does it feel good. So ready for planning to be over!

    • Lawyerette510

      Oh the pre-wedding solo dates, so delightful! I had an awesome impromptu one a few days before the wedding when my sister’s flight was delayed so I had a solo mani pedi then took myself for a drink.

      • Eadaoin

        Sounds bliss! I’ve just picked up a bottle of the new essie gel polish so think an at home version of your date will my plan when I get home later. Note to self – I must make a habit of this!

    • Jess

      Pre-wedding solo dates are in my future too!!

      • Eadaoin

        Hooray! I don’t know why I waited so long.

    • JennDee

      I’m going to add a solo date into the week before my wedding–that’s an awesome thing to look forward to!

      • Eadaoin

        Yes yes – I’m going to try to squeeze another one in next week I think!

    • raccooncity

      I just had an unexpected solo vacation d/t my husband leaving a trip early to go back to work (long story, but he needed to bank the vacation time for later). Anyway, it was awesome. I remembered how much I liked wandering around by myself and sleeping by myself, etc.

      I was very happy to see him when I got home, but it was such a nice time.

      • Eadaoin

        Oh man, sleeping by yourself – so good! We tend to have four or five weekends a year when one or other of us is home alone, and while it’s always so lovely when we’re back together, there’s just something so good about having no plans and an empty bed.

      • Olive

        A bunch of my friends went to a conference a couple weeks ago and I was a little jealous of their spouses getting to have the bed to themselves…I miss the days of sleeping in the center of a queen bed!

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        I’ve come to really enjoy solo traveling! It’s so fun to be able to do whatever you damn well please without worrying about whether someone else will like it.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      That sounds lovely! I’m a week out, and I took all next week off work, so I’ll have at least two full days to myself, and I plan to have some quiet time.

      • Eadaoin

        Ooh, excellent plan I think. Enjoy the build up!

  • KK

    Big changes for my husband and me! We will be spending the 3 day weekend doing all the final cleaning/organizing to put our house on the market – our realtor is having photos taken on Tuesday and listing it on Thursday! And today is my husband’s last day at his current job. Next week he will be starting work at my company (small family business that I run) so we will get to see how we are as co-workers. Next steps: (1) sell the house, (2) move ourselves, our stuff, and the business from Pennsylvania to Colorado, (3) live happily ever after near the mountains

    • Lawyerette510

      Congrats!!! Where in CO are you moving? We just visited friends in Denver, Boulder and Arvada and spent some time in Rocky Mt NP. What a beautiful place!

      • Rose

        I grew up in Boulder, and I second all of this! Colorado is great.

      • KK

        Boulder is out of our price range, it’s crazy these days! We are planning on southern Denver suburbs… Littleton/Centennial/Highlands Ranch. We visited and really liked that area, plus they are affordable with good school districts… they are a bit Pleasantville-esque, but mostly in a good way (we hope lol). So excited to be back west after 3 years in PA!

        • the cupboard under the stairs

          Oof, yeah–I rent in Boulder now, and there’s no way I could ever afford to buy here…which sucks, because suburban Colorado is REALLY suburban. I keep thinking I’d only survive if I lived within walking distance of a cute little downtown area. Keep us updated on what you end up with and how you like it!

  • NotMarried!

    I got married last weekend. As I mentioned somewhere below, the flower delivery was late, but whatever.
    My family and his family met and got along swimmingly so that was fantastic. I don’t have pictures yet … but will certainly share when available.

    Husband has spent the past week on vacation from work packing and moving in with me. I went back to work Monday. I falsely assumed that post wedding life would instantly snap back into a happy routine. FALSE.

    • Amy March

      Time to update your Disqus name!

      Congrats.

      • Ms.W …. formerly NotMarried!

        I know, I know! I tried earlier in the week, but couldn’t come up with anything I liked …. will work on asap – along with ya know, a new semester at school, and my day job, and unpacking/shuffling a house, and honeymoon plans! :)

        • raccooncity

          I vote for GotMarried!

          • Violet

            Ooooh, I like that. Or just change one letter to “NowMarried!” ?

          • Ms.W …. formerly NotMarried!

            This is brilliant!

    • Ashlah

      Congratulations! Can’t wait to see pics.

    • JLily

      Congrats! We are a week apart I think. Looking forward to seeing photos!!!

    • Olive

      Sooo hard to come back to work after the wedding. I foolishly didn’t take any time off. #gradschoolguilt but got nothing done anyway. sigh.

    • JennDee

      Congrats!!

  • Jessica

    I accepted a new job, resigned from my old job… what a week. The good news is the door’s open at the place I am leaving. That made it especially tough to leave. The place I’m going to, I negotiated hard and it’s paid off!

    I honestly don’t know if I would think about this opportunity the same way without APW. The writing on APW has prompted me to take a more egalitarian approach in my marriage. That is now extending to our life in general. My husband to his credit pushed me toward this fantastic opportunity (promotion, bigger role in growing a business, etc.).

    But in general I think the smart conversations on APW helped a lot as well in developing my thinking. You guys rock!

    • KK

      Congrats! I feel the same way about APW helping me think critically about what I want in my marriage and in my career, as well as life in general. Definitely why I’m still here after 5 years of marriage :)
      Good luck at your new position!

  • Brynna

    Already posted on this happy hour, but I found this out recently and it was too good not to share:

    Costo sells both bulk and wedding (already-arranged) flowers that you can buy online: http://www.costco.com/wedding-event-flowers.html
    We weren’t going to have any flowers, but now it looks like we can.

    What other budget-friendly secrets are lurking out there??

    • Olive

      I bought baby’s breath in bulk for our wedding from Sam’s Club. Looooooove the deals. Friends arranged them for us that morning.

      Sam’s also used to have “gourmet cupcake assortments” and they were huge delicious cupcakes, 4 different types in a container. We stocked up, froze them in our deep freeze, and thawed & served them at our wedding. So much cheaper than a wedding cake. The bonus was our initial “thawing taste test” where we got to eat cupcakes to make sure they still tasted good! :)

    • JLily

      We didn’t do traditional wedding cake and instead got three sheet cakes from a bakery. All white, three different “textures”. It was pretty and delicious. Also, we used all plastic cups (from websturant) instead of renting glassware. No “clinks!” during the toasts, but worth it $-wise! (Also got “linen-like” napkins from there instead of renting.)

      • emmers

        We did sheet cake (from Costco) too! Sooo cheap!

        • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

          We just ordered our sheet cakes from Costco this week! They’re so unbelievably delicious, and the price is fantastic. We had fun coming up with weird things to write on them!

          • Kat

            I’m intrigued, what did you end up going with?

    • Dried flowers from etsy in small clear vases from Goodwill, like this: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/e6/70/7b/e6707bdf62da0295d0afbc133c20002c.jpg
      That’s super cheap and dried lavender, etc. smells like heaven!

      Sheet cake instead of traditional wedding cake as others have mentioned. Buying used tablecloths and reselling (although time is money). Having a friend officiate. Skipping programs/menus. Beer & wine only instead of full bar. Print your own [postcard] invitations (postcard stamps are slightly cheaper). etc. etc.

      Also, Costco does travel packages for your honeymoon ;)

      • JLily

        Also had a friend officiate! And we had flowers on the tables, but we did a cluster or painted bottles (wine and others) so we used very few flowers as center pieces, keeping the cost down. And Kraft paper table runners! Those ideas came from this site, actually, from a post a few years ago on lazy girl table decor.

        Eta: I deesigned my own paper stuff also, and used Catprint for printing/finishing. They are awesome and the pepper quality is lovely. However, as much as it was way cheaper than buying invitations, I spent a rediculous amount of time and energy on them. Hours and hours. I love how they turned out so it was worth it to me, but the time-is-money thing is definitely true!

  • Eh

    We had a super crappy Tuesday. It started with someone stealing stuff from our car and ended with our daughter getting sick at daycare and having another febrile seizure. This one was really scary because the first sign she was sick was the seizure (as a result of a high fever) and then she had a fever for three days but no other symptoms. The doctors have said she probably has a virus but don’t know what it is. I have been home with her the rest of the week. On our way home from emerg on Tuesday the song Bad Day played on the radio which was really fitting.

    • KK

      Oh no! Why do bad days so often seem to just get worse? So sorry to hear about all that. Hope your daughter gets better soon and that you can recharge a little this weekend. *Internet hugs*

      • Eh

        Her fever has been better today. It’s been only a low grade fever so she’s been in a much better mood. It’s a long weekend so I am hoping to find some ‘me’ time (unfortunately my husband has to work).

  • Kalë

    So, we are all moved into my parents house, which is going… about as expected. My dad gave me the silent treatment all afternoon and evening on moving day, I thought because he was upset about how much stuff we moved into their attic? But obviously, hard to know when the person who isn’t speaking to you, won’t speak to you about why they aren’t speaking to you. I tried to talk to my mom calmly about it and ended up crying, and she told me to “open up my heart and let love wash over me”. Then we had a big family dinner last night, and my dad told me yesterday he was fine with the amount of stuff, it was just “my tone” when I told him I had to go and couldn’t talk earlier that day. Ok… Starting to think that I may not have survived this family without needing therapy, after all.

    BUT, my boyfriend has been a champ this week, helping me navigate my difficult-at-best family relations and holding me when it got too hard. And we leave on the Big Kalë Adventure in less than 3 weeks. And we’re going camping on a mountain tonight, and hopefully going to see some northern lights action. And he told me yesterday he bought a ring, so…

    • KK

      Camping + Northern Lights sounds amazing! As I am just beginning to start packing for a move, I am impressed that you had your camping stuff organized enough to go so soon after the move… I can barely keep it organized in normal life haha

      • Kalë

        LOL. All our camping stuff was still packed in the car from last weekend. So -1 for organized, +1 for lazygirl

    • AP

      Uggghhh that sounds like when I was having (very serious) problems in my first marriage and was trying to talk to my mom about it and she said, ‘don’t lose sight of what’s important, just keep God at the center of your marriage.” Also -_-

      Solidarity for living with parents as an adult. I did that a few years ago and it’s crazy how allllll the bullshit family dynamics you’ve never fully dealt with come right back to haunt you. I don’t think therapy is the worst idea ever.

      • Kalë

        Yep, I feel like I’m 15 again, only with better-articulated angst. Seeing my boyfriend’s family dynamics, and living with my parents again after years… well, again, my family dynamic is not great. Thanks for the solidarity – I’m researching a solid therapist for when we return from the Big Adventure.

    • toomanybooks

      Aaaaah he bought a ring! ?

      • Kalë

        HEHE, I know!!!! Now that I’m past the “are we or are we not?” stage, I’m actually enjoying the anticipation. I’m looking forward to updating yall, whenever the time comes :)

  • Olive

    Happy Friday everyone!

    This week I talked myself out of my usual work meeting anxiety and it was glorious! So glorious! The sticker motivation plan for getting stuff done at work is going strong, and all of a sudden I see all the things I need to do (ha! there’s a lot). I’m really proud of myself for getting back on track, and will hopefully keep it up. :)

    My husband and I met 4 years ago yesterday at a Labor Day weekend party he hosted at his (now our) house. We’re hosting a similar party this weekend and I’m so fricken excited to see our people and relive that night.

    • Another Meg

      Hooray! Go team.

    • LittleOwl

      Tell me more about the sticker plan!! That sounds wonderful. I’ve been feeling a little blah at work lately.
      Congrats on all the happies this week!!

      • Olive

        Thanks!

        Step 1 is to have way too many stickers than you know what to do with.
        Step 2 is to set a rule for sticker disbursement. Mine is 1 sticker for every 3 things I cross off my work to-do list for the day. They could be as simple as “put your semester schedule in your calendar” which literally takes 5 min. or as complex as “write for an hour.”
        Step 3 is reward yourself! I’m still figuring out what number of stickers I should get before a reward, but last week I got 12 and bought some craft supplies on sale at Michael’s!

        I’ve also discovered this week how much better “write for an hour” works than just putting “write.” It actually makes it achievable!

        Suggestions & improvements are welcome :)

  • anonsauce

    TW: child sexual abuse
    So this week’s AAPW has me thinking a lot about my own family. Recently a member of my family was accused of child molestation by his granddaughter. (she is a toddler, and it’s not clear to me what she said that accused him, but it was reported by her daycare worker.)

    This family member lives in small town and was cleared of any wrongdoing by the police and CPS, but those same professionals are engaging in gossip throughout town about him. Long story short, he’s lost everyone in his day-to-day life all at once.

    It’s complicated for me because I don’t know if he did anything, and it doesn’t really matter in my own life because we’re not so close that he’d ever be alone with my children. But he IS close enough that I have to deal with the family blow-apart. We’re a small extended family so it’s gotten very messy. My temptation is to stop talking to any of them at all unless I have to because everyone is an emotional black hole right now. But I know that’s not a great strategy.

    Anyway, blah.

    • Rose

      That sounds really hard for everyone involved. I’m sorry it’s so difficult right at the moment.

    • Eh

      Stuff like this is hard and rips families apart. My cousin’s husband was accused of taking inappropriate pictures of another cousins daughter while she was sleeping. This has torn that side of our family apart. The police investigated but the man was never charged but his reputation has been damaged. I am not part of what happened at all and I attempted to maintain a relationship with my cousins and my aunts/uncles involved however it has been difficult since any contact with one side is seen as I am siding with that side. However, even though he was never charged, I would never leave my daughter with him or even in a situation where he could be alone with her.

    • Kay

      Have you seen the Danish movie “The Hunt”? It explores a similar situation. It’s messy, because it’s one of those things that can’t be undone / unsaid once it happens, but the film might help you explore some of the different perspectives around it.

  • NolaJael

    GUYS…I just survived my work wedding shower!! I could not have done it without APW. I read so many posts about allowing yourself to be the center of attention, etc. It was color coordinated and covered in “Mr. & Mrs.” stuff — all things my uber feminist wedding will *not* be, but it was still AWESOME. Because they like me and they wanted to do it. My boss even sewed table clothes. Talk about overkill. And whoever suggested “date night” for the theme in my earlier angsty post — that was a huge hit! Thanks so much to this special community!

    • Hahaha, the date night theme idea was mine, but really it’s such a commonly suggested solution to the issues you had, that it would almost be plagiarism ;)

      Glad it worked out favorably!

      • NolaJael

        Well, thanks anyway!! For whatever reason, I’m not really in a social circle that does wedding showers — this was only the second one I’ve ever been to (at age 33) — so it was the first time I’d heard it!

        • The Internet brings together all kinds of people with varying affinity for bridal showers!

    • CP2011

      You survived and that’s what counts! My old workplace threw me a shower too…which was super nice especially since I had already given my two week’s notice as well, but it was heavy on WIC and involved hearing my coworkers discuss “fornication” :/
      We still use the matching his and hers mugs we got! His has a tie, hers has a stilleto haha

  • Sad anon

    Hi…my birthday was yesterday and it was unbearably crappy. I’ve been feeling down for weeks about it because post-wedding blues are really coloring my life and I feel like I can’t ask friends to spend more time on me or they don’t live nearby anyway. Everything I could think of to celebrate was either time or money intensive (sleepover? dinner?). So I just let it go. Husband and I went for a nice dinner and ended up fighting. Again. Why is being married so hard? We never used to fight. And now I feel like everything is just impossible. Money. Not feeling loved. Division of labor. It doesn’t help at all that he’s unhappy in his job (again after changing jobs 6 months ago he’s back in a very similar work situation we didn’t foresee) and my new business is going to take time to take off so I’m not making money yet and I’m just really…disheartened.

    So my questions are: How do you find a marriage counselor? I know we need it, but how do I find one that works for us? I’m nervous about spending money, I don’t know how to convince him we need to spend the time, etc. We’re in the Bay Area so anyone who knows an amazing therapist in San Francisco?

    How did you get over post-wedding blues?

    • raccooncity

      1. Google marriage counselling. Give precedence to people who will let you come by for free for 30 minutes or so (some people do this)…but also read their ‘about me’ section and see who you feel comfortable with. Get your husband to actively participate in the choosing part.
      2. Know that these things come and go for everyone. There are rough periods and good periods. Sometimes it passes on its own, and given that post-wedding blues (and debt) are REAL, it’s likely that this will pass. MAKE SURE you don’t say anything you don’t mean during the hard times.

      I wish you the best. The hard times seem to take so long to get through.

    • Olive

      I found my therapist on psychologytoday.com, and we’ve done couples sessions with her, so that may be a good place to look. You can e-mail with someone to kind of get to know them and see if their methods will work for you. Good luck!

      • Jess

        This is how I found my therapist too! They have a feature where you can sort by insurance provider, which I found to be very helpful.

        • Olive

          Oh I didn’t know that! I also find their blog posts/archives really helpful. It’s solid advice from a professional when I need it and not some wishy washy crap you link to from Pinterest (usually).

    • LittleOwl

      Hugs!!!
      I am with you. I’ve been married less than a year, and the first few months were rough. I definitely had a moments where I wondered why things suddenly seemed so different. I even wrote into happy hour for advice!

      Everyone’s blues are different, but it helped me to focus on my own happiness and health for a bit (I was really burned out, as it sounds you and your spouse are). I read books like the happiness project, made a point to work out, and made a point to treat myself to happy things (for me) like baths, phone calls to friends, and library trips. APWers gave me the advice to discuss it with my spouse, even something as simple as “I’m feeling the wedding blues” because they are probably feeling the same way.

      Looking back, the best thing was that my spouse went on a weeklong worktrip during the peak-blues. I think we even fought the night before he left. Then, I missed him so much, and it gave me the space to see things a differently. When he got back, things were much better! There have been ups and downs since then but we have definitely emerged from the blues.

      Looking back, I think that time was particularly emotional and heightened. I remember feeling irritated about something normal (one of us making a mistake or forgetting something) and always extrapolating it into a big issue because I was afraid of “this is what our entire marriage will be like”! there was a lot of pressure to dive deep into those issues that were probably not even a big deal.

      We found a therapist through our church that we are meeting with soon! Sending hope and hugs to you!!

    • Emily

      I also googled “marriage counselor” and then called places til I found one that would take my insurance (rare, but does exist!). It was really hard for me to spend the money at first, because it was the number one thing we were fighting over, and was in dire short supply. It is REALLY REALLY REALLY, A THOUSAND TIMES REALLY worth it. A friend suggested that I put it in terms of being cheaper than a lawyer/getting divorced, which unfortunately was kind of where we were at.

    • Mallory2

      Bay Area person also currently looking for a therapist for couples counseling. Not sure if this applied to you, but if you happen to work for UCSF, they have great MH coverage that’s not widely publicized. I’ve been searching directly through my insurance (my coverage is better than my husband’s) and also through psychologytoday.com. On a final note, since I’m the one pushing for the counseling, and the coverage is through my employer, I was beginning to feel resentful that I was doing all the leg work to find someone. To balance things out, I’ve been searching for the provider’s and my husband is the one calling for the initial contacts to ask if they’re taking new clients, their evening availability, if they have experience in our particular need areas, etc. He was theoretically on board with it, but this has really helped his buy in and is a way for him to demonstrate his investment in the process (his love language is acts of service).

    • LJ

      Your situation sounds hard. Good for you for acknowledging that counseling is a helpful option and best of luck. We’re all here if you need it.

      On a slightly different note… my SIL mentioned briefly after her wedding that she felt a bit of a depression as she was meeting every weekend with family and inlaws and planning and stuff, and it was weird to not have that to work for anymore. Is that kinda what causes it? it seems like an accepted thing in this community and I don’t know anything about this… please enlighten me?

    • Rebekah Abeja

      Oh man, I am in a similar situation. I grew up very comfortable money-wise, so being short on money is a terrible new reality. We have two bills that are late, and rent will be late too, and I’ve spent quite some time crying about it. I hope you can find an affordable marriage counselor! I haven’t had luck there yet. I feel like we need so much freaking therapy both individually and as a couple. Mental health care is so heartbreakingly inaccessible, especially for those without insurance coverage.

  • JennDee

    This is an awesome week for my partner and I–we officially hit 275 days to our wedding, we began moving stuff into our new home and successfully had the roof ripped off and put back together again, we’re sending out the first half of our postcard Save the Dates today, AND it marks the official one year anniversary from when we got engaged. Whew!!

    I spent last weekend with my mama, mom-in-law and younger sister looking at wedding dresses. I was both excited and incredibly nervous–I’m six feet tall, street size 16, boobs for days and was terrified the bridal people would stuff me like a sausage into frilly white things and call me pretty. Alas, one store did just that (hello size 8 sample size, here’s my left leg. Oh what’s that, you need my leg to suck it in a bit more??) but the other two were incredibly amazing. They had dresses in all different sizes and the women working with me actually listened and were able to help me identify how I wanted to feel on our wedding day. I’m going back next week to order my dress–it’s ivory, lacy, has a teeny bit of shimmer and a train for daaaaaayyyyss. But, most importantly, I feel happy and giddy in the dress. That’s all I wanted, so I’m sold. Have a fantastic weekend!!

    • raccooncity

      CONGRATS! I’m glad you had fun dress shopping!!!!! (It was one of my favourite things ever.)

      • JennDee

        Thanks!! I’m not a very frilly kind of person so I was a bit spooked in the beginning, but it ended up being a great day with the three women I admire most.

    • Rose

      It is funny how much it varies between stores, isn’t it. We went to two–the first one (the one I found through APW, of course) was wonderful–the people were great, I felt comfortable, and although I had a definite favorite, honestly I would have been so happy with any of the dresses I tried on there. Everything in the store was beautiful. The second one, none of the dresses were that nice and the attendant was as unexcited as I was. Such a strange contrast. I’m glad you had a good experience and found a wonderful dress! It sounds beautiful!

  • raccooncity

    So this past weekend was my sister’s wedding and it was THE BEST. They wrote their own vows and the vows were perfect and magical. The location was incredible, and I had a great time. Her and her husband are the best ever.

    Just one of those weddings that makes you not angry that you had to buy 5 wedding presents in one summer.

    • Olive

      I’m going to my friends’ wedding in October and am so looking forward to seeing how it is on the other side of wedding planning :)

      • raccooncity

        Some of my friends and I were just talking (at another wedding I attended this summer) about how fun it is to go to weddings once you’re married. It’s no longer this thing where you have FEELINGS about ‘when will I get married’ and ‘do i want this at my future wedding’ – it’s just a really fun time and, in good cases, it reminds you how fun your wedding was.

        • Olive

          I’ve been enjoying helping my extremely type A friend relax, with only a few horror flashbacks to wedding planning. Can’t wait for all the happy flashbacks at the wedding (and actually eating, drinking, and talking to people for more than 5 min) :)

          • Eadaoin

            I’m already so excited for all the weddings we have in the calendar for next year. My two best friends from school will both be married within a few weeks of each other, and my college bestie the month before. We’ll be racking up air miles like nobody’s business but it’s going to be so nice to just be present for them and also revel in no more planning for us!

  • Katherine

    I passed the bar exam!! It feels like a huge weight has been lifted. Next up: the wedding. Less than 60 days to go…

    • Olive

      congratulations!!!

      • Ruthgknight1

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      • Geraldinejmaio3

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      • Theresajmddox

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    • Ashlah

      Woot, way to go!!

    • Shawna

      Woohoo, congrats!!!!

  • Gaby

    Hello everyone! I just recently got into commenting here but I wanted to spill about my future wedding! We’re six weeks away from the big day now and the planner in me uses APW articles to soothe my anxiety. I was reading an old pre-book anonymous discussion here (http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/09/apw-wedding-budgets-cold-hard-numbers/) about reader’s budgets for their weddings and it made me realize just HOW budget our wedding will actually be. Right, now it looks like the grand total will be under 5k including a 4 night cruise and really the only exclusion is my engagement ring. It’s been kind of eye opening because I always thought it was odd that everyone around me calls it a “small” backyard wedding when there will be up 100 guests, but I guess it is small in terms of budget. Either way, I couldn’t imagine anything bigger and it feels like the perfect wedding, though we could afford something double the price fairly comfortably. I’m hoping we get amazing photos so I can submit once it’s all done!

    • EF

      seriously, it’s all about if it works for you! we had a wedding for under $5K, including honeymoon (though the hotel was gifted to us), had 75 guests, would not want something big. It felt enough to me! So don’t let anyone’s comments get to you and certainly don’t allow any budget shaming. Even real budget weddings can be great :-)

      • Gaby

        Yeah, I’m including the things that some family in friends insisted on paying for us in the total budget! I’m sure your wedding was lovely and I know mine will be too, if anything I’m excited that we’re doing this at such a low cost!

  • driftless

    My husband and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary this week!

    We actually celebrated 2 anniversaries in the last few weeks: a) courthouse legal marriage and b) wedding where we said our own vows, had lots of family and friends, and wrote the ritual ourselves. It has been a wild and wonderful year (wild with so many life changes), and it felt good to celebrate over a few weeks, with a Wilco concert, a viewing of Kubo & the 2 Strings, and lots of yummy food and drink.

    I still have moments of being amazed by my grown-up life (I finished grad school last summer too and am in a super grown-up job as the director of a new nonprofit), but I’m so grateful and happy.

    • Olive

      Congratulations!!! :)

      Our 1 year anniversary is coming up and we’re planning a weekend getaway to Traverse City, MI. Wineries for days. I’m so excited.

      • driftless

        I love this idea! Ours sort of snuck up on us, so in the future we’re hoping to do what friends have done, and have a ‘marriage retreat’ somewhere beautiful (reminds me of some threads on hear before about having a regular “State of the Union”). But for this year, it was nice to just do little things to recognize it, even though I’m slightly jealous of your weekend getaway…. Congrats on your anniversary!

        • Olive

          Thank you!

        • Olive

          Ours might be a little retreat-y. My husband made us a “wine capsule” that we stuck a bottle of bubbly & letters in, with the plan being every anniversary we’ll add new letters & a new bottle of wine. I’m really looking forward to it.

          I’ve been working on vow art and re-reading those vows a bunch of times brought all the feels.

    • Carolyn S

      it’s our first anniversary tomorrow! Our anniversary plans have kind of fallen apart, but it will still be a good day, and at the very least we are going out for dinner! I think we have a big year of change ahead of us, and it’s nice to look back on our first year, which was really pretty great. Congrats to you on yours!

      • driftless

        Congrats on yours as well! At least for us, even doing a few small things to recognize our anniversary was great, so I imagine your dinner will be wonderful! We also read our vows to one another, which I really liked.

        • Carolyn S

          I had planned to make a “first year of marriage” scrap book. It started as our guest book at the wedding, and then I diligently wrote up about our wedding and recorded our vows. Then I thoroughly scrapbooked our honeymoon complete with photos and ticket stubs and menus and everything. Then I ignored it for 11 months. But last night I quickly finished with some photos I had printed over the winter to remember our first major holidays and then basically wrapped it up with point form notes about the summer. If I’m completely honest, it’s actually probably better than I thought I would get done. BUT it was fun to flip through it with the husband last night. We really have had a great first year. It’s really fun to think about boring our kids with the stories in 20 years about our first apartment and first new car.

          • Olive

            So lovely!

  • V

    So, a good friend of mine got engaged 2 weeks ago. As happy for her as I am, I’m having some feelings of jealousy and resentment. I’m in my mid 20s and extremely happy in my relationship with my boyfriend of 3+ years, and I have no doubts about marriage. We’ve discussed getting married for some time. I guess we’re “pre-engaged”? (I know the jury is out on whether that’s considered a real thing). We had a timeline and discussed getting engaged this year and married in October/November of 2017. We had begun touring venues, meeting with caterers, and I’d started getting the ball rolling on a dress. However, due to some circumstances out of his hands, it’s looking more like we’ll have to wait until the middle of next year to get engaged and have our wedding in October of 2018. It was upsetting, but I understood.

    My friend is in a great relationship, and I’m glad that she found a wonderful guy, but I was also secretly really upset. Not at her directly, but upset at my boyfriend because our wedding plans has been delayed. I kinda lashed out at him in an ugly way. I also felt embarrassed because my friend and her fiance have only been together for a little under 2 years, while we’ve been together for going 4 years. And I know, what we see on the outside isn’t the “entire” story. People tell and show you the “highlight” reels of their lives. The timeline of everyone’s life is different. I’m extremely rational, and I totally understand it. I told my FI how I was feelings, and he sympathized but didn’t really “get it.” He was very of the mindset of “but it’s not like we’re not getting married. We’re just waiting a touch longer.” Of course, in the grand scheme of things ,putting off our wedding by a year is inconsequential. However, her engagement hit me extremely hard. I never thought she’d be getting married before me. I fully admit that my feelings are childish, irrational, and unwarranted. I guess I’m just kinda venting about it to you guys.

    • If you’re looking at wedding venues and caterers (i.e., doing legit wedding planning), you are most likely already engaged. Is it just that you don’t want to announce to everyone? I don’t understand how you’re wedding planning and don’t consider yourself engaged?

      An engagement can be almost any length of time. Are you just waiting on a ring/proposal? That’s not 100% necessary to be considered engaged…this comment confuses me.

      • V

        I feel kinda conflicted? We’ve been doing wedding planning so for all intents and purposes, we’re unofficially engaged. However due to cultural expectations, he would prefer to do the proposal and give me the hardware first before we can start declaring ourselves “engaged.”

        • Cellistec

          Yeah, the cultural expectations certainly do make engagement look like an Official Life Status–putting a lot of weight on the public announcement and everyone feeling like they have free rein to ask the standard questions about dress, colors, venue, etc. So even if a couple is doing 100% the same wedding planning as another, but one couple has “made it public” and one hasn’t, the reaction from friends and family can be really different. I don’t get it myself, but that’s what I’ve observed.

          Sorry you’re so down about your friend’s engagement…it should be an exciting time, for both of you, and it sucks to feel like you’re not allowed to have certain emotions. All your emotions are legit.

    • flashphase

      Been there! My dude didn’t get it or feel jealous in the same way and it definitely caused some tension. Sending hugs – honestly, when I got engaged, it felt so great and all the other stuff melted away.

    • Amy March

      I think you need to separate out your feelings here. You aren’t engaged. Why not? You seem not thrilled with that. You say you’re extremely happy in your relationship, but you seem actually pretty upset by the status of things. I don’t think any of those feelings are childish or irrational. You’re on the one hand acting as though you are engaged by looking at venues etc, but on the other hand consider yourself decidedly not engaged even though you want to be. Your boyfriend doesn’t understand that waiting another year for a commitment you want is kinda a big deal?

      It seems to me that instead of really dealing with your feelings about this delay, you’re shuffling them off into feelings about someone else’s life, and that’s not fair to anyone. I get the whole “highlight” reels concept, but it feels almost like you’re suggesting that she can’t be as happy as he seems, and that’s not great. I also think maybe unpack why you never thought she’d be getting married before you. She’s been dating a great guy for 2 years, it’s not outlandish that they’d be getting engaged, so it strikes me as a bit off, and maybe worth thinking about, that you never considered this a possibility.

      • V

        We’re not engaged for good reasons. In fairness to him, he’s finishing up his last 2 semesters of his degree. He wants to finish school and work for a few months to feel like he’s in an appropriate financial situation to be married. He understands that I’m bummed out because we couldn’t adhere to our original guideline. I wanted to get married next year, but we can’t. But I don’t think he *understands* that seeing a friend get what I wanted on the timeline I wanted bummed me out in a unique way. As far as us looking at venues and pre-planning, we both agreed to do that so we’ll have figured out what we want in regards to wedding by the time we get formally engaged and that could also help us have a shorter engagement.

    • Olive

      I agree with byov…if you’ve started planning a wedding, you’re engaged. You don’t need a ring to be engaged or start planning a wedding. If you’re waiting to have a ring to tell people, that’s fine.

      I think it’s ok to be a little upset. You understand the situation and can handle it like an adult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be upset. I hope it doesn’t get in the way of you being there for your friend.

      • Amy March

        But, if your partner doesn’t think you are engaged, you are not engaged.

        • Olive

          Very true. That is the key.

        • raccooncity

          Also: if you don’t feel engaged then you’re not. I think it’s pretty clear that V doesn’t feel that she is engaged based on some standards that make sense to her (including her partner’s opinion), so then she’s not. Mr. RC and I would very seriously discuss wedding locations from time to time, or who we’d invite, but we weren’t engaged until we were, which was at least 5 years after our first actual serious conversation about our future wedding.

          There’s a difference between being so serious about your relationship you’re willing to discuss future plans for a wedding, marriage or children, and being engaged to be married.

          • Yeah, but actually meeting with caterers? Possibly considering giving a deposit and signing a contract? Engaged means “having formally agreed to marry.” For many people that’s a ring, or a specific conversation where you both agree. But if you’re going to sign contracts with vendors, that’s a formal agreement as well.

          • raccooncity

            Well, FWIW, it doesn’t sound like they signed a contract.

            Even still, I would argue that in terms of something that’s a completely amorphous concept like engagement, all that matters is that both people actually believe they are engaged.

          • V

            No contracts have been signed. We’re meeting with different vendors to get information /prices/timing ect. We’re not signing or putting money down on anything until after we’re formally engaged.

          • V

            Yeah, I agree with you. I know a lot of people on here are of the school of thought that once you’ve discussed wedding plans/know you want to marry each other that you’re engaged. I don’t think that’s the standard we’re using for us though. I waffle a lot and eventually say no when people who know us and know we’ve been together for awhile ask if we’re engaged.

          • Eh, around here it’s pretty common that when you’re thinking of marriage as a distant, but certain thing you’re pre-engaged. It’s the actual visits to vendors that’s throwing this off, because that means it’s not a distant thing. It’s become a concrete thing. You’re somewhere in the middle of the two states, lol.

          • v

            Lol I guess we need another unique label for people who are beyond pre-engaged but not “formally” engaged.

          • Amy March

            It’s called dating. When you are thinking of marriage as a distant but certain thing, you’re dating. When you are very close to getting engaged, but not actually engaged, you’re dating. Please no more made up words? #oiwiththebabymoonsalready

          • Yeah, sure, but I perceive there to be a difference in (1) dating someone you have no intention of marrying, (2) dating someone who you might (it’s a possibility) marry, (3) dating someone you’re definitely going to marry, but not for a long while. Yes, you can call all three of these “dating”, or you could call them “casual dating”, “dating”, and “pre-engaged.” You can make the distinction or not, whatever.

            Words are being constantly made up. Language is ever-evolving, and it’s determined by the general populace, which is kinda cool.

          • Jess

            I think in those situations it’s ok to say something like, “Not yet, but we are planning to be after X event” if that makes you feel more comfortable with where you’re at/less embarrassed about your current state.

            Giving yourself the power may help with the jealousy too. For me, verbally championing my own cause helps me feel more confident in my decisions and feel less compare-y.

    • Carolyn S

      Legitimate feelings for sure. I struggle (and I think a lot of us do) about being impatient for whatever is “next,” especially when those next things are so highly valued by society. I was happily dating, but impatient to get married. Then you get married, and think “well when will we..[insert next thing here]” where next thing is buy a house, have kids, better jobs, new city etc. etc. etc. You spend so much of your late teens and 20’s trying to finish things, from school, internships and dating (because in a way, getting married feels like finishing dating). The reality is there is a lot of time in the middle there where the next thing is far away. I don’t know if that’s a helpful thought, but at least was a good reminder to me, that when you put the “marriage” on the pedestal, you forget how easily the next thing will come. Friends getting married can be hard! They are getting the party, when you feel like you have just as much to celebrate.

      • V

        Very true. There will always be rushing to “the next thing” and my bf pointed that out to me. I’m trying my best to enjoy the dating time we have together now because these moments are special as well. The funny thing is that I was never a big “wedding” girl. Tbh, I low key don’t really care about the wedding day itself. I just wanted to be married and spend my life with this other person.

        • Carolyn S

          Yep! totally been there. In the end, you will get married and you might think “I’m glad we waited” or you might think “hooray! This is exactly what I’m hoping for and I’m so glad we are here.” Either way I’m sure you will look back and the wait won’t look as long in the rear view.

        • raccooncity

          Devil’s advocate here: I’ve been where you are. On a lot of issues. I’m the speed-it-up person in my relationship while my husband is very cautious and change-averse. When I’ve wanted something for our relationship, we’ve always gotten it on his timeline because relationships travel at the speed of the slower person.

          And it sucks. And sometimes I didn’t do things I wanted on the timeline I had planned and it still feels a little like husband didn’t care about my feelings, or cared more about his, or whatever. And sometimes I feel upset about the timing of things not working out well in my life. Because no matter how hard you press, unless you’re making an ultimatum (which isn’t a great idea), you can’t force someone to act.

          Most of the time I remember that I married a guy who is actually unbelievable in his patience with me and his steadfastness, which are qualities that are directly related to his cautious nature, so I try to appreciate the good and bad side of the coin. But I’m not going to lie and say that I see some amazing and happy side to waiting so long. I just did it because there wasn’t really another option. Try to understand that your feelings are about your own relationship and not your friend, though.

          • V

            Agreed. I don’t think I conveyed this in my post, but I’m not upset at my friend. I completely understand that my feelings are about my relationship. In fairness to the bf, if he had already finished school and were working, we’d be engaged tomorrow. He’s not waiting because he wants to. He’s ready to get married. He’s let me know that it’s upsetting to him that we had delay our plans. He’s waiting because he knows he has to present his best self to get the blessing from my parents and for his own peace of mind as well. He wants those ducks in a row, and I’m very thankful that I have someone who is mindful and considerate.

            And yes to the relationship progressing at the speed of the slower person. I’m not giving him an ultimatum, but I have made it very clear that it’s important that we adhere to our adjusted timeline. I think gentle nudges like that can be helpful. I’m essentially giving him another year to prep for an engagement and another 2 years to save up for marriage. I’m trying my best to be patient.

          • Amy March

            Present his best self to get the blessing from your parents?!?!?!? That absolutely blows my mind.

          • Carolyn S

            just because someone else’s cultural expectations differ from yours don’t automatically make them wrong.

          • Amy March

            Didn’t say it was wrong, just completely mind-blowing to me.

          • heyqueen

            Why’s that? I’m from a culture where the dude has to show he’s responsible and has a decent enough job to provide for his future wife before the parents will ok the wedding.

          • Amy March

            Because the very idea that your parents are the ones who get to decide whether your man is worthy of you, not you yourself, is deeply disturbing, fundamentally sexist, and I’m shocked every time someone buys into it. Like, even reading what you wrote- excuse me parents of the world? Since when do I need a dude to provide for me? I earn my own money but thanks for the concern.

          • heyqueen

            I get the western perspective and why you feel the way you do. However, you have to grow up in a cultural that has those kind of standards to understand. And here’s the kicker, some women do actually want a man to provide for them. That’s completely their prerogative.

            A HUGE portion of my culture is rooted in respect for elders. So yeah, the dude gets the blessing. A lot of women from where I come from are highly successful and well educated. They don’t need a man to provide for them.

          • Carolyn S

            I spent some time in India and we did some thorough cultural sensitivity training and one of the more enlightening things was about really spending time with traditions and wrestling if something is actually “wrong” vs “different.” Something like this – wanting your parents blessing, can seem “wrong” to a modern western feminist perspective, and maybe it’s a tradition that will eventually shift, but it’s so true that a lot of the reality is now more about respect for elders, which is actually a beautiful tradition. So thanks for your comments!

          • heyqueen

            Exactly. I think western feminists can be a little “I’m going to liberate you!” or “omg you’re so oppressed and you don’t know it” without considering cultural context. It’s really patronizing.

            There are tons of things I don’t necessarily agree with, but I don’t buck at all of them because it’s cultural, and it’s tradition. For example, I hate the idea of a dowry or “bride price.” However, I get that it means something completely different to my parents. It doesn’t mean I’m being “purchased.” It means “I love your daughter so much, and I want to join this family so here is a demonstration of my love.” So I’ll roll my eyes, but Mr.heyqueen will be giving a symbolic one when that time before the wedding comes.

          • Jess

            It’s shocking to me because my family culture was that my parents weren’t in a position to ok or grant permission. They could offer their input or advice after being notified, but didn’t really get approval rights.

            I get wanting to wait until both members of the couple feel “adult” enough – ducks in a row, that sort of thing, but to do it solely for the permission of a parent is way outside my life experience.

            OTH, this is not true of many women in the US, probably, especially of religious/conservative backgrounds. So, I get that it’s pretty typical for men to ask permission, but I don’t have to like it.

    • Kalë

      Hi Miss V, totally with you here. Just want to reaffirm your feelings – it can be really sucky and miserable when things don’t happen the way that they *should*, according to our Personal Timelines of Life. Especially when you have someone to compare things to – and it looks like their Personal Timeline of Life is “beating” yours. And then there’s guilt and shame on top of that, because you really do want to be excited for your friend, but instead you’re jealous (or whatever), and your feelings (though very real!) are not exactly the kindest, most generous ones you’ve ever had. I think a lot of people ’round these parts have been there, be it about getting engaged, buying a house, getting that promotion, or whatever else. I know I have, and have spoken at length about it on HH, in the not-too-distant past. So, solidarity to you, sister. Take some you time to process this – a bath, a walk, massage, whatever – you’ll get through it!

    • Cdn icecube

      If it’s any help whatsoever I’ve gone through something similar. My sister got engaged on her and her boyfriend’s one year anniversary (13 months of knowing each other) and I was PISSED. Outwardly I was very happy for them and hope that it will be the right decision, but internally I was seething. I know it’s not right, fair or rational, but something in me felt like she hadn’t ‘earned’ it, while me and the manfriend have been together for 5 years and are soclose to being engaged. While a rational part of me now (almost 6 months later) gets it and has moved past these feelings, I understand that at the time it can be hard. So solidarity sister.

    • idkmybffjill

      This same thing happened to me and I felt all the things you’re feeling! And then there’s that additional crappy feeling of feeling crappy for having those feelings! Silver lining – my friend got married six months before us and 1) having a wedding that I was in that close helped me figure out alot of logistical details by learning from things that didn’t go as smoothly. 2) She has been a FONT of enthusiasm and it’s actually ended up being really really special to share this time with her. I’m sorry for how you’re feeling now though, just thinking about that time puts a pit in my stomach – it was the worst!

  • Sosuli

    Positivity for this week: 1) I’m an auntie for the fifth time! Can’t wait to see my sweet little niece in December. 2) our thank you cards arrived and they’re looking good. 3) there was a 50% offer on when we ordered the cards so we got a canvas of one of our wedding photos and it turned out beeeeautiful.

    • Sosuli

      Canvas evidence!

      • Jess

        This is LOVELY!!!

  • Kat

    Biggg week over here. We finally closed on our first house! I posted a picture of the ugly kitchen in a thread a few weeks ago, and after much paint deliberation we painted the burnt orange walls a pale blue and I already love it 10000000 times more. New counters and backsplash to follow in the next year or so, but for now this makes a huge difference. (Before and after pics below)

    ALSO I finally recieved and accepted a job offer, after looking for months and months. It isn’t my dream job. However, it means I get my weekends back, paid vacation days, 401k matching, and only 6 minutes from our new place. Quality of life drastically improved!

    And I turned 23 this week! So far it’s shaping up to be much much better than 22.

    • KK

      The power of paint!!!

    • Ashlah

      Congrats on everything!! I turned 23 weeks after buying our first house too, so your post is taking me back to those exciting days :D The paint job looks great! And a 6 minute commute is to die for.

    • Eadaoin

      Six minutes?! I feel like that alone is worth congratulating, aside from all the other exciting things you have going on! Enjoy it all

  • Keri

    i just finished my first week of full-time internship in the city schools! It’s been a whirlwind but M.A.+C.A.S. in school psych, here I come!

  • Her Lindsayship

    Fiancé and I took a camping trip last weekend for some much needed us time (currently we have a great friend for a roommate, but it’s good to be alone with each other sometimes), and we got some good wedding talks in. After a few weeks of trying to plan a smaller wedding in France because Boston was looking prohibitively expensive, we are now looking back in Boston again. We seem to swing wildly from one wedding dimension to another, and when we’re in one, it seems like it’s probably The One, and then something changes our minds, and it feels a little bit like maybe we’re losing it. But Boston is our home, it’s where we fell in love, and it’s where most of our loved ones will actually be able to come to our wedding, so here we are.

    Just wanted to share in case others went through absurd amounts of alternate wedding planning realities. I think we’re going to set a deadline on our venue hunt, really hoping that will help.

    • Eenie

      We stopped looking for “the one”. We looked for one that would work and didn’t break the bank too much. We ended up going over our original budget just to be done, but the venue really did awesome things for us and it worked out well in the end. I planned the wedding in Atlanta, so I feel your Boston pain.

    • Whatever you choose, you’ll make it The One.
      That’s pretty much how this stuff has to work.

    • nosio

      This has been my planning experience thus far, too – swinging from big family wedding in Chicago to small wedding in California and finally settling back on having it in Chicago. It’s weirdly comforting to know I’m not the only one!

      • Her Lindsayship

        God, so comforting! I didn’t think we would be like this, we tend to be pretty good planners but this thing is nuts. Best of luck <3

  • Lawyer_Chef

    Our wedding is in three weeks! Eeek. How did you all deal with different people having different expectations for what you were going to do at the wedding? For example, FH’s parents are very excited about things like the first dance and parent dances, gender-separated “getting ready” rituals, a “first look,” cake cutting, etc., which are all things I didn’t plan on doing at our wedding. They were also adamant that we have separate hotel rooms for the night before the wedding, which I’m fine with (they volunteered to pay for the extra room), but wouldn’t have done myself. My parents are not really involved in the wedding planning because my mom is sick and won’t be able to attend. I’m trying to focus on appreciating my in-laws’ support and not being disappointed, but they have a lot of expectations that were not communicated to me until just now and it’s kind of overwhelming.

    • Is it possible they’re just generally excited for the wedding, and are focusing on specific things they’d assumed would happen? Can you give them specific things to be excited about that *will* happen? Whatever those might be?

      It’s odd that they’re excited about a first look, but expect you to have separate bedrooms. Unless by “first look” you don’t actually mean the one that happens before the ceremony?

      • Lawyer_Chef

        That’s a great response and it hadn’t occurred to me that they aren’t mandating as much as getting excited for something they expect will happen. Thanks!

        • Ashlah

          That’s the same thought I had when I read your comment! If you don’t correct their assumptions, you’re not even giving them a chance to be understanding and excited for what you’re actually doing/wanting. Next time they mention something they’re excited about, maybe try responding, in a super cheery, excited tone, “Actually, we’re doing X, we can’t wait!” Hopefully they’ll be just as excited for the reality as they are for the assumption.

    • NolaJael

      Hmm, personally that sounds like too many preferences to be fulfilled – this is your day! I think that, like you said, “expectations” is the key. People don’t even necessarily know what their expectations are, they just assume you’ll have all those things. I’d do a quick triage of what you care strongly about (either doing or not doing) and things you could go either way on. Quickly inform them of the big cares and go from there. But do get the word out about things you care about so as to give people time to adjust to the idea and not interrupt you day because you “forgot” to throw the bouquet or some such thing.

      • Oh man, never use the “this is your day” logic with regards to weddings. You can’t just blow off partner, family, community, & cultural expectations because it’s “your day.” That phrase is like a WIC-trigger, lol.

        • Jess

          Ha, I get it mostly from parents who have a different opinion and say, “Well, I guess it’s your day” with a lovely passive-aggressive sigh.

          It’s very strange.

    • Jess

      Wedding weekend buddies!

      I am still trying to figure out how to manage expectations. My typical tactic had been to just say, ‘Here’s what we’re doing’ and leave it at that, but as we’re getting So Close, I’m finding more people are letting their emotions fly.

      I’m in a position where for some things I would rather cave on than fight it (maybe parent dances feel ok?), and others it’s either too late to do anything about or I would rather stand my ground (if you’re not serving cake, it’s awful hard to have a cake cutting).

      My best example right now? My mom wants to be present during the first look. I want it to be the one part of my day where I don’t have to worry about other people watching my natural reaction in real time. She can view it vicariously in the pictures, which will be crafted to make the moment beautiful and I can react however I react. I’m not budging on this.

      I like byov’s perspective of replacing things for them to be excited about.

  • heyqueen

    Do any of you ladies have a planner? I secretly enjoy watching plan with me videos, but my planner is way more functional than pretty. Meaning, I do zero decoration. I need it strictly for getting shit written down and crossed off. I recently purchased the rose gold Happy Planner (don’t forget your 40% Hobby Lobby coupons), and I’m thoroughly enjoying it for all my organizational needs.

    • Gaby

      I requested a ban.do 16 month planner for Christmas last year I’m going to keep ordering them for years to come. I use it mainly for work so it’s functional but has adorable monthly illustrations, fun holidays listed, and stickers! I log personal stuff in the monthly calendars and use the daily portions to track my work duties.

      • heyqueen

        I was just watching a video where someone had purchased a ban.do. How coincidental!

    • emilyg25

      I do my planning on Google/iPhone. I need something that alerts me, otherwise I miss stuff.

      • I’ve been using todoist.com for several years and adore it. And I use Google calendar too. I like the idea of a paper planner and used to use them, but I have been on a quest to lighten my load in my purse/backpack and doing it all digitally and having it accessible on my phone is amazing. Plus, like you said, the alerts and reminders help so much!

    • CommaChick

      I can’t function without my [hardcopy] planner. Mine’s from Walmart. It’s not decorative, but it’s functional, made from recycled paper and is not hideous. I’m picky about my planner.

  • toomanybooks

    Hey APW!
    My fiancée has just started her PhD program. She’s still working full time. She’s already gone through grad school, of course, and told me that for the next five years, she’ll basically be working and sleeping. Does anyone have any advice? Like, how to support her, how to be okay myself, anything helpful? I’m thinking it might be good to set up a weekly date night so we still have cute hangout time together (we do live together lol), and I’m probably going to get her a cute backpack for school/work, but I keep feeling like there must be some way to prepare myself for what’s coming up. (Is it really that bad?)

    • Bsquillo

      It certainly depends on her program…but as one half of a couple who were both in grad school at the same time during our engagement, I have to say it’s not actually that bad. You certainly need to have realistic expectations about how much time you’ll be able to spend together, and keep communication lines open. I think the idea of scheduling some small amount of regular time every week for just the two of you is a great idea- for us, we usually ate dinner at home together throughout the week.

      Also, make sure you’re taking care of yourself by having other support systems and activities to keep you busy and enriched! Go out with friends, take up a hobby, learn a new skill, etc. And best of luck to both of you!

    • NolaJael

      Eek. It sounds like she’s verbalizing the internal pressure she’s feeling. Honestly, what she mentioned is the fast lane on the highway to burnout. My partner completed his PhD (on time and with distinction) and still had a life outside of his degree – weekend hiking trips or trips to visit me before we lived in the same city, etc. One of the worst aspects of grad school is there is no such thing as “enough” (sound familiar, feminists?). In theory you could always study one more hour, read one more paper, track down one more citation, etc. My advice is twofold 1) she needs to figure out what her goal is beyond graduation and focus on things that move her towards that (http://theprofessorisin.com/ is a great website for that) and 2) self care – grad students have huge rates of anxiety and depression and, no, more “working” does not solve those things. Good luck to both of you.

    • Amy March

      Yes. Tell her that working and sleeping and nothing else is, actually, not something that is going to work for you for five freaking years, and that the two of you need to be making a different plan. I have no idea what her PhD program is like, but if she’s right, and the only way to do this is with nothing but work and sleep, then it is quite possibly time to rethink the plan entirely. I think it would also be completely within bounds to say something like “wow- five years with no time for this relationship or the rest of your life? I’m honestly kinda hurt you thought that was an ok thing to sign on for. We need to work something else out here.” I think its not so much about specifics- yeah, there will probably be times with nothing but work and sleepy – but with a shared understanding that time together is vital, and a priority, and not something that you just gear yourself up to get through. Stress is understandable and to be expected, but expecting to do nothing but work and sleep for five years isn’t a reasonable solution.

      • Cdn icecube

        I went through something similar with my manfriend when he was finishing up his schooling. He tried to pull the “I’m really busy with school and work so please don’t contact me because I’ll get distracted card” (he’s got pretty bad ADHD). That DID NOT fly. I tried to be supportive, but after about 2 weeks of feeling like an annoyance I snapped, we had a huge fight and nearly broke up. After talking about things and re-phrasing a lot of things we came up with something that worked for us. At the bare minimum we had to have one ‘date’ night a week. It didn’t have to be anything fancy, it could just be us watching a movie with our phones off. But it went a long way towards me feeling like I wasn’t an annoyance while allowing him the space to finish his schooling. I’m not saying that this will work for you, but I really encourage you to stand up for the type of relationship that you think you need. Because schooling can be a really good excuse to put the people that you love on the back burner and that’s not ok if you want them to still love you when you’re done.

    • Alyssa Andrews

      My fiancee can really empathize with you since I was the one in grad school, but seeing as he doesn’t read this site, I’ll do my best! For me, my fiancee completely saved my sanity by simply making sure basic household stuff was done and would cook meals en masse on weekends so I could literally grab-and-go for my lunches and dinners all week (and seriously, many times breakfast too). I can’t lend too much by way of taking care of yourself beyond being comfortable recognizing and vocalizing your needs when necessary, because I really appreciated when my fiancee would be vocal (and sometimes put his foot down) to advocate for his own needs since I was often pretty far into my own world and couldn’t see anything beyond what I needed to get done for school or work.

      • NolaJael

        This works if you two have discussed it and it is what you both agree is best for the couple, but it can’t be assumed that just because your partner is in a PhD program you get a live-in maid.

        • Alyssa Andrews

          Totally, and I wasn’t meaning to imply that it was. Just sharing what my experience was and what I found helpful from the “working/sleeping partner” side of the equation. That set-up evolved over time and is eventually what worked best for us, but obviously every couple needs to figure out what is going to work best for them.

          • NolaJael

            I assumed you all had worked it out in a supportive manner. ;) Honestly, with really big career decisions, it does matter that both partners are on board and it often does make sense for one person to pitch in in other ways (bread winning, cleaning, childcare, social engagement planning, etc.) because this will affect both of you for the long term. The caveat is that there is that stereotype in med schools of the dutiful wife that makes ends meet so hubby can study and get the best residency who is then traded in for a pretty nurse once med student becomes a real doctor with real doctor’s pay. All long term relationships are negotiations of work and trust, but you don’t want to be 100% devoted to your partner who is more devoted to their work than they are to you.

          • toomanybooks

            Hah, yep. I was excited to go to the partners and spouses orientation… Until I realized it took place squarely in a work day! Not a stay at home spouse. We’ve already joked about how I’m totally not going to take on a second, unpaid job of housekeeping. I think she’s in a much better place than she was when she was in grad school, and may just be nervous. We are Lesbians Who Are Very Aware Of Mental Health And Self Care, so not too many worries there. I’m excited for her to get her PhD; I know she’s always planned on it and I certainly wouldn’t mind the pay increase it would lead to in her field.

          • Ashlah

            I was excited to go to the partners and spouses orientation… Until I realized it took place squarely in a work day!

            Whaaaaat?? Someone should maybe point that out to the organizers. What a silly assumption for them to make.

          • Alyssa Andrews

            Ahhh… thank you for the med school explanation, I had no idea about that stereotype (got my Master’s in Counseling Psych but since school brings out the Hermione in me I naturally treated it like a PhD program) but I can totally see why you want to negotiate those situations carefully and in a way that works for both parties and the future of the relationship without anyone feeling unsteady about their own standing in the relationship — by way of resentment, obligation, etc. etc.

    • It’s actually only that bad the last few months or so, at the end of dissertation-writing. The rest of the four and a half years is full of bringing your work home with you when you shouldn’t, and feeling guilty all the time for not working constantly. It sounds like she’s beat the bandwagon to the anxiety, and should probably get herself some therapy before the self-imposed guilt/stress gets too bad.

      It is mostly, about 75%, self-imposed stress. Dealing with your own expectations can be a struggle.

      • EllaByNight

        This is pretty true to my experience of being the supporting spouse while my husband got his Ph.D.

        He helped combat the pressure to work all the time by treating his doctoral work like a corporate job. He would go into the office from 8 to 4 Monday thru Friday. He did his work during business hours then left it all at the office outside of that time. It wasn’t always a perfect system and your partner’s work day might need to be longer depending on workload, but setting an expectation of firm working hours and non working hours helped combat the stress and the self induced pressure to work all the time. It also had the benefit of being in line with my more traditional schedule so we worked and played at roughly the same times.

        As with a normal job there were some points where he would work longer–usually whenever he had a lot of grading to do and during the last push to get his dissertation done–but by concentrating his work during specific hours he was able to maintain the rest of his life while getting his Ph.D.

    • NolaJael

      On a lighter note, this is a bit far down the road but…dissertation writing. When my uncle was in grad school and writing his dissertation his wife set up his typewriter desk at the end of the hallway (their small apartment didn’t have an office) and would pack his lunch in a paper bag every morning and told him to go to the desk and that he could “come home” at 5pm. You treat it like a job. When my partner wrote his dissertation it took months and we had a similar set up. He worked all day in our living room and was finished around 5:30pm when I’d get home from work. At some point there are diminishing returns and it’s more important to work a little bit every day than to work a lot and burn out for weeks.

    • Poppy

      I just want to add that in my experience, very direct communication is going to be more essential than ever for both of you. You will need to be able to express when your relationship needs attention and she will need to be willing to respect that and change her behavior accordingly, and she will need to be able to explain to you exactly what weird thing she might need from you when she’s under particular pressure while you try to keep an open mind. An example: while I was in the coursework stage of my PhD, I really needed a good night’s sleep and had concurrently become a super light sleeper because of the stress I was under. It felt weird to tell my partner I wanted to sleep in the guest room for a few nights because his tossing and turning was keeping me up. I tried to be super clear with him that I did not resent his tossing and turning one bit, I just needed a few good nights of sleep in a row. It didn’t “mean” anything about our relationship that I didn’t want to sleep in the same bed as he did that night. He did a great job not taking it personally.

      It seems like your fiancée is expressing her anxiety to you, as other commenters have mentioned. In my experience, grad students who don’t at least try to maintain an identity outside of the academy have a very tough road ahead of them. Grad school for me was cyclical – it wasn’t years on end of non-stop insanity, it was more like 3-4 months of total chaos followed by a month of downtime in which we did a ton of traveling, hiking, relaxing together.

    • saywhatnow

      Congrats to her! Doctoral programs can be all-consuming, there’s no doubt. My first concern is… will she keep working? Because that sounds really rough. Institutions and disciplinary fields all differ of course, but typically PhD students are just that — full-time students (I’m very aware that I was privileged to enter a program fully-funded, and that different institutional tiers = different expectations). That part seems important to address.

      For the rest, I agree wholeheartedly with NolaJael about post-graduation goals, since those will shape how she approaches the degree. It’s also true that PhD work knows no bounds, whether during coursework or dissertation research/writing stages (working on weekends feels normal to me precisely because of grad school habits). Formalizing time off – say, Sundays are off, or no work after 8pm – might help both of you: for you, in feeling like your fiancée isn’t engaged to her PhD, and for her, in structuring her work days and giving her the time off that students too rarely feel they can take.

  • Jenn

    Looking for some insight from those of you that did not change your name when you got married! I’ve read the APW pieces on this already, and I feel like I have a good understanding of why people choose to change/not change their name, but the issue is that almost everyone I know has changed their name and I don’t have the alternate perspective. I’m really leaning towards not changing my name, but nervous about what it will be like to take the less traveled name route.
    What has it been like not to change your name? If it’s been years since you got married, would you do anything differently now?

    • My mother didn’t change her last name…the only regret I’ve heard her express is that she didn’t insist on giving her children hyphenated hername-hisname last names…

      I do not plan on changing my last name when I get married. The wedding website FAQ says so ;)

      • NolaJael

        My “aha!” moment on the name change thing was when my mother admitted that she regretted changing her name (even though they are still happily married!). I realized that even people who had changed their names might not be as “for” the idea as I’d assumed.

        • Ashlah

          Yes! We both hyphenated, and when I told women of the generation before me our plans, SO many of them thought it was fantastic and confessed to wishing they’d done something different when they were married. It made some of their husbands uncomfortable, which I relished a little bit.

        • LJ

          My mom made no secret of her wishing she was still called her maiden name, but as I mentioned in my much-earlier point the marriage was really rocky so it’s not exactly a prime sample. She hugged me the second I told her I wasn’t changing my name. It felt validating.

        • Mari

          My mom admitted to me a few years ago that if she got married today, she would have kept her name. She and my dad got married in the early ’80s (happy marriage, still together), and this was the first time I heard her comment on her name in a less-than-positive way. While I knew for much of my twenties that I wouldn’t change my name (and just got married a few weeks ago, no name change), knowing that about my mom has helped me feel strong in my decision to keep my name.

        • emilyg25

          My mom also admitted this. But when they got married in the 70s, my dad’s brother’s wife had just recently taken their last name after trying for two years to keep hers. It was such a PITA then.

      • Laura

        i LOVE that it’s on your FAQ!

        • I really like the wording:
          “Will the couple be changing their names?
          Both FI and byov have decided to keep their last names. Please continue to address mail to byov ____ and FI ____.”

          • LJ

            This wording is SO gender equal love love love love it!

          • ‘Stole it from someone else on APW awhile back ;)

      • Sosuli

        We’re doing the mylast-hislast for kids and will both hyphenate our own when we have one. It’s such an established fact that last weekend when a friend of his mother’s asked about me not changing my name, husband came straight out and said what we were doing. I was silently happy dancing inside that he has become so matter-of-fact about this.

        • Ashlah

          Out of total, blatant curiosity, is there a reason you’re choosing to wait for kiddo to hyphenate your own names? I don’t recall where you’re located, but here it would have been a much more expensive and complicated to change our names beyond the wedding. (Not that finances are the only reason to make such a decision.)

          • Sosuli

            We’re in the UK (but may be elsewhere in Europe by the time we think kids) and based on what I looked into, there isn’t a significant price difference whether we do it now or later. Also I just renewed my passport six months before the wedding and I can only do that when visiting home so it’s just complicated. Also we’re happy to use our own names for now, but feel like we’ll want a family name when we have kids. Multiple things really.

          • Ashlah

            Makes sense!

          • LJ

            In Canada, name changes are free within a year ONLY if it’s only one spouse (regardless of gender) taking the other spouse’s name. Any other type of change is full fee no matter when or why it happens.

          • Ashlah

            Interesting! It varies a ton in the US, but I’m in one of the few states where both spouses can change their name for free on the marriage license. They also allow various combinations, short of a name mashup or brand new name. I feel pretty fortunate!

          • LJ

            That’s so cool!! Here is the BC rules – apparently it’s provincial jurisdiction so I shouldn’t speak for all of Canada… legal changes of name are the expensive changes:

            Situations Not Requiring a Legal Change of Name

            Name Change Following Marriage

            Section 3 of the Name Act allows you to assume your spouse’s surname after marriage without completing a legal change of name. In most cases, changing your name on bank accounts, social insurance number, driver’s license, and other agencies is as simple as showing your current identification and your marriage certificate.

            There are only a couple of circumstances in which you would need a legal change of name to take a spouse’s name:

            • If you want to create a new surname by adding your birth surname as a middle name, or combining it with your spouse’s surname. e.g. Smith-Jones or Smith Jones; or
            • If you want to update your immigration or citizenship documents to reflect a new name or a married surname.

            If you were born and/or married in B.C., changing your surname legally will change your surname on your birth certificate and your current marriage certificate. If you were born or married outside of B.C. but within Canada, contact your birth/marriage province to find out how it will affect your record.

          • Carolyn S

            depends on the province as well. I changed my name, but in Alberta you don’t even really have to legally change it. I’ve just assumed my husbands name, which I kind of like. it’s still my before married name.

          • (Except in Quebec, which doesn’t allow name changes for marriage.)

    • Emily

      I didn’t change my name and I wouldn’t do anything differently (I was married 2 years ago). I never considered changing my name; I’ve always felt that it’s my name (I know, that’s complicated too).

      What has it meant… for us it isn’t very complicated. I married a man with three daughters that have his last name (and live with us full time). We sign Christmas cards “The [their last name]s and the [my last name]. We live in a small town and it hasn’t been a problem with schools. I’m trying to think of other places it might be a problem…

    • Laura

      didn’t change mine – people have been either a) dead supportive (i literally got a ‘good for you!’ the other day) or b) don’t care.

      and i care. this is my name. i love this name, and have achieved things in this name, so it wasn’t changing. my husband was ‘meh’ about it for like, 2 minutes and now couldn’t care less/is happy that i’m happy.

      my mom did change her name, and she says she wishes she hadn’t. her father died shortly after she got married and they had a very close bond and she says now that it would have meant a lot to keep it. as my dad says, ‘so change it back, i don’t mind!’ :) they’ve been married 32 years and are really happy – it has no bearing on your level of commitment. i also have a friend who kept it for a few years because she wasn’t ready to change it yet. three years in she did, and as it was a surprise, gave her husband her new drivers license as his birthday present!

    • ZLMT

      I didn’t change my name and our kid has my last name (which I also recommend!). I never saw a reason to do it, I dislike the expectation, and I like my name. Granted, out of all my married friends, only two have changed their names, so perhaps also a cultural thing? Anyway, I wouldn’t do anything differently. Probably the first year we got a couple misaddressed cards, but otherwise, it’s really not that hard for people to use the right name/address things correctly.

      • Ashlah

        I love that you gave your kid your last name. I’m so sick of the attitude of “I’m keeping my name, but of course the kids will have his name.” It’s fine if that’s a decision you come to consciously and purposefully, but the assumption of it makes my blood boil. (The number of kids with absentee-fathers’ last names is so upsetting to me.)

        • Emily

          I didn’t do this, so can’t vouch for how it work work out in real life. But I always liked the idea that girl children would have my last name and boys his last name. Obviously I’m thinking in terms of my hetero relationship.

          • I always liked this idea, too, but it’s not great if you’re only going to have one child, or you end up with 3 boys or something like that. Plus, lots of people have a preference for the children having the same name. I’d probably just hyphenate the kids’ names.

          • Ashlah

            It’s not my favorite solution, because I don’t really like the idea of categorizing kids by gender. Plus what if they’re trans or non-binary? Regardless, we’re planning on one-and-done, so my feelings on it aren’t really relevant :)

          • Emily

            Yeah, you make good points. It’s become clear in my life that my children are stepchildren, so I’ve never put a lot of thought into it.

        • Eenie

          My kids get my name! That was honestly my end goal when we decided on names, and my husband doesn’t care. Which meant we both did nothing but are both happy with it.

      • Mallory2

        We decided to separate out the decisions. When we got married 4 years ago, we both decided to keep our names. He also had many entitled assumptions about me automatically changing mine, so this was the most contentious, painful part of wedding planning (but also really helped us grow and encouraged him to reflect). We agreed to re-address names when we seriously start talking kids. Neither he nor I are any more interested in taking the other’s name, and our last names don’t flow well hyphenated (we seriously made a spreadsheet of every name combo we could think of), so it’ll be another emotional conversation when we get to this. My spoken here for the first time yearning/dream/plan is that all of our kids will have my last name.

      • Poppy

        I’d love to know more about how you and your partner came to the decision to give your kid your last name.

        I’ve kept mine, as have most of my married female friends and no one except one waitress on our honeymoon has been confused by it. We’ve deferred the issue of what a future child’s last name would be, but I think it will be a point of conflict in the future.

        • ZLMT

          Happy to! This is something I really felt strongly about and pushed for. I come from a family of girls, so my name would die out otherwise. But, even if that weren’t the case, I still felt strongly that it shouldn’t be the default that the guy’s name was given to children.

          This was more challenging for us than the married name thing (my husband’s mom kept her name), since my husband always expected to give kids his name. but we had some long discussions and we agreed to use my husband’s last name as my son’s middle name and give him my last. We hope to have another kid at some point and will give that child my husband’s last name (and my last as his/her middle). I have some mixed feelings about siblings not sharing the same name, and would have loved to give both kids my last, but this was our compromise. I did insist that the first kid would have my name though.

          • Poppy

            Thanks so much for sharing this! I have a feeling I will be referring back to this in a couple years when the offspring’s name issue might become more pressing. I know a ton of women who have kept their names but almost none who have given their children their last name.

          • JLily

            Re. Default that the guy’s name is given! I have one brother who is the only male ‘to carry on the family name’, and I hate that assumption! It presumes that a) he will have kids and b) that his kids would automatically have his last name, and c) that mine or my sisters wouldn’t. Subtly, it makes me feel less-than because OBVIOUSLY I couldn’t carry on the family name and can’t serve that purpose. Kind of a shitty assumption for all involved.

        • Eenie

          I don’t have kids yet, but I felt very strongly about having the same last name as my kids AND both of us choosing either changing or not changing our names at marriage. He did not want to change his name. If you do the math, we are both satisfied if kids get my name. We compromised with him picking middle names and having a second middle name of his last. He was really excited about this naming responsibility. I will have to let you know how it works out in reality!

          • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

            I’m really digging this option!

      • emilyg25

        We hyphenated and I love that our kid has both our names. But I insisted that mine be first. I’m hoping that if the kid ever decides to drop a name, he’ll drop the last part! :P

        • Ashlah

          Ha, I love the symbolic nature of our hyphenated name, but a small part of me still fantasizes about my husband deciding it’s a pain in the ass and suggesting we use my last name because it’s nicer. He already thinks our hypothetical kid will do exactly that someday, so let’s just get the ball rolling… :p

    • JLily

      Disclosure: I got married almost two weeks ago, so I am sure it gets better!!

      However, I didn’t change my name, and its been a bad experience in dealing with others this week. And I kinda thought people would assume I was keeping mine (in part because they know I’m a raging feminist, and in part because I told people?)! But almost all of our cards say Mr. and Mrs. HisName and people at work this week have been super difficult to deal with. SO many blank stares, giggles, and negative responses. The patriarchy, man. Oof.

      That said, I am sure that it will get better and people will adjust. I don’t regret a thing–I never intended to change my name and probably never will! Just be ready for it to be A THING if the people around you aren’t used to it.

      • Jenn

        I’m curious to see how the work reaction will go. I’m the only woman in my department and most of my male coworkers are not married, so I’m sure they’ve never considered changing their names and I don’t know what they will think about it.

        • JLily

          It will be interesting to see if they ask! The only guys who have asked me have been older. I keep wondering how guys my age (with fewer peers married) would respond. Like, maybe if they never thought about it they wouldn’t even think to ask!

      • Solidarity. It’ll get better. The more it happens, the more used to it people will become.

      • LJ

        I am dreading/stoked on this time. feminist educating opportunity!

        • JLily

          I was stoked about it too, but thought maybe it would be less frequent that I would have to ‘educate.’ But I do feel like my responses might be enlightening for some people, so it’s a win in the end. Just a burden, when it’s so much at once. I’ll bear it though, for the cause. Options should really be options!

      • Mari

        Solidarity. I got married 3 weeks ago and also didn’t change my name. At the wedding we had our DJ announce as “for the first time as a married couple, MyFirst MyLast and HisFirst His Last!”, which I hoped people would pay attention to… but we’ve gotten a handful of cards from guests since the wedding addressed to Mr. and Mrs. HisLast, so clearly not! They’ve been mostly from older relatives who I think just assume that after a woman changes her name after marriage. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with difficult people at work – that really sucks.

      • Rebekah Abeja

        I hate Mr and Mrs hisname! I got a wedding invitation addressed like that, and I joked “do you have a wife I don’t know about, because our invitation should read Mr Phillip ourlast and Ms Rebekah ourlast, not Mr and Mrs Phillip ourlast!”

      • MC

        Yep, I would say that immediately after the wedding was the most frustrating time for me as someone who didn’t change their name, because we did get so many cards and checks with the wrong name (sidenote: DON’T WRITE CHECKS ASSUMING A WOMAN WILL CHANGE HER NAME, WORLD). I was really disheartened by the number of people who made the assumption that I would change it, especially since I, like you, am a raging feminist and talked a lot about why it was important for me to keep my name. I underestimated how seriously ingrained it is as a cultural practice.

        We dealt with it by getting return address labels with both of our full names on them, mine listed first, and that corrected a lot of people. Some aunts on husband’s side of the family persisted (out of assumption or ignorance or who knows what) and after the 2nd or 3rd time I asked my husband to e-mail them & let them know they had my name wrong. We’ll see what happens this holiday season after 2 years of being married, but it does get much better.

      • idkmybffjill

        I’m a month away from getting married and have been so surprised at the opposite experience I’ve been having! I’m changing my last name….honestly? Because my maiden name is clunky and annoying and people on the phone always get confused and his is easy and I’m really thrilled to not have to explain my (what should be simple but has never been to the extent that I have a rehearsed way of explaining it. “Blank like the color, blank ilke the name, all one word) last name anymore! I must run in a super feminist circle because I feel like I’ve had to defend my choice to change it SO. MUCH. Like…. to almost every person who has found out I’m changing it. And sure it’s partly, “I like the idea of us having the same last name,” but it’s mostly “I don’t like my last name so am pumped for this opportunity to get a new one!”. It is so bizarre to me that people care so much about other people’s chocies!

    • CO

      I didn’t change my name, and haven’t really had to deal with anything out of the ordinary – it’s mostly just like it was before I got married (3 years ago). I won’t say it never occurred to me to change it, but it’s my name and I like it. Also my mom ended up changing her name and then changing it back, so having different names seems completely normal to me.

      We’ve gotten a few things addressed to Mr. and Mrs. HisFirst HisLast, but since they were mostly cards/checks from his parents’ friends I couldn’t bring myself to care (just made sure to include both full names in the thank you note return addresses). The one from my maternal grandmother inspired a bit of an eyeroll, though.

      The one thing I think could cause conflict is which name any kids get, but since we’re currently leaning towards not having kids to name I’m avoiding that particular discussion.

    • EF

      Didn’t change my name, no regrets. He didn’t change his, no regrets.

      Occasionally someone (who knows us) says something. Grandparents mis-label cards. But it’s almost entirely fine.

      I *did* make sure to send out holiday cards last winter though, with our names prominent on the envelope, just to reinforce that nothing had changed.

      • Saxyrunner

        I made really non-subtle address labels with both our names on them for our thank you cards. I think it’ll work.

    • AP

      I didn’t change my name, and it was a bit of a struggle for my husband to accept it at first (like, we almost didn’t get engaged over it.) That was the worst part. Once he shook off the male entitlement and privilege (which is literally all it was, he’d simply always assumed his wife would take his name without ever examining his assumptions) everything since has been fine. At our wedding, the officiant announced us as “for the first time as a married couple, HisFirst HisLast and MyFirst MyLast” to really drive the point home. My mom told me afterward that she thought she saw my MIL look surprised at that, but I didn’t see it and she’s never said a word. My husband’s family has never mentioned it.

      In the year we’ve been married, I can count on one hand the number of times it’s been an issue. Like when we went to buy homeowner’s insurance, our agent assumed we had the same last name and when I corrected her for the paperwork, she looked at my husband in surprise as if to gauge his reaction or get his approval. That kind of sucked. Around Christmas we got a ton of cards addressed to Mr. and Mrs. HisFirst HisLast, which annoyed the hell out of me. I got a wedding invite with my name wrong, and I just sent back the RSVP card with our correct names. Really it hasn’t been a big deal.

      I’m also the only woman in my immediate circle who didn’t change her name. I have a few friends with hyphenated names, but most changed theirs. Sometimes the ones that changed theirs can be a little defensive or judgy, but I just don’t make a big deal out of it. I don’t call people out for using my incorrect name if it’s someone I’ll probably never see again. I gently correct family and friends, but most of them get it right. I also don’t use Mrs., but that one doesn’t really come up as often.

      We haven’t had the conversation yet about what we’d name our potential kid(s). I don’t expect that conversation to be easy, but I have faith that we’ll find something that works for us now that my husband has seen just how much of a non-issue it is for us to have different last names.

    • savannnah

      For a long term perspective- I grew up with a mom who kept her name and I’m not planning on changing mine. It was never, not even once, an issue for us growing up- it never made life harder- in fact- because my mom and I work in the same field, it’s only been benifical.

      • Jenn

        Thanks, this is exactly one of the things I was curious about! Some people actually say “well how will someone know they are your child if they have a different last name?” And I just think that’s kind of ridiculous.

        • savannnah

          Yeah- I mean I grew up in the northeast so it might be different elsewhere but no one cared, and those types of concerns to me were exactly that- ridiculous

        • Emily

          I have stepkids, so this might be different. But our having different last names has not caused a problem with teachers, schools, docs, other parents or anyone else. The first time I meet a teacher (if it is only me) I say, “Hi, I’m [full name]. I’m [kids’s full name]’s stepmom.” No one’s been confused.

          • MC

            That’s the thing – it is SO common for kids to have parents with different last names, whether they’re step-children, have divorced parents, have foster parents/non-biological legal guardians, one of the parents didn’t change their name, etc. My mom’s last name is different than mine because she went back to her birth name when my parents divorced and it has never been an issue. I worked at a school for a year and we had so many situations like this that never presented any issue.

    • emilyg25

      We both kept our names when we got married. It’s never really been an issue. Very occasionally, someone will act weird about it, but that’s their problem. And folks pretty often mix up our names, but that’s easy to correct. I have no regrets. I lovelovelove my last name.

    • heyqueen

      No opinion to share, but has anyone hyphenated by your last name and your partner’s last name were both extremely long?

      • Jenn

        Funny, we decided not to go the hyphenation route because we thought it was too long. My last name is 8 letters and his is 10. But I did consider it!

        • heyqueen

          I think I’m leaning toward not hyphenating and just keeping my name. Our last names individually are consistently butchered by most people -__-.

          • Jenn

            If we have kids in the future, we may revisit hyphenation, but it seems cumbersome for now.

      • CommaChick

        I have a name like that, and the length (and hyphen in general) are actually the reasons I’m not keeping my name after the wedding. My name doesn’t fit on forms or on my driver’s license, and many systems don’t even accept hyphens in their databases. My parents thought it was worth the hassle and loved their hyphenated name, but I am looking forward to changing it.

    • LJ

      Wedding isn’t for 5 months but I’ve made a decision to keep my name. Things that helped me decide:

      1) although she is totally cool with it, my SIL and I share a first name so this would make my fiancé’s wife’s full legal name the same as his sister’s maiden name (she has since married and changed). It kinda feels like the name is taken, in a way – and SIL has been nothing but welcoming and gracious in this unique situation, so absolutely nothing negative from her.

      2) my last name is the only obvious and frequently-referenced tie to my family’s heritage (my paternal family has a refugee history), which I am immensely proud of and draw strength from. My grandparents went through Tough Shit and I want to maintain ties to that legacy.

      3) I’m gonna be just shy of 30 when I get married. I’ve already used my name as an adult for decade-plus. I feel some solid attachment to it now… if I married at 19 or 20, I may feel differently here.

      4) we agree to give any children we have his last name, so he still gets to pass on his name (I have a brother so no push on me to do the same).

      5) my last name is unique due to ethnic history and has led to nicknames and memories. Seems a shame to cut it out due to memories of being called by it as a youth.

      6) our names don’t hyphenate.. it would be an awkward unpleasant mouthful.

      7) crossing international borders with children with different last names doesn’t seem as a big a pain in the butt as I thought it might be (genuine logistical concern of the choice) – just carry a letter from the dad OR, you know, travel as a family (as I would reasonable assume we’d do 99% of the time)

      8) studies I’ve seen (can’t be bother to google them but they’re around) show that people who are introduced to “Mr John Smith and his wife Mrs Jane Smith” see jane as nurturing and gentle and nice, whereas people who are introduced to “Mr John Smith and his wife Ms Jane Scott” see Jane as ambitious, smart, and independent. I would rather be seen as the latter in my career and personal life, and well… anything to slow the impact with the glass ceiling, right? Lots of fascinating studies out there in psych and social sciences as to the perception of women with different names than their spouse. Generally, they see Mrs’s as more family-oriented and Ms’s as more career oriented, and generally as more independent overall.

      9) I dislike with the principle of “create a family by cutting off part of your identity”. I’m all for adding names to create that homogeneity, but taking away? That seems counterproductive. I know some people feel differently, but it doesn’t work for me personally.

      And as an end note, I would like to add that fiancé initially had a poor reaction to this but came around to it nicely (#4 helped him) after a few months of him thinking and me showing him examples. So, it’s a delicate topic.

      • Mari

        I’m fascinated and heartened by those studies you mention! Will have to look those up.

        • LJ

          In my mind they were mentioned in Lean In (book), but I may be incorrect :)

      • Rebekah Abeja

        Not super related but I had the same sister in law situation! My name is even spelled a bit uncommonly and my SIL is a Rebekah L (hislastname). My given name was Rebekah (middle) (last name beginning with L) and I took my given last name as a middle name so I’m now Rebekah L (hislastname). It’s a little weird, but we’re both okay with it, and I honestly love my new middle initial.

        • LJ

          Hahaha hilarious! This must happen more often than I realize. It’s not awkward anymore because we’ve been together a while but still interesting.

      • I’ve heard the suggestion of carrying copies of the birth certificate when crossing international borders with a child with a different last name, but I don’t have experience with this personally.

    • Katharine Parker

      I’ve been thinking about this lately, since I’ve been discussing marriage with my boyfriend and every weekend this summer someone I know got married. It surprised me that almost none of these women have kept their names (including people from all over the country, friends from my midwestern high school, friends from my Ivy League college, camp friends, grad school friends…). I also felt surprised when I realized I feel strongly about keeping my name – I hadn’t thought about it much before, but my name is my name! I have no interest in changing it; it’s part of my identity.

      Was anyone else surprised by how few women do keep their names? I knew it was less common, but it has really surprised me to see so many name changes on my facebook feed.

      • Sosuli

        Only one of my friends has not changed their name in addition to me. I think it’s particularly disappointing that many women I talk to – both my friends/family and husband’s – don’t even consider not changing it and seem to find it a bit weird to be even asked whether they will.

      • Ashlah

        Oh yeah, I live in a pretty liberal area, and all the women my age have taken their husbands’ names. It’s sort of surprising, but it’s a very, very strong tradition. It’s almost become a game when I hear about an engagement on Facebook to guess whether they’ll change their names!

      • Jenn

        I have been very surprised at the overwhelming percentage of my peers who took their husband’s last names. I really thought there would be more variation since they are all highly educated and many are career oriented.

        • Amy March

          Surprised every time.

        • Katharine Parker

          There seems to be no difference between my career oriented friends and my non-career oriented friends! So surprising.

      • Mari

        Yep. I’m always surprised – and saddened – every time a lady friend changes her name.

      • rg223

        I am surprised, and I feel especially disheartened when someone changes their name on facebook the DAY they get married. Perhaps that’s overly judgemental, but I don’t mind women changing their names in general. It just gets me when they seem so eager about it.

        • Jenn

          The one that makes me sad is when they remove all traces of their birth name from Facebook, whey they could easily do the parenthesis option.

          • Hannah B

            I just listed both names. ha. when people change it entirely it takes me forever to remember who they even are…especially once kids become their profile pics!

        • Booknerd

          I changed mine right after the wedding while I was sitting on the curb for an hour waiting for a taxi! I don’t know why that’s a bad thing, I made the choice to change my name, so why not get it done!

          • idkmybffjill

            Agreed! People are really very judgemental either way! I’m changing mine cause I don’t like my maiden name. I’ve gotten so much side eye! It breaks my heart that women have to explain themselves either way.

      • Yeah, each time is a bit of a shock. I’ve stopped asking people, because I can’t hide my response.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        I’m in the boat about being surprised at how strongly I feel about my own name. I’m still undecided. I want us to have a common name if we have kids, but my fiance’s POV is that everyone should keep their own name and our kids can have my last name, but it still drives back around to me wanting us to have a common family name. I have a week til we get married, and I still have no idea.

        • Give the kids his last name as their middle name (and maybe take his last name as your middle name, too and he vice versa)? Then everyone but him has your last name. Not 100% common names, but there’s a lot of shared names in there for sure!

          • Mzero

            That’s kind of the compromise/system we came up with!

            I have a pretty unusual last name that I’ve gotten compliments on all the time (it’s the number between -1 and 1) and the weekend before I met my now-husband, I came to this sudden conclusion that I didn’t want to change it if I ever got married. I’d grown up hating the last name and had only come into enjoying it when I was in high school/college.

            My husband actually sort of weighed the cool factor of his last name (no cool factor, and on top of that, often gets mispronounced as a certain swear word starting with an f, which would be a problem for me as a high school teacher!) versus mine (much, much cooler) and decided he wanted to take mine instead!

            So in the end, I’m MyFirstName MyMiddle-HisLast My Last, while he’s HisFirst HisMiddle-HisLast My Last.

            I would be lying if I said I was 100% totally okay and comfortable with how this worked out, mainly because his family is totally fine with it (like, no reaction at all hardly, but they’re kind of nonreactive about things in general), but my family has been all kinds of weird and questioning about the choice. My little sister’s words: “I mean, I just really look forward to taking my husband’s name in the future…” which then let us have a conversation about how cultural customs/traditions are not universals and in fact in a lot of places, women never take their partners’ names! (My mom in particular seemed surprised, like she’d never heard of this before.) Besides the weird feelings of “yes I’m a feminist, but no I didn’t FORCE him to make this choice, he did it completely on his own, yay for freedom,” there’s just the logistical challenges of explaining how it works, which have lessened as time goes on and more people hear about it. Can’t say I didn’t get a thrill the first time I saw a piece of mail addressed to HisFirst MyLast and also when I got new social security card and saw our names all tied together, but my name still on there. It works, we like it, society will catch up one day hopefully?

    • Eenie

      Didn’t change my name because I really didn’t have a reason to. Husband didn’t want to file the paperwork to change his, and kids will have my last name. This seemed like the easier route, and I love blowing peoples’ minds when they find out I kept my name. It’s not very common in our circles/where we live.

    • HCampGust

      My husband and I both kept our last names, and I don’t think I’ll ever regret that. I definitely have to correct people sometimes, but I don’t care.

      I think it helps that my parents both kept their last names too, and I got both. And, in response to the number of letters convo elsewhere in this thread, one last name is 8 and the other is 9 letters. I’ve always felt really attached to both, and while it doesn’t always fit on all of the forms, I feel grateful to have the names that I have!

      • Jenn

        Are your two last names hyphenated or not? I’ve heard that some states work better than others with the two last names thing.

        • HCampGust

          They are not hyphenated (though I must admit that sometimes I want to add a hyphen, because then people would understand it better). I’ve lived in WA, MN, DC, IL, and WI with two last names on all my paperwork, and have had no problems in any place (though in a few places I was only there for a year so never got a drivers license).

    • rg223

      I kept my name, I wouldn’t change it. We are being very non-traditional in that my son has my name too. That’s going to cause confusion down the line. But keeping my name hasn’t been a big deal. Very occasionally, we have to do additional paperwork because of it (like, for our co-op application, they wanted a marriage license because our last names were different (which was stupid because they had all our tax returns that were filed as married)). But then I just do the extra paperwork and rage at the patriarchy.

    • Sarah

      I’m not married yet, but my fiance and I have been together for a billion years so I had plenty of time to agonise over this decision before we were even engaged. I spent so much time weighing up the pros and cons, then a couple of years ago I realised he wasn’t agonising at all – he already has a last name, he’s going to have it forever, that’s just that. He doesn’t even need to think about it. And that seemed pretty bullshit when, whichever choice I make, it’s one I’ll have to put so much thought into. So I stopped. I don’t want to participate in this system where I need to have good reasons to change my name and even better reasons not to. I already have a last name. That’s just that.

      I try to be really gender-neutral when I talk about this – we tell people “we’re both keeping our last names”, and I enlisted one of my girlfriends to make sure that whenever someone asks me what I’m doing with my name she says “and what about Fiance, is he changing his name?”. When possible I like to say stuff like “honestly, I would prefer it if he’d change it so our family could all share the same name, but he doesn’t want to and I respect his decision”.

      I’m not sure what we’ll do when we have kids because my fiance is very insistent on giving them his name and his alone. I hate it because it feels like I have to convince him to see my side, it’s not like we’re making a decision between two equally possible alternatives. But he has agreed that if we have a daughter we can name her after me, Gilmore Girls style – so her name will be Sarah Mylast Hislast. Feels kind of silly, but as Lorelai said, lots of men are named after their fathers so why not? And if we give all our kids my last name as a middle name, I’ll just make sure to always call them by their full name, so it sounds like they have a double-barelled surname. It’s kind of stealth feminism I guess.

      I have been super surprised to see that basically every married woman I know – friends, cousins, girls I went to school with – has changed her name. I really thought it would be about fifty fifty, especially given I went to an academically selective school so these people are generally smart and educated with some pretty impressive careers and many of them are pretty liberal too.

      • Sarah

        Realised I didn’t actually answer the question! I can’t say what it will be like after we’re married, but so far nobody who knows we aren’t changing our names has given either of us (read: me) a hard time about it. My cousin (who is in her 20s) said something to my dad about “aw, your little girl’s growing up, she won’t be a YourLast anymore” and my dad was like “yes she will!” – it hadn’t occurred to me, but my own family are probably happy that I’ll keep having the same last name as them (and I thought it was cool that he just corrected her and didn’t offer any explanation like “oh no, she’s actually keeping her name” or any “modern women, huh?” stuff). My cousin didn’t even get it and was like “well sure, she’ll always be a YourLast, but I meant she won’t be one LEGALLY”. But while quite a few people have made assumptions like that, nobody seems to have a problem with our decision and I haven’t had to justify it to anyone (yet).

        • JLily

          My dad is proud of my decision, too! And he’s happy to be informing people. Which I love!

          • Sarah

            Loving the supportive dad trend! Mine also seemed to be pretty okay with nobody asking his permission (or “blessing”, as it’s sometimes disguised). He’s pretty old-school so this was all kind of surprising.

        • Sosuli

          My dad just has a smug look on his face when I correct people. Also I think my mom secretly loves that I didn’t change mine – she hasn’t reverted back to her own name post-divorce and if I had changed my name the only people in our family sharing it would be her and my dad.

      • Jenn

        You’ve really summarized my thought process! My fiance and I are entering an equal partnership where we should both change our names or neither of us should. It’s not about my career, it’s not because I’m the last of my name, it’s just because I don’t want to and that’s a good enough reason.

      • Eenie

        This entire comment is gold. I’m lucky my husband and I were able to come to an agreeable decision on kid names that made us both happy, but if you ever need encouragement or advice to push back on your husband’s default opinion you can get that here! Compromise sometimes means both sides are equally unhappy instead of equally happy.

        • Sarah

          Thanks Eenie :) I definitely have pushed back (and will continue to do so) but for him it’s pretty much a hill to die on, he’s insisting on it but will literally trade me anything else I want in return. Which is still pretty bullshit (especially when one of his suggested trades was that he would stay home with one of our two hypothetical kids…um, splitting that burden fifty fifty isn’t really a favour to me dude!), and it’s something that we’ve talked about a lot and that I totally plan to bring up in therapy, but in most ways we have a really egalitarian relationship, certainly more so than any other couples we know, so it could be worse.

    • Diana

      We’ve been married for two years and kept our names. It’s been precisely 0% a big deal, and we have zero regrets. Sometimes people might make a mistake, and then you just gently correct them. Also, when people make mistakes, they tend to make them in both directions – as in, if they see my name, then they’ll assume it was his originally, so he’ll get called Mr. MyLast (which I find sort of charming). Honestly, I think it would have been much more complicated for us from an administrative perspective to change names – so many accounts to update! As someone who hates paperwork with a passion, it sounds like a hassle. Now, I am anticipating getting a bit of pushback from his family when people find out that we’re planning on giving half our kids my last name … but that’s well down the road ;) (And our plan there is to let them find out only after the kid is born, so that any negative feelings they might have will be overwhelmed by YAY BABY.)

    • Booknerd

      I struggled really hard with changing my name, and it was a big point of contention with my fiance and I until I asked him to change his name and his reaction was so strong against it, and he finally realized why I was having a hard time with it. I felt like I had to mourn the end of that part of my life a little. I ended up changing it because it was more important to him then it was me but interestingly enough about 90% of the people I interacted with asked me first if I changed my name when I saw them right after the wedding- like my mailman, the bank teller, random friends of his parents, they so didn’t want to assume anything which I thought was nice, though very unexpected

    • Hannah B

      I changed mine on Facebook. I haven’t changed it legally. I live in a different state than my marriage took place so not even sure what I would have to do to change it..about to have a baby and it’s too late now to change all the paperwork with my insurance etc…plus I’ve been identified for years by my last initial/name because my first name was common enough growing up. Just like…kind of not dealing with it at all. It’s been two years and if people write me Xmas checks with what my married name would be the bank accepts it in our mutual account. So you can kind of avoid it for awhile if you want to think about it! I still haven’t quite decided.

    • Kelly

      We got married 2 years ago and I didn’t change my name. We both liked the idea of having a shared “team” name, but didn’t like any of the options for making that happen. I really like my name and he really likes his, and doing a bunch of paperwork seemed like a hassle, so, we each kept our own…Keeping my name has been 100% not a big deal. Every now and then a distant friend or family member will ask what my last name is now, or a work colleague will assume that we share a name, but I just tell them and then that’s that. If it’s rocked anyone’s boat I haven’t heard about it. I don’t feel any less married because I didn’t change my name.

    • Saxyrunner

      My FIL was surprised, but in a halt kind of way when he found out I was keeping my name, and my dad seemed very pleased that I kept my name. My last name isn’t all that common, so my extended family is usually pleased when I tell them I kept my name.

      Up here in the Pacific North West no one has been bothered except one unmarried male coworker of mine who just clearly hadn’t put thought into it before. When I told him it was my name, I like it, and I’m going to keep my name I’ve had all my life he paused for a moment, then nodded.

      I have no idea what name we’d give kids. We’ll deal with that when it’s an issue I guess.

    • NotMotherTheresa

      I feel like I’m one of the only ones among my friends who IS changing my name.
      Honestly, from what I’ve seen, it hasn’t been a big deal for anyone. Particularly if you can appeal to the pragmatic side of people (i.e. “I’m keeping my name for professional reasons, etc.), you’ll probably be in the clear without much comment either way. (Granted, I don’t have any firsthand experience, but I do have four or five close friends who kept their maiden names, and I haven’t heard any huge complaints from them. And we live in a pretty conservative area. Still, YMMV)

  • EF

    couple things! i mentioned a couple months back i was gonna try and learn to code and maybe move towards data science. well i cheekily applied for a major data science role last week, even though i was a bit underqualified (i tried to have the confidence of a mediocre white man) and ended up being invited to the test round! well, i’m in the middle of building a database and analysing 15 million rows of data now, and it’s definitely way way WAY beyond my comfort zone. I’m not gonna get this job, but it’s a great hands on learning experience.

    secondly, building on awesome movie previews of the past, you guys seen ‘a united kingdom’? looks rad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX5vI4osR50

    • Eadaoin

      The confidence of a mediocre white man – says it all! Congrats to you, it’s all about starting small I think, so great that you’re finding it valuable!

    • AP

      Wowwww that movie looks amazing! Love all these actors so much.

    • heyqueen

      HOLLERING at the confidence of a mediocre white man! I wish we had a laugh button on here.

    • Sosuli

      Oh that looks interesting! Thanks for the tip off. Also good luck for the test round – even if you don’t get it sounds like the experience is spurring you on to get the skills.

    • Her Lindsayship

      Wow, GET IT!! I’m so impressed. I’m just about to start my last course for a certificate in data science, and the whole idea of this was of course to.. get a job in data science, but now that I’m close to finishing the certificate I’m slightly terrified of actually applying for jobs in the field. (And a lot of that anxiety is definitely inferiority complex – ‘oh but I’ve only done a certificate, it’s not like I got a Master’s…’) Major props to you for jumping on it! Even if you don’t get the job, hopefully it gives you a good idea what to expect for future job hunting. Best of luck!

  • Anyone else totally raging when 50% of the time you hit the ‘Reply’ button in Disqus, and instead of just opening up a textbox below, it sends you to a completely different discussion page? When you hit ‘back’ you have to scroll through all the comments and hit the ‘Load More’ button again, to be able to watch for new comments?!

    Am I doing something wrong?

    • Ashlah

      That happens to me when I’m on my laptop at home, but not when I’m on my work desktop. I have no idea why, and it is SO frustrating.

      • I WANT TO MURDER DISQUS.

    • Emily

      This happens to me; I’m on a Mac and have tried both Safari and Firefox. It affects how often I comment because it makes commenting so difficult.

      • It’s happening on a PC here with Chrome. So who knows.

    • Eenie

      I hate when I leave the page open to read new comments, and it decides to just reload the page and I lose my place.

  • heyqueen

    Trying to find Black owned businesses to patronize for our wedding is proving to be a little more challenging that we thought. Probably because we don’t live in a super diverse area. Still, it’s sad :(.

  • Mari

    First happy hour since we got married 3 weeks ago! Our wedding was wonderful, beautiful, and a bit overwhelming (introvert here – I hit the wall a few hours before the end) BUT — we are married! Our honeymoon was 10 days of ultra-relaxation, which helped us feel really ready to get back this week to our regular life. Plus, *fall* is almost here!

  • Eenie

    I’m late to the party, but I need to vent about layoffs. My husband works for a company that is headquartered in what I would call my hometown. We went to college there, so many many of our friends work for them all over the country. They laid off 1500 people, and it’s just awful. Those who didn’t get laid off are just stuck wondering if they’ll go in the next round. I feel like we can’t make any long term plans because of how unknown the future is. It also doesn’t help that I still haven’t found a job, and probably won’t for another couple of months. /End rant

    • rg223

      Ugh. It’s rough to have those worries hanging over your heads. Sorry you guys are going through this!

    • Sosuli

      Unemployment solidarity – it sucks.

    • emmers

      Ugh, that sucks so bad. I’m sorry to hear that.

  • Giselle

    I set my out of office today and don’t go back to work for 20 days!! Wedding time is here!

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      Same!!! I’m so happy to have a break from work and to concentrate only on the wedding and honeymoon!

      • Giselle

        Congrats!!! Have the best time. are you next weekend?

        • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

          Yup, Saturday! And then we leave Monday for our honeymoon, and it’s possible I’m more excited about that than the wedding.

          Are you next weekend as well?

          • Giselle

            We’re the weekend after next but it’s across the country and we also just finished rehabbing a house (where the reception will be) there too – so we are taking care of a bunch since we’ve been so far away pre wedding and honeymooning later. Hope it is super for you!

  • Ruthgknight1

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  • 梁丽萍

    How lovely and amazing!
    https://www.tinnainfinitydress.com

  • PW

    We got married :)

    My dress wasn’t white, his suit wasn’t expensive, we didn’t have place settings or a formal cake or favours, and we’d done the legal bit weeks before (due to stupid laws in the UK where you can’t get married outdoors).

    And it felt exactly like a wedding, and exactly us, and so, so joyful.

    Thanks APW, for helping us figure out what really mattered to us, so that we could make the day truly ours. I will be happy for a loooooong time to come.

  • Salomon

    Wedding and baby registry is ideal for newly weds. http://ow.ly/9B4F303UvPz

  • A wedding is not complete without love music. Soundcloud has awesome music. https://soundcloud.com/popsalsa/sets/popsalsa-slow

  • Theresajmddox

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