APW Happy Hour


Check out this “Mama” necklace and get your own!

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

MegMamaNecklace1

Hey APW!

It’s been a fun… and intense week here. Stephanie, Kate and I got to go to The CREAM Event for the first time (Maddie loaned me a dress, which was super cute). And I finally got to dance to The Flashdance spinning, after spending about nine years waiting for this moment. We both started in the wedding industry at roughly the same time, and I have been a dyed in the wool fan of his work ever since. There was a dance contest (which I mostly entered because I wanted to dance for every damn second I could), and I came in a solid third place among a huge crowd. Which is good, because if I’d won the hotel stay on the Amalfi Coast, then David would have wanted to buy tickets to the Amalfi Coast immediately, and frankly we need a new roof for our new house, not a trip to Italy. SO! All’s well that ends well. (And you’ll get a full, photo filled, fun to gawk at roundup of that night next week.)

And because it’s #MentalHealthAwareness month, I also talked at length on Instagram about weaning off one of my anti-anxiety meds, which we finally figured out has caused a ton of weight gain. FUN. TIMES. Going off the meds has been a special kind of hell, and I’m only halfway there.

HM2_8223

Necklace Giveaway!

BUT! Forget everything else, because we’re doing an AWESOME giveaway just in time for Mother’s Day: credit for a necklace that I have been wearing Non. Stop. All. Week. When I first saw Noémie jewelry’s gorgeous Love Your Mama collection, I was like “I HAVE TO HAVE IT.” Before my kids were born I had really complicated feelings about the word mom, and what they were going to call me. As it turns out, they both decided to call me “mama” most of the time, and I love it. I chose Mama because that’s what my kids say, but if you’re not a mama, or you’re a parent whose kids call them by a different name, the necklace can be fully customized to reflect your preferred identity or a special someone’s name.

Noémie’s heirloom-quality jewelry is an investment, but it’s definitely meant to become an everyday staple, aka, my cost per wear on this thing is going to end up being a penny. When it arrived, I was thrilled with how delicate the necklace is, and how solid it feels at the same time. It’s become a wear every day (and sometimes even while I’m sleeping) piece. In other words, this is the perfect gift for your mom, or your BFF who just had a baby, or you know, you. Mostly you.

If you guys are new to Noémie, you should know they’re a family-owned jeweler focused on changing the industry by bringing transparency and quality to their clients (and if you haven’t seen their ethical jewelry, you def need to). ?  And if that’s not enough, they’ve also partnered with us to give one of you the chance to snag a necklace of your own. To celebrate all things mama, they’re giving away one $250 gift certificate to a lucky reader so you can treat yourself (or your mama)! Plus, since Mother’s Day is just around the corner, you can also use this just-for-you APW-exclusive coupon that’ll get you $50 off your order.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Head to Noémie’s site and check out the full collection.
  2. Next hop on over to The Compact’s Instagram.
  3. Give us a follow, and like the contest post.
  4. Tag a few mama friends (because sharing is caring y’all!).
  5. Lastly, comment and tell us which “Love Your Mama” piece you love the most and why!

Contest entry period ends 5/11/17 at 11:59 PM PST. Winner will be announced during next week’s Happy Hour! Must be 18 to enter and a U.S. resident. No purchase necessary.

With that, here’s your happy hour. Enjoy!

XO,

Meg

Link Round-up

On two moms making a baby with IVF.

Fat Girl Riding: Body Image and the Horse World

The House just passed a bill that affects overtime pay.

How one woman celebrates her disability with the #DisabledAndCute hashtag.

Parenting and happiness in twenty-two countries.

My Medicaid, My Life

 UNPOPULAR! Randy Rainbow Song Parody

The protestor who laughed at Jeff Sessions could face up to a year in prison.

This is what Prince bought on his last trip to a record store

Britain’s young royals have a refreshingly honest talk about mental health

The GOP voted to strip health care from millions and the media covered it like it was a sporting event

This is what the internet wants Crayola’s next color to be

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Laura C

    Well, this has been a week. A friend’s tweet on the Trumpcare bill went viral and it’s like yay, you’re viral! Except, uh, because you have cancer and Republicans are working to pass a bill that would take your healthcare. And everything has been like that. Republicans just passed a bill to take healthcare from 24 MILLION PEOPLE, which is unthinkably terrible, and then at my job we’re closing in on $1 million raised to defeat 24 of the people who voted for that, which is great except it would be much greater if it wasn’t necessary.

    Meanwhile, in things that are much less important and therefore easier to grapple with because they just make me annoyed, not actually despairing, I’m so frustrated about pressure over a family wedding we are going to this summer. It’s my husband’s cousin and we really agonized over whether we could go, because it’s a four-hour flight, followed by a three-hour drive, which is a lot for a baby. Especially since my husband only has three vacation days during this clerkship, so even with him taking 1/3 of his total vacation for the year to make the trip, we’re talking about 18 hours of travel time over about 60 hours total, with a two-hour time change. But we decided it was important to do because we love the groom and look forward to meeting the bride and want to see the extended family and give them all a chance to meet the baby. We told my MIL and the groom’s mother, though, that we would do the flight on Friday and not make the drive to the town where the wedding is happening until Saturday, and my MIL said that even so she would stay with us in airport city Friday night and make the drive to wedding town Saturday, even though it means missing out on an evening with her extended family. We RSVP’d accordingly to the couple, which means we’re skipping a Friday night event the bride is holding as a surprise for the groom. So of course this week we start getting pressure about Friday night. First an email from the groom’s mother, then a phone call from my MIL (who I’m sure was just passing along the pressure she was getting, and I wish she’d stood up for us but I also understand that the dynamic between her and the groom’s mother plus her own preferences made that extremely unlikely). And the sense coming through is that since we’re there for such a short time we really owe it to everyone to get right in the car after getting off the plane, and why do we think it’ll be difficult for the baby or why don’t we just relax and go with it. Yeah, it’s a short time. Because getting there at all was a giant challenge that we almost concluded was too much to attempt! It just makes me feel like why bother making the effort to do what we can when it’s never enough? Like it would be easier to just say sorry, no, we can’t than to say yes to what we can do and then face a campaign to get us to do more. And the idea that we should just decide that the baby’s misery doesn’t matter and ignore it really makes me mad.

    • Emily

      Ughhhh I don’t even have a baby and ready about the flight+drive+family obligation made me want to take a nap. It was super nice for your MIL to offer to stay with you guys (ostensibly to help with driving/baby?) but I’m sure it just adds another layer to the whole program, good luck!
      Also, sending good vibes to your friend. The gd AHCA bill has me so infuriated I can’t even go on facebook or read the news today. Thanks for helping defeat the GOP asshats in the House.

      • Laura C

        She originally was staying to help because I was going to fly in with the baby and my husband was going to work and then arrive later, so she was really going to give me a break by being there. Since we decided that he’d just take the day off and travel with us, it’s less necessary for her to stay and I really do feel bad that she’s missing out on her family gathering — they’re very tight-knit but since they live all over they don’t see each other in person more than once or twice a year at most. But of course she also wants to spend time with her only grandchild, so she’s pulled both ways even before her sister/cousin starts putting on the pressure. I wish it worked out to get there Friday night, but man, getting in the car after that flight just sounds like a nightmare.

    • Ashlah

      Ugh, that pressure sounds frustrating. You’re already going above and beyond by being there, I would stand firm on your decision. I suppose it’s nice that they all care about you enough that they’re disappointed they’ll miss extra time with you, but hopefully they come to a place of understanding and appreciation for what you’re able and choosing to do.

    • sofar

      My husband’s family is SO this way as well. I get the feelings of “never enough,” and I have learned that I have to tell myself, “Know what? This IS enough” and stand my ground. Because, if I don’t the expectations get higher and higher. Good luck.

      • Laura C

        Yeah, I think there are some similarities between your husband’s family and mine.

        But you’d really think that the projectile vomiting en route to visiting another set of cousins last time MIL was in town would have convinced her that it is actually difficult to travel with a baby.

    • Mjh

      That sounds so frustrating. A four hour flight followed by a three hour drive isn’t the easiest thing even without a baby and I would hope they’d just appreciate the fact that you guys are finding a way to make it on Saturday. I sympathy rage when I see parents getting pressure to disregard whatever they know will make their kid/family/selves by extension miserable because whatever family member thinks it would be fine. Why do they think they know better than the parents? Ugh.

      I’ve definitely been in the “why even bother if it’s never enough for them” situation before and my strategy is just to figure out my own rubric for what actions give the message I want to send, live up to the standard I want, and when I hear the inevitable complaints from people who’d never be satisfied, just remind myself of the fact that I lived up to the standard I set. It sucks getting grief after stretching so far to accommodate someone, but it helps me to have a solid reference point and know that I did my part.

    • Jenny

      UUUUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!! So sorry. I def feel you on the it’s never enough kind of pressure. I suggest being as up front as possible about how you are feeling so that they hopefully back off. At least that’s how I wish I’d handled it in similar situations. Something like, “in our perfect world we would be able to take enough time off to spend the entire weekend with you, unfortunately (little nugget) is not a good traveler (or it’s our first time traveling with the little one) and we want to make sure we are all as well rested as possible so that we can be fully present and our little guy/gal is as charming for you all as we think he/she is. best of luck

  • Alyssa

    Thank goodness it’s mental health awareness week, because I am B-U-R-N-T. Anyone else? Coincidentally, I took a MH day yesterday and did yoga in my undies on our patio (+10 points for living in the woods). It was fabulous. Still feeling burnt today, but much better than yesterday.

    We’re moving the fiance up to the East Bay this weekend and for today, the first day of his new job, he’s hanging out at an amusement park blowing off rockets with kids for a STEM-based fair for local kiddos…. so… yeah. He likes his new job so far!

    Meanwhile, wedding planning is hitting “frantic” mode for me (very, very worried about people enjoying themselves and smooth transitions between activities) and we’re prepping for Fiance to live with my parents and I live with his parents for the next month (so I can finish my job before heading up to join him). Any tips for the last 5 weeks before Go-Time with the wedding? Mostly just hoping these next five weeks zoom by!

    • Amy March

      Are they being fed? Are they being watered? Can they sit down? They will enjoy themselves just fine!

      • Alyssa

        We’re still figuring the sitting part, but everything else is good to go. Wine, cheese and bread (and sparkling water, because Euro) will be our food and drink but we’re obviously going to buy all that stuff at the market when we get there!

        • JC

          I could go to a wedding with just wine and bread and be happy.

          • Alyssa

            Same. Bread is my lifeblood.

          • Leah

            Especially French bread.

        • Amy March

          Oh wait yes now I remember. You’re the one planning the aggressively awesome extremely enjoyable Parisian wedding. Girl. Find something else to worry about because your guests will obvi enjoy themselves.

    • Ashlah

      Jealous of your private home! I didn’t realize how great it feels to walk out your door naked until we had a private place on vacation last year. It’s amazing.

      And what Amy said about the wedding. I was super frantic and obsessive and worried about logistics and people having a good time, and ended up way overthinking every little thing (“The drinks can’t be ten feet from the food, no one will know where they are!!”). Obviously, you have to do some planning, but I’m sure you’ll plan/have planned well and everything will be great and people will love it!

      • Alyssa

        Yes — well it’s my *to-be* in-laws home, but I relish it when they leave town!

        Yes, there will be some mild planning but we are doing pop-up style (ironically enough, to minimize stress), I’m just trying to figure out how much to really plan ahead of time!

      • sofar

        Seriously! I am chronically walking around in stages of undress in our not-very-private apartment, and I can’t wait to potentially be able to do that OUTSIDE when we move into our new house. My husband’s friend is crashing with us for a week, and it has really done a number on my inner peace to have to put clothes on RIGHT AFTER MY SHOWER.

        • Ashlah

          I feel you! Our neighbors are building a new fence right now, which is completely wonderful, except right now there’s a direct view from window to window, and I keep forgetting that I can’t free-boob it all over the place after my shower.

    • MC

      YES I have been mega-burnt out this week. I am also only one week away from a week-long vacay with my girlfriends so I am just counting down the days…

    • sofar

      I fretted a lot about the “transitions” too and about guests’ comfort. It helped to have a lengthy conversation about the logistics with the venue 2 weeks before, where we talked specifics about having plenty of chairs and tables around for people to snack and sit during cocktail hour before the reception hall opened. Then they sent me a diagram and timeline showing how/when everything would be set up. I slept so much better after that conversation!

      Even so, I’ve attended some weddings where stuff went wrong, but rarely held it against the couple. I just figured it was the venue’s fault. People are there to celebrate your WEDDING and if anyone’s grumbling that things aren’t seamless, that’s their issue. If you’ve covered your bases of food, drink and shelter, you’re golden. Heck, my in-laws planned a reception for us after the wedding and the dinner was more than 2 hours late. I felt so bad, but nobody blamed me and just hit the bar harder and got second-helpings from the appetizer table while dancing to the band.

      • Alyssa

        Thank you! Yes we are doing pop-up style in a park in France so luckily the good friends I’ve invited have volunteered to do things like stake out our pre-determined spot, set out food and drinks, and welcome other guests. I think I just need to nail down the timeline.

  • Ashlah

    I’ve been having nighttime stomach pains this week, except for yesterday, when they lasted until late afternoon and I had to leave work because I was miserable and running on 3 hours of sleep. Pains returned temporarily in the middle of night, but are gone again today. Normal pregnancy discomfort? Gallstones? My mystery cysts finally becoming symptomatic? Random GI distress? Bloating? Who knows! If it comes back again, I’ll call the midwives. In the meantime, I’m super worried it’s going to sideline me for my 5K race tomorrow morning, which I have been looking forward to for so long! My training runs have been great, and I was super excited to crush a pregnant 5K, at the very same race that was my first ever last year. Send me your healthy tummy vibes!

    In more fun news, my husband and I finished painting the baby’s room, and I am so stoked with how the accent wall turned out! Kid’s easily got the coolest room in the house now.

    • Laura C

      Could it be round ligament pain? I never had much of that but people kept mentioning it.

      • Ashlah

        I don’t think so, this is mostly in the upper abdomen, radiating to my back and down my stomach, and doesn’t quite feel like the (admittedly little) RLP I’ve experienced. Just feels like a bad stomach ache, minus cramps or nausea.

        • Laura C

          That sounds like no fun at all. I guess the lack of cramps and nausea is a plus?

          • Ashlah

            Better than the alternative!

        • Mary Jo TC

          Yeah, that doesn’t sound like RLP. (And that’s good because there’s just about nothing that can be done about RLP.) When I had RLP, it was in the second half of my pregnancies, and concentrated on my hips and lower abdomen. Is this more like heartburn? Might be better to call the midwife before they’re out of the office for the weekend. Feel better!

          • Ashlah

            I wondered if it could be heartburn! I’ve never had it pre-pregnancy, so I don’t really know how to identify it, other than when it includes reflux, which this hasn’t. I did take some Tums before bed last night as an experiment, and still had it (though not as bad as the night before).

        • Jenny

          Ooooh, I wonder about heart burn. I’d never had it before pregnancy and I spent like a month with a weird “acid tummy” that I eventually realized was heart burn and took a zantac 150 (OTC super cheap at costco). It was a game changer. Might be worth trying because, as I discovered, heartburn is a semi catch all term that can manifest a bunch of different ways. Def call the midwives and see what they think.

          • toomanybooks

            Yeah, it’s so weird, I always just assumed “heartburn” was just… what it sounds like? When I found out THAT was the acid tummy thing I was shocked! I always have Zantac on hand and also just got chewable antacids (not quite gummies, they’re softer) at the grocery store. It was a thrilling trip for me :)

    • StevenPortland

      Great accent wall!

    • MC

      Loooooove the wall, what a fun idea!!

      • Laura C

        Oh my gosh, just clicked through and now I’m wondering if we could pull off something like that.

        • Ashlah

          You totally could! Neither of us are super artsy or into DIY stuff, and really it wasn’t bad. We used these tips to get straight lines. Creating the peaks with tape was a little challenging, but obviously doable!

        • A single sarah

          Agreed! Did you tape out the design? (How do you do these thins? I don’t watch enough hgtv)

          • A single sarah

            (And the reply came while I was typing. Thanks!)

    • Antonia

      I’d call your midwives, especially since we’re going into the weekend. Go get checked out for your own peace of mind.

      • Ashlah

        I know you’re probably right. Randomly occurring stomach pains just seem like such a hard thing to diagnose, and every time it stops, I assume/hope it’s gone for good, so therefore I worry about wasting my time and money. But I know that’s what they’re there for, as they remind me at every appointment :)

    • penguin

      For what it’s worth, when I had gallstones it felt more like back/chest pain than stomach pain. I’d really recommend getting checked out by a doctor, and I hope you feel better!

      • Ashlah

        Interesting, thanks! I’d definitely like to not have gallbladder issues!

    • Mjh

      Healthy tummy vibes coming your way.

      The wall looks amazing!

    • Another Meg

      Your insurance should also have a 24-hour nurseline that you can call just to see if you need to take it further. I’ve used mine a bunch during my pregnancy.

      • That’s a good idea. My city also has a health info line that you can call with medical questions. I called them once when I got a dual-action stain remover fluid in my eye and was starting to panic and wondering if I needed to go to the hospital. But this is in Canada (Quebec), so I don’t know if that exits where you are, Ashlah… Good luck!

    • BSM

      Awww, baby’s room looks amazing!

      I just ordered a sample of this wallpaper for our little nugget’s room: https://www.cole-and-son.com/en/collection-fornasetti-ii/wallpaper-97/2006/

      The room doesn’t currently have any walls, so I’m a little ahead of myself…

      • Ashlah

        Ooh, I love that!

        • BSM

          Me tooooo. My husband isn’t sold on it yet, but I’m hoping seeing it in person will do the trick.

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      LOVE the wall! We painted an accent wall in light green and have these cute/corny little woodland decals to put up, but otherwise we’re got a lonnnnggg way to go on our nursery. My nesting mostly comes out in wanting to obsessively clean things, rather than put everything together!

      And I hope you figure out your stomach pains! Definitely call your midwives or nurse line if you have one – I’ve never regretted it (and I’m a fretful first time mom who calls about *everything*). But either way, I also just want to say that you’re a total badass for training for a pregnant 5K. I was a runner before pregnancy and I really miss it.

      • Ashlah

        This is pretty much all we’ve done, haha. But now that the painting is done, I’m hoping it’ll get the ball rolling on the rest.

        And thanks! I’ve been fortunate to have a pretty smooth, easy pregnancy so far, which definitely helps in the running department. Hoping to keep up the habit as long as I’m able.

    • Is it in your stomach, or lower? I had a pain on my lower left side and it turned out to be a fibroid that was disintegrating. i didn’t even know I had a fibroid so the pain was my first indicator.

      • Ashlah

        It’s mostly centralized in my upper abdomen, above my belly button but below my chest, which is where I think my stomach is right now, haha. Fibroid, ouch! Did they do anything to remove it? Or did you have to let it disintegrate?

  • Cassy

    First time HH post yay! Thrilled to bits because my bf and I are hopefully going to the Brilliant Earth store in DC to look at their selection. (Anyone have advice on Brilliant Earth in general or this store in particular?) I love their sapphire selection and will mostly likely pick a peach sapphire eventually. APW has been so instrumental in helping me confront and conquer anxieties about this pre-engaged state, and brought so
    me much joy (and given us good conversation topics!) — thank you, all of you!

    • Alyssa

      One of my best friends and her fiance got all their rings through Brilliant Earth and loved it. I got my (to-be) wedding band from there and it is fantastic! Highly recommend!

      • Cassy

        Thank you so much! I love their business model and ethical standards.

    • rg223

      Love my Brilliant earth ring! It also has sapphires :) No real advice, just enjoy!

    • CP2011

      I picked my ring out at their San Francisco store and had a great experience. Much more customized experience than a regular jewelry store because it’s appointment only. My only complaint is that I recently bought a new band (my original band wasn’t brilliant earth, just the e-ring) and they must have changed their design because it doesn’t match the height of my e-ring even though it’s supposed. But they have very good customer service.

    • Kaitlyn

      My ring is from Brilliant Earth and I’m OBSESSED. My fiance got it through the Boston store and had lots of good things to say about the experience of picking it out. I know he went multiple times/made phone calls and he said everyone was super helpful.

    • Lexipedia

      I went to the DC store to look at rings. If you want to try on something specific I would call and ask whether they have it so you don’t trek to Tyson’s and be disappointed. They didn’t have all of the options there, and may not have any sapphire rings for you to look at. Mostly we were going to look at size and shape (we eventually got my ring elsewhere) and it was really good for that.

    • Mjh

      Have fun checking out rings!

      Husband and I went to the Brilliant Earth office in SF some years back. We don’t/didn’t live in the area but we liked them enough to work a connection at SFO​ into a flight itinerary we had coming up and set up an appointment during our layover. The space they had there was a little bit awkward, but the guy who worked with us was easygoing and we saw some great rings. We ended up having a local jeweler make my ring using a sapphire I already had and that route was ideal for me, but I have a silver branch necklace from Brilliant Earth that I love.

  • Amy March

    Can I just vent for a minute? Don’t ask me to do you a favor on a specific date and time months in advance, confirm multiple times, and then cancel the day before because you’d just rather someone else do it. That’s rude! I planned around you. And it sure doesn’t make me inclined to say yes next time.

    • Ashlah

      Ouch. Not nice.

    • rg223

      Ugh, that’s frustating. Hope you found/find something else awesome to do instead!

    • Alyssa

      Ugh, the worst.

    • JC

      Ohhhh no. Nope.

    • sofar

      This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine too! .. and something that happened to me recently, as well!

      On the few (seriously I can count them on one hand) occasions I’ve cancelled on someone (due to actual emergencies), I’ve felt so much guilt. It drives me insane that people will ask you to schedule something and then cancel last-minute like it’s nothing.

    • Ugh, seriously? Un-freaking-cool

    • SS Express

      Oh my god that would drive me up the wall! And I bet they framed it like “yay you’re off the hook now”. If I ever do cancel on someone who is doing me a favour (which is rare!) I still count them as having done it in my mental favour ledger.

  • Kelly

    2 completely unrelated things this week…

    1. No longer unemployed- start new job on Monday!

    2. Question- my husband and I are flying out for a wedding later this summer. The venue is about 30-40 mins south of the downtown area and it doesn’t sound like there will be shuttles or anything to that effect. Feel slightly annoyed that on top of flights and hotel, I have to figure out transportation from a small town that may not have Ubers going back to the city. Super excited for the wedding and our friend, but am I being unreasonable wishing transportation was provided? Perhaps because in the past for weddings that had venues outside the main city, the bride and groom arranged for the shuttles, is clouding my opinion

    • Amy March

      I don’t think the bride and groom are obligated to arrange your transportation. It’s nice, and it’s also expensive and difficult to coordinate. Sometimes you have to rent a car, or book a car service, or make other arrangements yourself.

      • CMT

        And there are lots of other options besides Uber. It is not the only way to get from Point A to Point B.

        • Kelly

          Right, I booked a sedan for me & my husband along with a friend that is probably going. Ya know, just another $180 to go, which obviously isn’t a deal breaker just not first choice either :)

      • A single sarah

        Agreed. Transportation is definite bonus. But as someone who grew up in place she where public transit was not a thing, it’s not sonething I ever expect.

        (I forget this sometimes. Like the time when my sister and I had a few hours between landing at the airport and parents picking us up. There was a black car service that was able to drive us downtown. It no taxi stand at the airport. No lyft. No uber. Some places, really require the rental.)

    • Cellistec

      Yeah, I’d be miffed (or at least confused) about the transportation gap too. I mean, Amy’s right, but it’s one more step in a complex day. Is there a way to get in touch with other guests and split a Lyft or get a ride in their rental car?

      • Kelly

        Yep trying to reach out to the 1-2 people I know who are also invited and see if they want to split something :)

        • Cellistec

          Fingers crossed it works out!

    • Ellen

      Are you staying (or are they expecting you to stay) near the venue rather than downtown? As in most other things, I agree with @amymarch:disqus but am overall just curious about the logistics. I’ll also offer that if I, as a person-hosting-a-wedding, had a hotel block near the venue (or if I didn’t have a hotel block at all, but there were hotels nearer the venue than the downtown hotels are), a downtown-to-venue shuttle wouldn’t even occur to me. I’d expect people to stay near the venue.

      • Kelly

        Nope, as far as I know no expectations as far as where people stay. I’m not really sure there are hotels in this city.

        I don’t usually think about transportation unless the venue is outside of an urban area. In a city its so easy to hop in an uber and pay $10-$20

    • savannnah

      So we are a couple who picked a venue 45 min away from the nearest airport and are not providing shuttle service to and from the town. Logistically it’s a nightmare to try to arrange systematically. Everyone is arriving different days and times and staying at different hotels- and then people are stranded at their hotel because they didn’t rent cars. Ultimately we decide that smaller groups of family and friends could arrange carpooling and rentals better than us.

      • sofar

        I, too, left it all up to my guests and everything was fiiiiiiine. We had hotel blocks near the venue, but lots of people wanted to stay elsewhere/use Airbnb to save money, so there was no way I was paying for a shuttle that would probably have driven empty.

      • Laura C

        Honestly it would not have occurred to me that if we had our wedding in my hometown, which is about 45 minutes from the airport, that anyone would think we should provide transportation to the airport. The feeling that in a town without public transit between the venue and hotels we would have had to get shuttles for that was one reason we did it in Boston instead, but the airport? Seriously did not cross my mind.

        • CMT

          It would never occur to me as a guest to expect that. My expectation would always be that transportation would be my responsibility. Any kind of shuttle or ride would be a lovely surprise.

    • sofar

      Having lent an ear to many friends planning weddings, planning transit for guests can be a huge logistical hassle — and those who did arrange for it found that few guests utilized it/were even on time to catch it. One friend even had a shuttle go back to the hotels EMPTY because people were milling around after the reception and couldn’t be bothered to follow the announced instructions (which were also on the wedding website AND on the invitation insert) that the shuttle was leaving at midnight. And, since the couple had arranged for the shuttle, guests made them feel obligated to “take care” of them, so father of the bride had to spend hundreds of extra dollars to summon cabs to drive them all back to the hotel. After paying $1,500 for the shuttle in the first place.

      That story is why I didn’t do shuttles for my own wedding.

      The extra expense for guests sucks in this case and is the reason I RSVP no to rural weddings, unless it’s one I HAVE to go to (in which case I have myself a grumble about it and then book a rental car).

      • Kelly

        Oh that’s not cool! And again, the only reason I ask is because in the weddings I’ve attended that are outside of the city, we and a bunch of other guests used them. They would usually depart from one hotel in the city and return there however many hours later.

        I feel like I need to reiterate that it certainly wasn’t a deal breaker, more so “Agh I haven’t had a paycheck in 6 weeks and I am pumped for them, but also wishing it wasn’t costing as much as it is”

        However such is life ;)

        • sofar

          Interesting! Your circle must be way way more punctual than mine. I usually take advantage of a shuttle if one is provided, and I have been continuously surprised by how many other fellow guests can’t get their shit together enough to catch it on time.

          • Kelly

            I do remember one wedding that I was BM in, the guests were calling the bride as she’s trying to take pictures because they couldn’t find the shuttle.

            Of all the people to call, maybe not the bride at that moment!

          • lamarsh

            One of my friends told people the shuttle was leaving 45 minutes before it actually left. Everyone was on time! His family is always running late so he figured that was the only way to make it work.

    • Rosie

      Our wedding is pretty far from a major airport. To make it as easy as possible for people who are flying in, we are doing our best to arrange carpools. I sent a google doc to all of our friends who are flying in, and had them record their flight times. Then I reached out to local friends who have cars, to see if they would be willing to pick friends up at the airport in exchange for my unending gratitute. For the folks who are left, we are going to try and coordinate them with each other so they can share a rental car, if necessary.

      It has been a lot of logistics but feels worth it because I know it’s already a huge hassle to have to fly to a wedding, so I want it to be as fun and easy as possible for everyone. I feel comfortable asking people to do this because I know they’ll say no if they can’t, and also I have happily helped other friends do the same thing, and it was fun to meet other folks who were going to the same wedding.

      All that being said, maybe you could reach out to the couple and see if they know anyone you can carpool with / share a rental car to lower the cost?

      Also even if they don’t have uber, you could always get a taxi. Which will be more than an uber, but less than a rental car.

      Also, congrats on the job!

      • Kelly

        Thanks! Yeah I intially asked one of the BMS about transportation, because bride had mentioned off hand a few months back, that she was thinking about that (90% sure, I really feel like I remember her saying something to that effect). So I just texted bride who else from our group was invited so I could reach out to them :)

        And that sounds awesome of you to help your guests out like that, without paying for additional service :)

      • A single Sarah

        Please confirm availability and price of taxis before going with that plan! Seriously, rentals can be the cheaper option. Especially if you manage to carpool.

        • Kelly

          We’ll probably end up doing a car service, at least back to the city, just for the reliability factor and more enjoyable than a taxi

      • CP2011

        Gah I hope you have better luck organizing carpools and airport transportation for your peeps than I did. I took it on for the same reasons you mentioned, and it backfired big time.

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      Yeah, I think arranged transportation is something that’s really, *really* nice to provide if you can, but not something couples are obligated to provide. At least, I hope not because ours was a similar situation (small town about 40 minutes from nearest airport) and it didn’t even cross our minds to offer transportation, to be really honest with you. With so many people flying in and differing schedules, both the logistics and the cost would have been untenable.

      Do you know other people at the wedding? I know a lot of our friends connected with each other to split the cost of rental cars or taxis. And in our wedding town, there were definitely some airport shuttles that were lower cost as well, but it’s also a pretty touristy place.

      • Kelly

        yeah I know up to 2 people who may be attending that I’ve reached out to. I thought it would be fun to get a towncar type of thing and catch up on the way to the wedding :)

  • Cellistec

    I’m struggling big time at work. I’ve been in the job almost a decade and never really enjoyed it, but lately a combination of personnel changes, culture shifts, and stagnation have me digging deep for motivation and coming up empty. And as the primary earner in my household, I feel a lot of pressure to stick it out here. (Granted, on the DL, I’m studying to switch industries, but it’ll be years before I’m qualified to make the change.) Any advice on staying sane, finding motivation, etc. when work is doing your head in and you feel trapped? I volunteer, I take mental health days, I drink wine…it’s not doing the trick.

    • CMT

      New job in the same industry but different place while you finish your studies?

      • Cellistec

        Seriously thinking about it. If I can make at least the same salary, it could be worth jumping ship early. It feels counter-intuitive since I don’t actually like the field I’m in, but (almost) any change is good change right now.

    • MC

      Not exactly your situation, but I found this article really helpful for staying motivated in my job over the last few months: https://superyesmore.com/productivity-in-terrible-times-709d4b3127d845e2d090bf94f0b93263

      Also, nothing can make up for a toxic/soul-sucking workplace, but having other things outside of work that fill the holes you’re missing can help. For example, I work a mostly desk job that is occasionally tedious/boring, but I volunteer with Girls on The Run so that once a week I get to run around with 3rd & 4th grade girls for a couple hours. Keeps me sane & balanced.

      • ssha

        Love GOTR!

      • Cellistec

        That’s a really good article…thanks! Structure and regulating the flood could help in the short term. (Case in point: doing APW HH at my desk, despite that important project I have on my docket. Facepalm.)

    • flashphase

      I think it can help to remind yourself of the big Why that you’re doing this – that’s your little-p purpose (your family). Your big-P Purpose is something else, and this is a stepping stone. And an opportunity to learn patience.

    • rg223

      Was your boss part of the personnel change? Could you talk to them about the stagnation and switch up or gain more responsibilities?

      • Cellistec

        There’s a chance I’ll get more responsibilities soon, and that could help in the short term. It’s just hard waiting for all the changes when I’m so frustrated on a daily basis.

    • CP2011

      I’m in a similar boat. No ideas, but empathy.

    • LadyJanee

      I’m in a similar boat and it is TOUGH. I feel you. I have recently started doing 5-10 minutes of yoga in the morning to start my day with something positive, and I listen to audiobooks on my commute (the news can wait). Other than that, I have no suggestions, just solidarity.

  • Abs

    Wedding was last Saturday and it went SO WELL! Seriously, apart from not snagging any extra pizza for the hotel room, not sure how it could have gone better.

    That crime of a vote yesterday is taking a lot of the shine off of things, but at least I can look down at my left hand and be glad to be married. And a lot of our guests got on board with our Southern Poverty Law Center donation registry, so there’s that.

    • Abs
      • rg223

        Ohhhhh this makes me smile! Congrats!

      • penguin

        Floral crown goals! Any details on what you’re wearing on your head? It looks fabulous!

        • Abs

          Thanks! I actually remember what all was in it right now, which I never will again–leatherleaf fern, thistles, monte casino aster and white waxflowers. It was made by the amazing Meighan of Lula Mae Events, who was our coordinator/flower goddess. 100% recommend her for everything!

          • penguin

            Legendary, thank you!!

      • nosio

        *heart eyes emoji*

      • Cellistec

        The building in the background! Perfection!

        • penguin

          I didn’t even notice that! That’s awesome!

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          SO GOOD.

      • Rosie

        Beautiful!!!! My wedding is in 6 weeks and I am also thinking of wearing my naturally curly hair down with a flower crown, so it is lovely to see some inspiration! My hair is actually really similar to yours except dark brown :) Congratulations!

    • sofar

      You are rocking that floral crown!

    • Mjh

      That’s such a great registry idea.

      Congratulations!

  • cml

    OMG! One of my favorite sites (APW) has an article related to one of my favorite things (the horse world)! And it’s a good read, too.

  • AGCourtney

    I’m 24 now! I had a lovely birthday yesterday – it started with my desk workers at the library singing to me at midnight and ended with cheesecake at the printing press that night. My daughter and I went to the Minnesota Zoo and had a wonderful time…though I ended up utilizing my newish-to-me smartphone to check up on the House vote and trying not to panic. Other than that, though, it was a lovely day.

    I started at the printing place again this week – everyone was very nice and glad to see me again. And, as mentioned above, they brought in cheesecake for my birthday. I had been somewhat dreading going back, but it’s really not so bad. I had a lightbulb moment and brought some of my choir music over to the machine with me and have now memorized most of my pieces for our upcoming concert between dumping in piles of Kohl’s ads, haha. I was extremely depressed and anxious the two days after my first night back – I’m hoping it was just an isolated incident – maybe related to hormones from me recently getting my IUD replaced before my insurance coverage ended – rather than a correlation with the lack of sleep. Because that’s really not going to work, haha.

    We had a wonderful time doing our first area garage sales of the year on Saturday – we went to 131! The weather was actually just fine. Found some great stuff!

    • Amy March

      Wait. You went to over 100 garage sales in a day? How. Why? What’d you buy. Need more garage sale stories pls

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        YES. I can barely go to 5 in a row before I need a nap!

        I love garage sailing. Most of my awesome furniture is from garage sales.

      • Alli

        Maybe there was a community one that’s more like a flea market? My hometown had those in the parking lot of the elementary school. Each house got a parking space to put their stuff.

      • AGCourtney

        Haha, my family always did this growing up, and now it’s my dad, my kiddo, and me. There’s a few big area sales every year that have 100+ sales. We get out of the van around 8am with a stroller, snacks, and bags, and a clipboard with a provided map, and start walking. My dad draws a little squiggle on the map to show where we’ve gone and keeps a running tally of how many sales we’ve gone to. At this one (Diamond Path) we walk the vast majority of them – I think we got back to the van around 3 – and then drive this section on the east side with lots of cul-de-sacs. It’s really fun and we always look hilarious by the end of the afternoon because our stroller is just laden down with stuff, both in the storage and on top, and we’re all carrying full bags and isolated things that won’t fit.

        I get all of my daughter’s and my clothes and shoes from garage sales. (Even her flower girl dress – $2.) I found her some ballet shoes, which is great – she has a recital next week. I get various things for the house, art supplies, books, whatever catches our fancy, really. I was trying to explain to my husband how it’s its own little world the other day, haha. We love it.

    • Happy birthday!

      I think I want to take Phi to the Minnesota Zoo. I’ve actually never been but I’ve been to Como a million times.

      • AGCourtney

        Thank you! Oh, I love it there – it’s a beautiful zoo. We had a membership the first few years of my daughter’s life and we went quite often. I let it lapse once we moved down here, but I just renewed it again. A baby tiger was just born, but obviously she won’t be out for a few months yet. “Summer” kicks off memorial day weekend and that’s when they open things like the Kangaroo Crossing – that’s actually new this year. I’m rambling, as usual, but I highly recommend it! When my daughter was little, she loved the huge aquarium on the tropics trail. We have photos of her just staring, transfixed. If you want to coordinate, I can get one guest in free each visit~

  • Alli

    I see from Alyssa’s comment that it’s mental health awareness week. Oh boy I am burnt. Can I bitch? I’m gonna bitch.

    It turns out trying to study while you grieve a close friend’s death is nearly impossible. I’ve completely forgotten how to math. And I love math! Especially statistics, which is what this stupid stupid exam is on, but I am just so done. There were times where I chose studying instead of visiting my friend in the hospital, and I was studying when I got the call that she was brain dead and that they were removing her life support. I am so pissed at studying right now, but that’s what I have to do because this exam is on Monday and I have to at least try to not fail miserably.

    Everything is sending me over the edge. My maid of honor suggested that me and the bridesmaids would get matching shirts for the bachelorette party, but not everyone, and I cried. We got aunts in our liquor cabinet and had to clean it out. I cried. I tripped over my laptop charger and cried. I spent all morning on practice problems and haven’t gotten many correct. (Can you guess what I did?)

    Right now I’m attempting to enjoy a glass of cava and a pile of blueberry eggos but it’s not helping. I honestly can’t wait for the 2 month waiting period for my test results because then maybe I can, idk grieve properly or go see a Dr, or just do anything besides berate myself for not absorbing 700+ pages of material easily.

    • Emily

      I’m so sorry to hear about your friend! Have 2 glasses of cava, champagne flutes are small. I hope you can take a few minutes for you this weekend.

    • Alyssa

      Oh my goodness. Please be gentle to yourself! See if you can get to a point where you can check in with yourself and see what you need to feel taken care of, and do it. Cava and Eggos seem like a great start.

    • Cellistec

      I’m so sorry about your friend. I’ve been in that everything-sending-me-over-the-edge place too, and it snowballs fast. I hope you find ways to shoehorn some self-care into your studying (cava and Eggos count, in my book), and that the math you love becomes a comfort again rather than a stumbling block.

    • AGCourtney

      I’m so sorry. My best friend since childhood passed away suddenly while I was in college and I was a wreck. Internet hug. <333

    • sofar

      I’m so sorry you lost someone close to you when (it would seem) your wedding is just around the corner. Take care of yourself and acknowledge that even getting out of bed right now is an achievement, let alone studying.

      • Alli

        Thanks, the wedding is in July so pretty soon.

        It doesn’t help that I had considered asking this friend to be a bridesmaid, but then sorta arbitrarily cut my list down and now I feel extra awful.

  • Fushigidane

    Got married last month and finally got to see a bunch of pictures. Everything was so pretty. It was such a crazy day since both of us don’t really like crowds and being in front of people and both of us had a bunch of relatives we don’t even know but family insisted on inviting. Waiting to see proper pictures of the cake and flowers since they came out amazing. I don’t even know if the photographer got a full picture of the red dress XD
    So happy that we’re living together now although still trying to get used to sleeping in the same bed as another person and a cat. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/07fa296e1118509d9bf8eb18cf440b0b8edaa00d73f84d9256aaafa666f509c6.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/096d05489d03194f5220fb16346bdc148bcbe0d16115a69bd71731ccd5b4f706.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c154f55efc24a7392b4c86bf9966651192d891388286b368ee8a69c5f5ef13ae.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fed07555fb4daf2594198b8aabb776e1fb85c399bf9c7c7d4d8160cfc940b220.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f2d203a22496f8729e5a59f1de8c6718a651ad51e05bbc0c376ded8d4318e36f.jpg

    • ssha

      Aww!

    • penguin

      You look so happy and beautiful!! Congrats!!

    • Rosie

      These photos made me smile so much!! Beautiful!

    • Mjh

      Beautiful! Congratulations :)

    • Katherine

      I have a Bulbasaur succulent planter in my office. You just made my day.

      • Fushigidane

        We always had the bulbasaurs but it wasn’t until a month before the wedding that I realized the color scheme was ivysaur colors ;P (bridesmaids had aqua dresses and pink flowers)

      • Jane

        So does my co-worker! Only he had to get a fake plant for it because he let his die.

    • Totch

      Congrats!! It’s all gorgeous!

  • nosio

    WHAT A WEEK. I am so appalled and heartbroken over the Trumpcare bill passing, it’s made my otherwise-would-be-stressed-about-wedding-planning-shit feel way less important/stressful. (Seriously, one perk of wedding planning in the age of potential apocalypse? Perspective. And lord, has it been useful.)

    But we passed the 4-months-to-go-mark this week; I bought my dress (!!!!!!); immediately freaked out about said non-returnable-no-refunds-dress and tried to cancel my order, and the (incredibly lovely, gracious) designer was like, “Shhhh honey it’ll be fine, just wait until it arrives, I’m sure you’ll love it,” which made me feel better but was also incredibly embarrassing (I was debating between two and went with the one friends/sisters/mom liked more based on pictures I’d texted, and then was immediately filled with fear that it was the wrong one, but whatever); ordered our invitations; locked down our hotel blocks; and finished the wedding website. I’m feeling very accomplished, and while I know there are still so many small details to figure out, I’ve also reached a point (like, yesterday), where I’m like…things will work themselves out and I’m not going to kill myself stressing out about dumb stuff? I’ve started running again, which I think is contributing to this mindset, but seriously, being aware of domestic/global events has been crucial to helping me just let go of all the minor insecurities and fears. We’re getting married and having a party. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

    Also, and tonight the fella and I are going to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and drink some margaritas. Margaritas make everything better.

    • Rosie

      I can definitely relate to feeling less stressed about wedding planning due to all that’s going on in the news. I have been trying to decide what dress to wear to my rehearsal dinner, and flip-flopping between 4 different options. After yesterday I was just like meh don’t matter, I should just wear the cheapest one so I have more money to afford my healthcare in the future…

      Also, congrats on dress, invitations, hotel blocks, and website!!! That is a LOT to accomplish! You deserve those margaritas :)

    • Hannah

      Sounds like a productive week! I’m sure your dress is lovely. And if you still feel conflicted about the dress in a couple weeks, you can always sell it and get a different one. It happens. (Happened to me!) Enjoy the margaritas!

      • nosio

        That is exactly my plan!

    • Jess

      I felt exactly the same about my dress and regularly texted my friends saying, “Plz tell me how pretty I look in my dress?”

      Hooray for margaritas: the best distraction from All The Things.

      • LadyJanee

        Haha I did the same thing with my dress.

  • ssha

    So my future in-laws are…not jazzed about me keeping my name. They are wondering about my commitment. I’m hurt and they’re hurt and I’m just…sad. We’re gonna talk with them but any advice?

    In other news, I checked out the book The Conscious Bride from the library this week per someone’s rec on here, and I think it’s going to be really helpful with the “ALLL THE FEELS!” thing.

    • penguin

      It’s your name, and none of anybody’s business what you choose to do with it. They have zero say over whether or not you change your name, and their feelings on the matter aren’t your responsibility.

      Flipping the conversation – Your fiancé is committed to you right? Why aren’t they changing their name? etc etc. Best of luck with the future in-laws!

      • ZLMT

        Seriously, is their child less committed to this relationship? Clearly there’s a reason why they are also keeping their name. Ugh. It’s really none of their damn business. [clearly I have opinions about this issue]

      • ssha

        Yeah, this is how I always flip it haha. Thanks to APW for drumming that into my brain. Thank you!
        ETA: good reminder that it’s no one’s business, this week I was like “maybe double barreling (and making my last name 7 syllables) wouldn’t be SO bad…”

        • Not Sarah

          I usually flip it and say “Oh well I said I would hyphenated if my husband did and he didn’t want to do that, so we both kept our names!” That seems to end the conversation pretty well.

    • MC

      Ooof, that is rough. I think my in-laws might have felt the same but kept it to themselves (to their credit, they have been great with my name post-wedding). In my case, I was the only woman to marry into their family that didn’t change her last name, so I think part of it was just that my decision was unexpected. Might help to point out that lots of people of all genders keep their names after marriage and it has nothing to do with the level of commitment. Really, though, it should all come from your fiance saying “Parents, I am fine with this and have no concerns about ssha’s commitment to me, so you do not need to worry about it. Please respect her decision.”

      • ssha

        Yes, I think this is what we will do. They want to understand, they just…don’t.

        • penguin

          Honestly they don’t even have to understand it. They just need to accept it – your name, your decision.

          • emmers

            And over time, it will hopefully become less of A Thing. Right now it’s fresh and they have all the feelings, but eventually it will just be that you have different names. They may never love it, but it will hopefully be calmer!

      • Another Meg

        Seconding that it’s important for your fiance to support you vocally on this.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        I haven’t heard any blowback from my in-laws about keeping my name, but it may be because I breezily told them, “Oh, I decided to just take HisLast as my middle name, so I’ll still be MyFirst MyLast, byeeeeeee!”

      • Not Sarah

        My in-laws apparently sussed this out very early on in our dating life. I’m definitely the only woman in their family who isn’t changing their name, so it’s confusing to the cousins and grandmother. Thankfully my husband is fully supportive of this! (He hates paperwork haha.)

    • theteenygirl

      Woah woah woah they are wondering about your commitment? Because you won’t change your name?! Oooooo that makes me mad. I could rant. But I won’t. Other people can probably give more rational advice than me.

      • ssha

        I’ve been through all the feels about it, trust me.

    • rg223

      Hmm, I would talk to them once to hear their concerns, but then not talk about it anymore. It’s not really something that’s up for discussion – you and your fiance made the decision and they have to get used to it. We had the same issue with my MIL about my son’s last name (mine, not my husband’s), and this worked for us. My MIL moved on fairly quickly because she felt “heard.” Hope the convo goes smoothly for you!

      • ssha

        Yeah. I’m not changing my mind or anything, I think they just want to know my reasons because they are super not familiar with people doing this.

        • Eh

          I think having their concerned heard is one thing, but I don’t think you need to justify keeping your name (says the person who was asked my her MIL if she was changing her name after a few drinks at the reception).

          • Not Sarah

            My dad asked at the wedding lunch if I was now First HisLast. My dad! Not his parents. Sigh.

          • Eh

            My dad inquired about my name at one point or another around my wedding but that was mostly a logistics thing (he didn’t want to assume one way or another). He wanted to make sure he had my name right because it’s a question my step-mom would ask him (if she hadn’t already – usually my dad’s questions are because she asked him something and he doesn’t know the answer).

          • rg223

            Right – hear them out, but be firm that your mind is made up, and don’t keep justifying it.

    • Eh

      It’s a really tricky situation. If it’s truly commitment that they are concerned about, what other ways can you (and your fiance) show you are committed. Is there some other underlying thing that they are worried about? My MIL wants a grandson that carries on her husband’s last name through their line. She’s not going to get it (unless my BIL/SIL adopt) since my BIL/SIL have all girls and are done having kids, and we hyphenated our last names for our children (we currently only have a daughter).

      • CMT

        I get the idea of keeping the peace, and this may be something that’s worth doing, but why should she have to do anything at all to prove to her in-laws that she’s committed?
        And if you start down that road now, what are they going to expect in the future?

        • ssha

          I’m scared about this too. Like if there are any problems they find out about and then they think it’s because I’m not committed? It’s unearthing all these worries.

          • CMT

            What has your fiance said about all of this? Is he worried?

          • ssha

            He in general has far fewer *feels* about things than I do. He said my name doesn’t affect him so he doesn’t understand why it affects them.

          • CMT

            Ugh, I’m sorry. It might be worth talking to him about how this makes you worry about things that go beyond your name.

          • ssha

            Yes- good point.

          • ssha

            it will definitely be an ongoing conversation as our marriage approaches and begins! as I’m sure family relationships are for most people.

          • savannnah

            This is for him to convince them to drop it. You don’t need to convince them, just your partner. Let him deal with their worries.

        • Eh

          I get your point. I don’t think anyone should have to prove that they are committed, but I was wondering about smaller actions that might show that they are committed. I think being engaged, planning on getting married is enough. I don’t think changing your name makes any difference.

          My inlaws frequently questioned my SIL’s committed to my BIL (she has three children with three different men and many exes). My inlaws felt that she was only marrying him for his money. My SIL felt that being married should be enough to prove her commitment to my BIL. It wasn’t until more than a year after they got married (they had been together for 6 years at this point) that my inlaws finally seemed to accept that she was committed to my BIL. What changed?
          My BIL/SIL were more open about showing personal moments. For example, them being supportive of each other infront of my inlaws instead of putting up a wall while around my inlaws. (On the other hand they seemed to never question my commitment to my husband.)

          • CMT

            Yeah, this definitely depends on the individual relationships and the pros and cons of just doing something to avoid a larger hassle. I personally would be quite offended if I felt an expectation from my in-laws to prove the commitment of my relationship. Especially if that expectation was only for me and not my partner. Do your in-laws not care how committed their own children are?

          • Eh

            Oh I think they knew my BIL (golden child of family) was committed to my SIL. They were concerned my BIL was being swindled (he was swindled out of a lot of money by an ex – so this time I think they were worried about alimony and child support). Everything is about appearances to them, so they did not want to be associated with a woman who had two children out of wedlock with two other men (third man and child are my BIL and his bio-daughter).

            I think they care less about my husband (scapegoat of family), and on the surface, I am a less controversial DIL (they did not know about my common-laws relationships until after I was married). So appearance-wise, I fit in with what the thought a DIL should be.

      • Amy March

        Other ways like taking marriage vows?

        • Eh

          My ex always said he could leave me if we were married as easily as he could leave me if we remained common-law….. Apparently marriage vows don’t mean much to some people.

    • Ashlah

      Do you feel like you have to talk to them about it? How did you come to find out about their feelings? If you think it will be a beneficial, productive conversation, then by all means (and with a united front with your fiance). But we found out after our honeymoon that my father-in-law cried when he realized that we both hyphenated. Said he felt like his son didn’t want his name. Even though it was still there, and it was first, and now I have it too. We chose not to acknowledge it, and FIL has never brought it up directly to us. If he does, we’ll discuss it then (but it’s been two years). For us, it seemed so irrational and none-of-his-business that it wasn’t worthy of discussion. I know your relationship with your in-laws might be different, and the fact that they’re questioning your commitment makes it sting more, so do what works best for you! Just some food for thought.

      • ssha

        I think it will be beneficial. I think they’d like to hear my reasons so that they can put their minds at rest/explain well to other family members if asked and not spread misinformation. I think they will come around, but I’m kind of worried that it will strain our relationship.

        • flashphase

          I’m not sure you have any options other than a strained relationship. It seems like they have one way that things can be and anything else will be seen as disloyal. I think you should stand up for what you want, as you can never fully please people with that kind of black-and-white thinking. I’m not sure that any conversations can change this mentality (in my personal experience, 60+ years of thinking things can only be a certain way does not change when a new person is added to the family, ahem)

    • Amy March

      Don’t talk to them. It’s none of their business, it’s rude they are questioning your commitment, and they need to have less involvement i this decision not more. If your FI wants to talk to them to tell them to back off great, but this isn’t up for discussion.

      • ssha

        I’d rather have the conversation than not, actually. If we don’t I feel like we’re each carrying unspoken resentment towards the other. Maybe we still will if we talk, but at least we get to hear things firsthand.

      • Yael

        Exactly. My ex-fiance’s parents said/did the same thing, and that is one of the many reasons why they are not my in-laws. When it came up with A’s family, I made a joke about not wanting 4 last names (since my middle name is also a last name) and his father suggested we both change our names to a silly combination of our two last names. A’s father is my favorite.

    • emmers

      I would maybe leave the talking to your fiance. I totally understand wanting to explain your decision, but as you mention, you worry that it may strain your relationship. They know your fiance better, since they raised him. He knows them better, in how to communicate best with them. In the fight or flight spectrum, I’m totally a flight person FWIW, but that’s what I’d do.

    • Transnonymous

      We both changed our names and simply informed everyone. No one got a say. There’s no reason to talk to them, because this isn’t their decision or their business. You do what’s right for you.

      • ssha

        I never said they get a say, but refusing to talk to them about it and at least give them the reasons why (I’ve told everyone else my reasons, just because I want to and like talking about it, so I want to tell them too) would make this 100x worse. I understand that I don’t have to justify it, but trying to help them look at it from my perspective I am okay with doing.

        • BSM

          I see what you’re saying, I would just be very, very prepared for them to not see your perspective at all.

          We obviously don’t have all the information, but, given that they think you might not be very committed to their son because you want to keep your last name, I think it’s more likely than not that the conversation will change nothing except make you feel worse.

          So have the conversation if you want, just… prepare yourself for the worst, I think.

          • ssha

            Thanks. Good things to think about. Turns out they were more hurt by when and how they found out (it seems like) than by my actual decision- felt like we were keeping things from them and wanted to talk so we can all communicate better in the future. So what I thought was the issue is another, potentially less charged issue.

          • BSM

            I’m glad it wasn’t a worst-case scenario type of situation. I would still say it’s not really any of their business, but hopefully you cleared the air and there won’t be any more name-related issues with them in the future.

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      You’re very kind and loving and way more patient than I would be for wanting to have this conversation, but it could definitely give them an opportunity to try to convince you why your reasons are invalid and make you end up feeling worse. (I’m sure you know that, but just keep it in mind.)

      I think if you’re certain you want to have the conversation (and not just let it go or delegate it to your fiance), it’s important to talk about it like it’s a neutral choice you’re making, rather than something that could justifiably hurt them. Explain like you would to someone who had literally never heard of the concept and be ready to answer questions dispassionately, and also be ready for when they will likely begin making emotionally manipulative appeals — and lob those to your fiance, who should definitely be there to back you up 100000000%.

      • ssha

        Thanks. I talked to fiance after reading all these comments and he agreed to take over the conversation at any point and voiced his support for my decision and said he would have supported any name decision I would have made. turns out in laws aren’t so hurt about the name thing but about how it was communicated to them which is another thing. so we’ll see what happens now but I feel like there’s less tension.

    • CP2011

      Before that conversation, be sure that your partner is absolutely willing and prepared to defend your decision.
      Also, if you feel like you want to discuss it further with your in laws, go ahead, but don’t feel like you owe them any sort of additional explanation. Keeping your name is a rational and common choice.

  • JC

    Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes last week when I was on day three of an anxiety attack. Since it’s #mentalhealthawarenessweek, I will say it’s taken until today to fully recover. I was really good over the weekend (lots of sunshine and great food), then Wednesday and Thursday of this week had that depression drag. I basically fell asleep laughing last night (because my boyfriend is delightful), and today I think I’m good to go.I’m going to shoot for some yoga/cycling tomorrow night, and then hopefully by Monday I’ll be back to spin class a few days a week.

    My parents came to visit last weekend, and they LOVE our new home. I am so pleased. They see why we love it, and they also came for the most beautiful weather I’ve ever seen. We basically just wandered the neighborhood and looked at houses and gardens. I told them that we’re thinking of getting married in ~2 years, and my dad got teary-eyed, which was so sweet. He also asked if that plan was something he could share, and when I said no I think that made him more excited, because now he has a secret to keep :)

    • Call Me Penny

      Such a lovely story about your dad! And glad things are looking up for you :)

      • JC

        My dad is the best! Not to brag, but…he’s a long time feminist with three independent daughters, very fashion-forward (like he did research to be on trend for my sister’s wedding), and is helping guide his church through the process of becoming Reconciling, which means open and affirming to LGBTQ folks and their families. I get my best qualities from him, tbh. Thanks for the good wishes!

  • Y’all, I have spent the last couple days so f*ing angry and sad and all the feelings about this Trumpcare bullsh*t. As someone with pre-existing conditions married to another person with pre-existing conditions, and as someone who works with vulnerable populations in a red state, this just feels like a slap in the face. I know the fight is far from over, but sometimes it just seems so damn hopeless.

    • Cellistec

      Amen.

    • MC

      Right there with you, it was so hard not to cry at work yesterday when all the voting was happening.

      • Kalë

        Did cry, did not make me feel better :(

      • I managed not to cry or break anything but found it very hard to focus for the rest of the day.

      • Eenie

        I made a strategic decision to not check the news at work this week. It was a good decision.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      I hear you. I’ve been feeling pretty sad and defeated lately. Can we just hit fast forward and get whatever’s going to happen over with? The suspense is agony.

    • Transnonymous

      Right there with you. Here’s hoping we can make it to 2018, then 2020.

    • Yael

      Here’s a short list of the pre-existing conditions I either already have been rejected for or will be if I ever move back to the States:

      – allergies (general)
      – anemia
      – bee and wasp allergy (severe, as in medical tags and epipen)
      – cartilage damage in my knee (yay sports!)
      – dysmenorrhea (originally diagnosed as endometriosis, so I started taking the pill in order to preserve my future fertility, like a good breeder)
      – gluten intolerance
      – multiple concussions (yay sports and NJ drivers!)
      – nephritis (aka drug-resistant kidney infection)
      – non-cancerous abnormal mole
      – SAD
      – more weird diseases than a medical textbook
      – whatever else I’ve forgotten because I don’t keep track of this stuff

      All of which just means that I grew up on a farm and spent every summer at the pool, I can’t run for shit, I take 2-3 pills a day and I avoid high elevation cities. All things considered, I’m probably healthier than most members of Congress, but they get health insurance and I don’t.

    • quiet000001

      Same. I want to go scream at all of these people one-on-one.

    • Jennifer

      hugs. in the same boat. I thought about writing so many things on social media when it happened and I just couldn’t get it out coherently. but as a disabled person I feel like my disabled cohorts have been saying this was coming since November – and only now are people listening. :/

  • MC

    Does anyone have great relaxing morning routines? My therapist recommended that I come up with 5-10 minutes of something to do in the morning so I don’t look at the news immediately upon waking up – turns out that’s not so great for my mental health, shocker. I tried doing some deep breathing exercises but ended up falling back asleep.

    • penguin

      Hot tea and a book or audio book? That’s what I do on the rare morning I get up early enough to have extra time.

      • A single sarah

        Reading a chapter from a book is my toning indulgence. Gathering lunch is my routine.

        I could also see doing a sun salutation as a meditative movement to wake up.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        #teambook. Good for winding down at night, and up in the morning.

    • flashphase

      When I was good at this, I had: intention, gratitude, meditation. What’s my intention for the day? A word or phrase. Then 3 things I’m grateful for. Then 3-5 minutes of meditation. I left my phone in another room, and I would only use it for the meditation app after I’d done the first two. And sitting up goes a long way towards staying awake! Note to self: I should get back into this!

    • Rosie

      I use the Insight Timer app for meditation and I love it. It has guided meditations of all lengths and styles and a timer if you want to just sit.

    • Another Meg

      Journaling right when I get up has been…interesting. It’s also supposed to help you think creatively.

    • rg223

      Coloring books! I also find it creatively stimulating!

    • JLily

      I pour a cup of coffee and go walk around my backyard. I have a veggie garden and I like to monitor sprouts, weeds, moisture, etc. My dogs sometimes come out and walk around with me. It’s so nice in the mornings and it so calming before work!

      • A single sarah

        Oh! Breakfast with a view of the bird feeder. It makes me feel like a granny and I love it.

    • Megan

      I watch old episodes of Great British Bake Off or Parks and Rec in the morning. I used to watch the previous night’s Daily Show or the national news shows but it started to ratchet up my anxiety so now I watch something soothing :)

    • Essssss

      I walk around the neighborhood with my coffee when I’m dealing with anxiety. Or just limit the internet to instagram or read a good book with the coffee. I’ve also tried meditating for 5 minutes right before leaving the house for work.

      • Katherine

        Seconding the morning walk. I commute to work on foot and have found it very beneficial for my mental health.

    • Gaby

      Love these ideas! I might try going to check on our tiny vegetable garden while I have my morning coffee sometimes. Somewhat related, my most recent anxiety attack happened after a too-strong cup of coffee so I’ve been trying to be careful about my caffeine intake, but with the warmer weather coming in it’s so hard to resist an afternoon iced coffee! I’m going to have to find a good iced tea option.

    • Jess

      I am doing a gratitude thing in the mornings right now: I lay in my bed, take a deep breath, and think of one thing I am thankful for that happened yesterday, one from anytime, and one that is going to happen today.

      I’m dealing with a lot of depression right now, and it’s helping to remind me that I can find something to celebrate in the day.

      • MC

        This is such a good idea! Husband & I tell each other our favorite part of the day before we go to sleep, but so often in the morning I wake up thinking about the thing I am least looking forward to during the day. I am going to try reframing it tomorrow!

    • Not Sarah

      One trick I have started is that I keep my phone in the kitchen overnight. That way, I have to really commit to getting up in order to read it. We also got a sun alarm clock and that has helped me to stay awake too.

    • Ella

      My favourite morning routine (which only happens on the weekends tbh) is to put on a record, make tea, and pat my dog while sitting somewhere sunny.
      Also: crosswords, cookbooks, magazines or a novel you’re already into (I can’t start something new in the morning), and if you like instagram or pinterest (etc), set yourself a specific mission to find something to do/make/visit that weekend. I find mindlessly scrolling not a good way to start a day but if it has a purpose it can set the tone nicely.

    • When I have my coffee, I do Duolingo for a few minutes and study a language…

    • Natalie

      My dog makes me take him for a run, which I do while listening to an audiobook. Then weights and/or yoga, then loose-leaf hot tea (my favorite right now is a blissful lavender earl grey) with breakfast. Days I don’t workout, I feel doubly cheated – no endorphins, and no fun audiobook time. But the relaxing hot tea ritual always helps me get my mind in gear for the day.

    • Abby

      I’m late here, but my mental health has improved astronomically since I started turning my phone on power-saving mode overnight. It still works as an alarm, but I get to choose when to let the world in by turning it back to regular after I’ve brushed my teeth, had tea or coffee, and done a few minutes of yoga. Those few minutes without news or emails are so precious.

  • Vanessa

    Turns out that trying to plan a wedding while you & fiance are both in your busiest work season, while you are also building a house, is kind of a joke. I’m so so glad that we’ll both be through the busy work time by the end of next week. Barely keeping my head above water right now.

    • ssha

      I can’t imagine building a house! How stressful for you. I hope you are getting lots of support!

    • KL

      Sending tons of positive thoughts (and decision making skills) to you, from a survivor of wedding planning + house building. In good news, it can be done!

      • Vanessa

        Thank you!! We’re sort of handling it in sprints: last couple weeks were asbestos abatement, now it’s work time, after that is a week of wedding stuff. Focus on the task at hand, stay well-fed and rested, move on to the next project. I’m so glad to hear someone has survived this :)

  • flashphase

    Thank you, Meg. Anxiety has been taking over my life recently, and I have to keep telling myself to feel the fear and do it anyway. Easier said than done. Hopefully it gets me through our move (which will be complete by next happy hour!)

  • Lexipedia

    Happy Friday! Does anyone have any great kitten naming advice? Our smooshy little babies are home with us and they are still nameless. We really wanted to do a “pair” of names (boy and girl) but FI wanted to meet them before coming up with some and we’re struggling. Pictures will be added below, but we have an orange tabby boy and a calico girl. I’m lucky that I got to work from home today so I’ve had them snuggling in my lap for the past few hours. We are political junkies, book/movie/TV names are also good, but really – I can’t figure it out. Pictures are hard because I’ve been alone all day and they are either bouncing around or on top of me so that I don’t have camera angles.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1754f7a5c9a1f1ad5a98c6723c816c2f37109f28e8497970fb823a3487408b5f.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae570ffc616e5a9bcaaa4d82d1c3ad215e42a00cad1e940b16442a1b4891e16a.jpg

    • Vanessa

      Oh man was going to say Anne and Gilbert if the girl was the orange :)

      • Lexipedia

        As a Canadian I would’ve been thrilled with this choice!

      • CP2011

        I read in NYT about the Netflix remake of Anne of Green Gables and how it’s super dark and focuses on her past trauma. Which, conceptually, is a cool idea, but it sounds super upsetting and graphic.

        • disqus_S7fhm5v1Ob

          Give it a shot! It just aired in Canada on CBC and I was pretty skeptical… but I really liked it. There was maybe a bit more added stuff than I would have liked, but I actually enjoyed some of the additions.

    • JC

      My first thought was Joanie and Chachi, because Erin Moran (who played Joanie) just passed away. But stupid Chachi had to go and ruin everything…

      • JC

        Wait also because you said you are political junkies and TV names are good, I submit Josh and Donna from West Wing.

        • Lexipedia

          I think Toby would be a cute kitty name – maybe Toby and CJ?

          • Eenie

            Yes!!!!

        • CMT

          Brilliant!

        • MC

          OMG this would be so cute!

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      I would offer suggestions if I could do anything but emit a high-pitched squeal at these pictures!! KITTIES.

      • ssha

        SAME

    • rg223

      Ron and Hermione?

      • Lexipedia

        I’m pushing various Harry Potter name combos but I don’t think I can get FI to agree.

        • Another Meg

          We went with Lord of the Rings. We have a girl and boy who are siblings, so they are Eowyn and Eomer. (Great nerd litmus test- can people pronounce their names?)

    • nosio

      Bonnie and Clyde! Tango and Cash! Beyonce and Solange! Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty! Frost and Nixon! KC and Jojo!

      • CMT

        One of my childhood friends had a pair of kittens named KC and Jojo when we were young!

    • Lexipedia

      FI just texted me Franklin and Eleanor (Ellie), for political names.

      • Alli

        Omg pls call him Frank. I love when cats have people names.

        • Christine

          I give people names to all my animals! Franklin & Eleanor sounds so cute!

        • CMT

          Me too! I’d really like to name a cat Reuben. (But also because it’s a sandwich name.)

          • JC

            “This is our new cat Reuben! It’s a people name and also a sandwich!”

          • Megan

            My sister wants to name her (hypothetical future) dog Roast Beef. I said I’d name my (hypothetical second) dog Reuben if she did that and we could make it a picnic…

          • CMT

            I think those are both excellent dog names! (Also, it’s an hour to lunch and I am so freaking hungry.)

          • toomanybooks

            Wait, does she read the webcomic Achewood? I mean I think the character Roast Beef is a cat but still!

        • penguin

          I love when cats have people names that sound kind of stuffy for people. Like Prescott.

        • Eve

          Yup. My cat’s name is Ruth (after RBG). I grew up with a variety of cats with people names (Roger, Tony, Fletcher, Norman, Lilly).

          Fiancee’s family, on the other hand, is all about food names, so his cats growing up were Pasghetti, Spumoni, and Pesto.

          • Lexipedia

            When we were looking at two girls I was thinking Ruthie and Beth (after my girl Liz Warren).

        • RNLindsay

          My dad and I used to always call cute things (animals, stuffed animals…) Stephen cause we thought it was so funny to have a cute thing with such a normal name. Then I started dating and since married a Stephen and we’re really sad we can’t use it as a name anymore :( (my husband doesn’t get the humor)

        • Eenie

          Ours are Arnold and Charlie and I call them old men names.

      • MC

        I LOVE THIS.

      • ssha

        I am in love.

      • SS Express

        Hillary and Clinton!

    • Vanessa

      Wait maybe Bobby & Giada????

    • louise danger

      there’s an ESA cat on campus here named Lunchbox.

      my favorite cat name is Mothra.

      i think your little schmoops would be an excellent Fred and Barney (or Fred and Ethel). or Lucy and Desi.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Lunchbox.I just thought that was worth repeating.

        • louise danger

          he’s a super cutie :D

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            The cat café closest to me has a cat named Spaghetti. They’re holding a spaghetti dinner as an event to promote her and hopefully get her adopted. They also have the adorable Mrs. Refrigerator, whose bottom jaw is a little too short and she has permanent blep face, like Lil Bub.

          • louise danger

            friend of mine had a roommate in college (off-campus) with a pet rabbit named Sandwich :D

          • Alyssa

            OMG I need to go to this cat cafe. I mean, I can’t resist cats in general, but Spaghetti and Mrs. Refrigerator with blep face? I would take them immediately.

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            They’re in Philly! http://www.kawaiikittycafe.com/ The staff are super nice, and everything is so cute your teeth will hurt.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Ours are brothers with twin markings. I combed through all sorts of stories for twin names, and ended up with Castor and Pollux, from Greek and Roman mythology. If they were boy and girl I probably would have pushed for Persephone and Dionysus, or something like that.

    • Kalë

      Personally, I really like food-inspired animal names… Biscuts & Gravy? Peanut Butter & Jelly? Have also considered naming future animals Disney-inspired names. Our dog has one from a lesser-known character, but we’ve thought of Flounder & Sebastian, Dory & Nemo, etc. OR, one of my professors had two cats, male and female, named Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, if that’s your jam

    • Kelly

      My “duo” names that I’ve always like are Apollo & Athena, or some other Greek god(dess) name. No idea why, perhaps because its stoic?

      Adorable kitties!

    • Mjh

      Happen to be a Firefly fan? Wash and Zoe :)

    • Yael

      I have a solemn cat naming ritual: first I read The Naming of Cats by TS Eliot, and then I pronounce the name. Here is the link to the poem: https://allpoetry.com/The-Naming-Of-Cats. Beyond that I have no real cat naming advice; I always just go with the first real name to pop into my head. My current cat is Sebastian Bartholemew (aka Basie) and the previous cat was Capt. Tigger Barnes. Basie is all black and Tigger was a grey tiger stripe, obviously.

    • Eileen

      We had intended to name a girl/boy pair of dogs Boris and Natasha once upon a time. Then we ended up getting two boys.

    • Rosie

      They are adorable!!!!!!!!

    • jhala

      Resistance & Democracy have a nice ring to them

    • They are so adorable!

    • Natalie

      My favorite cat sibling pair names are Luke and Leia.

      They’re super cute!!! Enjoy the kitty play and snuggles <3

    • SS Express

      Not a pair name, but if I had a cat I’d call it Professor McGonagall. Obvs. You could call the girl Minerva and the boy McGonagall I guess? (Or the boy Minerva and the girl McGonagall, I don’t think cats actually subscribe to the same ideas about gender that humans do.)

      • penguin

        Best idea!!

    • CommaChick

      I like going with book/movie cat names, such asMoppet and Mittens or Tom and Ruby from Beatrix Potter, or Jane Austen characters, such as Anne and Wentworth or Jane and Bingley.

    • LadyJanee

      I would probably go with Ron and Hermione (diehard HP fan here), especially given the colouring of the boy! My dog’s name is Luna, after Luna Lovegood.

  • Vanessa

    Also I just realized I have a crowdsource question – for any of the smokers out there. Our venue is a hotel-type property where most of our guests will be staying for 3 days. It’s in the middle of a national forest, in September, ie fire season. The venue does not allow any smoking on the property; guests who want to smoke will need to drive about 10 minutes off the property, and even then it’s national forest during fire season, so, really just not a good idea. What’s the best way to communicate this to our (few) smoker guests? Should we reach out individually and suggest they vape instead? Will this be obvious to them? I don’t want to offend people but also don’t want to set the whole forest on fire :P

    • CMT

      Definitely tell them way ahead of time so they can figure out whatever they need to do to deal. Put it on the website? If you know you know all the smokers among your guests, I think it would be good to let them know individually.

    • Amy March

      “The venue property is non-smoking. The closest location where smoking is permitted is a 10 minute drive away.”

      On your website or emailed to them individually. I would just give them the information instead of telling them what to do with it.

      • emmers

        Exactly!

    • Alex K

      I would put something on your website that says something like “As the venue and accommodations are in a national forest during fire season smoking is prohibited. There is a designated smoking area (or whatever) a 10 min drive away.” And then let people figure it out. I see this as the same about alerting people to the ground be soft/wet/rocky and letting them figure out their shoes.

    • sofar

      My SIL had some special instructions for her wedding and she communicated this by:
      1) A strongly worded insert in the invitation envelope with detailed instructions
      2)A notification on the website
      3) A footnote on the RSVP card
      4) Signage at the venue
      5)Word of mouth (distributed via parents) in the weeks leading up to the wedding (“So happy you’ll be joining us! By the way, did you read the insert with the instructions?”)

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      Since you only have a few, I would rely on wedding website and *definitely* word of mouth if you’ve got any friendly, loud-mouthed, and firm friends and relative (my mom and MOH were that for me and it worked great – they are both extremely adept at setting boundaries in a way that makes people still feel good).

      But we also have a particularly touchy smoker in our ranks so my husband made an special effort to reach out to her to explain how and why it wasn’t a personal slight and outlined all of her options. She realistically wouldn’t have taken well to my MOH politely reminding her about cigarettes and it’s better to know what is, rather than what we wish would be. Eye-roll inducing to me tbh, but it ultimately saved some completely unnecessary drama especially since she was a groomswoman.

      So know your people and modify your approach accordingly! I think letting people know they can vape is a great, totally reasonable option that I wish we’d had; our venue didn’t allow e-cigs either.

  • Call Me Penny

    We leave for our belated honeymoon next week! Just shy of three weeks exploring Iceland, Nova Scotia and Boston. Exploring largely meaning eating our way through! I’m so excited to get away from work and have some quality time together. I’ve been to Boston before but any tips for the others I’m all ears!
    My husband also found out this week that his company would like to move him to Singapore. It wasn’t on our radar at all and while we’re generally up for an adventure and wouldn’t be against a move, it’s a big shock. He’s not out of a job if he doesn’t if he doesn’t move, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt his career. It would almost certainly put mine on pause though, and that comes with all of its own issues. He’ll be going out there either way to plug a gap in the team for a few weeks, so I’ll try to go for a few days and at least get a sense of what it’s like and if we could realistically see ourselves making a life there for a few years. Looks like we’ll be making one hell of a pros and cons list on honeymoon!

    • Cellistec

      Oh, I loved Iceland! Enjoy your honeymoon! And a Singapore move would be huge…I hope your visit to check it out is interesting and helps you decide one way or the other.

      • Call Me Penny

        I’ve heard such amazing things about it, so glad you loved it! How did you find prices? I feel like all I hear is how expensive it is, but we also live in London so I I’m never sure what the baseline is. And thank you! I’m sure we’ll work out what’s best, and even if it’s not for us a visit somewhere new won’t be the worst thing. Now to keep it under wraps with our families so no one unnecessarily freaks out. Easy

        • Em

          Singapore is great! Very clean, great public transport, awesome food, and so many amazing places to visit in SE Asia. Tax rates are really low too, which I think offsets the cost of living – I would say it is actually cheaper to live in than London (which is backed up by this – https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/comparison/singapore/london?). Alcohol is more expensive in Singapore than a lot of other places, but that’s about the only thing I noticed as being more $$$.

          • Call Me Penny

            Thanks for the info. We’re not really worried about the cost of a Singapore move since we’re used to London costs at this stage, but it’s good to have some reassurance that we’re not being too naive!

          • Em

            Nope, not being naive at all – I feel like London distorts everyone’s perspectives on $! I really liked Singapore when I visited – quite different from London but not in a bad way. And friends I know doing the expat thing over there really enjoy it :) Make sure you try Little India, the National Museum of Singapore, the Peranakan Museum and the Night Zoo Safari when you’re there – I loved all of them!

          • Call Me Penny

            Ooh thank you – will bookmark these!

        • Cellistec

          We live in the US, albeit in a high cost-of-living area, and did have some sticker shock in Reykjavik. (The one specific example I can recall is paying $17 for a very basic cocktail.) But having lived briefly in the UK, I think the prices would be more comparable to what you’re used to, so that might help! Even if things are expensive in Iceland, it’s worth the money to have an amazing honeymoon. And some of the best things are free, like just walking around and gazing at the gorgeous surroundings.

          • Call Me Penny

            Oh we’re very much of the mindset that we’re only going to do this once so we’re not going to worry about the cost (within reason!) At this point we’re mainly trying to decide how much cash to convert, but I think we’ll probably just rely on cards for the most part. And you really can’t beat a good wander :)

    • Rosie

      In Iceland – go to Grillmarket in Reykjavik and get the Chocolate for dessert. Make sure you make a reservation in advance because it’s hard to get in otherwise. Seriously the most amazing dessert I’ve ever had. The dinner food is really amazing too!!! It was pricy but SO worth it!! Especially if you like chocolate!

      • Call Me Penny

        Chocolate lover for sure – thank you!

    • louise danger

      nova scotia – get the tide tables for the bay of fundy and try to plan yourselves a day near there.

      do a lobster roll tour of the province. A+++ if you’re able to organize a few days there, tour cape breton highlands nat’l park (image-google “the cabot trail” for the ‘why’). cape breton in general is BEAUTIFUL.

      • Call Me Penny

        Thank you so much! We’ve got four days in and around Cape Breton and if it’s half as beautiful as it looks in photos we’ll be blown away.

        • Amy March

          It’s twice as beautiful in person. One of my favorite places. Even if if you aren’t staying at the Keltic Lodge because you aren’t millionaires it is definitely worth a stop. There is a great hiking trail behind the property and the casual restaurant is a good scenic lunch. Also amazing is the Glenora Distillery- great scotch, really good restaurant often with live music.

          • Call Me Penny

            All these suggestions have me even more excited! We’re already passing through Mabou so have the distillery on our list. Always good to know a good lunch recommendation too. We briefly looked at the Keltic
            Lodge as we wanted to incorporate a splurge hotel along the way, but decided to go somewhere further South instead as we knew we would love Cape Breton and wanted to make sure we made ourselves see some other areas as well!

    • EF

      you’re in london and visiting boston?!

      we should just get coffee in like, bloomsbury and i’ll tell you all the cool places to go in my dear home town :-D

      • Call Me Penny

        I’ve been out of the HH loop and totally missed this, I’m sorry! Boston was a dream, it was so nice to be back. And I rarely get to Bloomsbury these days, I really must pay it a visit soon!

  • louise danger

    haha so remember i posted about our priest shuffling us off to one of the deacons and how we’d set up a meeting with said deacon to meet him/talk about wedding stuff with him?

    WELP he stood us up. unintentionally (got a phonecall in the car on the way home, he was very contrite), but still. definitely feeling a little left out in the cold right now, with the combo of the priest we’d been working with jettisoning us and then the deacon just flat-out no-showing.

    pre-cana was a thing that happened this past weekend, too. glad to have done it but also glad that it’s over. (also, arriving at church around 8:30am and not really going home until 6pm when mass ended is TOO MUCH CHURCH.)

    • Kaitlyn

      We have pre-cana in two weeks and I’m really not looking forward to it haha It’s just so LONG (all night Friday, all day Saturday). We’ll be happy it’s done so far in advance, but still haha

      • louise danger

        ours was set up kind of like that – a reception/meet-and-greet blurb on Friday after work (beer and cheese cubes, basically), and then AAAAALLLLLL DAAAAAAY saturday. it wasn’t so bad – the couples on the team were really great, and there was a lot of side-eye laughter that the guy in charge has never been married and adopted his kid(s) (long story) and here he is talking to us about marriage – but yeah. glad to be done with it. we were surprised/pleased that the church doctrine on some of the topics was pretty sensitively approached, but i definitely tuned straight out when they got to natural family planning.

        • Kaitlyn

          Ugh I’m dreading the natural family planning section haha Did you find it helpful in the end?

          • louise danger

            in general, i am glad that we went and there were some nice discussions/presentations throughout the day. the NFP stuff was junk – especially, as even the wife of the couple presenting that topic noted, “we have eight kids, so we understand that you might be skeptical about us sharing this part of things.” blessedly they went into almost no detail about it but i found out that there are physicians/OBGYNs who exclusively practice that and i’m just like NOPE

          • lamarsh

            Ah, you are so lucky they didn’t go into details. I learned SO much about mucus that day. Too much.

          • louise danger

            i was fearing a talk about mucus, haha, but they just glossed over it (….apologies if pun; unintentional) by saying “there’s lots of different methods, we included some booklets about it in your packet if you’re interested, or there’s the internet” lol

          • Mary Jo TC

            My parents actually did NFP, and had 7 kids, only one unplanned (#2). So even though they had a lot of kids, I think it’s fair to say it worked for them. But obviously, it’s not for everybody, and I think it sucks to have this shoved down your throat as a requirement of getting married in the church. Even though the mucus stuff is gross, it’s kind of cool and empowering to know more about how your body works and its monthly cycle.

          • lamarsh

            I have to say, I did think to myself, this will be helpful if I am ever trying to get pregnant. My fiance, on the other hand, looked like he was about to pass out.

          • louise danger

            she did mention that a teenage daughter/friend’s daughter (?) uses it and a doctor was able to analyze the data and diagnose her with some reproductive health issues (PCOS-type things i think), so in that sense, sure – useful. but not something that i’d use as a ‘contraception’ method.

          • a single sarah

            Yes! I am totally on board with using NFP for 1) better understanding what’s happening in my body, 2) trying to conceive. Gimme the morning thermometer and mucus checks for those. Not on board with NFP for pregnancy prevention. And very much not on board with not having the choice to prevent pregnancy.

          • Knonymous

            “but i found out that there are physicians/OBGYNs who exclusively practice that and i’m just like NOPE”

            Unfortunately, we need NFP-only doctors, given that essentially all the other OBGYNs exclusively practice “not NFP” (which is to say that in my adult life, I’ve never had an OBGYN be able to give me any more guidance about NFP than a raised eyebrow and a “good luck with that.”) If it wasn’t for NFP-only doctors, women who chose to use NFP would have no options for doctors who can help them manage their fertility like your doctor presumably helps you manage yours. I could understand criticism of NFP-only doctors a little more if mainstream doctors were at all available in this area.

        • A single sarah

          Talk with me about how you managed the NFP tune out? Partner is very Catholic; birth control has been our controversial conversation since second month of dating. IM really afraid that we’ll get to a point of being engaged, then go to pre Cana, and the guilt will come out. And no birth control is a deal breaker for me.

          • louise danger

            so we were all sitting at a set of big long conference-type tables and they started each topic with a video (nicely produced, modern). the NFP one was mainly a talking head from Catholic Univ. of America and also a physician who only practices NFP/doesn’t prescribe medications or surgery that would affect her patients’ fertility (UGH). after the video ended, the couple from our parish who was assigned to this part gave a little spiel about how it works for them (no details, just talking about her experience with it generally) etc etc.

            i tried to be polite but disengaged about it in terms of listening; most of the other topics, everyone in the room was willing to ask questions/the conversation was pretty good, but this one was kind of crickets all around. Mr Danger could tell i was getting fired up when we took our five minute break after that discussion, and told me what i already knew: “When it comes to decisions about your body and your health, you get to make those choices. i hope that we’ll talk about them if they’re major ones, but it’s your body.”

            there’s no judgment about choices that you and your partner make (even/especially about cohabitation!), so feel free to ask about it – and the couples are all hanging around in the room before/during their formal discussion if you want to talk about it with them privately. everyone was terribly kind.

          • a single sarah

            Thanks for the reassurance! I have friends who had experiences opposite of yours–felt very sex shamed and judged. Crossing finger that we find a liberal setting for pre Cana when the time comes.

          • louise danger

            if it helps, the session(s) had the same vibe as my parish: traditional, but chill. so if you can find a session at a parish whose services you jive with, you’ll probably have good luck. :)

          • a single sarah

            *Fingers crossed*

            With the added wrinkle of, unlike you, I am decidedly not converting. (Ordained mother is reason enough.) So, services jiving with me is ideal and desired, but not required in his church selection. He’s been attending the current parish for years. If he was shopping, I’d try another one nearby, but….he’s happy there.

          • Mary Jo TC

            Your body, your rules. As a Catholic who follows NFP, I say that it’s not his decision, and not his “sin” (though I don’t believe it is a sin myself, but hardliners might).

          • a single sarah

            I like this interpretation. I don’t think he’s comfortable with it at all yet.

            Plus, I really believe that the responsibility for contraception should be shared between the couple. Cue up the rants on male contraceptives not being developed.

          • Amy March

            Then that sounds very much like it might be a deal breaker.

          • Eve

            I’ll preface this by saying that I’m definitely not Catholic, but this sounds like something you two need to discuss well before engagement and pre Cana are even planned events. Does he know it’s a deal breaker for you? Is it a deal breaker for him? If you’re thinking or talking at all about marriage, you should be talking about this as well.

          • A single sarah

            Oh yeah. Absolutely agree Theres a reason it’s been the constant conversation :)

        • lamarsh

          Oh lord, the NFP part of pre-cana. Fiance and I had to take a long walk after the couple giving that speech told us their story about switching to NFP after having their first two children (which they planned because they were otherwise using birth control) and how they only learned to love their children after they switched to NFP.

          And don’t get me started on how privileged the whole freaking thing is. Ughhh. I otherwise enjoyed pre-cana (and I am pretty lapsed Catholic in many ways, so I was surprised by that), but the NFP stuff still makes me rage-y.

          • louise danger

            yeah haha “well you can decide to delay pregnancy for good reasons but not for frivolous ones, like wanting a new car or to take more vacations” etc

            yoooooooouuuuuu do not get to decide that for meeeeeeeeeee

          • BSM

            Oh god.

          • Kaitlyn

            Wait so they didn’t love their children prior to switching to NFP?

          • lamarsh

            Apparently! They literally told us they did not know what it meant to love their children until they used NFP and that they were much better parents to their 3rd through 6th children. All I could think was, that sounds like a *you* problem, not an everyone problem.

          • Amy March

            That is horrifying.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      So what happens now? Reschedule with the deacon? Do you have the choice to find someone else on your own?

      • louise danger

        we rescheduled with the deacon (he confirmed this one, too – we’ll see [it’s good that the Doubting Thomas gospel was only a few weeks ago, it seems relevant here]) for this coming week instead. we’d like to talk with him first/ask him about it, but we are interested in asking Mr Danger’s childhood parish’s priest (now retired) to make the trip down from NYC to co-celebrate with him. i’m nervous, though – apparently said priest recently had a minor stroke, so he might not be able to travel.

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          Yeesh.

          • louise danger

            yup. had a minor panic/anxiety attack about it all that evening – “this was a terrible idea why did i pick a church wedding no one cares about the wedding” etc – but i’m just rolling with it now. [SHRUG EMOJI]

            i am super hopeful about childhood parish priest. he’s known Mr Danger since Mr Danger was a smol, and Mr Danger was definitely That Kid growing up – “hey $Father, what about the dinosaurs?” “….I don’t have time for that right now, $Mr-Danger.”

        • Jennifer

          ugh. I liked that and then thought better of it. I hope something works out!

    • Jennifer

      um. well if you need help with other options, I live in Fells area and my priest (episcopalian/lutheran) is amazing and loves weddings. Also if he is not an option himself, you can ask him for recs. (https://www.churchonthesquarebaltimore.org – don’t feel obligated though. just trying to help). <3

  • Mariah

    So, I’m mostly a lurker, not really a poster. But today is my 5th wedding anniversary, and I thought it would be appropriate to share the Facebook post I wrote in honor of the occasion. Hope you don’t hate it!

    I’m having a lot of mixed emotions today. On the one hand, today is the 5th anniversary of being married to the amazing, compassionate, and hilarious [husband]. On the other hand, we’re less than a day out from 217 largely white men deciding that it’s not important to ensure access to health care that is comprehensive, comprehensible, and affordable for anyone who is unemployed, self-employed, employed at a small business, middle-class, low-income, female, trans, elderly, has a history of substance abuse, or has a history of ANYTHING … in other words, everyone in this country who doesn’t readily identify as part of the perfectly healthy 1% is worse off today than yesterday.

    We won’t all feel the effects of the new legislation at the same time or in the same way, but I encourage everyone to recognize that we’re all fundamentally in this together. To those of us who are white, cis, and relatively wealthy – let’s use our privilege to express solidarity with people whose health care needs may be outside of our experience. For example, I may not need treatment for addiction at this point in my life, but someone who does is no less “deserving” of those services than I am “deserving” of birth control. I am no less “deserving” of birth control than someone else may be for treatment of an STI … or of heart disease … or of cancer.

    One of the reasons I love [husband] so much, and that I called out in our wedding vows, is that he lives charity – his love for fellow human beings is expressed in real acts of kindness toward everyone who crosses his path. If you know him, he’s probably cooked a meal for you, educated himself and participated in a cause that you care about, or tackled a problem you faced (usually with minimal mansplaining). Every day I spend with him is a reminder that helping others is not just an obligation (although it is), but a blessing and a privilege. It can also be a joy.

    So I want to thank my wonderful husband. Thank you for the years of laughter, food, and love we’ve had so far, and for committing to share more of those years in the future. Thank you for letting me warm my cold feet on you. Thank you for helping to lighten the burden of those days when it feels like the world is falling apart. Thank you for generating the compassion and positive energy we’ll all need to keep helping each other.

    • Cellistec

      Complex and beautiful. Well said.

    • BSM

      So lovely. Happy anniversary.

    • Mjh

      That was great to read. Congratulations on your anniversary, and many more.

  • surnameless

    Just want to pop in and say hi! I’ve been lurking on APW for ages but I’m super new to this whole ‘joining in’ thing. My bf and I live together but we’re not engaged (or planning to be in the near future) – butttttt I absolutely love all things wedding and may or may not have a secret pinterest board for my hypothetical future wedding. I also have a very bad habit of getting drunk and telling whoever I happen to be drinking with that they should be my future bridesmaids, so. There’s that.

    Any other European APWers here? My impression so far has been that you’re mostly stateside, but maybe I’m wrong!

    • Call Me Penny

      European ahoy! There are a few of us around these parts, welcome :)

      • Yael

        Does European by choice count? I’m in Germany as a grad student and will never leave (well, maybe for another EU country, but that’s it).

        • Call Me Penny

          It definitely counts! I’m sad the UK can’t be that place for you post-Brexit, I grew up in Ireland and it still feels so strange almost a year on from the vote. Where in Germany are you based? My sister moved to Düsseldorf last year and we’re slowly exploring other places on visits. Edit – that sounds creepier than I intended, not trying to find you I promise!

          • Yael

            Lol I wouldn’t necessarily rule out an APW-Euro meet up :) I’m in Mannheim which is between Frankfurt and Heidelberg. No one comes to Mannheim for tourism, except as a stop thru on their way to Heidelberg. I’ve been in Germany for 8 months now but have been absolutely nowhere in it, but I did just go to Prague, which was amazing!

          • Call Me Penny

            I have a few friends that studied in Mannheim and really liked it, I think there’s something to be said for being off the tourist track! Prague is on my (ever-growing) list. Glad to see you’re making the most of it and exploring!

          • Yael

            I really like Mannheim! It reminds me a lot of Philadelphia, which is one of my favorite US cities (spent a lot of time there growing up because of family). It’s kind of gritty and ugly but charming and it always smells like baking chocolate (there is a chocolate factory 10 minutes from where I live), which is the best recommendation I can make for a city.

            Prague is wonderful, and much easier to be in if you don’t speak the language (not a lot of people in Mannheim speak English). It’s very walkable, if you don’t want to figure out the tram system. I was there on Easter break, so they had Easter markets up, which are adorable.

          • I used to love that a part of downtown Chicago used to smell like brownies because of the chocolate factory in the area.

    • Em

      UK-based Australian here…so I potentially count on a temporary basis ;) (quite frankly one of my favourite things about our move is that it puts me in a much better timezone for participating in Happy Hour!) welcome!

    • Cassy

      Hello fellow former-lurker! Also not engaged but having the time of my life planning, too. :) Your line about drunkenly collecting bridesmaids made me laugh!

    • Shirley Schmidt

      UK native currently living on one of Her Majesty’s Crown Dependencies here!

    • coffeeplz34

      Are you my European doppleganger??? Because what you wrote sounds *just* like me!! Haha.

    • SarahRose472

      American living in Belgium here :)

      • surnameless

        Oh cool, I’m also in Belgium, though I’m actually Irish. Love the fact that there are so many more European APWers than I realised, and love the idea of a European APW meet-up even more – I can dream! :)

    • EF

      i’m in london! and watching the EU close as I plan my personal brexit (i literally moved to the uk years ago to be part of europe, so all this bullshit is a giant NOPE for me). hope to be in france or the netherlands in 5ish years.

  • Kalë

    Feeling really beaten down about the RepubliDon’tCare decision yesterday. I just… yeah. Of course, I took the mature route for getting out my hopelessness/rage by snapping at M and raging that his family didn’t call/participate in resistance even though every single one of them have preexisting conditions and would literally die or be bankrupted/homeless without insurance coverage. To try and turn around a shitty day, we decided to do an impromptu venue visit yesterday! Our venue is a public-ish building, so we were only able to visit the outside area and try to figure out a ceremony spot. I had a vision of holding the ceremony on one of the many grassy areas, but on second look, it’s really poorly draining and marshy and just doesn’t seem feasible/like a realistic expectation for dressed-up guests. Our other options are on a wide gravel path, or… in the parking lot. It’s a big lot, without ugly lines or signs, and it’s the more accessible option, and it has the same great views of the rest of the venue… but it’s still the parking lot. The gravel area is down a gravel path, maybe 1000 feet from the parking lot and the indoor building, so it’s a lot less accessible and kind of uneven. Same amazing views, but a lot less accessible for handicapped/older guests and even those wearing heels. M is really pushing for the parking lot option, because it makes the most sense logistically. He’s full of ideas for sprucing it up, blocking the area off so no cars are parked closely, decorating, etc. I’m just not enthused about holding our ceremony in a parking lot and having trouble getting past it.

    • emmers

      Are you opposed to holding the ceremony inside, if you end up liking the inside? Maybe that could be an additional option?

      • Kalë

        We’re both super opposed to it :( the outside scenery is absolutely stunning, and the inside is just… meh. It’s a good suggestion though! Just not for us, haha.

        • emmers

          Totally fine! Then I’m sure whatever you choose will be wonderful! No choice will be perfect, but you’ll get to be outside!

        • CMT

          Do you have a rain backup plan?

          • Kalë

            Would we be from here if we didn’t? ;) Light/medium rain plan = pop up tents. We have enough in our combined families and circle of friends that we can cover everyone. Heavy “it’s really freaking raining” rain plan = inside, which we’re really not thrilled about but such is life in Southeast. (Our venue is Eaglecrest, btw!) We are really hoping for non-rain, though. A day like today would be perfect. Do you have any feedback on the gravel vs. parking lot? Can you envision it?

          • CMT

            Ahh, I was trying to figure out where it was from the description and I didn’t want to be too nosy. I’ve actually never been up there! I can’t remember — what time of year is your wedding? If we have a stretch of good weather, the grass might not be too soggy.

  • BSM

    We found out we’re having a boy! I had been sort of hoping for a girl, so of course I’d totally convinced myself we were having a boy. I had a few minutes of shock and (twinged with disappointment, if we’re being honest), but after it sunk in, I’m happy and excited to meet the little guy later this year.

    It’s been great because now the name conversation is a little less abstract, and I can picture parenting a little more clearly. Oh, and we ordered some wallpaper samples for his room! This is my fav: https://www.cole-and-son.com/en/collection-fornasetti-ii/wallpaper-97/2006/

    Between finding out the baby’s sex, having demolition start on our house (we are living in just our living room for the next 3 months…), a super busy week at work, and the Trumpcare vote, I am beyond exhausted. It’s only 11:30am here and I might already need a nap.

    Hope everyone has a great weekend. I’m going to spend mine sleeping.

    • JC

      LOVE the wallpaper!! Congratulations!!

      • BSM

        Thank you!! My husband wants something a little more baby-ish (or whimsical, if I’m being generous), but I loooove that wallpaper. Plus we’re planning to rent out our flat in a few years, so I like that it could be for a child’s room or an adult’s.

        • JC

          It’s so calming! I would gladly go curl up and read with that wallpaper.

    • Ashlah

      Congratulations! It’s been three months since we found out, and I don’t think we’re any closer to having a name picked out, despite countless efforts. I hope it’s easier for you guys!

      • BSM

        Thank you! I think we are actually pretty close on the name! We had a ton of girl options we liked and only one boy option, so we’re pretty sure that’s what we’ll go with. We’ve been testing it out this week, and so far it feels right :)

        We also basically sorted out baby’s last name – Comboname, ftw! Just need to think of a middle name now…

        • Mjh

          Congratulations on baby Comboname :)

          I may need to copy your weekend plan. Sleep is calling to me.

          • BSM

            Thank you!

            I’m wfh today, and I cannot promise there won’t be a nap happening pretty soon…

        • CMT

          Oh, yay!! So excited for Baby Comboname :)

          • BSM

            Eeeeee, me too :)

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      Congrats on your boy! And that wallpaper is amazing!

      And fwiw, I think the initial disappointment is natural. Before finding out the sex, we always have two paths pictured (with varying levels of clarity) and then orienting yourself to one or the other can be a bit of a mind trip (even while knowing that the path you’re actually now on will still have a thousand twists and turns you can’t foresee). Heck, I ended up with the sex I was hoping for, but I still felt an initial little twinge of bittersweetness in saying goodbye to my imagined Other Path.

      • BSM

        Thank you!

        And I think you’re totally right about the Other Path (or The Ghost Ship That Didn’t Carry Us, as Dear Sugar describes it). I think it’s also just easier for me to identify with a girl’s childhood because… I am one, and that’s how I experienced growing up! I’m really glad we decided to find out the sex early on so that, even though there’s no predicting what will happen, I can try to prepare and adjust my expectations as much as possible.

        • quiet000001

          And remember there’s no rule that says you have to do X with girls and Y with boys only, for most stuff. My brother and I were raised very similarly in terms of what we were taught and shown how to do and encouraged to participate in (we both had to learn to cook and do basic sewing and help with home repairs and check the oil and change a flat tire, etc.) and I think we are both the better for it.

          I mean, I assume most folks on APW are aware of gendered expectations and roles, more so than the general public, but it seems like the moment of finding out which bits your kid has could be a good time to remind yourself to do some self examination, see what socially-programmed assumptions you’re making and if you want to stick by them or not.

          (Also, of course, genitals do not actually define gender. Statistically, chances of having a trans kid aren’t high, but it does happen.)

          • BSM

            Of course.

            It’s hard to explain, but for me it’s not at all about “Oh, now I’m missing out on cooking with my daughter because I’m having a boy.” Nope, I can 1000% envision baking cookies with a little boy. Or playing sports or coloring or whatever. For me, it’s more that, I pictured doing it with a girl (I think because I’m a woman, although I’m sure there are women who picture parenting a boy more than a girl).

            Again, it’s kind of difficult to get across in words, but it’s less about gender and more about life taking a different course than what you pictured, without you even really realizing until now that you had pictured something.

          • quiet000001

            Like I said, I figure most APW people are pretty clued in about this stuff, but social conditioning can be so insidious seems worth pointing out the potential for it occasionally? Especially because some moments in life are particularly good for doing a self-check?

            I get the general life being different than you pictured, though, that happens with a lot of things. (I still struggle with that due to a disability. My life doesn’t look anything like what I used to imagine and now I’m not sure how to imagine things going forward. Which makes setting goals and planning tricky.)

          • BSM

            I don’t think it’s wrong to point out; we should all check ourselves on gendered shit like that periodically (kid or no kid). I just definitely have wrt this and don’t believe it’s at the core of my feelings*. This post that Ashlah mentioned explains it much better than I’ve been able to (although I’m not black or queer, so the author’s perspective is more nuanced than my own): http://www.blackgirldangerous.com/2017/04/boy-story-baby-teaching-gender/

            And, like you said, kid or no kid, life often doesn’t turn out even half the way we pictured it would. I’m sure there will be plenty more times where we learn something about him that forces us to our adjust our future dreams for him and for us. The hard but necessary work of living.

            *Of course it’s having some effect because our lives don’t happen in a genderless vacuum.

          • quiet000001

            I love APW for being able to talk to other people who actually think about these things.

            Good wishes for your pregnancy and a healthy mom and baby!

          • BSM

            Agreed! And thank you!

      • Eileen

        This is so accurate.

    • Laura C

      I so so so wanted a girl but I’ve had basically zero moments of regret at having a boy, FWIW.

      • BSM

        So good to hear! Thank you.

    • Eileen

      As a mom of a 6 month old baby boy, I hope you can believe me when I say they are wonderful!

      • BSM

        Awwwww I believe you! I can’t wait to meet this squishy guy in 6 months!

    • Beautiful wallpaper! Also, congrats!

    • Congrats! Finding out the sex made the baby more…real(?) somehow. I guess because then I could start using her name when I talked to her.

      • BSM

        Thank you! And totally on the it-feels-more-real-now, especially since I don’t look pregnant and can’t feel him yet. We use his name, talk about his room, etc. It’s really sweet :)

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!

      One of the websites I read just posted about raising boys: https://cupofjo.com/2017/05/having-a-boy/

      • Ashlah

        Thanks for this! And it reminds me of another wonderful piece I read recently that really captured my feelings: http://www.blackgirldangerous.com/2017/04/boy-story-baby-teaching-gender/

        I mean, as a queer black woman, the author’s experience is more nuanced than mine, but she Gets my complicated desire for a daughter, which a lot of people in my life don’t seem to understand (it’s not about wanting or not wanting a stereotype on either end, so please for the love of god stop telling me boys are easier because wtf does that even mean stop it).

        • BSM

          Wow, thank you. This is really spot on for me, especially bullet #3 (albeit, her experience is much more nuanced, as you noted).

      • BSM

        Thank you, and thank you so much for that post! I usually save Cup of Jo posts for the weekend so I can read them all at once :)

  • Rosie

    I had my first fitting this week – I was a little nervous because my dress was a sample and is 2 sizes too big, so I’m not sure how it would look once it actually fit me. It’s strapless and lacey and tulle-y and very floaty and ethereal (without being super poofy) with a little ribbon around the waist. The seamstress suggested removing the ribbon just to see what it looks like without it, and OMG it looks like a different dress. I didn’t even realize that it was kind of like a corset fit on top (because it was so big on me before), and also the beauty of the lace really shines through. And then when she did the bustle, I could actually walk and dance around in the dress without tripping on it. I felt SO beautiful and am so excited for my next fitting and to see how it looks!! Now I only need to decide if I should get a little extra “oomph” padding in the boobs – I am a B cup and would love just a litttttle more boobie, but don’t want to look super unnatural. Has anyone else done padding and been happy/unhappy with it??

    • BSM

      Omg, just your description sounds amazing! It really comes through how beautiful you feel in your dress :)

      My dress was a really different style than yours, so I ended up going without padding because it would have affected the way the V-neck laid against my chest, but I say go for it! With a corset-ish style top, it sounds like your dress could handle it, and if you want more boobie on your wedding day, I vote more boobie.

      • Jess

        I also vote for more boobie if you want more boobie.

    • Mjh

      Your dress sounds beautiful.

      I didn’t have padding myself, but my (practically sister) friend was a 34b at the time of her wedding, and she had a padded bustier sewn into her dress. The outer layer of the bustier was smooth microfiber and the dress was satin with no corset, and it all looked smooth and totally natural. I hooked the bustier closed before zipping the dress without issue and there were no lines. She looked fantastic. I’d say talk to your tailor about options.

    • Fushigidane

      That sounds lovely, share pics afterwards! I was able to try on cups during one of the fittings so you can definitely see how you like it before you commit.

    • lamarsh

      I had no intention of padding my dress (I have small boobs, but I like them), but the dress looked really good with the cup inserts at the fitting (and made it fit much more smoothly) so I went for it! I agree with everyone else that you should ask the seamstress for options and see what you think.

      • zana

        If you’re not going to fill out your dress, it’s a lot cheaper to fill it with something than to tailor the whole top smaller. It’s a verrrrrrrrrrry common alteration.

    • Rosie

      Thanks everyone!!! Yes, I think I’ll just try them on in the next fitting and see how they look :)

      • LadyJanee

        I technically didn’t need them as my dress was kinda corset style and I have average size boobs but the seamstress recommended them to fill the cups of the dress properly to give the dress a better line. It didn’t make much difference to the perkiness of my breasts but it did make the dress sit better.

    • Jennifer

      I got padding sewn into my dress (it was a sweetheart neck corset thing), and at the time was about an A cup. I do not regret that decision at all. It was super nice to feel *ahem* supported as opposed to falling out of my top.

    • toomanybooks

      My fiancée has a dress she can’t wear a bra with and is like, AA cup… she got much bigger padded cups sewn in and it didn’t look “off” at all!

    • Natalie

      I have large boobs (D to DD), and no need of padding, but my corset-style dress would have looked better had I had padded cups inserted to push the ladies up. As it was, I didn’t look flat-chested (no dress has the power to make me look flat), but my dress definitely didn’t do anything for me upstairs. I didn’t look saggy, exactly, but a little bit of push up would have improved the whole situation. I say, go for a bit of padding if you think you might want it, for extra push-up more than anything.

    • SS Express

      I’m about a B and I wear a super padded, allegedly-adds-two-cup-sizes bra every day. Like to work, to the supermarket…it’s actually my “plain” bra, because my sexy going out bra is even more enhancing. And I really don’t think it looks weird or unnatural at all. It actually looks weirder without, because the fit of my clothes isn’t as neatly tailored. I mean, if you don’t like/want the extra padding that’s obviously fine but if you do then you should definitely go for it, it won’t look weird.

    • mui

      I have C cup boobs and had bra cups sewn into my dress. The seamstress folded them in half and put them on the under boob part, it was really great! Best part-no bra. YES!

  • toomanybooks

    I get married Memorial Day Weekend so the wedding is getting closer! I’ve also had to send a group text to my family asking that they only say nice or supportive things to me regarding my wedding now that we’re in the home stretch, to minimize stress. My sister had caused a lot of drama over her dress but had mostly cooled down. She still sends me links to other dresses like every week with a wistful “obsessed, wish I could wear this one” (and yeah, it’s always something much more casual/less matching/way too expensive for her to afford). But she doesn’t push it so much now and I just don’t respond to those.

    My mom is also in a real tizzy about what she’s going to wear and keeps sending me dresses (she got one but is having second thoughts) but I feel like she thinks I’m being mean if I’m not into them. She asked me if one was too white (it was a long white dress with blue flowers on it, but predominantly white) and I said yes, it wouldn’t be a good look for her to wear that as mother of a bride (2 brides lol). She ordered it anyway, sent me a picture, I repeated my thoughts (it wasn’t flattering or really that appropriate for the formality of the wedding anyway). My parents were like “what’s the big deal, it’s not even white!” as if they truly could not see past the blue flowers that were on it, and as if they hadn’t asked if it was too white. Whatever, it’s returned. But my mom has also been stressing me out by telling me I shouldn’t be DIYing the flowers (I have a plan, it’s not like I’ll be doing them myself the day of the wedding or anything like that, and they are veeerrry simple – think a single rose in a little milk bottle vase, etc). She also picked this week to complain about all the people from her side of the family who live far away that I didn’t invite. How many people? What are their names? I don’t know, because she never told me and refuses to do so. And yes, I did give my invite list to my parents way before I sent invitations, and yes, it was like pulling teeth trying to get even their addresses from my parents. That’s another ridiculous thing: there is one person my mom brought up by name that she says I should have invited and assumed I was inviting (idk how because I gave you my list) and is sure she gave me this woman’s address (I also know for a fact she didn’t do this because of how hard it was to get family/family friend addresses from my parents!! There was literally one my mom told me to google). I explained why I hadn’t invited her – part of the reason was that I barely knew her, and part of the reason was that it seemed like she was homophobic (based on things she had said at family gatherings) and it seemed like my mom didn’t even want me to come out to her side of the family. Like, her sister is coming and knows I’m marrying another woman, but nobody else does, including my grandmother. And my mom is like “what am I supposed to do to avoid upsetting them for not being invited, pretend you’re not married until they’re dead? I’m going to have a mess to clean up.” Um… if they aren’t close enough to know I’m gay, got engaged, am getting married….?

    Anyway, I said the thing about this woman being homophobic and my mom decided a great response to this would be to tell me “your dad’s brother and wife are definitely homophobic and so are people in FW’s family I’m sure and yet they’re invited.”

    I didn’t exclude her for ethical reasons or something! I excluded her (aside from her not being close, we are just talking about the homophobia aspect here) because I tread VERY delicately around my sexuality and my mom’s family because that’s how I’ve been forced to act around that, and I’m scared of inviting someone I don’t really know who doesn’t like gay people and would find out this way that I’m gay!!

    Anyway, later that day is when I sent the text to my family asking them to be nice because it’s a busy time in the weeks leading up to a wedding. My mom keeps being surprised that my fiancée and I aren’t having like, huge pre-wedding fights, and super stressed and freaked out that we’re about to get married. I almost wonder if she’s trying to CAUSE stress if it’s not going to come from my relationship.

    Sooooo that’s what’s on my mind with wedding stuff this week!

    • CMT

      What is it with mothers and dresses?! Was it Sosuli who had that ongoing saga? Sorry your family is causing stress.

      • penguin

        Yep it was Sosuli! I remember that.

      • toomanybooks

        Yup, it was her!
        And like, I feel like it’s usually a bride complaining about her FMIL but like… my mom is FMIL to my fiancée, one of the brides. And we always have been very close. So the stereotype of it being like “ugh creepy it’s like she wants everyone to know her kid is HERS and wants to be the center of attention like a bride” thing is… maybe not far off? I’m definitely, like, still very babied by my mom and have always been close to her. But I feel like with wedding stuff for the most part she’s been neutral at best (and of course, stressful and negative at worst).

        • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

          I feel you on the wedding stress with moms. I’m super close with mine, and still had a handful of “OMGWTF” moments. Sending you supportive thoughts and internet hugs! Your wedding is so soon! And then you’ll be married!

        • Fushigidane

          My mom for sure wanted everyone to know that she contributed to the wedding and made everyone think that she did everything. In reality she usually just made everything more stressful and said everything that I liked was wrong and/or stupid. Luckily she’s been astronomically less annoying post wedding and has occasionally actually been thoughtful/helpful in the last few weeks.

        • Natalie

          My mom and I are really close, and she drove me absolutely nuts during wedding planning. Everything she said and did seemed calculated to add to my stress, even though I know she wasn’t trying to be frustrating. Obviously, YMMV, but in my case, as soon as the wedding was over our relationship went back to normal and she once again became the person I called to vent who made me feel better when I was stressed out.

    • emmers

      Ugh. It sounds like your mom is rough. I hope you can take a break from her self-imposed drama, and can have some you-time. I found the family portion of wedding planning to be super stressful, and it was definitely helpful when I limited communication. It sounds like you’re doing an excellent job of planning and with the guest list, and also in advising your mom on her dress. She’s not being reasonable, but you really are!

    • Kalë

      Um, wow. Just sending positive vibes because all this shit with your mom is TOO MUCH even for me and I’m literally just an internet person.

      • penguin

        I’m just a penguin and it’s too much for me too.

        @toomanybooks:disqus – Good luck with your mom/family. Try not to let her stress you out. Reject her bullshit.

        • Kalë

          if you’re a penguin, then why is your photo a squirrel, HMMM? #subterfuge

          • CMT

            Right?!

          • penguin

            It’s my fiancé? <..>

    • Yael

      Your mother sounds like a relative of my mother. Or they share the same issues.

    • BSM

      That sounds really stressful!

      Sometimes it helps me to remember that this person who is freaking out isn’t doing it because of anything I’ve done, rather it’s 99% a result of their own issues. Like, I don’t know your mom, but I can imagine that it feels really huge to have your child get married, and, in trying not to deal with your baby “becoming” an adult, you start freaking out about all kinds of random stuff.

      It doesn’t make her actions affect you any less, and it’s still really frustrating that she can’t just deal with her feelings in a not stressful, productive way, but at least it can help put it in perspective? Maybe?

      Wine + time with your fiance. And it’ll be over soon!

      • theteenygirl

        +1 for the “this person who is freaking out isn’t doing it because of anything [you’ve] don’t, rather it’s 99% a result of their own issues.”

        Telling myself that 400 times a day is the only way I’m getting through the family drama of wedding planning.

    • Jess

      UGGGGGGH to tiptoeing around homophobia in the family.

      The Mom-Dress situation sounds incredibly familiar – there was another APW commenter with the exact.same.issue. from her MIL last year that became a saga.

      Good luck!

    • Hannah

      oh my gosh to the “is it too white…it’s not even white” reversal! That kind of dizzying turnaround drives me nuts. Good luck with all this! the text sounds like it was a good idea.

    • Not Sarah

      I don’t know about your mom, but my mom tends to push her own stresses and frustrations about her relationship onto mine and assume that mine is exactly like hers. Perhaps her and her partner had huge pre-wedding fights before they got married?

    • CP2011

      It will be over (and better) soon!

    • Natalie

      Sorry. My mom was also a giant ball of stress-inducing frustration leading up to my wedding, and it sucked. Solidarity.

      On the plus side, you’re in the home stretch! She can only try to get you to invite homophobic relatives to your gay wedding for a couple more weeks.

    • HarrietVane

      As someone also planning a same-sex wedding I have a lot of sympathy. My fiancée and I have been engaged for 16 months and are getting married in June we’ve been getting a lot of forwarded from my FMIL of congratulations from her friends… who she never even told her daughter was getting married until they got invited to the wedding (or, rather, this weird, uncomfortable cocktail party ‘in celebration of us’ they’re having where they are also inviting people who are not invited to the wedding). OH HOW NICE THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER TOO ASHAMED TO TELL PEOPLE, thanks for that.

      Sidenote, to the straights: “Well, at least they’re coming around!” or “I’m sure it’ll be alright!” is not helpful or as supportive as you think it is. Doing the minimum (or doing enough that liberal NYers don’t consider you totally homophobic) is not enough to make amends for being awful. We’ve heard that A LOT and it feels terrible to hear (even from people close to you) that they would rather put a happy face on things than acknowledge that a parental relationship might be toxic/broken or that homophobia can’t just be squashed with a little positive thinking.

    • Totch

      I had a few people right before the wedding who seemed like they wanted me to get riled up. Good luck, stay as chill as you want, and sending you strength for all the homophobic bs.

  • Transnonymous

    Unsurprisingly, this has been a pretty bad week for me. At least everything going on with the GOP yesterday motivated me to get off my ass and apply for another job in a safer part of the country for our family. However, in other good-for-me news, my section at work has lost three people in the last month and a half and we’re now under a hiring freeze, so my employer may not be able to afford to fire me. Perspective!

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    So I heard it from my fiancé who heard it from his sister who heard it from their brother who heard it on Facebook through some guy he used to know in high school who heard if from a food delivery guy that my fiancé’s stepmother is in the hospital.Apparently she ordered food, and then collapsed when they guy came to deliver it. The old high school buddy lives down the street from her and dug up my fiancé’s brother on Facebook and sent him a private message, otherwise we wouldn’t know anything about it. She’s an alcoholic in really bad shape, and lives alone because her husband, my fiancé’s dad, can’t handle her anymore and they’re basically separated and he moved in with his mom a good while ago. Every now and then he stops over at the house to make sure she has some money for food (she lost the last job she had over a year ago), and that she’s feeding the cats, but she’s to the point where she’s living primarily on vodka and not cleaning up after herself and the house is a wreck. She must not have her husband listed as an emergency contact, and this kind of thing has happened before — she totaled a car and was in the hospital for a day and a half before anybody figured out what happened. There was a time when every day he came home he expected to find her dead, and we’re kinda back to that point. The whole family is so burnt out on dealing with her that they’re kind of numb about it and totally checked out, and hanging around to see if my FFIL decides to call around to the hospitals to find out more.It’s weird and sad. I don’t really know what to do or say about it, so I’m…just putting it here.

    • Katherine

      I have no advice, but I’m sorry to hear about this sad news. A family member’s addiction is tough on everyone.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Thanks. My own family has its own issues, but fortunately this isn’t one of them. I just don’t know what to do with it.

    • Emily

      I am so sorry that your family is going through this, there is nothing easy about alcoholism.

    • Jess

      I’m sorry that you & your fiance & family are going through this. Addiction is so hard on so many people.

    • Anon for this

      Something like this happened in my husband’s family. His cousin was separated from his wife, in the process of divorcing I think, because she was an out of control alcoholic. And she died, alone, and he and a member of her family — maybe the only member she was in contact with — found her when they went to check on her. It was not good. Especially because most of her family didn’t realize what her situation was or even that she and her husband were separated.

      I have no insight from this because I don’t think anything productive or good came out of it. It was just terrible, in so many ways. But…yeah, it’s weird and sad and it’s hard to know what to do or say.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        At least it won’t be a surprise when the inevitable happens here, but still. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s validating to hear that it just sucks from someone else who knows. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this, too.

    • emmers

      That sucks. Family substance abuse issues are the worst.

    • louise danger

      my aunt was in this scenario (or nearly) a few months ago. she’d been mostly ostracized from the family because of her alcoholism (and because of the hostility of her jackass ex husband, now deceased and unmourned good fucking riddance to bad rubbish), but when she was hospitalized due to chronic cirrhosis and liver failure, the siblings rallied around her and moved her up to be near the biggest grouping of them.

      i won’t lie, we were still pretty checked out, although my cousins (all 20+ years older than i am, my mom’s the baby) were kind of upset because she’d been their Cool Aunt when they were little. she passed away of massive organ failure – liver cancer that they’d been unable to treat because her cirrhosis was so unstable, and which had metastasized pretty much everywhere – in mid-march.

      i guess i’m just sharing this so that you know you’re not alone, and that it’s okay to not know how to feel/how you feel about it. addiction and alcoholism are hellish for everyone involved. i hope that your fiance’s stepmom, and your fiance and his family, will be able to find some peace soon.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Thank you, sincerely. It helps to feel less alone in dealing with a shitty and confusing thing. I’m sorry that any of us have to.She’s been posting online about how she’s in the hospital and is bored and needs company. They’ve moved her out of ICU, but haven’t told her when she can go home. She’s telling people it’s a GI issue, and I mean, yeah I guess surviving on primarily vodka will cause GI issues. The nice thing would be to go visit her, but I’m also hesitant to get involved at all.

  • Her Lindsayship

    Does anyone want to reassure me that hiring a stranger as a wedding officiant can be totally fine? We keep hesitating to actually hire a Justice of the Peace we found, because it just feels weird, but at the same time, we don’t have anyone in our friends/family that seems like the right person either. And this one JoP was the only one we even kind of liked who was also available our date. I think there aren’t that many secular officiants for hire in Boston because you can have anyone officiate your wedding in MA, they don’t have to be ordained. Maybe we’re too wound up about how “right” the officiant needs to be – but it seems like a big deal?

    • flashphase

      We hired someone (religious officiant) we didn’t know and built a really close relationship with her over the course of our 3-4 meetings, we now consider her a friend.

    • BSM

      We hired a stranger! We were also looking for a secular officiant, which is tough and weird. She was AMAZING! Definitely the best officiated wedding I’ve ever been to (being as objective as I can).

      I would just make sure that you like the person, they’ll do what you want for the ceremony, and they seem to be the right vibe you’re looking for (calm, funny, serious, etc.).

      • Her Lindsayship

        One thing that is making us hesitant is that we asked to meet up with her before hiring her and she said yes – for a $50 fee. And we would have to pay $50 for any additional meetings. We feel a little weirded out by that so we haven’t set up the meeting.

        • BSM

          Hm, that does sound kind of unusual. So what is included in her regular fee?

          To give you some context, our officiant included a free initial meeting plus (I think) two drafts of the ceremony (and unlimited email to hash that out) plus handling everything with the marriage license on the day of.

          • Her Lindsayship

            Her actual fee for the ceremony is set by the state, so it’s only $150. She has said she’s happy to work with couples over email as much as they want to edit the ceremony script, but apparently each meeting is $50 and I think she’ll charge $50-$100 for the rehearsal. But it’s still way better than some officiants who weren’t JoP’s charging like a grand for the same thing. So in that sense, coughing up $50 for a meeting isn’t that bad, but we don’t even know if we like her yet!

          • BSM

            Got it! That makes more sense. I’d probably spend the $50 on the initial meeting, just to make sure.

          • Jess

            me too!

          • Her Lindsayship

            Thanks for the feedback. Considering she’s literally our only option right now, it probably does make sense to spend it and meet her!

        • Jess

          That would make me hesitant also.

          We had a free initial meeting (Phone Call, because we were not local) and the payment included one meeting to work on the draft of the ceremony, plus lots of e-mailing of drafts/choices.

          Ours was ~$550 all told.

          • BSM

            I think we spent about $500, too.

        • K. is skittish about disqus

          Hmm, no free consultation is a little odd, for sure. Has she explained her process? Does she do free phone calls to discuss your wants/needs at least or is it that she would just show up and do her usual “spiel” unless you’re willing to pay more? It could be that she just hasn’t priced out her package well or it could be that she’s trying to put up barriers to personalization.

          Your gut probably isn’t wrong though if you suspect it’s more about her being stingy/on the less personal side, and then it depends on how much that matters to you.

        • Not Sarah

          We did cake tastings and at first I felt weird paying $50 to taste some cakes and then I realized that the not as good places had free cake tastings and the better places valued their time enough to charge for the cake tastings, so then I was more okay with it.

    • Fushigidane

      My husband and I weren’t very romantic about our ceremony. We just wanted somebody that would get the job done with as little fuss as possible. We picked our options from a list and made a few edits to suit us. It went well and everyone loved it who wasn’t overly attached to us being married in a church. My friend had a different officiant and her wedding was very lovely even though they had only met over skype before.

    • Call Me Penny

      I’m in the UK and I know things are a little different here but most people who get married in a church at isn’t their own childhood one are essentially hiring a stranger in the form of the priest or vicar from that parish. The same goes for anyone going to a registry office. You’re ok!

    • Jess

      We hired a stranger! It was GREAT. Here’s our criteria for “right” – yours may differ, and that’s fine

      1) LGBT friendly (We are a hetero marriage, but I am bi and we looked to support those supporting LGBT+ in all our decisions). This was a really nice quick screen to have given #2.
      2) Willingness to customize a secular ceremony, and capable of providing meaningful suggestions. Also willing to make feminist adjustments (no obey here, folks).
      3) Having their shit together. Literally, did we feel like they would be on time, file the paperwork correctly, and speak well in front of others.

      That’s about it, and honestly, it could not have been better.

      • Em

        The feminist adjustments/general attitude towards feminism thing is so important! I went to a wedding a couple of years ago where the very laidback older-male-celebrant included a lot of weird vaguely misogynistic things about nagging wives etc – I think it was supposed to be “funny” (in a very Australian, bloke-y sort of humorous way) but just flopped pretty badly with me and a bunch of the guests I knew – ugh!

        • Jess

          There were so many stories on APW about stuff like that, and the ceremony was something really important to me.

          We got to script everything she said and show up knowing that it was going to be fine.

      • SS Express

        These were our criteria too! The theme of our wedding was equality. We met with two celebrants, both of whom addressed the fact that they would be legally required to say that in Australia marriage is only between a man and a woman (it’s so gross that not only do we not have marriage equality, but we can’t have hetero marriages without that homophobic line either). One said “unfortunately I need to say this but many people, myself included, don’t agree with that and I can follow it with a comment about how you hope that will change soon etc etc”. The other said “I need to say this, but nobody really notices what I’m saying anyway”. I’m sure the second guy would have happily said something about equality if we’d asked, but we really liked that the first guy addressed the issue and said he didn’t agree without knowing what we thought, instead of just brushing it off like it’s no big deal.

        And as you say, it was an easy way to screen for #2 as well. We said “you may now kiss the groom” and switched the gender order of everything around and our celebrant acted like it was all totally normal, not only no resistance but also no fussing like “ooh okay, women’s lib, that’s exciting”.

        #3 is hella important too. The celebrant we didn’t go with wasn’t ready when we turned up for our appointment and it did not fill me with confidence. If he’s this disorganised when he’s trying to land a client imagine how he will be when he’s filing things after the wedding is over and he’s already been paid!

        • Jess

          Yeah, I changed the “You may now kiss the bride” to “You may now share a kiss in celebration!” I loved it.

          Our celebrant was like “That’s awesome, can I use that in the future?”

          • SS Express

            That’s awesome!

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      A stranger wedding officiant makes a living doing it! So you’ll get someone with guaranteed public speaking skills and some level a talent for writing/bringing ceremonies together. We had a friend do it, but only because we had the *perfect* friend to do it. If we hadn’t had him, we would have hired a stranger in a second.

      What mattered to us was someone who respected our wishes for wording and overall messaging, had a resonant speaking voice, and was really organized. The sentimentality of our friend helped, but it wasn’t our ultimate deciding factor (though we might not tell him that!)

    • Jane

      I think it can be great! I have seen some courthouse ceremonies that were wonderful. If you liked this person and you think you would the ceremony they provide, go for it!

    • Yael

      Our rabbi (whoever that ends up being) won’t exactly be a stranger, but also won’t be a friend. We already know we’ll pick one from a pool of about 5 that we like, respect our various religious issues, and so on, but we’re going to be planning long distance so there’s a limit to how much relationship we can have. And honestly, while I would love to be more connected to a rabbi, this is just how it’s going to be!

    • Cellistec

      We hired a professional celebrant we found online (on Offbeat Bride, I think), and she was fantastic. I was over-the-moon thrilled with the job she did. So it’s totally possible.

    • Ashlah

      We did it! We just wanted someone who could speak comfortably in front of people and file our paperwork correctly. I don’t regret it for a second!

    • Knonymous

      The priest we used was actually an old friend of my FIL’s – but he was a stranger to me! I only met him once before the wedding – all our prenuptial prep was with my parish priest, since there were church rules to go over and such. It was totally fine. (Maybe even slightly weirder than your situation, to be the bride and not know the officiant when several other people at the wedding know him well . . . and it was still fine!)

    • Kelly

      We did! We Skyped a few times in advance, and it turned out great

    • RNLindsay

      We had a Catholic wedding but at a random church that was near our reception venue. Therefore, even though he was a priest, he was also a stranger! It feels awkward at first, but just meet with them a couple times and it will be fine. Have family/friends do readings or some other parts of the ceremony and that will help it feel more personal

    • SS Express

      In Australia you can only be married by a priest/minister/equivalent or by an authorized civil celebrant. Most people opt for the civil service, and even if they have a religious service it probably isn’t conducted by someone they know that well because most people here aren’t regular churchgoers. So pretty much every wedding I’ve ever been to was conducted by a stranger, including my own, and it’s definitely totally fine.

  • thankyoufauxpas

    I’ve never commented/written anything here or any other discussion forum – ever – but I’m starting to feel so anxious about this I wanted to drop in here because of how helpful, candid, and real you ladies are. I’m embarrassed to even write this but I would love your input.

    We just celebrated our 1 year anniversary and I still owe a small handful of people “thank you” cards. And I’m from the south, y’all, so that shit is NOT acceptable. Like, I know in some circles, it’s not a big deal and even a text message is acceptable but I can assure you that in my circle, it certainly isn’t.

    To be fair, we got 100% of our “Thank yous” out for the gifts we got before the wedding or on the day-of pretty much immediately after the wedding. But, a handful of gifts trickled in after and since I was out of the wedding zone mode, I’ll admit it—I just got lazy about. PLUS my DH’s scattered mom “forgot” that two people dropped off gifts for us with her until months after the wedding (that’s a whole different story).

    I know that the Ms. Manners guide to etiquette says that you have to get out thank you notes right away but I had several well-meaning friends assure me over and over that you have a year to get them out and I let the fact that this was something people seemed OK with settle in with me. And I fully intended to get those notes out last week before our anniversary.

    Well, now it has come and gone and I’m SO embarrassed. I know that a late thank you is better than no thank you at all, but at this point wouldn’t it be so weird to get “Thank you for the gift from a year ago!” letter from someone?

    What should I do at this point????

    • Mallory2

      Nope, just do it! Reference how you’ve used / spent the money in the note. e.g. I think of you every time I see the vase, use the dutch oven, etc. You can do it!

    • Amy March

      Just send them out! No excuse, no explanation, just write out a quick “thank you so much for the blender/towels/bowl. We love using it and think of you.” It’s not weird! It happens more than you realize.

    • Alex K

      Personally, I would much rather receive a thank you note super late than not at all. I honestly wouldn’t think much of a thank you coming 1+ year later. Send them!

    • Call Me Penny

      Crack a bottle of wine, turn on some tunes and get them written! Don’t even reference the delay, you’ve got this.

    • Mjh

      Go for it. I know it can feel like it’s going to be really weird or awkward, but the people receiving the thank you notes will probably just be pleasantly reminded of your wedding/marriage, think of you guys fondly, and go on with their life.

    • macrain

      My son is nearly 1 year old, and since he came three weeks early (and a week after my shower), I have not sent out any thank you notes for the baby gifts we got. It happens!
      As an aside, southern etiquette makes me slightly bonkers. Once I was chided for not RSVPing to a bridal luncheon in South Carolina and the deadline hadn’t even passed yet! Not to mention- I had to make a personal phone call in order to RSVP. No option to email or mail a response. Give me. a. break.

    • Fauxpas

      Thanks so much for the input and encouragement, everyone. I needed that confirmation that people would enjoy the thank you note rather than wonder why i even bothered at all. time to get cracking!

    • I sent mine over a year after the wedding (and am also from the south and was mortified about this), and it was fine. I think people were just glad to get a thank you. One person even wrote a thank you for my thank you. (And in my case, it was my perfectionist tendencies and knowing I could never express what I felt. But finally, I just said it the best I could and probably even said in a lot of them how words couldn’t express my thankfulness, etc.) It was fine. Go ahead and do it, Better late than never! (And as someone who once sent a gift to someone and never got a thank you and it’s been four years maybe….I would be happy to get one. I still wonder if they got my gift or if they’re mad at me because I didn’t go to the wedding…)

    • Natalie

      Send them! If I received a thank-you note a year late, with or without a “sorry I’m so late with this” explanation, I’d smile and be grateful that I’m not the only one in my social circle not 100% on top of their shit all the time. Seriously. We’ve all dropped the ball on something, at some point. (Speaking of, I owe someone a thank you note from something incredibly wonderful and generous and life-changing they did for me in January…..)

    • SS Express

      Better late than never, just send them now! And you don’t need to give any excuses. I am a terrible procrastinator and social-anxiety-haver so I find myself in situations like that pretty often, and they are almost always solved by just doing the thing.

      The great thing about doing them late is you can talk about how you’ve used the gift, which you can’t do if you write the notes straight away. “The serving platter is gorgeous and I can’t wait to use it” is really nice, but “we use the serving platter every time we entertain and it always makes me smile to think of you – especially when I’m serving watermelon to my in-laws LOLINSIDEJOKE!” is even better.

    • LadyJanee

      We got married 5 months ago and have still not even started on our thank you cards. We got them printed a couple of weeks ago and wanted to insert some photos of us with our guests so we are waiting on those to be printed and then get a start. I definitely think you should send them and also know you aren’t alone in thank you card tardiness!

  • Gaby

    So glad to see all this sharing on #MentalHealthAwareness Week. 2017 has been tough on me given the political climate, my friend’s suicide, followed by another friend’s mother suddenly passing from infection a few weeks later. I pretty much distanced myself from having an emotional reaction to the news yesterday, but I’m donating to a campaign that helps those running against some of the people who voted for it.
    We got back from Chicago on Sunday night and it was a great little vacation (Hamilton was amazing, of course) but I had a hard time being focused or motivated for a couple of days at work afterward. I’m feeling much better today and I’m bullet journaling and trying to stay active and do yoga regularly to keep up with my mental health. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cbe10b7e7a7c8a58c45a577e23ea0fdb1e85c35f2370dc40a357a5e5f0f7c9ac.png
    We saw David Sedaris yesterday and that was a delight. May the 4th has become a special date for us accidentally. We got the keys to our house on 5/4/15, I bought my wedding dress on 5/4/16, and we got this fun date night yesterday.

    • macrain

      I’m so sorry Gaby. <3

  • Not Sarah

    So plus ones. What did you do about them? Anyone who is in a couple, we’re definitely inviting both people in the couple. But we’re trying to figure out what to do about the other people. Do we follow up with currently listed as “single” people in our spreadsheet and double check if they’re seeing anyone? We don’t really want to just give plus ones to everybody (as if we were having a house party, we both hate it when people bring randos we don’t know and they’re not dating), but it seems like possibly bad etiquette to give some people plus ones and not others, so it seems we should either do everyone gets a plus one that is a solo invite rather than picking and choosing who gets a plus one. Like our unmarried/widowed aunts don’t need plus ones and it’s doubtful far away friends would bring someone unless they’re dating the person, but local people could bring randos if we give them plus ones. Thoughts?

    • Em

      How many of your single people won’t know anyone else there?

      • Not Sarah

        We have 24 possibly-single people on the list at the moment and I think three won’t know anyone else and I only expect one of those three people to come to begin with. The rest are aunts, uncles, cousins or people who know others.

        • Em

          I know you said you didn’t want to give some people plus ones and others didn’t – but I’d be inclined to reach out to those three who don’t know anyone else (or even just the one you think will come!), and ask them if they’d like to bring someone? I feel if you know other people at a wedding, then the “need” such as it is for a plus one is pretty small.

          • Not Sarah

            That’s what I was inclined to do and the reasons why, but someone had told me it was poor etiquette to give plus ones to some people and not to others.

          • SS Express

            Etiquette also dictates that married couples are always referred to by the husband’s last name, but I was pretty upset to get an invitation addressed to Mr and Mrs Hisname from a friend who knew perfectly well that that wasn’t my name and that it was something I very much cared about. The purpose of etiquette is to help us treat each other nicely, not to make us treat each other less nicely than we could because the rules said so.

          • Amy March

            It really doesn’t though. There is no rule that you should call a woman who hasn’t changed her name by her husbands name.

          • Not Sarah

            Good point on etiquette’s purpose :) We’re actually dropping titles entirely. I know enough married women who don’t like Mrs. that I don’t want to offend people. Also, we’re putting the woman’s name first if we know her more, so our invitations are either:
            * HerFirst HerLast and HisFirst HisLast
            * HisFirst HisLast and HerFirst HerLast
            * HerFirst and HisFirst TheirLast
            * HisFirst and HerFirst TheirLast

      • Jane

        This was a big point for us too. I felt comfortable not giving my single friends plus ones because they were pretty much all in the same group of friends. I have talked to one or two people who have good reasons for wanting to make sure they have a friend there (like they will have to see an ex and husband new spouse) or only know one other person – and am giving them plus ones. I feel like my other single friends )who didn’t get a plus one) will get it. They will all want to catch up with each other anyway.

    • lamarsh

      We gave all our single friends plus ones, but only gave our cousins/family plus ones if we knew they were dating someone. Since our wedding involves a flight for most of our friends we were not super worried about getting too many insignificant others. At this point, we have gotten back almost all the RSVPs and only one person who was given an “& Guest” has RSVP’d with a plus one that is random (his roommate). We don’t mind, because he really only knows my fiance, so it will be good for him to have a friend. On the other hand, two of my cousins (who are both in their early 20s) invited their girlfriends when they weren’t given plus ones, so part of me thinks people will just do what they want anyway. My vote is that if you have the money/space to accommodate a few extra plus ones, you should do it, because most people seem to be pretty respectful about who they are bringing.

      • Not Sarah

        I went to a wedding single once where the only people I knew were the groom and the best man. They gave me a plus one, but I didn’t know who to ask and it ended up being really awkward. I definitely appreciated the plus one in that case.

    • Amy March

      I’d encourage you to not think of dates your single guests might want to bring as randos. No, the date I would like to bring is not a rando, he is someone important to me who you don’t know yet. Even if we aren’t dating, I didn’t bring him to get an extra free meal, I brought him because attending a wedding alone can be painfully lonely.

      I don’t think you have to give everyone a plus one, but try not to think of them disparagingly about it as you decide.

      • Not Sarah

        That’s fair! I didn’t mean to think about them disparagingly. I’ve had some friends bring people to a gathering who then tried to smoke in my house when I am highly allergic, for example, and I still have a bit of a distaste for those memories, hence the ‘rando’ description. And I agree that attending a wedding alone can be painfully lonely, which is why we are trying to be thoughtful about plus ones and definitely give them to people who won’t know anyone else.

        I’m glad you’ve managed to find wedding dates…my experience with that when single was that most guys would run away screaming from going to a wedding with me if they weren’t dating me.

        • Amy March

          I keep a roster of guys who own tuxes and like an open bar :) Honestly it’s easier to find a wedding date than a date date sometimes!

    • penguin

      This is what we are doing:
      -Both halves of a married couple get invited
      -If a person we want to invite is in a serious relationship, they get invited with their person (by name)
      -If anyone far away is elderly or for whatever reason would need a helper to travel with, they get a +1 to invite whoever they want

      We didn’t have any far away single people who wouldn’t know anyone, but if we had, we would have given those people plus ones. I know that “serious relationship” is a fuzzy definition, but for our list it was easy, because our people were married, not seeing anyone at all, or dating the same person for 1 year+.

      For anyone I wasn’t sure about (like my divorced dad), we just asked if he’d want one. He’s got a date!

    • Alex K

      We invited all of our guest’s significant others by name. For the other 12 or so single people we gave a plus one if they did not know any one else (we figured the 6 single guys in the same friend group my husband wanted to invite would all hang with each other). That meant we had a few people bring friends that we had never met (we also had not met everyone’s significant other). I think it is a budget vs. guest comfort thing. Both are important, but if it is in your budget your single friends that don’t know anyone will have a better time if they can bring a guest.

      • Not Sarah

        That sounds like a really good compromise and I think what we’ll end up doing. I want people to be comfortable, but I don’t want to spend the money on the plus one if they could otherwise have a good time. It does really add up.

    • BSM

      It depends so much on your crowd and definitely on whether your venue/budget can accommodate it, but I’d say err on the side of giving plus ones.

      • Not Sarah

        We’re definitely trying to be careful with the venue sizing. If all of these people brought plus ones and more far away family members come than we expect, it will be tricky.

    • emmers

      If someone wasn’t in a relationship and had other people they knew at the wedding, I didn’t give them a plus one. If they weren’t in a relationship and didn’t know anyone, I did.

      In hindsight, I wish I had checked with close friends just to make sure there wasn’t someone special they wanted to bring, since after the fact I found out that one of my wonderful friends had a boyfriend for 6 months that I didn’t know about. I still feel bad about that. But other than that, it was fine.

      • emmers

        The one exception was for divorced family members. My husband’s dad wasn’t dating anyone at the time, but we gave him a plus one anyways, especially since my husband’s mom had recently remarried.

      • Not Sarah

        Yeah see that awkward situation is why I think we should either give everyone plus ones or check in with people before giving them…

        • emmers

          To be fair, there may have been others but he was the only one I cared about. So if you do have a few close friends who live far away, it’s ok to check in. It’s also ok to have ppl for whom it’s not as much as a priority.

    • Jess

      I didn’t really want to spend the time following up with people, so we gave everybody a plus one, with the exception of a few recently widowed great aunts, where they knew a number of other people invited and we felt including a guest on an invite may be in poor taste.

      As a comforting note for you, the only “plus ones” that came were parts of couples we invited individually (not living together, but seriously dating) or living together/married, so on the same invite.

      • Not Sarah

        My partner both doesn’t want to spend the time following up with people but also doesn’t want too many people to come, lol.

        • Jess

          HAHAHA Classic “That’s not how this works” situation.

          • Not Sarah

            He’s been learning a lot of life things planning this wedding… Thankfully he doesn’t seem appalled at how much things cost unlike other people’s partners lol.

    • macrain

      I gave plus ones to everyone who was in a relationship, and to my bridesmaids even if they were not.
      A friend did ask me for a plus one as the wedding was getting closer, and I told her no. It was someone she had connected with online and had only met in person once or twice. I just didn’t feel comfortable about that.
      I think it’s understandable to not want a bunch of people you don’t know at your wedding, and it’s also understandable that for some guests, it might help them feel at ease. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with offering plus ones to people who won’t know a lot of people. That way you can help those guests feel comfortable, while curbing the number of guests you don’t know at your wedding.

    • nosio

      Our guest list – by virtue of having a very, very large family – is simply too big to give everyone plus ones, so we’re doing it on a case by case basis. Friends of ours who may not be married but are in long term or live-in relationships? They get plus ones. My younger cousin that I’m not really close with and has a long-distance girlfriend I’ve never met? He doesn’t. It’s ruffled some feathers (mostly my grandma’s), but seriously – my side of the family alone is over 80 people – we gotta draw the line somewhere.

    • Jennifer

      I might leave some room for ‘in case’ plus ones. I had a friend who got married 6 months after I started dating my husband (we were very serious) refuse to let me bring him to her wedding. I ended up having to cut people from our list and she and her husband got cut because of how hurt I was that she wasn’t supporting my relationship and that we had huge families and we didn’t have enough seats for friends. So… there’s that.

      • Not Sarah

        I’m fine with inviting plus ones so long as I can put a name down so you totally would have gotten one! My partner and I were in some senses very serious within five months too, but also nowhere near getting married.

    • E.

      We have a lot of guests who we didn’t know if they were dating anyone so we decided if anyone didn’t know anyone else (turned out to just be my stepmom’s niece), were living together, or we also know/are friends with the partner, and partners of the wedding party. No one got a blanket plus 1, though, their partner was just also invited. We didn’t want to give blank +1s (unless they didn’t know other guests) and we were really uncomfortable trying to judge who’s relationship is “serious enough” which is why we came up with the objective living together standard, though it is far from perfect, it takes our judgement out of it. This was one of the hardest parts about wedding planning, both coming up with and sticking to these guidelines.

      • Not Sarah

        Guest list + venue picking have been the absolute hardest parts, in my opinion. Everything else has been far less emotional and difficult.

    • SS Express

      Depends on the size of your wedding and the budget, but we either invited both halves of a couple or didn’t give a plus one at all. We don’t benefit from having randos at our wedding, we don’t benefit from having our actual friends babysitting a rando instead of participating in the wedding, and as a guest I wouldn’t want to a) feel pressured to find a date or b) spend my night babysitting a rando anyway.

      We did make two exceptions:
      1. A good friend who lives interstate and has a pretty serious girlfriend who we didn’t know about simply due to distance. (We’ve met her at another wedding since then and she’s so lovely, I’m really glad we did invite her. After two weddings she’s gotten to know most of our group now which I think is pretty important to our friend.)
      2. My uncle started dating someone a few weeks before the wedding and my mum made me invite her. It was pretty ridic and I had to redo all my seating arrangements, but it was the only annoying request my family made and it made my Nana really happy to see him happy (things don’t usually go right for him) so I just sucked it up. Even when they were off their faces grinding on the dance floor.

      • Amy March

        Please. Stop. Calling. People’s. Dates. Randos.

        You might not want to bring a date to a wedding. Many people do. They are not randos to us. Fine to not invite them but no need to insult the idea that someone might enjoy your wedding more with a date.

    • Natalie

      We invited all significant others, and gave plus ones to everyone who would be traveling from out of town. It seemed rude to ask someone to travel across the country for my wedding without giving them the option to bring a travel buddy. While I love traveling alone, I know that’s not true for everyone. In-town guests all knew other guests there, and so we didn’t invite plus-ones who were not already significant others. If we had had in-town guests who didn’t know anyone else, we would have given them plus-ones so they weren’t lonely.

      • Not Sarah

        That’s funny because we felt like local people were more likely to bring someone less serious than far away people. Like, my sister-in-law said there was no way she’d find someone serious enough to bring him across the country to her brother’s wedding within a year so we could just remove her plus one from the spreadsheet ages ago.

    • Laur

      I am really glad we did plus ones for everyone. Even though I think everyone invited knew *someone* there, plenty of people did bring a date or friend and seemed to have a better time with that person there. But that is just one person’s perspective of course!

      • Not Sarah

        Thanks for that perspective! All of these thoughts today have been really helpful. My partner is really concerned about everyone fitting comfortably into the venue space, if too many people come.

    • Leah

      We are having a long engagement and are capped at 150 for the venue so we have specific rules around plus ones:
      a) Bridal party get them regardless
      b) Married/engaged automatically get them
      c) If they’re not a or b, they get one if the plus one came with them to our engagement party
      d) If they’re a friend who knows no one else they can bring their partner

  • macrain

    Meg, I really appreciate your honesty in that post, and I really hope that you can figure out what works for you with your medication.
    I have long believed that hormones are to blame for my own mood swings, and there aren’t any good fixes for it. I’ve tried birth control, I’ve tried anti-depressants, I used to use xanax sparingly for emergencies, but my current doctor won’t prescribe it and although I could pursue other options for getting it, I haven’t yet. I’ve been to an endocrinologist who ran tests and declared everything normal. Oddly enough, I felt more evened out during my pregnancy. As the postpartum months ticked by and my period came back, I could feel those mood swings returning. I have done talk therapy throughout the years and have developed coping mechanisms, but- I wish there were some better options for when things really get bad.
    This stuff is so hard, and many times there are no clear cut answers. It’s a lot like trying to nail jello to a wall. And the energy and gumption you need to figure shit out can be hard to find when you are feeling depressed. It feels really good to me to talk about this here, so thank you.
    *All the hugs* to you if you are dealing or have dealt with mental health issues. I’m in your corner.

    • hi

      I absolutely don’t want to internet diagnose you, but this sounds very similar to PMS or PMDD symptoms – sufferers often feel their best during pregnancy, and also come out ‘normal’ on hormone tests (partly cos the ‘normal’ range is set really wide and it’s basically impossible to tell what’s ‘normal’ for you). If you suspect this, the best thing to do is write a chart of all possible symptoms (irritability, feeling low, lethargy, anxiety, sleep issues, libido issues, etc) and track when they occur. If there’s a monthly cycle you know for sure it’s your hormones. Treatment can then be harder to pin down. I’m in the UK and see the one specialist in this country for my PMDD. He has run clinical trials that have shown good results for agnus castus (but not any other natural remedy), and also only one specific birth control pill (Eloine). I’m on the latter and it has put me on an even keel after years of hell. Good luck – hormone stuff is hard and, typically for a ‘woman’s health’ issue, chronically under-funded and under-researched.

    • Anna

      Jumping in (late) to comment that I was diagnosed with PMDD in my early 20’s and I’m now on Yaz, which is FDA approved to treat it. I used to get crazy hormone swings before my period (unexplained rages or crying jags, incredibly heavy periods), but since I’ve been on Yaz (for the last 10ish years), I have felt SO much more normal. I still have mood swings, but they are *so* much less swing-y, if that makes sense. Look up the symptoms, track what you’re feeling, and find a good gynecologist or primary care doctor that’s willing to work with you.

  • Yael

    Fiance (he needs an APW nickname – A?) and I have made the decision that we are going to get legally married in August so that I can sponsor him moving to Germany. He is a teacher and wasn’t asked back to his private school after calling them out on their complete lack of academic standards (cheating is excused) so he’s been looking for a job in Europe anyway. I talked to the person at my uni who deals with these things, and he suggested that A would have more employment opportunities plus general freedom on a spousal visa, because a work visa would require having a full-time job before he could come here. He just has to pass a first year German class (so he’s freaking out about that). We’re still planning the wedding for Jan. 2019 since we’re Jewish and want a religious ceremony and friends and family. So, it’s not our “real wedding”**. And yet. The man that I love and want to be with for the rest of my life is going to be my husband, for real, legally speaking, in August, and I kind of want to call him that, or at least acknowledge it in someway because dear god I just want to be married to him. And I still need to talk to him about it because we decided this all just before he had to teach a class and we won’t talk again till Sunday, so I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts for how to deal with this. This is also part of a process of coming to terms with the fact that we won’t move back to the States because I am uninsurable under the AHCA, so, there’s been a lot of emotions happening.

    ** Please don’t in anyway interpret this as me saying non-religious or courthouse weddings as not real. Growing up, that’s what I thought I would have, and I wouldn’t have been any less married. But having a religious ceremony is deeply important to both of us, in part BECAUSE it is the Jewish legal ceremony as well.

    • Em

      I am very familiar with this getting legally married business for visa reasons before having a wedding down the line – my husband and I got married last week and will have a wedding next year! It’s a pretty weird/random kind of experience (particularly because our families and all but a couple of closest friends don’t know and probably won’t find out – we’re still tossing that one up?). We had a very simple and easy elopement in Gibraltar (easiest place in Europe to get married!) and the ceremony was nice, and it meant something to us in the moment, but I don’t think it actually feels very different now, which again I think is because of people not knowing? (And also the fact that we got married at 9:30am on a Thursday, flew home that night and I went to class the next day and he went to work…pretty anticlimatic!)

      • Yael

        Yeah, we’ll be getting married in the midst of packing up our lives, and we’re not inviting family to the courthouse (just two best friends who won’t be attendants as we’re using family for that). But, I know everyone will want to do something – we’re vacationing with his ENTIRE extended family either right before or right after, and my dad already wants to throw an engagement party, so there will be lots of celebrating around then anyway. There’s also the chance that we will use our wedding savings to help my sister move states/countries so that she can stay insured – she is a self-insured business owner in VA, which despite turning ever bluer, did not expand Medicaid so she’s barely affording her Obamacare as it is.

    • theteenygirl

      Just sending you support from one spousal sponsor to another.. we got legally married on April 5 so we could start our paperwork for him to move to Canada with me. It has taken a huge emotional toll on me that I didn’t expect, and has really upset my family. Just.. just don’t do what I did and not tell your family until after the legal ceremony that you got married. I thought I was sparing their feelings, but it really blew up in my face. So far just his and my immediate family, plus two of our friends (who witnessed) are in the know. We are still trying to decide how best to deal with this at our actual wedding in September since it went over so badly with my family.

      The hardest part for me is getting over the “but we’re already married” part. So for us, writing a really deeply meaningful ceremony is important to us and how we’re defining our wedding as the actual day we are married. We also tried to downplay the courthouse ceremony as much as possible. We didn’t do rings, we didn’t kiss, and the woman who officiated was really awesome. We told her that basically, we just wanted to say what we legally had to say and not make a big deal. So she was pretty much deadpan robot, we laughed, we said that “I do” thing, and we all clapped.

      What really upset my sister was that she wants to have a courthouse wedding and the fact hat I am making such a big deal about how it was NOT important to us is making her think that we don’t think a courthouse wedding is ‘real’ or important. Totally not true.. it’s just not important to us. It’s a really fine line to walk.

      • Yael

        Oh, that’s good to know. I had thought about not telling them, but figured I should warn them about the whole both of us leaving the country thing and by the way can you maybe store some things for me or pick me/us up from the airport and let us crash at your place. Part of me is also concerned that they’ll see this as “the wedding” because religion isn’t important to them. Will they think we’re greedy? (emotionally greedy – we’re not asking for gifts at either wedding!).

        I think we won’t exchange rings, but I kind of wanted to wear white? Maybe I’ll just get over that.

        • theteenygirl

          We sound quite similar! I did NOT want to tell anyone, and ended up telling my mum a couple days before when she was mad and said “why don’t you just get married at city hall and be done with it”. And then I wasn’t going to tell my sisters but she made me.. and.. that didn’t go over well. I thought we were over that but now she is trying to dampen the blow of me not inviting my grandfather’s daughter (her and I are not close and we are only inviting 26 people) by asking if she can tell my grandfather that we had a courthouse ceremony already. I explained to her that it hurt that she wants to tell him this because it comes off as though she wants to make him feel like our wedding “isn’t a real wedding because we’re already married” so it’s okay that his daughter isn’t invited.

          I’m just really trying to make our wedding feel special despite the legal circumstances we’re in, and I’m finding family drama is getting in the way of it.

          I will say though.. if you want to wear white to the legal one.. wear white! It’s up to you how special or not special you want to make your day (and really that goes for any day). I wore black and grey. But we took our friends who witnessed out for dinner to say thanks for taking the time off work and being there for us – so it was a nice way to cap it off.

        • Shirley Schmidt

          i would say make of both weddings what you want them to be and make each as meaningful as you want, too. It also helps if you decide how to frame them when you talk to friends and family, I think. We are having a small family only legal ceremony a whole year before the big wedding and have decided to be upfront with people about why (basically, we’re broke and impatient) and people have been surprisingly ok with that. We are still figuring out how to make both meaningful in different ways as we’re exchanging rings and diamcenis taking my name after the first wedding (currently thinking of the second wedding as reaffirming/making vows to each other in front of our community) but it’s working out quite well.
          Our officiant and their wife actually did a similar thing to you: legal ceremony for immigration reasons and Jewish ceremony a year or so later. We all knew they were legally married and yet their religious ceremony was the most moving and meaningful wedding I have been to.

          • Yael

            Having two weddings isn’t ideal for us, but like you said, we’re broke (ish) and impatient – we cannot manage another 2 years apart, plus keeping two separate households in different countries is expensive. I am super excited about what we’re planning for the wedding – very personalized religious ceremony, the stationary (which I designed), exchanging rings, signing the ketubah, our community coming together, so you’re right, that does help. I think I’m also projecting a bit onto my family (not that at least one of them won’t eventually make some snarky/mean comment) – I feel a little selfish for having two weddings, however simple either/both are.

        • SS Express

          You should totally wear white. Even if you don’t think of it as your Real Wedding, it’s a wedding-adjacent event like an engagement party or bridal shower would be. Plus there are so many cute white dresses and so few occasions to wear them! Make the most of it!

          Signed,
          Someone who went through seven white dresses at events other than the wedding

        • I think you should wear white if you want to! It’s not like life has a limit on how much white you can wear, and I don’t think your other ceremony will feel less special because of it…

      • Good luck with the immigration process. (I immigrated to Canada too. Preparing the app was quite the task…)

  • wannabee

    How far in advance are/did you get back in touch with your vendors? We’re just about 4 months out (getting married September 16) and since we’re planning on early-mid June for invitations, I want to start checking back in with the restaurant where we’re having our reception/photog etc. Is this too early? Not early enough? We’re not getting married where we live, so it’s all email/phone…

    • Jess

      If it’s on your mind, check in. If they didn’t set up a timeline for when they want to hear from you, check in and set one up!

      Especially w/ venue and catering stuff, which has a lot more moving pieces, now seems reasonable for an initial “Hey, I’d like to start up on a plan to make decisions – let’s meet up in a week or two.”

      Photog/Florist, I think we had a 2 month meeting – like they said, “Hey, if I haven’t heard from you by 2 months out, I’ll give you a call and we’ll start working!” DJ was just supplied a list of special dances/”definitely play” songs about 1 month out, and we had a (second from the initial hiring) meeting the day before.

    • Call Me Penny

      We were married last year on September 15 also not where we live, with our reception in a restaurant. All excellent choices – assurances from the other side! We did everything pretty much through email in the run up, and it would have been around this time last year that I checked in with everyone to make more solid plans, i.e. arranging to meet the florist the next time we were visiting, asking the restaurant to confirm what they will need from us and when in terms of final numbers, asking the band and dj when they would want a list from us, and so on. We just trusted that they would let us know if we were too early etc. So a very roundabout way to say check in if you feel it would help!

  • Jane

    This week I started studying for the CA bar exam in addition to working full-time. And it has not been fun. I’m trying to do like 3 hours a day, which is so much on top of my actual job, but so much less than they recommend (8-10 hours a day) and less than I studied for my home state exam (like 6).

    Plus, my wedding is in August. We have done almost all the planning (even a lot of the small details) and we will have a couple weeks when I’m done with the exam but STILL. No more coming home from work and mindlessly crafting while watching TV for me.

    And, since I’m moving after the wedding, this is also the end of my job, my last months of living near various siblings and their children, etc.

    Anyway – no real question or anything. It will all work out. But, ugh. I wish I didn’t have to do another stupid bar exam.

    • Amy March

      Good luck!

    • Call Me Penny

      Oof, that sounds like a lot. My husband was also studying while we were planning, and I know he found coming home after a long day and opening the books really tough. No real advice, just solidarity from afar

    • Yael

      I am going to be getting married a few months before I turn in and defend my dissertation (which is still two years off, thankfully), so you have my sympathies and best wishes!

      • Jane

        Good luck to you too!!

    • Shirley Schmidt

      Solidarity from another full-time lawyer cramming in a necessary but pointless professional course and planning a wedding! I wish you a beverage of your choice and a couple of stolen hours of crafting.

      • Jane

        Thanks! Good luck!

    • somanypseudonyms

      So much solidarity, from a similar boat. (Unfortunately, boat-similarity means I also have absolutely no useful thoughts.)

  • Another Meg

    Any Chicago area APWers with new babies?

    I’m ready to pop, living in Albany Park, and I don’t know that many people. It only occurred to me recently that this may be a good place to locate some smart women in a similar position.

    • Mjh

      Chi in the house! I’m on the south side, in Hyde Park, though I trek up for noon o kabab and a khayyam grocery run every now and then. No baby here, just wanted to represent and say congratulations.

  • Natalie

    I’m pregnant!! really excited, but also really nervous because I’m almost 5 weeks and I don’t really *feel* pregnant. Such a weird feeling to wish for morning sickness just to feel better about the pregnancy.

    • Ashlah

      Congratulations!! I had basically zero symptoms in my first trimester, so I totally understand where you’re coming from. I have been super duper grateful for my easy pregnancy (knock on wood), but I was extra relieved when I started showing and when I started feeling movement (and of course whenever we got to see or hear the baby).

    • Another Meg

      Congratulations! First trimester is a crazy time.

    • macrain

      Congrats!!
      I seriously needed a project to distract me, I was so antsy about waiting… waiting for my first doctor’s appointment and first ultrasound, it seems to take forever! And in the mean time I was just hanging out knowing I was knocked up and not telling a soul.
      Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy. <3

    • BSM

      Congratulations!!! So many babies around these parts!

      That’s exactly how I felt at week 5, but week 6 brought nighttime nausea, food aversions, and BLOATING. So much bloating. Enjoy it while you can, because you might feel pregnant sooner than you think :)

      • ART

        OMG the bloating! If I don’t actively control my abs I look like I’m 5 months instead of 7 weeks. I am like how do I already not fit into pants?!

        • BSM

          I’m 14 weeks and still appear “fluffy” slash perpetually like I just finished my 2nd burrito.

          As someone who had fully embraced the high-waisted trend, I cannot recommend investing in a couple pairs of maternity jeans early on enough. While I could still button my stretchiest pairs around 11-12 weeks, it was hella uncomfortable. Go for it!

    • Congratulations!

    • disqus_S7fhm5v1Ob

      5 weeks is such a weird time. As is the whole first trimester. Okay the whole pregnancy. I found it hard to know what I “should” be feeling (emotionally) at 5 weeks though. Congrats!

    • ART

      Yay! Congratulations! It’s truly a weird feeling. My morning sickness just showed up at 6.5 weeks. Boob soreness came around 5 though, that’s been fun! :)

  • sshintaku

    Does anyone have any personal experience with doula vs midwife for having a baby at te hospital? Medication tends to freak me out and right now, the thought of an epidural is more scary than having a baby (who knows if that will change). I’m trying to figure out if hiring a doula would be worth it for me.

    • another prego (former)

      I ended up having a midwife in training for my birth, she happened to be available that day/night, and it was awesome to have her there! She was really there for me and helped a lot with labor and recommendations for what to do next. where as the doctor only showed up for a little bit in the end. if I ever do it again, I would get a midwife for sure! in my state we have certified midwives that work with the doctors and are part of your insurance plans, where as you would have to hire a doula on your own dime.

      • sshintaku

        From what I’ve been reading, it seems like it’s a lot of either or (doctor OR midwife ) but not both. Were you able to have both because she was in training?

        • another prego (former)

          yeah, I don’t really know how that works otherwise. It was kind of a happy fluke that she was there.

        • E.

          My mom is a doula and you can have a doula with either a doctor or a midwife, but I can’t imagine a scenario in which you would have both a doctor and a midwife. The doctor/midwife is the primary medical professional at the birth so you only need one. My sister is pregnant right now and chose a midwife at a birth center rather than a doctor and at a hospital because she wanted to limit medical intervention if possible

          • Ashlah

            I’m planning to give birth at a birth center with a midwife, but the majority of their patients actually choose to give birth at the nearby hospital, with the midwife as their primary caregiver. I know that if I transfer during labor, my midwife would go with me, but I’m not sure if a doctor would then also be involved? Or if they would leave it all to the midwife. Maybe something worth asking at my next appointment.

          • E.

            I have wondered about that too! I would definitely want to know, just to know what to expect in that scenario.

        • Hannah B

          Some practices have both doctors and midwives and you see everyone. When I gave birth, I started out with the midwife but once it became apparent that the I would need help (I had a vacuum delivery) , the doctor was called in. OBs are surgeons, so it’s nice if they are available to stitch you up given the amount of training they have. I was in a hospital.

    • ZLMT

      A doula is a support person for you, and a midwife has medical training. I did not have a midwife, since I had an OB (although their practice has a midwife, so I could have ended up with her). I loved having a doula – she was very reassuring, and was also able to split duties with my husband during my very long labor. I liked having someone who was knowledgable about birth, supported what I wanted, and was a calm presence in the room. Also, you can also have a doula and have an epidural (which I did).

    • emilyg25

      I have a lot of anxiety about medical procedures, so I chose a midwife and a freestanding birth center. We did end up transferring to a hospital and I got an epidural, which was so much easier and more wonderful than I expected, haha. Anyway, yeah, a midwife is a medical professional who can attend your birth. A doula is a support person who can help you and your partner. I do sometimes wonder if a doula would have helped me avoid the epi, but I decided not to spend that money and I don’t regret it. If you have an OB who doesn’t have a record of attending med-free births, then it might be more worthwhile to you.

      • sshintaku

        My biggest fear of epidural is like not being able to move around. Did you find that to be anxiety inducing at all or was the pain relief enough that it didn’t matter?

        • AGCourtney

          For me, the latter. I hate-hate-hate needles but at that point I didn’t even care. It was such a relief. It actually didn’t even occur to me to be worried about not being able to move. I get to rest *and* not feel pain? score.

        • emilyg25

          Didn’t care. My biggest fear was a needle going into my spine, but I didn’t care at all. I was in labor for 36 hours before I got the epidural. My son was turned sideways (not anterior or posterior) so I had crazy back labor and the only thing that helped was standing. With the epidural, I was able to actually get a little sleep and relax enough that he could turn. I could still feel when to push, and was able to get up and walk around as soon as he was born. I think you should choose a care provider who you trust will listen to you as much as possible. My midwife never pushed one way or the other and just made me feel included in the process.

    • StevenPortland

      Of course, my situation isn’t first hand exactly, but we hired a doula to assist with our older son’s birth. She was fantastic and I highly recommend getting a doula! Think of it like a Day Of Wedding coordinator. She’ll be focused on you and making sure your labor is handled according to your wishes. The nurses and OB will be focused on the medical stuff and all the other patients. The doula will only focus on you.

    • I used a midwife practice for my maternity care/delivery and I hired a doula when I was like 34 weeks pregnant. AND I’M SO GLAD I GOT THE DOULA. I wound up having a 36hr labor that ended in a C-section – the complete opposite experience I planned to have. My husband is not the most sensitive guy (though he totally surprised me in labor & was amazing) so I knew I needed someone else there. My doula was so great: helped me move into different positions, helped me focus and breathe, kept me hydrated & fed (before I got my epidural), and she sat with me while I was being stitched up post-surgery while my husband was off with the baby. She also came after birth to check in & did stuff around my house! Seriously I can’t say enough about doulas and I happily recommend my doula to everyone pregnant woman I know in the Twin Cities.

  • Jess

    In honor of Mental Health Awareness week, I wanted to follow up! Thank you to everybody who posted encouraging stories to my request two weeks ago. You gave me the courage I needed to set up my appointment for today.

    I’ll be going on Lexapro starting tomorrow, while still working with my counselor to keep an eye on things. I told my boss, who was super understanding, my bff, who was super happy for me, and R, who was very proud of me.

    • Yael

      Good luck with the Lexapro! I’ve heard both good and bad things (as in activating suicidal ideation, not just weight gain) about it, so you just have to see how it works for you. Regardless, you’re taking an incredibly important step and I wish you so much future health and happiness!

      • Jess

        We did talk about the ideation (monitoring thru counselor and checking in with R are my current plans) and the weight gain (unclear if tied to the drugs or resuming appetite. Also will monitor, because with an ED history, swings in my weight can be very much a problem emotionally).

        I’m still crossing my fingers that this can be a relatively low-side effect option to start with.

        • Yael

          So my original comment was written to imply no direct experiences with Lexapro, because privacy/shame, but since that you mentioned ED, I feel I should tell you about one weird side effect I had when I took it. It made me nauseous for weeks. Like, dry heaving for hours a day. I basically stopped eating for close to a week. It was worth it, because not wanting to hurt myself was worth it, but it was still one of the worst physical experiences of my life. It’s an incredibly rare side effect, and I don’t want to make you more nervous about taking it, but I thought you should know. I ultimately switched to Zoloft, which has given me no side effects. I can’t remember why we originally started with Lexapro (it made sense at the time!) but it was a rough start. Be healthy.

          • Jess

            That is good to know! I don’t tend to experience nausea unless I have a migraine, and my ED was closer to anorexia, but I will be aware that it may come up and not write it off as somethings g else!

            According to my dr today, Lexapro has for her seen the most amount of physical tolerance, so it’s a common starting point. That may be why they started you there!

    • CP2011

      Awesome! I’m transitioning off the lexapro to sertraline due to the vivid dreams i talked about as side effects, but i can tell the difference with my anxiety/depression as I wean off, meaning that the lexapro works for that! Best wishes for you!

      • Jess

        Thanks! I have super vivid dreams already, but it’ll be interesting to see how that goes for me!

        • CP2011

          I did before starting the medicine as well — and I had night terrors as a kid– so I think I may be more prone to them anyways. I mean, I’ll take vivid dreams over the way I feel now/felt before starting meds, but I’ve reached a place where I want to see if I can sleep regularly AND be happy and not have intrusive thoughts.

    • toomanybooks

      I started on Lexapro and Vyvanse at the same time and I honestly think the Vyvanse goes hand in hand with the Lexapro in helping anxiety/depression (given that it gives me a little more energy/focus and yet also calms me down – so I don’t feel like the only thing I can do is lay in bed). It’s kind of hard to say what the effects are but overall I think it has really helped (again, along with Vyvanse). I definitely haven’t had any negative side effects – in fact – one person mentioned nausea. I was suffering from I guess what you would call chronic nausea for no apparent reason and the doctor and specialist I went to said “idk it’s pretty much just hormones/anxiety probs.” I’ve had a lot of physical manifestations of anxiety and count nausea among them. Anyway, the nausea has pretty much gone away since I’ve been on Lexapro. Also, I don’t have full physical anxiety if I post a Facebook comment asking someone why they’re playing devils advocate for the alt-right, for example, anymore. So that’s nice.

      I don’t think I’ve had weight gain? And definitely no suicidal thoughts or anything, but that’s also never been my issue.

      • Jess

        Oh that’s good to know!

  • I’m debating coming off birth control about six months before the wedding. I have PCOS and I’d like to get to know my cycle before we start TTC post-wedding without wasting too much time. Also, it’d be nice not worry about whether the wedding or honeymoon will coincide with pill related acne, anxiety and month long PMS symptoms. However, we’ve never really succeeded at sex with barrier methods (I’ve been on various pills since my teens, so they’ve never been a necessity), and I can see us giving up on them before the wedding. Does anyone have any recs for non hormonal birth control that’s appropriate for six months or so?

    • Anna

      It’s more a long term option, but I LOVE my non-hormonal copper IUD. They last for up to 12 years, but I will only have mine for about 2 before we start TTC and I personally would have found it 100% worth it for only 6 months. I’ve found the side effects to be absolutely fine (way more manageable than hormonal BC). Getting it in was not comfortable but I was fine to go to work the next day. I know that others have found it terrible to have inserted, and the side effects to be unmanageable, so it’s very much a personal thing! But depending on what you’re willing to live with, it might be a good option.

      • I really like the idea of IUDs, but the impression I get is the NHS aren’t keen to insert them unless it’s for a minimum period of time (barring medical reasons to remove it) because of the time and cost implications. I wish I’d come off BC years ago, tbh, and gone for an IUD, but it was easy to stick with the familiar methods.

      • Natalie

        I loved my copper IUD for its efficacy and convenience, but the insertion was HELL. Days of the worst cramps of my life. It would not have been worth it to me for a short-term (less than 1 or 2 years) option. Also, some women have wonky menstrual cycle changes and lower fertility for a few months when they have the IUD removed, so it’s likely not a great option here.

    • Laur

      What about diaphragm?

    • SS Express

      Condoms really are great once you get used to them. I can’t use any hormonal contraception so we’ve been 100% condoms for about 4 years now, the sensation isn’t quite the same but once you’re used to it you don’t notice. So easy, so effective, no issues with stopping whenever you want. And unlike other forms, they come in ribbed and studded (or both!) varieties. YMMV but personally I find that a huge plus. And the cleanup is much easier too!

      • Every time we’ve tried before, we’ve given up and ditched them mid session, which is why I’m leery of relying on them. I might get some textured ones to play around with and see if that makes a difference. Psychologically, the fact that it’ll almost certainly take a lot of time, money and effort for me to get pregnant on purpose means there’s less impetus to keep a condom on when we know we’ll enjoy ourselves more without, but part of me feels like it’ll be sod’s law if we don’t bother with any contraceptives and I won’t be able to fit in my dress or drink at the wedding!

  • Katie

    Hi ladies! So much to share, but I’ll leave it at that: I realized how crazy, madly, insanely in love I am with my husband. That’s all. I hope everyone has a good week! I’ve been kinda reading the HH comments but not participating due to how crazy life has been lately (plus I work most Fridays and it’s hard to get on a computer)

  • Engaged Chicago

    Wedding magic alert!!!

    I tried on dresses last weekend, fell in love with a few, then magically came across my favorite, in my size, NEVER WORN, for $800 on EBay!!!! If that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what is. It retails for $2000 and It arrived yesterday. Eee!!!

    • CMT

      Holy crap, that’s gorgeous! Nice find!

      • Engaged Chicago

        Thank you! Im so amped and I can’t believe how much I enjoyed wedding dress shopping because I was afraid I’d be too hard on my body. The mirrors, lighting and material are so much better than reg stores.

        I’m still thinking a bit about “the one that got away” which was my second pick: https://enzoani.com/view-collection/blue/archive/juri?

    • Hannah B

      Dude that’s less than wholesale! Congrats :)

  • Lisa

    Buzzing by to say that France was awesome, I have shingles, and my husband is officially a doctor! I’ll be back next week with more details. Until then I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/88bf7fc5c78297a9fee384cb3c30dcbef8e63f5c6d6f98d11dec728535d7855f.jpg

    • Amy March

      So glad this wasn’t a picture of your shingles! You two look so happy. You’ve been to the doctor right?

      • Lisa

        Lol, that would have been quite unpleasant!

        And, ooooh, yes. I had no idea what the spots were and went to the doctor as soon as I noticed them. I’m on a fun cocktail of nausea-inducing medicine in the company of my whole family, but this is too exciting of a day to slow down!

    • JC

      Best summary ever.

    • MC

      Congrats to you & your husband, yay for France, and boo for shingles! Hope you are better soon!

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      Congratulations! You both look so happy!

  • KayKee

    ugh the AHCA… I can’t believe so many “moderate” Republicans voted Yes. My optimistic side thinks that will just make them easier to replace in 2018 and that the Senate won’t allow anything this terrible through, so it will be ok. But the realistic side of me is totally defeated and knows it will not ‘be ok’ with Republican majority in the House, Senate, and WH.
    My husband recently joined my small business and the only reason I felt comfortable with him giving up his corporate health insurance option was because of Obamacare and knowing that we would have access to insurance. We are privileged that the high costs of our ACA plan are manageable. But now if the AHCA or something similar goes through, I told him I do not feel comfortable getting pregnant / having a baby unless he goes back to a job with health insurance. Which he understands, and I think agrees, but I get the feeling he doesn’t actually think it (AHCA) will happen, so he is not as worried.
    I am raging and deeply disappointed that our life plan is threatened – we moved cross-country and have been planning to grow the business together, we’ve been planning our life and future parenthood with the expectation that we would both have flexible hours and a short commute at my company. And now? who knows.
    And I also know that in the grand scheme of Americans, we have it so damn good – no major health issues, and it should be relatively easy for him to find a job with good health insurance. I can’t imagine the stress and fear that so many other Americans are feeling now. Somehow we have to keep on resisting… let’s hope we can stop this madness.

    • Yael

      My sister is a self-insured small business owner (personal trainer). I told her to move to MA, NY, or CA. Or Canada, but all of those mean completely starting over with new clientele. She’s been running her business for 6-7 years now, but what other choice does she have?

    • I hear this, I’m (mostly) self-employed & self-insured, and may end up having stuff that falls in the pre-existing category depending on how that shakes out. Figuring all that out is a stressful prospect AND I know that so many people are going to be in such a worse situation.

      How unknown it all is is all a bit of a mindf*ck — Like, if/when the AHCA passes I don’t think it’s going to look like it does now, but what *will* it look like? What specifically should I be planning for? Should I be trying to get as much medical stuff as possible looked at now in case I can’t afford insurance next year, or should I be avoiding it so I don’t have a list of pre-existing conditions? My only cold-comfort is that I think this is going to go pretty badly for the GOP in the long-run, but that doesn’t help the millions of people who could lose coverage now :/

      • somanypseudonyms

        the “if/maybe/when” is what gets me, too. :/

    • toomanybooks

      Arrrgh. Yeah. My fiancée works for the federal government and I can’t decide if that means her health care is more or less or the same amount likely to change dramatically if this all goes through??? I was going to get on her insurance when we got married bc I figured it would be cheaper to both be on the same insurance, but I do have insurance through my job so I don’t know if I want to change now because I don’t know what anything means anymore!

  • Emily

    I got passed over for a huge promotion today and it’s weird because I’m angry as hell but I didn’t even WANT it. I actually discussed the possibility with my fiance beforehand and we both knew it was the wrong fit for me and I would have turned it down if offered but still. I feel like I work a thankless job with zero support and I just wanted a little recognition. I’m trying to not be resentful towards the guy who did get it (my equal job-wise) but it just feels like I’m pulling a rock up a endless hill. I think I needed one last push to get me to start applying to other jobs and this is definitely it.

    • Kelly

      It is but like you said perhaps this will spur the change you’re looking for. Best of Luck!

      • Emily

        That’s the idea! And job searching sucks, so I definitely need that motivation.

    • Rejection is so painful, even if you didn’t want it… I hope you find somewhere where you are valued for your contributions in the near future (or that your work situation changes and they start to communicate their appreciation of your work).

      • Emily

        Thank you! I started to work on my resume this weekend, so it’s a start :)

    • Meghan Zero

      I went through a similar process this week, except I really DID want the promotion. Also feeling very unrecognized and unsupported even though everyone I work with who knew I was going for the position knew it was basically a perfect fit for me. I think I did everything I could on my end to make it happen, but in the end it was office politics or just a numbers game. Knowing it was out of my control doesn’t really help either, though!

      • Emily

        I’m sorry you went though this – it’s even rougher when you do want it. Hugs to you! Hopefully you can find a place or position that does value you.

    • emmers

      7 years ago I applied for a job/promotion at my company, interviewed, and ended up coming in 2nd place to an outside hire. It honestly hurt for years- I even still occasionally get pangs, though it’s much rarer now. Looking back, I can see how I wasn’t ready. But i had a lot of hurt, and it did feel good to apply for outside jobs.

      It took awhile, but I eventually got a good offer. I actually used it to stay at my same company and negotiated for a raise, but it felt soooo good to have that external validation, and I think good for others to see that I could leave.

      But anyways- the rejection can feel so personal, even when it’s just business. Hang in there. It will get better, with time, even if the solution is leaving.

  • Shirley Schmidt

    Feeling extra burnt out this week. Fiancé and I are both studying part time and working full time and I cannot wait for the studying to be over. Because we live on a tiny island we have to fly to the mainland for class, which used to be a couple of weekends a month…except now it’s every weekend and was mid-week last week for exams too. The constant travelling and juggling studying and work (thank you colleague who went on honeymoon and dumped a deal on me) is just knackering. That and new copper iud causing basically constant period and I’m tired all the time.
    BUT it’s over on 6 June! I cannot wait for a summer of luxuriating in weekends again. Studying HH people, what joyous things have you got planned for when you regain your free time?

    • Jennifer

      ha! reading things other than schoolbooks? actually being able to think about stuff other than yoga (I know it’s not the same but I’m in YTT yoga teacher training right now and it’s all consuming).

  • Life etiquette (ish?) question — Any thoughts on giving a gift as a thank you for a gift? We recently received a really significant (financial) gift toward my student loans, and I’m overwhelmed with how to express my gratitude. I like giving presents, but is that tonally weird in this context?

    • surnameless

      I’d go for it! Obviously you won’t be able to remotely match the value of the original (nor are you trying to) but a little token of appreciation is fine. Something that says ‘thank you’ while still being cheap/small enough to reassure the giver that you know how to spend responsibly and their faith in giving you the gift in the first place wasn’t misplaced. ;)

    • Amy March

      I think it’s weird if it’s expensive. Something sentimental (framed picture, scrapbook, souvenir of a shared memory) might be nice, or something homemade (cookies, afghan, limoncello). But a thoughtful card or letter thanking them is all you really need!

    • Essssss

      I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of gifts from my MIL. I’ve found that a thoughtful letter goes a long way, or something homemade. I’ve also gone the photo album route after we did a family trip together that they covered, for example. Something from the heart rather than trying to match the magnitude, if that makes sense?

    • SS Express

      I think giving a gift is a nice gesture as long as, like others have said, it’s more of a sentimental/token type gift. An expensive gift would seem weird to me – like, I gave you that money for your loans, if I would have preferred expensive stuff for myself I would have bought that and given you less money – but if you (like me) are the gift-giving type I think something like home made baked goods or just some small item you know they’d like would be appreciated.

      Another thing you can do is kind of keep them in the loop on the impact of their gift down the track. Like texting them at the end of the month to say “we just finished balancing our budget, it’s such a great feeling to see such a small student loan balance now”, or letting them know when you have it all paid off and saying how happy you are that you don’t have several more years to go.

    • Thanks for the advice y’all! I went sentimental/picture route (nothing I did would be even cloooose to matching the value of the original) & the giving updates is a great idea too :)

  • somanypseudonyms

    So I realize the stereotype — and the genuine, painful difficulty — in a lot of couples’ wedding-planning is the presence of family with Too Many Strong Opinions In Conflict, but I’m in sort of the opposite situation, and it’s also turning out to be really emotionally rough as the wedding approaches, and I’m hunting for advice.

    Neither my parents nor my fiancé’s parents have any opinions about our wedding. They’re thrilled about our marriage — yay! — so it’s not as though it comes out of neglect or disinterest, and having negative feelings about not-dealing-with-other-people’s-opinions feels like I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth or tempting fate or pick your traditional phrase. But both my partner and I really care about the wedding itself, too: partly because aesthetics are important and take effort and time (he’s a designer), but largely because this is the big glorious chance to gather together so many people we love in one place, and because we both think that taking ceremony seriously and having people witness this decision and commitment matter, that it’s meaningful. Our collective parents are just sort of ¯_(ツ)_/¯ about it when we ask them whether there are any traditions or events they want included, whether they care about X decision or Y trade-off; the most I’ve been able to get out of mine is that my dad does want to walk me down the aisle (with my mom, because he’s not like that), and everything else from either set is “oh, whatever you want; that seems fine; we don’t really have an opinion.”

    Part of this is maybe because they both had very different weddings from the American standard: my fiancé’s parents got married in China at the height of the Cultural Revolution, so ceremony and tradition were both fraught and out of reach, and my parents got married just after coming out as atheists, with only parts of their conservative Catholic families in attendance. I get that weddings might seem unimportant coming from either of those backgrounds — a fancy ceremony didn’t wind up mattering to the success of either marriage, after all — and it’s not like I disagree with the fact that the marriage is the important part that lasts. But…. the fact that the wedding isn’t the core of the marriage doesn’t mean it can’t matter, right? We’re not ourselves set on a Big White Wedding, either, after all; we’re set on a big meaningful time with the people we love. Part of that includes our parents: we’ve both had some really uncomfortable and distant and actively-hostile times in our relationship with our respective parents in the past, and the fact that that’s not so much the case any more is something we want to celebrate.

    I know that my parents’ and future in-laws’ disinterest in plans for the ceremony or weekend doesn’t equate to disinterest in us and our marriage. It feels painful, though, especially as we get closer to the date (three months out next week) and decisions start to get locked in. I mentioned to my mother last weekend that I was really looking forward to getting ready together the morning of the wedding, that it seems very symbolic, that I think it’ll be really emotional for me. She shrugged.

    …all of which is to say, I guess, that I need advice. I know I can’t change how anyone feels, and that I don’t actually know what’s going on inside anyone’s head; thanks, therapy over the years. But I *also* don’t really know how to handle how I feel about it, especially as this thing starts scooping up more and more of my mind every day, and it’s all tangled up with the many complicated feelings and stressors (both emotional and logistical) of Wedding-Ing.

    Thoughts? :(

    • JC

      Can you frame questions as more informational rather than wedding-specific? For example, “what are your favorite types of flowers?” or “what was the best song you danced to at X’s wedding?” You can even say, “I’m just curious about your thoughts!” and really take the wedding context out of it. This doesn’t help so much with traditions, but it might help you add a few touches that feel like they’re tailored to your families.

      • Jess

        I can’t reply to the original post, but drumming up A Thing that they are interested helps. R’s parents took this track (I don’t care! We’re so happy for you!), but they volunteered to host a rehearsal dinner and just that involvement helped. I asked R’s mom for help making a thing, and it got her invested.

        Whether you ask or just assign, once you get started, there may be more opinions coming!

    • Yael

      I’m kind of in the same boat. I grew up with my mother telling me to hope that her mother was still alive when I got married, because then someone would plan my wedding for me (my mother was completely uninvolved in planning her own wedding, and I don’t think she really cared). My father always told me he would spring for the price of a ladder (as in, he’d support me eloping). Neither of my parents is religious or emotional connected to any spiritual traditions. A’s mother is humanist Jewish and his father is Catholic, so I’m pretty sure they had a non-religious ceremony. A’s brother probably had a religious ceremony because he married a preacher’s daughter. We want a feminist, egalitarian Conservative Jewish (as in, Conservative movement) ceremony. No one in our family 1. knows what this entails or, 2. understands why we want this. It is lonely when you want to talk about why you’re incorporating this detail or that with the people you love and they just don’t/can’t care (even tho honestly, I can’t blame them because I wouldn’t care if it wasn’t my wedding. I didn’t care about any of the details for my father’s wedding to my stepmother, and I love them both dearly).

      My solution (and I’m not nearly as far along as you, so not sure if this will work long-term), has been to talk to my best friend. She’s not a super wedding person, but she is happy to listen because it makes me happy, and she is capable of appreciating the meaning behind the decisions. The other thing I do is just think about how happy these details make *me*. The details matter because they matter to me, regardless of anyone else even noticing them. For instance: I am SO excited about these benchers (collections of prayers for meals/weddings): http://www.animzemirot.com. I have wanted these benchers for my wedding since before I even met A. Their language is beautiful, and benchers make a great wedding favor (at least among the observant Jews we know). But the reality of this wedding that we are planning is such that I doubt more than a handful of guests will take one home, because most of our friends and family members either aren’t religious or are actually much more traditional than we are. No one will want them. I could order more traditional benchers and then at least some people would take them. But I’m going to just get a small run of these benchers and if they’re all left over at the end of the wedding, well then I have benchers to spare for the rest of my life. That’s how happy they make me.

      Your family members have/had different wedding planning priorities than you. That’s ok! It doesn’t mean that you’re not a priority to them. Care about the things that you care about, and find a wedding person you can vent/squeal to.

  • This has been a really difficult week. I thought my cat was probably constipated, so I made an appointment on Monday to take him to the vet on Wednesday. But by Tuesday night, I realized he was definitely constipated and not feeling well and not eating/drinking (which I thought was because his tummy hurt), so I began to get more worried and that continued until I got to the vet Wednesday morning. I told him that we’d get him all fixed up and it would be okay. Turns out though, that he was not constipated, but that he was gravely ill with fluid in his abdomen. We did X-rays and rush ordered an expert opinion. It turned out that for the three potential causes for what he had were a tumor, a bacterial infection, or an infectious disease (and all but the tumor were highly unlikely in his case, according to the vet). An ultrasound and surgery or some sort of invasive procedure would have been the next steps to figure out what the actual problem was. Two of the possible causes were probably fatal even if I tried to treat them (but I could have possibly prolonged his life with medication/treatment), and the potentially treatable option didn’t seem great either since the chances were low and Booboo was almost 13 years old and already had kidney failure, cardiac arrhythmia and borderline diabetes. The vet was pretty confident that the cause was a tumor, and I didn’t think Booboo would have handled surgery or treatment well given the problems he already had (just 25% kidney function, for example). So I put made the decision to put him down on Wednesday night. I miss him so much. He was there for me during the worst time of my life (when my ex left me/us for someone else), and, that experience made me feel like Booboo was my only family (where I live). Well, he was actually my only family here since I live in another country from my biological family. Booboo was the most affectionate, “dog-like” cat I’ve ever met (I was not a “cat person” before meeting Booboo, but he converted me from a “dog person” to a “cat person”), and it’s just been really hard. And the after-emotions of actually having made the decision to put him down, well, those have been hard too. I’ve never had to make that difficult decision before, and making it on behalf of someone else with any prior input from them on their wishes was pretty awful. I keep telling myself that it would have gotten more painful for him and if he had understood that he probably would have wanted the route of less pain. So, yeah, these last couple days have felt like some sort of nightmare….

    • somanypseudonyms

      Oh my god, I’m so sorry. I don’t have any words of wisdom, but I hope you know that strangers on the internet are thinking of you with love.

      • Thank you… I mean, I know lots of people go through this, but it was so sudden it surprised us all. The vet had said at our last visit that he was doing extremely well his blood tests were wonderful and the kidney-failure medicine was doing an excellent job of postponing his decline. But the vet said the fluid problem was one that hits suddenly and goes from 0 to 100 and I couldn’t have known or prevented it. I still feel bad though because I had felt he was “sad” for about 1.5 weeks but I had nothing logical to point to. Just that he seemed like his litter box patterns were different (but I had given him a probiotic recommended by the vet, so I thought that was why.) But the vet said that even if I had brought him in as soon as I felt he was “sad,” they probably wouldn’t have caught it because it wouldn’t have been advanced enough…

        • rg223

          Hugs. It sounds like you did everything you could have done. Be kind to yourself.

    • Ashlah

      Oh, I am so, so sorry for the loss of your wonderful kitty. What a difficult, but ultimately loving choice. Sending you love.

    • emmers

      I’m really sorry. It sounds like you made the best decision you could for booboo- the best out of a bad situation.

    • Natalie

      I am so sorry. FWIW, if I were your cat, I would want you to make the decision that you made. Maybe that sounds weird…. but I think maybe we have a healthier attitude towards death and suffering with our pets than we do with ourselves and I hope that the options we have for our pets will be available choices for myself when my time comes.

    • Thank you all….

    • BSM

      I’m so sorry. Losing a pet is awful. It sounds like you took the best course of action you could for Booboo. Take care of yourself.

    • LadyJanee

      I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s heartbreaking to lose a pet but you made sure Booboo’s life ended with dignity and without prolonged pain and illness. He knew you loved him.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Ohhhhh, I’m so sorry. You made a difficult choice out of love.

  • Anel B

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU to APW for not posting some token “Mexican Inspired” Cinco de Mayo wedding because honestly? It’s so offensive.

  • eichalex

    hey APW – I can’t get the code to come thru… I’m so looking fwd to purchasing my wedding band thru Noemie!