Editorial Interview: Ariel Meadow Stallings of Offbeat Bride

If you haven’t already heard, Two Bright Lights is headed to Seattle for the start of our “Get Published” tour! Offbeat Bride founder, Ariel Meadow Stallings, will join photographer Clane Gessel and fellow editor Desiree Hartsock in sharing their expert insight into the wedding industry, as well as valuable tips on how to get your gorgeous photography published and started growing your business.

A writer and editor who got her start editing a rave magazine in the mid-’90s, Ariel’s work has been featured by the New York Times, Today Show, and The Guardian. Ariel’s book, Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives For Independent Brides, was first published in 2007 with a second edition in 2010. She acts as publisher for offbeatbride.com, which reaches 1 million readers monthly.

Alternative bride with tattoo wearing light blue wedding dress by Serena Star Photography
Photography by: Serena Star Photography


Two Bright Lights: Ariel, Offbeat Bride is not your traditional Wedding Blog, what inspired you to start it?

Ariel Meadow Stallings: I wrote my book, Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, after planning my 2004 wedding. I wanted to share both what I’d learned about wedding planning, as well as the whole concept of a “bridentity crisis” — feeling like you don’t quite fit the template for what brides are supposed to be interested in, or care about.

The website launched in January of 2007 as a way to support the release of the book. What initially began as a promotional project slowly grew into a completely different beast — the blog is now updated three times daily with tons of “wedding porn” (photos from real people’s really offbeat weddings), advice and inspiration for couples who are working their asses off to create authentic weddings full of intention and personality. The business has expanded into a network of lifestyle publications including Offbeat Home & Life and Offbeat Families, supported by a team of editors and developers.

TBL: What types of features does Offbeat accept via Two Bright Lights?

AMS: Here at Offbeat Bride, we ONLY feature real wedding day photography.

We’re passionate about portraying diverse couples who’ve planned weddings on a budget. Styled shoots are valuable for marketing and promotional materials, but we prefer to feature real weddings with real people, with time and financial constraints in mind.  

We love to receive Two Bright Lights submissions of weddings that are colorful, and photos that don’t feel over processed — this isn’t Instagram!


TBL: What makes for a great submission?

AMS: When it comes to Two Bright Lights submissions, diversity is our highest editorial priority. We receive a number of beautiful submissions featuring young white couples, but the wedding industry is generally challenged in reflecting diversity, so we strongly favor submissions featuring ethnically or otherwise diverse couples (LGBT, plus-size, older couples, couples of color, people with disabilities, etc). We recognize that prioritizing diversity can be a sensitive subject, and we need photographers’ help to make sure we’re representing people from ALL walks of life on Offbeat Bride.

TBL: What influences your decision on trends to highlight?

AMS: Since our niche is non-traditional, we actually tend to avoid weddings that feel too trendy. We like personalized weddings where the event really feels like it reflects the couple… this means we’re less focused on trends like succulents or burlap, and more interested in understanding how the couple’s personalities are portrayed through beautiful portrait and detail photography.

TBL: What’s the next Wedding style trend you are looking forward to seeing?

AMS: True color and honest saturation in wedding photos. The most beautiful hues already exist all around us. I’m ready for deep blue skies, honest red accents, and clean green grass!


Thanks for sharing, Ariel! Don’t miss out on the chance to hear more from her, as well as Desiree Hartsock and Clane Gessel on May 19th at our “Get Published” workshop!



Photo courtesy of Serena Star Photography, featured on Offbeat Bride 

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