Offbeat Bride's 3rd edition: why the book needed an update

September 21 2018 | offbeatresilience

My book Offbeat Bride was first published by Seal Press in January 2007 as Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides, with a second edition released in February 2010 under the title Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides.

In the eight years since the release of the second edition, wedding culture has shifted dramatically (the influence of marriage equality and social media have both been huge!) and offbeatbride.com has reached 50 million website visitors. Clearly, it’s time for an updated and revised version of the book… which Seal Press will be publishing fall of 2019.

Let's talk about the updates being made for the third edition…

Update language throughout for inclusivity and sensitivity

With the exception of the new introduction and two chapters written for the 2010 edition, Offbeat Bride was written in 2005, and while I was just as progressive then as I am now, the old copy includes language out of step with the brand’s social justice-minded 2018 readership. The entire book has been re-edited and revised to clean up things like…

  • Joking references to things like smoke signals (insensitive toward Native Americans), sweatshops (insensitive toward foreign workers), consent (insensitive to sexual assault survivors), and repeated use of “bitchy” (which some folks see as a misogynistic slur, even when used by women to describe themselves).
  • Heteronormativity and gender non-neutrality, to avoid assumptions about the gender identity of the reader or their partner.
  • Dismissiveness toward more traditional weddings, which we learned years ago is a quick way to alienate Offbeat Bride’s more mainstream readers. No need to insult other people’s weddings!

You want some humble-pie? Spend some time with your work from 13 years ago. Ouch. What an education.

New content: new intro, new chapters, new sidebars

In addition to a thorough review of all existing copy for small tweaks to language, the third edition includes brand new content:

  • New introduction: acknowledge all that has changed in the 13+ years since the book was originally written, including shifts in how we talk about identity and gender, and the unexpected ways that technology interplays with the the tangled dynamics of weddings. Emphasize that “bride” is a state of mind, not a set of genitals.
  • New technology chapter: The book references things like people burning CDs to give as wedding favors, and people hand coding wedding websites from scratch. Meanwhile, it makes no mention of social media or people using streaming services at their wedding receptions. It mentions web resources that no longer exist, and doesn’t acknowledge stuff like the concept of “Unplugged weddings,” where people are asked to keep their smartphones off during the wedding ceremony.
  • New LGBTQ chapter: In 2010, marriage equality was just starting to be something we dared to dream of, and now it’s legal in almost all our major reader markets: US, Canada, Australia and the UK. This chapter would address things like why some couples still want to identify their wedding as a “gay wedding” (even though some claim all weddings are “just a wedding”) and how heteronormativity plays out in wedding planning for queer couples. Also, this will include references to polyamorous commitment ceremonies, which we’re seeing more often.
  • New sidebars through-out: Focused on inclusive content like planning a wedding while managing a disability or chronic illness, navigating wedding planning and grief, and more.

 

New design

The book’s design elements are getting a refresh…

  • New cover: The second edition was designed to match offbeatbride.com’s 2009 branding, and we'll be working with a designer at Seal Press to give the 3rd edition a new cover that more accurately reflects both our current branding, and what the brand is today.
  • New subtitle: Over the years, there’s always been a lot of concern about why it's called Offbeat BRIDE — why would a progressive nontraditional wedding planning book intentionally exclude grooms, non-binary folks, etc? Almost 12 years after the book was first published, it’s too late to rename it… but the third edition will be getting a new subtitle that better reflects the readership and content.
  • New interior design: The tOgGle cAsinG header style used in the first and second editions feels dated, and many readers have complained over the years about sidebar readability issues. The interior design will be completely re-done with new illustrations, new layout, new everything.

This has been a super interesting process for me — so humbling to look back at my 2005 writing, and find ways to bring it 13 years into the present. I'm excited to get the third edition on shelves fall of 2019! If you want to see me rambling about the process, head on over to Offbeat Bride's IGtv.

Other books we're working on right now:

 

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