Yay New York: The Party (Part II) by Meg Keene ** The bulk of our party photos were shot by Melissa of beIMAGED in NYC, who gave up dancing just to shoot. We love her. All photos are credited individually, since the photographer community was in on it.** Photo by FedorovFoto This morning I started to tell you about the Yay New York party, but it turns out to really tell you about it, I needed more space and voices from Team Practical. So here we go… Photo by beIMAGED Rachel/DDay had this to say (That’s her in the grey with the flower): In the span of 24 hours, I left my home, bought a party dress on the run, slogged through torrential downpours, waited in line under dripping tents, sat on a stinky bus for six hours with wet shoes, changed into said party dress in a shady and poorly lit NYC deli bathroom, ran in heels down a dark street and found my way to the epic party that was Yay New York. Lots of wine and delicious popsicles and photo booth silliness and shaking of booties. And sweating, lots of sweating. And seeing faces only glimpsed in tiny gravatars, suddenly animated and real-person sized, shaking my hands and laughing and assuring me it was ok that I just spilled wine on them (and the floor, and myself) mid-dip-low. A mere twelve hours after leaving home, the party was over and I still hadn’t eaten dinner. The ever-hospitable Zan led me and a couple other lost puppies back to her apartment (in a church!) in Brooklyn, where she fed us the most amazing Emergency Dinner, a.k.a. mac ‘n’ cheese with peas and tuna fish (don’t squish up your nose till you’ve tried it). Not enough hours later, I woke up on her fold-out couch and let her lead me (in my lady bug pajamas, because no I didn’t bring anything to wear the next day) all the way to my bus stop, which incidentally was well out of her way (thank goodness for Zan, it has to be said). Another 5 or 6 hours later, after blushing my way through D.C. in my pajamas, I was home. I was excited for this event, I was pumped to meet my “Internet Friends” (heh), I was looking forward to partying for marriage equality. But reading the live updates on APW on my way there, it was really brought home for me where I was going and why and how exciting but also sobering it all was. Joy, for the happy couples. And then absolute wretched despair for the reason this party was necessary. We still have so much work to do, and I had a long bus ride to think about it. But being in that room, with confetti and streamers (and wine and melty popsicle juice) flying around, surrounded by Team Practical… it was all about joy, and friends, and vigorous love. …I mean that in the energetic spirit of love kind of way, not, like, sex (though there was a lot of sexy in the room, too). Photo by beIMAGED Photo by Emily Takes Photos Shaelyn had this to say: I was nervous going in. My husband kept asking me if I’d know anyone there and I kept saying, “Sort of,” and shuffling around the question. Of course, I had to keep telling myself that this was APW, and these were my people, even if I didn’t know them all yet. And, of course, I was right. Within minutes of arriving, my husband and I were talking to people I’d met before, or I recognized from online. And soon that grew to gabbing with people I didn’t know at all, and eventually it exploded into dancing, and singing, and photoboothing, and hugging, and throwing confetti around with people who were, of course, my people. And I knew it. YayNY was special because it was a chance to take the community that we all know from the comments and put it into physical space. We all have grown through the agreements and disagreements in the comments, and one of my favorite things about being part of the APW community is knowing that, even if we don’t all have the same exact experiences or views, we are welcome here. YayNY felt like a celebration of the community here, and of the way we’re all working on and through and around our relationships with other people. It was a celebration of marriage, and a way to pull everyone, whether LGBTQ or Straight Ally, into a big giant group hug and say, “Hell yes!” And it was awesome. Lauren, who helped with the weddings all day, said: It was a long day. A hard working day. A stressful day. A highly emotional day, which was totally unexpected. I was tired, happy tired, but tired. I was sweaty and gross and a little part of me just wanted to go home. And then we cracked a bottle (or five) of champagne on the roof deck, wolfed down some Thai food, and all of a sudden, out of the blue, the room was full of Team Practical. The music started immediately (Meg, for the record, doesn’t have time for cocktail hour music—the girl just wants to dance, thankyouverymuch, and she told DJ Whitney Day as much) and we were dancing, and laughing, and spinning in the lights and the gauzy white curtains, with New York City beating her own rhythm outside every window. It was magical. I felt like I was part of something much, much bigger than myself. And then the next morning, I woke up and told Zan (who let me sleep in her bed an hour after she met me) “My face hurts. I think I danced it off.” Photos by beIMAGED Photo by FedorovFoto Ang said: Suffice to say that the party itself was a HUGE hit. Professional party goers were on the phone telling other people to show up. I was dancing and I don’t dance. Also, Mexican Coke is fantastic. It wasn’t till the party was almost over, when it was the staff members, some of the vendors, the DJ Whitney Day, and a two guys, who had been rather quiet all night, but were quietly slow dancing together, and we all joined arms and danced around them to close the night, that it smacked me in the face, what a big freaking deal this was. But it was all tangled up string in my brain until Emily and I sat down to do our interview for this secret thing that I shouldn’t talk about probably. Anyways, party is over, I’m in my PJs again, Emily’s in her adorable ruffled mini dress, we were giggling hysterically and lounging on this white leather chaise that wasn’t good enough for Victoria Beckham, frustrating the hell out of the poor interviewer, and every few minutes we’d scream “SHUT UP! THIS IS FOR A *Secret thing*” Emily was doing creepy satanic doll/child school photography pictures, and was simultaneously hysterical/terrifying. So we introduced ourselves, I forgot my business name and what I did (Doh, go me!). But then we were talking about that night, and I was somehow able to vocalize all my brain vomit coherently. About how it was heartbreaking to see these couples dancing, freely, unashamed of their love and who they are, and not have to worry about hiding it. That all they want to do is love each other, a fundamental right that everyone should be given. That the glory of their unadulterated love being able to shine freely was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever had the privilege to witness. Photo beIMAGED But it may be Mary who said it best. She said: What struck me most was the overwhelming sense of community. At the end of the night, when we picked up that tangle of tinsel, each of us grasping a silvery thread and dancing together, it hit me—this was APW, manifest in a tangible sparkly web of awesome and sass and love and community, connecting people that otherwise would never be connected. As I left the party I grabbed a small handful of very-danced-upon confetti and threw it into my bag. I think I will put it in a little baggie and save it until the day that every couple everywhere can do this. And I will take that confetti and toss the hell out of it again. On that day, I promise you an epic confetti toss. Now let’s go out and make it happen really soon. Photos Emily Takes Photos 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.