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Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides Paperback – February 23, 2010
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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!
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!"
I have spent time on her website/blog (which is mentioned so often in the updated book that it became a point of annoyance rather than reference) and while the website does have some good articles and tips, I found the tone and community to be very coddling and unhelpful, and even a bit judgmental.
I understand wanting to find reference material for an un-white, non-judgmental, relaxed wedding in a sea of rigid, traditional-white-wedding advice... But this is not it.