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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. Thanks for this. I definitely felt sidelined during our wedding planning last year, between not being “weird” enough and sure as hell being nowhere near “normal.” In the end I feel like we fought the good fight to be US, just getting married, but it can be a tough line to walk.

  2. Yay for this! To me the only “requirement” for being here is that you are designing something that has personal meaning for you, as opposed to blindly following some template without understanding. When I first got hooked on OBB I was bedazzled by the pirate weddings and fire dancing and all, and those are still fun to read about, but what I most enjoy is seeing beautiful faces of people in love. I don’t care if the only nontraditional element you have is pink shoes; I want to see ’em, along with your unique and shining face!

  3. Wow! Thanks so much for letting us know that Offbeat Lites are just as welcome. I have always considered myself quirky in the whole local music scene, cute hats and vintage movies kinda way. My fiancé and I are working hard to make sure our “Rock the Casbah” wedding is personal and fun for all who attend. It’s nice to know that there is a wedding site for someone like me (an ex wedding DJ who hates line dances, and garter tosses)!

  4. I love this! I can’t click the “THIS!” button hard or often enough. As an Offbeat Bride turned Offbeat Vendor, you would not believe how many queries I get from readers who start by apologizing for not being “offbeat enough.” Offbeat LIte is awesome.

  5. As a former offbeat-lite bride and now an offbeat-lite wife, I’m so grateful for all the brides and grooms that are completely and totally offbeat. For me, seeing people go to extremes was an amazing morale booster for me. Not only did it give me the courage to buck tradition, but it also opened up the world of possibilities for me. Okay, so maybe I only have one tattoo, but dammit, I want to show it off, now that I’ve seen the bride with a gorgeous back piece. Maybe I’m not quite up for a crazy colored crinoline but now I’m going to fight for my red shoes no matter what my mom says.

    I’m sure it feels the same for offbeat readers who feel inspired by us offbeat lites that straddle tradition and innovation.

    I’ve never felt out of place here and I agree with the above commenters; OBB does a wonderful job of making everyone feel welcome here. After all, it’s been over a year since my wedding and I’m still here. 🙂

  6. See, my FH and I are TOTALLY the tattooed rock n roll type, and thus, our wedding will be what I consider very offbeat. But the relationship is what is important, and the wedding will be just a party that celebrates our love for each other and who we are. People should just do what is right for them, and others should respect that, as opposed to giving or giving into any pressure to fit a certain mould. Different strokes for different folks, thats what I say.

    • That’s a fabulous summary, thank you! And I love your nickname – I can imagine what your wedding photos will be like 🙂

      I’ve recently started following OBB and have to say that, whoever you are, whoever your partner is and whatever your wedding is going to be like, this website is like the kind of conversation you have with strangers in a nightclub bathroom at 3am (maybe drunk, maybe not) Comfortable, even if the only thing you have in common is where you are at the time, so to speak…

  7. I couldn’t thank you more for this post… I was feeling so alienated by basically all in the wedding world. The only thing that is truly off beat about me is my mentality. And although that seems like a fairly subtle difference, in reality… it’s huge.

  8. I was so surprised when my Offbeat Lite wedding was featured on OBB — and even more surprised by how much love it got. I was totally inspired by all the superoffbeatweddings I’d seen, and felt the spirit of Offbeatness coursing through my veins all through my wedding — but on the surface we looked pretty traditional. It just goes to show that Offbeat Bride is all about acceptance, support, and love.

  9. OMG! Thank you! I submitted my offbeat lite wedding a while ago and I was SO nervous when I did! My wedding hasn’t been featured, so I’d ALSO been having crazy/foolish thoughts that maybe I wasn’t offbeat ENOUGH for offbeat bride! That the offbeat-wedding-post-deciders didn’t think I was “cool” enough. Then I felt stupid and silly and confused and… UGH! Even more than a year after my wedding is over the stupid wedding industrial complex is still wreacking havoc on my life! Silly me.
    So thank you. Thank you for the reminder that my husband’s and my wedding was the perfect amount of offbeat, because it was 100% us.

    • Jessica, as the current “offbeat-wedding-post-decider,” please know that we all think ALL the weddings we see are AWESOME, because, as you said, they truly represent the couple.

      We literally have HUNDREDS of weddings in the Queue and I’ve only been at this a couple months and haven’t even gotten to really dig into them all.

      We try really hard to represent a diverse group of weddings on Offbeat Bride and that includes “Offbeat Lite!”

  10. Based purely on my casual observations, it seems like OBB has always done a good job welcoming the Offbeats and Offbeat-lites alike, and stressing personal expression/preferences over both tradition and the pressure to be more offbeat than you feel. I definitely remember there being some good posts on the later topic.

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