It's hard to plan a wedding while both the industry and your family and friends are telling you, “It HAS to be this way! If you don't have favors/a white dress/a rented car to drive away in, you might as well be giving the finger to the great institution that is MARRIAGE!”
I actually found Offbeat Bride through a site (that shall remain nameless but not blameless) where the writer was mocking it. The tone of the mockery was, “Look at these weirdos who think they're so special and different!” But here's the thing: I WANTED my wedding to be special and different.
Now, over a year later and as my wedding date quickly approaches, I shall literally count the ways in which Offbeat Bride has helped me. If it weren't for Offbeat Bride, my wedding would have been a lot more:
I live in a major metropolitan area, and when I started doing vendor research, I was dismayed at how much everything costs. When my beloved and I were researching wedding caterers for our area, we were disheartened by the not-terribly-creative choices for food (I'm no chef, but there are only so many ways you can put rosemary on chicken, people) AND the price alike.
Then Offbeat Bride tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, “Hey, you don't have to go with a wedding caterer. You don't have to buy a wedding gown at a salon, you can just get a dress off-the-rack.”
We ultimately did both — we got our favorite BBQ restaurant to cater, and I got my wedding dress off-the-rack. We've had people snark that our wedding is “the BBQ wedding.” Like A) that's a bad thing, and B) we're supposed to feel bad that it's “tacky.” Nope, we get to eat the food we want on our wedding day with nary a limp vegetable in sight!
2. Full of tastes and values that aren't ours
I had a weird epiphany halfway through wedding planning: Do I actually like blush pink and gold as a combination, or do I think I like it because it's all I'm seeing? I re-evaluated my priorities.
Offbeat Bride, yet again, encouraged me to think outside the vintage-suitcase card box. (Which, just to be clear, is a really darling idea but isn't “us.”) It's very helpful to actually see other wedding options, because your friend can go on and on about how their boyfriend's cousin's nephew had a feminist rainbow Star Wars wedding, but it's another thing to see a feminist rainbow Star Wars wedding and think, “If they did it, maybe it's okay for me to do it too.”
3. Not very well-researched
If I could rename Offbeat Bride, I'd probably rename it to “Thinking Bride” for all the research I've done into white wedding dresses, veils, bridesmaids' dresses, engagement rings, etc., to see if they really align with my values. I would totally slay at Wedding Jeopardy. Offbeat Brides are smart consumers in a world that wants you to buy first, ask questions later.
Traditional wedding planning sites don't want you to think too terribly hard about where certain wedding traditions come from, lest you don't spend your money on them. “Favors? Uh, they're just a thing people do, now buy these Jordan almonds, BUY THEM, I SAY!”
Given the lines upon lines of text I've read here about people who used Offbeat Bride's communication and conflict resolution advice, my bridesmaids are goddesses among women.
But I thank Offbeat Bride for giving me the tools for clear communication with them. I told them they get to pick their own dresses, they don't have to help me with DIY projects, they don't have to make a toast, and I laid out other expectations for them.
That being said, I started wedding planning with wedding media telling me that $200 for a bridesmaid's dress was not only normal but “budget friendly” (their logic being, “Hey, at least it's not a $500 bridesmaid's dress!”), and my bridesmaids are probably very thankful that I found Offbeat Bride to say once again, “Hey, it doesn't have to be this way.”
I may have found Offbeat Bride through a snark site, but at the end of the day, the wind has been taken out of my sails for snarking on other peoples' weddings. I'll flip through Martha Stewart Weddings magazine where the bride has a huge white cupcake ballgown, the groom's wearing a black tux, and their colors are blush pink and gold, and I'll think, “Hey, as long as those wedding choices made them happy.”
My wedding choices make me happy. And thank you, Offbeat Bride, for giving me the courage and knowledge to make them.
You're welcome, GraceFace! Now tell us, other wonderful Offbeat Bride readers: What ways would your wedding have been different if you hadn't stumbled into our loving arms?