In November, I posted about hiring APW interns to write about their wedding planning process over the course of the next year. I somehow had it in my mind that hiring interns would be a fairly simple process: a handful of you would apply, and since y’all are a really smart bunch, I would pick an awesome intern or two, and we’d be done. Well, life often has a way of surprising you. By which I mean, fifty of you applied. Fifty! With a resume, a cover letter, and two writing samples each. That meant days and days of reading for me, in the middle of launching a book. (Whoopsy, timing!) I read intern applications everywhere. I read them on the train down to my parents’ for Christmas. I read them by the Christmas tree. I read them on a computer in my lap on the drive home from LA to San Francisco (which was as absurd as it sounds). And in the end, I concluded that while I jokingly refer to you as Team Practical, you are actually a huge force to be reckoned with. You guys are wildly talented, cuttingly smart, phenomenally well educated, and, in this economy, are being offered too few meaningful opportunities. I’m still pondering that information.
Needless to say, I could not be more excited about the writing interns we ended up hiring. As I sorted through the applications, a few kept drifting to the top of the pile. And in the end, the trio of interns that emerged fit together in a beautiful way. First, there is Madeline, a British woman who just married an American in Brooklyn (the marriage happened rather unexpectedly over the holidays, as international marriages often do, but the reception is forthcoming). Madeline is a journalist, and she is excited to stretch her personal writing muscles and explore writing online. Then, there is Zen. Zen is a Chinese Malaysian woman who is marrying a Brit in London. Zen is a lawyer and is also a published short story writer. She’s been blogging for the past ten years, and she is excited to bring all of this experience to the APW crowd. And finally, there is Elisabeth, an American woman currently living in Saudi Arabia, marrying a Pakistani-Saudi-British man who lives in London. Elisabeth converted to Islam almost a year ago, and she is now navigating planning a Muslim wedding while living in a different country than her partner.
Before I let these wonderful women introduce themselves, I just want to point you to the updated APW Staff Page. It’s my new favorite thing. I’m so delighted to be living out my dream of gathering together a bunch of tremendously smart, super funny ladies, and making something awesome together. I’m just so damn proud to be writing APW with this killer staff. So without further ado, APW’s 2012 Writing Interns, in their own words.
Madeline: When I came across APW about a year ago I was so relieved: I’m not alone! I didn’t need an RSS feed, I just hit refresh constantly for about a year. Somewhere in the middle I got engaged. Coincidence? I think not. In a wedding industry that is so much about what is certain, correct, or traditional, it means a lot to me to find a community where it’s not just ok to doubt, question, and second-guess, it’s what makes you awesome. I can’t wait to get started! Just one caveat: I’m already married. My husband and I were aiming for a wedding in April 2012. Then we learned I would need surgery in January and would be spending the first couple of months of 2012 recovering. Then Brandon lost his job. Wedding planning suddenly seemed even more daunting than it had before, and for underpaid writers in New York City, that was daunting enough. But we didn’t want to put it on hold. We wanted to go for it! We snuck off to City Hall with two beloved witnesses for a brief but meaningful elopement in December. In some ways, the pressure is off. In others, it has intensified. The response from family and friends was essentially, “OK fine. So when’s the party?” All I can say is, watch this space…
Zen: Hello, Team Practical! I’m a Chinese Malaysian lady working in London and engaged to a British dude whom I shall call—for fear of Google—Cephas. We’re getting married in a gigantic Catholic cathedral in England on 15 September and in a boisterous tea ceremony in Malaysia on 29 September. I’ve been reading APW since I got engaged last May, and I loved that there was sensible feminist discussion about weddings out there—but I was disappointed that it was almost exclusively Anglo-American in focus. (Editors note: well, Anglo, at least. We have so many UK and Scottish weddings that, confusingly, Channel 4 voted us a top wedding blog last year. But still, POINT.) What I hope to bring to the site is a slightly different perspective, of someone to whom the traditions usually talked about on wedding blogs are only familiar via TV and movies. Whose primary colour association with weddings is red, not white. What I hope to get out if it is connection, and discussion, and community, with people with the same slightly off-centre perspective on weddings. What I hope to get out of it, in other words, is you.
Elisabeth: Greetings, Team Practical! I’m an American currently living in Saudi Arabia writing, studying, and trying to figure out my next move (geographically and professionally). My fiancé, a lovely Pakistani-Saudi-British man we’ll call Amin, lives and works in London, and we’re attempting to long-distance plan a wedding in an as-of-yet undecided location for November or December 2012. We are also trying to respectfully navigate a labyrinth of multicultural assumptions, some of which are very new to one (or both) of us. One of the more challenging (for me in particular) has been his culture’s expectation that there can be no recognized “relationship” before it becomes legally and religiously legitimate. And since we haven’t even been in the same place for most of the last decade, you will have to content yourself with coy pseudo-artsy photos of feet from our limited collection. For The Big Reveal, we are aiming for an interfaith, intercultural wedding that combines our Islamic beliefs with the wedding traditions from my American family and his Pakistani one, hopefully in a way that everyone can feel comfortable with. Unfortunately, if this sort of wedding has ever happened before, you would not know it from the internet. So, in true APW style, we are inventing it. I know that so many of the ladies on APW have reexamined and reimagined traditions in their own lives to make sure that their weddings, and their marriages, truly reflect their priorities. I hope that my struggle to do this for myself will provide a new perspective and some entertainment. More importantly for me, I am looking forward to enlisting the knowledge of this incredible community.
I trust by now, you all are as excited as I am and will give these women a warm welcome. Zen and Madeline will be writing for you every Tuesday, in rotation. Elisabeth will be writing for you in a more long form style, once a month. And now, we have a week to pick a title for this series… if you have a brilliant idea (I’m betting some of you have brilliant ideas), please feel free to leave it in the comments!
APW 2012, kids. It’s going to be epic.