Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Two Wedding Books - One hilarious and inspiring

I recently finished two books on weddings. The one I finished last night, "The DIY Wedding: Celebrate Your Day Your Way," by Kelly Bare, was a disappointment. I don't know what I was expecting. Either more - more resources, more details, or less - with more theory and fewer suggestions. It didn't help that much of the font was pink-on-white, and even worse, sometimes it was pink-on-(lighter) pink! Hard to read, and a little boring.

However, "Offbeat Bride" by Ariel Meadow Stallings, was a real pleasure. More for inspiration and ideas than step-by-step suggestions, it's the story of Stallings' own offbeat wedding, interwoven with anecdotes from other brides, including how to deal with not-so-offbeat friends and family who want to reign in your vision.

It's also hilarious. I wish I had the book next to me so I could type the excerpt where a concerned friend-of-the-family asks if she's considered the the "c-word."

The author's mental reaction?

"The only 'c-word' I knew ended with '-unt', and while I had given it consideration, I'm not sure where she was going with this."

Of course, the family friend meant "children."

Just as importantly to me, it wasn't "indie-than-thou." While I am not the most traditional bride, I'm not very "indie" either. I won't be wearing a big white cream-puff from David's Bridal, but I won't be wearing a goth-bride purple gown either - as one of the brides who posted to Stallings' awesome web site http://offbeatbride.com did.

Stallings has this to say about wedding-as-contest:

I've run into this a lot in talking to people about their weddings — the dirty flip-side of "my wedding is too weird" is "my wedding isn't weird enough." Both sentiments make me sad because your wedding is not a contest.

As your resident alt-lifestyle consultant, please allow me to state this clearly: brides do not need more ways to feel bad about our weddings.

I didn't write Offbeat Bride as a judgment — I've gone to traditional weddings that were beautiful expressions of the couple's backgrounds and beliefs. I wrote the book to act a cheerleader for those wrestling with making nontraditional decisions about their wedding — not as an admonishment of those who chose otherwise.

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