Arts & Entertainment

Blogger offers offbeat wedding tips

Ariel Meadows Stallings visits the Lovesick Expo.

Forget the Pinterest accounts with boards upon boards of long, white gowns, orchids and cute wedding invitation tips. Offbeat Bride, a wedding blog, is teaching women how to make bohemian flower crowns and suggests rainbow colored wedding shoes for any bride-to-be.

Ariel Meadows Stallings is the founder of Offbeat Bride, which is the world’s largest nontraditional wedding blog. The site is part of a larger publishing network called Offbeat Empire and has been around for seven years. Stallings said it had originally been nothing more than a project to promote her book, entitled “Offbeat Bride.”

“Ultimately, no one cared about the book,” Stallings said.

However, a second edition came out in 2010, and even though book did well, Stallings said “the website has become a whole force of nature.”

With 2,000,000 page views and 800,000 readers monthly, Stallings has taken on a staff of six and said “it’s become a publication at this point.”

She said using the website to plan a wedding makes more sense than utilizing a book for the task. Offbeat Bride publishes 15 to 20 posts a week based on nontraditional wedding advice, as well as helpful resources.

“It’s a full range from pretty traditional with a little bit of quirkiness tossed in,” Stallings said with a smile.

To bring her ideas to Philadelphia, Stallings decided to be a major sponsor at the Lovesick Expo, which made its yearly return to World Café Live on Jan. 12.

Stallings said she became involved with the Lovesick Expo after getting support from the event, as it had advertised her publication.

“I got sick of hearing all my readers go to the show, saying it was amazing and being like, ‘When are you going to do an amazing wedding show?’” Stallings said.

After that, Stallings said she reached out and asked to be a part of the event.

“I said, ‘You’re doing something amazing, and I’ll help you bring it to the West Coast,’” Stallings said.

Although the website is devoted to the nontraditional and quirky, Stallings said sometimes even she is surprised by some of the ideas.

“Sometimes I’m even like, ‘Whoa, this might be too weird even for me,’” she said.

Stallings has even created a unique checklist booklet for brides, with tasks including taking a sedative the night before the wedding to be well-rested for the big day.

Stallings said she knows not everyone wants to have a traditional wedding, and Offbeat Bride is a way for nontraditional brides to find the ideas and advice they need.

“We try and acknowledge that lots of people get married, and God bless the people who want a wedding in a country club,” Stallings said. “I love those weddings, too, but we want to make sure that people who aren’t planning that wedding feel supported and encouraged and valued.”

Caitlin O’Connell can be reached at caitlin.oconnell@temple.edu.

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