Surviving as offbeat in mainstream online communities

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Surviving as offbeat in mainstream online communities
You're Kinda Weird But I Kinda Like You card by Jago Illustration
Is it just me, or is it difficult being an Offbeat Bride on more traditional websites? While I love to talk about planning weddings, why are the communities on these websites as a whole so judgmental? What I think is the worst thing is if you are new to the world of weddings and you may have a legitimate concern or “offbeat” situation that may allow you to NOT follow the traditional norms of etiquette when it comes to wedding planning. Or if you legitimately DON'T KNOW what's considered rude or not rude when planning weddings.

Say for a random example if you were forced to invite a very estranged family member to your wedding who live 14+ hours away, who didn't bother to RSVP, and you decide that maybe it's not worth following up with a call because of whatever personal situations you've got going on. I find it unsettling how people can be so quick to be so rude and call you crazy and all types of things, especially if you're seeking genuine advice for your situation and circumstances. Because, as we know, there is no true cookie-cutter way to go about handling wedding planning issues. Is it just me that's met with this…hostility, if I even dare to ask about something that seems too offbeat, taboo, and “rude?” Thoughts?
– Offbeat0518

Whooo boy, has this ever been an issue that we've seen time and time again. Though being offbeat in mainstream circles is a hell of a lot easier than it used to be, it's still no picnic. Most couples come into wedding planning having either no background in weddings or only seeing traditional weddings. Pair that with instant Expectations and Must-Haves and I can't even really blame people for going a little militant. They just don't know any better, really.

But you do. You, and all the readers in alternative communities, know that weddings evolve, weddings are cultural, and weddings are but one moment. They aren't going to define your relationships with your family and friends, and if they do, those relationships are precarious anyway. I think your mindset is dead-on: “there is no true cookie-cutter way to go about handling wedding planning issues.”

Now, are there times when you do need a dose of reality in terms of what guests may expect? Absolutely. Sometimes you want to know how “things are done” just so you understand if you get any push-back when you decide to follow a different course. But you are so right: some of these more traditional communities can be BRUTAL — ego-demolishingly brutal.

So what should I do to survive as offbeat in mainstream online communities?

The best advice? Avoid those communities as much as possible. Couples have been planning weddings without them for centuries. They are not required and neither are we. If you have planning issues to solve, try to see if you can get it solved elsewhere first. Search Offbeat Bride (and other safe spaces you trust), ask trusted friends, or even find a helpful wedding planner who can give you a quick tip.

We've even got our own manifesto on “wedding etiquette advice”:

Embrace your “tacky”

Your wedding will be tacky. So will everyone else's. It's human nature to find fault and guests will find something. By making your own paths, people may not like your choices. Does it matter? Hell naw. Whatever decisions you make outside of the mainstream bubble may ruffle some feathers, but as long as you're following your heart, making sure to think about guests' comfort, and using common sense, you should be fine.

Find your goal words

One tip we hear all the time from Offbeat Bride readers is their goal of how they want the wedding to feel. Make sure you have these words in your mind whenever you're encountering rude or counterproductive judgment or suggestions from those forums. Maybe it's “comfortable, great food, no pressure,” or “nerdy fun, great style, leave happy.” Find your own goals and keep focused on that. If you're hearing suggestions that counter it (say, “you have to have formal chairs!” when you wanted comfort), you know what to do next…

Enforce a no-internet rule when you encounter the rudes

As soon as you feel your blood pressure start to rise or a sense of dread that everything you're doing is wrong, step away from the keyboard. Go out and do something not at all wedding-related to get your head space back. They'll get into your mind, into your soul, and make you forget who you are. Find that trigger and go do something that reminds you who you are.

More resources to help you vent:

Have YOU encountered any hostility in other online communities?

Comments on Surviving as offbeat in mainstream online communities

  1. What I find frustrating is people being oblivious to the special needs of our wedding. We’re a same-sex couple who can’t get legally married in our Anglican church, and are in limbo over whether we can have the blessing we had arranged because our vicar is leaving and the new one might not allow it. There are a lot of “why don’t you just…” comments that expose all the things the majority of brides in the group take for granted because they can get married however they want.

    It’s also hard, even in a winter brides group, to get anyone to tell me how to keep warm. They laugh and say they never wore their coat, when I know that I will be in serious pain if I don’t find a decent jacket and gloves. In the end, I never get an answer, because Raynaud’s doesn’t apply to them.

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