Retreat done, now entering serious heads-down mode

From left to right: Chris Wolfgang (Offbeat Bride Assistant Editor), Caroline Diezyn (Copyeditor/Assistant Editor and Offbeat Bride Tribe Community Manager), Kelly Maguire (Lead Developer), Me (founder), Megan Finely (Managing Editor, Associate Publisher)
From left to right: Chris Wolfgang (Offbeat Bride Assistant Editor), Caroline Diezyn (Copyeditor and Offbeat Bride Tribe Community Manager), Kelly Maguire (Lead Developer), Me (founder), Megan Finley (Managing Editor, Associate Publisher)

As those of you who have been barraged by photos on Offbeat Bride's Instagram know, the Offbeat Empire staff retreat in Maui was a raging success. We swam under waterfalls, made staffer soup in hot tubs, forgot to wear pants, and watched both sunsets and enormous waves. We also worked:

Working in the carbana

…but not that much. And not enough considering how much work is underway in these parts. For some, November/December is basically just a series of slack-off weeks connecting holiday weekends. Certainly, for the wedding industry, it's the quietest time of the year. It's not just taint week — for the wedding industry, November and December are taint season. Nothing in the wedding world really happens until January. Know what that means? That the Offbeat Empire is going to be working its ass off in preparation over the next six weeks. Here are the projects we're all heads-down on:

Relaunching all six Offbeat Empire sites with new templates

The design of the website that you're looking at right now was originally conceived in 2009. It was recoded 18 months ago to be more mobile-friendly, but the actual design has not really been touched since 2009. Meanwhile the web has changed a LOT (raise your hand if you got here from Facebook), and the way people read the web has changed a LOT (tap your screen if you're reading on a phone). I'm super proud of how well the design I approved in 2009 has held up… but it's time. It's past time.

A redesign is terrifying of course, and it ups the terror a little bit when you consider how many sites are involved — offbeatbride.com, vendors.offbeatbride.com, tribe.offbeatbride.com (more about that later), offbeathome.com, offbeatfamilies.com (rip), and offbeatempire.com. We've worked with an excellent Australian designer named Kristy Haines, and I'm confident y'all are going to love it, but it's still terrifying.

The burn-down of the Offbeat Bride Tribe

Y'all know how the Tribe is layers upon layers of tools? WordPress + Buddypress + bbPress + S2Member + 8923 plugins? The tools that the Tribe are built on are three years old at this point, the community we cobbled together in 2011 isn't the same as the one we could launch today. The tools have come a long way, and more importantly: we're not trying to make the Tribe feel like Ning.com any more. It's its own thing, which is great. But the only way to get the Tribe into the present day is to take it offline for two weeks, burn it to the ground, start with a fresh install, and rebuild it from the ground up. I'll talk more about this next week, but nothing will be lost — it'll be all the same 50,000 posts and the same 15,000 members. Just a completely clean foundation, with less duct tape. And it'll have the new templates!

Launching the Offbeat Bride Weekly iOS app

How long have people been asking me for an Offbeat Bride app. SO LONG. Forever. While I still don't have the resources to build the app I know some of you want (a cross-platform planning app that's full of body positivity and profanity-laced checklist affirmations) I do have the resources to create a weekly magazine app. If you're familiar with The Awl's Weekend Companion, it'll be sorta like that. Basically, a weekly round-up of the best from Offbeat Bride (with a bit of Offbeat Home & Life tossed in), with a curated weekly collection of the best of our best. Megan, the Managing Editor of the Offbeat Empire, is going to be rocking the fuck out of curating that shit.

Spooling up taint week

OH TAINT WEEK. How I love you. The week everyone else in the media takes off. The slowest news week of the year. The time when everyone is bored out of their minds. The time when we drop all the funnest content of the entire year, because there's NOTHING ELSE TO READ ANYWHERE ON THE INTERNET so why the fuck not entertain as many people as we can? It's worked pretty well three years running. We'll see how it goes this year.

Soft-launching Offbeat Industry

Oh yeah, remember that new business partnership I'm launching? Well, the web component is my responsibility, and so in late December I'll be quietly soft-launching Offbeat Industry, which will include what basically amounts to the Offbeat Bride Tribe for vendors. There will be a blog filled with vendor education and advice, as well as the kind of supportive, private community that Offbeat Bride readers have loved for years… but catered to wedding vendors. It's the Tribe for small business owners. Your own little safe corner of the web.

Prepping for the Lovesick Expos


This past winter, we presented six Lovesick Expos across the country. This year, we're expanding to two new cities (hello, Atlanta and Los Angeles) and gearing up for the funnest drunk Sundays EVER. Remember that while these are technically wedding expos, they've basically turned into defacto Offbeat Empire reader meet-ups, complete with booze, burlesque, and a lot of sloppy hugs from Offbeat Empire staffers. We have staff attending every show. Which will we see YOU at?

 Get tickets!

So yeah, if you need me…

I'll just be stabbing at my little keyboard over here with bloody stumps. Because oh, btw: have I mentioned that I'm also remodeling my house and am basically couch-surfing for the next three months? Essentially, this picture is a symbol of my entire fucking life right now:

Remodel before-68.jpg
  1. Woah! So much! Brilliant work, guys you earned that holiday.
    I love the app idea but it's just another reason I need to get an ipad… ๐Ÿ™ ;D

    2 agree
    • Yeah, as an avowed Android user, it sorta kills me that the app is going to be iOS (I can't even use my own app!), but there's no denying the numbers… more readers use iPhones and iPads, so iOS app it is.

      2 agree
  2. LOVE the app idea!
    So much sad face about the magically disappearing tribe! I know it'll be for the best and it's a long time coming but, aw man, with my date in Feb it'll be rough without my tribesters. Love those peeps!

    • I'll be setting up a Tribe Withdrawal Support Group Thread here on the Empire so that Tribesmaids can keep up with each other. Given activity in years past, late December is a virtual ghost town on the Tribe, so it feels like the best possible time for 2 weeks offline… although certainly there's definitely no perfect time. :/

      4 agree
  3. Sally forth! That is a lot of work to do. Looking forward to the Offbeat Industry!

    For me, this is actually the busiest time of the year- A lot of people are ordering save the dates for spring, summer, and fall weddings. So, like, almost everyone. ::reaches for her coffee::

    1 agrees
  4. OMG, I about had a heart attack when I read the descrip on Facebook and quickly clicked through to see "WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT FIRE AND THE TRIBE????"

    I am so happy it's not going away permanently. It's my source of sanity as wedding planning ramps up and starts turning me into an eldritch horror in a tiara. Heart attack averted!

    3 agree
  5. JESUS CHRIST I would not be half as sane as you sound considering all of that plus a house remodel!!
    Go you guys for lighting such an epic fire under everything and really jumping into it! I can't wait to see what you have in store for us, and I can't wait for Taint Week (the most magical time of yeeeeeeeeeeear)

  6. I might have to try and go to the Lovesick Seattle! would tickets be sold at the door?

    I've been a lurker here for years and comment occasionally on offbeat home, but am anticipating an engagement soon……………. ๐Ÿ™‚ excited!

    1 agrees
      • Will there be a discount for tribe members again this time? I might need to show up again, and this time plan a day off work so I can stay for the performances. (I had to leave early last year to get to work.)

  7. I kinda want to go to the Lovesick expo near me, but I am not and probably won't be planning a wedding anytime soon. I want to meet Offbeat homies, though. Will it be worth it to go anyway?

    • This is one of the most-asked questions about Lovesick, and the answer is YES. We'll be offering a 50% coupon on Offbeat Bride next week, which essentially makes it a $5 Offbeat Empire party packed with booze, boobs, and live music. Yes, it's a wedding expo…. but it's also the best $5 Offbeat Empire meet-up ever.

      1 agrees
      • Great! I will keep my eye out for the coupon, and hopefully it won't scare my partner too much when I tell him that I'm going to wedding expo. He might think I am secretly planning a wedding. ๐Ÿ˜€

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