Your wedding is not a contest

By on May. 25th
sunset kiss

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.

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 step back a bit 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.