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. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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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