» Editors Picks: Favorite Real Weddings from 2016

Throughout 2016, our WeddingWire editors have published more than 600 real weddings showcasing couples and the work of talented wedding professionals from across the country and beyond. Narrowing down the favorite weddings of the year was a tough task, but we were up to the challenge. Today, we’re sharing our editorial team’s top 10 picks with you. We hope you enjoy them and get some inspiration and ideas for your future couples!

nadira-laura-willow-noavi-photography
Photo by Willow Noavi Photography

Nadira & Laura

Our very first real wedding of 2016 was a complete showstopper, with two stunning brides who said “I do” in a scenic lakefront ceremony. Both brides donned elegant lace wedding gowns, which were complemented by lush fall florals and bright pops of teal.

annette-jamie-hannamonika-wedding-photography
Photo by HannaMonika Wedding Photography

Annette & Jamie

From the minute we saw Annette and Jamie’s destination wedding, we were itching to plan a trip to Greece. The sunny Cretan wedding took place just steps from the sea—so romantic! To top it all off, the day ended with a performance by traditional Greek dancers.

charisma-rohit-black-hue-photography
Photo by Black & Hue Photography

Charisma & Rohit

This Indian-American fusion wedding was filled with vibrant colors, sparkly accents and unique details, including a paper peacock escort card display made by the bride. We love how Charisma decided to break Indian tradition by wearing a white wedding gown for the reception.

magali-jonathan-arte-de-vie
Photo by Arte De Vie

Magali & Jonathan

From the bride’s Jimmy Choo high heels to the candle-lined aisle, everything about this New Orleans wedding exudes elegance. Staying true to The Big Easy, the newlyweds, their guests and a brass band paraded through the French Quarter during a “second line” at the end of the night.

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» Partnership Marketing: Building Your Business from Your Wedding Buddies

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

Whether you’re a seasoned business in your area or are new to the scene, marketing is something that should be in the forefront of your business operations. The tricky part is that a business’ marketing approaches are constantly changing and evolving; from PR and social media to more traditional advertising methods, the options are endless.

When considering your own methods, don’t discount your relationships with the businesses around you. Leveraging relationships with your creative partners is a great way to introduce your business into their network. Below we’ve got some tips on creating and maintaining your vendor-to-vendor relationships.

Partnership Marketing: Building Your Business from Your Wedding BuddiesEstablishing a Relationship

It may take some effort to find the right people to work with. If no one comes to mind when thinking of whom you’d want to work with, then it’s time to consider networking. Attend events at your local associations, meet people, exchange cards, and most importantly, follow up.

Make sure that you are the easiest person to work with, whether it’s at an event or setting up a meeting with them (no Saturday appointments in June!). Market yourself as part of their team and be an all-around resource of information to solidify your place as an essential part of the process.

Maintaining a Relationship

Don’t let all of your efforts be for nothing – set up a system to maintain your relationships. Make sure you are staying in touch with them regularly to keep yourself on their minds (think birthday cards and holiday cards). Include them in your real wedding submissions. If you worked with a vendor and the wedding gets published, be sure to give them a shout out in any promotions.

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» Wedding PR: The Art of Managing Press Expectations

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

Between print deadlines and calls for submissions, it can seem tough to navigate the waters of media relationships. It’s exciting to begin a press campaign for your company but with that, it’s imperative to understand press expectations so you can best determine if your efforts are successful.

Wedding PR: The Art of Managing Press ExpectationsBelow, you’ll find our top things to keep you mind (and keep you going!) when managing press expectations as you represent yourself:

Patience is a virtue

PR takes time – it’s not a one-time overnight fix; it’s a continuous process. While it may be tempting to shoot out emails to every media outlet you think of, the best approach is a carefully calculated one. Take your time to properly research the media outlets that best fit your brand and create a media list based on your findings. From there, you can craft up a pitch to send along that shows how you can be of value to each outlet. With that said, keep in mind that not every pitch will get picked up but if you offer yourself as a resource and successfully engage with the editors, you can still consider that a job well done.

Print vs. Online

With the wealth of online media outlets and blogs that are available to us, it can be easy to overlook the value in a print feature. While it may not be your primary target, magazine placements can speak volumes about your company. When it comes to print, however, the pitching process tends to be quite different than that of online press. When we submit our features to an online source, we expect to hear back within several weeks and, if picked up, we expect to see it within a few weeks. Many magazines, on the other hand, are published quarterly, bi-annually, or even annually and come with strict deadlines, meaning you may need to hold on to that gorgeous wedding or shoot if you don’t pitch by the deadline.

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» Editors’ Favorite Multicultural Real Weddings

Kim Forrest is one of WeddingWire’s editors. She manages content creation on both WeddingWire and EventWire. Kim has been writing about weddings for nearly a decade, and has been quoted as a weddings expert in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and more. 

One of the best parts of the WeddingWire Editorial Team’s job is reviewing all of the real wedding submissions we receive. We particularly are inspired by weddings with strong cultural elements, as we want to share a diverse group of weddings and wedding inspiration with our readers. We also to want to educate our users about all kinds of wedding customs and traditions, which are so rich, varied, and exciting.

Below are some of our favorite recent multicultural real weddings to inspire your next event! And if you’re interested in submitting a real wedding, engagement shoot, or styled shoot for the opportunity to be published, please visit RealWeds.com for more information.

Jubilant Vietnamese Wedding in Florida with photos by Diana Lupu Photography

– Jubilant Vietnamese Wedding in Florida with photos by Diana Lupu Photography

Bright Indian Wedding, combining Hindu and Sikh traditions, in Texas with photos by Jennifer Weems Photography

– Bright Indian Wedding, combining Hindu and Sikh traditions, in Texas with photos by Jennifer Weems Photography

Nature-Inspired Vietnamese Wedding in New Hampshire with photos by Mon Petit Studio

– Nature-Inspired Vietnamese Wedding in New Hampshire with photos by Mon Petit Studio

Korean and Filipino Wedding in Torono, Canada with photos by Hennygraphy

– Korean and Filipino Wedding in Torono, Canada with photos by Hennygraphy

Sparkling Indian Wedding in New York with photos by Origin Photos

– Sparkling Indian Wedding in New York with photos by Origin Photos

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» Don’t Miss the 2016 WeddingWire WinterBook!

2016 WeddingWire WinterBook coverIt’s that time of year once again – our 2016 WeddingWire WinterBook is here and we can’t wait for our pros to see it!

Our seasonal e-magazines feature the latest wedding advice and inspiration for your clients, showcasing the work and experienced opinions of our community of talented event professionals. The new WinterBook is full of the hottest ideas to keep your warm during the cold winter months!

Top stories in this issue include:

  • Expert tips in response to the most-asked budget questions
  • New wedding trends straight from industry experts
  • Creative (and not to mention stunning!) winter real weddings
  • The latest beauty and fashion ideas for couples in 2016
  • Top wedding ideas currently trending on WeddingWire
  • …and more!

Plus, throughout our WinterBook, we’ve highlighted our 2016 Couples’ Choice Award-winning wedding professionals by placing a blue star next to their names! Be sure to check it out and share it with your clients on Facebook and Twitter to help them achieve their dream wedding vision.

Cover photo by Milton Photography

» Take Your Business to New Heights: Reach Expert Status

September-Webinar_Take-Your-Business-to-New-Heights-Reach-Expert-Status_TileWebinar Recap!

Do you consider yourself an expert in your field? In our September webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert Meghan Ely shared her tips for packaging your skills, experience and knowledge to become a recognized expert in your industry. After all, building your reputation helps you stand out from your competition, increase your value, and boost your brand!

Find out some top highlights from the webinar below.

  • First ask yourself: What am I an expert in? Some considerations include: regional knowledge, destination weddings, LGBTQ, Indian weddings, Jewish weddings, Persian weddings, Elopements, second marriage and more!
  • Before submitting a real wedding, you must first: do your research, focus on your target audience, study the submission guidelines and be mindful of editorial calendars. You can submit real weddings to WeddingWire at RealWeds.com!
  • If you are interested in guest writing, be sure to: research the top and best fit outlets for your expertise, select your top outlets to approach, outline the submission guidelines and follow them, craft a list of topics and only then make the pitch!
  • To help your business get press, here are some great tips: learn to think like the media – what content and help do they need? Make it easy on them, make your outreach about them and their success and not too self-serving, treat them like a client and act professionally, and be prompt with deadlines and organized in your follow up.

For more details, be sure to watch the full webinar!

Interested in learning more from Meghan and her team at OFD Consulting? Until this Friday, 9/25/15 at midnight, all WeddingWire webinar registrants can save 40% on products such as a Real Weddings Submission kit with promo code: weddingwire at checkout!

Did you know that all of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for premium Pros to view at any time? Check it out for some great education and inspiration on important topics for your business from sales to client communication, marketing and more.

» Announcing WeddingWire Editors’ Picks

Announcing WeddingWire Editors’ PicksIntroducing WeddingWire Editors’ Picks – a new program recognizing ceremony and reception venues across the U.S. and abroad!

The WeddingWire editorial team spends a great deal of time looking for the brightest stars in the wedding community, so we launched our Editors’ Picks program to highlight some of our favorite wedding venues across the country.

The first set of winners fall into our first two categories: Colleges and Universities and Farms and Barns. We will showcase two categories per month and update categories once a year. Categories are chosen based on the time of year (seasonality and popularity of that particular style in a season) and the interest of our users in order to maximize engagement. Up to 20 venues are selected to feature per category, per year.

Want to be an Editors’ Pick? While there’s no way to apply for our Editors’ Picks program, our editorial team regularly reviews Storefronts on WeddingWire and look for the following:

  • Updated Photos of Your Venue: Ensure you have high-quality, professional photos of your venue from the past year. Photos should highlight what sets your venue apart, features, different wedding styles, etc.
  • Accurate and Updated Venue Information in Your Profile: What makes your venue unique? Explain specific features and services you offer that set your venue apart.

Our Editors’ Picks program is not related to or impacted by our premium advertising options. We encourage you to keep your Storefront photos up to date to catch the attention of our Editors; your business could be picked for one of our upcoming categories!

Find out more about this program and check out the first round of winners on the WeddingWire Editors’ Picks website.

» This Just In: The 2015 WeddingWire FallBook is Here!

Check out the 2015 WeddingWire FallBook for seasonal wedding inspiration!We’re thrilled to present our newest digital wedding magazine…the 2015 WeddingWire FallBook!

We’re particularly proud of this issue, as it includes helpful advice and inspiration not just for engaged couples and wedding professionals, but for wedding guests as well! You’ll find the work of many wedding and event professionals from around the country in the book, too.

Here is a sampling of the top stories from this issue:

  • A fall-themed styled shoot, produced by the WeddingWire team, and featuring the work of talented wedding professionals.
  • Four unique fall real weddings – including a fun destination event in Costa Rica!
  • The “Guest Guide” – a section for engaged couples to share with their guests. It includes a wedding guest timeline, gift and attire ideas, and much more.
  • Bridal fashion ideas for pre- and post-wedding events
  • Registry advice, engagement ring tips, and much more!

Enjoy our 2015 FallBook! Interested in being featured? Visit RealWeds.com for more information on submitting real weddings to our editorial team.

» Wedding PR: Pitching Styled Shoots to Vendors

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

Styled shoots. Wedding Pros either love them or well, they despise them with every fiber of their being. There really is no in-between. In my ten plus years in the industry, I’ve never seen one topic divide the industry as much as the topic of styled shoots.

Coordinating a wedding styled shootAs I’ve mentioned before, styled shoots can be a wonderful way to showcase your talents, work with new vendors and potentially enjoy a bit of press. But with the steady increase in shoots, comes the challenge of getting your vendor friends and colleagues on board.

What was once a novel marketing idea has now become as common as mason jars paired with burlap. Wedding professionals are constantly being inundated with requests so the question that begs to be asked – how can you convince your colleagues to come on board for your styled shoot? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you start pitching styled shoots to other vendors:

Have a vision

While a styled shoot often stems from a particular moment of inspiration, there are a quite a few steps that need to be taken before reaching out to your colleagues. Take the time to map out the vision- scout locations and collect images to help tell your story. Your chances of getting that “yes” are far more likely if you can share a concrete vision for the shoot.

Connect with heavy hitters

If you have a great idea, then there is no reason you can’t connect with well-respected national companies to pitch your idea. There are a number of products that could elevate your shoot – whether it is candles and lighting, silk ribbon or even those cake stands you’ve been eyeing.  Aligning yourself with well recognized brands would give you that added credibility before approaching your targeted list of area wedding professionals.

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» Wedding PR: Hiring Outside Help

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

Over the years, we’ve shared tips and tricks on WeddingWire about how to be your own wedding publicist, but for some, there may come a point when it’s time to consider hiring an outside firm.

Hiring a wedding PR firmSo how do you know when it’s time to take the leap? First, consider what strategies are resulting in the biggest ROI. If you’re finding that real wedding features have served you well in the past, and that you may benefit from bringing someone in who can take things up a notch.

Additionally, take a good hard look at how you’re spending your time. If you value the role PR plays in your business but know your time is better spent elsewhere (making sales, focusing on the client experience or even simply doing what you love), then a PR consultant may be your solution.

Hiring a wedding PR agency can seem intimidating – especially if it’s one of your first experiences with bringing in a consultant. The very best way to get you started is to ask trusted friends and colleagues for referrals. They’ll be upfront with you about the benefits as well as the challenges. Don’t have anyone within your inner circle with this experience? If you belong to any industry groups (off or online), consider putting out feelers with them.

And what sort of things should you look for when qualifying candidates?

Their Portfolio

A PR company’s press portfolio (both their clients and their own) is one of the most important components to review. This will lend insight into their current media relationships as well as the type of press they specialize in, whether it be online, print or on the air. Make sure to ask for their most current press to see what’s kept them busy in the last 6-12 months.

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» Submit to be in the WeddingWire FallBook!

Showcase your best fall real weddings, inspire engaged couples, and build your brand as part of the WeddingWire FallBook!

WeddingWire FallBook 2015

Simply submit photos and videos of your favorite past fall real weddings (late September through late December) and fall-themed styled shoots to be featured in our upcoming e-magazine. If your submission is selected, we’ll link to your Storefront and share your work with thousands of couples across WeddingWire, social media, email, and more.

Easily upload your photos and videos at RealWeds.com by Monday, July 20th to be considered. Get started »

Want to get inspired? Check out our latest SummerBook to see examples of real wedding features!

You can also submit to RealWeds.com any time to be featured on WeddingWire, Project Wedding, and GayWeddings.com.

» Wedding PR: Developing and Nurturing Editorial Relationships

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

If there is one basic fact about public relations, it’s this: it simply cannot exist without the media.

We’re in a new age of editorial relationships – now more than ever, the number of people pitching (whether as a PR firm or on behalf of themselves) far outnumbers editors. So while relationships have always been at the heart of public relations, it’s now absolutely an essential.

Wedding PRSo what are the key points to keep in mind when nurturing your media relationships?

  1. Be a walking Rolodex and encyclopedia rolled into one.
    You are, no doubt, an expert in your field and the quicker the media realizes this, the better. The fact is- not every pitch will be accepted and your contributions to an article may hit the cutting room floor. But you can be resourceful in other ways. Did your quote not make the cut? Review the reporter’s recent work and consider pitching other topics of interest. Did your expertise not fit within the scope of their article? Share some friends and colleagues from your circle to help them wrap up the piece. Yes, reporters like to know that you’re an expert at something. But more importantly, they want to know that they can count on you.
  1. Be professional, always.
    If you’re pitching regularly, you may find yourself on friendlier terms with the media, which can be a wonderful thing. At the same time, you run the risk of letting your guard down a bit, allowing professional pitches to start taking on a more casual tone. While there is nothing wrong with adding a dash of informality to your correspondence, continue to remain mindful of submission guidelines and deadlines. I recently assisted a blogger friend with filling in content on a fast-approaching date and mentioned that I’d get it over to her as soon as I resized the photos to match her guidelines. I could practically hear her eye roll over email as she told me that that wasn’t necessary. We had a good chuckle over it but I have no doubt that she appreciated the courtesy all the same.

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