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.