Manga-inspired engagement party: Come for the incredible DIY decor and rainbow cake, stay for the tutorials!

My fiancé Will and I celebrated our engagement with a shoujo manga (Japanese girls' comics)-themed party, complete with DIY manga decorations, a magical cake, and all of our wonderful friends. Like many brides-to-be, I spent a ridiculous amount of time scouring the internet for ideas on how to decorate our small venue on a non-existing budget, as well as incorporate our nerdy little theme. Here's a little recap of the decorations…


It took a camping trip to gain the perspective that saved our wedding

I hear it said that "everyone has pre-wedding jitters" — what ifs and cold feet. But I had a full-on panic. Like, "I woke up crying and told my fiancé that I wanted to cancel the wedding" kind of panic. I came home that same day to a living room full of camping supplies. My fiance said that he had to get me out of here. Too tired to fight it, I allowed myself to be scooped into a car packed with blankets and hot dogs, and driven two hours out into the wilderness. It saved our wedding.


Monogrammed wedding napkins as couple re-branding

Largely because I grew up in the south, I feel almost as much like it's as expected of me to have monogrammed, or personalized napkins as it is for me to change my names. I'm doing neither. Besides, what's the deal with monogrammed stuff and newlywed folks, anyway? Then I realized… it's all re-branding!


A sticky WIC-ket: Offbeat Bride is part of the Wedding Industrial Complex

There's a lot of talk in the alt-wedding world about the "wedding industrial complex," that runaway freight train of wedding industry grossness that's always pressuring you to do things a certain way because supposedly that's how things are done.

Lots of us hate the Wedding Industrial Complex, which some people abbreviate as "The WIC." I feel y'all on the loathing of an industry that can be insidious and damaging. I think it's also important, however, to reiterate something I've written about several times before: Offbeat Bride is absolutely part of the wedding industry.