Bridal outlets grow, take new avenues

Traditionally one of the healthiest magazine categories, bridal publications have only grown stronger in recent years.

Traditionally one of the healthiest magazine categories, bridal publications have only grown stronger in recent years.

While other media outlets faced a decline in advertising, the number of wedding-themed titles rose 96% between 2002 and 2007, according to the National Directory of Magazines, while bridal content also surged on TV and online, including reality shows like WE's Bridezilla.

Despite this growth, one challenge for bridal media is that the themes - choosing the right gown or venue, putting together the guest list, and planning the honeymoon - don't necessarily change that much from year to year.

Yet major outlets, like Brides, Modern Bride, and Elegant Bride, do a good job of spotting new trends within these general themes, such as the recent rise in destination weddings, says David Wood III, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants.

"We can also reach out to them with the latest statistics on things like the size of weddings or budgets," he adds.

Shannon Nelson, publicist and chief blogger at Pierce Mattie Public Relations, adds that PR can still play a role in influencing the content of bridal magazines if communications pros pay attention to the titles.

"They have to be on the lookout for new brands or different ways of doing things," she says.

Nelson also notes that the staggering success of traditional wedding magazines is creating many new titles that cater to subsets like "green" or ethnic weddings.

One such outlet is the recently launched Bodas USA La Revista - the first Spanish-language bridal magazine in the US. Publisher Lilian De La Torre-Jimenez says the magazine is taking advantage of the growing economic influence of Hispanics, adding that her audience wants for more than just advice on gowns or honeymoons.

"We have a dedicated section for home dŽcor and one for finance," she says, noting that, with one issue under its belt, the magazine is now welcoming pitches of all sorts, even if they don't have an obvious Hispanic theme.

In addition to print, Bodas USA La Revista is moving aggressively into new media, turning wedding videos into podcasts or posting them on sites, such as YouTube.

The shift to online may be the biggest trend, Nelson says, adding that bridal blogs already have an impact on how companies get products in front of women planning their big day.
"Many of these blogs are by the brides and grooms themselves and amount to free PR for the vendors and products," she says.

Pitching... bridal magazines

Bridal outlets cover a much broader range of topics than you might imagine, including home decor, new cars, and the challenges of a couple combining their finances

The growth of destination weddings in warm-weather locations is helping to push weddings from a spring/summer category to a 12-month news cycle

Tailor the language or tone of your pitch to cater to the growing number of niche-bridal outlets catering to couples looking for green or ethnic weddings

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