APW Happy Hour


So long Pride month, hello new studio manager!

by Najva Sol, Brand Director

HEY APW!

Najva here. Guess where I’m typing this? At the #compactclubhouse in Oakland, where I’m spending the next month (other than a quick jaunt to shoot a queer wedding in Alaska). Though having a work commute is… eh… getting to have lunch with my coworkers really doesn’t suck. I’m also getting to share a desk with our fabulous new studio manager, Chelsea, a super talented florist (and Bay Area native)!

Pride month has been crappy, to be honest. It’s so hard to be inundated with images of being fabulous and in love and full of joy when you’re curled up in a ball just trying not to fall into a pit of depression (and yes, I mean that in the clinical sense). When your community is celebrating brightly and you feel like you’re a walking raincloud, it’s really tempting to isolate. Did I manage to celebrate a little? For sure. With morning dips in the Hudson and afternoons at the gay beach and late night soup and skirts made of feathers. But did I feel rainbow sparkle lovefest? Nope.

It’s a double-edged sword to work at a wedding site when your love life isn’t really working out for you. In fact, I openly sobbed over this epic same-sex wedding this week (to be fair, I was PMSing). But I wouldn’t change it. Because seeing all this LGBTQ love at work helps fight against all the horrifying news I read everyday.

So right now, I’m focusing on the good: today I was on a super long tech call and my CEO brought me goat cheese cake and my coworker lent me a raincoat for Alaska and they’re putting me up in a gorgeous Victorian and ya know? Gratitude helps. So does recognizing the privilege of stable employment and donating to trans people of color in need. My Pride doesn’t have to be parties and drinking; it can also be supporting my community and prioritizing my mental health.

So tell me what Pride means to you, and how your week has been APW. It’s your turn to share.

XOXO,

Najva

Najva Sol

Najva Sol is a queer Iranian-American writer, photographer, branding consultant, artist, and ex-poet.  She’s the token staff Slytherin and—while formally based in Brooklyn—tends to travel as much as possible. Storytelling is her life, but making chicken broth is a close second.
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  • Jessica

    “My Pride doesn’t have to be parties and drinking; it can also be supporting my community and prioritizing my mental health.”

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

  • penguin

    Florist or DJ recommendations in the central Massachusetts/Boston area? I think those are the last major vendors we have to book for our wedding this fall. I found someone to do my hair, and I’m trying to decide on a makeup artist. I’m following a bunch on Instagram, but I have a hard time telling if they are good at makeup, or if the person being photographed is just beautiful haha (or both). Especially because I want a natural look.

    • Laura C

      We were happy with our DJ, Paul Bazdanes – we got him through another guy that he works with, John Chiang Keh. We wrote out some priorities for us and he followed them to the letter and the dance floor was a big success. IIRC he was reasonably priced, though my husband handled the DJ so I don’t know the details.

    • Alex K

      DJ: c-zone. They have a bunch of people so you can talk to the person who does the booking and they set you up with a person they think will work (and is available). We used Mike and he did a great job (he didn’t do the whole calling x to the dance floor/encouraging circles thing and played exactly the music we wanted).

    • jem

      We’re using BeatTrain for DJ- they seem very professional so far

      I’m not sure if she goes that far west, but we’re using Aster B for flowers. I like her because she’s really dedicated to sustainable farming and grows all of her flowers

  • Lisa

    Something to hopefully give people a laugh and start their weekends right:

    They tried to create an AI that could create inspirational memes, but it’s not quite working out. Go create your own, and then share the best ones here!

  • penguin

    Good things – we’re going away for a long weekend! We’re heading up to a house in Vermont for the holiday weekend with our closest friends, and I’m super looking forward to it. Here’s to friendship, and cold drinks, and the absolute biggest sun hat I’ve ever owned in my life.

    Update on last week’s family drama – it actually went OK, and I’m glad I went. My mother was there Friday night, and left Saturday before lunch. She was nice and polite, and she didn’t ask about wedding things and I didn’t bring it up. We had some awkward conversation and that was mostly it. My grandma was going to tell her she wasn’t invited to the wedding, but then let me know over the phone that she hadn’t talked to my mom about it. My mom hadn’t asked her about it, and my grandma didn’t want it to be a big thing and upset my grandpa, who isn’t doing so well on his new chemo. I told her that was totally fine, and if my mom does ask about it again, just to turf her to me. I figure normally when you don’t invite someone you don’t contact them and say “by the way you’re not invited”, you just don’t send them anything. So I’m going to stick to that plan. If she asks me directly, I’ll be honest and just tell her she isn’t invited.

    After my mom left, my grandma and I had a good time going shopping and looking at plants, and I got to spend a little time with my grandpa. Definitely worth the trip, although my dad ended up in the ER on Saturday night. Thankfully my brother was there to drive him there, and I got home in time to drive him home on Sunday. Pro tip – if you are diabetic and get a sore or blister on the bottom of your foot, have someone check it out. We tried to tell him that it was a big deal, but he didn’t really believe us until it was infected and he HAD to go to the ER. He’s stubborn, plus his insurance from his new job doesn’t kick in until August (US health care is so ridiculous). He’s doing OK now and has been following doctor’s orders at least. I’m really thankful for my brother, who has been there to kick his butt when needed.

    • Lisa

      So glad to hear that the trip went well and that your dad is OK! I was wondering how everything with your mom went.

      The weekend in Vermont sounds lovely. Hope you have a great time!

      • penguin

        Thank you! At first I thought I had nothing to put in Happy Hour, then I was like DUH.

    • emmers

      I thought about you all weekend. I’m glad it went well!

      • penguin

        Aw you guys are the sweetest, thank you!!

    • Eenie

      I HATE THE US HEALTH CARE SYSTEM! Glad your dad is doing ok.

  • Katelyn

    Being in a bad place while everyone is celebrating is so weird and hard. That feeling has totally happened to me. It’s like you’re in this bubble, and you can see things (kinda), and hear things (kinda), and those things might make you smile and maybe you can interact a bit… but you’re still in a bubble, separate, alone, and people look at you weird.

    This week in wedding-land, we accomplished Things! Got a great promo on a photo booth (3 hours for $395 whaaat) and are solidly on our way to booking a band – but we (aka me) are having some sticker shock. Having a live band was the first thing we decided on and probably THE top priority.

    We budgeted $4500 for it, but it’s going to be more like $6000 (possibly a bit more – I’ve changed the line item to $6500 ::laughcry::) – between a slightly higher base rate and needing a sound equipment upgrade, it is the first item where I’ve been shockingly wrong cost-wise.

    I know we can make up for a lot of it in other areas where I built in some buffer and I always knew we would get some amount of budget creep… but that is one large horse-size pill to swallow.

    • Jane

      Whoa! I had no idea live bands were so expensive! A live band is NOT on my priority list but my FILs really wanted us to have some part of our high school jazz band play because they had a high school jazz band at theirs. So, they are getting that for us as a present – but I think it’s under $1,000.
      Also, I feel you on budget creep. I should look a lot more closely at how much I’m spending on craft projects, for example.

      • Katelyn

        Yeah, this is a full-blown 8 piece pro band. It’s about $100/hour/musician for 5 hours of playing, plus setup/travel/equipment transit/etc. “Just” the band is about $4600 – which I totally believe in supporting artists and think it’s a fair rate – but then it’s another $750 for the extra equipment for our large space. Add on tips and whammo blammo.

        • Jane

          Blammo indeed!

    • Anya

      I always offer my friends who are planning the wedding, that instead of a registry gift – I’ll help cover the difference between budget and what they want. Any chance you can get friends/family members to chip in? Just a thought!

      • Katelyn

        We are getting very generous contributions from both sides of the family and it’s all in the “we can afford this” range. Plus I built in some unnecessary decorative “fluff” budget in case something got out of hand, so a lot of this got absorbed. But definitely something I will think about in the future (maybe registering for some of the decor?).

        So, my pipe-and-drape covering for the orange valance on the stage is no longer a thing, nor the idea of uplights I was toying with. Neither of these things mattered, they were just Pinterest-land musings. And honestly, skipping that research and getting quotes is kind of a relief anyway.

    • Lisa

      Budget creep is the worst! Glad you can cover it; do it, have the moment of frustration/sticker-shock, and then don’t think twice about it. You can afford it and it’s what you want.

      • BSM

        This is A+ advice.

    • RNLindsay

      Our band cost $6000 and it was worth. every. penny. You won’t regret it when there’s a rocking dance party at your wedding!

      • Katelyn

        Great to hear that $6000 isn’t some crazy number for a live band! We went to a showcase for them and they are just too amazing to pass up. All of our interactions have been so pleasant and professional and we know they are going to make the night.

  • Jane

    This week I found out I didn’t get a job I’d interviewed for and had a good feeling about. I’m pretty bummed. Also, the job meant I would have to finish my current work early 2 weeks early but wouldn’t have to take the CA bar – so, for the last week I had been trying to get ahead at my job but hadn’t been devoting enough time to studying. Plus flying to CA for the interview and preparing for it really cut into studying time. Which means I need to get my head back in the game!
    On the bright side, my FMIL threw a wonderful shower for me with just my FH’s side of the family last weekend AND I get to fly to CA this weekend to visit my FH. And now I can finish my job at my normal pace and then have 2 weeks after it’s done to finalize wedding plans and get ready to move! And we are getting an adorable apartment in Oakland with bay windows and beautiful built-in cabinets and outdoor space!!!
    I’m trying to focus on the positives, but it’s still really rough.

    • Anya

      Good luck with the bar!!! And sorry about the job :(

      • Jane

        Thanks! Good luck on your job thing too!

  • anonymous

    Trying to practice safe interneting and not associate my regular account with my pictures, but ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS ARE BACK AND I’M INSANELY OBSESSED!!!! I’ll probably delete after a few hours for privacy, but I love them so much I just had to share. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f086e6f30539d4fb0d9e879ac0a81825a2fcb67c19f010459623359dc88d4715.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/85763814987f79ff823b1013098667fe9c001cc8fe80bf44ac099237087637d7.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd16ada258739961ab5e44a62c066ec4a859b432b432eb37e3ced16482631f05.jpg

    • Jess

      yay! These are lovely!

    • penguin

      Ahhh you guys look so happy and your photos are so great!!

    • Lisa

      Ooooooooh my goodness, how cute are you two!!! These are gorgeous, and I love your outfits/crown braid.

    • Cleo

      You both look so happy and serene and in love and how did you get your dog to hold the ring on his/her nose?

      Also…floral dress (shirt?) is GORGEOUS! Would you mind sharing where you got it if you did so recently?

      • anonymous

        It’s a dress, from Lulu’s! Ordered it a few months ago, so I’m not sure if it’s still in stock.

        • Cleo

          Thank you! Even if it’s not, I’m gonna have to browse that store anyway. :)

    • Ashlah

      Love theeeese!

    • BSM

      These are adorable! And I am really impressed with your pup!

      • Jane

        Ditto. That’s some serious trust!

        • penguin

          I didn’t even notice there was a ring on the dog’s nose! I just thought the pup was there because puppy.

          • anonymous

            a little of both :)

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        That is a Very Good Dog.

    • Anya

      LOVE LOVE LOVE! What’s the dog’s name? Also A+ on training the dog because my dog would have eaten it

      • anonymous

        Dog is Kuzco, and he isn’t the most well-trained, but he knows that holding reaaaaal still and balancing things on his nose = treat, and treat is life, so we managed.

        • Anya

          Any relation to Emperor’s new groove Kuzco?

          Treat is life. That’s how my dog lives. Congrats!

        • emmers

          Yes, treat is life.

    • Alex K

      These pictures are so pretty and you can tell how in love you both are!

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      AWWWWWWWWW.

    • Kat

      Aww, you have such a cute smile! I love engagement photos where you can feel the joy. Congrats!

    • Eenie

      No… I missed them!!

  • louise danger

    update on the mom situation (mom feeling left out, wanting to contribute even though i know dollars are tight, etc etc): she kept asking and asking and finally i just asked her what amount she was comfortable with? she gave me a number, i offered some things in that number that would be helpful, and all is well. whether it’s actually a comfortable number or i’ll hear about it later with guilt trips, i don’t know. but i guess i’ll cross that bridge when i get there.

    my florist popped into the office today (i work on a university campus) which was surreal. she did not have flowers for me, though :(

    OH AND BA BA BAAAAAAAAAA (<– fanfare): we have an officiant! mr danger's childhood priest was not available, but the retired priest at our current parish, who we both love to bits, said he's available and would love to do it. he's the first officiant in this iteration of the wedding who's been delighted about doing it. "gosh, i haven't done a wedding in years!" and also "friday the 13th…? $my-name, i'm never going to forget this one." mweeeeeeeheeheeheeheehee

    • Lisa

      So many good updates! Hopefully your mom situation works out, and it sounds like the priest is excited to work with you. :)

    • Jess

      Officiant! Yay! So glad it’s someone you’re excited about!

      I’m glad there was some resolution on the mom-front.

    • Jane

      My dad did a similar thing re: budgets and I feel a little weird about it (and hoping there are no guilt trips on the horizon a bit I think there won’t be) but it has also been really great. And I’ve been able to come up with specific things we are doing that we wouldn’t have done otherwise. He’s never really contributed to my life financially, so this is pretty big for him.
      So, here’s hoping it works for you too!

    • Kaitlyn

      My boss got married on Friday the 13th which is one of my favorite fun facts about him haha

      • Ashlah

        I was born on Friday the 13th, which is one of my favorite fun facts about myself! Haha

  • Eh

    My husband has an issue with procrastinating (he comes by it honestly, his mother and brother have the same issue). Our powder room needed some work – in addition to being ugly, there were concerns that the toilet might fall through the floor. So last November we started planning out the work. I had a week of vacation booked for February so we could get it all done. Unfortunately, my husband procrastinated on other stuff and the powder room reno got pushed back. At the end of May my brother and his family made plans to stay with us at the end of June/Canada Day long weekend (since then they have changed their plans and they are coming in a couple weeks). Then at the beginning of June, my husband announced that he was going to renovate the powder room. I stressed that we needed the powder room when my brother’s family is visiting (two extra adults and extra two children, plus a baby). He talked with his dad and they determined it would take two days (one day to take everything out, one day to put everything back in). I pointed out that the walls needed to be prepped and painted, and they can’t step on the floor for 24 hours after it’s put in. So he added another day to his timeline, and planned to start the work on June 12th. It took 15 days but it is finally finished. It looks great, everyone is still alive (there was a few moments), and the house is still standing!

    • Katelyn

      I once heard a quip about planning time (tongue slightly in cheek): Take your original estimate, double it, and then go up one order of magnitude. So, at least it wasn’t 4 weeks! So glad the project turned out well!

      • Eh

        I estimated that it would take two weeks (working on it on his days off, and before/after work – it would have been a week if we did it while I was on vacation) so I was pretty close. I was a bit worried that with only a 3 day buffer (from it taking 2 weeks to when my brother’s family was going to arrive) that if it took any longer we wouldn’t have a powder room when we had a house full of people.

    • I’m glad this has a happy ending!

  • Anya

    Hi APW, it’s been a while. I celebrated Pride by donating to LBGTQ+ causes and making a cake. yay, right?

    Then the day after, aka this Monday, I went for a second round job interview for what I think is my dream job. And promptly screwed up an interview or two out of 7. I’m convinced that there’s now no way to get it, so I’ve been depressed this whole week (no word from them yet). To give you an idea of how bad depression and anxiety got for me: I got a total of maybe 10 hours of sleep the past 3 nights in between panic attacks.

    I tried to take my mind off of it by going to a QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT concert (if they are coming near you, go!) And instead – still had the interview in the back of my mind even as Adam was hitting all the right notes. I’m reaching out for some advice: I’m torn between feeling like a failure and beating myself up over letting a chance like this get away. How do you deal with it? How do you move on? Please help.

    • Jane

      Well – I think one thing is that, if you don’t get the job, you should NOT assume that it’s because you blew the interview.
      But – do whatever you can to sleep. All your sadness, anxiety, self-doubt is so much worse when you’re sleep deprived!

    • I have a hard time getting over it when I feel like I don’t do as well as I had wanted in a situation. I dwell on it. I think like Jane said, self-care is super important. Everything is worse when you haven’t slept. And am I understanding correctly that there were 7 interviews? Wow, that sounds incredibly stressful.

  • E.

    In wedding news we’re three weeks out and I’m a little bummed because I’ve had a few family members have to cancel at the last minute. All for very valid reasons, I’m just sad they won’t be there.

    In life news I have been doing PT and using dilators to try and make sex not painful and it’s working! We had sex twice this week with ZERO pain. It actually felt good! I feel like I’m discovering sex for the first time and am just so happy

    • Eileen

      That is really amazing (the sex part, not the other part, of course), and must be a huge relief. I’m so glad you’re figuring this out! Finding answers is NOT easy.

      • E.

        It only took 8 years… I had one doctor try to convince me it just hurt because I wasn’t in a good relationship (she knew absolutely nothing about the relationship) and another doctor ask, “can’t you just do other stuff and avoid penetrative sex?”

        • penguin

          That’s awful :(

          • E.

            Yeah I had pretty much given up until I learned about PT a few months ago. Literally life-changing

        • annie

          I’ve also had similar experience. I just recently got a name for a physical therapist although she wants me to try using a vibe first. Don’t really know how to pick one out since I don’t even have much luck with manual stimulation.
          Did insurance happen to cover any of PT or is it all out of pocket?

          • E.

            My insurance covered part of it, but it is pretty expensive. If you call your insurance company they can tell you what’s covered. Good luck!

    • Yael

      Yay sex!

    • Jess

      YAAAAAAY! Sex that feels good! I’m SO excited for you.

      • E.

        Yes! I had this moment of “Oh, THIS is what sex is supposed to feel like. No wonder people like it!”

    • Sarah

      Congrats. And down the road if you’re looking at having kids uro gynecologists are a real great thing.

    • Shawna

      Last minute cancelation from loved ones is so sad. Life happens, but you’ll all be thinking of each other (and enjoying the heck out of the rest of the crowd who is there). I actually forget sometimes that one of my best friends wasn’t there because she and I talked so much in the days leading up to and after the wedding (she was in a bad accident and wasn’t cleared to fly internationally to come see us so her whole family stayed back with her. Thankfully she is ok). I wish she could have been there, but she was very much part of the lovefest surrounding the wedding.

      And when we find what works for managing painful sex, oh my gosh the world opens up, doesn’t it?! I’m on a new care routine from Kaiser SF’s pelvic pain clinic and it is amazing so far! Hope you continue to have success with PT!

  • Katharine Parker

    I’m a week out from my wedding! I feel like we have stuff in good shape–we have a couple of crafty projects left (minimal effort, but we can’t start until some elements arrive on Monday, and they’re going to be super cool so I’m happy to do the work) and we have to write our prayers of the faithful for our ceremony. Otherwise, I’m feeling so excited and ready!

    If anyone needs gold frames for signage for their bar or guest book (or any other reason), yesterday I bought three cute 8x10s for $8 each at Home Goods, so I’m feeling great about that.

    • louise danger

      tell me about your prayers of the faithful because i am ¯_(ツ)_/¯ about what to do there

      • Lisa

        We chose one of the pre-written ones because after putting so much time and effort into finding the right music and readings I was feeling #lazy.

      • My husband wrote ours because he did all the planning for the church part, but I think ours was fairly generic (although several categories do seem to immediately apply to us)? One wedding I went to had super patriotic prayers of the faithful, which was… interesting.

        I can post them here if interested.

        • louise danger

          i’ll talk to the deacon about it (our next appt is the 10th). i kind of hadn’t thought about it at all oops lol

      • Katharine Parker

        We’re going to modify the prewritten ones, mostly to include naming our deceased grandparents and to make sure there is nothing weird. (Some of the Catholic wedding mass options can get weird, and I say this as a cradle Catholic.)

    • Lisa

      Congratulations! I’m looking forward to you coming back in a couple of weeks to tell us how it went.

  • Mim86

    I posted 7 weeks ago that i had reached a zen place with 9 weeks left until wedding. With 2 weeks left, that statement is decidedly false. Like falsy mcfalserton. Ive started eating my feelings. I started watching Game of Thrones and the Red and Purple Wedding arent making it better. (Season premiere happens on wedding day. Rains of Castemere is banned.)

    But ill have my groom, my cake, and my dress, so…thats good.

    Questions, did yall give DJ specifications on the kind of requests he/she could take from guests? Im definitely refusing country, but i live in texas and this might be hard.

    Also, we are having plastic “silverware ” and nice plasticware plates. Someone reassure me our guests wont think we are the worst

    • Yael

      My college roommate didn’t ban specific types of music, but she did tell the DJ he could only take requests from certain people (I know this because I was one of them). I think she was mostly afraid of drunk frat boys requesting whatever was popular at the time (this was soon after we graduated) but it helped keep a certain level of taste.

      I’m seriously considering plastic silverware and nice paper plates that we can then toss in the bonfire/marshmallow pit we’re hoping to have (well, the plates anyway). We’re probably going to mostly self-cater because kosher gluten-free food is expensive, and I don’t really feel like trying to rent dishes. So, we may be the worst, but we’ve got each other!

      • I would be so happy if I got to burn my plate at a wedding. Also if marshmallows were involved. Or if there was a bonfire. That sounds awesome.

        Edit: I just really enjoy burning paper plates.

        • Yael

          Right? I know it’s not the most environmentally friendly, but we want to have a fire pit anyway (we’re going to have a January wedding), so this way at least no one has to do dishes and we don’t have to worry about people trashing vs recycling plates.

          • ART

            Just keep in mind that burning paper (plates included, I’ve tried) tends to send off huge floaty pieces of ash that can get on finery, if you’re still wearing it by that point! I might not count on that as a primary disposal method :)

            But to add to this thread we also had paper plates and plastic cups and it was fine, I would happily do that again.

    • GotMarried!

      your guests will not think you are the worst!

    • emmers

      As a guest I usually don’t care about type of plates/silverware. Seriously! So just do what works for you, and spend that money on something else :)

    • Katelyn

      My sister had upscale disposables at her wedding. They looked awesome and classy. I have some of the fancy plastic silverware and unless I mention it, a lot of people don’t even notice! Most people aren’t inspecting their dinnerware – they’re too busy focusing on the stuff ON it.

    • Katelyn

      Also – you can TOTALLY give your DJ a “do not play” list, including entire genres of music, or timeframes when you don’t want a song to be played. In fact, you can tell them that you don’t want any music requests whatsoever. All of those are SUPER common.

      • Jo March

        My DJ is happy with us giving him an actual mega list of songs to play. We’re having everyone RSVP with a song (not recommended, really slowed down the response rate!) because people are coming from multiple countries with very different music tastes so we want to make sure everyone can dance.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Related: Decide now whether or not you want the chicken dance. Make your decision clear to the DJ.

        • Katelyn

          My feelings on the chicken dance are similar to my feelings about penis shaped decorations (hint: they’re not good ones).

    • Jess

      You’re totally good with plastic. Not even a little bit the worst.

      We definitely had a Do-No-Play list, and the option for “no requests at all”

    • EF

      we’re hippies so used palm leaf plates and birch cutlery – all compostable — and it was totally fine. the only funny moment was when our announcer guy was trying to call attention for toasts and he realised that birch will not make a clinking sound against a wine glass! but it was super amusing, and my aunt immediately started using her large ring to clink, and it was all just a nice moment. you’ll be fine!

    • Eenie

      I once went to a wedding where we stayed to help clean up, and we literally took the disposable table cloth and tied it up like a bag since all the plates and ‘silverware’ were disposable. It was fantastic. The silverware actually looked so real, many people commented on being tricked when it was so light!

    • scw

      I’m 95% sure we had plates, flatware, etc. from party city. so, like, not even “upscale” disposable. it was a little over two years ago and I honestly can’t remember at this point, which might give you an idea of how important it ended up being. if your guests think you are the worst, THEY are the worst.

      good luck! <3

  • Alyssa

    I’m back! From our Paris Wedding! Leaving a couple of sneak-peek pictures from our photographer here for a bit, but I am SUPER HAPPY with how it all went down. Some family drama but otherwise a fantastic night with our favorites at the Fete de la Musique in Paris!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d978c896190a642398d53406267462be0ed55b52b2d416ba47545651c70cb803.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/10830b444308d439d78283f754ee19238c81c0c137c8b5255e91cc61f08c30dd.jpg

    • Kalë

      These are beautiful and you look so happy and in love! I love love love your dress! Where is it from?

      • Alyssa

        BHLDN! It’s the “Rosalind” and it was amazing — I kept forgetting that I was actually wearing a wedding dress as we walked around… highly recommended!

        • jem

          Did you bustle it? I have the same dress and seamstress and I are currently debating best way to do this!

          • Alyssa

            I did — the seamstress I went to inserted three little hook-holders (that’s a thing, right?) right where the lace and tulle meet, and three corresponding hooks on the skirt that were basically invisible save for feeling them out, that you hooked up at the waist… not sure if that makes sense, but the bustle is up for the last picture! I can find others and send them to you if you want more details :)

          • jem

            Ooooh thanks! That makes tons of sense and it looks great! Congrats!

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!! Love that bottom photo of you two dancing.

      • Alyssa

        Thanks! Our photographer noticed the scene and said “Okay…How drunk are you? You willing to dance in the middle of a crowd for a few shots?” Little did he know that my guy needs zero excuses to start dancing at any given moment.

    • Alex K

      Gorgeous!

    • jem

      We’re dress twins!!!! Looks gorgeous on you!

      • Alyssa

        Yay! This dress is seriously the best… lots of french strangers asking me about it, and compliments from all our guests. I hope you love wearing it on your wedding day!

    • Lisa

      The picture of you dancing in the street surrounded by your people is the best!! What a classic, beautiful shot.

    • nosio

      Oh my goodness, this looks amazing. So romantic and fun!

  • savannnah

    My fiance is certainly excited to get married to me and he’s certainly excited to party-but he doesn’t have any real joy around the actual big lift of planning the wedding- til this week. His ring is coming in the mail on Monday after a 4 week wait and he is freaking out- he keeps sending me screenshots of the updated shipping info (which obviously I could also look up in real time) On the one hand it’s a good reminder that he- like some other men I know- doesn’t really feel like things are happening til they are happening. On the other hand, damn this is annoying. We’ve had a 19 month engagement and I’ve had to push a lot of the way forward in ways that were disappointing (I wish he would take initiative) but also inevitable (I’m a chronic over planner, researcher and very type A when I want to be) I feel like we are now just finding a good balance because there are things I can no longer plan by myself or things that he’s fully taking over cause I’m not interested in that part. Just my lament we couldn’t have struck this balance a year ago.

    • jem

      Yepppp same

    • idkmybffjill

      I could’ve written this last summer. He totally came through the last 4ish months and was amazing. But boy was it tough to feel like I was the only one who really cared!

      • BSM

        Same here. Once I’d run myself ragged getting a bunch of quotes for every single thing and we had the last 25% to wrap up in the final months, my husband stepped up big time. But I think the whole process would have been way more enjoyable if we’d worked on things more equitably from the get-go.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I AM FEELING. THESE. FEELINGS.
      Yesterday I suggested we go to Ikea this weekend. Fiancé said “Maybe, but we should really prioritize wedding stuff,” and then smiled and added, “did you hear what I just said?” Like I was going to be all, “yay, you finally care about the wedding!” I tried to keep the bitterness out of my voice when I replied “yep, I just wish you had said it three months ago,” …and probably failed.

      • AGCourtney

        I have been known to say variants of “Congrats, do you want a goddamned gold star sticker?” to my husband for these especially deluded occasions.

        • Her Lindsayship

          I think he did want a gold star sticker and all he got was a big ol side-eye stamp. So of course I looked like an asshole but I MEAN.

        • Eenie

          My husband told me how much he loves my eye roll this past week :D

      • savannnah

        Yep. Like he wants snaps. Um no.

  • Oy Vey

    Backstory – I’m the lady who had an AAPW letter published about how my then-bf didn’t want my parents at our wedding, was told he was being emotionally abusive, and later broke up with him after he went full on crazy pants.

    Because all you in this community were so helpful when I was going through the shit, I wanted to give a positive update. I started dating again this month – really dating for the first time in my adult life. I’ve discovered that I’m no longer the weird, awkward, nerdy girl I was in high school and the beginning of college and that a LOT of men like me and also find me attractive (seriously was a revelation to me).

    I’m not in a relationship, but seeing several people casually. I actually put the brakes on after an amazing first date when I realized the guy exhibited characteristics of my ex, not abusive ones, but warning signs – things like saying he thought I’d be good for him in terms of motivating him to do xyz… And the people I’ve chosen to keep dating treat me better and seem to respect me more than any boyfriend I’ve ever had in the past (they don’t tell me I’m “cute” in the diminishing sense, for example).

    Anyway, thank you all for everything. Especially Liz for publishing my letter (even though I HATED IT at the time). I don’t think I’d be in such a good place right now if it wasn’t for APW.

    • AGCourtney

      Thanks for updating us! I’m glad to hear you’re doing well. <3

    • Gaby

      Hooray, Oy Vey! So happy to hear from you.

    • Essssss

      Glad to hear you’re doing well! Best of luck to you!

    • emilyg25

      Thanks for the update. Glad to hear you’re doing well!

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      This update is like a refreshing glass of cucumber water on a hot, humid day. I am so, so happy for you.

      • Oy Vey

        I love this analogy. And also now I want some cucumber water.

        Thank you!

    • LOR

      I had stopped reading APW after I got married but would pop in every once in awhile for Happy Hour to see what was going on. I popped in one HH when you mentioned your situation and I kept up with Happy Hours to see how you were doing, and then one day I stopped seeing anything. But I still kept on with HHs, lol. Glad to hear your update Oy Vey!

    • Jess

      So glad to hear from you! I’m glad you realize that you’re desirable and wonderful to other people!

    • Amy March

      This is such happy news!

    • Transnonymous

      So glad to hear you’re doing well, Oy Vey! I think of you from time to time.

    • Jane

      So glad to get this update!! Good for you! And glad the comments ended up being helpful and not just a bunch of strangers interjecting! Really really glad to hear that you’re meeting some great people!

    • rg223

      I think of you often, Oy Vey, and I’m so glad to hear this update. You are amazing.

    • EF

      so glad to see this update oy vey! i hope things continue to go well for you!!

    • Thanks for sharing an update with us! I’m so happy to hear that you’re doing well :-)

    • ART

      This is a great update. Thank you for sharing!

    • This is wonderful! And I am so happy to see you’ve discovered some red flags to avoid (people who want you to motivate them! And say so on the first date!) and the joy of reciprocity in dating! I am so glad you are feeling respected and valued.

    • scw

      <3 what a wonderful update.

  • GotMarried!

    So I went to Law School pretty well to avoid getting a PHD in Accounting but still be qualified to teach at most smaller Colleges…. 6 years ago. Yesterday I scheduled an interview for a full-time accounting instructor job at the school I’ve been adjuncting for for the past 3 years. The interview is in 2 weeks and includes a teaching demo. I am so excited and so nervous!

    • Cellistec

      Yay you! Way to persevere!

  • Laura C

    Well, if you’re going to live in SF for a year you might as well get to experience Pride, and as it happens, we live literally overlooking one of the security screening points for entry to the celebration at Civic Center. So we got to spend the weekend watching people arrive in all their splendor. Including one guy in a top hat, boots, and a cock ring.

    In other news, today is our son’s first full day in the toddler classroom and my husband asked me to go along for drop-off, which I don’t usually do, and we totally screwed up the timing on saying goodbye to him. We started to leave after he finished his pancakes, and apples and milk were just not enough to distract him from our departure. In fact, as soon as he finished the pancakes he decided as long as I was there he might as well nurse (one of his newest words, though it sounds like “nuh”; “oh, wow” is a lot clearer), so he was pretty upset when we left. Luckily one of his new classmates’ mother was one of our son’s infant room teachers and she was there for drop-off, so she stepped in, and about half an hour ago my husband called to report that he’d just visited but and our son was happy to see him but way more interested in playing with his friends than cuddling with his father. But I expect he’ll be beat this evening.

  • Yael

    Germany just voted to make same-sex marriage legal! I had nothing to do with it, but I thought I’d share the good news from my new home :)

  • BSM

    Construction is sputtering forward over here.

    We found out on Wednesday that they could refinish our hardwood floors starting Monday. Awesome, except it’s not advisable to stay in the house while they’re staining due to fumes. Cue last minute search for some sort of nearby, semi-affordable getaway 2 days before the start of a major holiday weekend. I thought this was going to be an impossible task, but I was able to find a pretty good deal on Travel Zoo for a dog-friendly B&B in Geyserville (with a pool!!), so that’s where we’re headed this weekend! It will be nice to take a little trip and use a bathroom that isn’t constantly covered in dust.

    Then, I was clarifying a few things with the floor guys this morning when they informed me that they would be applying the last two coats of stain on Wednesday and Thursday. Uhh, WHAT. So I did another round of “oh, shit, where will we live while this is happening?” and ended up booking a pretty reasonable Airbnb in our neighborhood.

    So, floors will be refinished, the kitchen floor will be leveled, kitchen floor tile will arrive and get installed (squeeeeeee!!), electrical and plumbing will almost entirely wrap up, everything will be painted, and we’ll move out of our living room and into our bedroom all in the next week or so! I am SO FREAKING EXCITED and now completely understand why people hate renovations.

    We’ve also deemed the weekend trip our “Baby Summit.” We’ve been so consumed with this project (my husband specifically has been managing most of it), that we haven’t discussed a lot of the meatier baby stuff very deeply, and, while I’ve been doing a lot of research, we should probably start talking about a few things and moving towards a decision now that the kiddo will be here in not the super far off future. So I drew up a little agenda (#typeA lol) and am really looking forward to some great conversations with my favorite person. And laying by the pool.

    • Ashlah

      Ooh, care to share a bit of your baby talk agenda? We’re also going away for the weekend, and I wonder if you might have some good conversational jumping-off points that we haven’t delved into yet.

      • Jess

        Also curious!

      • BSM

        Of course! On my list, I have a mix of very logistical and practical things that concern the remainder of the pregnancy and first few weeks/months that the nugget is here, a few philosophical questions, and then some stuff that falls somewhere in between.

        All the topics are at a different status of discussion (some we’ve talked about in passing, some are basically decided, etc.), so my goal for the summit is to just keep moving the conversation forward on all of them, whether that’s making a decision or bringing up an idea one or both of us hadn’t thought about before. I also told my husband he needs to review the agenda ahead of time so that he’s not blindsided by anything and can add to it if I’ve missed something (can you tell I’m bored at work and have taken to PM-ing this baby thing?).

        Here’s a taste of the agenda:

        -Going into labor: logistics and communication with friends and family
        -Visitors (at the hospital and at home; vaccination concerns)
        -Holidays: this year and beyond (logistical concerns and what are we celebrating? how and why?)
        -Baby shower details
        -Task management for the first month: what needs to get done, how frequently, and by whom?
        -My birth plan
        -Childcare
        -Finalizing our parental leave plans
        -Questions for our pediatrician
        -Social media and the baby
        -Budgeting for baby
        -Baby’s name: dealing with people’s questions and/or shitty reactions
        -Our family values

        Anything I’m missing?

        • Lisa

          What a great list! I’m going to save this away somewhere for when we start our own family. Also

          -Baby’s name: dealing with people’s questions and/or shitty reactions

          I sincerely hope you don’t have to deal with shittiness from other’s regarding your kid’s name! Maybe wait to announce the name until baby’s here, and then it’s a done deal that people just have to live with?

          • Ashlah

            That’s what we’re doing! I’ve been surprised at the lack of push-back. I think it’s becoming more and more common for people to keep it a secret until birth, to the point that it’s almost expected.

          • Lisa

            We’ve told some people the frontrunners for our hypotheticals, but since I think we’ll wait to find out the sex, no one will know the baby’s full name until she/he is born.

          • Ashlah

            We talked to a few people about names we were considering, but we ended up choosing one we hadn’t ever mentioned, so it’ll be a total surprise, just by accident! We only had someone wrinkle their nose at a name once, the most annoying experience we encountered was my in-laws spending a half hour pulling up top name lists and suggesting names that’d we’d of course already considered during four months of name discussions. It reminded me of people making wedding suggestions like a month before the wedding!

          • Cleo

            Truth. My younger cousin’s name was almost Morgan, but my aunt made the mistake of asking the family’s opinion before the birth and since one family member was bullied by a kid named Morgan in school, and gave my aunt so much shit about it, she went back to the drawing board despite loving the name.

            Has my cousin been born and the name announced as Morgan, I know for a fact this family member would have kept her mouth shut about her bully and would have loved the kid and the name anyway.

          • Lisa

            Yes, I’ve heard a lot of stories like that. Once a name is attached to a cute baby, people seem to be less likely to push back. I don’t love the name our friends chose for their baby because it’s definitely not my style, but I love that little girl so much. I never told them I wasn’t a fan of the name while they deciding because it’s not my place. I wouldn’t want them to knock all of our favorite names either!

          • Alli

            Unless you have exceptionally vocal family members. My cousin named her son Bear (which, yeah it’s kind of weird but she’s never been traditional and it’s pretty cute) and almost nobody knew before he was born. I was one of the very few who knew ahead of time. People FLIPPED. My grandmother wrote her a letter about how disappointed she was, and could she AT LEAST change the spelling to the traditional Irish??

            I should probably have some advice. Maybe get one or two people on board with your name who can be the “I think it’s cute!” brigade. (PS- everyone got over the name Bear. We call him Baby Bear)

          • Yael

            One of my good friends had completely ridiculous (yet awesome) names picked out in advance to tell people who asked. She figured it would give people something to get huffy about and then when she announced the real name, no one would care.

          • penguin

            This is great. Now I’m trying to think of names to use in that scenario. Hurricane Jeffords? (Big Brooklyn Nine-Nine fan).

          • Yael

            The girl’s name was Boudica Thatcher. I think the boy’s name probably involved Sirius or Dumbledore and a male politician’s name – maybe Churchill?

          • A single sarah

            My parents went with the worst sounding biblical names they could find while waiting for me. My grandmother was at least half worried they’d go through with calling me Gomer Dorcas. Sarah was a definite relief.

          • BSM

            This is exactly what we’re doing!

            I’m thinking/hoping we’ll get more questions than shitty reactions because we’re waiting till he’s here, and how do you say anything bad about an adorable newborn? But, since we are going with Comboname for baby’s last name, I’d feel better if we were a little prepared for at least some curiosity.

            Also, his first name will be pretty unusual, and I’ve noticed that people are generally quick to ask, “Why did you name him that?” with unique names. Not a bad or intrusive question at all, but I want to clarify what our response should be.

          • Lisa

            That makes perfect sense. I hope people are just genuinely curious (I love a good name story!) and not judgmental.

          • BSM

            Me too! I am cautiously optimistic :)

          • penguin

            Just make sure you think about nicknames for your kid, and what their initials will be. There is a lawyer in town whose name is Richard J Butts. AKA… Dick Butts. I’m just assuming that he had a rough childhood as a result.

          • Lisa

            I think dick as a term for male genitalia is a more recent etymological development. If he’s older than 50-60, he probably grew up in a time when it was just a nickname.

            But seriously… could you imagine running for public office today with a name like Dick Butts? I had a teacher in middle school whose married name was Mrs. Butts, and she reverted to using her birth name for teaching because tweenagers just could not deal.

          • Laura C

            There is a former New Hampshire congressman named Dick Swett.

          • Eenie

            Teacher friend with a maiden name of Dees. No one at her current school knew about it until the principal blew her cover by accidentally calling her by her maiden name (they taught together before she was married). Ten “Dees nuts” jokes that day to her face.

          • zana

            I always think of the fathers who were so territorial that they HAD to pass on their terrible name to the children.

          • Laura C

            I mean, my MIL arrived at the hospital the next day with a list of alternate middle names.

          • Ashlah

            Omg

          • BSM

            I am… not surprised, given what I know about her? How did you handle it? Just a terse shutdown?

            What I’m most nervous about is my FIL. He’s generally a pretty easygoing guy, but then there are things that will randomly come up that he apparently strongly disagrees with. He doesn’t say anything at first, so you think everything is fine, but then he’ll send my husband these somewhat cutting, guilt-inducing emails a few days later (usually late at night, of course), that say stuff like, “It’s your decision, but I just don’t know why you’d do X. Here are all the reasons X is a terrible decision and makes no sense to me. But it’s up to you. But it’s the wrong decision and you will definitely regret it.”

            So I have no idea if Comboname is going to be one of those things.

          • Laura C

            In the moment I honestly froze. Wasn’t hard to do at that point on an hour of sleep or whatever it was. I don’t think I said anything, and I definitely left my husband to shut it down later. (his end of that phone conversation: “because we like it. [listens] because she likes it and I like it. [listens] we like it.”)

            The backstory is that we had been undecided between an Indian name and a non-Indian name, and when she called while we were still in the delivery room and my husband was still sobbing, he indicated some uncertainty, and rather than taking it as “they have multiple choices and are inclined to this one but also have a runner-up in mind” she took it as an invitation to talk us out of a name she didn’t like by presenting a list of other Indian names. Which, we had looked at lists of about 500 different Indian names, so we had considered all her options. And she was trying to convince us that Ravi (our choice) would be mispronounced so we should replace it with Aditya, a name I like a lot but suspect would be just as likely to be mispronounced as Ravi, to say the least. Luckily all the insulting stuff she said about the name she did not say to me, so I only heard the “but how about this one?” stuff.

            But yeah, if you have a FIL who is prone to that kind of thing, you want to have your talking points ready on a last name. I definitely know people who have been blindsided by negative reactions from parents they really believed would be supportive of last name decisions other than HisLast.

          • BSM

            Ugh, sorry she did that. That sucks.

            And yeah, while I’m hoping everyone will be fine with our unconventional choice and even somewhat expect it, I’d rather be a little overprepared than caught off guard in the (what I assume will be) somewhat raw days/weeks after giving birth.

          • Lisa

            Ugh, I’m sorry she did that. Your MIL sounds like a trip.

        • Ashlah

          These are great! Holidays are a big one we need to talk about. We’re in the middle of a five-week childbirth class, so a lot of the labor and birth plan stuff is coming up a lot, which is fantastic.

          You’ve got a lot of stuff covered! Maybe as part of your childcare discussion talk about who might take on the bulk of pick-up/drop-off and whether there’s a risk (or requirement due to logistics) of one of you becoming the primary “sick day” parent. If one person is going to be largely responsible, how will you make sure that person doesn’t become resentful? Or is there a way to make it more egalitarian?

          • BSM

            Oy, yes holidays. Especially since the kid is due in November, I feel like we definitely need to set some expectations for this year.

            And great suggestion on the sick day piece. I have “on-call parent” as a sub-bullet there because, since my husband’s work is a lot closer to home/where we’ll have childcare, he’ll probably be the one responding to any emergencies. But we should also discuss how to deal with any sick days (or holidays) that we have some advanced warning for.

        • emilyg25

          This is a good list! Just give yourselves a lot of flexibility when you talk about that first month. The first week we were home with a newborn, we both completely forgot to even change our underwear for three days.

          • BSM

            Haaaaaa, yeah. My entire thought around that topic at this point is 1) lots of stuff probably won’t happen and 2) the grocery shopping and meal prep piece (which I normally manage) will need to get taken care of some other way.

          • Ashlah

            Oh man, we definitely need to discuss groceries and meals for that time. Husband likes to plan and shop for dinner each day. It is so not my style, but he takes it on, so he can do what he wants, but that is so not going to work then. Plus we’ll need, like, breakfast and lunch and snacks… I’ve been trying to convince him to get a small freezer so we can have more frozen meals on hand!

          • Lisa

            Time to start prepping the casserole dishes!

            Seriously though, a chest freezer isn’t a terrible idea if you have the space. You can meal prep/freeze prior to the baby, and if you’re going to try pumping, you won’t have to worry about rationing food to breast milk space like our friends are currently doing.

          • penguin

            Or a stand-up freezer, that’s what we have. Same idea though, I just find that things are less likely to get lost forever in a stand-up one than a chest one. Having a freezer is the best either way.

          • Lisa

            Yes, that’s true. My parents have a stand-up freezer and chest freezer in their garage. I just feel like I see so many chest ones show up on Craigslist or at garage sales that it would be pretty easy to score one cheaply now.

          • Ashlah

            I don’t know why I didn’t think to mention the space we’ll potentially need for breast milk to him! I was so focused on food (for us, heh). Even one of the smaller chest freezers would be enough for us, I think. I’ll definitely be broaching this topic again with that in mind!

          • BSM

            Yes! We are getting a new fridge for our kitchen, but I have been adamant that we keep the old one, for at least the freezer space.

            I’m hoping to do some meal prepping at some point, and I also looked into a few local, healthy meal delivery services. I found two that seem promising, and I think we’re going to add gift cards to them to our registry. And also just pay for them ourselves if no one gets us the GCs.

          • JSK

            If you’re breastfeeding, you will be so so so hungry. We had a ton of casseroles and the like in the freezer, but it took so long for those to be ready that half the time I’d just be like, make me a damn PB&J. If you have a network nearby looking to help out, have them bring unfrozen food to you that maybe just needs reheating.

          • BSM

            Yeah, we have had some… not super successful experiences in the past with defrosting frozen pasta bakes, so I don’t think we’ll be heavily relying on that option. My in-laws are nearby, but they’re not very reliable, so that’s also a no-go. There are a couple local, wholesome meal delivery services that drop off simple, not frozen, prepared food once a week, so I think we will utilize those, super simple meals, and takeout/delivery, for the most part.

          • ART

            I have been thinking about this lately and there is a good series of articles on the Kitchn about prepping stuff for the first couple months, including snacks that sound good/handy for breastfeeding that I want to try (since that’s our plan, for now). I am also going to put together some shopping lists/”recipes” for one-pot dishes (the throw everything including the pasta in a pot and cook it together kind) in the hopes that 1) family and friends will be willing to make quick grocery runs for us or help us do a grocery delivery order and 2) we can stand to just throw 6 things in a pot and stir for a while if we want freshly cooked food at home. Fingers crossed?

          • BSM

            That’s one of my ideas, too (I commented below about having some kind of “menu” that lists easy meal ideas + their recipes/ingredients and our go-to takeout/delivery options).

            Also, yes, SNACKS. My husband is going back to work part-time after 2 weeks of leave, and I’m nervous about feeding myself. I’m already not that great at it when I work from home. Can you link to any particularly helpful Kitchn articles? I love their stuff!

            There’s a yummy Thai restaurant across the street for us, and I have a feeling we will be giving them a lot of business this winter…

          • bee

            Yes to frozen meals!! Though I ended up having to cut dairy and so couldn’t eat some of our meals… and it’s actually made meal planning now (several months down the road) hard too. Having good take out spots is helpful too

          • ART

            I wrote a whole comment with links, but now it doesn’t seem like it’s showing up. Maybe it was the links? Try googling “5 dos & don’ts for freezing meals before baby arrives” and take note of the many links throughout that article (the snacks link is near the bottom in the Inventory section of the post)

          • BSM

            Thanks!

          • ART

            I will also say that as virtuous as those oatmeal-etc-filled snacks look, I will probably also get some of those microwaveable egg and sausage breakfast burritos that are ready in 90 seconds and come in bags of a dozen. :)

          • BSM

            I am here for optimistic, wholesome oatcakes as much as I am for backup, microwaveable breakfasts.

          • Eileen

            I relied a lot on ready-made, 3min meals. Preservatives be damned. It was so easy.

          • JR

            Snacks: Kind Bars (the Nuts and Spices line are lower sugar). Chocolate covered almonds. Baked oatmeal muffins (prep and freeze). Fancy/non-plastic-y beef jerky (like Vermont Smoke and Cure). Roasted seaweed snacks (easy vegetable). String cheese. Bake a pan full of bacon that you can add to avocado toast, eat with a hard boiled egg, or just eat out of the fridge. Leave snacks and water next to wherever you plan to nurse in the night. The kind bars and chocolate covered almonds in particular make me almost (almost) look forward to waking up!

          • Eileen

            Wow that all sounds delicious and it would have motivated me extra for getting up too!

        • memmily

          Depending on what kind of birth you ideally want to have it might be useful to have a “birth plan b.” I’m due in November as well and while I would like to have a natural medication free experience if a c-section needs to happen I don’t want us to be surprised by any of the decisions that may have to get made on short notice if things take an unexpected turn.

          • BSM

            Good idea. My birth plan is pretty vague and bare bones right now, so I figured our discussion will probably be short at this point. Something like, this is the stuff on the plan right now, I’m guessing it will be added to/adjusted, questions?

            I’m hoping our first full meeting with our doula and our childbirth classes in August will help me better navigate things, particularly figuring out what information we should think about now in case things change during labor. We just had a friend who was induced on super short notice and ended up needing an emergency C-section, so it’s definitely on my radar.

          • memmily

            Good luck! I’ve been treating my birth plan like a choose your own adventure story, which has made it far less intimidating and scary to think through the various scenarios, and significantly increases the odds of my husband remembering what my preferences are.

          • BSM

            You too! Since I’m not too particular (so far…), I’ve been thinking of mine as a collection of guardrails to keep things from getting off course. As long as we stay within them and adapt them as the situation evolves, I think I’ll be good!

            You may already be doing this, but we’re going to have a couple printed copies of the plan/guardrails in our hospital bag so that we (me, husband, doula) don’t have to remember everything and can refer back to it.

          • memmily

            oh yes! our birth center/hospital also encourages pre-registration and we can submit a copy of our birth plan then and have a discussion about the feasibility of our choices

          • BSM

            Same here! Really looking forward to our tour in a few weeks.

          • JSK

            Make sure your husband knows critical medical details about you and the pregnancy that they may ask during labor. My labor was somewhat rapid and there were many times during intake and the wait for the epidural* that I couldn’t answer questions while I waited for a contraction to pass.

            *the sweet, sweet, beloved epidural

          • BSM

            That sounds important… What kinds of details? My blood type?

          • JSK

            Blood type, any prior surgeries or medical issues, allergies/sensitivities to medications.

            BUT. They also asked specifics about the pregnancy and contractions up to that point – What complications I’d had during pregnancy, if I’d have rhogam, what week and day I was at that point, had my water broken, any bloody show, what types of movements had I felt for the past few days, how far apart were contractions throughout the 2 hours of laboring at home. We were tracking contractions on a shared app, so he could answer that question, but the rest lived in my brain or his answers weren’t as specific as they wanted (ie I was 41w0d, not “overdue”)

            Honestly, I’m not sure if they were just trying to keep me focused on the questions vs the contractions? But it seemed like information they should have on file, given that they are my medical provider.

          • BSM

            Thank you! Good stuff to keep in mind, either way. I’m also hoping our doula (who we’re planning to have come to our house once labor starts) can help us with some of this, too. My husband isn’t great at remembering details, lol.

        • JSK

          Wills and Powers of Attny updates or creation.

          Not like a day 1 of baby’s life task for sure, but important to keep on a longer term list.

          • BSM

            THANK YOU. Also a good reminder that I need to finish the paperwork to increase our life insurance.

  • Lexipedia

    My mom was here last weekend and we did all sorts of wedding talking/shopping. Good thing – I found a dress I love! I’ll include a picture below because it is so gorgeous. Scary thing – I misread our floral quote and it is $800 more than I thought, without one more thing to be added. I had originally planned to DIY a bajillion bud vases, but then florist said she would assemble them for $2 a vase which is 100% worth it. However, the total quote is scaring me and I freaked out a little bit about money with my mom who was very calm and rational about the whole thing.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0d974eb67c22c7918b14b3984c93f682f93431d1f08a761a73521f887d5fb48c.jpg

    • Eve

      That dress is soooooooo pretty.

    • penguin

      Your dress is STUNNING on you!!

    • Lisa

      Looooooove the dress textile. It’s so pretty and unique!

      • Lexipedia

        Me too. I wonder if it is going to be super dated, but I honestly don’t care. I love lace and tried on lots of lace dresses that just didn’t feel like me. This was fun and light and modern – just what I didn’t know I wanted.

        • AGCourtney

          Meg has a post about that: https://apracticalwedding.com/timeless-weddings/

          No matter what, it’s going to look “dated”, and that’s what’s great about wedding photos! :)

          • Ashlah

            This! I already feel like my 2014 wedding looks like, well, a 2014 wedding. Because it is! And I love it.

          • Lexipedia

            Thank you for this! I definitely needed to read it. As we make wedding design choices I’ve been trying to think of them as in – would I put this in my house if it wasn’t a wedding? Like pastels, rustic burlap, mason jars and things made of trees are so, so, so not my style and so I feel like it would be weird for us to do them at our wedding. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it has definitely helped us rule out some wedding decor choices that are otherwise trendy/common right now. Fiancé has been surprisingly helpful with this part, even though he says he doesn’t care he has really kept things on track.

          • AGCourtney

            you’re so welcome! that’s a great approach. the plus side of that is, you actually can put them in your house later if you so choose. I still reuse some of our stuff for decor around the house. xD

          • Anna

            Yes! I’m already excited for the “remember when…”s and hopefully eventually showing, like, grandchildren or other later-generation children our wedding photos and being like “BACK IN 2017, WE DID THIS”

            My favorite parts of my parents’ wedding photos are 1. seeing what they and various relatives looked like a few decades back (my dad looked about fifteen years old in most photos from that time – he was actually 25 when they got married – but the tux does give him some gravitas haha), 2. the poofy-sleeved, hotel-curtain-floral-patterned, floor-length bridesmaid dresses (artfully mismatched!) and the EVEN POOFIER sleeves on my mom’s wedding dress. It’s so deeply, perfectly eighties.

        • Eenie

          I so wanted a lace dress but they also just didn’t feel like me!

    • BSM

      This dress is STUNNING! You look gorgeous!

    • Brynna

      Wow! I LOVE that dress!

    • Laura C

      Love that dress.

    • Her Lindsayship

      Your dress! I don’t want to tell you what to do but I want you to wear it all the time!! GAH it looks amazing on you!

    • norah_charles_ftw

      SO PRETTY! Something about that fabric gives me 60s vibes and I LOVE it!

  • emmers

    I have so much work to get done before 5, and little mini crises keep popping off this week! Ready for a long weekend and some relaxing– really just wanna start that with happy hour, but really gotta churn this stuff out! Hopefully no one else will call/stop by the office/email with a crisis and I can crank through what I need to do!

    But in happier times, I got a small raise. It was expected, since it’s a state job and they were passing out raises, but for the first time ever, I now make over $50k!

  • Bsquillo

    Hi APW, and happy almost weekend! This week I went to a digital marketing conference paid for by work (which is awesome- yay for professional development). However, as someone with a background in music, who has only entered this marketing world in the past few years, I found the way other conference attendees interacted to be fascinating and BIZARRE. I was there by myself, so definitely looking for opportunities to connect and chat with other folks in the field….but even with networking cocktail parties and 2300 people at this event, almost no one initiated a conversation with me. I literally had to snoop people’s name badges, then awkwardly butt in and say things like “Oh, I see you also work in higher ed!” to get anyone to talk to me. And then conversations would fall flat pretty quickly. For people whose jobs are all about finding new customers/clients and developing relationships with them, they were surprisingly bad at meeting people in person.

    This is just so totally opposite my experience at music conferences, where strangers introduce themselves and strike up conversations constantly, and we all leave with half a dozen new projects or gigs (after shutting down the bar together, of course).

    Curious what other people’s experiences have been at conferences like this…maybe I’m just a total weirdo! And definitely not trying to vibe people who are more introverted…I’m just fascinated by differences across industries in how people interact in an anthropological way.

    • Ashlah

      Conferences aren’t a thing I do in my job, so I have no personal experience to share, but based on your last paragraph, I think you might find the book Quiet by Susan Cain to be interesting! It’s largely about the value of introversion in a culture that prizes extroversion, though she really discusses the values of both, and there are large segments about conferences and about differences between various industries!

    • emilyg25

      I work in higher ed marketing and yeah, a lot of us are shy, nerdy types. You kind of have to carry the weight of the conversation until it clicks.

      • Bsquillo

        To be fair, this wasn’t specifically a higher ed focused conference- in fact, most of the folks there were agency folks or freelancers, or worked in a marketing department for some larger corporation. Which, you think they’d be a little more interested in making connections? But who knows.

        The whole thing felt very high school lunch table to me, as somewhat of an outsider.

    • AP

      I haven’t seen this happen necessarily at a conference, but I often experience this at my husband’s work events. He and his coworkers are in a science industry, and a lot of the work they do is solitary computer-based. Like, they’ll all be working in the same space, but everyone has a different role on a different piece of equipment. Small talk is not a thing this particular group of folks does well. Whenever spouses/partners are included in events, I feel like I am working my ass off to make conversation, because if I don’t, the only things they will talk about are work-related with lots of acronyms and jargon. Or there is just lots of awkward silence. So I’m asking questions about their interests, families, who’s dressing up for Halloween, has anyone seen Wonder Woman yet, etc, etc, and often all I’ll get will be one-word answers. No one ever asks me anything. I thought it was personal for a while, but my husband says they don’t really talk at work either. It’s an interesting social dynamic, and I also don’t have a problem with introverted folks…but really not very fun for me to be on the outside of.

      • Bsquillo

        Ha, this is definitely how I feel at certain gatherings with my in-laws. I never really even identified as an extrovert until hanging with them and feeling like THE LOUDEST PERSON IN THE ROOM. And yes, I totally get the feeling of toeing that line between keeping the conversation going and saying something too weird/offensive/out there.

        This is exactly how I got into a rabbit hole of telling my MIL that automation will replace all jobs like truck drivers in the next 20 years, and totally reshape the economic landscape when it becomes a possibility that not everyone needs to work to keep the economy functioning…after my husband was gone on a three minute bathroom break.

        • AP

          Lol, oh yes, I have totally been there!

    • JSK

      This is exactly my experience at conferences (tech), at least since I stopped being a 20 something woman :) Aside from sales people, the wvst majority of people only talk to colleagues or people they already know. I am awkward in those situations, so I always stress out a ton trying to integrate into a group.

  • Jess

    Surprise In-Law visit. Last Saturday, R was like, “You can say no, but my parents want to come up next weekend.” Which is about the longest advance they’ve given, and a big improvement from that time they asked 2 days out. But.

    After cycling through some panic and stress for a few days, we had a Talk about how asking me made me the bad guy if I said no. He volunteered that he’s supposed to be a gate-keeper for enforcing advanced notice, which I agreed with. We also talked about how if he doesn’t provide some kind of an agenda, even if it ends up changing, I will worst-case-scenario-into-panic and telling me “Don’t worry about it” doesn’t help. He started a google doc that night.

    It’s good to see those responses, but like… I really hope it sticks.

    In the meantime… Here’s hoping for an uneventful visit with no yelling or quietly offending the others sensibility with opinions.

    • BSM

      This isn’t exactly my situation, but my in-laws are really last-minute planners, and I find it really tough to navigate. Like, yeah, I could rearrange my whole weekend now that you’ve told me that some extended family is coming into town and wants to go out to dinner with us tomorrow night, but I don’t want to, and I find it inconsiderate.

      Sounds like you guys are on the right path by reiterating that your husband needs to manage this and deal with the fallout if they don’t give the advance notice you’ve agreed on (whether that’s saying no or planning any last-minute activities for their visit).

      • penguin

        Your in-laws sound like my future in-laws. This year we made plans to go away for 4th of July, and those plans were made at least a couple months ago. In the mail last weekend we got a paper invitation to spend 4th of July with his parents. No notice or anything, just a card. Fiancé called his parents and told them we already have plans, but it pissed me off. Of course we have plans! They were surprisingly not-shitty about it when fiancé talked to them, but I’m waiting for it to come back on us later somehow.

        • BSM

          In our case (and maybe yours, too, particularly outside of the current wedding-weirdness you’re going through with them), they are always totally fine when we decline, but, like, it would be nice to see them! I just need some notice! And I don’t know if we should just relent and do the schedule rearranging so that we can make these events or if we should stand our ground and say, “No, we would love to see you, but we need at least a few day’s notice, please.”

      • Eh

        “… but I don’t want to, and I find it inconsiderate” YEP!

      • Laura C

        I know someone whose parents would tell, not ask, about visits. “We’ll be there from x to y.” The only way my friend put a stop to that was by saying “sorry, we’re not available then” literally every single time this happened, even if they were totally available. Still took years before their parents started asking.

        • BSM

          Oof, that’s so tough. Reminds me of @disqus_v4FNpABhDA:disqus’s situation!

          And we’ve found that this kind of thing is all about the long game. We’re about 6 years in, and we have just now started to get 2 and 3 days of notice for stuff, which, while I’d still prefer more like 5 days (especially for stuff that I know has been planned for months), is a huge improvement from a text on Saturday afternoon asking if we’re up for dinner 40 minutes away that night.

          • Anna

            My mom lives two hours away from us but in the metro area of the same large city; I work in the city and Husband works out in a suburb-borderline-rural area in the opposite direction. I’m happy to grab dinner with my mom (and various other relatives/friends who live in/around the city) on short notice after work, but she’s always bummed that Husband isn’t joining us and it’s like… one, he hates changing plans on short notice anyway, and two, you’re asking him to do my commute on top of his regular commute! That’s something that requires more than five hours (or two days, for that matter) notice!

          • BSM

            Yes! I’m in a similar situation.

            I commute about an hour into the city for work; my in-laws live 45 minutes in the other direction. They’ve traditionally done birthday dinners at their house on each person’s real birthday, so, for me to make a 6pm mealtime during the week, I’d have to leave work at 4pm. Not. Happening.

            We’ve mostly converted them to weekend brunch birthday celebrations instead, which are so much more pleasant!

          • Anna

            Yep, similar arrangements have worked well for Husband, too, although getting him into the city even on an otherwise calm weekend can still be a bit of a struggle xD I just always feel like I have to explain his absence because as a high school teacher, he usually leaves work at 3:30-4ish anyway, so he could physically make it into the city for dinner pretty easily… he just has no desire to at that point.

          • Eh

            Something must be in the air… my in-laws are trying to make plans with us a week in advance (husband talked to them on Saturday). We haven’t accepted yet because my husband doesn’t know what those plans are. They discussed breakfast next Sunday but didn’t discuss a location (e.g., their house, our house, a restaurant) or time. We have plans for mid-day on Sunday, and my in-laws live an hour away so these are important details.

      • Jess

        Very grateful he stepped up there. I think we are going to have to explicitly make this a thing at this point. The first time we were like, “nope, that’s only two days away. Hard pass.” and it was very easy.

        A week is in some ambiguous length of time, and I think for hosting, we’re going to have to actually tell them “Hey, we need two weeks to prepare. K thanks.”

        I love the “I don’t want to, and I find it inconsiderate” line so much!

    • Eh

      Good luck! It’s good that he’s taking responsibility of gate-keeper for advance notice, and social-convener for his parents visit.

      I don’t think my in-laws have ever given us a weeks notice; which is why my husband always has to say no all the time (they call the day they wan to visit).

      • Jess

        Yeah, it helps a bit that they are >6 hours away.

        • Eh

          My in-laws live an hour away and they sometimes can’t even give us an hours notice.

    • Bsquillo

      I totally get the stress over not having a plan. I tend to be an extreme advance planner- I kind of have to be since things like gigs and work schedules often get decided 6+ months in advance. So it irks me to no end when someone says “Hey, we’re coming next week and thought we could get together” or “Let’s all meet up and spend the WHOLE DAY together” (this tends to happen more with spontaneous friends than family for me). Like, even if I have the day free technically, I’m annoyed by someone else capitalizing on my time like that.

      Like someone said a couple weeks ago in happy hour, “The casualness with which some people live their lives astounds me.” Glad your husband is taking responsibility here!

      • Jess

        “The casualness with which some people live their lives astounds me.” I think it may have been Amy March, and very few comments have resonated with me more.

        • G.

          It’s interesting, I don’t consider myself someone who lives her life casually, but I’m also not a good planner. I used to think I was, but I recently realized that was more an artifact of other structures of my own life. Left to my own devices, I just don’t have the brain space for planning very far out, in part because of the nature of my job (requires a tremendous amount of discipline and organization) and in part because the time spent dealing with every other part of my life just makes it challenging for me to devote time to advance planning. In that sense, it’s the not-casual nature of regular life + job that makes me a terrible social planner.

          Then again, I’m a great person to ask to do last minute things with and I’m not bothered by people telling me they already have plans. I’d like to be a better planner, but for now, it’s not a mental priority.

  • Yael

    I just finished my first year of my PhD program! Now I’m trying to find a new apartment so that A can move to Germany (currently place is too small and won’t let us bring our cat), preparing for 2 conferences (I get to go to Lisbon and Athens!) and writing various project proposals/grant requests. Oh, and of course writing to papers and getting started on my dissertation research.

  • AGCourtney

    My kiddo had her audition for Annie at the Ordway on Tuesday and she had a wonderful time there. (I’m quite confident she didn’t get in the show, but that would have been a complete surprise.) It was fun to see how joyful she was. :)

    Things are coming along nicely with my job transition – enough time has passed where they can officially hire me for the new position and I went in the other day and learned the extra few things I need to know for the week that both supervisors are on vacation. I’m basically going to be running circulation during the day that week, which is a bit O_O but also seems quite manageable. And when they’re back, I’ll start the new projects for my position. Yay! I also put in my notice for the printing press I was working at, which I’m pretty glad about.

    We’re heading to Michigan on Sunday to visit my husband’s extended family and stay on the lake for the week. One new thing we’re considering is taking a day on the way home to stop by the Bristol Renaissance Fair, which we’ve never been to. I know we’ll have fun once we’re there, but right now it feels a bit overwhelming with all the things that need to be done before we go!

    • Eenie

      I thought about you today! My husband hurt his shoulder while travelling for work, and I made him report it as workers comp. He was really not on board at the time, but after talking with someone at work, he thanked me for making him do it. They want him to wait until Monday to see a doctor (which is kind of ridiculous, but I digress…), so he ended up cancelling plans to visit his family this extended weekend.

      • AGCourtney

        Haha, I can see why you’d think of me! That is pretty ridiculous to make him wait. Hope everything goes okay!

        I made what I hope were my final phone calls to the hospitals and the insurance company the other day. We still hadn’t been reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses and the hospital was still sending me a bill. :P On the bright side, I got promoted at my main job, so I just put in my notice for the printing press and my last day is on the 10th.

        • CMT

          How is your hand these days?

          • AGCourtney

            Aw, thanks for asking! It’s doing alright. It doesn’t *hurt*, exactly, it just often feels tight. And many a curse word has been hissed under my breath when I accidentally rub or scrape it on anything. But given what happened, I think I’m doing quite well.

  • Brynna

    We got our wedding photos back this week and I’m so happy with the whole experience (this is a group of tiki-bar-brunchers who happened to walk by as we were taking photos) – we really wanted a bright, colorful, and joyful brunch celebration and I think we nailed it! I’m nostalgic for the planning process, though…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/96f3fdf46587f6ce7cb4458bff4bff072d4b495cdd99531165931b63a94e1215.jpg

    • Jane

      Glad your wedding went so well. I hope that someday I am in a place where I feel nostalgic about wedding planning.

    • Anna

      What a beautiful and enthusiastic photo :D You completely nailed bright, colorful and joyful, by the looks of it!

      “Nostalgic for the planning process” is not something I can envision myself ever being… I love planning parties usually, but I pretty much hated most aspects of wedding planning. I’m not even 100% sure why. It was a somewhat obsessive focus for the last couple months before the wedding, it felt like I couldn’t turn it off, I was sure deep in my stomach that we were definitely forgetting something critical even though I consciously knew we weren’t. Having that END when wedding festivities finally started was one of the greatest feelings.

      • Brynna

        Yeah, I would have never expected it, either, considering the stress!

        • Anna

          Ah well, I’m only two weeks out, I suppose we’ll see if with a little more time I feel the same way :-)

  • CW

    I’ve been reading APW since fall 2010 and occasionally commenting, but I feel like I finally have a thing to share. My boyfriend and I decided to get married about two weeks ago, we told immediate family this week and we’re putting it on social media/telling the world in a few days. So I’m engaged!!! And so excited, even though everything suddenly feels like it’s moving very fast. Like we have a first run guest list and are visiting a few venues this weekend already. Anyway- I wanted to share to some joy with the community that has given me years of smiles and thought-provoking discussions.

    • Jess

      Congrats!

    • Kalë

      Wow, amazing! Congrats to you and your boo!

    • penguin

      Congratulations, and welcome!! Also don’t be afraid to take some time to just be engaged before you swan dive into planning. We started planning right away, then I got stressed out so we took like 2 weeks off and it was the best. Also, when you go out to eat tell them you just got engaged – we got some great free champagne that way :)

    • Congratulations!

  • jem

    Back to back bestie weekends for this girl! Last weekend, my HS bestie took me to solid sound which was amaaaazing and this weekend, college bestie and our fiance(e)s are headed to our college town to EAT and explore. Needless to say, my head is NOT at work right now and I can’t wait till 5!!!!!!

    In other news, we’re working on our ceremony and it is so fun but so HARD. We’re struggling to add WEIGHT without religion. And we are having a really hard time agreeing on readings because fiancé does not share my love of Marge Piercy.

    • penguin

      We’re working on ceremony stuff too! It’s hard but worth it (assuming it will be haha).

    • Jess

      Re ceremony weight sans religion – I found the biggest thing was bringing our thoughts on what marriage was about (making a home for the other person inside our life, supporting and comforting each other when we’re struggling, accepting each other as we change, thanking and asking for continued support of our community, and stepping forward together in the future as equal partners) into what our celebrant said.

      Defining our marriage and calling those things out specifically instead of using a generic template of “happiness” and “forever” and “promises” and “fidelity” really made the words meaningful and personal.

      ETA: ceremonies are my jam, so if there’s anything specific you’re looking to talk about, HIT ME UP.

      • jem

        Yesss I really like the defining marriage aspect– did you use your own words or use readings or use your celebrant’s words?

        • Jess

          All of the above!

          Our celebrant had possible words for pretty much all the parts of the wedding that were all over the place from traditional to woo woo to right up our alley. Especially when it came to including the community, she had great recommendations. We tweaked some things here and there to make sure it was at it’s most equal and meaningful.

          I worded our vows with the help of APW (we said the same ones. I cried. R cried. Our people cried). I also wrote our introduction and “you may now kiss” thing because there wasn’t an option that felt right.

          We had our friend read “A Marriage” by Michael Blumenthal. We had a google doc full of possible readings and whittled them down by voting for our “top 10” then our “top 5” then our “top 3”. We had 2 that we both had on our top 3 and chose between those two. This was an effective method for all ceremony choices.

          • jem

            You are amazing!!!!! Thanks!!!!!

          • Jess

            Ceremonies are my favorite! :) I’m happy to be helpful!

          • Eenie

            YES! We read the same reading at our wedding. It probably took up half our ceremony time. But it felt SOOO right for us as a couple.

        • Jess

          Here’s an example of the kinds of words we used:
          (Charge to couple, right before vows)

          “____ and ____, I charge you with the creative challenge to keep alive the wonder of marriage. May you have the capacity to grow and to change together. May you maintain spontaneity, flexibility and humor. I challenge you to give fully, to show your real feelings, to save time for each other, no matter what demands are made upon your day. I encourage you to see the meaning of life through the prism of your love and to nurture each to fullness and wholeness.”

          (part of the ring exchange after talking about how rings are made)

          “Love is like that. It’s sometimes hard work. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It’s the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all.”

          (Vows, which I shamelessly took & maybe slightly modified from an APW comment)
          “I, ___, take you ___, to be my wife.
          Loving what I know of you,
          trusting what I do not yet know,
          with your faults and your strengths,
          as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths.
          I will help you when you need help, and
          turn to you when I need help.
          through all our years, and in all that life may bring us.
          Today I give you my promise that from this day forward
          you shall not walk alone.”

          • penguin

            Whelp, I just teared up at work. Definitely just emailed those vows to myself for later, thank you!

    • zana

      Oof, Marge Piercy.

  • toomanybooks

    What does Pride mean to me?

    In the past, when I was single, I would go to like, every event in my city. It was a chance to hang out with friends and to make new friends. It was the time of year when my chances of meeting a girl to date or at least make out with were highest – never is there such a high density of gay events and gay women at any other time of year, and many of us are in a real “if not now, when?? this is my opportunity to meet people this year!” mindset. (The only lesbian club in my city closed a while ago. It was a tiny dive bar and sparsely attended unless maybe there was a special event. There are also queer women’s nights every month, so I used to go to those when I was single.)

    This year, I totally missed it because I was on my honeymoon. I was sad that I’d missed the celebratory air but overall didn’t feel too much like I’d missed out. I was on my gay honeymoon!

    In past years of being with my now-wife, though, we spent one year super involved as performers and being in the parade, and one kind of just making an appearance watching the end of the parade so that we could enjoy publicly displaying affection. My wife doesn’t like going to clubs/dancing, so we skipped out on that, which is fine by me because the real point of those for me when I did attend was meeting people.

    The reason expressed last week to explain why there hadn’t been a Pride week last year – that it seemed like there was no need for it – is an example of a big problem and big concern for queers. The idea that as we are becoming more accepted, we don’t need anything particular to us anymore – we’re just like straight people. But we do have different needs. We still need gay clubs and gay events, because it’s the only IRL way to meet people (I never had luck online, for that matter). I would have never, ever felt comfortable flirting with or asking out a girl unless in the specific context of a gay event, because I had to assume everyone around me was fundamentally unavailable (If the “10% of the population is gay” statistic is to be believed, it means 90% of the population is off-limits, and those aren’t odds I like to play with in such an emotionally delicate situation!). There was a gay bookstore in my city once, but it closed years ago, before I came out. Yes, I can go to any other bookstore, and it’s not like gay books are BANNED, they’ll have them, but it’s impossible to find all the novels that center around queer characters in a bookstore. (There is pretty much never a section. They’ll maybe have a section for non fiction. I don’t need another history book.) A straight person can pick up any book there and expect that it will include straight characters, but it’s ridiculous how many books seem to take place in a world populated only by cisgender heterosexuals. Another example of why we need a place *for us* sometimes!

    I joked to my wife that now that we have a scary conservative government again, maybe gays can be cool again, but it seems like that’s exactly how things went with the inclusion of Pride week here. I don’t want any resources we have to disappear once it seems like we’re not being actively hunted down or something. I don’t want to feel like people are only going to throw me a bone if I’m in a tragic gay period-piece drama. And the struggles my community faces didn’t all disappear when marriage equality passed. Even just the marriage specific ones, as I detailed in a comment on a different article this week!

    So, it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about this past week. I’ve been… kind of disappointed with the way Pride Week has gone. A lot of APW’s feminism seems to me to be about how to be feminist in the context of your relationship (and marriage to) a man – articles that go deep about subjects that need to be written about, like women bearing the majority of emotional labor in relationships with men, or birth control. (As a side note, I can’t count the amount of feminist straight women who have recommended going on birth control to me a little too strongly until I shut it down by explaining that my wife can’t get me pregnant and my periods are not anything out of the ordinary to require tamping down for that reason alone.) But when it comes to nuanced writing and resources for women who are with women… I don’t know, I really might consider submitting to APW what I learned about how to work through things I felt there wasn’t much of a resource for as a lesbian, and try to pass it on so other people can have it.

    • Cleo

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your perspective. This was all beautifully stated.

      I hope you submit that article.

    • Jane

      I would love to read something you submitted to APW!

      • Jess

        I would too!

    • Rose

      I agree, thank you for writing. And I’d love to see your thoughts on here sometime!

      I think it’s super important to have spaces that are specifically aimed at queer folks, especially in the wedding world. Two years ago, when I was really actively wedding planning, Pride week on APW was amazing, even though we (had just!) gotten marriage equality. Not only is society overall so incredibly heteronormative, but wedding planning is particularly so. Having a week to escape into a place where not only were we included by carefully gender-neutral language (which most wedding places don’t even bother with), but where we were the default, was so important. Legal equality in some specific areas doesn’t at all negate the importance of Pride here.

      I’d really, really love to have a conversation on here sometime about handling things like emotional labor in same-sex or other queer relationships–there can totally still be issues, but I think they often are very different from what women who are married to men experience (not that women who are married to men can’t be queer, of course).

    • Transnonymous

      I agree with several of the points you’ve made here, and I would love to read anything you would submit to APW.

    • <3 we're always into submissions.Turns out 90% of people being straight means 90% of submissions are about straight relationships. (I think that numbers a little high though, but you get what I mean.)

      There's two queers on staff now so hopefully that should should also help with that aspect too. xoxo

    • Hannah

      I would also love to see your thoughts published as an article! And if you would like to bounce ideas off of someone with similar but not identical experiences, I would happily chat more.

    • HarrietVane

      I completely agree. I also feel like straight commenters on this site (while absolutely lovely and very supportive) can try to focus a little too much on the positive. Sometimes being in a same sex relationship comes with a ton of shittiness, especially when planning a gay wedding. And I live in the ‘liberal bubble’ that is NYC! Sorry guys, there is no bubble, people are heteronormative (& homophobic) everywhere (which always shocks my straight friends and family).

  • Anna

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/74c21237a1b98e1b42da6d95cbcced42a4225347e2f27c79abcf452c245cd9d1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab78c6f907f068f121604cb70f7fce7b55402c92372182f691cf4f3bc858864e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/175b0a98e44d15ca45ba177cc99dd712f64056e1bde8eb216e102c23924128c8.jpg We were successfully wed! And like… WIC messaging aside, it legitimately was up there in greatest days of my life. We’re lucky enough to have fairly undramatic families, a comfortable budget, and helpful friends, so we were definitely playing this whole wedding game on easy mode, but nonetheless: roughly the last week prior to the wedding, I felt like absolute shit about the whole thing and was wondering why the hell we didn’t just elope.

    Holy shit am I glad we didn’t do that.

    Having all our closest people there together was MAGICAL. It turns out that my high school friends, Husband’s high school friends, our mutual college friends, and even some of our cousins get along perfectly, which felt at least as much like a blending of families as our actual families. The ceremony, which we’d sort of cobbled together with the rabbi to be mostly Jewish but kinda secular-ish because we’re not religious but didn’t really know what other tradition to get married in and starting from scratch seemed too daunting, ended up being incredibly beautiful and meaningful and perfect for us (largely due to A+++ execution by the rabbi, who – despite almost forgetting about us saying our personal vows, since that’s not really a traditional part of a Jewish wedding – made pretty much everyone tear up and surprised us with a really lovely closing statement/mini-sermon about our relationship).

    The bachelorette party was, as anticipated, a LOT: Museum of Sex -> pole-dancing class (oh god one of the hardest workouts I’ve had in my life) -> manicure -> incredible dinner in Koreatown -> perusing sex toys at Babeland -> party in a hotel suite with a whole bunch of friends and penis cake and actual strippers O.o But it was definitely fun, so thanks to everyone who encouraged me to chill the fuck out about Bridesmaid’s plans :-)

    We don’t have photographer photos yet, but here are a couple friendphotos: Husband hiding behind me at the cocktail hour, Bridesmaid attaching my fucking sweet flower crown, and me and Bridesmaid only semi-successfully pinning on Husband’s boutonniere :-)

    • Ashlah

      Congrats!! Your bachelorette sounds amazing (exhausting in a good way). And your wedding experience reminds me of mine! I had a total breakdown and wanted a complete planning do-over in the week before, and it turned out to the be the Best Day.

      • Anna

        Bachelorette was both amazing and very exhausting, yes. Museum of Sex turns out to be a little boring (there was a very cool exhibit on historical porn but most of the rest of it was sort of a letdown), pole-dancing was SUPER fun even though it literally left me bruised and hobbling for the next couple days (so maybe not ideal for two days prior to wedding? but worth it xD), I’d never gotten a gel manicure before so that was cool, dinner was fucking delicious, Babeland is always fun (in college we had a running joke that anyone who played the “my collection of high-tech sex toys” card to me in Cards Against Humanity would auto-win, so…).

        The strippers part was… educational, I guess, but also mad awkward. My little sister was there. I don’t think either of us had any particular desire for her to see me receive a lap dance (two, actually; there was one male and one female performer) xP

    • Anna

      Oh, also: everyone please appreciate the necklace I’m wearing, because that’s the result of 8-10 hours of my loving labor (plus a whole fuckton of little pearls and swarovski crystal bicones) and I’m deeply in love with the result. Haven’t yet come up with any non-wedding event to which it’d be remotely appropriate to re-wear, though xD

      • penguin

        OK so first of all I love the necklace. Secondly I’ve come up with some events to wear it to: brunch, getting groceries, hanging out with friends, taking a walk in the neighborhood, going to work, date night. Please wear it all the time forever because it is great.

        • Jess

          Also sitting around alone in your nightgown drinking wine watching Netflix. This is 100% an appropriate wine drinking necklace.

          • Anna

            Now THAT one I can definitely get behind xD Husband will be out of town end of next week, so maybe next Thursday will be put-on-wedding-jewelry-and-drink-the-last-of-our-kiddush-Tokaji night haha.

        • Anna

          Thank you :D I’m about to buzz my hair again (it’s pretty much as long as it’s been since I first cut it short, mostly so that it would be possible to get that flower crown to stay, and I’m so done with its fluffiness and curling in random-ass directions and requiring actual conditioner) and I tend to go super-femme in makeup and accessories right after full buzz, so clearly I need to come to work decked out in that necklace and brightly colored lipstick next week haha (my coworkers probably wouldn’t even comment, since I already oscillate between baggy t-shirt + cargo shorts + no makeup and flowy dress + dangly earrings + intense lipstick).

          • Ashlah

            Total pangs of jealousy over your impending buzz cut! I’m about 9 months into growing mine out and I hate my hair right now (so of course it’s time for maternity photos and a new driver’s license!) It’s so tempting to buzz it again, but I do miss having long hair and do not want to go through this again anytime soon. I’ll just be over here living vicariously through you while I convince myself this terrible phase will be over soon!

          • Anna

            Yeah, when I buzzed my hair the first time it very quickly became clear that I was never, ever going back – I had sort of passively wanted it short (in retrospect, largely for oscillating-gender-identity reasons) since literally middle school but never really seriously considered doing it for real until college. Even so, now that my hair is this long (slightly longer than in the photos above, and even there the actual length is somewhat hidden by how curly my hair is) I keep having these moments of “but wait, what if I should grow it out? This is my best chance!” and I have to remind myself that I don’t need to perform femininity in a way that I don’t feel by growing out my hair to a length that society finds acceptable on a woman.

          • Ashlah

            Good for you! Keep rocking what makes you happy and comfortable. There’s seriously nothing else that feels as freeing as a buzz cut. I wish there were an easier, magical way to jump between the two (other than a wig, I suppose).

          • Jess

            If you combine your baggy t-shirt and your intense lipstick with some baggy jeans, this is my regular life wardrobe and I salute your buzzcut! I love ladies in buzz cuts!

          • Anna

            Yeah I would say I spend most of the time somewhere in between – like, maybe leggings + baggy t-shirt + lipstick or super comfy casual dress + no makeup (wonderful thing about working in tech is that all of these outfits are equally workplace-appropriate. And when all I want is to blend in, I can wear jeans + t-shirt + hoodie).

            I recommend everyone try buzz cuts :D but I recognize that it’s not a super realistic recommendation for anyone who actually enjoys their hair long and would have to go through a many-months-long odyssey of growing it out afterwards…

          • penguin

            I decided to split the difference and I have an undercut with my very long hair :)

      • That is gorgeous! Go you! I love wearing big or sparkly necklaces under button down shirts. The open collar makes peeks of sparkle show through, but tones down something that might be too fancy on its own with an open neckline.

    • rebecca

      Hooray! You look so happy and that necklace is beautiful! Also your bachelorette party sounds incredibly fun.

    • Congrats, and yay wedding magic!! Both your floral crown and necklace are amaaaazing.

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    Who knows San Antonio and can tell me what to do there??My mom decided to attend a conference related to the family business next month, and my brother and I are going as pseudo-reps of other independent businesses that wanted to send someone but didn’t have anybody to send. It’ll be interesting! And so long as we check in at the conference, we can take the rest of our time to have a mini family vacation. I’m also flying in separate from my mom and brother, so I’ll end up with 2 hours to myself before they arrive, and 4 hours to burn after they fly home. What should we do when we’re not rubbing shoulders with product representatives, and what should I do to entertain myself when I’m on my own? Our hotel is on the waterfront, and I won’t have a car.

    • Angela’s Back

      So I haven’t been to San Antonio but my parents have and I know the riverwalk area is good for strolling and people watching, although YMMV depending on your heat tolerance. If you like Mexican food there will be a ton of that, so you could probably just eat your way around (definitely what my husband would do).

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Ummm, yes please. The conference admission will cover many of our meals, but if I can find a good Mexican breakfast just once, I’ll be a happy girl.

        • Angela’s Back

          I think your happiness is guaranteed :D

      • Eileen

        Yes I second the River Walk. The margaritas are expensive (in my opinion) but good. Actually margaritas all over San Antonio are good.

    • Transnonymous

      Everyone likes to joke about the Alamo, but it’s honestly worth a visit. The Natural Bridge Caverns are also a great way to beat the heat if you can get out of town.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Alamo is definitely on the as-a-family list. :) How far out of town are we talking? Related, is public transport and/or Uber a thing in the area?

        • Transnonymous

          It’s a 45-60 minute drive, shorter if you take the direct route (the interstate) and more scenic if you take the US Highway. I’ve never had experience with public transport in the San Antonio area, but I believe that both Uber and Lyft are available. Related: if you take the scenic route and like beer, one of the oldest breweries in Texas is in Blanco on the way back into town.

    • Eileen

      Definitely go to the Alamo, which is actually part of the San Antonio Missions park (https://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm)… there are three or four others that are definitely worth seeing but I’m not sure how many of them require a car!

      La Villita is a little neighborhood with art galleries that is pretty cute and worth a walk around.

      There is also Mercado Central, great for souvenir shopping or just walking around.

      And yes, eat lots of Tex Mex! Try some Texas BBQ if you get the chance!

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Thank you!!

  • Lisa

    We got married this weekend, and it was amazing!! Everything worked out perfectly (minus a few tiny details, of course) and it was just so, so wonderful to see everything and everyone come together. So many commented on how meaningful the ceremony was, which was the best feedback because we had written our inclusive, Jewish ceremony together and chosen untraditional readings. And the dance party was off the hook! You couldn’t find room on the dance floor, from beginning to end. My father-in-law was doing handstands. So awesome! Here are a few photos. I can’t wait to see the professional ones.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ce1232063f4e29366bb7f9461da555dd4e524b46e080b32819fc7624ea5f6360.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/44db54985dec740762e0c1da91c128c3d833156998663f115baa69e16ca7e99e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/edf70010e0325a9a2e3b1856b9bd24748395fa5af939170d9f1fedf52d89411e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f9286c0c3024913ae725700d1b2c3103884c87e8ccc321155076fbd4a242ba84.jpg

    • Jane

      Oooo. Rainbow dresses

      • Lisa

        I gave them paint chips in that color palette and told them they could find any dress they wanted in any of the colors. They rocked it!

    • Katharine Parker

      This looks like an amazing wedding! Congratulations!

      • Lisa

        Thank you!

    • nosio

      This looks SO FUN! Also, your bridesmaids killed it with the coordinating colors.

    • I got married a couple weeks ago and we also had colorful bridesmaid dresses. Love that that is becoming an okay thing. Hooray for color! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bbc0ebbd52410cb28d19b922d8f83c42fe50dc1e869f66951d9ccbe321217aaf.jpg

  • Gaby

    This piece on relationships that began as friendships brightened my Friday morning: http://www.manrepeller.com/2017/06/dating-a-friend-advice.html I’ve never attended Pride celebrations but I want to this year, ours is in September due to the heat. Today’s my husbands birthday so we’re looking forward to dinner with friends tonight and I booked an indoor basketball gym for him tomorrow to shoot around with our friends (see: heat). Tomorrow is also officially the first day for legal marijuana sales in Nevada so we may be corny and go to a dispensary at midnight tonight.

    • Transnonymous

      It’s definitely worth it to go to a dispensary for the experience, even if you don’t end up purchasing anything. If that’s your thing, however, don’t forget cash!

  • Kaitlyn

    I found a dress and it’s AMAZING. I’m going tomorrow to do measurements and put the final order in and I’m SO excited. We met with our priest last night (one of my favorite college professors!) and I’m just generally so so excited about getting married. And what’s so heartening is that J is so excited too, it’s the best :)

    • penguin

      Do you have a link or pic of the dress? :) Congrats! I was so happy when I finally found mine.

      • Kaitlyn

        The pic of me is on my phone and I’m too lazy to email it to myself, so here’s the link from the website :) http://www.allurebridals.com/assets/1550/C380F.jpg

        • penguin

          Wow it’s beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing, I’m a sucker for dress pics :)

          • Kaitlyn

            thanks! I’m obsessed with it

          • Jane

            Me too. Always.

  • Kate

    So I’ve been struggling with some family feels lately. I love my parents (mom + stepdad) and four sisters. They are immensely important to me. I miss them constantly. However, I recently flew home for a visit and am struggling with the feeling that my family loves me but doesn’t always like me. My parents tend to be critical of me and encourage treating me as the family scapegoat (perhaps to reduce friction between themselves and my younger sisters). Even when we’re apart I get a little jealous of people whose parents adore them and always want to hear from them. My parents screen all my phone calls. My partner’s parents treat him very differently so it is hard not to compare, particularly since we just got back from a visit with them. Anyone else the family scapegoat? Feeling loved but not liked?

    • Alynae

      my parents absolutely love me and I am the go to for whenever shit hits the fan. “Thank you so much for being so reliable and strong…” but when its sunshine and rainbows I’m too much for them. Too type A, too organized, too planned…yeah I feel you. And also, yes to jealous of some other parent type relationships. Not much advice but a lot of commiseration.

    • Kaitlyn

      I had a similar relationship with my mom. More that she’s jealous of me and the life I lead (which is a result of all the opportunities she bestowed upon me) and it comes out in a lot of really harsh criticisms. Like she was making all these comments wedding dress shopping last week and my best friend kept calling her out on it. When my mom was in the bathroom, my bff was like, “What is up with your mom today?” And J made a comment about it recently about how my mom is way harder on me than my brothers, so it was reassuring to hear that it’s not just in my head.

    • I’m not in this situation per se, but my husband is. His relationship with his mother has always been fraught and he always just sort of was like “that’s just how we are”. As someone on the outside whose family dynamics were very different, it has been really hard to watch. He and his twin brother always both agreed that she favored their baby sister, but it wasn’t until I pointed out that their mom was also not treating the brothers equally that he really took notice. For whatever reason she really feels the need to cut him down (I’m guessing that some of it is projecting, but I also think that she feels like she’s “equalizing” the kids, if that makes sense) in a way that she does not with the other two. I have been ready to cut ties with her on several different occasions throughout our relationship, but my husband doesn’t feel that way because at the end of the day, he still loves his mom. I try not to make comparisons to how my family treats one another, because it’s not very helpful or constructive, but it’s really hard to watch your partner’s family treat your partner poorly.

    • Angela’s Back

      i was definitely the one that got made fun of pretty much all through college out of me and my sister and my mum. I imagine this was partly because I was going through my Taking Myself Seriously phase but it still sucked feeling ganged up on like that, because they’re both very fun and silly people so I was an easy target. Not exactly the same situation but I definitely empathize. I don’t know if being treated as the family scapegoat will ever not sting (assuming that never changes) but at least for me, the best defense would be knowing intellectually that it’s somewhat unhealthy and slightly dysfunctional, so good thing you’re not stuck in the middle of it all the time. And it sucks, but maybe you have to try and mirror some of that behavior back–like you can of course love your family, but that doesn’t mean you have to like them, because they’re acting in a very unlikeable way and it’s not on you to be constantly trying to overcome that if they don’t seem to be interested.

      • Jess

        “you can of course love your family, but that doesn’t mean you have to like them, because they’re acting in a very unlikeable way and it’s not on you to be constantly trying to overcome that if they don’t seem to be interested.”

        This is so very important for these situations. Sometimes loving is sending good thoughts until they to reach out and model good behavior to invite them back in.

    • Kelly

      My parents aren’t that bad, but my sister is definitely the favored one. I thought it was all in my head until my fiance pointed out the discrepancy to me over one Christmas trip. I think it’s partly that my mom and sister are really similar and get along really well, and partly that since she’s younger (and has spent more time living in my home state as an adult) they’ve spent more time one-on-one with her as a grown-up. Also: my dad and I have pretty similar personalities and used to be closer, but he’s gotten more conservative as he’s gotten older and it’s hard to want to open up to him anymore since I’m queer and I’m pretty sure he voted for Trump. I know they love me, but it’s hard to want to spend significant chunks of time with them sometimes, since it doesn’t really feel like they get me.

  • nosio

    We’re two months out from the wedding and things are…not great?

    After endless back and forth on reception venues earlier this year, we settled on the VFW hall, mostly so that the ceremony/reception locations would be as close as possible to each other. And we were really excited about it. Then, two weekends ago, we were in town to do ALL THE THINGS. We met with our offriendiciant and planned out the ceremony. We took engagement photos. I had my bridal shower. It was all lovely, until my fiance stopped by the VFW and chatted with the manager about what we were thinking for decor, table settings, etc., and then our reception kind of fell apart? Basically, they’ve been inflexible about a lot of things, and we’ve tried being as flexible as possible, but at a certain point we’ve just had to accept the fact that maybe this venue doesn’t usually do weddings for a reason. They’d only let us do an open bar if we went with their in-house caterer, so, okay. We agreed, even though we didn’t like the caterer. They refused to do any set up other than buffet, because family-style was deemed too much work, so, okay, we agreed. Then, this visit, they informed us that dinner could only be served on plastic plates, with plastic cutlery and plastic glasses. We asked them if we could rent our own tableware and glassware, and they said no. We clarified that we’d take responsibility for cleaning it and packing it up at the end of the night, and they still said no. They finally said they could let us use real silverware, but the plates would have to be plastic (which, I don’t even understand the logic there? but whatever). They also tried talking us into having a bar tab versus an open bar, claiming that we would save money (and knowing our audience, this simply isn’t true). And we just…balked. This is not the party we want to throw for our guests, or for ourselves. We were at a loss as to what we should do.

    And in a complete fucking surprise twist, my mom’s pushiness and invasiveness from 6 months ago saved our asses.

    I think I mentioned in a Happy Hour earlier this year that, unhappy with us leaning towards having our reception at a VFW hall, my mom began reaching out to other venues behind my back. And it was incredibly hurtful and weird and strained our relationship at the time. However, ONE OF THESE VENUES HELD OUR DATE FOR US, without our knowledge or any further communication, without any kind of verbal or financial promise, and when we contacted them they were like, “Oh yeah, of course that’s still open for you guys – we’ve had a post-it with your name on it since January.” Which is the story of how, 8 weeks out from the wedding, we went from planning a super DIY, funky, handcrafted wedding to a mothereffing country club reception. Which is fine! It’s hilarious and great and I am SO THANKFUL we’ll get to have an open bar AND real plates! But I’m just really struggling to fit together the weirdly discordant vibes of our backyard, barefoot ceremony with a country club dinner. I’m very worried that our wedding day won’t feel like a reflection of us; that people will dissipate into small groups in the infinite rooms at the country club and that we won’t get to have the raging, raucous intimate dance party we were planning. I’m sad that this wedding is turning out to truly be a Frankenstein of plans and it isn’t anything like a party I’d want to have if I could go back and start from scratch. I know it’ll all come together, but I’m also terrified that it won’t. Ugh, I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but I am just so thankful this engagement will be over soon.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Wow, that’s a lot. I’m glad your last minute venue switch worked out!

    • Cleo

      The nice thing about a country club wedding is that it’s so standard in the U.S. (in some circles, mine included) that no one is going to ascribe the location to your personalities. It’s a wedding venue, almost like having a blank backdrop.

      One of my best friends, who is crazy fun and out of the box had a country club wedding. The dance floor was rocking all night long because she made it known to her bridal party plus a few others of us that it was important to her. Plus, the crowd (including her parents’ friends from college) was ready to dance from the get-go.

      Your crowd will make the wedding, not the venue.

      • nosio

        “Your crowd will make the wedding, not the venue.” Thank you so much for these words. This is going to be my mantra for the next two months.

    • Yael

      That is a lot and pretty much all of my wedding fears rolled into one story. But! One of my favorite weddings ever – with the best dance party I’ve ever been to – was held in a country club. And it was intimate and people cried and laughed and as I said, one of my favorite weddings with the groom’s male relatives taking over from the band/DJ (they had both, because it was a country club wedding) and playing nose kazoos? for a bit (apparently an inside joke? Whatever, it was ridiculous and awesome). I was there for the groom who I knew from college and was a pretty goofy fellow – neither he nor his wife seem like country club people, but it was actually his family’s club – and it worked. So, if your people love you (and I’m sure they do), it will work and it will be awesome. Good luck!

    • AGCourtney

      Ahhh, I know this! My planning experience was so similar. (right down to checking a VFW, though we quickly eliminated that one for similar reasons.) By the time we switched to our final venue (funnily enough, I think ours was about 8 weeks out, too!) I had, in effect, planned three different weddings and I was exhausted. That’s a great stroke of luck with the venue, though!

      I also had mixed feelings about our wedding, and still do – it was generally a pleasant day, but as you said, if I could go back and start from scratch…but it is what it is! You’ll be married, you’ll have fun, and eventually the positive stuff sticks more than the not-so-positive. It’ll be okay. <3

      • nosio

        Aww man, this just made me feel so much better. My fiance and I keep reminding each other that “que sera, sera,” and it’s good to know that the positive stuff will be what we remember in the end.

    • Amy March

      People tend to congregate in the room with the bride and the open bar!

      • Anna

        Yeah, our rehearsal dinner (to which everyone was invited) was in a space that had a couple rooms awkwardly around the corner from the rest of the space, and this was definitely the case (although even when I left the room with the open bar, people slowly found their way into the room I was in). It also meant that some of Husband’s pricklier relatives could be cliqueish and antisocial in a room slightly away from the rest of the party, which was a win for everyone involved xD

    • emmers

      Ugh, that is a pain! I’m sorry that you had to go through that. It sounds like the VFW was being lame. We didn’t have a country club wedding, but we did end up having a more full-service wedding that I had initially planned on. And you know what? It was nice! It was great having other people take care of things like .. the dishes.

      We had also originally thought about doing a tented backyard summer type of wedding, and we ended up with a November inside mostly-non-DIY wedding instead. Our venue had a bunch of different rooms, and the party people still found each other. The quiet socializers found each other too. So I hope it will be great!

    • Emily

      Dude this is all coming together! First of all, I can not believe that someone is still managing a calendar with post-its, but anyway. If you’re worried about the people and the dissipation, just close some doors or put like “employees only” signs up.
      Also, I’ve been to quite a few country club/yacht club weddings that got rowdy–your DJ, playlist, bartender and wedding party will make that happen!

    • Jess

      If this isn’t wedding magic, I don’t know what is.

      Your wedding will be a reflection of you because it is YOUR wedding. Trust me: we got married in a hotel, with no small details (total decoration summary: flowers, some candles in the hall where we had cocktail hour, some stuff my mom did last minute for cards), and everybody was like, “It was so beautiful and so YOU!”

      A country club can be a blank slate for your personality, just like a VFW can be.

      • ssha

        Plus your people will make it a your-people kind of party!

    • Jane

      I feel like the “wedding must be a reflection of us” thing is a trap! Maybe the reflection of you is that you want to not be stressed out about all these details so you’ve chosen something straightforward. I am sure it will be a great party and the ceremony will still be wonderful and personal and meaningful and it will not matter that it doesn’t “match” the country club reception.
      Also – I don’t know how I would be handling my mom in a situation like that. Because the fact that it worked out well doesn’t mean it was ok to do!! But also, thank God!

      • Jess

        It kind of is a trap! Like, make sure the stuff that’s important to you is there – like your people or your vows or your future-spouse or your music.

        But are those place cards truly reflective of you? No, and they never will be. (I loved that Onion article so much)

        • Anna

          Or alternately, if your deep passion in life is paper goods, maybe the place cards are the thing you want to truly reflect you xD But regardless your point stands – one of my coworkers compared wedding planning to his current house renovation, something along the lines of either way, there’s maybe 20% of the decisions where you actually care about the outcome, and maybe half of those are REALLY important to you, but it’s not always possible to know which decisions are going to be important to you in advance, so you end up devoting lots of energy to decisions you don’t care about. But any time you can step back and be like… wait, this is one I don’t care about, let’s reroute that energy to something I do care about… it’s a huge win for sanity :-)

          • Jess

            So true regarding the paper goods. Also True: if your placecards are also literally mirrors.

          • Anna

            I laughed so hard. “We want our decorations to reflect our community! Literally! So we made everything mirrors!”

          • suchbrightlights

            The company who did our invitations apparently passed our address along to some horror called Brides magazine, which touted an article on multicultural relationships but still managed to go 50 pages before showing anything but a blonde-haired white woman… but I digress.

            Another featured article was titled “The New Cake Rules,” and I thought it would be about something like “how to make sure you have enough cake for everyone” or maybe a profile of gluten- or other allergen-free bakers, because as far as I know the only rules for cake are “share” and “don’t use your cake to kill someone on purpose.” Apparently, one of the new cake rules- which someone actually said, and presumably multiple editors had the chance to review- is to choose a flavor that speaks to you as a couple “and makes guests think ‘Oh, of course we’re eating this. It’s so Erin and Josh.'”

            What.

            The.

            Actual.

            Fuck.

          • rebecca

            I am very much team pick one small thing and knock it out of the park and then it’ll be the only thing people remember. I would def remember extremely outstanding place cards if that’s what the couple chose to go all out on (however, my wedding is in a couple weeks so take this with a grain of salt, maybe everybody will still be talking about my email save the dates)

      • nosio

        Oh my god, that Onion article is solid gold.

    • Her Lindsayship

      “I’m very worried that our wedding day won’t feel like a reflection of us” – Just wanted to say, I struggled a lot with this feeling too, because the wedding we pictured kept getting revised over and over again due to budget constraints. But over time my feelings about our setup and venues have completely changed and I now feel like it makes total sense. I’m like 85% sure this is post-purchase rationalization and I’m ok with that. But like someone else already said, our wedding will be a reflection of us because it will be OUR wedding. Hope your brain finds a way to prefer the option you ended up with! It definitely sounds WAY less stressful and that is a huge win!

      ETA: My wedding hasn’t happened yet, so we’ll see how I feel about that rationalization in the aftermath, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a blast, if not the exact type of blast I had envision from the start.

      • NotMotherTheresa

        So much this!

        Was my wedding a perfect reflection of my aesthetic tastes and all of the things I WISH my life could be? Nope. Not even close. Every unexpected expense that came up chipped away at my wedding budget, details were overlooked, slightly awkward moments were abundant, my country club reception looked like every other low budget country club reception, and my photos of the day were hardly blog worthy.

        What my wedding WAS a reflection of, though, was who my husband and I *are*.

        At the end of the day, I’m a practical person. I like for things to be elegant and unique, but I also realize that time and money are finite resources, and that sometimes, it’s best to just settle for ‘meh’ to save a few hours and a few hundred dollars. Respecting my budget, not sacrificing my savings, putting other people’s comfort over aesthetic perfection, and accidentally overlooking the occasional detail are all very much part of who I am, and *that’s* what my wedding reflected. The ethereal Martha Stewart meets Lilly Pulitzer outdoor wedding of my dreams might have better reflected my aesthetic tastes, but in many ways, it wouldn’t have been nearly as *me* as my cobbled together country club wedding full of cheap, generic decorations generously borrowed from other recent weddings.

    • Katharine Parker

      Honestly, the idea that a wedding is ever going to be a perfect reflection of one’s relationship is always expecting too much. You and your fiancé are the ones getting married–it will be your wedding, wherever the venue! And a country club can definitely host a raging dance party!

      In many ways, every wedding is the same–we’re all working off the same template. Your guests will probably enjoy being able to eat off real plates and won’t think anything about a country club as the location (my reception is at a country club, too), and you will probably enjoy being able to leave at the end of the night without having to think about reracking rental silverware. I’m sure your wedding will be great!!

    • Rose

      I was at a wedding recently which was on a boat, with two or three levels accessible to guests during the reception, and people did get noticeably spread out. But I don’t think it’s inevitable, especially if you try to design things so it won’t be! The biggest thing that I would think would help would be to have all the food/drink/music in the place where you’re hoping people will be (this boat wedding had the music in two different spaces that worked for dancing, so there were a few people in both; and the bar was in a totally different spot. Of course people spread out in that case). Depending on the circumstances, you might also be able to use decor/lighting to make it clear where the party is.

      At our wedding, in my parents’s yard, a few friends definitely did wander off and sit drinking champagne elsewhere for a bit. I didn’t even notice until they mentioned it later–not that I wouldn’t have liked to see them at the dancing too, but we had enough people and I didn’t miss anyone specifically. I think it’ll be good!

    • Alexandra

      We had a similar scenario. We reserved a funky reception venue only to find out through several conversations that the reception we would be allowed to have would be a huge PITA and not really acceptable to us.

      So we had a country club reception! And it was freakin glorious! It was air conditioned, and nobody had to do any work except the employees of the country club. They let us design our own menu and we went with their poolside grill menu, just to funk things up a little and not have banquet food. Loved it! The all-inclusive turned out to be less expensive and a whole lot less trouble.

  • Transnonymous

    To me, Pride has been about working towards a place where I can live my truth without (as much) fear and be out and open. Things are scary, and they aren’t likely to get any less scary, but I’m fast approaching a point where it’s becoming too painful to live in the closet. Steps towards this have included: regular therapy appointments, re-examining where we live and the space we want to inhabit, and having discussions about how we can give back and be a resource to the LGBTQ community, particularly trans youth and those without stable living situations.

    This week, as a whole, has been interesting. Lots happening in regards to my work situation, but none of it is certain and I don’t really feel like getting into the details right now. I’m currently in a good space, but I’m really glad June is over.

  • Jenny

    Oooffhh. This week has been hard. Like life decisions that are just hard. I ended up with 2 good post doc offers and 1 ok contracting job offer (they turned me down for the position I applied for, but offered me the next level down, but it was a substantial financial and responsibility decrease, but in a familiar city and near family). My husband really wanted to move and take the long term non post doc job, and I really didn’t. No matter how much we talked about it and pro and conned it out, it was the same, the option that was best for me professionally, that I was more excited about, or the option that was better in terms of stability/finances that he was more excited about. In the end it came down to him wanting to know if academia is a dream, or a job, and since I said it was my dream we decided to make the move to Penn (Philly). He’s supportive, but still sad and stressed about moving to the new town with no connections, for only a short time. Putting his career and dreams on hold. It’s just been so hard. I mean the feminist side of me is really happy that my dreams and career were put first, but the partner part of me feels sad for my husband and slightly guilty. I’m trying to give him space to mourn the ghost ship of the life we might have had near family, in a familiar place, with a community. But I’m also trying to let myself be really excited about this amazing opportunity to be trained by a legend in the field at an Ivy league. Last night I bought us each a milkshake, a celebratory I just accepted an awesome job offer at an ivy league shake for me, and a everything is garbage consolatory shake for him. I’m seeing a good friend next weekend (I’m flying in and out solo for a wedding) and she said we could celebrate some while we are there.

    Anyway. Life is hard. But also good. I’ll take any Philly recs you can throw my way!

    • BSM

      CONGRATULATIONS!! That is incredibly exciting, even though it’s not necessarily been an easy decision for your family.

    • penguin

      Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia! It’s one of the only things I’ve done there, although I’ve gone like 3 times haha. Tons of really great food made by locals. Also the art museums are great.

      • scw

        yes reading terminal is a good one! my husband does 3/4 of our grocery shopping there. it can be overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it there is really nothing like it.

    • Yael

      I love Philly. I grew up visiting regularly (my grandparents lived near Head House) and I used to love walking around with my grandfather to all the historic sites – and there are a lot of them! Get a good guidebook and check it out! Keep in mind that the Art museum there (with the Rocky steps) is free on Sundays. The Camden Aquarium is just a ferry ride away, the zoo is fantastic (white lions!) and there is such an amazing mix of people and food and art. My grandmother used to take us to have afternoon tea in a little shop next to a tattoo parlor. Enjoy!

    • Katharine Parker

      Philly is the best! Go Quakers :) Penn has a lovely campus, and it’s on a trolley and subway line, as well as penn running their own buses, so it’s pretty accessible for living in other parts of the city. Center city is small and really walkable.

      Zahav is the best restaurant in America (thanks, James beard awards, for validating my personal opinion) and Solomonov’s other restaurants are also amazing. I would eat at the hummusiya weekly if I lived there.

      • scw

        couldn’t agree more about dizengoff (the hummusiya)! it’s in my top five places in the city for sure.

        • scw

          oh and federal donuts too! best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had.

    • Ashlah

      That sounds really hard, and you sound like a really, really good partner. (And so does he!)

    • emilyg25

      Philadelphia is awesome! We live about 90 minutes away and plan to retire there. So many good restaurants and bars. The art museum is great. Delicious Italian and Vietnamese food. Roast pork sandwiches (so far superior to cheesesteaks). I feel like it’s a pretty young city, especially since it’s so much cheaper than New York. If you guys are at all interested in running, drinking beer and shenanigans, check out hashing. You’ll meet a ton of new folks that way.

    • G.

      Philly is awesome! Incredible food, great neighborhoods, amazing beer gardens. It’s truly a delightful place to live. And people who work at Penn live all over the city — if you know how you want to commute (walk, bike, train, etc), then you’ll figure out a reasonable radius and be able to check out different neighborhoods.

    • zana

      CAPOGIRO’S.

      Also, I feel you. I took my husband across the country for a 1.5 year postdoc… And now back for a professor position. There’s no telling where you’ll end up after the postdoc! Or maybe he’ll fall in love with Philly like everyone else here.

    • Lisa

      That is so hard. It sounds like you’re both handling it well, and hopefully you’ll be able to build up a community in Philly that will support both of you.

    • scw

      ahh!!!! I’ve been wondering how your visit went and what offer you accepted! I’m sorry your feelings are a little mixed, but I really think there’s something for everyone here and I hope you and your husband are happy. also, since it’s a postdoc, maybe you’ll be able to find something closer to his family when it’s over. (in other words, maybe this isn’t totally a ghost ship situation.)

      there are a lot of good recommendations below. you’re probably kind of overwhelmed with planning and everything right now, but I’d love to help if you have any specific questions at any point. (areas in which to live, things to do, whatever.)

      • Jenny

        Thanks! I think he will like it a lot, I know he’s just feeling anxious about getting settled. I also hope that the post doc can lead to some job opportunities near family, but I think after this build up and let down he won’t ever let him self hope that until an offer letter is signed. (which fair enough, it was a roller coaster of emotions). I’d love to have some help figuring out places to live and stuff to do! my email address is jennifer c morgan at gmail dot com ( no spaces and @ and . for the words at and dot let me know when you see this and I’ll take it down) Thanks!

        • scw

          just emailed you, let me know if you didn’t get it!

  • blessthismess

    All of a sudden a couple weeks ago, my bf said he wants us to have an open relationship. Cue: me crying hysterically, feeling betrayed and unloved…for weeks. In the many conversations we’ve had since, he has continued to note his desire to open our relationship so that he can feel sexually satisfied, because apparently he’s been sexually unsatisfied for over two years. He keeps saying he wants our relationship to be forever, and that it’s amazing 90% of the time, but he feels it’s “only fair” that he be able to sleep with other people because our libidos don’t match up sometimes. I want to respect his opinion and needs, but at the same time: What. The. Fuck.

    We’ve been each other’s person for years, and we love each other and love our relationship. But I’m finding this new info really hard to swallow. And right now I don’t want to open our relationship. I think it would be devastating.

    Has anyone been in a similar conversations with their partner? Has anyone experienced opening up a closed relationship? I could really use some advice. And some gin.

    • Emily

      I dated a guy for 4 years and then eventually opened our relationship up. Like you, I was feeling extremely unsure and more than a little insecure about the idea. It was originally posed to me as sort of an ultimatum (which should have been red flag #1), and I agreed because the idea of breaking up and moving out was more than I could handle. After the shock wore off we built some pretty good boundaries (i.e. no having sex in our bed with someone else, no having sex with mutual friends, etc…); we also started seeing a couples counselor. Things worked for some time–I actually started to really enjoy the independence– until we realized that it wasn’t just the sex that was bad in our relationship but rather that was a symptom of a deeper problem. Please please consider getting some help with this regardless of what you decide to do.

    • Jess

      Oof. Sometimes people present things in ways that really hurt and are really shocking. It sounds like your partner caught you very off guard with some very sensitive stuff. Allow me to pour you some gin through the internet, because it sounds like you need it.

      1) BE HONEST with yourself. Think about this for a little while, have conversations about what this would mean and look like in your relationship, read about open relationships and think about how you would feel in those situations. If this isn’t something you want, enforcing that boundary for yourself is 100% a good thing, even if it feels selfish or relationship-ending. Do not force yourself to go along with something you aren’t ok with.

      2) There are a few APW pieces about Open Relationships for more information and context right now:
      https://apracticalwedding.com/reclaiming-wife-respecting-the-foundation/
      https://apracticalwedding.com/on-having-sex-with-other-people/

      3) I know there are a few people around here in open relationships and I hope they see your question and answer you!

      4) We are talking about opening our relationship up in an involving-an-extra-person kind of way, and it scares me a lot (even though I’m also interested in it). Right now, we’re limiting it to dirty talk about those ideas and erotica/porn to understand what we would/would not be ok with. Knowing those boundaries and knowing that they will be respected are really important for me being comfortable with the whole idea.

      If you decide you’d be ok with opening the relationship up, I’d recommend doing the same thing, like Emily mentioned – talk through what you are ok with (discretion level, no mutual friends, condom use, maybe for a little while no penetration, etc.) and make sure you trust that your partner will respect those boundaries before agreeing.

    • Jane

      I would be in complete freakout mode and would not be able to swallow that info either. So, I think that’s ok. He has, apparently, been thinking about this for a long time, but it’s very new to you. He should not expect you to have an answer right away.

    • Amy March

      Dump him. Drink the gin and leave. You sound like you hate this. Find me and I’ll buy the gin.

      • ART

        I’m basically on this page, especially if this is the first he’s said about being sexually unsatisfied, and this is his first idea for fixing that? Nah bro.

        • Jess

          I mean, wrote a very detailed response being very kind to this dude, but honestly? I’m with you and Amy March.

    • anonymous

      Are you opening the relationship as a last ditch attempt to save something that will probably die anyways, or is this something that will address a true incompatibility in the relationship in such a way that both parties will feel more satisfied (if his libido is higher than yours and he needs more sex than you, and this makes him less frustrated, does your primary relationship then benefit?)

      I’m in an open relationship (monogamish generally, depending on the month and year and our general vibe at the time). We do it because we like the fun of exploring new thing (people, sexuality) together. It adds spark to our relationship and keeps things fresh. If you’re doing it to address an issue, make sure it TRULY addresses the issue.

      If you end up with your bf proposing something more poly-like, look up compersion. Read some Dan Savage. See if it’s for you. Do some research on how these things often turn out and what people expect vs what actually happens.

      And for the love of all that is holy, make plans for what happens if someone outside of the relationship makes someone in the relationship STI positive or pregnant or etc and vice versa. There’s an “administrative” side to being open.

      It sounds like something you’re not entering into in good faith though. Based purely on the comment I am replying to above, I think you should go have a martini with Amy March and start to move on.

    • Hannah

      This does sound like two separate but related issues:

      1) He is not getting what he wants sexually. Opening up could help with this, potentially. Some related questions to think about: do *you* enjoy the sex you’re having? Is his dissatisfaction qualitative, quantitative, or both? Are there any changes that you think would make you happier? Are there things either of you would like to experience that the other person can’t physically or emotionally give? (For example, being with someone of the same sex, or engaging in a kink that doesn’t interest your partner.) Do you think you could accept letting someone else fulfill that desire for the other person?

      But this is secondary to the other issue:

      2) He is not communicating with you about this early enough. He waited a long while before sharing this problem with you. He also decided what solution he wanted without your input. As someone who also mulls over things a long time before talking about them, I can understand why he might have felt compelled to do this; but it’s not a healthy habit in a committed relationship. If he’s willing to walk back a few steps and work as a team to brainstorm possible solutions, that would be a good sign. But non-monogamy usually requires a massive increase in communication, and his behavior so far doesn’t suggest that he’s ready for that with you.

    • Ugh, sorry that sounds like a total emotional bombshell out of the blue :/. It really sounds to me like y’all should be focusing your conversations around the “side” (but not really side) things here, not whether or not you should be opening your relationship.

      1. It sounds like your BF needs to learn how to handle himself in a conversation– Of course I don’t have a lot of context here, but the “only fair” thing is a full-on WTF. Being able to create space where you both can respectfully express things that are scary/on the edge of boundaries while the other person still feels safe/held is really a pre-req to having a good open relationship and it doesn’t really sound like he’s there?

      2. While every relationship is obviously different, in my experience the only sex “issue” non-monogamy is a particularly good solution to is… monogamy. Like relative to a libido mismatch, it could create as many problems as it “solves.” Being open doesn’t guarantee he’ll get laid, and if doesn’t he could be more frustrated then ever. If he’s unsatisfied with your sexual frequency now, how is he going to feel if the amount between the two of you stays the same, but you start sleeping with someone else? How is he going to feel about it if you are the one getting laid and he isn’t? Will he be able to accept that as “fair?” While opening your relationship maybe has the possibility of libido upshots, it is just not a direct fix for this issue and he shouldn’t treat it that way.

      3. It sounds like you really, really don’t want to do this? In which case, doing it is probably a really really bad idea.

  • Angie

    It’s been 3 months since the wedding. I would like to not have to deal with wedding related stress anymore. Mom was asking me every time I talked to her about pictures when I told her from the beginning that it would probably take at least 2 months to get them back. After we got the pictures, she’s been bugging me about what everyone gave us. I already gave her a list of what my side of the family gave us but she’s still bugging me about it to “verify” everything. I told her multiple times that if it’s not on the list then I don’t know since there would be too many things to keep track of. The last time she called me in a fit is because she thought someone gave me something for the shower but I had it on the wedding list but then she checked the shower list and it’s not listed so I need to send her a corrected shower list. This particular gift I know for sure I got for the wedding since there weren’t that many physical wedding gifts and it was one of the last ones I opened.

    • Jess

      Unless your mom is sending thank you notes, she does not need this level of detailed information.

      Lovingly tell her everyone will be thanked and that she needs to STOP.

    • emmers

      Umm– can you just stop? Can you lovingly say.. mom, I love you, but I can’t do this anymore. I appreciate how much you care about these gifts, but I’ve given you what I’m going to give you. I’m not giving you any more lists.

      And then if she keeps bringing it up, be like, ok, subject change. And when that doesn’t work, I love you, but gotta go now. ? Cuz it seems to be a pretty abnormal to be so concerned about something like this.

      • emilyg25

        Yes, this. None of this is her business and she’s being weird.

      • Angie

        That’s what it’s been coming down to with her getting pissed off at me and complaining I don’t talk to her/ tell her anything. I’ve had to tell her multiple times that I’m not telling her what any of my friends gave us.

        • emmers

          Then good job to you! You’ve been trying to accommodate but it’s good that you’re drawing a boundary, for your own sanity.

        • bee

          I know that my mom wanted to know what her friends gave us so when their kids get married, she could keep things kind of on par… however unnecessary I find that, it’s the only reason I can figure. It’s hard when moms zone in and stress about something seemingly irrelevant… very frustrating.

      • anon

        It’s almost never a good idea to say “I love you, but”. Loving her is irrelevant to this and saying that in relation to something negative could make her more defensive as it implies that your love is being affected by this issue. This article also touches on the issue with the “but”. https://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/one-word-that-should-never-follow-i-love-you/

        Just say “I can’t do this anymore”. Take the “I love you” out of it because it’s bad communication.

        • BSM

          I respect this perspective, but that’s all it is: one person’s perspective. The woman who wrote that article is a photographer and writer, not a psychologist.

          For some people, saying, “I love you, but” works, and for some it doesn’t. You do you.

    • Jane

      Why does she care so much? Does she worry that you won’t send the right thank you notes? Can you solve this problem by finishing all the notes now so there’s nothing left to worry about? (Not that she should be worrying about you – but, since you’re going to do them anyway.)
      Does she want to compare what they gave you to what she thinks they should have given you based on . . .? Because that might be worth tackling more directly.

      • Angie

        Her explanation is that she needs to know what to reciprocate when other people’s kids get married. One person I know for sure is because she’s just nosy since it’s her nephew and his daughter is only 15. A lot comes down to she’s really nosy and money obsessed.

        • Jane

          Ugh. I hate all that comparison stuff. Wedding gifts to you are about your wedding. They are not about conferring a future obligation on your parents!!

        • bee

          Just saw this 😊

    • Amy March

      Tell her no, hang up, and stop talking to her about this.

  • Anna

    Just had an appointment to get a minor medical issue checked out (clinic is conveniently in the same building as my office, which is the best) and I need to gush about how much I love my primary care and her team (and especially the PA I saw today). They are so fucking good at their jobs! I am in awe of how they constantly strike the right balance of seriousness and humor, with enough chatting to make me comfortable but not be invasive; they’re super efficient, I’ve never had an appointment start more than like two minutes late, and they’re always friendly and polite to the receptionists (my last doctor was otherwise pretty good but he was always super curt with the front desk people and it rubbed me the wrong way). So thankful (and so much respect!) for awesome lady doctors :-)

    • Jess

      I also have a lady physician and PA and every time I’m in there and I so grateful. High five for lady doctors!

      • Anna

        It’s extra wonderful because this office also does gynecology, and there’s some overlap in the teams for primary care and gynecology, so not only do I not have to go somewhere else for that, I can have the same PA who I already know and am comfortable with from general physicals and minor illness also do my Pap smears and gynecological exams :-)

    • Cellistec

      Same! I saw my PA last week for the first time–I rarely have a reason to go so I’ve been assigned to her for years but we never met. She turned out to be about my age, super funny, well-read, AND a thoughtful practitioner with realistic expectations. We high fived before I left. I want us to be buddies but that would be weird.

      • Anna

        Right? Like, this seems like a woman I’d love to just get casual drinks with! But then the part with me up in stirrups might be a bit awkward :-)

  • rebecca

    My partner is bumming about our wedding. His family is extremely traditional and he wanted to take the parts that were important about the kinds of weddings they have (everyone’s invited, giant dance party) and make it more “us” (in the state where we live, for instance and not putting us in financial jeopardy). Unfortunately, not doing things their way, meant a lot of his family RSVPed no (which has apparently actually never happened in their family before). Also, he’s towards the younger side of a big group of cousins and the people who were up for an all night rager when his brother got married ten years ago have kids and just aren’t like that anymore. A friend he was in a band with was supposed to dj but they didn’t sign a contract and now the dj isn’t answering calls or emails so we’re afraid we’ve got to start planning a playlist this weekend. He’s not going to have the wedding he imagined and he’s feeling pretty abandoned and it breaks my heart. We’re just really learning the hard way that if you’ve chosen a life dramatically different from your parents, you can’t just magically give them the wedding they would’ve wanted for you, even if you want to, you just haven’t spent the time building the infra to support that kind of event.

    • penguin

      I’m sorry that his family are being unsupportive – it’s one thing to wish that somebody had done their wedding the way you want, it’s another to mass-boycott it just because you don’t agree with all of their decisions. Here’s hoping that things go well for you and that you can both find wedding things to be happy about.

      • rebecca

        Thanks, I think it will be fine. It’s just funny, because while we both have different live and priorities from our families, mine are more religious so I’ve had more downright *fights* where I’ve had to assert my independence (when we moved in together, when I went into a STEM field…) and all this wedding stuff has actually made me feel lucky that I had to have those direct confrontations bc they were really, really terrible but they made my family realize that I wasn’t going to change and that we had to figure out a way to be ourselves together, whereas his was more of a slow fade and now everyone’s projecting all their feelings on the wedding.

        He’s v. excited about his ring though, we got it from a local jeweler who actually does the work out front in her studio where you can see. She instagrammed a bunch of half-finished mens rings last week and he was v. excited that one of them is probably his haha

    • Kat

      Ugh, I totally relate the the aggravations of being part of a large group of cousins. I’m #6 of 12 and things are always….unbalanced. Lots of solidarity and well wishes that he’ll find a way to not take it personally and enjoy celebrating with everyone else!

  • EF

    dear APW, i really really liked your masc attire article this week, particularly since like 3 years ago i commented that i was trying to figure out what to wear and wished that there was less labels on everything on got suuuuuper flamed. things have changed! hooray!

    and uk-based people: london pride is only a week away! come one come all!

    • Transnonymous

      The masc attire article was clutch and I was especially thrilled to see Bonobos on there. Four different fits for every style of pant! So many inseam options! Bummed that they were recently purchased by Walmart.

  • sage

    House buying is stressful. So stressful. Fiance and I have been on a roller coaster of emotions this week with the process, but we are under contract (!) and making progress. It came as a surprise to us how much more difficult this process has been for us than wedding planning, and we are so glad to be in a wedding planning lull at the moment.

    We are visiting CO this weekend… just getting on the plane helped us feel more removed from the house craziness and it is such a relief to be away and in a gorgeous and relaxed environment. I scheduled a massage treatment at the hotel spa for tomorrow. Self-care FTW!

    • Laura C

      House buying is THE WORST. We close in 10 days and I swear every day there’s something new to stress me out.

    • NolaJael

      It is so stressful. And so expensive. We’re closing on July 5th and READY to be at the end of this tunnel.

    • emilyg25

      So stressful. We made an offer our house after it was on the market for only a day and ended up in a bidding war with two other buyers! I don’t get folks who buy and sell on the regular. We hope to be here forever!

    • flashphase

      Solidarity!!!! I didn’t realize how stressful it was until we were fully closed. moved in & unpacked (well, unpacked enough) and the stress went away. But this will be you soon enough!!!

    • AGCourtney

      Oh good, I was hoping you’d stop by! Glad things are progressing. House-buying is the craziest roller coaster ever. (If it makes you feel any better, our closing date was 7 weeks before our wedding. ~All the craziness~)

    • Mari

      I feel you! We just closed on our first house 2 weeks ago – and then immediately moved in and have already mostly unpacked! It’s been a wild 6 weeks since we first toured the house we ended up buying and now already LIVE IN (still a bit surreal). For us, wedding planning had nothing on house hunting — so much more was out of our control! Also, the waiting period between going under contract and closing is excruciating. We had a 3-week close but it still felt like 2 months. The feeling of relief when we finally got the keys and knew the house was definitely ours was amazing. Hoping things go smoothly for you and you get to celebrate getting the keys soon!

  • Kat

    I had a panic attack this week re: student loans. I got behind on my payments a few months ago when I was unemployed and was struggling to catch up. This week when it was time to make a payment I kind of had a meltdown because it was starting to feel like a) I’d never get back on track and b) I’m going to be paying for a degree I’m not even using for the rest of my life. However, my BF (who LOVES spreadsheets) sat down with me and helped me fix my budget & make a spreadsheet to show me how soon I can pay off the part I’m behind on (so soon!) and then just sort of gave me a pep talk about how I’m really not floundering as much as I think I am and that’s he’s proud of the progress I’ve made the past 6 months in fixing my credit and getting my finances together. Considering that one of our agreed upon goals-to-accomplish-before-getting-engaged is that we both be more responsible with money, this was a great conversation!
    I’m considering joining a local credit union and taking out a small loan to pay off my credit cards because the loan would have a lower interest rate. Does anyone have experience/advice in this department? I haven’t taken any steps to do so yet, I’m just looking for a good way to kind of simplify things.

    • rebecca

      I don’t have advice for that specific situation but the spending fast diaries on the blog “And Then We Saved” can be really helpful and empowering. You can see all kinds of financial situations (at least some of which will probably make you feel good about yours) and the actual steps people took to get out of them. Good luck! It sounds like you’ve got a good partner on your side!

    • emmers

      My husband had some credit card debt that we’ve dealt with by doing balance transfers to get lower interest rates. If you qualify for any lower rate cards that can be really good. That, and having a budget. We’ve been throwing so much extra $$ at this debt. It can be discouraging sometimes, but having a decent idea of when it will all end if we keep pushing like we have is helpful.

    • Eenie

      Joining a credit union is always a good step! There’s also some one year 0% interest credit cards that pay a small fee for transferring your balance. Chase, for example, has their Slate card. I don’t have any personal experience dealing with this, but it’s SUPER common to have credit card debt, and making steps to address it is such a huge step. Student loans suck so much, and I’m so happy your BF helped you take a reality check on how you were doing with your finances!!

    • Katie

      My husband used Upstart to help him pay off personal credit card debt before we were married, and it worked out really well for him! I don’t know the details of what you have to do to qualify, but I know that it helped him get his finances under control after some pretty lean college/post-college years.

  • EF

    separate post -sorry- i could use some quick advice on how to “person” around a coworker who’s just had a miscarriage.

    so – coworker and i are both non-natives of this country, and maybe not in our perfect jobs, but definitely in our perfect fucking team and amazing will-never-leave-him boss. coworker and i get on very well but aren’t super close, only cause i’ve only been there a few months. we’ve gone to drinks together a few times, recommend books, etc. some time ago in the office, when another (male!) coworker brought in their newish baby, we had a chat about having kids. i’m a hard no, coworker said she is a maybe, but the bigger question in her relationship is where to raise them.
    she’d taken off a few days, worked from home a lot, and generally seemed under the weather the last couple weeks, so when we went for drinks this week I asked, when it was just us, if she was ok, and that i know she’s been stressed and if she didn’t want to share that was also ok, but that i’ve got her back and if she needs to pass on any work right now, i can totally help. and then she said that she’d just had a miscarriage, and had to have surgery to take care of it all, and that she was ok with telling me but didn’t really want to be more public than that.

    i’ve been on holiday since we chatted, but i’ll see her at work next week. should i say anything else to her? check in if she’s ok? does the fact she wasn’t sure if she wanted kids change any way of dealing with this? (obviously i think it’s totally ok to not be sure or even not want kids and still mourn!) generally any advice would be cool. thanks!

    • Jane

      Maybe bring a large bar of chocolate? Because it’s thoughtful without being emotional or particularly public (unlike flowers, which people would see and perhaps ask about) and because it makes everything better. And because chocolate is non-specific. You don’t have to be saying, this is about your grief, or this is about recovering from surgery.
      I don’t think it matters that she was on the fence about children. Not being sure about kids in general is not at all the same as losing the chance of a particular kid.

      • EF

        yeah, i was just thinking ‘man i really wish i knew her coffee order’ so i could just do this little thing and be like, hey! i’m here if you need anything, but otherwise, everything’s cool!

        i am bad at being a person something and never know how to measure responses, so i’m glad that wasn’t a crazy thought. thanks!

        • BSM

          I think if you wanted to grab her a latte, even if it’s not her exact order, that probably wouldn’t hurt either.

        • Jane

          Coffee is also a great idea. If you don’t know her order, maybe a small gift card to the place where she gets coffee? Not the same as actually bringing her coffee, but it’s still a hey, I was thinking about you.

          I think that you are better at being a person than you are giving yourself credit for.

    • JSK

      I had a miscarriage a few years ago and didn’t tell anyone at work. The miscarriage was fairly traumatic medically and required an emergency D & C, but the physical recovery was a breeze. Her situation may be different and she may have some hoops to jump through in the next few months to make sure everything went okay.

      I was totally unsure about children at the time and very scared when I found out I was pregnant. I still mourned the loss of the baby. Work was my escape from being sad about losing the baby, honestly. If someone had routinely brought it up or been over the top nice, I probably would have cried at work which wouldn’t have been a good look in that department.

      Do a couple nice things for her (buy her a coffee or a smoothie, offer to go for a quick walk to get a cupcake) and express condolences. Let her lead the way. If she wants to be head’s down, let her. If she wants to talk, let her talk.

    • Jess

      I would treat her fairly normally at work (since she’s being quiet about it) and I love Jane’s idea of bringing chocolate. You could say, “Hey, I thought about you while I was on holiday and thought I’d bring you something sweet!”

      It sounds like you do hang out outside of work sometimes, so you could always offer to meet up for a drink. Then you can ask her how she’s doing that day. There’s so many different feelings that could be happening for her, so let her steer that conversation, and let her feel whatever she’s feeling.

      • Jane

        Her experience may be totally different, but I have known people who felt really guilty after miscarriages, because they felt like it was somehow their fault. Or, even if they didn’t feel guilty, they felt like people’s questions about what happened had an undertone of “what did you do wrong?” Just something to keep in mind if she seems like she wants to talk about it more.

        • Jess

          My friend heard a lot of those kinds of “I heard X is unhealthy” comments, which were really painful. I know they echoed in her head when she was pregnant again.

          So yeah, don’t talk about how she shouldn’t have run so much or whatever.

          • Jane

            And a good reason not to give pregnant people unsolicited advice about their health in the first place!

    • emmers

      I had a miscarriage 11 months ago, and the emotional part was brutal for the first maybe 9 months? It was really nice when people would tell me they were thinking of me or when they’d do nice things like take me to lunch. We also weren’t 100% sure we wanted kids, and it was still awful. But- ppl are different. I think it’s never bad to let her know you’re thinking of her, especially as the months go on & fewer & fewer ppl will check in.

    • Lisa

      Maybe bring her back a souvenir (particularly an edible one like @disqus_zkksAqNGqZ:disqus recommended)? We had a friend who went through a miscarriage a few months back, and we brought her back a special box of chocolate from our vacation. It was great to see her face light up again for a few minutes and to make her feel special when she’s been having a rough time.

  • ART

    It has been a week. I unexpectedly burst into tears at my first appointment with a midwife on Monday, Wednesday night I fell asleep before taking my morning sickness pills and yesterday morning I threw up in public, outside of a train station (at 14 weeks I really thought I might get through this pregnancy without actually getting sick, ha), somebody bought 5 plane tickets with our business credit card, I got a scam voice message saying there was a warrant out for my arrest, and yesterday evening I kind of snapped at a neighbor trying to get me to park differently on our street and felt bad (but my parking etiquette really is not questionable, she was being weird). I just keep telling myself…I’m living a really FULL LIFE right now! This weekend I’m treating myself to strange new foods that sound delicious and a craft project I just ran out and got supplies for at lunch (yay to working in an artsy city!)

    • Sarah

      I was nauseous first trimester but only puked a few times around week 13-14 when I thought I was all clear!

    • Cellistec

      Wow, full life indeed! Way to spin it. ;)

    • BSM

      Wow, that is full! Hopefully this means next week will be nice and quiet. Either way, weird food and crafts sound like the perfect way to unwind this weekend.

    • Jane

      Those scam calls are the worst!!!! My name + family landline must have gotten on some scammer’s list last year because my parents kept getting calls about me. A lot of them were clearly fake and dumb, but one was pretending to be from a sheriff and it was kind of scary – even to a group of lawyers. I hate these people because they prey on people who are afraid (often for good reason) to contact the authorities and straighten stuff out!!!

  • We just got back from our honeymoon and it (and our wedding) went amazingly smoothly. I am overjoyed about everything. Oh and our photography sent our photos over last week. I’ve always felt that I had a weird smile and trouble smiling for photos, but when I look at these, I can see this is the pure happiness that radiates out. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6deb930f09a922dc153e362897d188e4d1f563c1534fadb64003f92412a25e59.jpg One of the best moments was when finished walking down the aisle and found our friend waiting for us with a freshly popped bottle of champagne. Pretty amazing. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a17c355b8995ac72242e84498a8c566363b59f6b5e940ee5c6719d3681c691fb.jpg I have APW to thank for all the success of the wedding. Couldn’t have done it without yall.

    • AGCourtney

      Congrats! I love that champagne shot.

    • Lisa

      Congratulations! You two look so happy and gorgeous. I love the idea of the champagne.

  • Sarah

    Where has Stephanie been? No longer on staff page.

    • Lisa

      I had been wondering the same thing, too. I hope everything is all right!

  • S

    This might be an uncomfortable read for straight couples who got married in the U.S before it was legal for everyone, but this week in Australia this great piece was written about marriage equality and how we are yet to achieve it, and I think it relates to some conversations we were having in the comments here at APW this week. https://www.killyourdarlings.com.au/2017/06/wedded-to-the-system/

  • Eenie

    Stopping in super late to say – I survived an internal audit at work, with only 90 days on the job, with two (of ten total department positions) people leaving weeks before the audit, and a third on medical leave (that’s working at 70% capacity for anyone who’s counting). One of my programs had a major finding, and two of my programs that were really strong ended up getting dropped from the scope (ALL THAT WORK PREPPING!!!!). But, it was really great, and I was reassured that it wasn’t anything personal that my program had a major finding. I’m realizing the person I replaced didn’t have a very solid grasp of what was going on. But, I’m celebrating with wine, and really looking forward to my husband coming home tonight. After getting home at 8pm every night this week, I feel like I truly appreciate all that my husband does when he’s home.

    Just chilling over here watching the west wing, drinking a bottle of wine, and truly appreciating our little family that we’ve created.

    • AGCourtney

      *applause* Wow, go you. You deserve that wine, haha.

  • Last week, I got married AND I won the Kitchenaid mixer in the APW giveaway. It was a pretty awesome week. Here’s a selfie from our Point Reyes, California semi-backyard wedding. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/acd0fe8514df5f48c9c696bd90774b1c81c93d66176b7f94b1fcf25fe0bf9f73.jpg

    • S

      This looks so beautiful! Congratulations!

  • I’m a little late, but here’s an update anyways… Last week we adopted a cat! He’s almost two years and he is suuuuper sweet and affectionate. We visited three shelters over a couple weeks and we saw him on a Thursday but my boyfriend didn’t want to make a rash decision and thought we should wait a week. Well, by Sunday we were both ready to adopt him! He loves to lie on his back, and also to lie on his back but then stretch his upper part around and reach out like superman. It is just so cute. He wasn’t one of the ones that “stand out” at the shelter, and it was my boyfriend who pointed him out to me, but since we brought him home, he has just blossomed! We took him back to see the vet there and one of the staff said they had been worried that whoever had adopted him would end up bringing him back! But even though he was shy and scared at the shelter (who wouldn’t be though, right?), he has just been so incredibly loving here. We are both so thankful for this little guy.

    I still miss my former cat, Booboo, who passed away 2 months ago, but it’s a quiet sort of missing that I guess will maybe always be there? This kitty reminds me of him in some ways (his dog-like affection and following us around) but he’s different in other ways…pretty energetic, he fetches and he jumps a lot, both just straight up when he’s excited, like a big hop, and also just moving around. And he holds a short grudge, but not for long. We think we’ll call him Slinky because he is stealthy and follows us around. We won’t even hear him come up RIGHT behind us.

    In other news, my trio of rings arrived. These are the rings that my boyfriend and I ordered for our anniversary. His ring is coming from Bario Neal. I had ordered mine from an Etsy seller who sells vintage jewelry. (She had good reviews and the site looked good to me.) Well, the rings turned out to have missing stones (despite the ad saying all were there) and two of the three rings were not the sizes advertised, so none of the rings fit my finger. I confirmed with a pro jeweler in my city that I’ve used a number of times, who also thinks the rings were not actually vintage rings either! He asked his other jeweler friends their opinions, and they all agreed that it seemed fishy. They did turn out to be actual silver though, but my jeweler isn’t sure of where it was made because the indication is unlike anything he’s seen before. Apparently there is a whole market for selling rings that aren’t vintage (they are made who knows where to look vintage) and then people can buy those and re-sell them as “authentic vintage” rings! I had no idea that people would do this, but the jeweler says there is big money in it and it happens a lot!

    So because of the missing stones and wrong sizes, I asked for a return and the seller said the ring was as described (even though it wasn’t). Then had to open a case and then escalate it to get Etsy involved. Thankfully the Etsy staff person immediately said that the seller should let me return the rings. No word from the seller yet on how to return the rings.

    It’s been a pretty disappointing process. If the rings were just for fun and not special (and much, much less expensive), I probably would have just kept them. But these are rings we are exchanging as a step in our commitment and I do not want these negative feelings associated with them. I have decided that I am now going to have two stacking silver rings made by the jeweler who has helped me and who I’ve used in the past for a few things. I trust him. And now I have much less faith in any jewelry that claims to be vintage, which is sad because I love Art Deco jewelry. But…in the future, I will only buy something “vintage” if I’m okay with the price if it is only made to look vintage. (But that also negates one of the things I love about vintage, which is recycling.)

    • Ugh. I hope you get the money back asap. And I hope you love your new rings from super helpful jeweler man.

      • Thank you! After the seller provides shipping info and I upload proof of shipping, I am supposed to be paid. If the seller does not react, Etsy can suspend their shop. So I hope they will comply so I can get this done with. And I’ll go ahead and start the process with my jeweler. It’ll take at least two months with him, and I had already waited two months for shipping from the other side of the world, so…I figure we’ll exchange rings in September or so, which is only 4 months after our anniversary, ha. Ah well… We haven’t gotten his ring yet because it is being made. I think I will love the new rings. I am going to send him ideas of what I like then we’ll talk about design together. And I know I will feel happy to wear something he has made, because that’s how I feel about the other things I have from him.

    • Lisa

      Yay for kitties! I’m sorry about the ring situation though. Hopefully it was be resolved soon and the new rings will exceed the originals in every way.

    • Jane

      Yay kitten! Slinky is a great name!
      And at least the rings had something obviously wrong with them (like missing stones) instead of just worse quality than you’d been expecting – so much easier to get Etsy on your side. But, still, that’s disappointing. I’m glad you’re happy with what you will be getting.

      • We went with the name Slinky. It just fits him too well not to! :) And you brought up a great point that at least the problem is something clear. You’re right that it would have been much worse if they were just disappointing but not in a way that contradicts how they were advertised! Now just waiting on some needed information before I can mail them back… I went ahead and sent some ideas to my jeweler who will make the rings for me. Aniversary rings 2.0…

  • Jennifer

    I know I’m late, but I just read this neat article on the generation from 77-83 (me!) and thought you all would be interested. I know Meg is definitely part of this group too. Anybody else identify in this new micro-generation? http://www.sammichespsychmeds.com/micro-generation-born-between-1977-1983-are-given-new-name/

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