Yep, this is an offbeat wedding. Photo of Ang's wedding by Kathy Mangum

I am proud to say I am “Offbeat Lite.” (Offbeat Lite is a term some Offbeat Brides use to describe their weddings… weddings like mine that are more tradition but still quirky.) If funkiness were ice cream, I'm pretty much the Mint Cookie Crunch to the other girls' Black Truffle Popcorn. For lack of a better term, I'm an urban grunge yuppie. And yes, I said yuppie.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because sometimes I get the feeling that my fellow brides who are more traditional feel out of the loop on Offbeat Bride. They let themselves feel pushed aside, and unrepresented. I'm here to encourage you not to feel that way, because it's simply not the case.

I mean, I get the insecurities. I really do. The Wedding Industrial Complex websites are crazy and tyrannical, treat you like the scum under their shoes for not succumbing to their vapid ways. Your family, friends and vendors are pressuring you and making you feel twenty kinds of wrong. You don't want all that crap, so you find a home on the alternative websites like Offbeat Bride where you feel welcomed, but like an outsider.

Sometimes you feel like the loser who only gets to hang out with the cool kids because the head cool kid's mom is making them invite you to their birthday. You're tempted to feel lame over your choices because they aren't offbeat enough, and are afraid that everyone else is judging you. You're ashamed of your white dress, you get defensive when you see others discussing how the fresh flower trade sickens them when you just got off the phone with your florist, and are wracked with guilt because you have no idea how to figure out your carbon footprint (and secretly, you don't care).

Repeat after me, ladies: You belong here. If you identify with reading Offbeat Bride, then you ARE an Offbeat Bride. I say this as one of you. I had a pretty traditional wedding: I did the white dress, he had a tux, we did fresh flowers, girls on my side, boys on his, we had cake, we were in a church, married by a minister, with semi traditional vows and readings. What made me offbeat wasn't the little things like the DIY, my lack of a veil, mismatched bridesmaids, our booze-free basement reception, or any of that. Those were just the tangible effects of my inner offbeatness.

Because THAT is what being offbeat is about: it's the stuff that goes on in your head and in your heart. It's about intent and thoughtfulness. I don't do the poetic schmoopy thing very well, but to ME, being offbeat is putting your marriage and relationship ahead of your wedding and being true to the people you are every day. It means that your wedding (ie: a party) exists to honor the two of you, and to celebrate you choosing to spend the rest of your lives together with the people you adore. It's not a showcase of wealth and taste, carefully tailored to inspire envy, covetousness, and awe in as many people as possible … it's a showcase of your love.

It's sad that it's considered outside the norm to put your relationship first, and yet that's the reality we live in.

Offbeat isn't defined by neon hair, Chuck Taylors, tattoos, fake mustaches, three digit budgets and funky crinolines. That's just an outward display of people being true to themselves and their relationships. Your wedding isn't a contest. All Offbeat Bride asks is you be your true selves, and stop apologizing for it.

Comments on Battle cry of the Offbeat Lite

  1. hear hear! I sometimes feel like I’m offbeat lite in real life too… don’t own a bike, don’t live in an area that recycles, eat meat, buy clothes at (gasp) walmart, so on and so forth, and my wedding didn’t look all that offbeat save for the fact that I only had 15 guests. It’s nice to hear from others whose “offbeatnesS” isn’t defined by the subculture they’re a part of but by the attitudes that are a part of them. Thanks for the great post!

    • Thank you so much for stating this FACT!! My fiance and I are a tad qirky and different but we do not belong to a subculture,we love your sight and when we get married we are submitting our photos too! I am a DIY bride and I get inspiration from this sight that is so useful. I bought my shoes from a vendor that advertises on your sight and I am wearing a birdcage veil and my bridesmaids are wearing fascinators because the photos of bridal parties wearing them looked awesome and I wanted that awesomeness too! My groom wants a black diamond ring because we decided that we can be us, not so traditional!! I am making my own retro 50’s wedding dress and cape!! I got it like that!! Look for my photos 11/17/2012!!

  2. I’m really glad you wrote this! I tried my darn’d-est to have the most awesome Offbeat Wedding EVAR!!! And I ended up with a fairly normal one, save for some small things. I submitted my pics to the pool as excited as a new bride could be, but then after seeing all the other pictures I left dejected haha. (And then I forgot all about it and life went on.) But it’s still nice to see and hear comments like yours! And it’s true, our weddings are celebrations of LOVE, not contests. Thank you! 🙂

  3. You said it, Ang. I fell in love with OBB and OBT because it’s a place I can contemplate the choices that are right for me and my dude at our wedding. As long as we’re true to ourselves, that (depressingly) makes us offbeat in the grand scheme of weddings out there. OBB is all about thinking about why you make choices for your wedding rather than just checking items off a list just because it’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s about finding the right traditions to continue and the right ones to drop. I’d never heard of an anniversary box, and never contemplated a civil ceremony before I came to OBB. I’m not doing anything at my wedding to be offbeat. It’s all about having the best party to celebrate finding the guy I want to spend my life with.

    • This!

      Before I found OBB I kind of had a sense that the wedding should reflect who we are as people and that it was important to think about the choices and I think one of the things that frustrated me was feeling like all the choices had been made, or at least narrowed down (to the wrong options) by ‘tradition’ so I couldn’t do that.

      Now I can look at this site and even if I decide I don’t like brooch bouquets (for example), I do like oragami but it’s not right for me etc. etc. and what I really want is a bunch of cut flowers at least I know it’s a choice I’ve made, and not just something everyone “has” to do.

  4. Thank you for this post! I think I’m more on the offbeat end of Offbeat Lite. But I’m still quite Offbeat Lite. I have a diamond engagement ring, I’m wearing an ivory wedding dress, floral arrangements, a dance, etc etc etc.

    Sometimes I get kind of discouraged when I’m on the Tribe and I read a comment about how “stupid/sucky diamond rings are” or something. I suddenly feel defensive and I have to pipe up and somehow validate what I have “but mine is a Canadian diamond! My fiance picked it so it means just as much as a ruby/sapphire/garnet/no ring”. But I have to constantly remind myself that that Tribe member isn’t directly insulting my choices, but they are voicing their opinions on what isn’t right for them. Or they just have foot-in-mouth disease.

    Either way, I grown to learn that there are many aspects that make me offbeat (both tangible and intangible). And that I don’t need to make excuses or attempt to validate my choices in order for them to be so.

    If it feels right to me, then it being offbeat or not doesn’t matter.

    • Good perspective. I didn’t want a diamond, but only because they’ve never had much appeal to me. So I didn’t get one (for a second I contemplated a black diamond). The only thing that’s sucky or stupid is the overwhelming cultural expectations about them, not the diamonds themselves. Just ’cause one doesn’t like it doesn’t make it bad.

      • Ditto. Right after I got engaged I kept saying, “It was an inherited diamond! His great-grandfather won it in a poker game!” Now I just say, “Thank you. I love it.”

        I just wrote a blog post about this- how I’m not making apologies for my wedding for being too Offbeat OR too mainstream. It’s my (/our) party and I’ll wear white (with a multicolored crinoline) if I want to!

  5. I like this. I think I’m somewhere inbetween Offbeat Lite and a walking subculture. Definitely in my home in the midwest (not for long! Moving to Seattle next week!) I’m as unique as they come, but sometimes when I get on here I’m really intimidated with people having the most unique weddings on a $100 budget and I feel like a dope. I’m DIY quite a few elements of my wedding as well and its taking a lot of inner dialogue to let myself relax and just (gasp) buy a couple things. I also think my offbeat wedding has now spoiled my family as well because I told my grandmother I ordered the fascinators for the bridemaids online and she about keeled over that I didn’t make them myself out of dryer lint and paper cups.

  6. Word to the McWord. We did a church wedding, long white dress and veil, banquet hall reception, fresh flowers, Bible readings, etc. and yet we were lucky enough to be featured here on this very site. I celebrate my Offbeat sisters who love their black dresses and their steampunk bouquets, and yet I feel very much at home here because I know we all have a different, personal set of priorites than those the WIC insists we have.

  7. Thank you so much for writing this. It sums up exactly how I have been feeling throughout my wedding planning adventure and it’s just the confidence boost I needed to get through the last five or so months of it. Huzzah!!!

  8. The wilder element of Offbeat Bride has actually made me feel more comfortable about myself and my offbeat-lite wedding and life in general. I see some of the featured weddings and fashions and it gives me a broader spectrum for me to fit in. Rather than just seeing how, this and this and this part of my style and life don’t fit in with mainstream, I see how wow, that person is brave enough and authentic enough to be comfortable way off mainstream so maybe I’m fine right where I am, not totally mainstream, not extremely offbeat.

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