Battle cry of the Offbeat Lite

Updated Nov 21 2015
Guest post by Ang
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.

  1. Thank you for this. I know I'm echoing a lot of other voices who have said it better before, but I have struggled with the pressure to be traditional and the pressure to be offbeat. It's tough to find a balance, and realize that it's okay that I don't want to have a crazy steampunk (or any other subculture that I secretly admire) wedding. It's okay to have a wedding that is just me. And yes, I plan to submit my wedding when it finally happens. Because you never know – maybe my version of offbeat is something other peopole might be interested in reading about.

  2. Thanks for this post. To reiterate what many others have said, this post has really encouraged me to keep coming. I stopped visiting for a while because while I find the weddings here BEAUTIFUL, mine will probably be quite boring (take it from a woman with about 25 gray sweaters hanging in her closet!) The things that make me off beat are my personal beliefs, and these don't necessarily show from the outside. I've never posted before, but I just wanted to say thanks for the shout out!

  3. My involvement in the wedding industry (I'm. A florist) and my lifelong belief that things are better if they are done MY way gave me the confidence to be offbeat-lite in planning my first wedding. Twelve years later, I'm having and absolute blast planning my second wedding–a non-traditional celebration of US and OUR relationship. But when it comes down to it, ultimately, we are OB-lite.

    I quickly fell in love with this site BECAUSE it features people being themselves. Yet I wish there was more OB-lite featured. And reom reading these comments, I think many others do as well. Keep posting, Ang! We want to read your stuff!

  4. i have been a long time "lurker" around this website because i definitely iam OBLite. thanks for reaffirming the idea behind this amazing community. another wedding blog is yet to be found that offers constant positive and emotionally supportive posts for people who feel and act "differently" AND has tons of eye candy/superfun wedding porn.

  5. When I first discovered OBB what stood out to me was a celebration of people's choices. There are MANY wedding websites devoted to making the perfect little DIY 'unique' wedding, in which some quirky aspect of the couple is beautifully woven throughout the whole event. I look at these and think 'Yeah I love making paper crafts too but I don't need to letterpress my invitations just to prove how special our wedding is to our guests.' What I loved about OBB is many of the brides relate something they meant to do or wanted to have happen that didn't work out perfectly. And yet it was insignificant in comparison to committing to a loving partnership. I would never wear a black dress to my wedding but I'm thrilled when I see a bride who rocked her black dress and looked like she's having a blast.

  6. omg i feel like you wrote this just for me 🙂
    i LOVE LOVE LOVE so many of the weddings featured on OBB and would soo love to be on here one day but i actually am having a fairly 'normal' wedding. white dress, black suits, veil and red roses. why? because i want to wear white, and i like black suits and i LOVE red roses. yes there are things that are a bit different that i am having aswell because we want them that way…and its all about us getting married, not what our bridesmaids wear or whether i am in white or not, because at the end of the day WE ARE GETTING MARRIED and that is all we want. we want to get married and have a big party to celebrate it. so whether or not i have a white dress or a black dress with white spots….it doesnt matter because we are doing exactly what we want and focusing on our love and our marriage. the party is just a bonus!

  7. thank you, there are days that I do not feel worthy of OBB but I do feel very comfortable here. Thank you for being me wedding family.

  8. Well timed! I've been lurking at APW for a while but have been hungry for more things to read while it's a slow day at work… so I thought I'd tentatively check out OBB, but thinking it much too 'off-beat' for me… And I saw this post and thought: "What's OffBeat-Lite?" and here it is: you've summed up what I was worrying about and maybe alieviated my concerns a little. Guess I'll go look around the rest of the site now and see what it's all about, and not feel so much that I have to be part of a subculture to belong here. 🙂 Thanks!

  9. I stumbled upon OBB during my 5 month wedding planning session. I'm not sure how I ended up here but it was great. I enjoyed seeing some of my choices reflected in others weddings and loved all of the ideas that I came across and incorporated. My minister loved the ring warming ceremony. I found a fabulous reading that suited my husband and myself. We had a lite off beat wedding and I truly appreciated all of the support and ideas I gained from OBB. I can't wait for Off Beat Home and even though I'm child-free I enjoy Off Beat Mama all the time. Thank you for having a spot on the internet where I can feel at home.

  10. This is great. I would never think that Ariel or anyone else on OBB would outcast me or not find me cool for being light, because I've never seen a more welcoming wedding community. That said, sometimes you can feel like a schmuck because here are these amazing brides who are wearing hot pink and jumping brooms and having amazing carnival weddings, and my vision, at best, will have slightly offbeat music and decor, and MAYBE cupcakes (provided my mom doesn't win that fight. She wants the cake very badly, and I'm not sure the cake matters enough to me to fight her).
    Still, OBB is wonderful. It helps me breathe, it's chock-full of wonderful ideas, and you couldn't find a better crowd to hang out with, so thank OBB and all it's member for making a plain jane like me feel included, and best of all, unique!

  11. Thank you so much! I feel like nobody understands why I am celebrating a marriage and not obsessing about a wedding. I don't spend every last dime dwelling on a 6 hour celebration. Thank you for hearing us. We know there are more people like us, but we feel alone within the engaged cohort.

  12. hey reading this made me feel amazing about my wedding in 3 months time, im half traditonal half furthest away from traditional possible (maybe more when i see 8inch high sparkley black with red skulls peeptoe shoes that a curse i couldnt wear all day at the wedding)
    anyway wedding is definatly what u make it and can b as off beat as you want, i hate the idea of a cookie cutter wedding and so far i dont think im having one!!, have bridesmaids i call them my ladies in purple, they are all in purple but i have no idea on which dresses or shade they have chosen, my wedding shoes are either black and white diamond shapes with purple soles or irregular choice union jack ones that feel like slippers as velvet inside, our favours are little pizza cutters with slice of love on them as we got engaged in rome, his shoes say 'yes dear' on the bottom, told no one to goout of their way to 'match' but my mum fell in love with a purple and silver dress and my dad has black with purple pin stripe suit lol, our colours are black white and purple. i told people wear a tutu if u so wish!
    and finally or honey moon classic going to paris but so going disneyland while we are there u have to make ur day as awesome as u like DO NOT give in to anyone else b a bridezilla at times but mostley go with the flow im loving my planning cant say month beofre wedding ill b this calm!!!

    good luck to everyone else on there wedding days and enjoy it

  13. Thanks Ang for writing this article! I absolutely adore OBB because it encourages and celebrates everyone's creativity and individuality in the best way possible. Like everyone here, while I absolutely love reading of couples who rock out against things dictated by the Wedding Industrial Complex, sometimes I catch myself thinking "I feel like such a poser — I love the offbeatness, but I don't think pulling X really reflects who we are!"

    So it really is comforting to read this article and realize that the whole point of what you (and your future spouse) are doing for your wedding. You're simply celebrating the love and commitment you've given each other, with the folks you love the most. Granted, I'm gonna be wearing an ivory gown and my fiance a morning coat. But we both feel that the things we're DIYing for the wedding, the opting to do charities instead of favors, using Etsy if we need to purchase things, and just…well, just being ourselves. Isn't that what a wedding really should be about?

  14. oh thanks for this…I am quite sure about the party we want to have but because it's not exactly offbeat but also not completely typical, sometimes I do wonder whether we're doing something wrong! How silly, I know! Anyways, thanks!

  15. omigosh, thank you so much for that post!! i love this website, but used to only feel halfway worthy of being here. thanks for the crazy awesome validation!

  16. I feel this way in life too!
    I am too weird for the conventional people, yet not weird enough for the sub-cultures. Thanks for making a welcoming website for everyone!

  17. I LOVE this! I guess I could be considered Offbeat Lite (love the term!) but it pains me to see people apologizing for not being 'unique' enough just as much as it pains me to see people apologizing for being unique. Isn't the point off all this to be authentic? To have the freedom to be true to yourself and own it?

  18. Well said! It's odd how weddings can bring out self-doubt, comparisons, and judgement in the best of us. I was married a few months ago and relied heavily on this website for tips and inspiration, and yet when I attended a funky wedding yesterday at a local rock club, I found myself worried pointlessly that our wedding had been too square. I had the veil, the white dress, I wore very modest sleeves from my late mother's gown, we had a priest who came up from the deep South to do our ceremony though we got married in a cabin, etc. My maid of honor made the cake. And it was lovely, just how we wanted it, and on a budget. But when I went to yesterday's ceremony I found myself worried that I hadn't taken enough risks with a big occasion, or worse, that I had bored my guests with my starchy choices. It's true that it's "your" big day, but any time you are spending that much time and money to plan an event that you want your guests and family to be happy too.

  19. This was SO me! We didn't have much of a traditional wedding, but it wasn't totally offbeat. I had the (off) white dress and all that. But we did the whole deal on one big hall. We decided to see each other before the wedding and get all the pictures done before hand. We decided on a very untraditional dinner of breakfast for dinner (and tell me, in the Midwest, not having chicken and tips can cause people to go into a panic!), a candy bar with no individual favors, and we had a pastry bar vs a cake. The girls didn't have matching dresses and our guys were in jeans, dress shirts, and vests. We had a lot of family members freaking out that we didn't have a traditional Midwest wedding, be we had a wedding that was totally US and that's all that counted! And in the end, everyone had a blast! So much so that there were people talking about the breakfast for dinner wedding that weren't at our wedding and we didn't even know!

  20. Thank you, thank youthankyou. I was wondering about this for my own insight the other day. Since I was a kid, I've avoided things just simply because they were popular. I learned a couple of times how stupid that was (missed out on all the Harry Potter fun WHILE it was happening. What's wrong with me??) But that's just who I've been.
    Time warp to wedding planning. We're 16 months in, and 9 days away. I hired a wedding planner about 6 months ago, because I wanted one for the day-of anyway, and having her for the time between seemed like a stress-relief. In some ways, she's been very helpful. But in a lot of ways, she's forced me to question my non-traditional ways and budgeting priorities. ("Are you sure you don't want table sashes for $80? They'd be really pretty!") I feel like there have been points in time where I have to defend myself. I just have to remember that this wedding, (while we're very focused on making it a nice experience for our guests, as they're all from out of town) is ultimately about US.

    We are being traditional in many ways- I'm wearing a nice ivory dress, FH's wearing tux, we're serving dinner and doing it on a Saturday. 4/9/16!- 2^2/3^2/4^2!! But we're doing it under a tree and a friend is officiating. And my dad and step-dad and his mom and step-mom are dancing us down the aisle. And we have a mixed gender bridal party (girls on his side.) And we're skipping things we didn't like the folklore of, such as the garter toss/bouquet toss. So in a lot of ways, we're making it our own. And that's ultimately what matters. We can be who and what we choose, and our wedding will show that.
    I just wanted to write because I feel like I found this post just in time. I'm reflecting, and I'm really happy about all of the decisions we've made (and decided against) because they were OUR DECISIONS.

    My advise is: Just stick to your guns, (even if you do want a 4 tiered buttercream cake!) it'll so be worth it. You shine on, you little offbeat diamond.

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