So. *long exhale*. Ok. You guys know I’ve criticised A Practical Wedding plenty a time already, and yet here I am, devoting another entire post to APW. I’m like a dog with a frakking bone, right? I have mixed feelings about it. I’m 100% sure that Meg is a very nice person, and I even like her, as far as I can tell. I bet we’d be friends (you know, if I wasn’t spending time criticising her work). And yet I can’t let it go, stuff niggles me, so I write. But whenever I write about APW, I find I have to remind myself over and over how much I believe in the power of critical thinking, and that critiquing ideas is a force for good in the world. Today I just want to get it all out, and then, hopefully, I can get on with thinking about stuff other than APW. Because this is not serving me any more, and reading APW is not really serving me any more at all either.
This feels tricky to write because first of all, (flattering myself that Meg would pay any attention), I don’t think she’d like it. And not just because I’m saying I don’t like her blog any more, but because direct criticism doesn’t seem to be something she is into. In a very early APW post, Meg wrote: “…you really don’t want to write a negative blog, as you will get a negative readership, and that’s a heck of a lot of energy to put into creating more negativity in the world.” Well, I disagree. Critiquing stuff is not putting more negativity into the world, it is making it better, and that includes brutally ridiculing stuff that is ridiculous. So I’m going to move on past the fact that writing these words is making me a non-friend of one of the most successful wedding bloggers around, and just say my piece.
That post I just mentioned was written back in April 2008, around the time I started reading APW. If you’re not a long time reader, you’d be amazed at the difference between APW then and how it is now. When it first started out, the blog posts tended to be pretty short, and a lot of them consisted of reblogging pictures from somewhere else, with Meg going, “You know, I like shrugs,” and a diary of her wedding planning. I got invested in her story. And she taught me something, too – before reading APW, I thought it was important to have a beautiful wedding and a perfect wedding dress. I was younger then, and also not close to planning an actual wedding, so maybe I would have realised on my own that expensive styling is not what makes a wedding good. But it was APW that opened my eyes to this for the first time.
After a while, APW started having Wedding Graduate posts. When these first started, they were written by her wedding blogging buddies (there was a posse of them that kicked off in 2008, and I was reading them all and never commenting, like some
weird eavesdropper stressed out grad student). Wedding Graduate posts were sporadic, and they struck me as filler material – that day, Meg didn’t have to think of a new idea to write about.
In 2009, Meg had her wedding. You know what’s disappointing? When you read a diary-based bridal blog, which is built on getting invested in a story that’s going to culminate in a wedding, and then when the wedding happens, they don’t show you hardly any pictures. To this day, Meg has published only a handful (like four?) pictures from her wedding. I mean it’s understandable about not wanting to show the world your personal stuff. I get it. Doesn’t make it any less tiresome for the reader though. And I was already disappointed that she refused to show any pictures of her invitations.
The content has changed a lot since those days, of course. APW has remained a daily habit this whole time that I have struggled to break, automatically typing the url into my address bar, hoping for something interesting to read, and avoiding admitting to myself that there really is no point any more. I started skipping over the Wedding Grad posts early on, with their tedious introductions (No really, this one is the best ever!) that have a tendency to give away the punch lines too early, and their sheer mass that has made them all blur into one anyway. But the increasing number of Grad posts were just the first step in APW’s path to growing gradually more and more boring. I find these days that it’s not worth taking my time to read there any more. I’ll go into specifics tomorrow.