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Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,098 Ratings  ·  200 Reviews
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 nontraditional bride within. Shortly after her 2004 matrimony, Stallings began searching for other brides whose cere ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 240 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by Seal Press (first published January 12th 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Rating details
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Jan 07, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-commented
Everyone and their mother told me to pick this book up, so I did. Here's what I thought:

Um...Process Blue was the absolute WORST choice for a spot color EVER. In all the little "Did you know?" type side-bars, the black is imperceptible on top of the blue, I felt like a grandma holding the book 1 inch from my face just so I could read about how the author gets stoned and stares at a disco ball to unwind from wedding planning.

So, the book is written with some humor, and the overall theme is "be yo
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had read this when I first started planning my wedding!

Really truly wonderful. The author is someone I wish I hung out with, but the book isn't just "here is what I thought was bullshit, and what we did differently." I mean it IS that, but it also talks about how to figure out what works for YOU. Both inspirational and instructional, and I recommend it to everyone (dudes and girls) planning a wedding -- even if you don't think it's going to be "Off-Beat," you have opinions, and this bo
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the only wedding book I will ever read.

I stumbled across the eponymous website a few years back, and I have to say it changed my life. So now that I am recently engaged myself, I had to read the book that started it all. I used to be so against the whole idea of marriage and weddings, because all that I knew about it was what was represented in popular culture. Ariel Meadow Stallings and Offbeat Bride showed me that you don't HAVE to have a big foofy white wedding full of meaningless "tr
Dec 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what I read to help plan my wedding instead of the usual giant, monthly tomes full of advertisements. She uses the story of how she planned her own wedding to help other, possibly more timid, possibly more disorganized brides, put the unusual wedding of their dreams together. She does offer reasonable advice for those going the non-traditional route, and she validated my decision not to use a seating chart. This received three stars because her writing was only so-so. She definitely over ...more
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You need to read this book if you are getting hitched. It is hilarious and it is a book about weddings for the rest of us. Basically a former hippie raver gets engaged and has to figure out what she buys in to as far as the "wedding industrial complex" is concerned. Read a little Martha but be sure you pick up this one to keep your head on straight.
One of the best pieces of advice is about Bachelorette parties: If going to bars and drinking through penis straws is your idea of a great time than
Carrie Ann
Sep 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wedding
I really disliked this book and I rarely dislike a book so much I have nothing good to say about it. I have nothing good to say about this book. The problem I have id the author confuses offbeat with intentional ploys to be seen as weird, wacky, quirky and really in the end better than you. It's obnoxious and not so much offbeat but self indulgent, bratty, privileged and closed minded. She put on a spectacle, which is what a traditional wedding is too. She spent a lot of time, effort, and money ...more
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
I never thought I would ever get married. That said, it's amazing how meeting the right person can completely change your perspective on EVERYTHING. He popped the question, I said yes. Now we plan a wedding? I don't know where to start! A friend linked me to and I felt like I found a refuge from cheese and schmaltz. These are girls like me having every kind of wedding you can imagine! It made me feel like we can DO THIS! Naturally, I ordered the book that launched the website an ...more
Aug 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who are engaged, people with unique ideas for their wedding
I started this book about 2 weeks after I got engaged and it helped calmed my nerves a lot! Anyone who knows me knows this is a hard feat to accomplish. I put it down (I guess when my school semester got underway?) when I was about halfway done. I picked it back up last night, 9 months later, and it isn't doing the same thing for me. It's a quick read (if you don't put it down and forget about it), but I don't need the same help anymore. I still read the blog,, but I really just ...more
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, non-fiction
Whelp, I guess I read wedding books now. Yup. Anyhow, I learned about a while ago because the Mary Sue occasionally links to them when they feature a wedding with a portal cake, or a bride dressed in a Darth Vader costume, or sonic screwdriver bouquets (all true!). It's a great site generally and I mostly wanted to get the book as a show-of-support kind of thing. But it turned out to be a great resource all on its own, very grounding and full of excellent ideas. It's a quick rea ...more
Sep 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weddings
This book has become sort of a talisman/mantra for me. I'll probably read it several more times over the next year. I would suggest to anyone who marches to the beat of their own steel guitar but those family tends to put on a more traditional show. Less of a guide or source of ideas...more of a reaffirmation that one of the most important days of your life is really about the two of you, your values, your inspirations and your life together. And it would be a disservice to NOT honor all those t ...more
Dec 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fun to read, if nothing else than to remind myself that planning a wedding a) does not have to be such a serious thing, and b) will still stress you out at some point regardless of how much you don't want to take it too seriously! Overall, though, I probably only got a small handful of actually useful tips and ideas. So much of the book was a lengthy description of the writer's own (quite offbeat, but not THAT crazy) wedding. It didn't translate to a lot of ideas I could use, and the ad ...more
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Some useful tips, but this was far too specific to the author's own experiences to be much use except to people who aren't ex-ravers planning a hippy outdoors wedding with access to inexpensive land for camping.

The website, to be honest, is more useful than the book, because it covers a broader range of experiences. These concerns may be addressed in the new version of this book which has just been released.
Katharine Grubb
This was more of a tale of how one bride did her wedding, with other stories thrown in. I thought it would be more of an instruction book. Got me thinking. So that's good.
Leila T.
Aug 07, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tami Lynn Andrew
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
With just a little over a year before our wedding, I decided it was time to start perusing this book (thanks Lori!).
Since I am creative, edgy, "offbeat" if you will, and [let's be honest:] I have already looked at a dozen of indie/ diy/ green/ eccentric wedding sites, Jayk and I already have some rough ideas for our non-traditional, unique event.
Therefore through the first section of this book I thought, "Why am I reading this? I know this stuff.. yes my bridesmaids will be picking out there own
May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a child, I always assumed one day I would have a big fairytale wedding, when I eventually met Mr Right and we got married. The older and wiser I have got led me to question my childhood assumptions. Also in recent years I have been to quite a few weddings and to be honest, they scare me. They are so totally not me. I came across this book (and associated website) after being at a very large, expensive wedding this Easter. There a girlfriend and I were saying that this really wasn't for us and ...more
Apr 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I checked this book out from the library when I was in the process of getting married and I'm glad I did. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot less had I paid for it. I don't mean that in a negative way, it's just that often blogger's books aren't that, well, meaty. It didn't offer a lot of practical wedding planning advice, but it did offer encouragement to the offbeat bride that it's ok to follow her own course. But, um, don't you get to being offbeat by not bowing to the whims of others? I w ...more
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a follower of the offbeat bride blog for a long time. So when I recently got engaged I thought I'd treat myself to this book.
It's very well written, funny and readable. It feels like a very honest take on weddings and I felt more prepared for both the highs and lows of wedding planning after reading this book. The book is arranged well, taking you through wedding planning step by step. I particularly liked that it wasn't just about Stallings' wedding, and she'd interviewed several othe
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wedding-planning
I love Offbeat Bride so much that I get a subscription in their email, so I expected a book that would mirror the website: focus on a few couples in their different types of wedding while offering advice. Unfortunately, this book was not. It was basically an excuse for the author to talk about her wedding. Which is fine - her wedding did sound fantastic and wonderful. But for those of us whose parents don't have a big, woodsy backyard suitable for camping, or friends who could take all our photo ...more
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
As per Goodreads' rating system, this book was just ok. I had some problems with the author's attitude, especially how she treats being "offbeat" as some sort of elitist club. You want to do anything traditionally? F-you, you suck. Us weirdos are so much better. To me, that's just as bad as a traditionalist turning up her nose at the idea of an offbeat wedding. I feel like I would have valued the information in this book more if she hadn't approached it so abrasively. But, anyway. It gets two st ...more
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wedding
A great quick read to catch your breath and put wedding planning into perspective. Gave me some good insight into how to think about things as I start the wedding planning process and inspired a few ideas.

I would warn, however, not to get too caught up in it. If you're reading this book, it's probably because you aren't thrilled with the idea of a super-traditional by the book wedding. Hooray! This book will encourage you to keep your chin up. It will also provide an excellent framework for how
I enjoyed reading anecdotes from dozens of weddings. I also enjoyed learning how other couples managed to create a wedding they could actually enjoy. However, the book was pretty self-serving and took the "Do what's right for you" attitude to an extreme. (Lots of apologetic-but-not-really stories from brides who consider themselves to be counter-culture but chose to wear a big fluffy white dress, have dad give them away, or took their husbands' last names. Hey, we can all do what we want, but I' ...more
Jul 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ariel Meadow Stallings has written what hopefully will be the first in a long line of new-style wedding literature...a book for the "Indie Bride," or those who choose to walk a different path from the cookie cutter wedding the industry wants to shove at us already fully formed for a paltry $20-30,000. Although her book doesn't include many "how to" craft projects or exact instructions, it does create a feeling of "rightness" in the mind of those brides who are already wanting to do things their ...more
Stephanie Graves
I sat in Barnes & Noble one day in the wedding section, completely overwhelmed and sickened by the tasteless commercialization of weddings.

But in my world, if you need to know something, you look for it in a book.

Thank fucking god that I came across this wonderful, delightful, amazing book that GETS IT. That understands why I don't want to drop thousands of dollars on a wedding and I want to make my own dress and want to have a bonfire.

This book is informative, is excellent at providing pers
This is a must read for any feminist who has decided to walk down the isle. It was totally refreshing to hear the perspective of a woman who tied the knot in a meaningful, but alternative way. I think the two best pieces of advice that I got from the book were (1) if part of the ceremony/celebration isn't important to you then don't feel you have to do it and (2) if your friends enjoy smoking something other than cigarettes, send them a little e-mail before the wedding asking for discretion arou ...more
Jen Harris
I consider myself as "offbeat" as the best of them, but this book was mostly about hippies and feminists. Not that I have a problem with either of those groups, but honestly, if you're going to discuss alternative ways to have your wedding, maybe it's best that you don't shove your ideas in someone's face. I felt as though I was being anti-modern-woman for wanting to have my dad walk me down the aisle and wanting to take my fiancee's last name.

I would only recommend this book to gals with dread
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was written by a slightly neurotic but charming blogger/writer/former raver/Burningman party girl from Seattle about her wedding to a nice, calm, quiet guy. Basically, it was written just for me. It was full of encouragement, funny stories and thoughtful suggestions about how to plan a wedding from scratch without taking anything as a given and deciding carefully what parts of the Wedding Industrial Complex to take and what to leave. I smiled while reading it and handed it to my partne ...more
Sep 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
She had me in the first few sentences. "For me, the scariest part of getting engaged was feeling as if I were suddenly buying into an identity that wasn't my own. I was having a bridentity crisis. Suddenly I was supposed to care about floral arrangements and classical quartets. Suddenly I was supposed to like poufy white dresses and showing off jewelry. Suddenly I was supposed to buy five-hundred-page glossy magazines and take a strong interest in decorative bows for the backs of rented chairs." ...more
May 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-finished
This book was fine insofar as it reinforced my belief that a wedding will still be valid, even if the bride doesn't wear white or throw a bouquet, and the tone is appropriately, relentlessly, positive and accepting. Most of her ideas, though, seem difficult to achieve unless you have a wide circle of friends consisting primarily of chefs and professional makeup artists. Also, reception planning seems a lot easier if you have a family member with a large patch of land or a friend with a huge loft ...more
Oct 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, while more off-the-wall than I want to be with our wedding, still gave me lots of good ideas about how to turn some of those "traditional" aspects of the ceremony and reception around into something more unique. But, best of all, this book gave the best advice any wedding book could give--do it your way and try to deal with the nay-sayers graciously, but ultimately, don't really pay them any attention. Great advice.
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A writer and editor who got her start editing a rave magazine in the mid-'90s, Ariel Meadow Stallings work has been featured by the New York Times, Today Show, and The Guardian. Ariel's book, Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives For Independent Brides, was first published in 2007 with a second edition in 2010.

Here’s me rambling about myself: I started writing for public consumption in 1997, first
More about Ariel Meadow Stallings

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“Life, weddings, relationships, road trips, gardening, making out, haircuts: few of the fun things in life always go as expected.” 12 likes
“Make peace with the fact that there will be those who bitch no matter what you do. You might as well do what makes you happy, so at least when you hear the bitching, you'll know that the event they're griping about was exactly the one you wanted.” 10 likes
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