Thankful for you.

This was my Thanksgiving post from 2010, but it bares repeating: thanks to each and every one of you who follow along with us at Offbeat Bride. We are so grateful for you.

Miller - Riemann Wedding
Photo by Malia Rae
Photo by Jenny Jimenez
Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember that November 2009 was a game-changing month for me — I was 8+ months pregnant and two days after I wrote this post, I got laid off from my day job. A couple weeks later (exactly one year ago today!) I had a baby. It was a cluster-fuck of big life transitions hitting simultaneously, and to be perfectly honest, I was completely unsure how it would all play out…could I make the shift to full-time self-employment at the same time as I made the shift to motherhood?

Here we are a year later, and you know what? Things are better than ever. The first year of parenthood wasn't nearly as sleep deprived and scary/awful as all the "You'll seeeee"-ers told me it would be. The year of full-time self-employment has been more successful and WAY more gratifying than I'd even let myself hope for. The Offbeat Empire is not only thriving — it's growing, with traffic and revenue up across both sites, and Offbeat Home launching in a few months.

And you know who made all that happen?

You, that's who.

I have all of you to thank. Each and every one of you… All of the readers who check in day after day, quietly lurking from your laptops, living rooms, and cubicles (shh: I won't tell your bosses that I know how many of you read at work!)

Every single one of you who take the time to share your thoughts and passions with us via your comments and emails — especially those of you who take the offbeat mission so seriously that you take the time to tell us when you think we've made a misstep.

All of you who take the time to share your weddings and guestposts with us, inspiring me with your amazing diversity and visions and realized dreams. Your cultures and lifestyles and fashion and music and poetry and traditions are my soul-food, and every day that I get to wake up and look at photos of amazing beautiful people celebrating an amazing beautiful chapter in their life is a happy day for me.

Every single one of the Offbeat Bride Tribe members who prop each other up through the grueling highs and lows of active wedding planning. Watching y'all support each other is the best kind of shock and awe, and if we could harness the energy of the Tribe I swear to god we could power a small city.

All the indie vendors and inspired small-time biz folks who help us keep the site online and the hosting bills paid. One of my greatest joys is the emails I get from vendors who say that their Offbeat Bride clients has enabled them to follow their own career dreams … I love the stories of fledgling vendors who spend their rent money on an Offbeat Bride ad, and two years later are supporting their families with the business they've built. (True story! Ask Lasertron.)

And I'm beyond thankful to the team of people behind the scenes who keep the wheels turning and the gears greased — from Megan and Superman on the editorial side, to my tireless developer J.M. Dodd who has hand-coded Offbeat Bride's back-end from top to bottom, up and down and backwards. And of course the ever-patient Travis Z who deals with all the panicked server-side tech support.

Offbeat Bride was a side project for three years, limping along in my spare time until last fall. This past year, when I've had the time to dedicate 30, 40, 50 (or ug, even 60) hours a week to the site has been totally transformative for me on so many levels … and if you're reading this, you have been a part of that. Thank you. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for each and every last one of you.


Me 'n' mah beanie
Me and my other baby -- the human one

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  1. I'm glad that this site exists and that it's thriving. It's beyond amazing to find a civil place to discuss wedding planning and not be told that you're killing kittens or something equally bad whenever someone disagrees with a personal choice you've made. I look forward to this site over the next year of my wedding planning and I am thankful to you for the time and effort that has obviously gone into the site.

    13 agree
    • If Offbeat Bride's only legacy is contributing to the civility of online communications, then I'm happy. 🙂

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      • You are. The whole reason I come here is because this is a safe haven for thoughts and ideas through an incredibly trying time in one's life. And it's everyone's hard work to keep the place well-maintained and a respectful place that keeps me coming back. Even if we vehemently disagree with others, it can be done so with no feelings being hurt.

        1 agrees
  2. And thank you, Ariel and team, for providing a forum for which we are allowed individuality, support and rationality. For giving a group of brides- and grooms-to-be a haven to express themselves without facing unrelenting and daunting criticism and judgement. For telling each and every one of us on a daily basis that 'Hey, it's OK to be you and do what you want, because it's what works for you.'

    Thank you.

    4 agree
  3. Don't forget all the friendships, some that will last way beyond the OBT, because we met fellow brides here. The support that we've given one another and received will sometimes last beyond the wedding into the future. And that establishment of something more permanent than mere wedding planning is impressive as well.. and I don't think it would be as prone to happen without the type of environment that you've created here. So thanks to you, for providing us with more than just a place to plan a wedding, but a place to grow beyond the wedding.

    3 agree
    • Aww, yay! This makes me happiest of all … Tribe members aren't the only ones to have gotten friends out of Offbeat Bride. Some of my favorite peeps around are folks I've met through working on the site. Yay for REAL LIFE awesomeness coming out of online good times. 🙂

  4. Thank you Ariel. For giving us a place to discover that yes, it is okay to wear a red dress, eat pizza and play video games at our weddings, or have two brides in gorgeous dresses, have multiple weddings, show off tattoos and everything in between and on the other side. Thank you for expanding the Offbeat Empire so that we can keep doing our own thing in any area of our lives. Thank you for supporting those little vendors so that we get to see just how many awesomely creative and supportive people are out there. Thank you for being supportive and encouraging of our participation, from asking for our stories, letting us comment, and building a whole community (and fighting with NING) just so we can share. Seriously, you have made planning a wedding something wonderfully fun. I have to keep reminding myself to include my friends who will be at the wedding because my first instinct is to tell OBT what's up.

    13 agree
  5. I'm thankful for this site! It has provided me with some amazing wedding ideas, and I'd be going a lot crazier without it. It's a wonderful, supportive community.

    1 agrees
  6. As a single woman, over 50 with NO intention of ever getting married again (divorced 1984), I love this site. It is so awesome to see people break stale, expensive traditions and have their wedding their way. Joy to all.

    4 agree
    • Gaylin, thanks so much for chiming in … when I first wrote my book, my goal was "entertaining, even if you're like 'wtf, who cares about weddings.'" That goal has remained for too, and I'm so glad that the site is awesome for you, even as a non-bride.

  7. aw this post made me so happy ;-;

    I love this site, been reading it even before I got engaged (and am reading it more actively than ever now as our wedding plans slowly take shape), I love your book, I love Offbeat Mama (even though I'm nowhere near getting pregnant) and I very much look forward to the moment when we have an actual date so I can join the Tribe too 😀

    There are plans to open my own business too (at soooome point in the future) and the minute it's up I'm gonna invest in an ad on here too. I just… really love this site.
    Thank you so much, Ariel.

    4 agree
  8. I'm thankful for you.

    Without your vision and hard work, I would never have had so many wonderful ideas for my wedding next year. Like Gesche I've been reading this before an engagement (still not engaged might I add) and now that i'm actively planning I'm on here just about every day.

    Very thankful for you 🙂

  9. A big thank you to OBB the site, offbeat brides, grooms et al, other OBB vendors and everyone in between. You've helped mold my business into what it is today, and I'm SO grateful for it. Cheers to you all!

  10. Thank YOU, Ariel, for all that you do, and for continuing to put so much of yourself into the Offbeat Empire. And Happy Birthday, Tavi!

  11. Thank you, many blessings, and big *mwahs* to you, Ariel, and the whole OBB and OBM team. I found this website shortly after I became obsessed with wedding planning, I can't thank you enough for answering the questions I hadn't even thought to freak out about yet. 🙂

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    (And happy birthday to that gorgeous baby of yours!)

  12. Thank you for giving me the strength to have the wedding i wanted and not to worry about what others thought of it…it was truly the best day of my life and without discovering this site it might have been very different!

    1 agrees
  13. Thank you, for creating a blog a book and a community that we can go to and just be ourselves. And be loved and embraced for all of our ideas…no matter how off or on beat they might be. Theres alot of other "bridey" sited out there, and I know alot of us at the very least have been told our ideas are "hmmm thats a little diffrent" and well at the worst….very rude. The book rocked, your blog rocks. And your communities rock.
    You rock.

  14. Thank YOU for inspiring me to write my own blogs, for making wedding planning seem less scary, for helping me to remember what THE BIG DAY is really all about, and for providing me with a little wedding porn escapism every day. Thanks.

  15. I got a wee bit teary reading this. Thank you Ariel for the inspiriation you give us every day, for helping us all to connect with like minded people and giving us the strength to be ourselves!

  16. I teared up reading your thanks. I can only say that I found the courage to be myself with the wonderful women and men on this site. My wedding would never have been the crazy, beautiful wonderful day it was without OBB in our lives. The posts my husband and I have read, cried over and reflected on are countless.

    We are each others heroes! 🙂

    I wish everyone on this site all the love, hope and warmth in the world. thank you Ariel! X O X O

  17. Mama taught me to say you're welcome when someone says thank you so we'll start with that.

    Now that I've said you're welcome, let me say thank you.

    Thank you very much for giving me the 'green light' to be as off beat as I want to be. I say I because while wedding planning is a team sport, you’ve helped me remember that I can be off-beat every day.

    Speaking of the team sport of wedding planning, thanks for sticking with the experiment of ‘The Tribe’.

    The Tribe has helped me think out problems, build my confidence, learn about new ideas and grow as a person. Without you and your staff giving The Tribe constant attention my wedding planning would be much different.

    More thanks to you and your staff for working so hard to moderate comments. I’ve seen one snarky comment for the 3+ years I’ve been coming to Offbeat bride. That takes some real work and I thank you all for working so hard!

    Also, I would not have known about the career of being a lifestyle photographer without Offbeat Mama so thanks for that.

    And thanks for your book, rereading it kept me occupied during lulls at my summer job. That chapter about keeping your shit together is vital reading for anyone planning a wedding.

  18. Glad I'm not the only one that got a little teary. Thank YOU Ariel for inspiring countless women to march to their own beat, both with their weddings and in their lives.

  19. And so say we all!

    We should also say Thank you to you for starting the offbeat empire and helping us all get through.

    Thank you
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  20. Thank YOU, Ariel! You've created and managed a beautiful thing here. During my wedding planning process Offbeat Bride (your book, this site, the Tribe) became my closest friend (aside from my groom, of course). It was always an arm's reach away, available any hour of the day or night, always supportive and never hesitant to give me those healthy reality-check slaps. It fostered my creativity and confidence when I needed it most and never had one bad thing to say about my wacky ideas. That's what is so special about this Offbeat community – the positive energy. What an amazing gift you have given to your readers! I totally believe that positive energy breeds more positive energy – I believe the sense of clarity and happiness we felt about our offbeat plans was transparent on our wedding day and really made it the day that friends and family still rave about with wide smiles on their faces. You mean my happiness created happiness in all of my guests too? Sweet!
    So thank you, thank you, thank you EVERYBODY in this amazing Offbeat Community!

    • Ariel,

      As you may have discovered by now, it is WE who should be thankful to YOU, so I guess this is a Thankfest! Your website has made it possible for offbeat people to find each other, which gives them courage to BE who they ARE. That is a wonderful gift, & we are very grateful. Thanks, Ariel, & thanks also to the whole OBB team!

  21. Another thank you from me, Ariel. StumblingUpon Offbeat Bride nearly 2 years ago meant that I was no longer afraid of planning a wedding. OBB opened up a world of individuality, love and wonder, and I will forever be grateful for that.
    Upon becoming engaged, I bought the book and joined the Tribe, and I've never felt so accepted. You have helped create a community of beautiful, empowered women who stand up for other Tribe members in need. The support, advice and general *squeeing* in OBT was one of the best parts of planning a wedding.
    Now, my husband and I are planning the celebrations for our first anniversary, and I still read Offbeat Bride every day… and I've even started going through the archives at Offbeat Mama. We're not quite ready to build our own Offbeat Family, but when we do, I'll be here the whole time.

    Thanks Ariel for a great few years! xx

  22. I have to say it too: Thank YOU Ariel. I'm not engaged yet, but this site is amazing. I love seeing so many creative ideas and possibilities, and how it's opened my mind to what I want (one day lol) and how a wedding should be a reflection of the couple, not done a certain way because you "have to".
    I love how Offbeat Bride and Offbeat Mama are a refuge for us that want to do things our way, a place where we can celebrate our differences in how we go about two very large events in our lives.
    And happy (belated) birthday to Tavi. He's adorable.
    Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I know I did, but mine was last month lol.

  23. alays good to hear things pan out! my current story seems very familar to yours. Got married last year, my hubby got laid off, 6 months without a job he decided to move to another country to get a job(even though I had a decent one) came over to the new country, fell pregnant straight away – no family/friend support, and we had no contacts with out photography as we did in the other country. I'm not 8months preg(due on 30dec) and my hubby has just been laid off from his job again.. i'm hoping next year when I can actually walk again that I will try and get our photography thang started in the new country.. but it sure is scary times!!!! Thanks Ariel for making me feel like there will be a light at the end of the tunnel!!!

  24. im greatfull for this site! thank you for all the hard work that you and your team put into making this tribe happen! i dont know what i would have done without you during my wedding planning. just being able to see so many different ways of making it happen gave me the confidence to make this day our own! thank you!

  25. Huge thanks to you, Ariel, & your team. This place has been a safe haven for people who just didn't feel like they fit in anywhere else, you've created a home for us. The place where it's ok to be ourselves without any pre-determined rules in which we must follow to have a successful wedding, because our weddings will be successful if we're happy in the end and we've married the person we love, however we decide to do that. I love this place & I'm grateful that I found it! Wedding planning can be pretty lonely, but you've made way less scary.

    So Thanks!

  26. Thank you for your work and efforts with these sites. The stories are inspiring and beautiful. And yes, I toldly sneak a peek through out the day in my cubicle!! 🙂

  27. A huge thanks to you, Ariel – I honestly didn't think I ever wanted to be married. Then that changed, but I just didn't want a wedding(read: white, poufy dress, dry chicken and all of the other "obligatory" crap). Finding OBB was the EUREKA! moment: some of the easiest moments of wedding planning came when I reaffirmed that our wedding was about US, not about what people wanted us to be. So thank you again for a fantastic, welcoming, accepting 'home' where we can all let our freak flags fly. I also avidly follow Offbeat Mama, and I can't wait for the launch of Offbeat Home!

  28. ariel – i want to HUG YOU! you are such an amazing person, and you have started something beautiful & awesome. this site is a game-changer. i can't tell you how CRAP i felt looking at other wedding blogs (with the exception of a few lights in the scary/crazy abyss). This site has been so inspiring, encouraging & reassuring – i could marry it (hehe)

    I have told so many people about offbeatbride because i feel such a strong connection to the blog, and to the amazing women i've met in the tribe!

    thanks to YOU!

  29. Hey! That's my wrist!

    Thank YOU so much for what you've created here! Though my wedding was over a year ago, I still read Offbeat Bride nearly every day. I love the messages of strength and individuality expressed by all of the brides. (And I love the pretty pictures!)
    There won't be any offbeat babies in my near future, but I even read Offbeat Mama, too!
    Thanks for it all and I'm looking forward to Offbeat Home!

    1 agrees
  30. I can't tell you how happy I was to find this site! I love seeing how creative, elegant, and interesting couples have made their weddings without spending all their savings. Everyone is a true inspiration here! Thanks, Ariel, for making all this possible.

  31. Grateful for you, too, Ariel, and every single lovely person who makes the OBB Empire such a unique place to share ideas, frustrations, joys, and acceptance.

    You have helped me become a better wedding coordinator and a better friend.

    Thank you for the years you have poured into OBB–I hope it continues to grow and continues to become even MAOR awesome!

  32. I am not engaged, or even in a relationship. Heck, right now there's nary a prospect in sight;} Yet every day I make sure to log on to see the newest OBB posts. I even look at the other Offbeat sites, even though – yep – I don't have children, yada yada. I found this site a few months ago and have been a faithful follower EVER since.

    THANK YOU, Ariel, for a space that continues to affirm and encourage the glorious celebration of our individuality!

  33. Thank you, Ariel, for creating this wonderful website that allows for creativity and open-mindedness. There are so many wonderful people on this site and I am grateful for the kind hearted comments and support. This community is just amazing and you made it happen! I know that a year ago today had to be tough, but I am glad that so many wonderful things came out of it for you:) Give a Happy Birthday to Tavi from me!

    • Thanks, Liz! This post was actually written LAST year (Megan just chose to feature it again this week) … but thank you so much. Tavi turns two this Friday, and everything just keeps just getting better!

      • Heehee…I didn't even notice that! Regardless, it is still nice of you to post and repost this comment:) It just shows how great a person you are:) I am glad that he will be 2! Wowza! I don't have any kids, BUT I have a lot of friends that do and all I can say from watching is that they grow up SO fast! I have a friend whose kid is 8 and he is already taller than me! YIKES!:)

  34. I am getting married in June and this website is the BEST, I have gotten so many ideas and inspirations 🙂

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