Survey Results, Part II

Today, Part II of the APW reader survey results (here is Part I). This part is about content, and it’s a long one….
First of all, lucky for me, you guys like every kind of content I publish, more or less. The vast majority commented that you thought the mix was about right (very few of you thought it was ‘scattered.’) A few of you talked about the blog’s transition ‘from a wedding blog to a married blog,’ and I wanted to discuss that. The site currently has about the balance I was aiming for – lots of wedding content, some married content, some personal content, a little bit of life content, and it should hold about steady here. A wedding blog about getting married. Or something. Not a married blog. It’s going to stay my blog, more or less. Lots of community generated content, yes yes yes, but it’s always going to be my voice that’s the through-line. That’s what feels right to me as a writer, and that’s what I like to read on other blogs, so I’m sticking to it.

The first serious surprise of the survey was that you guys like the marriage/reclaiming wife discussions the best, with 59% of you picking it as a favorite. This blew me away, since those are inevitably the posts where someone’s head explodes all over the comments. Because of that, I had a feeling that many of you HATED these posts. But it turns out you don’t!

Second place was, no-surprise, wedding graduates, with 57% of you loving them the best. One person commented, rightly I think, that they loved wedding graduates, but sometimes they became repetitive. This is something I think about a lot – the message of the wedding graduates is, over and over, that the little things don’t end up mattering on your wedding day, that what matters is love and joy. This was (sadly) a message I hadn’t heard much until I started eliciting these posts before our wedding. So I think a lot about the balance – how much is it helpful to hear this message over and over again in different voices… and how much is it repetitive? I try to limit graduates to about two a week (Christmas every day would be boring, right?), and my criteria for picking which graduates I post (since I no longer am able to post them all) is strong writing, and fresh perspective. Though pictures that make me want to jump up and dance don’t hurt.

Third place went to ‘sass,’ which is funny, since again, these are the posts I enviably have to close comments on. One of you commented that I shouldn’t use the word ‘sass’ ever, because it seemed like I was trying too hard. I think the best explanation for that is that I use it a bit defensively and proactively… a warning that, if you offend easily, you should avert your eyes. In real life I’m, um, funny… in a slightly caustic call-it-like-I see-it kind of way. I learned a long time ago that doesn’t always fly on the internet, because someone somewhere is ALWAYS getting offended. I’ve been debating turning off comments on short funny posts, so you get them more often, and the comments don’t get awful. I may finally go through with that.

Lots of you asked for more advice posts – where I take questions from readers. I do that a lot via email, and I’m starting to think about publishing those exchanges more often, even if they are a bit rough around the edges.

The other main thing you wanted was DIY posts, and I’m going to run with that… sort of. Standard DIY posts like “how to make a bouquet out of toothpicks,” bore me to tears. I really have no interest in making a bouquet out of toothpicks, and if I did, I’d probably figure out how to do it myself. That said, I have big love for what I’d call “How To” posts. Not, random crafty objects, but big projects – DJing your wedding with and ipod, doing your own flowers, etc. There will be a How To section on the new site, and I’ll be soliciting posts for The Big Stuff, aiming to create a resource you can turn to in a pinch.Fascinatingly, by a landslide, you guys wanted wedding and married content mixed together. 80% of you wanted the content mixed the way it is, 14% of you liked both sets of content but would be fine with sister sites, and only 6% of you wanted just one kind of content. I had expected that the vast majority of you wanted only one kind of content, and was moving towards the sister site idea, but it seems that you guys like it just the way it is, so we’re going to stick with that for the moment.Forums. I was pretty relieved that 40% of you were on the fence (because I’m on the fence) and that 41% of you only want the blog. That said, what emerged in the comments was fascinating. What you guys are interested in is a forum to discuss marriage. I think this is really interesting, because there are other awesome wedding forums, and I’m not sure recreating the wheel makes a ton of sense. But! There are not, that I know of, any forums to discuss being a modern progressive newlywed, and I dig that idea.

When it came to weddings, what most people were interested in was less a general forum, and more a way to share resources and information. Lots of people wanted a way to share information on ‘Team Practical Approved’ venues, for example. So I’m going to start to think about ways to collect and share that kind of information that don’t involve endless chatty threads.

Finally, one of you suggested something that I thought was brilliant. She suggested that there be a nominal membership fee for joining the forums – say $5. Yes, this would help support the site, but the real reason for this suggestion w
as that a $5 fee would insure a certain level of privacy, or in her words, ‘a way to keep out the crazies.’ The fee would ensure that everyone who was there WANTED to be there, and that random, uh, knot-like brides wouldn’t wander in off the street and knock the conversation off the rails. If I did something like this, I could easily set it up so that if you had a financial hardship situation, you could email me and get a code to join for free… since the idea would not be to exclude people, but to make sure that people actively chose to be part of the discussion.

And one last note. In an interesting display of group psychology, many of you had clearly created some sort of hierarchy of readership in your heads. Some people said they didn’t want to send in their weddings, because I didn’t know them, so I couldn’t write a nice introduction to their post (I’d say 70% of wedding graduates have never emailed me or ever left a comment, and I write lovely introductions for everyone). Some of you said that you wanted to be on Team Practical, but thought that you weren’t (Team Practical is a silly silly term that I made up for my readers when I had not-so-many-readers. The readers ended adopting it as their own, so I still use the term. It is, however, synonymous with ALL readers. I have a general philosophy and if you treat people like a community, they will act like one). And finally, some of you were concerned that I only cared about readers who “lived in my comments.” I did a quick calculation, and at any given time, roughly 0.1% of readers are regular commenters. Did you get that? 0.1%. So, no. I don’t love them more than the rest of you, though I’m grateful to them, because they give me feedback and direction. So comment if you want to, or not. But you’re still on Team Practical, if you want to be.

Phew. So that’s the survey! I’d love any and all feedback on the ideas I’m throwing around in the comments. I’ve turned anonymous comments back on for the day so everyone can chat, KINDLY.

And thank you again, this was so, so helpful.

Amazing graphs: big thanks and big love to Jamie, who really is as cool as she seems.

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  • Great thoughts. I'm excited to see where things go from here. :)

  • Jen

    Some comments.
    I agree with the sentiment that wedding graduates are great but sometimes repetitive…BUT I see it kinda like eating my vegetables. I'm smack in the middle of wedding planning and though I've read it before, I really benefit from reading again. The WIC is not great and also repetitive in its pushing of standards and "OMG, you HAVE to have x,y, and z!" So I need to get my vitamins and sanity from wedding graduates even if I've heard it before. It needs to be reinforced over and over to overcome the crazy WIC standards that are trying to reinforce themselves over and over.

  • kerstin

    Meg — Thanks so much for sharing the results of the survey! So interesting. And [as someone who's been married a year and a half now … and still reads your blog daily] I am so so interested in a forum to discuss married life/reclaiming wife/etc.!! I'd be down with the nominal fee, and I think it's a spectacular idea! It's true that there is no such forum out there [that I know of] and I think it is a conversation that is so important to have — but doesn't seem to be happening on this [big internet] level.

  • Yay for survey results! And the graphics are cool, but for some reason they are showing up tiny for me so I can't read the text in them. :(

  • This website has officially been put in my bookmark bar as of this minute. I might as well, since I check it at least once a day. It keeps me sane and helps me feel good about the wedding planning I'm doing. It's a beautiful blog and I can't wait for the changes to come!

  • I didn't get a chance to participate in the survey, but it sounds like my voice mirrors the majority voice. I am loving the How To section and can't wait to see it. I'm still in the throes of planning and I can't tell you how many times I've searched your site for your old posts on things like iPod DJ-ing and DIY flowers to get your opinion on it.

    As for the reader forum, I've always secretly wished for one. But in my head it's that perfect forum with all loving and supportive people and no one who gets all nasty and WIC-y. Realistic, I know. I guess I thought it could be place where those of us who are still planning weddings could talk to each other about the little things without bothering all you married ladies with such boring topics.

    Regardless, I am so excited to see the new site!

  • Yay! I'm really glad so many people like the wedding/marriage mix. And really, how can you talk about weddings without talking about marriage? Oh wait, the Knot does it all the time…my bad.

    And as a fairly regular commenter, I am crushed that I am not your favorite. Completely CRUSHED. How DARE you love all your readers equally?

  • I like the idea of the big how to's a LOT.

    I remember searching desperately the OBB forums trying to figure out EXACTLY HOW you self cater a wedding. ;)

    In summary I think if you keep going with what feels right to you, you are on the right track.

    Good job dear!!!!

  • Yerin

    I read another wedding website, and a few days ago one of the bloggers announced that she was leaving because she couldn't handle all of the decision making details. And I get it, because I'm struggling with that too, but what would have been of far more value to that site–and is what I get from this site–is what do you do when you get to that point. How do you pick the important things and make them happen? How do you let go of the things that it turns out are not so important? That's the value of this site–that's not being discussed elsewhere.
    So, thanks!

  • emma discovery

    YAY! I'm so excited to hear that I am a member of team practical, even though I don't comment much or have a wedding blog! I didn't feel excluded, but it's lovely to be expressly INcluded.

    Thank you, Meg – I read daily, and love your work. The wedding graduates remind me of what I'm working so hard for (and having fun with, mostly), and I'd love to see an Ask Meg.

  • Harmke

    I was to late to take the survey but I agree with the majority on every question. I'd especially like a forum on marriage and being a wife and all. I totally have the feeling that getting married didn't change anything, except living together and even that isn't a big change and I reeeaaally like it that this is a place where no-one thinks that is strange and I bet there are a lot of ladies out there on TP who would agree with me.

    The only thing I was wondering was where all the readers are from (I'm from the Netehrlands). I often feel totally alone in this US-wedding-blog-world, I think that only a handful of other Dutch ladies understand my addiction, and I'm never shure if I'm 'allowed' to post my opinion or send in my story or question or anything, because, well, customs in the Netherlands are different and venue-tips would't help you guy and… oh well, maybe Im just moaning about nothing now. I think I am.

    Love love love your site and am looking forward with a lot of joy and confidence to what you will come up with!

  • I would love more of your advice pieces on here, too! I am one such person who emailed you a "rough around the edges" plea for advice and I would sort of like to make my issue anonymously public for others to comment on/sympathize with. It's really helpful while planning a wedding when you hear about some of the painful, tough, non-pretty things happen too, and to have a supportive community help you out when you feel alone through it all.

  • Great to read the results of your survey.

    Re the Team Practical forum: In a way it would be reinventing the wheel if you look at the OffBeat Tribe, but your focus is slightly different from OBB – the "reclaiming wife" and different opinion pieces are very different from a lot of what you'll see in OBB.

    I will say I'm not very supportive of a membership fee to participate in a forum. It may only be $5 (US, I assume?) but paying to be part of the Team isn't a priority for me. And I'd feel sad about missing out on some of the discussions if A Practical Wedding became "members only."

    Thanks for all you do for this group. :) And all the information you share. I may not comment all that often, but I do read and learn.

  • What kersten said, exactly.

  • Jenna

    This is my first comment on your blog but I read and learn from you religiously! First off, thank you so very much for A Practical Wedding…let me just state that my sanity has been saved multiple times by reading your posts! And they are amazingly well-timed; like you know when I need to hear that handmade color-coordinated table runners and chair covers are not.important. I have more planning to go so keep that advice coming.

    I sadly missed the survey but feel that it 100% reflects my opinion anwyays. I'd love an Ask Meg and DIY How-Tos area. Please don't charge for a forum though; I can give you time but not money! Perhaps we can run the gauntlet for a code to join the discussion a la HP and the Goblet of Fire? haha. J/k, sorta. Thanks again!

  • Meg

    OF COURSE you're allowed to share your opinions and send in stuff. APW readership is heavily US, but there are really significant readerships in every English speaking country… and some readers in almost every country :)

    The blog would still be free, so you'd be getting everything you're already getting, just no extras. I hear what you're saying, but my perspective is that I work really hard 20 plus hours a week to make this site happen… and you get it for free. So, I feel if you're not willing to pay $5 for a forum, to invest in the community and support the site (which is always VERY important to me for the sites I read daily), then it's not something you're super committed to, and that's essentally the point of the nominal fee idea. $5 is small, but it means you feel invested. And not wanting to feel that comitted IS TOTALLY FINE, but doesn't negate why I'd make that choice. And of course, hardship situations are a different ball of wax.

    Email me and remind me which request yours was :)

  • I know we're not at the forum level, yet, but I also considered catering my own wedding. This is one of the better resources I found:

    Just remember – keep hot things hot and cold things cold. :-) Taking out guests isn't nearly as fun as it sounds in the abstract.

    <3 k

  • I'm realizing what a huge nerd I am, because I am obsessed with these graphs and the data!
    Anyway, I really like the "How To" idea. I often feel lost with this whole planning thing. The last thing I need is another post on how to DIY your own favors, and 85 other things I'm not doing, but I would love advice on the things I am doing and have no clue about. (iPod DJ, creating a wedding timeline, writing a wedding ceremony, organizing yourself, etc.)

  • I like this: "So comment if you want to, or not. But you're still on Team Practical, if you want to be." because I often don't get around to commenting, but always feel part of this awesome group. And I'll try to comment more in the future. :)

    I'm really excited to see how things develop on the site!
    And I think a mini-fee to participate in the (potential) forum would definitely be ok; I think it would be a good way to keep it cool/chill/mostly nice/community-like/etc.

  • Julianna

    Thanks for sharing the survey results. The graphics are, once again, deliciously lovely.

    Re: Wedding Graduates… yes the message can be repetitive, but as others have said, it's a message that bears repeating. I also find a lot of value in seeing so many *different* types of weddings – It reinforces the point that we all have our own style and priorities, and I think there is something to be said for reading the advice or getting ideas from someone having a wedding "like mine" (whatever that may be). Plus, they're lovely :)

    Re: Forums… I would gladly pay $5 to participate in a Team Practical forum and think the idea of a nominal fee is an excellent way to keep out some of the spam & crazies. That said, if I were you, I would be pretty wary of taking on such an endeavor. As a member of several online forums, big and small, I know that even with the nicest most mature fabulous people on earth, forums can require a great deal of moderation to enforce the "play nice" mantra… This is the internet, after all, and people often come across other than how they intended (or exactly how they intended, and just like in real life, not everyone gets along). So, I guess I'm saying, I'm on board if you go for it, but I totally understand why you might not.

    And lastly, Re: wedding + marriage content… I am surprised and relieved to see that so many other survey-takers shared my view about keeping the content combined… as you've said before, there are precious few (if any??) places on the interwebs where discussion of weddings includes more than just planning for a 1 day party. Maybe after we're married I'll feel differently about all the wedding content, but while still wedding planning, I *love* the marriage content and it is such a refreshing reminder of what we're really preparing and planning for.

    Sorry for the novel… Add me to the ranks of daily reader but infrequent commenter. Thank you again for all you do, and I'm sure the next iteration of the site will be even more spectacular than the first!

  • I know I put this in the survey too, but I'll repeat. For me, the appeal of the forum is that we can interact with other commenters. Sometimes, I read an awesome post, see 80 comments and don't have the time to read them all. Or if I've missed a couple days, it seems too late to comment, so I miss out on the conversation, essentially.

    And I'd love to be able to respond right underneath a comment with a "Me too" or a "Tell me more."

  • Thanks for sharing the results! I think it's really great that you went through them like that.

    I liked the last part about sending in weddings. I sent you my wedding, sort of. And even though it hasn't been featured or anything it was such a releif not to you have you respond "Um. I dont care. Send me one with prettier pictures."

  • Meg

    You'd be surprised how interesting wedding graduates stay after the wedding ;) I'm sort of on the outside with wedding grads, because I don't write them, I just add pretty pictures… but… I'm SO BORED looking at random wedding pictures now, because what do I care? But I still dig reading about what people learned, because I feel like it applies to what's next (whatever that is) too.

    And on Forums – lets just say it is not the first project I'll take on. I'm still a bit unconvinced that the time required to run a forum well is worth the value add provided by it… we'll see. I think How To's and shared resources is more pressing.

    Now I'm rambling.

  • Meg

    I still love you, swear. The inbox gets swamped and I don't get to everything and I suck.

    Working to make that happen :)

  • I think the fact that the comments "blow up" everytime you have a reclaiming wife posts, points to the fact the there isn't really anything out there talking about it, and that it is something that people really want and need to talk about.

  • I'm so happy to hear that you got affirmation from all of us that what you're doing is important and valuable because I have found this site to be SO incredibly calming and centering during my wedding planning. I've got just under five months to go and in a slightly embarrassed confession have to say that yours is the first site I check when I get to work….y'know….after my work email….sure.

    Also…I agree with Jen about the wedding graduates….I LOVE getting perspective from women who just went through the crazy wedding planning phase and have emerged on the other side with fresh in their minds words of wisdom….and it's valuable to hear again and again that things will go wrong and it won't matter….just hearing that from one person isn't as valuable as hearing it from nearly every bride.

  • I am so loving this survey, and the more I see of it, the more I wish I could have voted. Dang.

    My reactions:
    I love the mix of weddings & marriage info, so I’m right in line with the survey results. I love that you describe it as a “wedding blog about getting married”, because that is so totally dead-on, and really is a niche. It’s why I come to APW; I can read about both weddings and marriages together. And, of course, it is absolutely YOUR blog, Meg, and I think that keeping your unique and powerful voice is wonderful, and very important (relatedly: keep the sass; we need more of it in the wedding industry, even in blogs).

    I think the posts on marriage and wifedom are always going to be tricky and fabulous and our favorite parts. They make people’s heads explode because it is SUCH an important part about this whole mess. We’re on blogs looking at centerpieces and bouquets and dresses, but the marriage and becoming a wife is a Big Effing Deal, that not a lot of people talk about. And people have fears and anxiety and opinions, and that’s why comments get heated. But it’s so, so, so important to talk about all this.

    And, as an aside—mixing posts and content about weddings and marriage makes sense. If APW is primarily a wedding blog, then anyone coming here will see weddings; marriage is the result of a wedding, so they’re related. Anyone with your kickers in a twist: get over it. And that’s me giving out some additional Sass, because that’s just who I am.

    The wedding grads are great, but I LOVE that it isn’t the main focus of the blog (see: OnceWed). Those posts are great, and the pictures are beautiful, but the more I see of weddings that have already happened, the more I pine over things I can’t afford to do, or wouldn’t work with our venue, or simply aren’t us. I’m finding that the deeper I get into wedding planning, the fewer pictures I want. If I’m looking for centerpiece ideas, I’ll look for JUST that, but posts about an entire wedding, start to finish, just muddle the vision of our day that I have in my head.

    I LOVE the idea of advice posts, love the idea of DIY advice (not step-by-step, but tips and tricks and advice), and LOVE the idea of a How To section. So helpful, so practical, so sane. Fabulous.

    The rest of my comment would mostly be flailing about how awesome all this is, so I’ll just shut up now. Either way, keep kicking ass, Meg. :)

  • Anonymous

    I would live to have team practical forums to discuss marriage. I've been looking for something like this and the Nest, just doesn't cut it. Wedding Bee occasinally has some good stuff in the Newlywed forum but it's not that active and what's there is focused more on houses and babies.

    I like the wedding graduates but to remind me that not everything is picture perfect.

    Reclaiming wife stuff is great.


  • this is SO intesting. again, i LOVE graphs!!

  • "Team Practical… is, however, synonymous with ALL readers."

    Thanks for the reassurance, Meg. I feel like the kid that actually gets picked for gym class! Figured it was only fair to trade that for a nice comment.

  • Hi Meg,
    Just thought I'd finally comment after reading your blog for months. I especially wanted to comment to give you support about the "meaning of marriage and wife" posts…I think in generally people who are offended by something are much likely to post about it than people (like me) who read your posts and think, "Whew, thank goodness someone else out there is feeling what I'm feeling and writing about it. Now I can go about my day feeling better about society." Weirdly, I actually enjoy APW more now that I have graduated from my wedding (married Sept. 26, 2009). While I was still in the throws of preparing for the wedding, even your very sensible blog felt like too much. The photos were too pretty, everyone's attitudes were too healthy–I couldn't help but compare my wedding to the ones I saw here even though I knew that was the opposite of your point. But now that I've had my wedding and know it was wonderful, I love reading your posts about wrestling with this new "married" world we've stepped into. And now the lovely pictures are just lovely pictures. Marriage is changing so much right in front of our eyes, but we have few spaces to talk about it. You seem committed to talking about it in an honest, thoughtful, and lighthearted way, and that's why I keep coming back to your blog.

  • Sourire

    Just wanted to say how much I'm loving the data/graphs for the survey… and trying to comment more since I've been reading APW religiously for about a year and a half. I started when I was engaged and now married over a year can't stop! It's definitely my favorite site.

    So please keep it up – thanks for all you do to bring us together as a community!

  • I have to say Meg – again – I really think you are changin lives here. For the better.

    That might sound "really really big" – but you are actually giving so many of us a place to rest our ideas…inspire our plate…and FINALLY be ourselves in this somewhat crowded bridal blogosphere.

    I totally pat you on the back.

  • I LOVE the newlyweds forum idea. love. love. and I love the idea of paying-in to eliminate the gnarly.

  • I just love everything about this site, and am excited to see what new directions it takes. I really like the wedding graduates and the awesome advice they give. I actually love seeing pics from other weddings (makes sense for me, I suppose). I do like the eye candy that other wedding site provide, but it seems to me that all of those weddings are probably around the same budget, and I like to see a variety. If anything, it might reassure brides with smaller budgets that they can have a beautiful wedding and not break the bank to do it.

    I love details, and have been planning quite a few of them for our wedding, but have managed to keep within my budget to do them, and still make everything look pretty. Maybe this can be part of that DIY forum you mentioned? ;)

  • re: repetitive grads, for me it's great to hear the same calming message from so many very different perspectives – and so far even when some of the advice is repeated, each graduate does have something unique to offer, and as long as that continues, I think they'll always be a great feature. I love how you often include more pictures just showing pure joy and not so much a huge spread of the pretty details – though Some of the pretty details are always welcome, if I need pretty-overload there is always oncewed (I didn't mean that as a bad thing against oncewed, that format just doesn't need to be repeated here).

    I am in the camp of: I would pay $5 to be part of your forum but I wouldn't be heartbroken if you never created it, it's such a huge beast to take on. it would be very nice to sort of be able to reach out and touch people a bit more though.

    love the "Ask Meg" (or whatever you call it) idea, would be cool (and probably helpful) to see some of those 'rough around the edges' conversations. and the big-picture How To stuff – yes plz. it'll be moot for me by the time it's up but I know it would be a great feature.

  • Regarding the repetitiveness of grad posts; I think we regular readers forget that Meg generates new fans all the time. (I'm assuming. I doubt it's just the same 30 of us replying all the time….) So though we've seen and heard it and read the gospel and are true believers, there's no telling when another bride might pop up full of engragement and need some Team Practical lovin'. Like, just yesterday, a few people asked about pre-marital counseling. Meg covered that previously, but new readers don't know that. If it's important, it bears repeating.
    And I don't mind commenting on grad posts. Generally I nod in agreement, post an encouraging comment (because it's brave to put your wedding out there and own up to your whole process…) and then add "OMG, I love your dress!!!" Because honestly, Team Practical has some bitchin' dresses.

    And I'd pay for the forum. Just because I'm a little in love with everyone on APW and want to stalk them and not just Meg.

  • Hannah

    I really really like the idea of How To's for big things, and an Ask Meg sort of a shenanigan. I have found myself scrolling through all of the graduates in search of advice now that I'm actually planning a wedding. And I know they are repetitive but I personally need the repeating. Tell me again and again that the details are not going to matter and to screw expectations and DO WHAT WE WANT. I think we need to be told this over and over and over again because we are told over and over and over again by The Knot, by the lady in the bridal salon, by the registry lady and by the baker and the florist etc that 'it's our special day and if we don't have peonies well for the sake of all that's holy, NO ONE WILL HAVE A GOOD TIME AND WE WILL REGRE IT FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES' I think the voices of dissent need to repeat as well.

  • AussieAndy

    Meg, some love from the land downunder (Australia). I'll keep this brief because I think I've nodded in agreement the whole way down the comments. Long time reader, first time commenter. Love the site (and the sanity) and would pay $5 to be the recipient of further Team Practical sanity. My future Mr. thanks you from the bottom of his heart – every time I mention something I've read on a blog he rolls his eyes, EXCEPT when its something from you. Love it, keep doing it, look forward to more…xoxo

  • Brittney

    Hi Meg,
    I've been reading your blog for almost a year. I started reading when I was "pre-engaged", now am engaged and in the planning process for our August 2010 wedding.

    I don't read many other wedding blogs because your site has such GREAT content. I feel at home here.

    I love the Wedding Graduates and although the themes are often repeated, I think they are very valuable. Each voice is different and every time a new WG is posted I get excited to read it and learn from it.

    I love the idea of How To's. We're planning to DJ our wedding with our ipod and I don't really know how to go about creating a great playlist.

    Something I need help with is: How to buy a wedding dress that's not a "wedding dress". I don't want to go to a bridal shop and be bombarded by the bridal lady, yet I want a pretty white dress that I can ride my bike in to our wedding at the park.

    Both my fiance and I are independent, hard-working, creative, frugal and excited about our upcoming wedding. Our families respect our independence and because we're paying for our wedding ourselves, we get to make all the decisions. A lot of the big decisions have been made: place, date, officiant, cater, but sometimes I feel really alone and overwhelmed with the other stuff that needs to get done and organized. I'm grateful I stumbled on your site and this community because it's really been my wedding planning rock. Keep up the great work Meg.

  • Your blog was geniunely the first wedding blog in the wedding blogosphere that made perfect sense to me (why yes, I did click that first-ever link from TTO and finally took my first big breath about the impending wedding planning.) You've come a long way since then, and APW is an even more powerful resource now. I love that your survey confirmed what I'd suspected (that most of us adore/need space for our musings on weddings, marriage and wifehood) and I'm excited to see how the new changes enhance that focus.

  • k

    I see that others have already chimed in, but let me lend my voice, too: yes please to the "how-to's"!!

  • Yes, I was also too late for the survey, but I'm happy some of my exact thoughts were very unoriginal :)

    For a while now I've been secretly hoping for an "Ask Meg" feature to see your advice to readers. I SO thoroughly enjoyed reading as you were going through the wedding process and making decisions. I think your addition of wedding undergrads is brilliant, but would also love more of YOUR voice for the planning process.

    I also think a forum where we can discuss things with other members of team practical would fill that practical planning space.

    I would gladly pay well over $5 to have even more of sense of community with forums where team practical can talk amongst themselves. I do understand how crazy forums can get (even the local food/restaurant forum I read regularly can get heated). Do you think you could delegate some of the moderation to readers? Like you could be mama-moderator and people like Accordions & Lace or so who have been long-time readers and would likely be spending some time on the forums could be mini-moderators and take care of a lot of the little stuff like deleting extremely offensive comments and funnel the large stuff to mama-moderator? Maybe that’s stupid because I don’t know how it really works, but I feel like there is a pretty good sense of community that the labor could be distributed if you chose to embark on the world of forums.

    And definitely love the mix of content. I think most of us in the engaged camp are looking much more forward to the marriage than the wedding, so I appreciate your mix and y'know… acknowledging that a wedding = marriage!

  • Elena

    I love the idea of a forum to discuss marriage! I'd definitely be ok with paying $5 for membership. How Tos and a Team Practical wedding forum would have been awesome while we were still planning our wedding.

    Thank you for this site. I'm yet another reader who doesn't usually comment, but yours has been the only wedding blog I ended up reading regularly.

  • Elena

    I think Kristy D has a great idea regarding delegating some of the moderation to long-time readers. Trying to moderate a forum on your own would be way too much work.

  • Maybe someone has already said this (sorry, too many comments!) but as part of the 14% who voted for sister sites… really all I want is different labels/tags/Subject prefix/what-have-you for the two types of content, then those can be used to sort and filter things any which way we want.

  • Meg

    THAT is coming, and more, so those needs will totally be met.

    @Kristy D
    I totally agree, and think that's the only way a forum could work. I can't moderate all day everyday, so I'd probably take on volunteer moderators. I'm looking into ways to do that in the comments for the new site. I dislike being the only person making the judgment call about which comments need to be deleted (particularly since they are normally personal attacks on me). Sometimes I make the wrong call and take it down, and more often I make the wrong call and leave something up. So if 5 of you have flagged a comment as problematic, then I'll figure that it should go :) Community empowerment! Bam!

  • wow! thank you so much for sharing all the data you received. I saw that your survey was up but didn't have a chance to respond in time. I'm so glad that the majority speaks for me.
    I think having a forum would be lovely and all, but the amount of work it would take for you to deal with it may just be over the top. $5 per is nominal to the members considering the work you have to do. and to be honest, as much as I would love it, I'm not sure I'd have time to lurk on it as much as I'd like.
    I also love reading the graduate posts because even though I'm already a graduate, I still want to hear what they have to say. Yours is the only blog I read that has that kind of depth of content. Pictures are great but the words these ladies have to say are so astounding at times that it makes my day (and makes it even harder to write my grad post). I love the way you mix your content. I love your sass (please don't leave that out). Yours is one of the three blogs in my reader that I read every, single post without fail. you rock Meg. thank you.

  • Thanks for loving us all! Even the quiet ones!

  • Michele

    I can't say I'm surprised by the fact that so many of the readers here are already married, or that 59% like the married/reclaiming wife posts the best. I think it's just a matter of simple math, really. A LOT of readers probably first found this blog when they were planning a wedding themselves. Given that you've been writing for 2-ish years now, it's reasonably safe to assume that the vast majority of those early readers (or anyone who has started reading a year or so ago) are now married, and therefore are more inclined toward married-life content than wedding-planning content because it's more relevant to where they are in life right now.

    I also think the fact that those posts are the ones that result in alot of comment conversation are part of it – even if that conversation sometimes leads to conflict.

    I mean, isn't that part and parcel of what it means to be a "community?" Conversation and occasional conflict?

    I for one would prefer that you never turn comments off on any post and instead simply delete those that truly are vitriolic and nothing more. :)

  • I agree with almost all of that, but the idea of paying for the forum makes me feel a bit yicky. But I think that's more about me than about the idea itself: i'm totally broke (can't spare $5 sort of broke), don't have a credit or debit card to pay with, and have got away so far without having to pay for stuff on the internets.

    I do understand your reasoning with it, though; it makes sense. So I think I'd come round after a bit and borrow my partner's card and pay up. By the time it's up and running I shouldn't be broke anymore…

  • Ooo! Regarding the paying for a forum…Meg already said she'd be willing to help out those in need and who couldn't afford the fee, but I betcha some of us (well, me at least) would be willing to donate a little extra towards that cause. Kinda like a adopt-a-bride…

  • I LOVE the idea of a marriage forum!
    And I like the word 'sass.' ;)

  • Nina

    I'm going to second what Erica said about secretly wanting to have APW wedding forum. There have been SO many times that I've wished I could ask you guys things – and yes, they are the detail things, the things that likely wouldn't interest many of the readers, but they are things I want to hear all of your brilliant opinions on because I know you'd give me sensical answers! (none of this "it's your day, just do what you want!" or "but you HAVE to do it, it's tradition" BS that you hear elsewhere) So yes, I would love a forum for weddings and I don't think it would be a repetition of anything else out there. And the $5 fee makes really good sense.

    And finally, thank you for telling me I'm part of Team Practical cause it's an awesome team! I also had this idea of a hierarchy of readers.

  • Sarah

    Please DON'T divide the wedding/married stuff up into 2 sister sites! I only have limited time for "me time" (which subsequently involves my internet pursuits), i don't want to have to check TWO different websites now! :P

    Also, not sure about the small percentage of people who only wanted to read stuff about weddings and not stuff about marriage. No offense, but isn't the purpose of a wedding to begin a marriage? Sooner or later, they are going to get hit with that marriage part, whether they like it or not!

    And I mean, I kind of feel like this blog is cool b/c it's NOT your typical "wedding blog/site". if i wanted to just ogle at flower arrangements or hairdos, i can easily browse those on weddingchannel or projectwedding or theknot. this blog is unique and different because while it IS about weddings, it's also about what weddings mean to the modern female, the emotions surrounding both planning a wedding, getting married, and being married. so often, it's all about "the day", but there's no talk of what happens when all the hype is over, and it's just you and your fiance staring at each other again. it's cool to have a forum where the reality of that is openly realized and shared amongst other different and like-minded individuals.

  • Sarah

    edit: i guess it should be "you and your husband" not "you and your fiance." see, i can't even imagine life after marriage, lol!

  • Meg

    Yes. But that's much easier to say when you are not the one who's cried herself to sleep three nights in a row. It's hard to realize, in abstract, how awful it is to have to read, and delete over and over comments that say THE MOST HORRIBLE things about you, in great detail, based on all the sh*t they already know about your life.

    So it comes down to this… if I'm sobbing in the fetal position? My husband steps in and turns off comments. It may not be ideal, but I'm human like that.

  • Corinne

    I admit that I'm addicted to wedding blogs, some of them are visually amazing, but that is all they are. Yours is the blog I READ and learn from and the one where I actually read the comments. That being said I'm not sure about the forum (its not about the money, I'd pay just to read the great advice from the blog!). What puts me off other blog comments is that 100 people comment and say exactly the same thing (i.e. oohh I love that gush gush etc) and its boring and unrealistic. Now I know you shouldn't say things that aren't nice, but it's good to get other peoples opinions and ideas and some realism into what you are planning (and I'm SO not talking about really nasty personal comments here). For that reason I worry that a forum may become that way, but maybe I'm underestimating it and the readers. It's just that sometimes a crazy (and again NOT nasty) comment can get you thinking and broadening your mind.

    Please keep up the good work, as I have now asked my fiancee to start reading :)

  • Tree

    I can't wait to see what's going to happen with APW. It's been very inspiring, and I love sending my new-hubby links to convos about Name Changing and the like, to add to the conversations that we have at home. :) Lurve!

  • One way to keep Wedding Graduates fresh could be to have the contributors just answer 1-2 questions rather than several. That would allow them to focus on the most striking aspect of their wedding and the learning experience.

  • Since taking the survey, the idea of a forum is growing on me more and more. I had never thought of it before and checked the no thanks but thank you for asking button without thought. But in the days since, I'm thinking of things I would love to dialogue about with all the other super intelligent ladies who frequent this site.

  • Jo

    There is the OBT forums, but it's limited to people who are actively planning a wedding. I'm pre-engaged, and wish I had a forum for discussion. I'm constantly amazed by the thoughtful and thought-provoking discussions on this blog, particularly around the nature of marriage. I'd love the chance to expand on that more through forums

  • Nina

    Meg that is absolutely heartbreaking. You've mentioned personal attacks before and I still find it shocking to hear that there are people who come here and do that. But I guess I'm being naive, since it is the internet and all. It's amazingly brave to keep putting yourself out there like you do. And it's so great that you do because you honestly do make such a difference. Thank you thank you thank you!

  • First of all – thanks Meg for listening to us and turning our opinions into action. It is such an open way to run something that is essentially yours. I strongly believe you should be paid for your work and $5 is not a lot. I bet if you just put up a donation link, people would send money to that!

    To echo something Lysachelle said, the reason wedding graduates, or any other repetitive content, is important is that many people will will find this blog when they just start planning. Even though many of us have been following your journey, the blog should still be a place that people can jump in the middle and get inspiration, reassurance, etc about whatever is specific to them. (Like I'm having homebrewed beer at my wedding and you just featured two beer-focused weddings in a row. What if I found this blog in two weeks and those posts were buried?) This might be achieved by a more complex tagging/categorization system which I think you said you are working on.

    Anyway, thank you again!

  • Cate Subrosa

    You are awesome for sharing all this. So excited about the relaunch.

  • ditto Nina!! :'( I'm having to try not to cry in my office. Meg. !! You're amazing. David is amazing. thank you for everything.

    @Lyssachelle – adopt-a-bride, love it. I'd donate to that.

  • Meg

    The wedding graduate prompt is already like that, which is why it's interesting that they turn out the same way, often. There are a few suggested questions to think about before you write, but it's essay format… what you learned, what you want to share, what stories you have to tell. I find it facinating that so many people learned similar things that they really want to share.

  • Meg, thanks for explaining. It IS interesting, and I for one learn from all the different stories :)