Noteworthy posts this week: compliment sandwiches, baby-less family photos, divorced brides, and auto-play music

August 30 2013 | offbeatresilience
It's another week of running through a few of the comments across the Offbeat Empire blogs that caught our eyes this week. We've got some good stuff sandwiched in here…

Offbeat Bride

On Offbeat Bride this week, we did a lot of talking about staying calm when you feel pressured from all sides, which included linking to this post, Wedding dramaz: 9 crucial steps to take when communicating while upset or angry.

The subject of "compliment sandwiches" (clearly, we're really into sandwiches this week!) also came up, with Cassie illustrating the conflict resolution style this way:

The compliment sandwich is good too.

"I really love how you came up with that awesome tablecloth idea for my wedding. It would never have occurred to me, so I appreciated that you thought of it. However, your attempts to sleep with my fiance are becoming a bit of a problem. I'm getting upset about it, and you're making me not want you to be at my wedding. If you could please try to keep your propositions to the single groomsmen, I'd appreciate it. And if you come up with more awesome ideas for our napkins or chair covers, I definitely want to hear about them!"

…Remember: only certain brides are theoretically ok with your attempts to sleep with their partners.

OH OH and speaking of sandwiches, I personally loved it when Liz (the bride who's wedding I crashed last weekend) smacked down a commenter who was concerned that we were "glorifying" wedding crashing. Liz's response? "Ariel was not really crashing. It was my secret fantasy all along." Please, can we talk more about secret fantasies?

Offbeat Families

Shinoda-Mettler Family
Shinoda-Mettler Family by Alexandra Knight
Understandably, many people think that Offbeat Families is just about makin' babies… and of course most of it is! But we also like to keep the site focused on all different concepts of family, including offbeat aunties, the decision NOT to have children, and adult parent-child relationships. In that vein, we totally ran this family portrait session. Notice anything missing? One reader certainly did:

Um, how adorable is this family? And I love the concept and scenery (though I'm a little biased being from Seattle!)…but the thing I love the most? No babies. Yeah, I love that they're a family of adults and are doing such an AWESOME photo shoot! Would love to see more families like this featured!!!

We love that Offbeat Families is a site for talking about families that isn't all basal body temperatures, cloth diapers, and birth stories. (Although we totally do those things too!)

Offbeat Home & Life

When we first started our "Where are they now" series, there was some significant concern from readers that the series would "promote more unrealistic expectations for married life." We knew from the very beginning that we wanted these profiles to be about the daily grind of post-wedding life… including the grind of separating.

This week we finally had the opportunity to share our first "Where are they now?" story of a featured couple who are no longer together, and it was awesome! As Vivi said:

Hooray a million times for this post! When you started the "Where are they now" posts I was really hoping you would include all life paths, not just the ones that kept with happily ever after (together). Lara- you are very brave and 100% amazing for continuing to share your wedding and for letting the world know where your life has ended up. You are an inspiration to all the people who are struggling in their relationships or forming new ones!

We've never shied away from tough content on the Offbeat Empire, and have archives for uplifting topics such as divorce, death, babyloss, miscarriage, and so much more… I'm loving these "Where are they now" posts as a chance to get a little more real with the couples we've featured.

Offbeat Empire

Hoo-boy did Megan hit a nerve when she called out wedding vendors for using auto-play music on their websites.

Goaldeebug offered one particularly painful example of why everyone should avoid auto-play functions:

Imagine this:

You've been checking out a LOT of wedding sites and have turned off the auto-play feature on each and every one of them.
Have you ever had your browser lock up, had to force quit, and then restart? If you have multiple tabs open with different sites that autoplay music, they all come up at once, all playing different freaking songs. Why? Because when you reload the page, the music on all of them starts to autoplay all over again.

Yeah. That.

We're walking an interesting line with our new series of Wedding industry advice posts. While they're directed at vendors and business folks, we know that a lot of you reading the Offbeat Empire blog are on the other side of the tracks. My goal with these posts is that they feel readable and useful to both vendors AND non-vendors. Possibly in different ways, but my goal is to give everyone a window into how the other side thinks and works. We're still ironing out some wrinkles with how these posts work, but I'm liking the series. What do you guys think?

  1. "Understandably, many people think that Offbeat Families is all about makin' babies… and of course some of it is! But we also like to keep the site focused on all different concepts of family, including offbeat aunties, the decision NOT to have children, and adult parent-child relationships."

    Just a branding observation — all the pictures in the Offbeat Families header have children in them. Maybe a rebrand like the pics on OBB would help visually?

    2 agree
    • Interesting feedback. We already rebranded last year (from Offbeat Mama > Offbeat Families) at considerable cost. Ellen Forney (the artist who did the header illustrations) is pretty busy AND pretty pricey… so I'm not sure any further rebranding is feasible. Also, I'm not sure the header could ever hope to convey every editorial angle we cover… but this is great food for thought!

    • I agree with MTM – the header is all ladies with babies, and as far as I recall it's unchanged from offbeat mama. I definitely think that plays a part in terms of making the site feel like it's all about kids.

      • Actually, when the name changed, the person on the right in the header also changed "from 'blonde soccer mom' to 'blonde soccer butch/stay-at-home-dad/transdad/fey uncle/gender-queer auntie/tomboy daycare provider/whatever ze wants to be.'" (as the post announcing the change put it).

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      • What Lydia said.

        I feel like my meaning in this post may have gotten a bit muddied. I wasn't trying to say that Offbeat Families isn't about kids, because much of it is and there are no plans to change that. I was just trying to say it's about more than just kids.

        Given that much of the content will always be about children, I think it's probably accurate to have children in the header… I was just trying to make a point that despite being a family website, it's got a real diversity in content. The header hints at that diversity, but I'd never expect that it would convey every facet of our editorial focus.

        (This is similar to how we only have 4 characters on Offbeat Bride, who only reflect a tiny portion of our readership. We can try to make them as diverse as possible, but ultimately it's just the header… and I like to think the content speaks for itself.)

  2. The recent series of wedding industry posts has indeed been interesting- I've found myself checking back here fairly frequently.

    3 agree
    • I've also been enjoying the business discussions – I'm not a wedding vendor, but you never know when something might be a useful tidbit of info in general. Like the round up of photo editing web apps… that was sooooper excellent for me as an artist.

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  3. I had a boss who was waaay into the compliment sandwich. Unfortunately she wasn't great it… it would come out like,

    "You're great! But you suck at X and need to suck less. We totally love you!"

    It was like, no, you actually have to have real compliments with specifics and information and stuff.

    1 agrees
    • The compliments also have to be vaguely related to the criticism. Sandwiches that go "I love your hair! It looks really cute today. But can you rewrite this paragraph of text because it doesn't make sense please? And I love your yellow hair clip!" just leave me thinking "umm, what?!".

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  4. I love your noteworthy comments section. Not only are some of the comments hilarious, but since I recently broke my bad habit of getting onto the internet at work (it's so easy to end up down the rabbit hole and come back 30 mins later), it also tells me what posts I really need to go back and read from the week because I spend a lot less time online these days.

    Oh and my family totally did adult family photos last year (as my mom's Christmas present). It was my parents, my sister and her boyfriend and their dog, and my husband and I. No babies/children in sight.

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