Are you the type of bride who obsessively checks Style Me Pretty's Pinterest and Brides' Instagram, dreaming that one day your own wedding will be featured? I know I did. I fantasized of being the bride whose wedding photos were excitedly being pinned onto an engaged girl's wedding board (hey, we all have our dreams, okay?).
But the thing is, not every wedding can be published on the pages of the elite, even if yours is Martha or SMP-caliber. Luckily, having worked in the bridal publishing industry, I've learned a thing or two about what goes on in the editor's room and how they select what is worthy of publishing. Granted, every publication and blog has their own criteria, but some version of these points will follow suit with the bigger outlets.
So you still wanna get your wedding published? Here's what you need to know:
1. Every publication/blog has submission guidelines both known and unknown.
There are always going to be people that publications have to feature (advertisers/affiliates), people they can't feature (rivals/conflicts of interest), trends they have to follow (sometimes influenced by a sponsor), and places they need to include (again, often sponsored). A lot of times this information isn't public so even if you do your research on what a particular outlet is looking for, you might not have the full story. So don't be heartbroken if you submit your stunning Tulsa affair and it doesn't make the cut because they're looking for something coastal instead.
2. You might not be able to share photos and information on social media in advance of publishing.
Forget the fun hashtag. Oftentimes blogs and mags will have a confidentiality or publishing rights contract in place that stipulates what can be released prior to publication. And you know what that means? No photos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, nothing. Because if your wedding is everywhere by the time the publication is out, nobody's going to be interested in it. And if you're an Instagram fiend, you better think about how you're going to contain your biggest day ever (and your best selfies) before submitting it for publishing.
3. Make sure to select a photographer who has been published before and understands this is a goal of yours from the moment you meet.
I can't stress this enough. Sure, editors will take random submissions from photographers they've never seen before, but if they're on a deadline or have to fill something specific in their lineup, they're going to turn to photographers they've worked with before and who they know can deliver. These relationships aren't easy to come by, so if you find a photog who has them, it's worth its weight in gold.
4. Even if you've got a guaranteed feature, follow up with the photographer, publication, everyone.
Let's say you got the green light from a blog to feature your wedding. Yay! But don't just sit back and assume everything will proceed smoothly. Because even though it's top of mind to you, it's not necessarily to everyone else, and you'd hate to miss your opportunity because your photographer didn't submit the photos by the deadline or the editor was swamped and forgot to pitch your wedding at her planning meeting. Don't be annoying about it, but definitely keep yourself in the loop with the important parties until your wedding is on that site you adore.
5. Think of publishing your wedding as a fun possibility, not the purpose.
When I was planning my wedding, seeing the "detailed details" that the couples had in their perfect photos served almost like bridal steroids to me: they gave me strength, inspiration, and sometimes, made me crazy. So my advice to any bride who yearns to have her wedding published? Remember that it's a fun possibility, but not the purpose. Would it be cool? Yes. Should it be the reason you make any decisions for your wedding? Absolutely not. You'd hate to dedicate a large chunk of your budget to outdoor lawn games and a timed dove release only to have rain ruin the photo op. And you don't want to look back at photos and despise the ruffled table runners you picked just because they were everywhere on Pinterest. Your wedding WILL be beautiful, even if strangers on the web never see it. So save yourself the stress and enjoy the planning. And if yours gets picked to be featured? Well, that's just the cherry on top of the wedding cake.