Thank You. by Meg Keene So it’s Thanksgiving week here in the states, and after last week’s amazingly successful subscription drive, I thought it was a good time to stop and share some gratitude with y’all. When we decided to go forward with the donation/subscription drive, I looked at it as a huge experiment. And by huge experiment, I mean I didn’t really sleep last Sunday night, because I was terrified that the site would be overwhelmed by angry readers yelling at me. How dare we give people the totally optional choice of contributing $5, what the f*ck Meg? What. The. F*ck? And instead we were overwhelmed by loveliness, and piles of $5 donations, and even more moving to me, piles of chai donations. It was like APW had a giant Bat Mitzvah. Some people even gave $100 (one person said it was part of the refund they’d gotten from their as*hole photographer, after APW helped them realize they didn’t have to hire as*holes). And some people gave $1, which made me think of the bible story of the old lady who gives a single coin because that’s everything she has, and that’s judged as the greatest donation of all (like how I just did some massive interfaith mixing of religious metaphors? I rule). But mostly what overwhelmed me was how generous you guys were to each other. Emotionally, it turns out that I could care less about the money, but I was teary about watching you guys love and support each other. It was pretty amazing, going through the donations and seeing name after name that I recognized – journalists who’ve mentioned APW in stories, wedding graduates from years ago, long time blog-o-sphere friends that I now know in real life, and amazingly, sponsors. That was overwhelming to me, the APW sponsors who support this site every single month with their ads and their sponsored posts? A shocking number of them gave $5 or $18 to support the site (teary). So, as of this post, we raised $5,101.92 after PayPal fees, which means we met Lauren’s goal! Every penny of that is going into APW staffing for 2011, starting with Lauren and Alyssa, because I believe in paying people a decent wage (or as much as we can afford, to start). And it seems fitting that community money goes right back into the part of the APW community that makes the posts happen every day. And because you guys absolutely insisted that we allow you to give whenever you wanted, I’ve created a Team Practical page that you can find in the tippy-top navigation bar. There is no pressure to give any money beyond the (annual? I think we’ll make it annual… that feels right to me) subscription drive (or pressure to give during the subscription drive when we come down to it), but the PayPal buttons are tucked away there, for those of you that choose to give at random or regular times of the year. But mostly, what I’m surprised by, is how much I just want to get back to ‘the work,’ as we called it (rather obnoxiously) in art school. Last week reaffirmed for me what we do here every single day, and I want to get back to doing it already. So without further ado, we’re bringing you wedding grads. Because I’ve missed those ladies. Hugs and gratitude, and no I’m totally not teary, SHUT UP, Meg Meg Keene Founder & Editor-In-Chief 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.