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.

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Comments on Battle cry of the Offbeat Lite

  1. Yay! Thanks for this. I did not even want to post mine because as much as I tried to be myself which is a bit quirky and offbeat, I did end up having a fairly traditional wedding. Now I will, and maybe it will be posted. I loved it anyway and all the “dreams” of wedding day came true for me. And I effing love my diamond ring. LOL

  2. Thanks for posting this! I’ve definitely felt that way before, and did a bit when I was planning my wedding. But Offbeat Bride still felt more like home than any other wedding site for this theatre/crafter/feminist geek 🙂

  3. This post is amazing. I too am ‘Offbeat Lite’ even though i’d never heard of that ’til a few minutes ago. Our wedding was pretty much entirely D.I.Y, I wore a hand-altered charity shop midnight blue ballgown, i had a matching ‘less than three’ tattoo done with my bridesmaid to mark the day… but we married in a registry office with simple vows, we had a buffet, suits, cheesy DJ – pretty vanilla formula compared to most. I’ve often felt out of place on both traditional wedding blogs and alternative blogs too as i just didn’t feel ‘good’ enough to be a part of either. This post has truly made my day though and reiterated everything i loved about our wedding day and everything anyone should love about theirs. Thank you!

  4. I LOVE this blog post!!! My motto for wedding planning is I want this to be US! I want it to look and feel like OUR wedding. That is exactly what we did and it was so much fun.

  5. I love this! I don’t know where I am on the offbeat spectrum to be honest but it doesn’t seem so important. The best thing about this site and the community is that everybody is really thoughtful about the meaning behind the traditions/non-traditions and it makes for great, supportive discussions.

  6. Even though my wedding was pretty non-traditional, I still love this post. It was a great reminder of what a wedding should be and that we shouldn’t be trying to out-indie each other. I can be jealous of some of the other gorgeous weddings I see, but I can’t imagine any other wedding being such a perfect celebration of my relationship.

  7. After getting over my initial wedding insecurities (and there were plenty), I decided to really own this celebration. I know that depending on who you ask, we are either totally normal or totally crazy… just a matter of perspective.

    I think the hardest thing regarding OBB/OBT, was not so much feeling attacked or insecure with my choices (for lack of a better explanation), but rather alienated. The acceptance from OBB/OBT is overwhelming, but offbeat lite wedding porn is a little harder to come by. No hating! Just saying…

  8. oh definitely! i’m trying my hardest to have a wedding that feels right and like it would be a lot of fun, so caught between the inspiration i find here and what years of family wedding has told me a wedding looks like. the same for my fiance, considering he insisted on there being no wedding breakfast as that’s too formal, but he is also adamant that he will have a cravat, coat tails the whole shebang because it’s his wedding and ‘not just another party’. d’awww
    whilst we’re talking about not fitting in around these parts i have to make a scandalous confession- there is no part of me that wants to craft something for my wedding. other people are, i just know how my craft ideas usually work out (crap) and how much patience and time i have for these things (little to none)

    • SAME HERE.

      DIY-ing it has trickled over to the non-OBB world as well, and while I think it’s stupendously awesome that people have this sort of talent and use it for their weddings, thus saving money (if not time)…..*I* am NOT “crafty,” and also have very little patience (lol, no, seriously, I’m not a patient lady).

      It will be like….200% less stressful for me to NOT try to make 150 individual little things, whatever they may be. Also, the time put into DIY projects makes the “opportunity cost” of lost time (entire weekends!) not be worth it for me. Though, again, major props to those who CAN do those things.

      But I shouldn’t be made to feel bad because I CAN’T do these things and am thus not “offbeat”!! (I’ve gone my whole professional career without making DIY things). To each her own, you know.

      • What’s funny is that DIY doesn’t even necessarily save money. If I’d ordered 100 table assignment cards off of Etsy or even printed them instead of making my own little folded card things out of Japanese paper, it would have been far cheaper (and time-saving, but mostly just cheaper in terms of cold, hard cash). I made them because I *wanted* to, and it’s OK if someone else adamantly does *not* want to! 🙂

  9. This is an amazing post, and much needed. I’ve been all over Offbeat Bride, Rock ‘n Roll Bride, and The Indie Bride, but I don’t truly feel like I am enough of THAT kind of bride. Neither am I a traditional white dress, three-tiered cake bride.

    Thank you for making me feel welcome for subscribing to OBB, and not like I have to hide from all of these amazing women because I’m not them. I’m just me, and that’s enough.

  10. I think this is one of the Catch-22s of “alternative” or “offbeat” media in general; featuring offbeat things make them look like the norm for that particular subculture. There’s a promotional aspect to websites like this that’s uncontrollable, because the very act of having the website feature real weddings is an act of promotion.

    The problem is, when you’re planning your own wedding, after your blood pressure hits a certain point *everything* feels like a criticism, or at least a critique.

    It’s very difficult to feel supported by any type of community in the wedding planning industry–it’s a very you-against-the-world kind of feeling, whether you’re battling against parents and vendors who are APPALLED that you don’t want a six-story white cake, or you’re trying to justify walking down the aisle to Brahms, rather than Bob Marley, to your offbeat compadres. You really can’t win for losing.

    It’s really hard to accept critique, or even alternative options, if you don’t have the self-confidence and belief in yourself to support your own choices… and that’s something I think OBB does really well: Encourage people to have the wedding that’s right for them, not the wedding that’s right for the industry, movement, or subculture.

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