Wedding overload: When to stop looking at wedding inspiration

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Literally hundreds of colored dresses.
Thanks to Lauren Lemon for submitting this photo.

What's going on when a bride buys a dress, and then finds another dress, and then picks a third dress because they keep seeing dresses they like online? What's going on when people come up with five different wedding themes over the course of two months, and still can't quiiite decide? What about when Facebook commenters' enthusiasm for someone else's wedding starts to slip over the edge from inspiration (“ooh, I might want to integrate something like that in my wedding”) to duplication (“I MUST HAVE THOSE EXACT GREEN BOOTS WHERE DID YOU GET THEM TELL ME NOW NOW NOW!”)

It worries me a little…

Bride in Green Boots

I don't want Offbeat Bride to be the place where you come to feel bad about the decisions you've already made about your wedding. I don't want it to be the place where, as you plan your simple outdoor gathering you start feeling like “OMG, that girl painted her shoes and they look amazing. Why don't I paint my shoes? What's wrong with me that I'm just wearing a pair of pumps that I bought on ebay? What about those green boots? Where can I get them? OH MY GOD!”

What I'm talking about here is wedding fetishization — when things slip over from inspiration to fixation. I don't want wedding inspiration to be the unattainable weird fantasies that keep you up at night with frustrated longing. I don't want people to scrap their perfectly lovely plans because they saw something else, something better, something MORE on my silly wedding website.

My goal with this site has always been to focus on general inspiration. This isn't a shopping blog where every day there's a new link to click to buy some wedding accessory that will make your special daaaaaaay more perfect and tasteful. It's just a collection of real folks doing their real best to cobble together weddings that reflect who they really are.

If looking at Offbeat Bride ever makes you feel disappointed in yourself, or like your wedding doesn't quite stack up, or like you're not offbeat enough — please, please PLEASE, remind yourself that your wedding is not a contest. No fetishes necessary. Turn off your computer and go hug your partner and tell them how much you love them and how excited you are to celebrate that with your family and friends.

Offbeat Bride's wedding photos are here to inspire and delight — not ever to make you feel dissatisfied, unworthy, or disappointed in yourself.

Comments on Wedding overload: When to stop looking at wedding inspiration

  1. Whoa, Hibryd, you’re totally right! I totally don’t get seduced by fancy expensive things, but it’s so hard to keep myself from going crazy over THE DRESS (never mind that they’re all beautiful and I’ll probably love whichever one I get) or gorgeous outdoor weddings, never mind that mine is going to be in the synagogue I grew up in and ran around in when I was 2 and oh yeah, we’re getting FOR FREE. Plus there’s an awesome playground next door. It’s the once-in-a-lifetime thing that’s the killer. Gah. Well, I can always throw fabulous parties with iridescent blue Cinderella gowns when I’m rich and famous, right?

  2. I am totally guilty of this! I am all for borrowing great ideas from other people, but only if they actually fit with ME, and MY VISION, and MY BUDGET. Sometimes though, this doesn’t happen, and I begin to think, “Wow! I want (insert object/idea that may be cool but so isn’t me) and my wedding won’t be perfect without it!”

    This is when I take a wedding planning vacation. No Bridal sites, no mention of anything wedding-related in conversation, nothing, from sunrise to sunset. So far, this is the only thing that has worked for me. Yes, I still get bridal envy, but now when it happens I just go over to the Bridal Bitching group and vent, or log off the net for awhile and hang out with my fantastic FH to remember why I am REALLY going through all this wedding planning stuff!

  3. I’m one of those brides who ended up with LOTS of dresses. I went from thinking I’d just wear one of my own cute vintage dresses to scouring the Web for Jenny Packham samples or used dresses.

    The Web + all the choices + my own dopey insecurities did overwhelm me. But it wasn’t this site that did it. On the contrary, this site was a welcome respite of authenticity, creativity and restraint. Vive l’Offbeat Bride!

  4. I’ve got to admit, I have had a similar issue with the AWESOME photography on display at OBB.

    I haven’t had any issues with changing my mind on what to wear/eat/do, partly because we already knew what we wanted, but partly because for a lot of the decisions we just don’t care that much.

    However seeing some of the completely amazing photography out there has made me a bit nervous that I will be disappointed with my own wedding photos – particularly since my partner and I both hate having photos taken, so we’d need a really good photographer to get good photos out of us.

    If I’d been in the US I probably would have tried to hunt down one of the photographers that have been featured on OBB, but I don’t think we have that many options where I am.

    I’ll just try to look at it the same way I look at the blurry, mundane photos I take – if they show what’s happening on the day, and the people in the photos are smiling and having fun, then does it really matter whether the photograph itself is particularly artistic/beautiful??

  5. I’m no where close to getting married. My interest in wedding inspo is seeing all these amazing photos of cool, unique people acting happy, having fun, and showing their love for each other. That’s never going to be a fetish for me. This site helped renew my faith that there are people out there who get married out of love, and not just to have fancy ceremonial weddings to please their relatives/society/whatever. Thanks for keepin’ it real.

  6. I didn’t realize I was doing the very thing you were writing about until last night when I was lying in bed with a thought bugging me that my wedding was all wrong and it didn’t make sense til I opened my mouth and said to my fiance “I just want the wedding to feel like it’s our wedding and not like I’m looking at a bullshit photo from a wedding mag” and now that I’ve read your post today I understand that I was coveting things that were aesthetically pleasing but not what reflected me. It is all about the celebration of your love and not whats going to look good in photos.

    Thank you so much for the reality check, this is why I come here.

  7. Yeah, Monie … you nailed it: coveting things that were aesthetically pleasing but not what reflected me. I don’t covet, but I certainly appreciate. My personal aesthetics (and certainly my own wedding!) were very much in the hippie/raver/burner/funky/downhome feel. That’s me & Andreas. That’s us. That’s who we are. But it doesn’t mean I don’t love ogling rockabilly brides and the perfect updos, historical brides and their impeccable hats, burlesque brides and their cinched waists. I love it all … but it doesn’t mean I look anything like it.

    …Well, except on Halloween. 🙂

  8. OMG I totally needed to read this. Thank you Ariel!! Also- all the comments were super helpful to read as well. I was getting all caught up, wanting, no NEEDING our wedding to reflect US and not THEM (parents, friends, family). I had to conciously stop looking at weddings websites for a while, but this one is actually my favourite.
    Then, last night I was talking to my friend who is getting married a few months before me and she was really stressing about a TON of things that tradition said she needed to do. Like how even though I told her she could wear ANY dress she wanted as my MOH, it took a half hour to get a : “Well, we’ll see how you feel later on about colours”. WTF? She is usually so funky, different, goes to her own beat and she wants me to care about her dress clashing with my flowers??
    Anyhoo- I think perhaps pressure gets to us all, and we focus on the tiny insignificant details of our weddings, but really OUR wedding is not about coordinating colours. Or shoes. Or flowers. Or the really really cute invites I saw on the internet the other day. They are about us.

    And Offbeat bride gives me that reality check 🙂
    Thank you!

  9. awww…reading this post just makes me want to hug both you AND my fiance!

    I have been suffering from wedding inspo the last month. I was reading so many blogs that it made me indecisive and I felt pulled in numerous directions. And this is coming from someone who PROFESSED to not get sucked into obsessive bride syndrome. I started feeling pressure to decide upon a theme, a color palette, a style, for my wedding because it seemed like that was what everybody was doing. And then I stopped looking at blogs for a few days to focus on my own thoughts and I found that I just…relaxed.

    There are just so many ideas and so much inspiration. The number of beautiful things to make/do/buy is endless. I love eye candy and I love the visual feast that is at my disposal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through blogs like OBB.

    But I’ve discovered that blogs like this are here to help, not hinder.

    Thanks SO much for an insightful and great post! You have made my day!

  10. I’m nearly a year past any wedding planning (our anniversary is at the end of the month) and I was really into reading about other people’s weddings for a couple of years beforehand. I still read OBB because I like to see the creativity people bring to such a traditional event, but I remember feeling that there were points at which I just wanted to throw in the towel because my wedding wasn’t going to be ___ enough to ever be featured on one of the sites I read. And then I said to myself, hey, the wedding we’re having is the one that’s OURS. Luckily, we loved our photographers (both official and unofficial) and loved our day and had a great time and threw a great party – and it’s OK that some of the things that made the wedding uniquely US were things that other people did, too, and that I wore an actual wedding dress (to make my mom happy, and at least it had green on it), and that our Martha Stewart pom poms wilted in the damp. Something that I didn’t realize until later (and also realized while my sister and her then-fiance were planning their wedding) is that while WE in the OBB community (or just we who are planning weddings and looking at wedding inspo in general) are familiar with the groomsmen in Chucks or the red wedding dress or the cupcakes instead of cake or whatever, most people attending the wedding WON’T have seen it. Unless they go to a lot of offbeat-style weddings, and even then, people expect the traditional, so to veer from that even a little bit is a surprise to guests. So even though everyone here may have seen all the elements of a wedding that make it “unique”, the ones attending the wedding will still find it interesting (especially if provisions are made for guests to enjoy themselves).

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