In honor of “plain and boring weddings”

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boring weddings

On our Facebook page, I recently asked readers what they wanted to see more of from Offbeat Bride. One reader chimed in immediately with this feedback:

I'd like to see more “plain and boring” wedding pictures. I see lots of amazing decor and themes, but what about folks who consider getting married as the most important part of the wedding?

I love looking at pretty stationery and centerpieces, offbeat or conventional, but the idea of DIYing/paying so much for details is daunting. How about some super simple weddings for folks like me who couldn't care either way, as long as we're married? Or folks with absolutely zero budget? Or no professional photog? I'd like to see some inspiration on how to make a beautiful statement both on the cheap, and on the easy.

I understand these are least likely to be submitted to Offbeat Bride due to lack of “wedding porn,” but I think it's definitely worth reaching out to these types of brides. We all like to see beautiful weddings, but if that's all we see, people tend to feel as though they have an expectation to live up to — offbeat or not.

We have several archives dedicated to featuring these kinds weddings :

We've even posted specifically about skipping photography (oof, the wedding photographers LOVED that one!), and posts about making do with budgets ranging from $100 to $500 to $1000.

We're always looking to publish more simple/minimalist weddings, but the reality is indeed that we don't get a ton submitted.

Dark Willow Buffy Quote “Bored Now” mug

Why don't people submit “boring” weddings?

From my conversations with readers and community members, my understanding is that folks who opt for more minimalist, pared-down weddings don't seem to be as interested in showing them off online as those who invested a lot of resources (time, effort, money, or otherwise!) in the little details.

This makes sense, right? If you've spent ages on every little detail, sharing the wedding after it's done is one of your big rewards for all that effort! If your wedding was a simple and scaled down affair, maybe there's not as much motivation to share it.

Here's another uncomfortable truth: while we love featuring simple/minimalist weddings on Offbeat Bride (and readers love the idea of us featuring more) the reality is that traffic to those posts is consistently lower. We continue to run them because we believe they have have a tremendous value in portraying the wide range of aesthetics that go into offbeat weddings, but we take a major traffic hit when we make the choice to feature a wedding that's less visually compelling. We are, after all, a media outlet. And media outlets are dependent on eyeballs. People say they want something, but don't click when we do it — what's that all about?

Why don't people READ “boring” weddings?

Clearly, we all love the concept of celebrating “plain and boring weddings,” but why? As the original comment points out, “people tend to feel as though they have an expectation to live up to” something, so is the issue here that we need to soothe reader insecurities?

Our traffic patterns show us that “plain and boring” weddings don't actually get much traffic, but readers consistently request content that's more traditional, less showy, more minimal, and lower budget. Sometimes I worry the requests come from a place of feeling small: “Please show me a wedding that will make me feel better about what I'm doing.” Ouch.

At Offbeat Bride, our mission is celebrating weddings that are an authentic expression of the people getting married. Our mission has nothing to do with theme weddings. We don't focus on unique weddings, and in fact they make me nervous. We focus on the intent and thought that went into the celebration, which is why our wedding submission form asks so many questions about the process, and only one about the wedding details.

Our goal is to feature weddings that inspire and amaze — sometimes that's visual, and sometimes it's not.

Tell you what. I'll make you all a collective deal: We'll work to feature a fair balance of less visually BOOM POW!! weddings, if you promise to always click through and actually read the wedding profiles of those less-visual weddings, to find the beauty in the intent.

Also, ultimately the weddings we feature are a reflection of the weddings submitted to us. If you feel like folks like you aren't represented, you can change that! Submit your wedding to Offbeat Bride.

Comments on In honor of “plain and boring weddings”

  1. Oh my gosh, I love this! Yes!

    I was actually thinking about this the other day when I read something that someone said about them not liking that a wedding didn’t have many decorations. But the fact of the matter is that I love weddings that are simple and minimalistic! And I appreciate those weddings as much as I do weddings that are grand and heavily decorated. Though what I always focus on at weddings is the love that the couple shares. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Though, instead of labeling it as boring or bland, why don’t we call it “simple”, “unornamented”, or “no-frills”? Something with a better connotation so that we’re more celebratory with it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Because isn’t that what Offbeat Bride is about? ๐Ÿ˜€

    http://tribe.offbeatbride.com/members/amerika/

  2. I can see how “plain and simple” weddings might be a victim of themselves – i.e. not going to get millions of clicks because less OMGs!! but it would be lovely to see some more standard? boring? normal? weddings on here, but perhaps that isn’t what offbeat bride is here for? are we talking minimalist weddings or ones that are fairly normal?

    I probably wouldn’t submit my wedding because its fairly “normal”, long white dress, church, reception in a hall. it has some crafty and nautical touches but I’m not sure the whole world would get that excited. Although we are having curry. and a regatta. I hope my fellow Tribesmates will be interested when I post on the forum, but probably more because they have seen it coming together than because it is particularly interesting/ exciting

    • I would love to see that wedding on the blog! I havent been on the tribe for a while as our planning has been postponed, but I would love to see pics of a hall wedding (what we were planning), and curry and a regatta…sounds awesome!
      As Ariel says here, being an offbeat bride (or living an offbeat life) is about intent, not decor

  3. I am getting married in 18 days. My middle-aged Hawaiian wedding is going to simple with some homemade touches. I am going to submit my wedding because I think that there should be more on older brides. I also have the tattoo thing going for me and a great location. Oh I am also plus size and wearing something traditional. I got a little intimidated by all the themes and DIY stuff so I kept it simple. Hoping it strikes a cord with someone.

    • I can’t wait to see your magical day! I hope it is wonderful & full of love ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thank you for this. I recently posted elsewhere about feeling so much grief over the decorations that didn’t get made, and how I felt that it didn’t deserve a submission to OBB even though there was some fun and funky stuff in it. This post gives me something to chew on around my perspective on that, particularly the background of “not enough-ness.” So again, thank you, thank you.

  5. I admit, I was sad when you took away the “offbeat lite” tag. As an offbeat lite bride myself, I liked the idea of having a “normal” wedding with some offbeat highlights, because that’s what I was personally doing myself. While it’s fun to read about the super-offbeat and hugely themed weddings, and I love seeing those pictures, I don’t usually look at them and go, “I can see my guests attending a wedding like this.” Usually I’d say something like, “What a cool concept. Now let me get back to planning my reception-hall wedding with the fantasy table numbers…”

    That said, I understand why you took away the tag. I’m not asking you to bring it back. I’m just saying I was sad to see it go.

  6. As someone who adores big extravagant affairs but would faint at the idea of paying for them, simple weddings appeal to me.

    However I wanted to point out some things in the examples of budget weddings .

    For the $100 wedding, they had a professional photographer, and 5 freelance photographers. The other two budget weddings listed in the article had professional and freelance photographers involved(whether bride, groom or both). Their wedding photos are wonderful and I adore them!

    But in lots of examples of budget weddings(both this site and lots of others), people enlist “friends with talent” to provide them with the glamour photo aesthetic loved so much in wedding porn(I don’t blame them, it’s pretty and if I had friends who could do that- I’d use them).

    It seems hard to find amateur photography examples on the internet. I understand the traffic concern, this post about small amounts of photography and wedding albums get less than 300 shares (http://offbeatbride.com/2012/03/photographic-minimalism) and many others get 1000+

    From a business standpoint, it makes sense, and you don’t want to waste time on things your readers don’t want. I completely agree that for you all to post more, we must “vote with our clicks” and encourage them!

    I hope we can encourage more brides to share their weddings and to feel like their weddings are just as important whether their photos are clear and “well-lit” and professional or if your Mom did your photos filled with grey-lighting and full of red-eye! They’re beautiful, just as beautiful as the weddings we don’t get to see because there were no photos.

    As a final little note, I like to see the requesting for more weddings like these not because they’re looking for something to “make them feel better about what I’m doing,” but to look for confirmation that there are weddings like theirs so that they can reaffirm that they do belong in the community. (Besides, what’s wrong with helping reader insecurities? We support OffbeatLite Brides, OffbeatOffbeat Brides, introvert Brides and Plus-sized Brides through feeling positive about their weddings and themselves. I don’t think supporting any kind of ‘type’ of bride through their respective insecurities is a bad thing.)

    • “However I wanted to point out some things in the examples of budget weddings .
      For the $100 wedding, they had a professional photographer, and 5 freelance photographers. The other two budget weddings listed in the article had professional and freelance photographers involved(whether bride, groom or both). Their wedding photos are wonderful and I adore them!
      But in lots of examples of budget weddings(both this site and lots of others), people enlist “friends with talent” to provide them with the glamour photo aesthetic loved so much in wedding porn(I don’t blame them, it’s pretty and if I had friends who could do that- I’d use them).”

      Yes, this. I admit when I look up budget weddings (here and on other sites) this is something that personally bothers me. Sure you may not be paying WITH CASH for things and therefore it’s technically a budget wedding but you are still receiving the services larger budgeted weddings have. Not everyone has a professional photographer friend (or even an amateur photographer friend), or a florist friend, or a dress maker friend, or a baker friend, etc. I’d love to see more weddings where the couple made due with their budget and didn’t bring in *free professionals*. I don’t know… to me that never really seemed like a budget wedding. I remember reading one (I don’t remember if it was on here or not) where the couple spent about $750 total but happened to have friends who were professionals in almost all the other areas… they have a professional cake, professional photographer, professional band, professional dress maker, even the venue happened to be owned by friends who let them have the wedding there for nearly free. The estimated if they’d paid for the wedding it would have been around $15000. I’m happy for them that they didn’t have to pay that out of pocket but that is not, IMO, a budget wedding. That should be called a *connected wedding* or *friendor wedding*… something like that.

      Sorry if I sound a little bitter… it’s just really hard to scour the internet looking for true budget wedding tips and the main one always is to have friends do everything for you. *sigh*

      • If I could click “this” a zillion times, I would. I understand the need for clicks and site traffic, but at the same time, brides without connections and with tight budgets need inspiration too! I think that a better balance is needed.

      • And you know…a lot of the time this does not work out as good as you think it will. My cousin’s husband got a lot of his friends to do things for cheep or free and it was not great. Also, as someone who makes dresses professionally, I will certainly cut a friend a deal but I ain’t making her a free dress. We’re certainly going to DIY a lot of things for our wedding, but some of it is because of the business that we’re in. My fiance can borrow lighting equipment and he owns DJ equipment. We’re hiring a friend to be our photographer, but as someone who makes a living from art I WANT to pay him.

  7. This might be a little off topic, but I feel like the tone of the request was a bit judgmental. The most important part of my wedding was the fact that I was marring my husband, hands down. We just wanted to have a celebration that reflected our personal flavour of weird. I can understand and respect the desire to see more minimalist weddings, but I think that, just as we shouldn’t turn this into a search for someone we can do better than, we should take care not to turn those value judgments in the other direction, either, by suggesting that flashier weddings mean a bride who doesn’t have their priorities straight. I know this is something Ariel has written about at least once, but I thought it was worth mentioning here.

    • They’ve probably alienated a lot of people by calling their wedding plain and boring. I fight daily to think that my wedding is not offbeat enough for this site and this post made me realise that I’m right. I don’t fit into the WIC definition and I don’t fit into the Offbeat definition… so basically I fit in nowhere. This post has basically told me that I fit in nowhere and that I’m plain and boring because I don’t have insane things going on for my wedding. It’s just plain and boring.

      • The phrasing “plain and boring” was that of the reader making the request — NOT MINE. It breaks my heart to think that might not have been clear enough in this post… I put the words in quote marks every time to try to make that clear.

  8. Great article! I personally don’t feel I have to compete with the grand beautiful weddings featured on Offbeat bride. I don’t feel that there are high expectations for me and my soon to be. I feel inspired by what I see and read! Isn’t that what this community is about? Making all bride and grooms feel good about what they like, love and want out of their own individual weddings? I agree with many of the above statements. I always felt Offbeat bride wasn’t about themes, but was a place for people like me. People who will never “fit in” with today’s bridal magazine, blogs, websites and planners. People who don’t want to “fit in”, people who want to be themselves (whatever that may be). This is the literally ONE place where people like me, can be who we are and plan unique weddings that reflect us and our significant others. We won’t be judged and we aren’t told we HAVE to do things a certain way. We are free to be ourselves here, Offbeat or not ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Are we really though? Lately I feel like more and more anyone who isn’t going really offbeat is kind of pushed to the side and ignored. If there’s any element of tradition or not completely off the wall, people are really made to not fit in. I’m fightin with that right now. I don’t feel like I fit into the WIC and I don’t feel like I fit into the Offbeat either now. So basically, because I’m not going over the wall with crazy individuality and uniqueness, my wedding is boring despite doing a lot of fun and different things for it. Bluntly, that hurts. There’s support for sure here, but ultimately, I still don’t feel like I fit in. And I don’t like the thought of my wedding being classified as “plain” and “boring” just because it’s not all the way out in left field.

    • Totally agree! Its not a competition. I feel like some of these comments are so judgmental. When writing these articles you have to take a year worth of planning and one crazy wedding day and compact it into a brief summary. When talking about your wedding you don’t want to talk about all the things you couldn’t get and how things didn’t go as planned or what have you. And when having a small budget it takes twice as much planning and work than if you were to have a lager budget. You have to do a lot of DIY and footwork with small budgets so if you have to make it things yourself, do you want to make it half A** or do you want to take a few extra seconds and add a little special touch to it? You can’t be jealous or envy someone else wedding. Again its not a competition.

  9. I’ve had to defend and justify nearly every element of my wedding, be it complicated or simple, offbeat or traditional. Some of my simple-wedding friends snarked on my complicated-wedding details and tried to make me feel like a bad feminist for caring about my wedding, which led me to write this treatise: http://offbeatbride.com/2015/01/maintenance-shaming

    . . . and then in the FB comments for this article, people thought I was snarking on simple weddings! Good grief. But for what it’s worth, I’ve NEVER clicked to Offbeat Bride and thought, “That wedding doesn’t belong here.”

    • “Bad feminist”? This troubles me. A feminist stands for equality. I am sorry you’ve had all this trouble with your wedding. I hope the mood among those people gets better. Also, I hope your wedding turns out to be perfect for you and your significant other ๐Ÿ™‚ best of luck, stay strong & happy!

    • OMG it gets really frustrating when people presume that because you’re expressing upset/concern/an opinion, that it means you HATE the opposite.

      I CAN HOLD THESE TWO OPINIONS AT THE SAME TIME. Just because I like apples doesn’t mean I automatically hate bananas.

  10. It might be perception too. I think that because a lot of Offbeat Bride readers are drawn to seeing, well, cough cough, off beat weddings, that maybe even reading Offbeat Bride might even become our little world of normal. Even dare to say, even “boring.” (runs away before getting pelted with rotten eggs and tomato’s). People are so used on this website in seeing the “offbeat” side of life, that like stated, it has because normal to see anything from Punk, to Steampunk, to rainbow, to gay, to transgendered, to interfaith weddings, that nothing seems to be “offbeat” at all about it (again, runs away before getting pelted with stinky fish).

    • I agree (no stinky fish I swear). When my searches lead me to some other bridal sites I see the snarky, judgemental and downright rude comments to totally legit questions or ideas, and remember the offbeat empire and practical bubble I spend most of my time in. Where all kinds of weird and wonderful is not just accepted but celebrated. We’re spolit for choice, and perhaps forget simple is one of those choices.

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