Reader Survey results, Part 1

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Almost 2500 of you took my 2010 Reader Survey in January, and I figured I'd say thank you by sharing some of the results.

First, the nitty gritty:

  • Unsurprisingly, 98% of you are women, with 1% each identifying as male or transgender (Aside: big thanks to the reader who suggested I add “Neither/Both” as a gender option. I'd let the survey software autopopulate the gender question with Male and Female as the only options, which was dumb. Sarah Dopp of Genderfork recently wrote a great post on this)
  • The majority of you are in your mid- to late-20s
  • 85% of you are white and 7% of you are multi-racial
  • 13% of you identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, or otherwise queer

Now, let's dive into some more nuanced data…

It's interesting to me that really only half of you are currently engaged. Offbeat Bride is of course primarily about wedding planning, but a third of our readers are either not yet engaged (18%) or recently married (14%). Y'all show up for the party early, and stay late to help us wash the dishes — I love that about you!

When I last did a reader survey just over a year ago, the most shocking thing I learned was how few offbeatbride.com readers read my book. In December 2008, 65% of you hadn't read my book, prompting me to write a post titled 10 reasons you need to read Offbeat Bride the book, and not just offbeatbride.com. Clearly, my efforts were fruitless because this year 72% of you haven't read the book. I'm trying to convince myself that it's because some of you are waiting for the second edition to be released in a couple weeks. If you've been waiting, ladies: NOW IS THE TIME!

In terms of what y'all want to see on the site, you told us loud and clear that you want more DIY content, more advice, and more budgeting tips. Well, I've already got Offbeat Shrie bumping up her DIY efforts, and I've recommitted myself to answering more advice questions. As far as budgeting, I'll see what I can do to bring in a few guest-posters.

The write-in comments for what you want more of on the site were super interesting. One of the challenges of running a site dedicated to nontraditional brides is that ALL of you wants to see more people like yourself on the site — and you're a diverse lot! More Native American brides, more plus size brides, more international content, more Jewish weddings, more stuff in the Midwest, more interfaith weddings, more black wedding gowns, more information about elopements, more men.

Of course we try to provide ALL these things, but the sad truth is this: Offbeat Bride will never be everything for everyone. We do the best we can to keep the site varied and diverse, but ultimately there are a few things we just aren't:

  • Offbeat Bride is written for women. Offbeat Grooms get coverage here and everyone is welcome to read, but ultimately I wrote my book and founded this website to cater to women, and that focus will remain. In having this focus, I'm certainly not saying men shouldn't love weddings and be actively involved in planning them. I'm just saying I do my best writing and community building for women, and so that's what I choose to do. I recommend the Offbeat Groom Gang for the menfolks!
  • Offbeat Bride is based in the United States. We LOVE international weddings and featured tons of weddings in the UK and Australia/New Zealand, but ultimately we're American and it would be disingenuous to claim we're experts on wedding traditions or trends in other countries.
  • Offbeat Bride is focused on weddings. This means that we're not especially interested in engagement stories and photos, and we don't dedicate a ton of time to talking about marriage. I'm trying to integrate a bit more of this “offbeat wife” post-wedding writings for y'all, but for the most part I chose to keep this site focused on weddings.

All this is to say: YES! We're always aiming to get a wider diversity of brides and weddings on this site. But, NO! There's just no way we'll be able to be absolutely everything to every single one of you. There's only one person who can make the perfect website for, say, an Inuit rockabilly planning a queer interfaith Jewish ceremony in a cave — and that's you. So while you might not always relate to every single thing you see on Offbeat Bride, hopefully you can enjoy most of it.

Coming in Part 2: What subcultures do most Offbeat Brides identify with? What's coming next for Offbeat Bride? And what Offbeat website will we be launching next?

Comments on Reader Survey results, Part 1

  1. I can not wait for the second edition of the book! I just read the first one and it is interesting that more people haven't read the book.

    • Not to sell myself short, but I'm not sure I'd recommend buying the second edition if you've read the first — there's not THAT much new material. 🙂 I mean, if you want to, be my guest of course!! But I'd hate for you to think you're getting a new book and find that it's just a new intro, one new chapter, and a new cover.

  2. The stymied genderqueer person who asked for the Neither/Both option? That was me. Thanks again for adding it, and gladly; one of the joys of this site is its diversity and openness, and this wedding-planning trip is weird and difficult enough without me being made more aware that I don't fit into boxes very well. Hell, this *life* is weird and difficult enough without that being made more obvious. 🙂

    So thanks for making something easy. I appreciate it.

  3. I LOVE this site. We are down to 38 days until the big day and it makes me a little sad that once I'm married I won't be able to get ideas from here anymore..but you can bet I'll still be logging in. I enjoying seeing everyone's ideas and all the different weddings even though I might not do it for mine I still love how authentic everyone is to themselves.

  4. I'm one of those non-engaged / non-bride readers. But I am an artist. I love reading this blog (and the book) because all of you ladies are SO CREATIVE! It's wonderful to see how you all express yourselves starting with the same template: two people in love wanting to make a public commitment.

    • I'm the same way – not engaged, but love all the gorgeous, artsy brilliance that pops up on here constantly. I haven't bought the book since I'm not planning a wedding – but when that changes, I certainly will!

  5. I didn't read the book for two reasons. First, I feel like I got most of what I would have gotten from the book on the website. I'm sure there is tons of stuff in the book that isn't on the website, but I got the general idea (your wedding is not a contest, do what makes you happy) from the website. Also, I heard from someone who had read the book that it is mostly your individual story and less general advice. Usually I love reading advice based around a personal story, but I think you probably know enough about weddings to minimize your story and devote more time to the vital information that we all need. That's just me, though. I definitely considered purchasing it many times because the price is good, and I'm actually still considering it now that I'm married, which is pretty weird.

  6. I admit, I found the site first, and then when I became officially engaged, I bought the book. (I figured, hiding a website I visit frequently would be easier than hiding a book from my FH. Hey, I wanted my proposal to him to be a complete surprise… :))

    • yeah…I LOVE offbeat bride, and offbeat mama, because this is where I see myself in 1-2 years, and I need to get those ideas brewin. However, if FH knew either of those two timelines, I would have some splainin' to do. The wedding porn is just as easy to hide as, say, real porn when only viewed on the webs.

  7. I love reading the Reader Survey Results… I always find it so interesting. Can't wait for Part Two!

  8. I read the book about 5 months into wedding planning, and I wish I had read it before I started planning. Ariel, you covered so many obstacles I had just dealt with, it would have been nice to realize they were coming before I hit them… I felt that the book was indeed mostly story, but I LOVED that about it. It was much more interesting and easy to read than a pure wedding guide. I actually wanted to read more (whereas the other wedding books I picked up were too dry to read for more than 5 minutes at a time). Ultimately, I found that the blog and (especially!) OBT were more useful in concrete details of wedding planning, but the book was useful for the overall feeling of what I was experiencing and likely to experience as I continued my planning… That's my two cents! BTW, it was last year's survey and the "10 reasons you must read the book" post that made me actually grab it off Amazon…. so not completely fruitless, your efforts 😉

  9. mmm….. survey data…….
    Love reading about this… more graphs please!

    It's true, I think I did say I wanted to see more of me:) well, people similar to me. Did brides who identified themselves as more 'bookish' buy your book?

  10. I'd totally read your book if you had an Australian distributor! ;P I'm far to lazy to buy it online.

    • Dina, I felt this way originally, and none of the NZ bookstores stocked it. But eventually I bought the book from Amazon and it was SO EXCITING when it arrived. I was most persuaded by Ariel's reasoning "support the woman who supports you!"

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