I love this book. I love it for the Dr. Strangelove reference in the Table of Contents. I love it for the cover art. I love it for the countless tips that are actually incredibly useful and not just more of the same ol’ same ol’. But most of all I love it because I truly believe this country would be a better place if more people got over the idea that they have to go into debt to have an “amazing” wedding and actually started their marriage off honestly, frugally and yes, a little offbeat.
I’m probably going to piss a lot of people off here, but I feel like I need to say it. You don’t NEED the big gigantic wedding, okay? You don’t NEED to put your parents in debt and whine like a baby that you need a bigger budget so that you can have surf and turf instead of chicken and salad served “family style”. You don’t need to have the 5-tier cake. Cake is cake, okay?
I’m glad I got that out of the way. Now, if you’re thinking you don’t want to read this book because you don’t need another holier-than-though liberal telling you how to plan your wedding, don’t worry. The author is NOTHING like that. In fact, she explains ever so sweetly in the introduction that she wants “to encourage you to craft a wedding that’s honest and authentic- not to tell you there’s anything wrong with coveting a white dress or recognizing your faith in your ceremony”. So relax! This book is inspiring and encouraging and something a little different from the traditional book on the topic of weddings. I think any bride could glean a multitude of inspiration from this book, not just the tattooed and mohawk-sportin’ ones.
Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides is the 2nd edition by Ariel Meadow Stallings. She also has a killer blog on the same topic (as well as a blog for offbeat mommas!). The author is hilarious and the structure is appealing. One can read it cover to cover and get a chronological account of the author’s own wedding extravaganza, otherwise one can jump around from chapter to chapter (there are 43 mini chapters).
There are countless tips in this book that will really save you. For example, the author mentions that using evite.com might sound like a brilliant idea to manage RSVPs but to keep in mind that the comments cannot be moderated. Something like this is huge! You don’t want someone saying anything ugly or inappropriate online in front of your entire guest list. Something like that could seriously stress you out and you have enough stress as it is!
But there is more than just e-advice. There is real hands-on advice featuring ways to get crafty and pull off a stunning frugal wedding. The author interviewed several people across the country who were offbeat brides or grooms and include their advice, tips and stories on almost every page. I wish I would have known about this book when I had my own frugal and offbeat wedding 5 years ago!
One of my favorite pieces of advice is on page 43. The “smidge above” rule. When it comes to makeup, says the author, “. . .bridal beauty preparations should, at the most, be only a smidge more than your typical beauty routine.” So true! I don’t know how many times I have looked at wedding pictures from various brides who don’t normally wear makeup in everyday life (as I know them) but then went buck wild and hired a professional makeup artist to “glamour shot them up”. I always look at those pictures and think, who is that? A lot of the times, too much makeup can be distracting and look really plastic. To think some people pay all that money to have makeup applied that is practically dripping off come reception time in scary to me. Be who you are! You are the same person when you wake up tomorrow, you don’t need to be transformed to have a good wedding. He’s marrying you for who you are. If heavy makeup is an everyday occurrence for you, then by all means- go for the airbrushed-on glitz fest!
Remember, the average couple in America spends $30,000 on their wedding. Is it worth it for one day? It blows my mind how so many people happily accept that kind of money from a parent to spend on their wedding, almost expecting the parent to take out a second mortgage on their house just so they can have their “dream wedding.” I think that if you read this book, you might have a new perspective. You might see that a beautiful wedding is possible with less money. Remember, I am just as married (my wedding budget was $1,000) as the person who spent $100,000 and I hate to say it but I think my chances of staying together are higher. We have a hell of a lot less stress on us financially.
Now for the FUN PART! Seal Press is giving away 5 copies of this book!
All you have to do to be entered to win is post a comment below answering the following question:
Which season do you think is the best to get married during? Are you a fan of the fall? Are summer weddings at the lake a blast? Does Spring say “new beginning” for you?
For a second chance to win, you can tweet this giveaway (but please let me know you did so in a separate comment).
The contest will close at midnight, March 6th. I will post the winners on March 7th. Books will be mailed directly from the publisher. I will contact you for your shipping address if you are a winner.
The contest is open to anyone living in either the U.S. or Canada. Also, you do not need to be a bride-to-be to enter. This book would make a great gift!
Update: This contest is closed. The winners were:
#98 Lauren Dixon
An email has been sent to the winners with instructions. Please check your spam folders if you do not see it, it may have gotten stuck there. Thanks everyone for commenting!