How did you manage to attract the initial OBBs who have been so eager to share their stories with you? -Monica H.
When I first started researching my book in 2005, I did what most journalists do: I put a call out to my network of writing colleagues across the country to see who had great stories to share. I'd followed a few stories on the Kvetch boards on Indiebride and contacted those folks directly. A couple of the brides featured in the book were people I knew personally, but most of them are stories that I found through research and networking.
When I launched the website in January 2007, the profiles were originally just my way to give a bit more background on the brides featured in the book. I quickly realized that there were other folks who might want to share their stories and set up the questionnaire so that blog readers could submit their weddings.
These days, there are so many weddings submitted that there's no way I could feature them all … even with Megan posting four or five a week!
Do you ever get tired of talking about weddings? -Karolynn
I've actually never been all that interested in weddings. Really, weddings are just an excuse for me to talk about people, relationships, commitment, parties, fashion, family dynamics, food, photography, subcultures, and design. These things all interest me. Weddings? Meh. They're fun too.
I was explaining you to my partner and I was like 'she's kind of a funky-hula-hooping-rasta-raver-hippy type'… After reading your book I can see where you got your hippy — what else has made you 'you' and have you always been 'offbeat'?
HA! It's always funny to see how other people describe me. I retired from hula hooping in 2006, and have never been involved in reggae or rasta culture at all. That said, I'm slippery so you're forgiven for being confused.
I was raised by hippies, but wax my legs, wear makeup, and live in a condo. Despite my corporate job, mortgage, and love of chai lattes, I'm a terrible yuppie — I refuse to work more than 28 hours a week and my car is almost 15 years old. Despite the stereotypes about ravers, even at the height of my party daze I needed lots of sleep and always paid my rent on time. These days I prefer neo-soul and R&B to electronic music.
My personality's been influenced most strongly by:
- being the only child of my hippie parents
- nerding out on computers in the late '80s
- loving musical theater in high school
- raving through my 20s
- studying sociology and publishing in college
- living almost exclusively in large cities since the early '90s
- working in the tech & media industries all of my adult life
I was NOT always offbeat. In an attempt to rebel against my parents, in high school I tried my damndest to blend in with my preppy classmates. Check out this hot photo of me in a pair of pegged jeans, braided belt, and pastel shirt. My bedroom may have been a school bus, but I wanted nothing more than to live on a cul de sac.In college my roommates called me "neutral girl" and I was basically granola lite.
This all changed in the mid-90s when I started going to raves and had an aha! moment of realizing that I sucked at trying to fit in and I might as well just be the freak my parents raised me to be.
I've been much happier since, and part of that is that I'm comfortable contradicting myself and never quite fitting in all the way. At my corporate job, I'm the crazy weirdo. At parties and festivals, I'm the uptight bourgeoisie with the mortgage. Compared to my artist friends, I'm too entrepreneurial. Compared to my dotcom friends, I'm too lazy. Next to my parents, I'm the family conservative. Outside the liberal bubble of the West Coast, I'm a complete radical.
If I had to describe myself I'd go for something like "urban bohemian geek."
Would you say there's been an uptick on offbeat weddings due to the economy? -KD
Absolutely. My book publisher is releasing a revised and updated edition of my book for 2010, and the big new chapter is going to be all about budgeting. The way I see it is with the economy bottoming out, even more traditional couples have to think creatively about their weddings. It's harder to justify spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire people to just make it happen.
That said, I think some of the increasing popularity in offbeat weddings is just a natural response to all the wedding excess that's been popular for the last decade or so. The pendulum swings back and forth!
Do you think there's more pressure now to be offbeat than to have the traditional wedding? -Ashley
HA! Asked like a true offbeat bride. I think it's easy to feel that way if you spend lots of time on nontraditional wedding blogs and forums. But all you have to do is step outside our little weird wedding neighborhood and compare The Knot's traffic to Offbeat Bride's traffic to know that nontraditional weddings are a long, looong way from becoming the norm.
Despite getting married for fairly practical reasons, do you think your relationship has changed since getting married or just evolved in the way it naturally would have with or without a marriage certificate? -Sara
I honestly cannot think of a single thing I would point to and say "THAT CHANGED AFTER WE GOT MARRIED." I just checked with Dre, and he said, "Other than health insurance? Nadda."
We'd been together for almost 7 years before we got married, and got married 5 years ago today, so our wedding is around the middle point of our history. Certainly our relationship has evolved and progressed in the years since we got married … but not nearly as much as it did in the years before we got married.
But honestly, I can't think of any changes that are the result of being spouses. Buying a home was a WAY bigger deal in terms of combining our finances, and I predict having a baby this winter will be a much bigger shift than signing some papers and throwing an afternoon party back in 2004.
What makes you happier than just about anything else in the world? -Beck
A few things come to mind: