Why we continue to use the term "Offbeat Lite" even though some people hate it

By on Feb 14th

Oh yes, I can be a troll too!

I'll be delving into the results of the Reader Survey in more detail tomorrow, but I had one thing I wanted to talk about separately. In the survey, we asked about readers' subcultural identities. As always, the majority of our readers do not identify with any subculture. We call this non-affiliated majority "Offbeat Lite" and about 56% of Offbeat Empire readers identify this way.

Of that 56%, approximately 2% took the time to tell us that they hate the term "Offbeat Lite." Like, REALLY HATE IT.

I totally understand why, but you guys: stop being so easy to troll!

For context, here's some Offbeat Bride history: "Offbeat Lite" is a vestigial inside joke from Offbeat Bride's early days, when it was just me toiling alone. In the site's first year, I thought only uber-weirdos would be interested my silly wedding blog. By early 2008, I begun to realize just how many non-freaks loved Offbeat Bride… that's when I first joked to a friend, "Tons of my readers aren't crazy freaky — they're just subtly freaky. Sorta like, I dunno, Offbeat Lite."

At this point, I shifted the tone of the site to be more inclusive of folks all along the spectrum of traditions. "Taffeta-free alternatives" became "creative alternatives" because FUCK YOU, SNOB: some people LIKE taffeta, thank you very much! No more "offbeater-than-thou" — we're all just trying to be authentic! This was a wonderful evolution, and through it all the term Offbeat Lite stuck around as a playful, tongue-in-cheek way to celebrate and embrace some readers' more traditional tastes. (Need I remind you that we do a LOT of celebrating of Offbeat Lites on the blog?)

As always, we never force an identity on anyone without their consent: Like all other labels on the site, "Offbeat Lite" is only used when people self-identify.

I totally respect that a portion of non-culturally-affiliated readers may find the term dismissive and rude. As publisher, however, I find the phrase useful: we need a catch-all term to encapsulate the wonderful weddings we feature at the more traditional end of the style spectrum, and "Offbeat Lite" captures it all in two cheeky words. The few times I've considered getting rid of the term, I've found nothing suitable to replace it with — sneaky freaky, stealth offbeat, offbeat undercover? Just "ON-BEAT"? None of these terms capture it, and they're all confusing upon first encounter.

Furthermore, I find it kind of humorous when folks get so worked up over this playful phrase that invokes cheap beer and early '90s dance music. This ridiculous term is what whips a few of my sweet readers into an froth of rage!? I'm sorry, but that's funny and totally causes me to make this face.

You guys, we all need to have a sense of humor about ourselves and our tastes, and that includes those of us who are offbeat to the point of contrarian, contrived twee-ness (this is me raising my rainbow-arm-warmered hand and biting my lip after totally recognizing my stupid self in "Bein' Quirky"), as well as those of us who might outwardly look completely "normal." It's also worth noting that without this friction between mainstream and non-traditional, or "lite" and "offbeat," Offbeat Bride wouldn't exist. We'd all be content using theknot and be done with it.

Updated to bubble this thought up from the comments:
The issue here really boils down to privilege, which is why I find myself a little amused when people get angry about "offbeat lite." As folks who can more easily blend into the mainstream, many Offbeat Lites have an easier time of navigating the wedding industry than, say, a plus-size transgender Latina trying to plan a wheelchair-friendly Jewish/Hindu wedding. This is not to minimize the challenges that Lites experience — just that it's good to be aware of your own privilege in the matter.

Ultimately, Offbeat Bride was founded for folks who felt marginalized by wedding planning, so it's amusing to me that those who identify as more conventional get to experience this sensation of marginalization, thanks to a ridiculous term like "Offbeat Lite." Perhaps by keeping the phrase around, I'm just trying to do my trollish part to make sure that even those of you who don't identify with a subculture get to have a taste of "otherness." You're welcome!

Now let's do all pull out our favorite chair covers and do a deee-lite dance to celebrate our beloved Offbeat Lites!