"Your wedding is tacky"
“You're tacky” mug available on Etsy

I am officially decreeing myself done with the word “tacky.” It's a word thrown around a lot in the wedding world — even the non-traditional wedding world!

People are worried their centerpieces will look tacky. People decree honeymoon registries tacky. There's muttering over etiquette: “I want to do things this way … but is that tacky?” brides whisper in terror. Tacky: the dark evil that sneaks into your bedroom and eats your face at night.

I'm here to tell you that, YES: everything you want to do for your wedding is tacky. All of it. The red dress is tacky. The handmade paper flowers are tacky. Your custom-designed invitations? TACKY.

Because you see, “tacky” is in the eye of the beholder and there is always, always going to be someone who sees things differently than you.

Your handwritten wedding vows? Tacky!

Using old mugs as favors? Tacky!

Your ribbon veil? Tacky!

Your father reading a poem he wrote instead of Corinthians? Tacky!

There is no end to the tackiness. It is ALL tacky, according to someone. Someone will tell you it's tacky to get married in your backyard. Someone will tell you it's tacky not to decorate your chairs with large bows and organza. Someone will tell you it's tacky to have portapotties at your wedding. Someone somewhere thinks sequined wedding shoes and button bouquets and Wai-Ching dresses are all tacky.

…This website? TACKY!

I'm exhausted by the tacky debate. I'm sick of people asking if some component of their wedding is tacky. (Sure it is! …to someone. Do you care? Is that why you're doing it?) I'm sick of commenters decreeing certain wedding thangs as tacky. (Sure it is! …to you. Do I care? Are you invited to my wedding?) Tacky: the dark monster that creeps in at night … tacky is the manifestation of your fears that people won't approve of your wedding.

Moving forward, I'm decreeing a moratorium on the word. When it's ALL tacky, none of it's tacky and we can finally stop talking about it.

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Comments on Your wedding is tacky

  1. The word tacky has lost all meaning having read it so many times… guess that’s kinda the point!

  2. THANK YOU! Ariel, i know i’ve said this before, but you are my frakking hero!!! My mom LOVES throwing that word around if she doesn’t like a decision i’m making about my wedding. It’s ridiculous and judgemental, and really, who the frak cares if i use labels instead of calligraphy on the invitations? A year from now, nobody will remember.

    • haha all good. i hand wrote the addresses (and i do NOT have good handwriting). lots of ppl are saying things in my wedding are tacky but i decided at the beginning of all this to ignore. all girls in the wedding party, myself included, are wearing flip flops 😀 i dont wear heels most other days, why start when nobody can even see my feet?

  3. YES YES YES YES YES!

    I hate how people use this word – which has such a silly ring to it – in a mean-spirited way to demoralize others and pass judgment.

    However, I love the use of it all over your wedding photo. It cracked me up!

  4. This is EXACTLY the kind of post I needed to read. *sigh* I don’t know what else I (or anyone) can do to really engrain that into my mind.
    You’re the best, Ariel!

  5. Seriously. Ariel, you are a hero 🙂

    I’m not even 10% done planning my wedding and I hear that word… bleck.

  6. I completely agree with Helen. By the end of this entry I was thinking to myself taq-eee? TAKy?

    Tack like? So it’s sharp and helps keep things flat? What does that word even mean?

  7. I find it funny that when you do something out of the ordinary for your wedding that it gets called tacky, but you do everything traditional, your not. I find it extremely wrong to tell someone that their ideas aren’t what they should be.

  8. yes this is the whole point of this blog. it isnt for people who do not like offbeat things. i often wonder, why people choose to spend their time somewhere if all they do is want to be negative.

  9. Funny, and true. Look what I brought on myself today when discussing plastic rings. It’s true though, in general. Enough with the Tacky debate. It’s like the DIY guilt issue… it’s not tacky for god’s sake, just make sure it’s what you love.

  10. I heard it’s tacky to talk about the definition of the word tacky on a wedding blog.

    LMAO 😀

  11. I *JUST* had a conversation about the subjective nature of tacky last night with my future MIL.

    Last month I went to a 100%-by-the-book traditional wedding and (probably because I’m so spoiled with all of the amazing weddings I get to see on OBB everyday) I thought that THAT wedding (the wedding everyone else was “oohing” and “ahhing” over) was THE tackiest thing I’d ever seen.

    Which is ironic, considering most of the people present at that wedding think that MY wedding is going to be the tackiest thing that they’ll ever see.

    To each her own, right? Tacky. I embrace the “tacky,” whatever that means.

  12. Here Here Here Here!!!!!
    I could NOT have SAID it any better if I where TRYING!!!
    I guess this is why YOU are the BOSS! 😉
    –Diann…

  13. I had to battle the T word with a classmate who thought that having my wedding at my in-law’s home was just the “T*ckiest” thing ever. He actually asked, “Is their house at least nice?” I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at the uninvited backseat wedding coordinator.

    I love your diagram! Maybe we should recalim the word and change the definition because all I see is AWESOME!

  14. Etymology: from “tackey”, in the 1800’s, a word for a small horse usually of poor quality. I’m guessing the connection has to do with being owned by poor farmers, and those farmers had so little money that anything they did was low-quality or “tacky”.

    As for me, I had someone at my wedding say that they “didn’t normally go to hillbilly weddings”. …does that count as “tacky”? Should I be worried?

    …joking. Not worried. Seriously, the only thing tacky at my wedding was the fact that this person actually said this. THAT was tacky.

  15. Ooohh…I want someone to label all the t—- things in my wedding photos! Whatever in the world is wrong with words like ‘unique’, ‘crafty’, ‘personal’… and ‘fan-fucking-tastic’?!?!

    BTW….I love you Ariel!

  16. In response to Rachel:

    I was just thinking that my pasties that keep my nipples from poking through my wedding dress are tacky!

  17. This is exactly why Ariel is so great! Celebrate diversity, stay positive, try not to judge.

  18. “Tacky: the dark evil that sneaks into your bedroom and eats your face at night….”

    ROTFL. Have I told you lately that I love you Ariel?

  19. I am all about not making value judgments about other people or their ideas.

    However, as a girl (and a bride) who sometimes frets over whether or not things will be tacky or uncouth or rude or any of those synonyms I would like to say that it’s not always about fear.

    Sometimes I consider whether something is tacky out of consideration for others. I think that lots of us Offbeat Brides tend to toss around the “Who cares what so-and-so thinks”.

    Well, I do. And the reason I care about when my mother in law things is because I care about her. I’d like her to be happy and comfortable at my wedding (and in general) not out of fear but out of love.

    Sometimes the least “tacky” thing you can do is consider someone else’s feelings enough to change a little detail or put a little extra time/effort into making them feel like welcome guests at your event, instead of alienated participants.

  20. Totally needed that, Ariel. You rock. But I’m sure you knew that already 🙂

  21. You’re right. I keep forgetting to plan this thing for what *I* want! Who really cares what anyone else wants.

  22. tackytackytackytacky….yep, the word has lost all meaning. Except for meaning something that might stick to your hand if you touched it. Saying it over and over like that, makes the word feel more sticky.

  23. I never once thought about the word “tacky” in my planning. Truly, that word never crossed my mind until now. But I am sure someone will find my polka dot napkins and DIY paper flowers tacky. I guess I just never thought to wonder about tackiness because all the things I have planned make me feel happy and good.

  24. Samantha, I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t know that I’d think of “rude” as a synonym for “tacky.” One is about being inconsiderate and making people feel disrespected. The other is about subjective tastes. Making guests stand up for the duration of a 45 minute ceremony is rude. Giving them handmade glittery mini-pinatas as favors is tacky. I’m not for rudeness, but I’m all for supposed-tackyness.

  25. mini-pinatas?! holy crap, I want that! with little mini-sticks and then everyone can go on hitting them all at once.

  26. To Samantha:

    You actually make a really great point (as Ariel already observed), which actually serves as a really good segue for what I wanted to say. Because a lot of times people say “will this be tacky?” instead of asking the relevant questions. Tackiness implies people disapproving because it’s odd or lowbrow. So most people will just respond “Who cares!” By removing the colloquialism from your vocabulary as Ariel suggests, you have to figure out what question you’re really answering – and a lot of times that will give you the answer as well.

    The question you want to ask is “Will it be tacky if I ____?” If you can’t phrase it that way you start reexamining it. If the question you replace it is “Will people think I’m rustic if I ____?” then you can go ahead and go “You know what, screw them if they do! I’m proud to be a country girl.” Or whatever your thing is. If the replacement question you come up with is “Will this make people uncomfortable?” or “Will this cause me to lose the respect of people I care about?” then you know you have a legitimate concern that should be addressed.

  27. I’m sure some of the guests at my wedding (TONIGHT! ACK!) will find some of our choices tacky, but I don’t much care. We’ve approached this with a good dose of humor, and if folks aren’t amused, it’s their problem, not mine.

    (Don’t mean to sound harsh; I’m just at the point where the plans have been made and it’s time for their execution. Uh. Well, you know what I mean.)

  28. THANK YOU for this entry! It’s what I keep trying to remind myself through this whole process, and it’s nice to hear it coming from someone else!

  29. IMO:

    I come here often- well actually I google read from afar most of the time but every once in a while I make it to the site…

    I enjoy seeing how brides are taking it upon themselves to step outside of the box. I commend their efforts. I will, however, say that there are other times when I do feel like brides take it a bit too far. The entire reason for wanting an off-beat wedding was because the “traditional wedding” is not indicative of a couple’s relationship or the way in which their friends and family will celebrate the day. But at what point does one draw the line and say that “in our efforts to be different, are we now making decisions for the sole purpose of being different and causing a shock factor”?

    While I completely agree that everyting is subject to various aesthetics… I do think that when a bride is ready to have an offbeat wedding to whatever degree that this may be… that they must still hold themselves to a level of standards and taste… so as to not have their wedding be a mockery. Sometimes trying so hard to be different can lead to a wedding which no longer focuses on the marriage itself. Throwing away a traditional element of a wedding because it is not relevant is fine… redefining every element in order to shock guests… well that is when I think that “tacky” is an appropriate word.

  30. Dragonsyr, that was a point I was going to make.
    ‘Tacky’ is a vague term without concrete boundaries. When yu worry or say something is ‘tacky’, what do you really mean. I’ve been guilty of using it when I should have said “that may make gruest uncomfortable”

    Perhaps by forcing ourselves to use different words we can clarify for ourselves and others what we really mean.

    It can also make us examine ‘why’ we are making the judgements that we are.

  31. It never even crossed my mind that my glittery (stripper-ish) shoes, backyard-porta-pottied, action figure cake topper, red-dressed wedding might have been tacky!
    I like Sidewalk Monkey’s idea of reclaiming the word. xo

  32. One of the most awesome offbeat wedding ideas ever= the armadillo grooms cake in Steel Magnolias, which is red velvet on the inside, so once it’s cut it looks like a dead armadillo roadkill. Google it.

  33. Very well put.

    I hope that someone planning a wedding will read it and realize that they should resist the wedding industry machine, as well as well-meaning family and friends to do what THEY want, instead of having a day that follows the rules.

    Great post!

  34. I went to a wedding a couple years ago that had nearly every “tacky” wedding no-no: cash bar, every group participation dance imaginable, bride and groom wore cutoff jean shorts to the reception. And I swear it was one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to. My family still talks about what a good time we all had, because you could just get drunk and do the YMCA and not worry for one second about looking cool. It was a great lesson, and really helped me not get too stressed about my own wedding.

  35. I had to add more after reading the other comments.
    Like Babe**In**Total**Control of**Herself.
    I decided that we need to think these through a little more.
    ** Feel free to add your flavors to these. I just find word play fun.;-)
    First I will start with RUDE.
    Really**Uneducated**Dolt**Expressing.
    OR
    Rather**Useless**Diminutive**Expression
    Now for Tacky…
    Thinking more on these lines.
    TACK = SHARP, OR SOMETHING THAT DRAWS TOGETHER.
    SO FOR US TACKY IS A COMPLIMENT! It is a SHARP IDEA that REALLY Draws the whole thing TOGETHER!!!
    So to them I will say… THANK YOU!!!
    –Diann…

  36. I agree with you whole-heartedly, and I’ve gotten into trouble on forums for saying something was, ACCORDING TO ME, tacky – or offensive to my own tastes since there really needs to be a firm definition of “tacky”. You ask for an opinion, I’m going to give you one. If I think something looks cheap, nasty and generally not to my liking, I’ll say so. But in the end, it’s YOUR wedding. I wish brides would stop asking for opinions on how things look because it’s not up to us, it’s up to the people getting married and what THEY like. Our views really don’t count. The guests will put up with whatever is arranged because it’s not in their control. If you don’t want to know what people really think about something, don’t ask or rather, don’t ask if something is tacky because there are people who will say “Yes, it’s tacky and foul and I don’t like it” thus inducing tears and hurt feelings in the person foolish enough to ask. Having said that, I would never, EVER, go up to someone and just tell them – my opinion needs to be invited before I dare say anything.

  37. Noooooo, Niobe! We can’t get rid of “kitsch!” I AM “kitsch!” “Kitsch” is me! I need “kitsch!” My house is decorated in “kitsch,” my favorite things are considered “kitsch,” and my wedding is going to be overflowing with “kitsch!” We can’t ditch the “kitsch!”

  38. Kitch is a defense strategy where you can claim to love a thing ironically, because on it’s merits alone might set you up for the tacky debate. Just love a thing for what it is, social stigma be damned.

  39. Haha! SO true. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    My fiance and I thrive on tacky. We’re the tackiest people around(we have orange carpet, wood paneling and multiple velvet Elvis paintings decorating our house). I know for certain that there will be plenty of other people at my wedding who will be horrified at all of our tackiness. Do I care? Not one bit. Wanna know why? Because that’s EXACTLY what we were going for. Tacky! It’s our day and we’ll be tacky if we want to! 😉

  40. I think this article is wonderful, and this site has helped us avoid running away to elope and planning our wedding, our way. It’s refreshing to see wonderful, tacky brides and grooms. My tacky pictures will be posted after my halloween wedding.

  41. I’m a bit behind on my OBB reading…but I totally needed to hear this! Thank you Ariel! I would be certifiable if I didn’t have this site!

  42. I like to call it eclectic and I love it all! Hahah….sure a goth wedding might not be MY style but I adore those who go with what they want….I am sure many will think my tattoos are TACKY but again I choose to think of myself as ECLECTIC….say it with me sisters 🙂

  43. Amen to that!

    I have decided that my wedding is *mine*. And the groom’s obviously.

    Although my wedding won’t be the world most OBB occation, I love reading about OBBs, and I am certainly subscribing to the view that I’ll do as I darn well please and screw what everyone else thinks!

  44. Thank you for writing this. You’re so right, tacky IS in the eye of the beholder. And the next time someone complains that my sleeves/ cupcakes/ food/ decor/ shoes-I’ll-wear-again / etc is tacky – that’s what I’m going to say.

  45. I agree with Samantha’s comment.

    And while I at first did enjoy this blog’s celebration of all things unique and offbeat, Ariel’s recent increasing blowups on any negative comments is, frankly, off putting. Any post on any subject is going to evoke negative AND positive reactions from people. Freaking out whenever people comment negatively, whether using “tacky” or not, is ITSELF unwelcoming of discussion.

    I enjoyed this blog because it gave me inspiration for various ideas I could ponder and decide whether to include or exclude them with my wedding. And even though it is MY wedding, I still care what other people think, because this wedding is a celebration for my whole family. They’re giving time and money and traveling a long distance to be with me, I want them to have as much fun as possible. So yes, I find value even when people react negatively to different wedding ideas, and I even find value when people use the word “Tacky”

    Demanding that every comment flower praise on the couple’s wedding choices isn’t offbeat, it is typical selfish bridal behavior

  46. Elizabeth, I totally hear that and it’s definitely a balance I struggle with when thinking about offbeat editorial strategy. But ultimately my goal has always been acting as a cheerleader and supporter of nontraditional couples getting married.

    I’ve done a lot of critical writing in my career, and it’s nice to have OBB be the one place where I’m not reviewing or evaluating or critiquing — just supporting and rallying.

    There are a lot of wedding websites out there, and I support everyone’s right to find the ones that fit with their values and needs — even if (or maybe especially if) offbeatbride.com isn’t right for you. Offbeat Bride absolutely is not going to make everyone happy — you may be better served by a site that’s less cheerleaderish and more strongly opinionated.

  47. […] agree with Ariel of Offbeat Bride’s definition of tacky as it refers to weddings (ie; anything that someone else likes but doesn’t suit your tastes […]

  48. […] Of course you can throw your own engagement party. Have a 1-month engagement. Have a 3-year engagement. Have 7 bridesmaids and 4 groomsmen (us!). Walk yourself down the aisle. Wear colored shoes. Hell, wear a colored dress if you so choose! Have a full bar. Have a cash bar. Do the hokey pokey AND turn yourself around! But what you shouldn’t do? Worry about what other people may or may not think is tacky. […]

  49. […] 2009 Posted by Marisa in reality. trackback So, I’ve been thinking, and I think I’m tacky. And so is our wedding.  We’re getting married at our home (in the street!), on a super […]

  50. The tackiest thing about my upcoming wedding is that circumstances made it such that we didn't get to have the OB Brid-iest wedding we wanted. It got changed from an awesome Halloween (my birthday) foggy afternoon wedding in a Pacific Northwest Treehouse to an evening backyard Labor Day wedding in North Dakota. We're still pushing away the more traditional expectations of my family, and trying to reconcile ourselves that this one is for the parents~but in my own little dark hole I despair that this will be a tacky wedding—that *I* will find it tacky. I'm hoping, Hoping, HOPING that with a little help from friends and a brother in theatre, that we will transform it into a beautiful day that reflects me and my groom. And no references to tacky will abound.

  51. " is the manifestation of your fears that people won't approve of your wedding."

    LOVE IT

  52. At last, someone who agrees we should do whatever we want! Here in England everything is labelled tacky! Im sick to death of it, we darent do anything. I think its all jealousy!

  53. Ariel, I love this post. I've already had at least 5 of the things I want to do be referred to as "tacky" at wedding forums I go to. Each time I see it though it's like "so what? I'll have fun!" Like the dollar dance and Cha Cha Slide (my favorite dancing song ever!). Thanks ^^

  54. This is awesome! I'm a wedding caterer/cake maker and I'm referring folks to this blog! Keep tellin' it like it is!!

  55. I've always refer to myself and a few others in my family as tack-heads because we are always saying wrong and inappropriate things that are better left unsaid.

  56. I so wish I'd known about this site before I got married, I love everything about it.

    My dad played piano for my wedding (with exception of the music I walked down the aisle to). He told the preacher "You know, I was planning on just walking her down while playing the keytar, but mom said something about making a mockery out of something or other…"

    He did end up playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" when the groomsmen came down the aisle (my husband was a ball-player). Which our guests started a singalong to. Which I'm pretty sure would be considered by most people to be Ticky-tick-tacky, but I contend was the coolest thing to happen at a wedding ever.

  57. I just remembered this blog post yesterday while reading about Ivanka Trump's wedding. In Yahoo Answers, lots of people say wedding registries are tacky, and it left me confused. Then Ivanka, the heiress of one of the richest men on earth, gets married with 3 wedding registries, with items from $10 to more than a thousand dollars. Does that mean that Ivanka was being tacky? (roll eyes) I don't care what others say, I'm going to register for my wedding. It's being practical. It's not like I'm forcing guests to give me gifts… I'm just giving them convenient choices.

  58. I had a goth wedding and it was what I wanted. I worked within my budget, had no bills to pay after the wedding & went on a kickin' honeymoon to Ireland. Tacky? Probably. Fun? For Some. Boring? Hell No! People were probably talking about my wedding for years, as opposed to a couple of days. I didn't get married for anybody else. I got married for me!!! But I do love the blog Tacky Weddings.

  59. I love this article. I am in the pre-official-engagement-waiting-for-the-ring faze and I am kinda dreading the offical time because I will have to tell my family what I want at my wedding… and she will birth a heifer when she hears about my sparkler filled, no tux, birdcage vailed wedding! The fact I am not getting married in the catholic church will send most of my family into a judgefest… BUT I will simply forward them this tacky ass article and tell them to suck it… in more or less words. <3

  60. THANK YOU SO MUCH. Maybe I can relax now! [At least about that aspect of wedding planning…] =P

  61. My sweet daughter is having this problem with her "soon to be" mother-in law as she is planning her wedding so, thank you for this Ariel. I had actually decided to throw my daughter a "tacky' shower and include everything that, up to this point, mom-in-law has deemed "tacky". We're just gonna let her be surprised….and take many pictures…thanks again….

  62. THANK YOU so much for this post!
    I continuously keep trying to remind myself of all the tackyness but keep forgetting because theres so much. Its really go to hear theres others like me out there! Warm regards.

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