Offbeat Bride - Ariel Meadow Stallings

Since Richard and I got engaged we have started talking about wedding ideas. We really aren’t the traditional types and the fact that we are getting married at all is leaning more to the side of tradition than we usually like to, but you know what? Screw that, we love each other and want to make our commitment “formal”.

I can think of nothing better than making a lifelong commitment to Richard in front of all of our family and friends, my only problem is that we really don’t want to have a white wedding! It just isn’t “us”. So while we were brainstorming ideas of a way we can do this, that is a bit different and more our style, I decided to kick into full research mode (as I always do when we are planning anything) and found this website through called Offbeat Bride. I had so much fun looking through the pages of offbeat weddings that I just had to purchase the book that started it all! Offbeat Bride – Taffeta Free Alternatives for Independent Brides.

Unenthused by a white wedding gown and bored by the hoopla of the Hollywood-style reception, Ariel Meadow Stallings found herself absolutely exhausted with the nuances of traditional nuptials. So, she chose to take a walk off the beaten aisle and embrace the non-traditional bride within. Through trial and error, Ariel and her fiancée managed to crank out a budget wedding with all-night dancing, guests toasting champagne in mismatched mugs, gorgeous gardens, no monogrammed napkins, no garter, no bridesmaids, and lots of lesbians. Shortly after her 2004 matrimony, Ariel began searching for other brides whose ceremonies defied age-old tradition and reflected who they are. From there, she developed the idea for a guide for the offbeat couple. 

Offbeat Bride serves as an inspiration for those who are interested in a vegan buffet, avoiding bouquet tossing, doing away with the elitist guest list and being a control freak without becoming a Bridezilla. Filled with sidebars, tips, tricks and planner encouragement (all taffeta-free) to help you figure out your special day, this book sees couples through the wedding process from ideas on how to announce their engagement to answering the question, “So, how’s married life?” and everything in between. –
I really enjoyed this book. Not only was it a memoir of Stallings’ own journey (a feminist raver planning a wedding), but it was full of offbeat ideas, advice from many other offbeat brides (and a few grooms) and lots of information about those things I just hadn’t thought of yet, like how will people react to whatever last name I decide to use? Will we have to put up with people being judgemental about our choices if they are a bit different? How to avoid becoming a raving mad 'Bridezilla' that makes unpractical requests and treats her guests badly, instead why not just enjoy the ride? (I can think of certain people that really needed that sort of advice before planning their own weddings, I can tell you.. would have made so many people's lives a lot easier).

On top of all that, it was just really funny. This is a must read for anyone planning their wedding who doesn’t feel comfortable with the pressure of how a wedding “should be”. It is ok to do things your way because really, a wedding is meant to be a reflection of the couple getting married, not on the wedding industrial complex! Use this as your time to shine!

I feel a lot more relaxed after reading this book. I admit I began to feel the pressure of what a wedding “should” be like, but now I know that we have no reason not to do things our way. This is going to be one interesting and fun ride!

Rating 4/5
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