Offbeat Bride & diversity

Posted by

4144654605_5815b89845

I really appreciate Offbeat Bride. I find myself wanting to point friends to your blog and then resist the urge. A lot of my friends are people of color. When one hits your blog it is hard to find any weddings of people of color.

Have you considered targeted outreach to photographers and brides/grooms of color?

Again, I love your work. Just wish I could spread it farther.

Warmly,
Jodie

Thanks so much for the email, Jodie! This is a great opportunity to discuss an issue I've been thinking a lot about.

On offbeatbride.com, I aim to feature diverse weddings in terms of style, location, sexual orientation, etc. … but you're not the only one to be frustrated by the lack of color on offbeatbride.com. I do have a category of posts dedicated to offbeat couples of color (and there are lots of 'em!) and natural black hair, but even so, I have been deeply disappointed by the lack of racially diverse offbeat weddings across the web and in my inbox. I see a bazillion tattooed white women, but very very few black hippie brides, goth asian brides, steampunk latina brides, rockabilly Native American brides, etc.

I actually brought the issue up six months ago on our forum in a post titled “Where are all the Offbeat Brides of color?” Brides from a range of ethnic backgrounds weighed in with their theories on why I might be finding less offbeat brides of color online, and what I could do to attract more to the site. Here were a few of their thoughts:

“It's more difficult to exist (survive economically, be accepted, etc.) in a normative homogenizing society like ours as a member of a sub-culture; therefore for someone who is already marginalized based on something they have no choice about (their visible racial identity) it is less likely they will choose to compound that marginalization. To some extent it is a luxury to choose to marginalize yourself when you have the choice of ‘blending'.”
“I think about this all the time! But not just pertaining to bridal forums. I am on other forums for mothers and I always seem to find myself looking around and don't see too many people who look like me.”
“From an Asian standpoint, there may not be a huge population of minority OBBs because of the importance of tradition. There are many, many, many traditions in the Asian cultures that you must follow. Old school Asian parents demand that their kids follow these traditions exactly or face severe arguments. Believe me…you don't want to argue with an Asian mom! :)”
“At the risk of sounding like a crazy commie and pissing off all the independent, subculture brides I have to say that I do believe societal norms have a huge impact on personal identity, and even when we ‘rebel' against mainstream culture, we are doing it, consciously or subconsciously, in the parameters of the what society deems the ‘fringe' for our specific ethnicity, culture, etc.”
“I wonder whether part of it is that most of the off-beat weddings featured here, and people here are planning, are modeled on the classic white American post-Christian wedding. This means that the information here might not be so useful or relevant for someone planning an off-beat wedding based on a different culture. Lots of info on where to get non-white, environmentally friendly, retro wedding dresses might not be that helpful to someone looking for a non-red, environmentally friendly, retro sari or a cool twist on a traditional tea ceremony.”
“As nice as it is to hear that you would like to increase the racial diversity of this site — its not going to happen. If you have 2% minorities here I'd say you are doing well! There are simply not that many of us in the country. The change will come, but it small strides, and sites like OBB are the last place you will see these changes- just not a priority. And honestly – as a minority would you go seeking out more opportunities to be considered a minority? doubt it.

Please know that I keep ethnic diversity in mind when I'm searching for weddings to feature on offbeatbride.com … but there's a lot of room for improvement. I mean, a wedding website where I'm addressing the needs of transgender grooms, and yet we haven't seen a black offbeat bride in months? WTF?!

You all have my commitment that I'll double my efforts to get more brides (and grooms!) of color on the site (seriously, I've been trying — but I'll try harder!), but I NEED YOUR HELP! The vast majority of my content comes to me via submissions, so I beg of my readers: if you have diverse nontraditional wedding photos to share, please pass them along! If you know of offbeat couples of color who I should be talking to, let me know! If there are wedding photographers who's blogs I should be watching, pipe up!

And PS: If you're part of an offbeat couple of color and would like to submit your wedding to us, you can do that over here.

Comments on Offbeat Bride & diversity

  1. I want to be a chinese offbeat bride, but I think I will have to give up that idea. My dad, knowing that I always want to do something different , is already upset now and worried that I’d embarrass him with my “craziness”. He wants a traditional wedding (banquet for at least 400 guests), and he wants to pay for it.

  2. Hi, I am maori, tongan and pakeha(NZ european) and about to marry an irish fella. We feel really close to our cultures but also usually viewed as subversive due to our femininist, ‘hippie’, ‘alternaitve’ ways and views. Though we are including alot of culturally traditional features into the wedding, I would still consider it Offbeat. Off beat in the sense that we are puting US into the event (its over three days hence ‘event’) and along with the karanga and irish dancing there will be dreaded barefoot hippies, hairy armpits and legs – men and women – fire twirling, vegan food and probably dancing that will raise a few eyebrows. Though I may not see anyone on here that I can idenitfy with ethnicially, culturally, racially i do identify with a whole lot of strong, amazingly articulate and open-minded women!!! (and men!!)

  3. I’m a black woman, and definitely considered to be “off-beat” by my family! I LOVE coming here to lurk! If I ever DO get married, I’ll make sure to get the story to you Ariel!

  4. The point that strikes me here is in the original question:

    I find myself wanting to point friends to your blog and then resist the urge.

    Don’t resist – spread the word :o)

  5. I totally totally agree. There is a shocking lack of diversity in the wedding world in general I think. It’s funny, I was about to write “in the online wedding world,” which would be true, but then I realized the lack of diversity in the print wedding media is even more shocking. I’m really glad you brought this up!

    Also, from the point of view of planning a Jewish wedding, I’ve found that there are not a whole lot of resources if you are planning a cultural ceremony, be it Indian, Jewish, Chinese, or what have you. And if you have something of a indie ethos – but are planning a wedding in a culture where tradition is really important there are even fewer places to look. But I’d circle back to the fact that if you are planning a wedding in a minority community, there is additional (or different) importance attached to tradition. Somehow saying “to hell with all these Jewish traditions, were not using any of them” just two generations after the Holocaust seems like too much. Plus, sometimes it feels very counter-cultural to be planning a Jewish wedding. Both because most people don’t understand the traditions in the first place, and because the value system already is set up to give priority to community and other typically counter-cultural values. So for us at least, our indie/offbeat/counter-culture instincts are all there, but might seem a bit more subdued. So none of that is from the perspective of a person of color, but from a religious minority point of view.

  6. Meg, you bring up an interesting point — are cultural weddings “offbeat” because they’re embodying non-Christian-derivative traditions? I’ve actually resisted that definition, worried that it can come off as “Look at this wacky Indian wedding where the bride wore red! … Er, oh right: That’s traditional for an Indian wedding.”

    Some of this also comes down to my own personal interests — I’m a longtime subcultural obsessive, and have spent most of my adult life studying and admiring the ways subcultures establish their own social rules, behavior norms, fashions, etc.

    For me, weddings are just one more arena to immerse myself in the subcultural goo … and as one person pointed out on the OBT, many of the subcultures I’m familiar with are primarily anglo (hippies! ravers! goths! punks! rockabillies!). Maybe I just need to find some new, more diverse subcultures to admire with their own wonderful weddings. Educate me, world!

    (Is this getting too cerebral for anyone yet?)

  7. I’ve just had to come back to this because there’s something I don’t get. Surely this site is all about showing anyone that they can plan the wedding they want.

    I aim to feature diverse weddings in terms of style, location, sexual orientation, etc. … but you’re not the only one to be frustrated by the lack of color

    I think this site does a grand job at showing a wide range of all those diversities and if people think a friend may be interested in what you have to say, then they should pass it on. They might be black, they might be white, they might be steampunk, they might be techy geeks…. but what they all have in common is they want a wedding of their own style and loves. It seems to me that if you try and ‘target’ ethnic minorities then you’re going off the track. This site isn’t about making sure you tick all the boxes. It’s about sharing the general point of view. Going back to my earlier point, you’ll only increase the ‘range’ of contributors when people ‘resist the urge’ and tell their friends.

  8. Just so you know . . . . I’m an inked, pierced black chick currently planning a steampunk halloween handfasting. It doesn’t take place until 10/31/09, but I’ll be sure to submit photos when it does.

Read more comments

Comments are closed.