2011 reader survey results: still surprising after all these years

February 15 | meganfinley

At the end of every year we put out a survey and as you guys to let us have it answer some questions and give us feedback on Offbeat Empire sites. If you love to read over stats, or if you just want to get to know your fellow Offbeat Bride readers, here are some crunchy numbers to pour over…

Demographics

  • No shock here, 97.4% of y'all are women, with the remaining sliver evenly split between men and neither/both/other.
  • Most of you are in your late 20s, with 1984 being the golden year.
  • 85% of our readers identify as caucasian.
  • Almost 18% of you identify as lesbian, gay, bi, or trans.
  • Most of you are urbanites, with you big city folk just beating out the small city folk 33% to 32%. And 5% of you are living the rural lifestyle.
  • HALF of you are employed outside of the house, and our next largest "employment status" chunk was 21% of you getting your education on.
  • Speaking of education, we have a lot of scholarly folk amongst us with more than half of you with a college and/or masters degrees.
  • Obviously, most of you are currently engaged. But if you're curious about how many married readers just can't give us up, it's almost 17%. Hi guys!
  • Of those of you getting or already married, your wedding budgets usually average between $5,000-$10,000 with $10,000-$20,000 as a close second.


Subcultural Affiliations

This is Ariel's favorite part, and if it's yours you should head over to this Offbeat Empire post to see even MORE subculture identifications. But here's how Bride broke it down:

  • 57% of you identify as Offbeat Lite (and you should read this if that term makes you uncomfortable)
  • Right on the tails of the Lite are the Academia Nerds at almost 50% (but more on that later).
  • 25% Sci Fi fans
  • 24% are gamers and fans of retro
  • 18% are hippies
  • 14% are both Steampunk and fantasy/cosplay
  • Surprisingly Burners are only at 3%.

Your loves and desires:

  • The majority (48%) of your favorite blog content are the Real Weddings. That's good, that's why you give one every day.
  • 33% of you dig the DIY posts, but 47% of you want even MORE of them. So how happy are you that we now have two DIY editors to crank out the content?
  • Next up on the list of your favorites is our budgeting advice.
  • 44% of you want more Offbeat Wife content — thoughts & advice on marriage. And I'll have you know, I hear you and I'm working on some posts. In the mean time, anyone else out there have an idea for an Offbeat Wife post — submit em!
    What's wrong with THIS graph? It's the number of people who HAVEN'T read the Offbeat Bride book, compared to those who have. Want more AMS? Get the book!
  • When asked WHY you read Offbeat Bride 82% of you said "It gives me ideas and inspiration for my wedding," 63% said "OMG, I love the photos," and 49% of you wonderful folks said "I like the writing style."
  • 51% of you have loved something you saw on this website so much that you bought that something. Most of those purchases were of wedding accessories, dresses, and (not surprisingly) shoes.
  • Speaking of shoes… there's a running theme of EVERYONE wanting "more Ariel Meadow Stallings plz!" I get it — she's the shit. ;)

Here are 5 surprising things I learned from this year's survey:

At the survey's close, Ariel asked each of us Empire editors to name five survey findings that surprised us. Since this was my third survey, I went in thinking, "Surprises shmerprises, NOTHING will surprise me." I was wrong…

  1. I was surprised that self-identified "academia nerds" are almost just as prevalent as Offbeat Lites — which makes me think, perhaps y'all are too busy writing essays and papers… but if you get a minute, hit us up with some awesome guest posts, would ya!?
  2. More people subscribe to the Offbeat Bride newsletter than the RSS feed. I live and die by my Google Reader RSS feeds, I don't know why I figured most of you did as well. (Oh, and trivia: the newsletter is just the RSS feed via email. It's the exact same content.)
  3. So many of you really want more honeymoon posts. I feel ya, I love those too. I'll see what I can do.
  4. Y'all want to see more vendors, yet a lot of you said that you don't use our Vendor Directory because there aren't vendors in your area. We need your help with that: please email us with your recommendations for folks in your area we should get in the vendor guide. :)
  5. Apparently, according to our open-answer subculture section, there is such thing as "underwater rugby." Do with that information what you will.


HEY, VENDORS
This post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our stats. Contact sales@offbeatempire.com so we can tell you more!

Oh, Reader Survey. I'll be honest and say I have a love/hate relationship with it. I hate the parts about it that kill my soul (the open feedback question at the end often gets used as a place to air detailed grievances about all the ways that I suck), but I LOVE getting to know more about you guys. (If you didn't get a chance to have your percentages heard, don't worry, we do a survey every year OR you can always contact us with your feedback.) And it turns out, as I suspected, y'all are a smart, sassy bunch of creative and wonderful (mostly) women. So thanks for participating this past year and we hope to hear from many and more of you next time!

Oh and PS: If you want to read Ariel's post comparing all three Empire sites results (Which site has the most male readers? What about the oldest readers? Which site is read by the least nerds and the most lesbians?), head on over to the Offbeat Empire blog!

  1. I'll do you a honeymoon post after we've been to hawaii this summer

    A stat I would be interested in seeing is how many tribe members submit wedding profiles afterwards?

    1 agrees
    • I can't give you an exact number, but I can tell you it's a very small percentage — and in a weird way, that's a good thing. On the old Ning Tribe, we had 21,000 members. We currently have over 200 wedding profiles in our queue and it's hard enough to pick which ones to feature as it is! If 100% of Tribe members submitted their weddings, we'd be drowning.

      I don't want this to discourage anyone from submitting! I just want to make it clear why we don't pressure anyone to submit.

      2 agree
      • I want to submit our honeymoon profile, but I haven't even submitted a wedding profile yet! (Due to not having photos back yet.) Is it weird to submit them out of order? Should I just submit the honeymoon one anyway, chronological order be damned?

        1 agrees
        • No one cares about chronology! Submit!

          3 agree
          • Hurrah! I will. :) I'm just one of those nutty, over-organized control freaks who is probably too hung up on chronological order. (Though this DID come in handy during wedding planning!) Thanks! :)

            1 agrees
  2. When I took the survey, I was not planning a wedding & hadn't read the book. But now, in the new year, everything changed & I am doing both. Too bad I have to wait a year to tell you about it in the survey. =)

    1 agrees
  3. I read the book when I was planning, and honestly it didn't do much for me. I know the history – the book came before the blog, it's more the tale of Ariel's wedding than a wedding guide – and I'm not complaining. I'm just sayin', it makes sense that lots of folks haven't read it: the blog is a lot more valuable.

    I'm sure there have been internal talks about another book, one using the content you've created (and the community has created), or more focused on the "how to" of organizing an offbeat wedding. That would be super helpful!

    • Just to follow up on this: at this point, there are no plans to do an additional book. I'm focused on digital publishing and web development — at this point, it's more likely there'd be a web app than another book.

      (Not saying I'm doing a web app, just saying it's more likely than a book.)

      2 agree
    • I hear ya, but for those wanting "more Ariel Meadow Stallings plz!" READ THE BOOK! I think I found this web site back when it was just Ariel running it, and I loved her tone and style so much I had to go find the book. It's not a "how-to" guide, but it sure is a fun read. :)

  4. Pretty sure I said this last year … but I effing love the survey post. I look forward to it every year … and I'm an English person, not a math person.

    4 agree
    • I love reading the survey post, and I'm a communications major. It is all about people for me.

      1 agrees
  5. Delighted to hear about more DIY posts! I love DIY but I'm not very good at it and I require much hand holding!! Also, as a self identified Academia Nerd, what kind of posts do you think we nerds can contribute to the blog?

    Lovely to see the results – I love survey results!

    1 agrees
    • As another Academic Nerd, lemme know what sort of guest posts your looking for. I don't post a lot in my blog on the community because, well, I do spend most of my time paper writing. But I'd love to try to contribute something if I can.

  6. "Y'all want to see more vendors, yet a lot of you said that you don't use our Vendor Directory. Is that because you don't know about it, or there aren't enough vendors in your area?"
    I am guilty of this, and I have a reason why.
    There are very few local vendors (I live in Iowa) and I try to avoid using too many online vendors as a personal choice.

    3 agree
    • Hear, hear. I'm not planning a wedding (yet), but even if I was, I live in rural Indiana. Not much goin' on out here in the Midwest …

      • This is where we're always HUNGRY for recommendations. If you find someone, let us know so that we can contact them about getting into the Vendor Directory!

        1 agrees
      • I have the same issue – not many vendors for Canada and none for NL. But seeing as there is only 2 NLer's on the (new) tribe, I suspect that there isn't a large demand.

    • Oh, we don't need the Reader Survey to tell us that; that's what Google Analytics is for! Our top 20 city markets are:

      NYC, London, Chicago, Seattle, Sydney, Melbourne, San Francisco, Toronto, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Houston, Austin, Portland OR, Brisbane, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, San Diego, and Dallas.

      James, we have a whole demographics/stats document for advertisers. Contact sales@offbeatempire.com if you want more advertiser stats.

      1 agrees
      • From the looks of some of the comments coming up here regarding a lack of vendors in less cosmopolitan areas, the need is there, but we as vendors can't really tell. It makes advertising too much of a long-shot guess. Maybe you could put the word out to feature a few more things done in some of the more conservative areas.

        • Kathleen, my sales rep, is always targeting advertisers in areas that are under-represented in our vendor guide. We've featured weddings from all 50 US states (including the more conservative and rural ones) but it's still hard for vendors to make the leap to invest in advertising to such a small, niche market (no matter how hungry that market might be).

          • The reader stats are bringing up a big point, namely that there's reader interest for vendors in the more provincial areas, but vendors don't think it's worth advertising without seeing the demand. I think the only way to fix this and encourage more advertisers from those areas is to feature more from what is done in those areas. (consider asking for it!)
            There are more offbeat-friendly vendors than myself that would want to advertise here if some things got featured first so we could see the reader response and then advertise accordingly. To encourage this, OFB might have to pull back a bit from featuring the best-of-the-tried-and-true top 20 areas.

  7. Oh GAWD you just made me realise that being born in 1984 makes me "in my LATE TWENTIES"! Just hit me.

    2 agree
    • As someone 11 years older than you, I offer this advice: stop fighting it. Getting older can be fucking awesome.

      10 agree
      • Yeah, right? I'm a first time bride and I'll be 40 this July… Old broads kick ass! I am finally comfortable in my skin.

        1 agrees
    • Phbbt. Embrace it. Isn't this supposed to be the best time of our lives or something? Or if it makes you feel better, you can be a "twenty-something" :) (as a fellow "twenty-something")

    • Oh no I don't think it's a bad thing – I just didn't realise! I still get surprised when I learn I'm no longer 17 and in a lot of ways I always will be. :)

      • Oh I see, you were saying "[it] just hit me" as in "I just realized" not "Just hit me!" as in "Just hit me [already] … I can't fucking believe I'm so old!"

        I get it now. :)

        2 agree
      • Yup. I had the EXACT same reaction. You'd think being married with a mortgage and a baby would have made me realize I'd grown up, but no, not really. I still tend to be surprised by how old I actually am.

      • I know that feeling. Ever since I turned 20 I've had this little mental double-take whenever I tell someone my age, like part of me is thinking "That can't be right can it? I'm not really that old!"

        It's not even that I think 26 (current age) is old. I just don't feel how I imagine 26 is supposed to feel.

    • I just turned 30 last year and for me, I felt like I was just born. Life has never seemed more clear or more fun to me. And I'm certainly not a grown up! :)

      2 agree
  8. As far as academia nerds…would a post about how the reception to the news I was engaged differed between academic friends and non academic friends (HUGE and SURPRISING difference) be of interest?

    I probably wouldn't be able to write a good post until summer when teaching obligations are less, but if that would be something people would want to read I would write it because the idea has been bouncing around my brain a bit….

    • That sounds interesting. No seriously, I'm curious! I'd be happy to take a look at it, although it's hard to say whether it'd be a good fit without having seen it yet. But you are more than welcome to submit it to us once you're done with other writings. ;)

    • Speaking of nerds of the academic sort: I'm a historian (Ph.D. student) who focuses on the history of women and gender in the United States. I have comprehensive exams to take in the next few weeks, but if you'd like a historical post I'd be glad to write one once those are done. For example: I could write about why Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell's marriage protest that took place in the 1800's is still really relevant to issues of marriage equality today.

      • Interesting! Obviously, it's hard to say whether it'd be a good fit without having read it yet. But you are more than welcome to submit it to us to check out! I for one would be fascinated. ;)

      • That sounds FASCINATING. If you don't submit it here, could you write it anyway and email it to me? :p

        3 agree
      • Here's a third person saying, "I HOPE IT WOULD FIT. OTHER ACADEMIA NERDS ARE GAGGING FOR IT."

        1 agrees
  9. I'd use the vendor directory more, but frankly the one vendor in my area left such a bad taste in my mouth I'm hesitant to contact any more.

    • I hope you let that vendor know about your disappointment. That can be really valuable feedback for small businesses to hear.

      • It pretty much wasn't worth bothering with it-she quit answering email. I think the vendor assumed we couldn't afford her because I mentioned seeing her here.

  10. I'm one of the guilty parties who want to see more Offbeat Vendors but doesn't/hasn't had the chance to use the directory as I'm still in the "waiting" stage of my relationship (he's proposing later this year!) and there are no vendors in my area – New Zealand. But I promise to recommend some as soon as the planning can begin. I'd propose to the SO myself but it means a lot to him to be able to do it. Go figure :P

    Also, I echo gealltanas' question about what kind of posts would you like us, self-identified academia nerds (I also consider myself Offbeat Lite), to contribute to the blog? Because I do have a post in mind about shopping for rings without diamonds and the condescending attitudes one can encounter from jewellers but I'm not sure if that's been done before.

    • I'm kinda proud that I'm gonna pull this off for under $1000. We're doing a guerrilla wedding for our location, but even if we had a more traditional wedding, I'd just be borrowing a friends back yard, and that might take us up to maybe $1200. I'm doing this for 2 reasons. First is that we don't have a lot of cash and we're doing this ourselves. Second is that I didn't want to wait for several years saving up cash for some huge wedding that wouldn't really represent us anyways. Poor is a state of mind. You're underfunded. Figure out what is REALLY important, and volunteer your friends to help out. If you're in SoCal, gimme a holler, I'm pretty crafty :)

      • Im on the other side of the US in Florida :) Ours is around 1000 as well, and thats just how much everything might cost, not how much is available. That would actually probably be less. We feel the same, didnt want to save up for years. Lets just do this thang! We got a free venue, free chairs, free music, and anything else is being crafted. My dress cost less than our cupcakes will, but they are seriously worth it. Thanks for the uplift!

    • I'm sorry you missed it. We do a survey every December for about three weeks. There's a link to it on every page of every site.

      2 agree
      • Oh no! Is this right during finals time when I resist with all my power to not procrastinate on Offbeat? ;)

  11. Here's another surprise for you… I'm actually the mother of the bride, 53 to be exact, and have become an avid reader and follower of offbeat bride since I've been put in charge of everything to do with this wedding by the bride herself. So lucky I accidentally found this blog! With less than 3 months to go, I've gone with bridal shoes and a bouquet I saw here, and have enjoyed and learned something from every article I've read.

    2 agree
  12. Hahhaaaaa!
    I love statistics, and I think I was surprise number 5 – I'm still debating if and how to include my unterwater rugby team in my wedding (We'll probably just invite them to party and dance after dinner, they can be a rambunctious lot) You just made my day!
    Greetings from Austria!
    PS:And seriously, look at youtube if you're interested in knowing what UWR is all about

    2 agree
  13. coooool
    I would be intrested in seeing the percentage of people like moi who arent engaged or anywhere near getting married but still obsess over this site.
    keep up the good work

  14. I'd love to submit my honeymoon – we got back from 3 weeks in Spain two weeks ago and it was AWESOME! But I took 5102 photos and videos! So far I've uploaded 450 of those to Flickr and there's still two cities I haven't even sorted through yet. I don't know how I'd whittle it down to a small enough number to submit! Also almost all of them are pictures of places, not of us (since I was the one wielding the camera).

  15. Right, so we're yuppies, lol. I find this completely unsurprising.

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