Rewearing wedding outfits, blogger time management, and raving

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This is my new regular feature where I answer questions from readers. Not wedding advice questions (I do that over here) but personal questions, blogging questions, etc. Let's dive in…

Do you have any pics of yourself and Andre [sic] re-using wedding stuff? (Like your outfit?) -Corinne

I swear Andreas wore his sleeveless tux jacket to a friend's wedding, but I can't find any photos … but my wedding corset has gotten a ton of re-use! Here's my mom rocking it while she gets ready for her wedding:

Getting ready

And here's me wearing it as part of a halloween costume:
This year's halloween portrait: Gypsy Queen

That said, a couple years after our wedding, I lost a chunk of weight that rendered my corset unwearable (cuz nothing looks worse than a baggy corset) and it hasn't gotten much use in a while. Then again, after this pregnancy … that corset's gonna be lookin' pretty darn good next year!

how do you recommend people avoid getting overwhelmed by planning, and particularly, overwhelmed by wedding porn? -Ariel H.

This one is easy to answer: When to stop looking at wedding porn.

How do you structure your online advertisement/posting/networking time so that your various blogging activities don't inhibit what you have to get done in real life? -Christina

HA! I have no idea. I love being a professional blogger — it's like all the best stuff from my magazine editing days (ideas bouncing around! inspiration! awesome readers! editorial strategizing!) with none of the lameness (distribution drama, printer expenses, stupid publishers). I love the sense of connection I have with my readers, and the control I have over instantly publishing exactly what I want, exactly when I want it.

But there's a price to pay, and time management is the biggie. The internet is always on, and it's got a sweet siren song, always beckoning. I try to have discipline and focus my OBB time on Mondays. That's the day when I write most of the posts, respond to the big pressing issues, think about what's coming, etc. And Mondays ARE when the bulk of the work gets done.

My ad platform has totally streamlined my communications with advertisers, meaning I can take 30 seconds to respond to inquiries instead of 5 minutes. Businesses to submit their ads, and I use the tool to trigger auto-responses approving or declining submissions, requesting and confirming payment, etc. I still get a few general ad inquiries, but the tool has really made things way easier for me and lets me stay on top of my advertising stuff without feeling overwhelmed.

But if I'm honest? I work on OBB seven days a week, and usually when I should be doing something else. And it's not just OBB … doing housework is a back-and-forth activity for me. Folding laundry … hopping online to buy more underwear. Unloading the dishwasher … hopping online to invite those friends over for dinner. I boomerang back and from my life to my laptop. It's not always healthy, but as someone who started blogging in 2000 … it's how I've done things for a long, long time.

Related question:

Managing such a popular blog, brand, and all the offshoots (bride tribe, e-mail, advertisers, interns) must be exhausting. What kind of activities related to your brand do you focus on daily to keep yourself from going crazy? -Meg

First and foremost, I couldn't do it without help. Delegation is a huge part of how I stay sane. The OBT would have been shut down over a year ago if I didn't have five moderators keeping an eye on it for me. would have half as many posts if I didn't have my beloved interns (current intern Megan, and Shrie, my alum) cranking out the bride profiles, and I would lose my mind if Megan wasn't watching comments like a hawk, deleting bitchy stuff within minutes of it being posted. She manages the twitter feed and the flickr pool, and I'd be lost (LOST!) without her. I still read every single blog comment, but I do it knowing that Megan's likely caught the bad stuff.

Over the years I've also become the master of email triage. I used to be a slave to my email, compulsively responding to every message as quickly as I possibly could. These days, I respond to less than half the Offbeat Bride mail that comes in. I skim and immediately discard press releases from businesses and questions from brides using me as a search engine (“What are good wedding venues in Cleveland? Where can I find a ruffled tux?” …why, let me google that for you!). Wedding porn nominations and advice questions get filed for future reference, but usually don't get a response. Lots of sweet fan mail gets read and squeed over, but I don't always have time to respond. Plus, I suck at accepting compliments and never know what to say. (Ack, sorry. :()

I still wrestle with feeling a bit bad about not having time to respond to all the wonderful messages I get, but it comes down to this: I can either spend half my time responding to emails, or I can focus that time on producing stuff for Offbeat Bride. I chose the latter.

This sounds weird, but when I get stressed or overwhelmed by OBB, it calms me down to pick through the rubble of my webstats. I live in google analytics, mybloglog, feedburner, facebook insight, ShareThis reports, etc. When it all feels a little out of control, the cold hard data is oddly comforting.

One thing I DON'T do is read many wedding blogs. I have a tiny handful of sites that I read for personal enjoyment, but I think one of the risks of the blogosphere is that it becomes an echo chamber … with everyone writing about the same stuff rather that producing new content. When I used to write a gossip/fashion column for Disney/, I got super irritated by how ALL the gossip sites has the same photos and same stories. With OBB, I focus my time on producing my stuff — not reading other people's. This makes me a bad networker, but it's like email: I can either network, or I can focus on working on my site. I chose the latter.

So, in summary, every day for me is email triage (but only answering some of it), stats, talking with the intern, and reading comments. I try to stay away from the OBT (it's too easy to get sucked in, and the mods are on it!), other wedding blogs/twitter/networking/etc, and feeling like I need to answer every single email that comes in.

Do you still rave…(well pre-preggers anyways)? -Jac

1113507220 a90f8700fb m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)I love this question! I certainly go to raves waaaaay less now than I used to, but that changed long before I got pregnant. My circadian rhythm has decided it doesn't like dancing when it's dark: while I spent most of my 20s dancing all night, now I like sleeping at night. This doesn't mean I dance less, however … it just means I'm a dedicated day dancer. I shake it out twice a week at NIA dance classes (sorta like raving, but with a sprung wood floor and less tweakers!), and and get my rave fix at electronic music festivals, where I can dance during the day and outdoors.

My biggest party of the year is Shambhala, which I'll be attending in a few weeks at fully 6 months pregnant. Baby loves to dance, and mama doesn't need to be rolling to get off on a the bass-end of a speaker stack.

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Comments on Rewearing wedding outfits, blogger time management, and raving

  1. Hey, that's cool that you come to Shambhala! I grew up in the Kootenays where the festival takes place, and I still live just outside of Nelson with my fiance. I'm not a raver myself, and don't like giant crowds like the ones that happen at Shambhala, so I've never been to it, but lots of people I know go every year, and our little town becomes a totally different place for about 3 weeks around Shambhala… To be honest, it's a time of year I don't like very much! But I still think it's cool that you're coming here, and if you want to meet a Nelson "offbeat bride" feel free to e-mail me. I work at an infamous natural foods co-op downtown, where LOTS of Shambhalers frequent before and after the festival. And I'm part of the "Tribe" (OBB Tribe, that is…)!

  2. Shambs has been my summer raison d'etre for years – I always love seeing folks with kiddies or babes on the way. It reminds us of the PLUR, right (LOL – with age I'm turnging into the hippy ravers I used to roll my eyes at)!

    I hope you and baby have an awesome time this year! And a well deserved rest 🙂

  3. Shambs has been my summer raison d'etre for years – I always love seeing folks with kiddies or babes on the way. It reminds us of the PLUR, right (LOL – with age I'm turning into the hippie ravers I used to roll my eyes at)!

    I hope you and baby have an awesome time this year! And a well deserved rest 🙂

  4. How did I miss that you're pregnant? I guess wedding planning has pulled me down out for the blogosphere. New book – Offbeat Mama? The Offbeat Baby?

    • How about an "Offbeat Life"? For those of us who can't get preggers… LOL
      The there is always
      Offbeat Pet
      Offbeat Parent
      Offbeat Wannabe
      And… Offbeat Divorce?
      …Or is my sense of humour a little too offbeat?
      P.S. Love your work. Your book is being inherited by my sister.

  5. I just love Ariel and Megan and feel blessed to be a part of this OBB family. Thanks for letting me contribute and hone my writing chops!

  6. you gotta go dancing while the baby is an inside passenger! trust me, it's a lot harder to make it happen when it's earthside. i was dancing away at 2am at 39 weeks pregnant… now i have a 13 month old & i haven't been dancing since! glad to hear that offbeatmama is taking place – really looking forward to that launch.

  7. Though this makes me sound like I'm the Meg that asked the question (and I'm not) this is helpful. I too feel guilty about all the email I can't answer… but many nights it comes down to hang out with my partner or answering mail, and that is an obvious choice. Also, I will now not feel as guilty deleting those "I don't have time to figure it out so can you figure it out?" emails. Because yeah. If you don't have time, I DEFINITELY don't have time.

    So. Thanks.

  8. Thanks for answering my question – and sorry for sic-ing Andreas! I had my own offbeat wedding last Saturday, and I had a corset top too. I was discussing with my husband when I should wear it again, as I feel it's a fine line between wearing it too much so that it doesn't feel like a special clothing item anymore, and not wearing it enough and letting it sit in it's little box in the wardrobe. I'm sure I'll find some special occasions 🙂 and it's sweet to see you shared yours with your mom!

  9. Yay I can't wait for Offbeat Mama! You really are helping women everywhere. And it is always fun to read your responses to questions – I love this feature 🙂

  10. I’m totally planning on re-purposing my dress as a show costume, as soon as I can re-finish and fit it properly (didn’t have time before the wedding so it was a bit kludged together. Oh, the joys of d.i.y.)

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