Your wedding is not a contest #Philosophizing#feeling competitive#manifestos#special snowflake May 25 | Ariel Meadow Stallings offbeatariel Thanks to Dave Le for submitting this to Offbeat Bride's Flickr pool. So I was looking around your website, and I feel like sort of a poser even being here. I'm wearing a white dress and I have my bridesmaids wearing pink and although we're not getting married in a church, our ceremony looks pretty traditional. Do you have any suggestions for how I can make my wedding more offbeat? -Jessica I actually don't, Jessica — because I don't think your wedding needs to be more offbeat. It just needs to be honest and authentic, and if what you want is a white dress and a more traditional ceremony, I think that's fucking awesome. I've run into this a lot in talking to people about their weddings — the dirty flip-side of "my wedding is too weird" is "my wedding isn't weird enough." Both sentiments make me sad because your wedding is not a contest. There's this bridal machismo that can sneak into your mind, and it's not especially healthy. I've seen this happen with DIY/crafty brides, who get down on themselves for not hand-making every last piece of wedding detritus. I've seen this from feminist brides who feel like if they let someone walk them down the aisle, they need to defend their choice. I've seen it with green/eco-brides who agonize over the fact that they're using a non-organic unity candle. Why I worry when people say they want a "unique" wedding: the pursuit of authenticity vs. the pursuit of attention "We're thinking of having all our parents walk us down the aisle together," you say to a friend, and then watch for a smile or... [more] As your resident alt-lifestyle consultant, please allow me to state this clearly: brides do not need more ways to feel bad about our weddings. I didn't write Offbeat Bride as a judgment — I've gone to traditional weddings that were beautiful expressions of the couple's backgrounds and beliefs. I wrote the book to act as a cheerleader for those wrestling with making nontraditional decisions about their wedding — not as an admonishment of those who chose otherwise. In this way, I guess maybe my book and this website are mis-titled. Maybe it shouldn't be Offbeat Bride, but Authentic Bride. I kept this in mind while I was working on the book: Engaged women don't need another voice telling them they're failing. It doesn't matter if it's a voice of tradition telling them they're wrong for wanting to have their wedding in the round, or a voice of nontradition telling them they're wrong for wanting to wear a white dress — brides need encouragement and support. If you check out the Real Offbeat Weddings I feature, you'll see that I make a point to showcase a variety of wedding styles, from white dress church weddings all the way to kaleidoscopic freak-fest weddings. There's nothing to prove here. Having a weird wedding just for the sake of making a statement is just as inauthentic as forcing yourself into a traditional ceremony to keep your parents happy. Your wedding should reflect the reality of you and your partner's life together. If you're using your wedding to prove a point about anything other than your commitment to each other, it's worth taking a step back to reconsider your motivations. Your wedding is not a race, and there's no need to win — the only prize you need is the commitment of your partner (aww) and you get that regardless of how far you choose to walk off the beaten aisle. Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Meadow Stallings Author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives, loves, and dorks out hard in Seattle, WA. @offbeatariel @offbeatbride PREVIOUS Negotiating special-needs diets NEXT Elaina B's Victoria elopement (and the worst boss ever) Toggle comments [ 52 ] Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.