45 million readers: On Offbeat Bride's 10th anniversary + what we're working on now

January 11 | offbeatbride
2007 Offbeat Bride promotional photo by Heather Corinna
2007 Offbeat Bride promotional photo by Heather Corinna

As of last week, Offbeat Bride is now a DECADE OLD. (Aww, that first post is so cute.) It's still one of the biggest ironies ever for me that the website was launched just as a way to promote the book that was supposed to finally launch me into what I imagined as "real success." In 2007, digital publishing was still the less-respected nerdy little sibling of the "real" publishing industry, and being a published author was going to be my big ticket to legitimacy and recognition.

offbeat-bride-45-million-readersHar har! Joke was on me! Because while my book reached a few tens of thousands of people over the last decade, the website has reached approximately 45 MILLION READERS. What else is there to say but holy shit? That is a lot of people.

If only 2007 Ariel, with her pink braids and bong and big dreams of book publishing industry legitimacy could have known that the website she made to promote the book would turn into the business that would take her into the next decade? What the fuck! Cosmic irony.

Ok, so let's use this as an opportunity to talk about what's currently on the table for Offbeat Empire:

Interactive Offbeat Bride checklist

Members of the Offbeat Bride Tribe may remember the Tribe's built-in interactive version of our famous checklist. When the Tribe closed in 2015, that version of the checklist died, but my developer Kellbot has been working to bring it back! This new interactive checklist will be available to ANYONE WHO WANTS IT (no need to get approved as a member), and unlike the version on the Tribe, you can change your wedding date whenever you want. (Har har! Remember that? What a pain in the ass.)

Like the old version of the checklist, this will also integrate everyone's favorite Offbeat Bride confirmation messages — stuff like "FUCK YEAH! You completed the fuck out of that task. Go you!" I like to think people loved the checklist on the Tribe because it was useful, but it may just be that the confirmation messages made them laugh… which… that's ok with me too.

Also like it was on the Tribe, the functionality will be pretty bare-bones — I'm a publisher, not an app developer! We're almost ready to start beta testing what we've got. If you're interested in being a beta-tester, leave a comment. We'll probably be ready to start testing in a few weeks. I'll have more to say about this soon!

Offbeat Bride, Divorced

Yeah, so uh: that's a thing that happened and here I am a year later and I'm about 70% done with the book I'm writing about the process of healing from the best worst thing that ever happened to me. To the disappointment of some longtime readers, I'm keeping most of my divorce writing pretty close to the chest while I'm working on my book… but you can get a hint of what I'm working on with this article I wrote for The Guardian.

As those of you who follow along with Offbeat Bride's Instagram Stories know, working on this book is emotionally rough at times. It's important work that I'm excited about getting out into the world (it's such a common experience, and grief is a weird opportunity to do some really interesting personal development work), but UG it's not easy writing to do. I have to pace myself or else I get the emotional bends.

Offbeat business as usual

Other than those two big projects, it's mostly just business as usual at the Empire… I'm still running the company pretty lean, but my editors Catherine and Megan dig away in the content trenches, my developer Kellbot is busy with the checklist and fixing all the shit we manage to break, and Tiff is the ray of sunshine beaming the love to all our sponsors and advertisers.

Thanks to each of you (…all 45 million? JEEZ) who've been a part of the last decade of Offbeat Bride. Lately, it seems like I've been hearing more from longtime readers… folks who got married years ago who are still around, and who pop up like meerkats to say hi. It always gives me the very warmest fuzzies. Love you guys, for real.

  1. All I can say is – thank you! Thanks for your amazing hard work, OBB and the tribe helped me stay sane during wedding planning, and OBH helps me stay sane in day to day life.

    3 agree
  2. Just a meerkat popping up to with you well. I got married in 2011 and, while I've outgrown obb, I still get very exciting whenever your writing pops up on my feed. Very much looking forward to your book.

    3 agree
  3. Been a reader since 2012ish (holy shit), and while I mostly lurk in the shadows these days I'll pop in to say hi 🙂
    I especially enjoyed the behind the scenes look on the empire. Looking forward to what comes next!

    1 agrees
  4. Hey! Thanks for all you do! I'm planning a December wedding and would be thrilled to help with the beta testing!

    1 agrees
  5. I'd also love to be a beta tester! (And if you want any help with back end development, give me a holler.)

  6. 45 million! Crazy! But so well deserved. Hugs to you and Megan and Catherine! ( And a nice firm handshake to the other members of the team that I unfortunately don't know as well. )
    XO

  7. Also a long time reader (since 2010) of the website and book! Joined the offbeat bride divorced club in 2014 but still adore the offbeat empire. Love reading life and home posts and hopefully the family posts in the not so distant future. Much love appreciation and congratulations to this awesome team.

    1 agrees
  8. Yah, beta testing! I'm a software engineer for the day job and also in the midst of wedding planning, I'd be a great beta tester. (Love love love all that Offbeat Bride is. Contemplating yay flags for the wedding)

    1 agrees
  9. Woohoo 10 years! Also that means I've been reading for 8, geez! And I need to get married again so I can get a FUCK YEAH THAT TASK because I missed out :,(

    Data nerd question: in the traffic graph of the 45 million, looks like there's a definite point where traffic started spiking halfway through (at least on my tiny phone version, hopefully it looks the same when desktop big). What's the main attribution for the spike? Pinterest? Facebook? The rise of all the social medias combined?

    • Most of the spikes are Taint Weeks via Facebook. Pinterest traffic was strong for a while, but much less spiky.

      Also, for those who are interested in the Taint Week strategy: It doesn't work any more, and hasn't for a couple years. The FB algorithm has changed a lot since 2015.

  10. Long-time reader and x-bride tribe member, I got married in 2010, and I would love to be a beta tester! I do front-end web development and also run a part-time letterpress biz so I can give some solid feedback 😀

    1 agrees
  11. I've been following offbeat bride for quite some time now and I absolutely love it. My fiancé and I aren't able to pick a date yet, as we're trying to buy a house and don't want to do both at the same time. Having a roof over our heads comes first for our big family! But I'm reading and saving and planning for when the day finally comes that we can celebrate our commitment with our community. Thank you for everything you do!

    1 agrees
  12. I would love to be a beta tester! 😀 I'm just beginning the wedding planning shenanigans.

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  13. How the fuck did I start reading OBB a few months after its inception and I JUST noticed that you're holding a bong in that picture?

    1 agrees
    • …I know! This was well before any sort of cannabis legalization, of course, and I remember thinking it was SOOOO NAUGHTYYYY to have a promotional picture of me in a wedding dress with (SHHHH!) a bong loaded with (OMG!) pot. Now a legal pot shop shares a wall with my post office and smoking pot is totally mainstream… even in red states! #progress!

      2 agree
  14. I've been reading OBB for, um, many years – since way before I was actually engaged (which I am now!). Thank you for all of your work and your team's work over the years, it's so helpful and worthwhile and AWESOME .

  15. Thank you for creating this community! I found OBB in 2010 when I got engaged…and since then, I've been a loyal visitor to OBH and the Empire.

    Ariel, you've really created a little space in the world where I can explore new ideas, and find a creative, thoughtful group of people who are real and honest and willing to share! This community has made me feel not so alone during some lonely times and I am truly grateful!

    To many, many more years of Offbeat! 🙂

    1 agrees
  16. I'm planning a wedding a year today, and would love to Beta test. I'm a UK reader, if that makes a difference (I know that the date format will definitely catch me out!)

    1 agrees
  17. Wow, 10 years. That means I've been following (mainly for the shoes, and then for OB H&L once that launched) for about 7 years 🙂

    One of my favourite memories of wedding planning with my late partner is of sitting in the pub, armed with food, drinks and the OBB To Do list and casually reading out the line about genital piercings (was it? or sex toys?) and watching my off-beat, maverick, unshockable (but secretly quite conservative) partner as his brain stuttered to a complete stop beause he couldn't believe I'd actually said that!

    1 agrees
    • YES! There are both sex toys and sedatives no the checklist! I just reviewed and updated the copy for the new version of the list with our updated branding, and even I was like HAR HAR I forgot how funny this was… and I'm the one who wrote it! Ha.

      2 agree
  18. If you're still taking testers I am getting married this summer and would love to try the new checklist!

    I have to admit I desperately miss the Tribe. I wandered over to some of those *other* wedding communities, had a meltdown because apparently my wedding is ALL WRONG, and my fiancé had to talk me off the edge.

    Also as a divorced person, I feel your feels. I'm sorry for how much it sucks sometimes.

    1 agrees
  19. Hey everyone! I think we're finally ready to start our very early beta testing TOMORROW! I'm going to send an email this morning to all y'all on this thread, so be watching for it…

    1 agrees
  20. Happy 10th Anniversary to OBB! I've read and loved OBE since 2010, even though I'm not even on the Offbeat spectrum!

    1 agrees
  21. Ariel, Congratulations on 10 awesome years! I can't believe it has been that long since we worked together on a post about wedding flowers where I definitively stated that the bride's bouquet should be no larger than her head or it will be out of scale. You immediately pulled up a picture of your bridal bouquet which not only was bigger than your head, it was the size of a small child!
    My how we have grown from those days. Bridal bouquets have gotten huge (hey, you set the trend!) and I have tossed that old rule. And you have established an empire that has helped so many people! Way to go girl! You rock! Mwah!

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