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Plugapalooza: The Offbeat Bride

I first met Ariel Meadow Stallings virtually via Metafilter, and later in person when she moved (back) to Seattle. She writes the weblog Electrolicious, hosts the Salon of Shame, and is one of the founders of hooping.org. -- MB

My first book hit bookstores this month, and somehow it's about weddings. How does a woman who's wedding was a massive freakfest with hula hoops, a vegan buffet, and guests pooping in buckets become a wedding writer?

The theory is that even freaks get married sometimes, and in a world of 300-page glossy bridal magazines catering to people with princess fantasies, freaks need all the wedding advice they can get. That's where Offbeat Bride: Tafetta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides comes in.

While the title suggests that the book is only for women, there are more than a few offbeat grooms quoted in the book, including Mr. Defective Yeti himself:

Blogger Matthew Baldwin, from Seattle, Washington, was married at the Seattle Aquarium. He explained that "During the planning process we discovered that a lot of places that seem 'exotic,' like the aquarium, are actually a bargain, because they are considered city or state parks and therefore rent for cheaper than you would get a corresponding hall. We loved getting married there — the best part was that whenever we had a 'transition' (such as from wedding to reception or whatever), there were otters to look at for the guests." Matthew went so far as to say, "We went to a traditional church wedding about a month after our aquarium wedding, and all we could think was, Booooooooring." He has a point: When was the last time you saw otters at a church wedding?

So yes: while I somehow wrote a book about weddings, it uses otters to mock church nuptials — and I pride myself on having written the only wedding guide offering advice for dealing with stoners at receptions:

While traditional brides may worry about Uncle Joey getting drunk and lecherous, many offbeat brides have, well, other concerns. Debra Hanson from Iowa City, Iowa recounted, "Most of our friends are stoners, and we had different groups of smoker-friends coming together and knew that would be a big part of their bonding together. I requested ahead of time for people to please keep it discreet, and they did, for the most part. That was probably my biggest stress surrounding the wedding. I didn't want my conservative relatives to see my friends smoking and have there be drama. Most brides worry about flowers and food, but I was consumed with worry about this! I wish I hadn't fretted so much though, as everyone was very discreet and respectful of my wishes."

We had similar concerns with our fun-loving friends, and I sent out a big email to this subsect of guests before the wedding, advising them to be careful. The email began: "The wedding's coming right up, and I wanted to check in with all of you about one very important wedding topic: Gettin' fucked up!" and continued to advise friends to "… be aware of who's around you when you're preparing to smoke — step into a tent or wander into the woods a bit, and perhaps avoid shouting things like 'Oh my god I feel so great holy shit it's like a roller coaster here I go whoosh!' in places where you could be overheard." Like Debra, we found that our friends who chose to partake were exceptionally discreet — way more discreet than your average lecherous old drunk.

For more information, head to www.offbeatbride.com.

-- Ariel Meadow Stallings
Posted on January 22, 2007 to Plugapalooza