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84 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2010
This book is fantastic for the bride-to-be who feels that her voice and her vision are being drowned and subverted by family, friends, media, and/or the wedding industrial complex. I started my wedding planning on [...] and found myself thinking that I would never be able to afford a wedding on my budget and that even if I did, I'd probably be so exhausted from the planning and other crap that I didn't want to do that it wouldn't be as much fun as I had imagined. I made the mistake of letting myself be told what my wedding should be. In truth, my wedding can be whatever I (and my fiance!) want it to be and this is what Stallings forcefully reminds us about in her book.

While I do not identify with the specific style of the author, she does wonders in terms of bringing the reader down from the clouds filled with escort cards, aisle runners, and rose-filled bouquets and uses examples from her own, unusual wedding to help the reader choose her own adventure. She encourages and empowers the reader to think critically about what is and is not important to her and to plan her wedding accordingly. Her writing style is conversational and highly amusing- the perfect cocktail for soothing the bridal beast stirring inside. Stallings also offers a myriad of helpful hints about conflict mediation, effective communication, and how to handle the rollercoaster of emotions that accompany getting married. This book is really the comprehensive guide to not losing your sanity over a wedding and promotes an overall mental and emotional approach to getting married that will (hopefully!) maximize your and your fiance's enjoyment of your day (and isn't that really what it's all about?!).

Having showered the author with praise, I think it is important to note here that this book is absolutely not for the bride-to-be who has it all figured out, the bride-to-be who won't be deviating from the predetermined wedding path, or the bride-to-be who already has an impartial cheerleader in her life shouting encouraging mantras from the periphery of her everyday life (if such a woman exists). Every other bride should read this book before she even begins serious planning.

As a side note, Stallings also operates a website with the same name as the book, which is phenomenal. It complements her book nicely in that it offers real examples of how brides made their weddings their own. It also hosts a web community for support and sharing ideas and inspiration. I hate to plug addition "products," but I was so impressed that I couldn't help myself.

In short, if you're feeling lost in the proverbial sauce, buy this book and read it over a nice, soothing cup of whatever. You'll feel right as rain and ready to plan!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2010
I ordered both this edition and the first edition at the same time because I thought they'd be different. They're not really, at least not too much as far as content goes, but the design on the second edition is a LOT easier to read! It's a great book for any bride who starts to feel like her wedding has started taking over her life in a bad way. Like when I say I want to wear comfortable shoes and my mother has a conniption because I won't wear heels, it's good to read this and realize 1) I'm not alone, 2) I'm not even that far out there, and 3)Even if I were that far out there, it's not that big of a deal!
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 18, 2010
As other reviewers have explained, this is mostly an account of the author's crazy "raver-meets-Burning-Man" wedding in the woods, interspersed with a lot of advice to stop listening to people who want you to have a cookie cutter, poofy event.

Not being the raver-meets-Burning-Man type, I can't say I got much out of her account of her Rene Geneva and green goblin combo gown, or advice for telling guests to camp in the woods. The hippie raver stuff gets a little bit much, though I have a lot of friends for which this would be perfect.

However, I got a LOT out of the author's account of ignoring all the pushy advice of others, and to just do what feels right to us for the wedding. I loved that she admitted to getting all caught up in the wedding planning and crass commercialism of it all during the process, and her candid advice for getting out of that bridal porn head space. It's also nice to see what others have done to have non-religious ceremonies and vows, and to reject things you're "supposed" to do (don't want assigned seating? don't have it!).

In all, this is a nice alternative to all those Knot and Brides Magazine articles that describe waay too many "required" things for your wedding. I can't imagine it has true planning advice for most brides, but it's like having a friend around to have a glass of wine with, who explains, "Oh, you don't need to do any of that crap. We didn't and look at what a great time we had!"
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
First of all, I'm an OBB addict. I adore the blog, and I was stoked to read the book. While I've certainly enjoyed reading it, other reviewers are right. It's mostly a testimonial about the author's wedding, and is meant to be empowering to fellow offbeat brides. My only qualm with the book is that it kind of made me feel, well, a little bad about the traditions I did want to keep. While it is empowering in some ways, it can also make you feel like you're not being offbeat enough, and that to me was a little off-putting.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2010
This book was extremely helpful to me in the process of planning my wedding! It must be said, it's not a planner- there's plenty of books that will tell you how to properly address your inner envelopes. Rather, this is the story of the author's very unique wedding, as well as anecdotes from other non-traditional brides. This book is full of reassurance and advice for the not-so-average bride- how to handle loving but unwanted advice, incorporating traditions or creating your own, and keeping your head on straight while everyone around you seems to have gone wedding crazy. I found the stories in this book to be tightly focused around having a wedding that reflects who you are, not who everyone else wants you to be! This is a book for every confident, unique, self-assured bride-to-be (or groom, for that matter) who wonders if it's possible to retain their personal identity while planning a wedding. If you're looking for a detail-oriented planner, this is not what you're looking for, but if you're seeking a wedding even a little off the beaten path, this should be required reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2012
Let me start by saying that I am a reader of the blog that was spawned by this book. I read the blog everyday of my life, it is a staple in my existence.

I found the book to be somewhat disappointing. I know that I wont be the first to say this but the book was about 60% Ariel Meadows Stalling's personal wedding story and 40% wedding reference. While Stalling's personal story is interesting I don't feel that its enough to carry the book-- especially when you consider that the book is meant to be about inspiring offbeat brides.

The 40% of information that was NOT exposition was quite good. Some of it was new to me and really got me thinking about things that I had not considered before. Though I will say this: Some of the things discussed are really hard core feminist concepts. They didn't really bother me, I consider myself a feminist, but I can see some people being really put off by it. Granted that is a small portion of the text.

If you want to read AMS's personal story then I really recommend this book. And perhaps with the advent of the blog there may be a market for that at this point. But if your looking for more informative works this may not be for you. If you like the blog and are just curious, as I was, you probably wont be too disappointed. Just know that its not going to be like a book version of the site.

All of this said though I will add that it was a very funny read which kind of helped make all the personal bits tolerable and, dare I even say, acceptable? I admit it-- I now call myself and everyone else "ungrateful wretches". If that doesn't make you at least somewhat curious about this book, you are not human!! lol
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2011
I couldn't get pass the first 5 pages of this book. I was really looking for tips/ideas of being an offbeat bride, instead I got this. If you just want to read about how the author achieve the most offbeat wedding ever, then this is a good book. But I was really looking for more than her stories about her wedding. I still love the website, but this did not do it for me. Plus, the writing style made it super difficult to get through. Lesson learned: Always read the reviews first.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2012
It is really too bad that this book was given so many five star reviews. I hope potential buyers seriously consider lower star reviews. I wish I did. The writer also writes a blog (which is mentioned over and over again) and basically just goes on and on (and on) about her wedding, friends, love of hula hoping and unnecessary details about her personal life.

It is not a how-to-throw-an-offbeat wedding book.

It is a autobiography about a blogger that threw a wedding.

I found myself skipping sentences, paragraphs and then pages. In contrast, I also read "A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration" and stopped almost every page to take notes, write lists or talk to my fiance about what is important to us for our wedding.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2011
As a bride without the slightest idea of where to start in the planning process, I found this book immensely helpful. Full of helpful hints and anecdotes to show that your wedding will be wonderful no matter how you chose to do it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2011
When I stumbled upon this book I was in the throes of wedding planning and feeling all kinds of pressure that I was completely unprepared for. All I wanted was a wedding that didn't look or feel like the thousands of cookie cutter weddings that we all read about in magazines, on blogs and that we attend as our friends try to create the "perfect" wedding. This book came to me at a low point. I was doubting whether I could do the wedding I envisioned. Suddenly everyone and their mother had an opinion about something! It was exhausting and I was at the end of my rope.

Once I had this book in my hands I devoured it. I loved every word in it and while what I wanted wasn't too offbeat, it gave me a source of support and inspiration. I loved the part on name changing since that's something I struggled with alot and ultimately decided not to do. It felt good to know there were others out there who didn't just want to go with the status quo. Additionally, finding this book opened up the channels to the wonderful blogs that the author has spun off from Offbeat Bride. Now there's an Offbeat blog for every phase of your Offbeat life! I love it and I cannot express how much Offbeat Bride helped at one of the most important time of my life.

If you don't want the cookie cutter or if you find people are giving you strange looks while planning your wedding, get this book. It'll help. I promise.
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