By the time our wedding was about to happen, I didn't feel like it was offbeat or super unique or even all that nontraditional. Seriously. It all felt incredibly normal and I actually had a moment of confusion about it all feeling so normal. I mean, I read Offbeat Bride. I was part of the Offbeat Bride Tribe. How could I be having what felt like a “normal” wedding?
You may think I'm crazy since our wedding was actually pretty darn offbeat and unique. But it didn't really feel that offbeat, and I was wondering if I should be concerned. I saw all these seriously amazing weddings on Offbeat Bride and the Tribe and I wanted to be among that crowd.
I went through my personal checklist and thought about all the elements of our wedding, all the decisions the dude and I had made. At which point I realized that yes, we had made a lot of awesome choices and the wedding was going to be perfect for us. (Actually, I realized that yes, it really was going to be different. But for us that was the right choice.)
Then I realized that the fact that it felt normal was awesome. It actually meant we were doing it right.
A red dress, pizza, an art gallery venue, a ceremony we wrote, dude not in a tux. All of that felt perfectly normal and well within acceptable parameters for a wedding.
Why? Because for us, the point was to have a wedding we would enjoy. So that's what we focused on. In fact, I was so busy focusing on that that I honestly forgot just how many things we were doing to make it ours. I kid you not. None of it seemed that offbeat after eight months of planning it.
I also tried very hard to replace “offbeat” with “authentic” in my head. After all, that's really what Offbeat Bride is all about: Being true to yourself, your partner(s), your family and friends. Whatever wedding results will be the right one because it is authentic, not because it's off-the-wall or different.
For me, an authentic wedding sits in opposition to what you're told you must have, because that's just how it's done. So the choices you make should be made intentionally, not just by default. The only thing required for a wedding is a commitment. All the rest of it is window dressing so pick your curtains accordingly!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the parts of anyone's wedding. Traditional white wedding dresses and tuxes are awesome if they're your thing. A trek to the dessert might be the ideal location. A religious ceremony that is meaningful might be exactly what you want. An '80s dance party could be exactly what you need. Or maybe you long to get weddinged.
For us, having an authentic wedding meant considering the choices we had and making decisions based on what fit us and our situation. So we chose delivery food from our favourite place because we love the food, it was a decent price, and we know it doesn't make my dude with a picky stomach sick. We had real, live flowers because my mum really, really wanted flowers because she enjoys them (and part of me does too). I had a red, swing-style dress because white makes me look ill, and I've always wanted a fancy red dress.
Wedding planning can be stressful, with so many decisions packed into a short time frame and so many expectations heaped on. Sometimes those expectations are to conform. Sometimes they are to be as far from the stereotype as possible.
I say that if you make your decisions based on you that it's that much easier to just enjoy getting married. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or does (because your wedding isn't a contest). It is just as awesome to have an Offbeat Lite wedding with a white dress, tuxes, a church, and all the trimmings as it is to have a masquerade gender-queer handfasting.
As long as you have your wedding. And if it feels normal, that's okay.