I had a panic attack the day I discovered OffbeatBride.com. I was already engaged, and had already argued furiously with my fiancé that weddings were large family affairs and that we would have to deal with 300 people because that was SIMPLY THE WAY IT IS DONE. I had some serious apologizing to do to my future-husband once I became comfortable making the wedding truly ours, and not my family's.
Offbeat Bride (both the book and the site) changed me a lot. I became more comfortable with who I am. I discovered fashions and subcultures that I had never known existed, but now love. I learned how to deal with stress, with family, with my own doubts. But because of this fabulous place, I also developed one of my biggest doubts about the wedding: was it going to be offbeat enough?
I found myself stressing out the closer it got to my wedding, thinking, “I want to write my own vows! I want to have a handfasting and jump over a broomstick! I want to have a fabulous rainbow ribbon veil and lots of kids running around and skeleton cake toppers and an iPod for a DJ and pies instead of cake and a potluck and I want everyone to help out and I want everything DIY…” etc etc etc. Oh, I also wanted to be able to do everything on a tiny budget, something everyone seemed to be able to do. Basically, I was saying to all those offbeat brides, “I WANT TO BE JUST LIKE YOU!” which makes sense, because you are all awesome. But I was forgetting to want to be me.
I wanted to wear white, despite how much I loved all those fabulously colored dresses. I wanted to have the ceremony in a church to honor our parents' religion, despite also wanting to write my own short ceremony with lots of laughter and silliness. And I wanted to have it in a small, expensive tourist town (where I grew up), a place in which there were no fun, offbeat venues to be found, and in which the only normal venue to fit our whole guest list was a pricey golf club that did not allow outside catering. The reception was going to have alcohol and dancing. Despite the fact that this was what I actually wanted, I found myself worrying that my family would end up thinking I was normal (i.e. traditional and boring), and I couldn't have that! Especially not after finally discovering my true offbeat side! I finally ended up breaking down in tears over the fact that I was going to have real flowers in my bouquet (real flowers! How normal and boring!), and that was when my wonderful husband-to-be sat me down to have a talking-to.
The first thing he did was remind me of the Offbeat Bride post about being more traditional and how really being offbeat was about being true to yourself. Then he said, “Look. You designed your own dress. You are wearing neon orange shoes. We are playing Rock Band instead of dancing. We're avoiding ‘bridal' music. We designed the invitations. You don't have ‘colors.' Your wedding cabal will be wearing tutus. We have books and toys for centerpieces. What exactly makes you think this won't be offbeat?” My answer, of course, was that everyone on Offbeat Bride does those things! I would not stand out! I am not truly offbeat! I fail as a person! And of course that's when he bonked me on the head.
We had a wonderful wedding, and everyone was impressed (or horrified) by how “us” it was, which made me intensely happy. It was in a church and I was wearing white and we had a swanky venue, but we also had robots and video games and bright colors and lots of offbeat fun. The groom and I were in our element; we were sharing who we were while also paying due respect to our families and guests. We DIYed what we had the time and resources to do, and bought the rest. We spent barely under the national average budget for weddings (which is crazy, I know — we had a lot of people in an expensive location!), but we made sure that most everything was reusable, so it wasn't just for one day. We weren't traditional where it wasn't necessary, and we weren't offbeat where it wasn't necessary, either. (Well, not too much…)
And while I can still drool over all the weddings featured on Offbeat Bride, who spent literally one tenth of our budget and still are perfectly fabulous, I would not trade my wedding for any of them (even the Halloween and costume ones!), because our wedding was awesome and “us.” Whether you would consider it offbeat or more traditional, it was fun! And I wouldn't have done it any other way.