Why didn't you feature my wedding?

Photo by Photovaria.
Photo by Photovaria.
I submitted my wedding months ago and it still hasn't been posted.

I am not trying to be rude or pressuring you into posting my wedding, but I am just curious as to why it was never put up.

I think we had the most punk rock glamour fest wedding imaginable! There wasn't one thing we didn't DIY ourselves.

…Is there a reason why you haven't published it? -Alexzandra

Thanks so much for taking the time to write, and let me say this right off the bat: YOUR WEDDING WAS AMAZING. I've looked through the photos, and it was amazing. I haven't had a chance to feature it yet, but it was amazing.

Yours isn't the first email I've received asking this question, so I'm wondering if it might be helpful to share a bit about the process of selecting to weddings to feature on Offbeat Bride…

The editors and I check in and discuss what we might be looking to feature that week. Diversity is a huge priority: we want to show a range of locations, styles, ethnicities, ages, sizes, shapes, etc. Have we had nothing but red wedding dresses for three weeks? Has it been forever since we saw a non-white bride? Have the last 10 profiles all been people in their 20s? When was the last time we did a lesbian wedding? Or a wedding in the midwest? Or Australia? Didn't we just do a goth wedding last week? Is it time to feature a spring wedding? Variety is a big factor.

Content quality is also a factor — is the write-up grammatically solid? Does it share a good story? Is it full of well-written advice that we haven't heard before? Are the photos gorgeous, or are they over-processed? Do the photos submitted convey the wedding's story, or are there 40 pictures of the bride and groom, and only 10 pictures of the ceremony and reception?

Another issue is timing. There are currently over 200 weddings in our queue, and I love having such a rich pool to chose from, so we can say, "Ooh, it's time for a Hawaii wedding … [search search] FOUND ONE!" This means many months (and even YEARS) can pass before a particular wedding is posted. I don't want to lead anyone on — I can't ever promise that we'll feature any given wedding, ever. But we feature weddings six or even eight months after they're submitted … and I almost never delete weddings. There are very few weddings that I look at and think, "Nope, I'd never feature that wedding on Offbeat Bride. Ever."

So to summarize, it's an issue of editorial variety, content, and timing. Those are the logistics. But your email brings up another issue … a more emotional one.

…I'm so deeply flattered that so many people want to share their stories here. But the measure of your wedding's success shouldn't be seeing it on Offbeat Bride…

I love love looooove that people take the time to share their weddings with me, but I worry, too. Yours isn't the first email I've received asking, essentially, "What was wrong with my wedding that you didn't feature it?"

Some people have gone even farther, getting angry and saying things like their wedding was way way cooler than some of the "lame" weddings we've featured instead. (Whoa. So not ok.) This freaks me out — your wedding is not a contest . Of course I'm deeply flattered that so many people want to share their stories on Offbeat Bride, but the measure of your wedding's "success" should NOT be seeing it on Offbeat Bride or any other website. The goal of your wedding should be celebrating your commitment with your partner, and having a wonderful day with your community of family and friends.

I am just some random lady in Seattle with a website who sees more beautiful weddings a day than she has the ability to share. I am not insulting your wedding if I haven't featured it on Offbeat Bride. Even with editors dedicated to getting five profiles up every single week, there's simply no way we could get every single one of you on the site … but that doesn't make your wedding any less of an amazing punk rock DIY glamour fest! Seriously.

I try to set the expectation on the submission form that I will not be able to post every wedding submitted. I'm open to suggestions if there's something I could be doing differently in the way the bride profile survey is worded to help folks avoid disappointment. I think I'll link to this blog post from the questionnaire, but I'm absolutely open to other suggestions, as well.

  1. yeah, for awhile I was wondering the same thing. Although my wedding wasn't "super offbeat" compaired to some of the others, it was unique & special to us. THAT is what is important. Not weither not not your wedding was featured. While it's nice to be featured, its not a big deal if you're not.

    13 agree
  2. I always wondered if you received a lot of emails like that, it seems like something that would happen with the massive amount of female participation on this site. Of course people view their weddings as part of some strange contest – subconsciously or not.

    I even catch myself doing it sometimes during planning! All in all, I always enjoy seeing the weddings featured, and there are TONS more that I've seen in the forum that are just as cool. I'm always happy to know that the couples stayed true to themselves and they have good marriages, that's the most important thing. Being featured on a wedding site is NOT the most important thing.

    But everyone here knows that already ;) !

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  3. Well, that answered my question. :)
    I promise, I am not some crazy ex-bride who has to see herself everywhere, it's just anytime our wedding comes up among friends they say stuff like, "you should put your wedding on this site called offbeatbride." It's funny, because I am generally an internet lurker and this is the one place I always came to see if there were any new punk rock weddings.
    Our wedding def wasn't a contest, we just didn't give a f*** and did everything we wanted.
    Lots of cocktail cleavage…lots and lots. There was a whole lot of boob at our wedding in general, lol.

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  4. Alexzandra, you just keep lurking. I'm guessing your wedding will show up soon. [UPDATED TO ADD: Oh look, here it is!] And thanks again for taking the time to write — it was great to have the opportunity to answer this question for everyone.

    8 agree
  5. Well said. I've been worrying for awhile that the approachable geeky online wedding 'publication' idea has made us all think, maybe subconsciously, that we need to make sure our wedding lives up to some "publishable" standard. We think "well I really should do such and such, or get a picture of such and such because it will make it more likely that I'll be featured on OBB, or XXX blog." And, it's damaging. It's like we're still living up to a magical wedding standard, it's just that the standard has changed. Which makes me sound like I'm some how blaming you Ariel, and I'm SO NOT. I think you put it into words beutifully, and I think we all need to think about it more.

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  6. Meg, I hear you. It's part of why I really make an effort to toss simple weddings into the mix … I really want people to understand that sometimes two people standing in an alpine meadow holding hands is all you need for an amazing wedding.

    I spend a lot of time fretting over the fetishization of wedding stuff. I love fashion and decor and fun, but at times I see offbeat readers diving into the depths of desire despair over wanting something they see online. Doesn't matter if it's the 100k Martha Stewart wedding you can't afford, or the $5k DIY wedding you don't have the time or skills to execute … there's a lot aspirational desire that gets stirred up, and it's not always a good thing.

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  7. It would seem like keeping your Offbeat Bride Tribe profile up and posting your favorite photos there might be a good way to share your wedding? and yes, enjoying your day for the amazing day it was in your and your beloved's lives – not in everyone else's… for me this point is partly why i'm here on OBT – to connect with more brides who have confidence to express themselves in their own way, and not be too concerned about other's 'approval' – not that we all don't have our moments.

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  8. Emily: I hope that's how people use the OBT! That was part of my initial intent for starting it back in the day.

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  9. I just wish that everyday there was a new wedding to look at. It is very boring where I work and it would be nice to see a new one everyday. (At least on regular workdays.)

    I just always assumed that you were not getting enough neat-o submissions to put up!

    Now I know you're holding out on us!

    More weddings! More bandwidth!

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  10. Whiner (heh), we'll see if the next Offbeat Intern is up to putting that much time into cranking more out each week. Each bride profile takes a significant amount of time to produce, but we'll see what we can do.

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  11. Thanks for this post, Ariel, and everyone's comments. It would be very cool to be a Featured Wedding and I can totally see how people could get caught up in trying to make it feature-worthy.

    Now that it's been said, it seems obvious – I'll feature myself on my own damn blog – so there! :-) I'll take a look at the submission form to hopefully make it a meaningful and useful post.

    Ariel, your writing is great. I wish I had your gift for tact and diplomacy. Yours is always a lesson in being forthright and direct and still polite and respectful.

    3 agree
  12. One thing I've noticed, as I've been spending more and more time on wedding websites, is that when I picture my future wedding in my head, I don't picture it as an actual event with people laughing and dancing and boozing it up. I picture it as an inspiration board, or a magazine spread, or a photo album, or some other static visual summary. Maybe it's because I'm a graphic designer, but I feel like something that has happened isn't "real" until it's written up, illustrated, formatted, published, and seen through someone else's eyes. I just mention this because it may be part of why people clamor to get their wedding covered on OBB–not so much the acclaim of being "chosen," but for the desire to see how it's interpreted as a package.

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  13. I wish more people would put up their own "offbeat wedding profile" on their OBT page!!! It seems like a lot of people get married and disappear, or just put up pictures without the explanations, descriptions, and advice that profiles Ariel and Shrie put up have. Hear hear for the OBT profiles!!! Let's get it on!

    2 agree
  14. I wondered about this and thought, "I would never submit our wedding, it probably won't be cool enough to get posted." But aside from that self-deprication, I would imagine you get a TON of people sending in their weddings to be posted. I adore OBT and think if you want to show off, that's as great a place as any to do it. I love what you post Ariel and always get great ideas and insights from the variety of styles and folks whose weddings you display. Thanks for all the hard work you put in to it! (And I'm not kissing ass, I really mean it. :-)

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  15. Oh Onyah… yeeeaaaaahhhh. When I first got engaged I was so excited to do inspiration boards and such… all the stuff you see online. And then I noticed what was happening. Our wedding was becoming a series of static style choices.

    So, done. I ditched that, and what I have up on my physical bulletin board now are pictures of really happy couples kissing or giggling right after their vows. That, and some scraps of the fabric we're using for my dress, and our Save The Dates, real tangable stuff related to OUR wedding…. and more and more NON wedding stuff. Anyway, swapping out static style images for images that were about emotion helped. I care about style too, god knows, but it helped me to remember how I will really remember my wedding day… not as a style board, or a post on a wedding blog, or an album or any of that. I'll remember it as a series of emotional moments. So THAT is what I want to focus on. That's how I want to think about the day. As an experiance. As something I'll keep stored away in my memory forever… in some personal ways that I'll probably never really share.

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  16. BTW, If the intern position doesn't require being in Seattle I would be down for it. I got laid off my job in December and now have entirely too much time on my hands. I love internerding and weddings

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  17. I think people who tend to have offbeat weddings are naturally very creative and visual people, so sharing their creativity and having it enjoyed by everyone on here is really important to them.

    I know it can feel really sad when all that planning and creativity is over, so it's something to get that high feeling again. And it's great to share all your hard work with the world as well as your guests – just as you want your guests to be wowed, it's nice to hear other people also love what you did.

    2 agree
  18. Relatedly, I have been wondering, Ariel, do you let the submitter know when you're about to put their profile up? Or do you just put it up? Not to assume you're putting mine up or anything, but after I submitted my partner was all, "I wish you hadn't described my ethnicity in that way" and so I'd really like to change that bit…

    So, in general, yeah, what do brides do if they really need to change something important?

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  19. Onyah – From the get go I too could only imagine my wedding in terms of the pictures I would see afterwards -people, dresses, decor, details, etc. I have always been really into photography so i felt that my obsession with the showcasing of my wedding was a natural extension of my interests.

    HOWEVER, I do feel that with the explosion of weddings on the internet and on reality tv, the ability to see other peoples weddings has gone made competition and wedding envy go through the roof. I think back to weddings I went to when I was a kid – they were held in local fire halls and lions clubs and all the food was served family style. The invitations all looked the same and the fanciest decorations were paper accordian bells taped to the wood-paneled walls of the hall. It seemed like weddings back in the day were about, well, the wedding. Or maybe we just had really poor family who couldn't afford to be worried about anything else :p

    Either way, I think reality tv and the internet have created this wave of wedding fanaticism that places way less emphasis on the symbolic idea of a marriage and way more emphasis on your wedding "stuff". It's sort of good, because let's face it, most girls love cute and crafty things. But it can be sort of difficult for the people who can't afford to have what they see or don't have the skills to make it, like ariel mentioned.

    Since I'm in the wedding biz myself, I'm sure i'm not helping with this craziness, but I secretly wish that things would get toned down a bit so that more emphasis could be put back on the meaning of the day.

    2 agree
  20. Maybe we could have a topic on the OBT that's called "SHOW US YOUR WEDDING!" and request that people use exactly the same template that Ariel uses to put things up on the site? That would put the database stuff aside and give responsibility to all those creative married chicas out there to go wild.

    I guess I understand both the idea of using OBT, and having all those profiles in one searchable place. A more closely moderated topic might work?

    1 agrees
  21. I realized that there are many, MANY profiles submitted and a right time and place for them to be featured. I'm just going to wait patiently for the day when Ariel realizes that it's been ages since she features an ivory-dress, candy-themed, bounce-castle, moustache-wearing wedding. ;)

    PS – Ariel, I am taking a postmodern music course right now. I think it would be a cool grad research project for someone to interview the offbeat bride as postmodern bride. It just doensn't fit in with my Music Education Masters…someone else will have to do it. :)

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  22. I often wondered how many such messages you received =] I think that the OBT is an amazing community where acceptance truly is put into action, and creativity is our energy. I won't live or die by getting featured–although I do hope our wedding is featured when the time comes–but I do understand why so many ladies want it: you feel that you have accomplished something, and are being recognized for all your hard work. It's not about approval and acceptance, contrary to our claims of marching to the beat of our own drummer, as some have suggested.
    I hope that made sense =]

    Thanks for the write-up, it gave us more insight into what you ladies do so well.

    1 agrees
  23. i'm totally up for seeing MORE weddings (four times a week or even five), so if you have the time and you think it will help, just post more! XD

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  24. Thank you for your work and sharing with us your process. I am new to your site (July 09 wedding date) and am very grateful for its existence. I get so many ideas from all the weddings featured. Good luck.

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  25. Ariel,

    I just wanted to say how awesome it is to have this "problem" with your readers! I know that sounds funny, but from where I stand, it is one "high class problem" to have too many readers all wanting their wedding posted. That is pretty cool! You and your blog are a wonderful success and I just wanted to say congrats!

    ~Missy

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  26. Missy, thank you so much — and you're so right! This is such a luxurious challenge to have, just like the it's a luxury for the OBT getting so popular that it's confusing to navigate and extremely difficult to moderate. I started Offbeat Bride and the OBT as niche community … and now they've grown and I'm having some issues scaling my tools and procedures! Luxurious challenges, but challenges to be sure! :)

    1 agrees
  27. I'm kind of curious to know what the few weddings that *did* make you go "Nope, I'd never feature this, ever" were like…

    1 agrees
  28. I was turned onto this site after posting a comment to an unrelated blog about how wedding dresses are made WAY too small, (especially for a gal sporting 42DDs) and the last thing a bride needs is to feel like a whale while planning her wedding. One of my fellow posters put up a link to your site.
    I can̬t thank them enough Рif I knew where they lived, I would invite them to my wedding! LOL
    This is a fantastic resource – for as much as I feel like I'm more traditional than I thought, I realize that your 'standard' wedding will not suit my groom and I.
    Thank you SO mush for the site, I'll highly recommend it whether I ever get featured or not. :-)

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  29. I have to say, for myself, I was really surprised to have my wedding featured on OBB, especially so soon after. I submitted my stuff with no expectation ( or I might have written my profile better). I dont compare my wedding to other peoples, and all though I would never have had say, a LARP wedding, I dont begrudge those who do, its their thing. The whole " youre wedding is not a contest" thing is something I think new brides need to be reminded of more often here and on OBT.

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  30. I wanted to say thank you so much for putting this all together in one place. This has been an amazing resource for me. I've also realized, here, that I'm not as strange as I thought I was. ;) Reading other stories, and seeing all the wonderful photos, has helped me execute my own wonderful ideas. I'm happy to see so many happy couples expressing their joy in this sometimes extremely stressful world of wedding planning! I will be reading this blog long after I'm married. :) Thank you again!

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  31. Hi!

    I was hoping to submit my wedding, but I can't seem to get the link to work, any suggestions?

    Thanks

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  32. I think disappointment will happen regardless of your application wording, sadly. This article really helps, though. You show how your side is dealing with alll those submissions. And it is true, how on earth could you feature every wedding? Unless you had a separate site and staff for every genre, every age group…get on that lady! ;P

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  33. I love this website. I love that people respond really quickly with advice. I especially loved when my mother got sick all these strangers comforted me online. They made me feel I had friends. They made me feel confident in changing my wedding date so my mother could be a part of it. My mom just passed away yesterday. Haven't had time to post my wedding but glad she got to see me get married.
    Btw what is your email?

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  34. This is really good advice. I don't think brides realize how many submissions are received by wedding blogs these days. Your wedding is beautiful, every wedding is because it's about love. But wedding blogs want to show inspiration to help other brides with their wedding planning. So if a wedding has details that have been seen many times over, those details have already been shared with the blogs readers in other weddings submitted. The same goes for us wedding photographers, we can photograph a wedding beautifully but it just won't get picked up. Just look at the trends and time of year and be heartful when talking about your wedding and your planning. People respond to realness. So don't forget that with your submission :)

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  35. Very well said! Especially about it not being a contest. Sometimes people need to be happy for others getting the spotlight, jealousy is a terrible shade.

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  36. Other than the intelligent, well thought out, articulate articles behind the real wedding stuff, and the thoughtful comments that people post, I also very much appreciate that you look for submissions that are "grammatically solid". I see so many typos on other blogs and it really distresses me! Thank you for your contribution to balance and sanity in the wedding world.

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  37. I'm coming at this slightly differently. I got married last summer and did not submit my wedding because it is a project to submit well, and I have no way of knowing whether my particular wedding would be " useful." I'm neutral about being featured, but I'm too busy to contribute to an overflowing pile of great submissions! My dream would be the possibility of querying the editors — a sample of the photography, a brief description, done. If my wedding was wanted based on that, I could justify taking on the project of curating it for submission.

    1 agrees
  38. I was happy to read this post. It is a hard and emotional thing when you put so much time and effort and energy into your wedding (and then into submitting your wedding), and then find yourself in a lull where you may end up second guessing, yourself, or your offbeatness, or your usefulness to this site anymore. I speak from personal experience because i did recently get married and submit my wedding. For me submitting it was a way to have closure, and thank you all for the support and ideas i had received here during my wedding planning process, however it is hard to then let it go. There is the desire to share everything with this community which has been so valuable and the desire to be appreciated and validated by it (not that we NEED appreciation or validation, just that we may WANT some). I do not envy that part of your process because i know for these reasons i would want to include them all if i were in your shoes. In my heart I know that things happen for "a reason" and if my wedding will be useful for someone or at sometime in the future, you will recall it and it will appear to you at just the right time. My particular hang-up in my specific process is: in my effort to give you all the interesting details to pick and choose from….did i make it too long for you to even want to read, do you edit and pull the things you think would be most beneficial, did i remember to say i trust your judgment in which parts of this would actually benefit site members and leave off the rest. Anyway, I STILL love watching all the beautiful weddings appear in my facebook feed, and I feel grateful for all that you do, regardless of whether or not my wedding is ever featured here, I am just glad to have so many unique weddings and perspectives on display.

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    • We do sometimes edit content for brevity if it's very long, but don't let that stop you from writing all your details! :)

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  39. I came back to this page to reread the part about months or years– I guess I can still hope that my wedding might be featured one day, even though I submitted a year and a half ago. I just got the news today that someone I know, whose wedding I attended a year after mine, is going to be featured in the coming weeks– which I will admit makes me a little bit butthurt since I'm the one who introduced her to OFB in the first place, and I didn't submit my wedding anywhere else in hopes that OFB might feature it someday (her centerpieces were the focus of a local artist's blog that talked about her wedding as well). But if it sometimes takes years… maybe someday there will be a place for my wedding as well. Fingers crossed. :)

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