I am but your humble cheerleader

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By: tiffany terry - CC BY 2.0
By: tiffany terryCC BY 2.0

This was originally posted as a comment to the “Your wedding is tacky” post, but I think it's important and wanted to take the time to answer it publicly:

…While I at first did enjoy this blog's celebration of all things unique and offbeat, the increasing blowups on any negative comment 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. -Elizabeth

Elizabeth, I totally hear you and it's definitely a balance I struggle with when thinking about Offbeat Bride editorial and moderation strategy. Honestly: it's not like I love every single nontraditional wedding I see. It's not like I've never looked at a wedding photo and thought “Woah! Bleah!” But ultimately my goal has always been acting as a cheerleader and supporter of nontraditional couples.

From the introduction of my book:

When you're walking off the beaten aisle on the way to a ceremony with thousands of years of cultural tradition behind it, you need all the company and encouragement you can get. So wherever you are in the offbeat spectrum, I hope this book lets you know you are not alone; that there are others like you … Offbeat Bride is here to be your crazed cheerleader standing in the sidelines, waving pom-poms and shouting, “Yes! The Hindu-Jewish ceremony that culminates in a tandem skydive is a great idea!” (Because oh yes, it is.)

I've done a lot of critical writing in my career — I used to write a celebrity fashion column for Disney, where it was my daily duty to snark at celebrities' outfits, for godsake. And not that snarking isn't fun (because it is!) but for me as a writer, it's almost a relief to have Offbeat Bride be the one place where I'm not reviewing or evaluating or critiquing — just supporting and rallying.

I've also spent over a decade moderating online communities and blog comments, and I know what happens when the seeds of negativity are allowed to grow. I'm just going to come out and say it: this is especially true in online communities catering to women. I don't know why that is, but there ya go.

That said, 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) offbeatwed.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.

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Comments on I am but your humble cheerleader

  1. Interesting! I admit I’ve had similar thoughts as the original letter writer, but the thing about OBB is that many of the weddings featured here have brides who don’t identify with the normal bride culture. Especially when it comes to self-identified gay, polyamorous, interracial, interreligious, or otherwise-not-cookie-cutter weddings, it may very well be that the couple has dealt with confusion or hostility regarding their relationships, and the fact that they can receive support and celebration from this website is awesome. And even for the more so-called traditional weddings–just about every union, no matter how much “selfish bridal behavior” is occurring, is going to have some element of disagreement and drama over how things ought to be done. It’s so important to have a place with nearly unconditional support.

    • What’s interesting to me is that we absolutely do NOT enforce any sort of “always be positive” commenting rule. For example, we’d NEVER that every comment on an apple-themed wedding has to be fawning “OH, I LOVE APPLES!”…

      Our comments are full of folks saying things like, “Oh wow! You know, I’m more of an oranges person myself, but it’s cool to see how you integrated apples into your brunch wedding. That actually gives me some ideas about how I could serve orange juice at my reception!”

      What we DO moderate is when people say, “Um, apples suck. Why didn’t you just serve oranges instead? Citrus fruit is way yummier, and also: your apples are bruised.”

      It’s not about saying something nice all the time or feigning a love for something you don’t like… it’s just about finding respectful ways to recognize the differences, and being tolerant for the fact that we all like different fruits.

      Where this gets REALLY interesting is when someone’s like, “You removed my ‘Apples suck’ comment because *clearly* you guys only like apples, and I’m only allowed to comment if I like apples too.”

      And we’re like, “Uh, actually all of us on staff love oranges, and in fact half of us are allergic to apples. Your comment wasn’t moderated because we disagreed with it… we deleted your comment because you were a dick about it…”)

  2. I love that in the troll infested woods that are the internet there is a little safe castle we can come to and feel free to be ourselves. As someone who had a panic attack after being engaged for less than 12 hours and is getting married in 3 days time, I can honestly say I could not have done it without Offbeat Bride. This place feels like home now and I never want to leave.

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