From the duct tape to muglies: all the little ways Offbeat Bride shaped my wedding

May 12 | Guest post by FoodBoxLady
Smooches for the Offbeat Bride book and website from Foodboxlady!

My hands and sore and crampy and it's not from compulsive blogging. It's from trimming about a ga-gillion yards of tulle off of my too-long wedding dress. The same wedding dress that is hanging off the dress-form that I just made out of duct tape, thanks to the handy dandy DIY tutorial. I am doing alternations myself after comparing prices with other Tribe members and realizing the quotes I was getting were far too high.

Offbeat Bride has been the inspiration for lots of things…

Like buying "muglies" (thanks Ariel for a kicking book!) for my self-catered reception. To wear shoes I have worn before. To make my own invitations, and to find wording for those invitations that don't make me want to barf. After a frustrating search for a wedding gown complete with nasty shop clerks, Offbeat Bride encouraged me to buy my wedding dress online, with other offbeat brides on the Tribe who gave me encouragement and commiseration. Everything I needed when I was really stressed out and had no one to talk to was right here.

I am positive that Offbeat Bride has helped my relationship with my fiance. He does not have to listen to me go on and on about something (wedding-related) that is bugging me, because I can vent in the Primal Scream forum on the Tribe. It has also allowed me to read about other similar couples who do not fill gender "norms," and taught me that whatever is "normal" for us and makes our relationship work, is awesome. I feel more confident in the choices we as a couple make because of the support network Offbeat Bride provides.

I am very very very happy that I am not getting married pre-Offbeat Bride. I looked at a bridal magazine today and, instead of it intimidating me or making me feel bad about my wedding choices, it looked boring and dated. Where are the coloured dress options? Where are the rocking grooms? Where are the excellent budget options for the recession bride? Where are the wicked cool flower alternatives? They aren't there.

Thanks, Offbeat Bride. I don't know how I would get through the next six months of planning without you.

  1. A-frickin-men. So happy I stumbled across Offbeat Bride prior to getting married. And I second the opinion that bridal mags now just look like a boring puree of "everyone's done this a million times and you should too!"

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  2. Agreed! OBB is such a great resource. I love coming to this little corner of the web filled with people who really, truly understand. Along the lines of what you said about wedding magazines…I haven't looked at a single one besides Real Simple Weddings, and I recently purged quite a few wedding blogs from my reader, because they all seem to reinforce the less-important things.

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  3. So totally with you. I don't know what I'd do without this site, I've gotten so many good ideas and let go of so much stress because of it.

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  4. Ditto! OBB provided so much inspiration for our wedding, from photos of specific things other people did to discussions on OBT. But I think the BIGGEST thing it did for me was make me feel like weddings could (should?) be fun, awesome, and unique, and I wasn't the only one who felt that way. In some ways, the stories of weddings that were NOTHING like what I would have done were just as influential on me, just knowing what a beautiful variety of ways to celebrate getting married there are. It was (and still is!) so refreshing in contrast to the multitude of WIC magazines/blogs which, while pretty and sometimes useful for inspiration, don't seem to offer much diversity.

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  5. I agree! I am so happy I found OffBeat Bride, there needs to be an OffBeat magazine. I only look at bridal magazines now to find the michael's and joann's coupons they usually have in them!

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  6. I think the biggest thing Offbeat Bride gave me was the knowledge that it was perfectly A-OK to want a wedding that was more personalized to me and my husband rather than something more traditional that wasn't.

    It made me realize that it wouldn't look like I didn't love him or my family or his family if I chose not to bow to traditions that I don't subscribe to.

    It allowed me to answer people who said, "But it's your daaayyyyy" with "Um, not really – it's everyone's daaayyyy, not just mine."

    It made it okay to want to make my own invitations, wedding favors and wedding cake – I wasn't the only one who felt weird paying for these things when I love to bake/make candy/design online art pieces, can do an awesome job at it, had the time and resources to do it, and really wanted these things to be something I made for our friends and family myself.

    It made it okay to not want to spend a fortune on the wedding, or invite people that I'm not particularly close to.

    It made me realize that, even though I was a chubby bride, that I could still be beautiful because I see so many absolutely GORGEOUS brides who I know are the same size I am (honestly, when do you even see chubby brides on the mainstream sites?). Not only do I see ass-kickingly beautiful brides, I see brides who aren't covering up or hiding their bodies, and that made such a HUGE difference in my own choice of dress. On a related note, it also made it okay that I didn't crash diet myself into the hospital in a futile attempt to get out of being a chubby bride.

    It made it okay for my #1 priority to be nursing school, not my wedding (most of the time).

    It made me so much stronger against the naysayers ("Wow, is that your ring? It's…um…cute!" "Wow, a red dress? How weird!" "You're not walking down the aisle with your Dad? What'd he do?"(the implication being that he must have been a terrible father since I didn't want to be walked down the aisle, which couldn't be further from the truth)…and yes, I heard all of these while I was planning my wedding.)

    This knowledge gave me a lovely freedom of choice that I think I wouldn't have realized that I had otherwise. I cannot express how grateful I am to have been able to see this awesome community of people who don't do weddings like everyone else who grew up around me did, and are proud as hell of it. My wedding was perfect, and OBB helped make it so by opening up my boundaries, my ideas, and my perspective.

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    • Elizabeth,

      YOU ROCK! Everything you said here, I've thought to myself while looking through OBB! I love seeing ALL the different gorgeous brides, chubby, glasses, short haired, gender queer, whatever! My definition of beauty is so much broader than what the mainstream media shoves down our throats, and it gets broader every time I see an different kind of beautiful bride on OBB!

      Thanks for not half killing yourself to be an "unchubby" bride! Like I tell the kids, "just be the absolute best version of YOU" that's what will make you beautiful/special/loved anyways….

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  7. Totally agree. I was so overwhelmed and intimidated with wedding planning until I found OBB. It was such a respite, seeing as I loathed the idea of a cookie cutter wedding that everyone's been to before. And it helped me mentally prepare for the day, and as lomg as you walked away married, it was a succes

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  8. Before I discovered OBB, I wanted to ELOPE. I couldn't even imagine tackling a wedding and I really didn't want one.

    But discovering this community has made me excited about our wedding planning process and has helped me to be completely chill (well, almost completely) about the whole thing. Because whatever we want to do that doesn't make us broke or stressed, it's a-OK.

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  9. OBB has made me a better friend in general. Bride calls crying about her family's horrible rant against black ribbons/vegetables/other-harmless-detail and I know how to tell her "its aaaall gonna be OK". And it has squashed my inner judger… I've just learned to say "meh, why the heck not?"

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  10. I couldn't agree with you more, FoodBoxLady! I've only been to 4 weddings in my life and they were all drastically different and yet strikingly similar in how traditional they were. The Dude and I weren't really looking forward to our wedding until we realized we could have it at a zoo, reference zombies in our vows, or make more than half of the things we want for our wedding, thereby not costing us a buttload. I can't tell you how often I giggle over the posts I read on here, and how often something I find goes directly into our "MUST DO!" list. Thank you to all of the writers and to Ariel for starting this empire of awesomeness! I can't imagine what Dude and I would be doing if we hadn't found this community, but it sure as hell wouldn't be as hella fun as the wedding we're planning thanks to you guys!

    (Also, to be a super nerd, FoodBoxLady, please say you don't leave your laptop on a pillow while it's running for long periods of time! Toss a laptop lap caddy on that to keep it from overheating!)

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    • Ha ha ha… don't worry I do not. Despite that being a not very good photo, it was difficult to show that I normally sit on the quilt bedecked futon with book in one hand and computer in another, so the cushion was used just for balance. The FH would have a fit otherwise :)

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  11. I think the biggest thing OBB has done for me is made me realise how many options and how much choice there actually is. Which in turn made me think about my own choices.

    Even by seeing stuff I'd never do. For example I don't really like button or oragami bouquets, I don't want to carry a book or a lantern, I don't want wooden flowers…there's nothing wrong with those ideas, they're just not things I would do. But seeing them made me stop and think "Hey, what do I want to carry?" instead of just assuming it'd be flowers.

    If anything it's probably made wedding planning more complicated; we're just under 2 months out and I'm still not sure what I'll carry, if we'd gone the traditional route I could have ordered a bouquet from a florist as soon as I'd picked my 'wedding colours'. But I know the end result will be so much more personal, meaningful and awesome that it'll be very much worth it.

    And even if I do end up going with flowers I'll know it was my choice, it's what felt right to me instead of simply being what you do.

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    • Danikat,

      no matter what you carry, you know you'll rock it, because you've seen all those fabulous examples of brides who rocked it before you! Back in my grandparents day, flowers were not as commonly carried. They were too expensive. One of my grandmothers carried HER grandmother's handkerchief! My aunt still has it…how cool is THAT? My other grandmother carried some kind of "religious offering." I'm not entirely clear on that, but she left whatever it was at a shrine near the altar and her hands were empty for the actual ceremony! I, myself, love flowers, but am thinking of carrying a mass of ribbons (which will come from our friends and family beforehand and be stuck together somehow) that we'll use for handfasting. Of course I might change my mind again…and that's okay too.

      Rock whatever cool item you choose to carry, knowing that it is 100% authentically YOU.

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    • You could always carry nothing :)

      That's what I'm doing (then again I don't have an aisle to walk down either)

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  12. Word up! I walked into a bridal store one day and totally felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, noone even talked to me! But thanks to obb I was able to laugh it off. Couldn't have done it w/ out you! Thanks!

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  13. Absolutely!! I feel the same way, and just passed my copy of Offbeat Bride to a girlfriend who's also getting married. Thank you for this amazing resource! Bridal magazines make me cringe.

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  14. I did get married before Offbeat Bride, but I send all my newly-engaged friends here! OMG HAVE YOU HEARD OF OFFBEAT BRIDE YOU HAVE TO GO THERE IT WILL HELP YOU SO MUCH.

    What's awesome for me about doing that is I get to go to way quirkier and fun weddings as a result. Selfish of me, I know.

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  15. Couldn't have said it better myself…Offbeat Bride has changed just about every facet of how I view my wedding options. Every single one. ;) I can't wait to be officially engaged and have a date so I can become an OBB member fo' realz'. :) I have recommended sooooooooooooo many friends to this site, and they are the wiser for it as well. When it's all done for me post-wedding, I will be submitting my schtuff for hopefully OBB approval and be on the site with my offbeat wedding. I dig on this community so very much, on the vibe Ariel has put out there for all to take and apply in their own ways, and the never-ending stream of ideas that flow from this site…schweeeeeet. ;)

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