Elevate Difference

Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides

There are some women who, upon getting engaged, will spend hours poring over the most recent 700-page issue of Bride magazine. There are other women who would sooner use that behemoth of a magazine as a firestarter than spend a single minute reading about the most recent trends in bustles and floral arrangements. It seems that Ariel Meadow Stallings had the latter category of people in mind when she wrote Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides.

A soup to nuts discussion of how to throw a wedding that doesn’t conjure up the term “cookie-cutter,” Stalling’s book relies heavily on anecdotal discussion about her own (admittedly offbeat!) wedding, along with stories and opinions from other “offbeat brides (and a few grooms).” This narrative set-up is great for getting a broad overview of what a non-traditional wedding might look like, but it also spreads the subject matter a little thin. While Stalling takes pains to point out that the book “isn’t a how-to book or a step-by-step wedding planner,” the sheer width and breadth of the topics that she tackles results in a break-neck pace, and many important aspects of weddings and marriage ultimately feel like they’re given short shrift.

That being said, Offbeat Bride would be a great gift for your sister, friend, cousin or co-worker who recently got engaged, but seems ambivalent to the idea of having a wedding chock full of taffeta, jordan almonds and traditional gender roles. It’s a warm, funny, easy-going affirmation of anyone’s inclination to “get off the beaten aisle.” However, the dedicated patriarchy blamer will probably come away from this book feeling like she’s just read 208 pages of stuff she already knew. Such advanced-level rebels might be better off perusing Stallings' book-related website, www.offbeatbride.com, if they want to skip the Offbeat 101 lesson and get directly to some more particular tips, examples and advice for their own taffeta-free affair.

Written by: Kate Dixon, March 26th 2007

joanna, i tried to click through to your blogger profile but it's private - too bad, because it seems like the kind of blog you might keep is the kind i'd like to read! your point is a very legit one, and though many might not agree (and i, for one, don't feel the need to say "fuck ariel meadow stallings" because she has a differing opinion," but to each his/her own), most days i lean towards a "weddings are the devil" approach to it all myself. so anyway, thanks for the comment.-kate

As a dedicated patriarchy-blamer I must inform you that you are quite mistaken in your belief that "such advanced-level rebels might be better off perusing . . .www.offbeatbride.com". Patriarchy blaming does not mean throwing "taffeta-free affairs" so much as it means "telling Ariel Meadow Stallings and all her offbeat brides and the institution of marriage, which we'll now imagine as personified in the interest of rhetoric, to go fuck themselves. They're all agents of the motherfucking patriarchy"