Thank you. Thank you all for each and every vote you submitted to help me win the "Best Real Bride Blog" Category over at the Wedding Channel. My wedding budget is now $100 richer and my soul is full of joy (which is even more important, though that $100 budget help is really nice too! Yay chuppah supplies!) And thank you for each and every vote you've been submitting to help me win Best Overall Blog. This vote is the final contest for the $1000 grand prize. This is a wedding shuttle. This is our wine budget. This is huge.
But even more, this is huge because I never expected my blog to be anything more than a little place to sort through my wedding and marriage musings. I've been lucky to slowly realize that it's so much more than that now. It's not huge in a "I get 5,000 visitors every day" way or a "I make money from advertising sales" way, because neither of those are true. But it's huge because it's so much more than I ever expected or hoped for. This isn't a site like A Practical Wedding or Offbeat Bride or Indie Bride, which are sites and communities that inspire me each day, but it's my link into a community of smart, sane, thrifty, conflicted, fabulous, creative, challenged and challenging women (and men). I treasure your blogs and the conversations that happen among us. I treasure your comments and emails. I'm amazed that my words resonate with so many people, and it gives me strength.
This blog has helped me find my voice. I feel more brave in my convictions - about our wedding and about my life in general. You challenge me. You support me. You remind me that my independent-minded ideas are valuable and valued, even when wedding stress and emotions can obscure my truths. You have convinced me that my words matter and that I am a writer. Not a professional writer, perhaps, but someone who enjoys playing and using the written word (sometimes to better effect than others). You have helped me achieve writing goals and wedding goals and life goals because you chime in with ideas and cheer for me along the way.
And so, I feel like a winner already. In this final voting round, I'm up against nine blogs: some of them are professional enterprises, many of them have inspired me along this wedding journey, and some of them are written by women who have been unbelievably helpful with personal assistance and support. I'm in a bit of shock and honored to be included with this group of blogs. It's definitely an underdog story. I don't have a pretty professional design. I don't post how-to guides or photos that can help direct your planning efforts. I just write about my own wedding journey, framed by questions about gender, sustainability, art, and economics, because that's what I know. It's a different blog altogether. I'm not sure how to really compare my sanity check posts, wedding stress overload rants, please-help requests, brainstorm ideas, and lessons-from-my-life posts with their sites. I won't be surprised or upset if I don't win, because it's such a strange competition filled with sites that are each incredible for such different reasons.
But if I do win, I can only promise you that it matters. It matters more than the $1000 prize. It matters in the way that you've each helped shift the trajectory of one little life of a woman who has been inspired by all of you. So thank you. Thank you to the Wedding Channel for hosting this opportunity. Thank you to those readers who nominated me. Thank you for everyone who has and continues to vote. And thank you for so much more.
Voting closes Friday, July 23. The winner will be announced on July 27.