Offbeat Bride  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

By Ariel Meadow Stallings, 2007

You should know

I'm getting married this September, and it's looking like my brother is getting married this November.  For Christmas, his fiancee gave me a copy of this book.


I really enjoyed this book, but at the same time I was kind of disappointed by it.
Offbeat Bride tells the story of Stallings and her now-husband, Andreas, a counter-cultural couple who met at a rave, and their choice to get married after a long period of cohabitation, and to do it their way.   She tells a very compelling story about how the two of them evaluated -- and generally bucked -- every tradition, and exactly what replaced the default.  From using tacky mugs to replace both fine china and fancy favors for their reception, to serving a cake that's half vegan and half stuffed with butter and cream, the couple pieced together a wedding that reflects their personalities.

However, the book doesn't really do what I'd hoped for, which is providing tips for a reader trying to blaze her own trail.  Stallings used hooping as a theme?  Great.  I haven't used a hula hoop since I was 10.  One of her case studies lowered herself into the ceremony on a trapeze?  Awesome.  I'm terrified of heights and will be proud of myself if I don't trip on my dress as I walk down the aisle.  What have you got for someone who finds veils mildly offensive (I'll face my marriage with my eyes open, thanks), but wouldn't know what to wear to a rave if you actually dropped her off in a rave to take notes? 

I was hoping for lots of tips and hints that I could use to pick and choose and design my own wedding, which is gearing up to be not entirely traditional, but not quite as non-traditional as Stallings's.  There will still be a church -- Catholic, even -- and there will still be a hall, but if I can do anything about it, there will be no limos (I'm waiting on an estimate from a trolley company) and no foofy cake (cheesecake.  Enough said).  "That's how it's done" is a bad reason to do something.  But so is "That's not how it's done."

So while I found Stallings's story, and even her hints, very interesting, and even underlined a handful of passages and bugged Chris to read the book himself (how's that going, by the way, Chris?), I'm not sure useful it's going to be to me, personally.


Read it, assuming you're getting married
However, look to it more for inspiration than for concrete ideas.  And if you're planning a traditional, bridal-magazine wedding, you may not want to bother.

The rest of the Internet

Stallings's blog.
Become a fan of the book on Facebook.
Anne Johnson at Venus Zine reviews the book.
West Coast Crafty interviews Stallings.
Sienna Madrid at The Stranger reviews the book.
The book helps The Hyphenated Bride consider her priorities.

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