Many of my couples ask me how to get their wedding published in their favorite wedding blog or magazine, so it’s time for some expert insight into often-overlooked details that will might land your wedding gallery in the reject pile on an editor’s desk! But first, an important disclaimer: your wedding is still BEAUTIFUL and VALID regardless of its publication status.
Keep in mind, editors of national wedding publications such as Style Me Pretty, Martha Stewart Weddings, and BRIDES receive as many as 1,000 submissions PER WEEK. Publication on that level is about who you know and can be a “pay-to-play” situation, so it’s going to take something truly unique to stand out in that arena. If national publication is your goal (it’s one of mine, too!), I highly, highly recommend working with a full service wedding planner who can design something totally original to you and your fiancé that might turn an editor’s head as well.
Without a full scale planner/designer on board and if you’re aiming for a regional publication, such as Washingtonian Weddings or Baltimore Weddings here in the DMV, there are still several things you can do to elevate your wedding and increase your odds of getting published! Today, I’m going to dive into a few of the most common issues and ways to fix them. Again, this is advice intended for couples who care about publication! At the end of the day, the marriage is what matters most of all. With disclaimers out of the way, here are some little details that might keep you from getting published!
1. Too Much TikTok / Pinterest Inspiration
If you got the idea from social media, odds are an editor has already seen it dozens or even hundreds of times! Cutesy signage everywhere and donut walls might be pretty, but they’ve been done to death and won’t help your wedding stand out in a sea of other galleries. Not to mention, those little detail costs can add up fast! Instead, carefully consider every single detail to ensure that it’s meaningful, original, and/or enhances guest experience.
2. Overdone, Monotonous Color Palettes
Listen, I love a classic wedding color palette as much as the next basic girl next door. But hear me out: editors are always looking for something fresh and unexpected, and there are ways to add some MAJOR interest to even the most popular of color palettes! For example, you could give your bridesmaids a color palette and have them choose a printed dress within that color family from the designer of their choosing. This might also save some major headaches if shopping together for dresses isn’t possible. If you have your heart set on a particular color palette, another option is to add interest through texture. Don’t be afraid to play with mixing fabrics and textiles throughout your wedding day design!
3. Bouquets Doubling as Centerpieces
I see this one all the time, but it’s a no-no for a few reasons! First, it can negatively impact guest experience. Bouquets tend to be just the right height that when placed upright in a vase on a table, blocking the view of others seated around you: meaning your guests might not be able to see your sweet reaction to that touching Maid of Honor speech. From a design perspective, it’s a bit of a “square peg in a round hole” situation. Basically it can look like we’re trying to force something designed for one use to do something it wasn’t designed for! Instead, opt for simple bud vases and candles on your guest tables, and have those bridesmaids bouquets pull double duty in a less central location, such as the gift table.
4. Linens, Linens, Linens
If there’s one thing editors want to see, it’s immaculate attention to detail. That doesn’t necessarily mean spending thousands of dollars on details. However, it DOES mean that if they see creased or wrinkled linens in your images, it’s likely an automatic rejection. Steaming linens is something a wedding coordinator, planner, or even your catering manager may be able to help with, but it’s important to communicate and confirm whose role it’ll be on the wedding day. Speaking of linens: it may surprise you, but linens are an excellent opportunity to infuse personality and originality into your wedding design! Consider playing not just with different colors, but different prints and fabric types as well. If upgraded linens for the entire guest list aren’t in the budget, consider upgrading just the head/sweetheart table and having your photographer focus their detail images there!
5. Ill-Fitting Garments
I know that online shopping has improved many aspects of our lives, but shopping for wedding day attire is NOT one of them! Often, there is a vast discrepancy in the amount of time and care devoted to the bride’s attire vs. the groom’s. Personally, I think it’s time to change that! Too many grooms are shopping for their wedding day formalwear online, guesstimating at their measurements, and the result is often sloppy at best. Gentlemen, please treat yourselves to a tailoring appointment for a proper measurement and tux fitting! James Bond would never just order his tux online, and neither should you! Ladies, this advice can absolutely apply to you as well! Be sure to schedule your final fitting just a few weeks prior to the wedding date, and don’t skimp on those alterations.
Want to amp things up in the style department? When it comes to publication, tuxes tend to perform better across the board than suits. Choose fashion-forward statement pieces to add visual interest, and don’t forget to take the season and event location in mind when selecting your attire! Black tie and ball gowns at a beach wedding might create a bit of an uncanny valley from an aesthetic perspective.
BONUS: Not Enough B-Roll
Here’s an extra tip: editors want to see a story unfold through your gallery. They want to get a sense for the surrounding environment, what the weather that day was like, any other big-picture details that give context to the narrative beyond just “this is a wedding”. This is exactly what b-roll images provide: those overarching, establishing shots that help ground the viewer in the story of your wedding day.
A storyteller by nature, the b-roll is some of my favorite footage to capture on a wedding day! However, like anything else, it takes time and must be planned for. Make sure your wedding day timeline has allowed space for downtime and relaxation, giving your photographer an opportunity to capture these types of photographs alongside the standard events of the day. It’s also a good idea to have a team of two photographers. This allows for a variety of angles and gives your photography team the opportunity to be in two places at once.
There you have it! Next time, I’ll share a few of my favorite wedding day details and current trends I’m most excited for. I hope this helps as you plan!