What Would You Ask?

Ladies. I am more taking Monday off from blogging, because for some reason I have Columbus Day off (or Indigenous Peoples Day, as the call it in Berkeley.) Anyway, I’m going to muffle my “huh?” in favor of madly getting stuff done.

BUT! In the meantime, I have a very important question for you: how do you guys like to hear about real weddings? Up till now I’ve been using the creative, thrifty, sane writing prompt I first suggested back here. But now… I don’t if it’s working for me. I don’t tend to care about how people saved money on this or that, or even what creative projects they did. What I want to know is the wedding graduate stuff: what did you LEARN? How did it FEEL?

So I’m tossing this out to you. What should be the format for Team Practical members writing up their weddings. What do you like to know? What questions would you ask?

(Small caveat: I don’t go into the waters of wedding budgets. The nitty-gritty of what you paid, and how you did it, and how effing cheap it was is just not my thing. I don’t want us all competing with each other and that kind of talk about money can… warp our heads a bit. So no questions on that.)

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  • The closer I get to my own wedding, the less I enjoy reading about projects or saving money. We've already committed to doing things a certain way, and I find that reading about this project or that idea tends to be too stressful. But I do enjoy reading about what people learned in the process. What they felt. What was unexpected on the day in a good way. What truly stood out to them on the day, was it the chair covers or the people? Because that would help me stop stressing about the thousand and one little details brides can get caught up in, and start focusing now on the people that will be there, and most especially on being there with the love of my life.

    There are many sites about how to plan your wedding, but a sad few about how to enjoy not only the planning, but also the wedding itself. I've found a good part of this site to do that for me. :)

  • as long as you don't talk about the brands of the wedding dresses and the make/model of the get away car (the way the mags do) i won't complain!

  • wasabi

    I like to hear about what people learned, and some of their favorite moments. I think this is the one question where I can take something away no matter how different their wedding was from what I'm planning. I also like to know what made it different, and more practical and sane for them. But I agree, creative and thrifty questions tend to feel like something to live up to.

  • Ah, before I got to the end of your post I was totally going to suggest "What did you learn?" It's a good, broad question. Also, along the lines of what we've been talking about lately, "What surprised you about your wedding?"

  • Enough wedding websites are talking about real weddings, budgets, and DIY. Which are good topics, but I love your blog because you make your own mold.

    I love wedding graduates and often come to this blog to read them. I would love to hear more about how the bride stayed sane the day before and the wedding day. Which parts of the day stood out the most, what decisions they loved, and which decisions they would have changed when it is all said and done.

  • I love it all, perhaps a combinations of how did you do it and how did you feel? I would ask specific questions as prompts, the broader ones are harder to answer.

  • Anonymous

    love 'what did you learn?' and 'how did it feel?' would also love 'what mattered? what didn't?'

  • Anonymous

    My advice: it's your blog! Write what you want to write about! If you're not as interested in something, it's going to show in the posts and they won't be as fun for us to read! Don't worry, none of us are going anywhere! I love to read all the money saving tips, but there are MANY other blogs I can go to read that. However, it doesn't mean I'm abandoning this anytime soon! You do a wonderful job. =) I say go with what you feel like writing about and we'll all be happy!

  • Meg

    You need to email me, lady. You can take your honeymoon decompress time before you do it, of course. :)

    Oh honey, *I* always write about what I want to write about, TRUST ME. This is about giving other women prompts for them to write about their weddings. It's only fair to send people down the right path when they are going to do something as time consuming as sharing a very personal day.


  • April

    Just had our amazing wedding weekend, and as a fresh graduate, would like to say that wedding grad info that is based upon what was felt and what surprised the couple vs. what was spent / saved / done DIY/DIT etc. etc. is what I prefer to hear.

    My mister and I were absolutely completely blown away by our wedding day. We celebrated with friends and family for 4 glorious days, and today, Sunday, as we're sitting amidst piles of presents, my bouquet resting in a vase, while we sort mail and debate which Netflix to watch, there are moments when we look at each other and say out loud, "Holy moly – WE. ARE. MARRIED!!!?!?!"

    It feels fantastic. It feels surreal. I feel sad the party of this weekend is over. We feel hopeful and joyous and relieved there is no more wedding crap to plan.

    But the overwhelming spirit of love that completely and totally engulfed us this weekend: WOW. THAT was more than we could have ever imagined in our wildest dreams.

    Oh, and the venue? Yeah – I didn't give two craps about what table centerpieces looked liked. The food rocked. The music rocked. We were beautiful. Friends made us cry. We made them cry. We laughed, loved it up and had a flat-out effing FAB time.

    That's the kind of graduate wedding talk I wanna hear… what stood out – what moved people…

  • everyone is already saying it basically but, yeah – what did you learn, what surprised you, favorite moments – those are the most fun to hear. I also enjoy hearing about their DIY/DIT stuff, it's helpful early on in planning – though I agree with Giggles that after a certain point it becomes a little stressful after you've committed to your projects. Still, they're fun to hear about. Basically I want to hear stuff like A's comment above. she needs to do a graduate post! with pictures! :)

  • I think I'd like to see, as you said, what people learned, and how they felt on the day. And then, maybe how they feel about their wedding day NOW (assuming the wedding day was weeks or months ago). Are they still happy with it? Would they change anything? Would they want to re-live it exactly the same way? This is interesting to me.

  • I'm not sure how to word it, but what about any moments of IMpracticality, and how they dealt with them?

    For me, out of all of our decisions (like riding a tandem to the ceremony, which is going to *rock*), the one that gave me the mini freakout was explaining to my well-meaning stepmom why I would not be getting my nails & makeup done (this, of course was after the mini freakout of whether I'd regret this decision for all eternity).

    I guess it would be cool to see some kind of reassurance that I'm not the only one who careened toward the complex darkside (if even for an afternoon) based on others' insistence/opinions/expectations?

  • Yep, going to agree with everyone else. I'd love to hear about those moments that made it special and how they kept everything in perspective. Feeling like you have to DIY everything and save money left and right is just as stressful as thinking you have to have favors, and centerpieces, and whatever the latest trend is. A's comment above had me tearing up! Reading posts like that are helping keep me sane! (Love your blog what ever you post though!)

  • I am a year away from my wedding and I love this blog because it helps me feel sane – like people are going through this too because I have had a really stressful time with it all and it has not been a fun experience. So, what I would like to hear about from wedding graduates is what was worth it? The things that stood out for you on that day, things that are important to have that day and the things that are not needed. Last week you talked a bit about taking pictures while getting ready and how you weren't going to do it but so glad you did. That is the stuff I like to read about.

  • My wedding was 3 weeks ago and was planned in 4 months. This site and the inspiring, sane women featured here kept me focused on what mattered.

    What surprised me about our wedding day was how truly aware we were of what was happening. It wasn't a blur. It was crystal clear. I think the questions of what mattered and what surprised you are helpful. The most valuable stories I heard were about the week after the wedding. The importance of wallowing in the deep truth that you are totally married. Oh yeah, and the wise folks who told us, being married is way better than being engaged!

    It takes a few days and weeks to find words to describe some of those moments, so having read the stories of other graduates helped define what was happening when i was too addled to do so myself…and validated what I was feeling. Most notably, the desire to hold the day sacred for a while as it soaked in and to avoid "shaking the glitter off".

    Thank you, Meg! I'm excited to see how the blog evolves!

  • lmb

    First off – I agree with all other comments about focusing more on the "experience" of THE MARRIAGE STARTING RIGHT NOW AT THIS VERY MOMENT! than the consumable details… I do think, however, that it is very healthy to include a prompt asking women to share the ways in which they DIDN'T live up to their perfectly Zen/present/sane/joyous/stress-free ideals. Whether during the planning process, the wedding day, or the honeymoon, there are bound to be moments where people going through this incredibly huge transition encounter struggle. Not that we want to dwell on the negative, but I feel like asking only questions such as "How did you stay stress-free and enjoy your wedding?" (or whatever) leave little room for the hard reality that many women face – they don't feel stress-free, relationships sometimes suffer, there is often a lot of struggle and even a sense of loss during this time. I would like to hear about these experiences and the ways in which people are dealing with and moving forward from them.

  • MWK

    I think I essentially agree – what did you learn, and ask to share a particularly joyful or important moment. But I agree with Imb that a little space for when things didn't go as planned might be nice (I say this knowing that I already sent you something with a lot of this type of stuff in it and have felt weird about it ever since because it didn't seem appropriate). I think it would be good to be able to show that weddings can have both extreme joy and a little bit of sorrow (or some other not-happy emotion) and still be wonderful experiences and can even still have joy be the overwhelming emotion of the day!

  • Sarah

    i agree- what you learned, things that surprised you (good or bad), things that didn't go as planned and how you still were married at the end of the day so big f*ing deal, etc. these are the things i'm most interested in! I'm SO over wedding porn and all that- you can get that anywhere- but these common sense, real-life, how it FEELS stuff you can only get here. And i want more :) Thanks Meg!

  • Meg

    Just for the record guys –

    I don't think I've ever said weddings are all awesome. Sometimes I worry that talking about the transformative parts makes people forget about all the bullsh*t parts that I've also talked about. And, like I said, transformative doesn't mean ray of light, it's a very real not totally pleasant thing. It's not very Hallmark.

    I don't know if I'd want to ask people "What they'd change," Because I think that goes into the murky waters of regret. But asking "What was hard," that's a good question. Lots of things were hard for me, and their were times on this site when people would tell me, "Don't worry, the important thing is that you end up married," which devalues your feelings, and frankly isn't true. Yeah, you will end up married. But if you have horrible experiences with family or friends in the planning process, those stick. You have to work those out before or after the wedding.

    Just my two cents.


  • I have to say…as someone that is 9 months away from her wedding with LOTS still left to do..design ideas, quirky inspiration and planning tips are still in my brain. I have lots of decisions left to make and am constantly looking for inspiration so I really hope those things don't go away.

    BUT!!! (big ol but)…the reason I read this blog is because I want real expectations about my wedding (our wedding…i hate calling it MY wedding). I want to know what REALLY happens…what REALLY mattered to people on the day of…if their wedding day was anything like what they expected.

    My expectations are all set from being a GUEST or BRIDESMAID at so many weddings…but there is no way to prepare myself for the experience of being a bride….of walking down that aisle to see the man that I wake up to every day standing there waiting to make me his wife. I LOVE reading the graduate posts and the real wedding posts because it keeps me grounded in what the whole day really means…and helps me not obsess (at least a little) over all the details.

  • MWK

    Quick response Meg – you totally have talked about how weddings can be hard, and have noted that they aren't all awesome – didn't mean to say you hadn't! But I think you are right "What was hard" is a good way to go. Now aren't you taking a break from the blog today?

  • DJ

    Well since you asked, I want to hear about what they knew (from the beginning) they actually HAD to have. What was most important to them from the moment they started planning. I want to hear about the realizations they had while they were planning, ie, "I realized that my dream of a wedding on the moon wasn't going to happen, so I got creative and found another way to make xyz happen".
    This may sound a little weird as well, but I'd like to hear about their speed bumps. There are enough blogs that chronicle how perfect and seamless everything was, I think it makes the few of us that have mini obstacles that pop up feel like weirdos. Most importantly, I want to hear what they remembered most about the day.

  • I'm still nine months out. I enjoy the 'how did you do it' aspects, but I also am interested to hear about how it went, how did you deal with issue x, what was the biggest deal for your etc.

  • As a wedding graduate myself, I think that I most enjoyed reading about what the couple learned/felt/did or did not expect during their wedding while planning my own. If all you read about are DIY projects or favors or escort card ideas, you start to lose sight of your own wedding ideas and then doubt sets in. I have read on several blogs to stop reading the wedding porn for a few days and give yourself a break! I never felt that way about this blog, it was where I went when I needed to be reminded of what was really important!

  • I'd like to hear about what went wrong. What sucked about the planning, what did you fight over etc. I love hearing what went right, what was amazing, what kept people sane, but man I would like to hear that the issues I've had other brides/grooms have had too.

    We talk so much about the amazingness of the day that I want to know that things go wrong, but it's still beautiful.

  • I think I would be interested in wedding graduate +1 year, +5 year, +10 year. I know it's a bit out of the scope of a practical "wedding" but maybe this would fit with your wider theme of wedding+marriage as well…?

  • Ellie

    I feel like some of the important questions are what did you Learn; how did you Feel; what would you Change; and then maybe favorite moment and least favorite moment, and why. Also, maybe the most helpful piece of advice they got.

  • I have been enjoying the recaps so far and I think what makes your graduate posts so great are the moments when true emotion are expressed. I am currently 3 months out from our wedding and I am drawn more to the experiences of the day not so much the planning that went into it. Although the planning is important, I value your blog and these posts because it is about the experience. I would love to hear more about the moments that really stood out (like when you dropped the ring) or how you felt the moment after the "i dos" I think those things resonate more than the cake and DIY projects. Also, as a bride people tell you all the time that the day goes by so quick you will hardly remember anything. I like those stories because it proves those comments wrong. Your blog rocks! Oh stuff like A said… that is what the graduate posts should be about.

  • I like Lucy's idea for wedding advice from people who've been married for a while. What has really stuck with them years later?

    I think what you should talk about on your blog depends on who you're speaking to–the newly engaged or the nearly or newly wed. I know when I was first engaged I loved reading the details of the planning–how things were thrifty, how things were non-traditional, pictures galore. But once the major decisions were made I was more drawn to the emotional/mental/spiritual side of weddings. Articles and blogs that focused more on the whole experience and less on the decor.

    I think it's kind of lovely to have a blog that focuses on the feeling and learning and the non-physical side of the wedding day. There are plenty of sources for budgeting and DIYing and being different or traditional in one's wedding and trappings. Fewer about the part that matters: the marriage itself.

  • We just got married on Saturday (10/10) and it was the most amazing day….I learned a lot about myself…how to let things go in the process of planning, a lot about my control freakness and a lot about how blessed we are to have such wonderful friends and family. I also realized how this most amazing journey was shared (still being shared) with the most amazing man. I would say I learned to focus on what's important, not the details…who cares the flowers didn't exactly get done the right way or we ended up not having enough time for pictures before….I learned to let go and just be…I stayed in the moment and focused all of my attention and energy on my husband-to-be during the ceremony and never took my eyes off of him….I will remember these moments forever….also, the great party…really, if you have the ones you love around you, it's all good!! Don't sweat the small stuff, in the end it's not what you will remember. Now we are off to Argentina with all of our wonderful memories of the day….the good stuff, the people, the love and the joy!

  • Liz

    As someone still planning my wedding, I would like to hear just straight-up answers to "what advice would you have wanted to hear in the months before you got married?" Not everyone's advice is going to be useful to everyone, but I think in general this community is full of people who are humble enough to recognize that. And I'd be interested.

    Also, I would love to hear more people's thoughts on why they decided to get married in the first place. That's something you definitely talk about, and something that I am struggling with right now (because the answer is kind of for immigration reasons, but that's not good enough for me) and something that 99% of wedding blogs or magazines never even think about. Why is marriage something you wanted to do?

  • I do agree with everyone, I do… but… but… One of the things that first drew me to this blog was that amazing backyard wedding, Eileen and Matthew I think, with the flower tree. The aesthetics, the food, the entertainment, they aren't the main thing, the marriage is, but they are important to the day, they say a mayriad of things about the couple and frankly I'm interested. I don't want to see 1000 pictures of a photo booth, or see your budget, but I like hearing about the bride that wanted lily-of-the-valley and had it out of a friend's garden, the one with a vintage dress and silver shoes (!) the ones that have defied the wedding industry machine in some small way as well as the ones who have used it. I just think tales like Meg's shoes, dress, flowers, hair… they're all part of the narrative and it would be a shame to lose that part.

    Ummm… I'd like to see something likeish "Tell us about the practical details" It's fine if a pro cakemaker or your gran or a florist or Etsyer did it, or it was DIT…

    I also love tales of the unexpected!

  • I think the question "how did you stay sane?" is the most important one– please keep it!

  • I like a little bit of both, honestly. I like to hear what someone's favorite projects were, and what kind of fun, unique stuff they did to put together their rocking party.

    But, I also really think brides NEED to read stuff like, what did you learn, what kept you sane, what was most important to you on the day of. Over and over again I find myself tiptoe-ing around the big floofy wedding have to have it trap and a blog that focuses on these kind of things helps keep me grounded.

  • Anonymous

    Am I a terrible person if I say I want to not hear again and again and again "none of the details will matter! don't sweat the small stuff!"

    Because, I don't know from a bride perspective but from a guest perspective, a hundred careful details aren't what guests remember but ugly tables are . Ugly, subjective as it is, does have some impact on the day.

    Of course, none of that will be the most important (ugly centerpieces won't make the beautiful joining of two people in love less lovely to watch), of course you shouldn't stress as much as you're able to not stress. But hearing that same admonishment again and again seems like an admonishment that you're a silly person if you are spending energy and effort on details and aesthetics and that it's a waste of time. And not only do I think that's not true I think the brides who say "None of the details mattered!" were brides who spent a lot of time making sure things were pretty and convenient for guests etc. and would probably have been less happy if the event hadn't looked good.

    Sorry to rant on here.

    I agree absolutely on the how it felt questions, what you loved best, what wasn't how you planned, etc.

  • Meg

    We do talk about aesthetics here. And careful planning, which I think is more important (everyone cares if the food is two hours late). What I really think is that the details are important in the way they play into the whole. Name cards? Don't really play into the whole. What you eat? Plays into the whole. They should be valued by the amount they contribute (food is maybe 5% of what guests experience… so it's only worth 5% of freaking out).

    I think the point is, the details are not what really matter, and everyone says they are. The details are not the point, they are just… details.

  • Curious

    I would love to hear: what made it meaningful? What made it fun? Why was it hard (in ways that couldn't be planned away)? How did you, O Modern Woman, establish a personal relationship with tradition? How did you navigate traditional expectations (the hair, the dress, the invitations, the etc.) and nevertheless feel that this celebration was continuous with the rest of your life?

  • Anonymous

    Meg, I discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and am in love with it. I've only been engaged 2 months, have over 200 days left to go, but I'm so over the details. Your blog has been a respite from the details and the drama. I agree with most of the questions on here, and I love the idea of the wedding graduates a few years removed from their wedding day, but another question I'd be interested in has more to do with the marriage. Even just a few weeks in, what has been the biggest transition from engagement to marriage? What does the realization that he is your HUSBAND and not just your fiance feel like? I feel like too many wedding blogs forget the whole purpose of the wedding is the marriage that is starting. Yours is one that puts the marriage first and I'm so grateful to have found it!

  • My thoughts are with Mandy's post. Every blue moon I will have a freak-out moment in regards to feeling like I am missing out from something if I don't have the "typical wedding experience xyz." For instance, I'm deciding between two dresses: one is more me but one makes me feel more like a bride. It's tricky walking that fine line between eff it/practicality and falling prey into the wedding industry, especially with family members who aren't too sure about your wildly exciting plans. ;) In short, I guess I'd like to know, similar to Mandy, how brides rocked the "We're doing our own thing here, people" and keeping the whole thing still wedding-ish for their more traditional guests (and themselves sometimes).

  • Anonymous

    I love Liz's comment about hearing why people decided to get married in the first place. This is something my boyfriend and I continue to struggle with. He never thought he wanted to get married (again) and I always wanted to. He's willing to do it because I want to, but I'm not sure that's enough of a reason for me. We've been discussing (and discussing, and discussing) what it actually means to be married and why that is different from being committed to each other and living together.

  • fleda

    To affirm/echo some of what's been said above…

    My man and I both have divorced parents, and I come from a family where marriages don't tend to be happy. So I'm especially interested in hearing what people think marriage is and why they're doing it.

    I'd also like to hear how people make an ancient ritual (both the actual ceremony and then whatever celebration goes with it) their own.

    …And this last topic might call for the mention of "details." I think (as I think you do, Meg) that it's possible to stay on the subject of What Really Matters while talking about how you used your creative faculties to produce a collective experience that's emotionally powerful and expressive of your values. Also, aesthetic and sensory pleasures make life more delicious, so I like to hear about them!

  • I, personally, love reading about the big picture and hearing about people's successes. I think you're doing a great job and I really LOVE the days when I see the words, "Real Wedding." Having just had my own wedding a month ago – I think it gives great credit to your blog, ideas, and writing because not once have I been regretful or upset that I missed something – instead I just grow nostalgic and smile at the memory of my own beautiful day.

    One thing I ask though – can we hear more of what people's first dance songs are? I think it is so fun to learn others songs if they are willing to share – you learn so much about a couple by the whimsical/romantic/creative song choice they use to introduce themselves for the first time to their most cherished friends and family.

  • Anonymous

    To clarify my annonymous rant above, I didn't mean that I want to hear more about aesthetics or details. No, no. I just don't want to hear how "the details didn't matter". While the blog is accompanied by pictures of their gorgeously decorated wedding. It makes me feel like you're supposed to pretend that your details/aesthetic was effortless. I'd rather hear about what did matter.

    Maybe because I read almost exclusively non WIC blogs but I never really hear brides emphasizing details as the be all and end all and mattering much, I mostly hear people talking about how they don't matter. And I sort of agree but I think planning does matter and I feel like "none of the details mattered in the end" has become a cliche and denigrated the time brides spend planning.

    I'm going to stop going on and on about this now. I'm really looking forward to the future graduate posts!

  • I love 'what was hard?', 'what did you learn?' and 'what was your first dance?'

    And I suggest "Do you feel different now that you're married?" because it falls right in with how amazing the ceremony is.

    Thank you for this.

  • I really like hearing what 'went wrong' and how the wedding became even more magical because of it. I am so inspired when someone says various things happened that would (in other wedding blog worlds) have put a damper on things. I love when kick ass partners can come together and not care about anything other than the weight of the day.

    My husby and I have been married for three years. A million things went wrong during our first wedding. At that time, I lacked any community, blog or otherwise that would have made me feel like that was not only okay, but common and great in it's own way. I can fully say that due to my high expectations I did not enjoy (at least in the important ways) my wedding day.

    Next year we're doing a renewal for that very reason. APW has kept me grounded and wedding grads have taught me so much through their experiences.

    This is so so ramble-y, geez!

  • Anonymous

    I would love to hear more lessons learned – about coping with stress others put on you or you put on yourself – what mattered in the end? what was important to stick to your guns about, etc? I'd LOVE to hear a few "what I would have done in hindsights" too.

  • I definitely want to hear about what people learned and how it felt (I think that's the most important stuff), and I like the idea of including a "What mattered"/"What was worth it (or not worth it" section. BUT, since I'm still planning (actually, just beginning to plan!), I do still need to hear about how other people did things, so I really like the thrifty (especially), creative, and sane guidelines. I know a lot of APW readers are already married and so don't really need to hear about how others saved money or were able to stay sane, but that stuff is really useful for me, and I'd hate to see it go away.
    Is there a way to do it all? (I wouldn't mind reading longer posts, if that were feasible.)

    Thanks for asking for our input, Meg; I love the way you foster the community aspect of this wonderful place!