So you want to get your wedding published
Does the idea of your wedding day being published in a magazine or featured in an online bridal blog sound pretty cool? Whether you realise it or not, during your wedding planning (searching online, on the socials or in the glossy bride mags) a good deal of wedding inspiration – or wedspo – comes from real weddings.
These are real people, who had a real wedding, and for one reason or another, their day has been featured somewhere for your wedspo pleasure. Personally, I much prefer looking at real weddings rather than model shoots or styled shoots, as there’s so many elements and much more depth to an actual marriage. It’s really useful and helpful to see what other brides and grooms have chosen for their day, and whether consciously or subconsciously, it helps us understand better what we’d like for our own big day.
So where do these couples and their beauteous weddings find themselves published or featured?
Navigating the wedding inspiration web isn’t actually too difficult these days, as there’s lots of places real weddings are be featured. First, you have your glossy mags: as I mentioned above, you have your traditional high-end magazines (Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Brides, etc), UK-centric wedding planning magazines (You&Your Wedding, Wedding Ideas, Bride Magazine) and wedding magazines local to you (An Essex Wedding, Essex Life, etc).
Or, the world wide web provides incredible accessibility these days, via wedding-specific blogs. There are hundreds and hundreds of wedding blogs out there, all of which have a slightly different slant on what they like. If you’d like to see what’s out there at a glance, check out GoHen’s Top 50 wedding bloggers of 2018 by clicking HERE . My personal favourite online wedding blogs are the perennially-cool Rock My Wedding, quintessentially country-fied The English Wedding Blog and colour-filled, DIY-loving Whimsical Wonderland Weddings. There are plenty of wedding blogs out there to suit your tastes, particularly when you’re still looking for some wedding planning inspo.
How can I get my wedding featured somewhere?
The $64,000 question! The simple answer: You can submit it, I may submit it, or your photographs get seen somewhere.
You can submit it:
Yes, it’s true, you can submit your own wedding to wherever you want! You don’t need to tell anyone or let anyone know what you’re doing during the submission process, if you’re worried about not being accepted, but certainly if a magazine or blog accepts your submission, be sure to tell all your wedding suppliers involved! An accepted submission from a blogger, a good one anyway, will ask you for all of your wedding suppliers in any case. Just look up or visit your favourite wedding mag/blog, and there’ll be a dedicated section for submitting real weddings.
I may submit it:
OK, the cat’s out of the bag; sometimes I submit weddings to magazines and blogs. I don’t tell you in advance because – and this is some real talk – I don’t want your feelings to get hurt if your wedding isn’t accepted anywhere. I always attempt to provide my couples with my best work, and similarly I only submit my best work if I feel it’s got a chance of being accepted for a real wedding feature. I’m assuming, in the meantime, that none of you are submitting your own weddings, but I’ll be equally happy if you’re doing it yourself! The majority of real weddings you see in the public domain have been submitted by the photographer or another large wedding supplier e.g. videographer or even the venue. If a wedding is accepted for a feature, I’ll get in touch with you straight away.
Your photographs get seen:
Sadly this is in the minority, as wedding magazines and blogs are over-subscribed with submissions on a daily basis, and are too busy wading through those to proactively seek out weddings they may like to feature. But, once in a blue moon, sometimes they do see images (particularly on social media) and reach out to see if you’d like it featured. Your best chance of this happening, is by tagging those wedding accounts on Instagram, for example, using their handle (@) and their designated hashtags, and tagging your photographer (hopefully me!) in those photographs too. It’s a long shot, but it’s not impossible.
What do wedding blogs like to see, or how can I increase my chances of being featured?
An excellent question! Sometimes at the end of a busy summer I find myself asking the exact same thing, when an absolute show-stopper of a wedding is turned down somewhere, or I see weddings featured by other suppliers which I don’t feel meets the blogs’ usual standards!! I guess what I’m saying is, it can be a little hit and miss, and it’s certainly a game of right place, right time. At the end of peak wedding season (ie summer), wedding blogs are bombarded with trillions of submissions from photographers who’ve finally found the time to submit their work after a summer of shooting.
In my experience, these are the key elements that aid your chances of being featured:
Blogs lovvvvvve a unique wedding, and the more different they are, the better. A great example of this, is alternative wedding guide Rock n Roll Bride which celebrates all things individual (famously, the ‘anti-bride tribe’). Whilst some wedding blogs love reporting a trend, some favour the completely offbeat.
To get into the minds of submissions editors, we need to realise that they can’t churn out the same looks and content all the time to their readers, so when a wedding stands out from the crowd, they love it. Think elopements, well-put-together DIY weddings, alternative-coloured bridal party outfits, or anything you don’t recall seeing before!
Beautiful details & Styling //
I’m talking all the little details that make up the DNA of your day, such as invites/stationery, flowers, ceremony and particularly venue styling, all that good stuff. Most wedding blogs, rightly or wrongly, are generally not interested in photographs of you! Unless they’re a fashion / beauty magazine or blog, they’re primarily interested in the unique bits and bobs that accompanied your wedding day, and not the actual couple. Think beautiful floristry, and attention to detail. Sure, they’ll include photographs of you guys, of course they will, but they’re not so worried about lots of couple shots from the day as they are the little details. Details, such as the wedding set up (how your ceremony/venue looks) are what draws readers to look at your feature, for their own wedspo. Basically Pinterest on steroids.
Know your audience //
If you’re planning on submitting your own wedding somewhere, you need to know your audience. For example, Rock n Roll Bride aren’t going to accept a Suffolk church wedding followed by a barn reception – unless you’re both wearing black, covered in tattoos and are flicking the ‘Vs’ at the camera (and I’m still not sure it’d get in). Every different magazine and online blog have their specific preferred style, which appeals to them and their readers, so they’ll only feature weddings which fit that mould. Every blog has their own submission guidelines too, and nearly all of them demand exclusivity, so you can’t be featured in three different places.
DIY or To Not DIY //
Featured weddings tend to either be very do-it-yourself (like your mum made the bunting, your wedding cake is a trestle table of homemade delights and you hand-made an ornate flower crown), or very much the other way. Wedding blogs, in my experience, like to see some real skill in a DIY wedding, and if that’s not the case, they usually want to see a team of talented professional wedding suppliers contributing to your wedding. Thems the breaks.
Isn’t having our wedding day featured somewhere a bit…. vain?
Hey, not everyone enjoys the idea of seeing themselves in the public domain, which is completely understandable. Weddings, and certainly marriage, is a unique and different beast to each and every individual. But for those of you who really enjoy/enjoyed the wedding planning process, getting into the detail and scouring Pinterest, it can be gratifying to see your well-planned day of happiness get some recognition. I personally don’t think it’s vain at all; if no-one’s real weddings were ever featured, future engaged couples would have very limited material from which to peruse and draw inspiration. Let’s be honest, probably all of us have looked at other people’s weddings at some stage and thought “Well I wouldn’t have that for mine” or “Oooh, that’s a good idea”. Why not have the opportunity to relive your brilliant day in print or online, and let other people enjoy it too?
Why hasn’t my wedding been featured anywhere?
Gosh I wish I had the answers to this one, to be honest! It really can be luck of the draw in this industry, because there’s so many variables. Reasons include sometimes blogs have recently published, or already have scheduled, very similar weddings to yours. Sometimes blogs are completely over-subscribed and although they’d love to, they just don’t have the capacity in their scheduling. And yes, sometimes blogs don’t feel the look or feel of your day suits their readership for one reason or another. But don’t get bogged down in the whys and the wherefores though, because the wedding industry is a funny old game.
My best piece of advice for those of you who’d like to, or are hoping to be published/featured somewhere, is to view this happening as an unexpected bonus. It’s not a yardstick as to how good your wedding was, how glamorous you are as a couple, or how happy you both are.
Huffpost coined it nicely: Think of publishing your wedding as a fun possibility, not the purpose.