A year and a bit down the line from our wedding day, I've found that the some of the advice I picked up during the process of planning the wedding is still working for us on a day-to-day basis in countless situations.
Be true to yourself.
This was one of the things that we instantly found on Offbeat Bride that we hadn't found in many other places. Not "do what we say you should," not "do what everyone else is doing" or "this is what all of the best weddings have," but "do what is right for you." Whoever you are, your situation is unique. Whether it comes to weddings, family, home or how you live your life, the way you connect with the world is never going to be exactly the same as anyone else. We're finding our own path through all of that, in a colourful, musical, creative way that's right for us — if steampunk, being vegan, gaming, crafting or being Offbeat Lite is your thing, then go for it and do that in the best damn way that you can.
Pick your battles and be realistic in the outcomes that you expect from them.
This applies across almost every situation where you're dealing with other people. How you present a point can make or break a situation, but sometimes you have to change your expectations. I know that I may not be able to convince my grandparents that tattoos and piercings are a brilliant idea, but they know me and they know that I don't fit with all of their pre-conceived ideas about people that do have tattoos and piercings. With that in mind, there's a chance they'll consider other people twice before making snap decisions. I'll settle for chipping away at their boundaries rather than trying to break them down entirely.
Take time out for the people that matter.
When we were planning our wedding, we made a point of spending time together doing non wedding stuff. Between work, family, study and commitments to groups that we were involved in, that really wasn't easy. It was worth it though. It's something that we're sticking to and I think it's really important. It doesn't matter who the important people in your life are — husband, wife, partner, kids, grandparents, good friends that you haven't seen in too long; make time for them. Whether it's a phone call, Skype, a coffee, doing half an hour less overtime at work so you can see your child before they go to bed, a walk on the beach or a weekend away, you're never going to regret it.
Sometimes you can't do everything.
This was something that I definitely learned from our wedding. We DIYed a lot — we knew how we wanted things and knew we'd be able to do most of it between ourselves and our family and friends. I ending up buying a few things that I'd wanted to make myself. At the time I felt so guilty, but it was worth it. I like to do everything and I will always push myself. I'm rarely happy unless I have about fifty things on the go at once, but sometimes you need to take a step back and work out what can be dropped from the list so that you can get a decent night's sleep.
Merging traditions is fun.
Whether it's picking and choosing bits and pieces from two family backgrounds upon forming a partnership, picking holiday traditions from across cultures so that your kids will have a balance of different influences whilst they're growing up or just being true to whatever your roots are, finding that balance is a fantastic way to learn more, do more and figure out a bit more of where you fit into this crazy world. We've found this particularly at Christmas for the last couple of years — we've started picking and choosing from the traditions that we knew as kids and have started making our own. Opening one present on Christmas Eve with mulled cider? Yes please.
Know that you're not alone.
I know there have been posts on Offbeat Bride about not feeling all that special once you find a whole bunch of other people that are a bit offbeat in the same way as you, but I find so much support in knowing that there are way more people dealing with this stuff outside my little part of the Universe. As amazingly supportive as all of my friends and family are, the ideas that you lot come up with and the amount of energy and enthusiasm you throw at things astounds and refreshes me. That was so helpful whilst we were planning our wedding, it continues to push me to make where and how we live better for us and I'm sure once we step over the line from lurking on Offbeat Families, to having a tiny human or so of our own, then you'll all continue to open my eyes in ways that I hadn't considered before.