Offbeat Bride & Diversity

By on Oct 8th

4144654605_5815b89845

Photo by Lauren McGlynn

I really appreciate your Offbeat Bride Blog. I find myself wanting to point friends to your blog and then resist the urge. A lot of my friends are people of color. When one hits your blog it is hard to find any weddings of people of color. Have you considered targeted outreach to photographers and brides/grooms of color?

Again, I love your work. Just wish I could spread it farther.
Warmly, Jodie

SexyThanks so much for the email, Jodie! This is a great opportunity to discuss an issue I've been thinking a lot about.

On offbeatbride.com, I aim to feature diverse weddings in terms of style, location, sexual orientation, etc. … but you're not the only one to be frustrated by the lack of color on offbeatbride.com. I do have a category of posts dedicated to offbeat couples of color (and there are dozens of 'em!), but even so, I have been deeply disappointed by the lack of racially diverse offbeat weddings across the web and in my inbox. I see a bazillion tattooed white women, but very very few black hippie brides, goth asian brides, steampunk latina brides, rockabilly native american brides, etc.

I actually brought the issue up six months ago on the OBT forum ("Where are all the OBBs of color?"), and brides from a range of ethnic backgrounds weighed in with their theories on why I might be finding less offbeat brides of color online, and what I could do to attract more to the site. Here were a few of their thoughts:

  • "It's more difficult to exist (survive economically, be accepted, etc.) in a normative homogenizing society like ours as a member of a sub-culture; therefore for someone who is already marginalized based on something they have no choice about (their visible racial identity) it is less likely they will choose to compound that marginalization. To some extent it is a luxury to choose to marginalize yourself when you have the choice of 'blending'."

Rock band bride

  • "I think about this all the time! But not just pertaining to bridal forums. I am on other forums for mothers and I always seem to find myself looking around and don't see too many people who look like me."
  • "From an Asian standpoint, there may not be a huge population of minority OBBs because of the importance of tradition. There are many, many, many traditions in the Asian cultures that you must follow. Old school Asian parents demand that their kids follow these traditions exactly or face severe arguments. Believe me…you don't want to argue with an Asian mom! :)"
  • "At the risk of sounding like a crazy commie and pissing off all the independent, subculture brides I have to say that I do believe societal norms have a huge impact on personal identity, and even when we 'rebel' against mainstream culture, we are doing it, consciously or subconsciously, in the parameters of the what society deems the 'fringe' for our specific ethnicity, culture, etc."

  • "I wonder whether part of it is that most of the off-beat weddings featured here, and people here are planning, are modelled on the classic white American post-Christian wedding. This means that the information here might not be so useful or relavent for someone planning an off-beat wedding based on a different culture. Lots of info on where to get non-white, environmentally friendly, retro wedding dresses might not be that helpful to someone looking for a non-red, environmentally friendly, retro sari or a cool twist on a traditional tea ceremony."

  • "As nice as it is to hear that you would like to increase the racial diversity of this site — its not going to happen. If you have 2% minorities here I'd say you are doing well! There are simply not that many of us in the country. The change will come, but it small strides, and sites like OBB are the last place you will see these changes- just not a priority. And honestly – as a minority would you go seeking out more opportunities to be considered a minority? doubt it."

Please know that I keep ethnic diversity in mind when I'm searching for weddings to feature on offbeatbride.com … but there's a lot of room for improvement. I mean, a wedding website where I'm addressing the needs of transgender grooms, and yet we haven't seen a black offbeat bride in months? WTF?!

You all have my commitment that I'll double my efforts to get more brides (and grooms!) of color on the site (seriously, I've been trying — but I'll try harder!), but I NEED YOUR HELP! The vast majority of my content comes to me via submissions, so I beg of my readers: if you have diverse nontraditional wedding photos to share, please pass them along! If you know of offbeat couples of color who I should be talking to, let me know! If there are wedding photographers who's blogs I should be watching, pipe up!

And PS: If you're part of an offbeat couple of color and would like to submit your wedding to us, you can do that over here.