In music, you can clap on the on-beat or the off-beat but, essentially, you're still in time…
Not long after I joined the Offbeat Bride Tribe, another member posted her weird feelings about the more traditional aspects of her wedding. Ariel posted a reply stating that this issue comes up every year or so and she finds it's best to let Tribe members figure it out for themselves.
Wise words, Ariel. I didn't get it at the time, but the last six months have been a journey for me, a journey of discovery about myself, about my future husband, and about the US we have created. If I could sum it up in one line, it would be:
I LIKE WHITE CHAIR COVERS AND I CANNOT LIE.
We never set out to be “offbeat.” When we started planning our wedding, I can't really say that either of us had any idea what a wedding was “supposed” to look like! Very early on, I noticed that every time I searched for something — rockabilly bride, steampunk cake — Google images brought me to Offbeat Bride. I came, I saw, I joined, I never looked back.
It's been a liberating experience, but that liberation brought with it choice that couples who prefer to stay well within tradition don't have to face:
- We learned that we didn't have to have a big, formal party but could have a bbq in my mum's garden, but we chose to hire a big venue because we wanted to.
- I learned that I didn't have to wear white, but I chose to because I wanted to.
- I learned that I don't need to take my husband's name but I have chosen to because I want to.
We also learned about the Wedding Industrial Complex. The dreaded WIC! I had never heard that term before, but it has become a familiar concept to me over the last few months. And the term has also come to represent, in my mind, the expectations of the world around me… and let me tell them:
- I'm wearing a short dress because I want to.
- We're having a crazy Beetlejuice wedding cake because we want to.
- We're mentioning zombies and aliens in our ceremony because we want to.
Ahh, zombies. It seems that, with offbeat brides, no wedding is complete without zombies and aliens. And this was our next hurdle. How to react when you realise it's all been done before?
As we started making decisions, we started to feel rather pleased with our offbeat selves. “Wow, aren't we different!” and “Ooh, our wedding is going to be so out there!” Then we heard about a friend of a friend's wedding that had something similar or, the worst moment for me, when our lovely, very traditional friend (who is getting married six weeks before us) confided to me “I'm so glad you're having a short dress too, I don't feel so different now.” WHAT?!
We saw weddings online that were smaller, better, weirder! We started to wrestle with the more traditional elements of our wedding plans, wondering if, perhaps, they're a bit too standard. And in doing this, I lost sight of what going the “offbeat” route is all about — doing it authentically. So, I've said it once and I'll say it again:
I'M HAVING CHAIR COVERS! THEY'RE COSTING ME MONEY BECAUSE I LIKE THEM! MWAHAHAHA!
And, so, at the mid-point of our planning, it seems to me that, just as in music:
You can clap on the on-beat. You're in time, and some people think it's naff.
You can clap on the off-beat. You're still in time, and some people think it's naff.
Or you can clap all over the shop. You're still in time — it's just jazz — and most people think that's naff. But if that's what makes you happy, you go on and wave those jazz hands 'til your fingers drop off.